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Wednesday 23rd March 2022 – A FUNNY THING …

workman suspended on rope rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022 … happened on the way to the for … errr … Physiotherapist’s this afternoon.

There I was walking quietly along the Rue Couraye and suddenly a man dropped down out of the sky right in front of me.

At least, that’s what I thought, but on a closer inspection after he had picked up the paintbrush or whatever it was that he had dropped and was hoisted back up, I could see that he was on a rope.

Cleaning or painting the facade of the building here, I reckon, or doing something of a similar nature.

But fancy a safety harness. When I retiled my roof in the Auvergne I was perched about 50 feet up on a roof holding on with my feet as I nailed down the slates.

And another funny thing that happened was that I walked all the way up the hill in the Rue Couraye to the physiotherapist’s without feeling any agony and it’s been months and months since that’s happened. So what’s going on here?

There was a lot going on last night though. I was in bed early and, for a change, out like a light. Another struggle to raise myself from the dead, and after I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, I could listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been.

At first, I was at an interview with STRAWBERRY MOOSE on the radio. The presenter was an extremely dominant and aggressive type of personality who basically shouted at the crowd to make everyone settle down and listen to his story. It was certainly a new departure in radio to hear the way that this programme was being presented. I thought that maybe I could take a lesson from this when I’m presenting some other radio programme some time in the future. It was certainly different, telling everyone to “shut up and listen” and “he’s come all this way to give you this story and the least you can do is pay attention”. it was all quite aggressive

Later, I was at work in the office and the ‘phone rang. I had to bring the Escort estate into Brussels. They were selling it so I had to hunt through my drawers for all of the paperwork for it but I couldn’t find anything. There was nothing at all. The boss had said “make sure that you bring the paperwork because we don’t want to have to come up to your place to look for it”. There I was, looking for ages through my drawers and I couldn’t find it anywhere but then 2 people came in and heard that I was going into Brussels so could they come with me? They hopped in and I thought that i’d better go anyway otherwise I’ll be here all day and I still won’t have the paperwork. Off I set to drive. After I’d gone a few miles I found that I actually had the paperwork in my hand. Of course someone must have had the paperwork to have taken the Escort to be valued. I had that as I was driving. I ended up coming in from the direction of Oostende. I radioed in that I was there and asked where I had to go. They said “the Garage de France”. I asked where that was and they replied that it was near the Gare de Ouest. I didn’t have a clue where the Gare de Ouest was. As I came closer to the office I dropped off these 2 people and stuck my head inside a café. She knew where the place was and she told me but the directions that she gave me didn’t make any sense. Then she said the name of a square where it was. I thought to myself “I wish that I’d brought my GPS in out of my own car and stuck it in the Escort to take it there. I could have solved this problem in 5 minutes had I done that”.

And then I was back in work again. I don’t know if I’d dictated the story of the Ford Escort estate being sold but later I was back in the office. I had a pile of paperwork that I’d picked up on the way in that needed to be sorted. I took it into the office and one of the chauffeurs came up to me and said in one of these high-pitched little baby voices “what’s little Eric got there?”. So I replied “some paperwork”. He asked “what’s little Eric going to be doing with it?” and I replied “nothing whatsoever”. This conversation was on the verge of getting out of hand. In the end the boss came along so as I was in earshot I said to Jef (it’s here, it has a date-stamp on it, it’s been received, it’s been registered, so why don’t you clear off?” or something like that. The boss came over, looked at the papers, took them off me and put them out for sorting. There was no chair at my desk but there were several other chairs dotted around with files on them so I went to take the files off one so I could have a chair to sit. Someone else said “there’s a spare chair up here” but I replied “this one down here will do me”.

At another point I was with one of these American folk singers, someone like Gene Clark, and we were being chased in a car down some kind of road. We turned off up the side down some kind of farm track and were being chased down there but I swerved off the road into a farm gateway and the other car went roaring past. We prepared to drive back where we’d come but another car came the other way. We’d been talking about these huge plants that were growing all over the placen one-eyed I-can’t-remember-the phrase-now but it was in a song by the Byrds, “My Back Pages”. This car came the other way and I asked “is that one of these?” and I said the name. He replied “probably” so we waited until it went. We thought that if he could go all the way through then so could we so I set out to follow it. He said “let’s forget about these plants for now and head off”, something that made me feel rather disappointed

Finally, we’d gone to a big village hall-kind of dance, the whole family, tribe. Our mother had taken us. She was, surprisingly, a big Afro-Caribbean woman. When the dancing took place she danced in a most uninhibited way. It had absolutely no interest for me whatsoever so I was just moping around at the back of the hall. eventually I went over to my mother and said that we really must have to go very soon. She asked the time and I replied “20:20”. For some reason we were due to go at 20:30 anyway. She started to collect everything together. She said that she first came to one of these dances when she was 15 and everyone was shocked and scandalised but even people like James Brown had stuck their head in to see what was happening. I hadn’t really any idea of what to say because I knew how my mother was with her imagination.

Yes, my mother had a very fertile imagination, as we came to realise as we grew older. She lived in her own little world that only rarely had any connection with the rest of the world in which everyone else lived.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I mentioned that I’d had a problem with a three-column website on which I was working. It didn’t take me long to discover the missing tag (or, should I say, the tag that was in the wrong place) and once I’d done that, I finished it off.

You can see it ON-LINE now. The content isn’t inspiring but it was only a test run for a few other purposes that will become clearer over the course of time.

It’s been checked in C-Cleaner, Waterfox and Tor but if someone has access to an Apple-based machine, if you could check it to see that it does what it’s supposed to, I’d be grateful.

Having dealt with that task, the next task was one about which I’d forgotten. At the end of October last year I’d been to see a rock group called “Reload”. I took … gulp … 184 photos and I’d made a start on editing them but as usual, I’d been side-tracked.

This morning though, I sat down and worked my way right through the lot and they are all now edited. I’m now onto mounting them (I’m kinky like that) and they will be on-line in die course.

That will be the acid test of my three-column photo layout – trying to make it work with all of these.

There were several breaks of course – breakfast being one of them with my lovely fruit bread, and then a shower and a good clean-up.

And while I was at it, I did my Dave Crosby impression. In fact I went one better and actually did cut my hair. Probably because I didn’t have the ‘flu for Christmas.

After lunch I headed out for the physiotherapist.

van car porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And we’ve had a change here at the Porte St Jean.

The large lorry and trailer with the digger perched thereupon are not there this afternoon. Instead the place has been taken by a glazier’s van.

In fact that has been there or thereabouts in one of the parking spaces for the past couple of days but today it seems that the driver has taken advantage of the absence of the lorry to move even closer.

In fact, I would have thought that he could have passed underneath the arch. There looks to be enough room.

On the left-hand edge you can see some advertising boards that have been erected. It’s soon to be election time here and they put up these boards for the candidates to attach their posters.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne, I stopped to check the camera – even though I’d checked it just a minute before.

There’s no-one about in the outer harbour and most of the fishing boats in the inner harbour seem to be out at sea. The only one that seems to be in there today is Jade III and I wonder why she hasn’t gone out.

Also absent, as they have been for quite a while, are Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel Island ferries. If service is indeed starting up in April, they need to finish their overhauls quickly and make their way back here to be ready to go.

freight on quayside bouchot stakes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down on the quayside, all of the freight that was there has now gone.

Normandy Trader, one of the little Jersey freighters, came in the other day and whisked it all off to the Channel Islands but there’s another pile that is slowly appearing down there ready for the next voyage.

And you can see all of the old stakes from the bouchot farms on the Ile de Chausey down there to the left of the right-hand crane. That was a good weekend’s work to pull up all of those and replace them.

Whoever is going to take those away will have some work on his hands too.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, down in the bottom corner, there’s been quite a lot happening by the looks of things.

There’s only one boat down there today, and that’s the newer of the two Joly France boats, the one with the smaller superstructure on the upper deck.

We saw Chausiaise out at the ferry terminal yesterday, but Belle France is also missing today. She and the older of the two Joly France boats must be keeping busy running out to the islands today.

And the mystery of why they all had their cranes out the other day is as yet unresolved. I’ve not seen anything at all about it.

reroofing rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A week or so ago I posted a photo of a cherry-picker that looked as if it had lifted some scaffolding up onto a flat roof in the Rue Lecampion.

Over the past few days I’d been keeping a quiet eye on it but today there has been some rapid progress since I last saw it. They’ve removed the tiles from an adjacent pitched roof and replaced all of the woodwork

That was quite quick. It’s not like the typical worker whom we’ve encountered these days.

Carefully dodging workmen dropping out of the sky, I sailed up the Rue Couraye rather more rapidly than just recently for my appointment with the physiotherapist.

She had a good look at my x-rays but told me that there was nothing evident that she could see about why I’m having this trouble with my knee. And that’s bad news as far as I’m concerned because how can anyone fix the problem if they can’t see t?

It’s just like my heart issue, where there’s no obvious problem that anyone can see. I’m not making it all up, I know that.

Anyway she gave me an electromassage, put me on the bike thing for 5 minutes and gave me a few exercises.

After she threw me out, I went to Lidl. I’m out of tomatoes and cucumber as well as a couple of other things. And there’s no big shop at the weekend because I’m on a course and anyway, I’m off on my travels on Thursday next week.

new building rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way home I went past the new house that is being built on the corner of the Rue St Paul and Rue Victor Hugo.

When I arrived the builders were busy chasing away a couple of kids who were pleying in the building, but apart from that there doesn’t seem to have been a great deal going on. I suppose that they will finish it one day.

My route led me through the town and up the hill towards home but I hadn’t gone far up the hill when a neighbour came past in his car. He offered me a lift, which was nice of him I did have a fair bit of stuff to carry.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Back in here I put some coffee on to brew and then picked up the big NIKON D500 to go outside.

Across the car park went I towards the beach to see what was happening there. The tide was well out and with the weather being so nice, there were plenty of people down there making the most of it. Of course, here in France, there’s no school on Wednesday afternoon.

While I was here, I had a look out to sea to see if there were any fishing boats working out here today. There was something right out beyond the Ile de Chausey that I couldn’t see, but that was really my lot. There wasn’t anything else happening out at sea that I could see.

55-qj aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Ther emight have been nothing going on out at sea but there was something having a go at the Thunderclap Newman impression of “Something In The Air”.

And don’t ask me what it is because its number, 55-QJ, is one of those that isn’t in the series of numbers to which I have access. And it goes without saying that she hasn’t filed a flight plan and wasn’t picked up on radar either.

Back here I had my coffee and then had half an hour or so on the guitar before I carried on with mounting the photos of the concert that I attended.

Tea was a curry with the left-over stuff in the fridge. I’ve not forgotten that I have some stuffing left from Monday, but I fancied a curry tonight. I’ll have the stuffing in a taco roll tomorrow.

So as well as that, I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. In the afternoon too, not the evening as I thought. I wonder what kind of catastrophe this will be.

Tuesday 8th February 2022 – I’M GOING TO …

… Leuven tomorrow and I do have to say that I’ve never felt less like it. It’s not because of any health issue (although that is weighing me down of course but it’s an “energy and enthusiasm” issue again and I just can’t seem to shake it off.

It wasn’t as if I’d had a bad night either. I was in bed at something like a reasonable time and according to the dictaphone I wasn’t disturbed until comparatively late in the proceedings, so I must have had quite a deep sleep.

Having listened to what I’d been up to during the night, I hadn’t gone all that far either on my travels. There was something last night about a girl who was an orphan who came to stay with us but I don’t remember very much at all about this particular trip.

Later on though we had to go out and investigate someone who was driving without a speedo. When we arrived they were performing some really weird manoeuvres but we couldn’t find anything wrong but told them that now that they have brought themselves to the attention of the police they ought to take it very easy for the next while or so. Then this girl and I went home again.

That was all a bit of a damp squib, wasn’t it?

Leaving the bed though at 07:30 was not as easy as it might have been but eventually I was in the kitchen taking my medicine before coming back in here to check my mails and messages and then to prepare for my Welsh lesson. And, unfortunately, crash out for a short while too.

The lesson was, like most of them these days, quite dismal, just like me but with the course slowly coming to an end I renewed for the next level. I’m not sure how that’s going to work because this one seems to be rather above me, but my brain will seize up if I don’t use it (if it hasn’t already) and I have to push myself along.

After lunch, I had a listen to this concert that has a hole in it. And after quite a while of manipulation … “PERSONipulation” – ed … I’ve actually fixed it with a bit of “cut-and-paste” of another section that I’ve managed to fit in over the top.

It took ages to synchronise the beats but now, not only can you not hear any join or any difference in sound tone and level where I’ve pasted in, you can’t even tell that there’s been any alteration in the beat of the music and I’m well-impressed with what I managed to do.

It ended up being 0.264 of a second over-running but that was no problem to deal with.

However, I’ve also found two other slight holes in the tape when I listened more closely and my next challenge will be to replace them – and to see if I can do a job as well as I did this afternoon or whether that was just a lucky strike.

Another thing that I did was to shuffle the introduction around on another concert that I did yesterday. I’d written something that seemed to run in a logical order but when I recorded it and played it back later when I was editing, it didn’t seem to be right.

That was something that had irritated me ever since yesterday and so this afternoon I did a cut-and-paste on that too and rearranged my intro.

Looking back over the last day or two, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve actually enjoyed doing these concerts – enjoyed them very much, especially the first one that I did yesterday where I manufactured it out of a pile of bits of miscellaneous items.

It seems to me that given half a chance and provided that I can lay my hands on the material, I’ll be doing a few more of these.

My supply of concert material, from the days when I drove a sound engineer around, is limited though to another 40 or so concerts, a few of which are not really suitable so if I keep on going, I’ll start to run out sooner or later. And if ever he contacts me and asks for his material back, then I will be in trouble.

However, it is something of a miracle that after all of the vicissitudes that I’ve been through over the last 45-50 years, I actually still have in my possession as much as I do..

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

First port of call was, as usual, the beach down at the bottom of the steps at the Rue du Nord to see who was down there this afternoon – and even, of course, that there was a beach for anyone to be on.

This afternoon we had quite a bit of a beach and there were even a few people down there. They were scavenging around on the rocks as if they were hunting for shellfish. Not that it’s the correct time of day and the state of the tide to do that but nevertheless they can probably find something to take home with them.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And, as usual, I was also looking around out at sea to find out what was happening there.

Yesterday we noticed a trawler or two out there working in the Baie de Granville over by the Ile de Chausey. Today, there was another one – and a different one too – working out there in the bay. It seems to be quite the thing these days.

There were a few people out there walking on the path this afternoon, which is not surprising seeing that it’s half-term. The weather wasn’t anything notable either – not at all cold for the time of the year although it was grey and overcast. No problem about being outside this afternoon.

seagull rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However that’s the kind of thing that can change at any moment.

There’s a terrific rainstorm out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel and it’s slowly heading my way. Give it half an hour or so and I imagine that we’ll be having all of that dropping on our heads over here.

Consequently I have no intention of hanging around out here on the headland waiting for it to arrive. I shall emulate the seagull in the photo and push on … “push off” – ed … down the path on my way towards home and my nice hot coffee bubbling in the percolator even as we speak.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It was interesting to see what was going on in the chantier naval this afternoon

Work on the Le Roc A La Mauve III is proceeding quite rapidly, which makes something of a change around here. There are a couple of people working on her and they have been doing quite a lot of sanding-down of her hull.

You can see the pile of paint dust that has fathered around her on the floor.

Still in the chantier naval up on her ramps is Tiberiade. She’s also having quite a going-over as well.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Over at the ferry terminal we have the older of the two Joly France ferries, the one that we saw going out to the island on Saturday morning.

They still run out now and again during the winter, not that we are having any winter right now, and so for that reason she’s tied up there in the NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) position rather than tied up with her sisters in the inner harbour.

They are still in there where we saw them on Saturday.

What I’m wondering is whether they will be carrying out a refurbishment on the ferry terminal too. It’s not been used for getting on for two years so it’s probably going to need a good sorting out if ferry services to the Channel Islands are going to restart at the end of April.

plaque to 21st battalion chasseurs à pied place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022One thing that I have been meaning to do is to go and look at what was going on on Saturday across the road in the car park of the other building.

There were several wreaths on the floor and above them is this plaque commemorating the the 21st Battalion of the Chasseurs à Pied. I can’t say whether or not this plaque was here prior to Saturday but it certainly looks new and this was where they were standing.

Back here I had a shower and shave and a general clean-up, and then I did my Dave Crosby impression. Must be because I had a flu for Christmas and I’m not feeling up to par.

While I was there, I washed my trainers. They have been filthy and totally disreputable for the last several years but they are supremely comfortable.

One of the things that I did this afternoon while I was editing my sound files and so on was to fall asleep again – for 10 minutes or so. This is becoming far too much of a habit these days and quite depressing especially as I had a reasonable sleep last night.

Tea tonight was a taco roll. The stuffing that I forgot to use yesterday was quite edible and there was half a tomato that needed eating so I added that in. Tea was delicious.

And bang on cue, I reached the end of the film that I’d been watching over the last few days while I’ve been eating my evening meal. This one was THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY.

This is a film that I’ve seen in several different versions with several different edits, depending upon the region in which the film was marketed, and I have yet to find a copy of the unedited version that combines all of the different versions.

It’s strange, because when I see that film I always think that it’s the best of the three films but when I see FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE I consider that one to be the best. So I dunno.

Now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. I’ve a 06:00 start and have a lot to do to prepare before I leave for Leuven.

At least I can sleep on the train if necessary.

Monday 3rd January 2022 – I’M FEELING A LITTLE …

… better today, although once more I don’t know why, because nothing any different happened today.

having made an effort, I was in bed at some kind of reasonable time – still not as early as I would have liked but early enough to make sure that I had something like a reasonable sleep.

And I didn’t go too far on my travels either. I’d gone back to school. There was something in the newspaper about something or other and I found myself back in school with all this information, or at least some of it. I’ve no idea why. I arrived at the lift (which there wasn’t in my day) and was trying to work out from the names of the teachers on there which lift was going to fo to where. After I’d been doing this for a couple of minutes, someone came over to me – a teacher – and asked me but I couldn’t explain why I was there because I didn’t have all of the information so I made up some story about a handball match and said that we didn’t have handball when we were at school so I was hoping to interview someone about the game. She mentioned a name and wandered off but I couldn’t see that name on this list. There was someone there, an adult person with a baby mentality. She told me that it was 38 so I made some kind of baby talk reply back to her and went back to get into the lift.

Later on there was some kind of headline in the local paper “Boris Johnson gives £30,000 to kids’ school toilet”. It turns out that the tilet in this school had been damaged in some kind of attack and according to the headline he’d given the money to this school to repair it. However it turned out that it was money from a certain budget that had been set aside for this kind of work anyway so it was nothing to do with him, nothing to do with a gift, nothing to do with anything. Just a normal routine that had been gaslit by this newspaper.

And having spent the last couple of nights in the company of some rather interesting and agreeable young ladies, last night’s companions, such as they were, were rather disappointing.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I fell out of bed fairly rapidly, which was something of a surprise to me given the way that things have been just recently. And after the medication and checking the mails and messages, I attacked the radio programme and it was all up and running by 10:30, with breaks for coffee and breakfast included.

And I would have finished it earlier too had I been able to find the ZOOM H8 as soon as I started looking at it. Eventually after much binding in the marsh, I found it on the shelf by the computer still plugged into the microphone and the mains.

Next time, I must remember to put it away properly.

Just as I started to listen to the programme that I’d made, Rosemary rang me and we had a very long chat as usual so by the time I’d finished listening to the programme that I made today and the one that I was sending off for broadcast, I ended up having a very late lunch.

First task after lunch was to blanch and then freeze the sprouts and the leeks that were left over from New Year. Now I have a nice collection of frozen veg and there is still no room in the freezer. Every time I take something out, I end up sticking something else back.

The rubbish bin was now full to the brim so I braved the rainstorm and took it outside to the containers.

The dictaphone notes are all now finished too and tomorrow I’ll make a start on updating some of the journal entries where the “overnight notes” haven’t been, in the hope that I can find myself in the company of a few more interesting and agreeable young ladies.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When I went out earlier, it was raining quite heavily but by the time that I went out for my afternoon walk it had eased off a little. Just a little.

First port of call was of course the beach so I wandered off to the wall at the end of the car park. And while there is more and more beach, there are fewer and fewer people on it.

In fact, there was no-one down there this afternoon that I can see. And that’s hardly a surprise given the weather.

In fact, you can tell from the photo just how miserable the weather is this afternoon. Visibility down to about three or four miles with a haze that is actually the cumulative effect of a rainstorm.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022As usual, I was lookign around out at sea as well.

And deep in the bay flitting in and out of the squalls was a trawler having a good fish about – at least, all of its white lights were illuminated and that’s a legal requirement for a fishing boat that has all of its nets out.

There was another one further out as well. I caught the occasional glimpse of it during the periods when the rain abated.

No-one on the beach and there was no-one on the path either this afternoon which, given the weather, was no surprise. I could have a wander around in perfect safety despite the totals of infections and deaths. The number of infections in Normandy has more than doubled since the holidaymakers arrived.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No-one was down at the bench this afternoon, but there was plenty of activity elsewhere in the vicinity.

Out at sea off the coast were three fishing boats. The tide is on the way in of course but it will be half an hour at least before it’s deep enough for the boats to moor up at the fish processing plant so they are loitering around offshore until the moment arrives when they can come in.

They haven’t had much of a holiday, these fishermen.

So on that note, I headed off down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port and the chantier naval.

La Bavolette II gerlean chantier naval port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And there has been more activity in the chantier naval since I was here last yesterday afternoon.

Although that fishing boat down there has Le Saint Gaud painted on her superstructure, according to the shipping register she’s now called La Bavolette II, having changed her name quite recently.

She’s there in the chantier naval alongside Gerlean who is still in there since the other day.

But I wasn’t there for long. The rain was making me feel quite depressed so I turned for home. I had things to do.

articulated lorry and trailer port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However I couldn’t go home quite yet.

Over on the other side is a large articulated lorry and trailer. At first I thought that it might belong to Plenty’s dad. His lorries come in here quite regularly although I haven’t seen one for a while.

This one however is from somewhere else and if I had to guess, I would say that it’s from the Netherlands. The telephone number isn’t the correct format for Flanders.

Back here I put the coffee on the go and while it was percolating I went for a shower. And while I was at it I went one better than David Crosby and actually did cut my hair.

And finally, I was able to drink my coffee.

In the fridge was half a tin of baked beans from Saturday morning. Consequently I cut myself some chips and used the microwave fryer to cook them. They ended up as a soggy mass which was a shame but they were still nice for a change. Baked beans and a vegan burger rounded it off quite nicely.

When this play on the radio finishes, I’m off to bed. Our Welsh lesson starts up again tomorrow so there is a lot of revision to do and lessons to prepare.

Friday 8th October 2021 – I WAS IN BED …

… last night really early – at about 22:40 as it happened, and I had one of the best, deepest sleeps that I have ever had, all the way through until … errr … 04:41. And then the wheels fell off.

When I awoke, I was drenched in sweat yet again (and isn’t this becoming a regular occurrence?), probably the worst yet, and then I spent the time until the alarm went off at 07:30 just tossing and turning in bed.

Staggering out of bed I went for my medication and then back here after dealing with my mails and messages I made a coffee and dealt with the dictaphone.

Yesterday’s voyages are now on line in the appropriate place and then I had a listen to today’s. I’d found myself a nice young girlfriend and I’d been round at my mother’s house with her. It was time for her to go home so I said “yes, you have school in the morning”. She said no, she wasn’t going to school. I asked 2 or 3 times but it didn’t sink in with me. We went to go out and it was pouring down with rain. My mother asked “what are you going to do now?” I replied “put our hoods up”. THe girl decided that it was rather too much so my mother said that she’d run us. I replied “I’ll drive – where are the keys?”. My mother refused and I thought that this was a strange turn-round from how things usually are. I got into the back of this Cortina estate and my mother and this girl got into the front and set off. My mother’s driving was all over the place, driving up the kerb and everything. I said to the girl “I told you that you’ll regret this”. We came to a road junction out of Vine Tree Avenue into Somerville Street in Crewe and I’ve no idea why we were there but my mother didn’t slow down. She just carried on. I shouted “aren’t you going to stop?”. She jammed her foot on the brake and the car slid across the road junction just missing another car coming the other way. I took this girl and we left the car and said “right, we’re walking”. This girl was rather unhappy about walking and said “we can always go to see Reg and have him drive us home” but he was just about walking as far in the other direction as it was walking her home to her house from where we were. I had this feeling again that here was something else that was slipping through my hands. That’s turning into a regular part of my dreams, isn’t it? Here I am with a bird on my plate and just as I’m about to get my fork stuck into it …

Later on I was back working in an office and who should start to work there but TOTGA? Of course I was very interested in that but she never seemed to have the time to talk to me, which was rather a shame. This affected me once to such an extent that I couldn’t concentrate on my work. I had the bougeotte, the need to move around. I went out of the office to go for a little walk. Some other woman came out and asked me where I was going so I told her. She said “well if you like I’ll come back afterwards and peel your carrots for you” which I thought was a strange thing to say. I got into my car, which was the Omega, left-hand drive, and drove it down the ramp into the car park. But my badge wouldn’t work the car park and quite a queue of people built up behind me. The guys in the office down there controlling the car park weren’t in the least bit interested. Eventually one of them came over and tried my badge but it didn’t work. He said “your badge has expired” and that was that. I had to make all of these people behind me reverse out of the way and I had to reverse the Omega back up which wasn’t easy with these vehicles coming down behind me and going off somewhere else. I ended up back in my office. By now there was a party taking place at lunchtime so I walked round the corner and there was TOTGA still sitting at her desk working. I went over and asked her “aren’t you taking part in the festivities?” and that was when things ground to a halt unfortunately, although I had a feeling that I was heading for yet another disappointment

Later still I was in some kind of army. I can’t remember much about this but someone came along with a cannon so I gave him a run out. His was far better than any artillery I had in my army so I was very keen to sign him up. I can’t remember what happened after this.

Finally, I’d gone to see a car for sale. An Opel. 40 miles on the clock despite it being 4 years old. It had been bought for someone who had become ill and had never ever used it. I went to see it and it really was in good condition as you would expect but it had had a bang underneath it and the paint had come off one of the sills. The sill was bent and the floor pan was rather bent. I offered then £4,000 for it but they wanted £8,000 which was what they had paid, which was probably right 4 years ago. I offered them £4,000 which they thought was a humiliation but I pointed out these defects and said “let me know what you think”.

It’s hardly surprising that I was totally exhausted after all of that, especially as it seemed to be so full of disappointment. Nothing seems to be going my way during my nocturnal rambles, rejected by TOTGA and having relationship issues with a girl whom I wish I knew who she was, and my family sticking their oar in to spike my guns just like in real life all those years ago.

Anyway, let’s not brood on the past.

Much of the morning was spent with this radio project, following up a couple of hot clues about people who might have a few things to say for themselves. But one thing that I have noticed, particularly with the Brits, is that they will spend days if not weeks moaning about something and yet refuse to do anything about it, even when the opportunity is presented to them on a plate.

A shower came next and as a surprise, I went one step further than Dave Crosby. Must be because I had a ‘flu for Christmas. I weighed myself today too and in the space of a week I’ve lost 1.2kg. At this rate, I’ll be gone completely in 18 months.

After an early lunch I headed off into town.

building work boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The first port of call, for a change this afternoon seeing as it was early, was to see if there was any sign of life at the roadworks in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

And there was actually someone there too. As I was walking down the hill he walked out of the compound and went to sit in the digger that was there. And that’s all he did – just sat there.

But there has been some kind of activity because the skip that was here has now gone. You can see the mark on the road where it was left. So something is happening, although it’s hard to say what it is.

dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further on down the road, there’s still no change in the port.

The dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie is still down there in the harbour, still surrounded by all of the pipes and tubes. It looks as if nothing of any importance has moved since yesterday.

But I need to be moving so I pushed on down the Rue des Juifs and then down the steps towards the Place Pléville-Lepelley

place pléville-lepelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The Place looks empty and deserted right now.

Over the summer there was the Bar Ephemère, “Chez Maguie”, down there with several tables and benches and all kinds of things but a couple of weeks ago it was all folded back up into the shipping container that was its home.

But now that’s no longer here. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Usually there are hordes of people here too playing boules but there’s not a soul down there this afternoon. And that’s a surprise, seeing as it’s lunchtime right now.

diesel fuel spill place semard Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk up the hill wasn’t as bad as it has been just recently. I only stopped once to catch my breath and if that were the case every time I’d be quite happy with that.

At the roundabout in the Place Semard there looks as if there has been a diesel spillage. There’s a big trail of sand around the roundabout that stops as the road begins to climb the hill. A couple of scooters were taking the bend very gingerly.

The physiotherapist had me on the tilting platform thing for 20 minutes and then the cross trainer to finish off. I pushed my personal best on by another 10 seconds and could have done better except that my right knee was feeling the strain. I was glad to stop.

After he threw me out I went across the road to the little Carrefour. I’m running low on fruit and I don’t want to go all the way out to the hypermarket tomorrow for just a few things as I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday morning.

Fruit is expensive in there but it’s right on the way home so I may as well splash out. And they had 1.5kg of nice-looking potatoes on special offer at €0:99 and I’ve run out.

It was a stagger back home carrying all of that but it had to be done and it saves me going out tomorrow of course

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk up the hill in the Rue des Juifs wasn’t as easy as it might have been had I not been loaded up, and I was glad to reach the viewpoint overlooking the port.

Leaving on the wall with my energy drink in one hand, I could see that we’ve had a change down there on the quayside.

One of the Jersey freighters (it was the Normandy Trader with a skeleton crew as I learnt later) has been into port this morning, taken away a lot of the stuff that was on the quayside and it looks as if she’s unloaded another pile of freight that is waiting to be collected.

eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way down the hill earlier I noticed that there was something going on by the Eglise St Paul.

While I was here I took a photo and back home in the apartment I could enlarge (I only have the NIKKOR 30-110mm LENS on the NIKON D3000) the photo to see what was happening.

It looks as if they are working on the rear of a building in the Rue Couraye and using a crane to swing stuff over from the road by the church. Strangely, I’d just been walking up and down the Rue Couraye and I hadn’t noticed a thing. I must be slipping..

repairing flags boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days I posted a photo of the flags on the car part at the Boulevard Vaufleury that had been shredded by the wind early in the week.

Today, they have turned up there in a cherry-picker and there are a couple of workmen there. Are they chanign light bulbs in the street lights there, aor are they actually dealing with the flags?

Whatever it is that they are doing, they have an interested spectator in Georges René Le Peley de Pléville who is watching from his plinth.

IN case you are wondering who he is, which I’m sure you are, he was born in 1726 in Granville and was variously a privateer, governor of Marseille and an Admiral of the French fleet, to name but three of his many positions.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way back home I went via the beach to see what was going on there.

Plenty of beach for it to be going on on, and quite a few people down there too, all armed with rakes and all kinds of unusual tools to scratch away at the sand to pull out whatever is left there by the tide.

Back home I made myself a coffee and then, rather regrettably, I fell asleep for 20 minutes. It’s been a while since I’ve slept like that, especially since I’ve been lying in, but I suppose that the walk and the physiotherapy has taken it all out of me

Once I’d recovered I set about adding a few of the noctural voyages for the journal entries for August. I’ve actually made it as far back as 21st August and there’s still plenty to go at yet.

Those potatoes looked so nice that I had steamed veg, veggie balls with vegan cheese sauce for tea and it was totally delicious tonight.

Now that my notes are finished, I’m going to have a quiet relax for half an hour and then go to bed for an early night.

No shopping tomorrow, but I have a desktop mixer panel with which I need to have a play around and make work. It’s been sitting on my shelves for far too long and it’s about time that I brought it into use if I can.

Thursday 12th August 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

joly france leaving ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… about the place out here being a hive of activity at the morning tide while I’m still plucking up the courage to drink a mug of coffee

This morning started off with a couple of blasts on the siren from one of the Joly France ferries , the older one of the two as she reverses out of the ferry terminal with a load of passengers on board.

They all do that when they reverse out, because they never know what is coming around the corner behind them, and I imagine that the sounding of the siren is the result of bitter experience.

belle france arriving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s just as well that she did because she had company right behind.

The very newest Chausey ferry, Belle France looks as if she’s been an early bird this morning.

She’s on her way back into harbour having presumably already dropped one load of passengers off at the island, and coming back for more, bringing with her, I imagine, holidaymakers who want to return to Paris on the midday train.

And so it looks as if it’s going to be a busy day for them out there today with them starting early like this.

chausiaise arriving at port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJamais deux sans trois – never two without a third, as I said yesterday.

And in behind all of them, somewhat later and at a much more leisurely rate, comes Chausiaise, the little freighter that they use for running the supplies and the luggage out there

All we need now is the other Joly France boat, wherever she may be, and the Loch Ness monster and we’ll have a full house today.

trans-shipping porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you think that that was all of the excitement this morning you are very much mistaken.

One of the big issues about living in a medieval walled city is that deliveries are somewhat complicated. The heights and widths of the gates weren’t made for modern lorries.

Anyone who has anything delivered here in a lorry like this will need to have some kind of trans-shipment facility for their purchases if they expect their goods to arrive at their front door.

normandy trader loading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, back at the ran … errr … harbour we have another visitor in here this morning.

The Normandy Trader seems to have come into port with the evening tide yesterday and by the time that I got round to see her she was busy being loaded up with a pile of building material that must also have arrived quite early.

According to her skipper, she’d already been over to St Malo on her way out from St Helier so they are keeping her busy.

marite baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was at it, I went to have a look on the north side of the headland when I came back from the shops.

And here, sailing around the bay was Marité

We had seen her at her mooring earlier when we saw Normandy Trader but by the time that I came back both of them had cleared off into the sunset.

Normandy Trader had long-since disappeared into the distance but Marité kept me entertained for quite a while.

condor voyager english channel Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we had another surprising sight right out to sea just leaving the harbour at St Helier and the camera did really well to pick this up.

A quick check of the fleet radar told me that just about 20 minutes before I took this photo, Condor Voyager, the big superfast ferry whom we had seen the other day, had set out from St Helier on her way back to Poole in Dorset, where she arrived at 14:43.

She was the only ship out there who fitted the description and the size of what I was seeing so I reckon that it’s she.

Yes, I’ll go out again when the tide is right.

But anyway, I’m getting well ahead of myself.

And after last night’s adventures, all that I can say is that there’s no point whatever in killing myself to go to bed at a reasonably early time if I spend most of the night tossing and turning and not being able to sleep properly It was a rather dismal night in fact.

Nevertheless, I did manage to go off on several travels and it’s these that are probably wearing me out the most. Last night I was living at the top end of Crewe in Victoria Street and I had a little ginger kitten. One day I let it out and it shot off at a right pace. I was calling it and running after it praying that it wasn’t going to be knocked over by a car or something as it had never been out at all in the past. Eventually I caught it playing around by the railings that led up the steps to one of the shops on Hightown. I picked it up and thought “I’m on the way to the hospital but i’m going to have to carry the cat because I can’t just put it down and let it run around like this. It will drive me mad and be ever so stressful

Later on I’d arranged to meet one of my Canadian friends to go to the cinema but somehow I’d forgotten. I’d ended up going to bed. But the phone rang to ask me where I was “God! I’ve forgotten!” She replied “we’re just going in now”. She’s met someone and they were going to be on the balcony in the cinema. I dressed quickly and dashed into town, went up into the cinema and had a look round. Eventually I found them and went to sit next to them. There she was, then this guy then me then another woman. This was a B-feature and the lead film was a film abour economic analysis and everything. Of course I was fascinated by this and sat and listened to it. This woman started to talk about something that she had planned for her thesis to do with making glucoses on plants and transposing them to trees. I said “you should speak to my friend’s friend because he’s into genetics”. That sparked off a lively incident. This film then started to talk about someone who had developed some babysitting rings in South London with a couple of friends, about how they had started this but were doing it while studying and hadn’t let on. Their friends were starting to shun them because of the implications about what would happen to their studies if they found out that they were working.

Some time later a couple of us were hemmed in on a car park by a car and a lorry on a car park in Granville. We had to go to pick someone up from the seafront a little later and the gale was howling. It was really strong. I was trying to eat something but it was all falling apart. In the end I turned to whoever it was I was with and said something like “shall we go?”. I swept all of the ruins of whatever it was I was eating into a bag and I saw the cheese sandwich and said “God! Sorry!” to whoever it was we were meeting. We set off to go to see the storm.

A little while earlier at some point I’d been on a bike and I’d come to some roadworks and I’d had to wait while we were ushered through. The ushers were dealing with some kind of incident involving a lorry so we were there for hours. The we were let through and I had to cycle behind the girl on the bike who was leading everyone through. I’d switched my lights off and I couldn’t get them to work again. In the end I cycled off and by now I’d transformed myself into a car. I was heading back home to my place in Virlet. Although I’d come a different way I suddenly found myself back on the road that I knew so I was able to put my foot down and go that way. In the night with the lights and everything we could see all of these ancient buildings with all old dates carved into these buildings, hundreds of dates, all reflected in the shadows of the car’s headlights. It was the first time that I had ever seen them so clearly.

It’s no wonder that I’m totally exhausted with all of this going on, is it?

Having organised that I went and had a shower and went one better than Graham Nash – I actually DID cut my hair, although my not feeling up to par is not because I had the flu for Christmas – it’s something else completely.

Then I hit the streets – not that I feel much like it but on Tuesday I have to go for the train and so I may as well see how I feel.

You’ve already seen some photos and I’ll show you a few more quite soon once I’ve disentangled myself from the chat with the itinerant who hangs around the town.

unloading goods at empty shop rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a clothes shop for kids in the Rue Couraye but it moved to different premises not so long ago.

Just recently the windows have been covered over to stop people peeking inside, and today they’ve had a delivery of stock.

Hachette is wholesale book distributor and it’s their name on the packaging, so are we going to be seeing a bookshop open in the town?

Watch this space.

On the way up the hill my knee gave out again and that reminded me that as I was going past the new physiotherapists’ clinic I should pop in there and make an appointment. I have a doctor’s prescription for a course of physiotherapy.

At LIDL I didn’t buy very much at all today – it was the exercise that I went for more than the shopping, so I was soon heading back.

crane rue victor hugo rue saint paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we watched them demolish the old café on the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

They erected a crane shortly afterwards and I said that they would get a move on now because hiring a crane is expensive. So since then they haven’t done a tap of work.

Of course it’s August and everyone is on holiday right now, but in that case why bring the crane in and not wait for September when everyone is back at work? It seems rather strange to me, but there again many things around here do.

public notice square potel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt LIDL I’d bought some energy drink to fuel the climb up the hill to home, so I stopped to drink it right by the Square Potel.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, late last year they demolished the staircase and closed it all off to the public, and today I noticed that a notice had been erected at the site.

Basically, work is going to start here next autumn, so they say, and so it’s not worth anyone’s while making the place look presentable at the moment, only to have to rip it all out in early course.

So at least we know when things might be starting. When they might be finishing is something else completely.

Outside the building was a neighbour so we had a chat, then I came in to put away my frozen peas and then … errr … hit the chair for a while. And no surprise there.

As a result there was a rather late lunch and I wasn’t in the mood for doing all that much afterwards for a while. Eventually I did some more Greenland photos to keep things ticking over.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen it was time for my afternoon walk, somewhat later than usual, I wandered as is my custom these days down to the end of the car park to have a look at the beach.

And we’re right at the turn of the tide by the looks of things judging by the beach, and there are quite a few people down there this afternoon making the most of it.

Plenty of sunbathers and and even quite a few people taking to the water. It was certainly one of the nicer afternoons that we’ve had for a while.

A few yachts out there in the distance too and beyond them are the bouchot beds that we saw yesterday. They aren’t as clear today as they were.

yachts ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut on the subject of things being clearer, the air is certainly much clearer than it was yesterday.

The difference between the view of the Ile de Chausey today and the view YESTERDAY WHEN WE SAW MARITÉ is quite considerable.

Unfortunately she’s not out there now, she’s gone somewhere else out of my view. However there are quite a few other yachts over there in the distance, one of them being Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went down the coast last year.

lighthouse cap fréhel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we’re on the subject of going down the Brittany coast … “well, one of us is” – ed … the view down the Brittany coast was quite good today.

Right out there on its headland we can vaguely see today the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel, about 70 kilometres from where I’m standing. Not the best view that we have had – we’ve had days when we’ve seen it with the naked eye – but pretty good all the same.

And I haven’t forgotten that I have a few close-ups on the lighthouse to show you one of these days when I find enough creative spirit to write something up about my journey down there.

st helier jersey channel islands Eric HallIf the view out down the Brittany coast is good, there’s a fair chance that the view out to sea might be good too (although quite often it isn’t).

Out there today, we have a really good view of the island of Jersey and the port of St Helier, even down to being able to see plenty of the buildings around the town. It’s very rare indeed that we cans ee them as clearly as this.

The big white building with the round dome on top is as far as I can tell, the Fort Regent Leisure Centre but I can’t really identify the others. One of these days I’ll have to go for a sail out there, but I bet that it will be raining and foggy and I won’t be able to see a thing.

seagulls baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this particular moment I was overflown by an aerial duo.

The white one on top was, presumably, mummy seagull and she seemed to be taking one of her babies, the browny-grey one underneath, for its maiden flight around the clifftops.

And judging by the noise that baby was making, she was not one very happy seagull at all. The younger ones have this very distinctive squeaky call that sounds like an unhappy toddler.

And by the way, if ever you come to Granville, bring a hat. The seagulls have an accuracy that puts Bomber Command to shame.

yellow microlight pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I’m on the subject of being overflown, it’s getting to be more and more like Play School here.

Today we aren’t going to be deciding which window to be looking out of, we’re going to be deciging which one of the microlight aircraft will be oveflying us.

Last time, it was the red one, so today then obviously it has to be the turn of the yellow one to come and pay me a visit, rattling its way past overhead.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the yellow autogyro so maybe that’s his turn tomorrow.

Surprisingly, that was the only aircraft today that went anywhere like close enough to be able to take a worthwhile photo. There were a couple of others but they were either too far out or too high.

fishermen speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving dispensed with all of the activity out on the north side of the headland I went to see what was going on round the corner because i’d seen some things moving out there.

Across the car park went I, down to the end of the headland and just as I did so, a speedboat went right past in front of me.

We’ve had everything else today so why not a boat full of fishermen? Not doing very much fishing because they are travelling at some speed, from where I don’t know because all of the slipways are out of the water right now.

They are going to be having quite a long wait until the tide comes in far enough for them to go ashore.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I said just now that things were moving out there, I was only speaking figuratively because here’s someone who clearly isn’t.

This is the best way to spend a quite sunny afternoon – anchored off the coast (you can see his anchor chain extended off the port bow) taking in the rays and waiting patiently for the tide to come in.

It doesn’t even look as if he is doing any fishing, and that is surely heresy around here right now.

There’s a few other things to see around the corner so i’ll wander off that way.

trawler in portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallPlenty of excitement yet again in the chantier naval this afternoon.

The portable boat lift has been pressed into operation today and it has a small trawler-type fishing boat in its evil clutches. And there’s a guy standing behind it with a pressure washer presumably removing the barnacles from her hull

And I suppose that you’re wondering why she’s still in the boat lift despite the tide being well out right now, and not dropped down onto a set of chocks as they usually do as soon as they take them out of the water.

Well, read on.

7 trawlers in chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s your answer. There simply isn’t anywhere to put her.

It’s been a really busy morning down at the chantier naval by the looks of things and we have no fewer that seven boats in there. There’s Charlevy of course across the other side, and Trafalgar nearest the street, and then four in a line with the seventh in the portable boat lift.

This is probably a record number of boats for me in there and I don’t see how they could hope to fit any more in their place.

And the excitement will begin when they need to use the portable boat lift to drop a boat back in the water, with nowhere to drop the one that’s in the lift while they do it.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe saw Chausiaise coming back into the harbour after her run out this morning, but she’s now back where she was moored yesterday.

Maybe that’s her work finished for the day, unless she has to go over and bring back some luggage tonight.

And in the background there’s another class taking place in the pool over there by the beach at the Grève de Hérel. It looks as if it might be kayaks this afternoon.

But I came back for a cold drink and to stir some papers around. Despite having felt a little better, I’ve still not been able to concentrate at all.

For tea I made a huge pile of aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit, with no pudding as I wasn’t all that hungry. I had no breakfast either so my appetite seems to have gone.

But now I’m off to bed, rather late, and hoping for a better, more productive day tomorrow. High time that I extricated my digit.

Thursday 24th June 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… really tiring day today – so much so that I was stark out for a couple of hours round about midday and ended up having a very late lunch.

And that’s really no surprise because in what time was available I did quite a lot of work.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I struggled out of bed and went off to take my medication. And then back here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

I’d been to see a band play – it might have been Strife – and then a while later they were in a rehearsal room or village hall setting up for a kind of concert. They were going through a few things before they started, talking about stuff on the stage and said “we’re a bit overwhelmed with basses as well because Eric has his stuff here as well and someone else has his stuff” and so on. A little later on he took me on one side and said “did you learn the three numbers like I asked?” I replied “well to be quite honest no I didn’t”. He said “right” and fetched a pile of paperwork out. He said “someone worked out a way of teaching people how to follow music a bit like some kind of game. All you need to do is to watch your ‘phone and watch the paper”. He drew this kind of musical anotation thing with each string going down to the end of the page and then it doubled back going the other way rather like Chinese writing. He said “this is far the easiest way to learn and I’ll show you how it all works in a minute”. I was really intrigued by this method. Anyway sometime during this I’d been to the supermarket or the chip shop or something and while I was waiting around for this group to turn up I bumped into a girl and she gave me a really nice smile. I looked puzzled and she said “you don’t remember me but I was the girl in the shop yesterday. I made a special effort to remember everyone’s faces because I’m new here”. She was really extremely friendly about this kind of thing and that took me by surprise as well.

Having organised myself as well as I can these days I had an hour or so attacking the photos from August 2019. Right now I’m in Montana on the verge of making a fabulous discovery.

That was followed by a shower and – surprise surprise – a haircut. And having tidied myself sort-of-ish and set the washing machine of on a cycle (a very clever washing machine, mine) I hit the streets.

lorries unloading at quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that I had actually managed to proceed very far before I stopped to take a photo.

Yesterday we had seen the two Jersey freighters Normandy Trader and Thora here in the port. By the time that I went out this morning they had both cleared off back to Jersey but it looks as if they (or at least, one of them) is going to be back fairly soon.

These two lorries here are the reason for that. The only reason that they would be here in the port area is if they are bringing merchandise to the quayside for the little freighter to take away back to Jersey with them.

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFull of curiosity I went to see what was going on in the loading bay but I was distracted.

Marité, the old fishing vessel now used for training and sightseeing trips has been away from port for the last week or two but this morning she is back. She’s definitely the star attraction of the waterfront so a photo was in order.

Every time that I see her I’m tempted to find out how and when I can go off on her for a sail but I’m not a big fan of the people who run it. Every time that you go down to their office and ask a question they scowl at you as if “how dare you interrupt us?”, tell me that “everything is on our website” and then go back to chatting amongst themselves.

It’s the kind of thing that makes me wonder if they are Belgians. They certainly know all about Belgian customer service.

It was a long, hard climb up the hill to LIDL this morning. I remember a few times when I sailed up there like a Spanish galleon or if I was on my way to invade Poland but those days are over. After my operation I’ve aged 20 years and I felt every single, solitary step up that hill

At LIDL I didn’t buy anything special but even so the bill today came to almost €13:00. I did buy myself an energy drink because I reckoned that that would be the only way that I’d get up the hill at the other end of my journey.

roofers fitting laths around chimney rue de la houle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back, I hadn’t gone all that far before I came to a stop.

Here in the Rue de la Houle they have been reroofing a house and today they are fitting a series of laths around the chimney as if they are going to be tiling that too. In fact, if you look further along the roof, you can see a chimney that has already been tiled by the roofers.

It’s a strange way of going about things, tiling a chimney like that. All kinds of things can be going on to the chimney, the brickwork and the cementing underneath the tiles and you won’t be able to see it until the chimney collapses. And as I looked at this one, it certainly needed a bit of fixing before they go to seal it in.

digger building site rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing upon which we have been keeping an eye is the building site on the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

There used to be a little cafe here but that had long-since closed. They demolished it and fenced off the site a few months ago, and then a notice appeared to the effect that planning permission had been granted for a 4-storey block of flats.

Today though, I noticed that things might be starting to get under way at long last. As well as some equipment that has been deposited on the sire, there’s a digger here and it looks as if he’s just dug a big rectangular hole in the middle of the plot.

As for why, we’ll have to wait and see. I pushed off down the hill into town where I became entangled in a schoolkids’ crocodile that had obviously just set off from the youth hostel.

As I passed through the town I noticed my first “G” registered car. The turnover is about 2 years and a couple of months for a letter, but the “F” plates started in October 2018. It shows you just what effect Covid had on the new car sales market.

wood on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallUp the hill I staggered underneath my heavy load, wishing that I had a shopping trolley to take with me, and made several stops to catch my breath – one of which was the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay.

That pile of wood wasn’t there yesterday evening and it won’t have come over from Jersey because wood travels in the other direction. It made me wonder if that was what one of the lorries had brought in this morning for one of the Jersey freighters to take away.

Over the next couple of days I’ll have to be keeping my eye open on the quayside. The turn-round of the freighters in the port is so rapid these days that I miss their visits quite regularly. By seeing when the load has gone from the quayside, that will tell me when one of them has been in here.

square potel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRight behind where I’m standing is the Square Potel, which at one time had the famous unstable set of steps.

Work has been promised to start on here in 2022 but the other day we saw a digger in here and it looked as if it had just brought down the set of steps. I was wondering if that was going to herald the start of the work, a year or so ahead, but that was being rather optimistic, I reckon. The digger has gone and the site is fenced off and that looks to be it for now.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the way that the patrimony of he town is treated is a disgrace. The whole place seems to be tumbling down around our ears and the council is showing no sense of urgency.

fishing boat towing dinghy baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHeading back up the hill on my last leg(s) home I noticed something else going on.

There was a boat out there, moving quite quickly and towing a smaller boat behind it. Thinking that it might have been the patrol boat that we have seen a coupe of times just recently I took a photograph of it so that I could have a closer look when I returned home.

However when I enlarged it back at the apartment I noticed that it was simply an ordinary fishing boat heading out to sea. So why it would be towing another boat behind it I don’t know, unless it’s to go closer inshore when it arrives at wherever it’s going.

Back at the apartment I put the frozen food in the freezer, made myself some hot chocolate and cut myself a slice of fruit bread, and then came in here to carry on working.

At some point I crashed right out completely and I don’t know when, because it was another one of those occasions when I didn’t remember going off to sleep.

And this is something that worries me because if I’m going to be out driving around in Caliburn here and there, I would really like to know when I’m becoming tired and ready to sleep so that I can find a suitable place to stop and sleep it off. Just “switching off” like this is the kind of thing from which accidents are made.

Round about 14:00 I awoke again and it took me a good 10 or 15 minutes to orientate my head into the right direction. And when I finally managed to stand on my own two feet I was somewhat unsteady as I staggered around the apartment but I eventually managed to find my way into the kitchen to make a rather late lunch.

After lunch I had a task to complete. Well, to start actually. I have a huge pile of medical receipts that need scanning and then sending off to my insurance company to claim reimbursement. I made a start on some that I had to hand, and then had to break off to go for my afternoon walk.

hang glider point du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHardly had I managed to set foot outside my front door before the dark shadow fell upon me.

It’s the kind of thing that makes me understand what the Hobbits went through as they were being overflown my the Nazgul in LORD OF THE RINGS but of course there’s very little that is sinister in this particular occasion because we all know what’s going on here and there is no evil intent, unless one happens to crash-land on your head.

Yes, we have quite a wind (yet again) today and so the hang-gliders are out in force. There is probably half a dozen out there this afternoon.

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all of the aerial activity. Not by a long shot.

After the incident with the hang-glider I’d probably gone no more than half a dozen paces before I was overflown by something else. That’s right, someone has got his chopper out this afternoon and is flying around the headland.

It’s not the usual yellow and red air-sea rescue helicopter that we have seen on so many occasions but its grey-green colour suggests to me that it’s a military machine and I wonder why one of those has decided to come out to entertain us today.

Nevertheless it reminds me of the story in which a class of schoolchildren were asked to write a sentence including the words “chaste” and “by helicopter”. And one boy wrote “the boy chaste the girl and by helicopter”.

hang glider beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I always like to do is to go out and check on the beach and see how the tide is doing and whether there are any people taking advantage of it.

One thing that you’ll notice is just how much beach there is compared to YESTERDAY AT ROUGHLY THE SAME TIME. There’s about 50 minutes time difference between each high tide, so comparing this photo and that of yesterday give you some idea of how quickly the water comes in

But anyway, there are a few people out there enjoying themselves on the beach this afternoon, even if they are about to be overflown by the Nazgul that is hovering away in the distance.

tape marking path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier this morning round about 07:15 or something like that I heard a lot of noise – schoolchildren cheering and all that kind of thing. But I couldn’t see anything from here.

But what I noticed this afternoon as I went on my afternoon walk around the headland is that some kind of path had been marked out by all of these tapes. It made quite a circuit and so I wondered if there had been some kind of race going on around the headland. And maybe that might explain the presence of the schoolchildren whom we saw earlier who seem to be lodging in the youth hostel.

But whatever was happening, it was all over now and there was no-one around to ask. Not even anyone coming to take away the rubbish that they have left and to remove the tapes. Maybe I’ll find something in the local paper tomorrow that might give me a clue as to what has been going on with all of this.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow how I wish that I’d come out for my afternoon walk about 5 or 10 minutes earlier. I might have been treated to an exciting spectacle.

The blue and green object on the ground over there near the gun emplacement is the parachute or whatever they call it of one of these Nazgul It seems that one of the bird-men of Alcatraz has come to grief over there and I was quite disappointed at having missed the spectacle.

Quite a few other people didn’t by the looks of things and there are plenty of people with mobile phones and cameras over there who presumably have recorded the incident. But anyway, the pilot or whatever you might call them doesn’t seem to be injured or anything and he’s up and about on his own two feet organising himself and his parachute.

hang glider taking off pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce he’d gathered up his wits, presumably from wherever he might have dropped them, he made his preparations for getting back into the air.

And getting back into the air seemed to be quite easy. He just lifted up his parachute and the wind filled it full of air. Gently, he rose up and away from the ground, and once he had sufficient height he was able manoeuvre himself and his parachute around and head off back the way that he had come.

The crowds of people watching the spectacle clearly enjoyed it. They had all taken enough photos and even a few films about all of the activity. when they return home to wherever home is, they’ll have plenty of exciting films and photos to show the grandchildren

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile all of this was going on, my eyes had been roving around and when they came back they pointed out more goings-on out at sea.

And so I took off down the path and across the car park down to the end of the headland for a closer look at what was happening. And living in a fishing port, you can expect that there is always something to do with fishing.

With issues going on involving the Channel Islands, which need to be resolved within the next seven days or so, the local fishermen are busy trying to exploit new fishing grounds that don’t fall within the scope of the Treaty of the Bay of Granville that the British Government unilaterally revoked under the pretext of Brexit

And so the Baie de Mont St Michel has become a favourite fishing ground at the moment for several local boats who are trying to see whether they can do any good here.

But the story of the Treaty of the Bay of Granville is that it was signed in 1839 between the Channel Islands and the fishermen of Brittany and Normandy to give fishermen from the three regions equal access to the bay. It was reinforced on many occasions, the latest being in 2000.

The Channel Islands are not and never have been part of the European Union and they are also free to negotiate on their on behalf in local affairs independently of the British Government so there is no reason for the British Government to intervene in the affairs of the Channel Islands.

However, the UK has claimed a 12-mile limit around the Channel Islands after Brexit and has revoked the Treaty without consulting either the Channel Islands or the local fishermen who have fished together in peace since 1839, and this is the subject of the dispute.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the meantime while I’m talking about the Treaty of the Bay of Granville another boat comes in from down the Baie de Mont St Michel.

It’s coming in at quite a rate of knots too so I imagine that it must be late for a tea break or something like that. And as it’s surrounded by seabirds, I’m assuming that it must have quite a harvest on board. And that’s why many of these little shellfish-catchers have canopies or tilts across the cargo space – to prevent dive-bombing by the seabirds eager for a cheap and easy meal.

But I’m not going to hang about too long watching it. I’m taking to the path, despite all of the people ignoring the Prefet’s regulations on face masks, to see what’s happening in the harbour.

yacht rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd today, we have another change of occupancy in the chantier navale.

At the moment we’re down to just one boat in here, the yacht Rebelle from London. The other boat that was in here, the fishing boat Gwenn Ha Ruz, or “White and Red” has now departed, presumably back into the water to carry on with whatever it is that she does.

Who will be the next arrival in the chantier navale, I wonder. as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … a thriving ship repairing business is good for the port because it encourages people to base their boats, whether working boats or pleasure boats, in the port where they can be assured of a good and reliable repair and maintenance service.

fishing boat aground ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut this issue of people leaving their fishing boats to go aground when the tide is out instead of mooring them in the inner harbour is still continuing.

There’s another one moored over there this afternoon, right at the ferry terminal. So here’s hoping that none of the joly France ferries to the ile de Chausey want to go out or come in. We know that the Channel Islands ferries Granville and Victor Hugo won’t be going out any time soon.

But as for going out, I’m going back in. I’m ready for a nice piping hot coffee and then I can carry on with the work that I’m doing, sorting out the receipts for my medical expenses and getting them ready to submit to my insurance company.

And by the time I’d sorted them out, I found that there were two months missing. I remember one month where I wasn’t seen by a doctor at the hospital and so didn’t receive a prescription, but I don’t know what happened to the other month. I certainly had a prescription but there’s no mention anywhere of me going to a pharmacy to collect the medication, so I can’t have done.

By the time that it was guitar practice, I was still a long way from sorting them out, never mind scanning them. That’s a job for tomorrow. and so is guitar practice, I reckon, because I’m not making all that much progress with what I want to do. It’s a slow, laborious task.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, because I bought some this morning, followed by apple pie and coconut whatsit. But that’s the last of the coconut so I’m going to treat myself to some custard tomorrow and Saturday.

And now I’m off to bed. I’ve finally caught up with everything that I did today and I’m ready for a good sleep. Tomorrow I’mm continue sorting out my receipts. There must be €1000 here so it’s “spend spend, spend” I don’t think.

Tuesday 20th April 2021 – IF THIS POSTING …

… finishes rather abruptly, what has happened is that the football has finished and I’ve gone straight to bed.

As I’m typing this out on the portable travelling laptop I’m actually watching the football tonight on the big office machine. Connah’s Quay Nomads v Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League – an important match that Connah’s Quay must absolutely win.

And as soon as it’s over I’m off to bed. The alarms are set for … gulp … 04:30 in the morning and I’m not looking forward to that at all.

This morning I was up once more for the first alarm and after the medication I had a few things to do, amongst which was to sort out my papers that are getting into a mess.

Armed with a mug of coffee I attacked the Welsh revision for a couple of hours – a spell of concentration that totally surprised me.

With my hot chocolate and last slice of sourdough fruit loaf I went for my lesson. To my surprise it all went rather well although I’m still struggling to get to grips with the basics. I’m going to have to go back to the beginning and start again, I reckon.

It’s quite strange really. I can remember some surprising things but I’m totally at sea with some of the easy stuff.

After lunch and a little … errr … relax I spent a little time editing the photos from August 2019 and Wyoming, and then went for my afternoon walk, rather later than usual.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I strolled off down to the edge of the car park to look down over the wall towards the beach so that I could see what was going on down there.

There weren’t so many people down there today, something that probably bears some relationship to the fact that it’s a weekday today.

Had it been weekend there would have been hordes of people down there because we were having one of the nicest days of the year so far. There wasn’t very much wind to talk about today and with few clouds in the sky it was quite warm outside, compared to how it has been for the last few days.

council worker working on lawn pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was some excitement going on along the path towards the lighthouse too this afternoon as I strolled over that way.

It seems that the local council is doing its stuff this afternoon, with someone out there attending to the vegetation (I’m not sure why I almost typed “devastation” there – a Freudian slip perhaps?). He was cutting off the old dead branches from the bushes and throwing them into the back of his pick-up.

As I went past he stepped into the cab and set off to drive, almost squidging me underneath his wheels. Obviously my fame has spread to this neck of the woods. And when I mentioned to a friend that I had almost been squidged by a motor vehicle she expressed her regret.

fisherman in cabin cruiser pointe du roc baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve been having another encounter with the local fishermen again this afternoon.

From the lawn and underneath the wheels of the pickup I followed the crowds, walking along the path and across the car park to the end of the headland to see what there was going out in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And right inshore close to the headland was this little cabin cruiser going past my viewpoint. It wasn’t difficult to guess what they were up to. The fishing net standing upright in the stern gave away the game.

But what was interesting me was whereabouts they were actually going to fish. They don’t seem to have too much luck too close to shore, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther out to sea in the Baie de Mont St Michel they seem to be having more luck.

Every now and again the fishing boats from the port put in an appearance in the bay and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last week they were out there in force. They all disappeared when that military vessel put in an appearance, but now that’s gone the boats are back there again.

There’s one of them there that I could see, and there may have been more. But there was so much haze on the water this afternoon that I couldn’t see very much and very far. The whole of the Brittany coast was shrouded in the stuff this afternoon.

joly france chausiais ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s jackpot over at the ferry port this afternoon.

Over the last few days we’ve been seeing various combinations of Joly France boats and the little freighter Chausiais moored over at the ferry terminal, but today we have the lot. All three of them are over there today moored at the terminal so that must mean that they are quite busy.

What wasn’t very busy though was the chantier navale. There were just the two – Aztec Lady and Anakena remaining from the rush over the last couple of weeks but no-one else had come in to join them over the last 24 hours.

men dragging boat across mud fishing boats grounded out port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe haven’t finished with the excitement in the outer harbour yet. There was plenty more to go at.

For a start, there were those two people down there dragging that little boat out there with them across the mud. They are probably trying to reach one of the boats that’s moored up further out on the harbour where the tide has already reached, and so they’ll need the boat for the final 20 metres or so where the water is too deep to wade.

But they really are making heavy weather of the stretch across the mud though. They would probably be better off carrying it to the water’s edge and then going back for whatever there is in there.

And once more, we have a couple of fishing boats tied up and abandoned at the quay near the Fish Processing Plant. They’ve been there for a few days now showing no sign of moving.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the inner harbour we have one of our regular visitors in there today.

It’s the little Jersey freighter Normandy Trader, come into port to take away a load of supplies. We don’t see too much of her these days because one of the Brexit bonuses is that she’s obliged to go into St Malo to unload the shellfish that she carries for the Jersey Fishermen’s Co-operative.

The shellfish need to have a health certificate before they can be landed and there’s no Health Inspector here in Granville as yet.

There’s no Customs Inspector either for the freight as yet, although there is talk that there might be one in the town pretty soon to deal with the port traffic and the airport landings. Planes from the Channel Islands have to fly elsewhere at the moment where there are customs and immigration facilities.

Back here afterwards I had a shower and shock! Horror! I cut my hair too. I’m actually looking a little more respectable now.

Most of the guitar practice was spent either working out the bass line to “China Grove” or else the chords to Steam’s “Nah Nah Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” and Donnie Elpert’s “Little Piece of Leather” – not usually the kind of song that you would expect, but I have a cunning plan …

For tea I had another helping of curry with rice and veg followed by some apple pie out of the freezer. That took me up to the football.

It was quite a fierce struggle too with the Nomads needing to win. And at half-time with it being a stalemate, Andy Morrison threw caution to the winds, took off a defender and a midfielder and threw on two attackers, changing from a 4-3-2-1 formation to an out-and-out attacking formation.

And later on with the score still 0-0 he took off yet another defender and brought on another attacker.

In the final stages of the game it was all-out attack from the Nomads with big centre-half George Horan playing up front as a striker as well.

And it all paid dividends when with just minutes to go, a shot through a crowded penalty area from a Nomads player took a wicked deflection into the back of the Bala net. And three minutes later as the game was ticking over into injury time George Horan rose highest to a cross into the area to thunder home a powerful header.

So having downloaded onto my memory stick the necessary files that I need to add to the portable laptop, I’m off to bed, fully-clothed, ready for my alarm all at 04:30 and my train at 05:55 if I make it there with this early start.

Thursday 18th February 2021 – THAT WAS A …

… really nice tea tonight. And I’ve no idea why either.

For a start, it was the same stuffing that I’d used on Tuesday in my pepper (well, not the same, but leftovers from the same batch) lengthened with kidney beans and stuffed into tacos to make taco rolls with rice (which I remembered to put in the pan tonight). All followed by apple crumble with (because I’ve run out of coconut dessert) some soya vanilla cream dessert.

What beats me is that it’s the same stuff that I’ve had on a regular basis over the past ever so many years and yet it tasted far better tonight than it ever has done.

What else beats me is the news that I was up yet again before the third (now fourth) alarm. That’s not like me at all these days, as regular readers of this rubbish will realise. What’s even more surprising was that it was a horribly late night – or, more to the point – early morning. I was half-expecting to be still in bed right now.

So after medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’m not sure what was happening here but it was another hot, sweaty dream. There were a few of us on a bus or train and we had to go to the toilet. The conveyance came to a stop so we all had to rush to the public conveniences. We stampeded like mad to go there. It was obvious that some people who were older or more infirm than us and we overtook them. One of our party became a steward and was letting people in in accordance with how they had descended from the coach or even people sitting at these tables. We had to wait our turn. In the end we could enter a cubicle but in the one that I was in you had to use a bottle. I went to use it but a guy knocked on the door asking if he could have his bottle back. I said that I was just about to use it to which he replied “oh no, I need it back”. I said “you find me another bottle and you can have this one back no problem whatsoever”. He produced something tiny like a nail file brush container thing. I said “don’t be silly, a proper-sized bottle”. He replied “I can’t see one”, something like that. “There must be one here – there are all these toilets”. Despite the intervention from a couple of other people who were trying their best to help out, he wouldn’t supply a second bottle and insisted on trying to take his away. I wasn’t having any of this. I couldn’t move because I was sitting on the toilet by now. This became something of a stupid impasse. Each time I looked at him, there was always something more missing off his car. It was becoming a wreck and he wouldn’t be able to go there anyway but he kept on insisting for his bottle back and I kept on insisting that he find me something else to use and he offering me this little nail file brush thing and it was all becoming really stupid.

You can’t say that you aren’t being overwhelmed with excitement by some of this stuff, can you?

Later on, there we were, 3 of us, me, a young girl and a woman and we were dressed in some quite elaborate and decent clothing for the carnival, to be a police officer, constable or police observer, whatever but we had to travel in civilian clothes so you don’t know. Everyone was lined up there taking off their ex-military underwear and swapping it. This is where I joined in and we had exactly the same argument as we had before about the issue of handing over the tokens.
So what I want to know is “what have I missed off here that wasn’t recorded?”. That must have been good too.

Later on, I had a shower and a general clean-up, and I even went one better than David Crosby because while he almost cut his hair, I cut mine. It was starting to become too long for how I like it so I’ve cut it right back with a n°2. That’ll keep it out of mischief for a few weeks.

Grabbing a slice of sourdough fruitcake and a mug of hot chocolate I had my one-on-one with my Welsh teacher. It should have been for 15 minutes but we were finished long before that. I told her about my Teflon brain (nothing sticks to it) but she thinks that I’m doing pretty well. That’s surprising because I’m sure that I can do much better than I am.

Rather later than usual because of my one-on-one, I headed off for the shops.

yachting school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the end of the road I had a look over the wall to see what was going on down in the harbour.

Not a lot – no freighters in today so it seems. But the yachting school seems to be in full swing. You can see the little boats with their green sails out there in the bay.

And seeing them there reminds me. That’s one of the things that really needs my attention – to go down there and enquire about taking a course in yachting this Spring. It’s not actually the yachting that interests me but the whole seamanship thing. I know about port and starboard and fore and aft but that’s about it.

However I’m not the worst at this. I know that one of my female friends was most upset when a sailor shouted “avast behind” as she walked past him on the deck.

It had been raining earlier but it had dried up a little so it was quite pleasant walking around the back of the town on the way to the railway station.

When you’ve paid for your tickets on-line you are given a security code and with the code and the bank card that you used to buy your tickets, you obtain your tickets from the machine at the station. But sometimes it’s out of order and the booking office doesn’t open until 09:30 whereas the train leaves at 08:55.

For that reason I always like to go for my tickets a couple of days earlier as I pass on the way to the shops when the ticket office is open. If the machine is out of order the booking office can print them out.

LIDL was expensive today. I spent a lot of money there. But then again I’d forgotten to buy a lot of things at the weekend so I suppose it was about right, I reckon.

demolition of house rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back home I went to look at the old cafe on the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo to see how they are getting on with the demolition.

And it’s not there now – the ground’s all flat, although I doubt if there is a man with a bowler hat beneath it. What there are though are a couple of large signs fixed to the fence telling us that planning permission has been applied for so that a block of flats might be erected on the spot. But I’d heard all about that a week or two ago.

The town was quite busy this morning as I passed through. It’s school half-term this week so the brats are at liberty running around with stressed-out grandparents in tow.

le pearl gates of port de Granville harbour closing Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn up the hill in the Rue des Juifs I staggered with my heavy load. And I reached the park bench on the pavement at a very propitious moment.

Just as I arrived, the red light at the harbour entrance started to flash and as I watched, the gates slowly started to close. I stood and watched them for a while and I was trying to work out the pressure that the hydraulic rams must have to exert to close the gates against the pressure of water that must be upon them. It’s hardly surprising that they have to replace the gates every now and again.

Many of the trawlers are out at sea by the looks of things, but one that isn’t is our old – or maybe I ought to say “new” – friend Le Pearl moored up over there next to the harbour offices.

Where I was sitting was right by the Rampe du Monte à Regret, the path and stairway that leads down to the lower road at the Place Pelley (in case you haven’t guessed it, Granville is honeycombed with alleys, ramps and stairways due to the steepness of the cliffs around here).

pointing rampe du monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is where they have been doing the pointing of the retaining wall for the last while, so I was intrigued to see just how they were doing. And the answer is, as you can see for yourself, that they’ve made no progress whatever over the last three weeks at least.

However, I have heard an interesting little story about this wall. Apparently one of the local Employment Project things that they have around here is running a course in stone-pointing starting in March and the only place where they can have some real practical experience is just here on this wall. So I wonder if that’s why work has ground to a halt – they are going to be having the apprentices doing it as the practical part of their course.

And with all of the renovation plans that they announced for the walls the other day, I suppose that they’ll need all of the apprentices they can find.

trawlers unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo having recovered my breath I headed on up the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the fish processing plant.

Although the gates to the harbour are closed, there is still plenty of activity down there. Some of the trawlers must have only beaten the gates by a matter of a couple of minutes because as I watched , a couple of them jostled for position at the fish-processing plant so that they could unload their catch.

Back in the apartment it was lunchtime so I grabbed my sandwiches. I found some smoked vegan cheese with a sell-by date of January 2020 when I was cleaning out the fridge so I’ve started on that today until it’s gone.

Rosemary had rung me while I was out so I rang her back. Just a little phone call today – one hour and fifty-two minutes. I don’t know what it is that we find to talk about during all of this time.

That took me all the way up to walkies-time so I went back out to see how things were doing.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were plenty of people around today too, especially down on the beach by the steps up to the Rue du Nord. Not as many people as the other day when there seemed to be hordes of them, but more than enough to get into a pile of mischief.

Up here on the car park there were dozens of people milling around, including a couple of brats whizzing around on scooters between the parked cars. Mind you, it was quite warm for the time of year. 9°C on the thermometer that I have and isn’t that quite a bit warmer than this time last week?

So having sorted out all of that, I headed off down the path on my way out to see what the rest of the world was up to.

lighthouse cap frehel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallToday was another one of those days where although there was a sea mist, the coast was fairly clear and you could see for miles down that way even if it was hazy out to sea.

The lighthouse at Cap Frehel was quite clearly visible with the naked eye today, long before I reached the headland and that’s always impressive considering that it’s about 70 kilometres away from here. And one of these days, when I’ve finished the photos and the web pages for my summer in Eastern Europe, I’ll do the photos from my boat trip down the coast and you can see the lighthouse for yourselves in glorious technicolour.

But don’t hold your breath. It’s going to be quite a long job.

rainstorm baie de mont st michel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEven from down where I was standing I could see a big dirty cloud away in the distance so I was keen to go and have a closer look to see what that was doing.

Plenty of people around on the paths and the lawns and even a broken down car with its bonnet up on the car park so it was rather a slalom course that I had to take in order to reach the end of the headland. And I do have to say that I found that cloud quite impressive to watch.

That must be a really impressive downpour going on over there in the bay, and the coastline over there seems to be taking a real pounding. Luckily the wind is in another quarter so we won’t be getting any of that, which is just as well.

sun on sea brittany coast baie se mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe kind of weather that we were having was so much better.

It was quite cloudy and dry, with not too much wind. But we did have another hole in the sky that was letting through a rather large amount of sunshine that was lighting up the bay right in front of me. And the town of Cancale on the other side was brought out quite nicely in relief by the light.

But I can’t stay here all day. I headed on down the path on the other side but there was nothing at all of any interest in the port or in the chantier navale I came home instead for my hot coffee.

orange kefir ginger beer place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving drunk the coffee I turned my attention to the kefir that had been brewing for the last few days.

There are still some oranges remaining that need using so it was orange kefir today, and here are three bottles of the aforementioned that I prepared today, with the new kefir mix to the side and the ginger beer from the other day to the left.

Those bottles that I bought the other day don’t look very happy though. I hope that they are reliable enough to work under the kind of pressure that my kefir reaches.

As well as all of this I’ve done a few more photos of our trip to the hot springs in Greenland and also some more work tagging and indexing the photos from Oradour. They are all completed and I’m now doing them for the Chateau de Chalus.

It’s disappointing that they aren’t ready because I was hoping too have had them finished today. But friends come first of course. And tomorrow I have bread to bake, a Course to study and probably half a dozen other things that I’ve forgotten too, so I’ve no idea when they will be finished.

Talking of friends, Terry has had the statement setting out what French Old Age Pension he’s likely to receive on the basis of his own contributions. He’s amassed enough credits for a monthly pension of €25:00. I told him that I’ll chip in my monthly Old-Age Pension from my employment in Belgium – all €30:23 per month – and the two of us can go berserk.

Spend, spend, spend, hey?

Thursday 10th December 2020 – ISN’T IT NICE …

christmas lights marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… when you see that someone has actually read something that you’ve posted and actually gone out and acted on it?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago when we were discussing the miserable array of Christmas lights around the port, and I aid something to the effect that I thought that at least they might have made an effort with Marité and having lights strung up in the rigging?

It seems that whoever they are in charge of her have read what I have had to say on the subject and strung up some lights in the rigging as I suggested. But you can’t exactly say that they have pushed the boat out, can you? I’ve seen far better lights than these in my time, as I’m sure you have.

All in all, it’s a rather disappointing effort and they could – and should – have done so much better with this. But at least they’ve read my notes and done something.

But what a bad day I had today.

And that’s a shame because it started off so well as I beat the third alarm to my feet – something that it always good news.

With the medication today I tried the mint cordial-flavoured Kefir that I had made but it wasn’t anything special and was also pretty inert which was a shame. I’d expected something much more lively.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was working on my own with doing a videographic thing and this kid and her mother had done some kind of magic performance and her father asked me if I could add it on to a video which I agreed that I would do. But it wasn’t going to turn out as easy as I thought because some of it needed cutting out because it was too long but there was music on there and it would disrupt all the sequencing so I had to think of a way in which I could do that. The father was very precise about the bits he wanted including in this film and I started to be worried about whether I had the technology to actually be able to do it despite what i’d been telling people. First I’d have to look for a video editing program but I don’t have one of those.

I was with Castor last night in a pub in south-west London (hello Castor!) but I can’t remember very much about it except that she went to the bathroom and was gone for ages and ages and I was wondering if she’d run out on me again. Eventually she came back. We’d been talking about doing a furniture removal, something like that for her. She said that people she knew had some stuff. They lived in a place called Abbey Sides. They said that it was only like a 5 minute walk away. I had a look on the A to Z and she was right – it wasn’t all that far away from where we were. I suggested that we drank up and went to have a look. For some reason this was taking an awful lot longer than it ought to have done. But I don’t remember any of the rest of this and I can’t really remember the beginning either.

After that, I had a shower and shock! horror! I cut my hair! Now I look a little more human. And I wish that I’d weighed myself after I’d cut it, something that might have made me feel better.

After the shower I made a start on some of the arrears of my trip to Central Europe. It’s one of the three big ones today – the one where I spend a whole day in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic and this is going to take ages to deal with – there are about 50 photos in this.

Before setting off to the shops I had to pay a bill – or, at least, write out a cheque to pay a bill. The rates on my house in France are due again. And I bet that you wish you only paid … gulp … €26:00 per annum for your rates.

unloading goods at quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was cold this morning as I went down into town, so I was glad that I had taken my gloves.

They make it easy to operate my camera and so when I saw a lorry and a fork lift truck unloading goods at the quayside it was a pretty straightforward operation to take a photo. At least the camera was charged today.

But this unloading can only mean one thing of course. And that is that either Normandy Trader or Thora is heading this way from the Channel Islands, or even now that there’s quite a pre-Christmas and pre-Brexit rush on, that Chausiais is going to be doing another little run.

setting up christmas entertainment place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo down the Rampe du Monte Regret I went and up the Rue Lecampion into town.

Just here in the Place Charles de Gaulle they seem to be setting up some kind of stall for street entertainment, presumably for the Christmas period. I suppose that Christmas still has to go on, even if I have never felt as less Christmassy as I am feeling right now.

All the decorations in the town are there too, and I’ll come by one evening in the dark when (hopefully) they will be illuminated, and take a photo of them to add to the records.

But instead, I posted my letter in the post office and pushed on.

steps from rue couraye down to rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubish will recall that several weeks ago I stumbled by accident upon a little alley in the Rue Couraye that had steps going down to the level below.

It was an alley that I hadn’t noticed before, and it’s been my goal to track down the other end and see to where it leads. So when I reached the end of the Rue du Bosq I had a look around and sure enough, I could see it leading down into the Rue du Marias just on the corner.

And from here it looks as if it goes through someone’s terrace. I’m not convinced that that’s a popular idea with some people.

At LIDL I didn’t buy very much, and nothing at all out of the ordinary except a ginger spice cake. I’m going to find some marzipan at the weekend and marzipan it and then ice it. It won’t be the same as a Liz Messenger cake, but it will be the best that I can do.

pedestrian passsage rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back home, this delightful little notice here caught my eye.

There are building works going on all over the place and in the Rue St Paul there are at least three houses undergoing renovation. This is one of them and they have fenced off the front and indicated to pedestrians that they must somehow squeeze through the gap between the fence and the wall, unless they would like you to go through the window.

Either way, you need to be either very thin or very athletic so that rules me out. I walked around in the street.

By now the weather had broken and it was raining quite heavily. I was becoming soaked to the skin going home.

Back here I had a hot chocolate and some cake, and then promptly passed out fast asleep. And it was awful – one of these really deep sleeps that makes me feel so awful. I was stark out for an hour and then it took me an hour to come round, so awful was I feeling.

After lunch I crashed out again but I did manage to do some kind of work here and there on my day in Karlovy vary

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut by now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

The rain had stopped falling by now but the wind was blowing somewhat and the sea was rather rough. This little fishing boat was making rather heavy weather of the journey back from the fishing grounds this afternoon back to the harbour.

And I now know why it is that these fishing boats have a roof over the deck like this. It’s to prevent the seagulls, who usually follow the boats in to harbour, from diving down and helping themselves to some of the catch.

rainbow english channel hauteville sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking around, I noticed the view down the Cotentin Peninsula, and there was some astonishing stuff going on there as you can see.

The first thing of note was the rainbow underneath the clouds. We’ve had plenty of rainbows around here and this one is unfortunately far from the best, but it will do to be going on with.

The second thing is the sunlight. You might have to click on the image to see it but there’s a shaft of sunlight shining right down on the town of Hauteville sur Mer, illuminating it like a spotlight would on a stage.

We’ve seen quite a few of that phenomenon just recently too.

normandy trader english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou will remember earlier that we saw them unloading a pile of merchandise on the quayside and I speculated that one of the Jersey Freighters may well be on her way in.

Well, not only has one of them come in, she’s going out too on the same tide. That’s Normandy Trader heading back out to sea with a full load on board, having undergone probably one of the quickest turnrounds yet.

If she’s turning round as quickly as this in port, it’s hardly surprising that we haven’t seen her all that often even though I know that she’s been on her way in. And the same with Thora too. I bet that we have also missed her loads of times.

sun baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo after watching her fighting her way through the waves on her way home, I walked on around the corner and across the lawn and the car park to see what was going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

There’s nothing actually happening right now out there, but we are being treated to another one of these late-afternoon winter suns of which we have seen plenty just recently. If you thought that it looked impressive over at Hacqueville sur Mer just now, how about this for a spectacle?

This is probably just about the best one so far. It’s come out really well and if you look carefully, underneath the cloud you can see the Brittany coast.

yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot wishing to hang about too long, I trotted off down the path, across the road (where there was no dog to annoy me) and then down the path overlooking the clifftop, doing my best to avoid falling into one of the very large puddles.

And look at this! There’s been a change of occupant in the chantier navale, so it seems. Ceres II has departed now and our yacht is in there all on its own.

It’s going to be pretty lonely there if it doesn’t find any shipmates to come and keep it company. Not that I’m wishing ill on anyone, but we need a busy shipyard here so that we can have a thriving port.

ceres 2 going back into the water chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut where has Ceres II gone to? She can’t have been gone long because the van that has been attending to her is still there.

The answer is that I reckon she’s there. The portable boat-lift still has its engine running so it’s been working quite recently. And that array of aerials and ancillary equipment that you can just about see looks as if it’s off Ceres II.

So I just about missed her going back into he water, which was a shame. But never mind. I decided to push on for home and a hot coffee, and do some work. There’s plenty of it, right enough.

Unfortunately my bad day carried on and instead of working I ended up crashed out yet again. This is absolutely no good at all and I wish that there was something that I could do about it. But it’s the story of my life right now and it isn’t going to improve.

After my guitar practice, which went according to plan, I had tea. I finished off the last of the fresh broccoli along with other steamed veg with some veggie balls and vegan cheese sauce, followed bu apple pie.

And while we are on the subject of tea, they had a big pack of mushrooms (well, it is the season, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall from the other day) on special offer in LIDL today so I must remember to do a pan of lentils in the morning ready to make a lentil, mushroom and potato curry tomorrow.

And if I leave the eyes in the potatoes, then it’ll see me through the week.

st helier jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy runs tonight were rather half-hearted and although I completed them all (keeping to dry land) I can’t say that I was inspired.

But it was a really beautiful night to be out, another one of those occasions where I could see for miles. St Helier and Jersey could be seen with the naked eye 58 kilometres away and in the phot you can even see the red lights on the radio tower at the back of town.

That’s a hand-held photo by the way. It’s far too windy to take the tripod out at the moment but I’ll be out there with it one of these days when the wind calms down.

christmas lights rue des corsaires Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much happening elsewhere either. It was all rather disappointing.

The lights down in the Rue des Corsaires were visible so I took a quick photo and then cleared off for my run across the Square Maurice Marland, where battling against a gale-force headwind thoroughly exhausted me. But I had a look at the lights on Marité and then ran on to home and warmth

And before I went to bed I did a little radio work. I had the music going on in the background, the music from which I’ll be choosing the tracks for the next programme, and two absolutely ideal tracks came up. So I’ve been dealing with them. I may as well make a head start.

But now I’m off to bed. Plenty to do tomorrow still land I really don’t feel like doing it, but I have to crack on, I suppose. It won’t do itself.

Thursday 10th September 2020 – IT’S ALWAYS INTERESTING …

traffic lights porte st jean granville manche normandy france eric hall… the things that I see when I’m out and about on my travels around the town.

And it’s not as if I have to go all that far from home to find it either. I hadn’t gone 20 yards otside my front door this morning before I was confronted by a set of traffic lights.

“Road works going on in the old Medieval walled city” I mused to myself. I shall have to go for a look round later on to see what is happening.

roadworks rue notre dame pizza van place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd sure enough, while I was on my travels later this evening, I did come across what was causing the issues.

The road has been dug up on the corner of the Place Cambernon and the Rue Notre Dame. And judging by the names written on the “no parking” signs, it seems to be the Water company whose turn it is right now to dig up the streets.

It’s Thursday night as well, and the Pizza van is there tonight. And with the tables of the bar La Rafale being out in the square and its reserve place prohibited by the road works, it’s had to perch itself precariously on the corner.

Talking of perching oneself precariously on the corner, when the third alarm went off this morning I was perched precariously on the corner of the bed with my feet on the floor.

Not exactly awake but it still counts as being up and out of bed.

What was surprising about this was I’d had such a bad night. At one stage I thought that I would never ever drop off to sleep. There isn’t really much point in going to bed early if you can’t sleep.

When I finally got off to sleep last night I met another strange girl. She was from Venn which wasn’t too far from Eching (which it isn’t, but let’s not go allowing facts to get in the way of a good nocturnal ramble). There was this weird girls’ school and they were teaching these children all this dance, everything like that and poetry recital, that kind of thing. They had a kind of dancing competition. I wanted to see them about something but it was “oh no we can’t interrupt these proceedings now. It’s far too important. You’ll have to come back later”. Off they all went and I went back. All of these girls were in school uniform, grey with grey hats, that kind of thing, a very posh private school, that type of place. They all had taken some strange kind of wooden furniture, shelf kind of thing with two sides like blackboards that you could write on them. They had all taken these with them but there was one left in the garden. I mentioned it to the headmistress. She said “you’ll have to take that. It looks like one of the girls has forgotten it”. “What do you mean ‘I have to take it’?”. She said “you have to take it”. I asked “what do I do with it?”. She replied “you have to learn the ritual and at the appointed time tonight you’ll have to perform the ritual”. I thought to myself “what the hell am I going to be involved in now?”. She insisted that it was terribly important that I did this, so I ended up taking it home with me and stuck it in a corner when I returned home. I had to be very careful about who came to my house. We were listing stuff to sell and I can’t remember who was helping me now, maybe my brother I dunno. We’d listed some stuff to sell and we’d sold it and now we were listing some free stuff. He was listing some stuff that I thought was much more important to sell – we could get a good price for this – but no, he insisted on it being free. There was one thing that he insisted that people make an appointment to come round to pick it up. I said “that’s crazy, tying me to the house and I don’t want to be tied to the house. I want to get rid of these things as and when!”. We had a dispute about that and in the end we agreed that people would just have to ring up and say when they were coming to pick it up, a kind of compromise. After we’d done that, I said “hang on – I have something else to show you”. There was a girl in my house at this time – it might have been Pollux but I’m not too sure about this. I went and brought down this furniture thing and assembled it. I asked this girl ” how’s your Latin?”. She said “I come from Venn, it’s Venn that I speak, that’s near Eching in Germany, like Germany and Austria”. I replied “you’ll get on really well with Hans”. “Yes” she said, “that’s right. From Eching”. I showed them this and explained about this ritual that I had to do. One thing that I had forgotten was that during this competition I had 16 dances to learn. There had been a musician playing all of the dances and for a minute I’d been round with him doing something, trying to work out what the music was for these dances. It was another hot and sweaty night when I awoke and it took me hours to go back off to sleep as well.
Somewhat later I was with a girl and my father was around somewhere. I’d had to go out in a car and there had been some kind of confusion over which one I was to drive. It was suggested that i would take my father’s Zephyr 6 – the MkIV, not the MkIII which was his famous one 3816 TD. I went to try to organise something about all of this and I ended up with a pocket of keys. I had to start swapping them over. Then I noticed – I had to get up from my table at this bar place – and on the way back I noticed this key on the floor. It was the one that I needed to start the car. I showed it to the girl I was with and said “phew! That’s lucky!”. She asked what it was so I told her that it was the key to the car. My father then went to move all of his cars away. he took his mkIII Zephyr and drive it home and came back with the MkIV. There was still a bit of confusion about how we were going to go somewhere. I had a pocket full of rubbish and wondered how I was going to fit this key in. Then I couldn’t find the key and it was hidden in all this rubbish in my pocket. There was the question again about what car I was going in and we agreed that it was my father’s. I asked “what’s going to be in it?”. They replied “just his coat and one or two other little things”. I wanted to ask my father a couple of questions about his cars. I remember the two Ford E83W vans that we had – KLG 93 and XVT 772 – and I’m sure that there was one before them that had become stuck in my head, a 1937 van, and I wanted to know what we had had before that, and what he would consider to be his typical car if someone had to connect him with one particular car, which one would it be? I thought that it was important that he would tell me because of course he wouldn’t last for ever and if I didn’t start asking these questions soon I would never know.

But I’m not too sure why it is that Pollux has suddenly started making a series of appearances in my nocturnal rambles. Where has Castor got to?

There was some stuff on the dicaphone from yesterday too, so I transcribed that and ADDED IT TO THE ENTRY FOR YESTERDAY.

As well as having a shower this morning, I also cut my hair. It’s been a while since I’ve cut it and it was becoming a little straggly.

mobile crane rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd then I went out to the shops.

We’ve seen the traffic lights around the corner but that was far from being the only excitement. There’s a huge mobile crane down there in the Rue Lecampion lifting a load of something or other over the roofs of the houses into the rear behind the Rue des Corsaires.

That was well worth a photo of course, and when I’m down there I shall make further enquiries to see what they are up to.

crane rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd sure enough, when I was down there I could see that there’s quite a major operation going on.

It’s difficult to say what they are doing but there was this kind of glazed roof – at least, it would be glazed had there been any glass in it but I imagine there soon will be – that they are presumably going to lift up and over and onto whatever it is that they are doing.

My first stop today was the railway station.

My Old Fogey’s railcard expired a few weeks ago and with me planning to go to Belgium for my hospital appointment at Castle Anthrax, I need it updated.

That was dealt with without any particular problem and then I went off to LIDL. There was nothing much there that attracted my attention although with fruit being so cheap right now (especially grapes, of course) I ended up with a huge pile of fruit.

archaeological dig square potel granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I went past the Square Potel.

There’s an archaeological dig going on around there right now and we’ve seen the digger in the grounds of the museum. Today though, they were digging a trench in the square and there was an archaeologist examining some artefacts.

Having watched them for a short while I came on home, where I … errr … crashed out on the chair until lunchtime. That’s enough to make me feel really miserable.

After lunch I spent a pleasant hour or so working on the photos from Brittany at the end of June when we went off on the Spirit of Conrad.

joly france english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd the sailing – or, at least, nautical – theme continued while I was out on my afternoon walk.

There were crowds of people out there enjoying the pleasant weather and looking out to sea as something rather large was moving about heading towards us. These days I can recognise the silhouette at quite some distance without needing to crop and enlarge it.

And it is as I expected. Joly France is on her way back with the afternoon ferry from the Ile de Chausey. She seems to be quite busy right now despite the end of the holiday season.

fishing from speedboat pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were plenty of other boats out there too, as you could see in the previous photo.

There are several boats too much closer to home. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we seem to be in the middle of the rod-and-line fishing season. We have another small boat out there today with their rods out trying for a bite.

Here’s hoping that they will have more luck than anyone else who I have seen out there. Three and a half years have I been here and not a single bite have I seen

sailing school baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnyway i pushed on along the path and round the headland to the path on the south side.

One of the things that I regret not doing while I’ve been living here is to make the most of the opportunities that the local sailing school can offer. I would have thought that with the season being over their activities would have ceased but there seems to be another class out there today.

Not having gone down there to make enquiries is an opportunity that I have let slip and I hope that I’ll have another opportunity to put that right.

speedboat cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen we saw the photo of Joly France just now, we saw another boat coming along behind it.

And as I carried on with my walk along the path this rather large pleasure boat came around the headland towards the port de plaisance and I reckon that this is the “other” boat from the previous photo.

Having a good look at this, it’s clear that there is plenty of money around here, what with one thing and another. Not around me though. It seems to have passed me by a long time ago.

Back here I did some Welsh revision and then had my hour on the guitars.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallTea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, followed by apple pie. And then I went out for my evening walk.

There was a beautiful sunset tonight, although maybe I should say that the sun has long-since set. It was very reminiscent of some of the very late nights that I have seen in the High Arctic and makes me all nostalgic.

Before much longer, I’m going to have to make another return out there, even if it’s just to sit on the shore of the North West Passage and admire the sky.

My route carried on with a run down along the footpath, a walk around the corner to gather my breath and then another run across the Square Maurice Marland.

minette black cat rue notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that for a couple of years I had a regular encounter with an old black cat called Minette

Ever since the turn of the year I only recall meeting her once and the feeling seemed to be that she had gone off across the rainbow bridge. However, much to my delight, she was there again tonight sitting on her windowsill waiting for her stroke.

That cheered me up no end.

Nothing much else going on, apart from the roadworks that we have seen, so instead I came home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I have a full day at home in which I can catch up with some arrears. I also need to book my voyage to Leuven for my visit to Castle Anthrax and so that will be a priority too.

But sleep is the first thing to do. And who will come with me on a travel tonight?

Thursday 7th May 2020 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall… this evening’s beautiful sunset, let me tell you about my day today.

Just for a change, I went to bed last night at a not-unreasonable hour and I was just about on the point of throwing off my bed covers when the alarm went off.

So, a narrow defeat this morning, which was a shame. It’s high time I got myself onto a winning roll with all of this getting-up lark. I can’t afford to spend my time lying in bed.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night.

There had been some kind of radio meeting during the night. There was a new woman there and we’d been discussing a few things. There was a brochure that we had prepared, like a magazine. It was in French with an English translation. I was looking through this translation and I noticed that this new woman was standing there not too far away and she was trying her best to speak in English. I’m not quite sure why. And then the meeting came round about we were going to abandon our Saturdays. One project that the chief decided on was that we were each going to bring in a piece of fruit once a week and we’d talk about this piece of fruit. He went through the catalogue and when it got to Saturday, he said “of course Saturday we won’t be here so we can’t do Saturday”. Then he came out with a list of reasons why we couldn’t do it with coffee – because some people like it with sugar and some don’t and so on. And it all became confusing.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter breakfast I had a go ata couple of pages of the website and upgraded them.

That all led to a shower and a general clean-up. And for all of my efforts this week, i’ve lost another 100 grammes. At this rate it’ll be years before I’ll disappear completely.

But in other news, I’ve cut my hair today. And it needed it too. I’ll probably find that I’ve lost half a ton of weight now that that lot has gone.

crane pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThursday today and so that means shopping. I grabbed my bag and headed to the hills.

One thing though, and that was that I was interested to see what was going on today with all of the shenanigans down in the harbour over the last few days.

And so this morning we could admire the big yellow crane that was now back again, and it seemed to be doing some stuff with the new pontoons over there.

So that looks like progress.

new pontoon walkway ramp road marking car park rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallDown here on this side of the harbour by the rue du Port we saw them last week manoeuvring one of the walkways into position.

This week we can see that it’s been installed properly now. I can’t wait for the detention à domicile to end so that I can go for a walk down there and see how it is. I want to find out how the bottom is fastened to the pontoon because the pontoon won’t be at a constant height.

But just look at that car park on the right. How disappointing is that? There was so much that they could have done to it to make it so beautiful and all that we’ve ended up with is a slab of tarmac with painted white lines.

So, filled with disappointment I pushed on through the crowds (and I DO mean crowds) up the hill out of town.

First stop was at the laboratory for my test results and to pay the bill. There’s a one-way system in force there so we had to go in through the back door (and out of the front).

And in astonishing news, it’s been months since I had any treatment and my blood count has gone UP! 9.7 is quite ridiculous if you ask me. I’ve no idea what’s going on there.

house renovations avenue marechal leclerc granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way up the hill to LIDL I went past a house renovation that appears to have started, here in the Avenue Marechal LeClerc.

In fact one of the things that I noticed was that in a lot of the shops that are currently closed there are all kinds of repainting and redecorating going on. It looks as if everyone is getting ready for reopening, and using the downtime profitably.

At LIDL I spent a little more money than usual but there was a reason for that. I need a new plugboard with more sockets, and there was a seven-way switchable one on offer for €5:99. So that joined the happy throng.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I called at la Mie Caline for a dejeunette and then headed home. And the shopping was really heavy, what with everything in it. Like two bags of flour for a start.

But my eye caught a change over at the chantier navale. There have been four boats in there just recently but today it looked as if there was now a fifth.

And even more interesting – the boat on the left in the line of four is not the same boat that’s been there for the last couple of weeks. That’s gone and another has taken its place so it seems.

Back here I had a coffee and then made a start on the images for July 2019. For a couple of hours I had a good back at those and another 40-odd have bit the dust.

Right not I’m on the upper deck of The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour watching the tight manoeuvres as we attempt to make our way into the port of Vestmannaeyjar on the island of Heimaey.

old cars citroen acadiane place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was a break for lunch of course, and I happened to glance out of the window where I saw this.

It’s been years since we have featured an old car, so this old Citroen Acadiane is a welcome visitor to our pages.

Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its many guises years and years ago will recall that I had one of these that I bought at an auction, but it was “lost” when the lock-up garages where it was kept were swept away when the site was cleared for houses.

After lunch I launched an attack on the updating of the web pages. And here I made an exciting discovery.

At one stage a while ago I was looking for the working files for my 2014 trip to Canada that I could never find and which I assumed had been lost when the old laptop gave up the ghost in Germany.

But I’d obviously at one stage done some kind of directory compare between the files on the computer and files on my web server, presumably found them on both and knowing that they weren’t ready for publishing, deleted them – but from the computer and not from the web server.

They’ve now been moved over to the correct location, so obviously some more good has come out of this project.

But what with that and an early finish this afternoon I didn’t manage to do as much as I would have liked, but I can’t win a coconut every time.

So after my hour on the guitars, my early finish had given me half an hour spare so I put it to good use.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve run out of pudding and so I decided to make a small apple pie.for the rest of the week or so.

However, rather than use a pastry roll, I’d seen a simple recipe for making simple pastry – basically any given welght of flour and half that weight of butter (or in my case, vegan margarine) all kneaded together until it looks and feels good, and then a couple of tablespoons of water added and kneaded in until the texture feels good.

Take out your silicon baking sheet, dust it with flour, stick your pastry on there, flatten it out and then roll it with your rolling pin, keeping it dusted with flour so it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin as you roll it.

Grease your little baking pan (I used a 15cm one) and cut your pastry to fit it. 150 grammes of flour was enough to make the top and the bottom and there was some left over.

Peel, core and slice a couple of baking apples and add the slices to the pie with some cinnamon, nutmeg, desiccated coconut, brown sugar and lemon juice.

Then add the top, milk the edges and press them down with a fork to seal them. Brush the top with milk and dust with brown sugar, then put a couple of slits into the top to let out the steam, and then bung into the oven.

apple pie apple turnover place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallWith what’s left over (pastry and apple) make an apple turnover.

And here’s the finished product. It looks absolutely delicious. And the apple turnover certainly was because I had it for pudding with some of that almond soya stuff after my burger-on-a-bap and baked potato.

And I’ll have another go at this pastry lark because it really was quit straightforward and simple. In fact, I’m wondering what I can attempt next.

trawlers english channel ile de chausey brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the washing up (of which there was more than enough) it was time to go off on my evening runs.

There were quite a few people out there tonight, presumably fed up of the lockdown (which seems to be working – only 600 new cases today). And we had plenty of fishing boats to admire too – like these out and about in the stretch of the English Channel between the Ile de Chausey and Bréhal-Plage.

They seem to be working all kinds of new areas these days, and a lot closer to home too.

fishing buoys english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallSo much so that it didn’t surprise me to see these buoys just a few miles offshore.

At first I thought that it might be a seal or a porpoise or something so it was rather a speculative shot that I took. But back home where I could crop it out and blow it up (the cropped image, not the object) I could see that they were these temporary marker buoys that we see floating about every now and again.

Despite all the time that I’ve lived here I’ve never been able to find out exactly what they are but having seen them on fishing boats, my best guess is that they are markers for fishing traps, like lobster pots and the like.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday (and for a couple of other days just recently too) we’ve walked round the headland to discover a fishing boat setting out of the harbour.

There was another one today heading off out today too. There were a few boats out fishing off the Brittany coast near Cancale across the bay and it looked as if this one was on its way to join them.

Looking more closely though, it seems to be surrounded by seabirds so I wonder if it is in fact fishing with its nets out just there.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut here’s another thing.

My evening run took me along the path on top of the cliff past the chantier navale and I could see that there was yet another change of occupants.

We’d seen this morning that we’d increased to five occupants – two of which were new because one of the older inhabitants had gone from the chocks. But tonight we’re down to four again, with one of the new ones having now been put back into the water.

It can’t have been much that she needed

chausiais port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallThe next leg of my run takes me all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury and round into the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and once I reach my marker (the second pedestrian crossing) I can pause for breath.

So I walked back down the road to the walls overlooking the harbour to se what was happening. Chausiais is now back in her habitual mooring spot at the ferry terminal and Marité although you can’t see her, is still moored at the far side of the harbour (and I forgot to look this morning to see why she had been moved).

Apart from that, there was nothing very evident to indicate what work they had been doing around there.

fishing from the steps rue du port granville manche normandy france eric hallSo I ran off round to the viewpoint at the rue du Nord just in time to catch the sunset, as you have already seen.

There were a few people out there again tonight, including these people who were fishing with rod and line from the steps that go down to the beach (or would do at low tide, of course)

They seemed to be having a great deal of fun, whether they were actually catching anything or not, so I left them to it and ran on home.

Half of my notes are finished now, but so am I too. I’m off to bed and I’ll finish the rest tomorrow. It’s a Bank Holiday (VE Day) in Europe tomorrow but in defiance of usual practice I’m setting an alarm so that I can finish my notes early tomorrow.

If I can.

Thursday 27th February 2020 – AFTER CARNAVAL …

cleaning confetti rue couraye carnaval granville manche normandy france eric hall… this last few days the big clean-up begins.

Here in the rue Couraye this morning was one of the several pressure-washers washing the confetti off the walls and the windows down into the grids where it will be eventually discharged into the sea.

Somewhere in the press I read that there had been a total of about 7 tonnes of confetti thrown during the carnaval, and looking at the state of the town on Sunday evening I could well believe it. It was as if we had had snow.

Talking of the Press, I have an apology to make to one of the local newspapers, Ouest-France. When we had our press conference the other week, only two of the three journalists invited actually turned up. I was told, and so I wrote, that it was Ouest-France that was refusing to cover our radio station.

That however is not the case. It’s La Manche-Libre that is boycotting the radio station.

This morning, I had my own clean-up.

The day started a little later than I hoped, due to the difficulty that I had leaving my stinking pit. Only 10 minutes or so but nevertheless …

After the medication, I attacked the dictaphone. I was in with some kind of circus last night. There were all these people dancing around in this kind of blue-ish costume. They were all ages, from quite young to twenty-something. One of them, a young girl, was covered in henna tattoos from head to foot. I can’t remember who I was with – my brother or someone – but we were remarking on all these people and I was reading a circus magazine, a Dutch circus magazine but it was actually written in English and was going on about all of the activities at various circuses and fairgrounds. It was all extremely interesting as I read one, put it down, picked up another, all these dances. Then it turned into a marriage. My brother poked me in the elbow and said “look over there! That is going to be really something”. There was a young girl standing on some kind of table or other surrounded by all these other young girls. This girl was the one being married. There was an older woman there, probably her mother or something, ginger-haired. The look on this mother’s face was priceless because I think she just realised that with the weight of people on this table it was going to collapse any minute and this was what my brother picked up to (assuming that it was him) and all these people would be decanted all over the place.
Later I was back to doing something around the port as well with different people, a kind-of broadcast with what was going on there. What I remember mostly was the guy who claims to be tax-exempt in the Uk but all of the hoops that he had to go through to get that tax-exempt status. Apparently it’s not granted automatically any more. You have to apply for it even though you don’t know how to apply or what to do. And there was something about me being the only one to wear a hat.

Breakfast was next and then I attacked the digital files. One soundfile was scratched but I managed to edit it out but several others were, as expected, hopelessly out of order and it took me an age to sort them out as they should be.

And I’ve no idea who noted the running times in the library files but they bear no resemblance whatever with the actual times that I recorded.

On that note (seeing as we are talking about music) I went and had a shower and a general clean-up. And a hair-cut too because it was actually becoming rather longer than I liked. It’s now nice and short.

In fact, I wasn’t sure that I like my new haircut at first, but I think that it will grow on me.

thora baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThat was the cue to hit the shops – rather later than I anticipated.

There was a howling gale blowing outside again. Not as bad as some days that we have had recently but bad enough. Poor Thora was making heavy weather of her way into port, and that was no surprise.

At LIDL I didn’t buy anything whatever that was extraordinary. It was still a reasonably-expensive shop though because I’m going to have to make some muesli tomorrow I reckon so I may as well buy in the stuff that I need seeing as I’m there. I do like my home-made muesli.

At La Mie Caline I picked up my dejeunette and, dodging the rain showers, made it back home just in time to answer a call from Rosemary. She’d “hit the wall” and was looking for inspiration.

We had a lengthy chat, like we always do, and that took me up to lunchtime.

After my butties I wrote and then dictated the text for my “live concert” for the month of April. I like to be ahead. That’s now all edited and merged, and when I played it back it sounded really good. One hour exactly, and that’s just what is required.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere were a couple of interruptions to the proceedings too.

Firstly of course, there was my afternoon walk around the headland. Quite a few people out there again seeing as it’s still the school holidays. And down in the chantier navale we seem to have come down to just one boat.

There were two in there last night, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. I wonder where the second one went.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallEarlier on today, we’d seen Thora fight her way into port on her trip over from the Channel islands.

She had made it safely in, evidently, for here she is tied up at the usual mooring dock by the unloading crane next to Marité

It’s going to be tomorrow before I can get down there to have a chat to them, and I bet that she will have sailed by then. That’s usually the case. I never seem to be able to catch up with the skippers of the two Channel Island freighters.

new car park rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that just before Carnaval they had a compactor flattening the surface of the car park that they are refurbishing in the rue du Port.

We’ve not been able to give it a close look since then so I took the opportunity to give it a good looking-over today. There’s more machinery on there today and they also seem to have been digging a trench that they are lining with concrete.

So it looks as if they are pressing on with their plans. I hope that they’ll do a good job, and that they’ll plant a good pile of greenery down there. The twon centre is a little desolate with an absence of growing stuff.

new pontoons port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut talking of them growing stuff, the new pontoons down in the harbour seem to be springing up like mushrooms.

Yesterday, we saw a lorry delivering some of the pontoon mounting brackets to the far side of the harbour, and today it looks as if they have not only managed to install them in the correct position, but fitted some of the new pontoons in place.

It’s all looking quite impressive, but I’m wondering if they are going to be leaving any room for the commercial traffic. I know that we haven’t had any gravel boats in for months but even so, there still needs to be the facilities for one to arrive if necessary.

floating pontoons port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMeanwhile, back on the north side of the harbour, work is likewise continuing apace.

The large floating pontoon with the cranes is over here now and they seem to be fitting a couple more of the floating pontoon walkways.

You can see that the fishing boats are already moored up against it, and so I wonder what they are going to do about the little cranes that they use to load and unload all of the fishing gear that they use.

It doesn’t look to me as if the reach is long enough.

Back here I … errr … closed my eyes for a few minutes and then quickly finished off the April live concert. With the time that was left I had a good listen to it while I edited a few more photos from July 2019.

There was some good news, in that I managed to track down a couple of things that had been puzzling me – like the names of islands out in the Atlantic Ocean and the name of a ship (a mis-spelling that I managed to track down) to name but two.

Tea was frozen pie out of the freezer, with potatoes veg and gravy followed by pineapple chunks with raspberry sorbet and chocolate sauce. Totally delicious

It should have been a burger on a bap but what happened there was that I’m very low on hummus and I have to make some more tomorrow. As I have plenty of peppers lying around I decided that I will make two batches – one with olives as usual but the other with roasted peppers. Hence the oven, for roasting purposes

fishing boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was a beautiful evening out tonight, even though it was rather windy.

That light out there – I’m not sure where it was but it was a good way out. And you could even see the lights of Jersey yet again.

As for me, I managed my two runs, overrunning both of them with still a little bit left in the tank I’ve put on 200 grammes since I last weighed myself so I need to run it off again.

There are no plans whatever for tomorrow so I’m going to spend the morning after the digital music exercise dealing with my health insurance repayments.

o just watch someone come along and spoil my day.

Monday 16th December 2019 – IT’S BEEN ANOTHER …

… one of those meetings up at the Centre Agora this morning. I’m not going to waste any of my time telling you about it because one of my former neighbours when I lived in Crewe had been to exactly the same kind of meeing once upon a time and he can tell the story far better than I ever could.

Mind you, I’m lucky that I actually got there at all. last night, unable to sleep it was well after 01:30 when I finally crawled into bed. And when the alarm went off at 06:00 (and again at 06:09 and 06:18) I wasn’t really in any kind of mood whatsoever to heave myself out of my stinking pit.

In fact I was all for turning over and going back to sleep but with the kind of willpower that I didn’t even realise that I had, I finally hauled myself out of bed at about 06:40.

After the medication, I sat down and extracted the files off the portable laptop and copied them onto the big desktop machine. And by now, as the medication had worked, I went for breakfast.

Once breakfast was done and dusted I sat down and began to transcribe the dictaphone notes for the period while I was away. There was even a dictaphone file from through the night. I was doing some stuff for the radio, doing all kinds of soundbites and sound clips and doing over a text – the whole idea of this sound thing was that I could cut bits out and paste them in over other bits so I could use the same bit of vocal recording for week after week after week but somehow it just wasn’t working out for some particular reason, but that’s hardly a surprise, is is?

Anyway, despite my eagerness to deal with the dictaphone notes, I broke off for a shower and noticing that my hair was starting to look as rough as I was feeling, I gave it a going-over with the sheep-shearer.

Back at my desk I carried on, only to notice that the time was suddenly 09:45. Where did the morning go? And I have to be at the Centre Agora in 15 minutes and it’s a 4 kilometre walk.

Even though it was raining fairly heavily I refused to go in Caliburn because now that I’m managing to hold off my illness and even fight back to some extent, I want to keep on fighting the good fight as long as I can.

dismantling installations repairing city walls Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne granville manche normandy franceAnd so I walked.

And I’m glad that I did because there was quite a lot going on here and there today. For a start, it looks as if they might be pretty close to finishing the repairs to the medieval city walls at the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne. They have dismantled all of the scaffolding and are removing the material.

It’s been a long job and while I can’t remember how long exactly, it certainly seems to be well over time.

cherry picker Rue du Commandant Yvon rue couraye granville manche normandy franceDown into town and into the rue Couraye, where I noticed that the Rue du Commandant Yvon was blocked off and there was a cherry picker in the way.

In the nacelle of the cherry picker was a guy wielding a huge SDS-type power drill busy bashing his way into the side wall of the building here. No idea what he was doing, so I’ll have to go down there in a day or so and see what he’s been up to.

But wielding an electric power tool in the rain like this is not something that I would do too often.

polar bear rue st nicolas granville manche normandy franceIt was 10:30 when I arrived at the Centre Agora but before I went in to the building I stopped in the rue St Nicolas outside the shops there too look at the Christmas decorations.

We’d seen a couple of inflatable polar bears in Paris yesterday but here’s a wooden one outside the shops. Or maybe it’s supposed to be three, I dunno. But whatever it is, it’s having a good nibble at the Christmas Tree here, which is of course highly unlikely.

At that point I went into the meeting and we had the performance about which Mr Bates told you just now.

Once it was done, I walked off (the rain had eased somewhat) to LIDL and did some shopping. Supplies are running quite low here with me not having been to the shops neither on Thursday nor Saturday.

Quite an expensive shop it was too, seeing as supplies were quite low. But some of the money was spent on a new pair of tactile gloves which they had on offer and which I need for photography purposes seeing that mine are in the pocket of my jacket that’s hanging up on a hanger in a hotel room in Calgary.

Some more money was spent on a new pack of 4 rechargeable AAA batteries. I have dozens here of course but many are over 10 years old and are starting to become rather flaky. The new ones ( I have three sets now all told) will come with me on my travels and the older ones will be used for powering up the equipment in here where they can be changed over rapidly and easily.

On the way back down the hill I called at La Mie Caline for my dejeunette and then came back up the hill to home.

bad parking rue des juifs granville manche normandy franceNot quite at a gallop because I was loaded up with stuff like carrots and pears and 3kg of apples that were on special offer.

And I do admit to taking a little break on my climb as I stopped, mouth wide open in astonishment, as I watched what can best be described as the worst piece of bad parking that I have ever seen. And, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we’ve seen some pretty bad ones on our travels

Yes, this one beats the lot to date.

rue des juifs granville manche normandy franceHere’s some woman in a car unloading her shopping. There’s an empty car parking place right outside her house, and two other empty places 20 metres higher up the street. So what does our heroine do?

She parks across the road right outside her hose, blocking the pavement off to pedestrians, even though there’s an empty parking place less than 5 metres away from where she’s stopped.

What makes it even worse is that this is a bus route and service buses come up here. But don’t let that trouble madam here. She’ll far rather inconvenience the whole world given half a chance rather than walk 15 feet with a shopping bag.

fishing boat towing pontoon baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe bad weather wasn’t preventing the fishermen from going out about their business.

Here’s one of the fishing boats heading out into the rough seas of the Baie de Mont St Michel. And the seas will be rougher where he’ll be going too, so he’ll have his work cut out with towing a pontoon or lighter out there behind him. I hope that the cable is strong enough.

Outside the building I fell in with Brigitte and we had a very lengthy chat. She was impressed with my Traversée de Paris yesterday (was it only yesterday?) but we had to break off our chat as the rain came hammering down again. But she did say that she will be requiring Terry’s services again in the New Year. She has more work that needs doing.

After lunch, I had some work to do. Jackie is going for her Official Translator’s exam very shortly and needed her trial pieces proof-reading. Of course, if anyone wants any poof-reading, tpying or speling checked, then in the words of the late, great Bob Doney, “I’m your man”.

Once that was out of the way I had other work to do. We’d been told today that the radio programme that we recorded with Heidinnguaq Jensen and her friends was being broadcast on Tuesday evening (that’s a lot of notice, isn’t it?) and we will be fitting in some of the Nive Nielsen stuff too if there’s time.

That meant telling Heidinnguaq of course, and also everyone else who knew her and Nive. And so I had to extract about 400 names and e-mail addresses from a spreadsheet and prepare a text file address list. I know that I should have done this ages ago but you’ve seen how much work I have on hand and that’s not the half of it.

Copy-pasting one by one is clearly impractical and there HAS to be a way of doing it in bulk. It’s one thing that I’ve not done before so it took quite a bit of trial – and more than a little error – to get it to work.

And eventually I was able to make a start sending out the invitations. And as you might expect, the e-mail server crashed in mid-send and so I had to do some of them again. So if anyone had the same e-mail twice then I’m sorry about that but I had to guess where the break-off point was and I’d rather over-estimate than under-estimate.

In mid-afternoon I broke off for my usual perambulation around the promontory only to find that there was no battery in the camera. The warning light had started to flash earlier so I had put it on charge – and then forgotten. Like I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … Two things happen when you get to my age

  • Firstly, you forget absolutely everything
  • Secondly, I can’t remember what the second thing is

But I do remember that the rain started up yet again while I was out so I didn’t hang about for long.

Tea was a burger with pasta and veg and then my evening walk. It was teeming down outside so I wasn’t intending to be out long but by the time I’d turned for home on a dramatically shortened route I was so wet … “nothing new here” – ed … that I may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb and went for a longer walk which included a couple of hundred metres of running. Must get back into shape.

trawler entering port de granville harbour manche normandy franceDespite the rain, I stayed out long enough to watch this trawler come into harbour.

The photo came out really nicely given the conditions, except for the lamp-post that somehow managed to fit itsself into the image. It was so dark out there that I hadn’t seen it

A few other things happened today that I ought to mention.

Firstly, there’s a “live broadcast” on Saturday night, the first that the radio station has attempted. Last Monday I mentioned that I was free on that evening but no-one took me up on the offer. Anyway, I mentioned it again and ditto.

So this afternoon I received a circular mail to the effect that “we’re having a meeting on Friday evening to discuss what we’re doing on Saturday”.
I wrote back “I assume that you won’t be needing me to attend seeing as I mentioned twice that I was free but no-one took up the offer of my availability”
Only to receive a hasty reply “of course we need you to help out and we’re looking forward to seeing you …”
But, we shall see.

Secondly, this “interview” that we are going to do with this musician on Wednesday. Apparently everyone can bring his wife, we’ll eat, we’ll sit round a table and talk, we’ll have music …. ”

What the heck is this all about?

  1. 20 questions typed out in French
  2. I ask them in English (not recorded, of course)
  3. The guy replies (in English)
  4. I overdub them in French with a nice British accent
  5. Then someone asks the questions in French, to no-one in particular but we record them
  6. We splice it all together

All done and dusted in half an hour and we all go home. I don’t have many hours left and I have so much to do and I won’t ever get these hours back that are being wasted.

Three times I’ve been dragged out halfway across Normandy to prepare for this blasted interview and nothing has been accomplished! Some people might have nothing better to do but I certainly have!

And that reminds me

That’s the last of my obligations dealt with now with this proof-reading. Tomorrow I can start with my own list of arrears.

  1. finish transcribing the dictaphone notes
  2. finish the blog entry for Saturday 10 days ago
  3. deal with the photos from Sunday last week onwards
  4. do another radio project (now I’m 3 weeks ahead I’m going to stay 3 weeks ahead)
  5. deal with all of the photos from when I was all at sea … “quite” – ed … for four months this year and from my nautical adventures last year too
  6. start to play the guitars again (which I haven’t touched for two weeks
  7. carry on searching for digital files for the vinyl and tapes that I have collected over the last 50 years

And that’s just the urgent stuff. There’s tons more going back to 2007 that needs to be dealt with although when I’m likely ever to get round to dealing with any of that given the rate that I’m currently dealing with things I don’t really have a clue.

So to start with, I’m going to try for an early night. There is nothing arranged for tomorrow so with luck I can sit down and have a really good crack at things here.

“Nothing arranged for tomorrow”. Yes, you just watch some basket come along and spoil that!

Saturday 23rd November 2019 – ANYONE RECOGNISE …

girls from orphanage uummannaq music dancing archipel granville manche normandy france… anyone – or even themselves – in this photo that I took this evening?

Yes, I’ve been out and about again this evening on my travels to see a few of my friends from my High Arctic adventures. They are here in Granville to celebrate the twinning of the town with the town of Uummannaq in the far north of Greenland where I was last September and they are heading off back home at the beginning of next week.

They were giving a concert at the Archipel, the theatre that is burrowed into the rock next to the Casino so I went along to say “goodbye”.

Mind you, I’m not sure that it was a good idea because I wasn’t in much of a state to go there after the night that I had. I had promised that I would submit a handful of good photos from the evening’s meeting to the organisers so by the time that I had finished doing all of that and writing up my notes it was long after 03:30 yet again when I went to bed.

The alarm went off as usual but I ignored it. It was 08:55 when I awoke.

While I was waiting for the medication to work, I went to fetch the dictaphone and download the details of last night’s voyage. I definitely remember being on my travels and I definitely remember dictating something but on the dictaphone there was nothing at all.

But then, this isn’t the first time that this has happened, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. I’ve noted a couple of occasions where I’ve been on the second plane of consciousness – ie I’ve dreamt that I was dreaming, and that it was in my dream I dictated the notes.

When things happen like that, it starts to become exciting.

Once breakfast was over I dashed out to the shops. LIDL, NOZ and LeClerc felth the benefit of my largesse today. And I spent a reasonable amount of monet too, although there wasn’t much to show for it all. But at least I can eat now for the rest of the week.

Back here, having fought my way through the crowds and the inconsiderate van drivers who, not finding a parking space right where they wanted to be and being obviously unable to walk 20 metres from a vacant one nearby simply abandon their vehicles on the highway, I put away the stuff and then had a good shower. I didn’t have time before I went out.

And – SHOCK! HORROR! – a haircut. I needed it too!

It was lunchtime now so I made my butties and then did a pile of tidying up. I even vacuumed the floor. I know that this is getting serious but I was expecting visitors.

Sure enough, bang on time, Liz and Terry turned up. We had a really good chat and then we had food. Liz had brought some carrot and red pepper soup and I made some garlic bread, and we had a meal fit for a king.

It was now time to head off to the concert.

nive neilsen and the deer children archipel granville manche normandy franceIt wasn’t just the kids performing. Their mentor, Nive Neilsen, was there with her group, Nive Neilsen and the Deer Children.

Of course I know Nive. I’d met her fleetingly in Uummannaq last year but this year we’d spent a pleasant two weeks together on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour in the High Arctic and I’d got to know her, her partner Charlie and her delightful little twins.

We had tentatively arranged to meet up before the concert for a chat but it wasn’t to be. She had far too many other things to worry about and, as we all know, folding stuff takes priority over everything.

nive neilsen and the deer children archipel granville manche normandy franceNive and her colleagues entertained us for well over an hour and it was a thoroughly enjoyable show. The sound though was pretty dreadful and the least said about the lighting the better.

As usual on these occasions I took dozens of photos and when I’ve edited and organised them I’ll make up a page with them all on and post the link so that you can all see it.

Most of them could be better but one or two of them are really good.

We came back via the bar up here but that was packed out so we didn’t stop. Liz and Terry went off home and I came in to write up my notes of the day.

But now, with the photos not done, I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted so a good night’s sleep will do me good. There’s no alarm tomorrow as we all know so I can have a really deep and guilt-free lie-in. So just watch someone come along and spoil it.

Sunday 15th September 2019 – I MISSED …

… an exciting day today up in Grand Falls. Apparently they were having a drag racing afternoon.

Nothing more exciting than watching a bunch of men dash round a town while dressed in women’s clothes, but I had other fish to fry unfortunately and I was quite disappointed to have let the opportunity pass me by.

In fact I was out near Meductic moving furniture. Zoe has, as I mentioned earlier, bought herself a little house and she doesn’t have much furniture, but someone was disposing of a clean two-seater bed settee that transforms into a double bed and that will be just the thing.

And so having emptied out Strider, we set off for Zoe’s where she and a friend clambered aboard and then we all shot off southwards towards Fredericton.

Putting the bed in the back of Strider was the work of a moment and it was soon strapped in place. Back at Zoe’s, we unloaded the sofa and then I came home. Totally whacked. I just can’t do things like this any more.

Mind you, I don’t know why, because it’s not as if I had much of a difficult night. In bed comparatively early and apart from a brief foray down the corridor to ride the porcelain horse, disturbing our overnighters on the way, and a few interruptions to record things on the dictaphone (and I wonder what they are?) I had the kind of lie-in about which I have only been able to dream just recently.

09:00 when I finally surfaced, and just loitered around until it was time to go and deal with Zoe.

This afternoon, I’ve had a shower and, would you believe, a haircut, and I look almost human. As well as that, Rachel was having a marathon clothes-washing session and I’m now up to date with all clean clothes ready to leave here Wednesday morning for Montreal to clean out my storage locker and hopefully to go for a meal with Josee.

But having seen the fuel in Strider evaporate before my very eyes, I’ve been searching on the internet with Darren and we have finally found a performance chip which claims inter alia to offer an 8mpg fuel improvement.

And I tell you what – that if I could get an extra 8mpg out of Strider I will really be impressed. So tomorrow I shall be on the case.

For tea tonight we had baked potato – the carnivores with salmon and we vegans with a bean medley. Quite delicious and prepared with my own fair hands. And if I can find the time tomorrow, I’m going to make a curry.

But I’ve been a busy boy this evening. I’ve tracked down the complete digital tracks to two more albums that I own. The first one is Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy by Brian Eno. That was his second solo album after Roxy Music and was such a surprising album that it left me speechless when I first heard it, and that’s not something that happens every day, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

But it’s one of those albums that grow on you quite quickly and it’s always been in my top 100 albums out of the couple of thousand that I own.

The second one though is an album that means a great deal to me and for many reasons too.Warrior On The Edge Of Time features work that probably represents Michael Moorcock’s apogee as a science fiction writer, and several of the lyrics, adapted from works by Shelley and Wordsworth and set to Hawkwind’s space-rock music will penetrate deep into your bones.
“The golden void will speak to me
“Denying my reality
“lose my body, lose my mind
“blow like wind, I flow like wine
“Down a corridor of flame
“Will I fly so high again?”
Yes, what wouldn’t I give to be able to write meaningful lyrics like that after some of the things that I have done?

The album was thoroughly panned by the critics in the same was that A Passion Play was, and for the same reason too – that the critics didn’t understand what the musicians were trying to achieve.

The Melody maker wrote that Moorcroft’s poetry was delivered “with all the emotion of Davros being exterminated by renegade Daleks”, totally overlooking the fact that this was precisely the effect that Moorcroft and Brock wanted.

And when Lemmy wrote that ” ‘Opa-Loka’ was a lot of f***ing rubbish”, what he really meant to say that he didn’t play the bass line on it. It transpired much later that with Lemmy off on one of his little jaunts playing Hell’s Angels, Dave Brock refused to hang around and wait but played the bass line himself.

It’s quite true that Hawkwind has never ever recorded an album on which I have liked every track from start to finish, but “Warrior On The Edge Of Time” will be up there with the best of them.

But it has much more of a personal significance to me too. When the album was released I was dating Jackie Marshall. She worked at the Nantwich Library on Saturdays and used to scan the new rock albums that arrived, secrete them in a drawer, smuggle them out for me to record and then take them back next week. This particular album, she bought me for my birthday and inscribed a beautiful little message on the album cover which meant quite a lot to me – and still does.

But her parents hated me with a passion (like I said, I was a different person in those days) and so our fate was destined to unwind.

Strangely enough, I was driving a coach around North Shropshire a few years later and needed some cash, so on my lunch break I called in at Barclay’s Bank in Whitchurch. Who should be working there behind the counter as cashier but the aforementioned?

I had the briefest of moments to exchange pleasantries like you do, but not enough time to chat, so I determined that at the next opportunity I would go back.

And so I did – and on a couple of occasions too – but I never saw her again. We’ve often talked about TOTGA – The One That Got Away – but that particular girl was from a very different time and a very different era. Jackie was TOTGA from quite another epoch in my life and is probably the original one from which all standards are made.

Sometimes I wonder whatever happened to her.

Having had a play around on the bass, I’m ready for bed. The house is as quiet as the grave with everyone having retired and I suppose that I should really badger off to. But I’ve found the digital track to another album and I’ve made a start to re-record it.

But I’ll tell you all about that in the morning.