Tag Archives: donald

Thursday 21st April 2022 – GLOBAL WARMING ANYONE?

When John Ross, the leader of the first European expedition credited with exploring the north coast of Lancaster Sound, came by here in 1818 and when William Parry examined it in 1819-20, they noticed what might have been the entrance to a bay, which Parry called Croker Bay after the then-Secretary to the Admiralty.

dry valley croker bay devon island canada adventure canada into the north west passage 2019 photo august 2019 eric hallThey weren’t actually sure about whether it was a bay or not because the whole coastline was covered in impenetrable ice so they couldn’t sail in to make sure.

And there I was 200 years later, 25 kms deep into what is quite clearly a fjord rather than a bay, at the mouth of a dry valley where a glacier once flowed and where there isn’t a single trace of ice.

If you want to look for the “Croker Bay Glacier” you need to travel another 5kms up the fjord and eventually you’ll reach it. Over the last 200 years or so, a belt of ice 30kms deep and heaven alone knows how thick has melted.

Anyway I digress … “yet again” – ed.

aeroplane 54aay baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Outside this afternoon we’ve been having an aerial day but while you admire the light aeroplane 54AAY that flew past overhead making its debut on these pages, I’ll start at the very beginning … “a very good place to start” – ed.

And once more, it was a struggle for me to crawl out of bed again. I didn’t beat the second alarm, having gone back to sleep after the first one, but I was still up before the 3rd, even though it was “only just”.

And after the medication and checking my mails and messages, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And to my surprise I found that I’d stepped back into a dream not once but twice.

It’s becoming something of a habit.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One of my former work colleagues starred in this one. It was something to do with his retirement. He’d been called out for overstaying his retirement by some kind of sea creature so he went down to attack this sea creature and had a fight with it. He was stopped and they arranged a proper bour of either boxing or wrestling between the two of them. it was rather unfair because this sea creature had 4 arms instead of just 2 and it had to have its gills reinforced. The fight took place and eventually the sea creature won it. The person commentating said that it was a really good fight but he reckoned that every non-human and probably one or two humans as well really enjoyed the result and how it panned out

And then I started dictating the next dream in French. I was at home and had invited some friends round. They were actually grown-ups and I was only quite young. We ended up playing cards which I thought was a good game. They were 3 middle-aged men and one had a wife but she didn’t want to come. We dealt, and dealt for partners etc. They asked what I had to drink. I had a bottle of beer on the side from yesterday that I could drink. I looked in the drinks cupboard and they had one of these boxes of wine and there was some whisky etc so I started to put everything out ready for people to help themselves to alcohol

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That dream continued afterwards and I’d actually met the wife. They were living in a big detached house very much like UK 1930s but it was in France. She was dreading the start of the French school year because her kids were going to school. I asked her if her move to France was permanent. She told me 20 good reasons why it was. We were having quite a chat when her husband came up and said that when he had the house tidied up and the kitchen arranged I would have to come over for a cup of tea by the fire

Later on I was talking to Percy Penguin, and it’s been a while since she’s put in an appearance. She was being very cagey on the telephone about something. I could tell that there was something going on but she didn’t seem to want to expand on it very much. I couldn’t seem to chisel it out of her. At the same time I was talking to a footballer who lived on the continent. We were planning some kind of event together. My family came on the phone and I started to chat to them and happened to mention something about my youngest sister. They replied “haven’t you heard?”. I said “no” and they answered that she’d died. I was appalled. I asked how. It seemed that she and her husband had gone for a breakfast brunch somewhere. Some security guard had knocked her husband’s cup or something onto the floor so they had “had words”. A fight started and my sister had tried to join in but the security guard pulled out his revolver and shot her 4 times in the groin. At that moment he had been arrested.

Airbus A350-941 F-HTRE pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022We haven’t quite finished yet, but we’ll have an interruption to watch F-HTRE go past overhead.

She’s an Airbus A350-941 owned by Air Caraibes and first took to the air in July 2019. She’s flying TX514/FWI14J from Orly to Fort de France in the Caribbean and went past me at 38,000 feet and 498 knots at vector 272°

But in the meantime I was stepping back into the dream involving my youngest sister. Everyone was now round at my house collecting her stuff to take away. I was busy writing a note to my brother expressing my condolences etc.

Once again it took me a couple of hours to come to my senses, which is a surprise seeing how few I have these days, but when I’d come round I made a start on the photos from the High Arctic of 2019. By the time that I’d finished this evening I was up the end of Croker Bay pinned against a glacier.

There’s a huge batch of photos that I’ve dealt with over the last couple of days. But I’m not out of the woods yet. I have simply moved into different woods.

We had a whole variety of interruptions today, coffee and breakfast being not the least of them.

But on the subject of fruit bread, I had the last slice today.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That’s the cue for another load – this time it was fruit buns because there was nothing else to bake in the oven so I had the room.

And here’s the results. Enough to keep me going until I clear off next Friday, with a few in the freezer for when I come back too.

It’s basically a bread mix of 250 grammes with a pile of brazil nuts ground into a coarse flour, some dessicated coconut, raisins, sunflower seeds, chopped banana chips, some of those mixed dried fruits and a fresh banana all mixed in. And probably a few other things too that happen to be lying around.

And then when it’s all proofed, cooked for 40 minutes on a medium-high oven.

For lunch I took the remaining half-loaf out of the freezer this morning and it had been defrosting. And there’s nothing like fresh bread like that. I’ll have to make another loaf on Sunday, I reckon, while I’m doing my pizza and I’ll freeze half of that too.

taped off front of building place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was of course the usual afternoon walk around the headland.

However today I didn’t go very far before I came to a stop. Just outside the front door in fact.

There’s something afoot here just outside the building, and I’ve no idea what because I haven’t heard anything at all. But whatever it is, they have most of the front of the building taped off, presumably to prevent access.

The plot thickens, that’s for sure.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But anyway, we can leave that for a while. Let’s go and have a look down on the beach.

It was another quite nice day today and the crowds were out enjoying it. Down on the beach too there were plenty of people taking the air including a group of young women playing with a frisbee.

There were other folk down there too, poking around in rock pools, scavenging amongst the rocks and the like. We can tell that the tide is on its way out this afternoon.

And they had beautiful weather for it too.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was up here looking down onto the beach I also had my roving eye wandering around looking at what was going on offshore.

There was quite a haze today so I couldn’t see all that far but I did notice a couple of fishing boats out there. One that we can see here but there was another one further out as well.

And presumably they were working too because they were pointing away from the harbour and following the coast.

Of course, they are far too far out to sea for me to be able to identify them, especially in these weather conditions when I had to peer through a sea mist to see anything at all.

marker buoys baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That wasn’t everything either.

Just down there offshore is a collection of marker buoys. It looks as if someone has dropped a few lobster pots into the water just there.

Mind you, that’s not all that far out and I suppose that they will just come along later this afternoon walking across the sand to collect them and their catch because I’m pretty certain that where they have dropped them is out of the water when the tide is right out.

That speedboat roaring past didn’t have anything to do with them anyway

However that’s not my problem. Armes with my face mask, I went to fight the good fight amongst the crowds of people on the path.

people taking photograph pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a recurring theme that runs through these pages as that oe me taking photos of people taking photos.

But here’s quite a new twist on the subject. Down at the end of the headland I looked back and saw a guy setting up a tripod with his camera perched thereupon.

And having done that, he took up station with his beloved and the self-timer did the rest, much to the chagrin of one of the workers at the coastguard post who wanted to drive past there in his car and who was obliged to wait.

But they did make a handsome couple.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It wasn’t just with lobster pots and trawlers that people were out fishing this afternoon.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen someone perched on the rocks with rod and line at the end of the headland but today we had one of the aforementioned.

And it still bewilders me that these fishermen don’t have a basket or anything in which to put their catch. However, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in all the years that we’ve been watching them, we’ve yet to see a fishermen pull a fish out of the water with rod and line.

There were no spectators on the bench at the cabanon vauban either today. They must have known that I was coming.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From the end of the headland I walked down towards the port to see what was happening there today.

And there has been another change in occupancy at the chantier naval today. Le Roc A La Mauve III is still there showing little signs of moving but Anakena seems to have finished her overhaul and she’s now gone back into the water, ready for her summer voyages to the frozen north.

And how I wish that I was going with her too, but I suppose that you are fed up of me moaning about that. It’s high time that I went out and got myself a life. I need to do something to start moving again but with these heart issues and knee issues it’s not so easy.

But I have the doctor to see next week and the heart specialist at the hospital to see on the 5th of May so who knows? Something might start happening soon, but I’m not holding my breath.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Over at the fist processing plant it looks as if there’s a very long and complicated game of “Musical Ships” taking place.

Briscard was there but she went and L’Omerta came in her place. And then they swapped places, and today they have swapped back again. The excitement here is terrific and I might have to go and lie down in a darkened room.

Instead, I came home for a coffee, a session on the guitar and then (regrettably) I crashed out for a good while. I don’t know what’s the matter with me these days.

Tea was a curry made with leftovers, and delicious it was too. Tomorrow I fancy sausage, beans and chips, especially now that I have my air fryer. I’ve no excuse now for rubbishy chips

But that’s tomorrow. Tonight I’ll have a strum on the guitar and then go to bed. I could do with a much better night and then maybe I’ll have a much better day to follow.

Tuesday 19th April 2022 – THINGS ARE MOVING …

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… at the site of the huge fire in the Rue du Midi the other week

On my way down into town for my physiotherapy appointment this afternoon I came across a rather large cherry picker parked in the Rue des Juifs.

With some men up there with a load of building material it looks as if they are starting the repairs to at least one of the houses that was badly damaged in the fire.

Of course, they can’t leave them open to the elements for too long. If the rain sets in there will be more than just the roof than needs replacing.

What else was moving this morning was me – a good few minutes before the first alarm went off as well. Never mind being able to do it when I have to, this just goes to prove that I can do it when I don’t have to as well.

So why can’t I do it all the time? That’s what beats me.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I settled down to deal with the slowest radio programme on record – at least since I have been properly organised. It wasn’t finished until after I returned from the physiotherapist and I still haven’t heard it yet to make sure that it’s OK.

And that’s despite the fact that I’d written some of the notes over the weekend as well.

What happened today was that I was plagued by a whole series of interruptions. I was actually making good time, regardless of coffee and breakfast breaks, and then Rosemary rang me. It goes without saying that that threw all of my plans into a cocked hat because we are quite capable of chatting about nothing at all for several hours.

As it happens, Rosemary has a real problem right now, a problem relating to her health, and she needed a shoulder to lean on.

After we had finished I had to dash around and steam-clean the apartment. It’s been a good few weeks since I’ve done that and I have visitors this afternoon so it needs to be something like.

After lunch my visitor arrived. He has plans to set up a ratline bringing Ukrainian refugees from the Polish border to Normandy on the train and we wanted to pick my brains, such as they are

He’s not actually going to find it as easy as it might be because there are a lot of variables in all of this and even knowing the ropes, doing research, having the contacts and the accommodation (because you aren’t going to do it in an 18-hour railway day) I still ended up having to wait around for hours

Moving small groups around is reasonably straightforward, especially if I’m going that way anyway, but he’s talking about doing it with large numbers and that’s completely impractical, especially on the Paris Underground.

My advice was to go to Moldova and hire a coach and a couple of drivers.

No problem with finding accommodation there. Everyone can sleep on the coach as it’s travelling. Two drivers can do a 28-hour shift between them and that’s all you need to come up from Chisinau. I’ve done that a couple of times in the past when the roads and the coaches were nothing like as good as they are now..

After he’d gone I had a shower and cleaned myself up, and then set out for the physiotherapist.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As my appointment is later than usual today, it was round about the right time for me to go and look down onto the beach so I headed off in that direction.

Of course, it’s no longer Bank Holiday so quite a few people are now back at work. Consequently I wasn’t expecting to see all that many people down there on the beach this afternoon.

And I was right too. There couldn’t have been more than a dozen people down there. Mind you, it was extremely windy again, but that’s not usually enough to keep people off the beach when it’s nice and sunny.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Next stop, as usual, is the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was happening down at the port.

The three boats that we saw moored up at the quayside down there yesterday have moved on but there is another, different boat moored down there this afternoon.

And no prizes for guessing who she is either because we’ve seen her down there on dozens of occasions in the past. It is of course L’Omerta, one of the big shell-fishing boats.

The tide is well out so she’s going to be there a few hours yet at least until she can float off elsewhere.

reroofing rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having taken my photograph I headed off down the hill towards the cherry picker in the Rue des Juifs.

From here, we can see what is going on and why they have the cherry picker. There are a couple of people up there in the nacelle taking roofing material up there onto the roof. The repair work to that house seems to be beginning in earnest.

As for the ruins of the burnt-out one next door, there isn’t really all that much that anyone can do to it. I imagine that they will have to pull it down in the end. The stench of burnt wood would be enough to put off anyone from living in there again.

bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And on that note I carried on down the hill into town.

The last time that we were this way we saw them beginning to set up Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère or “temporary bar” that is set up on the corner of the boulodrome for the summer.

It’s pretty much all set up now and I imagine that it will be opening up before too long, although I would have expected it to have been open in time to catch the Easter trade, especially as Easter is so late this year.

Nevertheless, the presence of the Bar Ephemère isn’t putting off the boulonauts. They are still carrying on around all of the other activity down there. It takes more than this to put them off their stride.

road closed rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill towards the physiotherapist I noticed that the Rue Roger Maris was still closed.

What I’ll do will be to go that way home and find out why. There didn’t seem to be too much going on to cause it to be closed for so long the last time I was there.

Today I had a new physiotherapist. She explained the results of my MRI scan and it doesn’t sound as particularly serious as I thought it might have been. Still, we’ll see what the doctor has to say next week.

As for my treatment, she gave my knee a massage with the electric machine and then had me doing a few exercises.

rue roger maris rue du boscq place des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having been thrown out until next Monday, I headed off to find out what was happening in the Rue Roger Maris.

And what I could see was “nothing at all”. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why the road should be closed.

However what I could see was that they had been putting sets of studs in the road, presumably to mark out a pedestrian crossing of some description. But that’s all completed now anyway so the road ought to be open.

There wasn’t anything of any interest going on in the town centre so I pushed on up the hill.

marité belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On the way up the hill towards home I stopped for a look down into the harbour.

Marité is down there, back from her overhaul. But I’m surprised to see that she’s not out working this afternoon. There are plenty of people around and so there’s a marketing opportunity that’s being missed here.

Not that it surprises me. I’ve made several remarks in the past about the staff who run the operation who seem to be much more interested in chatting amongst themselves rather than dealing with customer enquiries.

Belle France, the new Ile de Chausey ferry, is down there too. The other two boats are missing though, presumably running out to the Ile de Chausey.

government boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was something else that caught my eye while I was looking around the port.

Over there on the right is a boat that I haven’t seen before. She’s in the colours of the French Government so she’s presumably an official boat but I’ve no idea what she’s doing in the harbour.

And in the background there’s a mechanical digger doing some work. That’s something that has escaped my notice until this afternoon. I’ve not seen anything about that anywhere either.

But while we’re on the subject of the port and the redevelopment, the story that I mentioned yesterday of the Big Wheel not coming to the town is creating all kinds of controversy and I expect that there will be much more to say about that in the near future.

trawlers fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another thing that I noticed was what I thought was some kind of strange phenomenon on one of the trawlers just down there.

At first I thought that it was a trick of the light, some kind of prismatic effect creating all kinds of arrays of colour, but a closer examination revealed that it’s just a collection of plastic boxes.

The chute and pipework at the side of the trawler by the way is an ice chute. The trawlers fill their holds with ice before they leave and that helps keep the catch fresh until they return to port.

Back here I had a coffee and listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

it started off with something about Ukrainian people coming to Shavington for shelter, all loaded up with all kinds of fishing equipment but I can’t remember any more about it than this

And then there was a prison break organised for a town in Mexico with some young boy in soldier’s uniform who had gone to see a bandit chief about smuggling 3 revolvers into the local prison so that they could escape. 3 American women came into town and ended up working at some kind of job in town where they could watch everything and keep an eye on the prison break. They set up the town so that there were all kinds of weapons like machetes and daggers deposited in certain strategic places so that if these guys escaped but lost their guns could grab hold of some kind of weapon to defend themselves as they tried to make their way out of town.

Later on I was browsing through a newspaper and came across an advert for a Suzuki GS550 4-cylinder for sale for £1000. It said “ex-Shearings” on it so I was rather tempted by that. My brother rang up the garage in London and yes, they still had one. He said that it was a 1987 model so I took over the phone and had a talk to them about it. It had had new shock absorbers all round and a few other bits and pieces so I said that if I paid £100 deposit could they keep it for the weekend and I could come down and listen to it. If it was making any strange noises I could have my money back otherwise I’d pay the balance. They agreed to that so I gave them my details where they could send their details. Then I spoke to my friend from the Wirral and asked if he fancied a trip down to London on Saturday. He said that he had something to do but he could do it early in the morning then we could go down to pick it up. One of the young girls there said that we had to take 2 cars because she didn’t want to see a motorbike so I had to sit by her and ask her what was the matter with motorbikes, why she didn’t want to see one and what problems she had etc.

Finally I was in Virlet last night. There were quite a few of us round at my house including my brother. He was spending all his time tormenting the next-door neighbour’s dog. In the end I told him off and told him to leave the dog alone. The next-door neighbour came out with his dog and a couple of people who were there and we all started to go for a walk. They came round to where we were standing and had a little discussion. Then we went off for this walk having something of a chat. We ended up back at my house. A little girl who was with us and one with them went and sat next to each other and started to play. The guy asked questions about my tomato plants that I had growing. A girl with me borrrowed my pen and wrote out a note for him. It all started to become reasonably friendly. I thought that this doesn’t sound like my normal neighbours to me. I wonder what’s the matter with them.

And I wish that my brother would clear off. It’s rather annoying having my family hanging around like this. I ran away from home 50 years ago this summer in order to put as much distance as possible between me and the rest of them and I really can’t do with them keeping on coming back like this to haunt me during the night when there are many more people, like Castor, zero and TOTGA for example whom I would much rather see.

As I have said before … “and on several occasions too” – ed … I don’t mind Nerina putting in an appearance every now and again. After all, I did quite happily invite her to share my life, for better or for worse, and I would much rather have her about than quite a few people I could name.

Tea was the stuffed pepper that I should have had last night – well, in actual fact it was one that I found from the previous week that I had forgotten but found when I was vacuuming out the vegetable trays. Still, it was just as delicious. I put a bit more chili powder in it and that gave it something more of a kick.

Tomorrow I have my travel arrangements to make. I’m going a few days earlier, for reasons that will become clear in due course.

But if fortune smiles upon me which I hope that it will, something for which I have been hoping for the last 30 years will surely come to pass, and there might even need to be a name-change somewhere along the line.

Thursday 14th April 2022 – WE’VE HAD ANOTHER …

trawlers yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… nautical afternoon this afternoon while I was out on my patrol around the headland.

So while you lot admire the photos of various water craft out there at sea this afternoon, I’ll tell you all about my pretty miserable day today.

And “miserable” is hardly the word for what I’ve been up to today. It all went horribly wrong.

And it started to go wrong when I awoke this morning – or, rather, when I didn’t awaken. Because when the alarms went off at 07:30 and again at 08:00 I simply turned them off and rolled over.

trawler cabin cruiser speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022What beats me though is that I can do it when I really try, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but today I just couldn’t, for some reason, haul myself out of bed

No matter how much I tried and how much I was telling myself to move, I just lay there. It was actually – would you believe – 12:25 when I finally fell out of bed and that would be a tragedy for a Sunday, never mind a weekday when I’m supposed to be working.

It isn’t as if I’d had a late night either. I was in bed before 23:30 and 8 hours and more is plenty of sleep. It’s not so long ago that I was functioning quite happily on 4 hours sleep every night and I still can when I have to when the trains are messed about and I have to be on the 05:55 to Paris so I need to be up and about at 04:00.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022What I might put it down to is the distance that I travelled during the night. I wasn’t hanging around at all here in bed, despite what you might think.

We had a football match last night. I can’t remember who was playing against who but it wasn’t any football clubs. I dunno – maybe it was a class from night school against another class from night school or something. We were pretty accomplished though. I don’t know how we made up the teams now but I was playing in central defence which is a surprise because it’s about the only position on a football pitch where I can’t play and I still have nightmares about a game where I played in central defence in my early 20s for all of 45 minutes before I was ignominiously – but quite rightly – subbed at half-time but I was having a good game as well. We were doing quite well defending and there was a big crowd watching us, including a little girl who was obviously some connection to me because I was shouting messages to her during the match. On one occasion she asked how long to go. I replied “15 minutes and then we can stop to have a cup of tea”. She shouted back “yes, we can have 4 cups of tea afterwards” in the pauses of the game. We could pause the game and have 4 cups of tea afterwards or something like that.

trawlers waiting at inner harbour gates port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022We were playing another football match where we had a big centre-forward and a striker who played alongside him, something like that, I don’t really know. We’d won 9-0 or was it 7-0. One forward scored 3, I’d scored 2 and this striker guy had scored 2. In the next match we’d played, we played against the league leaders and won 2-0.

There was then a group of us in a house and we wandered off. Suddenly there was a noise and shouting and shots being fired. Those of us downstairs were being pinned down by shots from upstairs on the stairs. There was a woman screaming and we thought that we were being robbed or something at first but something didn’t quite add up. In the end I looked through the railings, almost being shot, and all that I could see were these women so I assumed that these women were trying to rob us. That was exactly the case so we fired back. They fired but we ended up killing 2 and capturing one. It was another one of these violent dreams where I dragged her out of my house by he hair down to the guard and through the fence and I was dragging her off down the street by her hair.

These days I’m having far too many of these violent dreams

trawlers unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And then I’d been to see that Steve Bell rehearse. We’d been having a really good chat while his group was rehearsing. He had dispensed with a couple of players and was down to just a basic four-piece band. He asked if I would go to see them tomorrow or Sunday. I asked where they were and he said that they hadn’t anything lined up on Saturday but they would play anywhere that was reasonable. On Sunday they were playing at a pub in Crewe. It was rather rough, the pub, but it sounded reasonable. He was also saying that he was doing a disco for the college where they had Paul Simon lined up to appear and they were looking for a 80s backing band to support him. My ears immediately pricked up but he was planning to do that himself. In the meantime I thought about this gig, that a certain girl who had once been a girlfriend of mine would be back home. I could contact her to see what she’s doing and hopefully be able to persuade her to come. I must have contacted her and picked her up because we were in the car driving out of Crewe back towards Audlem. We reached Mornflake Oats was. There was a bakery at the back of it. Some woman was reversing an articulated lorry with a loaf of bread on it out of the yard into the road. Thinking that she was going to turn left down the other way, I stopped but she stopped as well so I reversed up a bit more, she reversed a bit more and then dropped this huge loaf of bread off right in the middle of the road. Then she prepared to drive away. I went to ask her what was going on. She refused to answer so this led to an enormous row. Other motorists who had found the road blocked by this huge loaf of bread also joined it. It led to something of a slanging match but this woman didn’t care at all. She was just going to drop the bread there and go off. She was working the early morning shift and that was all she cared about. We all said that we were working night shifts and remembered the days when people were polite but she was stil being quite insistent. In the end, when she drove away and left this loaf of bread here we all cut up this loaf of bread and stole it. We then went back to the route that she had taken with her lorry and started to rig up a system of trip wires across that would stop a lorry and cause her to have an accident, all that kind of thing. We were all quite incensed about this.

And more bread again? What on earth is happening here?

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022My brother contacted me. He was updating his accounts and had something for me so could I go over to see him. I had 15 minutes between finishing work ay 17:00 and my bus at 17:15 so I could call in. He was making all of the arrangements, saying about his savings account that needed splitting between us. He wanted to do it then and there. I explained that I had my bus to catch and I didn’t really have the time. My mother and one of my sisters walked in. My sister said something like “there are people looking for you” about something or other. I said that I didn’t have the time to deal with it at the moment. “Would it be OK if they had a word with me tomorrow maybe or some other time?”.

Later on I’d gone round to my house in Virlet and it was all overgrown. We couldn’t get in through the door. One or two of the neighbours were upset about the state of it. I can’t remember who I was with now but there was a third person there too. She took me to see some more neighbours. They were American soldiers, a man and wife. This 3rd person was telling me stories about them, discussing the conflicts that I was having with the other set of neighbours. She said that the conflict isn’t with me but the house which I didn’t really understand but I let it go. We were doing some stuff outside and I suddenly said to the person with me that we have to go round the front. She wondered why. I went round the front and noticed that all the windows and the doors weren’t my windows and doors. I suddenly realised that I’d actually been messing around and doing all kinds of strange things at the wrong house. It wasn’t my house at all but a 3-bedroomed semi somewhere in the suburbs and not my house stuck out in the wilderness at all.

The sleep that I had had after the alarms went off must have been quite deep because according to the times on the dictaphone I’d even managed to wander off during that sleep. There was a group of us at a seaside holiday resort somewhere. For some unknown reason we had jacked up a car that was parked in a car park. There was one of us underneath it with an angle grinder cutting something out of this car. We had a generator going to power the angle grinder. Of course there were people going past. In the distance I saw what looked like a harbour official complete with peaked cap wandering down the boardwalk. I told whoever it was underneath it that I was going to lower the car down and switch off the generator. I made a gesture to the generator operator to switch it off. He did and we lowered down the car. We had to wait for him to come past. He was taking so much time to do it that right by where all these cars were parked was a café. It was lunchtime and people were bringing their lunch. Someone came and I thought that they were going to get into this car but in fact they sat at a table right next to it and took out all their sandwiches. I thought to myself that this job is going to take a week to do this what should have been a simple 5-minute job whatever it was, with all of these disturbances etc going on. We couldn’t jack up the car and start cutting again while these people were there eating their sandwiches.

But the girl whom I mentioned just now, she was lovely. She was quite a bit younger than me and at one time I’d had a fling with her elder sister. She worked at the library in Nantwich on Saturdays while she was at school and when they had new LPs and cassettes in that she knew I would like, she would smuggled them out when she finished for me to tape and then she would smuggle them back the next Saturday morning.

One Christmas when we had no money (the usual state of affairs in the mid 70s when I was guitaring), we made up some pretty cards out of bits and pieces and then took them round on Christmas Eve to all of the local important bigwigs in Audlem. “Ohh … Merry Christmas. Do come in. Have a sherry, have a mince pie”.

We were both totally smashed by midnight. And it didn’t cost us a penny either.

Her parents hated me with a passion and I do have to say “not without reason” but she was lovely and we would have made a really good couple.

A few years later when I was coach-driving I popped into a bank to draw some cash and guess who was serving behind the counter? We “exchanged pleasantries” but it was all that we had time to do because I was on a 20-minute break.

Some time later I did go back when I had more time but she wasn’t there. Apparently she had only been doing a placement there.

Story of my life, I suppose.

That, believe it or not, took up most of the early afternoon right up until the time that I go out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As usual the first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

As you might expect, with it being such a beautiful day this afternoon, there were crowds down there enjoying themselves.

There wasn’t anyone actually in the water but there were a few people manoeuvring … “PERSONoeuvring” – ed … an inflatable dinghy around down there so I imagine that it won’t be long before someone falls in or they puncture the boat and have to swim for it.

One of my neighbours was also there leaning on the wall looking at the excitement so we exchanged pleasantries too. I’m not the sociable type, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but living where I do, I have to do my best to make an effort.

red powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It wasn’t just on the beach and in the sea that things were quite busy. There were lots of things going on in the air too.

Most of it was too high for me to be able to see exactly but there was no missing this as it passed by overhead.

There are several bizarre machines that fly around out of the airfield up the coast and one of them is this red powered hang glider. He burst out from behind the College as I walked down the path towards the lighthouse.

By the way, I’ve not forgotten my promise to blag a flight in one of these machines. I’m rather pushed for time right now – even more so if I lie stinking in bed until stupid hours of the afternoon.

55-qj light aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There are also several light aircraft whose serial numbers aren’t recorded on any database that I can access that fly out of the airfield too.

One of them was coming the other way, having just taken off, and it passed the powered hang glider as I watched. This one is 55-QJ and we’ve seen this several times in the past.

No point in looking for a flight plan because it doesn’t file one and these planes don’t fly high enough to be picked up on civilian radar so we can’t track them in real time either as we can do with the others.

les epiettes baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Surprisingly, there weren’t too many people on the path this afternoon. They must all have been either out at sea or on the beach or in the air this afternoon so I had the path practically to myself.

Amongst the boats that were out there this afternoon was Les Epiettes, the little boat that belongs to the Ponts et Chaussées, the “Roads and Bridges” department.

The tide isn’t far enough in to allow the harbour gates to be opened so she’s hanging around outside the harbour with all of the others waiting for the tide to come in further

And as you have already seen in a few of the earlier photos, there were plenty of other boats waiting around too. It’s been busy this afternoon out there.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there were plenty of spectators observing the maritime activity too, even if they weren’t up here with me.

Down on the bench by the cabanon vauban we had a young couple soaking up the sun this afternoon.

But I wasn’t hanging around though. I’d just remembered that I’d forgotten to set the coffee on the go before I set out so I need to head for home.

No change in the chantier naval, I noticed as I went past, but Le Roc A La Mauve III now has her signwriting done so it won’t be long before she’s back in the water.

marité chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having seen all of the trawlers either unloading at the fish processing plant or waiting for the harbour gates to open, there’s going to be a dispute or two very shortly.

Chausiaise, the little Ile de Chausey freighter, is tied up where all of the trawlers usually tie up so I imagine that they will all want her to move to her own little spec down at the bottom corner as soon as they come in.

She usually ties up down there at the bottom with ehr friends next to Marité so I’ve no idea what she’s doing there today unless she’s loading up by hand ready to sail on the tide.

Back here I made a coffee and then there was another job that needed my attention.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I said that I would have a potato and mushroom curry for tea tonight, but in fact I’ve ended up with pie, veg and gravy.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That’s because with not being up in time, I didn’t make any bread this morning. Lunch was therefore porridge and toast with what was left of the bread, and when I returned from my walk I made a loaf of bread.

With the oven being on, it’s a shame to waste the heat output so I bunged a few potatoes in as well and then added a slice of pie to warm up. The veg was cooked on the hob and the water was used to make a gravy.

Tea was delicious and by the looks of things, so will the bread. Plenty of sunflower seeds in it and also a Vitamin C tablet seeing as I remembered to buy some the other day when I was at LeClerc.

So having now finished everything I’ll have another play on the guitar and then go to bed. There’s no alarm tomorrow with it being a Bank Holiday and I have remembered to take the hot cross buns out of the freezer ready for tomorrow, but whether I’ll be eating them is something else completely.

Either I’ll be awake at 06:00 and can’t sleep or else it will be another dismal 12:30 start. If only I could find a happy medium I would strike her, but that’s not likely around here, is it?

Wednesday 13th April 2022 – GUESS WHO …

… has a broken kneecap? And for a fourth time too.

The first time was when I went head-over-handlebars on a motorbike when I was 16. The second time was when I slid a motorbike on a greasy road when I was 19 and the weight of two people and the bike itself (a 350cc Triumph) fell on it. The third time was skiing in Scotland when I was in my 20s – and I drove BILL BADGER, my old A60 van, home again.

As for when I did it in the fourth time, all that I can think of is that it was when I had that fall and broke my hand just before I went off on my transatlantic trip across to the High Arctic on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR in the summer of 2019.

But taking a couple of years to manifest itself (it collapsed last spring, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall) is some going.

Anyway, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, I had a lie-in this morning. Not that I intended to but at 07:30 – and at 08:00 – I couldn’t summon up the enthusiasm to leave my stinking pit. 09:25 was much more like it.

Having had my medication, sorted out the mails and messages and organised this week’s musical playlist on the computer, I had a listen to the dictaphone. And there was tons of stuff on there too. I’d had a busy night. No wonder I was in no hurry to leave my stinking pit.

The night started off with a huge long rambling dream about refugees. Again I had them with me and I arrived at a railway station. There were rooms above so we took a room above there. We had to carry all of their possessions up into the room above. That meant 4 or 5 trips in the lift to do it. There were all kinds of things happening – there was some objects still stuck in a lift from someone, I kept on bumping into all kinds of old schoolfriends while I was doing it, there was interaction with authority, one of those things that just went on and on and on while we were trying to move these refugees into this room. I’ve missed out most of it I think but the interesting part was of course all these people from school who kept appearing every time the lift either went up or went down and the doors opened. There would always be someone whom I knew waiting there. One person in particular was there once and also other people

So I had these refugees trying to get them into the upstairs room at this station passing by loads of people whom we knew. Some wanted arguments, some wanted help. I had papers from the Red Cross and had to show them. We were going up and down in this lift moving their stuff into this little room. The dream went on like this for ages. We met so many kinds of people and friends and one or two other people who helped us on our way but the farther we could get away from Vienna or Germany or wherever it was the better

My brother had bought a car, a Ford Cortina estate over the internet. A Mark IV model but he said that it was grey so we imagined that it would be the colour of my father’s old one. He was sitting down trying to work out how to get out and get it because his timetable was so full, he was going here and going there, he was having to work something else. In the end it was going to be several weeks before he could get it so I said that I would go for it. It turned out that it was near Foinavon that’s not the name but it’s on the railway line over Slochd Summit so that rules out Forsinard so of course the Inverness train is the place to go. I checked on the timetables, found the correct train and set off. I had to change at a big station to catch one of the stopping trains that went up the Highland line. The train pulled in and I checked with the guard that there was a local service coming up behind. All the doors closed and I thought that I’d missed the opportunity to leave the train but the door was opened from outside so I had to fight my way out. I found myself on some kind of temporary wooden platform which was just framework and no flats. There were people balancing awkwardly on there trying to enter the train and I was trying to alight. Other people who had already alighted were trying to work out how to go down to the main platform. I had to point them the way. This was a scene of total chaos as everyone who alighted from this train onto this wooden framework or whatever was trying to fight their way down to where everyone else was down on the main platform. I was thinking about all the things that needed doing, that I hoped that the car had enough fuel as it was getting late and I imagined that most places for fuel would be closed round here. I’d have to go to Inverness or Stirling or somewhere to fuel up and I hoped that everything else would be OK. I could imagine 1001 things that could go wrong between me picking up the car and brining it back home again.

I don’t know how this one started but I was working in the American embassy doing something, running errands. There was some kind of issue with the Russian desk in this large building and the Russians suddenly started firing loaves of bread over to the Americans. I caught a few and stored them up but they were coming over more and more and more. Eventually there was a pause so I walked across the hall to the Russian desk, found their senior officer, thanked him very much for sending all the bread to me but I told him that I now had enough fresh bread that I needed so if he wanted to send me any more could he make sure that it was frozen so that I could keep it in store. This was greeted by stunned silence throughout the building. After I had said my little piece I walked back to where the American desk was. I was beckoned over to the desk of the Ambassador’s personal secretary. She said “don’t you ever do anything like that ever again” but she was laughing and so was everyone else. I imagined that although i’d been told off, that everyone else was really quite sympathetic and really quite pleased that I’d gone out there and confronted them over it.

We were a big group of teenagers last night wandering around the streets of Crewe. I can’t remember how this worked out but we ended up at the house of a girl to do something. Her mother came to the door and in the end she fetched this girl. We were all around the back having something of a laugh etc. This girl was being quite chatty and quite friendly. Then it became time for us to leave so I asked her for her ‘phone number. She was possibly playing a game and in the end ended up trying to give me her father’s ‘phone number. She said that she could always remember it because it was 8 over 6, the 6 numbers at the end. Of course I immediately told them what it was, which was 675000 (which of course it isn’t). She gradually warmed a bit and in the end asked me for my ‘phone number. I didn’t have a card on me so I had to borrow a card off someone else, try to write my number but we didn’t have a pen that worked. In the end she decided that she would ‘phone me so that I’d have her ‘phone number and she’d have mine. That was what she did. But all of this took ages and there was much more to it than this but I can’t remember now. It was another one of these dreams that slowly developed into something extremely warm and pleasant and the type that I would want to carry on for ever. I awoke in a night sweat, which I haven’t had for a good few months. “I wish that this could have gone on for ever, this particular dream” I said into the dictaphone, so being able to talk like that while I’m asleep shows you exactly what kind of effect it had on me.

But low-flying loaves of bread as well? As I have said before… “and on many occasions too” – ed … what goes on during the night is much more exciting than anything that happens to me during the day these days.

To take me up to shower time I had a play with a few more photos of the High Arctic 2019 and I wish I could remember the name of the hill on which the flagpole is erected at Dundas Harbour on Devon Island. All that I can think of, and I know that it’s not correct, is the painter Samuel Gurney Cresswell who sailed to the High Arctic as Lieutenant with James Clark Ross and then with Robert McClure.

If I had to pick one of my favourite Arctic explorers he would be up there somewhere, not the least for his quote “a voyage to the High Arctic ought to make anyone a wiser and better man”. Well, it didn’t work for me, as the events of the last few days of my 2019 trip bear witness.

After a shower and a weigh-in (and I’ve lost 600g) I had lunch and then cleared off with Caliburn to the physiotherapist. It’s my last session with her today as she moves on to pastures new. She’s fixed me up with a colleague, but I bet that the new girl won’t be anything like as nice as Sonia. She can massage my clavicles any time she likes.

The trip to Avranches was complicated today because of all the roadworks and road closures. I ended up having to meander through the countryside and then it took me a while to find the centre. And when I found the centre, to find the building where I needed to be.

The scanning machine was made by General Electric, one of my former employers, so I knew that it would be good. And eventually they shoved me through it.

The doctor came to see me afterwards and told me about my kneecap, and also the fact there’s some cartiledge damage too. She’ll send a report to my GP who I’ll have to go to see in due course, but I have to be aware that surgery is not ruled out

There was an Intermarché next to the clinic so seeing as it’s been a few years since I’ve had a good look around inside one, I popped in. But there wasn’t anything there much that interested me. I bought one or two bits and pieces and some frozen peas and beans, and that was my lot.

Then I had to fight my way back through the roadworks. And it was good to give Caliburn a decent run-out this afternoon.

Tea was a taco roll (seeing as I had bought some this afternoon) with the left-over stuffing from yesterday, with rice and veg and it really was nice. But I have plenty of mushrooms left so it looks as if it will be a potato and mushroom curry for tea tomorrow.

So a broken kneecap now. Whatever next? At the rate that bits are dropping off me these days I’m at the stage where I’m afraid to go to the toilet.

In fact I haven’t felt so nervous since I was standing in a toilet next to Shakin’ Stevens but that’s another story for another time.

Saturday 26th March 2022 – IN SOMETHING OF A …

…. major surprise, the first day of my Welsh revision course actually passed quite well and I’ve no idea why either because as usual we were launched straight into the deep end.

crane ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In something else of a major surprise, I actually caught the crane at the ferry terminal working this morning.

With having my Welsh lesson starting at 10:30 I had to nip into town early for my special bread for lunch and the mushrooms for the pizza. And there as I approached the corner of the street the crane was busily swinging something about.

Of course, at this kind of distance and as far as I was away from the outer wall it’s impossible to see what it was that they were moving around. And the sun shining right into the lens of the camera didn’t help matters at all.

person swimming in sea rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And that’s not all either.

When I went out for my afternoon walk I went as usual to look down at what was happening on the beach and out at sea. And despite the weather I really was surprised to see someone actually in the water this afternoon.

That’s what I call “courage”.

But I’m getting ahead of myself yet again today.

When the alarm went off this morning it was yet another struggle to leave my stinking pit for the real world. Nevertheless, I beat the second alarm clock. Not by much, I have to say, but enough.

After breakfast there was plenty of time to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

The Germans were busy executing a load of prisoners whom they had caught last night, hanging them in groups of so many. After they had done several groups, they decided that they would call it a night for the moment, just as they got to one particular woman. They were all there having a little party I suppose. This woman was sleeping on what was a large bed, the type that you would fit probably a dozen people on. One of the women who was there involved in the executions was with a guy. They were busy eating green apples. They asked this woman if she wanted one but she said no. It created problems with her stomach so they carried on with what they were doing while she was there trying to sleep with all this noise. her hands were tied so she couldn’t do very much. When everyone went off to sleep she tried to free her hands but she wasn’t able to do it. Next morning the hangings started again and she was in the first batch of them to go to meet their maker. Interestingly, where this was all taking place was somewhere round by the corner of Alton Street and Walthall Street in Crewe.

And later we were babysitting a small child for someone. I can’t remember who I was with now but it was male. It might have been my brother. We were babysitting in my house. This woman turned up unexpectedly to take the boy away. It was her grandmother on his mother’s side. She had a friend with her. They walked into my house and had a look around. She said to her partner “just remember before you say anything about the condition of their house, it’s their house”. She said that with one of those long pointed looks down her nose. I thought “you ungrateful cow”. I was just about to tell her what I thought of her when she grabbed the child and left so I chased after her but she had gone. Just then my mother in law turned up with her other daughter in law, her brother’s wife, for measuring our house. We had a tape measure and someone asked to know the length of it so I said that it was 20 metres. They insisted that it was 10 but I could see quite clearly that it was 20. I told the story of this woman coming in. My mother-in-law said “yes, quite” as if she clearly agreed with the first woman. I thought “all these miserable people here . I can’t even live my life quietly on my own without having all of these attacks from all kinds of different people. What made it worse was there I was out of the goodness of my heart looking after this little child and all I received was a heap of abuse, which sounds about pretty much par for the course the way things are these days.

And that’s not all of what happened last. But trust me – you really don’t want to know about the bits that are missing, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

There was also an extremely bad-tempered reply to the e-mail that I wrote last night. Which went basically “I’m not paid to do …” a task that he actually volunteered to do without any prompting, and “ohh, that’s different” – the standard sort of reply that you receive when you mention something that they haven’t considered.

And plenty of other bells and whistles besides

“Ohh, that’s different” – like when the subject crops up about the footballer who is accused of cruelty after kicking his cat and you ask his critics if they’ve just eaten a meal containing the flesh of some animal that someone has actually killed.

crane ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So climbing down from my soapbox, I headed off into town this morning nice and early just as the shops were opening.

And there at the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne I watched them playing about with the crane but by the time that I arrived at a good viewing position whatever it was that they were moving had gone out of sight.

There were problems going down into town too. There are some steps that go down from the Rue des Juifs to the Place Pelley and someone has erected a scaffolding across them, as I discovered when I was half-way down.

market place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022At the Carrefour I bought a special baguette and a punnet of mushrooms and headed for home.

Although it’s early, the market was in full swing. The barbecue on the right, burning its charcoal, was in full operation. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that two years or so ago the Maire at the time tried to stop him burning charcoal, but he fought the case and won.

The walk back up the hill to home was surprisingly easy. Not only did I not stop for breath, I actually made it up to the top at something like a reasonable speed as well.

That’s not like me these days either, is it?

At 10:30 our lesson began and I was actually already connected up. But not for long. The laptop that I use for Zoom crashed and it took me about 15 minutes for it to fire up again and reconnect.

We’re 15 students in this class, all from South Wales apart from me so I’m confusing them all by saying “efo” instead of “gyda”, “rwan” instead of “nawr”, “dwâd” instead of “dod” and so on which isn’t very helpful. I don’t know why they insist on putting me in a South Walian revision group when my learning provider is registered as Coleg Cambria, which is based in Wrexham in North-East Wales.

We had two coffee breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and a lunch hour of course. And to my surprise I managed not to fall asleep either.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As soon as it finished I legged it off outside, rather later than usual, but never mind.

Earlier on, I mentioned that it was a beautiful afternoon. And you can tell that by the crowds of people down there on the beach.

This lot is sitting at the foot of the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord. And there were dozens of other little groups like this one scattered around all over the place as well, enjoying every minute of the weather.

Including the woman, who we saw earlier up to her waist and beyond in the water. Perhaps I ought to mention that despite the crowds down there, she was the only one who had taken the plunge. It wasn’t that warm.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen the crowds on the beach already. Now look at the crowds on the path on top of the cliff.

My route to the lighthouse was dogged by hordes of people pushing pushchairs, walking dogs, holding children and all of that kind of thing. The beautiful weather has brought them out in their droves this afternoon.

And the reason why everyone seems to be on land at the moment is because if you look at the background of the photo you can see that we have the sea mist back again..

There won’t be much sightseeing being done on the water this afternoon.

fishermen in boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022However this photo represents something else completely.

There were a couple of boats that I could actually see and even though the bright sunlight was shining directly into the camera and reflecting off just about everywhere else, I still had a go at it.

These two boats were actually full of fishermen – you can tell by the silhouette of their fishing rods – but what caught my eye was how close they were together, like the two trawlers the other day and there were some strange antics going on aboard.

There are some strange things happening out at sea these days.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And whatever it was that they were doing, they had an audience watching them.

Down on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon we had another group of people enjoying the sun and whatever the spectacle was out there with those two boats.

And no dog – or polar bear – to disturb the peace either today.

But I have things to do, places to go, people to see, so I headed off towards the port on the path on the other side of the headland to see what was happening over there.

cabin cruisers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was no change whatever either in the chantier naval or over at the ferry terminal since we last looked.

But there was some water in the inner harbour and there was a small cabin cruiser on its way into port. Presumably the larger one is waiting for a bit more water to come in.

Back here there was football on the Internet. Haverfordwest County v Connah’s Quay Nomads.

And what a match this was. The first shot on target was on 32 minutes and the second shot on target was at 51 minutes. We had a brief flurry of action for 5 minutes immediately after than and then it was “as you were”.

The final score was 0-0 and believe me – both sides were lucky to get nil. After the exciting game we had last Friday night, this was a considerable let-down.

Tea was a burger on a bap, and then I came in here to write up my notes.

Having done that, I’ll have a play on the guitar and then go to bed. No lie-in tomorrow either. I’ve set the alarm as I have Day Two of my Welsh revision weekend. I suppose that if you throw enough of it at a wall, some of it might stick.

Thursday 17th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… several photos of the excitement that we had out there in the Baie de Granville this afternoon, let me tell you about the somewhat less-than-exciting day that I had today.

It started off rather badly when I switched off the alarm at 07:30 and … errr … went back to sleep. I awoke with a start at 07:59 and I just about managed to put my feet on the floor as the 08:00 repeat went off.

Mind you, it’s my own fault. I did say that I was planning to have an early night but I picked up the guitar for a quick strum and that, dear reader, was that.

Somehow, from out of nowhere, I managed to start to transcribe the dictaphone notes. That was the first thing that I did once I’d taken my medicine.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022They were collecting goods for refugees again. I was wandering around trying to find a place where I could set up to co-ordinate the relief and find an office. That means finding a house where there was someone and finding a lorry and driver, all that kind of thing. I could do some driving myself but for some reason no matter where I walked there was always something getting in the way. There was even some moment where all of this became extremely violent but I can’t remember very much about all of this particular part of a dream etc. Just walking past these lorries and not being able to go into a house and the feeling of violence that was going on with this as well

Again, I was doing something else for refugees and I was absolutely tired out completely so I went to bed. When I awoke halfway through my sleep I noticed that halfway through the head of the bed were things like bottled from old-age pensioners and messages from old women. I thought that they had donated but they hadn’t donated. Instead, there were all kind sof things like bottles of spirits and (… I fell asleep here …) so when I awoke all those bottles were empty. Obviously someone had left them there to incriminate me or frighten me or something like that but it wasn’t going to work. I was going to carry on.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There were four of us who had been out working for the local council in a lorry. We had been doing all kinds of things, cleaning up places and so on. But tempers between the two drivers were becoming really frayed. One was working inside the cab of the vehicle so the other grabbed a can of spray paint and aimed the spray at him from the other side of the window. The first guy instinctively ducked and banged his head which made the other guy laugh. But now we couldn’t see out of the windscreen. We had to go back to the depot. I’d warned this guy not to use the spray can but he wouldn’t listen so I said that when we arrive at the depot there will be quite a row about this. He said “so you should” because he’d sprayed something like “vegans rule OK” and they’ll all think that it’s me. I was totally disgusted. The fourth guy decided that he was going to go home so we all decided that we would take the lorry back. The fourth guy was only a young apprentice so I told him that I hoped that he wouldn’t really get into any kind of trouble at all over this. I hoped that I wouldn’t either and maybe we would see each other again but this was a terrible note some kind of day’s work, trying to drive home in this lorry when we can’t see out of the windscreen because of the paint etc. I felt dismayed that these 2 guys, after I’d told them about losing their temper between themselves had gone and done this kind of thing that would land us all in all kinds of trouble

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022We’d had some kind of family meeting. My brother was there and so were some others. I suddenly noticed the time. I only had something like 45 minutes to go home, change and reach the airport before my flight on holiday departed. When the meeting came to an end I had to dash out quite quickly, picked up my suit and thought that I’d find a hedge behind which I could change while I’m on my travels. I picked up my things and overtook them as they were wending their way home. I found what looked like a likely place. Now there was only something like 40 minutes to my flight. Just as I was about to go behind the hedge to change into my suit I suddenly realised that I didn’t have my suitcase. That was at my brother’s shop. Of course he’d now locked up and gone straight home. I would have to go there first but I wouldn’t have time and if he hasn’t gone straight home I’m never have my suitcase. It looked to me rather regrettably that I wasn’t going to be leaving on this holiday to the Far East.

An East German bank had a large sum of gold on hand. A group of people set out from the UK to try to rob it. They had to work out all kinds of things such as guards tea-breaks, changes of shift and everything so that they could pass frontiers without very much inspection etc. When they arrived at the bank they raided the vehicle that was carrying it only to find that it was empty. It turned out that what had happened was that the bank had put it on deposit with a bank back in the UK to use as collateral for some kind of financial deal that was taking place. There they were in the middle of the street with a double-decker bus full of their own men, raided this place. They had some of their own men tied up as decoys etc. Now they were arguing about what they were going to do next. Were they going back to the UK to raid this British bank or would they try to raid somewhere else in East Germany or were they just going to abandon the whole thing and go home?

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So, once more, none of my favourite young ladies came to visit me, although I did have a very strong feeling that TOTGA was around somewhere last night and I was surprised to hear nothing about her on the dictaphone this morning.

The rest of the day has been spent, such as it was during all of the other interruptions, in catching up with the outstanding entries from when I was in Leuven. I’d just done some basic rough notes at the time but now they are complete.

As for the interruptions, we had coffee, and breakfast, and lunch, and taking out a huge pile of rubbish. I’m having a good sort-out here and all kinds of stuff that I’ve been keeping for no good reason have gone the Way of the West.

A few phone calls and booking a few hotels for a little journey I’ll be making were also a few tasks that I also accomplished today.

Another thing that I’ve been doing is to have a think about rearranging the kitchen. In the back of Caliburn are the cupboards that I bought ages ago that will replace the stuff that I’m using as an island. But I’m planning on doing something about a wall unit so that I can have a proper oven.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then there was of course the afternoon walk.

And I hardly had time to step out of the front door when I felt the cold hand of doom on my shoulder.

It’s that time of year again. The sun is out and there’s quite a wind so it’s brought out the Birdmen of Alcatraz in numbers. One of them flew past on his Nazgul as I went outside.

He was followed by several of his mates as well. Not quite the Nine Riders but it was pretty much almost. Legolas would have had a few easy targets this afternoon.

people entering water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And once he was out of the way I could wander across to the end of the car park to see what was going on there.

A reasonable amount of beach there this afternoon and there were several people down there on it.

Even this intrepid pair of pedestrians looking as if they are going full-tilt headlong into the water.

As I said just now, it’s a nice sunny day. But it’s not that nice. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the only water that interests me from a bathing point of view is water at 37°C

When we were out in the High Arctic in 2019 Castor asked me if I would like to jump into the sea with her.

“I can’t” I replied. “I have a catheter in my chest”

Someone who had overheard the conversation asked me later “Had you not had the catheter, what would you have done?”

“I’d have thought of another excuse”. Sea water at -0.5°C might be interesting for some but not for me. Not even Castor could drag me in to water at that temperature.

trawlers returning to port de Granville harbour baie de granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was having a good look around out at sea.

There was probably about a dozen trawlers heading back into port right now. The viewing conditions were absolutely perfect today and I could see for miles out to sea. There have been days just recently when I wouldn’t have seen anything at all quite like this.

The tide isn’t far enough in to open the harbour gates right now but I imagine that it might be by the time that they all arrive in the outer harbour. They won’t have to wait long, I reckon.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen plenty of photos already of the Dassault Falcon 50M that was flying around in large circles out in the bay.

This is the type of jet that started the genocide in Rwanda when the one carrying the Rwandan and Burundian Presidents was shot down at Kigali, but this particular one here is one of the 8 Falcon 50M machines owned by the French Navy and used for maritime surveillance.

So what’s it doing here? It certainly had a great deal of interest in what was happening out at sea and was circling around the bay for quite some time

We’ll probably have to wait until tomorrow to find out.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, this was quite an interesting situation.

There were two trawlers here outside the outer harbour waiting for more tide to come in and they seemed to have stopped to have a chat.

It’s not often that you see them as close as this in the open sea and I was wondering if maybe one of the had wanted to borrow a cup of sugar from the other

However, when you see two lots of extremely strange activity taking place in more-or-less the same place, like the Falcon circling around and these two trawlers, you have to wonder if the two events are somehow connected.

joly france sm735890 lysandre ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022We’ve seen the larger trawlers loitering around outside the harbour waiting for the tide, but there’s enough water in there already for the smaller ones.

Coming a-chugging into port is Lysandre, the little shell-fishing boat that is registered in St Malo but now just recently seems to have taken up residence here in Granville.

There’s one of the little port runabouts out there too, heading towards the Joly France ferry that’s moored up at the Ferry terminal.

There must be something exciting going on over there too because there’s a small crowd up on the harbour wall having a good look.

le roc a la mauve 3 la granvillaise charles marie spirit of conrad chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Whatever excitement that might have been going on in the chantier naval is well and truly over now

The unidentified yacht that we’ve been seeing in there for the last few weeks has now disappeared.

We’re now just left with Le Roc A La Mauve III nearest the camera, and then La Granvillaise and Charles-Marie.

Finally Spirit of Conrad on which we sailed down the Brittany coast nearly 2 years ago. A few days ago I was talking to her skipper. She’s off on a circumnavigation of the UK quite soon but I have desisted.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Yesterday I mentioned the freight that was on the quayside.

It’s still there today, and it’s not alone either. Another pile of stuff has come to join it And by the looks of things, there’s a third lot that’s just arrived on the lorry that’s parked behind it.

Back here I finished off my journal entries and then had an hour or so on the guitar. I seem to be much more relaxed than I have been just recently.

Tea was one of those meat turnovers with potatoes and gravy and it was really delicious too

For a change, I ate earlier than usual because I wanted to do my notes and have an early night but as you might expect, Rosemary rang me up for another one of our marathon chats. Consequently it’s much later than I would have liked it to be.

Tomorrow I have a letter to write. I hate writing letters at the best of times and this one has been loitering around for a few months.

Wednesday 16th March 2022 – AFTER THE OTHER NIGHT’s …

… disaster I remembered to take that pill and decided that I would stay awake and work until I felt really tired.

The wisdom of that idea was quite apparent when it was 02:00 and I was still awake and at the computer.

No-one was more surprised than me to find that at 07:30 when the alarm went off I managed to fall out of bed. Definitely a case of “shaken but not stirred”.

And that became apparent when I came back in here after the medication where, settling down in my comfy chair, I went to sleep again. And that’s how I stayed until 09:00

Part of the morning, once I was properly awake, concerned organising the music again. I had to make a new playlist for one of my batches of music for a start, and then there was some sound files that needed chopping up.

There are dozens of those and the first one proved to be far more difficult than anyone might imagine because after the first 5 tracks, the rest of it doesn’t go in accordance with the running order that I have. In the end after much binding in the marsh, I abandoned that and did three different ones.

That leaves me with about 30 to do. A mere bagatelle.

Something else that I’ve been doing is to run through another pile of photos from th High Arctic in August 2019. And if anyone thinks that they are having problems with prices in the shops these days, then HAVE A LOOK AT THESE in Qikiqtarjuaq, an island in the Davis Strait between the far North of Canada and Greenland.

It’s this kind of thing that makes me glad at times that I don’t live in the High Arctic and I feel sorry for those who do. And my hat goes off to the girl whom I met in Edmonton in 2018 and subsequently on several occasions who threw up her life in Montréal to go and live among the Inuit on Baffin Island

We had the usual interruptions for breakfast (and my coffee machine, while not perfect, is a vast improvement on the old one) and for lunch. I even spent some time having a little sort-out in the kitchen.

But don’t worry – it was only a little one. These new pills aren’t working that well.

As well as that, I sent off an order to Amazon. I need a new course book for the next lot of Welsh lessons, and while I was at it, I ordered a new dictaphone identical to the one that broke down a couple of months ago.

It served me well for a considerable number of years and did exactly what it was supposed to do. Using the ZOOM H1 is too inconvenient when it comes to playing back. Of course I copy it onto the computer to listen to it but it needs a lot of enhancement in order to be able to hear it.

There was also a pause for a shower, and then I wandered off out for my rendezvous with the physiotherapist.

lorry with trailer digger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen quite often one of the main problems that arises when you live in a walled city – big stuff can’t pass through the gateways and has to trns-ship.

We’ve seen on many occasions this lorry (or one very much like it) and its trailer with the digger on board parked up at the Porte St Jean whenever there’s road work to be carried out within the walls

It has to stop here and the driver has to drive the digger off and through into the town under its own steam to get where it’s going and that’s not the work of five minutes either. But there’s no other solution unfortunately – at least, one that’s practical.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You didn’t notice it in the previous photo because I enhanced it but I’ve not enhanced this one, so you’ll notice the rather strange, eerie yellowy-green light.

There’s a dust storm blowing up from the Sahara and it arrived at my friend’s in Munich yesterday late afternoon. But now it’s arrived here and we’re having it. It’s certainly a strange effect.

However, returning to the subject-matter of the photo, the tide is well out at the moment and there are no fishing boats moored up at the Fish Processing Plant.

And there aren’t any ferries at the ferry terminal either. They must be all at sea this afternoon, just like I seem to be these days. But at least they’ll be back sometime soon, which is more that I will.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, down at the loading bay in the port there’s a pile of freight that’s accumulated on the quayside.

That tells us that one of the little Jersey freighters will be coming in within the next day or two to whisk it all away.

And no large masts in the harbour either. That tells us that Marité is still in Cherbourg having her annual check-over ready to start work for the summer season.

By now it was starting to rain – enough to dampen my enthusiasm but not enough to dampen the spirits of the boulonauts who carried on playing. It’ll take more than a torrential downpour to stop them from playing.

renewing road surface abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the town centre we had yet more activity taking place.

That’s the site of the old railway branch (you can still see the rails) that used to go to the cold store where they used to keep the cod that the trawlers brought into port when fishing on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland was still undertaken.

Nowadays it’s a short-cut for pedestrians but at the moment it looks as if they are resurfacing it. I wonder what it will look like when they finish it.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapists was just as good as it was on Monday. And once more she had me on the couch massaging my patella with her electric machine. And then I had some exercises to do.

But the knee doesn’t seem to be strengthening and the left knee now seems to be hurting. I hope that the doctor can see something on the x-rays about which he can do something.

brick capping rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the rain still pouring down, I walked through the completely deserted town centre and back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards home.

When I reached the place where they had been repairing the wall, I had a look at the brick capping that they put on top a good few months ago.

There is still no pointing in between the bricks and the moisture that will penetrate will destroy the capping if there’s any frost to freeze it.

Mind you, by the look of things, winter is a thing of the past. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we haven’t had a winter this year, and it doesn’t look as if we’ll have another one ever again at the rate that things are going.

le coelacanthe trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022By now, the tide is much further in.

A big bunch of the smaller boats with shallow draught is down there at the Fish Processing Plant, all unloading their catch with the various vans and lorries of the owners waiting to take away the harvest.

Behind them, a few of the larger ones are waiting for the gates into the inner harbour to open so that they can go in. We can of course recognise Coelacanthe, the green and white trawler with the gold stripe.

There is even a trawler moored up at the ferry terminal out of everyone else’s way as the rush begins.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the rain that was falling, I was all ready to rush home. But there was one thing that I needed to do first.

But it didn’t really matter because there was no-one down there on the beach. And that’s no surprise because I wouldn’t have been out there in this weather had I not had to.

Back here I made myself a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone.

War had broken out so they were arming the island on which Zero lived with battleships and things like that. My father noticed and made some kind of comment and I replied but I can’t remember what I said but it was basically to do with the fact that we are all in this together. And here’s another voyage in which Zero was involved and I can’t remember how or why. What kind of state is this to be in?

Later on, everyone was getting their stuff out ready to welcome the Ukrainian refugees. One lot that was to come hadn’t come so the people who were waiting to show them their way threw all of their paintwork and the Ukrainian flag into the hedge back on someone else’s land. This caused a lot of problems and they had to prepare the stuff again. It turned out then that someone still had the stuff wrong even though the gates were now open. They were going around in yellow and blue even though they had nothign to do with the situation in the Ukraine.

Finally I was with my brother and someone else. I was supposed to be going outside but it was raining. I took some hot water with me anyway and poured it into the bath but I just lay down and curled up under a blanket or quilt any old how. I wasn’t interested at all in anything. The water was going cold and I was asleep under this quilt. The 2 of them walked past so I gave them a wave and curled up back underneath my blanket again. A little later I was climbing up this hill. There were loads of buses and coaches full of all kinds of children heading down the hill. It looked as if it was like a Sunday School outing or something. I got to where I was supposed to be going. I had some clothes baskets with me. I was going to do someone’s washing. I put down the baskets and the dog moved them so I told it to bring the baskets back. To my surprise, it did. That was quite amusing for both me and the woman who owned the dog when she realised exactly what had happened.

There was much more than this too but you really don’t want to know about it

There was no tea tonight as I had the first of my 5 revision lessons. Instead I grabbed an “unlabelled” frozen pie out of the freezer, defrosted it and warmed it up. To my surprise it turned out to be a vegan lentil pie. There are two more slices of that in the freezer so now that I know what they are I’ll have another tomorrow with potatoes, veg and gravy.

The Welsh lesson was something of a disaster. We were 14 students and the aim was to put us in pairs to chat about topics that the tutor gave us, and then to swap around after 20 minutes. And I’m just dismayed about how much I don’t know and how much I’ve forgotten.

Now i’m off to bed. I have two days with no interruptions so I need to get a move on and hope that no-one interrupts me and I can crack on with work. After last night, I need a good sleep.

If you aren’t tired, you can WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS of last night’s football. And there was so much that they have cut out half of them, which is a shame.

Sunday 13th March 2022 – GONE!

la bavolette 2 philcathane chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And never called me “Mother”!

A short while ago I mentioned that I expected Marité to put to sea quite soon to find a port with some heavy lifting tackle that could lift her out of the water so that she could be examined for her passenger-carrying licence.

And so here she isn’t. In actual fact, according to my marine radar, she’s in Cherbourg. And that’s a new departure for her. usually she goes around to somewhere around the southern coast of Brittany

Instead, you’ll have to make do with views of La Bavolette II, Philcathane, Chausiaise and Joly France.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that has gone, and which is no laughing matter, is one of the houses in the Rue du Midi.

Yesterday evening it caught fire and it has been totally destroyed. There has also been considerable damage to the adjoining houses too and the situation just there isn’t at all healthy.

The smell of burning is appalling and my hat goes off to the fire crews who were still in attendance this afternoon clearing away the debris. All of the roads in the area are blocked off right now.

There is talk that one of the inhabitants of one of the houses is missing and I don’t know how the situation has developed since I last heard anything.

Last night, I was in bed round about midnight and finally staggered out of bed at 10:45. Not that it was a good night’s sleep either because I was off on a considerable amount of travels during the night.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While you look at a couple more photos of the disaster, I’ll tell you where I went.

I started off picking a team at football for a primary school football match. It turned out to be extremely one-sided with one team winning 6-1. I took some good photos of a couple of the goals and wrote a little piece about it for the local newspaper. The team that had won had a couple of boys in it wo were only 10 as well instead of the usual 11 years old of a primary school football team but even so they were still far too good for the other team that was playing

And then there was a meeting going on at my place discussing photos. It had to take place on the quiet although I don’t know why. I didn’t want anyone to know exactly what was happening about it so everyone was being extremely discreet. In the middle 2 men walked in. They went round to the head of the bed and leant on it. They asked “where’s your car?”. I replied “you’re leaning on it” because it was parked right at the back of the head of the bed. They had a quick look round and there it was. They wanted to know where I’d been, who I’d seen and who I’d met. Of course I could only give them examples of one or two days because I’d been away. I was trying to think who it was that I was supposed to have met and why. I tried to make them give me at least a clue but they wouldn’t at all. I was completely flummoxed. I didn’t want them to know about these photos that we were discussing and I just couldn’t think of what could possibly be of any interest to them with the 3 or 4 people who might have been round at my house over the last week when I’ve been here and not in Leuven.

There were some people wandering around the building, a couple probably in their 50s. They were having a look round and suddenly they stuck their head through my window in my apartment. I walked up to them and said “you don’t look through the window of someone else’s apartment” so they blushed and stammered. They started to ask me a few questions about the apartment. They seemed to be nice people so I invited them in and while I was working at whatever it was that I was doing , just then Tuppence came into the living room and to my surprise she allowed herself to be picked up and stroked. Then Sweep (Tuppence was my cat from years ago and Sweep was one of the kittens that Nerina and I had) came in and the woman did the same to her, picked her up and started to stroke her so I said “it looks as if you are stopping here”. They asked about the empty flat and had another look around mine. I gave them certain information but didn’t mention the price because that’s a personal thing

fire engine rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I started off interviewing Brian Jones for the radio. He turned out to be someone whom I liked very much. I admired his sense of humour, his wit and his outlook on life after leaving the Stones. Eventually I became his driver and we became a very good team together. Gradually he evolved into Stuart Jones … “do you mean Mick Jones?” – ed … of The Clash – I can’t remember who exactly. he was talking about all of the solo concerts that he was doing etc. he was someone who was very simple and straightforward and would play gigs with just a couple of people at small venues – he didn’t need to make a name for himself. He played at a Clash reunion and burst into tears at the end after playing a couple of solo songs of the Clash. Then there was a story about a song that he had heard. Someone sent him a song to hear. After he went home I went round to a museum where I knew someone who was working who knew about this song. Instead I ended up in an aero engine place and I asked about a certain type of aero engine. When I mentioned a German name they said that I couldn’t see it because it was under development, which surprised me so I went back again and asked for this German guy. They couldn’t find him so I went into the engine secretary. They told me that I was out somewhere in the vicinity but I couldn’t get to see him. I tried to find out where so that I could follow him round but I couldn’t manage to do it.

And then I was in a remake of that British comedy film that had McDonald Hobley in it and there was an Indian or an Arab. It was the one with the magic carpet in it and was out in the British Empire in India or Africa with Spike Milligan and Jim Dale and a few other people. It was a surreal film with the idea of people going back to their regiment to spy on the situation and development in the Middle East somewhere. It was all extremely surreal and someone who was excluded from the meeting tried to sneak in but was set on by people with scimitars and all that kind of thing. In the middle of the meeting they all had to stop for tea and because they were British they had to stop for breakfast because it was now breakfast on British hours, all that kind of total surreal comedy type of stuff that took place.

That film started off with the Americans refusing to deal with the British because the British were using substandard Russian scrap steel in their steel fabrication in the Middle East, simply allowing Russian lorries loaded with scrap onto the plant to go straight into the smelter and tip instead of tipping outside the smelter and sorting the stuff so the Americans had no reliance on the metal that the British were producing because of the substandard quality of the scrap. That film was called something like “A Miracle Called Yes” or “A Miracle Called Vest” dated 1964

So in this film there were several of us. There was me, a major, a couple of woman and a young girl had made it so far somewhere in the Straits of Gibraltar where we were holed up in a cave. The young girl seemed to have fallen for the major and this was bound to create problems because the major was drinking and was most unreliable. I had to radio a report so we had to wait there until just before dawn when we’d be picked up and taken away. They sent a boat to pick up the major to take him to the camp where he would be court-martialled. This led to quite a scene between this young girl and the major. I had to order her to stay put while I took him down to get on this boat. I was told that I had to stand by at 04:00 when there would be a radio call to summon us to a meeting by radio. In the meantime we’d have to stay there and make the best of whatever we could until we were sent for. One of the older women who was there was well-aware of the situation and realised what kind of complication all this is going to do and will jeopardise our whole mission just because this major couldn’t keep his hands off the bottle and the women.

And then we were back in the war again last night, defending Nantwich. For some unknown reason the attack was coming from the North. We’d dug in and we had a pile of old anti-tank weapons and were busy shooting up tanks as they came towards us. At one stage ammunition was running low but we managed to find a couple of captured ones and a box of 50 rockets so we were able to equip ourselves and hold out again for another while, brewing up tanks as they came towards us. We thought that there was no reason why we couldn’t hold out for ever here because the infantry was very reluctant to come and engage us while we were busy knocking out all of their tanks

Finally, my mother was looking after the twins again. We had a look and she was receiving almost £160 per week for looking after the 2 of them. It wasn’t easy because there were 2 enforcement notices on them, one on each one. One had killed a man and I don’t know what the enforcement order was for the other. It was extremely difficult and time-consuming to look after them both. Somewhere in this my brother was working in a shop that was having a lot of trouble because someone was off sick. I’d gone in there, wearing 2 pairs of socks so I took off 1 pair. I’d been helping them out and I asked if they needed me to come in tomorrow but they replied that they would be OK. They did ask if I could help them out by paying my brother’s wages for them until they were straight. That would be a good help so I decided that I would go round the next day. I came out of the Co-op which was where the old Ritz Cinema used to be and worked my way down Market Street, out and around the front into Victoria Street where his shop was but I couldn’t remember which door it was that one went into to enter the shop. Later on, I was working on a trailer. He came over to me and said ‘have you ever wondered what the girls do when they are watching us and we aren’t noticing?”. “No” I replied so he started to tell me some kind of story about our youngest sister but he didn’t get very far into it.

After the medication I came back in here and paired up the music for the next radio programme on which I’ll be working. And I do have to say that some of the joins are excellent. And so they should be, given all the practice that I’ve had.

After lunch, I started to transcribe the dictaphone notes and as you can imagine, that took most of the afternoon. Mind you, I did have a pause for half an hour or so while I mixed up some dough for the bread for next week. And it seemed to mix quite nicely too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was the usual pause for my afternoon walk to stretch my legs.

The different perspective of the photo of the beach this afternoon will tell you that instead of going around the headland, I went for a walk around the medieval city walls

There wasn’t very much beach to be on this afternoon. The tide is well in right now but there was still enough beach for someone to take his dogs for a good play around down there.

And there were other people down there too but they were out of shot.

yachts cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And as usual, I was having a good look around out at sea this afternoon too.

No big ships out there right now but instead we had a couple of yachts and a cabin cruiser having some kind of danse macabre out there in the Baie de Granville.

Although it was cloudy and overcast, the view was quite good and although you can’t see it in this shot, the island of Jersey was quite clearly visible, although not clear enough to distinguish the individual buildings.

storm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022“Cloudy and overcast” I said just now.

And there were several storms brewing out at sea. The Ile de Chausey is quite clear this afternoon, but just to the west of it is quite a menacing black storm building up and heading this way. And in actual fact, while I was out a few minutes later, it arrived.

The little cabin cruiser out there in the bay probably received it first before I did, and I bet that the crew knew all about it as well.

And so I cleared off down the path towards the walls.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As we wander off along the walls we come to the place where for the last few months they have been carrying out repairs.

What with my state of health being as it is, I didn’t feel up like going down to the lower level of the steps. Instead I stopped at the top of the steps to take a photo of what they had done so far.

We can see a little better today than we did the last time that we were here and we can see that they have a considerable way to go before they are going to be finished at this end of the wall. And the two huge cracks are going to take some repairing if they are going to hold up.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When we were here a few months ago we noticed that they had actually demolished the wall right down to street level.

They have now built it up to the height that it was before and by the looks of things the job that they have done isn’t too bad although at the moment the pointing is somewhat hit-and-miss.

By the pile of stones here they still have some work to do, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it will look here when they have finally finished it off.

And the five tonnes of water in the containers on the scaffolding have done the job of holding the scaffolding down in all of the storms that we have had.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Here on the outside of the walls, we can see the join where the rebuilt wall meets the repointed wall lower down.

It might not be aesthetically pleasing how they have done it, but it’s a vast improvement on how it was before they started and it might even hold up.

And so I headed off through the arch and down the path underneath the walls to continue on my walk, dodging the piles of cyclists who were disturbing the peace and upsetting all of the pedestrians and who think that the path belongs to them.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down at the end of the path here is a viewpoint that overlooks the beach and the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

Surprisingly there weren’t too many people down there this afternoon. Although it was quite cloudy and threatening rain, it was quite warm again for the time of year and no reason at all why people shouldn’t be going for a stroll.

However, as we saw in an earlier photo, they were all in the Rue des Juifs looking up at the burnt-out house on the walls.

On the way back home I passed the guy who takes his cat for a walk and we had a chat, and then I went to inspect the damage for myself.

bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall yesterday that I said that I would take a photo of the bike shed when I see a bicycle in it.

They also know that pathetic parking is a regular feature of these pages, and here we have two for the price of one – a bicycle parked in the bike shed and a car that has decided that it would like to park there too regardless of the fact that the space is presumably reserved for bicycles.

A little earlier, I mentioned about cyclists thinking that they own the place. Well, car owners can have their moments too, can’t they?

Back here, I gave the bread another kneading and put it in its mould. And then rolled out the lump of dough that i’d taken out of the freezer earlier and had now defrosted.

That went into the pizza tray to proof for a while.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022later on, I put the bread dough into the oven and then assembled my pizza ready to bake it when the bread was finished.

And here are the finished results. The bread is baked to perfection by the looks of things and the pizza was one of the best that I have ever made, even though I forgot to put the olives on, as I discovered later.

After I’d eaten the pizza I tidied up and came back in here to finish my notes. Now that they are finished, I’m going to bed shortly. I have an early start in the morning and a radio programme to make.

The nurse should be coming to inject me too and I have my physiotherapy session in the afternoon too. It doesn’t take long for the cycle of activity to start up again.

Sunday 27th February 2022 – I REALLY DON’T KNOW …

… what’s going on right now because, yet again, I’ve been on the kind of travels that would overrun “Around The World In 80 Days”.

Where this energy comes from, I really don’t know but I wish that I had some of it during the daylight hours when I’m awake.

We started off last night with a woman letting out rooms for prostitution in a medieval town somewhere. Someone came along to rent a room – she had a client with her. This woman had to travel somewhere – it was only about 03:00 something like that so she left everything that might have been incriminating, left it out thinking that she’d be back. She came to the next old town where she fell in with some old man who was talking to her about gravy and sauces. They walked over these cobbles in this cobbled area by these old stables or something. She slipped discreetly away and found herself out in some kind of open ground by the medieval city walls of this town. There was some kind of carnival or fête happening and there were people all dressed up in weird clothes , people who were weird shapes, really tall with big heads. She was trying to find somewhere that while not secret, was a special place where the person who owned it didn’t want it let out that he was there. She didn’t want to be caught with any of his effects on her and of course she wanted to escape from this man with whom she walked into town. She had to find him, and there was a back way through the town and around the walls where she could leave and come back again to where she lived without this guy seeing her. By this time it was me walking through this open ground. I suddenly had this awful feeling that I couldn’t remember this back way if I find this person and picked up whatever it was that he had. How was I going to return home without running into anyone I didn’t want to meet if I couldn’t remember this back way? It was all very worrying.

There was something else going on that made me think about the low-loader that was parked up outside here the other afternoon, that it was in fact some kind of ride for the carnival and funfair that was going to be installed in the Place just here, effectively what we had talked about in that first voyage in that medieval town

Here was something rather interesting. Sulky teenagers are getting earlier and earlier aren’t they? There were a couple of girls aged 6 and 8. They’d had a no-uniform day at school. The next day was to take one of your personal possessions to school to talk about it. The 6 year-old was OK but the 8 year-old didn’t really have any idea what she wanted to take. We were there making all kinds of suggestions to her, even the guitar that I gave her a while ago. She just stood there in the middle of the room shaking her head at every suggestion and not really committing herself to anything at all. It wasn’t as if she didn’t have anything because she and her sister were doing quite well out of having so many relatives and friends.

There was another long, lengthy dream, most of which I have forgotten, but part of it included the father of a girl with whom I was once engaged. He was making himself a pair of shorts. He’d bored a hole up the front and up the back and was busy trying to put this metal bracing in there to hold the front and back together. he was trying, but needed 3 hands to do everything so he wasn’t making a success at all. I asked him “would you like me to hold anything?” which he didn’t. He carried on trying and in the end I took hold of something that he was trying to do, one of these metal things that he had to hit with a hammer. I held it so that he could hit it with a hammer and it went in quite easily after that. He could adjust it as he thought fit. I thought that when he’d dome one in the bottom and one in the top he’d done the bars too tight. It’s true that you can adjust them once you had them on but all of the adjusting is going to be quite a task and not going to be easy so I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t having at least some kind of rudimentary effort at judging the distances while he had them on the bench.

And later I was in a clothes shop. I’d gone to change a jacket, a yellow one for another one. The exchange went off quite well. They also had some black ones in there that were the same as one that I’d bought a while ago. I thought of changing that one for a new one while I was at it. I mentioned it to a server and he said “why not?”. A closer look revealed that they weren’t actually identical and a tramp was wearing one. I thought that maybe if I could take the one off the tramp then I’d be able to swap that. However his was so worn and dirty that they would never believe that it was a very recent acquisition. I made a couple of excuses to the salesman but he insisted that he could do something for me. I thought that this was going to be a pretty strange thing and I wished that I hadn’t said what I’d said before about changing it now. This was going to be embarrassing. In the meantime there were a couple of girls whom I’d noticed. It was so cold outside that that were each wearing 2 anoraks, one which had a hood that went over their headq and then another anorak over the top. I thought that it must be cold if they are dressed like that.

I was also with a girl last night whom I thought light have been my Greek friend from Brussels. We were hanging around together but her boyfriend had decided that he was going to leave her and she was terribly upset. I went to console her. I said “never mind, there’s always me and I’ll look after you”. She replied “yes, I know but not quite in the same way”. I answered “even so, we have rows, don’t we, and we soon make them up and maybe you’ll make it back up with your boyfriend”. She said something like “yes but we used to row about all kinds of things” and mentioned a couple of examples about which we had rowed but it wasn’t really anything important but with her boyfriend this was something much more serious. By this time we were standing underneath a porch at the side of a house. I was trying to console her but it was extremely difficult. Somewhere in all of this was the story of a printer. I’d had a new printer and the question came round about tidying up the office. I was told that I couldn’t have promotion unless I was prepared to work longer hours or show some signs of initiative. Wandering around, I came across a box. I thought that this was the right size for my printer. It would look rather tidier if my printer were in a box. I fetched it and started to prepare the printer but I was distracted by something. When I returned the box had gone. Someone mentioned something that one of my colleagues had taken it to put in his printer. I thought “had he taken my printer in the box etc?”. A discussion came about “well we know what kind of person he is. He’ll put the printer in the box and then can’t work out how to use it”. The guy in charge said “I’ve solved the problem. I’ve sent him down to the second-hand shop”. “What? To get a new box?” To get a new printer?”. “No, to sell his old printer. He won’t really need one and can always borrow someone else’s”.

A group of us were round at a girl’s house last night. There were a few of us talking about this and that. prior to this, we’d been at work and someone had been talking about a trip to the Gobi Desert. When they showed me on the map it turned out that the desert was at the north of Siberia. They were telling us about their trip. I thought that that was very easy to reach but they said that they went via Iceland and across to Norway that way. I asked why didn’t they go to Denmark and take aferry across to Sweden? The chat continued and they left. I ended up with these 2 girls in the office somewhere. I’d already been down for two breakfasts and had nipped out and come back into the office in the hope of catching a 3rd. I said to these girls “I have a cunning plan” and mentioned this trip to the Gobi Desert. The said something like it would cost a lot of money and the don’t really have the time which disappointed me. The subject came round to some kind of concert we were going to. One girl asked “are you buying her ticket for her?”. I replied “no, I’m picking it up for her but she’s paying for it”. The couldn’t understand how this ticked system was working about who was paying for what, who was picking them up but it looked quite straightforward to me. Then it ended up with me, my brother and one of these girls. She had to go into her garage for something and pulled up the garage door. It was full to the brim of old motorbike pieces. My eyes were out on stalks. I asked whose it all was. She replied that it belonged to her uncle but he has to find a new place to put it and it’s not easy. I said “he can put some of it in my garden if he can make me a motorbike out of this”. She replied “he can knock you up a Comet” but I said that that was too small. I’d want something bigger. By this time her sister had come to join us. She was in her nighty.

That’s not the end of it either. There was much more than this but as you are probably eating your evening meal right now, you won’t want to know the gory details.

No alarm this morning, and no ‘phone call either but even so it was about 10:20 when I awoke and I didn’t loiter around very much because for some reason I really was wide-awake. But I made myself a coffee anyway and had a slice of my coffee cake.

First thing that I did after the medication was to pair off the music for the radio. And after I’d finished doing that I had another think. Pete Seeger once said “Songs are Weapons” and I have plenty of them and so I need to use them.

And so I chose another set of songs and paired them off instead. It’ll be a very different radio show this coming weekend.

After lunch I set about making a big pile of dough. I’ve run out of bread and I’m also about to use my last lump of pizza dough and so I mixed a couple of big piles.

One bunch was mixed with sunflower seeds and was put on one side for the loaf, and the second one had oil added and that was put on a different side to be turned into pizza bases at a later date. And I remembered the Vitamin C this time too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And as usual, I broke off to go for my afternoon walk, and that involved, as usual, a walk down tothr wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

And as you can see, there were hordes of people down there this afternoon, sitting around on the rocks waiting for the tide to come in and chase them up the steps to safety in the Rue du Nord.

In fact, I was amazed at the number of people down there this afternoon. I know that it was a nice day today and that there are a lot of people around but I wasn’t expecting to see so many.

cabin cruiser fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday, when we were here on the wall, we looked out to sea and saw a cabin cruiser out there in the distance.

Today, looking out to sea, I saw something else moving around but at this kind of distance I couldn’t see what it was.

Back home I enlarged and enhanced it I could see that it was once more a cabin cruiser. Whether or not it was the same one I couldn’t say because it was much further out to sea than the cabin cruiser was yesterday.

gbr7383r captain corsair yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will also recall that we saw a yacht out at sea just off the Ile de Chausey.

This afternoon there was a yacht much closer to the Pointe du Roc where I was standing to I could take a better photo of her and even identify her.

She’s registered GBR 7383R and so is called Captain Corsair. She’s some kind of racing yacht and took part last summer in the Tour des Ports de la Manche race, one of the largest yacht races in the area, crewed by inter alia some people from the Granville Yacht Club.

f-gifn Piper PA-28-161 Cadet baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another stranger to the area flew past overhead while I was admiring Captain Corsair.

She’s F-GIFN, a Piper PA-28-161 Cadet, and I’ve no idea what she’s doing in the area. She had flown up the coast from the south and then turned in towards the airfield, and then did a sharp U-turn and headed off out to sea over the Ile de Chausey.

She didn’t come in to land at the airfield as far as I can tell, and she doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan or been picked up on radar anywhere ele and so that’s really that, I suppose.

cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When I reached the car park I noticed that there was a cabin cruiser heading out into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Had I waited until I’d reached the other side of the headland it would have gone out of view so I took a photo of it from across the car park.

There were crowds of people out there this afternoon so I was lucky that I didn’t end up with someone’s head in the shot.

And crossing over the car park I was almost squidged by a car that was rushing to take up the last place in the car park. That was pretty crowded too today.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Down on the lower path there were crowds of people wandering around.

There were even some people yet again sitting on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban. There wasn’t all that much wind to disturb them this afternoon so they could sit quite quietly.

There were several motorbikes parked on the carpark and judging by the helmets down there, those people mut have arrived on one.

But I was going to head off on the footpath on the other side of the headland.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Over at the ferry terminal, one of the Joly France boats was moored up there.

She’s the older one of the two, as we can tell because there is no step in her stern.

It’s no surprise that they are quite busy today. There are crowds of people here who have been confounded by the cancellation of the carnival and with it being a nice day today, a run out to sea instead would be quite inviting.

Meanwhile, in the chantier naval, there was no change in occupants today.

carnivalers boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Talking of the carnival, there were some people who were in the carnival spirit.

No big, official parade or procession this year of course but that hasn’t stopped some people from having their own unofficial one. I’m not sure though what this kid is actually supposed to be but hats of to her for making the effort when her friends couldn’t be bothered.

There wasn’t anything of note going on out here so I decided to come on home and transcribe the dictaphone notes. I knew that there would be plenty to do. No coffee though. I’ve already had plenty of that today.

red powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was on my way home, I was overflown once more.

This time it was the red powered hang-glider thing that we see quite often when the weather is fine. She was on her way home after a trip out towards Mont St Michel.

Back here, I attacked the dictaphone notes, and it took an absolute age to finish, with all of the stuff that I’d dictated in my sleep. I really do wonder how on earth I find the time to go to sleep. What surprises me is that I haven’t crashed out at some point during the day.

When the bread had finished rising I put it into the oven to bake.

The pizza dough that I’d made earlier, I divided into 3 and put that in the freezer ready for another time, and then I kneaded and rolled out the dough that had defrosted from the freezer earlier.

vegan pizza home-made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Later on I assembled the pizza and when the bread was baked, I bunged the pizza into the oven to bake.

It wasn’t quite as good as last week’s, but it was delicious just the same. The bread though has done something weird but I’m not sure what. It’ll probably taste just as good as it usually does though.

But now though I’m going to bed. I have to be up at 06:00 in the morning to start my radio programme preparation and there’s a lot to do. And so I need to be in the kind of shape to be able to do it.

Wednesday 16th February 2022 – THERE’S A TIME …

repairing fishing nets port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… for fishing, and a time for repairing the nets.

And right now, it looks as if the time has come to do some repairing.

With no trawler in attendance it’s not possible to say with any conviction whose nets they might be, but with Tiberiade still out of the water up on the blocks in the chantier naval, it would be a fair assumption to suggest that the nets might belong to her.

There is also a time for working and a time for falling asleep and regrettably, I have done rather more of the latter than the former today. So much for my “… hoping for a better day tomorrow” of yesterday.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I said “One of these days I’ll have the kind of day where everything goes well and I manage to do plenty of work” but that certainly wasn’t today.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I’m afraid to say that I turned over and went back to sleep. And i’m even more afraid to say that when the second went of at 08:00 it was ditto. It was 08:35 when I finally surfaced. And had I not needed to go for a ride on the porcelain horse I would probably still be in bed now.

That meant that there was plenty of time for me to go off on a few rambles during the night. I was out with a girl last night but I can’t remember who it was unfortunately. We’d been out somewhere and come back to my house before I was due to take her home. The question of food came up and I knew that there were some beefburgers in the freezer so I suggested that we had those. Whoever it was who was there went into the kitchen to find them but all that she could produce was an empty box. Someone had had the beefburgers. Of course I knew instinctively who this was so there was some kind of shouting and everything like that with my brother. He seemed to think that it was very very funny. I grabbed hold of him by the collar of his tee shirt, punched him in the stomach, pulled his head towards me and told him exactly what I thought of him. I let go of his tee shirt so that his head sprung back with a resounding “thump” as it hit the wall. Of course I was embarrassed by this and ashamed about the confrontation in front of this girl. She was pretty fed up as I could tell. In the end she decided that she didn’t want anything to eat so I thought that I’d better take her home.

But then again, with a family member coming between me and a nice young lady of the opposite sex is a reasonably regular occurrence on my voyages.

And resorting to violence against my family even in a dream. If violence is the answer it must have been a pretty stupid question and there were plenty of stupid questions about my family right enough back in the olden days.

On the subject of my family, my father and I had gone to watch Crewe Alex play – not that anyone would want to given the results of their last half-dozen matches. We left my place in Jette and went all the way across the top of Brussels and ended up somewhere down towards Woluwe, that area. We went into the stadium and the teams were there being presented to whoever it was. We watched the match but in the room where we were sitting there was one of these old pot-bellied wrought-iron stoves. There was a woman like one of the three witches burning paper so I was adding piles of paper to it as well. I was adding the paper and taping it to the side of the stove with masking tape until it burned. Then I would tape another piece on. It was far more interesting than the football. When the match finished my father was ready to go home but I was still burning this paper. I was getting down to the end of the roll of masking tape so I told him that I’d be ready in a minute. These women then came along doing something else. I put a metal damper of some kind on this stove that made it roar. These women were ever so alarmed when it roared but it burnt a lot of the ashes. Then I took it off and said to my father that we can go. One of these women pointed to three chairs that turned up in this room and asked if we could take them back and put them where they had come from to help them tidy up.

At a later time I’d been out with Liz and we’d been to a strange town where there was a pedestrian centre, but it was something like somewhere out or rural Spain. We walked through this pedestrian area and down through the fields at the end to end up on a cliff path. We were walking around there looking at the sea. Somehow I ended up back at another house where there was someone with a big pile of cars. I was gradually going through them looking at things that needed doing, changing and replacing what I could. There was a place across the road that had a big pile of old cars and every now and again he would tell me to take a piece off one of those. One vehicle that he had was a D-reg CF van that needed a new rear light. I told him that so he told me to go to a different scrapyard somewhere. I had a strange four-wheeled bicycle thing and set off but I took the wrong turning somewhere and ended up in this pedestrian precinct again. This time there were crowds of people around so I had to weave my way through the crowds. At some point there was someone making some kind of sand design that was going right across the path on which I needed to be. I did a bunny-hop over it. I ended up at the start of these fields again. A woman was there calling her child and two boys came running out of the field. I was stopped on the edge of this field sitting there thinking. It looked so familiar because I’d been here with Liz but I really don’t know how I’m going to find this scrapyard from here. I’d never been this way to it and I can’t remember now whether I’d be able to find my way back to where I’d taken the wrong turn and whether I’d recognise which was the correct one again.

After the medication I made a start on the radio programme that I wanted to do but I am nowhere ever near finishing it. There was an interruption for breakfast of course and then Rosemary rang me up for one of our marathon chats.

And we would probably still be chatting now except that there are certain things that, never mind how rich, powerful and famous you might be, it’s not possible to have anyone else do for you.

gully emptier place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was organising breakfast I had a look out of the window to see what was going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday afternoon we saw the gully emptier just finishing emptying a gully in the street. Today it’s back, in the courtyard between the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs and the Council Offices, emptying the gully just there.

And here’s an idea. I ought to start a lottery, guessing where we’ll find the gully-emptier tomorrow.

Later on I went for a shower so that I’d smell nice and clean for my physiotherapy session. And I’ve lost 800 grammes since Monday lunchtime, which just goes to show that there’s a problem with my bathroom scales.

As a result of everything so far, it was a rather late lunch. And that reminded me that I have some baking to do tomorrow. I’ve no bread and no fruit buns left either

outer harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Eventually I wandered off outside for my walk to the physiotherapist.

As usual I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to test the NIKON 1 J5. Not that there was anything particular to photograph because the tide was well out.

On the way down the hill are the four steps that I use to test how my knee is feeling. They are quite high and there is no handrail so I have to pull myself up with whatever strength I have in the knee.

On Monday I couldn’t manage anything at all but today was rather better. It’s still a long way from anything reasonable though and it’s depressing me.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The other day I mentioned that we might be expecting the arrival of one of the little Jersey freighters.

Because of the swimming pool on the quayside I was expecting to see Normandy Trader but in actual fact today it’s Thora who has come into town. We haven’t seen her for a while.

The walk through the town and up the hill was quite uneventful. And at the physiotherapist’s she spent the first 20 minutes massaging my patella, which she can do any time she likes.

She seems to think that it’s ligament trouble that’s causing my problem and suggests that I need to speak to my doctor. I have to see him soon to load up with more Aranesp so I’ll talk to him then

And having to have injections to stimulate the blood cells sufficiently to enable me to have the strength to go to Leuven – what kind of state is that to be in?

After the physiotherapist’s I went to LIDL to do some shopping. Supplies are rather low right now with not having been to the shops for a couple of weeks. There was chocolate-flavoured soya drink on spcial offer so it was a shame that I was on foot. I could only carry away one of those.

building apartments rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On the way back from the shops I passed by the building site on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul where they are building that block of apartments.

They seem to have advanced quite rapidly over the last couple of weeks. However they have been at it long enough. I seem to recall that the crane arrived here just before the summer holidays last year

Down the hill I went and then back up the hill struggling under the load of shopping that I had. And to think that a year ago I would quite happily walk back from LIDL with three times the weight of the stuff that I had today.

Halfway up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had a chat for five minutes or so about nothing particular. I have to be sociable, even if I don’t feel much like it.

la grande ancre l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Down in the harbour the fishing boats were coming in to unload after their day out at sea.

A couple of them we can identify quite easily. The one in the foreground busily unloading is of course La Grande Ancre and behind her in her usual place is L’Omerta.

Also down there are a few of the larger ones clustered around the harbour gates waiting for them to open with the tide. And one of the Joly France ferries is over there at the ferry terminal too

By now it was raining and so I didn’t want to hang around. A nice hot mug of coffee would do me good

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However, of course I can’t go into the apartment without looking to see what’s happening down on the beach.

Not much beach, and no-one down there on it. Everyone has much more sense than I have abviously.

Back in the apartment I made myself a coffee and came into the office to sit down while I waited for it to percolate. When I awoke later the coffee machine had timed out and the coffee was cold. I must have been out for quite some time.

So one of these days I might actually finish my radio programme.

For tea tonight I nearly made another mess. There were some mushrooms that needed eating so I resolved to make a curry with the leftovers in the fridge and heave them in.

So I set about making the curry and I was halfway through before I realised that I’d forgotten the mushrooms. It’s a good job that I remembered just in time.

It’s bedtime now and I can’t say that I’m sorry. I’m exhausted. I just can’t seem to make any progress right now and i’ve no idea why. I’m seriously wondering if there’s something in the medication that i’m taking that’s slowing me down like this.

But I dunno and I don’t know if I’ll ever get to find out.

Thursday 3rd February 2022 – SOMETHING HAPPENED …

… last night that hasn’t happened for weeks and weeks, if not months and months.

and that was that I went to bed at something like a reasonable time, fell asleep quite quickly, and slept all the way through until the alarm went off without awakening once.

The sleep was so deep that I made an executive decision (and for the benefit of new readers, an executive decision is one that, if it’s the wrong decision, the person making it is executed) to switch off the alarms and go back to sleep.

It was just after 10:00 when I finally arose from the dead, hours later than intended, and it remains to be seen whether it’s done me any good. But I don’t care.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Immediately after the medication, before I’d even checked my mails and messages, I set about making the bread.

500 grammes of wholewheat flour, some salt, several handfuls of sunflower seeds, yeast and water (I forgot the Vitamin C tablet), and it all went together perfectly. In fact, the dough felt like the best that I’ve ever made.

It rose quite well too and it was cooked to perfection after 75 minutes. It tasted quite good too, as I was to find out later. I’m quite happy with this;

Half of the loaf has gone into the freezer to keep it fresh for later.

While it was doing its stuff I was checking my mails and messages, and writing a message to someone. It was a very difficult message to write, for all kinds of reasons, but she did ask …

After lunch I worked on the missing radio interview, and that’s all done and dusted now. In fact they are all done because I re-edited a couple of previous ones that needed improving, and tomorrow I’m going to start assembling my programme.

It’s going to be a major “cut and paste” job with plenty of music in between. Hans in Germany wrote a song especially for the occasion, someone else sent me two of his songs, and I’ll be cutting bits out of them to use as appropriate. I’ve no idea how it’ll turn out but I’ll just be glad to have it finished and on its way.

Let’s see if I can do that before I go to Leuven next Wednesday.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As you might expect, there was the usual afternoon break for my walk around the headland.

First stop though has to be the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

Plenty of beach this afternoon, and quite a few people down there for a walk too. There are four people in this photo but altogether I counted at least a dozen or so and there were probably more too.

Not so many up here on the path though. I was pretty much on my own.

boat ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual, I was casting my other eye out to sea at the same time as I was looking down on the beach.

Surprisingly, after yesterday, there weren’t any fishing boats out at sea that I could see, but there was something out just off the Ile de Chausey on the right-hand edge of this rather murky photo.

Out of interest, I took a photo of it and tried to enhance it to see whom it might be, but to no avail. She has a similar kind of silhouette to La Grande Ancre but I don’t think that it’s she.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Out at the end of the headland we were having yet another glorious sunset.

This time of the year is well-known for these, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall because I have said so in the past … “and on many occasions too” – ed.

While the Brittany coast was shrouded in a rainstorm that was stretching all the way down the bay, there was a touch of blue sky here.

And that was all there was of it. The rest of the sky was quite grey and miserable.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon.

No surprise because the whole of the town was out on the beach this afternoon engaged in the peche à pied – “fishing on foot”.

For the benefit of the recent readers of this rubbish, the area of the shore between high and low tide is let out to commercial fishermen who exploit the shellfish that might be found.

However, we have probably the widest tidal range in Europe here and several times per year, the water level drops below the level that is commercially exploited. On those days, subject to a few conditions, the area below the low water line, when it’s exposed by a very low tide, is a free-for-all where anyone at all might harvest whatever they might find.

Including human feet and unexploded munitions too, of which there have been more than just a few.

sparrowhawk pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There might not have been many people wandering around on the path or sitting down on the bench below but I did have some company up here this afternoon.

We haven’t seen our friendly neighbourhood bird of prey for quite a while but here he is this afternoon.

He’s usually to be found on the other side of the headland where there’s a colony of rabbits, but I don’t know what there is that might be of interest to him down here.

In fact he didn’t swoop down to investigate anything in all of the time that I was watching him so it must have been rather slim pickings today. He’ll probably be back on the other side tomorrow if he has no luck here.

le tiberiade chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022A little farther on along the path I noticed some more activity in the chantier naval this afternoon.

Yesterday we saw Coelacanthe in an unusual position at the quayside, moored stern-on, but today all of the excitement centres around her little sister Tiberiade.

She’s made her way into the chantier naval for some kind of attention, to join up with Le Roc A La Mauve III who is sill over out of shot on her blocks near the portable boat lift.

And if you want to tell Coelacanthe and Tiberiade apart when they aren’t side by side (the latter is smaller), then Coelacanthe has wings on the railings at the side of the bridge whereas Tiberiade has open railings.

pollarding crew rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday we saw the pollarding crews out in the town by the Place Pelley working on the trees down there.

By the looks of things this afternoon they are working their way up the Rue des Juifs. They are at one of the viewpoints overlooking the inner harbour where there’s a good view, a comfy bench (which, inexplicably, faces the street and not the port) and more importantly, a handful of trees.

It looks as if it’s their turn to have having the treatment this afternoon. Tomorrow, I suppose, they’ll be finishing off down there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that they did the trees in the Boulevard Vaufleury a few weeks ago.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was here I had a quick look down into the inner harbour to see how things are developing.

There’s another pile of freight that’s appeared on the quayside since we last looked. And that reminds me – we haven’t seen Thora, one of the three little Jersey freighters, in port for a while. I know that the two others were in St Malo this morning but they have gone back to Jersey.

Perhaps we’re going to be having a flying visit sometime soon, or else Chausiaise, currently tied up with her sisters in the inner harbour, might fancy another run out to stretch her legs. It will be interesting indeed if she has decided to pick up the cudgel.

cherry picker place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment, it looks as if we are in for interesting times too.

Right underneath my dining-room window someone has parked a cherry-picker. It looks as if there is going to be some work done around here somewhere at some time in the near future.

They used something like this when they patched up the flashing around the skylights at the front a while back. I wonder if they are going to be starting work on the skylights at the rear, or is it for something else?

Back here I had a coffee and finished off the radio stuff that I’d been doing. Then I had a listen to the dictaphone.

Last night there was a group of us with a couple of American tanks that we’d disguised and painted to be like German small tanks. We were in German uniforms, behind German lines during the German retreat across Europe. We’d been continually held up, which was not part of our plan because it wouldn’t be long before someone recognised what we had. At one point we had to wait around for a while and then we were waved on and ended up in a queue to cross a large river. One of our party wandered off and found a place where he could have some ice-cream. he was sitting there eating it when a large party of Germans turned up. he immediately suspected that these Germans would recognise the tank and arrest everyone who was with it. He decided that he would keep a very low profile with his ice-cream while the events unfolded between these 2 groups of people

And later there was me and my brother (again!) and several other kids. We were playing around at some kind of thing and we ended up, 4 of us, me, my brother and 2 girls, one younger than the other, spending most of our time playing badminton. The other kids weren’t interested at all in it. It was all taking place in some kind of garage. The 4 of us were reasonably clean although we had a few marks on us where we had touched oily things. We gradually split up into 2 camps, the 4 of us badminton players and the others. We wrote a kind-of poem about what we were doing and that was when we discovered the names of these 2 girls (I can’t remember them now). I was sitting down somewhere in this room and I made a gesture to the older of these 2 girls if she wanted to go to play badminton. One of the other kids saw me make this gesture and pulled a face and didn’t seem very keen at all, but it wasn’t anything to do with them. The other girl said “yes, ok” so I picked up my racket, she picked up hers. I asked “where’s your sister?” – I imagined that they were sisters. She replied “she’s gone off to play with your brother somewhere”.

Tea tonight was a handful of those small breaded quorn fillets with veg and potatoes, and that made enough room to put the half of a loaf into the freezer. It’s really cramped in there with no more room to put anything at all.

At the moment I’m resisting the temptation to sort through it all because it’s so well-packed that if I disturb it, I won’t be able to fit everything back in and then I’ll have some real problems. But I’m sure that there are tons of stuff that need eating that have been in there for ages.

Having had my hot chocolate, I’m off to bed, hoping for as good a sleep as I had last night. Not much chance of that, I know, but we can all live in hope.

And then to see what happens tomorrow about this series of radio programmes. Won’t I be glad to see it gone?

Saturday 29th January – YESTERDAY, I REMEMBER …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not many people about at all this afternoon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 28th January 2022 – I FOUND OUT …

inside bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… something about the gun whose mount they uncovered when they cleaned out the abandoned bunker the other day.

Thanks to a friendly neighbourhood press release, the gun that was mounted on the mounting that you can see in the foreground just behind the wire grill was a naval-type 105mm gun.

That will probably mean that it’s the SKC/32 rather than a derivative of the 88mm flakartillerie gun, and was the secondary armament on several of the larger German ships and also the primary artillery on many of the earlier generations of World-War II U-boats (but not, surprisingly, the Class VII which still used the 75mm gun).

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022What I didn’t find out though was the name of the boat that was in the chantier naval at the side of Gerlean.

That’s because when I looked this afternoon, there she was! Gone! And never called me “mother”!.

Surprisingly, Gerlean had gone too. She’s been in there for quite a while but it looks as if she’s gone back into the water.

And what wouldn’t I have given to have gone back to bed this morning? I know that 07:30 isn’t as early as I used to get up in the good old days when I was feeling better, but it’s still far too flaming early for me these days.

After the medication I came back in here and sat on the chair. And while it would be wrong to say that I fell asleep again, I may well have done for all the work that I was doing.

A strong mug of coffee and a fruit bun at breakfast time did something to revive me and so I tackled the dictaphone notes. I was playing football last night with a couple of teams of girls. There was some confusion going on about the score because one team had had to play either with a woman short or out of position etc. No allowance had been made for that and they thought that that was rather unfair. On my way home I said goodbye. One of the girls who looked like my niece’s youngest daughter – it might have been her – had a tiny long-necked dragon-type of insect thing that she was training. She was training it by either giving it or withholding food. We all thought that it was pretty amazing but thinking on it was the kind of thing that you can do if you are using food as a tuition method. I said goodbye to them all and went outside. I was sleeping in a hedge like in Vine Tree Avenue in Shavington but it was freezing and I thought that I’m not looking forward to sleeping outside tonight in this.

Later on there was something about vehicles in the rush hour, someone driving some kind of I dunno maybe a stolen car but the authorities were already there and there were two vehicles of theirs being in plain clothes that were following this vehicle with these outlaws in it to try to find out what they were doing and where they were going and what their plan was.

And yet in the Magistrates’ Court (whatever this is all about I really don’t know) there was someone being dragged around by his collar lying on his back along the floor. I’ve no idea why and I’ve no idea what it relates to

There was also something about a car and caravan, one of these big North American caravan things. There was traffic stopped or slowing down to let a pedestrian walk across the road. This car and trailer didn’t see it until very late and swerved off the road having to drive in through all of the trees and smashed up while this pedestrian was slowly making its way across to the other side of the road

Finally, Nerina and I were working on VBH, one of my old yellow Cortinas. She was getting together all of the bits and pieces and I was busy adding them on etc. She was becoming very frustrated saying “you’ve no idea how long it’s taking me to get all of this stuff together”. I replied “yes, I can imagine, but it’s not taking me any less time to do all of the work. While we were doing that we were talking about the invasion of Normandy, how there were still one or two hold-out towns of Germans on the coast. We were discussing how quickly it would take them to close the gap. We didn’t think that it would take them long – a bus would do that trip in 3 or 4 minutes. We were talking about that. Just then a couple appeared in a white Ford Transit, people whom we knew who worked on the radio. They stopped and said “hello” and said that they were going off somewhere but they would come back to give us a hand. Off they went. Nerina brought me a dish of pea soup and I spilt most of it down me, on the carpet, on the rug and made quite a mess. I said “not to worry. I’ll change my clothes and put everything in the wash, including the rug etc. Then this couple came back. It hadn’t taken them long. They stopped a little further down the road, got out and went to talk to a couple of other people whome they must have known who were about 100 yards away from us, found some chairs and sat down and made themselves comfortable. We thought “they aren’t going to be coming along helping us, are they?”. Nerina said something like “it’s not surprising that his nickname is “the King” is it?”. I went off to find some clean clothes but in my bedroom all of my furniture had been moved around. I asked my brother what was going on. He wouldn’t give me a straight answer. I finally found my chest of drawers and went to take a clean tee-shirt. he said “you have bed bugs in there” so I opened it and had a sniff and thought “no, there are no bed bugs in here. What’s he talking about?”. We had this really ferocious argument about him changing everything around in the room without talking to me about it.

And I do wish that my family would clear of and leave me alone when I’m in the middle of a nocturnal ramble. It really is quite depressing when they keep on butting in. I don’t mind Nerina – after all, I chose her to come into my life for better or for worse and after a few of the women whom I subsequently encountered, I came to the conclusion that she wasn’t the person that I imagined her to be – but the others I can do without.

For lunch I finished off the half-loaf that I had out. The other half still in the freezer can wait until Monday before I take it out. It went in almost as soon as it was cooked so I hope that it will be nice and fresh.

After lunch I attacked the files for the radio project. One lot went fine with no issues but the second on, that it quite long and the third one, they are presenting me with quite a problem. There was a lot of background noise and I forgot to record some ambience so I had to invent some, and that wasn’t easy.

And then, there’s a difference in tone between what we recorded on the day and what we recorded here in my apartment. There’s much more resonance in the original one because it was recorded in a public hall with different acoustics so I’ve spent most of the afternoon experimenting with echo settings and changing the tone.

That’s a long, hard job and it’s going to take me a while to have it how I want it, if I can manage it at all. If not, I’ll have to “invent” something else.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

First port of call was at the wall at the end of the car park overlooking the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

Not that there was very much beach for anyone to be on, because the tide is quite well in.There’s still some room for some people to go for a walk if they so choose, but there was no-one down there.

It wasn’t a bad day, actually. There was very little wind compared to what we usually have and it was fairly warm for the time of year too. Not the kind of weather to keep me indoors anyway.

strange lighting effects baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022We were however having some strange lighting effects out at sea.

Somewhere over there is the Brittany coast, although you would never guess if I hadn’t told you. There’s some sun shining through a gap in the clouds higer up, but we have some kind of sea mist just offshore and fairly low down.

You can even see some kind of demarcation line in the bay which the mist reaches, and it all looks particularly weird.

What the horizontal lines represent between the mist and the sunlight represent is something else that I can’t understand either. I wish that I’d paid more attention to Miss Coxon’s Meteorology lessons 50-odd years ago.

The guy from the council has finished his work with the concrete pad for the new flagpole so I pushed on to check the bunker before continuing my walk around the headland.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Gerlean and the other boat next to her may well have cleared off, but the third boat is there so I concentrated on trying to identify her.

Her registration number is pretty much out of sight and I can’t decipher it, and we have her name written in some of this stupid illegible font on the wind deflector above the cabin.

Doing the best that I can, I think that she’s called Le Roc A La Mauve III, and that’s not impossible because according to the Companies Register there’s a company based down the road in Donville les Bains called “Le Roc A La Mauve” and which is described as “sea farmers”.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022and as for where Gerlean is, look no further.

It sounded to me as if there was a lot of noise coming from the chantier naval and what was happening was that the portable boat lift was busy lowering Gerlean back into the water.

And once in there, she cleared off across the harbour and out to sea. Probably for sea trials, I reckon, after her repairs. It’s not very likely that she’ll make straight for the fishing grounds after having been dropped back into the water after all of this time.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, at the ferry terminal, we have one of the Joly France boats moored up.

It’s the older one, by the looks of things, without the step in the stern. They do still run out to the Ile de Chausey in winter but nothing like as regularly as in the summer.

And hang onto your hats, because we might be seeing some other boats over there. My understanding is that the Channel Island ferries have been sold to a new owner and service is due to restart in late April.

Mind you, we’ve all heard that before. Let’s hope that for this time, it really is true.

la grande ancre mobile crane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home for my coffee I had a look in the inner harbour to see what was going on.

The big mobile crane has now been folded up and the machinery that came on the lorry that it unloaded has also gone. Apparently one of the Jersey freighter, either Normandy Trader or Normandy Warrior, came in earlier today to pick it up and take it away.

Back here I had my coffee and then carried on with this sound file editing which is going to take me quite a while and then nipped into the kitchen for a quick tea. More veg and baked potatoes with an ancient breaded soya fillet that I found, simply to make more space so that I could file away the rest of the carrots.

And thzn football. Y Bala v Y Drenewydd. Much more skilful than earlier in the week and Bala won by the only goal. But it was something of a midfield battle and the strikers didn’t have much of a look-in. And of course Drenewydd’s defeat gave TNS an opportunity to go even farther ahead.

They are well out on top, Cefn Druids are well adrift in the basement, but the other 10 places are really up for grabs with no-one stamping their authority on the League.

But now it’s bed-time. And I wonder who’ll be coming walkies with me during the night. After the delightful company that I had a few days ago, Castor, TOTGA and Zero, I shudder to think who’ll be out there waiting for me to appear tonight.

Thursday 20th January 2022 – DAY THREE …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you in the morning.

Sunday 19th December 2021 – HERE WE GO!

Just as I was about to sit down and begin to write up my notes Rosemary telephoned me.

We ended up with one of our marathon chats as usual and with an 06:00 start in the morning to a really busy day, I’m not going to stay up and write them out now.

Instead, I’m going off to bed and I’ll write up my notes when I have the time, whenever that might be. Eventually, I did manage to complete them, and here we go …

joly france aztec lady chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Meanwhile, back in the chantier naval, it looks as if things are back to normal.

Not only is the portable boat lift back to where it belongs, we actually have a client in there already.

She is of course the Aztec Lady who is now in port for a service. She’s off on her travels (Covid permitting) at the end of January for a cruise all around the north coast of Norway and Spitzbergen with all kinds of various sideshows, so I imagine that they are making her ready for her voyage.

But isn’t it nice to see the chantier naval back in operation?

Something else that it was nice to see was my bed last night. Even though I was totally exhausted by my journey it was still after 02:00 when I finally managed to struggle into bed, and I still wasn’t tired enough to go to sleep.

Eventually however I managed to drop off but it was a night that I spent mainly tossing and turning and trying to settle down.

By the time 09:00 came round I was already awake but as you might expect, there was no danger whatever of me leaving my bed at a time like that. In fact, it was much more like 11:00 when I finally saw the light of day and that’s much more like it on a Sunday morning, especially after the couple of weeks that I’ve just had.

Having had my medication and checked my mails and messages, the next task was to pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be doing. And that took me nicely up to lunchtime – well, breakfast anyway.

After the break, my first task was to make the dough for my next batch of pizza. 500 grammes of flour equates to three decent-sized pizza bases so I usually make that amount – one for today and two in the freezer.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021While all of that was busy festering I headed out for my afternoon walk.

It was bright and sunny, as you can tell from part of this photo. The beach itself was in deep shadow because the sun is now quite low down in the sky and has gone behind the College Malraux.

It’s hardly surprising therefore that there wasn’t anyone down there this afternoon going for a walk. There were a few people out at the far end of the Plat Gousset, but they were having the sun down there so that probably explains it.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Out at sea, there was quite a bit going on, as I noticed when I had a good look around.

One of the trawlers from out of the port is on its way back to the harbour after a day’s hard fishing out at sea. Unfortunately I can’t read the registration number from here and I can’t recall the colour scheme so I’m not able to say who it is.

Anyway I let it wander off towards the port while I carried on with my walk along the top of the cliffs towards the lighthouse.

man relaxing in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021With life being so stressful these days it’s nice to be able to get away from it all and relax in the peace and quiet.

Here’s someone who is doing his best to make the most of whatever relaxing moments he can find. Out there in the bay in his zodiac he’s hardly likely to be bothered by what is – or isn’t – going on around him.

At first I thought that he might be a fisherman but on a closer look, I couldn’t see any fishing tackle in his boat. He’s just sitting there with his feet up on a pontoon taking it easy. And how I envy him.

aeroplane 35ma pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021While I was walking arounf admiring the man relaxing in his boat, I was busily being overflown by a light aeroplane.

It’s not one of the larger ones that we can trace in any kind of database that I have found so far. It is in fact 35MA, one of the light aeroplanes that hang around the airfield and which we see every now and again.

They aren’t the kind that file a flight plan or are picked up on radar so unfortunately I can’t tell you anything about it except that one day I’ll wander over to the airfield and have a look for myself.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021We’ve already seen one trawler heading back into port. And now we have another one.

It’s quite busy outside right now with the fishing boats and that’s a surprise because they usually have a day off on a Sunday. But I suppose that with it coming up to Christmas they have a lot of work to do.

Oysters are quite the delicacy here and it’s one of the things that always appears on the plate on Christmas Day.

But leaving that aside for the moment I carried on with my walk around the headland.

woman sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench at the Pointe du Roc by the cabanon vauban today which is quite a surprise these days.

However, nearby, there was a woman sitting on another bench at the side of the lower path. She seems to be quite comfortable there, checking the messages on her phone and missing all of the glorious scenery and the trawlers going past on the way back to the port.

From there I continued on my way along the path towards the port. I wanted to see what was happening in the chantier naval now that everything was back up and running normally.

boats unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021having taken a photo of the outer harbour, I turned my attention to what was happening at the fish processing plant.

It was bound to be busy, I reckoned, because there were plenty of trawlers were out and about this afternoon. And I wasn’t wrong either because while there wasn’t much in the way of water, it was still deep enough for the smaller inshore shell-fishing boats to tie up.

Of the boats over there I recognise L’Omerta and Gerlean of course as we see them quite frequently and they are quite distinctive but I can’t identify any of the other ones from here.

stenaca belle france joly france chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And while we saw one of the Joly France boats over at the ferry terminal, the others are moored up today in the inner harbour.

The newer one of the two Joly France boats is instantly recognisable by the step in the stern. On the left is Belle France and on the right is Chausiaise. The trawler that is in front of them is Stenaca by the way.

From there, I headed off back home, ready for my hot coffee. And there were plenty of other things to do as well.

Earlier on, I’d made some dough for my pizzas. It had risen quite nicely so I split it into 3 portions and put two in the freezer. The third one, I kneaded, rolled out and put into the pizza tray to let it do its stuff.

While the pizza dough was proofing, I had a listen to the dictaphone. There were the details of last night’s voyages to transcribe.

There had been some kind of event that my brother had been to. he had taken his girlfriend and they were both fairly young. He’d been doing something first and he’d gone with his parents or her parents or something and had been sitting in the back of a load bed of a P100 pickup. When they arrived at this event afterwards he said that they had never been questioned about their ages going in there because when they arrived he was actually in the load bed giving his girlfriend quite a smoochy kiss so they just waved them in. But there was something in the legislation about statues or plaques or medals about something to do with boys and girls, about there had to be a statue or something about the relationship between a boy and a girl but I can’t remember what that was.

I was driving with my German friend in Germany. Somehow I’d ended up with the 2 kittens, Sooty and Sweep. They were really enjoying themselves at his house. It’s funny how he’s ended up with both Doreen’s kittens. he said that they had a really good home there, they play around, they go outside, they come with us to the bar etc. He said that the ginger one is a bit nasty sometimes though but that’s all that I remember of this long dream that I had with him

And later I was in an old car. I was staying somewhere and my brother was there. I’d been somewhere and on the way back I was driving extremely quickly. I reached a road junction where I had to give way. There were a couple of cars not too far away but I pulled out in front of them anyway and set off quite rapidly down the main road. There were a few really bad bends in this main road and just as I reached one bad bend a car from the 1930s came round the other way, failed to negotiate it and went into the ditch. I put my foot on the brakes and the car stopped dead. I almost hit the windscreen. The guy behind the wheel said that he was OK so I carried on driving, still quite quickly. The road went through the grounds of a chateau with quite a few zigzags in it. I went round all these zigzags ready to come out but somehow one of these cars had gone in front of me. When he stopped at the gates to be let out he said “old cars can go round these chicanes like you did but these modern ones can”t”. The idea was to reach home because my brother had had a motorbike and I’d never seen it. I wanted to know what it was. He was talking about “they’re going to fit anti-freeze in it ready for the winter, everything”. It seemed to me that wherever it had gone for an overhaul or a service or whatever they wer eplenning on keeping it for months when we would have a chance to look at it.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021When the pizza dough had risen enough, I went and assembled my pizza, and then bunged it in the oven to bake.

It was another one that looked absolutely delicious, and tasted just as good as it looked. I seem to have grasped the knack of making them these days, although I would do even better with a better oven. I must sort one out one of these days.

Having eaten my pizza, I wrote up my notes for today. And now I’m ready for bed. There’s an early start in the morning of course with me having a radio programme to prepare for tomorrw and I want to be at my best. Although the possibility of that happening any time soon is rather remote.