Tag Archives: frozen carrots

Saturday 27th May 2023 – WE ARE NOW BACK …

… in the position where we were a few months ago. The freezer is now full to bursting once more.

It was a good day round at the shops to-day and once again, Noz came up trumps as it does every so often.

But anyway, I didn’t beat the alarm this morning. I was somewhere down in Newcastle under Lyme at the PMT bus garage where I was to pick up a bus to work a local service around Newcastle. They’d given me the information and then given me a route map but the map was a kind-of abstract map. I couldn’t identify anything on this map compared to how it is in real life so I had to find someone to explain the route to me. I was wandering around this depot trying to find someone. I found one or two people but they were of no help whatsoever. I really needed an inspector or something but I just couldn’t find anyone at all. There were all these buses parked up. No-one had actually told me which one was mine. I thought to myself “I can see this being a disaster too if I don’t organise things quite quickly” and that’s something that is a recurring theme too.

It didn’t take too long to organise myself this morning, which is a surprise. and it’s just as well because Alison phoned. She needed to talk about things like kitchens and showers so we were there on the ‘phone for about an hour discussing various things.

As a result I was rather later than usual going out to the shops but who cares? I’d much rather talk to my friends than almost anything. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I don’t have many friends but those whom I have are the best in the World.

So at Noz, the first thing that I discovered was a pile of McVitie’s ginger biscuits, and the vegan version too. I know that I like to bake my own biscuits these days but I’m not going to miss out on several rolls of these.

And in the deep freezer they had carrot burgers from some Italian company and a pile of those breaded quorn fillets that I like, only a Findus variety with the labelling in Danish and Swedish.

My diet can be somewhat monotonous if I’m not feeling adventurous so I’m not going to miss out on the chance to add some extra stuff into it so I grabbed several boxes of each of those to shake things up a little.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, Noz is a chain of shops that buys bankrupt stock, surpluses, short lifespan products and the like and sells them off quite cheaply. I’ve had piles of stuff from there over the past 10 or 12 years since I first encountered one and there’s usually always something in there to add some excitement to my diet.

LeClerc came up with the goods too. Some of that sliced fondue vegan cheese in the clearance range so I liberated a pile of that too. I also bought some lasagne. It’s years since I made myself a lasagne and I had a sudden craving for one. I might have a go at that next week.

But there was something rather surprising in LeClerc today. They have a few assistants who roam around the store to help the elderly and infirm with their shopping, and one of them came over to me to ask if I needed help.

In the past I’ve been told, and on one or two occasions quite bluntly too, that I didn’t look as if I’m dying. But after my adventures last autumn everyone who saw me on my return told me how ill I was looking and how they were worried that I might not pull through – even my doctor. But I reckon that it’s becoming clearer by the minute now and if Regina is reading this, then “I told you so”.

It’s all very reminiscent of when I used to live in Brussels and one of my friends happened to see me
“Eric!” he exclaimed. “We thought that you were dead”
“Not at all. It just smells like it.”

Back here the first thing that I did was to clean and dice the 2kg of carrots that I’d bought and set them off a–blanching. I’m running low on carrots in the freezer so I need to stock up. And then I had breakfast – cheese on toast and some nice, strong coffee.

There was time to transcribe the rest of the dictaphone notes, because I’d been on my travels quite a lot during the night. I was in a group last night with a few other people. There was a keyboard player and a guitarist whom I remember. The guitarist was quite young. We took the stage and began to play. A girl came up and went over to the guy playing the guitar and singing and began to gyrate around him. It was clear that she was putting him completely off his stroke. When it came to the part where he was supposed to sing he turned to the keyboard player and said “you’ll have to sing this”. This led to an argument between the two of them. As soon as the concert finished and it was already undignified with a few spectators and someone was getting an awful amount of mileage out of this, teasing them both about their group, how disorganised and how bad it was.

And isn’t that a shame? I seem to have gone beyond the days when girls would come along and gyrate all around me – even when I’m off on another plane of existence. I’m losing count of the number of times that I’ve snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in this respect during the night, without counting the number of times members of my family have come along to queer my pitch in the middle of something exciting.

Later on I’d been staying in a cabin with a couple of old guys, the type of thing that you’d find on the frontier 150 years ago. Cabin fever was definitely striking and we were arguing about just about anything. One of the guys decided that he would let rip with a full-blown argument point out to me all my faults and defects. I had an answer for everything that he said but it was just one of those things that if you became involved in this argument you’d be there for ever and nothing would ever be resolved.

And that’s something else, isn’t it? Cabin fever is quite a well-known phenomenon in the High Arctic and there were several cases amongst some of us after several months on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. My suggestion that we round up the more cantankerous members of our party and send them ashore on the first zodiac to see whether there were any polar bears about did not however meet with universal approval, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Immediately after that little episode I awoke with a terrible pain in my right knee as if I’d over-exerted it yesterday. However it eased off after a while and I went back to sleep.

Once the carrots were draining and drying off I headed into town in the beautiful sunshine. And do you know – it’s taken me about 6 months to realise that if there is a set of steps with the handrail on the right, I can go down much quicker and easier if I go down backwards?

The Aranesp was waiting for me so I picked it up and headed home. Having struggled with my shoulder bag falling off my shoulder and knocking me and my crutches out of balance, I’d found a backpack that I’d bought ages ago to use as a day pack when I go out walkies (not that I’ll be doing much of that these days) and that was much better.

On the way back I fell in with one of my neighbours, Pierre, the one who owned the Spirit of Conrad on which we sailed down the Brittany coast FOR A WEEK a few years ago. We had a good chat about this and that. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I seem to be the flavour of the Month since I now own a share of this building.

From there I came back in a regrettably, at that point I … errr … had a little relax, just as I thought that I might. It’s all becoming rather monotonous, but there’s nothing that I can buy in Noz to alleviate that.

While Alison and I had been chatting earlier I’d told her that I’d sort out a few photos of the kitchen that I’d had installed in Expo so I had a rummage around in various old directories (yes, they are still “directories” – I haven’t recovered after learning DOS 5.0) and sorted out a few to send to her.

The rest of the day has been spent resurrecting an old project. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when they opened the road over Eagle Plateau in 2010 so that you could drive all the way across from northern Québec to the Labrador coast, I was one of the first TO ATTEMPT IT

At that time I went as a tourist and I had no idea what to expect so after I returned I did a pile of research and went again in 2014 and then in 2015 by which time I’d bought Strider who was a much-more suitable vehicle for going off-roading. The aim on those occasions was write a sequel but from a historical and social point of view.

Unfortunately that project ground to a halt because a few months after returning in 2015 I was swept up in all of this.

And as well as that, I went again in 2017 when I went out in a couple of small boats to visit some of the abandoned settlements that were cleared out under Joey Smallwood’s “bigger is better” policy of the 1950s and for which even 70 years later the people of the Labrador coast are still paying the price.

However, I digress … “yet again” – ed.

The task therefore, if I choose to accept it, is to resurrect what I was doing in 2015 and to add in the stuff from 2017 and start again. So this afternoon I’ve been trying to find all the notes that I made back in those days.

Tea tonight was a couple of small breaded quorn fillets that I’d bought ages ago and were festering in the freezer. Wo while I pulled them out, I stuck the carrots in. I had the fillets along with a salad and some fried potato cubes done in the air fryer. That was really nice.

Tomorrow is a Sunday of course so I’ll be having a lie-in. But I have some radio notes that I’ve written and I’ll dictate them tonight once the street outside is quiet. That’ll give me something to do tomorrow and on Monday, and then I can crack on with this and that.

But before I go, yesterday I was talking about South Pass. There’s one song that I always associate with South Pass and THAT CAME ROUND on the playlist.
“We rolled across the high plains
Deep into the mountains
Felt so good to me
Finally, feelin’ free
Somewhere along a high road
The air began to turn cold
She said she missed her home
I headed on alone, oh, oh”

(and who do those last two lines bring to mind?)

The song is all about “The High Plains” of Wyoming, which WE VISITED IN 2002 when I was on my course at the Solar Energy Institute but the photo in the posted extract is a long, long way from the High Plains of Wyoming. Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its earlier guises will recall having seen that image BEFORE.

“Next time
We’ll get it right”

Friday 21st April 2023 – SO THAT IS …

… that!

Hospital week is over and I can press on with more exciting things, like planning my hospital trip to Leuven next month.

But not this afternoon because while I didn’t actually crash out when I returned home, I wasn’t in much of a state to do anything.

It’s the bad night that I blame for all of that. In bed fairly early, what with one thing and another (and once you start, you’ll be surprised just how many other things there are), and then I couldn’t sleep for ages.

It was at 06:20 when I awoke and it wasn’t all that long before I was up and about. But then it’s not surprise that I couldn’t sleep all that well with the needle in my right hand and the pretty awful pain in my left arm. I was totally fed up.

Last night I couldn’t even undress and this morning I couldn’t wash properly either so all in all I was in a right mess by the time that Caliburn and I hit the road.

The Day Hospital at Avranches was really busy. There were four of us in a room set up for two and it was the same in the other rooms there with people coming and going quite rapidly. Only one bottle for me today so I didn’t have to hang around all that long.

The sad part about it was that thy couldn’t take any blood from the needle that they’d left in me overnight so they had to stick another one in my and now I know how a dartboard must feel.

But I’m totally fed up so I spoke to the head nurse and told her that if I really do have to come back, I want a catheter port putting in. She saw the damage that they have done to my arms over the last few days and agreed.

But I have to have a blood test next Friday and discuss the results with the nerve specialist here in Granville and he’ll tell me what the score will be. I suspect that I’ll be back in Avranches before too long.

From the hospital I headed off into town. I wanted to look around the shops and I ended up going to Noz, Aldi, Lidl and LeClerc. And I’m glad that I did because both Noz and Aldi were having baking days and there were lots of little stuff that were worth picking up for my baking activities.

Aldi also had some of that lemonade in those flip-top bottles that I like for when I make ginger beer. It’s bizarre really. The empty bottles cost €1:95 each and yet if you buy them filled with lemonade the complete outfit, both bottle and pop, comes to €1:60.

That’s something that I’m still trying to work out.

Back here I could only bring up half of the stuff but not to worry. I’d bought 2kg of carrots so I washed, diced and blanched them and when they were cooled down and dried off, I bagged them and put them in the freezer.

It should have been hot chocolate time but instead I had a coffee and went to bring up the rest of the shopping. Then I came in here and transcribed the dictaphone notes. Someone was planning on coming round to see me so I began to tidy up the apartment. I’d nearly finished doing what I wanted to do when I heard a doorbell ring. It wasn’t mine though but somewhere else in the building. They weren’t ringing mine so I made sure that it wasn’t them by waiting for another minute in case the bell on my door rang. When it didn’t I went back into the living room and began to read a book of short stories co-written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning while I waited for my visitor to put in an appearance. And I’m impressed that I could recall her name when I’m alseep

Then there’s an old type of claw-foot bath in this apartment somewhere. Someone goes for his shower by standing in the bath but there are no shower curtains so the water goes everywhere and soaks the OSB wooden floor and begins to make a mess of it. But the floor totally fails to match the rest of the apartment because it’s something very contemporary, modern and clean rather than old-fashioned like the rest of the apartment. The question came up of what happens during the rain. Someone said that they had actually seem people outside in the rain weeding the path. That sounded like something ordinary people wouldn’t do so I wondered if this place was actually some kind of prison or reform school for boys rather than a place where you go to seek help etc.

After that there was a new department store opening in New York something like Bloomingdale’s. Some woman owned it. She’d been bothered by a couple of visitors who were hinting at all kinds of things. It came out that she had a rather disreputable past and they threatened to expose her if she didn’t pay them a lot of money. As well as involving the Police because they could only do certain things legitimately, we could do other things not quite so legitimately. I recruited a couple of friends to come along. We laid a trap. Someone else involved in this was a big friend of this woman refused to step down and wanted to be involved. We had to have a meeting to divide up the roles again. We set the trap to catch the blackmailers and caught them red-handed. It was really like something out of an Eliot Ness story, this dream and was extremely interesting.

Did I dictate this dream … “no you didn’t” – ed … about the guy who was involved in some kind of sport with girls of about 4 and 5 years old?. I can’t remember very much about the dream but he had all kinds of trophies on his wall.

Later on I awoke and found myself making a radio programme pairing off a couple of tracks and splicing them together as I normally would.

Finally I was in Stoke on Trent last night on a council estate something like Abbey Hulton. I was ferreting around in someone’s back garden looking for something when they happened to come out and saw me. He asked me what I was doing so I came out with some lame excuse that he accepted. He invited me in for some food so I went in for a chat. We talked about working hours. He had some neighbours in and we talked about it. I was saying that I went to the University 30 hours per week in the afternoon but worked at B&Q to earn some money and did 40 hours per week there. That was 70 hours per week and they considered that to be a lot. They invited me to stay the night so I did. I waited until everyone else had gone to sleep then I got up to go out of the house to the back garden to carry on with what I’d been doing when they discovered me. I was making far too much noise moving a waste paper bin around. They guy of the house hadn’t actually gone to bed. He was making himself a meal late at night. I was worried in case he’d come out and catch me again at what I was doing.

That’s not all that was going on during the night but you don’t really want to know about the rest, especially if you’re eating your tea. But it’s no surprised that I’m exhausted after all of that. But Stoke on Trent and no Zero? Whatever next?

For what was left of this afternoon I didn’t do very much at all. I was trying to track down a Canadian folk singer from the 1960s called Daisy Debolt who was a big friend of Giorgio Gomelski and Strawberry Studios in Stockport. I did find that unfortunately she died of cancer in 2011 but I did manage to track down a couple of albums that she recorded with her boyfriend at the time, Allan Fraser, who was a big pal of Joni Mitchell and Buffy St Marie.

She was actually quite an amazing person. She spent one summer living in a grass hut in Canada growing all her own food and was quite an inspiration to many people.

Tea tonight was falafel and chips done to perfection in the air fryer with a lovely salad and I enjoyed every morsel of it. Tomorrow I’ll be having a burger on a bap with chips, I reckon.

But that’s tomorrow. I’ll have to nip down the road as well at some point for some mushrooms – the ones in Lidl looked awful and I forgot to buy some from LeClerc. Right now though I’m exhausted and I’m going to bed. I shan’t be doing much this weekend as I need to recover after all of the excitement.

It’s quite true to say that this week has taken a lot out of me and I’m far from being well. I’m not expecting too much to come from this hospital treatment that I’ve had and maybe the effort that I’m putting in is outweighing the effect of the treatment that I’m having. I’m not enjoying these needles one little bit.

But I’m relieved that they are taking it seriously and making an effort, which is more than you can say about some people. Let’s see what the next few weeks will bring me.

Saturday 18th March 2023 – AFTER THE EFFORTS …

… of the last few days, everything finally caught up with me today.

Again, it wasn’t helped by having another miserable, depressing night when I had a real struggle to go to sleep and when I finally did, I had a real wander around in the ether all the way through the night.

Mind you, not that I’m complaining about that because first of all TOTGA and then Zero came to see me during the night and that’s something about which I can feel quite content. They (and Castor too, who has been disappointingly absent for some considerable time) can come to visit me any time they like.

Once again, I was out of bed and up and about before the alarm went off. I had my medication followed by a shower and then I headed for the shops.

First port of call was a bathroom shop called “Aubade”. They sell all kinds of bathroom equipment and fittings, like showers for example, and seem to be quite an upmarket kind of establishment. Although they don’t do installations themselves, they have a couple of teams of approved contractors and the assistant gave me their ‘phone numbers.

She also gave me a catalogue of their products, and that was rather a shame for the poor rain forest that had to be sacrificed. One more page in it and I would have had to have borrowed a fork-lift truck to bring it to Caliburn.

Noz had nothing at all of any interest and LeClerc didn’t come up with anything special. They had some grated vegan cheese on special offer so I bought a couple of packs. I have to encourage their vegan range of products.

When I returned I brought up a few of the things that I’d bought and the rest can wait for later. I had to think about some food though, and there was a stray leek hanging around in the vegetable rack that needed to be used.

First of all I fried a small onion in a saucepan with some olive oil until it was browned.

Then I added the chopped leek and a pile of garlic

Half a teaspoon of cumin, half a teaspoon of nutmeg, half a teaspoon of tarragon and a pile of fresh ground black pepper went in next.

Two small potatoes were washed and cubed and then added into the saucepan. It was all stirred around in the pan.

Then I covered the food with enough water and added a stock cube and a helping of soya cream, and let it simmer for 15 minutes while I put away the food that I’d bought.

Then I whizzed up what was in the saucepan, added a little more water until it had a nice consistency and then sat down to eat the most delicious soup that I’ve ever made, along with some nice crusty bread that I’d bought.

While I was at LeClerc I’d bought a bargain pack of 2kg of carrots. Next task was to wash, dice and blanch them. When they were ready I put them in the sink in sieves to drain so that I could put them in the freezer later.

Back in here I sat down in my chair and promptly fell asleep. So much so that in the end I struggled into bed where I stayed until I awoke – at 18:00. That was some crashing out.

And while I was away I went off on a little voyage too. I was doing a coach trip. We ended up in Germany. I dropped the passengers at the coach park and they all disappeared with their suitcases. I sorted out the coach etc. It suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t have anywhere to stay. I thought that I’d better go along to look for a hotel. I’d seen a hotel on the way in that looked nice. It was a 5-minute walk away so I set out to walk. As I walked up the back of this car park there was the back of a big hotel-type place there but it looked dirty and scruffy, not very niceat all so I ignored it. As I waslked up to the main road I looked behind me. I could see that the hotel was called the Hotel Adler. It was a huge place. I seemed to remember that it was something that all the passengers had talked about so I wondered if it was actually the tour hotel and where I was supposed to be staying. I had better turn round and retrace my steps to the hotel to have a look.

Once I’d finally recovered I decided that I’d finally make a start on some work but as luck would have it, Rosemary called me for one of our chats. I’m convinced that she set up a camera in here when she came to visit because she always seems to call me at exactly the right moment.

After we’d finished I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There was something last night about me having a cat. Also, there was a radio presenter who was presenting some stuff. He was quite well-known for certain reasons. But ass I was dictating it I awoke instead and at that moment it all disappeared.

This was another one of these dreams where I had to visit South London, where I seem to visit quite often. We were all at the Underground station picking up the tickets etc. When we had the tickets everyone left. Of course, I couldn’t run – I could only hobble. I shouted at someone to hold the lift for me but he didn’t hear. he went in and went on down. When I reached the lift I couldn’t remember to which floor I was supposed to be going. I always end up on the wrong level at this station and on the wrong train so always end up with an enormous walk at the end because the Underground in South London is pretty poor. I was there scratching my head trying to think which would be the best platform for me in order for me to go where I needed

And then I had TOTGA round last night. She was here at the same time that the physiotherapist was here. As well as giving me plans for the physiotherapy he was giving me plans for counselling. He was trying to have me agree to do 3 things differently and gave me a list. I had to choose 3. But I was trying to talk to TOTGA as well because she was having to leave at 15:30 because her plane back home was at 18:30. I was trying to have this 3-way conversation talking to these 2 different people about 2 different things and nothing seemed to be resolved. I could see that in the end TOTGA was going to go and the 2 of us had never resolved anything that needed to be resolved between us and I doubted that I’d ever have the chance to see her again, which is probably true. He was babbling on all the time about me making pizzas.

Next I was with a couple of people, man and wife. I’ve no idea who they were. We were in Stoke on Trent. They were a couple much older than me. I was round at their house preparing some food but they had no mushrooms. We were down at the Fenton area somewhere so they suggested going to the market in Stoke. The husband and I set off on foot. It was quite a trudge. We went through one set of market stalls, out into the street and reached the main road. He stuck his head in a shop and said that they had none. We wandered round a few market stalls outside that were closed up. They had things like meat out in the open air etc that can’t have been hygenic. By now the wife was with us. We came to a cheese stall where they had some cheese samples. They kept on trying to offer me cheese samples but I told them that I couldn’t take it. In the end we went back to the shop where we were first because we had seen someone coming down the street carrying giant-sized mushrooms. We could see through the window that we had some that were individually priced. We thought that we’d go in. By now the woman had selected some fish from one of the outside stalls. We were about to go in to pay. To go in you had to climb up this rickety wooded ladder and somehow slide in between the rungs into the shop. I thought “I’ll take the stuff and go in to pay because I’m staying with them”. Because of my disability I couldn’t bend my leg enough to enter through the ladder. After trying for a couple of minutes and holding up everyone I gave it up in the end and one of them went in with the stuff. Eventually I managed to enter. There were some people in bed like a geriatric ward or hospital, all this stuff on sale. The woman there was making some drinks, a kind of cocktail. She passed one to me and said “this is for my husband”. Then she passed another one to me and said “this is for the baby. Whatever you do, don’t get them confused”. I had to take them out to the door and pass them to the husband and try to remember whose was what and to make sure that he kept them the way that this woman wanted them keeping so there would be no confusion as to who had the alcoholic drink and who had the soft one.

There was another one about a bunch of people including me getting a round of drinks and something to do with a large box or packet full of butter but I can’t remember anything at all of this.

Finally I was round at Zero’s parents. I hadn’t seen her father for ages and we weren’t on particularly good terms but I had to go round there for something. I was having a chat to Zero etc when he came round. He was surprised to see me but anyway we had a vague little chat. I don’t think that he was very happy but suddenly it started to rain and we all had to go indoors. There was another little girl there and she was out on a bike. Zero ran down to the end of the garden to look to see if she could see her. She shouted that she was on her way back. They started to ask me about my house. He said that I had 2 properties. I replied that in fact I had 3. His wife asked if I’d signed for my house. I replied “not exactly but it’s all paid for etc”. She asked if I’d used the money in that Santander account. I replied “no. I managed to keep away from there and 1 or 2 other accounts. I had no idea how many other accounts I had in total”.

With all of that it’s hardly any surprise that I was totally wasted this afternoon.

Tea was a delicious breaded quorn fillet with baked potato and salad. What with my leek and potato soup at lunchtime I’ve had some really excellent meals today. I’m really doing well with this cooking at the moment.

Tomorrow I have to make some fruit bread again and also go into town for this Home Renovations Fair thing for a few tips about my new bathroom. So it’s going to be a busy day tomorrow.

It’ll be pouring down with rain probably and that would be enough to dampen my enthusiasm but if I do make it into town I might stop and have my first ice cream of the year. I’m not even sure if I had one last year.

Thursday 9th February 2023 – CALIBURN IS BACK AGAIN …

… and with a Controle Technique certificate too, which has cheered me up. And seeing as he now seems to start properly whenever I want him to start, it looks as if I’m back on the road again.

Mind you, climbing into the cab is a real issue If I’m at street level when I need to climb in, it’s extremely difficult. I need to find a kerb against which I can park so that I can climb in easier and at LeClerc the kerbs are quite high and it’s a struggle to climb up that high.

One thing that I do have to remember is to exit with my left leg first. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I tried to exit Caliburn the other day “right leg first”, the leg collapsed underneath me and decanted me onto the floor.

But there’s a strange phenomenon going on with my legs right now. For the last couple of weeks I noticed that when I awaken in the morning parts of my legs and feet are quite numb. I wonder if it’s because I’ve been lying on a trapped nerve.

And so it was this morning. And apart from that it was another night of going to bed early, falling asleep early and then waking up and tossing and turning for a while. I was actually awake before the alarm went off at 07:30 and had I exerted myself I could have left the bed. But that was too much to hope for.

But when I did leave the bed,, I had my medication and then checked my mails and messages before wandering off for a shower. And climbing into the bath for my shower was the easiest that it’s been since I came back. This physiotherapy seems to be working.

Although the Controle Technique was arranged for 11:45 I went out quite a bit earlier than that. With not going far these days I was worried about how Caliburn would get on with the pollution test so I took him for a good run – several laps around the dual-carriageway by-pass to get him nice and hot

Anyway, he sailed through with no issues.

Armed with a valid certificate I went to fuel up and then for a good shop at LeClerc. There wasn’t a great deal that I needed but nevertheless I still ran up quite a bill. I’d bought plenty of frozen veg and some more carrots so after I’d brought up most things from Caliburn and had some food and coffee I peeled, blanched and froze 1.5 kilos of carrots. That will keep me going for a while now.

After all of that I fell asleep and was awoken by the physiotherapist who came round earlier than usual. He had me walking around the apartment with just one crutch and wants me to practice that for the next few days until our session on Tuesday next week. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

It’s been a day of interaction too. Apart from having lengthy chats with customers at the garage, I met a neighbour as I arrived home and she kept me chatting at the door for a while. And then another neighbour had a good talk with me as well. If that wasn’t enough, the people with whom I’ve been trying to arrange this money transfer rang up to tell me that they now have everything that they need. And that’s good news.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night and that needed transcribing. I was with 2 girls last night. They had some kind of cupboard and were hanging up something in front of it like a system of chains etc to make it look attractive. It was obviously a project that was doomed because they couldn’t make anything hang horizontally. The wire that they were using wasn’t strong enough. Instead of pulling on the metal tubes that were supporting it, the tubes were pulling the wire and going all out of shape. Nothing was in the vertical. They were having to do all kinds of tricks to try to make these wires go vertically but the more tricks they did on it the worse it became. I had a feeling that this was going to be a project that was doomed to fail from the start. Sooner or later they would realise it but I gave them a hand just the same.

There was also something of which I had a vague recollection was taking place in a Prisoner of War camp where there was some kind of committee that was set up to investigate infractions against the prisoners who broke the camp rules or to investigate possible escape attempts etc. This committee wasn’t very successful. There was a feeling going round that the Germans had infiltrated a couple of people into the camp to serve on the committee and sabotage the work of the prisoners while they were there but I can’t remember very much at all about this.

And then there was me, a young girl and a rather large woman trying to lift an enormous suitcase into the back of an estate car. The young girl was at the front trying to do the lifting and we were at the back trying to push. It was very difficult to make it fit so I suggested that seeing as it was the other lady’s possessions she shoudl go to the front because she would be much better able to lift it. She could decide how in, what articles could be squashed and what couldn’t. For some reason the girl was reluctant to relinquish her position at the front of this line even though she was having an extreme amount of difficulty actually doing anything there.

Tea tonight was a vegan burger with pasta and veg in tomato sauce. Nothing particularly exciting but I am allowed to have a boring meal here and there every now and again.

Having fallen asleep already this evening I finished off typing out my notes for the day and now I’m off to bed. I have to go into town tomorrow on the bus and pick up some medication and my fresh mushrooms and peppers. I didn’t want to buy them today because the later I leave it, the longer they will keep.

But despite what the physiotherapist says, I’m not going down there with just one crutch. I’ll keep on using both when I’m out and about until I’m confident about it all. It’s not going to be something that will happen overnight.

Saturday 7th January 2023 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I haven’t done for quite a while, and that was that I went back to bed this morning.

Not that I’m really surprised because despite going to bed after midnight, I was wide awake at 04:30 and try as I might, I couldn’t go back to sleep.

In the end I gave it up as a bad job and made a start on the day.

Something else that I did that I haven’t done for quite some time was to have some breakfast. Not really a surprise given my really early start. A bowl of cornflakes and soya milk went down really nicely at that time of the morning.

A little later Liz was on the internet so we had a little chat for a short while too. It’s nice to keep in touch with good friends.

Round about 10:00 I could feel myself drifting away and spent a few minutes trying to fight off the wave of sleep but in the end I gave it up and hit the sack. It goes without saying that a short while later I had a phone call. It was one of the neighbours asking me if I needed anything from the shops. But having had a good shopping session on-line yesterday, there wasn’t anything that I needed.

It was round about 13:00 when I awoke again and after some toast and coffee I watched the football on the internet. Penybont swept aside a poor Caernarfon side 5-1. I’m not sure what has happened to Caernarfon but for a team that over the last couple of seasons has been so competitive, this season they have gone right off the boil.

That really is a surprise because although their defence hasn’t been up to all that much for a while, they have a very talented midfield that can usually carry the attack to the opposition but the fire seems to have gone out.

One of the things on the shopping list yesterday was 1.5kg of carrots. They have been washed, diced and blanched and are now sitting in the freezer quietly freezing. Well, actually in the freezer compartment of the fridge because the freezer itself is full to overflowing. Despite everything that has come out of it this last year or so, there is still no room.

At least there is plenty of stuff in there right now, including frozen vegetables because I had another salad for tea with my baked potato and vegan burgers. It was a good plan to treat myself to a salad this weekend as part of my order.

But with a little luck there will be some more room in there by the end of the weekend as a lump of pizza dough will go and some fruit buns will be taken out too. I’ll probably find something else to fill it though.

During the night, even though I didn’t have much sleep, still went on a voyage here and there. I was with my Greek friend. We were in Crewe making a curry. We had a little room in this factory complex where we lived. We had this curry going and it was simmering away, on “very low” so we planned on going to bed and letting it simmer away through the night. Just as I was getting into bed the alarm went off at the factory as if an intruder had come onto the premises. I looked out of the window but couldn’t see anything. Eventually I could hear one or two people walking towards the gate, like security staff. When my friend awoke I told her about this. We had a bit of a laugh about this security system. But this curry was all starting to go wrong. It was simmering away and looking really nice but it kept on rising up in the pan even on the lowest heat and threatening to overflow everywhere. She became quite angry. I was quite disappointed, particularly as some curry had gone on her clothes. She said that she would coat all my clothes in curry and see how I liked it but after a couple of minutes of this she started to smile and pat me on the shoulder as if either she wasn’t being serious or if the crisis had passed and we were friends again.

Even though I’d had a good sleep later in the morning and another one … errr … at some point in the evening, I didn’t go anywhere else.

But even if it is early, I’m going now, and that is to bed. Despite all the sleep that I’ve had I’m feeling pretty exhausted and miserable and a good sleep will do me good. A nice lie-in if I’m lucky, followed by a nice, strong coffee and I might feel better. I wish that I could find some energy from somewhere to sort myself out because nothing is being done right now. Everything is just too much of an effort.

Wednesday 21st December 2022 – I’VE HAD A …

… horrible, really horrible day today. In fact I’ve spent most of it fast asleep on my chair with no enthusiasm to do anything and much of the stuff that I planned to do today has remained undone.

It actually started off quite well too. Although I didn’t beat the second alarm to my feet, There wasn’t much in it and I was good and ready if the pharmacist decided to bring me my injections. But, as you might expect, she didn’t come past.

Someone who did come past though was one of my neighbours saying that she was going shopping. I passed an order for potatoes, carrots, sprouts, pears and clementines. It cost a fortune but now I’m set up with everything in the fruit and veg line for the next two or three weeks.

In the time that it took for her to go and come back, I was flat out asleep on the chair in here. I really have never felt so awful as I did this morning and I’ve no idea why. I reckon that the effects of yesterday were just far too much for me.

This afternoon I’ve been asleep for quite a while too but when you look at what I’ve managed to do, it looks impressive nevertheless. Like tidying up, for example. The place looks a little better now that I’ve cleared a few things away.

And a big load of washing too. Surprisingly that’s all up-to-date now and it’s been a while since I’ve been able to say that.

1kg of sprouts and 1.5kg of carrots took some peeling and blanching, but they are all done now too. The sprouts went into the freezer but there was no room for the carrots so for the moment they are in the ice box in the fridge. It’s not ideal but I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity to stock up.

For my Christmas meal, seeing as I don’t have anything special, I’ve decided that I will make a nice pie. So I put a cup full of lentils in the slow cooker. When they boiled up, I drained and rinsed them and put them back with some tofu and a pile of herbs and some garlic. They will marinade on a slow heat overnight and should be delicious.

Tomorrow I’ll fry some onions and add the tuff from the slow cooker and then add porridge oats to bind it all together. And when it’s cooled, I’ll make a nice tasty pie. But I can’t find the pie dish that I want to use and I have a feeling that I might have to invent something for that.

Ingrid telephoned me too and we had a chat. Not quite a Rosemaryesque chat but a long and interesting one nevertheless. She’s just as appalled as everyone else about what went on in the hospital in Leuven.

So this afternoon, I’ve been a really busy little beaver despite the fact that I didn’t feel at all like it and didn’t think that I’d done all that much.

Although I didn’t make any progress with the radio programme that I’ll be trying to prepare tomorrow, I managed to find the energy to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I started off taking a coach tour party to Blackpool. We made it as far as a motorway service area where we’d stop for half an hour although I forgot to tell everyone that it would be just half an hour. It was so tight in there that I had to get off the coach, shunt the other coaches around so I could find myself into a place to park. So there I was, heaving and mauling on these coaches. Eventually I put mine into a decent place. There was a guy with me who was looking at it. I said “it’s a good job that I can do this on my own, isn’t it? I used to be married”. We had a little chat. Gradually the passengers started to drift back. We ended up having another talk about monsters and that kind of thing, how gruesome and everything these slimy creatures were, the kind of stuff that I wouldn’t normally print on my blog but I seem to be doing it a lot just recently.

This next one is a story about a group of kids and adults, all extremely wealthy except 2 boys. 2 young girls move into their neighbourhood and the two boys seem to be more interested in the new girls than these women and girls who had been here before in this rich type of scenario. It starts to cause a load of problems.

So tomorrow I’ll be having a go with making my pie. I also have to make some more fruit buns as there are only enough for breakfast tomorrow. What i’m going to do with the ones that I don’t eat quickly I really don’t know as there is now no room in the freezer.

But that’s a problem for tomorrow. Right now I’m going to bed even if it is early. It’s been a horrible day – the kind that you just want to switch off and start again. But I’ve had a quick taste of my simmering pie filling and it is rather special. provided that I can find a pie dish it should work out really well.

Here’s hoping.

Saturday 17th September 2022 – I FORGOT …

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… that it was Saturday and shopping day today and almost forgot to go out.

When the alarm went off this morning I wasn’t in any rush at all and was lounging around for a whole 10 minutes or so before I had a sudden attack of realisation and leapt to my feet in something of a panic

So while you admire a whole collection of all kinds of aerial craft, because today it looked as if almost anything that could fly was in the air this afternoon, I shall regale you with my adventures.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And when I say “almost anything that could fly was in the air this afternoon”, there were even one or two things that couldn’t but were making a valiant attempt.

Like this Nazgul, for an instance. If it were me, I’d have “shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight. “
but Legolas was obviously having much better luck than Wordsworth and me.

This Nazgul came staggering around the headland clearly in some kind of difficulty and he ended up loitering around here for a good five minutes just half an inch above the ground waiting for a gust of wind to pick him up and send him on his way.

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner F-HRBC baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Not all of the aerial craft was unidentified though.

Flying by this afternoon was Air France flight AF428 from Paris Charles de Gaulle to, of all places, Bogotà in Colombia, by coincidence where my journalist friend Jill from Philadelphia is on an assignment right now, and had I known, I would have been on it.

The plane that’s taking the flight is a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registration F-HRBC, and it was at 34,000 feet on course 261° at 460 knots.

We’ve flown on Dreamliners before, once FROM CHARLES DE GAULLE TO MONTREAL IN AUGUST 2014 and once FROM MONTREAL TO CASABLANCA IN OCTOBER 2019.

aeroplane 50SA baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, and more banal kinds of flying machine.

So there I was, scrambling to my feet and dashing off to take my medication while I made plans.

After the medication I leapt (well, crawled, actually but sometimes you have to write for effect) into the shower for a good scrub and to make myself pretty, but I’ll need much more than the 4 minutes that the British Government recommends that you spend in the shower in order to do that.

And then Caliburn and I headed for the hills and the LeClerc supermarket.

aeroplane 55OJ baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Today’s shop was actually quite expensive, but they had a lot of stuff on special offer today.

The hair shampoo that I use, a special type with oils and not soap, was on offer in three-packs. It’ll probably take me the rest of my life to use it all but I couldn’t turn it down.

Fabric softener was at a give-away price too, and then they had some 100% végétale margarine of the best quality in the “end of range” row. It’s much better than the rubbish that I usually buy and the reduced prices was even cheaper than what I would pay for my usual stuff.

Nothing there that I could pass up.

These days I’ve become quite domesticated, haven’t I?

unknown aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way home, I called at the Health Centre. The nurse had told me that my vaccination certificate for my fourth vaccination is now ready.

The certificate might be ready but the receptionist wasn’t. Her desk was all closed up. It looks as if the reception is only open 5 days per week. And so instead I came home.

Having put the frozen peas and the cold items away, I came in here and started work.

One thing that I want to do on Saturdays now that I have a little free time with only going to LeClerc and not to Noz is to pair up the music for the radio programme that i’ll be preparing on Monday. That means that I really can have Sundays off.

If I’m not careful, I’ll end up like Robinson Crusoe. he worked a 5-day week because all his outstanding work was finished by Friday.

unidentified aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The joins in the pairs were amongst the best that I’ve ever made, and I’m very pleased with these.

While I’d been rummaging around in the fridge the other day I found some vegan cheese that I had forgotten. And so for breakfast I had cheese-on-toast and coffee. And that old vegan cheese, stuff that I’d bought ages ago from Lidl, actually melts like real cheese.

That’s the kind of thing that’s useful to know so I made a note.

So having had a nice breakfast, I made a start on what was on the dictaphone from last night. Tons of stuff too. It must have been quite a mobile night.

powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Last night I was at the airport taxi-driving. I was sitting in the car in the rain watching the line of passengers grow longer and then shorter. Then it was my turn to leave, and I picked up some people going to the hotel in the south near Waterloo. 6 people entered the taxi so I had to insist that 1 of them left as I was only licensed for 5. In the end 2 of them left. They had a chunter but I was only licensed for 5 so there was nothing that I could do about it. We set off

After that I had my boat and I was up round the top of north-west Scotland somewhere. An emergency had occurred and I had to go back to London. It was fairly stormy but I went none-the-less. Although the journey shook me up a lot I made it back without any serious injury or illness.

Later on, Nerina came home from school one day very upset because someone had been taking the mickey out of her. She wanted me to go along and sort them out. Of course it’s not really something that you can sort out as I told her. I said that it was pretty pointless but she insisted so we drove back to Nantwich. I said “when we park up you’ll have to do this, this and this”. She replied “I’m not coming with you”. “Of course you are. This is about you”. In the end we didn’t actually have to go very far because as we pulled up he was there. I had a few words with him about it. He was effectively “what are you going to do about it,”. Of course there wasn’t really anything that you can do about something like that. In the end nothing ever became of it. It didn’t really prove a point but it was one of those things that you just have to do, one of the affairs through which you have to go.

powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022and then this was early in the morning. Everyone was getting up. I was talking to someone at the front door of the residence where I was staying, brushing my teeth. He pointed to my upper lip telling me that there was some toothpaste on it. I replied “don’t worry. I’ll wash my face when I’ve finished”. He replied “yes but I’m telling you that I thought for some reason that it was an extremely silly thing to do”. There was an advert on the TV as well about a young black boy taking 2 children, 1 on the handlebars of his bike and the other in a trailer behind. he was struggling up a hill in the snow. It was something to do with some kind of energy product because it cut to the end where he was cycling up this hill and overtaking everyone like nobody’s business, nothing like the struggle he was having before”. One of my friends from Germany was there. She was there as I was rinsing my face off so we had a little chat. I had my suitcase and was thinking that I’d have time to go to the airport to check in and hand in my suitcase and then come back. Then I’d be ready for going in the evening. I was thinking about it and I wasn’t going for another couple of days yet so why would I be wanting to take my suitcase now? This was starting to become really confusing.

yellow autogyro baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022After the lunchtime fruit the next task was to deal with the carrots. I’m running a little low on them so seeing as they had 1.5kg bags this morning at the same price at which 1kg bags usually sell, I treated myself

They are all now scrubbed, diced, blanched and in the freezer. And I had to be quite imaginative about how I fitted them in because it really is now full to the brim and there’s no room for anything else in there.

Now that I’m much more organised here, I realise that I should have pushed the boat out and bought a bigger freezer. However I would have filled up the space just as quickly and I still would have ended up in this position with no room in there for anything else.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With the carrots now done, there’s still no time to breathe a sigh of relief and collapse into a heap.

There’s the afternoon walk – or stagger – around the headland. But not before I’ve gone over to the wall at the end of the car park to check up on the activities down on the beach.

Plenty of people down there this afternoon. No surprise though because although it was quite windy, even if a Nazgul rider didn’t think so, it was a lovely late summer day and it really was a pleasure to be out in it.

There were even one or two people brave enough to be in the water this afternoon.

st helier jersey UK Eric Hall photo September 2022The views out to Jersey were magnificent this afternoon.

They were so good that you could see some of the buildings on the island with the naked eye, and now that I’ve been over there I can tell you what some of them are, and when I’ve finished reviewing the photos I’ll probably be able to tell you what the rest are.

Going from left to right, what I think that we have is first of all Elizabeth Castle and to the right is Fort Regent. Over to the right, the white buildings are the blocks of flats at Le Marais in St Clément.

Of course, that’s guesswork based on what I saw when I was over there, but of course I didn’t actually see everything.

commodore goodwill english channel France Eric Hall photo September 2022And how about a flying ship?

It’s not actually a fata morgana – it is a real ship roughly in the position where it’s supposed to be, but the effects of the haze caused by temperature inversion at the water level gives the impression that she’s flying,.

It’s a phenomenon that’s been observed by mariners for centuries and has been the subject of all kinds of books and the like.

And no prizes for guessing who she might be either. It’s actually Commodore Goodwill out there in the English Channel surrounded by yachts and she left St Helier at 10:36 for a slow sail over to St Malo.

kayakers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Fighting my way past the crowds and the wounded Nazguls I crossed the lawn and came to the crowded car park.

Out in the bay there were a couple of kayakers having a good paddle around offshore this afternoon. Having a lot of fun, I suppose.

When I was at school I used to go canoeing but that was a very long time ago and on a canal. I wouldn’t fancy my chances in an open sea in this kind of wind.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE has been kayaking in the open sea while we were in the Arctic, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.
“Would you like a couple of oars?” I asked him before he set out.
“Yes” he replied. “After I’ve come back and put away the kayaking gear”

cabanon vauban man sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022My route continued across the car park to the end of the headland, and then I picked my way very gingerly down the loose gravel path on my one good leg.

There was plenty going on out at sea and plenty up above in the air too, as you have already seen. Consequently seeing someone sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban was no surprise at all.

What was surprising was that he was taking no interest whatever in the exciting events that were unfolding all around him. By the looks of things he was reading a good book, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Nothing wrong with continuing my way down towards the port either.

belle france joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So I scrambled off on my way towards the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was happening there.

Nothing much going on at the ferry terminal today. It seems that despite the fine weather, the summer season is grinding to a close. Moored over there are Belle France and one of the Joly France ferries. No step in her stern so that means that she’s the older one of the two.

The only one out at the island today is the other one, the newer of the two. So there aren’t any tours around the bay this afternoon.

As for Victor Hugo, she’s still moored in the inner harbour. Her season is definitely finished and I imagine that it won’t be long before she and her sister are off to Cherbourg for a maintenance visit.

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The portable boat lift here in the chantier naval is only rated at 100 tons and I don’t imagine that that’s anywhere near as what is required to lift Victor Hugo out of the water.

It would be nice if we had a bigger left to pull heavier boats out of the water but then there’s no real room here for anything large.

Everyone whom we saw yesterday is still here by the way. However I took a better photo of L’Omerta. When I was looking at the radar yesterday I noticed that there isn’t an image for her on the radar database. As I keep the installation here I reckon that it’s upto me to bring it up to date.

That’s a little project for me – to go through and photograph every boat that lives here. I probably have most of them anyway.

Back here I had a coffee and then settled down to watch the football – Y Drenewydd v Penybont in the Welsh Premier League.

This was a game that had everything. Penybont were the better side and they raced into a 2-0 lead in the first half. Watching Y Drenewydd mounting a comeback and trying to pull themselves back into the game made the second half probably one of the most exciting that we have seen.

They pulled a goal back and kept on piling forward, only to be hit by a sucker-punch breakaway that made the score 3-1. Nevertheless they kept on going and scored a second, but couldn’t find a way through for the third despite everything that they tried.

3-2 was about the right result and the game was a great advert for the League except for a couple of “little incidents” in stoppage time that saw a rash of bookings and a sending-off as Penybont tried to slow down the game and run out the clock.

Tea was one of my breaded quorn fillets with veg, and then I came back in here to write up my notes, rather later than usual.

All my work for this weekend is now done so I can have tomorrow off. I even have pizza dough in the freezer (I think).

So I’ll try a walk around the walls tomorrow and see how I feel. I’m still not feeling myself, which is just as well because it’s a disgusting habit, but apart from that my right knee is finished, I reckon. I don’t think that I’ll recover from this.

And even if I were to recover, I’m not sure that i’d have the confidence in it that I had.

That’s sad, isn’t it?

Saturday 20th August 2022 – IF EVER I LAY …

… my hands on whoever went past here in what sounded like a steam engine at 06:08 this morning, they’ll be eating soup through a straw for the next month. I was having a really good sleep at that moment and after it had gone past I didn’t go off to sleep again.

And there I was, hoping for a decent sleep as well.

belle france joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while you admire a few photos of the Ile de Chausey ferries, including a rather delightful “Greek v Greek” moment between Belle france and the newer of the two Joly France boats, I’ll fill you in.

Although not in the same fashion as I would had you been driving steam engine around here at 06:08 this morning.

Anyway, I suppose that I was being somewhat optimistic about a good night’s sleep. It was another late night, later than intended so I was fighting a losing battle before I started.

Just as I was going to bed last night, the broadcasting company that covers the Welsh Premier League posted the highlands of the games that evening, Y Drenewydd v Y Fflint and Connah’s Quay Nomads v Airbus UK Broughton.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Of course I had to stay up and watch them before retiring, didn’t I?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I used to enthuse about Lifumpa Mwandwe at Y Drenewydd. He’s no longer there, having moved to the North American professional game in the Summer.

But it looks as if he’s been replaced in my estimation by Okera Simmonds, about whom I said a few positive things last weekend.

Top of the League now, Y Fflint, after their impressive victory last night, but they’ve been there before and fallen away towards the end of the season so I’m not making all that much of it.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This morning despite the early awakening I had a difficult start yet again to the day, struggling to leave the bed.

But a good shower after the medication livened me up somewhat. I also set the washing machine off as I’m running out of clothes. By the looks of things I haven’t done any washing for months but that can’t be right

Having organised all of that I headed off to the shops. Well, shop, actually because I only went to Leclerc. There’s not much point going to Noz these days although one of these days I’ll have to go to Lidl I suppose.

At leclerc I didn’t buy anything special at all. It was rather a mundane shop today and didn’t cost very much at all. A few more months of spending like this will sort me out, I reckon.

On the way back home I went to the dechetterie.

Last night I took out the printers and left them by the side of the rubbish bins so that anyone who would like to can help themselves to them and see what they can make of them.

While I was at it, I stuck all of the cardboard boxes into Caliburn and seeing as I was quite early (I was there at leClerc at opening time) and didn’t have any frozen food, I went by the dechetterie to drop them off.

container dechetterie Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But I was surprised by the grills that they have around the containers these days. It means that you have to tear up or crush your boxes to pass them through the slots and drop them into the containers.

It was all very reminiscent of the old piano-smashing competitions where you had to demolish a piano and pass the debris through a hoop, and the quickest one would win.

Anyone as old as me would surely remember those. And what a waste of good pianos that was.

Back here I put everything away (and that’s a surprise), hung up the washing and then made some toast and coffee for breakfast.

le loup joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While you admire another photo of Joly France going out and passing Le loup on her way back to the Ile de Chausey, I was finishing breakfast and then having a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

There was a concert that I didn’t attend for some reason but a lot of my friends did. I had a visit from someone who told me that the rock group for this concert so would I think about doing something? I took my guitar and things and went off to this concert. There were about half a dozen people messing around on stage. One was my friend from the Wirral with his drum kit. I gestured to the stage and he picked up what I was doing. One of the guitarists stayed up and in the end we made ready to play an impromptu set with just a dozen numbers of typical 3-minute standards. The guitarist was sulking with me and I’m not quite sure why but I determined not to let that bother with me. I’d just ignore him and just be my usual gushing outgoing self on stage and he can sort out his own problems.

Later on I had a girlfriend who worked in a Chinese restaurant. We were due to go to the cinema so I turned up to see if she was ready but she was waiting on in the restaurant. I asked her what was happening. She said that she had to work today because no-one else had come in and her mother who ran the restaurant wanted her to work. I rolled up my sleeves, took off my jacket and said “here, I’ll give you a hand”. I was running around clearing tables etc. A group of young people came in. They knew the girl and saw me. They asked why I was there and I said that I’m taking her to the cinema but she’s having to work and can’t go. They started to talk to her and asked what was on etc. They wanted to know the reasons why she was working in the restaurant instead of being out enjoying herself etc.

Actually that dream reminded me of something that happened many years ago when we used to go skiing on a dry slope on the Wirral on a Sunday evening.

There was a Chinese take-away just down the road with a really cute young girl who worked the counter. We used to go there for a takeaway for tea. Not that I like Chinese food but I would have gone anywhere to see her.

On one occasion a group of us was going to a Chinese banquet so I had a cunning plan. Without saying anything, I asked her to show me how to eat with chopsticks so that I would look good at this banquet and so she gave me a few lessons.

When I felt competent enough, I put my plan into operation. “You’ve been so kind and helpful that i’d like to thank you. Would you like to come with me to the banquet as a recompene?”.

She replied “no”.

Ahh well … . Someone else who had a lucky escape, I suppose. My life is littered with those.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I was somewhere like in the story of Tim The Magician from MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL but he was actually walking forward as he was making the explosions. They were assembling a team to meet him.

It was at that point that this steam engine thing, whatever it was, went whooshing past on the street and awoke me. I could actually hear the noise that it was making when I listened to the recording.

However prior to that I’d been back at work again, another one of these dreams where I was sitting on piles of arrears of work and thinking to myself that I could retire today if I like because I’m past retirement age and it wouldn’t make any difference. I started to drop a couple of hints to a couple of people. They were talking about where I was going. I replied that if the Northwich office has air conditioning I’ll be going there tomorrow. It’s high time that this place brought itself kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. They started asking someone else questions about the place in Northwich but she couldn’t tell them much.

And isn’t that a recurring dream too, about me being at work past retirement age with piles of arrears?

We had yet another mad fit of enthusiasm and I transcribed the notes for another day when I was off in the Great Wild World back in June-July. I’m not sure what’s happening there.

But it wasn’t as enthusiastic as it might otherwise have been as I rather regrettably dozed off for 20 minutes while I was doing it. Mind you, with having had such a rude awakening, I’m not really surprised.

After my lunchtime fruit I peeled, diced and blanched a kilo of carrots. They were on special offer at LeClerc so I reckoned that I should pick some up. Believe it or not, there was actually some room in the freezer.

Next task was to pair off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be doing on Monday. I know that that’s usually my task for Sunday but I need to make the most of this enthusiasm and go ahead while the going is good.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That took me up to the time that I usually go out for my afternoon walk.

There were quite a few people down there on the beach this afternoon. The weather has improves somewhat and while it wasn’t actually warm, it was quite sunny and that had brought out the crowds.

Some of the people had even managed to drag themselves into the water and my hat went off to them because the weather wasn’t quite that good.

You wouldn’t catch me going into it but then again, water for me to immerse myself in it needs to be at 37°C.

yachts speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, while I was up here on the cliff looking down I had my other eye roaming around offshore.

Out there in the bay there was quite a bit of activity today. In the foreground we had a speedboat that looked as if it was in a devilish hurry, as you can tell by the size of the wake that it’s creating.

A little further behind it is a couple of small yachts. Judging by the sails they belong to one of the sailing schools that are in the vicinity.

There are several of those and when I find out what this series of medical appointments is all about, then I really am going to see whether or not there’s a way that I can fit a course of sailing into my activities.

commodore goodwill english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022It wasn’t just in the immediate vicinity where I was looking either.

Right out in the English Channel way behind the Ile de Chausey was something quite large out on the horizon. It’s definitely a ship, but which one?

Back here I had a look at the radar and nothing obvious presented itself. However Commodore Goodwill left St Helier at 11:59 and arrived at St Malo at 19:34 and she has the same silhouette as the ship out there on the horizon.

However 7.5 is an awfully long time for the crossing so I don’t know what happened there.

She wasn’t the only mystery ship out there this afternoon.

la cancalaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Further round was a small sailing ship, far too far out for me to identify it, but I took a photo of it all the same so that I could have a closer look back home later.

Having enlarged it, it’s still not possible to say with any certainly and you’ve no idea how many other ships were out there confusing the radar screen this afternoon.

However one of the boats out there was La Cancalaise, sister ship to our own La Gravillaise but based across the bay at Cancale, and the outline of the boat in the photo is not unlike their outline.

Consequently, I reckon that it would well be La Cancalaise out there, in the absence of any better suggestion.

f-guxa Robin DR-400-120 Petit Prince baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was out there admiring the shipping I was overflown by a light aeroplane that was coming from the direction of the airfield.

She’s F-GUXA, a stranger to us. She’s not appeared in our notes before.

She’s a Robin DR-400-120 Petit Prince, construction number 2467 and is owned by the Aéroclub Regionale De Caen.

Unfortunately she doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan as far as I can see and she must have been keeping quite low because she wasn’t picked up on the civilian radar to which I have access, so that’s really that.

cabin cruiser speedboat yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But meanwhile, back in the ocean, the sea was crowded today.

Considering how quiet it’s been out at sea just now, it looks as if everyone has been saving up for the weekend. It’s certainly brought them out in their droves.

There might only be three or four boats in this photo but I reckon that in total there were about 50 altogether in the vicinity of the port today here and there.

No-one from the sailing school, which was a surprise though, although on my way to the shops this morning they were having kayaking lessons in the tidal basin next to the Nautical Centre behind the port.

A right bunch of oars if you ask me.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022at least the people down on the bench by the cabanon vauban were having their money’s worth this afternoon.

Those who were down there during the week didn’t have all that much to cheer about but with all of the traffic out there today, that probably made up for it.

And all of the pedestrians too. The car park was heaving yet again and there were crowds down on the lower path.

The buoys for the lobster pots were still there, and in fact they seem to have acquired yet another friend for company.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022having seen what there was to see at the end of the headland I walked down the path towards the port.

On my way I was overflown yet again, this time by the little yellow powered hang-glider. He’d just come up from down at the end of the bay, presumably having taken a passenger for a sight-seeing trip because there were two of them on board.

There was no change at the chantier naval today either. There were still the same boats there as yesterday.

And no-one at the ferry terminal. We’d seen the Joly France ferry come in but she’d unloaded and gone back out straight away. It must be busy out there this afternoon.

zodiac diving boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were none of our usual suspects at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon.

However my attention was drawn to what was going on at the slipway underneath. One of the harbour lighters is there – the one that takes the divers out and about – and there was quite a crowd on board.

As well as that, a van towing a zodiac had pulled up and there was quite a crowd around there as well. There’s plenty happening over there this afternoon.

Back here I made a coffee and then came in here to play about with the photos for a while.

That took me up to kick-off this early evening, Aberystwyth Town v Cardiff Metropolitan

Both teams had won their opening matches last weekend but with the result tonight, how poor must Airbus have been last weekend?

Even though this game was played at Aberystwyth, the Met tore Aberystwyth to shreds and the final score of 0-4 was no exaggeration. Apart from a spell of about 15 minutes in the second half, Aberystwyth offered nothing at all.

Last season their defence was incredibly shaky and at times they were in deep trouble at the wrong end of the season, but they have made a few new signings and they have done nothing to improve the side.

The defence is going to have to be stiffened up quite considerably and they really need something up front. Alex Lang in the Met goal had very little to do today.

Tea was another one of those breaded quorn fillets that I like from Lidl. They are really nice in vegan butter with baked potatoes and steamed veg.

Tomorrow I’m having a lie-in. It’s Sunday and having done all of my work already it’ll be a quiet day I hope. Who’ll come along to disturb it? Or will that blasted steam engine thing go past again at 06:08?

Saturday 30th July 2022 – WE’VE HAD A …

wedding place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… wedding out here at the Public Rooms at the back of my building this afternoon.

It’s something that happens quite often but usually I don’t take very much notice but today, with having a rather late lunch, they poured out of the building as I was going into the living room so I took a few photos.

There’s a church just round the corner, L’Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihouas regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and weddings take place there quite often because of the beautiful setting.

wedding place es Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022However since Laicité – the “Separation of Church and State” that took place in France at the Revolution and subsequently reinforced by a Law of 9th December 1905 there’s a civil ceremony that takes place in the public buildings in front of the mayor.

Thus everyone troops round here after the Church bit to complete the formalities with the mayor, and this is when everyone goes berserk.

Watching them all wildly celebrating reminded me of my lesbian friend from Shropshire who kept her sexual orientation a secret from her elderly relatives.

You’ve no idea how she felt when they all went up to her at every family wedding and said “you’re next! You’re next”.

So in the end she started to exact her revenge at funerals.

And while we’re on the subject of funerals … “well, one of us is” – ed … I felt like I should have been at a funeral today – in a wooden box being lowered into the ground. It has not been a very good day again.

When the alarm went off this morning at 07:30 I was sorting out a pile of medication and papers and things like that in my sleep and I must have leapt about three feet into the air. It took me completely by surprise. It was something to do with bridges over Germany and the heat. One of them had cracked and the asbestos was coming out so it was closed to passengers and pedestrians. People were having to cross by another one but they were limited in the number of times that they could go across and they had to show their ausweis. We were commenting on how Mother Nature is fighting back against the humans and how she’d eventually win, and I was shuffling these papers around.

As seems to be the case these days it took me a few minutes to stagger to my feet but once I was up, I was up. After the medication I set out quickly to Lidl for my shopping.

This was when Brain of Britain found that he’d come all this way without bringing his money with him.

However, years of very bitter experience has taught me better than this, and that’s why there’s €50 hidden in the back of my ‘phone case and another €50 hidden in Caliburn. However I didn’t have a coin for the trolleys so I didn’t buy as much as I would otherwise have liked.

It didn’t take me long in Lidl and I was back home by 09:40. I even managed to put everything away as well.

After a rather late breakfast I attacked the carrots. I was running low on frozen carrots so I’d bought so more fresh ones. I cleaned, diced and blanched them and set them to drain.

Unfortunately, they were only sold in lots of 1.5kg which was more than I was expecting so I was glad that I’d bought that extra-large casserole saucepan a couple of years ago.

And now the freezer really IS bursting at the seams, especially as I fitted the three packs of hot cross buns in there the other day. Nothing else can go in until a lot more stuff goes out.

But what kind of exciting life do I live these days when the highlight of my day is freezing a pile of carrots?

Sitting down here afterwards I drifted off into the land of Nod and that was that. Never mind my lunchtime fruit at 13:00. It was 14:50 when I awoke and round about 15:00 when I staggered into the living room to eat, encountering the wedding party on my way.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022After wards, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

There was a large crowd of British people outside this afternoon looking at the Nazguls that were flying by overhead. Nevr mind the Nine Riders, there was probably about a dozen of them all together in all various stages of flight.

In fact it took them a considerable amount of time to come up and down the coast. They were still on their travels when I was going back into the building half an hour later.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So having been overflown by a Nazgul or two I headed off across the car park to see what was happening down below on the beach.

We had the crowds again down there today making the most of the beautiful weather, although not as many this weekend as you might expect.

That’s because this is the weekend where everyone who has had their four weeks holiday in July will be heading for home and those who will be having their four weeks in August won’t have quite arrived yet. So there’s just that little quiet pause this weekend.

Mind you, I’m glad that I’m not on the roads or on the rails because that’s where we can expect to find a pile of chaos today.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Not much happening out at sea today either – at least in the immediate vicinity.

All of the fishermen were having the day off and there weren’t any ferries or freighters about. What we did have were a couple of yachts having a go at synchronised sailing around the bay.

We had crowds of people up here on the path creating quite a dust storm as they walked by so it was quite an uncomfortable walk down to the end of the headland.

Loads of brats playing around by the bunkers too. It’s almost as if there was some kind of organised activity taking place this afternoon.

sunlight reflecting off window brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of months ago I talked about the use of heliography by General Crook in his campaign against the native Americans in the late 19th Century.

The illustration that I used was the sunlight reflecting off a window down at the bottom of the bay over in Brittany.

This afternoon we had another example of the same thing. That’s about 20 miles away, I reckon, and reflecting off a glass window in the kind of strange atmospheric conditions that we have around here.

When you see things like this you can understand why Crook’s soldiers could send heliograph messages over 50 miles with a mirror in the crystal-clear weather conditions that prevail in the Arizona Desert.

While I’d been looking on the fleet radar earlier I noticed that the ferries Condor Voyager and Commodore Goodwill would cross each other at some point in the English Channel while I was out.

The former had left St Peter Port at 15:03 and was to arrive at St Malo at 17:00 while the latter departed from St Malo at 15:02.

sailing ship english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And so when I scanned the horizon and saw a large object away out on the horizon I took a photo in the hope that I’d caught them both crossing each other.

However, enlarging and enhancing the image reveals that I’ve caught something else completely – a rather large 2-masted sailing ship.

Don’t ask me what she is because by the time that I’d worked out what type of ship she was, the rader plots for that area had long-since dispersed and I couldn’t bring up any historical tracks with any accuracy.

Nevertheless, even at this distance she’s a magnificent ship and I really wish that I knew who she was.

With the crowds around on the car park it wasn’t easy to make my way down to the end of the headland.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022But with all of the people about, the display of heliography and the magnificent sailing ships right out there in the English Channel, it’s no surprise that there was something of an audience watching it all.

Down on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon we had a couple of people enjoying the nice weather and enjoying the view that went with it

Plenty of people walking around the lower path looking as if they might go to join them but I wasn’t going to wait around. Instead, I was going to clear off down the path down the other side of the headland that takes me to the port.

open cockpit aeroplane baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There had been several aeroplanes flying by out at sea this afternoon but they had all been too far away for me to identify.

This one was also too far away for me to identify but the reason why I photographed it was because, quite rarely, it had an open cockpit.

We don’t see too many of those these days and that makes me think that she’s probably a light aeroplane whose registration number isn’t on the list that I have. I checked the arrivals and departures from the airfield for today and there was no-one whom we didn’t know out and about at the time that I took this photo.

gerlean l'omerta fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Before I went home I had a look down in the port to see what was happening there.

Marité had gone back out today but back in the port were L’Omerta and Gerlean who are playing “Musical Ships” down at the Fish Processing Plant.

Back here I made a coffee and had a listen to the dictaphone. I was in Security working at an airport. I’d been given a rifle because we suspected that someone was going to cause a problem boarding a particular plane. I ended up right at the back of the boarding place where I could see everyone in front of me. Sure enough, this woman started to protest and mount an objection. In the the end she was clambering through the false roof and fell through, falling to her death on the concrete floor of the terminal so everyone could go and board their planes. I had to put my rifle back which meant putting it in one of the rooms but all the doors had been locked. There was a way in there through one of the other rooms. This means going through a small gap but they had tiled over this gap so I was trying to work out how to enter the other room. Someone came along and began to take up the tiles. There was a metal tray underneath that they began to take up. There was the floor and then something else under that. I thought that this would take ages to do. Putting it back would take even longer and all that wanted to do was to put this rifle in the storeroom that should have taken 30 seconds. I couldn’t understand at all why I had to go through this enormous rigmarole just so that I could put back my rifle. Ther emust be a much quicker, normal way to do it than havinf to do all of this.

And then I was dealing with my medication, as I mentioned earlier.

There was time for me to have a play with the guitar and then I went for tea. They had some of those breaded quorn fillets in Lidl do I bought two packs. One of those with potatoes and veg was delicious.

Later on I downloaded some more radio programmes from that radio site that I mentioned the other day. I’ve finished all of the Paul Temple stuff and I’ve now found a batch of Tommy Handley “It’s That Man Again” programmes from 1943-44-45 so I have those on the go.

But I’ll be off to bed early. There’s an alarm set for tomorrow because I have things to do. That’s not like me, is it? I’m changing my habits so much these days.

Sunday 12th June 2022 – I CAN’T EVEN HAVE …

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022… have a Day of Rest on my Day of Rest, can I?

Sunday is a day when I’m supposed to be having a decent lie-in to catch up with whatever I’ve missed during the week and to tell the truth I would probably still be in bed right now except that I had a rather urgent need to go for a ride on the porcelain horse round about 09:20.

And that killed my lie-in stone-dead, regrettably.

So while you admire a few photos of the various forms of aerial activity that took place around the town this afternoon, I’ll tell you about my rather depressing day today.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022After I’d had my medication this morning I came back here and made a start on work.

What I had to do was to pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. Not that I’ll be doing very much tomorrow, I reckon. If the last few days is anything to go by, I’ll be lucky if I’ll be able to haul myself out of bed at any kind of reasonable time tomorrow.

And then, regrettably, I fell asleep again and that was that. I was still stark out when Ingrid telephoned me and you’ve no idea how difficult it is to hold a conversation with anyone when all you want to do is to sleep.

As a result of the foregoing I had a rather late lunch again.

red powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022After lunch I had a kilo of carrots to peel and blanch ready to freeze and then I had a listen to what had happened during the night on the dictaphone.

I’d been out somewhere and my elder sister had come with me. She was dressed in a pair of thigh-high black leather boots, black trousers and a black jacket. We went to wherever it was and came back. She started to undress in the middle of the room which I thought was a strange thing to do. She told me “you’ve seen all this before” which of course I probably had but not from my sister. It wasn’t the kind of stuff that I was particularly wanting to see. She just peeled herself out of her clothes like peeling a banana. I thought that this was a strange thing to do.

yacht speedboat la grande ancre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And then we were talking about Jeeps and things. Someone was asked to describe a Jeep. They said that it was like a Land Rover where all the bodywork had been bent backwards and warped because they’ve just been driving through a housing estate somewhere that was being built and had hit a raised manhole. The Land Rover had stuck on it but of course the momentum had caused all the bodywork to twist and warp on it. It had made a real mess of everything.

There was also a teacher bringing a party of schoolchildren over on a catamaran. As he was bringing them in close to port he was going round reminding them not to ask anyone any stupid questions when they docked. I can’t remember how this developed.

yachts cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022and finally there was a story about how a village in Russia had been hit by Bubonic Plague. People had heard all kinds of mysteries going on about this place. They had been issuing jigsaws to people to piece together to try to work out what was the answer. Someone finally completed one and left it in the street completed and cleared off quickly. The village was closed and no-one was allowed in or out and everyone was dying, even the medical staff. The leader of the medical staff there was dead and had the place at the top of the roll of honour of those who had died

There was time for half an hour on the acoustic guitar too before I was ready for going out for my afternoon walk. I don’t want to forget what I’ve spent all this time learning. And while I was at it, I worked out a simple chord structure to CITY OF LIGHTS by RUNRIG.

Strangely enough, I seem to recall a while ago someone saying that he wasn’t going to learn any more new songs but just go with what he’d got at that point. I wonder who that was.

But since that date 26 songs have somehow been added to it, all of which I play at some point or other and of which 15 are on the playlist

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But anyway that was the cue for me to go off for my walk around the city walls this afternoon.

First stop is, as usual, a look down onto the beach to see what was happening there today. And with it being a really nice afternoon (I ended up in shirt sleeves at some point) there were quite a few people down there today.

Even a few taking to the water too. In fact this had me trying to think of when I was last swimming in the sea and apart from when I fell in when I was up in the High Arctic in 2018, it was when I was in Greece in 2013

Hans and I were actually talking about Greece a while ago and I happened to mention “the last time I was in Athens was with your sister!” That’s the kind of remark that kills a conversation stone-dead, especially when it’s the truth.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And while I’m here I thought that I’d have a good look at the repairs to the medieval city wall.

They have been doing some more dismantling. Quite a lot more has been demolished compared to the last time that we were here. It looks as if they are making a thorough job of it all, and quite right too.

Much as I would have liked to, I didn’t go down the steps to look at what was happening at the outside of the wall. And for obvious reasons too. Going down the steps is one thing. Coming back up is something else completely, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

lobster pot buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Instead I wandered off through the arch and along the path outside the walls towards the Plat Gousset.

Offshore in the bay, as well as all of the boats that we have already seen, there were a few more of these buoys with flags on top.

We’ve had this discussion on several occasions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I reckon that they indicate where the local fishermen have dropped their lobster pots so they know where to go to pick them up again.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wonder how they manage to train a lobster to actually go on one.

kite surfer baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022It wasn’t just lobster pots, yachts, cabin cruisers and La Grande Ancre who were out there in the bay either.

The number of hang gliders in the air will give you some kind of indication of how windy it was this afternoon, and there was a kite surfer out there making the most of it too.

We saw a couple of them in the bay on the other side of the headland a couple of days ago but we haven’t see one on this side of the headland for a while. It’s a sure sign that “Sumer is a–cumen in. Lhude sing cucu”, hey?

tidal swimming pool diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There were quite a few people wandering around on the path this afternoon so I had to fight my way through the masses down to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

And they still haven’t fitted the diving platform onto the concrete pillar down there. Summer is going to be here and gone before they get round to doing it at this rate

Plenty of people in the water here though, but then access from the promenade to the beach is much easier than scrambling down the steps in the Rue du Nord.

Despite the renovations to the tidal swimming pool, it’s still not holding water between high tides. I thought that was rather the point of it

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022You can see what I mean by the access to the beach from the promenade.

There are a couple of ramps and a set of steps that are by no means as challenging as those at the Rue du Nord. And that’s why there are crowds of people down there sitting in the sand.

They are out of the wind too thanks to the headland.

The red machine that we saw down there working with a pile of dislodged rocks is still there too. That’s going to be quite an interesting job of work. I wonder what the purpose of it all is. I suppose that I shall find out in due course.

baby seagulls with mother seagull rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Having finished my inspection of the Plat Gousset I wandered off down the Square Maurice Marland to see how the seagulls were doing.

The two chicks that I have been observing were huddled up in some shade this afternoon and I couldn’t take a good photograph so in the end I had to settle with another bunch of chicks, with a very proud mummy standing guard over them

Plenty of sea-going activity in the bay this afternoon but there wasn’t anything exciting going on in the inner harbour this afternoon that we haven’t seen before so I left them to it and wandered off towards home and my strawberry smoothie.

artists fair rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022In the old town this afternoon it’s the Artists’ Fair.

There are plenty of artists in the old town with all kinds of galleries and today was when they were having a sale of unsold work. And frankly I could see why it was unsold because it was either far too overpriced or the quality wasn’t up to all that much.

This modern art, surrealism and impressionism with huge swirls of colours, seems to be all the rage but it’s not something that I like at all. I prefer art to be like a photograph, a faithful representation of a view, with skill and talent.

Something that actually looks like what it’s supposed to be, painted by someone who knows how to paint. But these days I’d be embarrassed to put most of what I see on my wall. I know what I want for my apartment, and I know how much I’m going to pay for it too.

Back here, I crashed out yet again for an hour or so and then I did a pile of Welsh revision, going through some of the stuff that I’d written over the last two weeks.

In between all of this, I had some bread to make. I used the last of the loaf on Friday so I made another pile of dough which I left on one side to proof for a while.

After lunch I’d taken out a lump of pizza dough from the freezer and that had been defrosting. By now that was ready so I kneaded it and rolled it out, putting it on the pizza tray so that that could proof too.

home made bread vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While the bread was baking I assembled my pizza and when the bread was baked I put it in the oven to bake as well.

The bread looks absolutely perfect and the pizza didn’t look too bad either. It tasted quite delicious too and I’ll tell you about the bread tomorrow after I’ve sampled it for lunch.

And talking about tomorrow I took out the next batch of fruit buns from the freezer ready to defrost, and put the carrots in there to freeze for the next couple of weeks.

When I finished tea I washed up a pile of stuff in the kitchen and came in here to write up my notes.

Now I’m off to bed. I have an early start in the morning to prepare a radio programme and I’m not looking forward at all to doing it. I’m really not feeling much like anything at all right now.

Saturday 21st May 2022 – AND SO THIS MORNING …

… having done without one of my medications last night, I was awake at about 07:00 or something like that. And not only was I up and about as soon as the alarm went off at 07:30, I was actually feeling something like enthusiastic as well.

But one swallow doesn’t make a summer of course and there is always whatever is the reverse of the placebo effect to consider. I’ll want to wait for a week or two at least before I decide that it’s this particular medication that’s causing me these issues.

After having organised myself I went for a shower, set the washing machine en route and then Caliburn and I headed off for the shops.

At Noz I didn’t buy anything at all – except for a bottle of something to drink because this morning I had a thirst that you could photograph.

At LeClerc I didn’t buy anything special today but at least the larder is stocked up for the next couple of weeks.

Back here I had a coffee and some toast, put away the food and then sorted out the washing, hanging it up to dry. I seem to have caught up with everything now which make a change. It’s not like le to be up to date, is it?

And then I had a listen to the stuff on the dictaphone from last night. There was a dream about a rather fat schoolgirl who had to solve a few clues that might have led to some kind of mystery writer’s novel being solved. She was floating around in a car park for something. At first she made a little headway but later on became dispirited and was knocked out of her stride somewhat and virtually gave up. It became a story about how she once had a boyfriend from another school, a boy who was 3 years older that her but who had committed suicide. The focus of this investigation shifted away from what she was doing into what had happened at this particular school that had led to this boy’s suicide but I can’t really remember very much apart from thet.

And then at another school was a girl who was nicknamed “Rakkers” short for her name of “Irak” who had written a murder mystery. There was some discussion as to whether this might have been tied in with what this other girl was involved in investigating

After lunch I had a kilo of carrots to wash, peel, dice and blanch ready to freeze. The ones that I’d bought on Monday didn’t really last the pace. They were pretty miserable when I bought them and they don’t improve with keeping.

Back in here, just to show that not much has changed quite yet, I sat down and crashed out. And for a good 90 minutes as well. I’m not out of the woods yet by any means. I have simply moved into different woods.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022As a result of all of the foregoing I was rather late going out for my afternoon walk today.

Although it was a bright, sunny day there was something of a strong wind out there so it was a lot colder than it ought to have been.

Add to that the fact that it was late, there weren’t all that many people around down there today and there certainly wasn’t anyone brave enough to be in the water. Going for a paddle looks to be about the limit today.

And there weren’t any more people further down at the Plat Gousset either. They must all be having a day off.

red powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There might have been few people on the beach, but there was a little more going on up in the air thia afternoon.

As I walked across the car park I was overflown by the red hang glider. That went past on its way back to the airfield after what looks like an afternoon out down the bay.

He has a passenger with him today so they have probably been out on a sightseeing expedition down to Mont St Michel.

And I haven’t forgotten that one of these days I’m going to take myself out to the airfield to blag myself into the passenger seats of one of these machines and go for a flight around to see what I can see.

hang glider cemetery Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022That wasn’t the only aerial activity this afternoon either.

There was quite a crowd down at the field at the side of the cemetery and as I watched, a birdman of Alcatraz rose up from the air with his Nazgul. However he didn’t advance very far in all the time that I was waiting and after a while I lost patience.

Taking off and landing from the field next to the cemetery is actually quite appropriate. If they make a false manoeuvre then they can just chuck the bodies over the wall and that’s the problem solved with as little drama as possible.

man fishing with zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022When I went out to the shops this morning I had to thread my way through the fleets of vehicles pulling boats on trailers down to the harbour.

There were a few of them still out there even though the tide had gone well out and was now on its way back in. One of the boats that I had seen was this zodiac with a fisherman on board and, as you might expect, in all the time that I was watching him he didn’t catch anything at all.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, in all the time that we have been watching the fishermen out here with rod and line, we have yet to see anyone actually pull anything in. I’m not even sure that that’s actually the goal of what they are doing.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Yesterday the weather was so clear that we could see quite clearly the island of Jersey away on the horizon.

Today though, even despite the wind, the haze is back and the good view that we had yesterday has gone. However there was something white right out there in the distance so I took a photo of it so that I could examine it back in the apartment to see what it might be.

Rather disappointingly, it turned out to be a yacht. I was hoping that it might be one of the Channel Islands Ferries on its way back home from St Helier. One of these days I’ll actually see them out there working.

people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Down at the end of the path I walked across the car park down to the end of the headland.

There weren’t any caterpillars making their way across there this afternoon but there were one or two people down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

Not reading a book this afternoon, although they may as well have done because there wasn’t anything else going on down there to hold their interest. All in all it was rather boring out there this afternoon, especially for a late-Spring Saturday afternoon.

And so instead I carried on down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was happening over there.

j158 l'ecume 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022No changge in occupancy in the chantier naval today, but they aren’t ‘arf cracking on with the work on L’Ecume II.

When we first saw her in there WHEN WE CAME BACK FROM LEUVEN she was looking distinctly shabby, but they have pressed on with her overhaul quite rapidly.

They have stripped off all of the faded paint right down to the base primer and they are dashing ahead with the top coat of paint. It’s not going to be too long before they will have finished her paintwork and then presumably she’ll be going back in the water and on her way home.

belle france joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal there is quite a gaggle of boats tied up there today.

On my way out to the shops this morning I’d seen one of the Joly France boats on her way out with a load of passengers for the Ile de Chausey.

But right now, all three of the ferries, the two Joly France boats and the new Belle France are tied up over there. Presumably they are waiting for the tide to come in later on this afternoon when they’ll go back out to the island to bring home the tourists at the end of the day.

But as for Chausiaise, the little freighter, she’s tied up in the inner harbour.

crane swimming pool speedboat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022On thing that interested me was ro see what was happening at the quayside with the freight today.

The speedboat is still there, and we also seem to have acquired a swimming pool too. I also know why stuff isn’t being moved as quickly as it usually is right now. That’s because Normandy Trader, one of the three little Jersey freighters, is currently having a major overhaul and has been out of action for several days.

Apparently her overhaul is nearly complete and she’ll be back in service in early course with her nice new stainles steel accessories. COPULATUM EXPENSIUM, AS WE POMPEIIANS SAY

yellow powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having been overflown by the red powered hang-glider on my way out earlier, it was the turn of the yellow powered hang-glider to overfly my on my way home.

Once again, she’s out there with a passenger, presumably also having been for a flight down the bay towards the Mont St Michel.

Back here, I took out the rubbish to the bin, such is the exciting life that I leave, and then brought up the milk that I’d bought this morning that I couldn’t manage to bring up earlier. I can’t believe how difficult I’m finding ordinary everyday tasks these days.

Tea tonight was a couple of those small breaded burgers with a baked potato and veg. And now I’m off to bed. Despite intent upon having a lie-in, I’m going to miss out on that medication again and see what good that might do me. I reckon that it will take a while for the effects to work their way through so the sooner I start, the sooner I’ll finish.

Saturday 23rd April 2022 – THIS GAME OF …

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… musical ships moved into a new dimension this afternoon.

Neither L’Omerta nor Briscard were there when I went past on my afternoon walk. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I speculated that either Titanic or Mary Celeste would be there in their place but instead, we have two anonymous inshore shell-fishing boats.

Unfortunately I’m too far away to read their registrations so I can’t tell you who they are but they are new players in the game so we’ll have to watch this space much more closely to see how things develop in the near future.

However in the immediate past, I had a better day and actually managed to go through a day without falling asleep, although it was touch-and-go at one point this afternoon.

And when I saw how far I’d travelled during the night, I’m amazed that I could keep on going. But we’ll leave that for a moment.

Once again I managed to beat the second alarm so that’s progress of sorts, and after the medication and a quick shower (and washing a couple of pairs of trousers because I seem to have run our) I was off early for the shops.

Noz still had some of those mini-burger things, although I noticed this evening that they aren’t the same, but anyway I bought another packet to add to those in the freezer.

LeClerc didn’t come up with al that much either except that coffee was on special offer so I bought a four-pack of the variety that I like. I use a lot of coffee.

They also had carrots at €0:99 a kilo so I bought a packet of those, and actually peeled, diced and blanched them as soon as I came home. Even as we speak, they are freezing up ready for the next couple of weeks.

Finally I could turn my attention to the dictaphone. I was on that … “which?” – ed … space rocket last night. I had my own comfortable room and my bass guitar with me. I seemed to be in there for months as I kept orbiting the earth.

And then I was supposed to be going to Paris. I was staying in a hotel. It was going to be a quick train into Paris and back on the TGV for the evening because I was playing bass in a rock group. There was some kind of commotion in the station at the front of the hotel. It turned out that all the TGVs were cancelled. I’d have to go on a standard train which would take hours and it wasn’t until 20:00, the next one. I asked whether there would be one back later at night or whether I ought to stay over. He said “we’ll find out later” but it was gone 18:00 already so there wasn’t much later to find out. If I couldn’t have a train back I would have to book a hotel etc. I went back to my hotel room. I was in and out a couple of times and suddenly realised that I’d locked myself out of my hotel room. I had to go down to rception. They gave me a duplicate key. Some woman must have overheard me speaking English because she came up to me and invited me to a party “when the war is over” she said. “You’ll have to come round to the party” and she gave me a card. I went to give her a card. She said “yes, I’ll cook you a really good meal”. There was another woman standing nearby. We both said at the same time “oh we’re vegans”. This woman smiled and wandered off leaving the 2 of us so we started to talk. I invited this woman into my room now that I had the duplicate key. I asked her if she wanted a coffee. She said “no”. We started to talk, bearing in mind that I had to be gone in an hour or something like that and I had a lot of things to arrange in the meantime.

I was also in Eastern Europe last night. I had a filing cabinet with me in the back of the coach and there was a load of files in it, including ones on Putin and things like that. While I was doing something a girl came up and took a file from the cabinet. I took the file back from her but she had a piece of paper on her hand. I went to take that too but she didn’t want to give it to me. In the end I had to wrestle it from her hand. She went to ‘phone the police. When I looked at the paper I saw that it was one of hers so I apologised and gave it back to her. I got into my coach to drive away, fearing that any moment now I was going to be swept up in a police patrol and taken off somewhere

It was becoming close to Brexit. Boris Johnson had some kind of notice prepared with the date on it. He was out there in no-man’s land standing by this notice. We could all see him dithering. He went to unhook the date so people started cheering that he was going to call it off. Instead he suddenly and decisively put the date back on and said “right, let’s go”. This immediately started a riot. People began to set fire to everything, piles of paper, coal, buildings, etc. Rees-Mogg went to collect his things together but he found that someone had been into his jewellery box and stolen every single item of his jewellery. This led to a lot of discussion. We were talking to someone about that. They mentioned his jewellery box so I asked “where’s his father?”. The penny dropped with them as well. Everyone immediately understood what I meant and what had probably happened to his jewels. Someone who was rather pro-Brexit asked me where mine was. I replied that he was near Betley, Wrinehill, the last time that I had any news of him.

We were then back on Brexit again. First of all though I had a dog that I was trying to lose. I arrived at Crewe Station and there was a bus coming in going to Chester. It was packed so I led the dog on I was hoping to disappear but at the last moment I had a pang of conscience and couldn’t let it go. In the end I climbed aboard – there was just about room. I went to pay my 50p to the driver but I dropped it. The bus was so crowded that I couldn’t pick it up so someone whom I knew paid my bus fare and picked up my 50p from the floor. We left the bus at the Hurleston reservoir. Rees-Mogg was there, he’d just turned back since … I fell asleep … he was going on about how he’d me this nice lovable clown who had promised him all kinds of riches and wealth and so on. Of course that was Johnson and his proposals for Brexit.

Of course, when I say that “I fell asleep”, I don’t mean that because I am actually asleep while I’m dictating, in some kind of subconscious state. What I mean is that I slip out of this subconscious state into a much deeper state where I don’t function.

Finally I was with Nerina last night. Somehow we’d encountered my father’s sister somewhere along the road. We were all out somewhere. We had a huge, lengthy chat. We’d set out to go shopping actually and somehow encountered them. Then we drove a little way together out of Crewe and Nantwich. It was a really cold, icy winter. First of all I’d been off somewhere and had to walk back. Nerina had been out working when i’d gone but she’d obviously gone in because the weather was too cold. There we were and I suggested to her seeing as it’s a nice cold day and we aren’t doing anything and it’s rather boring why don’t we go to do our shopping in Whitchurch which is where my aunt lived. She thought that that was a good idea. We took my aunt back and dropped her in the centre of Whitchurch. Then we were talking. I was qaying “look at me becoming all family-orientated again. Not like me, is it?”. She made some comment and said “no, particularly as we have to go through your father in order to contact your aunt”. She led me off down these alleyways, down these steps. We had to step through these tables and restaurants where these people were playing chess. It suddenly dawned on me that fancy me having to be shown around a town by Nerina when I knew everywhere but of course she worked in Whitchurch (at least, she did last night anyway) so it was only natural.

But over the last couple of weeks my dreams are becoming quite political and I don’t understand why. I could understand it when there was all of the uncertainty about our position a couple of years ago but these days we are all regularised and our lives haven’t changed so considerably that there is any great cause for concern.

So what’s happening?

After lunch there was football. The final day of the regular season with four clubs – Aberystwyth v Connah’s Quay and Hwlffordd v Cardiff Metro chasing the one spot to play off for wild card in the Irn-Bru Cup or whatever it’s called these days. There was just two points separating the four clubs so it was effectively “winner takes all”.

We were watching Hwlffordd v Cardiff Metro with the other game in the corner of the screen. And the producers made the right call because while the game at Aberystwyth was a drab midfield battle that ended 1-1, we had a game full of excitement that ranged from end to end and back again, one of the best that I have ever seen.

The Met won 2-1 in the end with a winning goal that was worthy of any championship, but how different might things have been if Henry Jones’s diving header in injury time had been half an inch lower and crept in underneath the bar.

And having watched closely a few of the incidents that took place in the various penalty areas, I’m convinced that at times Dean John the referee was refereeing a different match to the one that the rest of us were watching.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022By now it was the usual time for me to go off for my afternoon walk around the headland.

And the first stop was as usual the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach.

Not that I was expecting to see anyone down there this afternoon because the weather had turned cold and overcast. I was even wearing a jacket when I went out.

One saying that I like to use quite often is “your level of success is measured by your level of expectation” and so seeing no-one down below on the beach was no surprise and no disappointment, even if it was a Saturday.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was however something going on out at sea, as I noticed while I was looking round.

Not too far offshore was a yacht swanning around in the bay having a whale of a time.

No fishing boats out there though, at least, as far as I could see, because visibility was quite poor this afternoon. It wasn’t even possible to see the Ile de Chausey this afternoon.

And nothing in the air either. In fact it was quite a quiet day all things considered.

fishermen zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There were a few more boats out there around the corner in the Baie de Mont St Michel though, I noticed

There was this rather large zodiac floating around just off the end of the headland, with three men in it. I thought that they might have been fishermen but I couldn’t see any equipment and they certainly didn’t have any rods out in the water.

But even so, I can’t think of anything else that they might be because the boat wasn’t actually moving when I saw it. It was just sitting there about a mile offshore waiting for something to happen.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There were some yachts from one of the sailing schools having a run around in the bay as well.

These two were having something of a race across the bay, with the rearmost one slightly in the lead. Somewhere out of shot there was a zodiac keeping an eye on the proceedings.

And while we’re on the subject of the sailing school … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve been carrying out a few rather desultory enquiries and discovered that there’s a “boat permit” that licenses you to operate a powered craft of a certain maximum size within a certain distance of shore.

Apart from wanting to sail, of course, that permit is something that I might find to be of use as well. But at the moment everything is on hold until the hospital and the doctor can sort me out.

cabanon vauban person sitting on bench Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022With all of the activity going on out in the bay, I was half-expecting to see it all having something of an audience this afternoon.

And here I wasn’t disappointed either. This woman sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban seemed to be taking rather a keen interest in what was happening with the zodiac.

The way things were, I had half a mind to go down and join her but it wasn’t the kind of day for loitering around. Instead I pushed on down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was going on in the harbour this afternoon.

ch922398, sm735890 lysandre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There wasn’t all that much going on in the harbour either. All in all, it was extremely disappointing for a Saturday.

There were a couple of inshore shellfishing boats out there in the outer harbour. The blue one is of course Lysandre on a visit from across the bay at St Malo but although I can read the registration number of the other one, she’s not in the fleet list that I have.

Still the same boats as yesterday in the chantier naval but no-one over at the ferry terminal either.

You’ve seen the photo of the two boats over at the fish processing plant, and that was really that. I came back for my coffee and to finish off the dictaphone notes.

There was time for another good session on the guitar too this afternoon before tea. A couple of these new mini burger things with potatoes and veg. And even though these burgers aren’t the breaded quorn fillets that I thought they were, they are still just as delicious.

A lie-in tomorrow, at long last. And I can’t say that I don’t need it. It’s been a tough week and it’s going to be even tougher next week as I have physiotherapy twice, a Welsh lesson for which I’m not prepared, an injection, a visit to the dcotors, a trip out and a weekend away.

By the time that I come back I’ll be ready for another break to recover.

But I wonder what I’ll be doing this time next week.

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.

Tuesday 22nd February 2022 – AT LEAST I DIDN’T …

… burn up during the night. The cold cream stuff seems to have done the trick but it’s going to take a good few months for my leg to heal up, even if I don’t make another mess of it in the near future

As well as that, I actually managed something of a better sleep last night. I was in bed at just after 23:00 and the first entry on the dictaphone was at 03:45, meaning that I must have had almost 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

But once I was off, I really was off too. With the situation going on in the Ukraine at the moment there were all kinds of things going on in the West. In Germany for example there were these mines of something special that were used in robotics that had to reopen. It meant that there was only one train per day up into the mountains and back again. In my case if I wanted to work on this train I had to take a pill every day so I mentioned it to a couple of my workmates . One of them asked me late one evening if I knew exactly what this pill was to which I said “no”. he said that one of his other colleagues knew pretty well and I ought to talk to him. I went over to the reception desk to ask if this other colleague was free. He said that he was so I went over to his cubicle to ask if we would come over to the reception desk to have a chat. He agreed but then the receptionist said that she had to go to type some kind of document so she wouldn’t be able to listen to the conversation

Later on there was another one of these dreams where I was at work. I was well past my retirement age. They were talking about rather large changes and I was thinking again that there was so much work building up that I wasn’t able to cope with so I was going to take retirement and walk away. part of my job involved checking up some kind of old house – stately home place. It seems that what had happened subsequently after this what had happened was that I’d gone down there to check on this house even though I was now retired but I seem to have stayed and become its curator 6 days per week. No-one knew that I was there and no-oen knew that I was being paid. Of course I had very little money because of not being paid so going to and from work was quite a struggle. In the end someone discovered me there and it led to some kind of enquiry as to how I was doing it and why, what my travel arrangements were. I said that I could simply walk out of this door and walk across the car park of a large petrol station and onto the main road. When I did it once there was some kind of thing with police and ambulances holding everyone up but they waved me through so that I could walk through to the main road. The next day that I came back someone had been making a pile of chelsea buns which seemed to be a regular thing but they never baked enough. When I arrived once they had all gone. However there were 3 or 4 extremely large ones on top of the oven that no-one had noticed so I took one. Someone said that it belonged to someone else, one of the senior people, but I didn’t care. I took it anyway. I could easily have cut it into 4 and just taken a quarter which would have been plenty but I was taking the whole thing. I went to sit down to eat it but these 2 women in the dining room were having a bit of a moan or complain about Gregory, whoever he was, and how come his chelsea bun had gone and what he was going to do. I can’t remember much more.

There was another huge, lengthy dream and I was dictating it but I suddenly realised that I didn’t have the dictaphone and when I picked it up I couldn’t remember anything about the dream that I was having so I’ll have to forget that one.

Finally I’d been round to Whitchurch to talk to some family whom I knew. Then I had to go somewhere north to see a friend of mine and then somewhere south so see another friend of mine. When I was leaving I went into the room where the daughter of the house was, she was about 15 or so, and was sewing or knitting or something, a small girl. She asked where I was going so I told her and in some kind of fit of bravado I said “why don’t you come with me?”. To my surprise she said that she would. She found her keys and we set off. Then it ended up that it was the school’s leaving year’s annual leaving do. A little while earlier another friend and I had been down in London and the school’s leaving year had turned up there. They were having a big day out, all of which was being filmed and we were around where some of the film was being shot. I was with this girl and we were seeing the film. There was a group of us together by this time and the two of us who had been down in London kept saying “they are bound to show us in a minute because we were there when all of this was going on”. We all then had to walk somewhere and it was in the snow. We walked along this road and I was with this girl of course. Quite a few people were very interested to see that we were together as a couple. As we walked down this road there was a big dog that we saw. One of the people with us who had been in London said “we saw that dog and it was on the film”. We kept on drifting out of this real-life situation with me and this girl and back into bits of this film. One moment it was me with this girl walking down this path through the snow and the next minute it was this film of the kids leaving party or whatever.

It was one of the nicest and most relaxing and most interesting nocturnal voyages that I’ve ever had, especially when I was with the girl, and I wish I knew who she was because I’d be quite happy to go off on another ramble with her at any time of day or night.

When the alarm went off I had another struggle to leave the bed and then after the medication I had a little project to do that took me all the way up to a rather late lunchtime

This afternoon the first thing that I did was to peel, dice and blanch a couple of kilos of carrots. They had another huge bag on special offer in LeClerc on Saturday at a price that was too good to pass by and I get through quite a lot of them.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And then it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

And as usual, I wandered off over to the wall at the end of the car park to see who was about down there. And there were plenty of people down there too this afternoon. This is just one shot of any dozen that I could have taken to illustrate the point.

These people down here look as if they are engaged in the peche à pied and there were a few others out there at the water’s edge at it too. But several others were just having what looked like an aimless amble about.

One of my neighbours was out there by the wall too and we had a little chat for a few minutes, not about anything important.

trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was out there this afternoon I had a look to see what was happening out at sea.

Despite the wind there was quite a mist in the distance but right out by the Ile de Chausey there was something moving around. I took a photo with the aim of enhancing it when I returned.

Back here I could see that it was a trawler although at this kind of range I couldn’t say which one it was. Nevertheless, it looks as if the fishermen have gone back out to sea after their enforced holiday over the last few days and that will be good news for local businesses.

The brats are of course back at school so there weren’t too many people around on the path this afternoon so I could have a nice leisurely walk around the headland all by myself.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of months ago one of the storms that we had had had ripped one of the flagpoles here out if its concrete base.

flagpole base pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022A few days ago we came across a workman concreting a new base and he told me that when it had cured he would come back and drill the mounting holes.

By the looks of things he had been back recently because the bolts for the flagpole have now been installed in the base. We’ll probably come back here some time within the next few days and found that the flagpole had been repositioned.

There was still no-one loitering around at the end of the headland, which was hardly a surprise given the weather and also the fact that there wasn’t anything to see out at sea, so I pushed on around the path to the other side of the headland.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There’s something strange going on this afternoon down in the chantier naval.

Tiberiade is far from finished as we can see, but they have brought the portable boat lift over to her and she seems to be sitting in the cradle.

It would be very surprising if she were to go back into the water in this condition so they might just be moving her around. I’ll probably find out tomorrow when I go round for my walk.

The other two boats, Le Roc A La Mauve III and the unknown yacht, are still in here though and not looking as if they will be going for a while.

Back here I had my coffee and then transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night to see where I’d been. And I wish that I knew who that girl was whom I met in Whitchurch.

Tea was a taco roll with the left-over stuffing from yesterday and then Rosemary gave me a ring. Two hours we were chatting tonight. No wonder I’m running rather late.

But now I’m off to bed hoping for a good sleep and a good run out with pleasant companions during the night. I enjoyed that little trip last night and I wish that something like that would happen to me in real life.

Thursday 27th January – I FINALLY MADE IT …

work on flagpole base monument de la resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… outside and off around for my afternoon walk around rhe headland – the fist time since a week last Sunday.

And there have been several changes since I was last out and about. There was a council workman over there by the base of the flagpoles having a ply around so while his back was turned I took a quick photo.

It looks as if things might at last be happening with the concrete base of the flagpole that was uprooted in the gales several weeks ago. So watch this space for further developments.

inside bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Another thing that I wanted to do was to button-hole someone involved in the clearing-out of the bunker that they opened a few weeks ago.

Just my luck of course to find no-one in attendance this afternoon. Either they have finished what they were doing or they’ve cleared off early for home.

The skip has gone but there’s still plenty of rubbish in there that needs removing, including several empty bottles of wine and the like. But whether they are related to the war-time occupants or the modern cleaning crew I really couldn’t say.

However I do know that farther down the coast they’ve uncovered yet another bunker from the Atlantic Wall. The cliff there is in danger of slipping so they had a crew out there to clear it of all of the mass of overgrown vegetation so that they can erect a net to hold back the rocks.

And that’s when they found the bunker.

bottom mine pointe du rock Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But this is totally new. We haven’t seen it or even heard a whisper about it before.

One look at it will tell you what it is. It’s a bottom mine, as you can tell from the flat bottom. These are laid in or dropped into shallow water where they sink and sit on the silt on the sea bed until some marine craft activates them by passing overhead.

This one was actually found here in the harbour in Granville quite a while ago and has been floating around the town with no fixed abode ever since. They have apparently decided to locate it here as one of the sites of interest around the town.

My bed would have been a site of interest this morning because I was still in it until 10:00.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I just couldn’t drag myself out. And neither could I for the second alarm at 08:00, and so in the end I gave it up as a bad job and went back to sleep again. It’s really disappointing, especially as last night wasn’t even all that late.

When I eventually did come round into the land of the living it was something of a stagger around until I found my bearings. I’ve lost my marbles a long time ago of course and they won’t be ever found.

Once I was properly awake, the first task was to sit down and transcribe all of the dictaphone notes. I’d travelled miles yet again during the night. I started off with my Greek lady-friend. We’d started off by obtaining a TGV timetable for trains that went to Austria and Switzerland. Gradually our journey began to evolve – talk about everything that I was wanting to bo and she was wanting to do. Little by little we were adding little railway journeys in until finally we reached Greece. The question of swimming in the sea came up. She said that she’d been swimming in the sea while I’d been asleep. In the end I suggested Corinth because it’s a town that I knew and it’s still keeping away from Athens. We had a look on the map that I just happened to have handy and saw loads of holiday resorts and beaches etc all around Corinth. She thought that that wasn’t a particularly good idea. I said “it can be anywhere really al long as we can arrive by train and it has a sea. I mentioned Corinth because it happened to be somehere that I knew” so we started to have some kind of discussion about where in Greece we might go^

I was with a couple of people later on last night driving through the USA. The difficulty that I have with other people is that you can’t keep stopping to take photos and so on so I wasn’t really enjoying myself all that much. We came to a place where there was a stunning view across mountains and valleys so I indicated a place where I would like to stop to take photos but they just drove straight past it. We came to some place that was a kind of museum about some early locksmith who had come to the area so we parked and went in. I picked up a brochure as did these 2 people. Then they announced that it’s time that the museum was closing and everyone would have to leave. I said “there’s no objection really, is there, if we wander around the outside?”. They replied “oh yes, we’ve been told that we have to limit access to internet types like you”, something that totally astonished me. I’d never heard anything the like of that in my life. Of course it brought fits of laughter from my two friends and me but these people were apparently serious. Anyway, was they say, it’s all very well telling us something but how are you going to stop us? They certainly didn’t come round to try to stop me as I was wandering around on my way back to the car

And I stepped back into that dream again later .While we were at that museum there was something about a dog. We didn’t have a dog but I ended up taking this dog for a walk around the field thinking to myself “I’d like to see the people who run this museum try to stop me with this dog”.

Finally I was driving taxis again last night and there was a pick-up from halfway up Middlewich Street. I drove up there and there was an old man standing there at the end of the footpath. I asked him if he’d booked a taxi. He said yes but it wasn’t me, at least that’s what I understood because he had a terrible speech impediment. I radioed into the office. They said that it was some girls going somewhere or other. I waited around for a couple of minutes, they the guy got in. I really couldn’t understand where he wanted me to take him, whether it was the North Ward Club, somewhere like that. His speech impediment was awful.

After lunch I went to clean, dice and blanch 2kg of carrots. I was ony intending to buy 3 or four yesterday to see me through to the weekend but 1kg of loose carrots were €1:39 and a 2kg bag was €1:29. So what would you have done?

Where I’m going to fit them all is anyone’s guess but the freezer is bursting right now. Perhaps there will be more space when I take out the other half of the loaf on Monday, but that’s a long way off.

Definitely First-World problems, aren’t they?

seagull on windowledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022By now it was time to go off for walkies. “Now or never” I mused. It’s been ages since I’ve been out.

And there was someone just outside to greet me too. We’ve seen the seagull before, up on one of the window ledges by the other entrance to the building, and it’s here again to say hello as I walked past.

By the look of its plumage it’s one of the younger ones. Nevertheless, I would have expected them all to have found their feet a long time before this. But that’s the window with the toy bird on the other side looking out, so maybe the seagull here is trying to chat up the toy one with a view to starting a family.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s been quite a long time since I’ve been over to look down onto the beach to see what’s happening there.

Not much beach this afternoon. I’ve missed quite a few cycles of the tide of course. And there wasn’t anyone down there that I could see making the most of whatever beach there was.

Actually, I would have expected that there might have been some people out for a walk down there. It wasn’t a particularly nice day but 9°C out there is warm for January and the kind of weather that should usually bring out at least some of the crowds.

Mind you, with the way that Covid is going at the moment, I’m glad there weren’t all that many people out there this afternoon.

concrete flagpole base monument de la resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And so in the company of a couple of joggers I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

A little earlier I mentioned the Council’s builder. I had a little chat to him when he wasn’t doing anything. They’ve laid the concrete base as you can see, and now they are going to leave it to cure for a few days or so, and then they’ll drill it and replace the missing flagpole.

And so I wished him the best of luck. It wasn’t very windy at all this afternoon but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we can have some devastating winds up here at the Pointe du Roc that’ll make short work of anything that’s not fastened down securely.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Passing by the bunker that we saw earlier I walked down the path towards the port.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the chantier naval so I was keen to see what was going on down there. And to my surprise, Gerlean is still in there, not having moved by the looks of things since I passed by here last, and a good few weeks before that too.

She has company too. The boat to her left is one that I don’t ever recall having seen before in port. And there’s a small one over on the right too.

Unfortunately I can’t read their names or registration numbers from here so I’m not able to identify them. I’ll have to try again tomorrow to have a better look.

crane on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However, there’s so much more excitement going on over at the loading bay.

There’s a large lorry with an even bigger trailer, and then we have the huge portable crane that we see every so often here in the harbour that looks as if it’s just unloaded a rather large piece of machinery from the trailer – something with caterpillar tracks.

The other material on the quayside suggests that one of the Jersey freighters is going to be in port in the very near future so I wonder if the large machine is destined to be joining them and they’ll all be going out to Jersey together.

Quite possibly the machine is beyond the lifting capacity of the dockside crane, hence the portable crane.

trawler returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Before I leave the dockside for home, I heard a familiar rattle from behind me so I turned to see what it was.

The harbour gates are closed right now but it seems as if it’s not going to be long before they open. This looks like the first trawler to make it back home ready to unload its catch, whenever it can come in to tie up.

Back here I made a coffee and then finally after much prevarication over the last week made another start on the big radio project. I actually finished one speech too, with all of the amendments. Only another 4 or 5 to do, so I’m hoping that I can keep the momentum going tomorrow – including an early start.

Tea was some of those small soya fillets in breadcrumbs, and with some of those and some more veg gone I manage to squeeze in one bag of carrots to freeze. There’s another one to go in, but that wil have to wait for some other time.

And now I’ll try for an early night. High time that I had one, and had a decent sleep too. Nothing is being done around here and that’s driving me to distraction.

At least the afternoon’s walk has blown away a few cobwebs. But I wish that I knew what I had to do to dispose of the spiders that are crawling around inside me.