Tag Archives: gerlean

Friday 28th January 2022 – I FOUND OUT …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 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.

Sunday 16th January 2022 – NO WONDER …

… that I’m exhausted. I must have travelled miles during the night.

One of these days they’ll invent an ethereal fitbit that will track my travels when I’m off on my nocturnal voyages and I bet that the distances that I travel will be interesting.

Anyway, last night I had a very disturbed night (as you will discover as you read on) and despite being awake on several occasions at some kind of ridiculous hour, there was no danger whatever of my leaving my stinking pit until I was good and ready – which was about 10:15 this morning.

After the medication I had to download a few files off the portable computer that I take with me to Leuven, and then I could pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. They went together quite well too, but not as well as they did a couple of weeks ago.

For a few hours afterwards I had a little laze about not doing too much, except for having my brunch. Porridge and thick slices of toast with strong black coffee.

Round about 15:00 I wandered into the kitchen and made a big load of pizza dough, seeing as I’d run out. And I do have to say that for some reason that I can’t understand, it turned out to be one of the nicest doughs that I have made.

Nice and soft and smooth and silky.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022having put the dough on the side in order to rise, I went off for my post-prandial perambulation around the promontory.

First port of call quite obviously was the beach to see what was happening down there today. It’s been a good few days since I stuck my head over the parapet.

Plenty of beach this afternoon but there wasn’t anyone down there on it, although I did notice a couple of people walking down the steps from the Rue du Nord going off for an afternoon ramble.

And while I was at it, I was being photo-bombed by a seagull on its way out to sea.

rainstorm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was there, I was having a good look around out to sea to see if there was anything happening there.

There wasn’t a single boat that I could see out there this afternoon which was a surprise because it was actually quite a nice afternoon, for a change. And after the last few days of winter, it’s warmed up somewhat and now much more like March again.

But there was a rainstorm brewing out at sea in the bay. You can see it out there just offshore, obscuring the Ile de Chausey. Luckily there wasn’t very much wind to speak of this afternoon so there wasn’t very much danger of me being caught in it.

rainstorm sun on sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This afternoon we were having yet more beautiful lighting effects. It’s one of the things that I like about this time of the year.

We were having another one of these really nice TORA TORA TORA light displays where the sun comes streaming through the gaps in the clouds.

And with the rainstorm that was going on out at sea it was producing some quite interesting effects. It was a shame that there were so few people out there watching it. There can’t have been more than a dozen or so people out there on the path up to the lighthouse this afternoon.

sun baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And out in the Baie de Mont St Michel things were even nicer.

As well as the TORA TORA TORA effect we had a spotlight or two illuminating the water as the sun shone brightly through a gap in the clouds.

The rainstorm in the distance was obscuring the Brittany coast but the sea was nice and bright there.

Wouldn’t it have been nice to have caught a yacht or a fishing boat sailing through the beams of light? But you can’t have everything of course.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There actually were some people down there admiring the view as well.

Sitting down there by the cabanon vauban was someone on the bench watching the sunset. And someone further out sitting on the rocks at the end of the headland. It’s a shame that there weren’t any boats out there for us to see this afternoon.

But on another more depressing note, the way things are these days, we have to keep a lose eye on people sitting like that on the rocks. The events of mid-November are still etched quite firmly in my mind.

container pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But never mind that for the moment. There were things that were much more interesting going on that require some investigation.

The skip that’s down here on the headland gives us a clue, and my hat goes off to the driver who dropped it off here.

What is going on right now is concerning the group of people who are planning on opening a museum in one of the abandoned World War II bunkers. They have been given permission to go into another one of the closed-up bumkers and clear it out of 75 years-worth of debris and see what they can find.

pivot for cannon bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022and almost straight away, they uncovered something interesting.

This is the pivot of a field gun – either a 105mm or a 128mm quite likely, that would be used as coastal defence to protect the area from either an invasion landing or a commando raid.

Mind you, when the Germans launched a commando raid on Granville on 9th March 1945, whatever artillery was here in the bunker didn’t do much good to repel the attack.

And, I suppose, as they go further into the bunker, the more and more artefacts will be discovered.

interior of bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But at least they have cleaned the walls of the bunker we can actually see the markings that the Germans painted on the walls.

These are presumably unit identification marks, although I don’t know which units are being indicated.

What I’ll have to do is to have a wander around the area during working hours and hope that I can lay my hands on one of the people clearing out the bunker. The fact that the skip is still here seems to indicate that they will be back here using it at the beginning of next week at least.

And so I’ll make a mental note.

storm waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022although I said that there was very little wind today, there must be something going on somewhere out at sea.

As I walked around the headland I could hear the sound of the waves smacking into the harbour wall so I was keen to see exactly what was going on. Consequently I pushed on along the path towards the post.

It wasn’t much of a show, unfortunately. The waves were more powerful that I was expecting in view of the weather conditions, but they weren’t producing anything spectacular when they crashed into the wall. There was plenty of noise but none of it to any great effect.

les bouchots de chausey unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, over at the fish-processing plant, there was plenty of activity going on.

Les Bouchots de Chausey, one of the little inshore shell-fishing boats, was in port this afternoon, working on a Sunday. And she must have had quite a good catch today.

She’s busy unloading her boxes of shellfish onto the trailer at the back of the tractor over there and you can tell from the amount on there that she’s had a profitable day.

A few weeks ago I encountered the tractor hauling the loaded trailer off through the town and out towards Donville les Bains. And one of these days I’ll follow her to find out where she goes.

gerlean chausiaise joly france chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When I came back from Paris yesterday I could see that there was little change in the chantier naval.

As we can see, Gerlean is still in there. All on her own, too. No-one else has come in to join her while I was away.

Over at the ferry terminal however, we have the usual suspects over there. Chausiaise, the little freighter, is at the head of the queue and behind her is the older of the two Joly France boats – the one without the step in the stern.

ch638749 pescadore ch907879 l'arc en ciel ch898472 cap lihou l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home I went to look at the boats moored in the inner harbour, not the least of the reasons being that L’Omerta was actually tied up for once at the pier.

We also had Pescadore, L’Arc-en-Ciel, Cap Lihou and a couple of other boats that I didn’t recognise tied up down there too.

And of course there were the two Channel Island Ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville, moored up in the background looking as if they aren’t ever going to move again.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night.

In the middle if the night I awoke as I was counting something and trying to write down these numbers with a pen but I couldn’t find a pen that worked. But I can’t remember now what it was that I was counting and I have no idea. It was like a table of numbers or something and this was just one particular row of these numbers but I can’t remember what they were for.

Later on there was a pile of girls, probably about 6 or 7 years of age having to stand in a line and talk about where they came from etc. One girl came from Africa but was a white girl said “Africa, yes, that’s me. That’s where I come from. That’s my home town” etc but I couldn’t help the feeling that this was being transferred over to me as well. I had ti edit the view of this concert because the ratio was wrong – something like 1.5:1 instead of 1.1. If I were to do that I would lose a lot of everything. I had to have the focusing right and the general screen capture size right in order to do it. And I’m impressed with the technical details and terms that I can spout when I’m asleep .

After that there was a girl aged about 10 or 11 or so in a swimsuit and bonnet. Suddenly she was attacked and killed. That cheered me up because it meant that there would be a place for me to go and live on an island so I put myself in the queue but there was someone there in charge, some fellow or person, who said “there are still too many people so the queue needs to be cut down by half” which meant that I wasn’t going to go this time. I would have to wait for something equally dramatic next time before I could go. And isn’t that all a totally gruesome idea?

Last night we were also prisoners of war in something like COLDITZ CASTLE in a high security room with a few of us in it. We tried to escape once but the guy in charge was not very good and not only had we all been recaptured before we’d even done anything he’d had some confidential papers captured too and he’d been shot although not seriously. We were there again and we tried to have another go at escaping. The idea was to lull this commandant person into a false sense of security then when one of his guards would go out to do something, we could overpower the reduced numbers and escape from the castle like Colditz. So one of the guards had to leave. As he pulled up the zip on his ski suit it passed a certain point that someone had indicated with a blue “X”. This meant that the escape was on. He went and someone pulled on the commandant a gun that he had hidden and gathered up quickly everything that they needed. Then it was a case of making the commandant unconscious so someone hit him with the barrel of the gun. It didn’t work so I hit him about 3 or 4 times but that still didn’t knock him unconscious so in the end someone else took over. We then set the room alight. Someone wasn’t happy about leaving the commandant there with this room alight. I replied that every time he flew over Germany he dropped one bomb that killed far more people than just one without any scruples whatsoever

Interestingly, later on we were all in this Prisoner of War camp in this high-security room with the commandant and a couple of the guards. We’d already tried to escape once but had been overpowered by weight of numbers and the guy in charge had been shot, not seriously. They captured all of our confidential papers and I tried to drum it in to the idea thatwe should keep all of the papers like that together so that they could be thrown into the fire early etc. In the end we made ourselves ready. One of the German guards was called away as we hoped leaving the commandant behind. When this guy’s zip was drawn up to a certain spot it was as if a blue “X” appeared on his zip when the two sides were drawn together. That was our signal so we overpowered the commandant and captured his papers etc and prepared to leave. We set fire to the room with some accelerant. Someone was upset about that. We should rescue the captain but I said that each bomb that they had dropped over German territory would kill far more people than just one and that they’d dropped that bomb without any scruples whatsoever. In the end they prepared to scramble down out of this building and this railway cutting on their way off. So what was happening there that I had an almost-identical dream twice I have no idea.

And then I had my house up for sale. There was a group of us round at my other place tidying it up because it was really dirty, building rubble and brick dust everywhere that I was trying to vacuum, not very successfully. My friend from Belfast grabbed hold of me and asked me what was going on about Luxembourg. I replied that they were worried that the whole world was going to be flooded with cheap labour from the Arab states. He asked what I propsed to do about it and I replied “put a tax on foreign workers”. He said that that wouldn’t go down very well with some people. I replied “never mind. It can’t be helped”. We had to keep checking the door to make sure that a girl I know from Luxembourg wasn’t overhearing. We came round to what we were going to do about the apartment that was for sale. Someone told me to be careful and not to accept the first offer I received. I replied “I’m well aware of that” and told them a few stories about apartments that had been sold. “I’m prepared to wait for the right moment” even if it meant leaving it empty or putting it down in ten, but I’d sell it”. Then we were all called together and had to collect our security passes. Helen’s security pass and Steve’s security pass, I’d been involved in the preparation of those and I still had the boxes in which their cards came so I had to be very careful to give the right number to the guy taking the details that whoever he looked at had, he would write down the right number, mine and not one of the other two’s, and that he wouldn’t duplicate the numbers and leave one of the cards out.

Finally there was something about a Land Rover. I was with a friend last night. We’d gone to see a van that I’d just bought – that he’d bought on my behalf. An LDV. We didn’t actually get to see the LDv – we were sidetracked as usual by a Land Rover that he owned. It was a diesel and we were taking about this diesel Land Rover. I mentioned that I owned a Minerva that brought a few smiles from around various people. In the end we ended up back at his wife’s. She was talking about his cars, saying that he had far too many and it was high time that he did a few things with one. Something came up about another Land Rover that he owned, how something had to be done with that so that the Land Rover that we had seen at someone else’s house could be brought home. he said something about going to fetch the van that I’d bought but I asked him “where are you going to park it?”. There was no room in his drive at all. he saw the wisdom in that and said that we can do that another time. By then the wife and I were out somewhere. We had Zero with us. We’d been driving around but I thought that we’d not been going the right way to get back to her house. Instead she took another way. We were waiting to turn right at a road junction but were there for hours, even with people passing on the right to go straight on. Eventually we reached this other house which was in total chaos worse than mine. She was telling these guys about her husband’s new Land Rover. Zero was there with these other kids, all playing with a huge pile of toys and everything. It just seemed to peter out at that particular moment, this story, which was rather a shame.

It’s no surprise that I was exhausted after all of this travelling about. And what a shame that the final voyage petered out just as it was becoming interesting.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But there was so much of it that I had to break off in the middle to go and deal with the dough.

It had risen beautifully so I split it into three batches. Two of them went into the freezer and the third one was rolled out and put in the pizza tray to proof for an hour or so while I carried on with “War and Peace”.

After the dough had risen nicely I assembled the pizza and put it in the oven to bake.

And when it was finished, it looked totally beautiful. And I do have to say that it tasted even better, even if I had forgotten to use the remaining half-pepper that I had brought out of the fridge.

So having written my notes, I’m off to bed. It’s a 06:00 start tomorrow as I have a radio programme to prepare. There’s the physio tomorrow afternoon too, so I need to be at my best.

But we’ll see how tomorrow unfolds, especially if I travel as far during the night as I did last night.

Monday 10th January 2022 – NOT VERY MANY …

… photographs today. And you’ll find out why as you read on. It’s not been a very good day today. Not at all.

It started off quite well though. When the alarm went off at 06:00 this morning I was actually out of bed quite rapidly for a change. And after the medication and checking the mails and messages, I attacked the radio programme that I intended to do.

And despite a couple of breaks for coffee and for breakfast, It was all finished and up and running by 10:37. And it would have been finished even quicker had the final track that I had chosen been properly formatted.

In the end I had to re-record it and re-format it and that took a while. And had I thought on, I would have re-recorded the whole album because if one track is badly formatted, it follows that all of the others are too.

When I’d finished the programme and listened to it (and to the one that will be sent off later for broadcast this weekend) I went and had a shower and washed a load of clothes ready for my voyage to Leuven on Wednesday.

After lunch the nurse came round and gave me my injection of Aranesp following which I sorted out my papers ready for my walk up to the physiotherapist.

jade 3 loading with crane port de Granville harbour Manche harbour Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way down the hill into town I noticed that there was something happening down at the inner harbour.

If I am correct, the trawler down there is Jade III and there is somethign going on for which she needs the services of one of the dockside cranes.

It can’t be the nets because they are usually loaded from the rear, with the boats stern-on to the quayside, as we have seen on many occasions down there in the past. But this crane is being used on the side of the boat.

This afternoon I was rather late setting out for my appointment so I couldn’t loiter around. I had to push on quite rapidly. But I made it there in time.

And this is where my problems began. In the middle of an exercise my knee gave out again, just as it did that time in Paris, and I fell to the floor quite heavily. I didn’t have the strength to pull myself up, but luckily I was by the wall-bars so I could grab hold of something to help me to my feet.

But at least my physiotherapist had a really good view of what happened. She’s no longer in any doubt about the issues that I’m having. But it’s not boding well for my trip to Leuven on Wednesday.

Luckily, one of my neighbours was there at the same time as me, and he too was a witness to my little incident. He was here in his car so he offered to drive me home which was very kind of him.

Back here I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed outside for a wander around – and fell down the stairs as my knee gave way again. And so I didn’t go very far.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Nevertheless I struggled on across the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

It was rather later than usual, with having had to hang around somewhat for a lift, and so the tide was coming in quite rapidly. And there was no-one down there on the beach at all. The place was deserted.

The weather wasn’t actually all that bad. Although there was some rain in the air being blown around by the wind, it was quite warm for the time of year. In fact, this weather is unseasonably-warm. I don’t think that I’ve ever known a winter quite as mild as this one so far.

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There had been some kind of activity at the chantier naval that I’d noticed earlier so I went for a closer look with the 70-300mm LENS

Gerlean is still there of course, but over on the right the skyjack has put in an appearance from out of the shed where it usually lives. It doesn’t look as if there’s any reason for it to have been brought outside – they usually only need it when they are working on one of the large trawlers.

But even more interestingly, they have a couple of vans with people in attendance over at the portable boat lift. It’s not been back in commission for a month yet but it’s already been under repair once and it looks as if it’s under repair yet again.

ch640361 nais ch638749 pescadore port de Granville harbour  Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, back in the inner harbour, most of the fishing boats that we had seen in there the other day now seem to have gone out to sea.

There’s Pescadore, the blue and black trawler that we saw in the chantier naval the other day, down there, and also one of the inshore shell-fishing boats too.

Luckily I could read her registration number from up here and now that I know where to access the index of French-registered fishing boats, I can tell you that she’s called Nais.

What with the leg giving me issues right now, I didn’t go any farther. I turned round and headed for home, with something of an undignified scramble up the stairs to my apartment.

Back here I made a coffee and came back in here to sit down, where I crashed out definitively. And to such an extent that I was seriously thinking of going back to bed at one point I felt so dreadful. And it’s been such a long time since I’ve felt even remotely like that. When I awoke, my coffee was stone-cold.

And once I recovered I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was staying last night in some weird hotel run by some Indians somewhere. He had only prepared part of my bill but I had to leave although I’d be back later. He hadn’t finished working out how much my evening meal was. I went out but when I returned he told me that Nina had been to see me. She’d turned up not long after I’d gone. There obviously wasn’t much that I could do about that. I waited for him to finish this bil for the meal. It was totally astronomical. He’d done things like because I was the only person there eating at that time he’d charged me the hourly rate of the 3 servers and the cook, that kind of thing. I had to pay their wages for an hour or so. Instead of paying something like £7 or £8 it was £70 or £80. I thought that it was absolutely astonishing. But whatever it was, he was busy explaining why he’d added this in, why he’d added that in and he never reached to point of telling me how much it was. No matter how much I asked him about this bill he still wouldn’t tell me how much it was. It was dragging on and on and on. I wanted him to get to the total but he was too busy with all of these explanations to tell me anything about how much I was going to have to pay at the end.

Tea tonight was taco rolls and rice with veg using the stuffing left over from Saturday. Tomorrow night’s tea will of course be a curry made of everything loitering in the fridge that needs to be eaten before I go off to Leuven.

That is, of course, if I go. With Covid being out of control it depends if there will be a train. And even if there is a train, it depends if I’m in any kind of state to travel there.

This is not going to be a good week for me to travel.

Sunday 9th January 2022 – MY CUNNING PLAN …

… for ENDLESS SUNDAYS at lest started as it ought to have done, with me not showing a leg until 10:50 this morning.

As it happens, I’d actually been awake at 07:20 but if anyone thinks that I’m going to be raising myself from the dead at a silly hour like that on a Sunday is mistaken.

Plenty of time therefore for me to go off on a few nocturnal rambles here and there. I was with a young girl last night but she was no-one whom we knew. She was small and had wavy blonde hair. I was trying to go from somewhere to somewhere else but there were no buses or trains so I had to walk. The first leg of my journey was something like 30km so I was busy counting the paces as I walked to make sure that I was on the right speed. I’d already done 12km by the time that mid-morning came round. As I was going down West Street I’d acquired this girl by then. She knew that her name was Anemone or Aphrodite and was a Greek goddess. I was being pursued by my mother and one of my sisters. We shook them off by going round one side of a pillar box while they went round the other but we cut round and across and down into Underwood Lane. They followed us from there. They were talking about the Girls’ Grammar School which was down there (which, of course, it isn’t) and my idea of taking this girl to the Grammar School was totally wrong because there was some kind of copyright or something like that on the Grammar School and I couldn’t use it for my purposes. Something complicated like this. I took no notice and carried on walking down the road with this girl. It was pitch-black and you couldn’t see a thing. Trying to negotiate the bends in this road and the road junctions when you can’t see anything and you have these 2 people behind harping on, it was extremely difficult. And I wish that my family would stop following me around when I’m in the company of a nice young girl.

Later on there was something like a natural disaster, like a flood and I had to go to rescue someone. There was a big Bedford-type horsebox involved in this as well. When I arrived, I couldn’t see the girl whom I’d been sent to rescue. There was another one but this was disappointing because I remembered the 1st girl from some other time. Later, the same thing happened again. Another natural disaster like a flood and I had to go to rescue someone, with a different horse box this time. This time it was the girl whom I recognised, the blonde with her hair in a pony tail, and whom I should have picked up last time. I managed to arrive there in time to rescue her this time. I don’t know who she is in “real life” but in my dream I knew who she was but I just couldn’t think who.

And later still I’d moved house again. I was living somewhere else and I’d taken all of my solar panels and wind turbines with me. We’d slowly been reinstalling everything back in. There were loads of people helping me. Someone who might have been my father was in charge of everything but I don’t know who he was. One night I’d gone to bed and next morning I awoke but everyone was already there working so I went out to the yard to the outhouse to fetch some milk. I was checking the batteries, everything. Considering that it was bright sunlight and a really nice day there was only 12.3 volts in the batteries. I thought that that was really strange. There ought to be much more in there than that. So I fetched my milk and the guy in charge shouted something like “are you going back inside? They need you to open the hatch to the loft in there”. I replied “yes. I’ve only just come out for a minute. I’ll be back in in a sec”. Someone else said to this guy that they had a new door to install in there to go out”. Someone else asked “did they get one in the end? They were talking about it yesterday”. He replied “yes. You should see it! They really do fancy themselves, this lot!”.

So having had a few days (and nights) of some really interesting and welcome characters in my rambles, I’m now back to being pursued around by members of my family. That’s a shame, isn’t it? They just won’t leave me alone.

After the medication I came here and transcribed all of the dictaphone notes that you have just read, and by then it was time for brunch. Porridge with toast and buckets-full of coffee.

This afternoon I updated all of the journal entries that needed the dreams adding back – all the way to December 15th. And unfortunately there was nothing really startling about anything that had happened during the night for that couple of weeks.

But I did notice that the images hadn’t been added in for several days so that’s something that I need to do next. All of that relentless series of trips to the hospital over that couple of days in December disrupted my routine, I’m afraid to say.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The weather had shown an improvement since yesterday, which was no surprise as it couldn’t surely have been any worse.

There was some light rain falling but that didn’t bother me too much. It seemed to bother everyone else though because there was no-one around on the beach. It was pretty much deserted down there.

And there was nothing of any nature at all happening out to sea either. No boat of any description sailing around in the bay. It’s not as if it’s really winter though. Temperatures are more like late March than early January.

people path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And so with nothing else to detain me, I set off down the path to the end of the headland.

There weren’t very people around on the path either. I encountered no more than half a dozen as I walked down to the lighthouse at the end.

And of those half-a-dozen people, not one of them wearing a mask. There’s an Arrêt Prefectorial about wearing masks in open spaces here in the Manche.

Even if there wasn’t, I would have thought that 303,669 cases of infection yesterday would have given most people a clue as to the gravity of the situation. We aren’t ever going to be rid of the virus if people don’t start to take it seriously.

french flag seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Mind you, on the subject of taking things seriously, we ought to have a look at (what’s left of) the flag that’s flying over the Memorial to the Missing Seamen.

Yesterday I posted a photo of the flag showing that the red stripe was becoming detached from the rest of the flag after the wind that we had had yesterday afternoon.

And so after the wind that we had had yesterday evening, the flag has now been finished off. We apparently now have Liberty and Fraternity, but Equality has now completely Gone With The Wind.

It’ll probably turn up somewhere on the beach out near Jullouville, just like that foot did a few weeks ago.

And while we’re on the subject of feet on beaches … “well, one of us is” – ed … there’s a bay on the border of British Columbia and Washington State where SHOES WITH FEET INSIDE are washed ashore on a regular basis.

So let that be a lesson to you. Always stick a small piece of soap down the bottom of your shoes when you go into the water so that if your feet become detached from your body, they can be washed ashore.

I’ll get my coat.

people cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Just for a change there were some people down there at the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban this afternoon. We haven’t seen anyone down there for a good few days.

Whatever it is that they went to see, it beats me because there was nothing at all going on out in the bay this afternoon. And with the mist, the Brittany coast out there on the other side of the bay wasn’t visible either.

The sea had calmed down somewhat as well from yesterday so they weren’t even having the spectacle of the rough sea crashing down on the rocks.

But as long as they were happy, that’s all that counts, although I wish that they would wear their masks. I left them to it and headed off down the path towards the port and home.

joly france chausiaise ferry terminal gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No change in the inhabitants of the port this afternoon either.

Over at the ferry terminal we have Chaisiaise and the older of the two Joly France boats, the one without a step in the stern. And in the chantier naval we have Gerlean still there. She’s not moved for about a week now.

There was nothing else that piqued my interest so I headed back for home and my nice hot coffee. It’s not been that cold out here, as I mentioned earlier, but it was damp and a mug of hot coffee is always welcome.

After I’d had lunch I’d taken some pizza dough (the last batch as it happens) out of the freezer and left it to defrost during the afternoon.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022After I’d had my coffee I kneaded it again, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray to proof for a while. When it was ready, I assembled it and it went into the oven to bake.

It wasn’t as good as the last two or three. The base underneath the topping was rather soggy still and it can’t go any lower in the oven. It’s already on the lowest rung that there is.

But nevertheless it still tasted totally delicious. I have the knack now, I reckon, of making a good pizza. All I need now is a good oven but that’s going to have to wait for a while, I reckon. I’m still not sure how I’m going to fit an oven in the kitchen.

So now I’m off to bed. I have an early start in the morning in order to prepare a radio programme. The one that will be broadcast this next weekend will be programme 112 but I’ll be working on programme 143. I’m about 6 months ahead, and on purpose too, for obvious reasons, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

The show must go on, hey, whether I am suffering from ill-health or even pushing up the daisies.

Friday 7th January 2022 – NOT VERY MANY …

rainstorm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… photos today, people.

And when you see this photo that I took while I was out on my afternoon walk, you’ll understand why. That’s a rainstorm out there in the Baie de Granville obscuring the Ile de Chausey, and it’s a big one too.

And about two minutes after taking this photograph, I got the lot. Dropped on my head from a great height, as it were.

Had I seen it coming before I went outside I might even have waited for it to pass over, but I didn’t notice it until I was on my way down the path, by which time it was too late, so I carried on regardless and even four or five hours later my trousers are still wet.

It’s a good job that I’d worn my rain jacket.

So what have I been up to today then?

The answer is that I’ve been fairly busy (for once). And that includes during the night too. One of my friends – and I can’t remember who it was now – was teaching a class of Primary School children and the question of cars came up. I’d been dismantling a pile of German cars so I had loads of German numberplates and things. One of the numberplates had a collection of badges on it. There were a lot of things that were very interesting so I arranged to go into her class to give a little talk to the children. Of course Strawberry Moose came with me. When I arrived I was pretty loaded up so people had to open doors etc for me. I finally entered and put everything down. I had to introduce myself and say why I was there. One of the flower pots on the desk fell off onto the floor right in front of us all for no apparent reason so that had to be picked up. Then other things like that started to go wrong. This was taking ages but I’d hardly started. I said that I used to go to this school as a child and Mrs Matthews and Miss Blackburn were my teachers. I’d hardly started but everything was going wrong. We were running out of time. I could see that it would have been far better to have done this in the morning rather than in the afternoon after lunch but it was crazy.

Later on, TOTGA had 2 cats. We were talking on the ‘phone when she gave one such a smack. I asked “what’s up? Poor cat!”. She said “poor chat! How would you like it if one of them had just scratched your brand-new cricket shoes to shreds?” – something like that.

This was something to do with globalisation and my Passat estate. I’d been with a group of people and they’d all decided that they wanted to do different things. This was in the Netherlands or Flanders. I didn’t really want to do anything but they had all decided where they were going. They were all going to different places and I’d be on my own so I tagged on to one of them. There was a howling gale blowing outside that had already blown in one of the windows. We had to run down these 4 flights of stairs to the bottom in the teeth of this gale so I set off. When I reached the bottom there was a German soldier with a rifle holding me up. He asked where I was going and I replied “the hospital” so he showed me where it was and I went on my way. At the hospital we talked about globalisation, how the War had made some big American companies into multinationals. They were talking about cars too. I had a pile of plastic folders on my desk with all information about cars that I’d owned. We went through all of those and came to the one of the Passat. I said that this is the last of the really independent estate cars. After this, everything else was all the same.

There was something else too about TOTGA. She was in goal. There were people throwing all kinds of things at the goal. She was diving around like a goalkeeper keeping them all out. There was something to do with my Passat as well in this but I can’t remember what it was.

So aren’t I the lucky one? A couple of nights of Castor and Zero, and then TOTGA comes along. It’ll be Kate Bush and Jenny Agutter tonight, you just wait and see.

Once I’d transcribed the dictaphone notes (and a second time too because I deleted rather than saved them – it’s a good job that I do my daily back-up) first task was to make the bread.

500 grammes of wholemeal flour, 8 grammes of salt, 80 grammes of sunflower seeds, 2 packs of yeast and 320 grammes of water all kneaded together for about half an hour.

While it was busy proofing, I made the rest of the hummus now that I have a whizzer. And I’ll tell you something for nothing, and that is that I’m not going to be bothered by vampires and werewolves while eating this batch. It’s wicked.

It’s a simple recipe too. For any given quantity of weight, use 50% of chick peas, 25% of tahini (sesame seed paste), some olive oil and chick pea juice to make it up to about 95%, some sea salt, black pepper and garlic. Then whizz it up into a nice puree to the consistency of cement.

Then add your filling to take it up to 100%. One batch had diced olives and the other one diced sun-dried tomatoes. Whizz them in gently, just enough to disperse them throughout the mix but not to atomise them.

Kepp what you need in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer for further use. I have some nice 125ml ice cream tubs that I salvaged from a housemate in Leuven and they are perfect.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, back at the bread. It had risen quite nicely and so it was put in the oven to do its stuff for 70 minutes

And this is how it turned out. Doesn’t it look beautiful?

It tasted beautiful too, especially with the fresh hummus on it. It made a really wonderful lunch and I was very impressed with this. I’m really going to have to start to get back into cooking again.

And if I’m feeling like that, you can tell that I’m feeling much better than I did earlier in the week. I wonder if I can keep this up for a while.

While I’d been waiting for the bread to bake, I’d been doing this little exercise in my journal that I started yesterday. That’s finished now, which is good news.

But what’s surprising is that there were only 79 entries in total that needed to be amended and none at all before 2012. Considering that this played an important part in my life between 1996 and late 2007 and still does to a considerable degree, this is quite astonishing. I was expecting many, many more than this.

After my delicious lunch, I started on this soundfile and by the time that I was ready to knock off for work, I had finished it. Reduced from 27:32 to 11:35.

At least, I thought that I had. But for some unaccountable reason, one of the channels was would up to +36dB and I hadn’t noticed it before I saved it. And so it’s “clipped” horribly and reducing the decibels just turns it into a big mess.

Luckily, it’s the interviewer’s channel so I’m able to take the master recording (I never edit the master recordings, only copies that I make), cut out the questions, re-edit them and paste them back in over the top where the clipping has taken place.

It’s not easy because there is some overlap, but it’s better than I expected. I’ll finish that tomorrow anyway.

When I started using Audacity I knew next to nothing about it. But as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I never make any mistakes. I just learn a lot of lessons very quickly.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Like taking a raincoat with me when I go out for my afternoon walk.

Actually, I might have gathered that something was up by the fact that the place was totally deserted. There wasn’t a soul about. Certainly not down on the beach this afternoon. I had it all to myself.

There wasn’t anything at all going on out at sea – at least, as far as I could see. And that wasn’t very far with that rainstorm just offshore. Quite a change from the last couple of days when we’ve had some of the best views that I can remember.

skip place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There was something going on on the car park though.

Over the last couple of days we’ve seen the lorry and mini-digger coming back and to to the area. And now a skip has appeared with a load of soil in it. Something must be happening somewhere and I suppose that I ought to get out and about and look to see what it is.

But not today. Not in this weather anyway. I girded up my loins, wrapped my raincoat tightly aroud me, stuffed the NIKON D500 up underneath my jumper and waded off through the puddles and down the path.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And it wasn’t until I reached the chantier naval that I stopped either.

But that was because despite the weather, there was some change down there today. Trafalgar, the trawler that we saw in there yesterday, has now disappeared. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

There’s just Gerlean in there today, and she’s heavily wrapped up against the weather, just as I wish that I was.

Not wishing to hang about any longer, I headed back for home and my nice hot coffee. And to finish (and then re-start) the editing of the sound-file. And I’m glad that I’ve done it. Quite a change from a couple of days ago.

Tea was some of these burgers in breadcrumbs that I like, with veg and baked potato. They are quite delicious and I enjoyed that meal very much.

So all in all, a busy day today. And about time too. Tomorrow, I’m shopping. Not for very much because I’m off on my travels on Wednesday morning so I’m only planning on going to Lidl. And I’ll be glad to have my lie-in on Sunday. I’m really looking forward to that.

Thursday 6th January 2022 – LOOK WHO’S BACK!

lorry trailer minidigger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And he’s brought a friend with him too.

It seems that I was exceedingly premature the other day when I said that they must have finished down at the roadworks by the Rue St Michel, because ever since then, the lorry with its trailer and machines has been back every day.

And in the past I’ve mentioned about the difficulties that large vehicles have of passing underneath the Porte St Jean into the old town. It’s usual therefore for there to be a means of trans-shipment using a smaller vehicle, and today there’s a pick-up by the side of the lorry unloading stuff that it’s brought from within the walls

This morning I needed a pick-up to move me from my bed into the living room because I certainly wasn’t capable of doing it under my own steam.

It had been another “nuit blanche” – a night without any sleep. At least, that’s what it felt like and the fact that there was nothing at all recorded on the dictaphone tends to give that idea some credence. I suppose that the awful afternoon that i’d had yesterday was preying on my mind.

After the medication and so on, I came back in here feeling sorry for myself and not doing anything at all. And that’s how it went for a couple of hours.

But a strong mug of coffee at breakfast time gradually seeped down all the way through my muscles and I began slowly to feel more like it. I even went out and did the “end of the month” back-up onto the memory stick that I take to Leuven with me that I use to update the travelling laptop.

And feeling a little more like it after that, I set myself a little task, to prove that I am worthy.

There’s been a persistent … well, not a fault, but something that I would like to change in my notes and I’d made a start back in November and all subsequent entries have reflected it.

It’s to do with a song by Al Stewart that I heard while I was preparing a radio programme and it reminded me of something going back to 2006-07 that I did that I had forgotten, inspired by the same song. The lyrics were … well … extremely appropriate at the time.

Anyway, being up-to-date with that from November, there were entries going back all the way to the start of this journal to amend and so I made a start. Not every day of course, maybe one every few weeks (although just recently they have been a lot more frequent than that) and I made it as far back as the end of October 2020.

And if I have time tonight I’ll do a few more too because it’s quite therapeutic. Al Stewart has a lot to answer for.

Another strong coffee brought me even more into the land of the living and I attacked the soundfile that I started the other day.

With a pause here and there and a pause for my afternoon walk, I was well-advanced. Over 10 minutes of this interview has already gone the way of the west leaving me with, at the moment, just about 15 minutes, of which there will be more following its friends into oblivion.

There is at the moment 8.5 minutes of how I want it to be, so I’m looking as if I’m going to end up with about 12 minutes in total.

It won’t be done tomorrow morning though because I have bread to make. and now that I have a new whizzer, I need to finish off making this large batch of hummus.

In fact there would have been much more of this sound file edited but Rosemary rang me up for a chat and we had another one of our marathon sessions.

As for the afternoon walk, well, it was like a March day outside – not cold, not wet, not particularly anything.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022First place to go to is the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what’s going on down there.

And there was plenty of beach for all kinds of things to be going on, but there weren’t many people down there going on with it. In fact, for the whole length of the beach, I could only see one person, although there was some movement down by the bouchot beds at Donville les Bains.

While I was there, I had a good look out to sea to see whether we might have any kind of maritime activity, but there wasn’t a sausage out there this afternoon that I could see, and it was quite clear this afternoon again.

light aeroplane 50sa pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There might have been nothing going on out at sea, but there was something going on up in the air this afternoon.

As I walked down the path I was overflown by an aeroplane that had taken off from the local airfield. No need to look for a flight plan because it’s our old friend 50SA and, being an ultra-light aircraft, she doesn’t file one which is a shame.

And it’s my intention to go out to the airfield when I come back from Leuven to make further enquiries about these planes and find out what I can about them. But I bet that there will be no-one there to ask when I arrive.

cap fréhel cap erquy brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Yesterday, I mentioned that the views out to sea were amongst the best that we have ever had.

That’s certainly the case today and the view of Cap Fréhel, 70 kms away, even with the naked eye, was quite impressive. Not only that, if you look carefully at this image you can see the headland beyond it.

If I’m correct, that headland in the background to the right of the lighthouse is Cap Erquy and that’s a further 10 or 12 kilometres further on.

Yes, the views were really impressive, but it was a shame that there was only me out there enjoying them. There wasn’t another soul about this afternoon, and that suits me, with another 261,000 infections. I’m dreading going to Paris next week with all of this.

gerlean trafalgar chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No-one down by the bench at the end of the headland so I carried on along the path towards the port.

And there’s been another change of occupant in the chantier naval as well since I was last here. Pescadore and La Bavolette II now seem to have gone back into the water and in their place is the trawler Trafalgar whom we have seen in there before.

On the othe rhand, Gerlean is still in there, having a lot of work carried out on her. But I’ll refrain from saying “it looks as if she’s in here for a long stay” for that’s the cue for her to be back in the water when I come by tomorrow.

joly france chausiase ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Joly France boats, the older one of the two unless I’m much mistaken, is still over there as she has been for the last while, but she’s been joined today by Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey occasionally.

But wouldn’t it be nice to see the Channel Island ferries back at the ferry terminal? It’s been almost 2 years since they last went out (apart from that little window in the early summer 2020) and with the infection rates being so appalling, that’s not likely to change any time soon.

On the way home, I passed by the lorry and its trailer and little friend, and came back here for a coffee and to carry on work, until Rosemary called.

Tea tonight was pasta and burger with vegetables. Very nice and it made me feel much better. In fact, I’ve not had too bad a day today despite how it started (and how yesterday finished).

Baking bread tomorrow, making hummus, and whatever else I can find to do.

Thursday 30th December 2021 – I’M STILL HERE …

… and so is the little Opel van.

Caliburn is not and I finally know why. Apparently they were struggling to remove the rear disks and in doing so, sheared off a wheel bearing. It took them several hours to extract the pieces and then they had to order a new bearing as well as a new set of rear disks and pads

“Ring us tomorrow early afternoon and we’ll tell you where we are”. As it happens, I’m not interested in knowing where they are. I’m far more interested in knowing where Caliburn is.

The big issue with jobs like this is that oxy-acetylene welding is a thing of the past. No-one has the equipment these days. When I was car-dismantling in the 70s and 80s some heat from my oxy-acetylene bottles never failed me. That welding course I went on in the 1970s was worth its weight in gold and I still have my equipment down at the farm.

But to be honest, it just wasn’t my day today. In the middle of making my hummus and the motor burnt out on my little whizzer.

That’s not really a surprise though. When I moved here I bought everything new, but the cheapest possible so that I could have everything at once. And then, when things break down one after the other, buy something expensive and decent quality that will last longer than I will.

It’s a shame that Caliburn wasn’t ready because I had intended to pick up a new whizzer on my way to fetch him. But that looks as if it will have to wait.

And don’t get me started on this morning. I heard the alarm go off but I couldn’t force myself out of bed. It was 08:55 when I finally crawled from my stinking pit.

Mind you, when you see where I’d been during the night, you’ll understand why I was so tired. I started off with my brother and someone else. There was something about DVDs, “get your free DVD here if you join up” so I thought that I’d join up. Everyone laughed saying that i’d been hooked, that kind of thing but I thought that while I’m already buying a reasonable amount of DVDs as it is, so if there’s a way to do things better then I’m all in favour. I had this big hook and my prize if you like was that I had to go and hook this statue thing with this stick with a hook on the end. I managed to do it. I hooked this statue and much to my surprise it came alive. It was actually my little Inuit friend from Uummannaq. I explained “it looks like I’ve won you. Aren’t I the lucky one?”. We had all of us a bit of a laugh and a joke. I had to think about how our sleeping arrangements would be because everyone back at my place was just sleeping in one room. I thought that if I had a beautiful girl to keep hold of, there’s no way that I was going to sleep with anyone else other than her. We were chatting and joking as well as pondering over these questions. As we came closer to home things started to become a little more serious and the question of looking after her came up. I said “don’t worry, I’m really going to look after you and I promise that for ever”, those kinds of words. The biggest issue that I had was that my wife was actually pregnant at the time and I wasn’t quite sure about how I was going to manage to fit everything around how it was supposed to be and how I would like it to be without there being all kinds of complications cropping up. But here I am, getting the girl yet again, and a girl I actually wouldn’t mind getting too.

Not ‘arf, hey?

There was something about a baking programme on TV. I was showing how to bake cakes in a barbecue. I had this beautiful old cake tin that I was using. I thought “it’s a shame about this beautiful old cake tin but it’s going to have to go in a good cause”. The producer said something to me “do you know how many co-stars you have used in this series of programmes?”. I replied “not really”. He answered “you’ve used well over 100”. I replied “rubbish! I’ve used about 12 because many of them have come back for a second and third time”. There was something similar with something else but I can’t remember what that was. Again he quoted a number and I mentioned that it must be much less because I’m reusing this object quite regularly during this series of programmes

By now I had stepped back round again with my Inuit friend and we were getting married. There was a priest arranged and everything. I can’t remember how this developed from here or reality in the case of a barbecue like this in the middle of the street. How this fitted in somewhere I really don’t know.

Later on I was back in one of my previous dreams but I can’t remember which one now. I had a loaf of bread that had a cheese flavour in it. I thought that this was really good when you are making sandwiches. It brings everything out and makes the sandwich nicer

Here I am back in one of these previous dreams again, trying to hook up a trailer to a spaceship. It was extremely complicated, especially when the spaceship is only for a 9 year-old girl and we’ll be travelling the galaxy visiting all these far-off places with this contraption.

The girl was dressed in a bright blue long dress and leather boots and so on. The marriage ceremony between us was about to take place now and I couldn’t see a way to hope to get out of it, and where that came from and what that was all about, I really don’t know at all..

There was a family living near us, a man, his wife and two daughters. I was very fond of one of the daughters and wished that I could know her better. We were preparing to go on holiday to North Africa (as if that would ever happen). Just as we were about to leave we had a notice that Eva, the daughter whom I liked, had died. By this time it was too late to do anything. We were about to go on our way so we headed off and reached North Africa. We were sitting in our car in a car park and for some reason I couldn’t make the windows go down. Then a council pickup pulled up alongside us. The guy tapped on the door on the other side of the car and coupled up his mobile phone to, I dunno, one of my sisters or someone. It turned out that Corinne, the mother, had died of a brain tumour. Of course that was devastating. So we discussed illnesses, who’d had what and how it had been announced and so on

I’d been on my travels around Kettering inspecting a couple of offices and staying in a B&B. I’d seen a photo of ships that had sailed up the river to Kettering back in the Middle Ages and we’d had a good talk about that. When it came for me to go I had an enormous amount of difficulty packing and I couldn’t fit together everything I wanted. I had so much and it wouldn’t go in my suitcase. 2 small boys who lived in this house came to help but they didn’t seem to do very much. Eventually I arrived back in the main office. I was told that the General Manager wanted to meet me at 09:00. It completely went out of my head and at 09:15 someone else came to see me, asked me what I thought about the area around Kettering and asked me if I wanted to take charge of the office there. I basically said yes but on provision that Nerina’s transfer to an office in East London was cancelled because we were living in Huntingdon and she was working locally. I was travelling down to London every day and it seemed to make no sense whatsoever for me to end up back working locally for her then to travel all that way. The idea of her having a transfer down to London was so that we could move house together and not have very far to travel. Suddenly I remembered this appointment so I dashed over to see the boss. He had cerebral palsy or something and was in a real state of ill-health. As he was talking to me he was having health crises and I had to apologise because I didn’t know how to help him with his health issues. In the end it was settled that I would go and work in the Northampton area. So the first day, Nerina and I decided that we would take the train to the new office. We were waiting at the railway station and there were all kinds of people there including several guys with huge, enormous boxes of stuff. It was more like a tram stop. The tram eventually pulled up and it was crowded. There were no seats so we fought our way on. Nerina who by now had transformed herself into some other girl but I don’t know who ended up talking to a woman about her hairstyle and her hair colouring.

So you can see that it was a very busy and … errr … mobile night. I didn’t half do some travelling around.

What was even worse was that it took me all the morning to type out those notes – with a break for breakfast and to try to make my hummus too.

This afternoon I attacked a few of the arrears on the dictaphone again to try to bring them down to some kind of manageable number. And that took longer than it ought to have done too.

F-GIKI place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Of course, I have to go out for my afternoon walk to stretch my legs.

And almost immediately as I stepped out of the front door of the building I was overflown by an aeroplane. She’s one of our regulars – F-GIKI a Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931 from the aero club.

She took off at 14:47 and landed back there at 15:20, which seems quite strange to me because my photo was taken at 15:56. It looks as if the clock on the internet database is set to the wrong time zone today. It usually matches up pretty well with my own recorded times.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Having dealt with the issue of the aeroplane, my next stop was to see what was happening on the beach.

Firstly, there wasn’t all that much beach for anything to be happening on. But that half-dozen or so people down there were managing to conjure something up on what little bit of beach there was.

And if they don’t get a move on and sort themselves out, they may well find that they will cut themselves off from the steps back up to the top. They are a good 100 yards or so away and the tide comes in really rapidly down there.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021With nothing happening out in the bay here I set off down the path towards the lighthouse.

Yesterday here in France we had a whopping, massive total of 208,099 cases of Covid, all brought out to the rural areas by the crowds quitting Paris for the holidays. And as you can see in this photo, the only person with a mask was wearing it underneath his chin.

It really makes me wonder what has to happen to make people realise that this virus is going to be out of control very quickly and then there will really be some tragedy. Not just for those dying, but for those with permanent damage.

And then the thousands of people who can’t go to hospital for any other kind of treatment because there’s no room at the inn.

person sitting on rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021It’s not just me who feels the need to escape the company of other human beings with all of this going on right now.

Never mind the bench down at the end of the headland, some people want to be even farther away from what is called “civilisation” these days. This guy is perched on a rock right at the end of the headland and the only way on from her eis downwards.

And that’s why I’m taking something of an interest in people perched on rocks – it’s all to do with the events of mid-November, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. I still haven’t fully recovered from that just yet.

yacht boats pointe de carolles baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021While I was walking across the car park at the far end, I noticed that there was indeed some activity out there in the bay.

As well as what looked like three kayakers down there, we also had a yacht having a sail around, enjoying herself in the last of the winter sunlight for today

The sky was quite clear too. The view down to the foot of the bay was quite impressive, without any enhancement of the image. And the houses along the coast at Jullouville and Carolles stood out quite well.

In fact, on the other side of the headland Jersey was quite clear, although I couldn’t make out Cap Fréhel down the Brittany coast.

ch681985 gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There has been some activity down at the chantier naval over the last day or so.

We have one of the shell-fishing boats in there under repair just now, and as I have finally tracked down the French Governmen'(s register of fishing boats I can tell you that she’s called Gerlean.

She’s built of aluminium and is 9 metres long and is one of the 403 boats that hold a “sustainable fishing” licence that limits them to a catch of 900kg per day and bulots – a type of shellfish – of a minimum size of 47mm.

Back here I had a coffee and carried in transcribing the dictaphone notes in something of a desultory fashion. There are still plenty to go at but I’ll have another go tomorrow – and see if I can’t finish editing this sound file that I started yesterday.

There’s bread to bake too.

Tea was a stuffed pepper, thanks to my visit to LeClerc yesterday. So tomorrow, it will be taco rolls. And here’s hoping that Caliburn will be back home tomorrow as well. Although I’m not optimistic. I have a feeling that Caliburn might be there for a while yet.

But at least I have his van here as hostage.

Sunday 19th December 2021 – HERE WE GO!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 14th June 2021 – I WAS OUT …

… and about this morning walking around the footpath at the top of the cliffs at 06:30 this morning.

Really!

How it cam to pass was that I was having my medication at about 06:15 when I looked out of the window at the bright blue, cloudless sky and saw an aeroplane fly overhead – well, its contrails anyway. I went to have a look at the flight radar to find out which flight it was (I’ve forgotten now but it was a red-eye from North America).

But what I saw in the distance flying past Finisterre, and at 42,000 feet as well in a direct line for my little rock, was TITAN 1. That’s one of the United States Government’s four “Nightwatch” Boeing 747s that’s fitted out as a National Emergency Airborne Command Post and has presumably come over for the NATO meeting in Brussels this week in case Biden needs to push the red button.

And so, armed with the NIKON D500 I went outside to wait for it.

And I waited. And waited. And waited.

Eventually I went back inside to find that it had performed a dog-leg and gone off out into the English Channel to skirt round the Cotentin Peninsula. She obviously didn’t want anyone to know that she was about. And that’s a shame. Actually being able to see one, even at that distance, would be quite something.

So instead I came back here and started work on the radio programme. having already chosen and paired the music, it was all done and dusted by 11:45, even with a break for hot chocolate and ginger cake.

Yes, I’ve run out of fruit bread so I had to have some of Liz’s ginger cake. And I’ve timed my visit to Leuven just right because I’m running out of that now. I’ll have to see what else the hospital will cut off this time so that Liz will bake me some more cake.

Meanwhile, on the dictaphone we started with something to do with a stately home. The dogs that were pulling the sledge had panicked and roared off and went through the house. The young boy who was standing on the balcony overlooking where the maid was cleaning was pitched over the balcony by the force of the arriving dog team, went straight through a plate glass firescreen and ended up at the feet of a servant who was polishing it. Something else went over the end as well, then a couple more children. Then the guy came in, all apologetic. They were saying that since several weeks this was the only stately home in the bottom 11 to have won any points so it was looking rather good for it. I tried to take some out and just wetting some neat porridge oats and tried to thin it down again or thicken it up again, one or the other, thicken it up, I think and se what it tastes like I fell asleep.

Later on there had been something to do with the Midlands and I was going to talk to a friend about something. He had recommended a school to me, recommended one not to go to so I’d been to the first one, had a look round and liked it. I’d been to the second one which was last on his list and this was where I dropped my sandwiches. I was about to pick them up but some girl picked them up and started to nibble at the filling in between with her fingers. Then she handed them to me and said ‘thank you”. I thought “this isn’t really the kind of school that I want”. I realised afterwards that this is the one that is bottom of the list so I thought that I’d snip that off straight away. I mentioned it to my friend and he gave me all kinds of pointers of what to look for and what to avoid and made 1 or 2 remarks about the school’s accounting and false accounting being put through, that sort of thing.

At some point or other I was in a dismal, dark railway station in a waiting room waiting for my train to be called. Then they announced it and it was right over the far side of the station. I had this huge suitcase and a couple of other things that I needed to carry. I walked out of the waiting room and it was pitch-black. I had to struggle my way through the dark and I lost hold of my suitcase once and couldn’t find it. In the end I made my way up to the top of a walkway and along. I had to enquire again as to my train and it was just coming in. As I was going down the steps it pulled in so I stuck my suitcase with the other stuff in the luggage van and got on this train and made sure that i was in the Glasgow portion. The train was crowded and I was wedged in with a group of men who were going somewhere and doing something together. They had their suitcases and there was no room for anyone to move or do anything. Then I got to Glasgow and ended up on a bus. people were asking me where I was going but I didn’t really have much of an idea and I was telling them any old kind of story. I turned up at this hotel. I explained that I’d come to manage it, that set everyone off in a panic. They were trying to find me a bedroom, a bath and a table to sit and have breakfast. And I mustn’t forget about the couple snogging in this bus and this elderly Scots woman giving them the most fearful disapproving looks.

After a shower and a good clean up, I had lunch. And then Caliburn and I went off to my Covid test in the sweltering heat. It’s a swish new place this, much better than the old one, but it’s too far out of town for me to walk in this weather which is a pain.

So having been all done and dusted, I went to LIDL and stocked up on a few things and then drove back home.

Later on I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst stop was to see what was going on down on the beach this afternoon so I went over to the wall at the end of the car park and stuck my head over the top.

The beach is smaller than it was yesterday of course, with the tide, but despite it being a working day there are still plenty of people out there soaking up the sun. And with the heat that we were having, who can blame them,

But in today’s newspaper there was an interesting article about all of the people down on the beach yesterday. Apparently there were several tonnes of rubbish left behind by the tourists and as the tide comes right in up to the cliffs, the rubbish that the Council’s workforce were unable to recover was swept away into the sea.

So if you are wondering why there is so much plastic and other rubbish in the oceans, now you know why. Bone-idle tourists.

twin engined light aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there looking at the people on the beach I was overflown by another aeroplane.

Not TITAN 1 or one of her three siblings but a weird light aeroplane the type of which I haven’t seen before. As I mentioned a few days ago, France seems to be quite keen on its weird types of light aeroplanes and here’s another one to add to the collection.

It’s some kind of twin-engined machine and we don’t see too many of those at all around here. And it’s unfortunately too far away and too high up for me to read its registration number, assuming that it has one, so I’m not able to tell you very much about it

aeroplane f-gbrk Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs for this one though, I can tell you more – a little more – about it.

As it flew past over my head I was able to read its registration number. It’s F-GBRK and my database tells me that it’s a Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II. The Warrior is a derivative of the Piper Cherokee, which is a lightweight, cheaper alternative to the more famous Piper Comanche.

The model was introduced in 1974 replacing the Cherokee 150, and is fitted with a Lycoming O-320 engine.

And as you might expect, it’s not on the list of departures from the airport at Granville and it hasn’t filed a flight plan either.

people fishing in boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo having sorted out all of that I pushed on along the path at the top of the cliffs, stopping to admire the men in the boat on my way past.

And they seem to be really crowded in there, without enough room to swing a cat, never mind a fishing rod, by the looks of things. And I think that the guy wielding a net to catch the fish off the end of the line is being rather optimistic.

Apart from one or two other small boats out there, there wasn’t all that much else going on out at sea this afternoon. Anyone with any sense would be under an umbrella with a cocktail or in a deckchair with a newspaper over their head in this kind of heat.

yacht rebelle fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was plenty of activity going on in the chantier navale this afternoon, as I discovered when I made my way around there.

The yacht Rebelle is still down there in the place where Aztec Lady lived for so long, but the little trawler-type of boat that had been there for a week or so has now disappeared back into the water. Instead, there is one of the shellfish boats – one of the larger ones – down there now on ramps and blocks receiving attention.

And both of the boats must be receiving plenty of attention today because I don’t recall ever seeing so many assorted vans parked up there while their occupants are presumably at work on the two boats. All of this points to a frenzy of activity so there must be something going on.

gerlean port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd one of our little NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) shellfish boats is still there settling into the mud and silt at the quayside underneath the Fish Processing plant.

It’s Gerlean who is there today. L’Omerta was the other one that was there for quite a while. She was there on her own at first but then Gerlean came to join her. And now she is there on her own as L’Omerta seems to have cleared off elsewhere.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the other boats must find it quite inconvenient for these boats to be always moored up here. It means that there is less space for them to tie up and unload and so they have to queue up to find a berth. I’d love to know what the issue is why they can’t tie up in the inner harbour out of the way.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomeone who is however tied up in the inner harbour is Chausiais, the little freighter that runs the shuttle out to the Ile de Chausey.

And being tied up underneath the big crane tells me a couple of things.

  1. The holiday season is in full swing so there’s a good load of luggage and food supplies etc to be ferried over to the island right now
  2. With her blocking the loading bay, we can’t be expecting a visit of Thora or Normandy Trader in the immediate future

In fact Normandy Trader seems to be spending much more time running over to St Malo these days than she does to here. That’s rather a disappointment and quite a loss for the port. Ohh! To see a gravel boat or two right now!

aeroplane 55-oj pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way back to the apartment I was overflown yet again. A different one this time.

And this one needs no introduction from me because she’s 55-OJ, one of the little light aeroplanes that we see flying past on a regular basis. As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’m going to have to get out to the airport one of these days for a nosey around and to make further enquiries.

But instead, back at the apartment after my day’s exertions in the heat I crashed right out. And for a good 90 minutes too. I really did feel awful.

My bass practice was a little depressing and the least said about my session on the acoustic guitar the better

Tea was pasta with veg and a burger, followed by apple pie from the freezer with custard. I enjoyed that.

Now it’s bedtime and I’ll try to remember my medication that I forgot yesterday, so that I hope to have a good night’s sleep.

And then I can get on with my Welsh revision as long as TITAN 1 isn’t anywhere in the area.

Saturday 12th June 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… good and productive morning today which was nice. And which was just as well because I had a pretty lousy afternoon.

But more of the afternoon anon. Let’s talk about the morning first.

As the alarm started to ring I leapt out of bed and wandered off for my medication. And then I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone.

And there was nothing on it from the night, which was a surprise because I had all sorts of vague ideas and images going around the margins of my mind when I awoke but they had all flown away as I had tried to grab hold of them.

There was however some stuff on the dictaphone from 30th and 31st May that needed transcribing and so I dealt with that and brought their pages in the journal up-to-date.

While I’d been doing that I’d been listening to music. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, a week’s radio programmes was lost in some king of confusion and my records ended up being out of order for a week. And rearranging it meant that I had a blank week.

Without confusing things any more, I was rather stuck for what to do. But then yesterday I had an idea. I have a load of music that is waiting to be digitalised and even more than hasn’t yet been sorted. So I went through and sought out the groups who are debuting in my playlist.

The CDs that needed digitalising were then digitalised and I made up a playlist of albums where the groups and musicians were debuting in my lists.

And so today while all of this updating of the journal was going on, I was listening to music. I’d already been listening it last night and I’d selected a few tracks from it but by the time I’d finished the updating this morning I ended up with a nice collection.

And so I selected my tracks, edited them to cut out bits I didn’t want and to regulate the volume and then I combined them in pairs. So that’s the music sorted for that programme. On Monday I need to start by writing the music which is good because I have an appointment at lunchtime and I need to have the programme done by then.

When I’d finished what I’d been doing I grabbed a Louis de Funes sound file and chopped that up for more soundbites and I’m now accumulating a nice bunch of soundbites. And there are plenty more to go.

When I’d finished it, that was when it all started to go wrong, because I almost immediately crashed out. And a good and proper crashing out it was too. It was a very late lunch today because I didn’t come round until about 14:20. And then I was staggering around like a drunkard for a few minutes until I grabbed hold of my equilibrium.

The rest of the day has been spent cutting up albums (and there are still plenty to go at) and editing photos from August 2019. And I’m now actually at South Pass – at least where Highway 28 goes through it.

It didn’t look like the description that I had though and while things can change since 1845 they don’t change that much so what I did then was to go back to find a hotel and make further plans and do further research. So unless I am distracted tomorrow you might get to hear a little of my adventures.

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

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I did, as you might expect, is to interest myself in what is happening down on the beach today.

And so girding up my loins I headed for the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down from my viewpoint. And as we can see, there’s plenty of beach again today because the tide is well out again today. As I go out most days at roughly the same time, it’s interesting to see how the tide evolves over a complete cycle.

And while the weather is better today than it has been, warm with hardly any wind, there weren’t as many people down there as I was expecting to see. After all, it’s the holiday season and the place is swarming with Parisians right now bringing their viruses with them.

marite english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut while I was admiring the people on the beach my attention was caught by some kind of movement away on the horizon.

It was a ship – I was pretty sure of that. It couldn’t be anything else at that spot but with the naked eye it was far too far away for me to make out exactly what kind of ship. I was intrigued to see what it might be so I took a photo with the aim of cropping it out and blowing it up (which I can still do despite modern anti-terrorist legislation).

And so there you are. It’s a large sailing ship with at least two masts. And according to my shipping radar, Marité, the old fishing schooner that lives in the port, slipped her moorings at 07:53 this morning and headed off towards Bordeaux. And I can’t say any more than that about the ship out there.

microlight aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd its not just people on the beach and ships at sea that is attracting our attention right now. Try to do something serious and concentrate and your reverie is immediately interrupted by a buzzing noise overhead.

It’s not a mosquito or an insect like that, but it’s one of these microlight ULM powered hang-glider things. These kinds of things have their origins in the pou de ciel or “flying flea” microlights designed in the 1930s by the Frenchman Henri Mignet and popularised in many magazines, with plans being produced for home-builders.

Ever since then the French have had quite a reputation for building light aircraft of all shapes and sizes and regular readers will recall that we have seen quite a few different types of light aircraft flying over our heads when we’ve been out and about.

Cessna F182P Skylane F-GBTS pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis on the other hand, is a real aeroplane and it makes a change to see one that not only was picked up on radar but is entered in the books of the airport at Granville.

She’s a Cessna F182P Skylane, a model that was introduced in October 1971 and powered by a Continental O-470 piston engine fitted with a carburettor and producing 230 HP, or 72 kW. With a range of over 1,000 miles, the models for the European market are quite often flown over from Wichita, crossing the Atlantic via Newfoundland, Baffin island, Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

This one though was noted as being at Toulouse Airport this morning at 11:59 and was picked up by the radar near Balma at 13:21. And I could follow her route from there all the way to Granville where she landed at 16:15.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut right now I haven’t finished with the air yet because there were other things going on too.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have a local bird of prey that we have seen quite regularly. I’ve forgotten what breed he might be because the birdwatching lectures that I had from Nerina weren’t about this type of bird, but it hovers about the edge of the cliffs because there are many small animals, including a colony of rabbits, that have made their home there.

And to my surprise, I noticed today that it had a mate. Or, at least, there was a second one working the cliff edge farther along. It will be nice if we can have our own colony of vultures or whatever they are.

men fishing from zodiacs baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLet’s turn our attention back to the sea now because there was still plenty going on out there too.

With it being Saturday,, then of course we can expect the local fishermen to be out in their droves this afternoon trying their luck from their boats just offshore at the foot of the cliffs. But doing my best not to make any tart remarks about their success rate, I pushed off along the path.

And the path was crowded with people today too. And despite the Préfet‘s instructions about masks being compulsory until the end of the month, many people were walking around maskless or with their mask tucked under their chin.

And seeing that many of them are holidaymakers from Paris, that will tell you all that you need to know about why the disease is so rampant in those places. And here they are, bringing their disease to us.

trawler beached port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I pushed my way along the path all the way around the headland until I reached the viewpoint that overlooks the harbour from where I could see what was going on in the port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have talked … “at great length” – ed … about trawlers left in the outer harbour to go aground when the tide goes out.

So here’s another one of them – one of the bigger ones too, tied up in a NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) position to the harbour wall underneath the red marker light for the harbour entrance.

There’s definitely something fishy about this, and I’m not talking about the contents of Baldrick’s apple crumble either.

gerlean l'omerta fishing boat port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut to put your minds at rest L’Omerta and its friend, which is called Gerlean, are still tied up at the fish processing plant and are sitting on the mud.

But it beats me why they are there because it can’t be very popular with the other little fishing boats. With those tow moored there, there’s less space for the others to tie up to unload and so they’ll have to queue for longer.

But anyway, that’s not my problem. There’s a hot coffee and some ginger cake waiting for me back at home so I headed that way, and ended up having quite a lengthy chat with one of my neighbours on the stairs. That’s not like me at all, is it?

Tea tonight was interesting. There was some stuffing left over so I lengthened it with stuff that needed using in the fridge, added some tomato sauce and had it with some pasta. And as an ad-hoc meal it was surprisingly good.

But now I’ve finished and I can hardly keep my eyes open, and so I’m off to bed. A nice Sunday lie-in tomorrow and won’t that do me the world of good?