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MERRY CHRISTMAS

I am not feeling in the least like any Christmas Spirit today, but I bet that you lot are.

And so HERE are a few Christmas gifts.

Between 2010 and my rushing to hospital in November 2015 Liz and I ran a kind-of production company writing and presenting weekly radio programmes in English for a few French local radio stations with the aim of making the British and Dutch population of Rural France more up-to-date with French laws, rules and regulations.

We had a tremendous amount of fun doing them, especially when we had a whole hour to fill at Christmas, so we’d put on our own Christmas Specials to rival Morecambe and Wise.

I really enjoyed writing those. I was absolutely given my head with no editorial control and so it was a case of “anything goes” – or “everything I had always wanted to do in a radio programme but was always edited out”.

Déchainé as you might say around here.

While I’ve been cleaning up my various old hard drives I’ve come across most of the old “Radio Anglais” files and so I’ve uploaded one of our Christmas Specials.

Since I came back from one of my adventures in the High Arctic in November 2019 I’ve been working for a French local radio station here in Granville.

Outside broadcasts (which for obvious reasons, I can no longer do), technology support; music consultant and, on Friday and Saturday nights, my own hourly rock show.

Two years ago I recorded a Christmas rock special, and that’s included too.

If you’re listening on a desktop or laptop computer or similar device, could you download the two above rather than stream them? Streaming plays havoc with my bandwidth and could cost me a fortune if 300 people decide to stream everything.

And that reminds me – neither of my websites is sponsored. I pay for the hosting and streaming etc. myself.

And so if you have enjoyed these pages, please consider making your next Amazon purchase via the links aside. It costs you no extra but I receive a small commission that helps defray expenses

To those of you who do that on a systematic basis, I don’t know who you are of course but I am extremely grateful.

Thirdly, I have a little Inuit friend (well, I have several as it happens, but there’s one in particular) in the town of Uummannaq, about 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Greenland.

Uummannaq is the farthest north place where it was possible to revictual THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR when we were On The Trail Of John Ross so we put in there a couple of times.

On one occasion in 2018 a group of us went for a walk around the town while the ship was fuelling up, and we heard the sound of a guitar coming from one of the rooms of the Orphanage. And so we went there to check it out, like you do … "like some of you do" – ed

It turned out to be a young girl of 14, an inmate of the orphanage, playing guitar. And we were all totally captivated. It ended up being one hell of a jam with Heidinnguaq (for that’s her name) and SHERMAN DOWNEY on guitar, Dylan White on Keyboards and Yours Truly on bass and we finished off with Amy Winehouse’s “Back in the Black”.

heidinnguaq jensen strawberry moose uummannaq greenland september 2018 Eric HallIt goes without saying, of course, that STRAWBERRY MOOSE fell in love, and can you blame him?

Heidinnguaq and I still keep in touch occasionally, and she sent me one of her songs to share with you all as a little Christmas present. That’s on the Christmas page too.

Some of you might have heard it before. Heidinnguaq came to Granville to see us all a couple of years ago and I did a radio programme of her. That was one of the songs that she played.

Anyway, THERE YOU ARE. Enjoy them all, with love from Liz, Heidinnguaq and me

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.

Saturday 16th April 2022 – IT WAS SUCH …

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… a nice afternoon that the crowds were out in droves when I went out for my post-prandial perambulation.

The tide was well out so there was plenty of beach for everyone to be on, and that was just as well because there were plenty of people on it.

It’s been a good while since we’ve seen so many people down there. It looks as if the holiday season has really taken off this weekend and I bet that they are regretting not having the Jersey ferries up and running to cater for all of the trade. This would have been just the weather to go for a ride out to St Helier.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Iwasn’t just on the beach that we had the crowds either.

The paths around the headland were heaving with people as you can see in this photo and the car park was overflowing with vehicles parked on the grass.

Brain of Britain forgot to take his face mask with him too. I bet that I’ll regret that before too long, the way things are. We’re still in 6 figures of daily infections and a couple of hundred deaths each day, and it’s no surprise when you see crowds like this taking no precautions whatsoever.

f-gcum Robin DR400-180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And it was quite busy in the air today too.

Apart from the commercial flights that were passing by too far out in the bay for me to see them properly we had a couple of light aircraft going by too.

None of the little ones that we see quite often though. This one here is F-GCUM, a Robin DR400/180 that belongs to the Aero Club here.

She took off at 16:21, went down the coast, came back, did a lap around the Ile de Chausey and landed again at 17:03. It’s probably just a flight for someone to keep up his hours

While we’re on the subject of hours … “well, one of us is” – ed … I spent hours in bed last night.

All about seven of them because I was, as usual, late going to bed. Just as I was on the point of going, something interesting (and I can’t remember what now) came up on the playlist so I stayed up to listen.

It might have been ONE OF THE SONGS that my Inuit friend HEIDINNGUAQ sent me for a radio show a while back. Any mention these days of Greenland and the High Arctic is enough to stop me in my tracks. I’ve walked those streets in Uummannaq and STRAWBERRY MOOSE and I are in a hurry to go back.

Anyway, I digress … “again” – ed.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment, I finally managed to drop off to sleep and that was where I stayed until the alarm went off at 07:30. And I was still there when it went off again at 07:45.

Mind you, I did managed to beat the third and final call at 08:00 and that is some doing, seeing the way that things have been around here just recently.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I went for a shower to tidy myself up. And since Wednesday I’ve lost another 600 grammes of weight. For some reason or other I must have been having water retention issues and doubling the dose seems to have had some effect.

But that of course reminds me of when I was in Liège a few years ago with my German friend from Munich. We were in a restaurant, surrounded by pretty young girls, talking about … our medication.

That’s when I realised that I was getting old. We would have been talking about something quite different five years ago.

Considering that I didn’t need all that much today, I spent quite a lot of money. And all of it was on food.

Noz came up trumps yet again – more of those little breaded quorn burgers that I like. Two packets of those are now in the freezer.

As for LeClerc, I can’t think what I bought that contributed to the fortune that I spent in there today. And I nearly spent more than that as well because someone disappeared with my trolley and when I caught up with it, a couple of packets of sausages had been added.

car leclerc yquelon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But this in the car park intrigued me. I’ve never seen a car like this before.

Its small size suggests to me that it’s a Japanese town-car model but the steering wheel is on the left and it has a built-in rear fog light so it’s not a “grey import”. But it’s bizarre all the same.

These days though I’m quite out of the loop when it comes to new cars. I don’t have a clue as to what’s on the market and what isn’t

Back here I put the frozen food and the cool stuff away and then made myself a coffee. Eagerly clutching a slice of my fruit bread in my sweaty little mitt as well, I came in here to listen to the dictaphone.

We’d been on holiday to a hotel or some place like that. We’d been picked up by a coach in Manchester and driven to this place. When we arrived we had to all sign a paper for our drinking chits etc. We had been out for the day for a drive. I don’t know what happened but I missed the bus and I hadn’t a clue where I was going to go back because I didn’t even know the name of the town, never mind the name of the hotel. Of course I was on foot in the North-East of England. I thought that the only solution was to walk back and follow the route that we’d taken and hope that I would get it right. Following a route in reverse is not as easy as following it going forward. I set off and I’d been walking for about 10 minutes when I bumped into 2 other people, 2 girls who had also missed the bus. I thought that at least I’m on the right road here. We ended up crossing this enormous suspension bridge with a central stay, the highest central stay I’d ever seen. I remembered coming over this. We’d turned left onto it so I thought that we’d have to turn right. We prepared to cross over it but one of these girls fancied a cup of coffee. I had no money with me so she had to buy it. By now we were on this bridge so we had to cling on to the side rail while she went to fetch this coffee. Then she had to find a place to put it which was on something soft like the mattress of a bed. We were clinging on to the side of this bridge with our arms, she’d put this coffee down and we had to unhitch one of our arms to drink this coffee. This was becoming confusing. I asked her the name of the hotel but she didn’t know it or know the town either. The 3rd one hadn’t anything to say at all so there we were with this coffee hanging onto this bridge by our arms trying to drink this coffee with the mugs on a soft surface on probably the highest bridge in the UK

It ended up being quite a late lunch, what with one thing and another (and once you make a start, you’ll be surprised just how many other things there are).

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And that led to an even later walk around the headland. Wherever did the time go to today?

As I mentioned earlier, there were hordes of people out there on the beach this afternoon. Not just out at the water’s edge either but settling down in the shelter of the cliffs ready for the long stay until the tide comes in.

Gone are the days unfortunately when there would be the beach-side café and the “pot of tea for six” that people my age will remember. And I have a special reason for remembering it too because apparently the people who cared for my mother as a small child had a beach-side café at Epple Bay on the Isle of Thanet between the wars

But, of course, not that I would remember it. I’m not that old, even if I feel like it and look like it as well.

Cirrus SR22 n549cd baie de Mont St Michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And back in the air again we had another visitor. And I DO mean visitor.

This is apparently N-549CD, a Cirrus SR22, and its claim to fame is that apart from THE AIRBUS A400M that we saw a couple of months ago, this has to be about the noisiest plane that I’ve ever heard.

She hasn’t filed a flight plan and she kept below civilian radar so I can’t tell you where she went, but she arrived at the airfield here on the 13th of April after a 3-hour flight from Schwabish Hall in Germany.

She’s owned by the Plane Fun Inc Trustee Corporation from Snellville, Georgia, USA

le loup yacht cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There might have been plenty of things going on on land and in the air this afternoon but there was almost nothing at all going on out at sea.

In the immediate vicinity of the port, loitering around by Le Loup waiting for the tide to come in were a couple of boats, a yacht and a cabin cruiser.

And that was about your lot. There wasn’t anything at all out at sea as far as I could see, and that was a real surprise given the weather and the crowds.

And so with nothing at all to watch, there wasn’t anyone down on the bench at the cabanon vauban either so I cleared off rather rapidly down the path on the other side of the headland towards the harbour.

le roc a la mauve 3 anakena chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there has been yet another change of occupant at the chantier naval today too.

We still have the little Roc A La Mauve III down there and the much bigger Anakena, but where’s Le Styx? She put in an appearance yesterday afternoon but it must only have been a flying visit because this afternoon, she’s gone!

And never called me “mother”!

But if you want to know where Chausiaise went to, she’s over there at the ferry terminal not doing very much at all.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There is something else that won’t, regrettably, be doing very much at all later in the summer. In fact, it won’t be doing anything at all.

Never mind all of the fishing boats tied up in the inner harbour, we’re much more interested in what isn’t there, and won’t be there in the summer.

Regular readers of this rubbish are used to seeing during the months of July and August the big wheel that comes along and sets itself up down there behind the warehouse. But it won’t be back again.

Apparently the inhabitants of one of the blocks of flats there petitioned the Maire to ban it because, apparently, it makes too much noise and they have to spend all summer with their windows closed. And surprisingly, the Maire has acquiesced.

Firstly, I don’t know why people do this kind of thing. Much as I hate tourists, this is a seaside resort and the crowds come here and expect to be entertained. And if you want to live by the seaside, you expect the inconvenience of the tourist attractions – unless of course you are a NIMBY.

Secondly, there are acres of empty space all the way down the far side of the harbour round by where the Channel Island ferries tie up. Why not stick the wheel there? It’ll be far enough away not to disturb the NIMBY residents with what little amount of noise that it really does make.

With all of this, I can’t help thinking that there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

interlink a changing canada Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back here I had another task to perform.

Yesterday, I forgot to mention that I had a strange delivery in the Post. This glossy booklet about “A Changing Canada” in the 21st Century suddenly turned up. It’s not anything that I’ve ordered or requested so I’ve no idea what it is about.

So what I have done is to photograph the front cover, post it on my Social Network, and see if any of my Canadian contacts can throw any light on the aforementioned.

And having done that (with no replies to date) I went and had a really good session on the guitar.

Now that I have some more of those breaded quorn fillets I had a couple of them with potato and veg. They really are nice and if I’m going to fill up the freezer with something, it may as well be them.

But the freezer is now filled up and there’s no more room for anything else. I had to buy a few loose carrots as there wasn’t any space to do any freezing. Just when I think that I have the freezer under control, I fill it up again.

And I daren’t sort through it because it’s so well packed that I would never be able to re-pack it again. At least, if World War III breaks out, I won’t starve for a while.

Thursday 24th March 2022 – I HAVE BEEN …

… so busy today that I’ve only just realised that, as I’ve sat down to write up my notes, I’ve forgotten to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

And “so busy”? It’s been a long time since I’ve said that, isn’t it? Too early to go crowing though. One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

It didn’t actually start out very well though. When the alarm went off at 07:30 I turned over and went back to sleep yet again. It was at 07:50 when I sat bolt-upright and another minute or two before I fell out of bed.

At least I beat the alarm at 08:00 which was good news.

After breakfast and having made sure that the 3-column page was working correctly (thanks, Grahame) I carried on mounting the … gulp … 184 photos of that group that I saw back at the end of October.

And then came the acid test – would a web page work with three columns of all of these photos?

The short answer to that was “no”. And trying to find an error in 940 lines of code is not easy.

Eventually, I found not one, and not two, but three errors where either I’d missed out a line, missed out a tag or put in a tag somewhere other than where it’s supposed to go.

Eventually, it worked out and I split the page into four to make it more manageable.

So, does it work? JUDGE FOR YOURSELF.

As you might expect, in the semi-darkness and depressing lighting, many of the photos didn’t work out as well as they might have done under other conditions, and in fact some of them never even staggered onto the pages. But a few of them AREN’T TOO BAD.

That took me most of the day to do all that, but to be fair, there were several interruptions like a coffee break, breakfast, and stuff like that.

And lunch of course. And as I was quietly reading a report on a disappeared ocean liner which I was eating my lunchtime butties, I suddenly noticed the time. 13:22.

“Blimmin’ ‘eck!” I cried. “My Welsh revision lesson starts in 8 minutes”.

And despite my pessimism yesterday, that could have gone much worse than it did as well. It shows up how much I don’t know, of course, but at least I managed to struggle through two hours of it without making myself look stupid.

Mind you, I can do that often enough under normal circumstances without practising for it or speaking another language..

As soon as the lesson was over (for it was for two hours and over-run by rather a lot) I cleared off for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022First stop was, as usual, the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach and see what’s happening.

The weather today was gorgeous and I actually could have gone out without a jacket had I so desired. And it certainly brought out the crowds this afternoon.

There’s probably a dozen people in this shot alone, including the person coming down the steps from the Rue du Nord. And any other shot of the beach this afternoon would probably have shown a similar number of people.

Meanwhile, out at sea, I couldn’t see anything at all. And that wasn’t the fault of the weather because it really was nice out there as well.

men working on medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was however quite a racket coming from over where they are repairing the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

That prompted me to take a photo of it from over here and I was actually lucky enough to photograph a couple of the guys who are working there, just to prove that there is actually some work being undertaken there.

And then, joining the throngs of people on the path, I headed off down towards the lighthouse in the hope that I might see something of interest going on – but with no success. There didn’t seem to be anything out-of-the-ordinary happening today.

people on bench with dog cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With no-one playing around on the gun barrel at the lighthouse this afternoon I walked off across the car park and down to the end of the headland.

Today, we have yet more people sitting down on the bench by the cabanon vauban looking out at sea at absolutely nothing at all.

And I wondered what it was that was lying down underneath the bench. At first glance I thought that it might have been a polar bear but not even climate change could produce anything like that around here. It turned out to be a long-haired white dog of some variety or other.

So instead I wandered off along the path on the other side of the headland to spy out the land around there.

spirit of conrad le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And after the frenzied activity of the last few days or so, it’s all gone quiet in the chantier naval.

The only boats still in there are Spirit of Conrad and the little Le Roc A La Mauve III. And by the looks of things, the latter won’t be in there for much longer and as I mentioned the other day, Pierre the skipper is keen for the former to go back into the water some time rather soon.

After all, he has plenty of work booked for the summer and after what he has suffered over the last two years with almost everything being cancelled, I’m sure that the sooner he’s back out there earning money, the better for all concerned.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, over there at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France ferries.

That’s the older one, I reckon. And you can tell that from the stern. The newer one of the two has a step in it. As well as that, the upper-deck superstructure on the older one is larger, although of course you can’t tell that until the two of them are side-by-side.

But it’s interesting in that if one of them is going to be moving and the other one not, it’s always this one that’s on the move, not the other. I would have expected the owners to alternate them so that they have an equal amount of use.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In front of Joly France is Chausiaise, the little freighter that they own that runs out to the Ile de Chausey.

It seems that they have plenty of work for her at the moment because usually she’s tied up in the inner harbour after the occasional trip here and there. Leaving her out here means that she must be off on another trip out sometime soon.

That might explain the sacks of builders’ material that we saw by the crane in the previous photo.

Pretty soon though, they are going to have to start thinking about some other arrangement. If they really are going to restart the ferries to the Channel Islands, as is suggested, they can’t be leaving ships moored up for too long at the ferry terminal.

l'omerta jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back home I came across L’Omerta again, moored in the silt underneath the fish processing plant.

At one time she practically lived there. She spent day after day tied up without moving, and then we didn’t see her for a while. But now she’s made a comeback.

And interestingly, Jade III is behind her, also settled down on the silt. We saw her yesterday tied up in the inner harbour while almost everyone else was out at sea. But today she’s made it as far as the outer tidal harbour before she stopped and tied up again.

There’s something strange happening here and I wish that I knew what it was.

Back home, having ignored the glaziers’ van parked by the Porte St Jean, I made myself a coffee and finished off what I’d been doing with those web pages.

After a good half-hour on the guitar I spent some time editing a few more photos from the High Arctic 2019 and the dog that I saw earlier must have been a premonition because I ended up editing a few photos of a polar bear and her cub that I encountered on Baffin Island while we were wandering around in Buchan Gulf.

Tea tonight should have been taco rolls with the left-over stuffing from Monday but one look at the tacos convinced me that maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. They ended up being filed under “CS”.

But not to worry. Having worked out the other week what those mystery pies were and found that they were savoury vegan pies, I had the last remaining one with potatoes, veg and a nice thick gravy.

Thoroughly delicious.

So what about that then?

During a previous existence when I was travelling for months around Canada every year I was churning out tons of stuff that found its way onto a web page. But somehow, having been swept away in a tide of whatever it was that swept me away, I’ve done very little of what has been important.

So four in a day is something of an achievement. But as I said earlier, doing it on just one day is no big deal. Margaret Thatcher once said something like “anyone can do a good day’s work when they feel like it. But doing a good day’s work when you don’t feel like it is something else completely”.

Over the last few years i’ve had far too many days when I haven’t felt like it. So let’s see what tomorrow brings. There aren’t (officially, anyway) any distractions but something will probably turn up and knock me out of my stride.

And, on a final note, with 40 minutes to spare before bedtime, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. This was something to do with the Lord of Darkness and somehow there was a technique how you could make a car like you would make a crèpe – pour liquid over a hot surface and make some kind of metal. They had made an experimental version for one group of people from the afterlife. Now they were working on their masterpiece. The Lord of Darkness had appeared with his entourage and took his place inside his car. The first car was vibrating a little and there was a danger that the power would run out so they asked the Lord of Darkness how they would deal with it. he replied that you could fit another element of a battery in there because they were several 2-volt cells and you would put another several cells in there to keep it at 12 volt and increase the amperage so that the amperage would probably match what was in his car

And then I’d ordered some LPs from Amazon. They turned up on a van at something silly like 06:00. Someone had a look to see and they were due to be delivered between 07:00 and 11:00 but it made no difference because they were here and we were here. But he couldn’t put the albums in the box in which they were supposed to arrive. There was a plastic box with lid that had to be assembled to put these albums in but for some unknown reason they wouldn’t go in and the box wouldn’t assemble and stay together. He was there for ages trying to fix this. In the end he asked if I would object if he didn’t leave the box but took it back with him. I thought that if I did object, I’d be here for hours trying to assemble it so he may as well take it and go back on his round. He asked which way to go so I replied “go out of our drive, turn right to the end of the road, turn left down to the end of the road and turn right and you’re heading towards the M6. Someone else who was there started to try to give him some really complicated directions. I thought that delivery and van drivers don’t need complicated directions. They keep it simple so there’s less chance of becoming lost. being lost is losing money for them

Later on I was with two other people last night. One of them was my little Inuit girl from Uummannaq. But she hadn’t half put on weight. She had her little sister with her who was about 3 probably. We were doing something, the 3 of us and then it was time to go. The two of them, my friend and the other person who was with me went to sit in the front of the car. I took the little girl and went to put her in the back. One thing that she liked was to be covered up by something so I took a piece of paper, a sheet of a newspaper to cover her up but she already had one and was covered up in it. She was rather cross that I was going to cover her up with 2 things. I had to fold up this piece and put it away. The other 2 wondered what was happening because of the little girl being cross but I explained and that was that.

Finally I was at an auction sale last night. They were selling things like tins of Pemmican and so on. One was from something like 1758 and another was a few years later all the way through to 1933. It looks very much as if someone had raided some explorers’ caches either in the Arctic or the Antarctic or Northern Canada. They were spending a considerable amount of time discussing the provenance of this stuff. I was hoping that they’d hurry up and start the sale

Where as all of this energy and motivation come from just now? Whatever is going on with me?

Friday 11th February 2022 – THAT WAS A …

… horrible night last night.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I went to bed fairly early hoping to have a really good sleep. However at about 23:00 a party started up in one of the University houses at the back here.

At at 04:30 they were still at it and I hadn’t had a moment of sleep.

Eventually I must have dropped off because when I awoke, at 09:35, there were four files on the dictaphone. I was with my youngest sister last night. To my surprise we were actually boyfriend and girlfriend. We were on a bus doing a lap around a football ground so that we could watch the game but it was almost impossible to see it no matter where I moved to or where I sat or where I went. I tried to sit in all kinds of places. On one occasion I saw the goalkeeper catch the ball but it was behind the line so I indicated that it was a goal. He thought that the ball had come through the side netting into his hands. it was very much a one-sided match. That American guy Lamela was playing and someone said “look what they would have missed had he gone to Celtic”. Eventually the bus stopped because it was half-time. I hoped to find a better seat when everyone had got off. Then I noticed that just round the corner was a petrol station so I said to her “do you want to come along and have a coffee? See if they have a coffee there”. She was searching through her money – she had plenty there, all £10 notes. In the end off we went. She wasn’t very talkative and I had the impression that she wasn’t very happy. We went past a fish and chip shop so I said “would you like a bag of chips as well?” but it turned out to be a place that made venetian blinds. There was something going on about fires at football grounds and they were talking about Airdrie that had been burnt to a cinder and several other grounds where they had had fires, how at Dundee they’d had a big fire but it wasn’t the case at all of an opportunist suspicious fire because the chairman was young, keen and energetic and it had taken him years to rebuild his fortune after the fire even if the club had been refused planning permission to re-erect a stand and how many of their supporters had died in the fire. As they were explaining, my sister asked “how long do we have?”. I replied “normally 15 minutes”. I wondered how much of that time had already passed so I said “as long as it takes if we grab a coffee and are quick back”.

By now I was with Zero and the two of us were at some kind of water park or adventure park. What I’d heard was that they were going to freeze over a waterfall or part of it so that we could go skiing on it. I contacted my friends from the Wirral to see if they wanted to come. Sure enough, they turned up so I went to meet them while Zero was visiting this waterfall walking exercise. She was obviously having a whale of a time. They turned up but for some reason they weren’t very happy at all. My friend’s wife wandered off on her own and he hung around for a minute and then asked “do you want to have a beer or something and I have to go back to the car or something” and walked off in order to get a panda. Zero was enjoying herself but this was coming to an end and they were going to freeze over the waterfall so I had to find the wife. I walked all the way up this slope but I couldn’t see her. I bumped into a few people whom I knew and told them what was happening. They said “surely your friends will turn up to go skiing”. I said “no, they are coming up now”. I walked all the way up the hill but couldn’t find her at all. She had disappeared. Someone said “she’s just walked past at the end of the water wheel” so I decided to turn round and walk back to see if she was there. In the meantime all the kids came off this lake-walking thing so I thought that I’d better go and find Zero otherwise she’ll be the next person who is going to be lost.

I stepped right back into this dream again. The husband turned up and the discussion went on about porridge for breakfast. I offered him some porridge but he thought that it wasn’t porridge but something else. I was absolutely certain that it was porridge and I couldn’t understand why it was that he was saying something different

There had been some kind of incident on Moathouse Drive in Crewe. Someone had been arrested for it and I had to go along and give evidence. I was there making my statement and the person was brought in behind me to make their statement and it was my little Inuit friend from Uummannaq. While she made her statement I waited for her. I had a look round while I was waiting and came across a map of the High Arctic islands in Nunavut. When she finished giving her evidence I said that I’d take her home. I knew where she lived. I showed her this map, explaining to her about the Inuit in Canada and the outlying islands and she was extremely interested. She had some kind of pet like a mongoose or a weasel, something like that, and it was running around inside this room. I had to catch it and that wasn’t easy. It was a persistent animal. In the end I caught it and we both set off. Somehow I ended up back at my house alone with this animal. I let it loose inside my house, my house in Winsford. I’m not quite sure how it happened after that but with me having an empty room in my house and my brother living in all kinds of strange circumstances I ought to invite him to come and stay but it didn’t quite work out like that and I can’t remember how it finished.

After the medication I spent much of the day working on the remaining music for the next batch of radio programmes. All five of them are now prepared and there’s some good music in there.

There were several breaks of course, Breakfast, lunch, and then a couple of chats with Liz and Alison.

Later on I went for a walk around the town to stretch my legs.

dismantling market stall herbert hooverplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022My route took me down the Teinsestraat and into the Herbert Hooverplein.

It’s market day this morning and the square, and the adjacent Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein are swamped with stalls, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen in the past but at the start of the afternoon they begin to pack everything up.

When I arrived this afternoon I was just in time to see the last couple of stalls being dismantled.

At FNAC there was nothing there that interested me. I had half a mind to buy a new voice recorder to replace my old Sony but they didn’t have anything at all.

With nothing that I needed to buy particularly, I didn’t go into ay other shop but instead headed across town to Origin’o, the vegan shop, for some more grated cheese, some vegan sausages and a dessert for Saturday night’s tea

rebuilding medieval city walls handbooghof leuven belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022On the way back into town I came back via the Handbooghof to have a look at the repairs to the city walls around there

There isn’t actually very much to see because of the high fence that they have built around it. Apart from the decoration on the fence, we can make out something of what they have been doing and the different types of brick and stone that have been used.

Sourcing the material to rebuild it can’t have been easy though because I imagine that like most similar places, the walls will have been used as a quarry during the expansion of the town in the past.

At Delhaize there was a disaster. They had run out of the banana-flavoured soya drink that I love. I’ve had to make do with chocolate but it really isn’t the same.

Back here I crashed out for an hour or so, even before I had time to make myself a coffee. I’m not coping too well with things at the moment and the bad night just about finished me off.

So now that I’ve had tea I’m off for a very early night. Grab a few hours sleep before the party starts up again tonight.

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

… and so is the little Opel van.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not ‘arf, hey?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s bread to bake too.

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

But at least I have his van here as hostage.

Friday 29th October 2021 – THAT WAS PROBABLY …

… the worst night of them all so far last night. And four files on the dictaphone tells you what kind of restless night it was.

There was a pile of dirty washing-up that needed doing. Some had already been done so my brother and I cracked on and finished it all. After we’d had something to eat there was washing up to be done and I didn’t bother to wash up but he insisted that we wash up. I refused. I only wash up once per day and that was before going to bed. This argument rolled on so I went outside. I frightened one of the seamen sitting on the steps of our ship who was looking at another ship close by. I asked him what was going on and he said “nothing in particular” and wandered off. There were 3 or 4 ships in the immediate vicinity, one a ship owned by Disney that didn’t have any superstructure like a barge. The people on it were speaking Russian so I spoke to them in Russian – “hello, how are you? My name is Eric” in Russian and they were overwhelmed that someone was speaking Russian to them and they actually came over on board our ship to talk to me. And it’s been a long time since I’ve spoken any Russian. I learnt some basic Russian from a local woman in Nantwich before I started taking coaches behind the Iron Curtain and I’ve probably forgotten most of it now.

3 of us, a guy a girl and I had to check out a disturbance on a common somewhere. There was no-one around but interviewing the locals it appeared that foreigners gathered there later on in the evening. The guy with me who was in charge told the girl to stay there on her own and make a report which I thought was strange. I expected one of the others of us to stay as well and pretend to be a courting couple. A single girl on her own would be rather prominent out there. Anyway, that was what we agreed to do and the 2 or us went away. We ended up being stuck in this huge queue of pedestrians at a roundabout. It seemed that it was Derby County’s birthday and there was some kind of celebration. We ended up in this charity shop and they had some Derby County ski suits that were really nice. I was tempted to buy one but I didn’t like the idea of carrying something with “Derby County” on it so I didn’t. We had a good look around but couldn’t see anything else. We went out and decided to go for a meal. I reminded him about this woman and said “when we go to pick her up we’d better take her a cup of coffee”. He replied “yes. hang on here while I go and fetch one”. I said “it won’t be much use now. She’ll need it at 8 o’clock when we finish. She’ll be freezing”. He said “yes” and came out with some other stuff that I can’t remember now.

Later on Liz had bought some furniture for her new house, a bed. The people in IKEA were showing up how it went together to demonstrate what it looked like. She quite liked it and said that she’d take it but it turned out that there was a 6-month delay for delivery. I said “stick it in Caliburn and we’ll take it round in Caliburn”. She said that there was no-one there to assemble it, Terry had gone to work. I replied “I’ll assemble it”. She said “you have other things to do, haven’t you?”. I replied “I can spare an hour or two to do this bed”. They couldn’t find the right nails or screws ro go with this package. I pointed out various piles of screws and nails on the floor by the bed and this was starting to become really complicated. it turned out that she had gone in to buy a bed for one of her grandchildren because the two of them were sharing a bed and it was most uncomfortable for them. She wanted to get them separate beds and saw this while she was there.

Finally, I’d made myself some muesli and was looking for a container to put it in now that I’d come back from being away. I had plenty of flower pots but couldn’t find them all. Eventually I found a large one so I took a bucket of water and washed it out and had it looking fairly clean. Then I don’t know why I did this but I tipped the bucket of water into the flower pot. Of course the water went everywhere, all over the table, all over the carpet so I had to pour the water back into the bucket quickly. My brother said that we ought to find a mop. As we were going through into the back room to fetch a mop the police were in there. They’d been looking for someone for ages who had disappeared and were wondering where he’d got to. It turned out that he was in the next room. He’d killed himself. They were puzzled because the electrode that he had used to earth himself when he gave himself an electric shock wasn’t actually attached to anything metal, just to a wooden chair leg so that wouldn’t in theory have killed him so they began to wonder about his wife’s involvement with this.

But seriously, how come my brother has been playing such a large part in my voyages for the last few days or so? What’s been bringing him into the equation?

As a consequence of all of this it was a weary crawl out from under the covers this morning when the alarm went off. Mind you, I don’t suppose that it helped very much

After the medication and checking my mails I made a start on continuing with the blog entries but I didn’t get very far.

Not long after I’d started I had a message – do I have any Greenlandic music?

Of course, I have a couple of rock albums from Greenlandic rock groups who sing in Inuktitut but that wasn’t what was required. Did I have any Greenlandic music that would do as the background for a radio programme?

“Not to hand at this very moment” was the obvious answer but I do have two Greenlandic friends, one of Danish extraction and the other a young Inuit girl who are musicians so most of the morning was spent talking to them.

Nive told me that I could help myself to anything of hers (of which there is quite a lot) that I could find in the public media and Heidinnguaq, the young girl whom I met in Uummannaq sent me a couple of songs that she wrote which she plays guitar and sings.

And so what was left of the morning was spent chasing down the various files, editing them and remixing them suitably for the radio shows.

While I was on a roll, as the saying goes, I contacted the son of the guy (now unfortunately no longer with us) who wrote “Grasshopper” – the song that I mentioned yesterday – to see whether his father ever left his notes about his song construction. We had quite a chat for a while but to no avail – there were no notes left behind.

And so, there’s no time like the present and I contacted my musical friend who lives in Germany and sent him the link to the song. He’s going to score it for me. I’ve worked out the melody on the bass guitar but many of the chords bear absolutely no resemblance to the root notes, so they must all be derivatives and that’s way beyong my capabilities.

To take me up to lunch, the nurse came round and injected me with my third vaccination for Covid. Now I’m completely up-to-date with my injections and I have a very sore right arm.

After lunch I had a ‘phone call from the guy who co-ordinates the radio. What am I doing on the 12th November?

Apparently there’s a big meeting taking place to formally open the “Greenland Week” here but the girl who has chosen to make up a radio programme of the event can’t make it. Seeing as I know Uummannaq and the people there so well, could I replace her?

Well, of course I will actually, but really I can’t find the time to do my own stuff, never mind anyone else’s.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021After all of that I went out for my afternoon walk.

Quite a few people down on the beach this afternoon, although nobody brave enough to tackle the water.

And that’s not really a surprise because the weather has now turned and there’s a strong with blowing in its usual direction from the North-West. So the fact that it’s reasonably warm for the time of year counts for nothing really in this.

storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As usual while I’m out looking down on the beach, I have one eye roving about offshore to see what I can catch.

And what caught my eye was this storm raging away out in the bay. Somewhere out there is the island of Jersey but you can’t hope to see it because of the intense rainstorm that is falling down right now.

It’s not any surprise that you can’t see any boats out there in that direction. having seen that huge storm approaching, they have presumably run for cover and I for one don’t blame them.

storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A little further along the coast I came to where I could see over the Ile de Chausey.

In actual fact, where I couldn’t see over the Ile de Chausey very much because there was a massive rainstorm over there too.

This one was far more ominous because the wind was blowing it in my direction and I began to regret that I had come out without a jacket because I had a feeling that in a couple of minutes time I would be right underneath all of that.

people in zodiacs baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021as I walked further on along the path, I did eventually come across some maritime activity.

It looks to me as if it’s a couple of zodiacs in which these people are standing, and the marker buoy behind them is not one that would relate to a lobster pot or anything like that.

The conclusion that I drew from this is that they are frogmen – or maybe I should be saying “frogpersons” these days – going for a practice over the side. We’ve seen quite a few of them in the past just offshore.

yacht rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I walked down across the carpark to the end of the headland the storm arrived and I got the lot, just as I predicted.

And as it happens, I wasn’t the only one who was having a great deal of difficulty with the weather. There was a yacht out here in the bay battling had to overcome the elements and making rather … errr … heavy weather of it.

The rainstorm was absolutely wicked so I had no intention whatever of hanging around in it seeing how things would develop.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021By now, the wind had increased considerably in speed and velocity and I was expecting to see the results of it on the sea wall.

I’d seen a large wave crash into the wall and sent spray high into the air so I prepared for another.

However it’s usually every seventh wave that is the most powerful but by the time that I’d seen the second or third I was drenched to the skin and the camera was soaking wet so I took a photo of whatever I could get and cleared off.

It reminded me of the time that Kenneth Williams appeared in Bamber Gascoigne’s farce “Share My Lettuce”. He came on stage and described how he disguised himself as a tree in order to study more closely the birds that might nest in it. And he finished his description with “and then I unfurl an umbrella and hold it up over my head”
The narrator said “but the birds will see through your disguise, won’t they, and stay away?”
“Maybe they will” replied Kenneth Williams “but I’m not getting wet for a load of bleeding birds!”.

crane unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Had the weather been any better I would almost certainly have gone for a closer look at this.

There’s a large lorry with something heavy on the trailer, and a very large mobile crane either lifting it off or putting it back on. It’s a shame that right now it’s raining so heavily that I can’t see anything at all. Not even after enhancing the image.

Back at home I made myself a coffee and then dashed through the photographs. I needed a quick, early tea because there’s football on this evening. I ended up with baked potatoes, baked beans and a vegan burger.

You have to feel sorry for Aberystwyth Town though. Second from bottom in the JD Cymru League but against the team that was second in the table, Y Fflint, nothing seemed to go right.

When they remembered to keep the ball on the ground instead of long, aimless punts upfield, they played some really nice, attractive football that kept them going forward despite all of the pressure that they were under.

They did however ahve to misfortune to find Y Flint’s goalkeeper Jon Rushton in excellent form and he made half a dozen top-drawer saves to keep his team out of danger.

Y Fflint scored twice through one of my favourite players, Jack Kenny, who would be a top-class player if he would just learn to control his temper, booked yet again for yet another off-the-ball incident when there was really no need except his own misplaced pride.

Aberystwyth did score a goal – a marvellous goal worthy of any “goal of the month” competition when Rushton punched a ball out upfield and Louis Bradford lobbed it back into goal right over everyone else’s head. have a look at about ABOUT 1:41:25 ONWARDS OF THIS VIDEO

Not long after the football finished and I was writing up my notes, I fell asleep at my desk. I hauled myself off to bed instead, reckoning that I’ll finish my notes tomorrow.

Goodnight.

Tuesday 15th June 2021 – SUMER IS ACUMEN IN.

big wheel place albert godal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLhude sing cucu and all of that stuff.

You can always tell when summer is about to arrive in Granville because the Big Wheel puts in an appearance. It must have sneaked in under the cover of darkness and there they are on the Place Albert Godal sticking it up. By the time that I come back from Leuven on Saturday afternoon (God willing) it might even be working.

But I’ve been working today – and working quite hard too, would you believe. Although it was a real struggle, I managed to be out of bed by 06:00 all the same although I would have given all that I own to have been back in bed tucked up in the warmth.

And “back in the warmth” would have been appropriate because there was a cold, clammy mist outside this morning when I awoke. It didn’t look very sunny at all and there would be no chance whatever of seeing TITTAN 1 or any of its siblings.

After the medication I sorted out the dictaphone notes for the last couple of days. They are up to date now and I can turn my attention to last night’s activity. I was out behind the Iron Curtain on a coach tour as a passenger. Everyone was getting ready to go off on an excursion. I hadn’t heard about this so I wondered what was happening. I asked one of the organisers who was rather brusque with me. He told me that they were just going to visit a church and maybe going on to a show or something. I knew where this church was so I said that I’d follow them on. We were told that things were strange in this town because of different rules and regulations. For example, we’d find lots of doors open, or I did when I walked through it, but no-one was there answering it. Films that were going, when you went to watch them they would freeze and when you’d turn your back they would move again. It turned out that because of Covid no-one was allowed to stay in anyone else’s house. They were worried that people meeting each other in a night club or a cinema or somewhere like that would end up pairing off for the night. The authorities wanted to prevent that from happening. It sounded strange to me. All round this city was ringed with these forest ridges where you could go. There would be loads of people about. The place was like a ghost town and there was no-one about at all because of this.

Following that I worked on my Welsh revision and I’m glad that I did because there was a lot that I didn’t know..

And then grabbing my slice of cake and a mug of hot chocolate I went for my lesson. And surprisingly it went quite well although, shame as it is to say it, I fell asleep three times. Not flat out but I could feel myself going off and managed to stop myself just in time.

The results of our exam won’t be known for another 6 weeks, so we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed for longer than I was expecting.

And while we’re on the subject of tests, my Covid test came back negative.

After lunch I had a huge pile of correspondence and printing to do, as well as my tax return. I’ve no idea what i’m supposed to be doing with that. I just date it and sign it, attach a load of papers from various people and let them deal with it. If they need any more info, they can write and ask for it.

gardeners sheltering from the heat rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was stifling hot when I set out for the town.

And I wasn’t the only one who was feeling the heat. There are some gardeners around the town dealing with the vegetation and they clearly decided that the only protection is flight. They’ve pulled their lorry up underneath a tree and they were all sitting on the wall in the shade.

Not for me though. I pushed on to the estate agent’s and gave them the certificate of insurance for my apartment. They didn’t think that it was the correct one but they’ll sort it out.

And I cursed my bad luck as well. They had a storage garage to let that would have been ideal for me to rent and dump all of this stuff out of Caliburn but I’d missed it by a whisker. It was now let.

Next stop is the Post Office. I’m just a whisker away from having a Carte Vitale, the card that opens the dorrs to the French Social Security system. I didn’t think I’d qualify but I applied all the same. And surprisingly, I had the paperwork back asking for my photo, a copy of my carte d’identité and a specimen signature.

So who knows?

Third stop was at the bank. They pay my Belgian pension 6-monthly by cheque and I don’t know why, but anyway the cheques came the other day and I need to pay them in. Now where can I go with €230?

unsafe scaffolding rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way up to the Tax Office (there are 41 steps up to the Eglise St Paul and I felt every one of them) I came across this interesting arrangement.

The scaffolding legs that are on the floor don’t go all the way up to the top. It’s just a few 2-metre lengths and the rest of the height of the scaffolding is somehow wedged up against the lengths on the floor.

No matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t see how it was rendered safe. That’s the kind of thing that looks totally unsafe to me. But there’s probably a very simple answer to this even if I couldn’t see it so don’t take this insecurity for granted. It probably makes perfect sense to those who go up it.

beach Boulevard des Amiraux Granvillais Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving deposited my papers in the letter box, I headed down to the beach. A different one today – the one by the Boulevard des Amiraux Granvillais with its tidal pool.

And there were quite a few people taking in the sun down there today. And I’m not surprised because it was a really scorching afternoon.

One person down there enjoying the weather was our friend the itinerant who used o hang around up here in the past. He was in an expansive mood and we spent a good 45 minutes chatting before, in the words of the News Of The Screws reporter “I made my excuses and left”. I had plenty of things to do right now and standing there talking wasn’t getting them done.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I left I noticed a Bird Man of Alcatraz on his way towards the end of the headland, but rather more likely on a direct collision course with the spire of the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

As I awaited the inevitable calamity, he did a U-turn and steered himself out of the way and headed back from whence he came. And I cursed my bad luck. It’s really not my day, is it?

To console myself, I went off and treated myself to an ice-cream. It was that kind of day. And my favourite ice-cream stall was actually closed, which was a surprise to me. But the one next door wasn’t. And it really did taste delicious. I shall have to go there again.

zero waste shop mademoiselle vrac Rue Georges Clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe old pharmacy in the Rue Georges Clemenceau closed down a while ago and it’s now been reoccupied.

It’s going to be one of those weigh-and-save places, rather like the BULK BARN places that we know from Canada, but I bet that it will be much more upmarket than that and we’ll be hard-pressed to find any bargains.

You would think that with the absence of packaging, the produce would be cheaper but that’s rarely the case.

Back here, my Inuit friend Heidinguaq was on-line so we had a little chat. It’s nice to see her after than nocturnal visit that she paid me the other day. I asked if she would be coming to Europe some time soon. She hoped so so I said that we’d meet up and I’d bring my bass.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE will come too. Those two have a special affinity after their meeting in Uummannaq when we called in there with THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR

The guitar practice was slow but sure, and then I had veggie balls and pasta for tea, followed by apple pie and home made custard.

Now I’m off to bed. I’m going to Leuven tomorrow and I have nothing whatsoever ready. It’s one of those days.

Thursday 3rd June 2021 – SOMETHING THAT HAS …

… figured quite often in these pages has been the subject of fishing. And seeing as I live in one of Normandy’s most important fishing ports, that’s hardly a surprise.

men fishing from boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I’m not just talking about commercial fishing, I’m also talking about fishing with rod and line, whether it’s from the rocks down below the Pointe du Roc or from an open boat anchored just offshore.

And so today we have a pile of fishing boats anchored offshore with people on board casting their lines into the sea. More in hope than expectation, I have to say because as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we have yet to see anyone actually pull a fish from the water using rod and line, despite over four years of trying.

One of these days we’ll be lucky, and we will see someone pull something from the sea that isn’t an old boot or a bicycle wheel, but I’m not holding my breath.

You’ve all probably been holding your breath wondering how I coped with the alarm going off again at 06:00 after all of my vicissitudes yesterday.

The answer is that I leapt from my bed with alacrity at the sound of the first alarm, and then went for my medication. And as I explained earlier, that’s no light task because these days there’s so much of it.

And then, after the medication, I made some bread dough. Just because I’m ill doesn’t mean that I don’t have to eat. One lot of normal dough for the bread for my butties and another lot for my fruit bread with everything in it. Including yeast, unfortunately, because I think that my sourdough has died due to my rather long stay in Leuven.

Today’s task was to finish off the three radio programmes that I was half-way through. That meant

  • editing the third lot of recorded speech
  • cutting it into fragments representing each pair of tracks
  • joining up the pairs of tracks with the speech to make a radio programme of sorts
  • working out how much time is left to make up an hour
  • knocking off 45 seconds for some speech to introduce the track
  • choosing an appropriate track that fits the length
  • adjusting the sound balance and volume

When that’s done the next steps were

  • writing 45 or so seconds of text to introduce the final track of each of the three programmes (one line of text on my text editor is equal to about 17 seconds of speech)
  • recording same
  • editing same
  • adding each bit of text onto the end of the last bit of text already on each programme
  • adding the final tracks
  • editing it all down to fit the hour time slot.
  • Saving each one

As you can see, I had my work cut out, but I actually finished it all by lunchtime.

And that includes taking a lot of time out to organise the baking.

By about 10:00 the bread dough had had enough time to rise up so I gave them their second kneading , shaped them and put them in their moulds. And while I was at it I made some apple crumble for the rest of the week’s puddings. And how I wish that I had a bigger oven because I had to mess about with a collection of various containers in order to make everything fit in.

Round about 11:00 I switched on the oven and when it was stinking hot I put in the food.

home baked bread home baked fruit bread apple crumble place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here are the finished objects, all nicely cooked and ready to be eaten.

At lunchtime I tried a few slices of the ordinary bread. And it was lovely, soft and delicious with the last of the spicy hummus from Leuven. And that reminds me – the last of the spicy hummus. That means that my task for tomorrow morning will be to make another big load of hummus. It’s been a while since I’ve done that. I might even make another load of ginger beer too.

This afternoon I came in here to make a start on transcribing the dictaphone notes – something that I’ve let go for the last couple of weeks. But as you might expect, no matter how perky and chipper I was feeling this morning (which really surprised me) I promptly crashed out. And I didn’t awaken until 15:50.

Whatever happened to these 10-minute power naps that I used to take?

lorry taking away container place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so eventually I staggered outside, just in time to see some activity in this little builder’s compound just outside my front door.

The other day we saw them taking digger-loads of stone and gravel out of one of the containers that was dumped here, and it seems that now they have finished with it because the skip hire lorry came round to load up the skip and take it away to wherever skips go to when they are no longer required.

It’s this kind of thing that makes me wonder if the activity that we have seen around the Rue St Michel in the old walled city is finally drawing to a close. After all, they’ve been at it long enough.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the things that I usually do these days is to keep an eye on the beach to see what is happening there.

So off I trotted down to the end of the car park to look over the wall. And while there wasn’t all that much beach to be on at the Rue du Nord due to the tide coming right in right now, some people had managed to find a cosy and comfy little spec down there.

The weather wasn’t actually the right kind of weather for me to be down there sunning myself. The hot windless weather that we had the other day seems to be a thing of the past. It was quite cool out there and there was quite a wind today.

Wouldn’t it be nice if summer were to come back?

man fishing from boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust now I talked about men out there fishing from their open boats anchored just offshore.

Here’s a prime example – a solitary man in a little cabin cruiser thing casting his line into the water in the hope of catching something interesting, and presumably edible, from the sea.

Where he’s fishing is just off one of the rocks at the foot of the cliff here on the North side of the headland, so I hope that he has a good anchor or mooring post because he’s in danger of being blown by the wind and driven by the tides right onto that rock just there. And that will give him a rather nasty awakening.

labyrinth pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the things that I read about in the local paper this morning was that someone had gone berserk with a lawnmower on the lawn up by the lighthouse. And so obviously I was eager to find out what was going on.

The local council is not mowing the lawn up here, except on the approved paths. The idea is to give something of a more natural habit to encourage wildlife like butterflies and bees and other sorts of things, an idea with which I concur wholeheartedly.

But someone has come by with a lawnmower – whether they had permission or not was not made clear – to create some kind of artistic labyrinth in the grass.

It beats me why they would want to do that because it totally defeats the purpose of the natural habitat. Animals normally running around beneath the level of the top of the grass would now be exposed as they moved from one patch to another, and we’ve already seen on several occasion the birds of prey that loiter around here.

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve seen enough of small boats out at sea fishing with rod and line in the hope of catching something decent for tea, so it’s high time that we turned our attention to some of the larger stuff.

This trawler was plying its trade out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel and I had noticed it in the distance. And as I came down the path and crossed the car park I noticed that by now it was heading for home, presumably with her work finished for the day.

One would think that she was carrying a good catch home with her this afternoon because she has a couple of seagulls hovering around her. The fishermen will already be busy gutting the fish and throwing the entrails overboard I suppose, and that will attract the birds. Regular readers of this rubbish witnessed this when we were in Greenland a while back

There are rules and regulations about throwing stuff overboard from ships but food products are not included in the ban, because of course that provides food for other marine species.

wild flowers pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow isn’t this beautiful?

Just now I talked about the local council stopping mowing the grass around the Pointe du Roc in order to encourage the local wildlife. It seems that it’s not just fauna but flora too and we now have a beautiful patch of wild flowers springing up at the side of the path around the headland.

This is the kind of thing that will encourage the birds and the bees to come and loiter around here. It certainly cheered me up. With a spring in my step, I pushed on along the path to the viewpoint overlooking the port.

trawler hera chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce more, there have been dramatic changes in the chantier navale since the last time that we came this way

Where there were four boats before, now there are two. The customs launch and the fishing boat have now gone back into the water. All that we are left with (for the moment at least) are the trawler Hera and that strange wooden craft that looks as if it’s seen better days.

There wasn’t much else going on anywhere around the port so I headed for home. This afternoon I fancied a nice hot coffee rather than a cold drink. It was that kind of weather and in any case, I needed waking up again.

Now was the time to attack the dictaphone. I started by seeing where I’d been to last night and, more importantly, who had come with me. In fact I had a visit from Heidingauq last night – her first so welcome to my nightmare. And she can come and visit me any time she likes. I started off living in a new house that was very similar to Winsford except that the stairs were different. I met this guy who lived in the neighbourhood and we’d been chatting and I invited him into the house for something but I can’t remember what it was. He came in with his wife and then they left. I noticed that they had left the door open so I went down to see. There was something going on outside so I went to look. It was a football match between a girls’ team from the area and another team. The girls were well-beaten, 3-9 or something like that but they had sent a note to say that they would like to play this team again. It was all a really big friendly atmosphere. They had put lights on and there was some guy doing the lights. Who should be there but Heidinguaq so we had a little chat. We started to talk about music and I suddenly had a brainwave. I dashed into the house and got my acoustic bass and my acoustic guitar. I came out and gave the guitar to Heidinguaq. She said “ohh shall we do a song? We’re going to do a song for you”. Then she found out that the guitars were out of tune so she had to retune them. This was what we were doing and the guy doing the lights had to go along to put a new light bulb in, to fetch one from my house. he asked “is that your dad?”. I laughed and said “no, that’s not my dad, that’s my house. I live there. I own it”. She said “my dad had a name for people like that” but she couldn’t remember what it was. She added “my dad says whatever you do, do it well, but do it with your honour” and I was trying to find out what the hidden meaning in that was when I sat bolt upright wide awake. It was rather a feverish awakening as well.
I stepped back into this dream as well later on (something I haven’t done for a while). Later on there was a knock on the door. It was Heidinguaq. She wanted something so I gave it to her and she wandered off again. A while later she knocked on the door and I opened it. She came in this time. We chatted and in the end she was helping me do the dishes which I thought was very nice of her. She asked about frogs legs. I said “never mind that. I’ll get a bottle of champagne. I produced this bottle of champagne out of my stock.

And I’ll tell you something for nothing, and that is that I do have a bottle of champagne in stock ready for if ever she, or TOTGA, or Castor does come round to my house.

Having dealt with today, I turned my attention to the backlog. And before guitar practice there was time to bring up to date THE FIRST OF THE ENTRIES FROM MY TRIP TO LEUVEN.

The guitar practice didn’t go how it was supposed to because I seem to have lost the knack and I can’t sing any more. I would have thought that with these stitches still in I would have had no problem reaching the high notes but apparently it’s not the case. And my co-ordination has gone too. I despair.

Tea was taco rolls with the leftover stuffing from the other day, followed by a delicious home-made apple crumble with delicious home-made custard. Whatever else that might not be going right, at least I’m eating well. Good food too.

But now it’s bed time, later than I was hoping but it can’t be helped. But fancy one of my Inuit friends from the far north of Greenland putting in an appearance. Things really are looking up. Maybe this is the sign of something good about to happen. We can always live in hope.

Sunday 29th March 2020 – AND IF YOU …

… were wondering whether today was any better than yesterday, the answer is “I don’t know. I missed half of it”.

And that’s no exaggeration either. It might only … “only, he said” – ed … have been 11:00 when I awoke, but it was 12:05 when I finally heaved myself out of bed this mor … errr … afternoon.

So that was basically the day ruined.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have said … “on many occasions” – ed … that everyone should have one day each week when they can do nothing and not be ashamed of the fact, but as far as I’m concerned that was yesterday. I was hoping to be much more focused today.

After the medication I had a look at the dictaphone. And I’d certainly been much more focused during the night, that’s for sure.

Last night I had started off with Laurence and Roxanne when Nerina put in an appearance and wasn’t very happy to see me. It was an evening when I was on my own. The next morning along came Laurence and Roxanne and they had come to see me too. Nerina had turned up by accident by the way. As it happened there was some kind of swimming regatta so we got Roxanne to take part in this. It was like a swimming obstacle race. Of course she leapt in the water and went right round this obstacle race but something happened on the very last section and she had to be lifted out and whatever happened was put right and she had to jump back in. But they wouldn’t let her do the underwater somersault but we were urging her on to go back and do it. In the end she turned round and swam back but they wouldn’t let her do it so she swam away. Laurence went to fetch her. As we were walking back to our little spec of seats and Nerina walked past us with a scowl on her face and said “we met yesterday” and just walked off. Laurence came back and Roxanne was crying, really disappointed and we put her on a shelf. In the end she got off this shelf and went to stand up where we were sitting. These two girls who were using this shelf were having a bit of, well, not a moan but going on about how Roxanne had got their shelf wet but Roxanne said “I was sitting on the one above where there were just things” and not where they were sitting.
Some time later I was doing one of these extraordinary exploration things that come on the TV every now and again about phenomena. There had been a helicopter crash in a small village and it had been one of these normal things but suddenly a white stain had appeared on the parapet of a bridge and people wanted to know what it was. They were all so suspicious about it being the sign of the Gods or something. We went to track it down, a woman and I, and I had a look round and I could see that there was some kind of watercourse where rain water had been flowing out of a field discreety onto the road. This had changed its course since the accident. You could see that there was some discolouring in the earth of this little watarcourse that had made the earth go a lot whiter than the earth of the soil. Se we suspected that the crash had changed this watercourse slightly and it was just a natural phenomenon that the water was now flowing through where it never flowed before and was percolating up some kind of hidden fissure in the bridge. Then we were prowling around a churchyard. Someone else in Cheshire had observed a fire in the sky that went on for weeks in the direction of the Gobi Desert and the Sahara Desert about 150 years before any explorer had actually been there. We were walking around this churchyard and there was someone’s visitor book there and a page had blown off it that was a report about “St Anne’s Day” or a diary page for St Anne’s Day. It had blown onto the floor so I picked it up and put it back on the lectern and put a kind of embossed stone on top to hold it on. The woman with me said something like “we haven’t come here to change things around, have we?” all this kind of thing. I said “no, I’m just putting things back where they had blown from”. She was going on about changing things round and taking things away. Of course we weren’t doing that at all.

Breakfast at 13:15 is a much more reasonable way to go about things on a Sunday, and then I attacked the music.

Another four albums split up and filed without two many problems – just one album where a couple of tracks wouldn’t work and I had to hunt them down elsewhere which took some time.

While they were doing, I was catching up by working on the photos for July 2019. I’m now in Rif setting out on my walk to the Svodufoss waterfall and I remember that walk very well. The waterfall looked as if it was just a couple of fields away and it was too, but no-one said that there was a big river in the way so we had to walk in large figure “Z” shape to reach it. My fitbit at the end of the day showed 12.4 kms and I felt every step of the way.

Another thing that I did was to join up all of the speech files for the Grande Marée broadcast and intersperse the joins with beach ambience soundfiles. As for the speech, I’ve asked Laurent if he will do an introduction and a conclusion and he’ll get back to me. When he replies, I’ll see what he has to say and I’ll do a brief text for the other intervals.

Then of course, there was the hour on the guitar. Mustn’t forget that.

apple pie apple turnover place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallFor tea tonight I had something of a bake-in.

With needing the oven for the pizza I’ve been baking desserts in there every Sunday evening and tonight, having remembered the cooking apples yesterday, I made an apple pie.

And with the left-over pastry and left-over apple, I rolled out the pastry and squared it off, added the apple and desiccated coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar, and made an apple turnover.

The pizza was delicious of course, and so was the apple turnover with the soya coconut. I shall be attacking the pie as from tomorrow evening and I have high hopes.

rue notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallWith being distracted by the time and all that, it was very late when I went outside for my exercise.

And my first run was a dismal failure. There was a gale blowing out there that was the equal of some of the best that we have had and trying to walk around in many places was impossible. If you wonder why this image was so blurred, the fact is that I was being blown around in a Force 10 gale at the moment that I pressed the shutter.

Liz had told me earlier that the wind was coming from Greenland and that I ought to complain to Heidinnguaq. Well, I dunno about where it was coming from but I know exactly where it was going and it wasn’t exactly pleasant.

rue des degres granville manche normandy france eric hallFinding a spot that was out of the wind I managed a run in the end.

And that led me down a new alley that I hadn’t walked before. The rue des Degres. So at least all of this stuff is broadening my horizons.

Back here, I wrote up my journal as I listened to some music. It didn’t take me long because of course there wasn’t much to write.

It’s still late though so I’m heading to bed. It’s a busy week next week because I have two rock music projects to do, an audio diary to write and then to finish off this Grande Marée thing when Laurent lets me have his notes.

No matter what I do, the work still keeps on piling up, doesn’t it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, this one beats the lot to date.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What the heck is this all about?

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

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

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

And that reminds me

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 24th November 2019 – YOU’VE NO IDEA …

… just how right I very nearly was about this morning either.

As it happens I awoke at … errr … 06:25 this morning but no chance whatever of me leaving my stinking pit at that time of the morning.

When I awoke at 09:00 I didn’t feel like leaving the warmth either, but I had to get up, for reasons which any man my age will very well know. And while I was sitting there riding the porcelain horse, the telephone rang!

Had I not been up and about it would really have disturbed my reverie and no mistake.

Although it was a late night too, there was plenty of time to go off a-wandering. And no mistake this time. I pinched myself this time to make sure that I was awake before I dictated this particular dream. The front door rang and it was Brigitte outside with all kinds of stuff for me to make muesli with. She’d heard that I wasn’t feeling too well and shop on my own so I thought at least I could have breakfast. This was as far as it got. I was with Liz and Terry by the way and we were possibly going to see Nive Neilsen I don’t know. Anyway this is what happened, but Brigitte turned up and I don’t remember the rest of the dream because there wasn’t one. As soon as I consciously knew that I was having a dream I woke up so that I could dictate it and there didn’t seem to be much point in that!
A little later on, we were much more involved. I was with a girl who reminded me very much of Sue Cassell although it wasn’t her – she was much smaller than that. We were hanging around together and going places and doing things but we weren’t particularly a couple. But as time went on and we were walking aorund this housing estate type of place that might have been Baron’s Road in Shavington but wasn’t and some waste land with a stream and trees and a high earth bank. Somehow the conversation turned round a bit towards the obvious and I made a move. She seemed to be quite receptive to the idea. I didn’t know what was going through her mind but she was quite interested in this. Anyway, I stopped and the conversation came round to her place and we ended up back at her house where she lived with her mother. She wanted me to go and put something in the rubbish. But where was the rubbish? It was upstairs in one of the bedrooms of all places. I had to take the rubbish upstairs and look in all the bedrooms to find out which room the rubbish was in and put the rubbish in there. It was actually a bedroom that someone would sleep in, bed all made up and everything where you put the rubbish in and I thought that this was really strange. Later on we went out and we were at this outdoor bar-type place and I had to go and get some her some food. I got her three bread rolls and I can’t remember what I got with them now but it was something like jam or tomato sauce but it was stuff that you would never ever eat with bread – puree or something I have no idea, that kind of thing but I took it back to her and she said “great, thank you”. There was nowhere for me to sit so I had to go and scrounge a seat. The table we were at was already crowded so I had to scrounge a seat and sit somewhere nearby her. I was thinking that I should have sat down and got her to sit on my knee and that would have been much more fun but somehow it didn’t quite work out like this. Again it was another one of these dreams that I’ve been having quite recently where “I had the bird right on my plate and when was I going to get my fork stuck in it” type of dreams.
And if you don’t know what I mean by that, it’s probably because the dreams that I was having back in August and September haven’t yet made it onto the blog.

For some reason this morning I wasn’t hungry so I did without breakfast and settled for coffee instead. Then I sat down and had a blitz through the music. I finished the first pass through of the LPs and by the time you read this I’ll have made inroads into the cassette tapes.

The good thing about this is that I’m finding long-forgotten stuff that I never realised that I had. It’s like an Aladdin’s cave in here. And with music going on all throughout the day i’m feeling in a much better mood.

And that’s important too because the events of the last few days have made me realise that if something is meant to be, it will be. No matter how long you have to wait, it will all come right in the end.

I’m thinking specifically of an event that was spread out over a couple of days 14 months ago and which reached its climax one day in September. And how, all of a sudden with no effort from me and no input from anyone, it all fell quite by accident into my lap.

This can only be encouraging news for Castor. Just ride out the storm and it it’s meant to be, it will be.

sushine over the baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceNo bread in the house again so a walk down into town for a dejeunette.

The first thing that caught my eye was the sunlight piercing through the gloom. We’ve seen over a few days the strange effect that the sunlight i having, shining through the tiny gaps in the clouds and illuminating objects as a stage spotlight would (unless it’s at the Archipel Theatre where the stage lighting manager couldn’t even light a match).

Today there was a brilliant glow of light right on the centre of the Baie de Mont St Michel and it all looked extremely eerie.

The tide was out and so I took the long route down past the fish processing plant and across the walkway on the harbour gates and round the back of the dock.

Not a soul about. It was all really quiet in tow today.

vegan food advertised la mie caline granville manche normandy franceDown at the boulangerie I bought my dejeunette and as I was leaving, my attention was drawn to this advert.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m a vegan and that France is about 100 years behind the times when it comes to vegan food.

But it seems to be slowly catching uo. The boulangerie does snacks of various kinds, and here it is proudly announcing a “100% vegan” option. So hats off to La Mie Caline

Back at the apartment I carried on with editing the photos and I finished that job, even though it took me an age. My heart wasn’t in it today, but I’m not too bothered because it is Sunday after all

yacht english channel granville manche normandy franceAs usual, I broke off for my afternoon walk. It was windy and raining but nevertheless I stuck it out.

There were other people out there braving the weather besides me too. This intrepid yachtsman was out there doing his bit in the English Channel, having a great time by the looks of things.

And I spent quite some time admiting his wind turbine too. Ohh happy days, hey?

waves sea wall plat gousset granville manche normandy franceFurther on around the walls I stopped to see what was happening down on the promenade above the sea wall at the Plat Gousset.

Quite a few people out there enjoying the air despite the miserable weather and watching the sea as the tide was coming in.

A nice heavy rolling sea heading in to shore with the waves crashing up against the sea wall.

waves sea wall seagull granville manche normandy franceThere was a better view from a little further round. And I imagine that it would be even better when the tide was further in. But I wasn’t going to hang around that long.

Instead, I turned for home and as there was only a couple of people further on down the path, I took the opportunity for a discreet run of a couple of hundred meters.

Before leaving the scene however, I took a photo of it, only to find that I had been photo-bombed once again by a blasted seagull

When I returned home, I treated myself to coffee and a slice of Liz’s gorgeous cake that she had brought me

Tea tonight was a delicious vegan pizza and then I headed out again – into the howling gale that’s raging outside.

Nothing at all of anything going on whatsoever so I didn’t photograph anything. And I had a really good run too and even managed to breast the rise at the end – but came to a dead stop when I was hit by a vicious headwind.

So that’s it for today. Back to work tomorrow so I’m hoping for an early night if I can.

But back here I suddenly seem to have developed a raging thirst. And that can only mean one thing. And that is that I’m heading for another relapse.

Ohhh God!

Saturday 23rd November 2019 – ANYONE RECOGNISE …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was now time to head off to the concert.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 22nd November 2019 – WHAT ODDS …

… would you have given on me walking into a social centre here in Granville on the West Normandy coast and bumping into three young girls who I have met before … in a small town called Uummannaq in the far north of Greenland?

Yes, it’s true that it’s “Greenland week” here in Granville, but even so, it’s a pretty long shot, isn’t it?

heidinnguaq jensen girls from orphanage uummannaq music dancing granville manche normandy franceWe’ve all seen this smile before, haven’t we?

It’s the smile that I have as the background to the desktop on my little old laptop and the girl to whom it belongs is my friend Heidinnguaq, she who spent half an hour or so posing for me last year when I was there.

And here she is in Granville too, with a few of her friends.

After my marathon session the other evening, last night I was in bed at something like a realistic time last night. Plenty of time to go on a travel or two. And who should I meet last night was my friend Ric. I’m not sure exactly how it had come round to this but I’d come to the town where he lived. I’d been round to where there were shelves and books and like cupboards and so on and it was some kind of description about what I was going to be doing and what I was going to be. Anyway, I knocked on his door, and he came out and we had a little chat. I told him that I was going out with someone later that evening. In fact I was going out with a lot of people but I was hoping that one particular person would be there. He stepped off his door and came in and said “what’s all this about?” and said something like a tree – an oak or a sycamore or something like that. It turned out that that was an euphemism that I had been using on this piece of paper stuck on this wall about the person that I was hoping to see that evening. So I said “yes, I’m going on a date”. I didn’t tell him too much – just enough to get his appetite interested. And that was when I awoke. It goes without saying that the person whom I was hoping to meet was Castor.

The alarms went off as usual and I leapt out of bed (and I did too!) ready for an early start. And after breakfast I did another magnum opus from the pile on the dictaphone. Only one (and half another) but it was certainly one of the longest.

And having transcribed it, I can see why it was one of the ones that affected me so much. It was very similar to one that I had back in May where the world was coming to an end and I was the last survivor. There I was, all alone on the beach watching the world come to an end just like in Neville Shute’s novel On The Beach, and as the narrator brings the story to a close, his prose breaks, in perfect time and perfect scan, into a speech that runs into a slightly amended version of the final couple of lines of the lyrics (which he speaks) of “The Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”.

Well, the night in early September that I transcribed this morning was just like that, and it was such a surprise not just because of the event, but because of the fact that I’d been there a short while earlier in almost identical circumstances. And the narrator’s hypnotic speech added a certain amount of tension to the whole thing too.

But I couldn’t hang around doing that all morning. There were plenty of other things to do, such as to prepare my speech and select about 25 photos from my visit to Uummannaq.

fishing boats entering port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThat took me up to about 13:00 – usually that’s lunchtime but there’s only frozen bread here so I went down to the boulangerie for another dejeunette down in the town to make my sandwiches.

The tide was well in by now and all of the fishing boats were coming into the harbour to bring their catch to the fish-processing plant.

You can see all of the equipment lined up on the quayside.

fishing boat leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd the turn-round in the port was pretty rapid. I’ll tell you that.

It takes me about 5 minutes or so to walk from the top right down the stairs – the escalier des noires-vaches – to the rue du Port. And by the time that had reached the bottom, the yellow and white boat that we saw arriving was just on its way back out to sea.

They don’t hang about in the harbour when there are other fish to fry, that’s for sure.

la grande ancre leaving fishing boat entering port de granville harbour manche normandy franceIn fact, it was so busy in the inner harbour today that we had something of a traffic jam.

There was La Grande Ancre waiting to leave port, but she was unable to because there was another fishing boat on its way in. La Grande Ancre had to wait a good few minutes for the other boat to make its way through the gates before she could make her way out.

Of course, that’s no reason to complain. A busy fishing port is an important asset to the community.

After lunch I made a decent adapter cable for the new laptop out of a cut-down North American extension lead that was hanging around in Caliburn. I cut it down so that there was about a foot or so on the socket end, and added an old European plug on the bare end.

And it works to perfection too. Nothing wrong with that! And then I uploaded Paint Shop Pro and made a slide show out of the photos that I had chosen.

While I had Pint Shop Pro and the external DVD dive out, I reinstalled it onto the laptop that broke down in North America and which I managed to restart. I’m going to see if I can make it run again, although I’m not sure why I would want to.

drum dancing girls from orphanage uummannaq music dancing granville manche normandy franceAt 15:45 the guy from the Education Department came to pick me up and took me to the Sports Hall at the local High School, and that was where I met Heidinnguaq and her friends.

First thing that I did was to scrounge a huge television and couple up my laptop to it, and then set my slideshow in motion.

It would provide a little ambience to the meeting.

girls from orphanage uummannaq music dancing granville manche normandy franceWe had a little talk, that didn’t last too long, and having done their drum dance, throat singing and polar bear dance (the one that Jena did for me last year in Uummannaq), Heidinnguaq was prevailed upon to produce her guitar.

She’s an excellent guitarist and singer, and has written quite a few songs of her own. She played a couple and then did a number by Amy Winehouse.

Mind you, having English as her third language, I hope that she didn’t understand the significance of what she was singing. The lyrics, to a native-English-speaking person, are full of innuendo that a foreigner will probably not understand.

There was a question and answer session afterwards, which I translated, and then in the best tradition of the News of the Screws, I made my excuses and left.

Back here, it was tea-time. I had a rummage around in the freezer and found some lentil, pepper and potato curry from 24th August … errr … 2018. That was just as nice today as it was back then, especially as it was followed down by more rice pudding.

Later, I took out the rubbish and braving the wind and rain, made a hurried circuit of the headland, including a brief run for a few hundred metres. Short of my target unfortunately but there you go.

When I returned, there was football on the internet. Barry Town v Penybont (Bridgend to the uninitiated) in the Welsh Premier League.

For the first 15 minutes you wouldn’t have believed that Penybont were at the bottom of the table and Barry at the top. From the action up until that point you would have said that it was the other way round.

However, as the match progressed, Barry began to exert themselves and they ran out 3-0 winners. The result was right, but the scoreline was rather unfair. Barry’s goals were

  • a well-worked routine from a corner
  • a screamer from 25 yards that could have gone anywhere
  • a defensive error where the full_back slipped on the wet surface and lost control of the ball, with a Barry Town player the quickest to react to the loose ball
    • But credit to Penybont. They kept on going regardless and even in injury time they were still pushing forward playing some constructive football.

      All they need is to get the run of the green.

      It’s quite late now but I’ve been spending all the evening editing photos. All of the photos that I took of the girls I’ll post on a separate page when I get round to it.

      Just one more special event, and that’s tomorrow evening. And then I ca get back round to the usual busy stae without any of these extra jobs cropping up.

      I could do with a rest.

      la grande ancre waiting to leave port de granville harbour manche normandy france
      la grande ancre waiting to leave port de granville harbour manche normandy france

      fishing boat entering port de granville harbour  manche normandy france
      fishing boat entering port de granville harbour manche normandy france