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Tuesday 21st September 2021 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… night I had last night.

For a start, it was just after midnight when I went to bed, which means that leaving the bed at 06:00 is bound to be something of a struggle.

And then, when someone has a night as disturbed as I had, it makes things even more difficult.

It was hardly a surprise that, after I’d made my bread dough and with my Welsh lesson looming, I did something that I haven’t done for several years, and that was to go back to bed. That is a real disappointment of course, but as things stood, I was in no fit state to face a Welsh lesson.

You might think that this is something of an exaggeration, but the fact that there are no less than seven files recoded on the dictaphone during the night, that tells its own story.

The medication was more than enough for me to cope this morning but with no bread in the house I had to force myself to make the dough ready to bake later on – and then I went back to bed for three hours.

It’s no surprise to anyone that when I awoke at 10:00 I felt even worse than I had been at 06:00 but the feeling soon wore off once I’d had a coffee. I gave the bread its second kneading and then came back in here to prepare for my lesson.

The bread went into the oven and I went off for my Welsh lesson, which all passed quite well. It seems that the extra three hours of sleep did what I had hoped that it would.

My bread was delicious, nice and soft and spongy and made some really nice sandwiches. And afterwards I came back in here where I … errr … crashed out for 45 minutes. The extra three hours of sleep wasn’t that good, was it?

But then I turned my attention to the contents of “War And Peace” on the dictaphone. I’d been on a ship last night and I’d met a young girl and we had become quite friendly. We were chatting quite a lot and it turned out that she didn’t live all that far away from me. I heard that she was attending some kind of birthday party so I went over to the town where she lived and found where this birthday party was taking place in a pub. I’d ordered some clothes for her for her birthday. When I arrived at the pub I saw another girl whom I knew and quite liked go upstairs, and then another one! I thought “3 of my favourite girls upstairs in this room. Is it going to be confusing if I walk in there because I’m bound to end up talking to the wrong one. I was arranging to pay for these things and I’d been working, I wasn’t very clean, I wasn’t shaved and I had my glasses on and not my contact lenses in (and so this dates it to prior to 1996 when I had my laser surgery. First of all down the stairs came a girl who was exactly like her except that she was about 7 or 8, wearing a bottle-green party dress thing. She cleared off. Someone else came down whom I knew or in whom I was interested, then a third girl and it was she. She said that so-and-so had seen me so she’d come down to say “hello”. I replied “I was going to come and see you in a minute”. When I saw that other girl in the bottle-green dress, I mentioned it to her. She burst out laughing and said that she was her sister. She’d been on the boat with us but I didn’t remember her at all. We were talking but there were some people in the way of us so they moved out of the way, this girl came round and we squidged in on a sofa. She ended up almost sitting on me. We had a chat and I said “when these things are ready (which was going to be in about 15 minutes time) I’d bring them up”. So she went back upstairs to join this party. I was waiting for these things and ended up watching a football match. Pionsat were playing right by a river. The ground was on the other side of the river but it was flat except for one big rock in the way. The centre-forward playing for Pionsat was someone whom I didn’t know but he had some kind of lucky talisman like a big skin with a black cat skin attached to it. He was in a good goal-scoring position but his shot was blocked and blocked again so he went for his talisman and started to shake it out, ready to go back in and score this goal which he didn’t do. Then I found out that they were losing 3-1 which was a surprise to me because I’d only ever seen the ball go up the other end. I hadn’t seen it go towards the Pionsat goal at all. Then I thought that I’d better get a move on because i have to wash, shave and change and pick up these clothes. I said that I’d only be 15 minutes but I’d been side-tracked again. This party will be over and this girl will be gone by the time that I arrive there if I don’t get a move on And here I am, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory as usual.

There were these people, a mother, father and a girl, and 2 other young kids there as well so that was 5. And I remembered this girl from that voyage. They were there, dressed in navy blue school uniform-type of thing, all of the children. I was trying to organise myself to go to see this girl. As I was with this family we seemed to be walking further away from where all of this was taking place and of course I really wanted to go towards it to meet this girl again and chat to her. My brother ended up talking to one girl, a flighty, flirty girl who was one of these indeterminate ages and there was something going on there that was rather disagreeable I suppose and in the end my brother took umbrage and flounced off. I think that he had asker her age, something like that, or she had asked him his age and she had made some remark about it. After my brother had gone I asked her how old she was. She replied “18” and just taking her A Levels. We had a chat about O Levels and A Levels and schools. Then she came to go for her French Oral exam and my brother was back by this time so she went rooting through my cupboard to find an ignition switch, starter motor, a few bits of wiring, everything. She festooned my brother with them with the idea that he would be some kind of car that she could describe how everything worked, how it started up, how fuel got there, everything as part of her French Oral exam.

Incidentally, all of the above is a combination of about four different sessions on the dictaphone. It seems that I was dictating my notes and then falling back into sleep again, stepping straight back into the dream where I had left off. This kind of thing happens maybe once every few months, but to have four consecutive dreams on the same subject on the same night that dovetail one into the other is something quite remarkable. Especially as I seem to be regressing into my teenage years – wishful thinking, I expect.

I haven’t finished yet either. I was with Marianne and we’d been corresponding for some time anonymously and I think that she had the assumption that I was a woman. Then we met and were talking about all kinds of various things. She was talking about some man whom she had met who had even come out to where she lived and brought her a pile of buckets of water to do something. I said “no-one is likely to do that where I live”. Then the talk moved round to Brussels. She asked me what it was like living near Schuman. I replied that I didn’t live there any more – I’d moved when I’d retired so she wanted to know what this was all about – the “retired”, so I started to tell her a few problems about what happened at work and my job.

And later I was back on my travels again looking at an old AA map that I’d cut out of an old AA handbook. I’d seen where Frome was in Somerset and seen the coast and the Severn Estuary and noticed that there were some ferries so I went down there and took a ferry across to Wales. I was explaining to the guy about how I liked the water and how I liked boats. We were having a chat but he walked away in the middle of our conversation and I was rather upset. I was taking photos but my camera wouldn’t work again. That was extremely annoying. Someone next to me was taking brilliant photos with a really long lens. I don’t know whether I’d had an ill-health thing but I ended up at a woman’s house. She had a family of 3 or 4 kids maybe. She made me a coffee and I just sat there and so on. The kids came in and everyone else made themselves a coffee so I went to ask this woman but she was busy making the beds. She said that she was going to make herself a sandwich in a minute and started talking about the mess that the garden was in when she was on her own.

Finally I had to catch a ship so I had to take a train and change trains. I had all my luggage with me, loads of it, and had to arrange for someone to help me at the railway station to cross London. I reached the railway station eventually in London but didn’t wait for someone – I went to a nearby hotel from where they came. Eventually they found someone for me and he escorted me to a room. That wasn’t what I wanted at all. In the end I had to wait for him to go. There was something about when my train pulled in at one station the other train that I needed pulled up alongside it. I could step out of one door into another, but the doors weren’t open alongside so I had to go all the way round and up the stairs and across the walkway and back down the other side. I’m not too sure about all of that. But there I was in the hotel room and had to get everything together. Someone was there delaying me and I didn’t have half my things. They were talking about refugees and some Fiji child who had been abandoned on a station. In the end with about a minute to spare I managed to grab everything and threw it all into an Ikea bag and dived down to the station. There, everyone was beckoning me. I couldn’t find my train. In the end, it wasn’t a train that I wanted but a boat. We reached this quayside harbour place. Someone wanted to check my ticket but I showed him the wrong one from when I was in Germany the week before. Eventually the boat came in. It was a little, I dunno, 40-seater something, not at all the ship that I was expecting to go to the Arctic. There were all these animals, wildlife around but no-one knew what they were. One woman with us dived in to go and swim with some of them. There were cats there fishing, pulling the fish out and eating them and everything. It was nothing like that I expected at all, this trip. This boat was tiny.

Is it any surprise that after all of that during the night, I was totally exhausted.

And I wish that I knew who the girl was. I have a feeling that I know her, but she wasn’t one of our “usual suspects”. That’s the kind of thing that annoys me. I feel that I’m missing out on something really good.

peche a pied place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021In between all of that, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

And in a change from the advertised programme, I wandered off to have a look down onto the rocks because the tide was quite well out this afternoon.

Sure enough, there were several people at the peche à pied, scavenging amongst the rocks for shellfish and picking them up to put in their buckets. What you might call “flexing your mussels”, I suppose.

beach plat goussset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And then I could return to my usual routine of going round to look down on the beach.

The wind has dropped from yesterday and while it was a little colder, it was rather brighter. Hence there were a few more people down on the beach that there were yesterday.

And it looks as if I’m not the only one who thinks that the summer season is over and that winter is on its way. Over there on the Plat Gousset we can see that the beach cabins have been removed. We’ve seen the storms that crash down on there during the winter and if they didn’t put the cabins into hibernation, they would come back next season to a pile of matchwood.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there looking down onto the beach, my other eye was roaming around looking at what was going on out at sea.

There wasn’t anything close at hand but right out to sea on the way to the Channel Islands there was what looked like a fishing boat out there working.

She’s far too far out for me to be able to identify her but I was wondering if she was the same one who was out there yesterday but is now trawling further out in the bay

boats ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Surprisingly enough, given how things have been this last while, there seemed to be plenty of activity out by the Ile de Chausey.

There are at least two large yachts out there, and there’s also a large powered boat heading this way from the island.

She’s too far out to be able to identify, even blowing up and enhancing the image, but I did notice thathalf an hour or so after I returned home one of the Joly France ferries put into port.

And look how clear the sky is. The colours on the Ile de Chausey are quite evident this afternoon, even though the island is 18 kilometres away.

fishermen inshore shellfishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Closer to home, there was a small boat just offshore close to the end of the headland.

It was stationary and judging by what I could see, they had fishing roads raised so it looked as if they were fishermen looking for a good place to cast their lines.

But as I watched, one if the inshore shellfishing boats complete with buoys and, presumably, lobster pots came around the corner. The boat passed very close to our boat-load of fishermen and I don’t suppose that they appreciated it very much.

Not that I know very much about fishing, but turbulent water as is churned up by a fast-moving boat is not the place to go casting your lines, and most boats would steer well clear if they notice a boat out there fishing.

F-GSBV Robin DR400 180 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there, I was overflown by a light aircraft out there in the Baie de Granville heading back towards the airfield.

She’s one of our aeroplanes from the Aero Club de Granville – F-GSBV, the Robin DR400 180. She had taken off at 15:22, flown down to Avranches, back up and around the Ile de Chausey and finally came in to land at 15:58

There was plenty of path for me to walk before I could come in to land at my apartment. I went to have a look from my viewpoint on the bunker to see if I could see down to Cap Fréhel but despite the clear view this afternoon, it only went so far and I couldn’t see right dow that far.

Instead, I walked down across the lawn and the car park down to the end of the headland but there was nothing going on at all there, not even anyone sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

le pescadore catherine philippe l'omerta hera chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Instead of loitering there I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was happening down in the harbour.

And we seem to have had a tactical substitution today in the chantier naval. It made me thing that it was a good idea to have gone for a wander around there yesterday morning because Cherie d’Amour, whom we saw yesterday having come in earlier that day by the looks of things, has now disappeared.

“Gone! And never called me mother!”

However we still have four boats down there because the trawler Hera has now appeared in the yard and is now up on blocks over by the portable boat lift. It’s all go down in the chantier naval.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A short while ago I’d noticed that there was a large boat heading towards the port, so I was interested to see who was moored at the ferry terminal.

As it happens, there was only the very new Belle France moored up over there. That means that the boat out there at the Ile de Chausey heading for home will be one of the two Joly France boats.

But look at the crane just there. There doesn’t seem to be anyone working it right now, but leaving the jib in the fully-extended position like that is going to put quite a weight on the hydraulic seals and they won’t be lasting all that long.

crane quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There was plenty of activity over in the inner harbour this afternoon.

We have two portable cranes in there, one in the loading bay where the Jersey freighters and the other round by where the gravel boats used to tie up. That one doesn’t often move about but it was moving about this afternoon as I was watching. You can see the driver in the cab.

The big yellow marker buoys that were in the gravel bins back there now seem to have moved. Does this mean that we are going to have another major delivery of gravel and hence another gravel boat coming in. I hope so.

crane quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The other crane, the one in the loading bay, was also busy too.

There are two small lorries down there, one with what looks like a cherry picker on the back and the other one with what looks like a HIAB. This might indicate that there might be a repair about to be made to the crane, but I didn’t see any activity at the lorries.

That was really all of the activity that was going on down there. With nothing else to report, I headed off for home and my coffee. It wasn’t warm enough for a banana smoothie.

buddy m port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One final thing to do though before I went home.

When I returned home yesterday I did some research into the trawler Buddy M and found that there was no photograph of her on the marine database.

The photo that I took yesterday, I didn’t like all that much so I took a better one while I was out this afternoon and uploaded it to the marine database.

In case you are wondering, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I host and maintain the AIS (Association for Information Systems) beacon for the port that picks up the pulses from the transmitters of the boats to indicate their position, and this gives me an entitlement to the fleet database and the positioning radar

Back here I carried on with my transcribing and then went for tea. Rice with taco rolls, made with the remainder of the stuffing from yesterday filled out with a few kidney beans. I’m still not having an dessert though, trying my best to keep down my weight.

But now it’s bedtime and I really am going to have an early night. But after all the sleep that I’ve had just recently, I’ll probably still be awake when the alarm goes off tomorrow.

Wednesday 9th June 2021 – IN NEWS THAT WILL …

french flag, usa flag, german flag pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… infuriate every gammon for miles around, we can now see which of the four flagpoles was taken away earlier in the week.

The interesting thing about this is that the three nations whose flags are represented there have long-since given up fighting World Wat II and for the past 70 or so years have been working together to make the world a far better place in which we all can live (except when, of course, the Septics elect a Republican president).

There’s only one nation that is still fighting World War II and that’s the Brits. Still unable to live down the humiliation of throwing away their weapons and running away from the Germans and ever since then, clinging to the coat-tails of the Americans.

This inferiority complex was never better shown than on a few islands just in sight here on the horizon. The one part of the British Isles occupied by the Germans in 1940, the liberation passed by the Channel Islands in July 1944 but because the Americans refused to let the British have the resources, the British were too afraid to confront the Germans on their own and left their own people to starve, cut off from supplies, until after the Armistice in May 1945.

The people in the Channel Islands have never forgotten this of course, although the British have, a long time ago. Humility and remorse is not something in the character of the average gammon.

What’s not in the average character of me right now is this getting-up-at-06:00 lark, although I’ve been doing it for long enough these days. Still, to my surprise, I hauled myself out of bed as the alarm sounded (well, maybe a minute or two later) and went off to sort out the medication, which takes far longer than it ought these days.

Back here, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I went during the night. I was with a boy from school last night last night and somehow we had ended up being chased out of our accommodation. We had to walk and travel one stop on the train and we found another place where they were building some kind of armed camp to defend themselves against the authorities. We went to squat there. I asked him how he felt about seasick and he said that he wasn’t very good. We were in this room and I asked “what about your trip to Shearings? Are you still interested in going?”. He replied “yes” … (indistinct) … but instead he dressed and with about 12 minutes to spare I took him out and thought what was the matter with him … (I fell asleep here for a good few minutes) … I don’t know where I got to with that when I fell asleep dictating but we found some refuge in this place and then we got to the time when his pickup was ready so I asked him if he was still interested in going with Shearings, going on something that I had organised. He wanted to go with Shearings so I told him to get his things ready and I’ll see him on the bus somewhere. And the moral of this story is “never give up no matter how tempting the other alternatives are because you never know how good the profits of what you are planning are going to be” and what those last few words have to do with anything that has occurred I really have no idea.

And once more, apologies to Percy Penguin (who doesn’t appear in these pages anything like as often as she deserves) for doubting her when she complained that I snored when I was asleep.

Most of the day has been spent revising my Welsh, with plenty of comfort breaks, coffee and hot chocolate breaks, lunch breaks and even a couple of work breaks when I updated a couple of the Leuven pages (but don’t ask me which they were – you’ll have to go back and find out for yourself). And I made an appointment to visit the doctor tomorrow too.

My Welsh exam took place at 16:00 and by 16:15 it was all over. Although I made a couple of basic errors, I think that overall I might have done OK.

Luckily I’d found tucked away in the revision section of the course book 50 standard questions that might go with one part and 50 keywords that would go with another part so I spent a couple of hours working over different answers to the standard questions, and then inventing questions to fit the 50 keywords.

And I’m glad that I did that because while not many of the actual questions or keywords came up in the test, question patterns were pretty much the same. That will make up for me saying ‘sgynno fo on a couple of occasions when I should have said ‘sgynny hi. And that’s an important distinction. If only I’d stuck to “mae gan Caroline …”.

Anyway, about half an hour late, I went out for my afternoon walk.

volvo skip lorry collecting skip place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd right outside the front door we have yet more activity. And had I come out at my normal time I would have missed all of it.

The other day we saw a skip lorry drop off a skip and drive away empty. Today we’ve seen the reverse of the operation. An empty skip lorry has pulled up and he’s now reversing into position where he can lift up a skip onto the back of his lorry and drive away with it.

They were out working until quite late last night, judging by the times that the dumper came past here while I was writing up my notes. It’s not like French workmen to do overtime. There must be a penalty clause somewhere about to come into operation, hence the rush.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs is my custom, my next stop is to go and look at the beach to see what activity there is going on there right now.

Off I strolled across the car park over to the wall at the end where I can stick my head over the top to see what gives down there. And the answer is “not all that much”. There’s more beach than yesterday because the tide isn’t as far in, and it’s also a nice day considering what we have had just recently.

And so I was surprised to see only one couple down there on the beach, as far as I could see. And they are either preparing to go into the water or else they have just come out. It’s not all that clear. But it is a Wednesday afternoon and the schools are off this afternoon. So why aren’t there crowds of kids swarming about down there this afternoon?

Maybe they are all in the swimming baths at the Cité des Sports – it’s opened this afternoon for the first time since a long time ago.

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall And I hadn’t moved all that far away from where the people were down on the beach before there was yet more excitement this afternoon – this time, there’s Something In The Air as Thunderclap Newman would have said.

The other day I pontificated on the fact that we hadn’t seen the Bird-men of Alcatraz for quite a while, and so immediately there was one who took to the air. He must have been out there for a trial run and to report back to the other boys in the band, because this afternoon there were at least four of them out there enjoying themselves and probably a few more than that besides.

But for some reason they didn’t bother me all that much. I was able to walk faster than they could fly and so they never caught me up as I walked off along the path.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the things that we have been doing recently, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is to look at what’s going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel to see if the fishermen from Granville are exploiting it.

And so I walked past the flags, that you saw earlier, across the car park and down to the end of the headland to see if there were any trawlers out there this afternoon. And sure enough, there were quite a few of them out there today.

Right down at the bottom of the bay right up against the Brittany coast are three of them working hard. And they were just three of a dozen that I could have photographed. But they will do because they were quite close together rather than spread out across the bay.

And look how clear the Brittany coast is this afternoon. That’s somewhere near Cherrueix which is about 20 miles away as the crow flies.

trawler hera rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the viewpoint overlooking the port I could see quite a lot of activity going on there and in the chantier navale today, which makes a nice change.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw her still in the portable boat lift yesterday. But now, they have put her up on blocks, so it would seem to be more than a five-minute job that they will be doing on her.

The trawler Hera is still in there of course, but the question to which I’m more interested in knowing the answer is “what happened to that hulk that was in there for a few days?”. To my untrained eye that looked as if it needed much more work to make her seaworthy than the time that they spent on her.

fishing boats unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut you can tell that it’s coming up to that time of day when the tide will be well in.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few years ago that they dug out a deep channel a couple of years ago at the quayside under the Fish Processing Plant so that it would fill very quickly when the tide started to come in.

There’s already some water in that channel and there are a few of the inshore shellfish boats with a very low draught that have been able to come in and unload. The larger boats will have to wait until there is more water.

And doesn’t that yellow one resemble the one that was out in the Baie de Granville yesterday?

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOooh! Look who’s moored up in the inner harbour underneath the loading crane?

It’s one of our old friends from the Channel Islands. This is Thora, one of the little coastal freighters that plies her trade between here and Jersey. At one time, a long time ago, she used to be a car ferry working between the island of Bressay and the “Mainland” of Shetland. That’s a comparatively sheltered water so I bet she and her crew know all about conditions in the English Channel between Jersey and here when the going gets tough.

She still occasionally doubles as a car ferry. At the time that the lockdown was at its height and the big ferries weren’t running, people being repatriated had to come over on Thora and regular readers of this rubbish saw more than one or two cars lifted out of her by the big crane.

f-gorn Robin DR400/120 Dauphin pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo we’ve seen a bit of almost everything today. So what remains to be seen that we haven’t seen as yet? I know! How about an aeroplane?

Sure enough. Almost as soon as I’d said it one of the little light aircraft came flying by. I must have made a pact with the devil, I reckon.

This one is F-GORN, a machine that we have seen on many occasions. She’s a Robin DR400/120 Dauphin and she seems to have spent a lot of her time today flying around in circles not too far from the airport. Not that that should come as any surprise to anyone because she is actually owned by the Aero Club de Granville and is used either for instructing or solo flying by club members.

autobianchi stellina place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey say that you should always leave the best until last and so how about this one? It’s this kind of thing that made it all worthwhile going out late for my walk.

And so I’ll tell you that you have undoubtedly never ever seen one of these before, and you undoubtedly will never ever see one again, and that’s because there were only ever 502 of these made, and that was 55 or so years ago.

The first ever Italian car to have a fibreglass body and powered by FIAT’s water-cooled 767cc engine, it’s an Autobianchi Stellina and just what it’s doing here I really don’t know. These would be as rare as hen’s teeth in Italy, never mind here.

Back here I cut myself a big slice of Liz’s ginger cake as a reward for my efforts and made myself a nice hot coffee. And then I came back into my little office where I promptly fell asleep. About 2 hours I was away with the fairies and so the guitar practice, when I finally came round, was short and horrible.

Tea was a burger in a bap, and then seeing that I had no pudding I made something that I haven’t made for ages – viz. a baked apple with hot custard. And wasn’t that delicious too?

But now I’m off to make some bread dough, and then I’m goig to bed. I’ve had enough of today. it was only seeing that Autobianchi that cheered me up.

Tuesday 8th June 2021 – I DON’T THINK …

boats in passage ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… that I’ve ever seen so many boats in the passage between the Ile de Chausey and the Pointe du Roc all at once.

It goes to show just how busy the place is and how many boats there are operating out of the port. But we’re coming to the time when the harbour gates are going to be open and there will be enough water in the outer tidal harbour so that the smaller boats will be able to tie up to the quay at the fish processing plant and unload their catch.

And talking of the number of boats in the harbour, there’s going to be another one very soon. The company that owns the Joly France boats are about to take delivery of a new one that has been built in Turkey. Business must be booming.

men fishing from boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just the commercial boats streaming back towards the harbour this afternoon that caught my attention.

As you might expect, we’ve had the sports fishermen out there in numbers again today. This is just three of the dozen or so little boats that were out there stationary in the water today. A couple of zodiacs and a small cabin cruiser full of men casting their rods and line into the sea.

As to whether they caught anything, I couldn’t really say because I didn’t hang around for very long. That was because this afternoon, I wasn’t feeling myself this afternoon … “and quite right. Disgusting habit” – ed … and I wanted to be home without too much delay.

The problem actually began last night when I didn’t go to bed until 00:30 after everything that I had to do. And when you don’t go to bed until that time and you have to get up at 06:00 it’s a recipe for disaster. And awakening at about 02:30 in a cold sweat is another reason to be wary about how the events of the day would unfold.

Nevertheless I leapt out of bed as the alarm rang and went off to take my medication. Armed with a coffee I came back in here afterwards to make a start on revising my Welsh for the lesson today.

And that didn’t pass very well because firstly whatever I had read just wouldn’t stick in my head. and secondly I had to fight off waves of sleep.

When it came to the lesson I took my hot chocolate and slice of fruit bread over to the portable computer (there’s no microphone or webcam on this big machine) in the dining area. And there I had the misfortune to fall asleep twice in the middle of the lesson.

And once again, nothing at all seemed to stick. I need to be doing better than this if I’m to make good progress.

After lunch the tutor offered us a mock exam. Mine was at 15:00 and although I didn’t feel as if it was good, the tutor seemed to think that I’ll have no problem tomorrow afternoon.

Despite all of the other pressures under which I have been wilting today I didn’t forget to go out for my afternoon walk today, as you have probably noticed.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as usual, the first port of call was the beach to see what was going on down there, so I took myself off down to the end of the car park to look over the wall and down onto the beach.

Just as yesterday, there wasn’t all that much room down there with the tide coming in quite rapidly but these two people have managed to find somewhere to loiter. And they are busy looking in the sand to see if they can pull any shellfish out of one of the little rivulets.

But they aren’t particularly equipped for scavenging on the beach. No bucket and no grattoir to scrape the sand or pull the oysters off the rocks. They won’t go far without those.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there looking over the wall down onto the beach, I was also looking around to see what was going on out at sea as well.

This boat out here looks familiar, doesn’t it? Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw a boat exactly like this up on blocks in the chantier navale for a while a couple of months ago having some work done on her.

It’s very hard to mistake that bright yellow colour, especially as it’s similar to the colour of Caliburn.

But whether she is the same boat of not, she doesn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry to go home right now like the other boats in the vicinity.

f-bxjq Robin HR-200-100 Club pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I moved off along the path at the top of the cliffs I was overflown by yet another light aeroplane that apparently had taken off from the airport at Donville les Bains.

She’s another aeroplane that we haven’t seen before. She’s F-BXJQ, a Robin HR-200-100 Club aeroplane and the 71st of her type to be built. She’s powered by an Avco Lycoming O-320-D2A air-cooled flat-four piston engine with an output of 119 kW, or 60 hp.

Unfortunately I’ve no idea where she’s going because she hadn’t filed a flight plan and she wasn’t picked up on any radar anywhere. In fact the last radar plot that I can find for her is over Belgium somewhere a while ago.

swathe cut through long glass pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me along the cliffs to the lawn, which they have left uncut for the last while and even planted a sign there to tell everyone that this area will not be cut so that it will encourage biodiversity, birds and bees and all of that.

And so I’m totally bewildered to see that they have been past here today and cut a great big, wide swathe right the way through the middle of it all. How this will promote diversity I really have no idea.

It was bad enough when someone came past with that lawn mower when they made a labyrinth in the long grass. But this swathe today is just inexplicable, especially as it’s right by the sign.

fixing flags to flagpoles pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we saw the start of work being undertaken to remove the base of one of the four flagpoles that were installed near the Monument to the Resistance.

Today we have a couple of workmen here with a cherry picker and so I worked my way round to a good vantage point where I could take a good photograph of them without causing a disturbance.

It seems that they are attaching flags to the flagpoles which is rather late, seeing as D-Day was on Sunday. They have already fixed the flag of the USA and are in the process of attaching the French flag. And that’s a strange decision too. I would have expected them to have fixed the French flag first.

And whose flag will be on the third flagpole?

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier in my walk around we’d seen all of the boats heading back towards the harbour. But one or two of them are well ahead of the game and have already arrived.

This trawler here just off the south side of the headland near the harbour entrance looks as if it will be first into the inner harbour, although it’s going to have a long wait, for while there’s some water by the Fish Processing Plant there still isn’t enough water in the outer harbour for them to open the gates to the inner harbour.

There seemed to be no-one fishing in the Baie de Mont St Michel this afternoon so I cleared off along the headland on the path as far down as the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

trawler hera yacht rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour  Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the chantier navale today there has been yet more movement of boats.

The trawler Hera is still in dock, up on her blocks, but the wooden hulk that we saw over the last few days has now gone. Instead there’s another yacht, called Rebelle down there on the portable boat lift and it isn’t clear to me as to whether she’s coming or going. I don’t like to speculate these days , having had a couple of spectacular failures just now.

Instead I pushed on home for my coffee and some of Liz’s ginger cake. And when I awoke at 18:00 the coffee was by my side, stone cold.

During that 90 minutes during which I was stark out, I’d been a-travelling. I was round at a girl’s house – I can’t remember whose house but it was a girl from school. She was asking me how I was and where I’d been so I replied but I also noticed some vegan cooking on the oven. Then I noticed that she had my notebook open. I said that I was grateful for all of the help and the hospitality that I had received, and I added “and the vegan meals”. She laughed and explained that she wanted to see what I needed and how she could help. She asked if I’d picked up any ordnance while I’d been out. “Not even from Verdun” I added. I didn’t want to tell her about the ordnance ie the automatic pistol loaded and in working order that I’d found elsewhere.

Guitar practice was depressing as you might expect with me being half-asleep tonight. Another dismal failure because I just can’t keep awake these days. But I remained awake enough to make tea – one of the last of the curries that were in the freezer followed by the last of the apple crumble and custard.

Having written up my notes, I’m off to bed. And I can’t say that I’m sorry about it. I’m totally exhausted and I’m not going to be any better. A good sleep would do me good so that I can be in good form for my Welsh exam.

Friday 4th June 2021 – CAN YOU IMAGINE …

… the shame of crashing out and falling asleep while you are talking to someone on the telephone.

And not once, but twice too, and to the same person. And I was definitely away with the fairies too because the second time that I slipped off there was a young schoolgirl in a traditional blue girls’ winter uniform handing me a piece of paper.

Mind you, it was one of my marathon chats that go on for, in this case, almost … errr … three hours, and you know just how well I’m (not) coping with afternoons just now.

Mornings though, I seem to be OK just now with those because once again I was up and about with the first alarm at 06:00. Feeling extremely perky too, which makes a change. Yes, lucky perky. As long as pinky doesn’t become jealous.

So after the medication, which takes much longer than it used to, first task was to see where I’d been on the dictaphone during the night.

And the answer was “nowhere”.

But never mind, that means that I have to edit two day’s worth of arrears of blog rather than one. And you can see where I’ve been, nocturnal voyages included, by going to THIS LINK and then THE FOLLOWING PAGE.

With that out of the way I took the bull by the horns and spent an hour revising my Welsh ready for next Thursday’s exam. Yes, me revising! Whatever next?

Well, next was dealing with a pile of correspondence that had built up. And I hop that Sean received my mail this morning. I had trouble getting it through.

And with that done, I made myself some hot chocolate, grabbed a slice of fruit bread (which is delicious by the way) and attacked the photos, bringing myself all the way to Independence Rock in Wyoming. That’s a very big, prominent rock in the middle of the Upper Wyoming Plain by the side of the Sweetwater River near Avoca.

It’s one of the more important trail markers and the emigrants on the trail and the emigrants on the Trails West reckoned that they needed to be there by Independence Day if they were to pass over the Rockies before the snows.

Edwin Bryant and his party, having broken away from the Donners due to their slowness and pushed on on their own, didn’t reach Independence Rock until 8th July 1846 and travelling much quicker with mules rather than waggons, they were still caught in frost up in the Rockies at the end of August.

The Donners didn’t arrive until 11th July and with no sense of urgency whatsoever, plodded on quite casually meeting disaster after disaster until the end of October when they were trapped in the snow near Truckee Lake at the foot of the Rockies and with no provisions remaining, began to eat each other.

Talking of eating, by the time that I’d done almost 50 photos it was lunchtime so I went to have lunch. That bread that I made is beautiful of course so I had a lovely lunch, and then I set to make a pile of hummus.

Or at least, I would have done had I had enough tahini. I’m certain that I had a couple of jars of it last time that I looked but like several other things that I’ve looked for in that kitchen, they are no longer there. I did what I could with what I had and while it will be a rather strange hummus.

the amount of garlic that I put in it means that it will be thoroughly wicked.

Then I had to ring Rosemary. I have a cunning plan and for that I need a suitable apprentice. And so we had a chat – for about three hours. That’s all. And as a result I was extremely late going out for my afternoon walk. More like an evening walk if you ask me.

fishermen in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd of course I didn’t go far from my front door before I was side-tracked yet again by my favourite subject.

Fishing seems to be quite the thing right now, whether it’s men in boats or on rocks trying to catch the fish, or me making trenchant and pithy comments about them. Anyway this afternoon we have a couple of men armed with fishing rods in a zodiac cruising up and down looking for what I have no idea at all.

Eventually they found a suitable spot to park their boat and settle down. I really did think that they were going to cast their lines but another boat came up for a chat.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo that was that. I went about my business and strolled across the car park to look over the wall down onto the beach to see how things were going on down there.

There wasn’t very much beach for things to be going on on this afternoon. My rather late walk had meant that the tide was by now well in. But even so, a couple of people were down there enjoying themselves in the sun and, I hope, out of the wind because this afternoon the cold, bitter wind is back.

Not the kind of weather for me to be hanging around either. And not just that – I’ll be missing my guitar practice if I don’t get a wiggle on.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s a photo that I’ve been meaning to take ever since I came back from Leuven but always seemed to be forgetting.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been following the adventures of the roofers fixing the roof at the College Malraux across the car park from my place for longer than anyone cares to remember.

However, right now it looks as if they might actually have finished. All the tiles are on anyway even if the scaffolding is still there. We’ll have to keep an eye on that to see if it disappears.

Actually, I could do with a couple of bays myself.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not just zodiacs that are out there on the water enjoying themselves today. I’d seen something moving on the water in the distance so I walked down the footpath and across the car park to the end of the headland for a closer look.

It’s actually a yacht that’s out there today, and there’s a full load of people on board by the looks of things. I bet that they are having a bumpy ride out there in the wind today. As you can tell by the whitecaps on the waves, it’s quite a lively sea this afternoon.

The sea is certainly more lively than I am right now. I feel as if I’ve aged about 20 years while I was in hospital. I staggered off down the path to see what I could see.

unidentified aircraft pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was on my way down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port, I was overflown by an aeroplane.

It was quite high up and I couldn’t see it clearly. I thought that it might have been the Ryanair flight from Faro to Newcastle upon Tyne that flies overhead round about this time, but in fact it seems to be a turbo-prop aeroplane, so that rules out Ryanair.

It’s hard to tell anything really at the height that it was flying. I can’t even read the registration number on this kind of resolution so I don’t have a clue as to what it might be, which is a shame. It’s the first decent-sized plane that we’ve seen for a while.br clear=”both”>

aircraft 55-oj pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not just large aircraft that we haven’t seen for a while. There’s not been much in the way of light aircraft either. However one of them overflew me while I was looking down at the harbour

From this angle I couldn’t see the registration number, so I carried on with my observation of what was going on down below. And there was nothing new of any importance. The trawler Hera is still in the chantier navale along with that strange hulk, and that was my lot today.

Nothing of any excitement in port either Normandy Trader is of course long-gone and we haven’t seen Thora for quite a while either. I hope that she’s okay.

aeroplane 55-oj pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the small aeroplane that overflew me just now has done a U-turn over the Baie de Mont St Michel and is heading back to the airport at Donville les bains.

And I can see its registration number too – OJ-55 and we’ve seen her before, but I’ve still not found out who or what she actually is. That number isn’t any number of any series that I have ever seen or have access to.

Anyway I came home, grabbed a coffee and came in here because it was guitar time. And so ngrid rang me and we had quite a chat too although I was exhausted and couldn’t concentrate.

And that was the story of my bass guitar practice too. No concentration tonight. This isn’t doing me any good at all, all of this.

For tea I had chips and falafel, fried in Rachel’s microwave cooker. takes a while but does a good job eventually. With the little salad that I had, it was good stuff. Especially when followed down by apple crumble and thick custard. What can be better?

A good sleep would be a start, so I’m not hanging around. Despite the interruptions I had a really busy day today and yesterday. Shopping tomorrow, which will cost me an arm and a leg, and then Sunday is a Day of Rest.

And I can’t wait.

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.

Tuesday 1st June 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… really horrible day today, which will come as no surprise to anyone at all.

It’s always the same – the day after I return from Leuven I always have a day like this, which is why I always try to come home on a Saturday – so that I can take advantage of a Sunday and stay in bed. When I have to get up early in the morning it’s bound to back fire.

And so it did today. With my Welsh lesson this morning I had to haul myself out of bed at 06:00 as usual, and I managed that without any problems. After the medication, of which there is more than enough these days, I came in and sorted out a few bits and pieces that needed to be done.

Finally I could sit down and start to revise my Welsh. And I got as far as the first few pages of my notebook and that was that. Flat out on the chair, and until 09:40 as well. I must have been out for a couple of hours.

First thing after coming round was to have a shower. Nice clean clothes and properly refreshed after all of that, I could sit down and study – as much as I could in the time allowed because there wasn’t much time left.

Soon enough – far too soon in my opinions – I knocked off and went to make myself some hot chocolate – real hot chocolate made with real chocolate as usual, and armed with this and a slice of that cake that I bought from LIDL at Christmas, I went for my lesson.

It was a strange lesson. We have our exam next Wednesday – mine is at 16:00 – and so while it was officially a week off for school half-term, we had a special lesson which was in effect to work our way through 2 past question papers and then we each had a mock examination. Mine went rather flat as I forgot two tenses and also didn’t understand one word that our tutor used.

It’s an oral examination done on Zoom with four parts to the paper and we need 50% in each section to pass. And despite my faltering here and there, our tutor told us that we would all have passed quite easily.

For lunch I finished off yesterday’s sandwiches and then went off to the shops. With having been away for so long, whatever fruit was left had gone off and there wasn’t much of anything at all left.

At LIDL I spent a lot of money, mainly on all different kinds of fruit, and then at LeClerc it was another expensive do, mainly due to having to buy some more coffee. Not that I’m running low on supplies but whenever I do, I never have any handy and I never seem to be able to find the type that I like.

Back here I put away the frozen food and then went out for my afternoon walk. Mustn’t forget that.

workmen building compound place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the builders’ compound across the road that had sprung up like a mushroom while I’d been away.

This afternoon when I went outside they were actually working there. There was a digger working there taking a pile of earth and sand out of the store of earth that they had in a container and tipping it into the load bed of the dumper, presumably to disappear off into the bowels of the medieval city to fill in whatever hole they have dug.

There is quite a lot of rubble and earth and sand in that container there so it must have been quite a hole or trench that they have dug. I might go for a walk out that way tomorrow to see what they have been up to.

people on beach rue du nord swimming buoys plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallit was the habit before I went off to Leuven for me to go over to the end of the car park and look over the wall down onto the beach by the Rue du Nord to see what is going on down there.

As you might expect, there were several people down on the beach. Not as many as I was expecting because the temperature was 24°C this afternoon, really warm, and hardly a breath of wind. How the weather has changed since I went off to Leuven.

With weather like this, I would have expected to have seen crowds of people down there this afternoon.

Also in the distance you can see the row of yellow buoys. They mark the edge of the patrolled beach of the Plat Gousset. It looks as if they have reassembled all of the necessary summer season items like the diving platform and all of that, ready for the arrival of the grockles.

fishermen zodiac speedboat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing of which we have seen plenty of in the past is all of the fishermen who hang around either on the rocks or in boats just off the cliffs out at sea.

Today, we have a pile of fishermen out there in boats. I had noticed that there were two guys in that zodiac just there. They were stationary and were casting their lines into the sea from their boat. And as I watched them, the other guys turned up in the speedboat from across the bay near Donville les Bains.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the two guys in the speedboat had made themselves quite unpopular by their sudden arrival. I’m sure that the wake of their boat would have driven away any fish that might be there.

As regular readers of this rubbish might recall, we haven’t ever seen a fisherman catch a fish when they have been on their own, never mind when someone has come along to disrupt their silence.

joly france speedboat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been looking down onto the beach just now, I had noticed out of the corner of my eye some kind of movement in white out near the Ile de Chausey.

Using the zoom lens at its fullest extent I was able to take a photograph of it, and later on when I was back at the apartment I was able to enlarge it and crop it out so I could see better which boat it was.

Of course, it goes without saying that what I had seen was a boat, and it was none other than one of the Joly France boats on its way back to port with a load of tourists having spent the day out there on the island, accompanied by a speedboat.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that we were looking at prior to my departure to Leuven was the fact that the local fishing boats were now much more active in the Baie de Mont St Michel than they ever have done in the past.

And sure enough, there were a couple of trawlers out there in the bay today fishing away off over towards the Brittany coast. I’d seen them when I was on the lawn and so I walked across the lawn and the car park down to the end of the headland in order that I could photograph them.

It seems to me that despite the agreement with the Jersey authorities the fishing boats are busy exploring new fishing grounds as some kind of insurance

joly france trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now, the white thing that I had seen moving about has come closer to the headland so that I can see better what it is. There was really no need for me to have taken the earlier photograph in fact.

Here she is, coming closer to the headland, just as she is passed by a trawler on its way out to the fishing grounds. Whatever the circumstances, they are still going out to the Baie de Granville for fishing purposes. At least those people in the large boats actually manage to catch things, which is more than can be said for the men with rod and line.

From here, I continued on my way along the footpath. Having been so ill, I was really struggling along the path. It was really hard to believe that 12 months ago I could run around here without any problems.

hera trawler customs launch chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy walk – or, more likely, my stagger – along the top of the cliffs took me to my viewpoint over the harbour where I could look down on the chantier navale and see what was going on down there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I left here, the ship repair yard was empty. It had been full for quite some time but gradually all of the boats had ended up back in the water. And so it was nice to see it quite busy again when I came back from my little trip.

There’s a trawler, Hera in there, and next to it is a Customs launch. Does this mean that we are finally going to have our own Customs post here at long last?

Next to that is quite a large inshore fishing boat. You can see all of the buoys on board that we see floating around in the water occasionally, which seem to mark the position of lobster pots, and you can see the crane that presumably lifts the pots out of the water

But what piqued my interest most of all was the wooden craft closest to me. That looks like something old and disreputable from the 16th Century and I’ll be keeping a keen eye on her to see what is going to happen.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now, Joly France had arrived in port and was heading off to her berth at the ferry terminal.

In the past they enter port really close to the green marker light but today she had come in closer to the other side of the harbour entrance. That’s presumably because they’ve moved the silt bank that was over there, an activity that we watched with great interest a couple of months ago, so the water isn’t quite as shallow as it used to be.

And we can see that she’s the older of the two Joly France boats. We can tell that because of the windows down her side. They are rectangular in “landscape” mode, whereas in the newer boat, they are rectangular in “portrait” mode.

And doesn’t she have a crowd of people on board this afternoon? It must have been busy over there on the island today in this lovely weather.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYet another thing that had caught my attention, and that of the regular readers of this rubbish, who will recall that I have spent a great amount of time talking about the boats that are left tied up to the jetty underneath the fish processing plant and left there to settle in the silt when the tide goes out.

One that I’ve seen quite regularly is L’Omerta. She’s been tied up there a few times and left to go aground, instead of being taken into the inner harbour where she can remain afloat.

And I’ve still not figured out the significance of her name. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – edOmerta is the name given to the oath of silence taken by members of the Mafia.

Back here I made myself a nice cold drink – a strawberry smoothie – and then came in here to carry on with my work but, shame as it is to admit it, I fell asleep again and was stark out until 18:45. And I wasn’t in any fit state to do anything for a while. I’d missed my guitar practice and I was annoyed about that.

Tea was a stuffed pepper (I’d bought some of those while I was out) followed by chocolate sponge and coconut dessert stuff. There’s only enough chocolate sponge now for tomorrow so I’ll have to invent a dessert for the rest of the week. I did buy some cooking apples so I might even go for a crumble and make some custard now that I know that it works.

To my surprise the ginger hadn’t died so I fed it with more. I wasn’t so sure about the sourdough. It didn’t look at all healthy but I emptied it out, fed it, cleaned out its bottle and refilled it. We’ll see how it goes over the next couple of days as to whether it’s still alive.

As for me, I don’t feel as if I’m still alive. I’ve made an executive decision – which means that if it is the wrong decision, the person making it is executed – and that there will be no alarm tomorrow. I’m owed a Day of Rest after my exhausting travels and I’ll take it tomorrow.

Hopefully that will set me back on my feet but I doubt it. I think that I’m too far gone for that.