Tag Archives: fog

Friday 15th April 2022 – WHAT I SAW …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… this afternoon on my wander around the headland.

As usual, the first port of call is the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what’s happening there.

But I needn’t have bothered today. There could have been Godzilla and the Loch Ness Monster down there for all I knew, and I wouldn’t have seen them in this rolling sea mist that’s coming off the water.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have had sea mists before, but nothing quite like this one. It reminds me of the STRAIT OF BELLE ISLE between Labrador and Newfoundland.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Something else that I saw on my travels as I peered through the fog was one of the Birdmen of Alcatraz whose Nazgul seems to have come to grief here on the headland.

So while you admire a few photos of the pair of them wrestling with each other and the elements, I’ll tell you something about my day.

And with no alarm, I was expecting either an 06:00 start or another 12:30 rude awakening but to my surprise, and probably yours too, it was a much more sedate and realistic 09:40 when I finally crawled out of bed.

First stop after the medication this morning was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Again I think that I missed out a lot but I was in Brussels last night – although it wasn’t Brussels – living in an apartment building. Underneath where I was living was a casino. There was a group of us talking about the EU and one or two of the rackets that went on there in the 80s and 90s that were exposed. Someone was running a Social media page called “EU rackets” but it was titled in German where it listed everything that was happening. One of the girls there was a German girl whom I knew. She was saying that she took part in this page to help the guy to run it but he was just as much a racketeer as the rackets that he was exposing. He lived in the building and was into large-scale gambling. Although they weren’t allowed to do it in the building where he lived, he found another way. That was when I mentioned the subject of this casino at the foot of the hill where my apartment building was. We spent a lot of time chatting about gambling and that kind of thing.

And then it was Welsh Cup quarter-final day. I was talking to someone about the games. There were 4 of them of course and were being played two at the same time with one before and one after these two. I couldn’t remember who was playing where and kept on being confused. I was talking to someone but I couldn’t come out with the correct venues and correct teams. We ended up outside a stadium for a match Aberystwyth against Cardiff Metro. We looked in and saw that the game had already started so I said to the people with me that I was going to stay and watch the game. Then I could go to the second and then to the third instead of watching it on the TV. So I went in and said goodbye to the people as I’d be staying here. Someone inside the ground asked “what did you say?”. I replied “I’ll be staying here”. They asked if I had a ticket. I replied that I could walk round and pay for one. There was a cat walking around on the stands so I picked it up for a stroke and went over to talk to someone but they had a lion. The lion expressed a great deal of interest in this cat so I pulled the cat away thinking that the lion might eat it but someone said “no, put it back” so I put the cat back and the lion started to wash the cat.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022This was a continuation of a dream that I’ve had before a long time ago so I said to myself in my dream. Someone was running an office somewhere and a young guy turns up for an interview. Although there’s no vacancy they feel sorry for him and fit him in for a couple of hours because it fits in with his life as a single father and offer him some work. I don’t know where it went from there but tonight it turned out that this guy had been an actor and had played Jesus in some kind of film or play. There was some kind of stigma over him and a couple of other people knew about this and they were doing all they could to keep out of his way. he was pushing his trolley with his possessions on it heading right for these 2 people. They were wondering how on earth they were going to get out of meeting him when suddenly a girl exclaimed “oh, it’s Jesus” and ran over and started talking to him. He started to tell his hard luck story. Someone else who was around interrupted them saying “aren’t you going to deliver those objects that you have?”. He said to this girl that he had better push on and do his job. These 2 objects were destined for the room in which the other 2 people were hiding. They were now panicking about where they could go to keep out of the way of this guy while he stuck these 2 parcels in this room

The rest of the morning was spent working on the photos from my trip around the Canadian High Arctic of 2019. Despite having dealt with a few dozen, I’m still on my zodiac in Dundas Harbour on Devon Island where I look as if I may be until doomsday at this rate.

After a lunch of porridge and hot cross buns I had a few things to do, a session on the guitar and a chat on the internet with someone or other who shall be nameless but you all know who it is, and then, much earlier than usual, I went out for my afternoon walk.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022You’ve seen the weather conditions today so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of photographs.

And the Birdman of Alcatraz and his Nazgul weren’t expecting much of anything either because after having wrestled with each other for a while, he imitated one of Longfellow’s characters and “shall fold their tents, like the Arabs and as silently steal away”.

Frankly, I don’t know what he must have been thinking, having come out in this kind of weather. I would imagine that, being uniquely wind-powered, you would need a good few hundred yards of room to manoeuvre your Nazgul if you are to avoid catastrophe and the visibility wasn’t anything like that good.

Being out in a rolling sea mist is a recipe for disaster if ever I saw one.

cabanon vauban people bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It’s not a Bank Holiday here in France but nevertheless there are plenty of people on holiday, wandering around here and there.

And even a few down on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban too. Although what they might be expecting to see down there is anyone’s guess because I couldn’t see anything.

Actually, I think they realised after a while that it was pretty pointless being down there because, as I watched, they slowly packed up their things and began to move away. Not that things are much better anywhere else, that is.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In the newspaper this morning it said that one of the highest tidal coefficients of the year would be this weekend.

That can only mean one thing – the pèche à pied. With the high coefficient, it means that the public area of the foreshore will be uncovered at low tide so it will be a free-for-all as everyone swarms down there to see what they can find.

There are already a few people down there making their way to the water’s edge. And if this blasted fog would lift we would probably find that there are a few more people further out as well. When we did a radio programme from down there a couple of years ago there were hundreds of people.

ch721430 le styx ch922344 le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022So leaving them to it, I headed off down the path towards the harbour to see what was happening there.

And there’s a change of occupant – or, rather, an additional occupant at the chantier naval this afternoon too. We’ve seen the trawler Le Styx on a few occasions just recently unloading at the fish processing plant but here she is today up on blocks undergoing servicing.

Le Roc A La Mauve III is still there too. At least, I think that it’s her. I can read her registration number from here now but strangely, it isn’t in the trawler database that I found. Perhaps she’s been brought in from elsewhere and is being reregistered.

ch642969 galapagos port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another trawler that we’ve seen once or twice on our way around in the past is Galapagos.

She’s over there by the fish processing plant, settling down in the silt and waiting for the tide to come in. By the looks of things she must have missed the opening of the harbour gates because she’s not one that usually loiters around over there.

As for me, I’m not loitering around either. There’s a good reason why I’ve gone for an early walk this afternoon and I’d better get a move on and head for home otherwise I’ll be late.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But the way things are, I’m not going home quite yet.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiaise tied up at the pontoon where the trawlers usually tie up. That would be bound to lead to complications.

Anyway, she’s cleared off somewhere else now and the trawlers are tied up where they belong.

But still missing from our photo are the two Channel Island ferries Granville and Victor Hugo. The last I heard of them, they had been hauled out of the water at Cherbourg.

But that was a while ago. If the service to the Channel Islands is to restart, they ought to have started it now while the crowds are here for the Easter break.

weeding porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One final thing before I go back inside.

It’s the time of year when they send the gardening crew out. Today, they are pulling the weeds out of the rocks in the medieval walls by the Porte St Jean. If the roots penetrate between the rocks they’ll loosen the stonework and bring it down.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had to repoint the whole back wall of my house in Virlet when I puled the ivy off.

Interestingly, you’ll notice that the van has the old-style number plates. That means that it last had a change of owner prior to 2009. So the local council has owned it for at least 13 years.

It’s not like the UK here where people change cars every couple of years. That’s why second-hand vehicles are comparatively more expensive.

Back at home I settled down in front of the computer to watch Y Bala v Y Drenewydd in the battle for second place. And just as the whistle went for the kick-off Rosemary rang. So that was the first half effectively out of the window.

That was a shame because the first half was the better of the two with both teams going for it. The match finished 1-0 for Bala which was about the right result. Apart from my favourite player Mwandwe, Y Drenewydd didn’t offer much up front today. Bala’s defence was quite effective.

But SPARE A THOUGHT FOR THE WOODWORK at the town end of the Oval Stadium at Caernarfon. I bet that it has a headache this evening after this afternoon’s match against Penybont.

For tea tonight I had the curry that I’ve been trying to have for a day or two. And of course it was delicious. It couldn’t be anything else.

So shopping tomorrow. I don’t need all that much, I suppose, but it’s been a while since I’ve been and I need a few supplies, as well as to see what’s on offer in Noz. I need to vary my diet again, I reckon.

Saturday 19th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

old car communal rooms place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… of the excitement yesterday at the Communal Rooms, red carpet and all, it kept on going today.

When I went into the dining room to make a coffee, an unearthly rattle told le that there was something exciting about to happen. And sure enough, an ancient car from the 1920s limped into the courtyard.

Furthermore, there was some high-ranking communal official waiting there to receive them, as you can tell from the tricolour sash worn by the person standing at the top of the steps on the right.

All that was missing in fact was the red carpet and the cameraman and that was something of a disappointment.

Incidentally, there was nothing in the news yesterday about the purpose of the red carpet. Not that I thought that there would

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Also extremely interesting today was the big crowd of people down on the beach.

It has to be said that it was a lovely day but even so, it’s a long time since I’ve seen so many folk down there. even Rover was having a good time.

That’s more than I’ve had today because you’re going to have to suffer another long moan and whinge as I talk about my day today.

Once more, I struggled to leave the bed when the alarm went off. I nearly missed the second alarm too.

But after breakfast I went for a shower and put the bedding in the washing machine to wash, and then headed off to the shops.

Noz didn’t have much – just a few varieties of alcohol-free beer that I like so I bought a few packs. Now I think that I have more in stock than they do.

There wasn’t anything special in LeClerc either, but it still ended up being expensive, mainly because they had coffee on special offer so I bought a pile of it. I seem to be going through it quite rapidly.

suzanga spirit of conrad chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back, seeing as I had no frozen food in danger of melting, I went to the chantier naval for a close look at the trawler that was in there.

It’s actually Suzanga, the new trawler that arrived here last August. It was interesting to have a closer look at her because this is the first time that we’ve seen her out of the water.

In the background of course is a bit of Spirit of Conrad. She’s been here for a week or two now being prepared for her summer season.

Back here I hung the washing up to dry and made myself a coffee. Then there was a disaster. I’ve eaten the last of the magnificent coffee cake that I made for my birthday. How sad is that?

Settling down with my coffee I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night. I was on my holidays going south. I was in some kind of vehicle. I came to some sort of tunnel that we had to go through. It was very narrow and very low so there were traffic lights where you have to stop to wait for your turn before you could go forward. I stopped but someone pulled up alongside me on the outside which was strange. Someone in a black suit and black hat rather like an Orthodox Jew came along and tried to sell me a bottle of spirits, absinthe or something like that. I said “no” but he insisted so I told him that I didn’t drink. Then he started to offer me all kinds of other things. While he was doing this, the lights changed and a whole load of people went past into the tunnel. I couldn’t shake off this guy or the car that was parked alongside me on the outside. I was in a left-hand drive vehicle but for some reason I was driving on the left. I went through this tunnel. By now I was on foot pulling my suitcase and my computer bag and other bits and pieces. I came out into a room in a large town where this tunnel ended. There were all these people there who had gone past earlier, loads of nuns and kids and so on. I had to renew my travel permit which I did. I went outside but dropped everything. I found to my surprise that as well as a magnifying glass I was carrying an extremely large sharp knife so I was trying to pick up all these little things like the knife and the magnifying glass and put them in my pocket while I was walking with my suitcase but that wasn’t easy and I was making a great mess of it.

Later on, a group of people from Runcorn were coach operators. The have a company called I-Coaches. They were running out of money so they decided that they would do a few hold-ups to try to bring some money in. They were not particularly successful. The guy who was leading them, his 3 friends were criticising him. In the end one of them said that he would lead the next one. Just then someone came down the hill in a car so they flagged him down. When he stopped, he was eating an orange. The guy who was now in charge pulled out a gun and shot him. Of course this led to all kinds of arguments between the 4 and they split up. 2 went one way and 2 somewhere else. We were back in Runcorn town centre and what was then happening was that there was a police cordon or something and the 4 people there in their groups of 2 suddenly noticed the town was being filled with police. There was a coach involved in it but I don’t know where this fitted in. The two, including the guy who had committed the murder tried to slip through the cordon but the police closed right in on them. The other 2 were there watching knowing that it was going to be their turn next to be pulled up. In court it was a woman in a wheelchair who was prosecuting them, the first lawyer in a wheelchair in the Uk

And then I was at work last night. I had a meal. We all ended up going for this meal, a huge group of us for a formal dinner. I was sat on a table with someone and we were discussing a report that had been prepared. There were 3 groups mentioned and the guy who was on my table was trying to work out who to send them to. He thought that 2 of these names were relevant because of their connection but the third one wasn’t. I said “if that’s what you think, send them there”. But he wanted this lengthy discussion and I was sure that we would arrive at the same conclusion no matter how long we spent talking about it. Then the waiter came round with some of the starters which was thin-sliced cold beef. I explained to him that I was a vegan so he took my plate away and it looked then as if I wasn’t going to have anything to eat. When everyone had finished their starter they started to mill around. I bumped into a colleague of mine and we ended up in a small group chatting. he explained about how when I was in a bad mood I’d drive to Nantwich and just sit and meditate. I wondered how he knew that. Then the waiter came round again putting a bottle of beer at everyone’s table for them to drink. Before I could stop him he disappeared. Knowing what had happened with the starter I knew full well that if I complained about the beer he’d just take it away and not leave me anything so I gave it to my colleague for him to drink.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I promised you some excitement today. And I lived up to my promise as well! At LeClerc they had carrots at €0:79 a kilo so I had bought a kilo. After I’d finished the dictaphone notes I went into the kitchen, diced them, blanched them and put them into the freezer to freeze.

Now how exciting is that?

Actually, it must really have been something because after lunch I came back in here, sat down and promptly crashed out. I’d gone for a good hour too, right out of it. Probably the deepest sleep that I’ve had for several weeks too and there I was, thinking that i’d gone past this stage.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Anyway, I managed to pull myself together and stagger off outside for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As I mentioned earlier, there were crowds of people out on the beach this afternoon. There really were too, as you can tell from this photo.

There was plenty of beach to be on too, with the tide being well out, and it was quite a nice, warm day for the time of year.

Nothing going on out at sea that I could see though. There was quite a thick sea-mist despite the wind and everything was obscured. Visibility was only a couple of miles out to sea.

f-guko Grob G120A baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nothing going on out at sea but just like Thunderclap newman, there was something in the air.

This is a new aeroplane for us – the first time that we’ve seen her. She’s F-GUKO, a Grob G120A. That’s a type of aeroplane about which I know very little, except that it’s a type used by the Royal Canadian Air Force and a few other air forces as a basic trainer.

She took off from Granville airfield at 16:07, flew north for a while and then headed south to Avranches where she landed at about 16:43.

Her previous recorded flight was yesterday, so seeing as I took the photo of her at 15:59, this must have been an unrecorded flight below the level of the radar.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Several people on the path on top of the cliffs too so I had to dodge the crowds as I walked down to the end.

Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the mouth of the harbour, was looking quite nice this afternoon framed by the trees and the signboard.

You can tell how high the tide comes in from this photo. We’ve seen the water well up to the higher of the two red rings when we’ve had a very high tide.

You can also see how thick the sea mist is today. You can make out the Pointe de Carolles in the background but that’s about it. You can’t see any further than that.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the tide being so far out today, there’s plenty of scope for the pèche à pied.

The people in this group have all come very well-equipped with all kinds of stuff that they will need for a successful afternoon. They all have a couple of buckets each.

But it was the guy in the fluorescent orange waterproof gear that caught my eye. He’ll stand out from the crowd on any beach dressed like that.

He rather reminded me of a press release that we received from the Paris police when I worked for a major holiday company in the UK in the late 80s –
“The policeman who stands in the middle of the Place d’Etoile directing traffic will from now on be illuminated to make sure that motorists don’t miss him in the dark”.

It was round about here that I had an encounter with a couple of tourists.
“Can you see the Ile de Chausey and Jersey from here?”.

So I pointed out to them the Ile de Chausey that you could just about see through the mist and I explained that in this fog, seeing Jersey, at a distance of 58 kms from where we were standing, would be pretty much impossible. I did however indicate the direction, in case they are about some other time when the fog has lifted.

le roc a la mauve 3 suzanga spirit of conrad chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche harbour Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Having dealt with the tourists I headed off down the path towards the port.

Earlier in the day we’d been in the chantier naval where we had seen Suganza and Spirit of Conrad. They are of course still in there, as is Le Roc A La Mauve III with its shiny coat of white polyeurethane paint.

She’ll be ready to go back into the water quite soon, I reckon. But then again, regular readers of this rubbish will recall what happens when I make predictions like that.

One thing that has gone though is Joly France. She was moored over at the ferry terminal yesterday but she’s not there now. The ground’s all flat.

It’s not really the right kind of day for a trip out to the Ile de Chausey and certainly not if you are going sightseeing, but if the service is advertised, they have to go. It’s a Saturday and the seasonal occupiers of the houses will gradually be turning up.

objects on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On my way home, I noticed this huge pile of equipment by the side of the crane in the bay where the gravel boats used to tie up.

Despite enlarging and enhancing the photo, I’ve still not been able to work out what it all is. Ordinarily I would have gone down for a closer look to satisfy my curiosity but it’s been a good 12 months since I’ve been well enough for a quick jaunt like that.

Back here there was a nice surprise. The postwoman has been. And so not only do I have my new course-book for the third year of my Welsh course, I have the new dictaphone too. I can’t wait to try that out.

And so I’ll probably not go off on a voyage tonight, simply out of spite.

This afternoon I’ve had another good session on the guitar, and then I edited some more photos of my trip to the High Arctic in 2019. Right now we’re in the Davis Strait on our way north-west to Lancaster Sound.

There were plenty of really good subjects for photography such as THIS ONE but as you might expect, they were all either early in the morning or late at night when the light is poor, and so when you are on board a moving ship in a lively current, the results are … errr … questionable.

Tea was a couple of those small breaded quornburgers with potatoes and vegetables, all cooked in vegan margarine. And as usual, it was delicious.

But I’m almost running out of those now and I don’t know what I’ll do when they are finished because I haven’t seen any in Noz for ages. I used to buy them in Belgium years ago, and so I suppose that next time that I’m in Leuven I’ll have to go out on the prowl and cast my net further.

Bedtime now, much later than usual as I’ve had a quiet relaxing evening. A nice lie-in followed by a good breakfast with plenty of strong coffee. Hopefully that will set me up for the week but whether it will or not remains to be seen.

Only 11 more days than I’m off on my travels.

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.

Friday 17th December 2021 – THAT WAS HORRIBLE

Thy injected me with some kind of radioactive material, and then added a tracer to it. This material stimulated my heart and it becan to beat quite rapidly.

And while all of this was going on that had all kinds of leads attached to me monitoring my stress levels.

After about 20 minutes of this, they put me in a waiting room for half an hour and then fed me through one of these Stargate time-tunnel things for 10 minutes.

Having done that, they then threw me out saying that “we’ll be in touch”.

They didn’t actually throw me out of the hospital though. I only made it as far as the corridor where I had to sit for a while and gather my strength

And I bet that I’ll be glowing in the dark for a few weeks after all of this.

Considering that I had to leave my bed at 06:15, I thought that all of this was rather excessive.

At least the walk to the hospital was rather easier seeing as I didn’t have anything to carry. But it was a strange walk up there in the thick fog that was hanging around everywhere. And even though it was extremely cold I was sweating like a pig. I seem to be pretty hot stuff these days.

On the way home I called at the Origin’O health food shop for some vegan sausages and some seitan slices, and then to the Delhaize for some more banana drink.

This afternoon I alternated between fighting off sleep and choosing the music for the next series of radio programmes. I’m doing my best to get well ahead, for obvious reasons.

There was the disctaphone too. There had been all kinds of adventures taking place on the final day of our trip on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR when a couple of cruise ships docked at the same place and everyone went ashore to wait for the tide to sail out for their big ships home. We were having all kinds of games in the snow and everything but I can’t remember anything about them now

Later on I was getting ready to go on my holidays and wanted to borrow a roof rack for Caliburn. I noticed that last year I borrowed on and it turned out that I’d borrowed it from Anne-Marie so I telephoned her to see if it was available but it wasn’t now because she was married and it was on the roof of her husband’s car. Ahh well, fair enough. We had a little chat and apparently she was having Monday off work and they were going to look at a new house at Mount Pleasant in Winsford – not a new house but new to them. We had quite a little chat.

Tea tonight was a bag of chips from the fritkot across the road and some baked beans with a couple of the sausages, just for a change.

Now I’m going to do some packing and then go to bed. There’s an alarm call set for 05:00 because I’ll be on my way home.

Friday 3rd December 2021 – JUST A QUICK …

… few lines because I’ve been busy this afternoon and this evening and now I’m absolutely exhausted.

Most of that though is due to the fact that I had yet another dreadful night, but we won’t go into that right now because you’re probably as fed up about these as I am.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I went through the two recipes that I have and made a list of the shopping that I need to do. And then I nipped out to Biocoop for some molasses.

As I was on my way to Noz in the driving rainstorm the tyre fitter rang me up. My tyres hadn’t arrived so my appointment was cancelled. Nevertheless I went to Noz where they had some really nice alcohol-free beer that will be just the thing for the Christmas period.

At LeClerc I bought what I could but the range of French cooking accessories falls a lot short. No glacé cherries, no candied peel, nothing like that at all. And even worse, no essence of alcohol-free brandy in which to soak my fruit.

Back home later I had a coffee and spent the rest of the day trawling through my record collection for Christmas rock songs. In the end I managed to pull out about 15 or so and then I remixed them and began to write out the text for the radio programme for Christmas Day.

sea fog beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021During the course of the afternoon I went out for my walk although I don’t know why because the weather was just as foul as it had been earlier.

It wasn’t just the rain that was annoying either. There was a thick sea-fog and the view was no more than a few hundred yards.

But that was enough visibility for me to say that there was no-one down there this afternoon, and that wasn’t a surprise. I was the only one stupid enough to be out there in this weather this afternoon.

tiberiade baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021That isn’t actually quite correct.

There were some other people out there this afternoon, but they were out there of necessity, not through choice. As I peered out through the gloom a trawler came into view out of a low cloud.

The brief glance that I had seemed to indicate that it might be Tiberiade, one of the larger trawlers that operate out of the port. People still have to eat, regardless of the weather, and as long as they need to eat, the fishermen will still need to go out in all kinds of conditions.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Having taken what photos I could, I went off on my walk along the headland.

From the path at the back of the running track I could just about make out the lighthouse and semaphore down at the far end of the Pointe du Roc.

Although it’s only mid-afternoon, the lights on part of the equipment were already lit. Not that they would do much good because I doubt if you can see tham at any appreciable difference in this fog.

With no-one to disturb me, I carried on down to the end of the path and across the car park at the end.

mushroom pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Nothing going on out at sea (that I could see anyway) and no-one sitting on the bench down below, which was no surprise either.

There was however this gorgeous mushroom growing on the bank and it reminded me of that beautiful mushroom soup that Nerina made for me once many years ago.
“That’s absolutely beautiful” I exclaimed. “Where did you find this recipe?”
“In an Agatha Christie murder story” she replied.

la grande ancre les bouchots de chausey omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021It wasn’t just Tiberiade who had been out there braving the conditions this afternoon.

By the looks of things several others had been trying their luck and were unloading at the fish processing plant.

We can, I suppose, rule out L’Omerta because as far as I can tell she seems to live over there permanently now. But on the extreme left we have La Grande Ancre who pulled away from the quayside almost as soon as I took the photo, and next to her is, I think, Les Bouchots de Chausey .

As for the third boat, the blue and white one, I don’t recognise her at all.

After all of this miserable weather than I had encountered, I was glad to be home. I made myself a nice hot coffee and several plans for the future.

Later on I cleared the decks and prepared everything for the baking session. And I actually knew someone else who was attending the demonstration – my very first tutor from 18 months ago.

The demonstration was quite straightforward although my oven is quite a disappointment at this kind of thing. It took about twice as long as the recommended cooking time, and it would have been even better if I’d bought food-quality bicarbonate of soda rather than general-purpose quality.

treacle banana cake place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021So here’s the finished product. Not quite as crumbly as the previous versions have been but I suspect that the almond-flour and flax seeds might have contributed to that.

It’s supposed to be iced but I’m not sure how a treacle cake would taste with icing on it. I don’t think that marzipan would be a good idea either.

After the demonstration I grabbed a quick tea and then watched the football – Bala Town v TNS. As expected is was all one-way traffic and the score of 4-1 to TNS was not an exaggeration.

It’s not that Bala are a bad side. They have most of the team that was there last season but the quality of the league has increased dramatically.

TNS were always quicker and better and played some nice football. Bala played some nice stuff too on occasion but it was far too little and far too late.

Anyway, now I’m off to bed, and I’m going to try a little experiment. I’ll tell yuo all about it tomorrow if it works.

Sunday 5th September 2021 – WHAT I SAW …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… down on the beach this afternoon.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s my habit to go over to the wall at the end of the car park outside my door and look down to see the activity on the beach.

But today, you’ll need a darn sight more than a good telephoto lens to penetrate this sea-fog that is rolling in with the wind from off the bay and over the headland where I’m standing. There were definitely people down there because I could hear them, but there was no chance whatever of seeing them.

sea fog baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Round the other side of the headland, it’s easy to see whereabouts in the bay is in the wind-shadow of the headland.

The two harbours and the coast down as far as St Pair sur Mer are fairly clear but further on down the coast where there is no wind-shadow the coast is overwhelmed by the sea-fog.

But that’s enough of that for the moment. Let’s go back to the start of the day.

And Bane of Britain strikes again, by somehow having managed to arrange for the alarm to go off at 06:00 this morning. One very unhappy bunny here.

It was about 09:30 when I finally staggered from my stinking pit. After the medication this morning and checking my mails and messages I made a start on the notes for yesterday that I hadn’t done last night.

Strangely enough, it didn’t take me too long to do it and by the time that I stopped for lunch, they had long-been finished.

This afternoon I made a start on pairing up the tracks for the next radio programme – the one that I’ll be preparing on Monday.

That took much longer than it ought to have done because I’ve made a conscious decision that many of the songs that I’ve been choosing are no longer appropriate for the style of programme that I want to develop. Well – they are, but not in the amount that I’ve been using them just recently.

Later on I made another pile of dough for the pizzas for the next three weeks. This one seemed to work really well and I wish that the fruit bread had turned out like that the other day.

By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon grope around the headland.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This is a view that we have seen on many occasions.

It’s the path that leads along the top of the headland towards the lighthouse, the coastguard station and the semaphore post. But unfortunately today, you can’t see any one of those things with the fog.

Nevertheless, the fog didn’t deter people from being out and about. There were far more people out there this afternoon than you would realise, and you didn’t notice them until you fell over them.

cabanon vauban people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Not just on the path towards the lighthoue either.

My walk took me across the lawn and across the car park down to the end of the headland where there is a good view across the bay. But not today, unfortunately.

We couldn’t see a thing out to sea this afternoon, but there were some people who had made their way down the steps to the little bench in front of the Cabanon Vauban, the old Customs sentry-box. I’m not sure what it was at which they were looking, but I couldn’t see anything special.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021They weren’t the only people wandering around off the beaten track in the fog this afternoon.

It will take more than a sea-fog to stop the fishermen going out to practise their art, and sure enough, there is one of them down there.

It’s very difficult to see what he’s actually doing. He has his rod in his hand but I can’t tell whether he is packing up or setting out.

And so I left him to it and headed off along the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on down there.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I could see that there was no change in occupancy in the chantier naval. Still the same seven boats that have been there for a couple of weeks.

Over on the other side of the harbour, there was one of the Joly France ferry boats moored up at the ferry terminal. Judging by its small superstructure and rectangluar windows in “portrait” format, it’s the newer one of the two near-identical ones.

As for where her older sister and the brand-new Belle France might be, I really can’t say. But I bet that they won’t be doing any sightseeing trips around the bay or a lap around the Ile de Chausey. And Chausiaise, the little freighter, is in the inner harbour.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the viewpoint further along the path, I could see into the inner harbour where I noticed that Marité wasn’t there.

She must be out at sea with passengers, and I bet that they can’t be enjoying themselves too much in this weather, with not being able to see what is going on anywhere.

There was also an aeroplane flying around overhead, but of course I couldn’t see it in this weather.

Instead, I went back home and had a banana smoothie. Despite the fog, it was hot, clammy and oppressive out there this afternoon.

Having drunk my smoothie I sat down to check the dictaphone notes but ended up dozing off for about 20 minutes. That still left time for me to find out where I’d been last night.

The first thing that I noticed was that I remarked that I had had an attack of cramp – first time for about ever. I’d forgotten all about this.

But in the meantime, a former friend of mine was speaking to me and telling me what a surprising person I am with all this news that I have that I have never told anyone. he said that he had only found out by accident so I asked him what he was on about. He said that we’d have to go out and celebrate it, all this kind of thing, and I hadn’t really any idea. It turned out that he’d heard someone say “we’d still be up to 15 people if we replace Eric quickly or get a replacement for Eric quickly enough”. “Ohh that!” I said. “I’ve just had an internal transfer in the office and going somewhere else”.

There was somewhere else about a house in Wistaston in Crewe that I was trying to sell but no-one had been to see it for a while. People had asked me why I hadn’t reduced it to sell. I replied that I’ve had it almost 20 years and very very shortly the mortgage will be paid. It’s not in my interest to sell it once the mortgage is paid because it will be increasing in value.

What was that dream about a banana that suddenly awoke me and drained everything away from me immediately? And don’t ask me what that was all about because I don’t have a clue. It’s what I must have dictated but I can’t think why.

Later on during the night I was out with Nerina. There were 4 of us, me, her, another guy and another girl, something to do with me being at the hospital. Nerina had her Wolseley 1300 and the door on it didn’t fit quite properly. While we were walking towards it there was another group of people walking towards us. One of them was joking about how easy it was to steal these cars. he took out a key from his pocket, opened the door, got in and sat at the steering wheel. The guy and I dived in, dragged him out, bent him over the car and had his arms in an arm lock. We marched him into the hospital where someone called the police. The idea was basically to frighten the wits out of him. But this went on and on and in the end I was called forward for my surgery. The boy that had come out before me now had the most beautiful white teeth so I wondered if that was what they were going to do to me. I had to go to wait by this cubby hole where the guy searched through some papers. There were people coming and going and the surgeon was rooting through these papers as well looking for the names. Someone else out of the room where we were had come out and gone past me in a wheelchair and gone into a theatre. I thought that I was going to be here all night with this. I’d told one of the others who was with us that they were in charge about the affair with this boy. I wondered how long it was going to be before they become fed up?.

There was also time to deal with a couple more of the arrears too. I’m hoping that they will be finished quite soon too so that I can update the relevant journal entries.

When that was done I divided up the pizza dough into three, rolled two in oil, wrapped them in greaseproof paper, put them in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The other, I rolled out and put in the pizza tray and left it to proof for a while. And once it was ready I assmebled it and baked it.

Here’s the finished product. It was nice and crispy for a change, one of the best that I’ve made for ages. Quite delicious too.

Now the washing-up is done and the kitchen has been tidied up and it’s all looking quite nice. i’ve finished my journal entry early too so I have a couple of things to do and then i’m off to bed. I have a radio programme to prepare in the morning so I need to be on good form because I don’t want to waste too much time.

Thursday 1st July 2021 – HAPPY SUMMER…

foggy morning rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… so welcome to the sunshine and the glorious weather. Can it get any better than this?

Yes, what a way to start of the summer. A cold clammy fog enveloping absolutely everything, just like a November day. And it was cold too. I had to go and search for a jumper to keep me warm. I’m not cut out for this kind of weather.

Anyway, that was the weather that greeted me as dawn broke this morning. I couldn’t believe it. And I have to go out shopping later. One look at that and I made myself a piping hot mug of coffee and came back in here to get on with some work

With it being the first of the month, it’s the day when I normally back up everything. So today I decided to start on a full and complete programme.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there’s a USB stick permanently plugged into the laptop on which I back up a few times every day. Then there’s a spare hard drive in this machine on which I back up once a month.

And then there’s an external drive on which I uploaded every single file off every computer or hard drive that I have ever owned and I’ve been gradually sorting it out into some kind of order.

So today, I copied the files off the working drive onto the back-up drive in the machine and then copied them over to the external drive. And even as we speak, after about 12 hours or so, it’s still going on. It’s a long job but it had to be done and I ought to do it more often.

But there’s one good thing about it, and that is that I can remove some of the stuff off the working drive that doesn’t need to be there and make some space, now that it’s stored in at least two other locations. That’s probably going to be tomorrow’s job, always assuming that this back-up is completed by then.

At least, while it’s doing, I can get on and do other stuff, like a pile of photos from August 2019. And now I’m wandering aimlessly around Sisimut in Greenland having a good look around.

After a shower, I made myself ready to set off to the shops. Not that I was feeling like going. And I was feeling even less like coming back loaded up with shopping.

empty shop rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere in the Rue Couraye is somethign that regular readers of this rubbish might recall.

This used to be some kind of oriental restaurant, as you might remember. And after it closed, a lot of money was spent on transforming it into a rather plush and expensive interior decoration shop with condultants and the like to give advice. And it opened amid a great fanfare.

But it didn’t last very long by the looks of things. As I went past this morning, it was empty, closed up and abandoned. There was a sign saying “we have moved” – but it omitted to tell us just where it actually moved to. And that tells us all that we need to know.

At LIDL I spent more money than I intended, not that I bought anything special. And they had run out of brazil nuts too which is a shame. But anyway, off I set for home, staggering under my heavy load.

retiled roof rue de la houle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the roofing job that was being undertaken on a house here in the Rue de la Houle.

Last week we saw them nailing battens around the chimney in order to hang slates therefrom. And sure enough, they’ve now been and gone and as we can see, the chimney is now all slated and looking quite nice.

But my money is on the fact that they didn’t repoint the chimney and replace the rotten bricks, and that’s going to lead to a problem in the future because a poor chimney isn’t going to last forever, especially when the wind gets going.

And we’ve seen some famous winds since I’ve been living here.

crane building site rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that we’ve seen a lot of since we’ve been living here is redevelopment of buildings and building sites, such as this one at the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

There used to be a café on this corner and we watched them knock it down and clear the site, and then fence it off. last week we saw a digger on site and it had dug a big hole. And I was wondering what was the purpose of the hole.

And now we know. They’ve installed a huge crane here and that tells me that building is about to get under way any minute now. Those cranes are expensive to hire and small builders won’t hang about when they have the rental to pay.

Although I suspect that you’ll all be reminding me that I said that in 6 months time.

seagull chick lost in rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack in town again, in the Rue Paul Poirier, I encountered something that caused me some anguish.

It’s the time of the year right now when the fledglings in the seagull nests begin to flex their wings and one or two of them manage to take to the air. Here is one that has left his nest and fluttered down into the street in the Rue Paul Poirier. And now he can’t get up steam to fly back to his nest.

It isn’t easy to know what to do in these circumstances. Maybe his mother will come to look for him, and human scent on her baby might drive her away. And if you do try to catch him, would he dash off into the traffic? I decided with regret that the best course of action was to leave him and hope that a more knowledgeable person would come along.

trawlers waiting to leave port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo up the hill I trudged with my heavy load of shopping until I reached the benches half-way up where I could see down into the harbour.

And it looks as if I’ve arrived at exactly the right time because judging by the little queue of trawlers here, the harbour gates are going to be open any minute now and I could sit and enjoy the spectacle. Mind you, I don’t envy them going out to sea in this dreadful fog. It’s not that thick down there, with visibility about half mile or so, but I bet that it’s a lot worse further out at sea.

It made me wish that there was a café nearby where I could fetch a drink for myself as events would unfold. This is pretty unseasonal weather for July.

trawlers leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSure enough, I only had to wait a couple of minutes before the gates opened and the red lights changed to green.

And once they did so, a whole line of trawlers suddenly burst into life from all over the inner harbour and they were off like ferrets up a trouser leg. It was quite an impressive sight to see them all go like that.

There was a whole line of trawlers waiting to come into the harbour too but it looks as if those leaving have priority. And once they had cleared the entrance, the ones outside swarmed in. I wanted to take a photo of them but once again, the lens jammed on the NIKON 1 J5. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we had that repaired about 18 months ago.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnyway I cleared off up the hill, still wrestling with the camera lens and eventually I managed to free it off.

And thzt was just as well because out of the fog came another one of our old friends going for a run around the bay with a bunch of tourists. It’s La Granvillaise, one of the charter yachts that operates out of the port. We can tell who she is because of her unusual sail layout and also the fact that she displays quite prominently the number G90.

And I felt sorry for the tourists because they aren’t going to see very much in this weather, although with the tide being in, at least the boat can go closer to the shore so they will be able to see something of what’s going on.

seagulls fighting rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was taking the photo of La Granvillaise there was a tremendous squawking from the roof of one of the buildings so I went off to have a look to see what was happening.

There are two seagulls down there having a tremendous tug-of-war over something or other but I couldn’t see what it was. They kept it up for quite a while too – longer than I was prepared to wait and see the outcome. I wanted to go home.

Back here I put the frozen peas in the freezer and made my self some real hot chocolate to go with my fruit bread. and having had breakfast I came in here to upload the photos onto the computer when unfortunately I dozed off.

Good and proper too. I didn’t wake up until about 13:30 and then it took me a while to find my equilibrium. Another late lunch.

This afternoon there was plenty of excitement, which led to me being kicked out of the “British in Europe” Group. The people who run it have the most unbelievable egotism and arrogance. Ever since Brexit they have leapt aboard every possible bandwagon going and every time some concession has been made, it’s been “look what we won for you” even when they weren’t involved at all.

There’s a campaign been organised to thank the various Préfectures in France for their forbearance and patience but the people who run “British in Europe” have ordered everyone (and told people to pass the message on) NOT to thank the French authorities as “it undermines our campaign”. Have you ever heard anything like it?

One of their main beefs is that the French authorities have, according to them, failed in their obligations to notify every British person of the new arrangements. However, the facts are considerably different. In France, the censuses are held every 5 years and a great many British people have failed to fill in the census forms, for various reasons. So, quite naturally, the French authorities don’t know that they are here so they can’t notify them.

Furthermore, they are complaining that the French are expelling people. The French have a right to expel people if they represent a manifest danger to the security of the State, and the people I know who have been refused residence and expelled are those who have not long been released from prison for certain unspeakable offences.

So I told the organisers what had been going on, but like any two-bit organisation, it can’t tolerate one bit of criticism and won’t hear anything that undermines the “Big I Am”.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis took me up to afternoon walkies so the first thing that I have to do is to go off to the end of the car park and look down to see what was happening on the beach.

So uutangling myself from a group of residents at the door, I set off to see who was about down there. And this afternoon there was quite a crowd down there. That’s because the weather had improved somewhat since this morning. The sun had burnt off the mist from on the land and it was quite warm.

Warm enough for people to be undressed and in swimwear although I didn’t see anyone actually take to the water while I was there. Maybe it wasn’t all that warm in there after all.

sea and rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut whether it was warm or not, the sea really did look beautiful this afternoon.

It was that beautiful emerald green colour that we don’t see all that often. I reckon that it has to be a trick of the sunlight and the reflections or something like that to make it look so nice and inviting, even if it might be fairly cold this afternoon.

But I can’t hang around and admire the view. I had to push on around my little circuit and see where I can end up. And more importantly, what I encounter on my trip round the headland.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRather like this yacht that suddenly appeared from out of the mist.

Somewhere out there in that direction is the Ile de Chausey but there is no chance of seeing it in this weather. And that is probably from where the yacht has departed. As I was walking along the path on top of the cliffs it just materialised out of the doom and gloom rather like a phantom.

Of course it’s too far away for me to identify from here so I can’t say if it’s someone whome we know. But anyway, I wandered off across the car park and along the footpath on the other side of the headland.

trawlers philcathane chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here is someone that we ought to recognise. And I ought to know who it is because I’ve seen it so often in the past.

There’s been another change of occupancy in the chantier navale this afternoon because she certainly wasn’t there this morning. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the trawler le Pearl, the new trawler that arrived here last autumn. Well I’m pretty sure that this is her elder sister and I wish that I could remember her name.

But anywhere, here she is, next to Philcathane, with the other trawler whose name I have yet to discover and the yacht Rebelle to keep her company while she’s in here receiving attention.

chausiais l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown in the other harbour, the tide is quite far out but once more we have a couple of fishing boats tied up ay the fish processing plant and left to go aground.

It’s L’Omerta of course and she’s been moored over there on and off for quite some time now and I’m curious to see what is going on and why she’s there so often.

In the background to the right, moored up at the ferry terminal, is Chausiais, the small freighter that runs supplies out to the Ile de Chausey. She’s probably not long come back from a trip out there and is empty at the moment. When she’s about to go off on a trip out there she’ll be in the loading bay underneath the crane in the inner harbour.

Back here I carried on with the backing up of the computer and the hard drives and that took me up to guitar practice. And I’m not making as much progress as I would have liked with the bass unfortunately. It’s not a case of lack of technique, it’s a case of lack of memory. I can’t remember what I learnt yesterday, stuff like that.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper (now that I have some mushrooms) and I’m sure that I forgot something that usually goes in it. My chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce was delicious too.

And now, as this argument from this afternoon rumbles on over a whole variety of pages on my Social Network, including someone from Britain In Europe wading into a person’s private page and telling her how to manage her own page (how outrageous are these people?) I’m of to bed, as soon as there’s a suitable pause in this backing-up.

But I fear that it’s going to be going on for quite a while yet. And so is this argument.

Sunday 21st March 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

naabsa fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… about this fishing boats breeding or multiplying or whatever.

We started off with one moored at the Fish Processing Plant and abandoned to go aground as the tide went out and yesterday we ended up with four of them. That was when I mused that they must be multiplying and it looks as if I’m right because today there’s a fourth one down there that is going to be marooned by the tide in half an hour’s time.

The Fish Processing Plant seems to be all closed up so that fourth one hasn’t come along to unload and in any case it’s leaving it rather late to move.

So what’s all going on there then?

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo prizes for guessing what’s going on here, is there?

There probably isn’t anyone who, having seen the beautiful weather that we had yesterday, would believe that it would continue for the rest of the weekend so nobody should be in the last surprised by the fact that the weather has closed in again today. It’s gone cold and the fog and mist are closing in.

So much so that I’m glad that I missed almost half of today. I might have been awake at 08:30 but no danger whatever of me leaving my stinking pit at that time on a Sunday. 11:15 is a much more realistic time for me to show a leg.

After the medication I attacked the dictaphone. I always like to listen to where I’ve been during the night and, more importantly, who has come with me. Even though I’ve been starved of good, pleasant, charming and erudite company just recently, what goes on on my travels during the night is usually much more exciting than anything that happens during the day when I’m awake, sad as it is to say it.

But not last night. I would really like to have some financial stability and I had some money invested in a company called Global Marketing. I’d had a whole pile of information from them that I was busy going through when suddenly the Chancellor of the Exchequer, not Sunak but someone else turned up on my door. He was telling me of all his bullish plans for this and that and I said quite frankly “I don’t believe very much of this at all”. he sat down, plugged in a tape recorder and played a speech back. I said “that’s you speaking, isn’t it?”. He replied “yes it is”. I replied that I’d be much more convinced if it was the EU or someone like that speaking to me. He noticed the paperwork and he went through it. “Is this what you’re doing in your retirement? organising items for these?” I asked “don’t you know who these people are?”. He replied “no. I’ve never seen them until I saw these papers” so I was about to tell him who they were when I awoke.

After I’d gathered my wits (which takes an awful lot longer than it ought to bearing the reduced amount of wits that I possess these days – but then I suppose that they have more empty space in which to roam around) I attacked the photos from July 2019.

By the time that I knocked off I’d arrived in East Forks, Minnesota, USA where I spent a couple of very ill days. However, I had had a little drive around Winnipeg and been to see MY GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE – or, at least, the house where she lived during her very short marriage.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my great grandparents emigrated to Canada in 1906 and my grandmother, who was a music hall singer, married a musician from Winnipeg in July 1918. Their marriage lasted barely 4 months as he died in the influenza epidemic in November 1918.

When my great grandfather died in 1923 (we went to SEE HIS GRAVE 20 YEARS AGO) my great grandmother returned to the UK bringing the unmarried children (including my grandmother) back with her.

The married children remained behind and that’s how come I have family in Montréal and Ottawa (and probably elsewhere too).

Anyway, you haven’t come here to hear all of that nonsense. It’s time that I was clearing off outside to see what was happening.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the answer to all of that was that down on the beach there was nothing happening at all. Just one or two people walking around there.

And as I said earlier, I can’t say that I blame them either. You can see by how dark it is down there, just how depressing the weather was this afternoon.

Dark, depressing and gloomy. But that’s enough about me – the weather was just as bad. The mist is closing in yet again and it wasn’t very nice at all so I shrugged my shoulders and set off at a pace around the headland while the going was good and before the weather became any worse.

lighthouse coastguard station semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs you can see, I wasn’t alone out there this afternoon. There were quite a few people walking around on the footpath this afternoon braving the weather.

And they needed to be brave too. Just now I mentioned that I needed to push on before the weather deteriorated even more and if you look to the right of this image you can see a rainstorm approaching rather rapidly and I didn’t want to be caught out there in all of that.

So I pushed along the path, across the lawn at the end by the lighthouse and then across the car park to the end of the headland. There was nothing whatever happening out to sea as far as I could see (and I couldn’t see very far at that) so I wandered off along the path on top of the cliff.

microlight ulm pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we were having something of an aerial day seeing as the weather was something of a plane-spotter’s delight. But no such luck today. The thick clouds that we were having put a stop to that.

But we did have one of these microlight powered hang-glider things floating around over my head as I walked along the path so I took a photo of it as it went by overhead, but that was my lot. I wanted to be home before the rain arrived.

No change in occupancy in the chantier navale and we saw earlier the fishing boats at the Fish Processing Plant so with nothing else going on, I headed back home again for my coffee. There were plenty of things to do.

One of the things that needed doing was the baking for today.

There isn’t much bread left right now so I needed to make a loaf. But not a big one because I’m off on my travels on Wednesday and there’s no room in the freezer. So just a small one would have to do. Consequently, immediately after lunch I’d made up 250 grammes of flour into a dough – using the wrong flour as you might expect.

At the same time, I’d taken a lump of pizza dough out of the freezer and that had been thawing out during the afternoon.

When I returned from my walk I have the dough its second kneading and shaping and left it to proof again this time in its mould. Then I kneaded the pizza dough, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray and left everything to proof.

While I was doing all of that I carried on with the Central Europe stuff. There’s now another day finished and IS NOW ON LINE. Just 3 more days to do now, but one of those days is the one where I ran aground in the first place all those weeks ago so that isn’t going to be easy.

By now the dough was all ready so I bunged the loaf in the oven and assembled the pizza. When the bread was done I put the pizza in the oven to cook.

home made bread vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere are the finished products. The loaf is small but it looks and feels quite good. As for my pizza, it was delicious yet again.

No pudding this week as I’m not here to eat it. I’ll be taking stuff out of the freezer for the next couple of days. There are plenty of frozen pies and so on in there that need finishing. It’ll make more room in there for other stuff.

While I was writing up my notes I was listening to music as usual. There are certain tracks that I can only listen to when I’m in the right mood to hear them and that, unfortunately, isn’t right now, for a whole variety of reasons with which I won’t bore you.

So of course, it goes without saying that Al Stewart’s MODERN TIMES came round on the playlist, didn’t it? Hard to think that I was working out the chords for this earlier in the week and I could play it then. But not today.

That’s because the track that came up on the playlist immediately before it was GRASSHOPPER by Man. What was I doing the night of 1st/2nd September 2019 that I can’t even now, 18 months later, bring myself to write about and which I probably never will.

One thing about it though and that was that I was never the same afterwards. Mind you, I was never the same beforehand so it doesn’t make very much difference anyway.

Anyway, on that note (well, we are talking about music) I’m off to bed. I need my beauty sleep of course, but I need much more than this. I have a radio programme to do and I’ve nothing prepared for it. And it’s a programme of fairly new stuff and thse ones are always the most difficult to write.

It won’t be an 11:15 finish tomorrow, that’s for sure.

Tuesday 16th March 2021 – HAVING SAID …

… yesterday that it looks as if the big yachts are going to be in the chantier navale for a while yet, one of them has now gone back into the water and we already have a replacement.

It seems that I’m not much good at this prediction lark and I ought to pack it in. It’s not the first time that I’ve had to abandon my fortune-telling. The first time, I had to give it up because although I had a crystal ball, there was no future in it. The second time, I had to abandon my studies due to unforeseen circumstances.

trawler hermes 1 charlevy charles marie lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo yesterday we should have been saying “goodbye” to La Granvillaise and instead, this afternoon we are saying “hello” to the trawler Hermes I who has now come to join in the (af)fray. There she is sitting on her plinth in between Charles Marie and Lys Noir

And had you been around here round about 06:00 this morning you would have been saying “hello” to me too because once again I arose from the dead just after the first alarm went off. And that’s after my night last night wasn’t as early as it might have been either. I had another play on the guitar before I went to bed.

Having made yet another major effort to rise from the dead, I went for my medication and then afterwards I listened to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night.

Last night I was with Birmingham Corporation and some woman was giving a talk on something or other to tourists using slide displays and so on. Down in the basement was someone with some old films who was busy showing them. When the woman finished her presentation someone else came in to take over his turn. It was a doctor and she recognised him. They started to chat about old times because they had known each other. But somewhere out on an outside broadcast was another guy who was related by marriage to this woman – I don’t know if he was her husband or something. I was half-expecting him to put in an appearance while this woman and doctor were being so friendly because that really would have stirred up the pot as far as their relationship went. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember it now.

From then on I had something of a rather busy morning. Between then and 09:00 I had tidied up the apartment, taken out all of the plastic, glass metal and paper that had built up over the last few weeks (and you have no idea just how much there was) and dealt with the 20 photos from Greenland 2019 that I was planning to edit today.

There are now less than 300 to edit for the month of July, and many of those relate to my voyage around North America in the Kia Soul.

Round about 09:00 I made myself a coffee and then sat down to revise my Welsh for this week’s lesson. And somewhere in all of that time I managed to fall asleep as well. And that’s hardly a surprise given the hectic morning that I’d had so far.

Nevertheless, by the time that our lesson started at 11:00 I was at the computer with my hot chocolate and slice of sourdough fruit bread to see me through until lunchtime.

The lesson passed quickly enough although I wasn’t as well prepared for it as I might have been. I made a couple of rather embarrassing elementary howlers. We over-ran yet again and that meant that I was even more late for my lunch than I might otherwise have been.

This afternoon I’ve been brewing. There was a batch of kefir to make and I’d bought a kilo of juice-oranges the other week that were now nice and ripe. Tons of juice in those and they’d made a good batch.

At Leclerc last weekend in the “reduced for quick sale” section there had been a litre of fresh orange juice too and I’d bought that. I’d seen a recipe for ginger beer that is made with orange juice and I wanted to see how that would come out.

And while I was at it, I made a couple of litres of ordinary ginger beer too.

In between all of this I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that I could see very much out there today because the rolling sea fog that has been around and about on and off over the last few days was very much on today and it had rolled right in.

If there was anyone down on the beach today I simply wouldn’t know. And the same would go for anything out at sea as well.

With no-one else about today I was pretty much on my own as I walked down the path. There was nothing of any interest at all except for a bunch of schoolkids being taken for a walk by a teacher. That’s all that there was to relieve the monotony of the blanket of mist that had shrouded absolutely everything.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the car park by the lighthouse I had a look out across the Jullouville to see how the view was today in the fog.

Le Loup was visible, and so was the rock upon which it stands. The fog doesn’t seem to be as thick out on this side of the headland and of course the tide is quite far out right now. But the fog is such that we can’t see anything much beyond that.

Out in the bay across to the Brittany coast the view was just as miserable so I carried on around the footpath and headed on along the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale and the port.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we saw a hive of activity over at the ferry port with the lorry and its crane doing some kind of work.

Today it seems to be quite a bit quieter. The lorry has gone and there isn’t a soul out there working. They still have their blue container that they seem to be using as a store and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen that before on several occasions around and about in the port in the past where they have been working.

So leaving the ferry port and Joly France down there on their own for the moment, I had a look over at the chantier navale to see what was happening there. And we’ve seen the results of that already.

home made ginger beer orange flavoured ginger beer orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack in the apartment I carried on with my brewing activities and I now have quite a good collection of drinks brewing away.

On the far left, we have a large and small bottle of orange ginger beer. At the back from left to right we have the ginger mother solution and then the kefir mother solution.

The three other bottles with orange liquid are the three orange kefir bottles and the remaining two at the front are the ginger beer.

You can see the two bottles with the orange caps. They are the cheaper ones that I bought from NOZ. I’ve had a further tweaking around with them and the seals still aren’t satisfactory. When I can find a couple more bottles of better quality like the lemonade ones that I found in LIDL, these two will be retired to less-pressurised duty.

The hour on the guitar passed well enough and they I had a hurried tea with a curry from out of the freezer because there was football on the internet.

Bala Town, third in the League, were at home to Connah’s Quay Nomads, currently leading the league. This had the potential to be the best match of the season because on their day (which unfortunately isn’t often enough) Bala can be the best team in the League.

And Bala duly obliged, straight from the kick-off before I’d even sat down to watch it. Up at the other end the Nomads equalised after just 5 minutes. Ramsey punched out a long throw-in, the ball hit Michael Wilde on the back of the head and the rebound bounced of George Horan’s head into the Bala net and I don’t think that anyone knew anything about that.

Bala unfortunately were very quiet for the rest of the match and Will Evans was practically anonymous, snuffed right out of the game by the Nomads defence. The Nomads relied on their long ball game to the head of Michael Wilde and the two wingers running on, and their persistence and fitness paid off towards the end when they scored two late goals.

The three points tonight enabled the Nomads to stay at the top of the table but their rather lightweight attack, something from which they have suffered for the last few years, is going to cost them dearly yet again as the season draws on.

Now I’m off to bed and I’m hoping to have a good day’s work tomorrow, including booking my travel for next week, something that I overlooked to do today.

Thursday 4th March 2021 – YOU HAVE TO ADMIT …

high class graffiti rue saint sauveur Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall … that the standard of graffiti that we have around here is far superior to anything that you’ll find anywhere else.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day on our way to the railway station we saw some banners stuck in the windows of a few of the bars and restaurants, made by someone with some kind of skill in calligraphy. It seems that our phantom calligrapher has been out on his travels elsewhere too.

The town is now littered with more of the same kind of notices talking about all kinds of different subjects. I wonder where he’ll be going next.

As for me, I’ll probably be going back to bed next because once again, I’d been up very early. Just after the first alarm again this morning.

Plenty of time to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d killed some woman and I’m not sure how and I’m not sure why. I didn’t admit to it. This woman was a friend of someone who was something of a tough character and he was trying to find out who did it. I was quite confident that I would be particularly safe. He was talking to me one day and the subject of minivans came up in the conversation. He asked me if I knew what a minivan was. Seeing as we were in North America at the time I said that it was something like an F250 or an F350. He immediately said “it’s you, isn’t it? You’re the one who killed these people. I’m going to make you suffer as much as these other people suffered”, grabbed hold of me and went to put me in this car, to take me to pick up the rifle and the books I’d been reading at the time and 1 or 2 other things.

Later on some woman in a block of flats where I was living had had a row with everyone, I don’t know what about but she got into her car and drove it around the car park. She’d bumped into 1 or 2 cars while she was doing it and ended up rolling down the steep bank and ended up with her car in the pond. I’m not sure what else had happened but my yellow estate car MMB was in the pond as well and a couple of motorbikes and so on. I asked my father “what are we doing tomorrow? Do you think we could rescue my car from out of the pond?”. He said “yes, I suppose we could” so I asked “what time? Morning? Lunchtime? Afternoon?” and he didn’t really give me a definite answer. I was just chatting saying “I really hate working in water” which I do. I was loitering around because I was half-expecting someone to come along to call a breakdown truck and winch this woman’s car out of the pond. I was thinking that if they were going to do that I may as well slip them £50 or something and winch MMB out of the pond as well at the same time so I was loitering around waiting for something to happen.

There was plenty of time to have a shower and set the washing machine off on a cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) before I went off out to the shops.

la granvillaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that I had gone very far before I had to start to brandish the camera about.

Although the harbour gates were closed, there was a big yacht coming sailing into the port. With her sails not being up I didn’t recognise her at first as she was so far out but as she sailed in deeper to the port I could se the number – G90 – painted upon her bow.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recognise her as being La Granvillaise, another one of the charter yachts that plies for hire from the port. And with the harbour gates being closed, I couldn’t work out why she’d come round here right now from her berth in the yacht harbour, although I did have my suspicions.

marite normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was actually quite a lot of activity in the port this morning.

Marité is still in there tied up in her little corner, and while we don’t have a gravel boat (we haven’t seen one of those in here for a good few months) we have Normandy Trader coming to pay us a little visit. She always seems to be here on a Thursday morning.

Once more she’s fully loaded, and I’ve heard a little whisper here and there that her owners are contemplating buying a bigger ship as they are actually having to turn away freight. It’s one of the very few upsides of Brexit that rather than export their goods to the UK and then into mainland Europe, all of the difficulties that this is presenting means that it’s easier for them to send them direct to here first rather than last.

pointing rampe du monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the pointing of the wall on the Rampe du Monte à Regret ground to a halt a few weeks ago and nothing more was done to it since.

Today, the workmen are back and the work has recommenced. They aren’t working particularly fast of course, but the fact that they are here is something.

My walk up to LIDL was quite energetic and while I wasn’t quite at the “invading Poland” speed I made it all the way up the steep bank without stopping for breath and that’s rather better than it has been of late.

At LIDL I loaded up with tons of stuff and had I been able to carry it, I would have come away with more. But I wasn’t going to turn down 3kg of potatoes at just €1:69 even if I have to live on potato curry for the next couple of weeks.

So loaded up like a packhorse I staggered out into the fresh air (because I’ve never seen LIDL as crowded as it was today) and headed for home.

wall prepared for pointing rue des juifs rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier we’d seen them pointing the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret – the face that looks down onto the Place Pelley.

But it looks as if they are going to be doing this face too – the one that looks out onto the Rue des Juifs. That’s all been raked out and cleaned out They’ve left a few weeds growing in there, I have to say, but I imagine that they are hoping that the lime in the mortar will do for them.

That’s horrible, nasty caustic stuff as my hands will testify when I was pointing the wall of my house in the Auvergne.

Back here I had a hot chocolate and came in here to work – but fell asleep. It was a short night, an early start and an exhausting visit to the shops so what do you expect?

For most of the afternoon I’ve been clearing out the back-up drive on which I copied all of the data from every single hard drive or memory stick that wasn’t actually connected to the big machine. Little by little I’ve been eating away at it and now there are just 4 items to examine.

Even more interestingly, there is now 715GB free on it and I need for that to be over 1TB so I can start to back-up onto it from the big computer – although a lot of stuff on the big computer will over-write some of the older stuff.

And talking of older stuff, I’ve been finding files dated 1997 and 1998. It won’t be long before I find the stuff from 1992 when I first bought a PC. Stuff from the 80s when I had the Apple II – I think that Nerina might still have that.

sea fog people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was the usual break for lunch of course, and also the walk around the headland in the afternoon.

Mind you, I’m not too sure about the walk around the headland because it was another one of those days where had the fog been any thicker, I would have had to grope my way around the path.

It beats me what the matter might be the weather just now. We’re going from gale-force winds to this thick oppressive calm that’s letting the fog bank up against the cliffs here and we can’t se a thing. That might explain why there were so few people out and about on the beaches.

coastal path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe strange thing about this is that around the corner, the fog isn’t anything like as thick.

This is the lower footpath that goes right round the end of the headland and as you can see, that’s comparatively clear. Clear of fog, and clear of people too, which was surprising because up here on top in the car park it was heaving with all kinds of young families going walkabout. No-one braving the lower footpath though.

And nothing to see out to sea either. All of the fishing boats that were going out have gone out and they will be well out to sea by now.

workman painting seafarers' monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there’s a seafarers’ monument here on the path – in honour of two crews of lifeboatmen who lost their lives going out to sea to rescue distressed mariners.

All of the writing on the monument is very hard to read as it’s long-since faded away but today we had a guy from the local council with his fine paintbrush and pot of black enamel paint busily painting back into the monument all of the names and the details of the events in which they lost their lives.

It’s about time that they started doing things like this to make the place look as if people live here. Everything has become just a little run-down just recently.

joly france unloading building material port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if that’s not enough to be going on with, I’m not quite sure what all of that is over there.

Joly France is moored up at the ferry terminal. It doesn’t look as if she’ll be going anywhere anytime soon. There’s nothing doing over on the Ile de Chausey right now and while sometimes the ferries will do little trips with tourists all around the bay, there are no tourists particularly right now.

But I’m more interested in the rather large red builders’ bags that are being unloaded over there. They are dropping off a couple of dozen from that lorry and trailer so it looks as if there’s something really serious going to be happening there sometime soon and I wonder what it will be.

charles marie la granvillaise lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile we’re up here on the cliffs we can look down and see what’s going on in the chantier navale today.

And I was right about my little thought this morning. We’ve yet another change of occupancy down there today. As well as Aztec Lady, Lys Noir and Charles-Marie down there on blocks, La Granvillaise has now come in to join them. That was why she sailed into the outer harbour when the harbour gates were closed – she wasn’t going that way but coming over here for an overhaul.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … with no possibility of any yacht charters at the moment the owners may as well take their boats out of the water and have them overhauled ready for whenever the season might start. I shan’t be surprised to see Spirit of Conrad, the boat in which we went down the Brittany coast last summer, in there next for an overhaul.

naabsa trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust now we’d seen Joly France in a NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position over at the ferry terminal but here we have a trawler also in a NAABSA position by the firsh processing plant.

And being a catamaran, she is of course even more safely aground than the others.

Back here I had a coffee and some of my vegan coffee cake and then carried on with my work. I’ve done another 20 photos from Greenland 2019 and some more work on the arrears from Central Europe.

All of that took me up to guitar practice time, which passed quite enjoyably this evening.

Tea was a stuffed pepper followed by jam pie ad ice cream, all very nice and delicious.

But now I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to mix some sourdough before I go to bed. I have nothing to eat for my mid-morning breakfast so I reckon that it’s time to make a sourdough fruit loaf. I need some real bread too so if I make that in the morning they’ll both be ready to be baked in time.

No point in having the oven on just for one thing when there are two things to be made.

Tuesday 2nd March 2021 – WHAT I SAW …

ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… out to sea this afternoon.

Somewhere in that sea fog out there are the Iles de Chausey but you can’t actually see them this afternoon. After all of the nice weather that we’ve had over the last couple of days, we are now having a change of weather. It’s still warm and bright outside, but as for whether or not there were any clouds in the sky, that’s a completely different story.

What isn’t a completely different story is that once more I managed to stagger to my feet shortly after the first alarm went off at 06:00, and by the time that the third alarm went off I was already sitting at the computer working.

We were all on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR last night, heading off on a cruise somewhere and TOTGA and her 2 kids came to see me off. This was very nice of them of course and I was hoping that it would lead to something further but we’d have to see (and not for nothing is she known as “The One That Got Away). There was still a couple of hours before our ship sailed. Then I had to leave the group with which i was in order to go to the bathroom. This meant stepping off the ship. As I walked down to the bow there were all these people from the restaurant standing around at the front of the ship having a cigarette, people who worked there, so I made a cheery kind of comment which they took in good heart and I walked off down the corridor of the port to try to find the bathroom, all the time thinking that in 2 hours time something might develop with TOTGA if I’m lucky – but just at this point I fell asleep again. And my apologies to Percy Penguin whose word I doubted when she told me that I snored.

Incidentally, just before I went to bed last night I was having a long chat with TOTGA about her daughter. It just goes to show …

Later on, a lady who worked in the OU said that she would do a drawing of me in pen and ink or something so I went to see her. I ended up staying. She was only down the road from Nina’s so I’d been to see her and then gone down to see this woman. She lived just on the border between Wales and England in Wales, 1 mile from the border. We were chatting and she had some shopping to do so we set out and walked along the old railway line that ran past her house into the UK and got to Ashbourne although it wasn’t the Ashbourne that I knew. She did a few bits and pieces and I was trying to go to the toilet but everywhere that I was going was full or there were cars going past or something and in the end we ended up walking back to her house. She had loads of stuff all over the place that she was drawing for people I knew from the OU. I was saying that that was the area where I’d like to live, on the border there. It always struck me as being an extremely romantic type of place and there were places like Tamworth and so on within easy reach. It all seemed so historical and all so interesting compared to Crewe.

That’s something else we were doing too. We’d been to Virlet at one point too, I don’t know why. I had a tiny solar panel there with a USB type of plug on it that you could plug things like telephones that kind of thing into it which would charge up off the solar panel. Quite a few people were interested in that and I was telling them all about it.

Once I’d organised myself I sat down and ran through about 20 photos from my Greenland 2019 trip, making sure that they were edited properly. I’m pressing on with these

Next, I turned my attention to the preparation for my Welsh class. That involved reading through the notes that I made during last week’s lesson, going through it all, and then looking through the course book for the text for this weeks lesson.

The lesson itself passed fairly well, I suppose. I was in a slightly better mood then last week and feeling much more like it.

After lunch I spent some of the time dealing with a few outstanding issues. Now that the new ID cards are coming through the system and being issued, it’s clear that the enormous backlog is being cleared. This is the moment to make my application to convert my ID card to the new type to reflect our revised status on the Mainland.

We now have no more rights over here than any refugee from Somalia or Syria.

Another thing that needed doing was to go through my bank accounts and see how the land lies. I still have my Canada money kicking around and it’ll be two years’ worth soon. With no prospect of going back until at least 2022 and maybe not even then, I need to make it all work for me in the meantime. It’s doing no good in a deposit account.

Unfortunately, the guy whose number I was given wasn’t the correct person and he couldn’t think of anyone who might help me. So it’s back to the drawing board as far as this is concerned.

crowds on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

Once again, as you might expect, the tide is miles out at sea again. These are the highest and lowest tides of the year right now of course and the public areas of the fishing beds are exposed. There were crowds of people on the beach down there by the steps underneath the Place d’Armes but from up here on the cliffs it didn’t look as if they were actually doing the peche à pied

Maybe they were just enjoying the good weather because despite the rolling sea fog that we were having, it wasn’t cold and it wasn’t all that windy.

kids at gymnase jean galfione place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe schools are still out on half-term this evening so it was fairly quiet around the College Malraux this afternoon. No hordes of schoolkids and no parents parked up where they shouldn’t be.

But there was something going on at the Gymnasium Jean Galfione at the back of the school. These kids all seem to be dressed in some kind of corporate outfit so maybe there’s been some kind of team sport going on there this afternoon.

They were sitting there quietly, presumably waiting for Godot so I left them to it and carried on with my walk along the footpath.

renault voltigeur pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHow long is it since we’ve seen an old car on these pages? Quite a while, isn’t it?

My route took me over the lawn and onto the car park at the back of the lighthouse and there sitting quietly is a rather elderly Renault Voltigeur.

We all know about these vehicles and their heavier brothers, the Renault Goelettes. These were the vehicles used by all of the authorities for a 20 year period from the end of the 40s to the end of the 60s and were the typical paniers à salades, “salad baskets”, used by the Police to carry away detainees, although salade is a more polite way of of expressing what they were usually called.

High ground clearance and short wheelbase, they were ideal for the poor state of the roads in France after the war and with a traditional rear-wheel drive and cheap, basic and simple to assemble, they were much more common than the rival Citroen H “garden sheds” but never acquired the same cult status or lasted as long as their Citroen rivals.

It’s very, very rare to see one on the road these days.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been following the adventures of the roofers on their scaffolding at the College Malraux.

They have spent several months working on the side of the roof facing my building and about a fortnight ago they moved their scaffolding round to the side. While I’ve been away they seem to have moved their scaffolding round to the other side of the building and I noticed that they are now busy attacking that slope.

With all of that do do, that’s probably going to take them up to summer, given the speed at which they have been working so far.

digger port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound at the viewpoint overlooking the port there was nothing much going on, and there were just the two boats in the chantier navale.

But I did notice one of the two diggers that have been working in the port seems to have retired from the fray and is now clanking on its tracks up the ramp.

It was difficult to see what was going on with it over there but there was a workman round at the front of the machine, so maybe they are going to change her bucket for one of a different size, or maybe even fit a grab onto the end of the arm. But there wasn’t anything down there to fit it with.

digger tractor port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, out in the port, the other digger is hard at it with the tractor and trailer.

It seems to have dug up a pile of rocks from the bed of the port and is busy tipping them into the trailer to be taken away. And why they would be doing that I really don’t know because they’ll have to go down extremely deep in order to make it into a wet harbour at all states of the tide.

And that gives me an idea. Maybe they are going to fit a breaker attachment onto the other digger so that it can break up some more of the rock.

After watching them for a while I came back here for coffee and some of my delicious vegan cake and then carried on with my arrears of my journey to Central Europe. And once again I crashed out completely for a good half-hour and felt pretty dreadful again when I came round.

The hour on the guitars was quite enjoyable and then I went for tea. Burger on a bap followed by my nice jam pie with the last of the soya coconut dessert.

The good news was that the football is back. Y Drenewydd were playing Penybont and it was a good match. Despite Y Drenewydd being at the foot of the table they were far too good for mid-table Penybont and fully deserved their 2-0 win, and even missed a penalty. Despite the long pause in the season they’ve obviously kept themselves fit as the game was played at 100% for the whole of the 90 minutes. I quite enjoyed watching the game.

Now I’m off to bed, later than usual. But the football is always much more interesting than sleeping. Tomorrow I have a pile of correspondence that needs my attention, some tidying up, and then I need to crack on. There’s plenty to do.

Tuesday 2nd February 2020 – HERE’S AN INTERESTING …

… little story for you.

A while ago, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I rang up the Corona Virus Vaccination Centre to tell them my tale about the problems that I have about joining the queue for the vaccination. They told me, as you might recall, to ‘phone back 2 weeks later.

Admittedly, it’s not quite two weeks since I rang, but nevertheless I rang up today to find out the latest position. And I wonder if you can guess what I was told.

Only naturally, you will be replying “‘phone back 2 weeks later”. And you will be totally wrong. The actual reply was “‘phone back 4 weeks later”.

As you can imagine, I’m not holding out much hope of having my vaccination by this method. Not if I’m going to be pushed back farther and farther away. But I have now had my monthly rental statement for my apartment and that means that I can now apply for registration with the Sécurité Sociale.

That’s tomorrow’s task so that I can post off my application on Thursday morning on my way to the shops. It’s very doubtful that that’s going to be all that quick either but at the moment it seems to be the most likely way forward.

But never mind tomorrow, let us turn our attention to today, or, rather, this morning. You don’t need me to tell you that I missed the third alarm and didn’t leave the bed until about 07:10.

After the medication I worked on my Welsh until it was time to grab my hot chocolate and a slice of cake, and then I went for my lesson. It was quite successful, surprisingly, and at the end we had a little comprehension test of the type that we would have during our exam in the Summer. And to my surprise, I had 100%.

Of course it’s a long way from the exam, and only a small part of it too. But nevertheless it’s still a good sign.

As a result it ended up being quite a late lunch – later than usual in fact for a Tuesday too. And then I had my telephone call to make to enquire about my vaccine.

heavy cloud blowing over donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat took me up to the time to go out for my afternoon walk.

Outside it was quite sunny looking out towards the west but when I glanced behind me I could see a rather large dark cloud that the wind had blown right over the town of Donville les Bains and that was looking quite miserable. I was glad that I wasn’t out in that down there.

Last night quite late on, there had been a heavy rainstorm and the paths were sodden and flooded in places. It wasn’t pleasant picking my way around the puddles.

But it will probably dry out fairly quickly this afternoon with the sun and the wind. But it wasn’t like that this morning. When I awoke there was a thick fog and you couldn’t see a thing. But by about 10:00 the wind must have picked up and blown it all away.

waves in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it was still blowing even now as I walked down the other side of the headland. You can tell by the waves out there in the bay that they are quite churned up.

No change in occupancy in the chantier navale. Still the four boats that we saw yesterday. Maybe Aztec Lady is going to be in there for longer than I reckoned.

With nothing else happening, I headed on home for my mug of hot coffee which I actually managed to drink while it was still warm, for a change just recently.

There’s no fruit bread here of course so I made some sourdough mix with some of the wholemeal bread flour that I’ve bought. A pile of ground brazil nuts, desiccated coconut, raisins and dried fruit went in there as well, along with a banana.

It’s all nicely mixed together now and it’s in the basin under a damp tea towel busily proofing. Tomorrow morning I’ll give it the second kneading and then I can make some real bread because I’ve run out of that.

As well as that, they had leeks on special offer at LeClerc on Saturday so I’m going to make some leek and potato soup for lunch for the next few days. I fancy something different instead of salad sandwiches.

Tea was pasta and vegetables with bulghour all tossed in a nice creamy cheese sauce followed by my jam turnover and the remains of the raspberry sorbet.

Tomorrow I have plenty to do as I mentioned earlier. And that includes transcribing the mass of dictaphone notes that have been building up. But I managed to catch up a little with that and I can now add in the details of the voyages on which I travelled. And it’s hardly a surprise that it took me so long to transcribe them when you sread how many there are and the distance that I travelled.

I have vague memories of being at work in another office last night. I’d just been transferred there and was going through the opened post and I saw that they had been issuing demands for the year 91/92 which I thought was very quick seeing as it was only October 92. I thought that I was nowhere near this far ahead when I was working in my previous place. I was going through the outstanding post and there was a novel there, one of these Victorian hardback book things with a submission in it from the person who had previously done my job “is it true that this is referring to (and he quoted some kind of oblique formula about feeding people?” and the reply was “yes, it’s how things were in those days”. I had a look but I couldn’t see exactly where it was mentioned in the page concerned.
But then I was having my customary dream about building up arrears of work and not being able to face the consequences of it, something that seems to be a recurring dream just recently.

Later on we were at a seaport and a big strange ship was being manoeuvred and I DO mean “big” too, a huge thing. People were scampering about everywhere and there were guys working the rudder so that it would enter and about 3 or 4 others hanging on to it to make it swing round. Our departure was for the following morning early and it was late afternoon early eveningish and I had to help bring our ship, a big tanker, into the port. I was picking a load of things along while the tanker was manoeuvring in and thinking to myself “people are going to start to come back ready to sail out in surely but I have to do this job, go home, have a bit of a sleep, get my things together and come back ready to sail at a ridiculously early part of the morning so I’m going to be busy”. Someone said “we all know what we are going to get and we’ll all be getting different things” so I said to her – it might even have been Liz “I knpw what you are going to get in a minute”. I took my two golf clubs out of the sleeves in which they had been carried and threw them towards her but I missed my aim. The bounced off on deck but with it being so cold they slid on the ice. I carried on pushing whatever it was that I was pushing and said to Liz “we’ll get them on the way back”. Someone else was walking on the deck and she went over to them. I shouted “don’t worry. I know that they are there. I’ll fetch them in a minute” as I was pushing this heavy load off towards the bow of the ship.

Later I was back on this big tanker thinking that anyone could go and take one of these big tankers and sail it as I am doing. All you need to do is to type out a permit and an unsophisticated dock worker wouldn’t know at all that it’s for the wrong person. When you get in, all you have to do is to type out the details onto the sheets, not that that much would be known about it, a Russian doctor anyway (and at this point I fell asleep) it doesn’t take much skill to do that (I continued when I awoke briefly).

Even later on we were finally getting ready to go on our trip. Down by the industrial estate at Crewe I said goodbye for the moment to Alison or I dunno whoever it was whom I was with and headed off back home which was in an office somewhere. I had to go to my desk and start to assemble all of my stuff and prepare to pack. I had a look at my overtrousers. They were huge – about 3 times too big for me and thought that I could really do with getting another pair. On the way back I’d been to pick up some food for supplies. I had a bag of buns but the bag burst and I dropped half of them on the lavatory floor somewhere. I was making a list in my head of the things that I had to do while I was going around including dismantling my chair and taking the seat of it with me to sit on on the cold grass. I was busy packing all my stuff like that and making a list of what I didn’t have but needed. I thought “I hope Jackie – or Alison – has some waterproof trousers and so on”. I was thinking “I hope that the beige Cortina starts as I have to take that down to the industrial estate with my stuff in it and leave it there while i’m away all this time”.

And later on I was back on the ship – yet again – or rather back in the hotel waiting to board the ship. I’d had something to eat. There was a little old man there with whom I’d become quite friendly. It turned out that he hadn’t actually arranged to travel but he was hoping to so I thought “we’ll get him on board somehow”. I collected up all my plates, crockery and cutlery and took it over to the sink, threw it all in the sink and got one of these washing hose arrangement things and with very high pressure I washed all my cutlery, everything. Just then the girl in charge came in and as I turned round I gave her a full blast of washing up water out of the jet wash thing there that she wasn’t very pleased about. She said that the draw was being made tonight on board ship. “What time are we all actually getting under way?”. She replied “not for a bit yet. We’re still waiting for some more people to come and they have all the forms to fill in but the boss is quite adamant that you can’t do anything unless we have your photograph”. I thought “the photograph is the least of my worries at the moment. I can soon arrange that”.

I did manage to find time though to finish off the story of the siege of the Chateau de Chalus and made a little start on the burning of Oradour sur Glane.

That’s going to be another long-drawn-out procedure I reckon. There are over 50 photographs that I took while I was there.

Monday 1st February 2021 – THERE’S ONE GOOD …

… thing about being in bed by 21:40. And that is that I can, if I play my cards right, be wide awake, standing up and looking for my clothes at 06:00 when the first alarm goes off.

Yes, never mind beating the third alarm, I actually managed to beat the first one today and that’s something of a red-letter day, isn’t it?

So there I was, wide awake, fighting fit and ready to go and by the time the third alarm went off I had had my medication and was sitting at the computer working.

By the time lunchtime came round, I had completed an entire radio programme from scratch – up and running, a whole hour of it. And I’d had my break for breakfast (the last of my Christmas cake) and drink of hot chocolate too. That was quite impressive too.

This afternoon I sat down and carried on with the siege of Chateau Chalus but later on in the afternoon I had the misfortune to crash out for half an hour and that was disappointed. I might have finished it otherwise.

crowds on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was probably due to the fact that I went out this afternoon for my usual walk around the headland.

There were a few other people around out there too, walking around, but the surprise was actually down on the beach. There were about 20 people down there playing some kind of sport and even though I watched them for a good few minutes, I couldn’t work out what it was they were actually doing.

There were a few other people around down there too but they were just doing normal things like walking around at the water’s edge.

fog in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd when I say that I was surprised to see them, that was for two reasons too.

Not just because it was strange to see so many people, but also due to the fact that there were some incredible rolling banks of fog moving in off the sea and it was at times quite difficult to see very far.

Despite all of the wind that we have had just recently, there was hardly a breath of it today so while it might have been rolling in off the sea, it was just banking up at the head of the bay and becoming thicker and thicker down there. That’s not the kind of day to be out at sea.

le loup jullouville baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, was barely visible and you couldn’t see very much beyond there along the coast.

But one thing that you will notice is that it really is a sea mist or fog and not driving rain. And it’s not very thick either. You can see the blue sky overhead above the mist here at the edge of the fog.

At the end of the headland, I looked out to sea to see what was happening but as you might expect, I couldn’t see anything going on there at all. But most of that was down to the fog. I couldn’t even see the Brittany coast so I gave it up as a bad job and carried on with my walk along the headland.

aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s another change of occupier at the chantier navale.

We still have a total of four boats, but one of the fishing boats that was there seems to have gone back into the water and instead, we seem to have acquired Aztec Lady, one of the tourist charter boats. It makes me wonder what’s the matter with her, but seeing where she’s been positioned, it can’t be anything that’s likely to detain her for long.

Talking of being detained for long, I cleared off home for my hot afternoon coffee but when I went to drink it, it was freezing cold. That’s what happens when you crash out for half an hour.

The hour on the guitar passed really well and I quite enjoyed it, and then I went for tea. Taco rolls with the remains of the stuffing but, most unlike me, half of it went in the bin. For some reason, I wasn’t at all hungry tonight.

You are all probably wondering where I got to (and, more importantly, who came with me) during the night. But just as I was about to start to transcribe my dictaphone notes, Rosemary rang up for a chat – a chat that went on for just over one hour and forty minutes.

It took me a couple of days before I could find the time to transcribe them, but I was playing bass with The Doors or The Grateful Dead or someone last night. We were on our way to a gig, the first that they had done for 25 years. I’d bought some new equipment. While we had stopped for a coffee and an afternoon break I started to wire up the PA but noticed that the microphones had on/off switches that had to be held down. I thought “this is wrong. We have the wrong equipment here. What are we going to do about this because you can’t hold down a mike switch in the middle of a concert when you have both hands on a guitar”. I carried on wiring them up anyway. A couple of boys appeared and spoke to Jerry Garcia or whoever it was. He had them play a little song, all very countrified rock, arpeggio chord-playing guitar, that sort of thing. The guy playing a really weird guitar with the tuning pegs in the body of the guitar and nothing on the neck, which was a very small neck anyway. I went back over to the pile of equipment and sat there suddenly scratching my head. Someone else came along and said “what are you doing?”. I replied “I don’t know. I just walked over here for something and I can’t remember what it was that I came back for”. He asked “was it your guitar strap?”. I said “no but I need to check that anyway so while I’m here I’ll do that”.

Later on I was with a couple and I’m not sure who they were. They may well have been one of my sisters and her husband. Also with me was Zero, who at one time was a very, very regular companion of mine on my voyages who hasn’t been around much of late, so a big “hello” to you in Stoke on Trent. The 4 of us had been to British Salt having my Cortina fixed. It had been a question of having it serviced of course and one of the bolts on the bottom pulley which was held on by two bolts needed replacing. Rather than buy one, they turned one on the lathe. There were all kinds of things going on there with old lorry cabs, an old Dodge lorry cab lying around. Someone had been sent home from work not once but twice. The garage there was absolutely spotless and I’d never seen it looking like that in al my life. They went in to get the paperwork ready. I went in with them but was told that I couldn’t stay. I had to go back into the waiting room. Then they all came out and the four of us walked down the drive. The woman was very slow and her partner was very fast and I was there with Zero. When we went round a bend the guy was suddenly no longer in front of us so we had to wait until the woman caught us up to find out where he had gone. There was something going on in Northwich and it was a lovely afternoon so Zero and I were wondering whether we were going to walk to Northwich or whether we were to go on the bus. We didn’t mind walking and we were sure that the guy would want to walk but she said that her mother (who was this woman) wouldn’t want to as she wasn’t very good at walking. So we waited, and the guy turned up. He’d been reading a notice and that’s why we missed him, a notice about a football competition. Then off we set on foot. We still hadn’t decided whether we would go on the bus or walk but there were loads of things to carry. One of them was a pack of margarine and I ended up with traces of margarine all down the front of my jumper. As we set off the woman said to Zero “you’d better come and sit next to us 2 adults so that you can have a better view” and I wasn’t quite sure what she meant by that.

But interestingly, as seems to be a regular feature in my nocturnal voyages, the moment that I find a pleasant and interesting character to come along with me, someone from my family always pops up to intervene. That really was the story of my life when I lived back in Crewe all those years ago.

Having written my notes now I’m off to bed. Welsh lesson tomorrow so I have to be on form for that, and then I have the rest of the week to do plenty of things that have been building up. Far too many of them just now and there seems to be more and more.

Tuesday 12th January 2021 – IT GOES WITHOUT …

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… saying that I failed to beat the third alarm this morning, much to my chagrin.

So while you admire of the waves crashing down and over the sea wall down at the Plat Gousset in the storm that was raging this evening, I can tell you that I was lying in bed trying desperately to summon up the energy to leave the bed. And it was about 08:10 that I finally managed to haul myself out of my stinking pit.

And that’s a far cry from yesterday where, to my own amazement I actually managed to beat the third alarm to my feet. That was rather a flash in the pan, wasn’t it?

According to the dictaphone I’d been on my travels too. I was with a group of people on a train journey. We set out from a place on the Underground and reached the main station but had to change Metros and there wasn’t many minutes between the two trains. Then there was only about 8 minutes between our train arriving and the next one departing. We installed ourselves in the train and it took off. After a while a ticket collector appeared and asked for everyone’s tickets so I gave him mine. He said “no, this isn’t the correct ticket” so I had a look and it was the ticket around France so I had a look through my pile of tickets that I had but couldn’t see one. It suddenly occurred to me that in all of the confusion I hadn’t actually stopped and picked it up. I asked whoever I was with and they couldn’t remember me picking up the ticket either. I was about to explain it to this ticket collector when suddenly he had to dash off somewhere elsse I was wondering what was going to happen now. This drifted on for 5 or 10 minutes then a woman came back and said to me in one of these stage whispers “you are going to complain about the lack of time between the trains, aren’t you? You are going to say that you didn’t have time to do anything in between the arrival of one and the departure of the next, aren’t you?”, explaining to me what I ought to do.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe kefir that I made yesterday – that was rather far too volatile to use this morning with my medication. I ended up having to open a carton of soft drink that I had bought in NOZ a couple of weeks ago. I hope that it settle down by tomorrow.

After the medication I had to sit down and revise my Welsh. I’d been doing quite well with the revision over the Christmas period bu with the cancellation of last week’s lesson I’d somehow lost the thread.

And in fact it was pretty hard going because I’m finding it extremely difficult to concentrate these days, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. And I’m not sure what I can do about that.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs for our Welsh class, it’s grown in size. One of the teachers of our course has left, and her students have been passed on to swell up our group.

What’s interesting about this course from a student point of view is that previously it’s run with about 100 students per year. But a combination of three factors, namely

  1. the current rise in Welsh nationalism
  2. the move of the courses to an on-line Zoom platform
  3. the start of lockdown, working from home and people having more free time with flexible working hours

there was a record total of 1038 students who enrolled for this course back in March. I’m in France and one of my classmates lives in Dubai. Even more interestingly, there’s a Polish girl living in Connah’s Quay who is in our class too.

So grabbing a slice of home-baked sourdough fruit bread and a mug of hot chocolate, I signed myself in to my course. It was painfully slow to start with as we all struggled to come up to speed but by the end we were doing OK.

We had a mock test paper at the end and I had 80% in the oral comprehension.

This afternoon I had a couple of ‘phone calls to make. For one of them, I was disappointed as the office wasn’t open this afternoon. I must get through tomorrow as there’s a time limit on this.

The second ‘phone call that I had to make was something of a speculative enquiry. And if it works out, it’ll be something of a rather silly thing to be doing at this stage in my life, but if there’s an opportunity going, I need to find out more about it.

sea fog english channel granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut that was enough about that for the moment. There will be more to say about this I imagine.

It was now time for me to go out for my afternoon walk. Braving the rain I set off to see what was happening. And the answer to that is that if anything was happening out there, I wouldn’t be able to see it in this weather. This is another one of these white stick / guide dog days, even worse than the weather yesterday.

But never mind. I have to make the most if it. It is the middle of January after all.

trawler in sea fog english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s no surprise to anyone to learn that there were very few people out there taking the air this afternoon.

As I picked my way around the puddles on the churned-up path at the top of the cliff I could hear the distant throbbing of a long-stroke diesel engine out there in the fog. And as I approached the end of the headland one of the trawlers from the port loomed out of the gloom and disappeared around the far side.

It was all extremely eerie, like something out of a horror film with ghost ships and all of that.

trawlers in sea fog english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the path I walked across the lawn and then across the car park down to the end of the headland to see what was happening out to sea.

While I was standing there, a couple more trawlers went happily sailing … “dieseling” – ed … past me where I was standing, and it’s a good job that they were close inshore because I would never have seen them had they been any further out.

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve stood in this spot and seen some really beautiful sunsets with the sun reflecting off the water but as you can see, in this wind and rain it would be a waste of time waiting to see it today.

storm waves over sea wall Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving waited there and watched a few of the trawlers and other fishing boats come back into port I moved away from my viewpoint, walking along the path on top of the cliffs on the other side of the headland.

Previously, I mentioned the rain that was falling down in a very fine mist, there was also a raging gale going on as you might have noticed from the photos of the boats out at sea. You can see it even better in the couple of photos here of the waves breaking over the sea wall.

It’s a good job that there wasn’t anyone walking around on the sea wall in all of this. They would have known all about the storm down there.

joker fishing boat yacht port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on along the clifftop there’s the viewpoint over the chantier navale from which we’ve seen dozens of boats in the past.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Joker, having unloaded her catch at the fish processing plant, perform an interesting nautical danse macabre in the harbour in the vicinity of the portable boat lift, and I speculated that she was indicating that she needed to be hauled out of the water.

And sure enough, there she is up on blocks down there, presumably about to have some kind of work undertaken on her. The other two boats that have been there for a while, the yacht and the trawler, are still there too.

storm waves over sea wall Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile you admire another photo of the waves crashing over the harbour wall, I came on home for a mug of hot coffee and a warm-up.

Later on, I had my hour on the guitars and I seemed to enjoy it a little more today. On the acoustic guitar I’ve been trying a new way to play the G chord and the Bminor chord and I seem to have managed to improve on that. But I have to keep it up and keep on improving.

For my evening walk tonight I ran off down the road and despite the weather and the rain and the wind I carried out my usual (for these days) course around the walls.

We’ve seen the photos of the storm and then I carried on for home and tea.

Tonight it was stuffed peppers followed by a slice of the delicious jam pie.

Now I’m off to bed, ready for a day on the arrears and hoping to bring at least some of them to a conclusion as quickly as I can.

Monday 11th January 2021 – JUST TO PROVE …

… that I can do it when I really try, I beat the 3rd alarm to my feet this morning. And I bet that you weren’t expecting that, were you? I know that I wasn’t.

After breakfast I made a start on the radio programme and with having to start it from scratch, it took me until about 14:30 to finish.

It would have taken a lot less time but I rather seriously overran. What I normally do is to choose 10 tracks for a total length of 50 minutes, some text to introduce the tracks which I edit down, and then a final track to finish to make up an hour’s worth of programme.

Unfortunately I was rather carried away with what I did today because I ended up with 51:40 in my 10 tracks, and then 11.46 of text which when edited down made 7:30, did not leave enough time for a decent final track. Consequently I had to go through and edit the text right down again to make some space for a final track.

There was the usual pause for my mid-morning hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread, and a pause for lunch as well with my home-made bread.

fog in english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSpending the afternoon not doing all that much at all, I did however stop what I wasn’t doing in order to go out for my afternoon walk.

And we were having the kind of weather where I would have been much happier being out with a white stick and a guide dog. This wasn’t a rolling fog but in fact a thin mist of very light rain.

As it was out there in the English Channel and I couldn’t see the Ile de Chausey at all, I was tempted to think about the people out there on the island looking over to us over here and coming out with the old hoary chestnut “fog in the Channel! Continent cut off!” – a throwback to the days when to be born British was to win the lottery of life and wasn’t tha a long time ago.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnyway I continued along the footpath at the top of the cliff, dodging my way past the mud patches that have mysteriously appeared over the last couple of days.

As I reached the footpath and the car park, out of the doom and gloom came a fishing boat, chugging its way back into port.

It was extremely windy out there this afternoon and the sea was quite rough so it can’t have been very pleasant out there this afternoon, and these small boats take quite a battering out there in this kind of weather.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were quite a few people out there this afternoon walking around despite the weather, and it wasn’t just people out there enjoying the weather either.

Every now and again we see a bird of prey hovering over the cliffs here at the Point du Roc looking for little rodents and baby rabbits in the grass. And he’s here again doing his stuff on the clifftop.

He spends a lot of time hovering around over the cliffs here and, just like the local fishermen out here sometimes on the rocks, I have yet to see him actually catch anything. But if the cliffs here were barren he wouldn’t be coming back here at all.

joker fishing boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe port this afternoon seems to be packed with fishing boats today. And there’s a reason for that too.

With the Treaty of the Bay of Granville being revoked by the British, the Channel Islands should be issuing permits under the Brexit withdrawal agreement for fishing boats from here, but by the middle of last week they had yet to do so. The French Minister for Fisheries came here at the end of last week and told the fishermen that if the Channel Islands hadn’t issued the permits by Sunday, they could head out there on Monday accordingly with the blessing of the French Government.

And so I imagine, they must have set out for the Jersey fishing grounds this morning.

joker port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the fishing boats that we saw in the previous photo was the shellfish boat Joker that we have seen on several occasions.

As I watched, she left the quayside by the fish processing plant and chugged off across the harbour in the general direction of the chantier navale. As she came into the shadow of the portable boat lift, she did a U-turn and I was treated to a delightful little nautical danse macabre as she pirouetted around.

Actually, I was expecting her to reverse into the lifting bay, and that was what I was expecting the guy on the end of the bay to be organising.

baie de mont st michel fishing boat joker port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut as I watched, she pulled forward again and came to a stop. For about 10 minutes or so I waited there expecting things to develop but she didn’t move at all.

While I was there, a couple of trawlers came out of the gloom around the headland and headed into port. And as well as that, one of the school buses passed by on the road at the foot of the cliff so it was quite a busy afternoon all in all.

But after waiting for 10 minutes in the rain and Joker hadn’t moved at all during that time, I turned and headed for home.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut that wasn’t the only action taking place in the harbour today.

The fact that the trawlers were heading back into port suggests that the harbour gates were about to open. And sure enough, not only did they open as I watched, Chausiais appeared out of the fog and passed through the harbour gates into the inner port where she moored up at the loading bay underneath the crane.

Having seen her safely home, I wandered off back to my home for a nice hot mug of coffee. With all of this rain and wind, I needed it.

There was the usual hour on the guitar and after that I set off for my evening walk and run.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was still raining when I went out but I put a brave face on it and headed off outside.

This wasn’t the weather for hanging around so I didn’t stop to take too many photos. I made my way all round my usual route, either running or walking, and ended up overlooking the harbour. We’d seen the gates open earlier today but I was lucky enough to be out here to see them close tonight.

It’s not every day that I manage to see them both on the same day. So, rather content with my self, I ran off home again.

Tea was pasta and burger with vegan pesto sauce, and followed by jam turnover and soya coconut. That turnover was delicious and I hope that the pie is just as good.

Having done all of this, I’m off to bed. I have my Welsh lessons tomorrow (I hope) so I need to be on the top of my form. And that’s not very easy these days, is it?