Tag Archives: falafel

Friday 19th August 2022 – JUST FOR A …

… change, I’ve had a good day today.

Here in the apartment I can’t move because of carboard boxes too. And printers. There are two of them that are destined for that great office in the sky once it goes dark.

What I’ve actually done is to strip out the cupboard and wardrobe in the bedroom. Apart from finding all kinds of stuff that I didn’t know that I had or forgotten that I’d bought, I found a big pile of cardboard boxes that I had no idea why I was keeping them.

They are all now piled up by the door waiting for dark as well, always assuming that I can leave the apartment because of the cardboard boxes in the way of the door.

In fact I had a good couple of hours in the cupboard stripping it out without even stopping to catch my breath. And now, there’s tons of storage space that I’ve liberated. I shan’t know myself at this rate.

As well as that, over the last couple of days I’ve been walking a little easier too and it was better again today, although I’ve no idea why that should be. But whatever it is, all of the foregoing has made me feel much better.

And it’s been a long, long time since I’ve been able to say all that.

It will be interesting if this new, improved me can keep on going and keep the momentum. We all know some very well-worn phrases about swallows and summers but there’s absolutely no reason why I can’t make the most of it while it’s there to be made the most of.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while you admire a couple of photos of the two Joly France ferries coming back from the island in line-astern, I’ll tell you how my day went today.

And as usual these days, it started off with a late night. I’m having a few of those just now.

A turbulent night as well. I didn’t sleep very well at all. Tossing and turning around for much of it, wide awake, something of a failure as far as I can see.

Consequently it was something of quite a struggle to rouse myself from the depths of wherever I was when the alarm went off. I’m having more than just a few of those as well just recently too.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022after the medication I came here to have a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

To my surprise, I hadn’t gone very far. I had a group of people around, a couple of girls whom I knew and one or two others. I was sorting out something to eat. There was a bag full of cooked sausages so I put some plates out and started to put these sausages on the plates for these people. Gradually everyone came in and began to sit down. One of the girls piped up and said ‘now Eric what about our ski holiday?”. I simply had a flash of horror because it was now 20:30 and we had a plane to board at 22:00 to take us to our ski holiday. It had completely and utterly slipped my mind. Of course it seemed to have slipped everyone else’s mind too who was going except this girl who had left it until the last minute to remind me. I sat there totally lost for words which is not like me trying to think of what to say while everyone else sat there and waited for some kind of reply from me but I really didn’t know what to say about that.

It must have been a bad night if I’d only gone off for a wander once despite spending most of the night tossing any turning around like that.

But it’s an ill-wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good, so the saying goes. Having typed that out fairly quickly, in a mad fit of enthusiasm I dealt with (a mountain of) recordings from one of the days when I was out and about in Central Europe. And I bet that that took you by surprise as much as it took me.

Had I not had an interruption in mid-transcribe, I could have done far more too. However Rosemary rang me up and we had another one of our marathon chats that go on for hours and hours.

It’s almost back-to-school time and some arrangement ought to be made for Miss Ukraine to be educated. Whether or not she’ll benefit academically is one thing, but she’ll certainly benefit from having some social contact with local kids of her age.

And now that she’s a teenager I’m sure that the question of “boys” will be somewhere on the agenda at some point in the near future and she isn’t going to meet too many where she is.

Her parents don’t have a clue about what to do and neither does Rosemary so we spent some time surfing the internet looking for clues, as well as having one of our usual chats.

It was after the phone call and having finished the notes that I was transcribing that I attacked the cupboard in here.

It’s not very well-laid out so it’s always going to be problematic but I’ve been stuffing things in there for a little over 5 years without much thought. And I’ve no idea why I have so many empty boxes.

But now they are ready to go along with a lot of other old stuff (yes, I’m ACTUALLY throwing stuff away) and there’s now quite a lot of room to bring yet more rubbish into the apartment. This is progress.

With a break for my fruit and to chat with my niece’s eldest daughter on the internet (it’s her birthday today) all of this took me up to the time for me to go for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And as usual, my first stop would be at the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

With nothing to hold me up on my way across the car park I strode out (for the first time for months). I wasn’t expecting to see too many people down there on the beach because the weather has changed dramatically.

The temperature must have dropped about 20°C since those heady days of 10 days ago and although we had some blue sky, we also had plenty of cloud and wind.

There wasn’t anyone at all in the water and that’s no surprise at all to anyone in this weather

dry footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022During the morning we had had some rain, and with the rain that we had had overnight, it’s done wonders for the local plant life.

Although the path is still quite dusty, the vegetation is starting to regain its colour. We saw yesterday how the weeds had picked up after those two quick showers but if you look closely today at a photo that I took from roughly the same place as the others, you’ll see that the grass is now starting to find its colour.

It’s pretty good how quickly nature can revitalise itself after such a period of stress. Give it a few hundred thousand years after humans have been eradicated from the planet and we’ll see Mother Nature in all her glory.

Well, we won’t, because we won’t be here. But you know what I mean. But it’s not just in the nineteen-seventies that humans have “Mother Nature on the run”.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Just now we saw the older of the two Joly France boats coming across the bay from the Ile de Chausey.

Shortly afterwards we had another boat come around the headland heading out into the bay. At first I thought that it might be Lysandre or her look-alike Petite Laura so I took a photo with the aim of enhancing and enlarging it when I returned home to see who it was.

However, it’s neither of the two. It looks like some kind of unusual design of cabin cruiser that has taken to the water.

So leaving that alone I fought my way through the crowds to the end of the headland. It was busy up here today yet again as holidaymakers look around for something to do.

lobster pot buoys pointe de roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022When I was out here yesterday I forgot to check to see if the buoy for what I preusme to be a lobster pot was still out here just offshore.

So either it’s the same one that I hadn’t noticed yesterday or else it’s an entirely new one that has appeared offshore today. And it seems to have found a friend too.

Not that I would know anything about it but I would imagine that the fact that the flags on the buoys are different colours, they belong to different owners. But I really have no idea. I know that I would want my flags to be different from any other.

There wasn’t anyone on the bench by the cabanon vauban so I cleared off down the path towards the port.

le roc a la mauve III belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was no change in occupant yet again at the chantier naval so I had a look over at the ferry terminal to see what was going on.

Moored over there at the head of the queue is Belle France. We didn’t see her out and about this afternoon but that is not of course to say that she hasn’t gone anywhere.

My attention was also caught by the fishing boat down there with the impressive-looking HIAB on board. She’s le Roc à la Mauve III who we saw in the chantier naval for a while a couple of months ago.

With a crane like that on board they must be expecting to haul in a whole load of shellfish.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, as I was watching Belle France, the first of the Joly France ferries that we saw earlier pulled into port.

She is of course the older one of the two. That you can tell from her windows in “landscape” format and the larger upper deck superstructure. She has quite a crowd of people on board this afternoon. It must have been quite busy over there today.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day I mentioned something about the water over on the island. There was something about that in the local paper yesterday.

Scooped them again, didn’t I? I wonder if they are actually reading my notes.

plant with flowers boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As I walked down the path on top of the cliffs overlooking the harbour I had a look at the lawn by the Boulevard Vaufleury.

A little while ago I mentioned the grass and how quickly it seems to be regenerating. But nothing like as quickly as this here.

This plant has not only recovered its green colour but pushed out some flowers since I was last here. That’s quite dramatic. Mind you, whatever would my friends make of me taking photographs of flowers?

IT HAS BEEN SAID in the past that the only time I would ever take a photo of a flower would be if there were an old car parked upon it.

While I was musing over this, the other Joly France ferry pulled around the headland and you saw a photo of that just now.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before going home to carry on, I went to have a look in the inner harbour.

Victor Hugo has gone out again but back in port is Chausiaise after her run out to St Helier. She docked at 21:04 last night.

Back here I had a coffee and sat down for a while. And regrettably I … errr … disappeared with the fairies. Only for about 15 minutes or so but even so it was something of a disappointment after what else had been happening.

Tea tonight was falafel with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce. Delicious as usual. At least I’m slowly making some room in the freezer but there is still plenty more to go at in there that needs finishing off.

And while we’re on the subject of cold storage … “well one of us is” – ed … it IS nice to be able to open the fridge door without the fear of being buried under a pile of bottles.

So how long will that last?

Anyway I’ll try one more time for an early night. Shopping tomorrow although I don’t need all that much. And we’ll see how long this mad fit of enthusiasm lasts. If it keeps up, I shan’t know myself but not even I am that optimistic.

Thursday 9th June 2022 – I WAS DOING …

… really well today. I went all the way through to the late afternoon without crashing out and I even managed to accomplish a great deal of work which was quite a surprise.

And when you see how far I travelled during the night, it’s a surprise that I wasn’t dead on my feet a long time before I did.

Once again I was awake before the alarm went off – at about 06:30 in fact – and there was no difficulty at all in leaving the bed as soon as the alarm sounded.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. We started off with something to do with Christmas time. There were Christmas carols. Some young girl had to sing them but someone was busy trying to make her intoxicated and she was far too young for that so that they could take advantage of her. Her mother found out about what was going on and stepped in to put a stop to the situation developing out of hand. There was part of it with someone having an on-line chat. She was having all of these people queueing up to have on-line chats with her as soon as she came on-line. There were so many that she couldn’t carry on a conversation with any of them and was being swamped. If it had been a case of 2 or 3 conversations it wouldn’t have been too bad but this was dozens of people calling her for conversations as soon as she came on line and she wasn’t able to cope with any of this at all. That was a dream that was again extremely vivid and extremely real, far too real to be comfortable.

Then I had to go to the Wistaston Green estate to pick up Andrew Beddow to take him to one of the clubs in Crewe. The taxi fare came to £1:40 but he gave me a 20-guinea piece to hold onto as a sign of good faith while I waited while he went off to change a £20 note so that he’d have the correct change to give me. We were talking about taxis and money and the clubs etc. It was quite an interesting chat.

There was some kind of quiz game on TV. One of the contestants was having a right mauling and the producer went over to the presenter to ask him to go easy with the contestant because she was someone from his old school. He wanted her to have an easy ride about it. The presenter wasn’t having any of this and if anything, started to make the questions even tougher for this particular girl. That’s all that I remember of this which is a shame.

There was a swimming pool where a lot of young girls used to go. The owners had it in their heads that they wanted to set up cameras and film everyone from a safety point of view and tuition point of view. None of the customers or regulars were having it. They believed that this was being done for some kind of mischievous purpose. Everyone just upped and walked out. Even the boss of this company quit as well right in the middle of him having some kind of beauty appointment with Frank Sinatra when he handed in his notice and left.

Nerina and I had both been at work as well and we’d come home to our flat as usual. We had to go out again so we made ready. She was going out of the door and I had to check to make sure that I had my keys and money etc. There was a note on our door so she picked it up and read it. She asked me if I’d go down and put the money in an envelope that someone would give her and then inside an envelope that someone else would give her and take it to the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival so that they’d be up-to-date and if I could spend any time to work down there that would be great. I said that I’d see what I could do about that. Then we prepared to go out. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember any more now. What confused me about this was that I found myself dictating this into my hand as well and I had to go back and start again from the beginning using the dictaphone this time. That’s how come I forgot a lot og it

And then I had to go to Nantes or Rennes and I was in the red Cortina estate. I drove all the way down there and found what I had to do. I had to come back in 2 days time. I had all my dirty clothes and a big plastic sack and I wandered around looking for a tap. Eventually I found one in a park and filled the plastic sack of clothes full of water. I was going to leave it down there for a couple of days all to soak and I could pick it up when I returned in 2 days time for the next meeting or whatever it was. While I was wrestling with this bag a woman, her husband and three little girls came down the steps. Of course I was in their way with this bag so I had to move it out of the way. I didn’t realise how heavy it was now and it was quite a wrestle for me to move it out of the path so that they could all go past and go on into this park.

Meanwhile I went all the way down to the end of the yard in these 2 old Commer vans so that I could dismantle all of the plumbing fittings that were around here. And I have a feeling that I’ve missed off a lot of this one as well.

After the events of recent times, I’m surprised that I wasn’t stark out at some early point in the morning after all of that.

There was an interruption at 10:00 for breakfast with my delicious fruit buns and to answer the telephone when Ingrid rang me. We chatted for quite a long time as we had plenty to say to each other. It’s been quite a while since we last spoke.

Having finished the dictaphone notes I had a form to fill in.

Every couple of years I have to complete a certificate to say that I’m still alive so that I can continue to receive my pension. The doctor countersigned it last time that I was there but I’d forgotten to send it off. Now they were telling me that they are planning to stop paying me unless I send it back quite soon.

It did rather remind me of the story that I’d heard about the guy who had been left a large sum of money in a will “if he could prove that he was still alive”. He had to find a Justice of the Peace to swear an oath.
The JP asked him “Are you …. (Mr X)?”
“Yes I am”
“Are you still alive?”

That left me with enough time for a shower and a good clean-up before lunch.

After lunch I had several e-mails to write. As I’ve mentioned before, this Sports Therapist wants to give me a few sessions of therapy and he wants to give a prescription to the physiotherapist about some special exercises.

Before he can do so, he needs a resumé of my health condition, presumably to make sure that nothing that he’s prescribing will compromise my hospital treatment or create a bad effect on my health.

Another thing is to tell them about how I’m feeling about my health in general, that seems to be deteriorating quite rapidly now. And so I composed an e-mail to each of the services that is treating me to make them aware of the situation and to ask them for the resumé.

gerlean port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022By now it was time for me to go out for my trip to the physiotherapist.

And as usual, I went to the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was happening this afternoon down in the harbour.

And our game of Musical Ships has taken another turn this afternoon. L’Omerta is no longer there this afternoon but in her place Gerlean is back again.

At the moment then there are only these two boats playing “Musical Ships” and I wonder how long they’ll be able to keep it up, or whether we’ll have some more players in due course.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While I was here I had a good look out in the baie de Mont St Michel.

There was plenty of activity going on there this afternoon too. After the storms of yesterday that kept everyone indoors a few of the sailing schools were out there today.

There were two sailing schools out there just outside the harbour with a couple of zodiacs shepherding them around.

And there was a third one out there deeper in the bay too as I discovered later as I was walking down the hill towards town. The students were certainly having their money’s worth this afternoon.

While I was here I had quite a shock as well. A girl who was the spitting image of Castor went walking past. I did a double-take and I still wasn’t convinced that it wasn’t she and it was quite unnerving.

Something similar happened to me in Brussels a few years ago now. It’s been years since I’ve seen Zero in the flesh and I’ve often imagined how she might have looked as she’s grown older.

And then in Brussels, of all places, into a café where I was drinking walked a girl who was exactly how I had imagined Zero to be by then. I was so surprised that I dropped my coffee.

painting zebra crossing Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here – there was work going on in the street this afternoon.

The pedestrian crossing here has faded quite considerably and this afternoon they are repainting it.

And that reminds me of the time that a pedestrian was trying desperately to cross a busy street and a passer-by yelled at him “there’s a zebra crossing just a little further down the street”
“Well, I hope that it’s having better luck than I am” retorted the pedestrian.

So hotfoot in desperate pursuit of the Castor lookalike and failing miserably, I headed off down the hill into town and the Post Office where I posted my letter about my pension and then wandered off to the physiotherapist.

Somehow today, although the climb up the hill was agony again, the physiotherapy session wasn’t quite as painful today. Even so, I staggered out of there at the end of the session looking like “The Death of Nelson”.

Even walking down the hill was painful, and the least said about the climb back up towards home the better.

victor hugo chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Once again, I had to make several pauses on the way back up there to catch my breath.

One of them was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour. Marité was there with members of her crew clambering all over her, but I was more interested in Victor Hugo and Chausiaise

We still haven’t seen Victor Hugo in action so far despite the service to the Channel Islands being up and running for over a month. We’ve noticed her absence on a couple of occasions and I’ve seen photos of her out around the Channel Islands when other ships have encountered her, but that’s all there is so far.

And Chausiaise seems to be leading something of a nomadic life in the harbour, moving around from berth to berth.

speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Having recovered my breath I pushed on up to the top of the hill and home.

Before going inside though, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look at what was going on out at sea this afternoon.

It’s not easy taking photos out there today as I only had the NIKON 1 J5 and the standard lens with me. I could pick up this speedboat that was out in the bay but that was the best that I could do.

Whether there was anything else out there I really couldn’t say. The focal length of the lens isn’t all that long and in any case the weather conditions weren’t as good as they have been just recently.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And of course while I was here I had to go and look at what was happening down on the beach this afternoon.

Sticking my head over the wall and having a look I could see that there were plenty of people down there on the beach this afternoon and several of them had actually taken to the water.

There was a little wind about, although nothing like as much as yesterday, and it was nice and warm. In fact, I’d come all the way back from the physiotherapist’s in my shirt sleeves.

It was that kind of day today. I actually saw a lizard today – a sure sign that sumer is acumen in.

bus with passengers place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There was a crowds of people loitering around in the vicinity and as I watched, a coach pulled up and they all scrambled aboard.

Where the coach is parked is where they put that new kerb in the other day, and the fact that the coach is there explains in part why they installed that kerb.

As of 1st July they are reorganising the town’s bus service. There’s a new line being added and there are a few more changes, one of which is rerouting the bus that comes up here. Instead of going down the Boulevard Vaufleury where no-one lives, it will now coming through the square where everyone including me lives, and the bus stop will be where they installed that kerb.

That couldn’t be much better for me, could it?

Back here I had a strawberry smoothie and then I crashed out. I knew that I couldn’t keep going for ever. I’m surprised that I kept going as long as I did after the night that I had. I was out of it all for about 90 minutes and felt like death.

There was plenty still to do but I’ll have to do that tomorrow for I’m not in any fit state to do it now.

Tea was steamed veg with vegan cheese sauce and falafel, and that was just as delicious as usual.

So having written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m totally exhausted and I’m hoping for a good night’s sleep where I can recharge my battery and have a better day tomorrow. I have that meeting tomorrow at 10:00 about the radio and we’ll see what happens there.

Friday 3rd June 2022 – GONE!

cabin cruiser catamaran joly france belle france chantier naval ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And never called me “mother”!

Yes, as I wandered around the headland this afternoon and reached the chantier naval I noticed that the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie has now disappeared.

They were there the other day with a large portable crane busily dismantling it and at some point subsequently they have been with a lorry to whisk it away.

We’ll have to content ourselves today with the cabin cruiser and the catamaran, and with Belle France and one of the Joly France ferries over there at the ferry terminal.

After saying yesterday that I’d managed to go a whole day yesterday without crashing out at all, how those words came back to bite me today. And bite me in spades too.

After I’d had my medication I came back in here to sit down ready to start work and the next thing that I remember was that it was 10:40. I’d been out like a light for over 2.5 hours and that was pretty dismal.

But it seems to be par for the course these days.

What might account for much of this is the fact, as I alluded yesterday, that it was something of a highly mobile night as far as my voyages went. I started off talking to someone about how ill I was feeling. I’d been down in the south of France in a dark blue car and a couple of people from my family. I’d been feeling ill again. I was explaining that it was just like 2018 when I’d been feeling really ill and I was right down there on the Mediterranean coast. I was talking about the journey that I was in the middle of doing. They came out with the idea that maybe I could find a couple of passengers who would want to come along on that particular trip. They could pay me a lot of money for having some kind of bespoke travel arrangement around France like that but then of course a Cortina would be the wrong car. You would need something like a Volkswagen minibus or something in which to do that kind of thing.

There was also a big football match being played in Crewe at 08:00 on a Sunday. I was up at 06:30 going for a walk around. There were hundreds of football supporters asleep all over the town in doorways etc who had been unable to find rooms or anything. They had crashed out in the first available shelter out of the open air where they could be some kind of reasonably comfortable and reasonably protected from the elements.

We had a girl who came to see me with her father. He was waving around a receipt because he’d bought a car that was named after him. I couldn’t see why that was any concern of mine but apparently they all thought that it was something to do with me and wanted me to deal with the matter. I didn’t have a clue what was happening about this. It was a definitely a garage from where he’d bought the car, not from me.

And then there was a really heavy snowstorm around Crewe so I’d been out in the night spreading salt around the pavements to make access to the office earlier although I didn’t bother around areas where people were actually having to walk through paks and grass etc. There was one area of grass that was extremely overgrown. It was impossible to walk through there although someone was running a little circus through a corner of it. On the way back I went by there to have a look. It was one of these Wild West circuses with the guy I knew from Eddie and the Hot Rods in charge and Laurent and a few others dressed up in Wild West clothes marshalling the entertainment etc. They all seemed to be having a tremendous amount of fun down there.

Finally there was something strange about people having bodyguards outside their rooms while they were sleeping. Someone had this young girl who was guarding a room by standing on her hands upside down. There was a discussion about how they were going to overcome her. Someone suggested cutting off her feet. They thought “yes, but how far up the legs would you want to go to actually cut off her feet”. This became something of a strange discussion amongst a couple of people.

After all of that it’s hardly a surprise that I was quite exhausted.

Once I’d organised myself and had a late breakfast I had a strum through my acoustic guitar set just to make sure that I don’t forget it.

It will be a shame to put it on the back burner after I’ve gone to all of this trouble to learn it, even if I probably won’t ever have the chance to play it again. Certainly not at Nicorps

After lunch I spent an hour writing about “The Future”. One of the things that I was happy to say – well, not happy to say but you know what I mean – was that I don’t think that I have a future. What with war and Covid and my illness that is slowly deteriorating day after day I don’t have much of a future

And that’s not an idle statement either. When I went out last night I took my acoustic guitar, my bass and my little Roland bass cube with me. I’d brought the acoustic back last night and this afternoon I brought the bass cube and the bass back.

Or, at least, I tried to. I didn’t have the strength to bring them both upstairs at once. I had to make two trips. And you’ve no idea how that made me feel.

There are some kitchen units in the back of Caliburn that I need to bring up here and assemble, but I’ve no idea how I’m going to find the strength to do that

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022As usual, I went out for my afternoon walk.

And as usual, I went across the car park to see what was happening down on the beach this afternoon.

There was plenty of beach to be on, but there were only these two people down there as far as I could see. They had the whole of the beach to themselves.

It was quite a nice day today but there weren’t all that many people at all out there enjoying it. Even up on the path on top of the cliffs it was quite quiet today. I had the place pretty much to myself this afternoon.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022What was probably keeping them all indoors was the racket that was coming from the repointing of the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

Someone was up there working with a power tool and you could hear the whining from up here. It must have been deafening down on the beach.

And that reminded me that I forgot to go and have a wander around the walls during the week to check on the repairs and to see how the baby seagulls were doing. If I remember, I’ll wander around that way this weekend.

hauteville sur mer Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Although the view out to sea wasn’t as clear as it has been just recently, the sun shining along the coast and reflecting off the sand was producing some nice effects.

Over there is the town of Hauteville sur Mer where the River Sienne flows into the sea. With the white houses and the golden sand over there it looked really nice in the afternoon sun.

Strangely enough, there wasn’t anything at all happening out at sea this afternoon. I couldn’t see a single water craft of any description out there in the bay or further out in the English Channel. I’ve given up hope of ever seeing one of the Channel Island ferries out there.

f-gbai Robin DR 400-140B baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022On the other hand, things were different as far as aerial activity went.

As I was wandering along the path towards the end of the headland I was overflown by a light aeroplane on its way to the airfield. It’s one of the regular ones that we see, F-GBAI, a Robin DR 400-140B that belongs to the local aero club.

She took off at 15:24 and flew out to do a lap around the Ile de Chausey before going down to Mont St Michel and then back up where she came in to land at 16:00.

And seeing that my photo was taken at 15:51 (adjusted) that’s about right, I reckon.

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone else filed a flight plan or flew high enough to be picked up on radar?

speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022As I went around the corner of the headland, coming the other way was a speedboat.

This is the first water craft that we’ve seen today. I’ve no idea where everyone else might be today.

They certainly weren’t down on the bench at the cabanon vauban today. That was quite deserted too this afternoon. It’s a shame that the town isn’t like this all the time

And so instead I wandered off around the headland and down the path on the other side in order to check on what what was happening in the chantier naval, as we have seen earlier.

l'omerta ch589986 la bavolette 2 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022When we were out yesterday we took a photo of the port by the fish processing plant because, for a change, it was strangely deserted.

Today though; L’Omerta is back where she seems to spend most of her time. And she has company too. Behind her moored up against the quayside is the little trawler La Bavolette II. Presumably she arrived too late and the gates to the inner harbour were closed.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had an important e-mail to write. It concerns the live rock concerts that I do for the radio programmes. Basically, I’m not going to produce any more if they can’t guarantee to broadcast them. I’m still pretty upset about last weekend’s concert not being broadcast after all of the effort that I put into making it.

It’s not as if it’s the only one that’s been missed either. There have been several and it totally defeats the purpose of spending all this time preparing them if they are going to be missed.

The rest of the day was spent writing notes about “I don’t like” for my Welsh exam, and then playing some stuff off this playlist that I was sent. I need to work on that now for the next few weeks.

Tea was steamed veg with falafel and vegan cheese sauce which was delicious. And now I’m off to bed. I’m shopping tomorrow (if I can stay awake) and I mustn’t forget the olive oil because I’m running very low.

In fact I’ll probably remember everything else except that. I’m not doing all that well right now

Thursday 26th May 2022 – I’M QUITE SURE THAT …

… this physiotherapist is doing her best to finish me off. This afternoon our session finished with 10 minutes on the exercise bicycle and she programmed it so that the final few minutes were at the maximum resistance and I really struggled to make any headway.

The other day I mentioned something about staggering out of the building close to death and that’s just how I felt today.

But all in all I’m feeling pretty dismayed by what is going on with me right now. For the last few sessions she’s had me standing on one leg balancing with my eyes closed, something that has been a dismal failure.

And there I was in the past, scrambling over scaffolding, along beams and rafters, reroofing houses, reflooring bedrooms without any problems of balance at all. I don’t know what’s happened to me just recently but it seems as if I can’t really do anything as I used to in the past and all the enjoyment that I had out of doing things like this has gone. I’m in a bad way.

At least it seems that having abandoned that medication I can actually get up in the morning now. Once again I managed to leave the bed as the first alarm call went off at 07:30. That’s certainly an improvement from 10 days ago so I suppose that I ought to be thankful for that.

And after the medication I spent most of the day working on my Welsh course, making a table for the past and future tenses of the most common verbs and trying my best to learn them. And it’s not easy because I have a teflon brain. Nothing sticks to it.

Rosemary rang me this morning for a chat as well and we had another one of our marathon sessions on the ‘phone. As well as breakfast and lunch and a coffee here and there, I also had a shower. I must make myself nice and pretty for my physiotherapy session.

gerlean l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Eventually it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk across town for the physiotherapist.

And once again, we seem to be playing “Musical Ships” this afternoon. Gerlean is still there from yesterday but Nais who was there the last time that we looked has now disappeared.

In her place, L’Omerta was now coming back into port to tie up at the fish processing plant where we usually see her. I don’t suppose that she can keep away.

There’s another smaller boat tied up there in front of Gerlean but I don’t think that she has anything to do with the fishing trade, and neither does the van that’s pulling up on the lower level, unless she’s going to be doing some repairs on one of the boats.

cranes freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022We’ve seen a couple of the little Jersey freighters in port over the last couple of days.

Thora in there yesterday and between her and Normandy Warrior, they seem to have cleared away all of the backlog of freight that had built up over the last week or two.

But those two little mini-containers are quite interesting. They are of the type that Thora carries on her deck, presumably to transport high-value goods, and they have been dropped onto the quayside waiting for someone to come and take them away.

And no Marité. I don’t know where she’s gone but she’s making a good trip of it.

chez maguie bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And finally, the Bar Ephemere, Chez Maguie is open on the Place Pelley.

It’s been installed for a couple of weeks now but today was the first time that I’ve seen it actually open with the crowds of clients loitering around. But no boulonauts this afternoon, which is a surprise.

Going down the Rampe du Monte à Regret, I was almost squidged by a cyclist who took it upon himself to cycle down there. They seem to think that everything is permitted here in Granville.

And it wasn’t just me either. It’s a Bank Holiday today so there were crowds of people in the town today, all at risk from errant cyclists.

kiddies roundabout place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And here’s a thing!

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there has been quite some controversy about the kiddies’ roundabout that appears every now and again on the Place Charles de Gaulle, with claims that it’s over-size and forcing pedestrians to walk in the road.

The on that is the subject of all of these issues is a pink one, but today we have another one, a yellow one, and this is definitely smaller than the pink one.

So the question is, is this a permanent replacement for the pink one or just a temporary one? Watch this space.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapist’s was a struggle this afternoon. A real struggle. And apart from that I found that I’d forgotten my fitbit, forgotten my pouch thing with my wallet and cards, forgotten almost everything.

And my physiotherapist is away for a few days so she’s had to shuffle my schedules around.

When she finished with me she threw me out and I staggered off down the hill in agony. I’m really not doing too well right now

royal enfield motorcycle rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022It was a long and weary road going through the town and back up the hill towards home.

But at least there was something for me to admire while I stopped to catch my breath. A more modern version of an early 1960s Real Oilfield.

When they stopped producing them in the UK in the late 60s they sold the design and the presses to India who manufactured them and once they had ironed out the notorious British quality control issues, began to import them back into Europe.

My friend in Munich has one and I’ve mee mulling over the idea of treating myself to something like this or even a Triumph baby Trident but I can’t even pick myself up if I fall over, never mind a motorbike as well.

cap lihou port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There were a couple of trawlers on their way into the har bour as I walked up the hill.

One of them went off to by the Fish Processing Plant but the second one came into the inner harbour to tie up at the pontoon here.

She’s Cap Lihou, a trawler whom we have seen on several occasions in the past. By the looks of things she’s one of the last trawlers to come into port this afternoon.

Having recovered my breath for a moment and waved “hello” at one of my neighbours heading down the hill, I carried on with my struggle up the bank towards home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Instead of going inside for my coffee I carried on across the car park to have a look at what was going on down on the beach.

Surprisingly, because it wasn’t a very nice day this afternoon, there were quite a few people down there on the beach this afternoon.

It’s probably something to do with the fact that it’s a Bank Holiday in France today. The Month of May is full of Bank Holidays – we have May 1st, and then VE Day, and then Ascension followed by Pentecost. That explains the crowds.

There were crowds of people on the path up here too, and judging by the number plates of the cars, I bet that half the cars on our private car park were nothing to do with the occupants of the apartments either.

trawler fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022While I was up here I had, as usual, a look out to sea to see what was happening there

There was the last of the trawlers over there on the left on its way back to the harbour and there was one of the shell-fishing boats making its way back too but that was about that.

So having satisfied my curiosity I headed back to my apartment for a coffee and where I rather regrettably fell asleep for a short while. And cold coffee isn’t my cup of tea, I’m afraid.

Once I’d recovered I had a listen to the dictaphone. The first voyage had something to do with Spanish exploration in the Golden Age with the three cities of Asturias … “which is actually a Province” – ed … Barcelona and I can’t remember the third that were on some kind of promontory or peninsula. All the boats had set out from there and gone off and discovered all different parts of the World and so on. These towns are really famous as far as Spanish history went as a result but I awoke quite quickly in this dream so I couldn’t really find out much about it.

And then I was in Stoke on Trent at a big factory complex that had been built in an old quarry. They were demolising it and as they were knocking it down to the ground where this quarry had been infilled they were pulling out all kinds of lorries, plant and machinery etc that had been used as infill. I was astonished by all of this stuff. I thought that it was brilliant. They told me that part of the grounds had been an old Primary School and when the area had become depopulated they had taken it over and demolished it. They told me how they had demolished it. The wall had gone and it had turned into a nature garden before completely removing it to make it into an industrial property etc. It was really quite fascinating. But I couldn’t get over all these lorries that were buried in the side of this quarry as infill and had been backfilled all around.

But when the alarm went off I was busy telling Liz the story about someone I once knew in Stoke on Trent who had bought a few houses for cash in a subsidence zone. They were really dreadful houses but he was hoping to build up a property portfolio of them. They really were in awful condition. That was as far as I reached when the alarm went off.

And that was a pity. Had I started to tell that story a few minutes earlier, I might actually have met up with Zero. I’ve not had any of my young lady friends accompany me for ages and I’m missing them terribly. I really must improve my aim

Tea tonight was steamed veg with falafel with vegan cheese sauce, and very nice it was too. But right now I’m off to bed. Wishing myself sweet dreams but somehow I don’t seem to have the same enthusiasm that I had a while ago.

And don’t forget, on Friday and Saturday at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK time, 15:00 Toronto time, one of the five best live concerts of all time. BO NOT MISS A MINUTE

Monday 11th April 2022 – I REALLY SHOULD …

… have put my mortgage on it yesterday because, the way that things were panning out, it was inevitable.

Sure enough, at 08:20 this morning the doorbell rang. “Mr Hall, I’m in the building. May I come and give you your injection?”.

So there I was, hurriedly trying to dress myself while he was banging on the door. After all, I don’t want to give him an inferiority complex.

digging up road rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Something else on which I should have bet my mortgage was “how long will it be before they dig up that brand-new road on which they spent all that money just recently”?

It’s been completed and opened for traffic for just about a couple of months but sure enough, here they are with half of the width coned off and someone hacking away at the surface. It was inevitable, wasn’t it?

Anyway, back to where we ought to be.

Last night I fell into a very cold bed and that was the last that I remember of anything until this perishing ring on the blasted bell this flaming morning.

No-one was more surprised than me to find that there was some stuff on the dictaphone from last night because I didn’t remember a thing about anything So after having taken my medication I sat down and transcribed them.

I started off with something to do with a radio show. I bet that I’ve missed out lots of it. It was that I couldn’t do all of my radio programmes this week and so they had done some kind of message to say that I’d been unwell or injured myself climbing onto a railway station platform or something like that although they didn’t elaborate why I would want to climb onto a railway station platform. There was the inference that it was something to do with refugees or something and they didn’t want anyone to know that I was doing that kind of thing so they had to invent some kind of excuse.

Later on the 4 of us had gone off for another weekend. I can’t remember where it was now. We’d been looking at hotels but because of the budgetary issues we were looking at hotels further out of the city. I’d done some research and I’d come up with 4 that fitted the bill in the same kind of neighbourhood. They were miles from anywhere. We reached the 1st one which was a brand new chain hotel type of thing. Its budget was like €55 per night but they looked at it and decided that it would be far too expensive for us even though I told them that it fitted in with our budget. They still thought that it was far expensive so we went to the next one. To my surprise they only booked 2 rooms. It seemed that the girls were sharing the one and the boys (me and whoever) were sharing another. Across the road was another hotel of a similar type but it was blue. I’d stayed there once the very first time that I’d started out on my travels and thought that it was expensive for what it was supposed to be. They asked about restaurants but there weren’t all that many in the area at all. Nevertheless we booked in. We had to take a table and banqueting stuff out of our room so we carried the headboard out. It was enormously heavy. The guy who was with me carried it first but he almost dropped it so I had to help him. One of the waiters came along. He had a tray and put the coffee machine on it and the sugar in the bowl. It was quite interesting the way he put the sugar in the bowl. He had 2 spoons, 1 with white sugar and 1 with brown and he poured it into the sugar bowl so that it was half-and-half. He put some milk onto the tray. Another woman came in and began to hurry around. She prepared a second sugar bowl and put it on the tray so we made some kind of funny remark about that.

The rest of the morning, once I’d awoken, was to back up the computer – to copy all of the files that I had created or changed on the laptop while I was away and then load them up onto the big machine. There were quite a few of those as well and it took me a while to organise it all.

With what time was left before lunch I went for a shower, and I’ve put back all of the weight that I’ve lost over the last few months despite all of the walking that I did while I was away. I also had to organise the clothes ready for washing, which I’ll be doing while I’m out at the physiotherapist

There have also been several in-depth discussions on the internet too about the events of the last couple of days.

As well as that, although the trip was a success to the extent that everyone reached Granville safely and without losing anything along the way, there were several aspects that needed to be improved. Whatever you do, it’s always a good idea to sit down afterwards to see how things could have been accomplished better.

rocalamauve le styx port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And so on that note I headed off to the physiotherapist for my Monday afternoon session.

As usual I paused at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check that the NIKON 1 J5 was working and also to see what was happening down there this afternoon.

There were a few fishing boats down there this afternoon. At the front is Roc A La Mauve and at the rear is Le Styx at the rear. I can’t see who the boat in the middle is.

You can see the crane unloading Roc A La Mauve and the pile of boxes full of shellfish on the quayside already unloaded.

trawler chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And as I watched, another trawler came chugging into port

Unfortunately she’s far too far out for me to be able to say with any certainty who she might be but I can see that the seagull over there was having a really good look.

Over there to the left at the ferry terminal is Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs over to the Ile de Chausey.

There’s something over there in front of her too – probably one of the Joly France ferries. It’s holiday time for the next two weeks so I imagine that there must be plenty of custom for a trip out to the island.

marite belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Whoever it was over there at the ferry terminal, it isn’t Belle France.

She’s down there tied up at the quayside in the inner harbour. There can’t be that much trade over to the island today.

But I was more interested in seeing Marité back in port again. She’s been away for the last while or so having her annual overhaul. She can’t be overhauled here in the chantier naval because the portable boat lift over there doesn’t have the lifting capacity to lift her out of the water.

There’s also a swimming pool over there. That means that one of the little Jersey freighters will be coming over in the course of the next few days.

boules bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One thing that we usually see down on the Place Pelley during the summer is the Bar Ephemère, the temporary café that they erect on the boulodrome.

It’s here already and they are busy unloading it and erecting it all, ready for the Easter rush.

And it’s not disturbing the boules players at all. They are still managing to fit in a few games around all of the goings-on.

One of my friends had asked me to find out if there were any golf courses near here so I went to the Tourist Information Office. That was a waste of time because there were crowds of people in there and of the assistants, two of them were helping one client and all the rest of the assistants were Miltonists.

And in case you wonder what a Miltonist is, there’s a line in Milton’s poem “On His Blindness” that goes “They also serve who only stand and wait”.

road closed rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill in the Rue Couraye I noticed that the Rue Roger Maris was closed off to traffic so I made a mental note to go back that way to find out why.

Not now though. I pushed on to the physiotherapist.

She had me on the couch again with the electro-massage machine and then I had the honour of being the first to have a go on the new electric bicycle. And finally a few kinetic exercises before she threw me out.

Back again on Wednesday for my last session with her before she moves on to her new job. She’s fixing me up for sessions with one of her colleagues.

place des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Who remembers the Place des Docteurs Lanos?

The last time we saw it, it was a huge mess of mud that had been churned up by all of the vehicles that had been on there while they had been using it to store the building materials.

On my way to find out why the Rue Roger Maris was closed, I had a look to see what they had been doing there and as you can see, they have made quite a bit of progress there since I was last down this way.

But as for why the street was closed off, there wasn’t anything evident that I could see, apart from the guy digging up the road around the corner in the Rue du Boscq.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022My route took me back through the town and up the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards home.

Near the top I stopped because there was something interesting going on out in the bay. One of the sailing schools was out again this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve promised that I’ll be out there with them one day soon but the way things are with the physiotherapy, the Welsh lessons, the radio and my trips to Leuven it’s difficult to know when I can fit anything else into my programme.

You can see that most of the fishing boats are now back home too and tied up in the inner harbour.

anakena rocalamauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was here I had a look to see what was happening in the chantier naval.

Spirit of Conrad has now gone back into the water. I saw her moored up in the inner harbour. La Roc A La Mauve III is still there though, up on the blocks. How long has she been there now?

Also in there is Anakena. We saw her being lifted out of the water the other day just before I set off on my voyage. She has a programme of voyages out to the North so I imagine that she’s having her annual overhaul too.

One of the places that she’s visiting is Greenland, according to the local newspapers of a while back, so I sent a mail to her owners to see what the plan was because I’m keen to get back to Uummannaq and my little Inuit friend Heidinngauq but they never replied.

That’s the story of my life. People complain about there being a recession but how many times have I sent out mails to enquire about products and never received a reply?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As has been the case in the past, I can’t go back into the apartment without seeing what was going on down on the beach.

With it being holiday times and reasonably good weather I was expecting to see the crowds down there and I was right as wzll. The place was heaving. No-one actually in the water though.

One thing thatt I did while I was out was to make sure that Caliburn started. We have to go out on Wednesday and with him having stood around for over a fortnight it’s as well to check.

Back here I had a good play on the guitar and then organised my photos from today. I have to stop letting things hang around here for as long as I do. Especially as I may well be off on yet more travels some time soon

And regrettably, I also crashed out for half an hour too.

Tea was a disappointment. It should have been steamed veg with falafel and vegan cheese sauce (now that I have some) but the veg was over-steamed which is quite rare these days with my steamer that doesn’t seem to work as I would like it.

So having written my notes I’m going to hang around for a while and then go to bed. I have a radio programme to do tomorrow seeing as there is no Welsh course tomorrow.

But it’s not going to be a 06:00 start. That I can promise you.

Wednesday 2nd February 2022 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… one of the lowest tides so far this winter, and so as we might expect, the crowds are out at the pèche à pied this afternoon.

That is, of course “fishing on foot”, not “fishing for feet”, although there was probably a little of that going on too after the events of several weeks ago when someone did fish up a human foot – or, at least, the remains of one.

And that reminds me – I wonder whatever was the outcome of that. Nothing more ever appeared in the local Press and I’m intrigued to find out some more about it.

I shall have to put my best foot forward and go to enquire of the local bobbies sometime. Maybe they have one foot in the grave already.

trawlers ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And it wasn’t just on the beach that people were fishing either.

Right out at sea at the top end of the Ile de Chausey there were a couple of fishing boats wandering around. Far too far out for me to be able to tell exactly what they were doing, unfortunately.

For a change, I knew what I was doing today – and that was “making some progress”. Being unable to eliminate all of the background noise from my radio interview, I cheated and made my own background noise, and then overdubbed it onto the supplementary questions.

Surprisingly, after a considerable amount of tweaking, it didn’t sound too bad at all and it’s difficult to hear the joints.

Yes, a better day today and I was able to make progress. And not just that either. I have a much better idea of what I’m going to do with it all.

It took a good while though to work myself up to it. It was rather later than usual when I went to bed and despite dropping off to sleep quite quickly, I was awake just as quickly too and had another hour or so of wishing I was dead or something before dropping off into the Land of Nod.

And not tossing and turning too much during the night either, for the first time since I really can’t remember when.

Leaving the bed was another struggle, which was a surprise seeing as I’d been awake since 06:10 and starting work after the medication was even more so and it took me quite a while to start up.

First task was to listen to the dictaphone. I started out with Nerina last night. We were driving somewhere, the two of us, in our separate cars, looking for a place to park. For some unknown reason I missed a turning and carried straight on down this road. When I looked behind me she had gone. I stopped and someone, I’ve no idea who or how, said that he’d nip down this side road after her. I parked up Caliburn, walked a little further down and turned left where there was a road junction that went left back on itself and another road that went left and forward on itself like a “K” on its back. I followed the road that was going back on itself thinking that I’d reach the road where Nerina had turned off. I’d left my van so that if she turned up she’d see it, know that I’m around and wait. I walked down this road. There was a canal on the right and buildings on the left. It narrowed into a footpath and then came out onto the road that Nerina must have taken. There were people around, like a park etc, and the canal. I couldn’t see Nerina, I couldn’t see June, I couldn’t see anything of that so I walked a little way back along this road heading towards the main road again. I couldn’t see her, I couldn’t see anyone so I thought that I’d walk back to where my van is and see what happens next. Of course there’s no point ringing her because she had a mobile ‘phone but she never ever brought it with her so ringing her wouldn’t be any use.

We never had that trouble in real life though. We could wander off in different directions even in major cities but we’d soon find each other again, like a pair of homing pigeons. Except once many years ago in Budapest when I nipped out of the car, told her to “drive round the block and come back” because there was nowhere to park while I had things to do, and then having to wait three quarters of an hour in a tee shirt in a snow storm because I’d sent her off round the only 5-sided block in the whole of Hungary and she had, unsurprisingly, become disorientated.

And I remember that car very well. OCC883S, a Cortina estate that I bought for £50 to break for spares 35 years ago and ended up driving it, and the two of us, all the way from Crewe to the border of the USSR via Italy and Yugoslavia, and they wouldn’t let us in because Nerina didn’t have a visa.

Some local reversed into us as well outside the railway station in Budapest and was shocked to the core when I told him to forget it and drive on. As if another dent on that car was going to make any difference.

And then it cracked the head in Ulm on the way back so when you left the car overnight, water would drain into a cylinder and stop the car from starting. We had to drain out the water every night, start the car up empty next morning and then fill it up with water once it was running.

Later on I was with Nerina and TOTGA of all people in Gainsborough Road doing some tidying up (as if that would ever be likely). We discovered a huge damp patch on the floor that was wringing wet and were having a big discussion about whta we were going to do about it. I was busy working through my music playing different tapes here and there. It was starting to become quite late and TOTGA decided that she would have to go home. Before she went I put on an album, THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by Audience, I don’t know why, but that was playing. Anyway she eventually decided that she would have to go so i went to the front door to see her off. “There’s no need to see me off” she said but she added that this time would be the best time to ‘phone her because everything was quiet just before she goes to bed and she wasn’t ever really doing anything else. The she said something like “there’s no need to take me to the door”. I thought “of course there is, if I can get a hug out of it” and I gave her a big hug. She was rather wary about what was going to happen next, something that will come as no surprise, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I could sense that things were not maybe as I would like them to be.

So no surprise there either. Over the years she had several lucky escapes from my evil clutches so no reason why that shouldn’t continue in the virtual world.

After a shower, I went for lunch where I finished off the last of the bread. Must make some more tomorrow.

In the meantime I made a start on the radio programme and made quite good progress. I might even have finished off the final part but Rosemary rang up for another one of our mega-chats that go on for hours and hours.

There was of course a break for my trip to the physiotherapist.

coelacanthe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And on the way down into town I stopped to have a look at chat was going on in the port this afternoon.

And what is Coelacanthe doing? She’s moored stern-on to the quayside right by the fish-processing plant so they won’t be untangling her nets there in that small space and the ice chute that pumps the ice into the holds of the ships that are setting out is the grey tube in the foreground so she’s not taking on ice.

Meantime, in the background, after her perambulations of yesterday afternoon, Belle France is back tied up at the quayside near the port office. She can’t have gone far yesterday afternoon.

cutting down trees place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Further on down the hill I could hear the noise of machinery coming from down below in the street.

The council has parked a load of vans and lorries and so on down on the boulodrome on the Place Pelley. And even so, the presence of several vehicles isn’t going to put the boulonauts off their stride.

They will still be carrying on regardless. A game of boules is quite serious stuff around here. Nevertheless, I decided to go that way into town to see what was going on down there.

cutting down trees place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022So this is what they are up to this afternoon.

Pollards!

What they are doing is pollarding the trees around here, namely trimming them down so that there is less weight on the trunks and to increase the density of the foliage, all of which is supposed to make the trees last longer.

The wood isn’t going to waste by the way, because there was someone picking up the bits that had been cut off and was busy stuffing them into the back of his car. I suppose that they will be the right kind of thing for basket-weaving and the like.

kiddies roundabout place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The last time that we were down here in town they were beginning to set up the kiddies’ roundabout.

They’ve finished doing that now and it’s up and running, with fare-paying passengers by the looks of it.

And if you look closely at it, it seems to be smaller than in previous years. Perhaps that’s just an optical illusion or else this is how the stand-off with the town council has been resolved.

Whatever it is, there seems little doubt that pedestrians can walk all the way around it without stepping into the street, which was one of the objections that the council had.

At the physiotherapist’s, she had me doing exercises, including standing on one leg, throwing a ball behind me and then catching it as it rebounded from the wall. I’m still trying to work out why.

Around the corner to Lidl next. I’ve run out of frozen peas and quinoa and they are a vital part of my cuisine. I bought a few other bits and pieces too but I forgot the tarragon.

house building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022ON the way home I came past the new house that they have been trying to build for a lifetime on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul.

We’ve not had a photo of it from this angle, as far as I can remember, so I took one while I was organising my shopping which, for some reason, felt as heavy as lead today.

A few hundred yards further on, my neighbour who had been at the physiotherapist’s came by and offered me a lift which was quite nice of him. We had quite a good chat on the way home. And I can’t say that I was sorry to have a lift. I wasn’t doing too well on the way home.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I’d been getting out of the car I’d heard the noise of a powerful power tool coming from within the walled town so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and went back outside while the coffee was brewing.

My first thought was that they might have been doing something in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux where they are repairing the medieval city walls, but it wasn’t clear from this photo.

But we can see how they are progressing with the repair work. Where the scaffolding is, they’ve done almost all the way up to the very top, and are working their way along at the foot of the walls.

But those two very large vertical cracks are looking quite ominous and they will need quite a large amount of attention.

Back in the old days, when they would finish the repointing, they would drill two holes in a piece of glass and screw it with one screw either side of where the crack was. They would check the glass regularly and if it became cracked, they would know that there was still movement in the walls.

You see that kind of thing in plenty of medieval churches and the like even today.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was at it, I went for a butcher’s down on the beach.

Plenty of beach, even though it’s later than usual, but no-one down there on it. The weather might have been miserable but it wasn’t raining and it wasn’t that cold. It doesn’t seem like midwinter at all right now.

Back in the apartment I carried on with the radio programme until Rosemary rang up for one of her chats.

Tea tonight was falafel with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce. And the potatoes weren’t steamed enough. I must give them a few minutes on their own before I add in all of the other vegetables, I reckon. Everything will be so much better.

So while I’ve been writing out my notes I’ve had a hot chocolate and now I’m on the hot blackcurrant, lemon and honey drink. I’m having plenty to drink and it’s all healthy. It might make me want to go for a ride on the porcelain horse later but I’ll worry about that at the appropriate moment.

Right now I’m off to bed, hoping for a more exciting and productive day tomorrow if I can find this momentum again. I need to finish this off and move it out of the way and get on with other things.

In the meantime, if you want to see the highlights of yesterday evening’s football, THEY ARE HERE.

Monday 27th December 2021 – REGULAR READERS …

sunset sea mist baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday’s posting included a note about the glorious sunsets that we have at this time of year.

On my way back from taking Caliburn to the mender’s to have his rear discs changed, there was yet another one. I noticed it as I walked up the hill from the town centre towards home.

And as well as the sunset we also had a sea mist that was rolling around in the bay restricting the view of the Brittany coast It was the kind of weather that made me want to head for home and my nice mug of hot coffee.

Anything to keep me awake of course because I’d had another rough night. Not because I was unsettled but because I was late going to bed. For some reason I couldn’t find the energy to go to bed when I ought to have done.

Nevertheless I managed to haul myself out of the bed in some kind of order when the alarm went off at 06:00.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone just now. I was going out for my evening run and I’d met someone. I can’t remember who it was but it wasn’t a very agreeable meeting. Then I came across a girl from school dressed in casual clothes. Then a few more people from school, boys and girls. Gradually, the further on round my course I went, the more people from school I met until I ended up in the dressing room for the gym. I had to fight my way through the crowds of people. They all wanted to know where I was going. I replied that I was going for a run. They said “yes, but there’s something else that you have to do” and I can’t remember what that something else was. I had to fight my way through the crowds and find the tutor and explain to him and carry on. Then I was stuck in the gym again. This time I couldn’t find the tutor to explain what was happening. These crowds of people, there were more and more of them and I was trying to fight my way through them, all this sort of thing. It was quite a struggle and I wasn’t making any headway at all through these crowds and just couldn’t find the tutor this time. And this a a dream of the “classic” type, isn’t it?

Later on I had a dream that was so real. There was a girl who lived in Chester who I bumped into. I thought that she was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. She could sing and had a beautiful voice. Some time a couple of years later when my enthusiasm for this girl had died down I came across her music. I managed to collect together easily a dozen songs and thought that there was enough here to make a radio programme, a live concert, and also some other songs for something else so I sat down to edit them. I was editing them in the street with the volume pretty loud in the hope that she would hear it and would come to find out who it was who was playing this music because I’d forgotten her name and where she lived. It was the kind of thing that having discovered her music it was now starting to haunt me that I couldn’t remember her at all or at least any details about her

There was also lots of other stuff going on during the night. There were a couple of young boys in the youth team at Morton given their chance to make their first-team debuts. There was also a girl whom I know from the internet who put in an appearance last night and it’s a shame that she couldn’t manage that for real.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down to prepare the radio programme. And in news that will surprise almost everyone, because it certainly surprised me, I was all done and finished and ready to go at 11:20. I’ve never finished a radio programme so early.

That included stopping for a coffee at about 07:30. But not breakfast because I’d finished my programme by the time I was ready for food.

When I’d finished listening to the finished article I went for a shower and then for lunch. And that reminds me – I must make more hummus pretty soon.

After lunch I organised myself and then headed out for Caliburn. And we went off to the garage for his new brakes – and here’s hoping that they have the correct parts this time.

For a change it wasn’t too wondy and it wasn’t too cold either, so I decided to walk home – all 6kms of it

As I passed Aldi I popped in for some shopping. My cucumber and my lettuce were looking extremely sad at lunchtime so they ended up in the bin. Replacements were on the agenda today

There wasn’t much going on of any excitement happening on the way home really.

sign blown down in the wind avenue des matignons Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021However there’s a derelict garage and house in the Avenue des Matignons that have been up for sale and have just recently been sold.

A big sign had appeared saying that they will be building a couple of blocks of flats thereupon, but it looks as if the wind that we have had just recently has done for part of the sign.

It’s lying there flat on its face next to a very sad framework. They could do with re-erecting it because I can’t remember what it was saying right now. But whatever it is, I won’t be able to afford it. And I wouldn’t want to live there anyway.

bad parking bus station gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that pathetic parking has been a regular feature of these pages in the past.

This one is a pretty fine example. That’s the car park for the railway station down there, and that particular zone is where the buses park as they connect with the incoming trains.

However there’s a horsebox down there parked sort-of-ish in the bus station and as you can see, not only is it parked poorly, it’s also straddling the white line taking up two of the four bays. That’s bound to be popular with the bus operator, I don’t think.

Down in the town I didn’t see anything of any interest so I pushed on towards home.

loading fishing nets tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Half-way up the hill I stopped for a moment – and not to drink the can of energy drink that I had bought in Aldi either.

The trawler Tiberiade is down there, having reversed in to the quayside and there is a couple of men down there sorting out and untangling a fishing net.

It looks as if Father Christmas has brought a new fishing net for Tiberiade, and I would have loved to have seen him try to fit it into a stocking.

They were taking their time with the net so I didn’t hang around for too long. I headed on for home and my coffee.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before I went in though, I went to have a look down on the beach.

And the pleasant weather had brought out the crowds this afternoon. There were about half a dozen people down there having a walk around in the mild weather.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had some work to do. A pile of sprouts and leeks were left over from Christmas Day so I prepared them and blanched them ready for freezing which I shall do when they have drained properly.

Laurent came round bang on 17:00 and we talked about the message that he wanted me to write. It’s a complicated message because the person to whom he wants to speak is rather nervous about it, judging by what I read, and needs rather a large amount of reassurance.

It’s very difficult to do that but at the same time keep things professional and business-like but after about 90 minutes I was happy with what I had written.

Now we are in the Lap of the Gods.

After Laurent had had a coffee he went home and I made tea – falafel and steamed vegetables with a vegan cheese sauce.

While I was eat my meal in the evening I usually watch a film on the old laptop that’s in the dining area.

The current film is THE HITCH-HIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY but I’ve almost reached the end. And there was a line or two in there quoted by Arthur Dent that rang a bell with me.
“And for one week, one week, in my sad little blip of my existence, it made me happy”.

Yes, one of these days I shall have to write up the story of those missing few days at the end of August 2019, if the dust will ever settle. I dunno.

Saturday 20th November 2021 – IT SEEMS TO ME …

… that you’ either getting photos or dictaphone entries right now – one or the other and not both.

But over the course of the next few days things will be brought up to date. But then that’s the story of my life these days, isn’t it?

gare montparnasse rue du départ paris France Eric Hall photo November 2021And while we’re on the subject of photos and stories of my life, look at this photograph.

For four and a half years I’ve been struggling through the underground labyrinth from the Gare Montparnasse to the metro station, going up and down flights of stairs like there’s no tomorrow, struggling with suitcases and all kinds of luggage.

Today, I walked up two half-flights of stairs and then up an escalator, and then you can see what I have to overcome in order to reach the Gare Montparnasse. Down at the end of the Rue du Départ in the distance you can see the station, one street that’s straight and level, with the only issue being to wait for the traffic lights so I can cross the road.

How easy is this compared to how I used to travel?

It might have been even easier had I had a good night’s sleep last night. But I don’t sleep very well at all in the beds at this place in Leuven and last night was no exception.

martelarenplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021It didn’t take me long to tidy everything up, make my sandwiches and pack, and I was on the road by 05:35

When I arrived in Leuven on Wednesday I had intended to take a photograph of the Martelarenplein in the daylight but I forgot and so I took a photo on my way into the station.

Of course, you can’t see the work very well because there is a fence and a covering all around it and I have to poke the camera through whatever gap I can find.

martelarenplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021And the work has now spread pout right onto the front of the station building.

They are uprooting all of that now and it looks as if they are about to replace it with a different kind of paving block, and as for why they would want to do that I don’t know.

In the foreground we can see some more tactile pavement of the type that we saw on Monday, and in the background you can see the fence with the covering over it to stop nosy people like me poking cameras in to photograph the work.

08187 class 08 electric multiple unit gare de leuven railway station Belgium photo November 2021It was 05:55 when I set foot on the station platform.

Having completely forgotten that it was early on Saturday, I found that the next express to Brussels was at 06:33 and it was freezing. However there was a local stopper, an 08 class multiple unit, leaving at 06:08.

Although it arrives at Brussels-Midi at the same time as the express, it’s a lot warmer and more comfortable inside the train than sitting on the platform so I clambered aboard. And so I did, and we set off bang on time.

Thalys PBKA 4306 gare du midi brussels Belgium photo November 2021Our train pulled in at 07:00 and my train to Paris doesn’t leave at 07:43 so I had to loiter around in the cold for a while because like most railway stations, Brussels-Midi is a freezing, draughty station with nowhere to sit out of the wind and the cold.

The train was one of the PBKA – Paris Brussels Cologne Amsterdam – units and although these are quite old now, the are quite comfortable and I was glad to be able to be allowed on board early.

It was packed too, with hardly and empty seat. It seems that the 07:13 that I used to catch is no longer running so everyone piles on board this one. I had a young lady sitting next to me but she didn’t say a word throughout the whole journey.

Well, not that I would know too much about the whole journey because I was … errr … resting for about half of it.

As I mentioned earlier, the trip from the Gare du Nord to Gare Montparnasse was the easiest that I have had to date, but when I reached Gare Montparnasse, the wheels came off.

There’s already a 75-minute wait on the freezing, draughty concourse of the railway station but I did notice that the train that I should be catching hadn’t yet arrived from Granville. We were supposed to leave at 10:54 but it hadn’t even come in by then.

By now I was frozen to the marrow so I went of to buy a coffee and as usual, exactly as you might expect, while I was distracted the train pulled in so I had to struggle on board with a suitcase, a laptop bag, a bag with my lunch in it and a full mug of coffee and just two hands to hold it all.

84569 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As a result I couldn’t take a photo of my train – I’m not an octopus – and of course it had to be the rear of a two-trainset unit so I had to do the best that I could at Granville.

It was 11:36 when we eventually set off and for a change I was feeling rather dynamic and I’m not sure why, but I actually did some work on the train back home which makes a change.

Another thing that I did was to finish off reading a book that I had started to read a long time ago, the account of Parry’s voyage in Hecla and Fury which resulted in the latter being left behind on a beach on Somerset Island in 1829.

Her anchors were recovered and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we went TO SEE THEM IN 2014

84567 84565 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Having left Paris 40-odd minutes laten we were just over an hour late arriving in Granville and that filled me full of despair. I really could have done without that.

First thing that I did was to take a photo of the front bit of the unit on which I travelled. And then I took one of the front of the unit that was pulling me along. That’s the one on the left.

Being so late they had hauled another unit, the one on the right, out of the sheds to do the return trip back to Paris.

On the way down into town I called in at the Carrefour. Whatever else that might or might not happen, I can’t do without my mushrooms for my Sunday pizza. Not at any price.

For a change I took a new route through the town centre to avoid the crowds and thus it was maybe a little easier to walk.

It was still necessary for me to stop a few times on the way up the hill towards here, one stop of which was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

marite belle france joly france philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021We have Belle France and one of the Joly France boats, the newer one of the two with the step in the back, moored together just down below.

Marité is down there too of course and over on the far side is the trawler Philcathane, moored where the gravel boats used to tie up. It looks as if we’ve seen the last of them.

And on the quayside is another shrink-wrapped boat. This kind of work is proving to be quite lucrative for the little Jersey Freighters.

boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way up the hill I noticed that the diversion signs had gone and the Rue Cambernon was open to traffic.

Accordingly I glanced down the Boulevard des Terreneuviers to see what was happening to the workmen’s compound. And there it was! Gone! And never called me mother!

What I shall have to do on Monday on my way to my physiotherapy is to go and see how they have finished off the work there.

Back at the apartment I struggled up the stairs into the apartment and crashed down in my chair for a good while to recover. I’d had a long hard journey.

Having backed up my computer with the files off the laptop I then went for tea. I had some falafel left over from Leuven so I finished them off with some pasta.

No washing-up tonight as the water is cold. And it won’t be warm until tomorrow. Anyway I’m too tired to do it so I’m going to vegetate for a while and then go off to bed. A good sleep will do me good but that remains to be seen.

And next morning (well, afternoon actually) I was able to bring up to date the journal with details of my voyages. On Friday night I was in my Welsh class. There was a teacher and a girl and then I turned up. That made two of us. At first I couldn’t understand what was happening because my screen was just so different from how it normally was but I eventually settled down. The girl had to leave nut another guy turned up. We were talking about going to the restaurant but he asked me “have you eaten anything yet? Are you going for a meal afterwards?” I replied “I don’t have any plans as such”. Then the girl came back by which time we had a man teacher, a change from a woman and we had to go back to read this article that we had just read a couple of minutes ago.

Later on I was with Shearings and a meal that we were having as though we’d all been away for a weekend somewhere, all the employees. I worked out where the girls were sitting so I picked a seat that was behind there so I could see them. I put down my stuff and went to find some bread to toast. Someone turned up and sat at my seat. I made myself some toast and went back and had them clear off and I sat down. I wanted some more but couldn’t find any bread. In the end, in the kitchen I found a pile of fruit bread and made myself some toast from that. Someone else came and sat down on my seat again. I thought that I would move them again in a minute. Then there was no coffee left, no orange juice left. In any case these girls hadn’t come down. I thought “this is turning into a right old mess, this is”.

Thursday 11th November 2021 – I THOUGHT THAT I’D …

crack in Caliburn's windscreen place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… I’d show you the crack in Caliburn’s windscreen.

According to the examiner at the controle technique this crack is in the field of view of the driver. It certainly is from where I’m standing taking this photo, but remember in Caliburn I’m sitting about a foot higher up from here so it’s nothing like in my field of view from the driver’s seat.

And that’s probably why, for every year since 2016 up until this one, nothing has ever been said about it.

There have been issues like this before. I’ve owned several Transits in the past and on one occasion I was stopped by a policeman for “overtaking on a blind bend”. It was certainly a blind bend for him low down in a Rover 2.6 but up in the driving seat of my Transit you could clearly see the road over the top of the hedge.

Still, not much I can do about it. It does really need replacing so I may as well do it to keep him happy

It does however remind me of the time that a nasty crack appeared on the wall of 10 Downing Street. But the police painted it over before Boris Johnson could read it.

This morning I had quite a fight to leave my bed. And when you see the notes that I transcribed off the dictaphone you’ll understand why.

We were at a holiday camp, a group of us, last night. There had been something going on about some kind of play or something like that and we were all going to have a meeting. We’d booked the place for a couple of days but the previous day while we were there the guy in charge went missing. Next morning there were all kinds of rumours flying around. Some girl came over to our chalet and just walked straight in – she didn’t knock or wait at the door or anything. She said “did you hear the news? So-and-so has been to see the authors of the play and started work already”. I replied “I knew that he had gone yesterday to do this but I want to stress that I knew that he had gone yesterday, but no that I knew yesterday that he had gone”. She replied “all the party is breaking up now and people are going home”. I said “we’re here for another day yet”. It was pouring down with rain, a real wet day. She said something like “you’ll be on your own here. You know that, don’t you?”. I answered “it probably suits me fine to be on my own like that”.

Later on I was with some young girl of mixed race with curly hair. I’d bumped into her 4 or 5 times in one day in London once and since then I’d been bumping into her every now and again. I’d actually started to chat to her because I thought she was nice. She was working in an office somewhere. One morning she’s gone in late to the office and gone to hang up her coat. Seeing as there were 4 or 5 coats in there already she decided not to and to hang it somewhere else. Then she went to see her supervisor to say that she had to leave in the afternoon. The Supervisor said that she couldn’t. The manager said that she had an exam to take in connection with her qualifications so that was going to be OK. Later on that afternoon I was with someone else when this girl walked past me and went down a side street that was quite steep. When she was halfway down she beckoned to me and made a gesture something like “when I’m at the bottom, tell him” – and I couldn’t see to whom she was pointing – “to come down”. I thought to myself “perhaps I ought to go down and have some interpretation of this. Wouldn’t it be a good idea,”. So I asked my friend “do you think that I ought to go down and see what she wants?”. My friend said “no, I don’t think she wants us and you’ll be very lucky if you see her again”. I replied “I’ve seen her so often just recently that I’m sure that there will be more to it”. I had a feeling that there was something nefarious going on, that she was either going to do a robbery or a hold-up or something. Everything about this seemed really suspicious, even not hanging up her coat with the other people looked suspicious to me.

There was something else about this girl as well, something to do with old-time radio. There was an old machine that was available. I’d gone to check the plugs in my room but the centre-piece of the plug where you plugged in the appliance was loose. I told my father and showed it to him. My idea was persuade him to let me have this radio so that I could listen to this girl. We found a few grub-screws but they weren’t the correct ones. They were all screws with broken heads that we’d used in carpentry or something. he said that he’d get round to it. Then he said to one of my sisters “isn’t one of you girls going to start putting a bolt across on your room now?”. One of them replied “there’s this thing, this machine that they say we can travel all around the world from our bedroom in 24 hours. Why would anyone want to do that?”. My immediate response was “why wouldn’t anyone want to do that?”. This started to lead to a discussion between my father and my sister. In the meantime I thought to myself “I’m trying to get hold of him to get him on his own so that I can ask about this radio so that I can get on and listen to this girl but at this rate I’m never ever going to do this. There were just so many distractions again”.

There was another thing about entertainment on board a ship and this girl was in charge of it. I was keen to sign up for the entertainment and everyone was surprised but it was a chance to talk to this girl. Someone said “she won’t be interested in you. She’s a professional hostess and has thousands of people every week whom she sees”. I replied “yes, but you live for the moment and you never know what the future holds.

So that’s three times that this girl put in an appearance last night – with me stepping back not exactly into the same place where I left it but pretty close to it with the same people showing up. There’s definitely something going on right now that I can’t explain.

A little later there was a group of us walking somewhere. We were discussing my dreams and the teacher said that that’s a fascinating subject and wished that she could have a copy. I said “I’ll give you a copy if you like. I write them down”. She seemed to be quite keen at first and then she started to make excuses “I don’t have my computer here” and a few other things like that. I replied “if you really want them you can have them. It’s not a big problem for me”. We went past a house and there was a woman outside. Someone pointed to some footsteps on the floor. The woman said “that’s my son and his football boots”. She had a look in the car and said “you can see where he’s sat when he’s come home and where he’s been looking for his stuff – first turning his head that way and then another way”. This woman rang a bell with me as she had some old cars. I asked where her old cars were. She replied “the woman who lived here has moved away”. I said “I know that she’s gone and taken some cars with her but I’m sure that you had a few old ones”. She pointed to an Austin A35 up by the hedge against the road and there was another one further down in the garden at the bottom. There was something else that I couldn’t recognise. She was talking about these cars and I said “I’m sure you had much more than this at one time”.

So is it any wonder that leaving the bed was rather problematic.

Having put the spare battery on charge last night, it goes without saying that Caliburn started fine this morning. We went to Aldi and while they had plenty of stuff in and plenty of choice, they didn’t have much of what I wanted. And watching girls probably not yet in their 20s dragging four tiny kids around the shop made me realise that this really is rock-bottom shopping.

Not that I’m elitist or anything like that but I’ll probably end up back shopping in Lidl.

Back here I had a coffee and a fruit bun and then attacked the dictaphone notes. And I don’t know what happened today but I had a really good shift and actually finished all of them and updated every one of the journal entries with the missing entries.

And apart from the family and Nerina, I had loads of exciting visitors. Miss Stoke on Trent was there a few time as was Percy Penguin, who doesn’t feature in these pages half as often as she deserves.

TOTGA showed her face too as well as some other people who flit in and out but one surprising omission was Castor. She didn’t turn up at all and I’d swap any appearance of anyone else in my nocturnal voyages for a visit from her.

Something really strange happened on that boat that night and I wish that I knew what it was.

Meanwhile back at the ra … errr … apartment I went for lunch with my nice new bread and then went outside for half an hour to tidy Caliburn a little and to find the screws to reassemble the door panel. I eventually tracked them down and now he’s looking so much better.

However, I wish that I knew where the spring clip that secures the window winder onto the axis sprung off to that day when I levered it off.

man with paddleboard people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another interruption, if there hadn’t been enough already, was my afternoon walk.

Down at the wall at the end of the car park I peered down onto the beach and was astonished to see all of the crowds down there.

There was even someone negotiating the currents with a paddleboard and I bet that he would have known all about it had he fallen off into the water.

And have you noticed the length of the shadows these days? The sun is sinking lower and lower in the sky.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021It wasn’t just seeing all the people on the beach that was surprising either.

Out there in the bay one of the sailing schools from somewhere was being quite adventurous. Four of their boats had gone way out from shore and were busy parading up and down.

And that reminded me – I want to see what the heart specialist has to say about my heart next week so that I can plan about going sailing and going for a flight underneath a Nazgul. Things are building up here.

fishermen peche a pied beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further along on the beach there was plenty more activity too.

Out on the rocks at the water’s edge there was a guy casting his rod and line into the ocean, more in hope than in expectation I imagine. Remember that we have yet to see a fisherman with rod and line actually catch something.

There were a couple of other people down there too. I’m not sure what they were doing. At first I thought that they might have been doing some peche à pied among the rocks but it’s not very easy to see from this angle.

red microlight pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As I left the building to come out I was immediately overflown by one of the little light aircraft from the airfield but I wasn’t quick enough to photograph it.

But never mind. As I was walking along the path an old familiar rattle from the distance told me that one of the powered hang-gliders was heading my way.

Today, we’re having the red one come to overfly us. The yellow one must be having a day off today.

And that reminds me that we haven’t seen the yellow autogyro for a while either. I wonder where he’s got to.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021We’ve seen crowds on the beach, crowds out at see and even a couple of things up in the air so far.

There are crowds on land too and when I saw “crowds” I really DO mean “crowds”. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many people walking around on the path down to the headland before at this time of year.

Mind you, it’s nothing at all like mid-November today. It’s much more like the balmy early evenings on a mid-September day and I don’t recall there being anything like any wind to speak of either.

fishermen people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Walking down the path and across the car park I came down to the end of the headland.

There were crowds down there as well. usually, we might manage just a couple of people by the little stone cabin there if we are lucky but today there were what looked like a couple of families that were admiring the beautiful sun that was blinding me and the camera.

Further out on the end of the rocks at the water’s edge were a couple more fishermen having a go with rod and line. But I didn’t really pay much attention to them.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Instead I cleared off down the path on the other side of the headland.

Over at the ferry terminal this afternoon in a foot or so of water was one of the Joly France ferries to the Ile de Chausey. The older one I reckon because, as you see, there’s no step in the stern.

And for once, they’ve folded up the crane correctly.

Nothing else happening out there. L’Omerta is still settled in the silt and the portable boat lift is still in the middle of the chantier naval with its wheels lying by the side.

Back here I made a coffee and then waded through another pile of photos from that rock concert a couple of weeks ago.

That took me up to tea time and steamed veg with falafel and vegan cheese sauce which was delicious.

Tomorrow I’m busy. There’s a public meeting about the twinning arrangements between Granville and Uummannaq and as I know Uummannaq and some of its inhabitants very well, I’ve been asked by the radio to go and record it and interview a couple of people there.

There’s also a rock concert in town to which I’ve been invited but I don’t know how I’m going to find the time to go.

First task though will be to find the spare battery and the two battery chargers for the NIKON 1 J5. Before I posted the camera off, I put them somewhere safe so I wouldn’t misplace them, so that means that it will be another 5 years before they next see the light of day.

Friday 30th July 2021 – THE THING THAT …

… surprised me most about this morning was that after so little sleep – much less than 5 hours, I was up and about so early and so … well … maybe not so energetically but at least I wasn’t staggering about incoherently (inasmuch as I am usually incoherent). And I was even back in here to check my mails and my newsfeeds in a reasonably rapid rate of knots.

It wasn’t long though (geologically speaking) until I had to leave the apartment and head off to the doctor’s and my early morning appointment. And I actually made it almost to the surgery before I realised that i’d forgotten to bring my injection with me, by which time it was too late to go back.

skip lorry loading scrap port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way to the doc’s I walked past the docks as I usually do

My attention had been drawn there a long, long way before I could see them by the racket that was coming from down below. When I reached the viewpoint I could see that there was a skip lorry that was picking up the scrap metal in the skips there.

Bearing in mind my post from several days ago, I mused that it was probably old bicycle wheels and World War 11 munitions that had been dredged up in the shellfish scrapers. Start the day with a bang? Why not!

“This is not the time to be hanging around within pressure-wave distance” I thought.

repairing brick wall Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on down the hill, this little matter of interest caught my eye.

In actual fact, it was a closed-off car parking space across the road that I noticed at first before I saw the builders’ tape. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall, without any help from me, that the old medieval walls around here are crumbling away quicker than they can repair them.

Thai wall here, in between the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard des Terreneuviers has been quietly crumbking away and bits have gone missing, but it looks as if the local builders have been having a go at it.

Whatever next?

Next of course was the doctor’s. Having forgotten the injection, it wasn’t much of an omission because the doctor wrote out a prescription for me to have a nurse come round.

Furthermore, stocks of this injection are available in France and he’ll write out the prescription for me when I run out of the stock that I had from the hospital.

The Covid certificate is easy. Now that I have a Carte Vitale and an account at the French Government’s Health database, he could do all the necessary and I now have a proper Covid Europass. My telephone even reads it too.

The knee isn’t so simple. he thinks that it’s just the menisque, the meniscus muscle, and he’s prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication (which means that my daily dose has now gone up to 10) and a course of physiotherapy.

But prescribing a course is one thing – finding a therapist to do it is something else completely, especially in midsummer when everyone has gone on holiday.

At the chemists I had to wait five minutes before they were opened – first in the queue as well. But clutching my medication I headed back home.

aztec lady charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall that a few days ago we saw Charles Marie come sailing into the harbour.

Not having been this way since then, I hadn’t seen whether or not she was still there but sure enough, she’s the blue and white boat across there.

As for the dark blue boat behind her, I couldn’t make out at first whether she was Anakena, the boat that had set off to go to Scandinavia but had been caught in the pandemic. If it had been she, she probably would have set the record for the boat that’s been the longest in the harbour.

However, a closer examination of the photo shows that she’s Aztec Lady and she’s been in there for quite a long time too.

goods on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut remember yesterday? When we saw a pile of goods on the quayside as Normandy Trader was busy loading up, and I speculated that they wouldn’t be getting all of that into her with the swimming pool as well?

It looks as if I was right – although it didn’t really take much of an effort to work it out. There’s still a pile of freight on the quayside despite the fact that the ship has long-since sailed off into the sunset.

That means that we shall be expecting another visit, either from her or from Thora, in the near future. Imagine leaving all of that stuff unguarded on a quayside in the UK.

On the way back home I met a neighbour (I seem to be doing this quite a lot just recently) and we had a good chat for a while. Then I came back in here for my hot chocolate and fruit bread, which really is delicious!

Armed with my breakfast I came in here and settled down to work on yesterday’s journal entry and the next thing that I remember, it was 2 hours later. Luckily I’d finished my hot chocolate before it went cold.

While I’d been asleep on the chair I’d gone off on another voyage. I was in my holiday home getting ready to go back to the Auvergne because I decided that I was going to move my holiday home … start again … I was in the hotel where I was staying in some seaside resort somewhere in the south of France or somewhere in the west of France. I was going to get back into Caliburn and drive back to Virlet to get some stuff because I was planning to rent an apartment here. I’d thought about going to contact all of the Agents Immobiliers in the region about seeing who had a flat to let. I just walked out of my hotel room and across the hotel into the lobby just to walk straight out, get into Caliburn and drive straight back. I saw the rain and thought “do I need anything to take with me to leave back there? Do I need to bring anything else. Then I had a horrible thought about the train – how was I going to get to my hospital in Belgium?

There was really only just enough time to sort out the photos before lunch and guitar practice.

After lunch I had to ring around for a nurse, but everyone seems to be unavailable. Better luck at the hospital where I was able to change my appointment to the following week. And then I could at last push on with my notes.

There was the usual break for my afternoon walk so grabbing the NIKON D500 j cleared off outside.

lancia fulviasport 1600 zagato place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while there was no bus parked outside the building today, I would swap any bus on the road for one of these.

This vehicle is probably one of the fasted production cars that Lancia ever produced, and I didn’t recognise it at first because someone has taken off the distinctive bumpers. But in actual fact it’s one of the Zagato-bodied Lancia Fulvia Sport 1600s.

Made for just two years, 1971 and 1972, there can’t have been many of these made, and there can’t be more than a handful that still survive, especially here in France.

But yes, one of these would do me very nicely, thak you.

man in water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo having dealt with the car, let’s go and deal with the issue of the beach.

It took quite an effort to make it across the car park because there was now a howling gale that had sprung up. I wasn’t expecting to see too many people on the beach, and I was quite right too because everyone was conspicuous by their absence

Apart from a few brave souls wandering around out there, there was this guy leaping up and down as the waves came into shore. He was certainly a braver man than I am.

waves breaking on rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd waves of course, there were plenty because there was quite a storm raging out at sea.

There are some rocks that even when the tide is well in, they aren’t covered over by the sea and the waves were breaking on them with quite considerable force. We aren’t likely to see too many ships out there today.

But there were crowds of people at a loose end wandering what to do and I threaded my way through them along the path, chasing after my headgear that had decided to go off for a stroll all on its own with the aid of the wind.

joly france 1 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I said that we aren’t likely to see many ships out there this afternoon, here’s one that I certainly didn’t expect to see.

It was the clouds of spray being thrown around out there that drew my attention to somethign moving so I went to find a high point on top of one of the old bunkers to have a better view.

Exposed as I was to the wind, it was impossible to take the shot that I wanted for when there was a shower of spray over the ship I was being blown out of position. I had to compromise.

Digital enhancement back home brought out the step in the stern of the ship and this tells us that it’s Joly France I battling its way valiantly out through the gale to the Ile de Chausey and I bet that the people on board were not enjoying the trip.

A few years ago I was on a crossing like that, and everyone was leaning over the railings.
“The trouble with you” I said to one man “is that you have a week stomach”.
“Nonsense” he retorted. “I’m throwing it as far as all the others”.

waves on sea wall baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith all of these storms at sea I was expecting to see waves of hurricane proportions dshing over the sea wall and soaking everyone and everything in the inner harbour.

Consequently I dashed down the path, across the car park and around the corner onto the path onto the other side of the headland in eager anticipation.

And this is the best that I can get.

It’s true that the harbour wall is well-sheltered from the nor’westers by the headland around which I have just walked, and you can tell that by the fact that I have now replaced my headgear. But I was expecting much better than this.

If I knew who to complain to, I would lodge a complaint.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday (was it only yesterday?) we saw one of the shell-fishing boats moored up and aground at the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant.

Today, it looks as if we have had a tactical substitution because while she has now cleared off, another one his come to take her place.

When I went further round to the front, I could see that it’s our old friend L’Omerta who seems to spend a lot of her time moored over there when she isn’t out at sea.

But anyway, that’s not my affair. With nothing going on any different in the chantier naval I carried on with my walk.

man in hazmat gear le tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on down the road I stopped to have a look at what was going on in the inner harbour.

The trawler Le Tiberiade is in there this afternoon. She has a sister-ship, Le Coelecanthe and the only way that I can tell them apart is when I see them together because the latter is bigger than the former.

But as I looked more closely, there was something else that had caught my eye. In the background is a white van and a large commercial pressure-washer, being operated by someone in full hazmat equipment.

So whatever that is all about, I’d love to find out more. Although there isn’t likely to be anything in the local paper about it, and at the speed at which I move these days, I wouldn’t be able to catch him before he went.

unloading builders equipment port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead, I turn my attention to the rest of the inner harbour.

And remember the pile of builder’s material that we saw there yesterday and this morning, well, like Topsy, it “just growed”.

If you look very closely, you can make out the front of an articulated lorry and there’s also a guy on a fork-lift truck busy manoeuvring stuff around there.

All of this seems to indicate to me that the arrival of one of the Jersey freighters is imminent.

But I shan’t be around to wait for it if it arrives on the evening tide. I’m off back home for my coffee.

Downstairs in my letter box was a letter, from the Welsh Joint Education Council. For my “spoken Welsh exam” I’ve scored … errr … 208 out of 220. The reason for that mark is that I have learnt after many years of bitter experience to “Keep it Simple” and don’t try to complicate things gratuitously. Then you can’t tie yourself in knots of your own making.

Back here I finished off yesterday’s entry, about 7 hours later than I had intended, and then made tea. Falafel and pasta with the most delicious pineapple upside-down cake with coconut soya stuff.

No football tonight so I can go to bed. And about time because I’m wasted after my bad night and early start.

Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Thursday 6th May 2021 – OUR HEROES …

trawlers returning from st helier channel islands baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… returned from the port of St Helier this afternoon as I was out on my afternoon walk around the headland.

It all seems to happen here during the small hours of the morning because at about 03:00 this morning as soon as the harbour gates opened, almost the entire fishing fleet left the port en masse like a ferret up a trouser leg and set sail to St Helier in Jersey where, arriving at first light, they blockaded the port, hemming in the ferry to St Malo and the oil boat that brings the fuel over to the island.

It seems that the Royal Navy’s two gunboats, HMS Tamar and HMS Severn, were totally powerless to stop them. Do much for this “Britannia Rules The Waves” nonsense. There were also 3 French military vessels, including Geranium with whom I had a run-in last summer, out there too to make sure that there was fair play.

trawlers returning from st helier channel islands baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn case you are wondering what this is all about, let me first mention that it’s nothing whatever to do with Brexit, due to the rather prosaic reason that the Channel Islands were never in the EU.

There’s a separate treaty, the Treaty of the Bay of Granville, that has been in force since 1843 that controls fishing rights out here and the Channel Islanders, doubtless inspired by the British Government, have seized the opportunity of Brexit to unilaterally revoke the Treaty.

In negotiations earlier this year, which I briefly mentioned a while back, they gave the right for French fishing boats already fishing in the bay to continue to do so. Suddenly, on Friday afternoon, they asked the boats to provide proof of their entitlement by Monday morning. And then they promptly closed their office for the weekend.

Some of the boats are owned by fleets where there is office staff and the like who can easily access the information. But the smaller boats and one-man bands don’t have the staff and their records are held at the Fish Processing Plant down the hill – whose offices were closed from Friday late afternoon until Monday morning so the information couldn’t be obtained before the deadline.

Of course, a deadline to provide all of this information with zero working days’ notice is unrealistic, if not impossible. Most neutral commentators see it as nothing more than a deliberate provocation whereas cynics like me would draw attention to the flagging election campaign of the Tory Party and the massaging of the Prime Minister’s ego.

But be that as it may, we aren’t here to discuss politics I was awake at 06:00 and up and about a couple of minutes later. After the medication I finally caught up with the dictaphone notes so I can tell you where I went during the night. I was near Hunter Avenue in Gresty and there was a big American car parked up there. I’d had a lot of problems crossing the road from where the Mucky Bridge was on the Cheshire Cheese corner. I just couldn’t get to grips with waiting for traffic to come, I don’t know why. In the end all of the traffic stopped and let me pass. They did it twice as well. As I got to Hunter Avenue there was this big American car there. This guy was speaking to someone on the telephone trying to find out about a position as a taxi driver with his own vehicle. He obviously had a quote from someone so he said “yes” and they sent hi something that he printed out on his ‘phone – an insurance certificate. I asked him about it. He said that it cost him $15:00 a year for Private Hire endorsement on his licence which I thought was astonishing. With that, he can get going. He said that he could do a couple of jobs I asked ” every few days?” and he replied “no, at weekend”. Anyway so we had a bit of a chat about that. There was one of his competitors nearby who was doing the same thing so this was obviously paying its way, I thought to myself. Maybe I ought to get a car and do some taxi driving again these days. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember now and I wish I knew what the rest of this dream was. Unfortunately several bad attacks of cramp totally disrupted my sleeping arrangements and I’m fed up of that as well.

After a shower I headed off to the shops in the pouring rain. It really was a wicked morning and had it not been for the fact that the shops will not be open on Saturday, I wouldn’t have gone out.

repointing wall rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last 6 months or so we’ve been following the very slow progress of the students who have been practising on the pointing of the stone walls at the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

Of course, they aren’t likely to be there today in this kind of weather so I could have a good look at what they have been doing And what I can say is that a blind man would be pleased to see it.

Of course, when I pointed the stone walls on my house back in the Auvergne I had a lot to learn, and a lot to learn quickly too, but I was extremely satisfied with the results that I obtained and I reckon that I did a very good job of it.

scaffolding rampe du monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was going down the steps, I noticed that they had moved the scaffolding further down the slope to carry on down the other side of the wall.

And I’ll tell you something for nothing, and that is that I don’t fancy the idea of climbing up and working on that scaffolding the way that it is. I wonder if they were in the process of re-erecting it and hadn’t finished it when the rain drove them all away.

LIDL was packed today. There were crowds in there. I couldn’t buy everything that I needed as they didn’t have it in stock, but I did what I could, especially as there are no shops on Saturday. In fact I had to go round a second time as I had forgotten the mushrooms.

It had been difficult for me to go up the hill to LIDL for some reason – I really wasn’t in any kind of form today, and coming back, loaded as I was with everything that I had bought, made it even worse and I had to stop several times to rest on the way back.

Having put the frozen food (they had more of the falafel) into the freezer I made myself a hot chocolate and my sourdough and then came in here. I was so tired that I wasn’t able to do any work but at least I managed not to fall asleep.

After lunch I made a start on the photos from August 2019 and then went out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I went to the wall at the end of the car park to look over and down onto the beach to see who is about.

Not that there was any beach for people to be out on, and the miserable weather combined to ensure that no-one would be down there this afternoon. It may well have been that it had stopped raining right now but it was freezing cold out there this afternoon and I’ve gone back to being cold again – really cold, just like I was a few days ago.

There wasn’t anyone else around on the footpath up here on top of the cliffs either. And that was just as well because there wasn’t all that much room to move around there because everywhere was quite flooded because of the rain that we had had this morning.

commodore clipper baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallUp on the butte at the back of the lighthouse I could look out towards the sea to see if I could see the ferry that had by now set out to St Malo from St Helier.

Of course, at this range, it’s not possible to say with any certainty but if you look at the island in the centre of this photograph here, you’ll see something large on the horizon next to it. If I had to say that something out there was a small Ro-Ro ferry (because there was one out there somewhere), I’d probably be happy with identifying that as a likely target..

There were still plenty of fishing boats heading my way but I didn’t wait around for them. Otherwise I would have ended up feeling like Brian Hanrahan (and I’ve no idea where i would find him this afternoon) and “I’m not allowed to tell you how many there were, but I counted them all out and I counted them all back”.

black mamba baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been walking over to the butte, I’d seen a familiar black sail in the sunset out on the other side of the headland.

As a result I wandered off along the path and across the carpark and from the top by the old bunker there was an excellent view out to sea in the bay. Of course it’s our old friend Black Mamba who has been moored up in the harbour for the last couple of weeks now having gone off for a run around in the bay. It’s not really the best kind of day for a sail.

While I was out there, Rosemary rang me up so I promised to call her back when I returned to the apartment. That was the cue to set off home before it started to rain again.

bad parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA couple of days ago I mentioned that I’d given up commenting on cases of bad parking, and so it goes without saying that I would stumble on something extraordinary almost immediately, like this in the Boulevard Vaufleury.

Here’s a van and trailer belonging to a garden maintenance company working on someone’s garden this afternoon. It’s parked on the wrong side of the road on a main bus route at school chucking-out time when there are service buses going in one direction and school buses going in the other direction. And there’s a huge parking space free just 10 yards further on where it can park on the correct side of the road without obstructing the traffic.

There are a couple of kids waiting for the bus at the bus stop but they can’t see the bus coming and the bus can’t see them because the van is in the way.

This is a recipe for a disaster if ever I saw one.

Back at the apartment, armed with a coffee I rang Rosemary back and we had a very long chat yet again. Consequently I’ve done almost nothing yet again today.

There was the guitar practice of course, and then tea. Stuffed peppers with rice and veg followed by apple turnover and home-made custard.

And having done that, I’m off to bed. I’m not going to hang around tonight. I’m tired, cold and fed up so a nice long warm-up in bed will do me good. After last night I’ll have one of these sleeping tablets so there might not be a dictaphone entry tomorrow.

Wednesday 13th January 2021 – IN NEWS THAT WILL …

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall … surprise almost everyone reading this rubbish right now – because it certainly surprised me – I managed to beat the third alarm to my feet this morning. And that’s not something that has been happening very often these days is it?

Mind you, it wasn’t actually a sprightly leap out of bed. More of a stagger to the edge of the bed and a sit there until the room stopped spinning sufficiently for me to try to stand up. I’ve had many better mornings that this. But then again I’ve had many worse too.

So while you admire more photos of the storm stirring up the waves to break down on the Plat Gousset I’ll recount the history of my day today.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst of all, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I usually start with details of last the previous night’s nocturnal rambles.

Last night’s voyage was a really long, rambling one. I’d been giving some kind of interview to someone or other and I’d dictated a few things about my brother about how he needs to work on his charm and all this kind of thing in order to get on much better with the opposite sex – just part of what I said. I’d said a lot of other things too. A couple of weeks later I was sitting on a wall outside a factory or something and my brother walked past. He saw me, stopped, took off his rings and handed them to me saying “if you think that these are no good, you can have them”. I said “that’s not what I said at all” but he carried on being argumentative and in the end left them to me and walked off. I took them thinking that it would get rid of him and he can calm down and have them back at a later date.

There was so much more to it than this but this is all that I remember, which is a shame.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat I have been doing in a rather desultory fashion today is some of the arrears from my trip around Central Europe in the summer.

For several weeks now I’ve been bogged down in recounting the history of the siege of Chateau Gaillard on the River Seine between Paris and Rouen, but finally at some point this afternoon the trebuchet or mangonel (history does not recount which one it was but I suspect the former) finally succeeded in propelling its missile right through the front door of the keep allowing the forces of King Philip to swarm inside.

As an aside, we built trebuchets and mangonels as part of our “Historical Technology” degree, but I digress.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I managed to accomplish today was to finally contact the local tax office about the payment that they wanted me to make before Friday.

She had to run off and do some hunting around but, much to my surprise, she did actually phone me back. And it’s good news too.

The issue was that I had received a request to make 2 Taxe d’Habitation payments, but of course that can’t be right as you can only live “officially” in one place. I had noticed that my registration number in the Registre Natioanal as quoted on the two documents was different so I suspected that that had something to do with it.

And I was right too. The Belgian Pensions Office has me down as Nationalité Belge and so as that’s different from my Nationalité Britannique the French authorities have assumed that it’s a different person and so created another entry in the register.

She confirmed that I didn’t need to make the 2nd payment, and I had to e-mail her a copy of my passport and ID Card so that she can update the registers and delete the duplicate entry.

peche a pied beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe had the usual pauses of course. Hot chocolate and sourdough fruit loaf at 10:30 and lunch at lunchtime. And there was of course the afternoon walk.

At least the weather was slightly better today. I could leave my guide dog and white stick behind, so just the NIKON 1 J5 and me went out this afternoon. There were some people out there doing the pèche à pied down on the beach but very few other people out there this afternoon.

And so I trudged off along the muddy path. What DID they actually do to it to churn it up like this?

fishing boats english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown the path I trotted towards the headland. And at least with the view being better this afternoon I could see right out to sea.

With the tide well on its way in by now, the fishing boats were on their way back home to unload their catch at the fish processing plant. When I noticed the pink trawler in this photo I took a photo of it or course, but I didn’t notice until I returned home and enlarged it that there were two others out there in the shot as well.

It looks as if I should have gone to Barnard Castle the last time that I was in the UK.

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo off I went across the lawn, across the car park and round by the bunker to look out from the headland across the Baie de Mont St Michel and the Brittany coast.

And we’re in luck this afternoon because, compared to the last couple of afternoons there’s actually something to see. It’s not the best sunset that we’ve had, and in any case with the changing season we are quite far from sunset right now anyway.

The Brittany coast is however still obscured in fog though – the weather can’t be that clear further out.

fishing boats le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I pushed on around the headland and down the path along the top of the cliffs on the other side.

The tide is in some way and the smaller boats can make it up to the Fish Processing Plant but the larger ones look as if they have to wait a while for the harbour gates to open so that they can go into the inner harbour and unload there. These two are busy making a circle around Le Loup – the marker light on the rocks at the harbour entrance – while they wait for the tide.

While I was here I had a look in at the chantier navale to see what was happening there. And there’s no change – the same three boats as yesterday.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there’s a change in the inner harbour down by the loading bay.

Moored underneath the loading crane is our old friend Normandy Trader who presumably came in on the morning tide. She doesn’t seem to be in such a rush now as she was just before Christmas where she would be in and out on the same tide.

For my part, although I wasn’t in all that much of a rush, I still cleared off home. It’s not that warm outside (although it’s warmed up since the weekend) and a mug of hot coffee would do me some good.

Shame as it is to admit it, I crashed out at some point in the early evening and so missed most of my bass guitar practice. In fact, had Alison not messaged me and awoken me, I’d probably be still asleep now. But I did manage to find the time to run through a few scales before going for my half-hour on the acoustic guitar.

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the evening run tonight I was pretty much on my own. I don’t recall seeing anyone else at all.

At the moment I’m still stuck to doing 4 of my running legs instead of the previous 6 but I seem to be running a little freer than just now. However I did walk along the Rue du Nord instead of running down it as I might have done previously.

But I still managed to run down the path underneath the walls and even put 20 metres on my previous distance. I must be slowly recovering from whatever infection I had just now.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually, having had a pause to watch the raging storm at the Plat Gousset, I arrived at the Fish Processing Plant again.

And while there are no boats there, the place is lit up and there’s a refrigerated lorry waiting at the loading bay. This must indicate that there are fishing boats still out at sea and they’ll be heading home very shortly to unload.

And it was time for me to head home too. I was hungry. For tea I had falafel and steamed vegetables with vegan cheese sauce followed by jam pie and coconut dessert.

And I have a cunning plan for my next attempt at a pudding.

Tomorrow (well today, because it’s after midnight) I’m off to the shops. I don’t need much but I need to keep going because it frees me up, this long walk up to LIDL. And I have a few things to do on the way too which I mustn’t forget.

So I won’t be having too much time in bed tonight so I’ll probably be like death tomorrow.

We shall see.

Wednesday 23d December 2020 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

storm high winds sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the storm and the high winds that were blasting us here on the Pointe du Roc all through the day, let me tell you about my miserable day today.

And it isn’t as you might think, because although I didn’t beat the third alarm to my feet, I managed to only … “only, he says” – ed … miss it by 45 minutes and that’s an improvement on yesterday, for sure.

After the medication, I came back here to start on transcribing the notes off the dictaphone. And there were plenty of them today. It’s hardly surprising that I overslept with the distance that I had travelled during the night.

storm high winds sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere had been something to do with my house in Virlet only it wasn’t my house in Virlet at all. It was about all the brickwork in it, something like that and how untidy the place was. Some people whom I knew had been into it to fetch a couple of things and I hoped that they weren’t too put off by the untidy state of it. It made me wish that the place had burnt down or something or destroyed or demolished and I could start again and build something else on the site. So I walked off and it was a case of I climbed down this cliff and reached the bottom and had to walk off. I suddenly realised that this guy was fetching something so I had to go back and stand at the foot of this cliff while he threw it down to me. I noticed that he had 3 or 4 big packages but he threw 1 down and that seemed to be all that he was going to throw down. I couldn’t work out what this little thing was that he had thrown, what it was and how it worked. I couldn’t remember what he was going to throw me anyway. I was scratching my head all about this.

I’d been out on my usual evening walk and it had been terrible, really wet weather. I was walking around the edge of Espinasse and I had to go to the bathroom so I went to the little village hut place and went in there to the bathroom but found that the bowl of the WC had been broken and was all sellotaped off. In the end I couldn’t go so I gathered up my stuff. I’d heard someone come in in the meantime so I gathered up my stuff and walked out. There were a couple of girls in there so I walked on out and carried on with my walk. I ended up right on the far side of St Gervais down where you drop down towards the Sioule. I started thinking about going home but suddenly realised that I didn’t have my camera. I must have forgotten to pick it up when I was using the bathroom. I had to go from where I was to the other side of St Gervais all across the town and the countryside to return to Espinasse to where the toilet was in the hope that in the meantime no-one like these 2 girls had seen it, taken a fancy to it and disappeared with it. I had to set off and I knew that there was a short-cut through St Gervais right up this path. It was starting to become steeper and steeper and I was having breath problems but I was getting to the top. Then the path petered out and I ended up being right by the armco barrier of a garage selling Minis. A guy had come up the path and was following me up it. We had to inch our way along the brick work up this path. When it stopped I could see that the only solution was to climb over this armco and go into the area of this garage and walk through that way. This guy was as awkward as I was so when I worked out what I was going to do I asked him if he would like a hand. He looked at me totally puzzled as if “what would anyone need a hand for?” so I thought that I’d leave him to it.

storm high winds sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomewhere in this we were discussing recipes and a programme was being recorded for broadcasting on TV. Someone was having difficulty understanding the issue about small weights so I offered to give them a demonstration to show them. But there was much more to this dream that I’ve forgotten that I wish that I had remembered that I was going to be doing it when I dictated it but it all disappeared.

There were other types of bread available to use but I chose that particular one for some unknown reason using this oat and flour yeast thing and I couldn’t get them to go very much at all. (it looks as if I’ve missed something out here).

There was something a little bit about someone driving a car down the Freeway and they had to pull over to the side and stop as a police car with its lights flashing went past. All the vehicles that had pulled over and made room for the police car and stopped were then allowed to proceed but the police were interested in an old pickup with old Ohio number plates towing a trailer. When they looked at the trailer they told the guy that when he got to his destination he had to have it inspected and send the inspection to them which they did. When they received a copy of the inspection they found that it had failed on several things and issued him with a ticket. Someone was telling me that in Illinois they had the most trailers and hence the most oppressive police when it comes to inspecting them.

All of these travels and all of this distance, and no-one I know coming with me either.

And if you think that it took me a long time to type out all of that, it took me longer than you think because I had a computer issue after about 2/3 of it. Everything went “bang” and the computer locked up. At least, that’s what I thought at the time.

It was still there, switched on and apparently working but not doing anything, so after trying just about everything I shrugged my shoulders and hunted around at the back for the power switch, and switched it off.

Leaving it to cool down for about 15 minutes I switched it back on, and there we had a “no keyboard detected” error message, and no mouse either. So at least, the computer was doing something. I unplugged the keyboard and mouse and tried various USB ports and eventually it managed to work. There’s one bank of USB ports on the front and two banks at the back, and it seems that one bank at the back has burnt out.

Getting to it where it is is not an easy proposition so I’ve rigged something up temporarily and hope that it holds out until the New Year. And then I had to start the dictation again, seeing as I’d lost what I’d already typed out when I’d switched off the machine.

So limping along for the rest of the morning, I did some work on some of the arrears from the summer. I don’t think that I’ll ever finish this. But it was far too late to go to the shops for the Christmas veg. I’ll go tomorrow just to LIDL and what they don’t have, I’ll have to do without.

After lunch I’ve been a very busy bee – to such an extent that I even missed guitar practice (although I did find the time to do my Welsh homework).

Yes, although it’s not Pancake Tuesday, Eric’s busy baking.

First task was to take out a roll of flaky pastry from the fridge (I haven’t tried to make it yet) and then spread it out on my baking sheet.

I have one of these silicone 6-hole mini tart moulds so using that, I cut out 6 rings of pastry to fit in. And with my last jar of mincemeat, I filled them”. I then had to re-roll the remainder of the pastry to make 6 smaller rings to go on top. I moistened the edges of the pastry already in the mould with soya milk, put the new pastry rings on top and pressed them down with a fork to seal them.

Finally, brushed the top with milk and sprinkled brown sugar on top. And forgetting to prick them to let out the steam I put them in the oven for 40 minutes.

Then I mixed 10 spoons of icing sugar with 3 spoons of vegan margarine and several squirts of lemon juice and whipped it all up into a nice frothy mix and then spent a rather long, delicate time icing the cake that regular readers of this rubbish will recall me marzipanning at the weekend.

Finally, there was the kefir. some of the kiwis were nicely ripe so they were peeled and whizzed for ages into a very liquidy pulp which was then passed through the filter stack with the juice straining through into the large jug.

And then the kefir that had been brewing for a few days followed it through the stack into the jug too, leaving the obligatory inch or so at the bottom. Into what was left went 40 grammes of sugar, half a lemon sliced, a dried fig cut in 2 and then filled to within about an inch of the top.

kiwi kefir marzipan iced cake home made mince pies place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe kefir and kiwi in the jug was all stirred in together and then passed through the filer stack into the various bottles which were then sealed. And I mustn’t forget to vent them regularly.

And here’s the finished product. The kefir looks OK, but then I’ve had plenty of practice with that. The mince pies are somewhat “artisanal”, as you might possibly expect, and as for the icing – well, it’s only the second time that I’ve ever done it and I don’t have the correct tools to do it anyway.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say, so we’ll find out about the mince pies on Christmas Eve and the ad-hoc Christmas cake on Christmas Day. What I can say right now is that I did my best

storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMustn’t forget the afternoon walk, which I fitted in in the middle of everything.

And I rather wished that I hadn’t bothered because the wind was thoroughly wicked this afternoon. I’d heard reports of wind gusting at 40mph (65kph) out in the English Channel and they mustn’t have been joking either because it really was wild out there. Even though the tide was well out, we were having nice crested whitecaps out there.

The bruit du couloir had told me that wile I was wrestling with the computer, Normandy Trader had done a quick aller-retour this morning. I’ll bet that they will know all about the storm out there in that little boat.

storm high winds pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe few people who were out there would know all about it too because while it was pretty strong out here in the car park, the wind increased in velocity the further along towards the headland I went.

It’s a real sou-wester that’s blowing today so here on the north side of the headland we are in some comparative shade, but even so, the waves are still coming in with quite some force onto the rocks down here by the Coastguard Station on the north side of the headland.

You can see how much of the water that sprays up from the rocks here is being whipped away by the wind. I’m glad that I’m downwind of it all.

sunset brittany coast baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAcross the lawn I went, and across the car park and down to the very end of the headland.

It was almost impossible to stand here with the strength of the wind that was coming in with full force. There was, once more, a beautiful sunset so I took a photo of it while I was here. And that wasn’t easy at all in all of this wind and I almost ended up having to go running off after my hat but I grabbed at it just in time.

Out of the corner of my eye I’d seen the spray from the waves hitting the harbour wall round in the port, even though we’re a good couple of hours from high tide so I wandered off around there for a look – and you’ve seen the results.

cb-303-te citroen u23 old cars father christmas boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s something that I didn’t expect to see while I was on my travels around this afternoon.

It’s quite true that we are almost at Christmas but who would have expected Santa to have come riding past on the back of an old lorry? Down the Boulevard Vaufleury there are only a handful of houses and I haven’t noticed any young kids around there, so it’s something of a wasted journey.

And as for the lorry? It’s not one that I recognise offhand and there was no insignia or anything on it to help me. At first I thought that it might have been an old Willeme LD but having given the matter further thought, I’m now pretty sure that it is in fact a Citroen U23 minus its Citroen logo.

My excuse is that it’s a lot more modern than THE LAST CITROEN U23 THAT WE HAVE SEEN
.

berliet GBC lorry old cars father christmas boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd Santa wasn’t alone either. he had some of his friends riding along behind him.

They are travelling in an old Berliet GBC lorry, a model first launched in 1956 during the Good Old Days before Renault became involved and badge-engineered everything. Yes, it wasn’t just Leyland who got up to tricks like that in Europe. It was great fun being in France in the early 1970s and seeing real lorries like Berliets, Willemes and Saviems driving around.

So I waved goodbye to Santa and his helpers and wandered off down the road out of the wind as much as I could.

moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust at that moment, as I rounded the corner, the moon peeped out from behind a cloud.

It didn’t stay very long at all but I was ready for it and as soon as I could see it through the wisps I took a photo of it for the record. It’s just over half-way round so another 10 days might just see us getting to a full moon.

But I came home for a really hot coffee to warm me up and to do my Welsh homework. And having done that, I went and carried on with my baking activities. I was really enjoying myself with all of that this afternoon and I can’t wait to do some more.

st martin de brehal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut by the time that I’d done everything and done the washing-up it was already time to clear off out for my evening run.

And if you thought that the wind was strong, you should have been out in it just now with me. I ran on down to the Rue du Nord and took a photo of St Martin de Brehal just to say that I’d been out, and then carried on.

Going out was fine but coming back was not so. Both my homeward-bound runs ended up being aborted because it’s not possible to run into a headwind blowing at about 80kph. It was difficult enough to walk in it. I did what I could whenever I could do it, and then made my way home for tea.

There was a falafel burger left over from Belgium years ago so I had that with some veg and a potato followed by apple crumble and custard. And then the notes to write up.

Once more, with all of the distractions, I’m running rather late so heaven alone knows whether I’ll beat the third alarm. But no matter what, I have to make the shops tomorrow. How can anyone miss brussels sprouts, leeks, endives and seitan slices for Christmas dinner?

Tuesday 22nd September 2020 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what happened today but I’ve felt better and accomplished more today than I have done for quite some considerable time.

And it wasn’t the coffee at midday that fired me up either because I was well on my way long before then.

In fact, I was once more up and – well, not exactly about but up nevertheless – before the third alarm.

Last night I had my cars dotted around in 3 or 4 lock-ups or buildings in this old factory place. I was waiting there because we were all about to go off with Adventure Canada again. People suddenly started leaving, swarming off to the reception area so I followed them. i was chatting to a load of people about the Arctic, saying how much I liked it, listing all the times that I’d been. People were really impressed that I’d been so often. When I got towards the meeting point I could see Jerry there. I asked “what number am I, Jerry? I don’t know and I can’t find a list and I can’t think”. He had a look and replied “Eric, you’re n°71 – you have a long time to wait yet”. I went back to my unit and was sorting through some wheels. There was one that matched THE A60 VAN THAT I HAD YEARS AGO so I went to put that back in the back of the vehicle. There I was thinking that I was short of wellingtons but there were about 5 pairs and various other pairs of shoes, loads of other stuff like that in the back of the van. It was all looking pretty good in there with all the stuff. Then the thought occurred to me that when I’m called I’m going to have to take a Ford Anglia with me – a 100E model but I would never ever get it through the personnel door. It would be absolutely impossible to get it out through the vehicle door because there was so much stuff in the way. How was I going to do that? Would I have to get the vehicle out sideways on its side and slide it through the personnel door? Would it fit? I was busy thinking about all of this and I awoke in a fever.
There was another voyage last night too, this one involving an old sailing ship, something like Marité. I knew that there would be some kids on it but that’s pretty much everything that I can remember now. I can’t remember anything else.

And having done that, I actually excelled myself by dealing with another batch of the arrears and we are now down to single figures.

Having dealt with that I did a little (only a little) tidying up and then had a good look over my Welsh notes ready for my lesson.

There were just three of us at class today so it was pretty intense and fast-paced. And to my surprise, not only did I manage to keep up with it, I found that I could remember much more than I thought that I did.

This afternoon I cracked on with the radio programme and that’s actually finished now. I missed out on one of my guitar sessions but I would rather finish the programme and worry about the guitar rather than the other way round.

fishing boats chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual break mid-afternoon for my walk around the headland.

There were quite a few people out there enjoying the walk, and the brats were there orienteering too. There’s also a big change in the chantier navale too. The Ten Green Bottles that were hanging on the wall in there have now reduced themselves to Five.

But strangely, while that was the situation in there, there was nothing much else going on involving boats. The fog of yesterday had lifted somewhat, so at least I could see that there was nothing out there at all.

renault van mobile home looking for companion granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago I posted a photo of a strange van that has been transformed into a mobile home, with an advert on the side seeking a (female) companion to accompany the owner on his travels.

The van is now back and the adverts (slightly differently-worded than before) are still on the side and the rear door. Here’s clearly not had much luck in his quest.

Back here I finished off the radio programme and then had half an hour on the guitar before tea.

Tonight I made falafel with steamed vegetables and vegan cheese sauce followed by some more of the apple crumble. That’s almost all gone now. Tomorrow will see it off and as I’ll be baking more bread on Thursday I’ll make a rice pudding for a couple of days.

This evening I went out for a walk and my usual runs, and ran slap bang into a young-adult orienteering competition, followed by a group of people having a late-night conducted tour of the walls.

All of this rather cramped my style and while I managed my three runs, the photos that I took didn’t come out well enough. The ones that I wanted to take, I couldn’t as there were too many people in the shot.

It’s rather early now and I’ve already finished what I wanted to do. i’ve not had a day like this for quite a while. I know that there will be a downside to all of this but I hope that it won’t be for a while.

There’s a lot of catching up that I need to do.

Friday 21st August 2020 – IT’S 03:15…

… right now and I’m nowhere near ready to go to sleep quite yet.

But there’s a good reason for that – well – a reason anyway, and that is that I’ve spent most of the afternoon in bed.

This morning depite the alarms going off at the usual time, it was about 08:00 that I finally left the bed.

First task was to tidy up, and the second task was to have a shower and a general clean-up.

Round about 11:00 Liz and Terry turned up to see how I was. I gave Terry his brush cutter and I gave Liz my old acoustic guitar to pass on to one of her grandchildren.

We went down to La Rafale for a drink and a long chat, and then for a long walk around the walls which totally tired me out.

For lunch we had a rather impromptu salad with all bits and pieces that were hanging around here, with some of my home-made bread which went down really well – the general opinion being that it was delicious which pleased me greatly.

After Liz and Terry left I worked on a few photos but round about 14:30 I fell asleep on the chair. I woke up at about 15:30, feeling so dreadful that I crawled into bed and that was that.

Rosemary awoke me round about 18:00 by phoning up for a chat. We had a good natter and then I made some tea. Falafel and pasta in tomato sauce.

This evening I was in no fit state to go out for my evening walk so I stayed in. But nevertheless I can’t go to sleep and that’s no good because it’s shopping day tomorrow and there’s a lot to do.

There I was, thinking that I was getting over this illness but it doesn’t look much like it to me. I have a feeling that this is going to be a long, hard haul.