Tag Archives: hans field

Saturday 11th June 2022 – HAVING COMPLAINED BITTERLY …

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022… over the last few days about the general lack of water craft out here, we made up for it in spades this afternoon.

While I was out on my afternoon walk today I was spoilt for choice. The sea was heaving with water craft having a good run around.

So while you admire a few photos of various different types of water craft, including La Granvillaise out and about yet again this afternoon, I’ll tell you about my pretty miserable day today.

In fact it was probably the worst day that I’ve had so far in a series of pretty bad days.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022It was what I call a “mobile” night but more of that anon.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I struggled to my feet fairly quickly and after the medication I went off and had a shower to clean myself up ready for the shops.

Well, “shop” actually, because I’d resolved to give Noz a miss today. There doesn’t seem to be much point going there. There hasn’t been anything worth buying there for quite some time.

Having had a shower I set the washing machine off on a cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) and then Caliburn and I hit the streets

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022At LeClerc is would ordinarily have been a cheap shop because I didn’t need much after last week.

However, having spend the annual budget of a small emerging nation on a bottle of olive oil last week they had the cheap economy olive oil in stock again today so I bought a litre of it. Stockpiling? Perish the thought.

And chocolate. I usually but the very cheap stuff for a nibble before I go to bed but today they had some really good quality stuff on special offer if you bought a multiple pack so I treated myself to a little luxury.

It didn’t take all that long at all and I was back here hanging out my washing by 10:15.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While I was drinking my coffee and eating my fruit bun, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

There was something about being wanted for some kind of activity or rather having to hide but being quite conspicuous about hiding and not finding it easy to find somewhere where I could out of everyone’s view. You were always going to be in the view of different people when you were hiding with all of this going on at the moment.

And I’ve no idea at all what that was all about

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There had been a big Inuit celebration with hundreds of young Inuit from all over the place. I’d been keeping an eye on it all and in particular on my little Inuit friend Heidinnguaq. As the event was drawing to a close I was distracted for a moment and when I turned round again she had gone. She was nowhere to be seen in this room. She certainly wasn’t where she was standing a minute earlier. I started to ask a few people where she was but no-one seemed to have seen her. At the same time I had a raging thirst so I had a hunt to find a drink of something. In the end I found a bottle of lemonade. It had one of these child-proof locks on it and I couldn’t break the lock to open it. There was a young couple, a boy and a girl, having a wrestling match on the floor getting in everyone’s way. I still couldn’t find Heidinnguaq and was thinking that I’m going to have to go outside to have a look for her to see where she is. I really wanted to see her before everyone drifted away. There I was, roaming around this hall clutching this bottle of lemonade trying to open it, trying to find her but I couldn’t find her anywhere. She’d just disappeared completely.

I was away at one of these office or factory team-building weekends. It was total chaos as nothing was organised. You had to do everything yourself. It took a while but eventually I had myself in a nice routine for making my toast and coffee. I became quite relaxed about it. Quite a few people remarked about how relaxed I was so I explained my method of getting up in the morning, having a coffee, not having something to eat until mid-morning break etc, demonstrating how to use the toaster but there was always someone’s toast left in it that they’d forgotten burnt to a crisp. You had to pull it out with your fingers burning the ends of them etc. It was quite easy after a short while to build up a routine and stick to it. It meant that you were much more organised than everyone else. It meant that the weekend past so much better and more successfully. This was another thing that was so real as well. While I was dictating this I was looking round for the toast that I’d put in the toaster while I was asleep thinking that it’s probably going to be ready now and I’d prepare the stuff to butter it. I was really that real.

Finally I was with my friend from Munich wandering around near the Thames and near the seaside. he was showing us all this redevelopment which was really looking quite nice. They’d built into this redevelopment some kind of storage units. I was thinking what a great amount of fun I could have with a storage unit here, all the things that I could keep in it. They were trying to dissuade me against the idea but someone else said “with all the stuff you have you could soon fill one of these”. We were wandering around looking at these places. He was telling me about a bad-tempered meeting he’d been to. Then he showed me some of the drawings, really good drawings of people having Superman fights in groups of people. That was his impression of what had happened. I asked if he was going to have them published. He replied maybe one or two but one or two more he was going to bring down and have photocopied then just go round adding bits to it as time went on. He could do that sitting here and have crowds around watching him. Meantime I was still talking about these storage units. I’d gone over to have a look at one or two. There were all kinds of plans going around in my head about these storage units and what I could do with them.

It was a struggle to complete this this morning because I was continually dropping off into sleep. Not even my mug of strong black coffee could keep me going.

But when I awoke later I had a play around with the acoustic guitar and finally managed to work out the chords to ZERO SHE FLIES. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that Zero, who features quite regularly, takes her nickname from this song and for that reason I’m keen to add it to my repertoire.

After lunch I came back here and crashed out almost straight away, and crashed out in spades as well. So much so that my walk around the headland was much later than it usually is.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022and as usual I wandered off across the car park to have a look down on the beach to see what was happening there.

And even though the tide was well in and there wasn’t much beach to be on, there were still plenty of people down there this afternoon and if the noise was anything to go by, they were all enjoying themselves immensely.

Quite a few of them were brave enough to go into the sea as well and that’s no surprise because it was a lovely afternoon and I was sorry that I had missed some of it.

And having taken a few photos of the boats out in the bay I wandered off along the cliffs towards the end of the headland.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Strangely enough despite it being a Saturday and a nice afternoon there weren’t too many people out here on the cliffs this afternoon.

And yet we had a couple of people sitting down on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban. They were being treated to a magnificent spectacle too as La Granvillaise and several other boats went sailing past them.

No Marité today though. I don’t know where she is. She’s certainly not in port this afternoon. She must have gone out on the early morning tide.

But right now I was going to wander off down the path on the other side of the headland and see what was happening in the port.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022As I went off to the shops this morning I saw one of the Joly France ferries taking a pile of passengers out to the Ile de Chausey.

By the looks of things she’s stayed out there today because the only one of the Ile de Chausey ferries over there at the ferry terminal is the new Belle France.

Presumably she’ll be going out to the island a little later to bring back anyone who won’t fit on the others that are already out there.

Meanwhile in the chantier naval there is no change. There are still the four boats that we saw yetserday and that was that. I’m intrigued to see what Wavecat Express will be doing when she goes back into the water.

car dressed up for wedding boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022What awoke me this afternoon was the beeping of car horns from what was presumably a wedding in the Civic Rooms.

There was a wedding party wandering around the headland looking for a place to take a few photographs and presumably this car was something to do with them.

Despite the number of weddings that we have here, I don’t think that I’ve seen a car dressed up quite like this before. It’s quite a novel departure from the normal state of affairs.

So with nothing else going on, I headed for home and a strawberry smoothie. It was too warm for coffee.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But before I go home, let me just mention that apart from the small boat that’s down there at the Fish Processing Plant, there isn’t anyone else.

It looks as if Gerlean and L’Omerta are having a day off from playing “Musical Ships” and have gone off elsewhere.

Not that I’m surprised because I’m going off elsewhere too – back home.

Back here I made my smoothie and came in here, where I fell asleep again. And for well over an hour too. I did manage to find the time to write some notes about “Next Weekend” and “Learning Welsh” for my Welsh revision. That’s all the 28 topics covered and now I just have to revise what I wrote

There wasn’t enough time to play bass or to freeze the kilo of carrots that I bought and I’m pretty much fed up about that. I don’t seem to be able to do anything like what I want to do these days without falling asleep.

Tea was a breaded quorn fillet with potatoes and vegetables and it was quite delicious. But now I’m off to bed. I’m thoroughly fed up of just about everything right now. I have so much to do and neither the time nor the energy to do it.

And I’ve no idea how I’m going to fight my way out of this.

Friday 25th February 2022 – REGULAR READERS OF …

girl taking photos hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… of this rubbish will recall that one of the recurring themes that run though these pages is photos of people taking photos.

And sure enough, we had a couple of those today. We also had the first Bird-Man of Alcatraz this year too today but his Nazgul came to grief on the car park at the back of the lighthouse at the Pointe du Roc.

There was a young girl taking a photo of our bird-man packing up his troubles in his old kit bag and so I joined in the fun by taking a photograph of the girl taking a photograph.

And then, like the KNIGHTS OF KING ARTHUR we went our separate ways.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022My journey didn’t take me very far before I came once more to a stop.

This afternoon there were some people down there by the bench at the cabanon vauban and one of them was taking a couple of photos.

Even at this distance I could take a photo of what she was doing so that I could add it to my collection of photographs of people taking photographs.

However, as usual, I’m running ahead of myself here. Let’s go back and start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While you admire a few photos of the huge rollers coming in and colliding with the sea wall, I’m going to start today’s story even before the very beginning.

In fact, last night, I couldn’t go to sleep. In the end I ended up watching a film on the internet while I was waiting for sleep to come and it was at about 01:30 when I finally staggered into bed.

That doesn’t bode well for a 07:30 start but if we turn the clock back a year or two, I was going to bed at that time and arising at 06:00 without the least problem. And then going out for a run around the town.

Ohhh! How things have changed!

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There wasn’t a great deal of time to go off on much of a nocturnal ramble, but I did my best.

Compared to the events of the last few nights; what happened last night was rather tame. Nevertheless, there was a very enigmatic entry on the dictaphone.

It went “I wish that I knew more about that dark-haired girl who came to visit me last night but that’s all there was on the dictaphone so I’ve no idea at all about anything relating to this”.

And I was dead right too. I wish that I did know more about it as well because it’s the kind of thing that must have been extremely interesting. I seem to be meeting an awful lot of unidentified young ladies just recently and it’s extremely frustrating to say the least when I can’t recall who they are or what we did.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Later on I was with Nerina again last night. We were doing something at a bungalow on the Poets Estate near Coleridge Way around there. I’d been working on a car. I’d put my things away but when I went back there were still some bits and pieces lying around so I picked them up and put them in my pocket. Then I went to look at the car. The seat adjuster had broken – the circlip that holds it in place had come off. I made a mental note to do something about that when I was in a place where I could fix it. Then we drove to Nerina’s – it was about 21:45. Nerina’s mother said “oh, you’re early. She had tea ready which, for me, was vegan sausages. We had our meal then I was going to show Nerina this seat attachment thing because if she will be going out in the car in the morning she’ll need to know about this so she’ll know what to expect and she’ll know how to fix it. I couldn’t find a circlip to hold it in position. I was singing RIDING THE WAVES by Steve Harley all the time and I don’t know why and even Nerina made a mention of it during the dream.

And how I wish that I could sing it as well as I could 30 years ago

What I’ve been doing all day today is dealing with the arrears on the dictaphone that hadn’t been transcribed. I’ve no idea where I found all of the energy to do it but I did it all the same and now it’s finished.

Surprisingly, of the 40-odd sound-files that I had to transcribe, TOTGA and Zero only put in a very minimal appearance or two but we haven’t seen anything of Castor for a while and that is depressing me.

But anyway, all I need to do now is to find an hour or two over the weekend and update the relevant journal entries.

We had the usual breaks during the course of the day, a coffee or a hot blackcurrant here and there, a slice of my wonderful, delicious coffee cake and then lunch of course.

Another couple of things that I needed to do was to telephone the doctor about another appointment. I need more Aranesp for my fortnightly injections.

And then I had to write out a recipe. A while ago I’d promised my friend in Munich a copy of my vegan pie recipe but I had kept on forgetting. But the photo of my pie the other day reminded me.

low loader place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There was a lot of noise going on outside during the afternoon, heavy machinery and so on, so I wondered what I was going to see when I went outside.

Right outside my front door was an articulated tractor unit with a low-loader trailer attached thereto. And running around the area was a large tractor-type JCB thing with a pair of fork loaders on the front.

What was strange about this, and I didn’t notice until afterwards otherwise I would have taken a photo of it, was that the driver of the JCB thing was a young woman.

That is surely the first time that I have ever seen someone of the female sex driving a machine like that.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And so as usual I wandered off down to the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

The tide was well in now so there wasn’t much beach to be on. But nevertheless there were plenty of people down there wandering around or sitting on the rocks as you can see at the bottom of the photo.

There was even a young girl down there in pink wellingtons actually going out into the water and that was rather courageous of her. I can’t see what she and, presumably, her father were doing down there. They had no equipment for the pèche à pied and in any case the tide is too far up for that.

buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Every now and again we notice a certain type of yellow buoy out there in the bay in between Granville and St Martin.

Today we have another one of them, and I wish that I knew what it was doing and what was its significance. It’s not a mooring buoy and it doesn’t look like a typical lobster pot marker buoy to me.

There were several seagulls flying around it and so I was wondering whether we might be in for a romantic love story. After all, the ocean is the place where buoy meets gull.

Yes, I’ll get my coat.

sea pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual I also had a good look around out at sea to see what was happening there.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the different layers of water that coexist side-by-side in the bay and the mystery that it causes.

What we have here today is a kind-of ripple effect in the water. The last time that I saw something like this was POINT PELÉE, the southernmost point of mainland Canada when I was there with Katherine in 2010.

What was happening there was that we had a river flow heading to the east and a wind-blown flow heading west. However here today, just for a change there wasn’t anything like enough wind for a similar phenomenon today.

There were crowds of people milling around this afternoon as you might have seen in some of the previous photos. It was a nice day and it had certainly brought out the crowds.

The storm and the waves had subsided considerably since yesterday but coming into the Baie de Mont St Michel every now and again were some very heavy rollers. You saw a couple of them breaking on the harbour wall in the photos right at the beginning.

courrier des iles chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022In the chantier naval we have a new occupier over at the back of the yard. She’s Courrier des Iles, one of the charter hire boats that operate out of the port.

Not that I know too much about the operation of the smaller boats that ply for hire but the larger ones certainly have to have an annual inspection before they can carry fare-paying passengers and so if that’s the case with her, she’s probably having an overhaul to prepare her for the forthcoming season.

Meanwhile, over on the other side of the yard, Tiberiade, Le Roc à le Mauve III and the two yachts are still in there receiving attention.

cable laying rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022At the rear of the apartment I found out what was going on with all of this machinery.

They are laying some cable in the underground conduit and although you can’t see it in this photo, the cable reel is whizzing around. It’s on a stand of course, and there is someone somewhere else in the neighbourhood pulling on the end of the cable to whizz it through the conduit.

Back here I had a coffee and came back in here to carry on with the dictaphone notes and eventually I finished them

Tea tonight was a vegan burger with pasta and veg in tomato sauce and it was quite a delicious, if quick tea.

So now I’m off to bed. I’m going shopping tomorrow so I need to be fit. I don’t need much but we shall see what the shops come up with.

Sunday 19th December 2021 – HERE WE GO!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 16th December 2021 – THAT WAS A LONG …

… day, right enough. And I felt every minute of it too.

Crawling out of bed at 07:30 was already difficult enough but a shower went some way towards relieving that.

After breakfast I made my sandwiches and set out for the hospital and my 10:15 appointment. I took plenty of photos but you’ll have to wait for a couple of days before you get to see them.

At the hospital I checked in for my … gulp … three appointments and then went off for my first appointment.

“You’ve not had anything to eat this morning, have you?” asked the nurse.
“As a matter of fact I have” I replied
“Well, you shouldn’t have done. We can’t run all the tests on you”.
“No-one ever said anything to me”

The result of this is that I have to go back tomorrow at … errr … 08:15.

So they did what tests they could on me. The nurse was brandishing a very large needle around, so I closed my eyes tightly.

He did what he was supposed to do with the needle and said “you can relax now”.
“No I can’t” I retorted. He doesn’t know me very well, that’s for sure.

There was a half-hour wait and then they had to fun some kind of scan on me. What they had injected into me was some kind of dye to tint my blood so that it would show up on this test thing and they could see how it was circulating when they scanned me.

Once they threw me out I had a two-hour wait before my next appointment – the regular one at the day centre. So what was on the dictaphone?

I was with my friend from Munich. We’d been working somewhere and it was the office outing. We collected a few bits and pieces up together, including my computer and went to the meeting point. Someone said that the coach had gone past but it would be back in half an hour. Half an hour later it turned up and we all boarded. The driver went to sit at the back so I asked if someone else from our office had a PSV licence. The driver replied “oh yes” so I tried to engage my friend and this woman in front in a conversation about it but they were far too busy talking amongst themselves. I was sitting by the window, rather trapped in. The coach eventually set off and I was looking out to sea. I saw something on the horizon, a large rectangular box bouncing around on the sea, then suddenly there was an enormous black cloud of smoke. I wondered if an aeroplane had crashed into the sea and broken up, and leaking fuel had been set alight. But no-one really noticed it except me. They were all far too busy talking. The driver said “that’s nothing to worry about” in a very dismissive tone.

Later on I’d been helping some old people who had a motor trade garage business to move out. They had tons of stuff going back to the 1920s and 30s and it all had to be moved as someone else was taking over their premises. We were moving all of this stuff that was ancient to put it somewhere else. All of a sudden someone turned up with a leaflet saying that the people who had taken over their premises had effectively said that they were taking over the business even though they hadn’t bought the goodwill or anything. This caused quite a stir and quite a problem for these old people with a vehicle but no premises of their own. One of the guys was fuming, going on about how he had been buying receipts to make his expenses look higher. The other guy was totally alarmed about him disclosing this, how it could have them both sent to prison. We ended up with this red double-decker bus. We had to go to the front and pull all of the bodywork and seats out so I went along as well. They were answering questions about this bus, a load of questions but the answers had nothing to do with reality. It was all starting to become very complicated

Once I was signed in at the day centre I had to wait about 45 minutes before they came to see me to couple me up to the transfusion.

Mind you, it was worth the wait because the nurse, called Amber, who came to couple me up can connect me to her equipment any time she likes. There have to be some compensations about being ill.

Having connected me up, they had to come and disconnect me 45 minutes later so I could go for my final appointment. For this, they fed me through something that looked like a time portal, back and forth for about 10 minutes.

They were telling me when (and when not) to breathe as they were doing it and to my shame, I fell asleep in the middle of it. That will make their results quite interesting.

Back at the day centre I was coupled up again to my transfusion and carried on with the treatment, which lasted until 18:30, about which I was not impressed.

The doctor didn’t have my results to hand but she told me that I was in a stable condition. Which probably means that they will want me to sleep with the horses.

Outside, I picked up my medication from the chemists and then headed for home, taking a few more photos of the illuminations around the town that you will get to see in due course.

But you’ll remember that ruined church on the way home. The door was open so I stuck my head inside and saw that some kind of exhibition was taking place. Just a I was about to take a photo some official told me to clear off, so off I cleared.

Back here I didn’t have much to do anything before Alison came round for a coffee and a chat. And she had bought me a Christmas present too. I would have bought her one but with being late out of the hospital everywhere was closed by the time I reached the town. But I promised her something for next time I come.

Tea was rather late as a consequence, and now I’m off to bed. With having to be at the hospital at 08:15 I have to leave here at 07:00 which means that I have to be up and about at 06:30.

So much for my post-treatment lie-in.

Saturday 11th December 2021 – I’VE BEEN BUILDING …

… up to this for a couple of weeks now, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but this morning I failed miserably to arise from my bed when the alarm went off at 07:30.

In fact, it was extremely difficult at 08:55 as well but somehow I managed to drag myself out. I’m not doing too well at all with this.

Not that I had a late night either. I was in bed at a respectable hour, time enough to give me the better part of 8 hours’ sleep but there were things going on during the night that I can’t explain.

I was interviewing someone at work last night but had to go over and see Aunt Mary so I wanted to complete this interview as quickly as possible. It was a rather wealthy woman whom I was interviewing and she was having some kind of financial issues. I mentioned that a big overseas insurance company had recently gone bankrupt and wondered whether that might have been anything to do with it. They couldn’t understand that so I had a close look at the papers and saw that I had misread the date. It was 1982. They were quite angry about this so I said that I would write a letter of apology. He dictated the address but I couldn’t make any sense of it because the names were all completely different when he read it back to me to what I’d written in the first place. This went on and eventually when they had gone I looked at the time. It was 18:10 and my bus was at 18:20. I had to pack up my desk and pack up everything, change my clothes and so on. First of all all the bathrooms were occupied etc so I decided to go as I was and change at her house. I had to stuff everything into my briefcase but there was far too much stuff. I couldn’t get it to close. I had to run downstairs. In the meantime someone told me that Aunt Mary had been assaulted by someone who had called her by name and said so that I’d sent them. It was obviously something to do with someone at work and I couldn’t understand that. I’d only said something about my plans to one or two people. I ran downstairs hoping to find a bus to take me tothe station to catch my train. A kind-of weird bus pulled up. When it pulled up it was being towed by a Land Rover. The Land Rover parked at the bus stop and then uncoupled itself and pulled away. I noticed that it had a sign for “Alba” in the window of the Land Rover and I couldn’t understand what was happening here either. I was going to be horribly late for this appointment with Aunt Mary and I hadn’t a clue what was going on about this attack that she’d had or anything. It was all a great big mess.

There was also something else happening to do with the medieval King of Ireland. Some of his journeys from written accounts had been plotted onto some kind of map. Again, it was something to do with me having to go over there to talk to him but I can’t remember any more about this part of the journey apart from what I’ve already said.

When I went back off to sleep I went back into this dream about Ireland again with the King of Ireland being stuck over there I had to go over to see him, everything like that but again I can’t remember anything. However it involved going on a lorry but the lorry was already full of people in the cab and in the back. I can’t remember anything else really.

Later in the night I had a couple of cats. One of them was a little grey and white one. They were all outside but this little grey and white one stayed close to home which was quite unusual for her. After Nerina had gone to work I went inside and lit the gas fire because it was cold. I’d make myself a cup of tea but I poured water into a colander, not a saucepan. In the end I managed to fill the coffee machine with water and make myself a coffee, but it was warm, not hot. I put some food down for the cats and some water for this grey and white one but one of the girls said “she wants to go out”. Why she couldn’t have let it out I don’t know. I had to cross the kitchen and open the door for it and let it out. I don’t know where this dream was going after that.

When I went off back into the arms of Morpheus I was back at work and had to interview the same woman whom I had interviewed earlier in the evening. And we had exactly the same encounter.. There was me, another person from work, this woman and her adviser. The first thing was that she was having difficulty obtaining a repayment. I said that there was no difficulty as far as our end goes. I showed him a letter or something where the instructions were clear but they actually referred to payment, not to refunds. I didn’t know exactly what he was saying so I wanted to find out some further information. Then he said that she was experiencing a lot of financial difficulties that she shouldn’t be experiencing. I had a look through his papers and saw that an insurance company to which she was a contributor had gone into liquidation. I pointed this out to him but he replied “that was 1982” so I had another look. Yes, I’d misread the date. He was rather annoyed about that so I agreed to send him a letter of apology. he told me the address and I wrote it down. When he read it back it was different. Each time I corrected it and he read it back it was different again. I wasn’t sure what on earth was happening here about this because nothing seemed to be making sense. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember now but it may well have been the same that I experienced when I first dreamt it.

Later on I was with someone and we were at the fruit-picking farm at Shavington where we used to go as kids. We were talking about things that had happened there when we were kids and how things are completely different these days. Even the layout of the farm was different. We talked about the girl who was supposed to be picking blackberries but ended up picking raspberries claiming that they were unripe blackberries, and ended up being given the sack. We ended up in the potato fields there. They had quite a few mis-shapen potatoes. This girl went to fetch a spade. I asked why and she replied “I’m going to get some potatoes to take home to my mother”. I said “you want to be very cow because you can be overlooked from here”. Sure enough there were quite a few people going past who could easily see what she was trying to do. They were higher up on a hill on the main path that went between one farm and another.

Finally I was at Barlow’s scrapyard in Crewe but it was nothing like Barlow’s scrapyard that I ever saw. He was having a clear-out. I’d only popped in for something because I was on my way round to see my sister because I had a date at 19:30. We were talking and he was giving me a few little bits and pieces. He said “your girlfriend has a mini, doesn’t she?”. He came out with a pile of things like air filters, all this kind of thing, all new old stock and handed them to me. By this time Nerina had turned up so he brought her a toolbox and a whole pile of nuts and blots from minis he’d dismantled. We were having a whole pile of stuff given to us here. When I looked, not only was it late for me to go round to my sister’s, it was getting late for me to go on this date as well. Then he wheeled out something that was an astonishing machine. It was an ancient motorbike but as the tale unfurled it became something on three storeys like a racing car but you sat on the third storey in like a torpedo body with a tiny engine on that level. and then there was a pile of equipment underneath it, and another level underneath that which was where the wheels were. It was all belt-driven. he explained to me what it was and I’d vaguely heard the name but never seen one. It was a racing car from about 1910. even though how frail and unwieldly it looked it would do 200 mph when it was tuned up. He asked me if I wanted it. I thought “of course I want this. Who wouldn’t?”. My German friend was there too. He wasn’t the least bit impressed. My idea was that seeing as it was a kind of sectional thing I could take it to bits and take each section up to my apartment and renovate it in the kitchen then take it downstairs to reassemble when it’s done. But no-one could really understand what was so fantastic about it except me. I thought that it was a fantastic thing.

As you can see, it was probably one of the most turbulent nights that I’ve had and it’s no surprise that I was totally wasted this morning.

While I was lying in bed I set myself three tasks to perform before lunchtime.

The first was to pair off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. I can’t do that on Sunday as I usually do because if things go according to plan (which they usually don’t) I’m baking my Christmas cake. And that will be a labour of love

The second thing was to sort out the photos from last night’s festival, edit them and post them off to the person who is preparing the radio programme

Third thing was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night. I knew that there would be plenty – but not quite as many as there were. That really was quite extraordinary.

To my surprise, I finished everything on time and then went to eat my butties for lunch.

After lunch there was football. Aberystwyth v Y Drenewydd from last night. Y Drenewydd ran out comfortable winners 4-2 due to Aberystwyth’s defence pushing too far up and not getting back quick enough to counter the speedy Drenewydd breakaways.

But here’s an interesting fact. I’ve often talked about Lifumpa Mwandwe of Drenewydd and how he’s far, far better than the average player in the Welsh Premier League. According to some statistician 150 could have been awarded in Newtown’s favour before thise match started, of which 50 of them were awarded for fouls on Mwandwe.

It seems that kicking him off the park isn’t just confined to TNS.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk. And I didn’t want to, because it was teeming down outside.

Nevertheless I wasn’t the only person out there this afternoon. There were actually three brave souls down on the beach – one man with his dog who we have seen before, and another couple wandering about in the rain.

And then there was me, wandering around in the rain up here too. I wasn’t going to loiter around because I was becoming rather wet rather rapidly – not that that is any great news to regular readers of this rubbish who will recall it as my regular state of existence.

damaged flagpole pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that we have been battered quite severely just recently by a couple of really impressive storms.

As I was to find out when I arrived at the Memorial to the French Resistance up here on the lawn at the end of the headland. One of the flagpoles has taken a right battering.

And it has too. It’s anchored to a block of concrete by a set of heavy duty concrete anchor bolts and two of the three have been ripped right out of the concrete. And it takes some force to do that.

So having photographed it I wandered off to the end of the headland but there was no-one there – not that I expected there to be – and no-one out at sea either. everyone else had far more sense than me.

waves breaking on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Although there wasn’t a great deal of wind there was a great deal of power in the wind still stored up from the storm the other day.

As I walked around the headland I could see the waves breaking onto the sea wall. They weren’t quite going over the top but some of them were really impressive nevertheless.

This wasn’t the best one that I’ve seen but usually it’s every seventh wave that’s the best and by the time three had gone round both the camera and I were soaked to the skin so I took this photo and cleared off quick, which was rather a shame but a practical necessity.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021A few weeks ago I mentioned that I won’t be taking any more photos of the portable boat lift unless there was some change in the situation there.

Well, we certainly have that today. The last time that I took a photo of it, it was because the wheels had disappeared. Today, not only are they back but they are fitted onto the lift as well.

It looks as if the major overhaul that it’s been undergoing for the last couple of months is now drawing slowly to a close and the chantier naval may soon be back in business.

Back at the apartment I came in here to carry on with some work that needed doing, and then at 18:30 I set out again.

The purpose of my trip out was two-fold.

  1. to photograph the Christmas lights
  2. to do some work for the radio

Having taken a few photos on the way down we met at a restaurant in the Rue Couraye where I had a delicious but expensive salad while everyone else ate normally. And then off to the cinema to watch half a dozen short films of this “Fish and Films” Festival.

Our purpose wasn’t the films themselves but to interview the people who were leaving to ask their impressions of the films. We ended up with quite a mixed bag.

On the way home I photographed the rest of the Christmas lights in the town centre and that’s my task for tomorrow afternoon while my cake is baking – to edit and post the photos that I took.

But not now. It’s almost midnight and so I’m off to bed. A nice lie-in tomorrow and I’ll need it to recover from the distance that I travelled during last night. I don’t think that I’ve ever travelled so far in one night before and it left me quite exhausted.

Thursday 25th November 2021 – I MIGHT HAVE BEEN …

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… rather hasty when I posted my rather vituperative comments the other day about the state of the road surface in the Rue St Michel.

As I walked past this afternoon on my way to the Post Office I can see that the workmen have come back.

While I watched, they were digging up the surface of the road down to a depth of about 30 centimetres, and they had some rather heavy professional equipment to move the soil, as you can see.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens next down there

workmen's equipment place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021However I can tell you what is happening next on the public car park outside my building.

Aapart from the equipment and material parked down at the far end, there’s a lorry with a skip and the dumper that you saw in the previous photo is bringing the soil to dump into it.

In fact it was the rather frequent passage of the dumper and its load up and down the street here this afternoon that actually drew my attention to the fact that there was work going on somewhere in the vicinity and I ought to be tracking it down.

At least it will give me something to do rather than to wade through mountains of sleep yet again because I had another miserable night. You can tell that my the amount and distance of the voyages on which I travelled.

We were living in London last night and a lad there was living in a house as a lodger. We suddenly found out that his landlady was someone really evil, in the style of Dracula or something so we rushed round there, made our way into his or her room. All of a sudden the woman appeared at the window and was making all kinds of uncomfortable gestures. The guy with me shooed her away and we played cards or something. Later, she came back and started to assemble a scaffolding at the front of the house. We chased her away again. The 3rd time we sent the dog out but it really didn’t do much so this guy went out with the dog, and the dog put an end to this woman. We carried on playing our game, a board game with this person although we were all very reluctant to sit by the window again in case this woman appeared even though the dog had finished her off

Later on there was something about trains being converted from diesel to electric power and running on electric lines in rural locations but I can’t remember that now. It’s all gone right out of my head.

There was a spaceship that landed on some ice. We went to see this spaceship and went on board. We were just about to go to bed when we heard a noise outside. We saw one of the people who had originally been on this boat and had somehow managed to escape. They were busy putting the leg of their boat or whatever back into position after they had moved it out of the way so that they could leave. We anticipated that there was going to be some kind of concert and right as this concert started under way I can’t remember any more about this
They had to start by untangling these jeeps and air passengers and so on, making a place on the stage for me to sing and where I could record but my voice seems to have gone down an octave and I couldn’t sing the parole as high as I used to
Later on I was on some kind of seaplane and it put us down somewhere in the far North of Canada on the sea. As we started to try to clamber off I looked out of the window and saw one girl whom I knew redirecting traffic and so on
“I fell asleep here” – ed
So I didn’t know then what was happening because I fell asleep again. Stopped wondering about what was going on, and then there was the missing one about being on board that seaplane that I added at a later date – and that really makes sense, doesn’t it?
There was a big party taking place and loads of people whom I knew where there. They were all doing exciting things. My German friend, for example, was cycling up a wall. Everyone was going around trying to find a friend, partner or something like that. I knew that nothing was ever going to happen to me. Who should turn up but a long-departed friend of mine. We had a little chat but because of my health issues the idea that I would have a partner was out of the window. We started talking, a couple of us there, and suddenly she burst into tears. I asked her what was the matter and eventually it was when we said that we can’t go on like this. I said “I can’t remember saying it”. She replied “you did, several weeks ago”. I thought that she meant that I’d said it today. Anyway, I tried to explain to her about my health problems, that I had other preoccupations at the moment but it was quite difficult for me to talk as she was in such a condition

Finally, Castor and Pollux put in a brief cameo appearance and it’s been a long time since they’ve done that, isn’t it? There was something about a major airport, it might have been Luton, that was having to close down because two big budget flight companies had collapsed so now the airport wasn’t having the custom that it had. Of course, whatever business we has was going to affect that very much. I said that Travel Agency was going to be the thing to get into because people like Castor and Pollux who were growing up are not going to be very happy sitting on a coach now for 10 days. They’ll be much more interested in sitting on a beach. Whoever it was with me was saying “that will change in the future”. I mentioned “we aren’t talking about the future at the moment, we’re talking about the way things are right now.

Once more I was wide-awake long before the alarm went off, although you might not think so reading all these notes, but even so it took me an age to tear myself out of bed.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I transcribed my masses of dictaphone notes and then set about dealing with these interview sound files. I ended up with two distinct interviews, and two for the price of one is always good value, even if it did take me until tea time, although with plenty of interruptions.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Not the least of the interruptions today was for the bread.

And isn’t this a magnificent-looking loaf? It’s certainly one of the best that I have ever made and when I tried it for lunch with my salad it tasted just as good as it looked.

This one was definitely a success and if I can produce loaves like this all the time I’ll be really happy.

It probably has something to do with the amount of time that I spent kneading it and shaping it. That probably contributed quite a lot to the success.

Something else that has taken up a lot of my time just recently has been a pile of correspondence that I have received today. An enormous box of papers has come to light relating to my maternal grandfather (who died in 1951) and his side of the family. No-one knew that they existed until recently.

Someone is currently scanning everything and sending them out in dribs and drabs. I’ve jhad a few loads just recently and another batch turned up today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my maternal grandmother was a well-known Vaudeville and Music-Hall singer in Canada in the early post-World-War I era.

It turns out that my maternal grandfather was an accomplished piano player and singer, and taught at a private boarding school, Denstone College, near Rocester (and that, incidentally, explains why my grandmother died in the hospital in Stafford). Later on, he had a road haulage business in Wisbech.

The letters are fascinating stuff, in particular his castigation of his younger brother for having abandoned his own business when he became ill, totally and utterly ignoring the fact that he himself had abandoned his own two children to strangers when his wife was taken ill.

In fact, when the south-east of England was evacuated in World-War II he wouldn’t even take his own children into his safe house in Wisbech and they were cared for instead by his younger brother.

But anyway, I digress. But at least I now know why the members of my mother’s side of the family are nothing but a bunch of thespians.

There was tile this afternoon to write the two incendiary (not that it will do me much good but it makes me feel better) letters that I should have written and posted yesterday.

On the way down to the Post Office I had a call to make. We have several projects on the go for the radio right now, one of which concerns the Carnaval here, and not too far away from here lives a woman who is a costumier who makes the outfits for the carnivalers.

My task for today was to persuade her to be interviewed for the radio and after a chat of about 15 minutes she agreed. We’ll have to organise a date in the near future.

jade 3 victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way down into town, passing the Rue St Michel, I ended up at the viewpoint overlooking the port.

We have a trawler – Jade III – over there parked stern-on to the quayside. There’s a van parked next to it and a couple of guts working on untangling a fishing net. They are going to have hours of fun playing around with all of that.

Also over there are the two sad, sorry-looking Channel Island ferries, the blue and white Victor Hugo and behind her, the newer Granville. I wonder if we’ll ever see them resuming their sailings. It’s not looking very optimistic right now.

christmas decorations place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down in the town centre I posted off the two letters that I had written and then looked across at the Christmas decorations on the Place Général de Gaulle

There’s a cherry-picker down there this afternoon so it looks as if they are installing the Christmas lights. And I hope that they will be different from last year’s. I couldn’t ever understand why towns don’t meet up and swap decorations every year so that we have different ones all the time.

As for what’s going on round by Santa, we can’t see anything because of all the forest. It looks as if Birnam Wood has finally made it to Dunsinane after all.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way back home I stopped for a gander at the inner harbour.

It looks as if one of the Jersey freighters has slipped in without me knowing it because a lot of the freight that was on there last time we looked has now disappeared

But not to worry. There’s still a large pile of stuff accumulating on the quayside. It looks as if it’s all going non-stop at the moment and that will keep the little freighters busy. It’s good news for the port too as we are struggling somewhat now that the big gravel boats have stopped coming.

man fishing from beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way back home I remembered to go and have a look at the beach this afternoon.

Only one person down there this afternoon. he looked as if he was a fisherman but I couldn’t see whether or not he had a rod with him. He was however striding out into the water with some great purpose.

Back here I made myself a coffee and carried on with my reading 70 and 80-year old letters and editing the sound files for my radio intervals.

Tea was veggie balls and pasta tonight. I have mountains of those and they need to be eaten so I’m doing my best to polish them off. At this rate, I reckon that they’ll finish me off before I finish them.

Bedtime now, and tomorrow I have yet more work to do – not for me either but someone’s bunged a translating job on me at the last moment.

There are also these sound files to send off for some gap-filling, a pile of questions for a bunch of elves, some shopping to do (as I’m at a weekend Welsh School this coming weekend) and several other things before I even start to think about my own work.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Thursday 28th October 2021 – NOW HERE’S A THING

man catching fish beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was out on my afternoon walk today I saw this guy bending down at the water’s edge with something in his had.

At first I thought that it was a carrier bag of some description but then I asked myself “is that a fish?”. Ohh no, it can’t possibly be a fist at all.

But when I examined the photograph more closely and enlarged and enhanced it somewhat, I could see that right in front of where he’s standing is a fishing net stretching out into the water.

And so the conclusion is that at long last we have actually seen a fisherman catch something out there and I bet that he’ll enjoy that with his cheap for his tea tonight.

Mind you, catching something with a net is one thing – catching it with a rod and line is something else completely and I’m not going to be really satisfied until I see a fisherman pull a fish out using his tackle and equipment.

Another thing about which I’m not satisfied is my sleeping just now. Last night was slightly better than the previous night or two but still not what I would call satisfactory. In fact, far from it.

And one thing that I never understand at all is that I’m lying in bed tossing and turning and not sleeping all the way up to 5 minutes before the alarm goes off – and then I’m out like a light for all of 5 minutes until I’m awoken.

That’s exactly how it was yet again today and once more, i wouldn’t actually call anything like “athletic” the way that I left my stinking pit.

There was still time enough to go off on my travels during the night I was with girl whom I’d met in Brussels for some part of the night. We were gradually working on our friendship and relationship. I was hoping that this time I might be able to make some kind of couple with her but it didn’t quite work out. And it didn’t work out in real life either, much to my dismay. I always seemed to find myself tangled up with these extremely religious people with high principles

Later on there was a game going on, something like “Just A Minute” where they were talking about repairing coaches. The girl sitting next to me used the term “panel beater” to which everyone objected. I told her that you could go into almost any garage in the country and find someone who would be described as a panel beater, painter and sprayer. She used this as the basis for her argument. In the end the presenter put it to the audience but before they could cheer or booh I awoke.

Later on, I’d gone round to see my friend near Munich. I’d bought myself a coffee from a van on the side of the road and gone to see him. We started to chat. I invited to buy him coffee so he ordered two coffees from this van. Then he disappeared. When he came back out of his house I asked him “have you drunk your coffee?”. He replied “yes, but yours is still over there on the van”. I had to go back to the van and pick mine up. There was something to do with a PA system that I’d seen for sale and I was wondering whether to buy it. he was going on about how nice a stack it was. Even though they were different components it all looked quite nice as a stack.

After breakfast I made a start on updating some of the journal entries from earlier in the month. That meant that the first task was the dictaphone. To my surprise several entries were missing. I’d copied them onto the portable laptop while I was away and instead of filing them to store afterwards, I must have deleted them.

There’s always some complication, isn’t there?

So firing up the laptop I found the files and I was in business. While I was at it, I also found another file or two that for some reason or other hadn’t been copied over when I returned home.

So now the first few days are updated, but this is going to be a long job. For example, only 29 other dictaphone files to deal with.

That took me up to lunch and then afterwards I had some post to be doing. I’ve received a few mails about my radio project and they needed answering pretty quickly. It looks as if I’ve been roped in for another event as well.

But turning my attention to more mundane matters, I really do wonder how I’ve managed to get to where I am today with some of the things that I’ve been doing.

Yesterday, the battery in the NIKON D3000 was flat yesterday, as I found out when I went to take a photo. Anyway, that went on charge when I returned home.

Today, just before I went out, I checked the battery in the NIKON D500 to be on the safe side. That was almost flat too and I wished that I’d checked it earlier so it would have had time to charge up.

And then I realised that a few months ago I’d bought two spare batteries for it. Only cheap low-capacity batteries but why they were important was that they came with a free charger that works off a USB port. I’m collecting USB items, like for example the AA/AAA battery charger that I found because they are lighter, easier to carry and just need the one cable.

So with one of the batteries now in the camera, I had another brainwave.

In the drawer is the old NIKON D5000 camera that worked for years until I dropped it, cracked the case and water ingressed and ruined the PCB.

That takes the same battery is the Nikon D3000 and the battery is still in it so I extracted that and put it on charge. We’ll see if it holds a charge and if so we’ll add it to the pile.

people on beach swimmer rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So somewhat later than intended I went out for my afternoon walk.

And this afternoon the beach was comparatively crowded. It was a really warm, sunny day for the end of October and with it being the school holidays, everyone had gone down to make the most of it.

So much so that on the extreme left-hand edge of the photo you’ll actually see someone swimming in the sea. I don’t envy him one little bit. If the water isn’t at 37°C I’m not going in it.

The path was crowded with people this afternoon as you might expect so I had to fight my way through the crowds towards the lighthouse.

waves on sea wall baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I came out of the shelter of the College Malraux I was hit by the wind coming from a very unusual quarter – the south-west.

It was quite strong as well so I was expecting to see some excitement at the sea wall by the harbour as the waves will be picked up by the wind and hurled into the wall.

But this turned out to be something of a damp squib, didn’t it? The waves weren’t anything at all to write home about. Something of a major disappointment in fact. This was the best of a pretty poor lot of waves coming in on the wind

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was on my way along the path on top of the cliffs I noticed that the portable boat lift had been moved from its habitual resting place.

Thinking that it might be engaged in some kind of activity I hurried along to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what it it was up to.

To my surprise, I saw that it had been driven into the centre of the chantier naval, parked up and left there. There weren’t any boats about here at all.

All of this looks pretty weird to me. I’ve no idea what is happening with this. I certainly wouldn’t want to leave the boat lift here overnight where some motorist might drive into it in the dark.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Over at the ferry terminal, the two Joly France ferries are tied up there.

On the left is the newer one of the two with the smaller upper deck superstructure and the windows in “portrait” format. The older one of the right has the larger upper deck superstructure and windows in “Landscape” format.

And for once, the crane is folded up correctly.

Back at the apartment I made myself a coffee and had more things to do, like splitting a couple of albums into their constituent tracks. And that wasn’t easy for one of them as the tracks ran into each other and I’ll have to think about this carefully.

Tea was the last of the aubergine and kidney bean whatsit, and now that my journal entry is done, I’m off to bed.

But before I go, I’m going to have to try my best not to be so cynical.

Some books that belonged to my grandparents and great grandparents have been discovered and apparently (not that I knew until long after the event) there was a “family meeting” (to which I wasn’t, of course, invited). It was “agreed” that a certain member of the family should take them in and care for them.

My immediate response was “well, that’s the last that anyone will ever see of them”. I really must stop being so cynical.

Saturday 23rd October 2021 – IT WAS ANOTHER …

red powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… one of these aerial days today. Two on the run just now is good going.

But it really is getting to be a bit like “Play School” around here. It’s not the shape of the window through which we’ll be looking today, but to see which colour powered hang-glider goes flying by overhead as I walk around my circuit.

Yesterday it was the yellow one that went by, so today it’s the turn of the red one to fly overhead on its way back to the airfield. And carrying a passenger too. I really ought to go down there and blag myself a turn aboard one of these little machines.

light aeroplane 50SA pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A short while later on, another machine with which we are quite familiar went past.

She’s 50SA, a light aeroplane that isn’t registered in any database that I have been able to find so I’ve still no idea as to who she is and what she’s doing.

There was plenty more to see too, flying by in the clear sky at 35,000 feet but Brain of Britain had let the battery in the NIKON D500 go flat so I ended up with the NIKON D3000.

It was fitted with the big, powerful lens but while the near-distance shots are pretty good in most circumstances, it won’t focus properly for long-distance shots and at 35,000 feet it won’t focus at all.

Last night was another miserable, sad night. I’d been listening to my radio show but fell asleep just before midnight just as “Man” were finishing. And then I was awake at 05:30 in the morning and just couldn’t go back to sleep. Except of course, 5 minutes before the alarm went off.

While I was taking my medication etc I was listening to the latter part of my rock show, and then I headed off for town and the shops.

At Noz I stocked up the wine cellar a little – not that I drink it myself but I’m often invited out these days – and they had some more vegan food in the freezer there at a give-away price. There’s no room in my freezer but it fitted in somehow.

At Leclerc there was nothing whatever of any interest except some vegan burgers at a greatly reduced price so I bought a couple of those. I now have the European Vegan Burger Mountain in my fridge and I wish that I’d bought a larger one now.

They did however have grapes at €1:49 per kilo so I posted the fact on my social network.
“Don’t do that” replied Hans. “You’ll have everyone swarming over from the Uk to strip the shelves bare#34;
“They’ll have a job” I retorted. “After i’ve passed through there aren’t any left.”

Back here I put the cool and frozen stuff away (not without a fight) and then made myself some coffee and toast. Using the proper coffee machine because I’m awash with real coffee at the moment, as I discovered when I tidied up the shelf unit a couple of months ago, and it all has to be used.

While I was sitting down I had a listen to the dictaphone. We were in Liverpool probably last night. It started off with me in Croydon or somewhere. All the kids were milling around in the street heading for school, all in a blue school uniform. Gradually the scene moved into the school. There were some kinds on the 1st floor balcony and others downstairs on the ground floor. I was on the ground floor. All of a sudden this drunk came rolling down the steps on the balcony, over the end of the wall and landed smack on the floor right in front of where I was sitting. It turned out to be Paul McCartney. He came down to see it and check that it was OK. Then the assembly started. There was a guy with a guitar so we were all poking fun at everything that was about to happen, like kids do. McCartney said something about someone needs to go out at half-time to do something. I said that I’d go because I’d suddenly realised that I couldn’t remember what I’d done with my camera and where I’d put it

After lunch I sat down and carried on with my medical receipts. A few of them are missing and a few others have timed out, but I sent them in just the same with a note to excuse them.

There was also plenty of stuff about my radio project so I spent the rest of the afternoon dealing with that.

people on beach rue du nord yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Of course, I had to have a break for my afternoon walk.

Out across the car park and down to the wall at the end where I could see the beach. Plenty of beach, and plenty of people too. After all, it was a nice afternoon.

Some yachts out there too over across the bay near Coudeville. I’ve no idea where they have come from because the tide is well out here and they aren’t likely to have come out of the port here in the mornign and hung about all day.

men with kayaks beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There was yet more items of interest further along the beach.

There were a couple of guys dragging kayaks into the water. And they are fishermen by the looks of the rods that they have on board their craft.

And that must be a difficult job, because when you are sitting down with your legs outstretched in a kayak, you’re only pulling from the waits with no help at all from the leg muscles.

Obviously it’s not a good idea to make love in a kayak. After all, making love in a kayak has a lot in common with Watney’s beer. They are both f***ing close to water.

joly france ile de chausey bay de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021THis morning as I was on my way out to the shops, I drove past the harbour just as one of the Joly France boats, probably the one that was aground there yesterday afternoon, was leaving for the Ile de Chausey.

When I took this pic, I could see something large and white just offshore from the Ile de Chausey. Blowing up the photo, which I can do despite modern anti-terrorism legislation, I could see that it is indeed a Joly France boat.

She’s not likely to be coming home though. It’s a good couple of hours before the tide is far enough in and it only takes her half an hour or so to cross the bay. She’ll be hanging around for a bit until she can reach the jetty on the island.

coudeville plage kayakers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A little earlier, I mentioned that the bay was looking quite nice in the sun.

For that reason I took a photo of Coudeville-Plage. However, due to focusing and other issues with the NIKON D3000 over distance, this one and the previous one haven’t turned out too well.

Mind you, you can see the two kayakers at the bottom of the image so the near-distance shots have come out reasonably well.

Actually, as with the NIKON 1 J5 in the dark, I think that I’m expecting too much of these cameras and pushing them beyond their feasible limits.

Either that, or my technique is rubbish.

man fishing pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The guys in the kayaks weren’t the only ones who had gone fishing this afternoon.

Down on the rocks at the end of the Pointe du Roc is another fisherman, standing up this time. I noticed him as I crossed the car park a little further back so I came down to see how he was getting on.

It goes without saying that he didn’t catch anything while I wss watching, which is no surprise. Either they never ever catch anything or my presence is the kiss of death to the local fishermen.

Anyway, I left him in peace and cleared off.

yann frederic chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Next port of call is the viewpoint overlooking the harbour so I headed off along the path on top of the headland.

Yann Frederic is still in there, which was good news. That means I can take another photo of her because yesterday’s was rubbish, with the waving long grass confusing the focal length of the image.

Why I needed to do that is because I had a look on the shipping database and found that she doesn’t have a photo on there. As I maintain the AIS beacon detector for the port, I suppose that I’m responsible in some way towards the boats in here so I went to put that right and upload a photo of her.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Another boat that is still here is Jade III.

She’s actually moored on the slipway as you can see, not settling down in the silt. There was someone around there with her but I couldn’t see what he was doing. It can’t have been anythign important.

Back here I had another coffee and finished off the outstanding work.

There was football on later, Y Drenewydd v Caernarfon.

Y Drenewydd won the game 1-0 with a goal scored in first-half stoppage time by the excellent Mwandwe. Caernarfon were strangely subdued with their three star midfielders, Thomas, Edwards and Hughes looking very much out of sorts this afternoon and they didn’t look much like scoring.

In the end the finished the match with two out-and-out strikers, Cai Jones and Mike Hayes up front as well as the veteran former Welsh International defender Steve Evans playing centre forward, but it still didn’t look as if they would ever score with their misfiring midfield.

Incidentally, Steve Evans was booked for a foul just a couple of seconds after coming onto the field before he’d even touched the ball.

Later on I had tea – a couple of the small breaded burgers that I had bought this morning and they were nice too.

But now it’s ridiculously late so I’m off to bed, even though I’m not tired. But here’s hoping that I have a good sleep.

Wednesday 6th October 2021 – I NOTICED …

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… something very interesting this afternoon when I went out for my afternoon walk.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we are keeping a lose eye on the repairing of the medieval city walls round by the Place du Marché aux Chevaux, but I don’t think that I would have missed this.

Either they are intending to do a very throrough job of it or else they have had a calamity, because part of the wall down at the base looks as if it has collapsed and has left a gaping hole.

This is going to cause someone some rather difficult problems.

children's amusements Square Maurice Marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021What else is going to be causeing someone else some severe problems is whatever is going on in the Square Maurice Marland.

When we had the previous Maire there was an anonymous blog (not one of mine, I hasten to add) doing the rounds criticising her for the state of the Square here

She wasn’t re-elected, which was probably the aim of the blog, but since we have had the new incumbent, not only has the Square deteriorated further, most of the kiddies’ amusements that were fenced off from use a few weeks ago have now been removed completely.

So there have certainly been several changes under the new Maire, but I wonder what our anonymous blogger is making of them all.

Last night I went to bed early with the intention of having a really decent sleep right the way through until 07:30, but as you might expect, that never happened.

I was tossing and turning for much of the night and having a couple of these severe night sweats that I need to record. And there were nocturnal voyages a-plenty too.

I started off by going on holiday with Nerina. We were going somewhere down to the south coast and we boarded a plane, one of these small 24-seater things. It took off and we were there in the queue talking about preparing to leave etc. The planes in this queue were going out one by one. Then we took off and ended up flying north from Crewe doing a big circle round over where Wardle Airfield is. I pointed out where my grandparents used to live (and they did, too). I asked her if she had ever met them. She said not, that Wardle didn’t ring any bells with her at all. She asked about a couple of buildings that were there, weren’t they something to do with the Women’s Institute? I replied that they were the original buildings from the airfield.

Later on, I can’t remember how it went but Nerina was living with someone else in squalid circumstances worse than ever I lived in the Auvergne. She had a few people round and was bottling some kind of milky drink so I gave her a hand and ended up bottling a banana smoothie for someone. I had to fill it with water. In the meantime she was inside the house talking to Claude and his wife, whatever her name was. I didn’t really want to go in to see them so I kept outside but I could hear the conversation. In the end something drew me in so I went in. They were both still in bed. They were also living in poor circumstances, not as poor as Nerina. She was getting on really well with them and I was just exchanging pleasantries, if you like, trying not to get too involved.

There was also something about me and a brand-new house that I’d owned somewhere, a 2-bedroomed house. The bedrooms were really small but I can’t remember anything particular about that.

Finally, I’d been out somewhere and not come back until late. I had to go into work so I’d gone to bed. It was my house in Winsford but that new house that I mentioned. Then I had to go out again to see Hans. He was talking about something. I explained that I’d only got in at 06:00 but I had to go to work so I wasn’t doing anything. I drove back home thinking that I was going to have another day off but then I thought that my time records were in such a state that I couldn’t do that kind of thing. It was another one of these “thinking about retiring from work” dreams that occur regularly.

On the way back from Hans’s house I was walking down the road at the back of Wardle Airfield towards my house. For some reason I couldn’t keep my feet and kept on falling over. A guy came out of a side road in a car, the guy who had the farm at the back of me at Les Guis, He asked me If I’d received his package but I couldn’t understand what he meant so I saif that I would check. I ended up back at my house and Claude and his wife were there. he handed me a package and I opened it. It was full of old tools so I had to think what these were. He said “that’s a good deal that you got for that battery”. I suddenly realised that Claude had given me a battery and I’d given it to that farmer, so I’ll go through these tools later and give a few of them to Claude that he might need.

This is a total of four or five different voyages, and not only were they so real that I was totally convinced that they were happening, I seemed to have been stepping in and out of dreams at various points and stepping right back into them round about where I left off, not once, but several times.

And then, of course, we have the recurring dream about me being in a mess at work and so planning to resign.

It’s all very eerie, this.

So after the medication, checking my messages and mails and the like, much of the day has been spent dealing with the radio project that I have in hand.

There is a huge pile of notes that I’ve written for distribution, I’ve spent some time on the phone with the co-ordinator and I’ve also been sending mails and making telephone calls to contacts.

What happens from here on is anyone’s guess but several people at the radio seem to be quite enthusiastic, and quite well-placed to push things forward.

We had the usual breaks – coffee, breakfast, lunch, and then the afternoon walk of course.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021You’re probably wondering why the photo of the beach looks different today from how it has been over the last few weeks.

You’ve probably guessed from the photos at the beginning that I haven’t gone around the headland this afternoon. Instead, I’m walking around the walls.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on Monday we saw several things that seemed to be going on within the walls that piqued our interest and I mentioned that I would go round one day and check up.

peche a pied beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021In fact there were quite a few people down there on the beach this afternoon

The weather was quite nice and we’re getting to the stage of having some really low tides right now, so most of the people down there in this photo and in the previous one seemed to be engaged in the pêche à pied, scavenging about amongst the rocks for shellfish.

And it looks as if the two people in this photo have made quite a substantial haul. There are limits to what one can take away from the beach, and I bet that they can’t be far off it.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2110/21100044.html”>fishing boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There’s other fishing going on down there too.

As usual I was having a good look around out at sea and although there were none of the trawlers (or any other type of boat) out there in the bay this afternoon, there were two fishing boats way out off the headland.

Luckily the sea is quite a lot calmer than it was yesterday so they can have a better working day today. I really felt sorry for those in peril on the sea yesterday in that storm.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The most interesting (from my point of vies) part of the walk around the walls is the repair work that’s going on here in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

They’ve had this scaffolding – this magnificent work of art – up here for a few weeks now and they are slowly advancing up the hill, making good progress with the pointing as they do so.

But having seen the wind that we had yesterday, you can understand why they have it weighted down with 5 tonnes of water. It wouldn’t mast very long in the winds that we have without something to hold it down, and 5 pallet tanks fulll of water is a good place to start.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The last time that we looked over the wall, we saw them working about 6 or 8 feet below the top of the wall.

Today, we can see that they have practically worked their way up to the top at this end, and doubtlessly they’ll be working their way downhill to the end as time goes on.

It was round here that I was overwhelmed by a horde of brats.

There’s no school on Wednesday afternoons but there are plenty of activities for children whose parents have to work.

A bunch of 4 girls aged about 9-11 came swarming around me asking me if I’d noticed something. It turns out that they are one team of orienteers who were having a competition this afternoon around the old town, and were looking for a marker.

It’s a little-known fact that when I was 16 or 17, I competed in the North-West Schools orienteering championships, so I had a little chat with the kids for a minute or two.

Believe it or not, I actually like children round about that age. I think that they get a very raw deal from adults and have a lot to say for themselves, if only someone would listen to them.

There was also someone from the tourist board taking photos, and we had a little chat as well.

peche a pied medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021From the Place du Marché aux Chevaus I went along the path underneath the walls.

Once more, plenty of people on the beach, including all those round by the Plat Gouseet in the medieval fish trap hunting for shellfish buried in the sand.

That’s not really the purpose of the fish trap. In medieval times, and even today if someone were to bother to maintain it correctly, it would retain water after the tide has done out, and which would slowly filter out between the gaps in the rocks.

This would leave a supply of fish behind, trapped by the stone walls, and the average medieval fishwife would wade in there and pull them out with her bare hands.

repair work plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The Plat Gousset has now been cleared of beach huts, as I mentioned last time.

And that’s probably just as well after the storms that we’ve just had. Instead of lifting them up with a crane, they could have moved them with a brush and shovel.

But there’s some kind of repair work going on down there at that blue and white building. I wonder if that’s anything to do with the storms that we have just had.

It actually looks quite peaceful and pleasant down there this afternoon. I bet that it wasn’t like that just now.

Anyway, I cleared off down the Square Maurice Marland, looking at the state (or otherwise) of the kiddies’ amusements as I passed.

tubes and pipes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I had a good peer to see what was going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will remember that yesterday, they hard started to put into the water the tubes that had been on the quayside for a week or two.

Today, by the looks of things, they seem to have put in all of them that I could see. It’s all looking very interesting and so I wonder what the next step is going to be.

And, furthermore, is the dredger that is in the chantier naval going to be playing any part in it all?

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was there, I had a look at the quayside underneath the crane to see what was happening there.

Those galvanised sheets are still on the quayside, and they have now been joined by a few of these sacks of builders’ materials.

This would seem to indicate that we are going to be having one of the Jersey freighters in very soon.

And I’ll be surprised if it’s Normandy Trader because at the last update that I had, the skipper and his mate were somewhere between Lands End and John O’Groats on their bikes.

That reminds me of the famous record-breaking woman cyclist Br Barbara Moore who would either walk or cycle between Lands End and John O’Groats as the fancy took her.

On one occasion, having completed one of her rides, she was asked by a commentator what she planned to do next. She replied, in her thick Eastern European accent I vill strip – and overhaul my bicycle.

digging a trench rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021What has actually brought us to this neck of the woods is the sign that we saw on Monday telling us that the Rue Cambernon is closed to traffic.

That’s the kind of thing that needs to be checked so I wandered round that way, and sure enough, they are digging a trench down the side of the street.

That’s something that is totally bewildering me because only about a year or so ago, or maybe even less, they dug it up to do something else. That’s pretty bad planning if they are now having to dig it up for something else so soon afterwards.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And that’s not the best of it either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the winter (or what passes for winter around here) they’d dug up the Rue St Michel and replaced a pile of pipework, then relayed the street – in asphalt rather than cobbles, to my eternal dismay.

But now it seems that they will be coming back, as all of the hieroglyphics are back on the road surface.

Blue is for water, of course, but I’ve no idea which other colour represents anything else.

They aren’t doing too well with their planning, are they?

abandoned american car place du parvis notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Round by the Eglise Notre Dame du Cap Lihou, the American car from Connecticut is still here.

We first came across it on our return from North America 2 years ago, and it’s still here now, not having moved an inch since then.

Someone has liberated the front number-plate over time but the rear is still there.

Around the corner I was swept up in a swarm of people coming out of the church after a funeral and I had to fight my way through the mob in order to reach home.

After my coffee I carried on with my notes for my radio project, and even found time to update a couple of entries from the end of August by inserting the details of my nocturnal voyages in them.

And then I went for tea.

There was a couple of mushrooms looking sorry for themselves and 2 small potatoes that had seen better days so I heaved a small tin of chick peas in and made myself a quick curry. And it was delicious too.

So now I’m hoping for another early night, hopefully on through which I can sleep undisturbed. It’s high time I had a really good night’s sleep.

But at least – lying-in until 07:30 instead of rising at 06:00 means that crashing out during the day is only happening rarely these days. I’ve been wondering whether I should set the alarm to 07:00. What would happen then?

Sunday 26th September 2021 – NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL …

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… the perfect vegan pizza.

It really was too. I had to make a new batch of pizza dough this afternoon because I’d run out of the last batch. But I used wholemeal flour instead of bleached white flour and although the taste was rather unusual, it rose to perfection.

It’s a shame that I can’t make my bread dough rise quite like this batch of pizza dough did, and I don’t know why it won’t. I shall just have to keep on practising until I can find the key.

But it’s bizarre all the same.

And that’s what I call a lie-in too. Despite not going to bed until about 00:30 I was asleep until about 10:35 this morning. And it was … errr … some time later when I finally arose from the dead.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’ve forgotten very much about the first part of my travels but it was some kind of car journey with kids and we had to make up a bed inside the car for them because it was a long way travelling through the night but I can’t remember very much about this at all.

A short while later I was with a woman and we were wandering around the streets of a strange city somewhere in Eastern Europe. It was an aimless wandering around and I let her take charge but every time she seemed to take a decision to go somewhere it was always the wrong way. But it was still quite an adventure. It was hot and stuffy with quite a lot of traffic about, including one bus where the passengers were arguing with the driver about which way to go. Then we came to a complicated road junction where I misunderstood the lights and was nearly squidged. By this time I was with Nerina. We had been somewhere the night before after she had come in. She was telling me that a she came in my brother had invited her out for a drink. She said that she had this opinion that he’d known that she had been drinking although it was 16 minutes since her last one and she should have been clear so maybe she’d drink her drink in a different way next time to provoke a different reaction in her stomach.

I was wandering around Nantwich later and it was something to do with my German friend who was there – I’d arranged to meet him so I went to phone him up but I phoned Percy Penguin instead. I had a little chat with her and we tentatively arranged to meet. Then I was back in my house getting things ready for going. Another friend had said that someone had left me a message. I had a look and it was yet a third friend looking for the seed potatoes that he’s left. I had absolutely no idea where these were so I started to hunt my through for them and couldn’t fond anything. I came across my boots that I’d been wearing that I’d forgotten all about. I wondered if I should take those because the ones that I was wearing now were extremely comfortable although they were rather old and I still couldn’t find these potatoes. Liz Ayers turned up and said something like it was time to go. I told her that we hadn’t found these potatoes and she said that she wanted to go round to my house on the way back to see whether there was anything there that we needed. This was going to end in a load of confusion.

Later still, there were some more people round at my house. I had to go off somewhere and knew that I was going to miss these people by ages because I wouldn’t be back until late. When I returned there were 2 people walking up the stairs in front of me in the dark without the light on. I was wondering what they were doing. They went to my door and rang the bell. Whoever was in my house opened the door. This woman asked “have you received a message or a bill some time today?” to which whoever it was said “no”. Just then a girl came out of my apartment, a girl who had been in there earlier and was the one whom I was afraid that I was going to miss, carrying a box of stuff to put in her car. These 2 women saw her and asked “are you leaving? I hope that you are going to come back again”. She replied “yes, I’ll be coming back”. I added “yes, she better had be coming back”. We were having this kind of chat on the stairs at about 23:00 and this girl should have gone a long time ago. I was leafing through an old file and came across a sailor’s discharge book from the Navy, showing all the ships that he had been in, where he’d been torpedoed, where his ship had broken in 2 and sank, whatever. I was so fascinated by this book and deeply absorbed in it and wasn’t folling half of what was happening in this conversation which was strange because I was very keen to keep friendly and keep in touch with this other girl.

While I was at it, I transcribed the notes from yesterday and now they are on line as well.

After lunch, I had a little vegetate – after all, it IS Sunday. I was doing some research on something that I had read about a Communist sympathiser known as Hilaire Noulens, whose real name was Jakob Rudnik as I discovered, who was sent by Comintern to Shanghai to foment rebellion against the “International Forces” in 1931 but was arrested and exposed.

In the “International Zone” of Shanghai in the 1920s and early 1930s there were all kinds of strange and bewildering goings-on until 1932 when the Japanese invasion put a stop to most of it.

Following that I organised and paired off the music for the radio show that I’ll be preparing tomorrow and a little later I went off and prepared the dough for my next batch of pizza.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk so I headed off across the car park to the wall at the end to see what was going on down on the beach.

There were quite a few people down there this afternoon. Although we are at the last weekend of September it is unseasonably warm right now with very little wind so people were taking full advantage.

There were even a couple of people in the water right up to their knees. I know that it was a nice day, but it wasn’t that nice. But then the definition of “nice water” for me is “water that is at 37°C”

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further along down at the beach at the Plat Gousset there were even more people.

Of course, the access there is much easier but they are closer to some competing attractions such as the Fête des Coquillages St Jacques down at the port. A plate of shellfish surely has to be a better deal?

But then I suppose there are those people who have come here to take the waters. As you can see, there are even more people up to their knees in it over there. Sooner them than me.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There wasn’t anything happening this afternoon out at sea so I had a look over to the Ile de Chausey.

The view was quite good today – not as nice as it has been but better than most days – so the colours didn’t come out particularly too well.

There was one of the two Joly France ferries (Belle France is still moored at the Ferry Terminal as I found out later) moored out there and we could see it quite clearly from here.

While I was admiring the view I fell in with another one of my neighbours and we had a lengthy chat. I seem to be quite popular these days and it’s not like me to be so sociable, is it?

While I was chatting, I was overflown by just about everything that could possibly take to the air, as you might expect. But you can’t be so impolite to break off a good chat to take a couple of photos. There will be other times.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From my viewpoint up on top of the old bunker at the back of the lighthouse I could just about make out the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel with my naked eye.

With the NIKON D500 and the 70-300mm LENS the photo came out quite clearly after I’d enhanced it somewhat and we coud see once more the land beyong the cape.

Surprisingly, apart from the Joly France boat that I mentioned earlier and something far to small to identify, I couldn’t see a single other boat out there at sea this afternoon.

yacht small boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The position in the Baie de Mont St Michel is rather different.

As I walked across the lawn and the car park, that was once more packed to the gunwhales, I could see a couple of things out there towards the Brittany coast.

I took a photo of what I saw with a view to having a closer look when I returned home. And I’ve managed to capture a yacht with its sails furled and also a smaller boat of some other type.

But what “other type” it was, I couldn’t say. I couldn’t see clearly enough.

cabanon vauban couple changing a baby pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By the looks of things, I wasn’t the only person admiring the view out across the bay this afternoon.

There was a couple sitting on the bench by the Cabanon Vauban and my first thought was that they were having a picnic. “A nice big helping of shellfish from the fête”, I mused.

Back here I had a closer look and I could see that in fact they were actually changing a baby. And I’m not sure why anyone would want to do that because any other baby is probably going to be just as noisy as the on that you already have.

F-GKAO - Piper PA-28-181 Archer 2 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Round about now I was overflown by another aeroplane and I was in a position to be able to take a photo of it.

It seems that this is one that we haven’t seen before so i’m glad that I was able to photograph her. She’s F-GKAO, a Piper PA-28-181 Archer II.

She’s spent much of the day flying around here. When I saw her, she had taken off at 16:24, flown down the coast as far as Avranches, and then along the coast to Cap Fréhel before coming back into land at 17:16.

At 18:07 she took off and, stopping at Dinard and then Dinan, disappeared off the radar near Rennes St Jacques at 19:30.

buvette fête des coqilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As you can see, the buvette at the fête is still going great guns.

There was no change at the chanter naval today, with just L’Omerta still in there, and there was only Belle France moored at the ferry terminal so I didn’t spend too long having a look around there.

It seemed to me too that there has been an expansion of the facilities there today. Yesterday, everything seemed to stop by the door into the Fish Processing plant, but today there are a few more marquees and stalls further on that seem to have attracted quite a crowd of people.

equipment on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But what had attracted me – or, at least, my attention, was the big pile of equipment in the background.

Full of curiosity I cropped it out and enlarged it to see if I might be able to work out what it all is.

It looks like another load of pipework, as far as I can tell. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago they did dig up part of the quayside to lay a network of pipes.

Perhaps they are going to repeat the process once the crowds disappear and the harbour is pretty much empty. Whatever happens, I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

fête des coqilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned that the crowds were still flocking to the Festival.

There are probably even more today than there were yesterday. It’s a good turnout and I’m glad that I’m up here.

You are probably wondering how come I never went down to see what was going on down there. The truth is that I don’t feel up to it. Not even the downhill part, never mind the climb back up afterwards.

What i’m going to be doing is to wait for the doctor to see the x-ray photos of my lungs and see where I go from there.

electricians compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One final thiing to see is something that I haven’t noticed before, not having come this far down the hill on my previous walks.

There’s some kind of compound been created on the waste land at the side of the Boulevard des Terreneuviers. By the looks of things and the name on one of the containers, we’re going to be seeing some electrical work taking place down here pretty shortly.

Not right now though. I came back home for a cold drink and to check on the pizza dough – to find that it had risen by an extraordinary amount.

While I was waiting for the pizza to cook, I peeled and diced about 1.5kg of carrots and blanched them ready for freezing. I hadn’t planned to buying a pile of carrots, but when loose carrots worked out at €1:79 per kilo and yet a 2kg bag was €1:29, what would you do?

That 1.5kg filled the saucepan, so I’ll do the rest tomorrow afternoon.

Bedtime now that I’ve finished my notes. An early start because I have my radio show to do so I won’t be hanging around either. I hope that I’ll have a good night’s sleep, but we shall see.

Thursday 18th August 2021 – THAT WAS A …

… much better night last night, due to the fact that there wasn’t any noise from the neighbouring room. Mind you, there’s some noise coming from there now so here’s hoping that they’ll shut up in due course before bedtime.

It still didn’t make for an uninterrupted sleep because I was off on my travels during the night and I must have gone for miles. I started off in the USA travelling south and I’d come into Georgia, still travelling south and something must have happened because the next thing that I remember was that I was in a car with half a dozen other people. The woman was driving so recklessly through these roadworks, knocking over all these bollards. We’d been driving down a highway and now we were threading our way through a town. Two of these people were talking about how grateful they were to this woman for picking them up because they would never have found someone else going their way after they had been rear-ended in their car. They were chatting away and I thought to myself that pretty soon I’m going to be going into a couple of new States that I don’t know. So I asked “how far are we from the Georgia Florida border?” The woman replied “we’ll be crossing the border in about an hour or so”. The dawn was just so dramatic. It changed from a dark night to bright sunlight in an instant. I saw that the sun was about a quarter high so I thought that I must have gone to sleep or something. We were talking about race cars. They were mocking my English language about Wimbledon so we ended up talking about tractor pulling. The guy said that he’d be too scared to try tractor pulling because that’s really something.

Later on I was in the far north of Canada somewhere with my friend from Munich, standing on a clifftop watching events unfolding. Dawn was just breaking. We’d been around and I don’t know where but we’d ended up somewhere near a village. It had only been the smaller schoolchildren who had gone to school that day. As dawn started to break there were sounds of sirens or a horn and I thought that it must be an icebreaker coming down the river. I wondered if it would be Terry Fox, the icebreaker that I knew. So we looked and it was a heavy lorry coming down there zigzagging from side to side as if to flatten all of the streets, going downhill backwards to this village. We went down to see and by now all the schoolchildren were assembling, all ages, ready to go into school. There was a shop there that we came across because we followed the lorry and it had stopped there to get diesel. We walked into this shop with all of these schoolkids around, looking at us because we were dressed differently and looked differently. It was a second-hand place with loads of second-hand books and everything. There wee a few guitars there so my idea was that we would have an impromptu concert but all the strings had been knotted together so we couldn’t actually play anything on them. That was a really disappointing thing because we were hoping to have a little bit of fun with them.

Later still I was at my lock-up at Smallman Road and it was in a terrible mess. My brother was there and he started to help me tidy up, something about which I wasn’t very happy because when people start tidying up you don’t know where they put things and you never find them But after half an hour it made an enormous difference and you could actually walk around places which you hadn’t done in there for years. I then suggested o get the stuff out of Caliburn like the two spare wheels and a pile of boxes, the snow chains and everything. That was what we did and started moving stuff around out of Caliburn but somehow I became all oily and we were going to be really dirty and getting these tyres out of the back and so on.

Somewhere along the way I was standing in a queue behind a woman who was buying pieces of broken chocolate but she took so long trying to take her money from her purse that I was sure that I was going to miss what I was going to do and I wished that she would get a move on.

After the exertions of the last couple of days I stayed in bed until 10:00 and when I eventually rose again from the dead I went and had my medication. After that I chose the music for another radio programme. That’s three now that I’ve done and I’ll do the fourth tomorrow, I reckon.

After I’d made my sandwiches I headed off to the hospital for my appointment.

summer flowers herbert hooverlaan leuven belgium Eric HallMy perambulations at lunchtime took me past the Herbert Hooverplein.

No market there this morning, and so instead I could admire the flowers. I’m not a flower person – in fact I once told my friend Lorna that the only time that you would find a flower on any photo that I took would be if there were an old car parked on top of it – but these are particularly beautiful.

As you might expect, I have no idea what kind of flowers these might be. “Yellow and white ones” would be my best guess.

cycling fitness machine grote markt leuven belgium  Eric HallFrom there I pushed on down the hill to the town centre and the Grote Markt.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last time we were here we saw this container with a couple of exercise bicycles in it. And I’ve finally worked out what its purpose is.

It seems that in about 30 days time there will be some kind of cycling World Championships taking place and this is some kind of advertisement to publicise the event.

We’ll see how events unfold here over the course of the next few weeks.

river dijle leuven belgium Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that a month ago we had all of the rain and all of the floods in Belgium

At the height of the storm the river LOOKED LIKE THIS and you can see how different the river is today. The doorway down there shows that there was a couple of feet of difference in the height of the river.

The country is still reeling from the effects of the storm, but luckily we here in Leuven didn’t suffer very much – not half as much as some places over in the east by the German border.

demolition at rear of sint rafael hospital kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric HallAs I pushed along the Brusselsestraat on the way to the hospital, I checked the big building site here.

They have swept away all of what was the Sint Pieter’s Hospital and it seems that they are now starting to demolish the rear of the Sint Rafael Hospital. This is certainly some kind of new development that wasn’t here last time I was in Leuven.

This part of the redevelopment of the site is something that I hadn’t seen on the plans so I’ll be very interested to see how this particular story unfolds.

soil deposited at sint pieters hospital brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallPart of the plans for the redevelopment of the site include some landscaping of the area.

Something else that has turned up on the site since I was last here is a couple of lorry-loads of what looks like soil.

Presumably they are going to bulldoze it all over the site, and I hope that they will plant bushes and trees there as well while they are at it.

Here in the centre of the town there aren’t anything like enough trees and other greenery to revitalise the atmosphere and no effort should be spared to make the place look environmentally friendly.

old medieval tower brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallAfter they cleared away the building and the rubble we noticed that there was an old medieval tower left behind on the site that had been obscured.

It has been protected by scaffolding and there’s some metal sheeting to cover it over. But right now it seems that they are starting work on restoring it – and not before time either. It should look really nice when it’s finished – I hope.

The walk up the hill to the hospital was a nightmare. I had to stop about a dozen or so times in order to catch my breath and when I finally reached the hospital I was obliged to take the escalator up to the first floor.

That’s something that has not happened since I first came here 5 years ago and it’s definitely a backward step.

The nurse who attended to me was very sweet and she can come and massage my clavicles any time she likes. The doctor on the other hand was somewhat lacking in his approach and I don’t think that he’ll be working long in the profession.

He certainly didn’t have the interest in his task – whenever I mentioned something else that was the problem it was “see your GP about that” – except that he said it in French because that the language that he used to speak to me. He didn’t have the least curiosity and that’s no good for a doctor.

My blood count has gone up from 9.0 to 9.2 although it doesn’t seem anything like it. There’s definitely some other underlying problem with the health issues that I’m having right now.

While I was here I made a start on transcribing the dictaphone notes (hence today’s notes) but Alison popped by to see me so we ended up chatting instead. I’ll have to do the outstanding notes tomorrow, unless something else crops up in the meantime.

building site kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric HallOn the way home I went to have a look at the various building projects in the Kapucijnenvoer.

The big building that is receiving all of their attention right now is advancing. Not exactly quite rapidly but there is a great deal of surface area that is involved in this particular project and the volume alone will count for a lot.

It’s going to be quite a while before the building appears above ground level and judging by the thickness of the walls it’s going to be quite a substantial building too that is going to tower up above the surrounding building.

more demolition Onze Lieve Vrouwstraat Leuven belgium Eric HallMeanwhile, while I was looking at the groundwork here with one of my eyes the other eye was off roaming about examining what was going on in the background.

There’s part of this complex that runs round the back of the Onze Lieve Vrouwstraat in the distance and it looks as if they are now making a start on demolishing part of that – something else that I haven’t noticed on the plans of the site.

It seems that they are going to be making quite a clean sweep of the area and while I’m not sorry to see much of it go, there are some parts of it that have a certain something that will be missed when it’s gone.

building site kapucijnenvoer zongang leuven belgium Eric HallOn the way home I wandered off down the Kapucijnenvoer to look at the other building site that backs onto the Zongang.

While I was on my way up to the hospital there was a lorry there with the site crane lifting from the trailer a pile of concrete sheets that are presumably going to be the flooring. But by the time that I came back, they had all gone.

But the building is shooting up quite quickly, much quicker than we would expect, bearing in mind the speed at which other building projects are carried on in the town. Normally they take an age but they aren’t hanging around with this one.

building site kapucijnenvoer zongang leuven belgium Eric HallBut I don’t imagine that the people who are living in that nice house in the Zongang are particularly happy about this building.

While I was passing I peered through the new building out to the back, and you can see how closely they have built this structure to the house behind. This is going to cut out all of the light that would otherwise fall on the building.

There’s supposed to be a parking place for each of the apartments too and I’m not sure how they are going to fit any of that in on the site or in the little yard at the back.

site plan sint pieters hospital brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallOn my way back home I went to have a look at the site plan of the redevelopment to see what this new series of demolitions might mean.

Unfortunately I didn’t check it as thoroughly as I might because I was rather distracted by the noticeboard giving the explanations. And I wonder what exactly is a “Honkhuis”. My imagination is running wild right now.

And so I’ll have to have a look at the noticeboard next time I go past there and make better notes of how the site is going to evolve. But at least I did notice that the culvert that covers the river there is going to be removed and the river will be exposed once more to the open air.

man running dog around velodrome brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallThere is of course the new velodrome that they have built on the site of the old hospital.

On my way past it to the hospital there was no-one actually using it so I refrained from taking a photo, thinking that I’ll catch someone using it on the way back and photograph it then.

There was indeed someone using it, but not a cyclist. When I arrived some little girl was just cycling away from it with her mother. Instead I caught a man taking his dog for a run around it.

Not the best use of the velodrome, I have to say. I was expecting it to be much more popular with the youngsters than it seems to be.

new hardstanding brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallThere’s some more work that’s been undertaken on the site since we were last here.

We now seem to have some kind of hardstanding behind the velodrome, surrounded by a load of potted palms or whatever they might be. The purpose of this hardstanding is a mystery to me.

The way back home was accomplished without as much effort as I was expecting. I stopped at the chemist’s on the way back but she didn’t have everything that I needed so I’ll have to go back there tomorrow to pick up everything. I can do that while I’m having a little walk about

Now that I’ve had tea, and the music seems to have quietened down for a moment, I’m going to go to bed. No alarm in the morning – I’m going to have yet another lie-in. So here’s hoping that no-one manages to disturb me during the night.

Friday 28th May 2021 – I HAVEN’T BEEN …

… discharged from the hospital, it seems that I’ve been expelled.

And I heard at least one nurse say “if he comes back, then I’m leaving!”.

So right now I’m sitting on my comfy sofa back in my room in the Dekenstraat here. I’ve had to re-book it again but I found it just as I left it, with my frozen food still in the freezer and the cold stuff still in the fridge. Just like old times.

What was also like old times was that I almost fell sleep watching a film last night. I summoned up enough energy to switch off the laptop before collapsing and that was basically that until the nurses awoke me at 07:30.

2 files on the dictaphone though. It must have been a busy night. There was something going on between me and my brother. Someone else stepped in and said that he was going to fence off half of this ground and I wasn’t going to be allowed on it . I thought “yes, try and stop me”. He was extremely insistent and extremely unpleasant with it as well so we were walking off across a field somewhere and we came to a river or canal. There was some kind of activity taking place on the other side that involved processions. I noticed that half of it had been closed off as well. There was a really strong wind and I had some kind of tap washer or rubber seal joint type of thing. It suddenly blew our of my hands and in a big circuit up in the air and then blew round and blew back again much to the astonishment of this little boy in this procession. We had a laugh about that and someone else said “yes, he’s going to do something else spectacular in a minute”. I wondered what this procession was about, closed off on half of this ground by this net that went across this canal and what was going on on the other half. As I said, someone said that we couldn’t go that way but that kind of net wasn’t going to stop me no matter how offensive and aggressive that other guy had been towards me in the matter of how talking to my brother had been.

Later on we’d been doing some plumbing repairs in the house of a girl we knew at school, at least it was a house somewhere near Acton. I turned up with some guy who was going to do the work, and a young kid. We started to dismantle this pipework, which wasn’t easy because it had been done in a Heath Robinson matter with these really long nuts and bolts. We had it dismantled and then we had to reassemble it. To dismantle it, it had all gone out of centre and it was tightening up the nuts on the threads so we couldn’t undo it the more by hand no matter how long they were. We had to use a spanner right through to the end. So we repositioned it better and anyway I was determined not to do the last bolt. I ended up running some kind of jewelled ornament down these threads until everyone complained. In the end I found the missing nut and put it back on. But the girl was there. It was her parents’ house. We were about to, or I was trying to manoeuvre myself round to having a really good chat with her, but then I awoke before I could actually start to talk to her. Another one of my friends had been saying for years that he wished that he knew how he could get in touch with her and he’s going to be ever so pleased and impressed that I’d actually met her. I was going to give her his contact details, everything

After the medication it was comparatively quiet. No doctor and train of students from urology or anywhere else, and even my own doctor never put in an appearance.

There was the usual bustle of nurses with their students practising on me, but I don’t mind that at all. It’s all part of the thing about being a guinea-pig and they have to learn somehow. And of course they are all young and pretty and keen and enthusiastic, with a nice cheery smile, and they always bring me a cup of coffee afterwards.

There was a shower and a shave too, so now I’m all clean – well, sort-of – and in clean clothes too.

The absence of bustle meant that I could finish off the notes for the radio programme on which I’ve been working, and then finish off choosing the music for one that I had started before I was hauled off to hospital

And when I’d done that, there was even time to choose the music for another one too. After all, I may as well use this time profitably.

After lunch they brought round my blood results – 8.0. So it had gone up to reach the critical level. And they also brought more blood. “When you’ve had this, the doctor says that you can go home”.

Well, that was news to me, although regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I’d suggested that as a possibility.

The doctor came to see me in mid-transfusion with a pile of paperwork. The amount of medication that I now have to take is astonishing. I’m sure that this time next week, if you were to shake me I would rattle.

Disturbingly, one of the things that he’s prescribed for me is Vitamin B12 and that’s a bad sign. As a vegan I don’t have it naturally and I have to have supplements. I always look for stuff that has it in. And not enough Folic Acid either, so I need more of that.

4 lots of ointment for various things too. You can’t say that their examination wasn’t thorough.

Another thing that he mentioned was that in certain cases there was an injection that they can give to people with renal issues that will help and will stimulate the blood cells too. It’s given very rarely but he reckons that I qualify and so he will be making his recommendation.

When the transfusion was over they unhooked me and the nurse brought me a pile of medication “so I don’t have to go to the chemist until Monday”. They are really sweet here.

There was still one thing that I needed to do before I left the hospital. The doctor had given me a written report but addressed it to the wrong doctor. “That’s what it says on your record” he said. So I had to go to the office and change my doctor to the correct one.

road accident herestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallMy trek into town didn’t get me very far before I had to reach for the camera.

On the car park there was an ambulance with its blue lights flashing, and also a plain-clothes police car with his blue lights flashing too, blocking part of the road. And sitting up on the bank with one of its doors open.

I’ve no idea what was happening there, but I did muse to myself that if anyone were injured, they wouldn’t have far to go in order to seek medical attention. Not from the hospital car park, anyway.

digger monseigneur vanwaeyeberghlaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallHaving dispensed with that, I carried on down the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan just in time to see a big digger drive up onto the trailer at the back of this lorry.

“What’s going on here then?” I thought. “They have only just finished digging up this road. They surely aren’t going to be starting again”. But there is some kind of park just there where all of that green shrubbery is and apparently the digger is doing something in there.

At the corner of the Goedsbloemstraat the workmen were cutting all of the stones to fit the new tactile avement around the street furniture. And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I had some kind of thing once with the girl who invented tactile paving.

men repairing door monseigneur vanwaeyenberghlaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhat these workmen are doing here is extremely interesting – at least to me anyway.

Another thing that regular readers of this runnish will recall is that for a period of a considerable number of months a year or two ago a reasonably modern building was completely gutted, rebuilt and refurbished and the apartments were sold at … errr … something of a premium.

And so it’s not very impressive if they have had to call out the repairers to repair the door to the building’s garage when the paint is only just dry. It’s not what I would call confidence-building.

So I left them to it and carried on down the road without any further incident except narrowly avoiding being squidged by the schoolchildren stampeding out of school at home-time.

digger building site kapucijnenvoer zongang Leuven Belgium Eric HallThere’s another building site in the vicinity that’s attracted our attention of late. Well two, really, but I was looking at this one.

This is in the Kapucijnenvoer and backs onto the Zongang, and it was only when I noticed the fine building at the back of the site that I realised that something has gone from the ploy. But we saw them clearing the site a month ago and now something is springing up like a mushroom on the site.

So it’s not every Belgian (or French) building company that takes its time. Some of them can really crack on. Although I shall probably need reminding that I said that in 6 months time

digger in hole st pieters hospital brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallOne site that has held our attention for quite a long time – far longer than really it ought – is the demolition of St Pieter’s hospital here in the Brusselsestraat.

Now that all of the superstructure had finally bitten the dust (and quite literally too) I was intrigued to see where they would be going next. And the answer to that is that they seem to be going down.

We’d noticed them doing something at an old cellar or something the other day, and today we can see that at some point they have dropped a digger down into there. Unfortunately it’s impossible to see what it’s doing.

Nut all of the rubble is being ground up into very small pieces and even into sand and there’s piles of the stuff all around, all heaped into nice big … errr … piles. So they are making quite an effort to tidy up the plac.

And in 6 months time I’ll probably regret saying that as well.

roadworks amerikalaan franz tielemanslaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallOne thing that we have noticed over the last week or 10 days since we’ve been here has been the work that they have started at the junction of the Brusselsestraat, the Amerikalaan and the Franz Tielemanslaan.

They seem to be cracking along with this as well – not hanging about at all which is good news. Although I would have liked it so much more had they uncovered more of the River Dijle.

Climbing up the hill was killing me. It’s a long hill to climb and when I think of the hills in Granville that I have to negotiate and the trouble that I have in getting up this one, I’m not looking at all forward to going home.

Halfway up is the ice-cream place and already having stopped once or twice to catch my breath (something that I have never done before) it’s a case of third time lucky and I grabbed an ice cream. I may as well take advantage of my rest-stops while I can.

film cameraman tiensestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a feature that runs through these pages is me taking photos of people taking photos.

We’ve graduated beyond there on numerous occasions, such as today in this shot where there’s a guy taking moving pictures of the events taking place in the Tiensestraat. And I’m not sure what it is that he finds so interesting because I couldn’t see anything.

When I knew that I was to leave hospital I’d telephoned the guy who runs the place where I stay to see if he had a room. Better than that, he had my previous room with all of my food still in it. And as I had the key, nothing could be better. I came in here and flaked out completely.

A little later I summoned up the energy to nip to the Spar supermarket down the road here for a handful of things and now I think that I have everything to last me until Monday morning. I was going to go home on Sunday but there are rail issues holding things up around Paris and I can’t stomach the bus trip.

The Covid test that I had before I left the hospital is valid until Monday afternoon so I’m staying here for the weekend and coming home on the Monday after a weekend’s rest.

Now that Alison has been to check up on my and I’ve written my notes, I can go to bed. I’m whacked and if I don’t improve over the weekend I’ll be going back to the hospital on Monday morning.

Sunday 11th April 2021 – I DON’T THINK …

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… that I’ve ever seen so many people out and about on the footpath as I did this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the past week the whole place has been like a ghost town as far as the general public wandering around here has gone. Today though, you couldn’t move around on the path without tripping over crowds of them out there enjoying themselves.

It must be that they are like mayflies or something – with the warm weather bringing them out in swarms. Except that the weather wasn’t all that warm. It’s probably all the holiday-makers and second home-owners bored to tears after a week going round and round in circles inside their own little holiday homes.

In my own little holiday home I had a rather late night last night, still being awake at 01:30, and so awakening at 09:05 was far too early to rise for my liking. 11:30 was much more like the right kind of time to leave my bed.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I had been during the night. First off was a story about Britain and the Eastern Mediterranean, the Dardanelles where the outbreak of war had caught them unprepared. In the end 2 battleships had held up the British reputation and had managed to fight their way through, had beaten off encirclement and were ready to fight another day, something similar to the story of Goeben and Breslau. They’d come up with this really dramatic poem that talks about irons as in flat irons, that kind of thing but what I can’t understand is where that relates to the girl, the heroine of the story who I was in full tilt after during the earlier part of this dream that I can’t remember now, and I wish that I did.

Later on I was doing something with a friend during the night. It involved some kind of music. We were talking about the piano. I was saying that it was a bit in tune, near enough. There’s no point in doing anything to it. We carried on with what I was doing. he said “round about 17:30 could you just play something so that my mother could hear it?”. I thought to myself “me play the piano?”. Then I remembered my jazz blues course and how I’d learnt to play 12 bar blues on the piano in the key of C. That should be quite simple and I thought that I could just improvise something in the key of C like I did in my 12-bar blues course. I made a start round about 17:30, well 17:33 in fact. But I just couldn’t get to grips with the piano and the noise coming out was awful because I couldn’t seem to find any timing or rhythm. All I was trying to do was something simple and I had to do it so that his mother could hear me and the piano being played.

Just for a change I missed lunch because I was already running quite late. After I’d finished the dictaphone notes I went to look at the sourdough bread mix. It hadn’t risen all that much at all, which was really disappointing, but I gave it a second kneading, shaped it and put it in its mould.

Next thing was to make up another break mix, using the yeast this time. This was for a more traditional loaf with cereal bread and of course several handfuls of sunflower seeds. Once it was all mixed together, I left it to fester a while. And then I fed the sourdough and also the ginger mother solution.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOutside this afternoon, down on the beach there were crowds of people too.

Well, maybe not crowds but still more than the odd one or two people who we’ve seen for the last few days or so. But you can tell by the clothes that they are wearing that we aren’t actually in the height of summer right now.

It might have been something of a bright day as far as the sunlight goes, but there was a bitter piercing wind – the kind of wind that blows through your clothes and through your skin and eats its way into your bones and for mid-April, this is not the kind of weather that we ought to be having. We deserve better than this.

tractor bouchot mussel beds people on beach donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther out down the beach at Donville les Bains, there were crowds of people out there too.

Most important of all of the people down there are the guys who look after the bouchots, the mussels that grow on strings. You can see their beds over there on the left the stakes that have been driven into the sand, and the guys with the tractor and trailer are the guys who harvest them.

Regular readers of this rubbish might have heard me mention it before … “just once or twice” – ed … that the growing of mussels on strings was serendipity – they were trying to do something else when they planted the stakes and strings. However mussels attached themselves to the strings and grew there.

Of course, with not being in the sand, they didn’t taste gritty and so became very popular. This then became something that the local fishermen began to exploit.

jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow how about this for a view this afternoon?

For the last I-don’t-know-how-long, if we’ve ever been lucky enough to have caught a glimpse of Jersey across the English Channel, and that’s not been very often at all, it’s been some kind of hazy, misty grey mass of granite with nothing at all of any feature that we could distinguish.

But it’s nothing like that today. With some careful enhancement of part of my image, I could bring out not only the individual houses and buildings, but also some of their colours too, and we haven’t seen any of that for a considerable length of time.

jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the same image I cropped another section and blew that up too, which I can do despite modern anti-terrorist legislation.

In this section I’ve been able to bring out some kind of concrete ramp down to sea-level and also what might possibly be identified as some kind of tower block, something that I have never noticed before. The radio mast that we’ve seen on a few occasions is over there to the left of whatever the large building might be.

One of these days I’m going to have to hitch a ride across there on either Thora or Normandy Trader and see for myself what all of these objects are so that I can identify them the next time that I see them.

cap frehel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s exactly what I did when I went down the Britany coast on Spirit of Conrad for those 5 days.

That helped me identify quite a few different objects that we see every now and again down that way, like the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel. That was so clear today that we could see it with the naked eye, even thought it’s about 70 kilometres away as the crow flies. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen it this clearly.

But I digress … “and not for the first time either” – ed. From my viewpoint overlooking Jersey, almost 60 kilometres away, I carried on along the path, fighting my way through the crowds of people as I pushed along towards the end of the headland.

people on roof of bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I walked along the path, I noticed the people on top of one of the bunkers – the one of which I had a guided tour two years ago just before I broke my hand and dislocated my knee.

It looks as if they are cleaning all of the dirt, mud and weeds from off the top of it – maybe having a spring-cleaning to make it ready for the celebrations on the 8th of May. That’s a Bank Holiday here, and that means of course that I can have an extra lie-in.

But not for the moment, I pushed on down to the end of the headland to see what was going on out to sea. But there was nothing whatever of any interest for me to see.

Nothing whatever of any interest anywhere else either. No change in the chantier navale nor in the port either. As a result I wandered off back to my apartment as I had things to do.

The bread dough that I had made earlier had hardly risen which was bizarre, but nevertheless I kneaded it again and then shaped it and pit it in the bread mould that I used, and left it to fester for a wile.

In the meantime I’d taken out a lump of pizza dough from the freezer and when it was defrosted I kneaded it, rolled it and put it in the pizza tray that I had greased, rolling the edges back in.

While all of that was busy doing what it does, I came in and did some of the photos from August 2019. I’m now on the battlefield of the Little Big Horn, where I’m going to be for quite some time, I reckon. That was a long day and there were plenty of things to see while I was there.

When the bread had proofed for a while (but not risen much) it went into the oven that I’d heated for a few minutes. And in there it went up like a lift.

vegan pizza sourdough fruit loaf home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile it was a-doing, I assembled my pizza for tonight. For some reason, it was rather short on toppings but it actually came out quite nice nevertheless, as you can see in this photo.

No pudding today because there’s plenty of my jam roly poly left. I’ll finish that off this coming week and maybe make a rice pudding for a couple of days towards the weekend. That’ll give me some opportunity to heat up some pie and do some baked potatoes, which will be nice for a change.

Now that I’ve had my tea and written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m radioing tomorrow and I really must find some time to revise my Welsh ready for Tuesday. I also have 2 kilos of carrots to prepare and freeze so I’m going to be quite busy tomorrow.

Saturday 24th October 2020 – YESTERDAY I MENTIONED …

waves crashing over sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall … that the high winds that we had been promised for Wednesday and Thursday and which we never received looked as if they might be arriving during the evening.

Well, they certainly did. And in spades too. So while you admire a few photos of the waves crashing over the sea wall even though the tide is a long way out, I’ll tell you about how my day went.

And unfortunately it didn’t start off too well at all. Another miserable day when it was 06:55 when I finally pucked up the courage to leave the bed.

waves crashing over sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, I had been out on my travels last night.

We started off, my German friend and I going off on a OUSA meeting in London. We pulled up at a car park and I started to get my stuff ready. he said “we have plenty of time yet” and there were one or two jobs that we needed to do, so we went off to do a couple of these jobs. We then got onto the station. I hadn’t brought my ticket reference form with me but luckily when Hans had booked his ticket he’d booked 2 seats so I was able to scan my ticket off his booking. We went downstairs to find our train. We ended up in Granville, in the Rue Lecampion waiting for our train there. We were waiting and waiting, and suddenly a horrible thought “God, my computer! I’d forgotten to bring my computer!”. He said “gosh! What are we going to do now?”. I replied “I’m not sure”. He said “we could borrow one off the place where we were staying”. I said “maybe” and he added “of course you could. You’ve paid to stay there. Of course they will lend you a computer”. We saw a train in the distance and we thought “this is it now anyway”. Eventually the train pulled in and we ran after it because it was shorter than we were expecting, only to find that it was the wrong train. We all went to wait underneath the bus stop. I was thinking that if I’d known that it was the wrong train I could have had time to go back to the car to get my computer and come back again. We got on board our train and the ticket collector came round. He was warning people that there was a £400 fine for not having a ticket. My friend said something about them using judo and the guy replied “I use judo. I’m a judo expert” so they started to discuss throws and moves. My friend was definitely getting the upper hand with this practice. Then they asked “what happened if someone came to knock on your door? How would you respond to that?”. I said immediately “with a tanga”. The guy immediately recognised that and Hans recognised it so they did this Tanga-type of attack and ddefence down the corridor of this train, disturbing all the public and making themselves conspicuous in front of the passers-by. This was a feverish sweat again.

waves crashing over sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallI must have gone back to sleep and stepped right back into the voyage where I left off because by now we were on the Metro heading towards the hotel and my friend booked himself in. I said “don’t forget to book me in as well. The woman said “I’ll deal with you in a moment”. Eventually she turned to me and I went to book myself in. I said “there will also be a name for Mr Huysgen” so she had a look through and found his reservation. “But he’s not eating here tonight. He has no meal reservation”. I said “no, he’s probably going to be eating at the Embassy”. I took his reservation but then thought “how are we going to know where to meet know that I don’t have my computer with me.

Later on, we were in Stoke on Trent, sitting in a car, a RHD Ford Cortina mkI but driving on the right as in Europe so my driving seat was against the kerb. We were looking through the papers. There was an election and there was a woman there called Margaret Williams or Maureen Williams. How it began was that we noticed that two pages in the local newspaper were stuck together. I separated them and found out that they’d actually printed the wrong candidates. They’d printed the candidates for the previous year 1992 instead of this year 1993 so they’d had to glue an extra page over the top to cover this up. The girl whom I was with – it could have been TOTGA even pointed to this Williams woman “I’m going to vote for her because she wants any job that’s going and we want to get her out of where she is now”. I replied “I actually know her and I’ll be disappointed if she goes because she’s a really, really keen worker”. My partner said “yes, the day that all of the taxis were deregulated she had someone infiltrate into there”. I thought “yes!”. So I said “yes, and not just taxis either. She was getting people infiltrated into travel agencies and several other occupations and she was even working on getting someone infiltrated into estate agents”. The girl I was with said “that’s going to upset a load of people isn’t it?”. Just then we decided to pull away from the kerb where we were parked but there was a queue of traffic behind up. I set off but some woman behind was really annoyed that I’d set off. She came along and overtook me and almost forced me into the kerb in order to get past. Whoever I was with made some remark about it. I replied “don’t you worry. We’ll get her around the next corner where we branch off”

It’s hardly a surprise that it took me so long to wake up with all of that going on.

There was time to have a shower and then it was off to the shops. Neither Noz nor LeClerc came up with anything of any importance, although Rosemary phoned me for a chat while I was on the LeClerc car park.

Back home I put down the shopping and then came into my little office where, shame as it is to admit it, I crashed out. Out completely and properly – so much so that I went off on a voyage.

I was somewhee in the High Arctic and I head that a supply ship that would carry passengeers would be here the next day. I thught that there might be an opportunity for me to finally get to Grize Fjord but before I booked a berth I needed to find out what the weather was like. There was a café in the town, a very primitive, spartan place so I thought that I’d ask in there. I went in but just as I went in the woman behind the counter said that she needed to pop out for a moment. I waited but she never came back so I went over to the computer against the wall to check my e-mails. After a while she still hadn’t come back but more and more people were coming into the café. I thought that if she doesn’t come back soon or starts to serve these new arrivals before me, I’d miss my opportunity of getting out there.

By the time I awoke it was way, way past my lunch break and there wasn’t time to do much else before it was walkies-time.

fishermen scrambling over rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo finally shaking myself out of my lethargy I headed off outside – head first into a gale-force wind.

But however strong the wind might be, it’s never going to be strong enough to daunt the spirits of the local fishermen. Here are a few scrambling over the rocks, loaded up with equipment.

I can’t tell unfortunately if they are coming back from or going to their positions but one thing is certain. They aren’t carrying any catch with them so if they are coming back, they haven’t had any luck, which seems to be quite usual.

rue du nord college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith hordes of epopel about, despite the weather, I walked along to the gate in the Rue du Nord where you go down to the path underneath the walls.

You can see how they are doing with the roof to the College Malraux. No-one up there today of course. The building to the front of it is mine, then the white one in front of that is the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs and then there is the building in which are the Public Rooms.

You can see the medieval … errr … bathroom built into the walls as well and between there and the garden of the Public Rooms is the viewpoint that looks out over the bay.

people walking around tidal swimming pool plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnly one or two people down on the path, which was surprising seeing as it’s pretty much out of the wind, so I took the opportunity to have a couple of 100-yard runs while there was no-one in view.

Stopping for a minute or so down there, I noticed some activity round by the tidal swimming pool. A few people have decided to go for a walk down there on the beach and for reasons that only they know, to do a lap of the swimming pool.

The tide must be going out right now, because the swimming pool is pretty full. If you’ve seen my photos of the tide right out, you’ll have noticed that the pool is quite empty. Water doesn’t stay in it for long.

man sitting on beach people in wheelchair plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago we saw some people dressed in their winter clothes sitting in camping chairs on the beach. A rather bizarre sight, I thought.

Today, we have something pretty similar. There’s a guy clearly making himself at home down on the sand so he’s much more brave than I am in this weather. And you’ll notice the people wearing facemasks on the promenade. That’s one of the “designated areas” where masks must be worn.

And wheelchairs too. There’s a Centre de Re-education – a place where sick people go to recover their life-skills like walking, talking etc – in one of the buildings here and there are always plenty of infirm people and people who have suffered accidents walking around – or being wheeled around.

Some of them make me feel quite sorry and make me realise how lucky I am. Just recently I’ve seen a couple of kids with bits missing.

kite surfer baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s an old saying that “it’s an ill-wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good” and that’s certainly the case here.

Most of us are here struggling in a howling gale that’s really difficult to walk against and down there in the bay is someone who is, would you believe, kite-surfing! Kite-surfing in this storm that we are having. I hope that he has some good insurance.

Watching that was more than I could stomach right now. I wandered off to watch the waves hurtling down over the sea walls at the port.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I had finished editing all of the outstanding photos from over the summer. That’s not quite true. They all needed the copyright and information layers added, and that was my task for right now.

That took me up to 18:00 and the football on the internet.

A few weeks ago TNS had played Y Fflint and put 10 past them. Today it was the turn of the other promoted side, Haverfordwest County, to come up to Oswestry and face the music.

And much to everyone’s surprise, despite TNS having 65% of the possession, Haverfordwest took the lead. And when TNS equalised, Haverfordwest went and scored another to go back into the lead.

Of course, it was too good to last. An expensively (for the Welsh Premier League) assembled team training full-time would eventually have too much in the tank for a bunch of part-timers from South-West Wales and late in the game TNS scored two goals to win the match. But it was a very plucky performance by the losers and they can go home with their heads held high.

Tea was at half-time, out of a tin. I was in a rush.

There’s no chance of going out for a walk tonight. It’s raining down in sheets and there’s a gale blowing. One look out of the window was enough to tell me that I’ve had it for tonight. I’ll stay in instead. After all, you can’t win a coconut every time.

In fact it reminds me of that scene in Bamber Gascoigne’s “Share My Lettuce” where the character talks at great length about his birdwatching activities and how he camouflages himself. But then he always carries a large umbrella.
The narrator asks him “but doesn’t that frighten away the birds when they see that?”
To which the character replied “of course it does. But I’m not getting wet for a load of bleeding birds!”

Saturday 17th October 2020 – WE CALLED IT …

… a draw this morning. I’d just thrown off the bedclothes and was on the point of sitting upright ready to crawl out of bed when the third alarm went off. Just one second earlier would have been a glorious victory.

And seeing that I was in bed by 22:30 last night I ought to have done better too.

And during the night I’d been on my travels as well. I was with Nerina and we were in Gainsborough Road. I don’t remember too much about this but we’d been doing a lot of sorting out. I’d been to see a lock-up garage somewhere near Manchester which would be ideal for me to use as a store to store a lot of stuff that was lying around that I didn’t need but didn’t want to dispose of. Then we were back at the house and I don’t remember a great deal but I seem to remember that I’d bought a house in Winsford – it might have been Plantagenet Close – years ago and I was wondering what on earth I was still doing with it. I couldn’t find the keys so I wondered if the estate agent still had them, or if Nerina had them – I’d given them to her to look after, or her mother, something like that. In the end I went to ask her but each time I started to ask, she interrupted me and said something else. We ended up in the Post Office in Crewe. I was going to go to Winsford the next afternoon but it was a Saturday afternoon and the Post Office wouldn’t be open. The aim was to ask someone in the Post Office about delivering letters – where do they go to, who had a key? All of that kind of thing. I got myself into a queue by a counter but there was no-one there at the time, just a customer but no member of staff so I was idly loitering around. One member of staff came and started to deal with it. When she had dealth with this person, a young guy and his father walked up in front of me straight to the counter. Nerina said “those two guys have pushed in front of you. I said “yes, they haven haven’t they?”. The younger of the two turned round and made a smart remark to me – in Dutch. I turned round to Nerina and said “yes, Ne’erlandssprekers” so this guy made another comment and strolled away. Then I got to the window and the cashier, and that was that..

But it seems that dreaming about a new house elsewhere that I own is becoming another recurring feature of my nocturnal rambles. So what’s going on here?

For an hour or so this morning I tracked down some more photos of my trip around Central Europe at the beginning of August. And one or two of those took some tracking too. German road signs are not the clearest, especially when viewed on my low-resolution dash-cam through a bug-infested windscreen but in the end I managed to do some good with them and they are all properly labelled.

One or two in Munich were likewise difficult but reference to Hans, my friend there, soon resolved that issue.

After a shower and a clean-up (and a weigh -in, and I’ve lost another couple of hundred grammes) I went off to the shops. NOZ came up with one or two things, but nothing to get excited about, and it was the same at LeClerc.

No figs though, but luckily the Fruit and Veg shop, la Halle Gourmande, had a few. The lady there told me that they are seasonal, so I’m going to have to think of a substitute for my kefir.

Back here, I put some of the stuff away and then sat down to continue the photos but ended up falling asleep on the chair after my exertions. A whole hour or so I was out, and that’s good for neither man nor beast, especially when it means a very late lunch.

orange flavoured kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter lunch I attended to the kefir that had been fermenting away for the last few days.

Four juice-oranges were whizzed up, strained and filtered and put in a large jug. Then most of the kefir liquid was strained and filtered (always leave an inch or two in the bottom of your jar to cover the grains that you are making) into the orange juice.

The whole lot was then mixed together and then poured through a filter into a few stoppered glass bottles, and I hope that this batch is going to be as good as my lime-flavoured kefir from last time, which was excellent.

Finally, I set another lot of kefir en route for later in the week.

By now it was time to go for my afternoon walk

Peche à Pied Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe other day I mentioned the Peche à Pied – the local pastime of scavenging amongst the rocks and the beach during the very low tides when the public areas below the commercial concessions are exposed

It seems that I may well have been right when I mentioned that it looked as if we are having another very low tide – a Grand Marée – this weekend because, sure enough, the crowds were out on the beach with their buckets and rakes, and whatever else they bring with them.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the Peche à Pied at the Grand Marée in April was forbidden due to the virus, so two of us from THE RADIO broadcast a “virtual Grand Marée instead.

Light Aeroplane Airport Donville les Bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halland there weren’t just crowds of people on the beach either.

There were the veritable hordes swarming around in the sunshine too, but also plenty going on in the air. As I watched, I saw a couple of light aeroplanes take off from the airport at Donville-les-Bains. One of them obligingly headed my way but before I could take a decent photo of it head-on, it veered off out to sea.

While we’re on the subject of the airport at Donville les Bains … “well, one of us is” – ed … there’s some talk about allowing international flights to land there again, mainly from the Channel Islands. This will mean that a permanent Police and Customs presence will be required.

All of this can only be a good thing.

Back here, a few more photos, and that leaves just 75 to do. But at the rate that I’m doing them, they are going to take forever to finish off.

Then it was time for the football. An early evening kick-off on the Internet for Barry Town v Connah’s Quay Nomads.

It was a game that finished 0-0 which is hardly a surprise because Connah’s Quay are still missing four of their star players – Danny Holmes, George Horan, and their two star attackers Jamie Insall and Mike Wilde. Chris Curran who normally plays on the wing, had a really good game up front for them but he was never likely to score.

Barry Town had a solid central defence for a change after their debacle the other week, but they too were missing their star attacker Kayne McLaggon and they still haven’t recovered from losing Momodou Touray at the end of last season so they were never really likely to trouble Connah’s Quay’s makeshift defence without Horan and Holmes.

The match though turned on a decision made after just two minutes. A Barry Town attacker burst through the defence and broke clear, only to be fouled by a Nomads defender. Certainly a foul, no doubt about that, but a red card for “denying a player a goalscoring opportunity”? The ball was only just beyond the centre-circle in the Nomads area, about 50 yards from goal with another two defenders bearing down on him and with the ball about 10 yards in front of him that the keeper might even have reached first? To call that a “goalscoring opportunity” is rather stretching things a bit in my opinion. I didn’t agree with that at all.

In fact the referee seemed to have a pop-up toaster in his top pocket because it seemed to me that there was always a yellow card popping up. I think that I counted 8 all told, many of which I wouldn’t have given myself. And the red card given to Barry’s David Cotterill, the former Welsh International, in the dying seconds of injury time for “kicking an opponent” was likewise somewhat exaggerated.

So Connah’s Quay played for 88 minutes with just 10 men and you wouldn’t have noticed because Barry never really had a serious shot on goal. A powerful header right into the arms of keeper Lewis Brass is all that I could think of.

Tea was out of a tin at half-time, and after the final whistle it was time for my evening walk

lighthouse pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor a change I went around the headland tonight and over some of the runs that I used to do.

The first leg was along the Rue du Roc for some of the way – not as far as I used to go, and then a second leg across the lawn down the side of the hedge to the clifftop where the lighthouse was busy sending out its beam.

Something that not many people know is that each lighthouse has its own individual sequence of lights, to distinguish it from another lighthouse somewhere in the vicinity. Here at Granville it’s four short pulses of light followed by a long pause.

There’s a rotating shield inside the light with bits cut out for the light to shine through which is responsible for that.

coastguard station pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were a few people out there tonight so I wasn’t as alone as I might otherwise have been.

There was even someone inside the Coastguard Station because there was a light on outside and when he saw me about to take a photo he switched it off just to confuse the issue and I had to take the photo again.

At least everyone had cleared off by now so I could run my third leg, along the clifftop. And that wasn’t as good as it might have been because the car park has now become the centre of assembly for all of the adolescents in the town with their motorbikes and music.

But who am I to complain? At their age I was doing just the same. And probably getting into more mischief too while I was at it.

Chantier Navale Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way back from the shops this morning I went past the chantier navale and I could see that it really is Les Epiettes in there.

There was also a new arrival, to make the total now three in there, so while I was catching my breath in the viewpoint at the top of the cliffs I could take a photo of it for the record.

And from there I ran on home – two extra legs of my fitness regime runs to make up five.

Back at the apartment I encountered one of my neighbours coming back home so we had a lengthy chat about putting the world to rights. And then I came up here to write my notes.

Having done that, I’m off to bed. Sunday tomorrow and a lie-in, but I also have pizza bases to make as well as some kind of dessert. It’s been a while since I’ve made an apple pie so I might have a go at that – either that or a crumble.

It might be a case of waiting until tomorrow to see how I feel.