Tag Archives: falafel

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.

Wednesday 15th July 2020 – WE HAD ANOTHER …

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall
… horrible day again today and I’m becoming rather fed up of this.

And while you all admire the photos of yet another beautiful sunset, I’ll tell you all about it.

In actual fact it all started so well and for a change I was filled with a certain amount of optimism. Despite something of a late night I managed to beat the third alarm to my feet, and that’s an achievement these days, that’s for sure

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was out last night with Rosemary and we were walking around a field where there were these old prehistoric statues, things like that. We became separated somehow and I was walking down to the edge of the field and who should I see at the edge of the field but Liz Ayers. “God, Liz, you’re dead!” Anyway she didn’t hear me and she was carrying on. I thought “if she sees me she’s going to start coming over to me and talk to me and that’s going to upset Rosemary. That’s not a very good idea”. But there was nowhere to go znd hide. I just had to brazen it out. Then something happened and it was a call for an assembly and everyone started to go back up the hill so I went back up the hill with everyone else. Someone was reading this text as to how as some kind of Pharaoh or God he was expected to walk 100 miles every day. The first day he had done 38 and the next day he had done 42. He set off and a few people started to follow him. Somehow I was swept up into following him as well. A few people started to dodge off down side streets so I went to dodge off down a side street but someone grabbed me and pulled me back into the main procession. It turned out that we were all expected to climb up the side of this house in our bear feet onto a scaffolding and start to rip the plaster off the front of this house. They gave the word and shouted to go so we all shot off. Slowly the rest of the crowd came to join in. There were a couple of guys who couldn’t make it up the side of this house – they didn’t have the right footwear. They were sobbing that they were going to be killed. As the crowd approached them the crowd started to climb up. There was a scaffolding near the top where people were standing and under the weight of the surging people the scaffolding collapsed. There were just a couple of people standing on the end and they had managed to scrape enough plaster off the front of this house to get in. Now they were passing stuff out from the house to throw down to the floor. I’ve no idea where I was by this time except that in the dream I was observing what was happening from a distance.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd whatever that is all about I really don’t have a clue.

For a change, I’ve been relatively busy today. First task was to deal with some more photos from July 2019. And I reviewed about 50 today which is good going as far as I’m concerned. Right now we are having tea on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour before going on a zodiac ride around Kangerluluk fjord – “The Awful Fjord” – in Greenland.

Second task was to write a letter. I’d received a letter the other day from a long-lost friend (I probably mentioned something about it at the time) and I reckoned that I had better reply before I forget completely.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter lunch there was yet more to do. First task this afternoon was to book Caliburn in for his bodywork.

That’s now arranged for late October ready for his control technique at the beginning of November. I need to bite the bullet and have the work done before it gets too bad.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I received – out of the blue a few months ago – a notification that I’m entitled to a works pension from when I worked for that weird American company in Watermael with Alison 15 years ago.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallI’d been sitting on the correspondence for a while but I received a reminder by registered post the other day so I reckoned that I’d better deal with it.

That involved a lot of searching for paperwork, photocopying, scanning, filling in forms and then ending it all off by e-mail. Only to have the e-mail rejected as “too large” so I had to divide it into four parts and send it off again.

That’s not come back yet so it might be good this time. But we shall see. I’ve no idea how much is involved, but it won’t be all that much, that’s for sure.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallFinally there was a very long e-mail to send to a friend – someone I had met on board The Good Ship Ve … errr Ocean Endeavour 2 years ago.

She lived in California but we had somehow lost contact. She replied just as I was about to set off on the Spirit of Conrad to tell me that she had moved to Hawaii and had to stay with friends as her house wasn’t ready.

So that was something urgent that I needed to do before I’m much older. Plenty of things have happened since we last spoke so it’s high time that we updated each other with our news.

swimmer plat gousset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallOf course there was the afternoon walk around the walls.

The mobile canteen was still there although there were no customers around it. But I was more interested in what was going on out at sea. It wasn’t very warm at all so anyone out there in the water earned my respect, no-one more so than Captain Matthew Webb here.

He must be on his way to pay a call at Dawley Bank, although that doesn’t look much like old canal that carried the bricks to Lawley down there.

hang gliders donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallIt goes without saying that there was plenty of aerial activity today with the wind that we were having.

There were dozens of bird-men of Alcatraz in the air today and so I hung around for a while hoping for a mid-air collision to add a little bit of excitement to my otherwise-boring life.

Unfortunately nothing out of the ordinary happened while I was watching. After a couple of minutes I became somewhat bored so I pushed on … “pushed off, he means” – ed … down the path through the crowds of people.

kids jumping from diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were crowds too, blocking the pavements and paths and so on all the way around my circuit.

Crowds too on the beach and in the water round by the Plat Gousset. And all of the kids were once more on the diving platformm leaping off into the sea.

You saw plenty of photos of them yesterday so I won’t trouble you again. But here’s one for the record just to fill in the gap. I wasn’t going to wait for the others.

big wheel place godal etoile baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe scaffolding was still up with no sign of any workmen at the building in the Place Marechal Foch so I carried on around and into the Square Maurice Marland.

Etoile, the French maritime service’s sail-training ship was out there this afternoon. She looks as if she’s taking a load of passengers out for a day trip around the Baie de Mont St Michel.

The Big Wheel is in operation too with a good load of passengers right now. I can see as many as 6 passengers in there. It’s not as busy as one would think. But apart from that, look at the seagulls all loitering on the roof of the old cold store that was used when the town was an important port for trawlers working the Grand Banks.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was here I went to look at my baby seagull. But the roof was bare so I reckon that baby seagull has had its chips, if you pardon the expression.

On the other roofs, the rest of the colony of babies are stretching their wings. This one was having a load of fun flapping its wings and taking little leaps about.

They seem to have lost their baby plumage from their heads too and no longer look the same colour or pattern as their eggs. It won’t be long now before they all take to the air and then that will be fun.

etoile baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way home I came across Etoile again.

By now she’s heading off out to see with an an accompanying yacht riding along in her wake to see her off. I wonder if she’ll be coming back or whether this is goodbye.

On my return to the apartment I sat down to have a go at one of my courses but, shame as it is to admit it, I was out like a light on the chair in here for all of 90 minutes. I’d missed a whole early evening of work.

In fact I felt dreadful – dead to the world and it took a good while to pull myself together again. I reckon that this lack of medication is getting to me.

The next morning when I was reviewing the dictaphone I noticed that there was a note on it from this afternoon.

Apparently I’d been in bed with Nerina while I was away with the fairies. She suddenly realised that she had to go for a doctor’s appointment. so she got herself up and said should she bring back some mushy peas as well. I said “yes, and some chips and some vinegar”. I gave her a voucher that I had been keeping for Addison’s chip shop In Shavington where there was a special deal on in chips. She didn’t know where Addison’s was so I had to draw her a map in the sand on the floor so that she could work out her position and where the chip shop was.

Tea was a falafel and veg with cheese sauce. The falafel and veg were cooked in that microwave grill that Rachel gave me. But it doesn’t seem to work too well in my microwave and the food took ages to cook.

Next time that I try it, I’ll have to do things differently. Maybe slice the potatoes thinner, or use more oil, I dunno. But it still tasted nice with the vegan cheese sauce, now that I have some vegan cheese again after my trip to Belgium.

Dessert was more of that delicious apple crumble. I seem to have excelled myself here what with that and the bread.

Etoile english channel brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallOn my run up and around the headland I saw what at first glance looked as if it might be the lighthouse on Cap Fréhel looking even cleared than normal. Consequently I took a photo of it so that I could enlarge it and check when I returned to the apartment.

Closer inspection revealed instead that it’s a big white sailing ship with some of its sails furled.

At first I thought that it was Marité on her way home – after all, there’s only one big white sailing ship around here that I know of. But I counted the masts and there are only two, not three and so that makes me think that it’s Etoile sailing off into the sunset back home to Brest.

chausias big wheel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMarité wasn’t back in her berth in the harbour so she’s not made it back home as of yet.

Chausiais was there, moored up underneath the crane in the unloading bay where the two freighters from Jersey tie up when they arrive. It looks as if she will be taking a load out to the Ile de Chausey on the morning tide.

The Big Wheel was working away too. I like the idea of it being all lit up, something that I have never actually seen because I am usually never here at this time of the year, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

picnickers plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallRound at the viewpoint the canteen vehicle was there all closed up. However they had left an electric cable connected to it and plugged into one of the sockets. Imagine how long that would be there in the UK.

The picnickers were back on the beach too, enjoying the sunset. Not as many as we have seen in the past but even so the three of them there seemed to be having a good time,

And who could blame them? There was a terrible wind blowing but nevertheless it was a pleasant evening to be out

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd talking of the wind, it had upset my running this evening.

It was impossible to run down to the clifftop because it was straight into a headlong nor’easter that stopped me in my tracks and made me walk.

The itinerant was there. He had built himself a little shelter using his wheeled trolley as a windbreak and I can’t say that he didn’t need it.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe rest of the runs passed off without much incident.

The gale that was blowing down the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne stopped me in my tracks.

But that’s nothing new. Since I came back from my adventure on the high seas I’ve not been able to make it up the hill there anyway. Instead, I have to stop to catch my breath before I can do the next lap.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe next lap takes me all the way round to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord where I could stand and admire the sunset.

As it slowly sank into the sea a small crowd of about two people gathered around me to take some photos. And when it had gone beneath the horizon I turned round and ran home.

Back here I wrote up my notes with something of an air of disappointment. My health isn’t doing very well right now which is no surprise because it’s been exactly 6 months since I’ve had my medical treatment.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThey aren’t going to treat me until at least October, something that I find very strange.

But they are in charge and presumably they know what they are doing. It just seems to me to be quite funny that when I miss a treatment they go berserk about it, yest they can let me go for 9 months without anything at all.

And on that note, I’m off to bed. It’s shopping tomorrow so I need to be on form for that.

Saturday 11th July 2020 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall… day I’ve had today!

While you admire the beautiful sunset from this evening, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that it always takes me a day or two to adjust myself after the travelling to Leuven, but it’s never been quite as bad as this.

It goes without saying that I missed the alarms this morning. No danger whatever of me showing a leg at 06:00. 07:30 would have to do, I’m afraid.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd after the medication I listened to the dictaphone to see if I had been anywhere during the night. Somewhere on my travels I’d ended up near the new by-pass that they were building on the A556. I had a lift in a lorry out of Manchester and it dropped me off right slap bang in the middle of the roadworks and I had to walk all the way up to the M6 roundabout. I could see queues on the new road and I was lucky because there was no traffic here. When I walked off I met my brother and we had a discussion about things that needed to be collected from a little factory just off this old road that was being modernised. We had to walk all the way back to this factory. A guy came out to see us and said “yes I’ll fetch your order”. So we waited and waited and waited and waited. In the end I said to my brother “you stay here. I’ll go back and fetch the van because they are going to come out and say that the order is ready and we’ll have to fetch the van anyway. We may as well do it now while we are waiting”. Then the question of tyres came up. They had sent me four tyres and I had never received them. Then; thinking on, there were two earlier tyres that I had ordered from them and they had never come either. I was wondering what was happening about these tyres and should I bring up the subject while I’m waiting here to pick up this next load of stuff.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallSeeing as I’m off to the shops I went for a shower and a weigh-in. My weight is hovering just underneath my target weight which is good although I would love to lose two or three more kilos.

NOZ was rather a disappointment. Some coconut milk, another box of these breaded soya fillets and a 9-volt battery for the preamp on the 5-string fretless bass. I need to push on more with that.

LeClerc wasn’t much better either. I wandered around rather aimlessly in there, spending most of my money on fruit. They did have some of the small tins of kidney beans in stock. I like using those to lengthen left-over meals to fill taco rolls.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were more frozen falafel too so I bought another box of 12.

Back here I unpacked, put the frozen stuff away and then … errr … crashed out for half an hour or so. It took me quite a while to gather my wits once I returned to the land of the living, something that surprised me seeing as I don’t have all that many left.

Most of the day has been spent dealing with photos. There have been some of those from my journey on board Spirit of Conrad and some more of my Transatlantic voyage last July. We’ve left Vestmannaeyjar and now in our raging storm somewhere in between Iceland and Greenland.

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

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I wasn’t the only one out there either.

Although there was plenty of wind about, there was a beautiful sunshine too. Not the kind of weather that would encourage me to go and sit half-naked on a beach but it evidently appealed to some folk.

More than some folk in fact because the beach was pretty crowded. That’s the inaccessible bit down there.

granvillaise ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNow that the tourist season has officially started the “boats for hire” are back hard at it.

Marite has slipped her moorings, nowhere to be seen, but out there near the Ile de Chausey is a boat that has the same sail configuration as La Granvillaise

It’s not easy to see from this range, even with a good telescopic lens, whether it has the “G90” in its sails that would confirm its identity as La Granvillaise, but I can’t think who else it might be in a yacht like that.

And she wasn’t alone either, as you can see. Plenty of other yachts out there too dashing in and out of the harbour over there. They are keeping busy in the port right enough.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallDodging the massed crowds out on the walls, I made my way down the footpath to the viewpoint over the beach at the Plat Gousset

Here, it’s a bit more sheltered from the wind and I expected to see many more people here. And i wasn’t disappointed because they were out there in droves this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have been rather critical of Mme la Maire’s expenditure in the town but my hat does go off to her for having dealt with the issue of the tidal swimming pool and restoring it for use this summer.

The crowds down there are really enjoying it.

air sea rescue helicopter plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was admiring the view of the beach, I was buzzed by a low-flying object passing by overhead.

“Someone has got their chopper out again” I mused, but it is in fact the Air-Sea rescue helicopter flying back to its base at the airfield at Donville-les-Bains.

It’s obviously been somewhere, but whether on a training flight or a real mission I really couldn’t say. I suppose that I’ll have to keep an eye out in the papers tomorrow and see if there is anything in there to give me a clue.

baby seagull learning to fly rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallNo change at the roofing job in the Place Marechal Foch so I carried on into the Square Maurice Marland

My baby seagull wasn’t there on its roof this afternoon and I couldn’t see where it was at all. Mummy wasn’t there either. But on a roof across the road a couple of baby seagulls were taking their first fluttering flight from ground. This one here was hopping up onto that air vent and hopping off flapping its wings and somehow managing to cover a couple of feet before landing.

My baby seagull is a week or two behind the others so I don’t imagine that it’s flown away already. I hope that it’s OK.

square Maurice Marland granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall the three baby seagulls that we saw a couple of weeks ago having a pile of fun on a roof.

Today though they were being much more sedate, just sitting around in the sun. It gave me an opportunity to have a look at the Square Maurice Marland in all its glory.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I started running last winter I used to run across there. The first ramp that I somehow managed to struggle up is to the right of the tree and it was the steep one on the left of the image that always defeated me.

The place was littered with wedding parties too – there had been a couple of weddings up here and they weren’t half making a racket. But nevertheless I somehow managed to crash out yet again and was gone for a good hour or so. It really was a miserable day from that point of view.

Round about 18:00 I pulled myself together and had a session on the guitars – including the 5-string fretless bass that I’m not using half often enough.

That took me up to tea time, which as usual was a breaded soya fillet with potatoes and veg. I’d bought some endives today so I had one of those with tea.

An old apple turnover from the freezer made up the dessert. It was quite nice with some of the vegan soya coconut stuff.

yacht english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was going out, it looked as if everyone else was coming home.

My first run was once more a disappointment. For the nth time in succession I never made it to the top of the hill, never mind down to the clifftop. But at least I was in time to see this yacht coming in towards port.

The itinerant was there again, buried in his hedge, sitting quietly reading a book. I have to say that I totally admire his stoicism, sticking it out in the hedge in all weathers.

yacht speedboat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallNot needing to pause for breath I carried on past the hordes of picnickers on the lawn and round to the south side of the headland.

And it does have to be said that I was right about everyone heading for home. The town had been thronged with cars and trailers pulling boats into town this morning as I went to the shops. All of those boats that had been launched are not streaming back into port to go home.

There are five boats close to shore on this photo and any other photo of the sea around the port entrance would have picked up a completely different five. There’s a lot of money to be made with the launching fee, that’s for sure.

victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I ran on down the Boulevard Vaufleury but ran out of steam when I rounded the corner, so I went back to see what was going on in the port.

It was rather disappointing to see both Granville and Victor Hugo still in port. It was my understanding that the ferry service to the Channel Islands would be starting today and that one or other (or maybe both) of the ferries would be off.

But apparently not. They are both ties up here, presumably waiting for Godot or something like that. It will be good to see them back at work and bringing some revenue into the town.

While I was on my travels this morning I noticed a couple of Jersey-registered vehicles out an about, so it looks as if the car ferry to St Malo is already up and running.

crowds picnicking on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe next stage of my run took me down the Rue St Jean and through the alley into the Rue du Nord and up to the viewpoint.

There was quite a crowd there watching the setting sun – I just arrived there in time – but I was also interested in what was going on down on the beach. We have the picnickers back this evening having a meal down there. Not for nothing are they called “sandwiches”.

Having seen the sun set I came back home to write up my notes.

That was another disappointing day, spending most of it fighting off waves of sleep. It’s rather depressing that I can’t have a few days when I’m free to concentrate on what I’m supposed to be doing.

But there’s always tomorrow. It’s going to be a baking day with a loaf of bread, an apple crumble and some honey, lemon and ginger drink. Now that i’m back home I ought to be more focused on what i’m trying to achieve.

We shall see.

Thursday 9th July 2020 – ANYONE CARE TO …

normandy trader english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall… guess who this is heading our way this evening?

While I was out on my evening walk I noticed it way out to sea and so I took a photo of it with the aim of enlarging it when I returned home to make sure that I was correct.

And just in case you haven’t already gathered, I’m now back home in my cosy little apartment in Granville after my journey back home on the train from Leuven

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHowever, as it happens, I didn’t need to wait until I returned home to find out, because as I was running back home after my trip to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord, into the harbour she came.

Sure enough, it’s our old friend Normandy Trader coming in from Jersey.

And while her loading bay isn’t particularly full this evening, there are quite a few passengers – maybe as many as a dozen – standing on the deck just in front of the wheelhouse.

It seems that she’s as busy doing these repatriations as her friend Thora

As for me, I was doing my own repatriation this morning, heading for home after my stay in Belgium.

The alarm went off this morning at 05:30 and within minutes I was up and about. I made my sandwiches, packed my bags and so on and was well on my way having dropped the key off at the office.

roadworks Martelarenplein Leuven, Belgium eric hallBy 06:00 I was halfway down the road towards the railway station and that’s always a good sign.

When I was here last they were digging up the surface of the Martelarenplein to make some kind of underground parking and I was intrigued to see how they were doing with it

But as it happens, it’s all well fenced off and it looks in any case as if they are now at the stage where they are starting to resurface it. It seems that I have missed all of the excitement.

railpool bombardier traxx f140 gare de leuven railway station belgium eric hallIt was about 06:05 when I walked onto the station platform.

There’s a stopping train that goes out at 06:17 but an Intercity non-stop goes at 06:24 so I decided to wait for that. So while I was waiting I admired the freight trains that were passing through the station – dozens of them.

This locomotive is quite interesting. It’s one of the Bombardier Traxx F140 locomotives, although I can’t tell from here which model.

They are owned by a company called Railpool and that’s an interesting company. It was created by two German banks and owns all kinds of rail equipment including 42 modern electric locomotives that it leases to rail operators all over Europe whenever they have a shortfall of equipment.

sncb class 13 electric locomotive gare de leuven railway station belgium eric hallThis locomotive is much more regular though.

It’s one of the SNCB’s Class 13 electric locomotives of the late 1990s with a maximum speed of 200kph. But they weren’t without their teething troubles due in the main to electrical interference from their equipment that disrupted the signals.

The class 18s, of which we have seen an awful lot, have come in and taken their place on the headline routes, pushing them back onto secondary duties. But they are proving to be remarkably resilient.

sncb am96 electric multiple unit gare de leuven railway station belgium eric hall5 minutes earlier than planned, my train came in.

It was one of the AM96 multiple unit sets that do the express working to Blankenberge and are quite interesting because when two are coupled together and the bellows seal them in, the cabs pivot out of the way so that you can walk through from one unit to the other.

We arrived in Brussels without any issue and much to my dismay the seats in the waiting area were all taped off. And I had about 45 minutes or so to wait for my train and I didn’t fancy standing for all that time.

Luckily this train came in early too and I had to run almost the whole length of the train to find my seat.

man not wearing face mask tgv brussels belgium paris france eric hallBut as I mentioned on the way out to Leuven on Monday, I’m appalled by the casual manner of some people in the way that they are wearing their face masks.

Seeing someone with their nose uncovered is quite par for the course, but this guy here on the train from Brussels to Paris went the whole way, 300-odd kms, with his face mask around his chin and nowhere near his nose and mouth.

His friend sitting next to him didn’t have his face mask on either when i went for a ride on the porcelain horse. I really don’t know what these people don’t understand about a pandemic.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt gare du nord paris france eric hallWe arrive in Paris Gare du Nord bang on time which is always good news, and I found a different way to the Metro.

Down in the bowels of the station at the line 4 platform I didn’t have long to wait before the train came in. And then I was whisked off through the catacombs down to Gare Montparnasse.

They’ve been working on that for a couple of years and it’s nearing completion. As a result I had to think for a minute about how to find my way to the train shed.

One good thing though is that we no longer have to go all the way down to the platforms at Vaugirard. Our train can fit into the main hall.

An hour to wait before my train but luckily I found a vacant seat so at least I was in some comfort

84561 gec alstom regiolis gare de granville railway station manche normandy france eric hallWe were called to our train about 20 minutes before it was due to leave, and that must be something of a record

Having stamped my ticket in the machine I scrambled aboard and found that, once again, I had a travelling companion. As I have said before, I don’t understand this social distancing thing in the station if we are all having to sit cheek by jowl in the train.

At L’Aigle there was an “incident” with a passenger and the police were called. I’m not sure what that was about but it didn’t take long and we were soon on our way. So much so that we actually arrived in Granville 5 minutes early which was quite impressive.

cherry picker clock mairie cours jonville granville manche normandy france eric hallMy route home was interrupted by a visit to the Post Office. A recorded delivery letter had come for me while I was away on my boat and I hadn’t had to pick it up.

So while I was passing through I called in for it. And outside the old tourist information office there was a cherry picker with a couple of guys on it working on the clock that’s there.

It’s been stuck at about 01:50 for as long as I can remember so it looks as if they are finally going to to do something about it.

And not before … errr … time either.

As Barry Hay once famously said, “one thing I gotta tell you, man – it’s good to be back home!” and he’s perfectly right too. I’ve lived in a great many places in my life and here in Granville is the only place for which I’ve ever felt any kind of emotion that might be described as “homesickness”.

Usually the kind of “homesickness” that I’ve felt is the kind of sickness that you have when you are sick of a place, but not here.

The travelling takes quite a lot out of me, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, so I didn’t do much. I sat and vegetated for a while.

At one point I was tempted to go and lie down on the sofa and watch a film. In fact I actually got as far as switching on the DVD player before I overcame the impulse.

Tea was actually the same as last night, which is hardly surprising because I used the stuff that I brought back from Leuven – pasta, veg and the second falafel burger – but this time with spicy tomato sauce.

The last slice of apple pie that was in the fridge too with some of the soya coconut dessert.

speedboat waves high winds english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNone of the foregoing prevented me from going out for my evening walk and runs.

What actually did put a stop to it was the gale-force wind that had sprung up in the latter part of the afternoon. You can tell what was going on out there by looking at this speedboat that was moored offshore with guys in there fishing.

The swell of the waves was such that it was hiding the boat at times. That can’t be comfortable for anyone out there casting his hook and line into the sea, and I wouldn’t like to be the neighbour of any fisherman there right now.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOut of the wind I managed to run along the top of the cliffs on the south side of the headland.

This takes me along the path overlooking the chantier navale where I can have a good look down to see what’s happening there. And once more we have a full house of 6 boats in there receiving attention.

As I have said before … “on many occasions” – ed … it’s good news for the town that they can keep so busy down there. It encourages people to bring their boats here

fishing boat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallEven though I was out of the wind on this side of the headland, others were not quite so lucky.

This little fishing boat out in the Baie de Mont St Michel is having quite a battle with the elements as it struggles to make it back into harbour.

It’s not really the weather to be out there in a small boat like that I reckon. I’m glad that people have so much faith in their equipment.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallMy run down the Boulevard Vaufleury was OK but as I rounded the corner I was hit by the full force of the gale and that brought me to a dead stop.

It was so powerful that I had to walk on round the next corner before I could continue my run to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord. Unfortunately the sunset tonight wasn’t all that much to write home about although we did have a nice TORA TORA TORA moment.

No picnickers down on the beach tonight, which was no surprise in this wind. I for one wouldn’t be down there.

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom the viewpoint I set out to run back to the apartment but as I passed by the end of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne I could see our visitor had arrived.

The little fishing boat was coming into port, but she was following in the wake of Normandy Trader who had now made it into port.

You can see the crowds of people huddled on the deck just there. That must have been a really uncomfortable crossing standing on the deck all the way across the English Channel from St Helier in a wind like this.

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNormandy Trader fought her way into the harbour and went off to moor at the quayside underneath the large crane that would unload her.

As for me, I ran off back to my apartment to write up my notes.

First of all though, there was the dictaphone to see if I had been anywhere during the night.

We had been at school last night and we ended up in little groups of about 10 of us doing something on Geography, talking about Iceland, places like that. One girl I particularly wanted to be with she ended up being in another group of 10 which quite disappointed me. I was with someone else in a pair in our group of 10. On going through the names I saw that one particular was in our group and I thought “why didn’t I get myself into a pair with her? Good Lord! I must be really slipping these days! I thought that there would be plenty of time to do that but then I realised that it was right at the end of the school year. For some reason the school year had gone really quickly and there wasn’t much time left. I was leaving anyway at the end of the year and all these opportunities I’d missed yet again.
Later on I was going back home from my holidays and we were having a look at my photos. Someone was saying somethign about the state and condition of places that I had been to. I said that I’d been to a lot worse than this and I had to search through my computer to see if I had any older photos. I came across the photos of 2002 when i was in the USA so we started to look through those. there were some really nice ones there but there were some really dreadful places that I’d seen. “Someone else said “yeh. I used to go on the Fred Trueman Estate or something in Crewe back in the 70s and God! That was a bit dire as well” and we ended up having a chat about all of that

Unfortunately I didn’t finish all of my notes. I ended up falling asleep, which is no surprise. So I’ll have to finish them off in the morning.

And it will be late too because I’m not setting an alarm. I’m always exhausted when I come back so I’ll be having a lie-in.

Wednesday 8th July 2020 – I’VE BEEN …

… back to the hospital this morning.

They called me on the phone this morning at about 09:15 to tell me that they had arranged an X-Ray and an echograph for me – at 10:55. Now just imagine that in the UK. Never mind 100 minutes – it would be more like 100 weeks.

Just as well that I was feeling on form, having had an early night last night and a decent lie-in all the way through to about 07:45.

Plenty of time to go off on my travels during the night. There was a group of us out walking last night and we walked past a couple of football grounds. There was Chelsea on one side and Manchester United on the other. I made some comment about some of the Manchester United fans chanting about Chelsea from their ground. Some Chelsea supporters heard it and thought that I was chanting about them so they decided that they were going to follow us. We walked quite a good way but they were still behind us and I wondered what was going to happen next about all of this but that was when I awoke.
At some point during the night I was in the North East of England. They were building a by-pass and I don’t know if they were using dynamite but there was dust and rocks everywhere all over the by-pass. I was asked to clean it so I had to go and loom for a brush, a nice big long-handled one with stiff bristles. In the end someone gave me one and I took it back up there and started to brush up the highway. I was talking to some people but I abruptly cut off my talk and walked away. They were wondering why I was being so rude and ignorant but what had happened was that some large combine harvester in the distance had been working in a field and suddenly burst through the hedge and was hanging over the hedge in some kind of dangerous predicament and that would have been enough to stop anyone’s conversation if they had actually seen it. I was in a different place to them which was why I had a much better view of what was happening
At some point in the evening we were all in zodiacs sailing around and we had to meet up with a coach. Our zodiacs took to the air and were flying around the coastline looking for this coach. I pointed out where the main road was and I imagined that it would be on the main road somewhere so we shot off there and flew past all of these vehicles parked in this lay-by. There were a few Shearings coaches and a few coaches from other people out on tour so we waved at everyone as we went past but we couldn’t find our coach at all. We ended up back on the ship qt one point – this might even have been before. We were due to dock and I wanted to go ashore and get a pile of stuff because we were going to be a long way out. I needed a blanket to sit on but my blanket was on the bed and there was a white sheet placed all over the bed. There were a few people around there talking. One of them was a friend of mine making her debut on a nocturnal voyage. She said that she was off – had to go to bed because she was feeling really tired. She wanted to go on this moonlight excursion at midnight. I said that we would be gone by midnight but at least you told me so I could tell the captain. There was this other girl around there and she’d remember that they would come and fetch you and had she said anything to the captain of her zodiac?
There was another interchange with some people about a theatre. Someone asked me “you know about the theatre. have you ever heard of a situation where something has been done on the stage where they have used rushes from the filming of it in order to make a film and not bother to use the actual stage in the cinema?” I said “the only time that I can ever think of that happening is when there has been a strike of scene shifters and stage hands and they had broadcast instead the rushes – the temporary shots that they take to remind them where all the scenery would be, that kind of thing. That’s the only time that I can remember that happening.

After the medication I made a start on the dictaphone but the phone call interrupted me and I had to get weaving. The pouring rain put rather a dampener on the proceedings but never mind.

army saloon cars town hall grote markt leuven belgium eric hallThere were very few people out there on the streets today, which surprised me rather, despite the rain.

There was plenty of activity though in the Grote Markt. Three saloon cars which, by the looks of the registration numbers displayed thereupon looked as if they might be vehicles belonging to the Belgian Army.

So what was all that about? It’s one of those questions where it’s not always a good idea to go and make further enquiries. Instead, I pushed on down the hill through the town.

demolishing sint rafael hospital leuven belgium eric hallThere was one thing about the rain though. It was at least keeping all of the dust down.

That was particularly important round by the old Sint Pieters hospital where they were going qt it hammer and tongues. It looked somewhat different from how it looked yesterday evening, that’s for sure.

As I stood there watching for five minutes or so I thought that it might be a good idea to make a video of the demolition. Luckily I was armed with my mobile phone which doesn’t do too bad a job of things like this and THE RESULTING VIDEO CAME OUT RATHER WELL.

It’s a good video record of what was happening there. It looks rather like something out of Jurassic Park

screening coronavirus gasthuisberg uz leuven belgium eric hallAll the way up the hill to the hospital I strolled in the rain.

And I was impressed by what’s going on with regard to the virus in the country that seems to have one of the greatest rates of infections in Europe with its 843 deaths per million of the population.

They really seem to be taking things quite seriously, even down to the drive-in virus testing station here.

At the hospital my appointment was for 10:55. However I was there early and by 10:55 I’d had both of my examinations and was on my way home. Imagine that in the UK!

Back here I carried on with the dictaphone notes and updated the notes for yesterday to include the details of my voyage that morning.

This afternoon I’ve been out for a good four hours. Firstly to the Bank to find out why one of my bank cards wasn’t working. According to them there is no reason why it shouldn’t be working so the girl helped me set up the banking on my phone so that I could contact the helpline.

But imagine this! Before I could go into the bank I had to put on a face mask. Could you believe it? I wonder what would have happened had I put on a mask to go into the bank 6 months ago!

Despite the rain I had a nice walk around and ended up at the Delhaize by the football ground where I bought some stuff for tea. Pasta, a falafel burger and some vegetables

Later on this evening I’m going out for a walk again. The reason for that is that I’m at 188% of my daily activity and I’m going to see if I can push it over the 200%. It’s been a good while since I’ve done that.

Over 20,000 steps already is an impressive total.

Tomorrow I have to be up at 05:30. I’ve a very early train tomorrow in order to take advantage of the cheap rail ticket that I was offered.

For a saving of €60 I’ll get up half an hour earlier.