Tag Archives: digger

Monday 16th May 2022 – THAT WAS ANOTHER …

… totally messed-up day today.

Not that that’s any surprise because after my totally messed-up weekend and a 06:00 start this morning, it was pretty much odds-on.

Not that I’m complaining of course, even though it might sound like it. I take my days as they come and take what’s given to me. I really wanted to do that Welsh weekend course and so I have to accept the baggage that comes with it.

No-one was more surprised than me to find me half-way out of bed when the alarm went off at 06:00. And I even managed to be up and about before the second alarm went off.

After the medication I came back in here to make a start on today’s work but rather regrettably I fell asleep almost immediately. In fact I was out like a light until almost 08:00. In fact, for all the good that I was doing I may as well have stayed in bed.

When I’d finally come round I grabbed a quick coffee and then attacked the radio programme and that took me all the way up until 12:30 this morning before it was finished. I really wasn’t doing very well

There was time for a shower and a good clean up and then I made my butties with some of that delicious bread that I’d baked yesterday.

It was a good job that I’d set the alarm for my physiotherapy session this afternoon because back in here after lunch I fell asleep. And fell asleep in spades too. It was a real struggle for me to pull myself together when the alarm went off and I was in no mood whatever to go out for my physiotherapy.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022As usual, the first place to go when I went outside was to the viewpoint on the corner onfthe Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

And for a change there was no-one parked up down by the fish processing plant. Not even L’Omerta. She’s forsaken her usual spot for a change and gone off to see what she can catch out at sea.

And have you noticed the weather? We had a torrential rainstorm for about 15 minutes yesterday afternoon and it looks as if we have had another one while I was asleep just now. The weather is all wet, grey and miserable.

Not that that’s any surprise, because so am I

diggers working in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022On thing that we see every now and again is something to do with the laying of a drain out of the port de plaisance into the open sea.

By the looks of things they are back there again today. They have a couple of diggers out there this afternoon working away. It’s not actually all that easy though to see what they are doing and the standard lens on the NIKON 1 J5 doesn’t help things any.

What I’ll have to do is to go by with the big NIKON D500 with the 70-300mm LENS tomorrow and see if that gives me a better clue.

From there I headed off down the hill towards town.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022At the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour I was lucky enough to catch sight of another hive of activity.

We’ve seen a shrink-wrapped speedboat down there for a couple of days, but today there’s a lorry delivering another one to add to the collection of stuff on the quayside to be taken over to Jersey by one of the little freighters.

My attention was also caught by the crane over there at the back of the loading bay by the old gravel bins. That looks quite new to me, unless they’ve overhauled one of the ones that was here before. If it has been overhauled they have done a good job because it’s much cleaner than it was before.

repairing electrical cables rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There have been notices all over town telling us of power cuts this afternoon.

On the corner of the Rue Paul Poirier and the Rue Couraye I caught up with them at one of their work sites. Apparently the work is due to go on into the evening.

The climb up the hill was awful. I wasn’t feeling in the least bit like it and it seems today as if I have gone backwards by about 6 months.

But when I was there she put me through my paces again. She’s certainly working me hard enough, much harder than the others did. Here’s hoping that it’s doing me some good.

After she threw me out I went to Lidl – eventually, because it was a nightmare going up the hill to the top. To think that there used to be times when I would sail up there like a galleon in the Spanish Armada.

At Lidl I spent a bit of money buying a few things and then headed for home.

digger working in rue de la houle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Myy route home from Lidl is a different way to the way that I came, so I hadn’t seen these roadworks until I left the shop.

They’ve been digging a trench with the digger and were now busy filling it in so I couldn’t see what they had been doing with the trench.

But I was more interested in watching the digger driver. Of course I can drive and operate a mini-digger – I used to own one until recently – but I couldn’t drive mine the way that this guy was driving this one.

It was something rather like a ballet and it was most impressive. I was in half a mind to give him a round of applause when he finished. I was quite jealous.

cycle path rue de la houle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Further on down the Rue de la Houle I noticed that they’ve been installing something of a cycle lane here.

They are spending a fortune on facilities for cyclists in the town and we have seen several examples thereof just recently, but I have a feeling that much of this is going to be money wasted.

The truth is that Granville is not a cyclists’ town. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s all “up-and-down” and that’s not the best terrain for cyclists. In fact there are parts of the town that are used as endurance trials during the Tour de Normandy cycle race.

That should give you some idea of what the streets are like around here.

new building rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we4ve been following the adventures of the new building on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul.

They have made a great deal of progress just recently. The roof is going on and the crane that has been there since July last year has now been taken away. It looks as if they might be finishing it some time soon if they aren’t careful.

From there I carried on down into town where I bumped into one of my neighbours and then staggered up the hill towards home, having to stop on several occasions to catch my breath and, on one occasion, to brink a can of energy drink.

That’s the kind of state in which I find myself today.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The weather had brightened up by now so I went to look down onto the beach to see what was happening.

There wasn’t a lot happening there right now though. Just one or two people. The bad weather earlier seems to have put the rest of them right off coming out today.

Back here I had a coffee and then collapsed into a chair, feeling absolutely awful. It’s a long time since I’ve felt as bad as this.

But I did manage to listen to what was on the dictaphone from last night. There was something about moving a squadron of lorries across the border in northern France. My friend from the Wirral was there at one point. I can’t remember very much about this particular dream at all. Then I was in Canada. I’d just hired a car and had an accident in it and that was before I’d picked up my temporary Canadian driving licence so they had to hurry up and issue my Canadian driving licence extremely quickly. In the meantime I had to go and wait over by the Sheriff’s office to tell them to come along and deal with it. It was in a terrible state, more untidy than mine. Some big, fat lady came over and asked me what I was doing. I explained so she went and rolled over onto a settee and lay down there and went to sleep leaving me amongst all these cameras and guns etc while they sorted out my driving permit.

Tea should have been a stuffed pepper but the pepper was no good so it ended up being a taco roll.

And now I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be at my best but that’s unlikely the way that I’m feeling right now.

Tuesday 22nd March 2022 – WHAT A DISASTER …

… that was today.

My Welsh lesson this ùorning is one that I would very much like to forget. It was the first day of a new year and the morning should have been spent on “refreshing” what we had learnt last year and that simply served to remind me of how much I had forgotten.

That’s the problem when you have a teflon brain – nothing sticks to it. And at times I feel like Homer Simpson and “every time I learn something new, it pushes something old out”.

It all actually went wrong last night when I fell into bed having forgotten to clean my teeth, forgotten the pill that I’m supposed to take and probably forgotten several other things too that I can’t remember now.

And whichever one of it was that I had forgotten meant that I didn’t go to sleep for an age.

Even worse, when the alarm went off at 07:30 I turned over and went back to sleep. I was still asleep when the second alarm went off at 08:00 and it was a good 20 minutes later when I eventually struggled to my feet.

No day can function properly when it starts like that.

After the medication I prepared for the lesson this morning. At least, I read the notes and looked up the words that I didn’t know or couldn’t remember. And there are far more of those than there ought to be.

At least the breakfast of coffee and fruit bread was delicious. I seem to have mastered that these days.

After lunch I carried on editing the photos from August 2019 and right now we’re coming into Icy Arm of Buchan Gulf, a fjord in the north of Baffin Island.

And while many of the photos that I took the previous night and that morning are plagued by bad light and moving ships, the odd one or two, such as THIS ONE have brought bck a few pleasant memories.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then, of course, I went off on my afternoon walk around the headland.

As usual I went over to the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach. And there was plenty of beach too. The tide was miles out this afternoon and there were one or two people down there enjoying the beautiful weather.

There were quite a few people walking around on the path up here too on top of the cliffs. I’ve no idea where they came from because it’s not quite holiday time yet so in theory we shouldn’t be having too many tourists right now.

trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual I was also having a look around out to sea to see what was happening there, and for once just recently, the visibility was quite good.

There were two fishing boats right out there in the bay this afternoon and that was rather puzzling. You can tell by the beach in the previous photo that it’s going to be a good couple of hours before they even start thinking about opening the harbour gates.

So what were they doing? The only thing that occurred to me was that they were fishing, but in the shipping lane between the port and the Ile de Chausey is a strange place to put out your nets.

Apart from that, I have no idea.

girl taking photograph pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was a large party of young people strolling along the path and so I followed them.

When they reached the old wrecked gun, most of them clambered aboard the barrel while one of them took a photo. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that taking a photo of people taking a photo is a regular feature of these pages.

In the background is the bunker with the flat top on which I stand to take photos of Jersey and of the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel whenever the weather permits.

And where, on one occasion, my camera came to grief one night as a gust of wind lifted it and the tripod off the top and sent it all crashing to the ground.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With nothing else much happening I wandered off across the car park behind the lighthouse and across the car park to the end of the headland.

There was nothing going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel but there were quite a few people down there at the cabanon vauban watching it. There are two people sitting on the bench, and another two sitting on a rock behind the bush lower down.

There were a few people at the pèche à pied too but they were too far out for a photograph to do any good.

Instead, I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

spirit of conrad notre dame de cap lihou le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There’s been another change in occupancy in the chantier naval today.

Spirit of Conrad and Le Roc à la Mauve III are still in there but the trawler Suzanga has now departed after her brief stay. In her place we have the port’s lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, the green and orange boat, receiving attention.

A little earlier this afternoon I had bumped into Pierre, the captain of Spirit of Conrad. He tells me that he hopes that she will be back in the water quite soon.

He’s in a hurry to start work and I can’t blame me. Things are not so easy after all of the cancellations that they had when Covid was running even more rampant than it is now.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiaise in the loading bay in the inner harbour.

Today, she’s out there, over at the ferry terminal sitting on the silt. And by the looks of things, she may well be taking some freight from there too. At the side of the crane are some of the big gravel bags full of building materials.

None of the ferries are there this afternoon though. There are only two of them in the inner harbour and so I imagine that the third one is over at the Ile de Chausey waiting for the tide to turn so it can bring the day trippers back home again.

pallet lifter baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022But while I was having a good look at Chausiaise, I noticed out of the corner of my eye something moving about in the bay, even though the tide is out.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that a good while back they laid some kind of outflow out of the port de plaisance into the bay, and you can see it here.

And what you can also see is a pallet loader out there driving around in the bay, heading back to dry land. I wonder what he’s been doing today.

But he’s certainly picked the right time of year to be doing it. We’re having one of the lowest tides of the year right now.

digger trailer lorry porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back home I had a look at what was going on at the Porte St Jean.

The trailer and the digger are there again but the lorry that usually pulls them has left the trailer behind and cleared off. There’s a pickup parked over there but he’s not coupled up to the trailer.

Back here I had a coffee and then listened to the dictaphone notes to find out where I’d been during the night. Part of it was difficult to decipher, not because of the dictaphone but because I was in a deep sleep and mumbling into it instead of talking.

I started off last night with my friends in Pittsburgh and their father. I can’t remember how it started with them and where it went to but later on there was an issue about football. The Turkish team had insisted on playing Russia so all the other football clubs had a boycott. Most of the fans were in favour but some of the players weren’t. David Beckham stood up to make a speech. He started off by saying “you know that I have always defended the weak against the strong” to which the whole crowd burst out into fits of laughter. He just turned round and walked off to a whole pile of jeers and catcalls. Gradually the crowd dispersed. I was with a couple of people who asked what I thought. I thought that the only thing on my mind was not to have a repeat of what happened in 1939 and I’d go to any lengths even if it means cancelling football to it. That was pretty much the general opinion of everyone who was there

To think that TOTGA had finally come all this way out here to see me and just as she did so all of the football matches were cancelled which upset me quite a lot but there was some girl advertising a Russian-made mixer for sale so I felt like asking her if some farmer had towed it away from a war zone and that was how she came to have it.

And if TOTGA put in an appearance last night and I can’t remember anything about it, that’s the kind of thing that fills me full of dismay as well. People like her and the others don’t appear so often in my dreams that I can afford to forget all about them.

Finally, I was giving lessons to people last night about First Class on behalf of the students’ union, making sure that they understood the principles but First Class had changed had changed since I used it 20 years ago. There was practically no-one on there any more and the threads were extremely short. The new intake of students didn’t seem to be interested in using it so it never really took off. I was going through a few of the Conferences in there and they were practically dead, nothing like it was in the old days.

While I was at it, I also booked my rail tickets for my next outing. At least, some of the tickets because I need to liaise with someone else about part of my journey. It’s not as straightforward as you might think.

What else I did was to do some more work on that three-column photo layout on which I ran aground a month or two ago. And it took me less than two minutes to see where I’d gone wrong.

What I did was when I was doing some “cut and paste” out of my photo index, I missed off a square bracket. And once I’d discovered it and put it back, it all flowed together quite nicely.

And then I did something else that has upset everything and I need to find out what it is.

That occurred round about tea-time so instead I went off to make food. Air-fried chips with vegan sausage and baked beans. And the tragedy is that I’ve used the last of the tray of baked beans that someone brought back for me from the UK. I’ll have to buy ones from the supermarket here and they don’t taste the same.

At least they aren’t as bad as Canadian baked beans. Over there they add sugar to them and they taste disgusting.

There’s one piece of good news though, and that is that if I put the vegan sausage in the air fryer with 10 minutes to go, they fry perfectly.

Tomorrow I have the nurse coming around to inject me, and the physiotherapist. Then there’s a Welsh revision on Thursday evening and a Welsh weekend course this weekend. I’ll be glad to go on my travels in order to have a little rest.

And as I write this, it is now well over 24 hours since I turned off the heating. Things are warming up, in more ways than one.

Monday 21st March 2022 – IT’S A GOOD JOB …

… that I had the alarm set to remind me about my visit to the physiotherapist. When it went off at 14:30 I was crashed out fast asleep on my chair in here.

That’s probably because I had quite a hectic morning.

Instead of the usual early night on Sunday, I wasn’t tired so I did some work on the text for the radio programme. So when I finally did go to bed and the alarm went off later at 06:00 it was rather a struggle to leave the bed.

But once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I could carry on with the radio programme. By 09:55 it was all prepared, up and running but I’m not claiming it as a record because of the time that I spent on it last night.

But while I was listening to it and to the one that I was sending off for this weekend, in a mad fit of enthusiasm I wrote all of the notes for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing next week.

Whatever has come over me, working like this?

With no coffee cake left for breakfast, I fetched the fruit bread from the freezer and that had been defrosting. It was quite delicious of course, but not really a patch on the coffee cake.

After I’d finished the notes for the next radio programme I worked on a few photos from the High Arctic in 2019. Progress is slow with them, but at least it’s progress of a sort.

The bread had finished too on Friday but there was half a loaf in the freezer so I brought that out and it had been defrosting. It was nice and fresh, the bit that I sliced for lunch.

When I finished I came back in here to carry on with my photos but that was when I crashed out. But when the alarm went off, I had a very quick shower and clean-up before setting off for the physiotherapist.

lorry trailer digger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I set out for my walk, I didn’t manage to go very far before I stopped to take a photograph.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen this lorry on several occasions, parked up on the pavement outside the Porte St Jean that leads into the walled town.

He has his trailer attached to the rear and on it is the digger. It seems that they won’t pass under the arch and even if they did, they wouldn’t be able to manoeuvre it around the narrow streets.

They probably drop off the digger and it goes into the walled town under its own steam – or diesel.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I go out for a walk in this direction I usually stop here to try out the camera to make sure that it works.

This is the viewpoint on the outer walls at the junction of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and it overlooks the outer harbour and the fish processing plant.

The tide is well out so there aren’t any fishing boats loitering around down there. But there are plenty of vans parked there waiting for the shell-fishing boats to come back in on the high tide this afternoon

There were quite a few people milling around here this afternoon and that was a surprise because it’s not on the usual tourist track.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022From there I wandered off down towards the town centre on my way to the physiotherapist.

For the last couple of days we’ve seen a big pile of freight on the quayside waiting to be picked up by one of the Jersey freighters. It’s still there this afternoon – or, at least, there’s some freight down there but whether it’s the same freight or not I really don’t know.

And still no Marité either. She’s taking her time in Cherbourg having her annual overhaul. It’s a good job that Easter is late this year otherwise she might be having problems.

cranes in operation joly france chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022But here’s some excitement down at the side of the harbour where the Joly France boats are moored.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen some strange things around here in the past but this is one of the strangest.

One of the Joly France ferries and Chausiaise, the little freighter, have their on-board cranes extended and Joly France seems to have made a fine catch – a couple of wheel rims filled with concrete.

By the looks of things, it seems that Joly France is going to pass the wheels over to Chausiaise but as for why, I have no idea.

resurfacing abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Thee wasn’t much at all happening in the town centre, but I noticed that they seemed to have made some considerable advance in what they were doing

They are in the process of tarring over the path, old rails included, and laying stone chippings on the top. This is going to make a pleasant change to how the road surface used to be.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapist was not as difficult as it has been earlier in the year and I arrived with 10 minutes to spare.

She had me on the couch for 10 minutes while she used her electro-massaging thing on my knee, and then we spent the rest of the time doing some exercises. And she’s asked me to bring my x-rays with me on Wednesday so that she can look at them.

The walk down the hill towards the town centre in the beautiful sunny weather was wonderful and if I had remembered to bring my wallet with me I might have even gone for a vegan ice cream.

Ahh well!

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As I walked back up the Rue des Juifs towards home, I noticed that events have unfolded down in the inner harbour.

Having seen Chausiaise playing about with her crane a little earlier, she’s now moored over at the loading bay so I wonder what she’s up to now and what those wheel had to do with it all.

And all of those things that we saw on the quayside yesterday and some of which we can see on the extreme right of this photo? They are the old bouchot stakes from the Ile de Chausey that are in the process of being pulled up and replaced with newer equipment.

lorry passing under porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Leaving them all to it, I carried walking up the hill towards home.

Earlier I said that the lorries that come here are unable to pass under the arch into the old town. But this one clearly managed to because it’s on its way out – or, at least, trying to.

There’s almost nothing in the way of clearance either side and you can see the guy on the extreme left who is giving instructions to the driver.

And he needs it too. I’ve no idea how long he might have been there before I arrived but he advanced and reversed three times while I was watching before he was satisfied that he could come out without damaging the archway.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And so before I went back in, I went to have my usual look down on the beach to see what was going on.

With the day being so beautiful I was expecting to see crowds of people down there on the beach this afternoon, especially as there was plenty of beach to be on with the tide being out.

And as we can see, there are quite a few people down there this afternoon taking advantage of the beach and the weather. And I do have to say that if I had been feeling up to it, I would have been down there with them.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes, especially as I could actually decipher them today.

I was on my way to Winsford last night, going down the Pyms Lane area of Crewe and out that way. As I passed through the end of the Leighton Park Estate I came across all these canvas tents strung from trees. I stopped and looked in, and there were families with young children living in there. I started to talk to these people as I was interested in finding out their names and who was living in here as I was absolutely outraged by the condition in which the people were living in the 21st Century in the UK. Listening to people’s stories about the pressure under which they were living and the little babies who were there, new-borns, etc was really distressing. It was a really terrible thing to have to see and hear etc.

And this one, I started dictating it without the dictaphone. I had to go off to Wardle, somewhere like that. One of my drivers had left a car here, a MkV Cortina so I went in that. When I came back, I said that we were disposing of all of our cars and having MkVs because this was so comfortable and so good to have been in. Then I had to go off with work and ended up in an office where someone showed me all these jobs that were kept in these binders so I ended up on the desk facing her leafing my way through all of these files

Finally, we’d been to somewhere, I dunno. There were 4 of us and at times there had been 5. The 5th was a girl whom I happened to quite like and I would have liked her to have been with us much more often than the few minutes that she was there. Later we were round at my father’s house. It was getting on towards the end of November and with Halloween coming up on the Saturday he decided he decided that he was going to go away for a few days. That meant that we would be at a loose end so I was thinking that maybe I’d go to Colwyn Bay or Abergele for a few days, find a boarding house or something. We went in and my father’s partner was serving breakfast but there was none for me. She said “I didn’t realise that you wanted any” but everyone else was eating. There were all kinds of crystal glasses of all kinds on it but everyone seemed to have taken the wrong glass, I couldn’t find one for me. I filled mine up with water but it ended up that it was someone else’s milk that I had. We then started to talk about the fun that we’d had with the water bottles this weekend, sometimes there were 4 and then 5 of us and we’d all ended up with the wrong water bottle.

Liz was on line as well and so for the first time for quite a while we had a lengthy chat which made a very nice change.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice, which was even more delicious than usual and I don’t know why that would be. And there’s enough left to make a taco roll tomorrow and having been left overnight to marinade, it will be even better.

This evening I’ve been dealing with a knotty little problem. There was something afoot that might have involved me but some railway engineering in the UK has put an end to all of that. That’s not going to happen now.

But don’t worry – I had no plans to return to the UK.

Tomorrow is the first day of my third year of Welsh. And I’m no more confident than I was 12 months ago. This teflon brain, to which nothing seems to stick, is annoying me intensely but I have to push on regardless.

Brains do tend to seize up if they aren’t used and so I have to do what I can to keep it working and I can’t really think of what else to do with it. And so I may as well push on.

A good night’s sleep will probably do me some good. It can’t do any harm.

But here’s SOMETHING INTERESTING that I was reading today. I could quite easily identify several points in this article, especially the part about “psychedelic dreams”.

And I certainly don’t panic, unless I’m in hot pursuit of TOTGA, Castor and/or Zero and there’s a chance that they will escape my evil clutches.

Saturday 9th October 2021 – I DON’T BELIEVE IT!

Yesterday I posted that I had a really good sleep all the way up to 04:41 in the morning.

Anyone care to guess what time I awoke this morning?

Yes, you’ve guessed it. 04:41. Someone round here somewhere must have an alarm clock set for an early start, unless my body clock is playing tricks with me again. It can’t be a coincidence.

Although I was once more in bed early yesterday evening, the big difference is that I had a wretched night. I spent most of the night tossing and turning in my bed it it didn’t seem as if I had slept at all.

Mind you, the dictaphone tells a completely different story because by the looks of things I travelled miles during the night.

After the medication and checking my mails, I prepared to fight the good fight with the dictaphone. And I wasn’t joking about the miles either. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

We were at school, primary school and we’d had a test. Then the teacher sat down and started, we thought, to read through it and give us the answers. No-one understood what she said about question 1 and she didn’t mention question 2 so I asked “could we have the answer to question 2?”. She replied “you’re supposed to be writing down the answers”. We said “we’ve done that. We’re waiting for the answers”. She replied “the next person who makes a noise will be beaten”. Just then one of the children had been playing with something, a traffic light or something, and the lens fell off. She grabbed hold of the child and took it into her room and prepared her cane. There was another teacher there and they were discussing this child’s anatomy about where they were going to give it the cane. This wasn’t the first time that this has happened. I remembered seeing it perhaps on some other occasion the previous day or something. Of course, all the children there were quite distressed by this.

Later on I was playing bass with a guitarist and I just couldn’t find the opening note. It was one of these heavy metal power trio things like Robin Trower. My bass playing was awful. Eventually he told me that the opening note was E which I didn’t think it was, but that was what we started to play.

There was something else about some people. There had been a raid on a camp somewhere and they had found a steel door. Behind the door was a pile of illegal immigrants or asylum seekers. They had gone through and processed them, and found that there were some valuable workers there with them. They were then going to embarrass a few other countries by pointing out what they had found in this batch of asylum seekers.

So the French were interested in these people as resistance fighters from start to finish yet the British were more discerning looking on them as sex objects, that kind of thing.

There was a family barbecue and everyone was buying everything. We were all there at 09:00 lined up outside the supermarket. I was the first one away and took my stuff to where this was being held. My brother was in charge of the camp and I noticed that he had 10 litres of petrol stored somewhere and was planning to burn down some undergrowth near where this petrol was. I went back for a second load. I had a Landrover chassis but it wasn’t really – no body on it and you sat in it rather than on it, towing a trailer. We returned and my brother was there by this time and one of Lynette’s children had stayed with me. We started to unload this stuff. he was fetching out his petrol and putting down a circle ready to burn. I said “don’t be stupid! You have all that fuel there and some gas. He asked “what do you mean? The first lot has already been burned”. I can’t remember who I looked at but I said “thank God I wasn’t here at the moment when you did that.

All these pretty girls (which pretty girls?) were a pile of water too at the port (if that makes any sense) and I wanted to send them away because much as they were very attractive and helping to keep the male/female ratio a little closer than it might be, they were distracting me from anything else going on.

There was some kind of downhill water racing course in a machine, like a series of rapids or something like that. You go down there and when you reach the lake at the bottom you have to swim underneath the water in a tunnel and come out at the other end where the finishing line it. I did it 3 times and filmed it, including the bit of me going under the water down this tunnel which of course is an astonishing thing for me and made a collage together of how the film would be. Nerina was in here somewhere and I was showing this film to her and actually going ahead and doing it for her although I can’t think why. I can’t remember where this went or what happened about it afterwards.

We were off on board the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR again and it was lunch, or evening meal and we were queueing to get it. There seemed to be two queues, one for the normal meal and another for the fish or cheese variety. I had a look at the cheese variety that turned out to be a white square of fish in cheese sauce with toast. I thought that I would try that but I couldn’t find the vegetables. I managed to grab plenty of toast but there were some people chuntering about “all these people pushing in, doing this and doing that”, whatever. Despite the fact that I had to pay 20p extra my meal was looking like a washout. I went over to where Liz was sitting and asked if this looked right to her, my meal I had to choose a place to sit and there wer e2 seats, one either side of her, that were free. The one on the right was opposite another seat of course. I could see that the seat facing Liz was the handbag of the mother of Zero. The seat next on the right had someone else’s handbag on, and the seat on the left facing the seat on the right of Liz had nothing on it. I wondered if that was where Zero was going to sit so I decided that i’d sit at that seat facing there in the hope that it would be the case.

And that’s not all of it either. There was other stuff too but I’m sure that you wouldn’t appreciate my posting it as you are probably eating your meal right now.

It took me all morning to type out all of that – right up to lunchtime. But there was a reason for that.

home made bread fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Yesterday saw me almost reach the end of the bread, so seeing as I wasn’t going to go shopping this morning, I decided to do some baking.

There were only two or three fruit buns left too, so while I was at it, I made half a dozen of those. If I make some space in the freezer somehow (don’t ask me how) I can freeze half the load and three of the fruit buns for when I return from Leuven.

And I shall too, because this batch has turned out really well. The buns look really good and believe me! The loaf is excellent!

After lunch, there was football on the internet. Connah’s Quay v TNS.

TNS are way out in front of the table but Connah’s Quay, despite winning the league for the last two years in succession, are stuck in mid-table and their manager left in midweek. Nevertheless it was a pulsating, exciting match decided by a penalty for TNS not long after the start of the second half.

Mind you, it could have been completely different had Connah’s Quay been awarded a penalty for what looked like a pretty clear handball earlier in the game.

Both sides had a player sent off for fighting later in the game and we carried on into no less than 6 minutes of injury time that came from God Knows Where because this is the first match that I have seen for ages where neither first-aid attendant was required to enter the pitch.

Connah’s Quay actually had the ball in the TNS net in the dying seconds of the game but it was ruled out for offside.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021This took me up to walkies time so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off outside.

Almost immediately I felt the icy hand of death upon my shoulder, but what had happened was that a Nazgul had gone flying by overhead. A two-seater Nazgul too.

In fact, I could have photographed any number of them this afternoon because they were out there in force. probably about half a dozen that I could see at any one time and I bet that there were more than that as well in total.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Having dealt with the issue of the Nazgul, I wandered off to the end of the car park to see what was happening on the beach.

And with the tide being out this afternoon, there was plenty of beach to be on. And there were crowds down there too – more than we have seen on the beach for quite a while.

That wasn’t really a surprise because despite it being October and there being a fair bit of wind about, the day was the warmest that we have had for a couple of weeks and once I was out of the wind I was obliged to remove my jacket.

aerial ballet hang glider powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I was watching the people on the beach, another Nazgul flew by overhead.

And around the corner from behind the College Malraux came the little red powered hang glider that had been out for a spin.

As they closed up on each other, they performed a really delightful aerial ballet – they really did. Not a danse macabre as we have seen the trawlers in the harbour do so often but a proper little dance.

powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So having performed its little pas de deux with the hang glider, the powered machine headed off.

Its route took it out to sea across the Baie de Granville and I could follow it for quite a way. But then it headed off towards the airfield to come in to land.

The little scene had been witnessed by the crowds of people who were out there this afternoon. It seems that the whole town had come out up here for a walk.

hang glider falls to earth pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I fought my way through the crowds of people I had a very unexpected sight right in front of me.

Another Nazgul had gone by overhead and as I walked along the path he came tumbling out of the air and touched down right on the very edge of the cliff. With the camera already in my hand, it was an instinctive shot into the sun, hence the overexposed image.

My intention was to go over there and buttonhole him and ask him about his association and how I can blag my way up into the air, but as quick as he came down, he leapt of the cliff and was away, long before I could catch up with him.

digger heavy machine laying pipeline baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I was walking over the path towards the car park, I could see that there was plenty of activity going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

It’s a Saturday of course today, a weekend, so no-one was more surprised than me to see the heavy tractor thing and the digger out there working on this pipeline. It’s very unusual for this kind of work to be carried out at a weekend.

Obviously the tide is playing an important role in this, and with the lowest tides of the season being round about now, they must be paying the workmen a good bonus to have the work done.

Crowds of people out there too having a dab at the pèche à pied while they have the opportunity.

SNU Service National Universel pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There were three Gendarme vehicles and a pile of gendarmes on the car park and they seemed to be dealing with this group of people, one of whom was carrying a banner.

Thinking that I might be witnessing some kind of exciting incident I sidled up to one of them. “Who are you?” I asked.
“We’re the SNU” he replied
“What’s that?”
“The Service National Universal#34;
“And what’s that all about?”
“We volunteer” he said, and at that he wandered off. Talk about informative!

Anyway, having made my own enquiries subsequently I can tell you that this is a French Government initiative aimed at kids between 15 and 17 who want to “participate in the construction of a society of Engagement built around national cohesion”.

And don’t blame me. I’m only quoting. I don’t write rubbish like that. I have my own brand of rubbish to write.

F-HFMS Robin DR 400-160 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And while I was talking to that young person, I was overflown by a light aeroplane from the airfield.

And she’s a new one. We haven’t seen her before. We’ve seen plenty like her though because she’s a Robin DR 400-160 like some of the aeroplanes at the Aero Club de Granville, but this one is owned by the Aeroclub d’Andaines, near Alençon and is registered F-HFMS.

With no flight plan filed, I can’t tell you where she was going from here at 16:20, or even how she’d arrived here, but she was picked up on radar at 19:33 somewhere in the vicinity of Vire and did a big loop towards Alençon.

She disappeared off the radar at 19:59 not too far from Alençon somewhere near her home airfield at Rives d’Andaines.

trawler pescadore yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Having spent a lot of time out there this afternoon, I headed off back down the other side of the headland overlooking the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And here in the chantier naval this afternoon we have another new arrival to accompany the yacht that came in here on Thursday morning.

She has her AIS beacon switched off so I couldn’t tell you her name at first but her serial number came up trumps. She’s Pescadore and why I didn’t recognise her was that she used to be blue and yellow before she had a new paint job.

She was in here a couple of weeks ago, so I wonder what has happened to make her come back.

l'omerta tractor trailer vehicles under fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Another one of our old favourites from the chantier naval is sitting on the silt over there at the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant.

She’s L’Omerta and was in the chantier naval for a repaint a couple fo weeks ago as well.

And it looks as if they are going to be expecting a bumper harvest of shellfish this evening when the tide brings in the boats that are out working. As well as the tractor and trailer in position, we have several vehicles on the concrete pad underneath the Fish Processing Plant waiting to take away the loads from their boats.

Back here I made a coffee and sat down for a relax. I should have gone up town this evening to watch the football but I wasn’t up to in. Instead I carried on with the updating of some of the journal entries for August to add in the details of my nocturnal voyages.

They are all now complete, so something positive came out of today.

Something else that I forgot to mention was that somewhere along the line I had a play with that desktop mixer and made it work after a fashion. But I need to do more work on it some time.

Tea tonight was a breadcrumbed vegan burger with veg and some more of those nice potatoes.

Now that my journal is finally finished, I’m off to bed, hoping that there’s no 04:41 alarm in the morning.

Today has been something of a bad day. As well as not having had much sleep, I’ve opened a letter, thrown the contents away and filed the envelope, made a mug of coffee without any coffee in it, and boiled the kettle without any water.

Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Thursday 7th October 2021 – I’M BEGINNING TO THINK …

“which makes a change” – ed … that I may have underestimated the amount of time that it’s going to take me to do this project that I’ve undertaken with the radio.

Today i’ve done almost nothing except write out a (three-page) summary (in French of course) and e-mail it to all of the other members of the team (and that was not without its problems either).

And then deal with the inevitable enquiries, of which there were more than just a few.

There’s plenty of stuff on the dictaphone too but I have yet to find the time to deal with it all.

This is going to be a long three months.

Last night was pretty long too. I was in bed at something like a respectable time but it didn’t seem to do me much good as I was tossing and turning around for much of it.

And despite a period in bed that wasn’t all that much short of 8 hours, I felt like death when I awoke and things didn’t improve for a while.

After the meds and checking my mails and messages, I sat down to write out my notes for this project. I’d already done several rough drafts and so I had to merge them all together, and format them in a way that would be acceptable to users of Microsoft Word.

The rewriting was fairly straightforward but the formatting took an age and I wasn’t convinced that it was correct. In the end, I prepared a *.pdf s well.

The co-ordinator sent me the e-mail list so after lunch I could send it out. But three addresses bounced and so I had to make further enquiries. And despite several attemps, one of them is still bouncing. I have no idea what is happening here.

After lunch I prepared to receive the volley of responses and I wasn’t disappointed. But right now, late in the evening, I’ve not received one for half an hour. I shudder to think what my mailbox will be like in the morning.

There was the break this afternoon to go for my walk, somewhat later than usual.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021First task was to go and have a look over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach.

The tide is well out now. We are not too far short of the lowest tides of this time of year, and as I was expecting, there were plenty of people down there this afternoon.

They weren’t actually going for a walk or a paddle in the sea but were mostly all scratching around in the sand and on the rocks looking for seafood that the tide has left behind. It’s that time of year again.

people on bench jardin de la haute ville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was watching the people on the beach I could hear a tappinng coming from the hole in the wall that we saw yesterday so I had a closer look.

Unfortunately I couldn’t see anyone there from my viewpoint, but instead I noticed a couple of people sitting on the bench by the steps down to the bench.

Where they are sitting is actually a small garden known as Le Jardin de la Haute Ville – the garden of the upper town. People drop off their compostable material up there and some people have created a little plot of flowers and vegetables to bring a little life to the area.

With nothing else happening out here, I headed off along the path on my walk.

cabin cruiser seagull baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I approached the headland, a small cabin cruiser came into view heading towards the port. I’ve no idea why because he’s going to have a long wait.

He was making quite a wake behind him as he approached, and when I had a good look at the photo once I returned home, it looked to me as if he was actually towing something.

That piqued my curiosity so I enlarged and enhanced it, and to my surprise what has actually happened is that I have been photobombed by a seagull. Right on cue.

And so fighting my way past another horde of kids out orienteering, a couple of whom engaged me in conversation, I carried on down the path and across the car park.

young people on bunker roof pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Whether or not these kids are supposed to be orienteering I really don’t know, but they have found a good place to skive off.

Sitting on top of the old World War II German observation post out of the way of passers-by might be one way to avaoid the crowds. It’s just as well that it wasn’t as windy as it was earlier in the week.

And in case you are wondering, there was no-one sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban this afternoon. And that was possibly because there wasn’t anything much happening out in the bay just there either.

peche à pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Round the corner though on the other side of the headland it seemed to be all happening.

The fleet of cars parked all along the seawall told me to expect crowds of people down there on the beach and on the rocks now that the tide is quite a way out.

The pêche à pied is now in full swing with half of the town out there this afternoon scratching around. No need to be selfish not sharing your shellfish with your friends, because they are all probably down there with you.

tractor digger laying pipeline baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021But in that photo I noticed something exciting down there that I couldn’t identify, so when I returned home I blew it up (I can do things like that despite modern anti-terrorism legislation) and enhanced it for a closer look.

And here’s something that I have forgotten all about. A good few months ago there was a digger and some other heavy equipment out there laying some kind of pipeline on concrete blocks.

So here they are, back again now that the tourist season is over and we’re having some low tides at the moment. I’d thought that they had finished this, but apparently not. I wonder how far out they are going to be going with it.

yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Meanwhile down in the nice, clean chantier naval we have a new occupant. So much for me saying that there doesn’t look as if anyone will be in there for a while.

There’s no name on her hull that I can see and although she looks very much like Spirit of Conrad, I don’t think that it’s her. I suppose that means another trip for me to go down and have a closer look.

But where’s the dredger? She’s disappeared from the chantier naval now. But she probably hasn’t gone far, I bet, and the fact that they are working on that pipeline right now seems to be more than just coincidence.

dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021In fact, here she is right now, in the inner harbour.

And furthermore, I can tell you her name. She’s called St-Gilles Croix-de Vie and we know all about her because she was here in port a little over two years ago doing some dredging.

Having made “certain enquiries”, I can tell you all why she’s here too. She’s come to dredge the port de plaisance where the pleasure boats tie up, on the other side of the harbour.

There’s more equipment appeared now o the quayside behind her too. I can see that this isn’t going to be a work of five minutes, whatever is going on right now down there.

building work boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Before I go back home, I went to see how things were doing down in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

Not a great deal of change today, except that we how have a couple of piles of sand and gravel down there, so they are clearly doing something, even if it doesn’t look much like it right now.

Back here at the apartment I had a coffee and carried on dealing with the issues from my mail at lunchtime. I have a lot to learn about all of this because apparently I’m not making myself clear enough.

However, having done it all in French, I’m pleased that I did as much as I did.

Eventually (the next morning, actually) I found the time to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I was with Liz walking through the streets of Crewe, down Alton Street in fact. She was talking to me about her house move and how it had passed, and how much she missed her little Citroen car. It turned out that she didn’t sell to to the guy she was going to bit it had to go back to the garage because there was an issue with the paintwork. Part of it had faded and part of it hadn’t. It was almost white on one side and the guy wouldn’t take it. So we walked and chatted and she kept on wondering where it was that we had to turn off. She didn’t realise that Alton Street was one long straight road. Eventually she said that she had to go to the bathroom so she nipped behind a hedge. I said “Liz, if you’re going to the bathroom, go to the bathroom properly”. There was a public convenience in the park just round the corner. She said something like “it’s my toilet roll, not yours” and off she went. I thought that it would be a good idea if I were to go too.

Later on we were in Greece and we’d been to a party one afternoon or something. Someone pointed out that there was a big tourist attraction nearby but it meant taking a bus. About 7 of us left this party and found a local bus that took us to the big bus station which was where the railway station used to be in the past. We had to find out which was our bus. Then we had to buy some kind of wooden bead that would be our ticket. We met the bus driver who spoke English. She told us which bus it was. She said that she’d be back in 10 minutes and when she came back we could take our place. It was a strange way of doing things. There was another bus with these Japanese girls in it, all sitting by the door on their luggage, inside the bus. We went over to where the food was. It was mostly chips but there were some boxes of things that looked like gold, called Machynlles. I was interested in this because there’s a big gold mine near Machynlleth in Wales that the Romans exploited so I was trying to find out exactly what a Machynlle was. There was a girl there and they were all wearing aprons with what languages they spoke written on it. There was one girl there with Welsh on it so I went over to speak to her. I said a few words in Welsh but she didn’t really understand. In the end I found another woman and explained to her but she couldn’t understand my pronunciation so she went to find the box. Then she couldn’t find the box so I never did get to know. But when we alighted from that bus and were walking towards the bus station there was a girl there. We ended up with my arm around her walking towards the bus station which i thought was strange

There was also something about we were in Scotland. I can’t remember who I was with but we were going to see Morton play. We had to catch a bus but I couldn’t remember which bus it was so we were waiting in Wistaston Road just round the corner from Flag Lane. I was with someone and a bus came. It wasn’t that one so we waited again. I wandered away to do something. Of course that was the moment that the bus came and the person with me stepped on board and went off. In the end I had to hitch a lift in a lorry that brought me to within 10 minutes of the stadium just in time to hear the final whistle.

Tea was a burger and pasta with veg – I wasn’t up to cooking a proper meal and there are plenty of burgers in the fridge. When I come back from Leuven I’ll have a vegan pie to bake and a vegan curry to make. I don’t have the enthusiasm right now.

That’s probably because I’m tired again. I brilliantly fought off a wave of sleep earlier but I can’t do this for ever. I need an early night and a decent sleep – but when I’m going to have one of those is anyone’s guess.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time will tell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 24th June 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… really tiring day today – so much so that I was stark out for a couple of hours round about midday and ended up having a very late lunch.

And that’s really no surprise because in what time was available I did quite a lot of work.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I struggled out of bed and went off to take my medication. And then back here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

I’d been to see a band play – it might have been Strife – and then a while later they were in a rehearsal room or village hall setting up for a kind of concert. They were going through a few things before they started, talking about stuff on the stage and said “we’re a bit overwhelmed with basses as well because Eric has his stuff here as well and someone else has his stuff” and so on. A little later on he took me on one side and said “did you learn the three numbers like I asked?” I replied “well to be quite honest no I didn’t”. He said “right” and fetched a pile of paperwork out. He said “someone worked out a way of teaching people how to follow music a bit like some kind of game. All you need to do is to watch your ‘phone and watch the paper”. He drew this kind of musical anotation thing with each string going down to the end of the page and then it doubled back going the other way rather like Chinese writing. He said “this is far the easiest way to learn and I’ll show you how it all works in a minute”. I was really intrigued by this method. Anyway sometime during this I’d been to the supermarket or the chip shop or something and while I was waiting around for this group to turn up I bumped into a girl and she gave me a really nice smile. I looked puzzled and she said “you don’t remember me but I was the girl in the shop yesterday. I made a special effort to remember everyone’s faces because I’m new here”. She was really extremely friendly about this kind of thing and that took me by surprise as well.

Having organised myself as well as I can these days I had an hour or so attacking the photos from August 2019. Right now I’m in Montana on the verge of making a fabulous discovery.

That was followed by a shower and – surprise surprise – a haircut. And having tidied myself sort-of-ish and set the washing machine of on a cycle (a very clever washing machine, mine) I hit the streets.

lorries unloading at quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that I had actually managed to proceed very far before I stopped to take a photo.

Yesterday we had seen the two Jersey freighters Normandy Trader and Thora here in the port. By the time that I went out this morning they had both cleared off back to Jersey but it looks as if they (or at least, one of them) is going to be back fairly soon.

These two lorries here are the reason for that. The only reason that they would be here in the port area is if they are bringing merchandise to the quayside for the little freighter to take away back to Jersey with them.

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFull of curiosity I went to see what was going on in the loading bay but I was distracted.

Marité, the old fishing vessel now used for training and sightseeing trips has been away from port for the last week or two but this morning she is back. She’s definitely the star attraction of the waterfront so a photo was in order.

Every time that I see her I’m tempted to find out how and when I can go off on her for a sail but I’m not a big fan of the people who run it. Every time that you go down to their office and ask a question they scowl at you as if “how dare you interrupt us?”, tell me that “everything is on our website” and then go back to chatting amongst themselves.

It’s the kind of thing that makes me wonder if they are Belgians. They certainly know all about Belgian customer service.

It was a long, hard climb up the hill to LIDL this morning. I remember a few times when I sailed up there like a Spanish galleon or if I was on my way to invade Poland but those days are over. After my operation I’ve aged 20 years and I felt every single, solitary step up that hill

At LIDL I didn’t buy anything special but even so the bill today came to almost €13:00. I did buy myself an energy drink because I reckoned that that would be the only way that I’d get up the hill at the other end of my journey.

roofers fitting laths around chimney rue de la houle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back, I hadn’t gone all that far before I came to a stop.

Here in the Rue de la Houle they have been reroofing a house and today they are fitting a series of laths around the chimney as if they are going to be tiling that too. In fact, if you look further along the roof, you can see a chimney that has already been tiled by the roofers.

It’s a strange way of going about things, tiling a chimney like that. All kinds of things can be going on to the chimney, the brickwork and the cementing underneath the tiles and you won’t be able to see it until the chimney collapses. And as I looked at this one, it certainly needed a bit of fixing before they go to seal it in.

digger building site rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing upon which we have been keeping an eye is the building site on the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

There used to be a little cafe here but that had long-since closed. They demolished it and fenced off the site a few months ago, and then a notice appeared to the effect that planning permission had been granted for a 4-storey block of flats.

Today though, I noticed that things might be starting to get under way at long last. As well as some equipment that has been deposited on the sire, there’s a digger here and it looks as if he’s just dug a big rectangular hole in the middle of the plot.

As for why, we’ll have to wait and see. I pushed off down the hill into town where I became entangled in a schoolkids’ crocodile that had obviously just set off from the youth hostel.

As I passed through the town I noticed my first “G” registered car. The turnover is about 2 years and a couple of months for a letter, but the “F” plates started in October 2018. It shows you just what effect Covid had on the new car sales market.

wood on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallUp the hill I staggered underneath my heavy load, wishing that I had a shopping trolley to take with me, and made several stops to catch my breath – one of which was the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay.

That pile of wood wasn’t there yesterday evening and it won’t have come over from Jersey because wood travels in the other direction. It made me wonder if that was what one of the lorries had brought in this morning for one of the Jersey freighters to take away.

Over the next couple of days I’ll have to be keeping my eye open on the quayside. The turn-round of the freighters in the port is so rapid these days that I miss their visits quite regularly. By seeing when the load has gone from the quayside, that will tell me when one of them has been in here.

square potel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRight behind where I’m standing is the Square Potel, which at one time had the famous unstable set of steps.

Work has been promised to start on here in 2022 but the other day we saw a digger in here and it looked as if it had just brought down the set of steps. I was wondering if that was going to herald the start of the work, a year or so ahead, but that was being rather optimistic, I reckon. The digger has gone and the site is fenced off and that looks to be it for now.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the way that the patrimony of he town is treated is a disgrace. The whole place seems to be tumbling down around our ears and the council is showing no sense of urgency.

fishing boat towing dinghy baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHeading back up the hill on my last leg(s) home I noticed something else going on.

There was a boat out there, moving quite quickly and towing a smaller boat behind it. Thinking that it might have been the patrol boat that we have seen a coupe of times just recently I took a photograph of it so that I could have a closer look when I returned home.

However when I enlarged it back at the apartment I noticed that it was simply an ordinary fishing boat heading out to sea. So why it would be towing another boat behind it I don’t know, unless it’s to go closer inshore when it arrives at wherever it’s going.

Back at the apartment I put the frozen food in the freezer, made myself some hot chocolate and cut myself a slice of fruit bread, and then came in here to carry on working.

At some point I crashed right out completely and I don’t know when, because it was another one of those occasions when I didn’t remember going off to sleep.

And this is something that worries me because if I’m going to be out driving around in Caliburn here and there, I would really like to know when I’m becoming tired and ready to sleep so that I can find a suitable place to stop and sleep it off. Just “switching off” like this is the kind of thing from which accidents are made.

Round about 14:00 I awoke again and it took me a good 10 or 15 minutes to orientate my head into the right direction. And when I finally managed to stand on my own two feet I was somewhat unsteady as I staggered around the apartment but I eventually managed to find my way into the kitchen to make a rather late lunch.

After lunch I had a task to complete. Well, to start actually. I have a huge pile of medical receipts that need scanning and then sending off to my insurance company to claim reimbursement. I made a start on some that I had to hand, and then had to break off to go for my afternoon walk.

hang glider point du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHardly had I managed to set foot outside my front door before the dark shadow fell upon me.

It’s the kind of thing that makes me understand what the Hobbits went through as they were being overflown my the Nazgul in LORD OF THE RINGS but of course there’s very little that is sinister in this particular occasion because we all know what’s going on here and there is no evil intent, unless one happens to crash-land on your head.

Yes, we have quite a wind (yet again) today and so the hang-gliders are out in force. There is probably half a dozen out there this afternoon.

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all of the aerial activity. Not by a long shot.

After the incident with the hang-glider I’d probably gone no more than half a dozen paces before I was overflown by something else. That’s right, someone has got his chopper out this afternoon and is flying around the headland.

It’s not the usual yellow and red air-sea rescue helicopter that we have seen on so many occasions but its grey-green colour suggests to me that it’s a military machine and I wonder why one of those has decided to come out to entertain us today.

Nevertheless it reminds me of the story in which a class of schoolchildren were asked to write a sentence including the words “chaste” and “by helicopter”. And one boy wrote “the boy chaste the girl and by helicopter”.

hang glider beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I always like to do is to go out and check on the beach and see how the tide is doing and whether there are any people taking advantage of it.

One thing that you’ll notice is just how much beach there is compared to YESTERDAY AT ROUGHLY THE SAME TIME. There’s about 50 minutes time difference between each high tide, so comparing this photo and that of yesterday give you some idea of how quickly the water comes in

But anyway, there are a few people out there enjoying themselves on the beach this afternoon, even if they are about to be overflown by the Nazgul that is hovering away in the distance.

tape marking path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier this morning round about 07:15 or something like that I heard a lot of noise – schoolchildren cheering and all that kind of thing. But I couldn’t see anything from here.

But what I noticed this afternoon as I went on my afternoon walk around the headland is that some kind of path had been marked out by all of these tapes. It made quite a circuit and so I wondered if there had been some kind of race going on around the headland. And maybe that might explain the presence of the schoolchildren whom we saw earlier who seem to be lodging in the youth hostel.

But whatever was happening, it was all over now and there was no-one around to ask. Not even anyone coming to take away the rubbish that they have left and to remove the tapes. Maybe I’ll find something in the local paper tomorrow that might give me a clue as to what has been going on with all of this.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow how I wish that I’d come out for my afternoon walk about 5 or 10 minutes earlier. I might have been treated to an exciting spectacle.

The blue and green object on the ground over there near the gun emplacement is the parachute or whatever they call it of one of these Nazgul It seems that one of the bird-men of Alcatraz has come to grief over there and I was quite disappointed at having missed the spectacle.

Quite a few other people didn’t by the looks of things and there are plenty of people with mobile phones and cameras over there who presumably have recorded the incident. But anyway, the pilot or whatever you might call them doesn’t seem to be injured or anything and he’s up and about on his own two feet organising himself and his parachute.

hang glider taking off pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce he’d gathered up his wits, presumably from wherever he might have dropped them, he made his preparations for getting back into the air.

And getting back into the air seemed to be quite easy. He just lifted up his parachute and the wind filled it full of air. Gently, he rose up and away from the ground, and once he had sufficient height he was able manoeuvre himself and his parachute around and head off back the way that he had come.

The crowds of people watching the spectacle clearly enjoyed it. They had all taken enough photos and even a few films about all of the activity. when they return home to wherever home is, they’ll have plenty of exciting films and photos to show the grandchildren

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile all of this was going on, my eyes had been roving around and when they came back they pointed out more goings-on out at sea.

And so I took off down the path and across the car park down to the end of the headland for a closer look at what was happening. And living in a fishing port, you can expect that there is always something to do with fishing.

With issues going on involving the Channel Islands, which need to be resolved within the next seven days or so, the local fishermen are busy trying to exploit new fishing grounds that don’t fall within the scope of the Treaty of the Bay of Granville that the British Government unilaterally revoked under the pretext of Brexit

And so the Baie de Mont St Michel has become a favourite fishing ground at the moment for several local boats who are trying to see whether they can do any good here.

But the story of the Treaty of the Bay of Granville is that it was signed in 1839 between the Channel Islands and the fishermen of Brittany and Normandy to give fishermen from the three regions equal access to the bay. It was reinforced on many occasions, the latest being in 2000.

The Channel Islands are not and never have been part of the European Union and they are also free to negotiate on their on behalf in local affairs independently of the British Government so there is no reason for the British Government to intervene in the affairs of the Channel Islands.

However, the UK has claimed a 12-mile limit around the Channel Islands after Brexit and has revoked the Treaty without consulting either the Channel Islands or the local fishermen who have fished together in peace since 1839, and this is the subject of the dispute.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the meantime while I’m talking about the Treaty of the Bay of Granville another boat comes in from down the Baie de Mont St Michel.

It’s coming in at quite a rate of knots too so I imagine that it must be late for a tea break or something like that. And as it’s surrounded by seabirds, I’m assuming that it must have quite a harvest on board. And that’s why many of these little shellfish-catchers have canopies or tilts across the cargo space – to prevent dive-bombing by the seabirds eager for a cheap and easy meal.

But I’m not going to hang about too long watching it. I’m taking to the path, despite all of the people ignoring the Prefet’s regulations on face masks, to see what’s happening in the harbour.

yacht rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd today, we have another change of occupancy in the chantier navale.

At the moment we’re down to just one boat in here, the yacht Rebelle from London. The other boat that was in here, the fishing boat Gwenn Ha Ruz, or “White and Red” has now departed, presumably back into the water to carry on with whatever it is that she does.

Who will be the next arrival in the chantier navale, I wonder. as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … a thriving ship repairing business is good for the port because it encourages people to base their boats, whether working boats or pleasure boats, in the port where they can be assured of a good and reliable repair and maintenance service.

fishing boat aground ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut this issue of people leaving their fishing boats to go aground when the tide is out instead of mooring them in the inner harbour is still continuing.

There’s another one moored over there this afternoon, right at the ferry terminal. So here’s hoping that none of the joly France ferries to the ile de Chausey want to go out or come in. We know that the Channel Islands ferries Granville and Victor Hugo won’t be going out any time soon.

But as for going out, I’m going back in. I’m ready for a nice piping hot coffee and then I can carry on with the work that I’m doing, sorting out the receipts for my medical expenses and getting them ready to submit to my insurance company.

And by the time I’d sorted them out, I found that there were two months missing. I remember one month where I wasn’t seen by a doctor at the hospital and so didn’t receive a prescription, but I don’t know what happened to the other month. I certainly had a prescription but there’s no mention anywhere of me going to a pharmacy to collect the medication, so I can’t have done.

By the time that it was guitar practice, I was still a long way from sorting them out, never mind scanning them. That’s a job for tomorrow. and so is guitar practice, I reckon, because I’m not making all that much progress with what I want to do. It’s a slow, laborious task.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, because I bought some this morning, followed by apple pie and coconut whatsit. But that’s the last of the coconut so I’m going to treat myself to some custard tomorrow and Saturday.

And now I’m off to bed. I’ve finally caught up with everything that I did today and I’m ready for a good sleep. Tomorrow I’mm continue sorting out my receipts. There must be €1000 here so it’s “spend spend, spend” I don’t think.

Wednesday 23rd June 2021 – REGULAR READERS …

… of this rubbish will recall that another recurring theme that runs through these pages with monotonous regularity is the shameful state of the medieval city walls here.

As you know, there was an initiate 2 years ago to restore part of them in the Rue des Juifs and they did a good job but while they were doing that, more and more of the city walls were being cordoned off as being unsafe for the general public.

more city walls closed to public place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA year or two ago they cordoned off part of the city walls in the Place du Marché Aux Chevaux and as I went past there today, they had closed off yet more of it by order of the mayor.

Much as I despise tourists … “surely not! Perish the thought!” – ed … there’s no doubt that they bring a lot of money into the town and help provide all of the activities and amenities that we have here. One of the things that they come to see is the medieval walled city, but at this rate there won’t be much of a walled city left.

The shame about this is that the Council seems to be showing not the slightest sense of urgency of dealing with this issue and the city walls are crumbling all around them. There’s history going back 600 years and they have a duty to protect it, not to let it rot away like this.

stairs removed to square potel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers saw the other day that in the Square Potel we saw a mini-differ that had brought down the condemned staircase that led down from the city walls and I mentioned that it was about time that something was done to make all of this area safe too.

But by the looks of things, the digger has cleared off too. The stairs are down and the ground underneath has been tidied but that looks as if it’s going to be our lot for the near future.

But it really is appalling, all of this. There was a campaign, as I have mentioned previously, when the previous mayor was in office to denounce her for the state that the place was getting into. But now there’s a new mayor, I wonder what the people who ran this campaign are saying now.

Today has been something of a depressing day, in case you haven’t already guessed from my first couple of paragraphs.

As usual, I was out of bed bang on the first alarm at 06:00 even though I didn’t feel like it, not having gone to bed until 00:30 this morning.

First task after my medication was to deal with some outstanding correspondence that has built up just recently. And as the regular readers of this rubbish have stopped writing to me, there wasn’t anything to send to them. But a couple of the mails were really quite important and we’ll see how they develop.

Then for a few hours I’ve been musicking. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve been digitalising my record collection and today while searching around I came across some more stuff that relates to albums that I own so I was working on that.

Another thing that I did was to record a cassette tape onto the dictaphone to see how that would work. And that, dear reader, was a dismal failure. The sound levels are all over the place and had “clipped” so lowering the recording level after the event was no good. It all ended up filed under CS.

There are a couple of dictaphones around here so I’m going to see if I can find one with a manual recording level rather than an automatic level, and see what good that might do. I’m not beaten yet. Ohhh no!

The rest of the morning was spent dealing with the photos from August 2019 and I’m now back in Montana on my way to Winnipeg. And just as I was about to back up my work and go to lunch we had a power cut and it wiped it all out.

After lunch I started to try to restore everything and by the time that it was walkies I was a long way from finishing it.

fishing boat yacht ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOff I trotted into the wild blue yonder and down to the wall to look out to sea to see what was going on out there today.

Out there in the Bay of Granville there’s some activity going on. Out there today we have a fishing boat that I don’t actually think is fishing right now. It looks as if it’s heading back into harbour.

Behind it is some kind of yacht, right out near the Ile de Chausey. It’s far too far away for me to be able to read its name and head-on to the camera like she is right now, I can’t actually pick up any clues from her hull lay-out either.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here, I had a look down onto the beach to see if there was anything exciting happening.

Again, there isn’t all that much beach to be on but nevertheless, there are a couple of ^people down there sitting around on a rock. And rather them than me because it’s not exactly what I would call a warm summer day. Far from it in fact.

And you are probably noticing that today’s photo of the beach is taken frol a different perspective from the usual photographs. Instead of going around the headland this afternoon, I’ve gone off for walk around what remains of the city walls that hasn’t crumbled away.

objects swimming in water plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut there near to the Plat Gousset there was something really strange going on this afternoon.

Whatever they are supposed to be, I really have no idea but they are animate objects swimming against the tide and current. They might be humans, they might be mammals or anything at all but I really can’t identify them well enough.

But here’s something interesting. It’s down this path that I used to go running back in the good old days. And as there was no-one around, I actually did break into a run. I only covered about 100 metres which is nothing like enough or anything like as much as I used to do, but it was a start and it astonished me that I could even run that much after what I’ve been through.

lifeguard watching man entering water by diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a viewpoint along the path where I can stop and look out over the Plat Gousset to se what’s going on down there.

And despite it being a wintry day, nothing like summer at all, we actually have a lifeguard on duty there this afternoon, presumably with thermal blankets and mugs of hot soup and other artefacts and devices for treating frostbite.

There’s a guy down there who’s going off to test the water, but I imagine that he’s pretty safe. He’s not actually dressed for going swimming.

And in this photo you can see that the diving platform has been erected on top of the concrete pillar.

people swimming in water plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat guy might not have been dressed for swimming but these two people are, and don’t they know it?

There’s a couple down there in the water cavorting about and they are certainly braver men than I am, Gungha Din because not even Kate Bush and Jenny Agutter in skimpy bikinis would entice me into the water this afternoon in weather like we are having right now.

For a few minutes, I stood there and watched them fooling around and then I wandered off down the path to carry on with the rest of my walk. There were too many people about for me to break into a run. I don’t want to show myself up. I can do that without breaking into a run

seagull chick flapping its wings rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the Square Maurice Marland there were still too many people around for me to start running, so I walked over to the edge of the path where I can look at the seagull chicks on the roofs of the houses in the Rue des Juifs.

And it looks as if there are plenty of things happening right now. A few of them were flapping their wings and taking their first steps towards some kind of flight, like this one here and his sibling who were really making a valiant attempt to get off the ground.

It won’t be long until this new generation of seagulls will be flying around the town. And as an aside, any visitor to Granville is advised to bring a hat. The seagulls have an accuracy that puts Bomber Command to shame.

digger and lorry rue lecarpentier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut of the Square Maurice Marland I found myself in the Rue Lecarpentier.

There’s some excitement going on there today as well because we have a lorry and a digger. They aren’t actually doing anything except blocking the street, because this is a cul-de-sac for vehicles and those stuck down at the bottom end were I am can’t move away until the lorry clears off.

Incidentally, there’s an interesting story told about one of the houses here. It’s actually facing into the street but it’s been turned round in effect so that the front entrance is through the garden at the back, off the Rue Notre Dame.

The story is that the owner of the house had an argument with the descendants of the person after whom the street is named, so he changed the layout of his house round so that its address was no longer “Rue Lecarpentier” but “Rue Notre Dame”.

thora normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day, the swimming pool on the quayside suggested to me that Normandy Trader would be in port pretty soon.

Well, I wasn’t wrong, was I? She seems to have come in on the morning tide and brought her friend Thora with her as well.

What with all of the changes that have been going on as a result of Brexit, and one or two as a result of Covid, we have had weeks when we haven’t even seen one of the little Channel Island freighters, never mind both of them. and so we really are lucky to see both of them in port together like this.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe boat that’s underneath the loading crane is Thora.

She was built in the Faroe islands in 1975 and was the fifth of the ferry boats ordered by the Shetland Islands Council when they began to run the ferries between the mainland of Shetland and the outlying islands.

She was one of the two ships that operated the ferry service across Yell Sound but that was a route that was only really busy in the summer so for much of the time she was either laid up or else operated as the relief vessel for the other runs.

She was laid up in 2006 when a new ship arrived to relieve her.

She first appeared here two or three years ago and looked quite smart at the time but the sea and the sinds that we have around here have given her quite a battering.

She’s used occasionally as a car ferry and regular readers of this rubbish will have seen cars lifted off her deck by the crane.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe ship to the right is the Normandy Trader She’s a converted landing craft – an ex-military machine apparently, designed for transporting tanks and that kind of thing.

And apart from the fact that she’s 27 metres long, I’ve not been able to find out very much else about her.

But you can see the swimming pool. That was what gave the game away. I know that she has the contract with a certain manufacturer for moving the swimming pools to their new clients in the Channel Islands, so when I saw one on the quayside on returning from Leuven, I guessed that the boat will be in port quite soon.

After all, they aren’t going to leave them lying around for too long.

patrol boat baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was watching the two little freighters, there was some activity going on close inshore in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw an official-looking boat passing by the entrance to the harbour towing a little boat behind her. And here she is again, or at least, one very much like her.

There’s no possibility of reading her name from here which is a shame. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen one boat very much like her, Les Epiettes when we were on the Ile de Chausey last year and they are some kind of patrol boat. Bit I’ve no idea what they are supposed to be patrolling.

fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey won’t be patrolling the fisheries right now because by the looks of things the boats are coming in with their catch.

There are quite a few boats down there today, and if you look at the back of the queue you’ll see the boat that we saw as we set out on our journey. I was right when I said that she seemed to be on her way into port.

You can see the layout of the wharf here. The bigger loads of seafood are lifted up my the little cranes that you can see here and are whisked away by fork-lift truck into the plant for processing.

But you’ll notice the ramp that goes down and underneath where the people are working. Several of the smaller boats are chartered by fish shops, restaurants and the like. Their vehicles can drive down there underneath and the crew of “their” boats can pass the catch to them to be taken away

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot all of the fishing boats are in by the look of things.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the activity that has been taking place in the Baie de Mont St Michel. We have another two boats out there fishing even as we speak I don’t know who they are though unfortunately.

Anyway, I’ve done enough right now so I’m heading off home for a hot coffee and to carry on with recovering some of the stuff from when the power went. I never had this problem with laptops.

By 18:00 I’d done all that I could so I had a play with the bass guitar, writing out the notes for one of the songs that I need to learn. This is going to be a very long series of sessions

Tea was a curry from the freezer followed by more apple pie, which really is good. And now I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow and there’s quite a list. I need to organise myself for that. I wonder how I’ll get on up the hill?

Thursday 17th June 2021 – THEY DIDN’T KEEP …

… me in the hospital. They soon kicked me out of the hospital yesterday and I’m back in my comfy little digs now where I started out this morning.

When the alarm went off this morning I awoke in a really damp sweat again. I staggered out of bed at 06:00 and the first thng that I did after that was to listen to the dictaphone. there were a couple of files on there – one from two nights ago that I had yet to transcribe, and the one for last night.

This was something like I’d joined the Army and I had a whole list of things that I wanted to do. One of the things was to go for a whole series of medical examinations but the map was so confusing and the details so confusing that I wasn’t sure when or where to go. In the end I set off to try to find the place. It was a staggering set of old buildings, old ruined medieval towers propped up with wood, old burnt-out houses, two cars that had collided outside a house all entangled in a big heap of metal. Just totally strange. Luckily I met one of the professors whom I knew and I asked her where I was supposed to go. She pointed me to the place, just opposite the shop. She showed me a side street as well and said “down there is the French educational building” or French school or whatever. So I set off for my medical.

So having dealt with that, I made a start on writing up the blog but the next thing that I remember was at it was 08:00. I’d crashed out for about an hour or so sitting on my sofa. But once I pulled myself round, made myself a coffee and carried on with the notes.

Once they were published I made some toast for breakfast and then chose the music for the next radio programme.

A shower and a clothes-washing session was next, followed by making my sandwiches ready for the hospital, and then I hit the streets.

people at tables in street tienestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallAnd it was nice to see so many people taking advantage of the easing of the Corona Virus situations.

In the beautiful sunny weather and at lunchtime too there were crowds of people sitting at tables at the various restaurants in the town, like here in the Tienesestraat. And beautiful weather it was too. Summer has arrived at long last and the restrictions have been eased in time for people to enjoy it.

But I can’t help the feeling in the back of my mind that all of this is happening far too soon. We’ve already seen that the ease in restrictions in the UK has led to a rise in cases from less than 2,000 per day to the figure today of 11,007.

But as REACT – the body that surveys the spread of the virus in the UK – has said, the UK’s policy of just a single vaccination has been a failure. At least, in Europe, they’ve concentrated on double vaccinations.

road works amerikalaan, Franz Tielemanslaan brusselsestraat Leuven belgium Eric HallCarrying on down the hill through the town centre and out the other side, I came to the road junction of the Brusselsestraat, the Amerikalaan and the Franz Tielemanslaan

When we were here last month we had seen them working on the pavement there doing some remodelling. They seem to have advanced quite nicely with that and I do have to say that while I’m not too keen on the brickwork for the cycle path, it’s a vast improvement on the slabs of asphalt that they used in the Monseigneur Van Waeyenbeghlaan.

They seem to have moved on now and are doing some kind of work on the little square that is build over the River Dijle at the back. It’s going to be interesting to see what they are going to do there and how it’s going to look when it’s all finished.

velodrome brusselsestrat Leuven belgium Eric HallWhile we’re on the subject of how things are going to look in the future, I went along the Brusselsestraat to see how things were developing at the site of St Pieter’s hospital that they have spent the last year or so demolishing.

Part of the site has been cleared and they were erecting a huge wooden structure in the place of part of it.

There was a guy standing underneath a parasol nearby who came over to chat with me.He told me that they were building a velodrome on the site. Apparently it’s going to take 6 years for the whole of the site to be cleared and redeveloped, so as a temporary measure, they are erecting this velodrome.

The velodrome is expected to be there for three years before they will be starting to redevelop this part of the site.

clearing site of sint pieter's hospital brusselsestraat Leuven Eric HallAs for the rest of the site, they are clearing the site fairly rapidly as you can see.

They seem to have ground up the rubble into a fine powder and now they are loading it up onto a series of lorries which will presumably take it off to another site to use as infill or as part of a mix for some new concrete somewhere.

But it’s going to be a long time, I reckon, before they uncover the river that runs underneath the site. That’s certainly the plan, but we shall have to see how things develop.

Right now though, I’m continuing down the street on my way towards the hospital There is still plenty to see.

bicycle racks kruisstraat leuven Belgium Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that last time that we were here we saw them erecting some bicycle racks in the Kruisstraat. I mentioned at the time that I couldn’t see why they were erecting them there as there weren’t the clients there to use them.

Now that they have been here for four weeks we can see how things are developing here. And it looks as if my assumptions were correct because there can’t be more than half a dozen bikes and scooters there. Not like the bike racks elsewhere that are bursting to overflow.

At the hospital they gave me a Covid test, which was negative, of course. Then they took a blood sample and coupled me up to the stuff that they pump into me. And I had an interesting trilingual chat with the nurse who was dealing with me.

The doctor who came to see me told me that my blood count had increased to 8.9 and so I can go home. There’s no reason for the increase that I can see, and it certainly doesn’t seem like it. All that I can say is that Liz Messenger’s cake contains many secret ingredients and has magic properties.

But the doctor didn’t really have too many answers for the other points that I raised – the night sweats, the increase in weight and all of that. But next time that I come, I have four appointments at different units of the hospital, and we shall see how things develop at that point.

vegetarian menu frittoerist sint jacobsplein leuven belgium Eric HallOn the way home I walked down the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan towards the Sint jacobsplein when the menu at the Frittoerist, the Fritkot in the Sint Jacobsplein.

It shows you how much things have evolved these days when even a fritkot can offer a vegetarian menu to the public. Mind you, this is Leuven, a town full of students where I’m sure that they outnumber the locals, as anyone who remembers my desperate search for accommodation here 5 years ago will recall.

At least the fritkot is open and accessible. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the street here in front of the fritkot and the square behind it were dug up for well over a year and access to the place was rather difficult. Clambering over a pile of bricks and mud was not the easiest way to go about buying a cornet de fritjes.

building site kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric HallDown at the end of the street is the street known as the Kapucijnenvoer where there is more building work being undertaken.

They are progressing with the development of this site, pourig ton after ton of concrete into the place. The base is now concreted over and they are building some kind of rooms down there. These might be private cellars for the residents or they might be machinery rooms for lifts, air conditioning, power plants and the like.

The rest of the subterranean labyrinth is quite possibly going to be used as a car park, but there is no ramp installed there right now.

And you can see the red-capped metal strengthening bars. It looks as if they are going to be building concrete pillars to support the building that’s going to be erected here. And by the diameter of the pillars, it’s going to be some substantial building.

building site kapucijnenvoer zongang leuven belgium Eric HallThere’s another building site in the Kapucijnenvoer on which we are keeping an eye. It’s the one in between the Kapicijnenvoer and the Zongang.

They seem to be making some rather rapid progress on this particular site and that makes quite a change here in Belgium. It’s going to be some kind of block of flats by the looks of things, but on a restrictive site like that, the apartments are going to be rather restricted in size. It’s another one of these “we shall have to see” situations.

All that I can say is that it’s a shame that the nice building behind it that was revealed by the demolition of whatever was on this site previously is going to be obscured by the building that they are erecting. And I can bet my bottom dollar that whatever they are going to erect here won’t be anything half as attractive as the building behind it.

digger being taken away from building site sint pieters hospital brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallBack now in the Brusselsestraat on the way into the city centre I went past the site of the demolition of St Pieters hospital.

And to my surprise there’s a big lorry here that seems to be taking away one of the big machines that has been working on the site for the past ever so many months.

What is so surprising about this is that even though the building has been brought down, they are still a long way from clearing the site. And with them in the near future having to lift the culvert off the river here, they are going to need all of the heavy equipment that they can get.

Maybe they are taking it off to work elsewhere and they’ll be bringing it back in due course when it’s needed back here.

crowds of people watching football zeelstraat leuven belgium Eric HallOne of the things that I have to do today is to go along to the bank and withdraw some money as I’m rather short of ready cash.

Going into the town wentre the crowds of people were all sitting on seats in the public areas watching the football, just like here in the Zeelstraat. Belgium are playing Denmark in the European Championships and it seems to be the thing here that rather than sit lone in the comfort and privacy of your own home, you go out and sit in the square with the crowds.

Having arranged some cash I set off to meet Alison and while I was on my way through one of the back squares stumbled across a new ice cream parlour. They had two varieties of vegan ice-cream – chocolate and moka – so despite the dreadful service in the place I eventually walked away with my prize.

Alison and I went for a meal at the Greenway Vegan Restaurant. I had a red pepper burger and Alison had a Thai wrap. And then we went off for a coffee and a chat.

Aliso had to leave early so I came back home – totally hot and sweaty, drained of blood and having walked 124% of my daily activity. No wonder I was exhausted. And so I hauled myself off to bed thinking that I will write up my notes tomorrow.

Friday 28th May 2021 – I HAVEN’T BEEN …

… discharged from the hospital, it seems that I’ve been expelled.

And I heard at least one nurse say “if he comes back, then I’m leaving!”.

So right now I’m sitting on my comfy sofa back in my room in the Dekenstraat here. I’ve had to re-book it again but I found it just as I left it, with my frozen food still in the freezer and the cold stuff still in the fridge. Just like old times.

What was also like old times was that I almost fell sleep watching a film last night. I summoned up enough energy to switch off the laptop before collapsing and that was basically that until the nurses awoke me at 07:30.

2 files on the dictaphone though. It must have been a busy night. There was something going on between me and my brother. Someone else stepped in and said that he was going to fence off half of this ground and I wasn’t going to be allowed on it . I thought “yes, try and stop me”. He was extremely insistent and extremely unpleasant with it as well so we were walking off across a field somewhere and we came to a river or canal. There was some kind of activity taking place on the other side that involved processions. I noticed that half of it had been closed off as well. There was a really strong wind and I had some kind of tap washer or rubber seal joint type of thing. It suddenly blew our of my hands and in a big circuit up in the air and then blew round and blew back again much to the astonishment of this little boy in this procession. We had a laugh about that and someone else said “yes, he’s going to do something else spectacular in a minute”. I wondered what this procession was about, closed off on half of this ground by this net that went across this canal and what was going on on the other half. As I said, someone said that we couldn’t go that way but that kind of net wasn’t going to stop me no matter how offensive and aggressive that other guy had been towards me in the matter of how talking to my brother had been.

Later on we’d been doing some plumbing repairs in the house of a girl we knew at school, at least it was a house somewhere near Acton. I turned up with some guy who was going to do the work, and a young kid. We started to dismantle this pipework, which wasn’t easy because it had been done in a Heath Robinson matter with these really long nuts and bolts. We had it dismantled and then we had to reassemble it. To dismantle it, it had all gone out of centre and it was tightening up the nuts on the threads so we couldn’t undo it the more by hand no matter how long they were. We had to use a spanner right through to the end. So we repositioned it better and anyway I was determined not to do the last bolt. I ended up running some kind of jewelled ornament down these threads until everyone complained. In the end I found the missing nut and put it back on. But the girl was there. It was her parents’ house. We were about to, or I was trying to manoeuvre myself round to having a really good chat with her, but then I awoke before I could actually start to talk to her. Another one of my friends had been saying for years that he wished that he knew how he could get in touch with her and he’s going to be ever so pleased and impressed that I’d actually met her. I was going to give her his contact details, everything

After the medication it was comparatively quiet. No doctor and train of students from urology or anywhere else, and even my own doctor never put in an appearance.

There was the usual bustle of nurses with their students practising on me, but I don’t mind that at all. It’s all part of the thing about being a guinea-pig and they have to learn somehow. And of course they are all young and pretty and keen and enthusiastic, with a nice cheery smile, and they always bring me a cup of coffee afterwards.

There was a shower and a shave too, so now I’m all clean – well, sort-of – and in clean clothes too.

The absence of bustle meant that I could finish off the notes for the radio programme on which I’ve been working, and then finish off choosing the music for one that I had started before I was hauled off to hospital

And when I’d done that, there was even time to choose the music for another one too. After all, I may as well use this time profitably.

After lunch they brought round my blood results – 8.0. So it had gone up to reach the critical level. And they also brought more blood. “When you’ve had this, the doctor says that you can go home”.

Well, that was news to me, although regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I’d suggested that as a possibility.

The doctor came to see me in mid-transfusion with a pile of paperwork. The amount of medication that I now have to take is astonishing. I’m sure that this time next week, if you were to shake me I would rattle.

Disturbingly, one of the things that he’s prescribed for me is Vitamin B12 and that’s a bad sign. As a vegan I don’t have it naturally and I have to have supplements. I always look for stuff that has it in. And not enough Folic Acid either, so I need more of that.

4 lots of ointment for various things too. You can’t say that their examination wasn’t thorough.

Another thing that he mentioned was that in certain cases there was an injection that they can give to people with renal issues that will help and will stimulate the blood cells too. It’s given very rarely but he reckons that I qualify and so he will be making his recommendation.

When the transfusion was over they unhooked me and the nurse brought me a pile of medication “so I don’t have to go to the chemist until Monday”. They are really sweet here.

There was still one thing that I needed to do before I left the hospital. The doctor had given me a written report but addressed it to the wrong doctor. “That’s what it says on your record” he said. So I had to go to the office and change my doctor to the correct one.

road accident herestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallMy trek into town didn’t get me very far before I had to reach for the camera.

On the car park there was an ambulance with its blue lights flashing, and also a plain-clothes police car with his blue lights flashing too, blocking part of the road. And sitting up on the bank with one of its doors open.

I’ve no idea what was happening there, but I did muse to myself that if anyone were injured, they wouldn’t have far to go in order to seek medical attention. Not from the hospital car park, anyway.

digger monseigneur vanwaeyeberghlaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallHaving dispensed with that, I carried on down the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan just in time to see a big digger drive up onto the trailer at the back of this lorry.

“What’s going on here then?” I thought. “They have only just finished digging up this road. They surely aren’t going to be starting again”. But there is some kind of park just there where all of that green shrubbery is and apparently the digger is doing something in there.

At the corner of the Goedsbloemstraat the workmen were cutting all of the stones to fit the new tactile avement around the street furniture. And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I had some kind of thing once with the girl who invented tactile paving.

men repairing door monseigneur vanwaeyenberghlaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhat these workmen are doing here is extremely interesting – at least to me anyway.

Another thing that regular readers of this runnish will recall is that for a period of a considerable number of months a year or two ago a reasonably modern building was completely gutted, rebuilt and refurbished and the apartments were sold at … errr … something of a premium.

And so it’s not very impressive if they have had to call out the repairers to repair the door to the building’s garage when the paint is only just dry. It’s not what I would call confidence-building.

So I left them to it and carried on down the road without any further incident except narrowly avoiding being squidged by the schoolchildren stampeding out of school at home-time.

digger building site kapucijnenvoer zongang Leuven Belgium Eric HallThere’s another building site in the vicinity that’s attracted our attention of late. Well two, really, but I was looking at this one.

This is in the Kapucijnenvoer and backs onto the Zongang, and it was only when I noticed the fine building at the back of the site that I realised that something has gone from the ploy. But we saw them clearing the site a month ago and now something is springing up like a mushroom on the site.

So it’s not every Belgian (or French) building company that takes its time. Some of them can really crack on. Although I shall probably need reminding that I said that in 6 months time

digger in hole st pieters hospital brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallOne site that has held our attention for quite a long time – far longer than really it ought – is the demolition of St Pieter’s hospital here in the Brusselsestraat.

Now that all of the superstructure had finally bitten the dust (and quite literally too) I was intrigued to see where they would be going next. And the answer to that is that they seem to be going down.

We’d noticed them doing something at an old cellar or something the other day, and today we can see that at some point they have dropped a digger down into there. Unfortunately it’s impossible to see what it’s doing.

Nut all of the rubble is being ground up into very small pieces and even into sand and there’s piles of the stuff all around, all heaped into nice big … errr … piles. So they are making quite an effort to tidy up the plac.

And in 6 months time I’ll probably regret saying that as well.

roadworks amerikalaan franz tielemanslaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallOne thing that we have noticed over the last week or 10 days since we’ve been here has been the work that they have started at the junction of the Brusselsestraat, the Amerikalaan and the Franz Tielemanslaan.

They seem to be cracking along with this as well – not hanging about at all which is good news. Although I would have liked it so much more had they uncovered more of the River Dijle.

Climbing up the hill was killing me. It’s a long hill to climb and when I think of the hills in Granville that I have to negotiate and the trouble that I have in getting up this one, I’m not looking at all forward to going home.

Halfway up is the ice-cream place and already having stopped once or twice to catch my breath (something that I have never done before) it’s a case of third time lucky and I grabbed an ice cream. I may as well take advantage of my rest-stops while I can.

film cameraman tiensestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a feature that runs through these pages is me taking photos of people taking photos.

We’ve graduated beyond there on numerous occasions, such as today in this shot where there’s a guy taking moving pictures of the events taking place in the Tiensestraat. And I’m not sure what it is that he finds so interesting because I couldn’t see anything.

When I knew that I was to leave hospital I’d telephoned the guy who runs the place where I stay to see if he had a room. Better than that, he had my previous room with all of my food still in it. And as I had the key, nothing could be better. I came in here and flaked out completely.

A little later I summoned up the energy to nip to the Spar supermarket down the road here for a handful of things and now I think that I have everything to last me until Monday morning. I was going to go home on Sunday but there are rail issues holding things up around Paris and I can’t stomach the bus trip.

The Covid test that I had before I left the hospital is valid until Monday afternoon so I’m staying here for the weekend and coming home on the Monday after a weekend’s rest.

Now that Alison has been to check up on my and I’ve written my notes, I can go to bed. I’m whacked and if I don’t improve over the weekend I’ll be going back to the hospital on Monday morning.

Saturday 1st May 2021 – GRRRRRR!

This morning Caliburn and I nipped out to the shops as is usual on a Saturday morning, only to find that they were all closed.

Of course it’s a Bank Holiday here today, but I’m not used to the idea of shops being closed on days like this. And had I known, I could have had a nice long lie-in and you’ve no idea how dismayed I am about that.

Instead, something strange happened this morning. I was away on a voyage and suddenly I awoke, sat bolt upright and got out of bed in something of a panic as if I was hours late. Looking at my watch, it showed 05:59 – one minute before the alarm was due to go off.

So what happened there then, I have no idea at all. It was all extremely weird.

After the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was up to my eyes in some kind of project that involved cowboys and indians. There was work everywhere that I was trying to do. I had a pencil but it was so blunt that it wasn’t writing and every time that I went to sharpen it I just broke the lead off it again. I wasn’t making very much progress. While I was there a girl came up and said that she had finished what she was doing and was planning on starting the next step. That was something that I particularly wanted to do myself and I’d organised someone else to help me but she was there ready so I basically told her to make a start on it and gave her my notes. She asked how much I would pay her, to which of course I made some kind of ribald comment and decided that I’d go back to my desk and sort out this information, get another pencil, try sharpening that and see if it will sharpen any better that I could use to write what I’m doing while I’m doing now.

Later on, I don’t remember very much about this but I’d captured a large German battleship like the Scharnhorst and I had it in a dry dock behind me. Some girl in whom I had some kind of interest came up to talk to me and totally failed to notice this battleship behind me which I found really surprising and I had to draw her attention to it. And this was when I suddenly awoke.

Once I’d finished the dictaphone I did some more work on the photos from August 2019. I’ve now moved on from my lunch stop ON COTTONWOOD CREEK and I’m on my way to one of the most exciting and important sites on the whole Oregon And California Trail

A little later I went for a good shower and a change of clothes and then went out for my abortive attempt at shopping. And with no bread in the house right now, I bought a baguette from a boulangerie on the way home.

The rest of the day back here I’ve spent a good deal of time scrolling through the 1911 census that has been put on line for free this weekend, trying to find some traces of my family.

That’s not easy because apart from the fact that some of my family was in Canada at this time, my family was somewhat disjointed. On my mother’s side, my grandmother was widowed from her first husband, married a second time, was in a hospital for 25 years after the birth of my aunt which meant that my mother and her sister were fostered out in various families before going to live with an aunt and uncle in Somerset.

And that’s just my mother’s side. On my father’s side it’s even more complicated than that.

That took up most of the rest of the day, what with having yet another hour crashed out on the chair. That was disappointing too because for the first time since I’ve been back from Leuven I was remarkably sprightly this morning and I thought that I was in for a really good day for a change.

There was the usual break for lunch of course, and the walk around the headland this afternoon too.

buoys people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs seems to be becoming quite a habit these days, the first thing that I did once I was outside was to go to the end of the car park and look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was going on today.

Surprisingly there wee very few people down there on the beach this afternoon. There was one person in my field of view down there, but he seemed to be very interested in what look like buoys down there at the water’s edge. There’s a blue one close by the person and a white one a little further out but I can’t see what they are attached to.

But apart from him – or her – that was that really. And that was a surprise. It was quite a nice afternoon, with the wind having dropped and for the first time since I don’t know when, I wasn’t freezing either.

yachts donville les bains baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there at the end of the car park I had a look out to sea to see what was goign on.

And I noticed that the yachting school at Bréhal sur Mer was out there this afternoon. Not too many of their boats but they are having a good sail around in the nice weather and I wish that I was with them.

Instead I set off on my trudge around the headland. Not quite the weary trudge of the last couple of days but I’m still not back to my sprightly self. It’s really hard to imagine that it was less than a year ago that I was running all the way round my circuit.

Not that I would be running today either because although there were very few people on the beach, there were crowds of people walking around the footpath and I wouldn’t want to show myself up.

people standing on rock pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the headland I had a good look around to see whether we had any fishermen out there on the rocks today.

No fishermen today, but there were several people out there just standing about and chatting, including this group of three young people standing on a rock down there having a good chat. In fact, there were quite a few people around there on the lower path this afternoon going the long way round.

While I was there I had a look out to sea to see if there were any fishing boats in the bay but I couldn’t see any at all. But that’s not to say that there weren’t any. I can’t see all of the bay from here.

aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound the corner at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I could see that there are many more boats anchored in there than there have been over the past couple of weeks.

I’m not quite sure if this is telling us that the dredging work is over now or whether it’s just a weekend thing and they’ll all be gone by Monday to give the digger driver the opportunity to carry on with his work throughout the next week.

Meanwhile, in the chantier navale things are as they were yesterday. the little fishing boat is still there and so is Aztec Lady. But no-one else has come to join them as yet.

digger port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on there was ample evidence that the digging work in the harbour hasn’t finished.

If the digging were over they would have taken away the digger that’s been doing it but the fact that it’s still here would indicate that they will be carrying in next week.

But I carried on home to have a coffee and try to do some more work on this flaming census.

At 18:00 I knocked off as there was football. This social media blackout this weekend meant that I couldn’t access my usual source of entertainment. Instead I had to set un an account with the broadcast subcontractor so that I could access it from their website. And surprisingly, it was a much more stable platform.

Last Saturday we saw Connah’s Quay Nomads turn on the aerial performance to devastate TNS. Today in the return match TNS came out with three centre-backs and flooded their penalty area with defenders.

As a result we were treated to a dreadful match with aimless hopeful passes upfield going astray. TNS were a much more skilful and technical side as anyone would guess, but that counted for nothing as their attack was completely snuffed out by the Nomads defence and presented no threat whatsoever.

This was one of those matches that is best forgotten.

Then it was tea time. Rice and a curry out of a tin, followed by apple crumble and my home-made custard. Cornflour, sugar and vanilla essence. While it would be wrong to say that it was real custard, it was certainly acceptable.

Anyway now I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted but I’ll be having a nice lazy day tomorrow I hope. So I hope that no-one spoils it.

Friday 30th April 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 29th April 2021 – THERE HAS BEEN …

anakena port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… yet more movement in the chantier navale this morning, and I was lucky to be there to see it.

As I walked down to the end of the road this morning on my way out to the shops (I did actually make it there) I saw Anakena slowly making her way across the inner harbour – the tide being well in at this moment.

She’s been in the chantier navale for quite a considerable time, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, so it’s very nice to see her finally back in the water heading off towards her habitual berth in the inner harbour.

Not very quickly, I have to say. She’s taking her time manoeuvring across the harbour, not in any great rush. I suppose that after all of this time she needs to get her sea legs back again.

anakena victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time that I’d reached the bottom of the steps of the Rampe du Monte a Regret she was pulling into where she normally moors up.

But what caught my eye at this particular moment was the fact the Victor Hugo was also back in town today. Her stay in Cherbourg wasn’t all that long at all – just long enough for them to do whatever it was that they were doing that required the harbour gates to be left open the other day when the tide went out.

Anyway, after my horrible day yesterday, when I went to bed I found that I couldn’t go to sleep straight away. I spent quite a lot of time tossing and turning before I finally dropped off to sleep.

On awakening this morning, I knew that it was going to be another one of those days when I was going to be feeling really bad. And I wasn’t wrong either.

It was a real effort to haul myself out of bed and for much of the morning I didn’t feel like doing anything at all. But based upon the assumption that whatever I do has to be better than doing nothing at all, I filed away a pile of papers and wrote a letter that needed dealing with.

After a shower I gathered my thoughts and then went off to the shops where I encountered Anakena on her little perambulation around the port.

drawbridge pont levis Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere have been a few construction machines wandering around here this last day or two, and it seems that they are back working here in the Rue Cambernon.

That was closed to circulation a while ago while they had it dug up and it looks as if they are doing yet more work on it. One of these days I’ll have to go for a wander around there to see what they are up to.

Stopping off at the Post Office to post my letter, I carried on to the LIDL, totally exhausted by the walk.

And today I spent a lot of money in there, what with supplied being run down due to me not having done any shopping around Granville for a while. They had frozen falafel on special offer so I bought a box of that for future use. I bought some coffee too, which means that I’ll probably find my missing coffee tomorrow when I’m looking for something else.

The walk home was agony. Being loaded up as I was didn’t help much, and not being well made things even worse. But when I returned home I made myself some hot chocolate and with a slice of my sourdough fruit bread I came back in here.

And that was that, unfortunately, for the morning. Whatever time that was left before lunch was spent sleeping on my chair.

After a very late lunch again, I came back here again and fell asleep in plain mid-edit of the August 2019 photos in Wyoming. I’m currently parked on the verge of Highway 319 just north of Glendo, Wyoming, admiring a Burlington Northern and Santa Fe coal train passing by.

Somewhat later than usual, I staggered out into the sunlight for my afternoon walk.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I went over to the end of the car park and looked over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach.

Just a few people out this afternoon. It wasn’t all that warm out there this afternoon and there was plenty of wind about so I suppose that all of that was keeping people indoors. In fact, there weren’t too many people about at all walking around.

With nothing going on out at sea , I pushed off along the footpath on top of the cliffs. The view out to sea was hazy and misty today and there wasn’t much of a view out there. We could see the ile de Chausey but not really very much out to sea beyond there.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver the past couple of weeks we’ve seen the fishing boats working out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel between the coast here and the Brittany coast over on the other side.

As I walked across the path at the end of the lawn and over the car park, I could see that there were a couple of boats out there working today. There’s a trawler in mid-channel and another fishing boat out on the far side of the bay, although I can’t see what that one is.

There were a couple of others deeper in the bay towards the Mont St Michel but they were too far away to see. So there is evidently enough seafood out there in the bay to keep them in business for a while

people fishing on the rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact, the fishing boats are probably having more luck than these people are having right now.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the amount of people fishing with rod and line into the sea. The rocks on the end of the Pointe du Roc seems to be a popular place (or plaice) for them and there is another pile of them out there today.

It goes without saying that I didn’t see anyone catch anything while I was watching … “no surprise there” – ed … so I left them to it and cleared off down the path on top of the cliffs to carry on with my walk.

diggers working in outer harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom my vantage point on top of the cliffs I can see out past the harbour entrance to see what they are up to out there this afternoon.

Being earlier than I was yesterday, the tide is quite far out and so in the distance we can see the two white diggers that are installing this famous drainage pipe out across the bay. They are making quite good progress with that although I think that once we have a few winter storms and raging high tides, it’ll be interesting to see how well it survived.

The yellow digger is there too right by the harbour wall, digging away at this sandbank and they are making good progress with that too. Not only is it going to be interesting to see how much they dig away, it’ll also be interesting to see what else they will be digging up that’s been embedded in the silt for all this time.

aztec lady fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier today we saw Anakena sailing away out of the chantier navale to her berth after all of this time in there.

Nothing else has arrived there over the course of the day so we are now down to just two boats the little fishing boat that came a day or two ago and Aztec Lady that has been there for a while now.

Back in the apartment I bumped into a couple of neighbours and we had a good chat, and then I came up here for a mug of very strong coffee and to carry on with a few more photos.

That took me up to guitar practice and afterwards I had tea. A slice of pie with veg and gravy, followed by apple crumble and custard. I’ve now run out of custard powder so I might have a go at making my own with cornflour, sugar and vanilla essence.

And right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve had another horrible day today and I can’t afford to have too many of these right now. I really need to organise myself and start to feel better and do a few of the things that have been building up.

So here’s hoping for a good day tomorrow.

Wednesday 28th April 2021 – I HAVE HAD …

… probably the worst day that I have had for quite a while. I have been totally out of it all for the greater part of today and for all the good that I’ve done, I may as well have stayed in bed and saved all of the anguish.

It was a night that was rather later than usual, but not as late as many similar nights have been, and I had a sleep without a great deal of disturbance – there was nothing on the dictaphone for example. But even so I just couldn’t get my head around it today.

Margaret Thatcher once famously said “anyone can do a good day’s work when they feel like it. But the secret of success is to do a good day’s work when you don’t feel like it” and what I did today was nothing like a good day’s work.

After the medication I came in here with the intention of working but I didn’t last too long at all before I drifted off into oblivion. Not actually asleep but not very far from it.

Round about 10:00 I snapped out of it and went for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread, and that seemed to restore my vigour somewhat because I managed t edit about 30 photos of my trip to the USA in 2019. Right now I’m wandering around Fort Fetterman.

But I couldn’t keep going and ended off being really asleep after that.

It was rather a late lunch after all of that, and then I came back in here to do some more of my work on my yacht trip down the Brittany coast. And I actually managed to write a dozen or so words before things caught up with me again and that was that.

Rosemary awoke me by phoning me up and we had a good chat that went on for just over 2 hours and, much as I didn’t feel like it, I went for a very late walk.

crowds on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I walked down to the end of the car park to stick my head over the wall to see what was goig on down on the beach.

Being as late as I was, the tide was on its way back in again so there weren’t all that many people down on the beach this afternoon as there had been yesterday. But even so, those who were down there were still having good scratch around to see what they could find in the sand.

The woman down there in the yellow trousers looks as if she’s found something interesting. And I hope that she will share it with her friends. Afer all, you shouldn’t be selfish with your shellfish

fishing boats ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there gazing over the wall, I had a bit of a gaze out to sea to see what was going on out there.

The tide is just at that moment where the large island of the Ile de Chausey is being divided up by the tidal creeks but before the smaller parts of it are submerged so it’s when the islands are at their most numerous.

With the tide coming in, the fishing bots are starting to come in too. It’s still going to be a while before there is enough water for them to come into the habour so they might stop off to do a little fishing on the way home while they wait for the tide.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd they have their friends out there to go fishing with today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last couple of weeks we’ve seen the fishing boats working in the Baie de Mont St Michel and as I came down the path and across the car park today I could see three of them out there again today.

There are rules and regulations, so I’m told, about when and where and how often they can fish, but it must be profitable for at least some of them to be out there in the bay for as long as they have been, unless it’s something to do with searching for new post-Brexit fishing grounds.

le loup fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s also a small fishing boat out near Le Loup this afternoon too.

This is one of the boats that brings in the shellfish so its position seems to indicate to me that it’s out there laying traps, presumably for lobsters. If you look very closely in its wake you can see a few different types of buoys that probably indicate where it’s been dropping them off.

And you can see the difference in the tide today compared to where it was yesterday when almost all of the bay was flooded. When you are out there for the peche à pied you have to keep a very close eye on the speed of the tide.

digger clearing sandbank entrance to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe digger that we’ve seen there digging away at the sandbank at the entrance to the harbour is there again today.

He’s nibbling away at it quite rapidly now and the big lump has almost vanished. It will be interesting to see just how much they are going to dig away while they are at it. But make a note of this photo because it’s going to be important in a minute or two.

Meanwhile, you can see the mooring chains out there by the entrance to the harbour, and the buoys that are attached to them that float to the surface when the tide it in so that the boatmen know where to grapple with their boathooks when they need to tie up.

anakena fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom our viewpoint here on top of the cliffs we can see down into the chantier navale

And once again there’s quite a rotation of occupants down there today. Anakena and Aztec Lady are still in there today, although the latter is out of shot, and so is the little fishing boat that appeared in there yesterday.

The other two fishing boats that appeared in there a couple of days ago have however gone back into the water. That was what I call a quick turnaround.

One of the Joly France boats is over there at the ferry terminal with Chausiais in front of it, out of shot.

channel islands ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack in the inner harbour this afternoon is Granville, the newer one of the two Channel-Island ferries.

While they had the harbour drained she went out for a run around the bay while her older sister went to moor herself in Cherbourg. But now the water is back and so is she, and I never ever did find out what was going on down there that they needed to have all of the water drained out.

And now she’s back, there is still no indication of when, if ever, the ferry service to the Channel Islands is going to restart. Not only do they have the virus and Brexit to contend with, there’s the question of funding. The local council here that subsidises it thinks that the Channel Islanders should put their hands in their pockets too.

No sign of Marité though. She’s not come back. Apparently she’s going to be in Lorient for a while having her annual overhaul.

diggers with tractor and trailer port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRemember a few minutes ago when I told you to make a note of the photo that I took of the digger and tractors working?

That one was taken at 17:41:20 and this one is taken at 17:50:24, just 9 minutes later. And you can see that the tide has already come in as far as the harbour entrance in that time and it’s forced the digger and the tractors and trailers to beat a hasty retreat to higher ground.

That’s what I mean by a rapid tide, and you can see why it’s important to keep one eye on it when you are out there because it can catch you unawares and there have been many fatalities in the past.

baie de mont st michel trawler fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut that was enough for me. I came on home for my coffee and my guitar practice.

But as I reached the end of the road I could see behind me that a couple of the fishing boats that I’d seen out in the English Channel near the Ile de Chausey earlier had now arrived at the harbour. They weren’t going to bother to do any fishing on the way home. Instead they presumably intend to loiter around the entrance until the tide is far enough in.

After the guitar practice I went and made another quick tea. As I’m shopping tomorrow if I feel like it I’ll be going shopping so I used up all of the left-over food lying around followed by the last of the vegan ice-cream with some apple crumble.

More football tonight too. Connah’s Quay Nomads against Bala Town. If the Nomads were to win, they would put plenty of daylight between themselves and TNS at the top of the table. But after their magnificent effot on Saturday they failed to repeat it and went down 2-1.

That’s the big trouble with the Nomads – they can’t do it consistently enough. Another issue is that whilst their First XI is good enough, they don’t have enough quality on the bench to change things around.

Saturday’s return match against TNS is going to be extremely interesting. The Nomads won’t find that as easy as they did last weekend.

But now I’m off to bed. I’ve had enough. One thing that I do know is that no matter how ill I feel, I’ll feel better soon. Although one day, I won’t and that’s what worries me.

Tuesday 27th April 2021 – IT’S THAT TIME …

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of the year again.

And it’s going to take much more than a global pandemic to stop the hordes of Frenchmen and women (and even children) from the local area and many kilometres around from swarming onto the beaches with their various tools and implements.

Yes, it’s the lowest tide of the season and the time when the public areas of the beach below the leased concessions are uncovered and the general public has the right to go harvesting down there.

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not only that either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that at the low tide several weeks ago they had made a start on laying some kind of pipeline from the harbour out towards the sea, for a reason that totally defeats me.

But anyway they are back out there again extending it even further out towards the sea. And if you look closely you’ll see that it’s propped up on some concrete blocks, blocks pretty similar to those that they were manipulating in the outer harbour a week or two ago.

But returning to our moutons as they say around here, the one big problem that I have … “only one?” – ed … is that if I happen to go to bed early, I have a tendency to wake up early too.

Usually that’s no bad thing, especially if I forget to set the alarm, but if I have set the alarm but wake up at … errr .. 04:10 then it is. And so lying there tossing and turning and wishing that I can go back to sleep is a bit of a shame, wsting all that resting time. It’s not as if I have too much of that.

Of course, there is usually always a point at which I do manage to go back to sleep and it’s usually always about 5 minutes before the alarm goes off. And this morning was no exception.

So after the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. I was round at my father’s in this old flat that he had, Peggy Tyrell’s flat. he had this big old smelly dog there. I was apparently going to be staying the night looking after his place for him but I wasn’t all that happy about having that dog. I don’t do dogs. I had things to do and I certainly wasn’t take it for a walk in the morning and clean up all its mess. This led to a bit of an awkward time because I didn’t want to tell him this outright. He was getting this dog ready, cleaning it up, everything then in the end he shipped it off on a train to Stoke on Trent. I had to go off somewhere near Knutsford way to hire an inflatable dinghy. We’d been to see them the day before about it so I went back the next morning. Everyone was busy to I started to take this dinghy down. Someone came over and asked me what I was doing so I told him that I was hiring the dinghy. In the end they dismantled the apparatus for me to take this dinghy and they stuck it in the back of Caliburn for me. Then they were talking to me about “we’ll just get you a mat to go inside it, we’ll just get you this and just get you that”. This was taking absolutely ages to prepare. I asked “what am I going to do if I’m back late?” I couldn’t see me doing what I needed to do in the time that they were going to be open on a Sunday. He replied “that’s OK because someone’s on a run down to London so they aren’t going to be back until late so we’re still going to be here for them”. I still wasn’t convinced. In the end they agreed that I should just leave it roughly where I found it, by the metal skip. They had it in the back of Caliburn and it made the back doors of Caliburn bulge a little. And I noticed that there was a huge gash down the side of Caliburn and the gash had even gone through the metal. That part of Caliburn’s body was bowing out alarmingly. I thought “this doesn’t look right at all here”.

One thing that I wanted to do this morning was to have a shower and change my clothes. Even I was starting to notice it now.

The rest of the morning was spent revising my Welsh, attending my Welsh class, talking to a neighbour about his missing thermometer and then vacuuming the living room and kitchen floor because that was another thing that was getting on my nerves too.

After lunch, which was much later than usual, I posted a couple of photos of old lorries to an Abandoned Lorries page on the internet. It’s amazing the stuff that I was unearthing while I was in the depths of darkest Wyoming in August 2019 and there are always people who are interested in it.

That took me up to walkies-time

peche à pied people on beach buoy rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I went over to the end of the car park to look over the wal to see who was out and about on the beach this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I was probably expecting to see half of the town out there this afternoon and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m not sure why anyone would be out there at the water’s edge with a couple of very large dogs though.

The weather was a little warmer today and the wind had dropped slightly and I suppose that that encouraged the crowds to come out and try their luck on the beach.

and have you noticed the yellow buoy bobbing about just offshore.

f-gorn Robin DR 400-120 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not just on the beach either. We had a little bit of air traffic too flying past overhead.

This aeroplane is our old friend F-GORN. She’s a Robin DR 400-120 and is owned by the Aero Club de Granville. We’ve seen her out and about a couple of times just recently doing a few laps around the block and today was another one of these local trips.

She’d taken off from the local airport at Donville les Bains and apparently flown north because she was picked up on the radar near Lessay at 15:23. She did a circuit around and back, landing again at the airport at 15:52. So not exactly what I would call an interesting adventure.

peche a pied le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour was looking quite interesting today – or, at least, it would have done had it not been for all of the haze that was about today.

This is a view that I always like, the light out there in between the two trees at the edge of the car park. It’s the first thing that I see as I walk around the remains of the large bunker at the back of the lighthouse and onto the path that leads down to the car park.

And the crowds of people that you can see congregating around the light down there scratching away at the rocks tell their own story.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom this vantage point, I can also see the rear of the roof of the College Malraux that is opposite my building in the Place d’Armes.

That reroofing job has been on the go now for a considerable length of time and they are slowly moving closer to the end of the job. A couple of days before I went away I took a photo of the roof of the building and took this one today to compare the two and see how far they progressed over that period.

You can see the results of the difference FOR YOURSELF. That photo was taken just two weeks ago.

It’s not exactly a rapid rate of progress.

digging out harbour entrance port de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, around the path on top of the cliffs I headed towards the port to see how things were developing around there with the work that was being undertaken at the entrance to the outer harbour.

Now that they have made some advancement with their little task I can see more clearly what it is that they are doing. There’s some kind of sandbank or embankment that’s built up by the red or port light, presumably due to tidal scouring elsewhere that’s building up over in that corner.

And what they are doing is digging it out and depositing it elsewhere where the tidal current will carry the silt out to sea.

We can see the end of the pipe too, and the concrete blocks upon which they are laying it. It’s going to be interesting to see how far it goes out to sea, and also to seee ho long it withstands the rigours of the forces of nature out there.

anakena aztec lady fishing boats chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom my viewpoint on the cliffs I can also see down into the chantier navale just here, and I notice that we have yet another change of occupier in there today.

Anakena and Aztec Lady are still in there, as they have been for quite some time, and the two fishing boats that arrived in there yesterday morning. But there’s another fishing boat that has appeared in there this morning. That’s the little fishing boat, the blue and white one, that’s in the middle of the other two.

And have you noticed all of the cars parked on top of the harbour wall? It seems that the pecheurs à pied don’t have the energy to walk to the car park just down the road.

draining inner port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s the reason why Marité cleared off so smartish-like yesterday (she’s actually now in Lorient, presumably having her annual check-up) and why the two Channel Island ferries Granville and Victor Hugo are no longer there.

Someone has forgotten to close the harbour gates after the tide has started to go out and the inner harbour is now drained of all of its water.

That’s probably indicative of the fact that they are doing some work in there as well and once more, I’m bewildered why they didn’t wait until now to install the new pontoons. It would have taken them a quarter of the time and a quarter of the money to have installed them with the harbour drained of water.

Over the next couple of days I’ll be keeping an eye on this too to see what happens.

Back here I had a coffee, not as strong as I would like it because I can’t find my spare coffee, and then I came in here to carry on with the photos from Wyoming. I’m now in the middle of the Midwest Oilfield, centre of the Teapot Dome scandal in the early 1920s and I can see the teapot from where I’m standing right now.

And as it happened I might have gone way beyond it too except that there were a couple of interruptions. I fell asleep while I was doing it, which was one reason, and the second reason was that the bank phoned me. We’ve arranged to have a little chat in mid-May when (or if) the curfew is lifted.

The hour spend on the guitar was much better than yesterday and then I went for a quick tea, as there was football on the internet.

After their debacle on Saturday a very much-changed TNS side took the field against Caernarfon Town in a match that not only would they be expected to win at a canter, they would need to win as well to restore their credibility.

And what we were treated to was a defensive masterclass that made a total fool of Caernarfon’s depressing negative-goal difference because although the match was played for 99% on the time on the edge of Caernarfon’s penalty area, TNS couldn’t put the ball in the net.

Well, they did once, but it was ruled out (and rightly so) for a foul and they missed yet another penalty too. And one thing that TNS won’t be bragging about is that Caernarfon ended up with just 9 players on the field by the end of the game.

It was probably the most magnificent defensive performance that I’ve ever seen from anyone and Lewis Brass, who has been out of the game for 6 months but was called into the team due to a long-term injury to Josh Tibbets had a tremendous match in the Caernarfon goal.

TNS have hit a run of poor form just at the wrong time, exactly as they did last season. There’s the return match against Connah’s Quay on Saturday evening and I reckon that the championship of the Welsh Premier League is riding on that game.

So on that night I’m off to bed, later than I intended. But it can’t be helped. Football always comes first.