Tag Archives: Darren

Thursday 14th July 2022 – WHILE I WAS …

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… writing up my notes for yesterday I was still talking to Liz.

She was telling me that tonight’s full moon was going to be excellent so I decided that before I nipped off to bed I would go off and have a quick look.

There had been a firework display over at Sp Pair sur Mer and there were still crowds of people milling around who had been watching from the clifftop here, including one of my neighbours and we had an intersting chat for quite a while.

And then I wandered off to take a few photos of the moon.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022 There was quite a lot of cloud out there so I took a comfortable seat on the wall overlooking the harbour and waited for it to rise up through the clouds.

So while I’m waiting for the moon to rise, I can tell you about the rest of my night last night once I’d gone to bed.

I had a really long dream but when I awoke I forgot most of it immediately. I was with Nerina last night at some kind of wedding. There were lots of people around there and gradually they started to go. Most of them were going by some means and I don’t know what it was but there were still people there and all the children were dancing etc. It was really sad to see the people disappearing one by one and even Nerina was quite disappointed when some people whom she knew started to leave. In the end someoe came over to me and said “there are all these cars here. You can take whichever one you like”. I thought “I have all my stuff in Caliburn so I don’t want to start taking it out at this time of night and changing it over so I reckon that we’ll go in Caliburn anyway”. There was much more to it than this but I really can’t remember any more.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Later on there was another dream as well involving a few kids being totally obnoxious. We had a lot of things to do and not much time to do it so we were doing things on the sly like when we were trying to deal with this party of people even though we weren’t allowed to use the kitchen we were still doing it all the same so everyone had to keep really quiet but that was absolutely impossible. Everyone was coming and going. There was no control whatsoever over anything. I had some food to make for a little boy. In the end I made him a sausage sandwich. Cooking the sausages was exciting. Half the bread fell into a wash bucket so I had to use a different kind of bread for half of it. All in all it was just absolute total chaos. It ended by some young boy in his early teens having to ring his girlfriend to tell her something important and all he got was her on an answerphone message so that didn’t work out particularly well. Again, there was much more than this that I can’t remember.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022I was having a really happy time with my little girlfriend who worked on Saturdays at the library in Nantwich. I was round at her house with her parents talking about all kinds of things including alarm clocks. Of course I have the alarm on the phone that wakes me. Then we went out for a walk around the village laughing and joking. There had been some kind of story where a family who were extremely religious had gone for a pizza on Sunday which of course is not the done thing in religion so we all laughed about that “if we aren’t careful we’ll end up with a pizza”. We ended up looking around in a shop full of surplus clothing, catalogue returns etc. I don’t know what she was looking for but she had a really good look round. Then she saw some radios of the type that she had to awaken her so she wanted me to go to look at them. I did out of politeness. I was looking at the range of Mhz that the radios covered and the bands. If I could find a short-wave one with a decent coverage I might think about it but there wasn’t anything. I couldn’t even pick up my niece’s husband’s private radio station on medium wave on it, his was set so low. The salesman was extremely pushy etc. In the end we walked away hand-in-hand and skipped off down the road again. It was all very nice and very pleasant.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The idea that I would be talking to her parents is unfortunately rather amusing.

They hated me with a passion which is not a surprise because I was a different person as a teenager or a young adult … “not THAT much different” – ed.

But she was lovely. She worked in the library on Saturdays and she would go through the new arrival LPs. Any that she knew that I would like she would smuggle out and I would tape them, for her to return the following Saturday.

Christmas 1977 when we were totally broke and had no money, we devised a cunning plan. Audlem, the village where she lived, was a strange village of two halves, the rustics and the well-to-dos. We made up a pile of expensive-looking Christmas cards out of bits and pieces and then took them round to deliver to the well-to-dos.
“Oh, how nice. Thank you very much. Do come in and have a drink and a mince pie”
We were totally gone with the wind by the end of the evening and it didn’t cost us a penny. That was a really good night.

However, her parents took an extremely dim view of the proceedings and that was the final nail in the coffin of our relationship.

We did go out (as friends) to a few rock concerts later but that didn’t reignite our relationship.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022A few years later I was driving a coach through Shropshire and stopped to go to the bank for some cash.

And who should be serving behind the counter?

We had a brief exchange of pleasantries because I was in a rush but I went back a few months later only to find that she wasn’t there. She was training at that branch when I met her and no-one would tell me where she had gone.

Yes, she’s another one who had a lucky escape from my evil clutches and I’ll give all that I own to speak to her again if she ever were to surface. She had rather an unusual name but it never came up on the internet. I tried.

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022She’s not the only one to have been on the end of a broken relationship due to alcohol.

When I was 17 and my girlfriend at the time was almost 14 (and that’s a long story too) Lindisfarne were playing at a private members’ club in Crewe. Too young to be a member myself, I borrowed the membership cards of my older sister and her husband and we both went to see them.

She hadn’t ever drunk alcohol before, as I found out far too late to do any good, and you can’t take it out once it’s gone in.

So that, dear reader, was that once her mother came to pick her up.

I was round at my niece and her husband’s house last night. It was somewhere nothing like their place at all. A whole group of us was on holiday. I was talking about work again saying that I’m over the retirement age now so if they annoy me which they had done during that week I’d turn round and not go in at all on Monday. I was outside the shop working. What I’d done was to draw a picture of what I had seen outside their shop and was busy trying to paint it. Things weren’t going too well and I’d made a big mess of the rear of a car. I was in all kinds of messes with that. Just then a couple of girls came over and started to ask me questions about myself and to chat to me. I had a little chat with them. Suddenly I looked at my watch and saw that it was 08:55. I thought “God! I have to be at work shortly!” so I had to get myself ready, grab my things and go. This picture only undeleted part of the mess that I’d done. I hoped that the rest of the undelete etc would still be in there when I came back this evening otherwise this picture is totally ruined and I’d have to start again

full moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So when I’d finished photographong the moon, I came back home.

On the way I looked behind me and saw the moonlight reflecting on the water in the harbour. It looked quite picturesque so I took a photo, although it’s rather a shame that it’s over-exposed.

Back here I finally went to bed and ended up in the arms of Morpheus and wandered off into the dark recesses of my mind. It was quite a mobile night as you can tell, and I was quite exhausted when the alarm went off.

It was a struggle to leave my bed when the alarm went off but nevertheless I managed to go for my medication without too much trouble, even working out that I was a medication short in my pile.

Back here I transcribed the notes for my nocturnal voyages and then rather regrettably I fell asleep. And not just for five minutes either.

When I finally recovered I’ve been bashing out the rest of the photos from June. It took much longer than I expected too because I had to research one or two locations as I had written them incorrectly in my notes.

bad parking place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Soon enough, it was time for me to go off for my afternoon walk. Not that I went very far though at first.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have commented in the past that I won’t go on quite so much about bad parking but sometimes it just can’t be helped.

It’s not actually the fact that this person has taken up two parking spaces that is so annoying. It’s the fact that this is a private car park and whoever is the driver of this vehicle isn’t a resident of the block.

This is just plain ignorant.

But as an aside, just WHEN are they going to come and repair our entrance barrier?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022In rather a foul mood after that, I wandered off towards the wall at the end of the car park.

Down below, there was plenty of beach this afternoon. The tide was quite far out today.

Surprisingly there weren’t all that many people down there enjoying it. Despite the wind, which was quite strong this afternoon as you can tell from the whitecaps, it really was a nice afternoon and I’d expected to see many more people down there.

No-one in the water as far as I can see either. In fact, I’m surprised that surfing hasn’t become a major pastime here.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Despite the high winds and rough seas, there were several trawlers out there this afternoon.

This one looks as if it might be fishing because although it was too far out for me to see if it had its nets out, it was travelling quite slowly with its stern to the French shore.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … since the recent fishing disputes flared up, they seem to be trying new fishing grounds much closer to home.

There were quite a few people wandering around on the path today. They were making the most of the warm weather. I joined them on their trek down to the lighthouse.

fishermen peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There was nothing going on down at the end of the headland this afternoon.

No-one on the bench at the cabanon vauban but there were several people down there on the rocks. We have a fisherman with rod and line and also a couple of dozen people at the pèche à pied.

From here I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland and, surprisingly, there was nothing going on at the port.

Just Monaco du Nord II in the chantier naval and no-one at the ferry terminal or playing “Musical Ships” at the Fish Processing Plant.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022In the inner harbour we saw Victor Hugo moored at the quayside.

We saw her yesterday out at sea off the Pointe du Roc but she has eventually made it into port. And it doesn’t look as if she’s going back out this afternoon.

Back here I had the last of my banana drink and then spent a couple of hours with the guitar that would take me up to teatime. And the timing of “Born to Run” is very difficult to grasp.

Tea tonight was veggie balls with pasta and vegetables, mixed with a nice spicy tomato sauce. That was really nice.

It’s cloudy tonight, otherwise I might have been tempted to go out and look at the moon. Instead I’ll have an early night ready for tomorrow.

It was a Bank Holiday today of course, Bastille Day. And we all know why the French stormed the Bastille on the 14th July. That ws because with it being a Bank Holiday all of the shops were closed and they had nothing else to do.

Sunday 6th March 2022 – REGULAR READERS OF …

… this rubbish will recall that over the last God-knows-how-many months, they have been repairing the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022It’s been a while since I’ve been round that way to see how they have been doing and so I reckoned that I’d go that way this afternoon for a closer look

The big hole that was there in the wall has now been filled and it’s been quite an effort to do it. Mid you, I can’t say that I’m impressed with the lintel made of old stone blocks that they have fitted. It’s not really in keeping with the rest of the wall.

And there’s still plenty to do just there as well. There are plenty of gaps where either stone or mortar has fallen out as you can see and it all needs to be replaced. That will take them quite some time to do it properly.

parvis notre dame de cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022What is interesting in this photo of the Parvis Notre Dame is what ISN’T there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last two and a half years there has been a small American car with American number-plates parked just there.

But it’s not there now. The ground’s all flat. It looks as if the Council has lost patience and has towed it away.

It was an interesting curiosity though. There must have been a good story behind the car being parked there and I would have loved to have known what it was.

Talking of good stories … “well, one of us is” – ed … there were plenty of good stories on the dictaphone from last night, as I found out when I listened to them this afternoon.

When I awoke the first time in the morning I was having some kind of wrestling match with that Jacqueline “cuddly doll” thing that I have on my friends list whatever, you know what I mean. And if you really do know what I mean, please tell me for I don’t have a faintest idea.

And then there was something about a Siamese cat but I can’t remember what that was.

There was also something about being in Shavington. There was the parish newspaper advertising things. The latest thing was about two new businesses in Wistaston and two in Shavington wo we decided that we’d go to Wistaston to see them. When we reached Wistaston there was something going on about a poacher on someone’s land. This led to the owner of the petrol station literally dragging in a boy about 9 or 10 and accusing him of poaching. Of course the young lad denied it but the garage proprietor took a sawn-off shotgun and stuck the barrels under his chin and told him to confess or else he’d regret it. This led to a struggle just as a girl of a similar age was walking in. She got both barrels in the face and of course she was dead. The garage proprietor was trying to argue that the shotgun was nothing to do with him and that the others had brought it. This was extremely distressing.

There was a King of England in medieval times who had 2 daughters. One was a healthy, normal child and the other one was weak and sickly. They had tried several things to build up this weak, sickly child into a normal one but nothing had worked. In the end they marginalised her at court. she was somehow involved in a torture chamber. She wasn’t the one being tortured but was kept there. They had to think of things to do with her that could bring about her death without actually bringing it about. Suddenly she had this idea that maybe she ought to eat butter. Of course she pretended that she didn’t like it and that it was going to kill her so they brought it to her but it actually built up her strength. The other daughter and one of her friends were playing around and the other had somehow come to join them in the garden and was playing around too, running around and looking quite healthy etc. When the Queen came out she knighted or whatever the girl and her friend and seeing the other girl who had been sick she knighted her as well because she was so pleased to see her running around. When she became 14 they found her a husband in France and packed her off over there. everyone knew including the girl herself that because of her illness, her body was riddled with illness she wouldn’t live very long but she put a brave face on it and went to live away from her family for the rest of her life, which would be very short.

There was a King and Queen. The King reminded me very much of my niece’s husband. They had had a huge, blazing row and the Queen was leaving. My Opel Senator was in the garage and she insisted that we leave on that. The King had wandered off somewhere so I had to put the car back together again. I could only find one of the spark plugs and I knew that not only did I have another handful of new ones there was a load of old ones in the boot. I emptied the boot out to try to find these missing spark plugs but I couldn’t find them anywhere. Someone wondered whether the king had taken them away to stop his wife leaving. I carried on searching in all kinds of nooks and crannies. Just then an old merceded van pulled up. It was someone from down the road and he asked what was going on. I explained that I wanted to have this car runnign but I’d lost a load of parts. he was someone who actually worked for the RAC or AA on call-out. He said that he was bound to have all of the bits so he would call back after he’d finished this breakdown he was on and come and do the job for us. That seemed like the best alternative but in the meantime I carried on searching. Someone said something about the King had filed away the threads on a couple of plug holes so you had to put the plugs in anti-clockwise. Another car pulled up. i was a couple of people who lived in the neighbourhood who asked if we had a problem so I explained. I forgot to say that the guy had looked in the car at the luggage and said “you’re going a long way, aren’t you?”. Anyway these people in the other car stopped and were chatting away, all of them, and someone called me over so I went to see. She asked “do we have such-and-such a track?”. I replied “no” so she said “you ought to listen to it because it’s all about cars”.

I was also with Nerina last night, and Roxanne who was our daughter. We’d gone to Montréal but it wasn’t any particular Montréal that I knew. We were wandering around and were due to come home so we’d hired a car to go for a drive around and to collect all of our luggage etc. We’d stopped off at this little street café to have breakfast and we went inside. The woman was very friendly and kept on plying us with different foods to try. In the end she gave us a huge bag of Québecaois hot-cross buns. She asked Roxanne a few questions and she replied in Flemish which confused the woman so I told Roxanne that the woman doesn’t speak Flemish but French. The woman was surprised at all of the languages we were speaking. While I was finishing my breakfast Nerina had to go to buy something to do with putting air in the tyres. She asked the lady and again there was some confusion about the language so Nerina turned to me and asked me to translate. She was speaking Welsh so I translated into English and Nerina was able to have some directions about where to go while I finished my coffee and hot cross buns. We’d planned our final meal. Nerina was wondering where we’d go to eat so I suggested that little Indian restaurant at the Côtes des Neige … “he means “Côte Vertu” – ed …, that tiny place. She said “that would be a wonderful idea”. I’d told her that it was a tiny place and how good it was and I’d been there before in Montréal.

Finally I was at home and wanted to go out for some lunch so my brother asked why not go round to his place for some satsumas but not tell anyone. Round I went but he was serving a customer so he introduced me. I picked up a few things and went outside. I had BILL BADGERr, my old A60 van there so I got into him and started to drive home. At one point I had to turn round but the road was very busy so I had to go down into a side street, turn round at the bottom and come back up. I was reflecting about although Bill Badger was driving slowly which he always did it was a very good reliable van and how I ought to think about using it more as a regular runabout seeing as I’d owned it for over 30 years (actually, if I’d still had it today I would have owned it for 45 years and the only reason that I sold it when I did was that a rear spring broke and they were no longer available). I was talking about it must be kept MoT’d and insured otherwise the police would repossess it etc.

It was 11:10 when I awoke this morning and once I’d finished with my medication I attacked the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow, pairing it off. And some of the joins are excellent. My technique seems to be improving.

After lunch I transcribed the dictaphone notes and as you can tell, it took quite a while for me to do that. And several voyages last night were extremely realistic and very hard to distinguish from a real life adventure, not that I have too many of them these days.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

As I intimated earlier, just for a change I went for a walk around the medieval city walls to see what was going on. That’s why the view of the beach at the Rue du Nord is from a different perspective today.

Despite the high wind, it was a really nice day so it was no surprise that there were crowds of people wandering around there on the sand. Not quite sunbathing, but not far off.

And that reminds me that several years ago when I was living in the Auvergne it was actually snowing quite heavily on this day.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A little earlier we also saw some of the repair work being undertaken on the medieval city walls.

Dodging the crowds that were coming up and down the steps between the Rue du Nord and the beach I went half-way down to the little garden place to have a closer look at what was happening.

The covering to the scaffolding means that we can’t actually see what they have been up to but one thing is sure and that is that they have plenty of work still to do before they have finished.

Back up the steps, I carried on along the path underneath the walls

people on plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I reached the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset I took a photo of all of the people down there.

It’s relatively sheltered from the wind down there and in the sunlight it must have been quite an agreeable walk.

It would be nice for me one of these days to go down there for a walk, but the way that I am these days I would struggle to come back. Especially today. I was having a rather bad time this afternoon.

In the upper left of the photo is what looks like a gate with a stone wall around it. It is actually the entrance to the garden of the Museum Christian Dior and there is a set of steps that lead up to there from the Plat Gousset.

roadworks rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing was the lorry with its trailer parked up a few days ago at the Porte st Jean.

I had a good wander around the old town but I couldn’t find out where the crew might have been working. However, the electricity installations that we have seen them doing in the Rue Cambernon are STILL going on – and on – and on.

And I suppose that one day when they have finally finished the work, someone else will come along and dig them up again.

Walking around the walls back towards home, I passed the spot where the American car used to be parked, and I couldn’t find the energy to climb up over the top of the walls to the viewpoint there.

Instead I staggered home for a coffee and then edited a few photos of my trip to the High Arctic in 2019.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After lunch I took out a lump of dough from the freezer and left it to defrost.

Later on I kneaded it and rolled it out and then put it on the pizza tray to proof. And then later on when it had risen I assembled it and bunged it into the oven.

When it was cooked I sat down and ate it and it was one of the most delicious that I have made. Slightly overcooked, otherwise it would have been perfect.

So now I’m off to bed. I have a 06:00 alarm tomorrow seeing as I have a radio programme to prepare so I need to be on form. I have the physiotherapist too, the nurse coming to inject me with the Aranesp to kickstart me for my trip to Leuven, and I also must ring up to book an X-ray on my knee. I can’t leave that too long.

It’s going to be a long day.

Tuesday 25th January 2022 – DAY EIGHT …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This isn’t Barry’s season, is it?

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

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

Sunday 31st October 2021 – JUST LOOK AT …

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… this gorgeous loaf of bread that I have made! I think that I’ve finally after all this time mastered the technique of having the correct shape.

And I hope that it tastes as good as it looks. Why shouldn’t it? The pizza that I made was one of the best that I have ever made so the bread ought to be the same. I can’t wait until tomorrow to try it.

But let’s turn our attention to today instead. And for once in my life in recent times, I actually had a really decent night’s sleep. I fell into bed at about 00:30.

Apart from one or two brief moments I slept all the way through to 10:40 too – or 11:40, because we changed the time today. I hope that you did too. Put the clock back one hour if you live in the real world.

But if you live in the United Kingdom under the Tories, set your clock back 200 years to workhouses and foundlings’ homes, kids working up chimneys and underneath weaving looms, abandoned kids living on the streets and desperate women prostituting themselves in order to be able to earn some money to buy food.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had promised to eschew politics on my pages, but sometimes it’s just not possible.

Having taken my medication it took me a while to sort myself out as usual. I was living with Nerina last night and we had our house. I’d actually parked a car on the lawn to do something while she was out and then put the car back. She came back and thought that she’d detected the trace of a car. I assured her that there wasn’t and I hadn’t done. The next-door neighbour came round and was talking to Nerina. She went totally berserk afterwards because of the car that the neighbour had mentioned. I had a huge row with the neighbour and Nerina had a huge row with me. The neighbour had a door from my garage that went into her house which she didn’t normally use but she decided that she was going to start to use it so I decided that I would fit a bolt on the door to stop her. This led to Nerina packing her bags. I had a heart-to-heart talk with her. I don’t know whether the situation cooled down. She went through to the kitchen to talk to this woman while I started to make this bolt to assemble to put on the door anyway but everything was hanging in the air.

Later on I was in Canada with my niece and her husband and talking about library books, taking them back. There was a box with some old library books in it that were for sale as no longer used. One was a Haynes manual for Cortinas MkI and MkII made in Canada. of course I was extremely interested in this and went to take it. All I needed now was a car to go with it. He started to tell me about a couple of old cars that he knew of round near where he lived but it was a question of whether they had any Cortinas and whether I could prise any away from their owners.

Having done that I paired off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll get a good start on it as I’m not going anywhere until later in the afternoon.

Once that was finished I uploaded last night’s photos to the computer and checked them through. Not very many – a mere 163 of them all told. That is going to be a lot of work to edit all of those, but it needs to be done, and soon too

After lunch I made a start on the journal entry from yesterday but I didn’t make much progress. After about an hour or so I had to knock off to go and make the dough for my loaf of bread. I need something for my salad to go on tomorrow lunchtime.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021having finished the dough and leaving it to proof, I wandered off outside for my afternoon walk.

Down to the end of the car park I went for a peer over the wall to see what was happening on the beach. There weren’t very many people down there this afternoon, and a couple of those seemed to be on the point of leaving it.

That was quite probably because there wasn’t all that much beach to be on right now. the tide is well up by now and those who are staying down there will need to get a move on if they want to leave with dry feet.

waves on water baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021It’s not just the tide that is going to be causing them a problem either.

Although the wind is nothing like as bad as it has been, there’s obviously something major going on somewhere out at sea because just look at the height of these waves coming in.

These will roll onto the beach and push up a lot higher than they ordinarily would in calmer weather, and many people don’t seem to take that into account when they go onto the beach with a rough sea like this.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The weather that had created these waves seemed to be so intense that I had a look out to see what was going on over at the Ile de Chausey.

You can see that something is happening there judging by the haze or mist that’s out there obscuring the view. And that white boat out there was playing “peek-a boo” with us. Sometimes you could see it, and other times it was hidden by a big wave.

On the path down to the headland there were plenty of people, and I seem somehow to have lost or misplaced my facemask and I couldn’t remember where I’d put my other one so I was without. I hope that this isn’t going to be a sign of anything.

people near cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Across the path and the car park and down to the end of the headland I was catching the full effects of whatever it was that was going on.

And it wasn’t just me who was taking advantage of it either. There were a couple of people who had just come down the steps and they were presumably waiting for someone else to join them.

If they were to sit down on the bench there, they would have a grandstand view of events. Just look at these waves, and I bet that they look even more impressive from even closer to.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021That reminded me that I ought to go to check the sea wall at the outer harbour. It was something of a damp squib last time I looked, so I was hoping for something better today.

Off along the path on top of the headland, I stopped at a suitable place to see how the waves were doing. And I didn’t have long to wait.

This isn’t the best that we have seen – far from it – but it’s still better than what we’ve been seeing just recently. And I bet that those people standing on the sea wall were enjoying every minute of it.

air sea rescue helicopter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021They say that it’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow anyone any goos, and certainly someone’s not having the best of it.

That’s the air-sea rescue helicopter that has just gone flying by overhead on its way back to base. I wonder it it’s been out on an emergency rescue.

Back here I gave the dough a second kneading and shaping and then started to prepare my pizza. As well as all of that I scrubbed, diced and blanched 2 kilos of carrots that I had bought yesterday, spoke to someone on the internet about the somg “Grasshopper” that I’ve mentioned quite often recently, and spent all of the evening chatting to a friend (I do have one) in the UK.

So now, everything is done, my notes are written and so I’m off to bed. An early start in the morning and I have a lot to do. So I need my sleep.

Tuesday 26th October 2021 – I’VE NOT HAD …

… a very good day today. I mentioned yesterday that I felt that I was feeling as if I was having something of a relapse and today I think that it caught up with me today.

Last night I was in bed fairly early and I had a very sound sleep – for a couple of hours, and then it all went wrong. Once I’d awoken, I found it very difficult to go back to sleep. That is – until about 5 minutes before the alarm went off, as you might expect.

During the night I’d been on my travels too. I’d been out for a meal with my niece, her husband and one or two of her daughters. We got to this Indian restaurant but I had to nip off and do something. There was an engine in the hallway in Vine Tree Avenue and I wanted to take it up to my bedroom to work on it but it was leaking oil everywhere so I had to wash my way behind it, clean up all of the oil and everything, stack it on newspapers and so on. Then I could go back to this meal. They already had their food and were well on their way through it so I apologised. My niece said something like “I don’t think I like you any more Eric”. It really was embarrassing because I didn’t have any meal at all in this restaurant.

Later on I had my brother with me again in a car. We were going somewhere to meet a girl. We went along Bradfield Road and there was a garage on the right-hand side and there was one further on the left over the railway bridge. I asked if the one further on the left was open. Everyone seemed to think that it was so I went there but it was closed so I had to go back to the other one. I put enough fuel in to get us down towards Middlewich and then drove off. For some reason I had to go back and get more fuel. I went back but this time that garage was open. We fought our way in through the crowds to fuel up. There was a girl there who worked in the petrol station handing out 4x£1:00 notes to everyone fuelling up. I put in some fuel and grabbed my money. My brother grabbed some money too and in fact grabbed some more of another girl. We drove out and the subject came round to this girl. I knew who she was but I had to find out where she was. I had to look on this chart and everything. Eventually I found her. She was 56C. Then I thought “I’d better go back and get more petrol”. I asked my brother “are you going to come back with me?”. he said “no”, got off and went into a shop. I turned round ready to go back and get more petrol and hopefully get more money as well.

After the medication, I couldn’t find the energy to start work and ended up sitting here vegetation for several hours while I tried to summon up something. Eventually I ended up wading through a pile of photographs, sorting out the duplicates and deleting the unwanted files.

After lunch, feeling a little (if not very much) better, I scanned all of the documents that I’d received from the cardiologist as well as the receipts that related to my visits yesterday. I don’t want to end up like I did the other day with 18 months worth of receipts, some of them missed and some of them out of time.

Once that was done I made a series of ‘phone calls to Leuven. After being passed from pillar to post, I eventually, after much binding in the marsh, ended up with the secretary of the Cardiology Unit.

She told me to write a mail with all of my details and a resumé of my case, and attach the photocopies of the report that I had received, and that took much longer than it ought to have done as well.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021All of that took me up to the time to go for my afternoon walk.

First port of call is the wall at the end of the car park where I can peer over and down onto the beach to see what was happening.

There were plenty of people wandering around on the path but for some reason or other, the beach was strangely deserted. All I could see was this guy standing on a sandbank at the water’s edge.

There was what looked like a pile of clothes or a bag or something on the rocks nearby, but I couldn’t tell if they belonged to him. I couldn’t see anyone swimming in the water.

trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Looking out to sea, I couldn’t see any boats of any description with my naked eye but there was a glint of sunlight on glass somewhere out there.

Consequently I took a speculative photograph with the idea of enlarging it and enhancing it when I returned home so that I could see if there was anything exciting happening out there.

In fact, it turns out that there were half a dozen fishing boats in that sector of the bay. With so many boats having been refused (for the moment) the right to fish in the Jersey sector of the Bay, they are exploring other avenues.

fishing boats ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Such as just offshore at the Ile de Chausey.

In all of the time that we have been living here, we’ve never seen fishing boats operating that close to the islands.

The issue about fishing permits is that the Jersey authorities are insisting on proof that the boats have previously fished in the bay, but many of the smaller boats are not equipped with radar or AIS equipment and so don’t have print-outs to show where they have been fishing.

Incidentally, this dispute has nothing to do with Brexit. The Channel islands, despite being a British territory, were never part of the European Union and fishing in the bay was regulated by Normandy, Brittany and the Channel Islands under the Treaty of the Bay of Granville 1834.

The Channel Islands have simply leapt on board the Brexit bandwagon to use it as an excuse to unilaterally revoke the Treaty and keep the fishing grounds to themselves.

But as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed …. the Channel Islanders can catch as much fish as they like but it all counts for nothing if they are prevented by the French fishermen from landing their catch at a French fish market.

Since this situation has escalated, I’ve not seen a single Channel Island trawler permitted to unload here.

35ma aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was admiring the maritime activity, an aeroplane came flying by overhead.

It’s another one of these light aeroplanes with a registration number that is out of the run of the normal series.

We’ve seen this one on several occasions in the past. She’s registered as 35MA but apart from that, I’ve never been able to find out any more about her.

Now that all of that is out of the way, I could head off down the path towards the lighthouse.

sunset on water baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021another thing that I mentioned yesterday was that now that the sun is lower in the sky, we’ll be having some interesting effects out in the bay.

And sure enough, this afternoon we have another really good one. It’s not quite up to the TORA TORA TORA standard as far as the rays from the sunshine through gaps in the clouds go, but the reflection of the sun on the water is really impressive.

What was sad about this was that there was no-one else watching it. No-one was sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban this afternoon enjoying the view, and no fishermen out on the rocks either.

chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Walking along the path on top of the cliffs, I came to the viewpoint overlooking the tidal harbour.

Over by the ferry terminal we have one of the Joly France ferries, the newer one if I’m not mistaken. Behind her is Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the islands. She was parked at the loading bay under the crane when we last saw her.

The chantier naval was strangely deserted today. Since Yann Frederic went back into the water, no-one has come into take her place. It’s quite rare these days to see the yard looking so empty.

workmen's compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further along on my walk I could have a good look down into the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

The work must still be proceeding in the Rue Cambernon because the workmen’s compound down there hasn’t yet been dismantled and there seems to be plenty of activity with all of the signage, piles of sand and gravel and all of the machinery.

Back at the apartment I found that the postman had left me some presents so I brought them up here and made myself a coffee.

Having drunk the coffee I made a start on sorting out the paperwork for filing but regrettably I fell asleep. I thought that I’d gone through all of that but Sunday and today have been a big disappointment in that respect.

Tea was taco rolls with the remainder of yesterday’s stuffing lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans and then I came here to type up my notes.

Right now I’m absolutely exhausted and I’ve no idea why. It’s like the bad old days of a couple of months ago that I thought that I’d put behind me. I’m going to go to bed in the hope that I’ll sleep it off and have a better day tomorrow.

Wednesday 21st July 2021 – YOU CAN TELL …

zodiac speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… just what kind of day it4s been today? just by looking at a few photos that i took.

While I was out at the Pointe du Roc this afternoon there was the infernal racket once more as a rather large zodiac went roaring past, fully-loaded with passengers.

At least they were all wearing lifejackets, so it seemed, and that’s good news because it’s not every boat that sets out with its passengers properly equipped.

And as to where they are going or where they have come from, I’ve no idea. But wherever is their destination, they are cracking on as if they have le feux dans les fesses as they say around here, and are scorching past that speedboat, which is nothing like as speedy as the zodiac.

trawler l'alize 3 galapagos yacht rebelle chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, while we are on the subject, it seemed that I arrived at the chantier naval at just about the right time this afternoon.

What with everything going on out at sea, it’s no surprise to see that one of the trawlers that was in there also has itchy feet.

You’ll notice that while there is still the yacht Rebelle, we only have two trawlers, L’Alize 3 and the new one whose name I have yet to discover, up there on blocks.

So where has Galapagos, the other trawler that was up on blocks, gone? Have a look very carefully at the portable boat lift. Can you see it in the cradle being lowered into the water in the harbour?

This morning I couldn’t see anything at all. Never mind STARRY-EYED AND LAUGHING I was bleary-eyed and coughing as I crawled from my stinking pit as the alarm went off at 08:00.

After the pile of meds that I’m obliged to take these days, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been on my travels during the night. We were out last night again with the family, some of us, and I was with a girl and I can’t remember who she was again. She went off for a little stroll round where we were standing and fell in with someone who was quite a famous singer. He gave her a great big kiss so she was talking to him and sitting on a seat, though my wife didn’t mind. When they were sitting on these seats there was an odd number and someone was being left out. In the end they came back to my place, a caravan or something, and went over to where my niece, her husband and a few others were standing, grabbed hold of my niece and took her over there instead (… I fell asleep here …) anyway these guys and other people came over after us after we had gone back and I wasn’t quite sure why but they ended up picking up my niece she and the person who was her daughter and one or two other people and these two famous stars all set off and wandered off.

Another thing as well was that I was with my and my mother somewhere in a big apartment but it was a cluttered place and you couldn’t get much furniture against the walls and I was going to be moving here so I had to work out which of my stuff I was going to throw away. But I was asleep standing up against the window and you don’t really want to know the rest because you are probably eating your tea right now. And it’s been a while since one of my nocturnal rambles has finished in a mass of blood and gore and stuff like that, although with my family involved, it’s more than likely.

Later on I had a ticket for the Cup Final and Liverpool were playing a lesser team. It was quite an ordinary stadium, not Wembley. I walked towards the stadium and then turned back and sat down at a seat. Terry said “aren’t you going in?” “In a minute” I replied and then I headed off in. I wanted to squeeze my way into the stands behind the goal but it was empty – just 2 or 3 people. I went to take a place right at the top but the fascia board of the stand roof obscured the view so I had to come a few rows down. Some one asked “are Liverpool the ones in red?”. I replied “quite likely” – then I drew the guy’s attention to the fact that the other team weren’t wearing a proper kit but all kinds of multicoloured buttoned shirts, all different.

It’s not really surprising, is it, that sometimes I awaken more tired than I was when I went off to sleep.

So having printed out … gulp … 29 pages of notes for today’s class, I made my hot chocolate and grabbed some fruit bread and attacked the lesson.

We whacked our way through the whole pile of stuff by the time we finished, bleary-eyed yet again. We are going at a frantic pace and it’s no surprise that one of our number seems to have fallen by the wayside.

One of our number comes from Nantwich, he daughter went to my Grammar School and she knows everywhere that I know. She’s a big rock fan too so I sent her a link to my radio shows (shameless self-publicist that I am) and a copy of the “Strife” concert that I featured as my live concert at the end of February.

There really wasn’t much time for anything else – it was walkies time, rather later than usual of course this week.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo matter how late I am, I always have to go for a look over the wall at the end of the car park down onto the beach below to see what’s happening there.

So off I toddled across the car park to look down on the beach and today, there was even less beach to look at than there was yesterday.

Plenty of people as well, some stretched out in the sun, others drying off and the rest splashing around in the sea like a bunch of demented dolphins.

A few kids today too – not many but certainly more than yesterday. And that beats me why there aren’t any more of them in weather like this in midsummer during a school holiday.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, as is my custom, while one pf my eyes was roving around the beach, the other one was roving out to sea to see what was going on there.

And we have another yacht today. I say “another” because I’m pretty certain that it isn’t the same one that we saw yesterday. It’s smaller for a start, and there seems to be only one man visible aboard her.

And although it looks as if she’s stationary, she is in fact moving slowly and she followed me all the way arund the headland.

And that reminds me of the man who went into the newsagency and asked the woman behind the counter if she kept stationery.
“Only until the last 10 seconds” she replied “and then I go berserk”.

Or as my doctor friend once told me about a young girl whom he was examining – “are you sexually active?” he asked her discreetly when her mother was out of earshot.
“No” she replied. “I just like there”.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw this boat out here in the Baie de Granville yesterday.

Today, there is no doubt as to her identity. If you look very closely, you’ll see that she has her “old” registration number painted in black at the top of one of the sails as you will see if you look closely.

“G90” – so there is no doubt at all that she is in fact La Granvillaise as I thought yesterday. And she’s out again presumably doing a carbon-copy of yesterday’s trip around and about

And as you might expect, there’s another perishing speedboat roaring past her as she leisurely cruises around out at sea.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, while everyone seems to be out in the sea playing around, some other people are still having to work.

As I looked farther out to sea I could see something moving around out there and sure enough, it was indeed a local trawler setting out for the fishing grounds.

By the time that I’d spotted it, it was already way out to sea, sailing past the outlers to the north-east of the Ile de Chausey and going at quite a rate of knots.

From my spec, I cleared off across the car park to the end of the Pointe du Roc to see what was happening there.

And with nothing going on there of any more importance than we have already seen either, I headed off down the path.

charles marie entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut hang on a minute! I hadn’t gone very far before I had to stop to take another photograph.

Into the port comes a boat whom we haven’t seen for quite a while. I wasn’t quick enough to photograph it before it began to disappear from my view, but I reckon that even without seeing her name, she’s Charles Marie – another one of the boats that plies for hire in the harbour.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen her. She must have a full summer season booked up and is keeping herself really busy even despite Covid.

And I’m glad that someone is for it’s rather grim for some of the others, such as the Jersey ferry boats Granville and Victor Hugo.

coelacanthe leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I watechd Charles Marie disappear out of my sight, something else came the other way. Instead of entering the harbour she was leaving it.

It’s only when Tiberiade and Coelacanthe are side by side that I can tell them apart. But cleverly enlarging the photo when I returned to the apartment later, I could see that the trawler that we have here is Coelacanthe.

She’s heading out for the fishing grounds too, I reckon, and is also in quite a hurry for she’s not hanging around. And also in this image – and the previous one too – is the yellow and white fishing boat who was in the chantier navale for a while and whose name I have forgotten yet again.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on around the path, we’re back in playtime again.

It looks as if it’s full sail ahead for the yachting schools today. There seem to be a couple of different ones and you can tell them apart by the colours of the sails of their boats.

They are all out there in the bay this afternoon making the most of things and I’m quite jealous. Had I not had this little problem a couple of months ago, who knows? I might even have been out there with them I’m determined to have a go at sailing one of these days and pick up another certificate to add to my collection.

goods on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom here I can see down into the inner harbour and the loading bay where the little freighters load up.

It’s no surprise to see that Thora who we saw yesterday has gone out of harbour. The turnround of these boats is so quick these days.

Yet there’s another pile of stuff on the quayside. Either it’s stuff that Thora brought in with her or else one of the Jersey freighters will be coming back soon and it’s a load for her.

But one thing that is annoying me is that we haven’t seen a gravel boat here for ages. There’s a special kind of gravel found near Avranches and there’s a big ready-mix concrete and roadstone plant near Sittingbourne.

We used to have big 2,500 tonne bulk carriers in here every few months taking gravel to Sittingbourne but with Brexit and the collapse of the British construction industry, we haven’t seen one in ages.

trawler galapagos leaving chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s something that we saw earlier this afternoon.

The trawler Galapagos was leaving the chantier naval earlier and was being lowered down into the water by the portable boat lift.

Now, she’s back in the water and giving her engines a little trial before presumably heading off into the wild blue yonder.

So what’s all this about “no fresh fish being sold until” …. whenever it was … then? She’s back in the water a long time before she’s due to start selling her produce, so has this overhaul been quicker than expected, or ar the crew all now going to be going off on holiday?

As for me, I’m going off back home because it’s late and I have things to do. And by the time that I had finished I’d missed my bass guitar practice. The acoustic practice I’d done at lunchtime.

Tea tonight was pasta and burger followed by more of my delicious apple turnover.

And now I’m off to bed. All fighting fit and ready for my Welsh lesson tomorrow. I don’t think.

Monday 26th April 2021 – AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT …

… I’ve not had a very good day today. It seems to be the case whenever I come back from Leuven after my treatment. It always takes its toll of me.

And despite the early-ish night last night I didn’t have a very good sleep, and in particular for one very good reason that many men my age will understand, and I had hoped that I had passed through that stage a couple of years ago.

There are tons of stuff on the dictaphone too but that will have to wait until later because I forgot about transcribing it today. For a start, I was far too busy radioing this morning after I awoke. I wanted to finish that off while I was still conscious.

And sure enough, having done some of it while I was in Leuven I was able to have it all done and dusted, up and running by 11:30. And while I was listening to it, I extracted some more Louis de Funès soundbites from one of the many soundtracks that I have. My little Funès library is building up quite nicely.

There had been a pause for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruitbread, and I can say without exaggeration that it’s the best sourdough fruitbread that I’ve ever made. It’s still a little too heavy but not as heavy as it has been in the past.

There’s another live concert to send off to the radio station for broadcasting at the coming weekend so after lunch I had a listen to that too to make sure that it was correct. And while that was at it, I edited a few more photos from August 2019. I’ve now arrived in Edgerton, Wyoming, the centre of the Wyoming oil industry.

And such is the enthralling life that I lead, I took some of the rubbish out to the waste bins. Does it get more exciting than this?

As usual, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

bouchots harvesting donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call was the wall at the end of the car park, to put my head over the top and look at what was going on down on the beach.

It wasn’t so much the people in the immediate vicinity that caught my eye, but the work that was going on out in the distance by Donville les Bains where the harvesting of the bouchots is in full swing.

The tides right now are among the lowest (and the highest) of the year and so all of the beds are accessible to the tractors and other machinery that they use down there. I can’t recall seeing so many of the beds all uncovered at once, so now is the time to harvest them.

The advantage of bouchots over the more traditional types of mussels is that with being grown on strings instead of in the sand, they don’t taste gritty.

Chasing my cap across the car park, I set off on the path along the cliffs. The wind was quite wicked this afternoon and while my cap found it easy enough to move about, it was rather more difficult to me.

biodiversity pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s been an interesting sign erected on the lawn by the lighthouse, as I noticed this afternoon.

Basically, it’s telling us that in the interests of biodiversity and a greener planet, they are going to be delaying the mowing of the lawn here to give the grass, flowers and wildlife a chance to establish itself.

And that’s something that I would take far more seriously had I not seen the council workmen cutting the grass and doing some pruning around here a day or two before I went off to Leuven.

That was something that gave me food for thought as I carried on my way around the headland this afternoon.

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that I progressed very much further because my attention was drawn to something moving out at sea on its way back from the Ile de Chausey.

At first, I was wondering whether it might be Joly France performing a ferry run back from the Ile De Chausey or whether it was Chausiais performing a freight lift from the island. But on second thought I ruled that out because with the tide being so far out right now, they would not be able to get into the harbour when they arrived.

But as it happens, it’s neither of them. It’s actually one of the smaller fishing boats on her way back. Her colour scheme is similar to that of Cherie d’Amour, the yellow fishing boat that was up on blocks in the chantier navale the other day.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlthough she won’t be going into the harbour, she might be going to join her friends in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

As regular readers of this rubbish might recall, there has been nothing going on in the bay for quite a while but suddenly a couple of weeks ago the fishing boats began to put in a appearance over there. I wasn’t sure that they would still be there right now but there are still a few of them dredging and trawling away out there this afternoon.

Unfortunately, with the sun shining right into the camera lens and all of the haze that’s out there I’m not able to see exactly who it is out there fishing today.

fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s not just on the water this afternoon that the fishing is going on.

There are piles of fishermen there with rod and line, each one perched on his own rock like a little garden gnome, casting his line into the water. And, as you might expect, I didn’t see a one of them actually catch anything. I’ve long-since given up all hope of doing that.

For a few minutes I waited, on the off-chance that someone would pull something out, but in the end I lost interest and moved on along the path.

But while we are on the subject of garden gnomes, the Flemish for “garden gnome” is tuinkabouter, which has to be one of the best words in any language.

diggers working on entrance to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s something interesting going on out at the harbour entrance.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I commented on the new chains that had been laid in the inner harbour, and I said something along the lines that they don’t seem to have had all that much for their time and money.

And as usual, I’m proved immediately wrong because the work is continuing out there now that we are at the very lowest of tides. They are digging out the silt at the harbour entrance with the aim of presumably deepening the entrance.

Does that mean a return to the port of some of the larger freighters who used to come here in the past? We haven’t seen a gravel boat in here for quite a while and we could do with a few more of those, as well as a couple of other large freighters coming into port.

anakena trawlers chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut something that seems to be doing good business right now is the chantier navale.

A thriving ship repairer is always good news for the port because it encourages more ships and boats to operate out of the harbour if they know that they can be maintained and overhauled in the immediate vicinity.

We still have Anakena here, and Aztec Lady is still up on blocks too, but out of shot. But we have also acquired two more small fishing boats this morning, presumably in for an overhaul and maintenance. I can’t see their names unfortunately so I might have to go for a good walk down there one of these days for a closer look to see who they are.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut never mind who’s in there today. What’s much more interesting is who isn’t in there.

As we can see, the inner harbour is quite empty today, particularly down there at the bottom left-hand corner. It looks as if Marité has gone walkabout this afternoon. Gone! And never called me mother! I wonder where she went because I didn’t notice her out at sea just now.

On that note I came back to the apartment and made myself a mug of hot coffee, and armed with that I made a start at long last on updating the blog notes of my journey down the Brittany coast last summer. Unfortunately, I fell asleep while I was doing it.

That wasn’t a good start, was it?

The hour on the guitars wasn’t as good as it might have been. I think that I must be rusty after my week away. But it’s no good if I lose my technique after just a few days.

Tea was some veggie balls that I’d brought back from Leuven, with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce, followed by some of the apple crumble. And wasn’t that delicious too? I really enjoyed that.

Anyway, what was on the dictaphone?

I was in Canada last night and my niece and her husband were getting ready to go out for a meal or something. She was in a gorgeous pink dress and he was dressed up in his bow tie thing. She was driving so I said “why don’t I drive you there and come back, and then come back and pick you up later on at night”? They didn’t seem to be to keen on the idea so I asked them why. They replied that they didn’t want me to have an accident late at night, that kind of thing. He had some photocopies from work. It turned out that he had photocopied the local newspaper from that area with all the classified ads. I started to look through it. He said that the motorbike’s number begins with 505 that you want. So how did they know that I was looking for a motorbike? But someone came up with a number and I looked at it and there was a place up in the hills that has plenty of motorbikes to look at. Just then a big lorry pulled up outside. My niece’s husband looked and said “it’s the cappuccino lorry. He’s left it a bit late hasn’t he”?

Later on I can’t remember now who I was with but we were around the UK somewhere and we were discussing pronunciation, about how people in Eastern Derbyshire should be pronouncing things with a Yorkshire accent. Someone came out with a few examples. We were listening to the radio and a couple of cars went past us, like a 1935 Rolls Royce and a slightly more modern vehicle. They went past at about 80mph and we were astonished because vehicles that age aren’t meant to go that fast on modern roads. For a start the braking distances are rubbish on old vehicles. As we were talking about that a kind of go-cart pulled up. It had no wheels on it, just driving on the brake hubs. It pulled up and a guy got off it, unclipped the engine and walked into the room, warehouse or garage where we were. I tried to take a photo of it but when I went to photograph it someone stood in front of me took one. The person concerned aske me “are you going to finish taking your photos”? I replied “I haven’t taken one yet because of you”. I was talking to this guy. It was a 50cc friction drive engine, he did tell me the name – was it Jawa? He just unclipped it and carried it in, and told everyone that he was thinking of fitting it to his son’s Montesa motorbike that he had just bought because it had a kind of Montesa fitting. I asked if this was a vehicle that he could drive on the road with no tax, no driving licence or anything. He said that he had an American driving licence so rules were different for him. He explained that most people don’t think very much about Wetherby – the council at Wetherby but he always found them pretty good. I explained to him the problems that I was having about having a driving licence and insurance for Strider.

Now having written up my notes, I’m off for an early night. And if you are still here reading this on your own, I’ll leave you with SOME OF THE WORST CENTRAL DEFENDING that you’ll ever see in top-flight football.

Wednesday 10th March 2021 – IT’S BEEN ANOTHER …

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… nautical afternoon this afternoon with plenty of activity out at sea.

Not so much activity in here though because I’ve had a really difficult day today. I’ve spent most of it in a semi-somnambulant phase which is quite a surprise seeing as I was once more up and about just after the first alarm.

After the medication I had a listen to see if I’ve been anywhere during the night. I can’t remember very much about it but I was in Canada. my niece’s husband was definitely around and so were a few other people but I can’t remember who they were and I can’t remember what it was that we were doing. But later on I was in London and it was Christmas Eve or New Years Eve. I’d been with a family having some kind of informal celebration but the father had to go off and do something so that seemed like the time for me to leave as well. I got myself ready to go. I was asking about the shops in the neighbourhood because I needed to do some shopping on my way home. These people were going away the next day and I remember talking to the boy of the family and telling him to keep out of mischief. He said something like he’s not going to have too much chance now as they were travelling early the next morning. But I can’t really remember all that much about this at all

storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile you admire the storm and the waves crashing down on the sea wall yet again today, I spent a few hours on the back-up drive clearing out more duplications

And by the time that I lost interest (because I do if I do anything too long) another 30-odd GB of space. I’m at 965GB and not too far off my target of 1TB, and I’ll get there in the end.

Rosemary rang me up as well during the course of the morning. She’s in the middle of having a kitchen fitted and needed some advice. This was one of our shorter conversations – it only went on for half an hour or so, not one of our usual couple-of-hours conversation.

That wasn’t the only phone call that I had either. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago I sent off all of the paperwork for my new post-Brexit identity card. Today the prefecture phoned me up to ask me to go round on 18th of March at 11:00 with my passport and a couple of identity photos.

It looks as if things are moving rapidly in this direction whereas in some départements, some people who applied in October have still heard nothing.. But I’m glad that I changed my driving licence when I did because there’s all kinds of backlogs there.

After lunch I did another pile of photos and we are now pulling into the harbour at Nuuk in Greenland ready for our walk around the city and meeting all of these Nuukie types that inhabit the place.

As well as that, I’ve been working on the arrears of my Central Europe trip. There’s now ANOTHER DAY GONE ON LINE and I’ve started working on the following day.

That’s not going to be quite so easy as there are 29 photos to deal with for that day.

We had a break of course to go out for my afternoon walk and talking of photos, I remembered to take the correct camera, the NIKON D500 with me, and it was fully charged too.

beach plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s hardly a surprise that there was no-one around today. There had been a message on the internet about the storms and we were in the grip of one right now.

The tide was right in too so there wasn’t all that much beach to go at either.

There was quite a bit of hazy mist too despite the wind so the sky wasn’t all that clear as you can see. There’s quite a bit of fog hanging around down there beyond that strange former hotel where I saw that awful apartment when I first came here. I can’t believe that they had let that building get into such a state.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the shelter of the College Malraux the wind wasn’t as bad as it was once I stepped out into the open air.

As the tide was quite far in there were plenty of the larger trawlers about heading in towards port. They were making quite heavy weather of the journey back too with the wind against them, as you can see in this photo.

You’ll also notice something else in this photo too, down at the bottom of the frame.

One of the phenomena that we encounter on a regular basis is the layering of the water, with these different bands of brown, silty water. There was another good one out there today which was rather surprising in view of the rough seas and I’d still love to know the explanation for this.

thora storm waves high winds port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no-one around on the lawn or on the car park so I wandered around to the viewpoint overlooking the port, just in time to see Thoraslip her moorings.

What was more interesting from my point of view was watching the waves breaking onto the harbour walls. Unfortunately the wind was blowing the waves obliquely on to the walls rather than full ahead so we weren’t having the full effect that we sometimes have.

While I was here, I had a good look down into the chantier navale to see what was happening down there. And the answer was “nothing special”. There were still the same four boats in there as there had been since last Thursday.

le loup thora trawler storm high winds Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now Thora was well out of port and into the bay. As she passed Le Loup she also passed one of the trawlers coming into port.

You can see how the storm is affecting her sailing this afternoon. And this is while she’s in the shelter of the bay as well. Can you imagine how she’s going to behave in the weather that she will experience when she’s right out at sea. It’s going to be a rough ride back home to Jersey.

And talking of going back home, by now I was ready for my hot coffee and cake so I headed for home and the warmth. And to finish off the work that I’d been doing.

Guitar practice was strange. I was so absorbed in what I was doing with the bass that I overran by miles my hour’s worth of practice. That was rather strange. I ended up playing a long bass solo to “Cocaine” by JJ Cale and “Down On The Corner” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Tea was a burger on a bap with baked potatoes and vegetables, followed by my delicious apple pie.

Now, rather later than usual yet again, I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow of course and I want to make more progress with my work. And for that I need to be on form. I’m fed up of spending all of my life being half-asleep.

Monday 1st March 2021 – DYDD GWYL DEWI HAPUS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was also the dictaphone to deal with.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 22nd January 2021 – JUST TO PROVE …

… that Ireland doesn’t have a monopoly on this sort of thing, I thought that you might be interested in a telephone conversation that I had this morning

“Hello Mr Hall. This is the hospital at Leuven”
“Hello”
“You have your appointment with us on Wednesday afternoon”
“That’s correct”
“Well there has been an important change. Before you come to the hospital on Wednesday you need to have a Covid test on Monday or Tuesday”
“No problem. Where can I go for that?”
“Well I don’t know. I don’t know how the system works in France”.
“But I’ll be in Belgium from Monday afternoon”
“Then you need to be tested in Belgium”
“Where can I go for a test in Belgium?”
“Wait a moment”
lengthy pause
“You can have an appointment here on Tuesday afternoon at 14:30”
“At the hospital?”
“Yes”
“So if I can have an appointment at the hospital on Tuesday afternoon, why can’t I have one on Wednesday prior to my appointment?”
“Because you can’t come to the hospital without having had a test”
“But the test is at the hospital?”
“Yes”
“So I can come to the hospital without a test in order to have the test?”
“Yes”
“So why can’t I do that on Wednesday?”
“Because you can’t come to the hospital without having a test”.

And I promise you – I am not making this up.

Mind you it’s a good thing that the hospital did ring me because that was what awoke me. I’d slept through all of the alarms and it was now 09:45. So that was another morning wasted and I’m becoming quite fed up of this. It serves me right for not going to bed until late.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone.

There had been some kind of issue with the Ranger in Canada. I was working on it but I was making no progress at all and no-one seemed to be giving me very much of a hand. I was pretty much resigned to being without the Ranger for quite some time. I’d been given a rail warrant to go off on the train to fetch some parts but I was in no way ready to do that so I didn’t use the warrant. One of the daughters of my niece came back with a big fire extinguisher thing. Apparently it used to be full of old tar but she had gone and bought some paint for my Ranger. She said that her dad was unhappy about it being put in that container but she’d done it all the same. I was in pyjamas – I’d been in pyjamas all week and it was time for me to go home so I said to my niece “I’ll let you have these pyjamas back”. She replied “no, no, keep wearing them”. I said “I’ll let you have them back on Sunday when I return home” so that was fine. Then her husband turned up. “That railway warrant that you didn’t use – you’ll have to see your sister’s husband about that. It came from him”. I replied “I’ll sort it all out. It’s not a problem”. I noticed in his work bag – he had a huge work bag/holdall kind of thing that there was all kinds of food in it and there was food in other places. I thought that this place was becoming untidy now. I wouldn’t leave food lying around like that, not even me. Things need to be tidied up around here because it’s really in a mess. I asked about the paint – what paint they had bought. He said that it was a dark green but it should have been red. I replied “no, it should have been yellow like Caliburn if it was going to be anything”. He said that he had to go somewhere to see someone about the Sky cards so I asked “may I come with you for the drive?”. So we agreed on that. he took the Sky cards out of the machine to read the passwords and off we set. At a certain point someone came haring down the driveway towards the road in an old green and white Consul Mk II. For some unknown reason I had it in my mind that it was a Cortina. They came down there and just got to the end and stopped so I had a smile. He asked what was the matter. I replied “nothing really. I was just having a smile at that car”.

As well as the phone call from the hospital, I made several other ‘phone calls today, all of which were to do with my potential Covid vaccination.

Having been given a prescription by the doctor and also at the same time a letter of introduction listing my illness and other health issues, I rang up the Covid centre at St-Lô. I explained that with being a foreigner with a private health insurance I’m not registered with the Sécurité Sociale and as it’s they who are dealing with the Covid injections, I’m afraid that I’ll slip through the cracks and be missed.

She replied, after presumably consulting a few colleagues, that if I have a prescription and a doctor’s letter I would be added to the list but at the moment there aren’t too many vaccines here in the département. We aren’t a high-risk area.

The next batch of vaccines is due to arrive on 8th February so if I ring back then, they will add me onto the list.

While I was speaking to them I also had the idea that maybe it might just be a good idea to be registered with the Sécurité Sociale here even if I’m not liable to be covered by anything that they can offer me.

Having made a few false calls (because it’s not clear to whom you need to contact) I eventually managed to speak to someone who seemed to know what he was talking about. And the net result of this that if I send them a pile of information INCLUDING proof of my own private health insurance, they will register me into the system.

So that’s some good news anyway, although I’m not expecting it to be a speedy solution. The straightforward appointment at St-Lô seems to be the best. But I’m not going to the shops tomorrow seeing as I’m off on my travels on Monday, so I’ll deal with this form them and there.

Apart from that, the rest of the day, such as it was, has been spent dealing with the siege of the Chateau de Chalus and the death of Richard the Lionheart. And I’m not making very much progress.

Although there was no pause for breakfast, there was still a pause for lunch and more of my nice bread.

bernie sanders mittens rubble from gas pipe laying Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd there was the pause of course for the afternoon walk around the cliffs.

First stop was just outside the door to see how they were getting on with the relaying of the gas pipes in the Rue St Michel. But I don’t have to worry about that any more these days as there is an eminently qualified inspector on the job as you can see if you enlarge the photo.

So leaving him to carry on with his good work, I cleared off down the path which was now starting to dry out somewhat.

storm at sea english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut it’s not going to remain like that for long, I reckon.

As you can see out there in the distance over the sea there’s a storm cloud and a pile of heavy rainfall and the wind is blowing it in our direction. It won’t be long before we have that lot dropping on our heads.

So not wishing to hang about any and wait for it, I headed off across the lawn and the car park to see what was going on across the bay. And today, there was nothing to see. A few clouds but the sun was quite bright and we weren’t having any special effects on the water.

rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe huge puddle in the path on the southern side of the headland had receded somewhat so it wasn’t as awkward as it was to pass by there yesterday. And as there was nothing going on at the chantier navale I turned my attention to the port.

There hadn’t been any fishing boats out at sea this afternoon as far as I could see, so I imagined that they were all in harbour. There were certainly plenty of them in there. It seems that they haven’t resolved this dispute with the Channel Islands yet.

Nothing else of note so I turned my attention to the mug of hot coffee that was waiting for me back at home.

The hour on the guitar passed quickly enough and after all of this time I’ve suddenly found myself able to play the bass again with 2 fingers like I used to back in the early and mid-70s. Having struggled along playing with just one finger (I never ever used a plectrum on the bass) since I started to play again a couple of years ago, it came back just like that.

I need to work on the timing because my synchronisation seems to be out on one or two tracks, but I’m sure that it will come. But I can’t sing and play with two fingers – well, not yet anyway. I’m working on that.

Tea was taco rolls with the rest of the stuffing, and then a ‘phone call from Rosemary to finish off the evening.

Now that my notes are written up, I’m off to bed. Last night was a disaster and I need to do much better than this, especially as as I have a 04:30 alarm call on Monday morning.

What a way to start the week, hey?

Friday 15th January 2021 – LET’S NOT TALK …

… about this morning. It wasn’t 05:45 when I left my stinking pit – and neither was it 06:45, or 07:45, or 08:45, and while I might have been awake at 09:45, it wasn’t then that I left my bed either.

So that was the whole morning ruined.

It’s my own fault though. It was already a late night when I was planning on going to bed, but just as I was about to retire, onto the playlist came LA GAZZA LADRA, and if I ever have to make a list of the 10 best live rock albums of all time, this one would be well in there.

And so I need not continue.

Much to my surprise I’d been off on my travels during the night – or rather, the morning. We had a French exchange student staying with us – it was actually one of my little nieces – who was very uncomfortable as she had a different approach to life than some of the other kids so she didn’t socialise easily but she fitted in well where I was living with my friends from on the Wirral as the mum and dad. I don’t know what i was doing there but anyway it was now time for me to leave. The father, who has now turned into my niece’s husband was working on the car that would take me back into town to pick up my bus and he had to get the car out and give me time to be washed and ready but the time went so quickly that the mother had to call me. As I was going downstairs she said “do you want to go back upstairs? There’s some suntan oil in my bathroom cupboard. I replied “there’s no need for any of that”. She explained to our exchange student, who really WAS our exchange student from Summer 2019 by now, that in between living in the Wirral and where we were living today she’d lived in the USA for a while. Then we started to get the car ready for me and I thought “well, I’m being rushed a bit here and they are running me out of the house a bit”. This was making me a bit wary about what was happening and I don’t know why.

And at some point in all of this, Castor appeared in this dream – playing cards or doing a jigsaw with someone in a room upstairs, something that filled me with dismay and has more of a significance than any casual reader might realise.

So another exciting night and having had a shortage of pleasant nocturnal companions for quite some considerable time, I end up with a plethora thereof, all at once. I wish that my real life was this exciting.

What was exciting was that I actually managed to finish the magnum opus that is my account of the history of Chateau Gaillard. Well, it’s not finished – it’s merely the rough first draft and although it’s on line it’s going to be edited quite considerably before I publish it.

tractor trailer fish processing plant trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was of course the afternoon walk around the headland. And in the beautiful weather too because although it was cold, the wind had dropped and we actually had a bright sunshine.

What surprised me about that was that many of the fishing boats were tied up in port this afternoon. Having seen the weather through which many of them had struggled over the past few days, I would have expected them to have made the most of the good weather today and been out there in droves.

But there must be someone out at sea because the tractor and trailer that hauls the shellfish around the local area is parked on the ramp, implying that they are waiting for someone to arrive.

chausiais joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no change in the chantier navale either – the same four boats.

And over at the ferry terminal, there was nothing happening either. Chausiais and one of the Joly France boats that provide the ferry service over to the Ile de Chausey are still there, moored up and aground with the low tide.

But no Channel Islands ferries. They are moored in the inner harbour where they have been since services were suspended with the virus. And it’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing them up and running, because I’ve heard a story that unless the Channel Islanders dip their hands in their pockets to subsidise the service, something that they have so far failed to do, then the ferry service won’t be restarting.

Back here I had a hot coffee and, fighting off the waves of sleep that were somehow overwhelming me despite the long lie-in that I had had, I finished off the Chateau Gaillard and then had a very depressing hour on the guitars. I wasn’t there with it at all.

crescent moon rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was then the evening run of course after I’d finished the guitars.

Here’s a view that we’ve seen on several occasions, but not quite like this. This is the Rue du Nord looking back towards the Place d’Armes in the background over to the right. But tonight we had a beautiful sliver of crescent moon to light up our path a little.

From there I disappeared down through the gate and along the path underneath the walls, part running and part walking. There was no storm tonight whipping up the waves down at the Plat Gousset so I pushed on … “pushed off, he means” – ed.

replacing gas main rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me at a run across the Square Maurice Marland on the way home.

having seen everything that was going on with the machinery yesterday I reckoned that I would go and investigate the Rue St Michel to see how they were doing. And they haven’t been hanging around either. They’ve dug quite a trench already so they won’t be long in doing this.

Unfortunately the alleyway was closed off at the other end so in order to make it to the walls I had to turn round and go the long way around.

la grande ancre fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was all quiet at the fish processing plant this evening. But I was lucky enough to catch La Grande Ancre (for it is indeed she) moving away as if she has just unloaded her catch.

Once she’d moved away I moved away and ran for home and for tea.

Tonight I took a frozen aubergine and kidney bean whatsit from the freezer and ate that with pasta and frozen vegetables, followed by more of my jam pie. That was a really good invention, that was. I’m pleased with how that turned out.

Although it’s not early, it’s earlier than it has been just recently so I’m off to bed. I really must try to do better than I have because this is all beginning (well, not beginning – well-advanced, actually) to bring me down and the last thing that I need to do is to bog myself down in a depression with all of this going on.

Look for the positives! And who knows? I might even find one one day.

Monday 15th June 2020 – I WAS HARD …

… at it all day today for a change) and by the time I knocked off at 18:15 I’d completed a whole radio project.

It was one of my live concerts which regular readers of this rubbish might think are usually easier than the usual ones – and usually they are. But not this one. Not at all.

Someone had very kindly send me a pile of music (which reminds me – if you are in a group and want your music featured on my shows, get in touch!) for a live concert, which was very nice of them and I never decry the effort, but it was all unusable.

It was a case of scouring the internet to see what I could find, re-manipulating and remixing the rest and then editing it and merging it all together. It’s ended up a bit of a dog’s breakfast, but there wasn’t all that much I could about it.

So in the end I wrote the intro, dictated it, uploaded it to the computer, edited it, and then merged it into the other part, and then had to edit everything to make it fit the on-hour time slot.

And if you think that’s a lot of work, it’s not all that I had to do either. And it didn’t help much that I missed the third alarm as well. Only by a few minutes but missed it all the same.

After the meds I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I had been during the night. I was actually working with someone for whom I don’t really care all that much in real life. We had a tyre depot or we had taken one over. It wasn’t particularly very busy but we were just doing odd jobs and things just to tide us over while we established ourselves. We’d taken it over from some other people, one of their depots and we noticed that we were getting into Novermber but we hadn’t had any calls to change tyres for winter or anything like that and I would have expected that to have been happening round about now. So I was wondering whether they were keeping all of the good jobs back from us and doing them themselves. I was talking to another friend on line and he was asking about how things were. I explained that I hadn’t had time to devote anything to any project that I particularly wanted to do because earning a living was the priority and as no-one wanted to employ me I’ve been having to create a business for myself and I was telling him about this tyre depot.

There were a few things that needed doing and then for the rest of the morning I dealt with my Welsh homework. And I found that I had forgotten most of what I had learnt last week so I had to revise it again.

There was the break for lunch of course, and also the brak for my afternoon walk.

speedboat zodiac buoy english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was trying its best to rain when I went out there this afternoon, so i didn’t like to hang around too much.

But regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen piles of weird buoys and maritime markers bobbing up and down in the water around the coast. There’s another one here just now, with a couple of boats – a zodiac and a speedboat loitering around it.

It’s difficult to see what they are doing – whether they are fishing with rod and line or whether they are doing something with the buoy.

fisherman cap lihou pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallNo prizes what this guy is doing here.

With not very much (and even fewer people) around on the lawn I wandered off around the headland to see if there was anything happening there. Again, not an awful lot except this guy fishing from the rocks.

It’s quite a scramble to reach that particular point and I bet that it’s even more difficult scrambling back up the hill, especially with a full catch.

rainstorm baie de mont st michel brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I’m not convinced about his choice of attire either, and I have a feeling that he’ll be regretting it before much longer.

Just look over there at the Brittany coast. That’s a couple of wicked rainstorms and they are heading right this way. I’m not too bothered because I’ll be home in five minutes. It’ll take him at least that to put away his gear and scramble up the rocks.

There are plenty of boats out there too and they’ll know all about it when the rainstorm hits them in mid-ocean or whatever

rainstorm baie de mont st michel pointe de carolles granville manche normandy france eric hallThat’s not the best of it either.

My walk took me further around the headland to the south side and this was the sight that greeted me there. A huge rain cloud has blown in from the bay and enveloped the Pointe de Carolles in its wet and clammy grasp.

It’s slowly heading up the coast and as I watched it advance, it slowly spread its shround all over Jullouville.

“This isn’t the time to be hanging about” I reckoned, and headed back for my apartment

workers van place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the weekend we saw the “no parking” notices on the part of the car park that is on the public part of the Place d’Armes.

Being intrigued to see what was happening there I went round for a good look. It’s not easy to see what they will be doing but we have a builder’s mobile office parked here now.

Not only that, there’s a generator just parked there waiting for just anyone to come along, pick it up and drive away. Imagine that in the UK!

On my way back I saw Gribouille sitting on his windowsill so I went to give him a stroke, only to find Nicole there struggling with her drawers, with her hand still in a plaster.

Gallant me, I went to give her a hand. I glued them back together for her and slid them back into the unit.

Back outside it was now teeming down. The rain had caught me up so I came inside quickly.

After my hour on the guitars I ended up with a stuffed pepper for tea. And the amount of fresh food that I’ve had to throw away due to not eating is appalling. I hate throwing food away.

pile of rubble place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on I went for my evening walk and run around the headland.

First stop though was to see what was going on where the builders’ office was. And we seem to have acquired a pile of tarmac and sand from somewhere. They must be digging up somewhere, but I’ve no idea where.

Having examined that, I ran off up the road – a little bit (just a little bit) easier than it was been. And having recovered my breath I ran on down to the clifftop.

couple enjoying sunshine pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallMy itinerant was there again. I reckon that he’s here for the duration.

He wasn’t the only one here either – although he might well have been seeing as how quiet the whole area was. There was just one other couple here – a young couple sitting in the sun quietly watching it sink down into the sea

It’s a really nice way to spend a summer evening.

And talking about nice ways to spend summer evenings, I’ve had an e-mail completely out of the blue from someone who played a large part in my life 45 years ago and who I’ve seen on a few occasions since, but not for about 10 years.

So what’s happening here?

fishing boats english channel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallNo prizes for guessing what’s happening here.

A couple of fishing boats out there, almost stationary. So I imagine that they have their fishing equipment out and are dredging up the sea bed for the shellfish. I’m determined to get out there one day and see how they do it.

Despite it being overcast, there was another excellent view all the way down the Brittany coast towards Cap Fréhel. Not as good as the last time but still impressive enough.

chateau de la crete atlantic wall baie se mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAs I walked across the lawn by the Resistance memorial, the sun suddenly came dramatically out of the clouds and lit up the Chateau de la Crête.

Ordinarily I would wait until I’m down on the other side of the headland where there’s an unrestricted view, but the weather is being rather capricious just now and you can’t rely on there still being the same effect in five minutes time.

But at least you get to see one of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall. They don’t feature very often in my photos for one reason or another.

picnickers plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallNothing else of any importance happened at all. My run all the way in its several stages) down to the viewpoint at the rue du Nord was pretty uneventful.

There on the beach though I could see that a group of picnickers weas just installing itself down among the rocks. I didn’t think that it was warm enough for that, but they clearly do.

But when you ae young you are pretty much immune to that kind of thing. Yes, since I had that e-mail earlier, I’ve gone all nostalgic and broody.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallInstead of musing on the past, I straightened myself up and admired the sunset.

It’s another one of these wonderful mid-evening lights again and I really like the effect that it gives.

But I couldn’t stay for long. I had a chat with a couple of people admiring the apartment that’s for sale, especially when the woman stood on one of the bollards in the street to have a better view and it sank into the ground under her weight.

Tomorrow I have my Welsh class so I need to revise and prepare for it.

That means an early night, in the hope that I can be out of bed early.

Some hope, hey?

Sunday 9th February 2020 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

waves storm ciara baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hall … the effects of Storm Ciara as the waves come crashing down onto the harbour wall here this afternoon, a good couple of hours before High Tide too, let me tell you a little about my day today.

With it being a Sunday of course, there was no alarm call. And I wasn’t in any great rush to go to bed last night either (not that it was late by any recent standard) but I was still hoping to have a pretty decent sleep.

But, unfortunately, it wasn’t really meant to be, was it?

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOne glance at the dictaphone was enough to tell me that.

There were files on there that had been dictated at 04:25; 04:48 and 05:27 and all of that points to a very disturbed sleep. And while I finally awoke at about 09:30, it was still another 20 minutes before I could haul myself out of bed.

After the medication I attacked the digital file-splitting project. And I was right when I thought to myself that this seems to bear no relation to what I knew of the album, because it isn’t the album that it’s supposed to be.

Heaven alone knows what it is because it features three tracks that I don’t recognise at all and I wouldn’t even bet that it was the singer who it was supposed to be either.

And even worse, I can’t find any mention of the lyrics anywhere on the internet, which is even more strange.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter breakfast I set about looking at the notes on the dictaphone. And I wish that I hadn’t because they are all somewhat confusing to say the least.

To begin with, I’d received a huge packet of envelopes through the post and one of them -I can’t remember what it was about – but it was really complicated stuff giving me all kinds of information that I didn’t really need and inviting me to do things and be things, so on. The next day I got another letter from a different source saying “be a travel agent” this was and it was a quote for a life assurance, like £36,000 and a bit of insurance for this and a bit of insurance for that and how I would have to make payment for this. Of course I had no intention of making any payment for life assurance as my life is on its way out so I was sitting there trying to work out a way how I could decline this offer and not take it up because it seemed for some unknown reason to be pretty binding and I don’t know why. It had something to do with a voyage I was making with Liz and Terry and we had to go to a club in somewhere like Wrenbury. We left Crewe – we were in Nantwich Road and for some reason I took them down Wistaston Road and out past the park and down the Middlewich Road into Nantwich. They were wondering why I’d gone that way and I said that there’s far less traffic this way and they didn’t understand because it was longer. I said “trust me” and they replied that they had trusted me the last time about this and you’ve brought us this way again. I said “yes but we got there and we got there fine didn’t we?” so I didn’t see a problem. We were going to a party or something and it was in a pub. I asked “is there something like a separate room or a quiet room or something ebcause I don’t really feel like mixing wiht a lot of people and making a lot of noise” They said “yes, you’ll enjoy it and it’s one of the reasons why we go there because there are other things to be doing as well”

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallA little later, there was a concert or something due to take place about the blues or somewhere like that and I know that I had to go there and I was trying to think of a way out of it. There was something about us being on board ship as well and there was a girl here with a very long plaited pigtail-ponytail thing and that’s all I remember about this.

Later still, I’d received an invitation to go and take part in some research on this animal scientific centre out near Wrenbury (… why Wrenbury all of a sudden? …). I wasn’t very sure about this. Everyone was saying what a really good opportunity this is because it’s one of the market leaders in this kind of field. But being vegan I was pretty much opposed to it yet everyone was saying what a great opportunity this might be for me.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd finally, we were on a bus, me George and someone else, it might have been Darren dunno. We were heading towards the French coast and – a tram, not a bus – and the tram was rattly and crowded and people were gradually getting off as we got lighter. I was having a chat to this George character about nothing in particular. At one moment we came round a bend and there was a beautiful view of the port and the ships in it at Ouistreham, all of this. I went to get my camera but by the time that I got myself organised the vuew had gone. Just the canals and the barges on them like Chausiais. I didn’t get a photo of those. As we came round a corner where there was an abandoned railway station with hoardings outside all covered in fly-posting. I thought “Ahhh I know where I am now”. We got off the tram and whoever was the third person came up behind us on a bicycle. They were having a conversation and they asked “what did I think?”. I hadn’t heard the conversation so I said “I don’t know – I haven’t heard it” so they started talking again about Valentines Cards. How many Valentine’s cards do you buy? I replied “as many as you need”. They replied “you just buy one don’t you, for people you like?” I said “and what about the people you love?” They replied that you don’t need a Valentine’s card for them because they know it already. I replied “you should never take people for granted, especially women” but they disagreed with me. In the meantime I was trying to do something with the lends of my camera. I’d put some glue on it to hold something on but it had come off and I was trying to get all of this pink glue off my camera where I had this lens attached

waves storm ciara port de granville harbourmanche normandy france eric hallAs you can see, that took up the greater part of the morning and a little chat with Liz on the internet took care of the rest.

Luckily I had made myself a pot of coffee so I was able to keep on topping myself up throughout the morning as I was going on.

And I needed it too because despite the lengthy sleep, I was creaking away and ready to drop off at the drop of a hat.

trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSomewhat later than I was expecting or hoping, I went for my walk into town for my bread.

And never mind “walk”. It was more like “crawl” in this wicked wind that was blowing. Nevertheless I made it down to the chantier navale to see what was going on.

And there’s another boat in there now, next to the mobile sling. One of the trawler-type of fishing boats that operate from out of the port here. So things are looking up.

trawler fishing boat waves port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut to give you some idea of how strong the wind was, there wasn’t a single boat out that I could see. They were all moored up in port.

And look at the waves that are chopping around them too. They ave to be at least one foot-waves, and you have to remember that the tide is out and the harbour gates are too.

So those waves are building up in just the wind and in a run of a couple of hundred metres.

Imagine what it must be like out in the open sea.

trench port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that they have been digging a trench on the quayside for the past week or two.

Despite the fact that it’s a Sunday and there would be no-one around, I went for a look to see what was going on. And that was a waste of time because I couldn’t see much. Whatever they have been doing is finished and the trench is now filled in.

Still, if there’s someone around during the week I can also ask him

chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOne thing on which I have been musing is the situation re Chausiais.

As far as I could tell, there didn’t seem the capacity to take a lot of stuff aboard so I was intrigued to see how she was arranged. I had vowed next time that I was passing to take a closer look.

And I can now see what the score is and how she is arranged. If you look closely you’ll see that the roof is divided into sections and they slide back one underneath the other to make a big open space for goods.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire a few more storm photos, I picked up my bread from La Mie Caline, came back here and had my lunch. The last of the smoked cheese so I fetched some home-made hummus out of the freezer.

Having eaten, I went back into my office to finish off the notes for the radio project on which I’m working. And unfortunately I couldn’t keep going for long.

In fact I crashed out a couple of times and that really annoyed me because I seem to be getting worse and worse from that point of view

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMind you, a couple of coffees brought me round and I did manage to remain awake long enough to finish them.

There seems to be quite a few too, more than the usual so I hope that they will edit down to a more manageable size. These days I seem to be letting myself be carried away by my verbosity and that’s not good.

Still, I suppose that it’s better than not saying enough. At least it gives my listeners a little break to go to the bathroom.

surfer crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallDespite the winds, I headed off for my walk – around the city walls this afternoon.

And surprisingly, there were a lot of people out there this afternoon despite the weather. A few people down on the beach, including one rather intrepid soul carrying his surfboard.

With there being lots of people about, I didn’t manage to fit in any runs either which was disappointing. I’ll never improve at this rate.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith the urge to push on and do 100% every day as often as possible, I extended my walk out along the headlands.

There were crowds of people standing on the cliffs watching the waves from Storm Ciara smashing their way into the harbour wall so I went and joined them.

And with the trusty NIKON D500 I could take plenty of photos to record the occasion, because it was definitely one of those days

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAll in all, I stayed out there admiring the waves and then came back to my apartment.

First thing that I did was to dictate the notes onto the new ZOOM H1 and then copy them over to the computer for editing.

Ten minutes to the second, there are, but that lot needs quite some editing. And by the time that I’d knocked off for tea, I’d reviewed about 60% and got it down to 07:20, which is good going.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallEven if it were to stay as it was, a final track of about 3:00 would fit in nicely, but I can reduce the amount of discussion by another minute or so at least.

On that note I knocked off for tea. I prepared a rice pudding and put it in the oven while I made the pizza, and then took the rice pudding out when I put the pizza in.

Ohhh! For two shelves in my oven. I really must look into this and see what I can do about inventing something to work as a second shelf.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe pizza was really delicious and so was the rice pudding. And then I braved the elements for the evening walk around the headland.

And brave it was too because the wind was thoroughly wicked. It was a struggle to open the front door, never mind to go outside in it. And once I did make it outside, every step was a struggle.

There were times when I was in a mind to turn back but I pressed on regardless to see what I could do in the weather. It wasn’t easy.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the south side of the headland it was relatively sheltered so I went for my run.

And that was what I called “agony”. Only pride kept me going, I reckon, and I had to sit on the wall for five minutes afterwards to catch my breath as I couldn’t move.

So now I’m back here, finishing off my notes and regardless of the fact that there are still things that need doing, I’m going to bed.

I really am on my last legs and it’s a long walk tomorrow. You can admire the rest of the photos while I curl up in bed.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall

Friday 11th October 2019 – REMEMBER YESTERDAY …

… when I wrote about the evil (because there is no other word to describe it) humour in which I found myself?

Today I was rather hoping that I might have been over it, put it all behind me and moved on. But looking back over some of the stuff that I had written in an internet debate this morning, that’s clearly not the case because much of what I wrote, even though it reflected my true feelings, can best be described as “incendiary”.

It’s no surprise either because there was that much turmoil going on in my head that even at 01:30 the thought of going to bed hadn’t even occurred to me. I spent most of the night wide-awake.

There was some sleep of some kind though, because there are one or two items on the dictaphone. And when I get round to listening to them, it should be extremely interesting to say the least.

The alarms went off at the usual time but I didn’t. 07:15 again for me and this is getting monotonous. The school run too this morning and for a change I had Hannah’s Golf diesel.

So that’s now everything around here that I have driven at one time or another, and my favourite is still Rachel’s Golf estate, although the VWs are far too low for me and difficult to get out of.

Rushed off our feet again today. The place is closed for the weekend and on Monday so everyone wanted their supplies and work done today. I ended up shunting cars around, hauling bags of feed about and going to the bank.

And I’m right about tiredness too. Despite my dreadful night I kept on going all day with only a brief pause, not like yesterday when I was stark out. I was expecting to be much more exhausted today.

Excitement up on the railway line at the back of the depot. The old station was formerly a tractor-pulling venue but it’s up for sale. It seems that the fixtures and fittings have been sold and there were people up there dismantling the grandstand in order to move it to Grand Falls.

This evening there was just Darren and me. He had an omelette and I found some leftover vegan meatloaf in the fridge, followed by apple crumble.

later, I was reviewing some postings from my Arctic voyage. A few (well, one particular) memory came flooding back to me and so I decided to listen to some music to distract me and to soothe my fevered brow. It wasn’t a particularly good choice though. I played Colosseum Live, which will forever be associated in my brain with late, dark, cold nights on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour in the High Arctic, and that is exactly what I’m trying to put out of my mind.

Yes, events in the High Arctic have scarred me somewhat and I can’t chase them out of my mind. It’s all very well listening to Joachim du Bellay and that I should be “Heureux qui comme Ulysse a fait un beau voyage”, I’m more inclined right now to the words of the Duke of Marlborough who, on his way to fight at (thinks) Malplaquet, said “God knows I go with a heavy heart, for I have no hope of doing anything considerable”. Or even John Major’s legendary “When your back’s against the wall it’s time to turn round and fight”.

On that note, I’ll go to bed, I reckon. I’ve had a hard couple of days now that demons whom I thought that I had laid have now come back to haunt me. I have to remember, I suppose, that today I really should have been in hospital having a blood transfusion – having already missed three. Bit I’m missing this one too.

Who knows what state I’ll be in when I finally return home?

Perhaps I need some more music
All of the sudden she disappears
just yesterday she was here
somebody tell me if I am sleeping
someone should be with me here
I wanna be the last thing you hear when you’re falling asleep….

Thursday 10th October 2019 – I DON’T UNDERSTAND …

… why, but I am just totally stressed out right now to an extent that I didn’t know was possible.

There has been an “incident” (which I’m not going to relate) that not only is nothing to do with me, but doesn’t even relate to me at all and doesn’t even affect me in the slightest, but for some reason it has got deep under my skin.

One thing that the doctors told me is that in order to prolong my life as much as possible I have to avoid all kinds of stresses and strains and any kind of emotional impact.

With having such a low blood count as I do, my heart is having to beat twice as fast and i have to breathe twice as fast to provide enough oxygen to my vital organs. It’s only because I have a coeur de champion that I have kept going for so long, but if I keep on going like today my days are definitely numbered.

I need to get a grip.

And that doesn’t apply just to this particular incident either. Despite an early night, and despite sleeping right through the alarms this morning, it was still 07:20 before I surfaced.

All of the rubbish needed taking down to the street for the dustmen so I took it down before breakfast.

Another leisurely morning and then I went up to the tire depot. Things weren’t quite so busy today and rather like my namesake the mathematician, I did three fifths of five eights of … errr … absolutely nothing. I ended up sleeping for most of the day and that is worrying me intently.

Well, I didn;t actually do absolutely nothing. I taught Zoe to use the new tyre comparison program that I uploaded, and even found a few new features on it too.

Another thing that I did, which ought to have made my blood boil but didn’t, much to my surprise, was to give someone a piece of my mind down the telephone.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I ordered a chip for Strider to deal with his excessive fuel consumption. It was sent back to the supplier because “insufficient address”. A week or so ago I telephoned the supplier, amended the address slightly and so they posted it again.

Only to have it returned a second time.

I telephoned the maildrop place in Mars Hill, just across the border in the USA to ask why they keep on returning it.
“But you don’t have an account with us”
“What do you mean ‘an account’? We’ve been having stuff sent to you for as long as I can remember (which is at least 18 years) and we’ve never needed an account”.
“Well, you do now since we’ve taken it over”
“So if that’s the case, why didn’t you ring up and tell all of your customers that the procedures have changed? And why did you refuse my parcel when my phone number is on the address label and you could have invited me to come over and open an account?”

No answer.

But the suppliers are very understanding and they are sending it now by post direct to Canada (which is what I should have done in the fist place), and it’ll arrive after I’ve returned home of course.

Trying to save pennies here and there is ending up costing me a fortune. It’s false economy.

And people complain about a recession and how things are tight. That guy in Mars Hill has just lost $7:00 because he’s too lazy to pick up the phone and make a phone call.

Later on I gave Darren a hand with the one-tonne Dually which he drove home while I took the post to the Post Office, and then I drove him back to the garage to pick up the three-tonner.

And if you are wondering whether that means that we finally have all of the cars and trucks (except the two twenty-tonners and the artic tractor of course) back at home (first time since I don’t know when) then Rachel’s Golf has had to go to have an exchange driveshaft exchanged once more. Nothing seems to last like it did, but even so, 18 months for a driveshaft is rather extreme).

Rachel cooked a lovely meal for tea and then I helped with the washing and drying. Now I’m sitting in my bedroom not doing all that much right now.

Except to listen to the music. It has a very calming influence on me, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and Tinsley Ellis’ “Mystery To Me” is about as good as gets. I’ve been teaching myself to play the lead guitar break (the one from 03:10) on the bass as a way of organising myself.

Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow. The only thing wrong with today though was my attitude and I need to do something about that.