Tag Archives: High Arctic

Monday 18th July 2022 – WE’RE LIVING …

burnt grass on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022IN A DUST BOWL.

That’s the path that leads up to the lighthouse at the Pointe du Roc (the lighthouse is behind me) and “scorched earth” has nothing on this.

The grass is dying and whenever there’s a gust of wind it whips a cloud of dust into the air. We are “living in interesting times” right now and if people don’t get a grip and do something, it will be like this much more often.

Nature is indeed starting to fight back at the human race and we have only ourselves to blame.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that back in 2018 I was on Bylot Island in the Canadian Arctic with an Inuit guy. He told me that where we were standing was where he used to come with his kayak when he was a boy to collect ice from the glacier that was here so that his grandfather could have some fresh, pure water for his tea.

He then took us to where the glacier was on that day. We had to walk a little over two kilometres.
“How old are you, Michael?”
“I’m 22”

Anyone who doesn’t believe in global warming needs to take a little trip to the Arctic and talk to the Inuit who are watching their traditional way of life evaporating before their eyes..

But anyway, I digress.

Nature was certainly getting its own back on me last night. It was far too hot to sleep and I had a miserable night tossing and turning.

However I must have done at some point because there was some stuff on the dictaphone. I’d been with the boys in the band, one of the groups in which I used to play back in the mid-70s. We’d had to go to the Post Office to pick up some new equipment for one of them. When we arrived there was an enormous queue so we had to fight our way to the front eventually. There were crowds of people in the Post Office but the woman didn’t have the time to look for it. She wanted us to come back later. I said “yes, how about 45 minutes?”. That would give us chance to have a bag of chips or something for lunch. She replied “yes, that’s OK”. We went outside but the other 2 didn’t want to wait. They got into the van and drove off home which left me wandering around Crewe wondering what I was going to do. Eventually I drove home and parked the vehicle. I took this speaker cabinet out of the van. It was on 4 castors and I had to push it home over a muddy farm track. It wasn’t easy to push this. It was narrow and there were cars and bikes coming so I had to pull into the side to let them go. A girl appeared – a girl who lived in our building. She said that she would help me push it. I replied that there was no need, I could manage but she pushed it quite easily which surprised me. We reached the part where I’d put down a wooden flooring in this lane. We started pushing it and it really was easy. We pushed it between us up to my building. She made some facetious remark about the carpet that I’d laid down for my speaker. I said “yes and I’d have finished the rest of the way to the van had I had more wood but I’ve not been to Canada for the last few years and that’s where I usually buy it. It’s dirt-cheap there”. We entered the lift and I asked her what floor she wanted. She said “the first floor”. I wanted the ground floor so the lift took us down. I thought that it would take us to the first floor where she lived but instead it went on down to mine. We both left the lift and started to move the speaker cabinet. I thought that it was polite to ask her if she wanted to come in for a coffee or something but my place was a total tip. Even so I thought that it was the polite thing to do to ask her if she would like to come in.

Later on I was driving a taxi last night. On the radio the instructions came through to go and pick up someone called “Jagger”. They said that the address was in Walthall Street. I reached the street and asked for the number of the house. They said that they didn’t have it but it was the one with the wooden frame and the music. I drove down the street, eventually found it and knocked on the door. This old woman came out and Mick Jagger came as well. They both got into my cab. I asked them where they wanted to go to. The woman said that she lived next door to TB Furnishing. That shop I didn’t have a clue where it was. She said that it was one of the streets off Nantwich Road. I headed up that way and when I reached Nantwich Road heading towards the railway station the woman said “it’s not in this direction. Everyone else usually goes another way”. I replied “you tell me which way they go and I’ll take you that way. It’s no problem”. I couldn’t work out where this place was. Mick Jagger was going to Nantwich once I dropped off this old woman but I couldn’t get this old woman out of the cab because I didn’t know where she wanted dropping off.

Finally I was at work and someone came over to me to ask if I recognised a song. They said the first line of it. It was a Barclay James Harvest song “See The Gambler Make a Stand”, one of the tracks that I play on the acoustic guitar. I recognised the song immediately and told them the name … THE WORLD GOES ON” – ed … and which album it was off … “Octoberon” – ed … one of the best albums ever recorded in Progressive Rock (which it is). They asked a little more about it so I said that I would look it up on the computer. I went over to their computer to call up one of the music sites to look at it. They were busy playing on their computer, playing something on there so I had to use a different keyboard. This involved pressing piles of mud, pushing my finger deep into these piles of mud outside their vehicle to type this up. Of course, dealing with mud is not very easy to find the correct keys and their computer was even slower than mine. I thought that it would take quite a time to go through.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I was up and out of bed quite quickly. Having taken my medication and checked my mails and messages I sat down to prepare the radio programme that I wanted to do today. I wasn’t in any rush and it took longer to do than some of the ones that I’ve done quite recently.

But it really ought to have taken longer than it did because what I do is to prepare 10 tracks for about 48 minutes, 10 speeches that go for about 8 minutes after being edited, work out how much time is left for a final track, knock off 45 seconds for a final closing speech and then choose a track for the time that remains and then record the final speech which, after editing, should last for 45 seconds.

And in case you are wondering, 300 characters of text works out at 17 seconds of speech.

Anyway, usually it all over-runs so I have to edit some speech out from here and there to make it all fit and that can take a lot of time, but today it was a perfect fit. Just 0.3 seconds under, and lengthening a few pauses took that up in a couple of mouse strokes.

While I was listening to it, I was on the hunt for a Welsh Summer School. The problem with having a teflon brain is that nothing sticks to it so I need to keep it working.

Coleg Cambria, with whom I study, had a couple but for some reason that I don’t understand, our tutor didn’t tell us about them. So they have been and gone.

So rummaging through a few of my contacts elewhere I ended up with a tutor whom I know from Coleg Gwent with whom I did those supplementary classes earlier this year. Her college had a Summer School that started today and after much binding in the marsh I managed to blag my way onto it.

So that’s me occupied for the rest of the week.

While I was at it I also had a good session on the guitar today.

For a change, I missed breakfast so I ended up having my fruit bun for lunch with a pile of fruit. And then, regrettably, the bad night caught up with me and that was that for an hour. No problem sleeping in this heat when I’m on my chair, is there?

As usual I headed off out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And I rather wished that I hadn’t either because it was breathtakingly hot and I was seriously considering going back into my apartment.

As usual I wandered off across the car park to the wall at the end to have a look down at what was going on down there

There weren’t all that many people out there this afternoon and that’s no surprise because anyone with any sense would be sitting inside the fridge keeping cold on an afternoon like this. Somehow I don’t think that being in the water will cool anyone down enough today

seagulls people in water plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There wasn’t anything at all happening out at sea this afternoon, but I was rather intrigued by the people here.

There was a kid on the rocks at the edge of the water doing something or other and an adult with a couple of kids in some swimming rings shaped like swans.

Interestingly though there was a flight of seagulls on their way over to inspect the proceedings and presumably making a bombing raid on the people in the water. That would have livened up the proceedings quite considerably.

The path was completely empty this afternoon. There wasn’t anyone at all out there as I headed off towards the lighthouse.

powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There might have been nothing happening out at sea but we had something going on in the air this afternoon.

It was making quite a racket even though I couldn’t see it, but eventually I managed to lay my eyes on it. It was one of the powered hang gliders on its way out into the bay.

Unfortunately I can’t tell which one because it was flying so high that I was struggling to make it out.

At the car park at the end of the headland there were just four or five cars and no more than 15 people in total. That was all that I saw out there this afternoon.

No real surprise. One of my friends told me later that the temperature this afternoon had reached 41°C and sent me a photo to prove it. That’s what I call warm.

buoys pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There wasn’t anyone sitting on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban this afternoon.

Nor anyone walking around the lower path either so I was having a good look at the buoy that we saw yesterday, simply because today it seems to have found a friend. There’s another buoy there by its side now.

There were a couple of others further on round the headland too but I left them to it and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was happening in the harbour.

Not that I was expecting all that much.

chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Over at the ferry terminal this afternoon we had a couple of boats moored up.

At the front is the little freighter Chausiase and behind her is one of the Joly France ferries to the Ile de Chausey. No step cut out of the stern so she would be the older one of the two.

No Channel Island ferries though. Victor Hugo is still moored up in the inner harbour.

But the situation regarding the Channel Island ferries is becoming clearer by the day. There was a court hearing today that seems to suggest that the previous operators of the ferry service have not handed over the keys and documentation that the new operators require.

They have entered a defence against the action but my understanding is that it’s been struck out, so they are appealing.

l'omerta saint andrews port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022For that reason we’ll have to turn our attention elsechere.

Like to the quayside by the Fish Processing Plant where our game of musical ships continues with L’Omerta moored there again in her usual position. And behind her is the little trawler Saint Andrews.

Plenty of vehicles around there too on the lower level, and up above are a couple of piles of fishing equipment.

There is one of the little harbour lighters there too but I can’t identify her unfortunately, even if she does have a name.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022On my way back to my apartment and my coconut drink, I noticed that Martité was back in town.

No point though in going to ask when their next trip out will be, because the answer will be “it’s all on the website” and they’ll go back to chatting amongst themselves.

So with my coconut drink I pressed on with dealing with this Welsh Summer School and making sure that I had been accepted. And, of course, thanking Karen (who taught the supplementary courses and who found this course for me at lunchtime) for her assistance.

Byddaf i yna I said. “I’ll be there’.

As I said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … they are taking quite seriously this “Million Welsh Speakers by 2025” or whenever the time limit is.

Tea tonight was a rather sad stuffed pepper. “Sad” in the sense that it was the pepper itself that was showing signs of age. The stuffing was excellent.

So now I’m off to bed. I have four days of Welsh Summer School now for the rest of the week and that will keep me out of mischief for a while. But I bet that I’ll forget it all by the time that our course starts up again in September.

Monday 25th April 2022 – THAT WAS A NIGHT …

… that I would much rather forget. I’ve been having a few of these here and there as well just recently.

Although I was in bed last night at 22:30 ready for my 06:00 start, and feeling tired at that as well , by the time that 04:20 came round and I was still awake, I was thoroughly and completely fed up.

Even more surprisingly, when the alarm did go off at 06:00 I was up quite smartly too even if I didn’t feel much like it. And apart from a little wobble here and there just after lunch, I kept on going all day without really crashing out.

And the chances of that happening – well, not happening – are pretty remote as well the way that things have been just recently.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down and attacked the radio programme that needed preparing.

It was all up and running too at 10:45 and that was a surprise considering all of the interruptions that I had today. There was an early morning coffee, followed by breakfast followed by the nurse coming round early yet again to inject me with the Aranesp ready for my trip away at the weekend.

And having had a visit from the nurse, I had to ring up the doctor for an appointment. I need more Aranesp, having used the last lot, and I have to talk to him about my knee. Now that I’ve had the MRI scan and something has been discovered, I need to find out what is going to happen next.

As well as that, I need a blood test. They upped my medication when I was at the hospital just now, and I need to have the results ready for when I return next Thursday.

There were four radio programmes that I needed to verify today. I’m sending off two today because I won’t be here next Monday, and then there was the one that I prepared last week and never had time to verify, and then there was the one that I’d prepared today. And s much of the rest of the day was spent listening to them to make sure that they passed muster.

While that was going on I was working on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019. Right now I’m on board a zodiac in Flexure Bay off the coast of King William Island on my way to investigate a rather large pod of Beluga Whales.

There were several breaks in this task too. Firstly, I went for a shower. Secondly I had lunch and thirdly I went off for my appointment with the physiotherapist.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022First port – if you pardon the expression – of call was the wall overlooking the harbour on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

Our little game of Musical Ships is continuing this afternoon as well. Although the tide is in, L’Omerta is in with it, tied up at the quayside by the Fish Processing Plant. It must be her turn today.

There are two other boats in the photo too. The one in front looks as if it might be some kind of official boat judging by the colour, but I can’t make out the identity of the one behind her Whoever she is, she’s one of the inshore shell-fishing boats.

philcathane joly france yachts port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The tide is actually quite well in right now and so one or two fishing boats are heading back to harbour.

This one coming in is Philcathane. Parked up at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France ferries and the small upper deck superstructure makes me think that she’s the newer one of the two.

And there’s someone standing by the crane too, although there doesn’t look like any freight that needs loading aboard.

There are a couple of yachts out there in the bay behind her having a good sail around too, enjoying the nice weather.

repairing roofs rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022My route into town goes down the Rue des Juifs past the three houses that were devastated by the fire the other week.

There’s been a cherry-picker there for a couple of days with a few workmen in the nacelle. They are putting some kind of wooden framework up there to which they will be covering with a tarpaulin or two.

It’s quite important to keep at least the ones either side of the destroyed house covered in order to stop the elements doing even more damage than the fire has already done, but I think that te one in the centre, on which they were working as I went past, is beyond redemption.

The smell from the fire-damaged structure would be enough to put off anyone who might want to repair it, never mind anyone else.

swimming pool cranes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There’s more activity going on in the inner harbour this afternoon.

There are two cranes that work the freight in the harbour and it looks as if they are having a conference this afternoon. And there are a couple of people in attendance too.

On the quayside is another pile of freight, including yet another swimming pool. That can only mean that one of the Jersey freighters will be coming into port quite soon to which it all away.

There wasn’t anything of any interest going on in town this afternoon so I had a pretty uninterrupted trip up the hill towards the physiotherapist.

She gave me an electro-massage on my knee and then had me doing a few exercises.

While I was there I cancelled my appointment for Wednesday as I’m at the doctor’s, and cancelled them for next week too as I’m on my travels again.

redecorated facade rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022After she threw me out I headed back into town on my way home for my afternoon coffee.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last couple of weeks we’d seen some scaffolding up against a building in the Rue Georges Clemenceau. Today, I noticed that the scaffolding has gone and we can see what they have been doing.

It’s the building down there that has the nice fresh blue edging. They have done a pretty good job of painting it and it looks quite nice now. I wonder when they are going to paint a few more to match.

fishing boat leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill towards home I walked past the port where I noticed one of the fishing boats heading off out to sea.

Unfortunately she’s not one that I recognise and with only having the NIKON 1 J5 with the standard lens, I’m not likely to be able to enlarge it sufficiently to see its registration number.

Her colours are distinctive enough and I’ll certainly remember her if I ever see her again.

Around here while I was looking at the port I fell in with one of my neighbours on her way home and so we walked up the hill together putting the world to rights.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022When we arrived at the building I went over to the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

Firstly, there wasn’t all that much beach to be on. Even so with the nice sunny weather I was expecting to see a few people down there making the most of it.

However, there weren’t all that many people there this afternoon. all I could see were a couple of people loitering around down there.

No-one in the water as far as I could see though. The weather wasn’t all that warm, I suppose.

fishing boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was plenty of activity going on out at sea.

Even with the standard lens on the camera I could see quite a few boats out there in the bay, although I couldn’t see if they were fishing boats or pleasure craft.

But they were clearly busy so I left them to it and came back here where I bumped into yet another neighbour. It’s my day for being sociable today.

Back here I had a coffee and finished listening to the last of the radio programmes, and then I could see what was going on with the dictaphone.

At some point during the night I must have gone to sleep because there was some stuff on there that I had recorded. Three of us had booked rooms at a hotel (and there’s more to this story than meets the eye too). I’d specified a room next to the other two. I turned up at about 08:30. Of course it was far too early to take my room but I thought that there would be a consigne where I could leave the baggage but they were so busy at reception with people checking out and having breakfast that I had to wait around. Eventually someone came to take over from the night desk staff. We began to chat. He discussed my special requirements – I’d listed dozens of special requirements, some of which were quite silly but he went through them with me. We entered the lift but I’d forgotten half the stuff. There was some stuff that I didn’t know that I had to bring but eventually I collected everything together end we entered the lift. We went up to the 2nd floor but they were vacuuming there so we had to go up the the second-and-a-half floor and come down the stairs at the back in order to arrive at the consigne where I could leave my baggage.

And then I was living in Winsford again. There was a woman there with 3 small children, girls. They were round at my place. I was looking after them, taking turns to take them to the bathroom etc. They met Tuppence, my black cat. They were asking questions about her, how old she was. I said that she must be at least 20 now. They thought that that was wonderful. One of them had a cat that usually hid in a drawer. When she went to open the drawer of course it wasn’t there. Outside, between my house and the next-door neighbour’s I’d erected a suspension bridge. It looked absolutely magnificent. Everyone thought that it was great. I had to have the neighbour sign a liability waiver so that if anything happened to the bridge with him on it he wouldn’t sue me for it. We had an inspection of the bridge and in the end he signed the paper.

Tea was a stuffed pepper – there was one lying around – and it was delicious. And now I’m going to have a little relax and then go to bed. I’m totally exhausted and I’m surprised that I’ve kept on going so long. It just goes to show that I can do it when I want, even when I’ve taken one of those night-time pills.

Wednesday 20th April 2022 – I’VE NOT HAD …

… a very good day today unfortunately.

After having had a few weeks of feeling so much better, today was something of a relapse.

It was one of those things that I knew as soon as I awoke this morning. It was a real struggle to leave the bed (but I still managed to beat the second alarm) and I was feeling like death. For a couple of hours I couldn’t manage to do anything at all and it was a desperate struggle to keep awake for much of it.

Mind you, I had another extremely violent dream and I reckon that it was this that took a lot out of me. We were in some city somewhere in Eastern Europe. There had been a load of events leading up to something but I’ve forgotten them all. We went into this restaurant, it might have been in Eastern Germany, to order something. There were all these people milling around, all kinds of people of all kinds of sexual persuasion just as there used to be in West Berlin in the early 80s. No-one seemed to be paying very much attention so our drink hadn’t come so I went to walk out. Someone gave me a bunch of flowers so I just threw them onto the floor and walked out. Someone tried to restrain me so I gave them a “Glasgow Kiss”. It just descended into a complete and utter orgy of violence after that. It just became worse and worse afterwards and really you don’t want to know about it. It was all absolutely appalling and violent and so real as well.

And then there was a group of us somewhere in Ireland last night. There were several abandoned villages and the talk was that one of them should be reoccupied so they sent a guy out there. They asked which house he would be living in and he replied “the warm house”. They arranged for him to have supplied etc and his letters delivered. A short while later a few more people went out to live there, prospectors, miners, etc. I was one of them although I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. I had my electricity bill, 3 for one property, 3 for another and 1 for a third as well as a few other bits and pieces. I was trying to contact the Electricity Board to have some kind of overview of my account so that I could write out one cheque to clear everything. This was much more difficult than it seemed and I could see that after the time that I had spent on the ‘phone and on the 2-way radio trying to talk to people, I was just going to have to write out one cheque for each individual bill and pay it like that. If I run out of cheques that would be rather too bad.

So having had my medication, checked my mails and messages and transcribed the dictaphone notes, I spent most of the day dealing with the photos from the Canadian High Arctic in 2019. We eventually struggled onto the shore on Devon island across the bay from Dundas Harbour, STRAWBERRY MOOSE and me, and His Nibs was serenaded by a lady Inuit drum-dancer whom we encountered.

Right now, we’re back in our zodiac heading back to THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR.

Something else that I did was to do some tidying up (shock! Horror!) here in the bedroom and also to deal with some more photos that I found hidden in the depths of the computer that look as if they have been here since the Dawn of Time.

There were the usual pauses for breakfast, for lunch, for a good session on the guitar and also my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And as usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

And just here at the foot of the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord there wasn’t very much happening at all. There was hardly anyone down there this afternoon.

Quite a few people further down by the Plat Gousset though. That seems to be where all of the action is taking place. Maybe I ought to go for a wander in that direction one of these days.

But not to buy an ice-cream. There’s a photo (not one of mine) currently doing the rounds about a “certain event” that took place there earlier today.

marker buoys baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There were however considerably more people up her eon the path so I was glad that I remembered to wear my mask.

Anyway, I walked all the way round and across to the car park to see what was happening out at sea and once again there were strange objects bobbing up and down in the water.

Nothing particularly exciting though. No dolphin or anything, just a buoy marking where a fisherman has dropped a lobster pot into the water.

And the 25-litre plastic container seems to be back. It wasn’t there yesterday. It’s probably also being used as a pot marker in that case. But these lobster pots are quite interesting. How on earth do you train a lobster to go on one?

cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Although there wasn’t a great deal going on out at sea this afternoon, there had been some people watching it.

However, they must have heard about me because as I turned up and prepared the camera, they stood up and began to leave. This is what happens when you are famous.

So with nothing else happening over here, I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was going on down at the harbour. Not all that much, I imagined. I was having one of those days today that one has when things aren’t going too well.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was no change in occupant at the chantier naval this afternoon. Still just Anakena and la Roc A la Mauve III.

Over at the ferry terminal we have Chausiaise today and that was about it. By the looks of things the two Joly France boats are out at the Ile de Chausey and Belle France is still moored in the inner harbour.

But still no sign of the Channel Island ferries. If they really are planning to restart the service by the end of April as the intimated earlier in the year, they need to be getting a move on. There’s not long to go.

In any case, I can’t see me being off to Jersey before I go off on my next trip.

And that was something else that I did this morning and forgot to mention – to book my next trip on the road.

ch 798530 briscard port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The other day we saw a few fishing boats moored up on the silt by the fish processing plant.

Yesterday they had gone and L’Omerta was in their place. But today she’s gone and one of the three that was here the other day – Briscard – is now back again. It looks as if it’s becoming a popular spot.

Abd back here in my apartment I made a coffee and came back in her – and prmptly fell asleep. I told you that I was having a bad day and it didn’t improve as time went on.

Tea tomight was a taco roll with the left-over stuffing from yesterday. And so tomorrow I’ll be having a curry with the left-over food in the fridge

Anyway, right now I’m off to bed. I’m hoping for a better night tonight without the violence, and a better day to follow. I was really hoping that I’d seen the last of these bad days that I’ve been having, but apparently not.

Monday 28th March 2022 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what it is with me but having had the news a few weeks ago that Kaatje, my “support worker” (really, my psychiatrist) at Castle Anthrax, is leaving her post at the end of the month, I had the news that Sonia my physiotherapist has decided to leave her post too

It seems to me that they are all sussing me out sooner or later.

Whoever is going to replace Kaatje remains to be seen but I bet that at the physiotherapist’s, they have some retired Bulgarian weightlifter lined up to take over. That is usually about par for the course, isn’t it?

repointing wall rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, in other news, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been keeping an eye on the repairs to the medieval walls, of which there are several miles thereof about the town.

One of the things that they did was to replace the brick capping on top of part of the walls and then leave it unpointed for all of the damp, humidity and frost, whatever else you like to infiltrate.

Anyway, today, they had a bricklaying class out there and to my surprise, they have made a start on repointing the brickwork that they did ever so long ago.

Not that they made much progress this afternoon, so I imagine that they’ll be back over the course of the next few days to complete the task.

scaffolding rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that I mentioned the other day was the scaffolding that they have built over the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

As I was going down the hill I noticed that it was still there so I took a photo of it just for the record. It looks as if it’s going to be there for a few more days yet as they were busy moving the scaffolding around to different parts of the wall.

But anyway, be that as it may, I actually managed to haul myself out of bed just after the alarm went off at 06:00, which surprised me more than it surprised anyone else.

And after the medication, I made a start on the radio programme that I wanted to prepare today.

No records today though, because I was actually working on two at once. Having written the notes for the programme over the last week, I wrote them for the next one this morning and then dictated both one after the other.

There were several interruptions too – for the coffee and for breakfast, and also for the nurse who came round to inject me with my Aranesp ready to go off on my travels.

That prompted me to telephone the doctor for an appointment as I now have run out. That’s for Wednesday morning at 09:30.

Nevertheless, I’ve only prepared the one though. I’ll nibble away at the other here and there over the course of the forthcoming week and see where I end up.

When I finished the programme, I had a listen to it and also to the two that I’m sending off today. Yes. That’s right. I’m not here next week so I need to make sure that my programme will run next week without me.

During the three hours that it took for me to listen to the three programmes I attacked the photos from the High Arctic in 2019. I shifted a good pile of them too and now I’m just arriving at the abandoned RCMP post at Dundas Harbour on Devon island in the Canadian high Arctic.

During a pause here and there, I went and had a shower to clean myself up. I have to look my best for my physiotherapy.

After lunch I carried on with my photos while I listened to the radio programmes and then headed off out.

classe decouverte calean, spartiate, trafalgar, chant de sirenes, black pearl, charlevy fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was going on.

There was plenty of excitement there too this afternoon. All of the trawlers are coming in to unload and I can identify Calean, with Spartiate behind her. Then a couple of unidentified fishing boats with the blue, white and pink Trafalgar behind her.

Just coming in alongside the others is Chant de Sirenes with Black Pearl behind her, and then Charlevy just entering the harbour to the right.

Also on the quayside are several groups of school children.

One of the things that is quite common here in France is what they call the Classe Découverte – the “Discovery Class”.

They take groups of kids away from their natural environment and put them in another one for a week or so in order that they can experience life elsewhere. So what we probably have here is a bunch or two of kids from some inner city schools somewhere who are staying in the Youth Hostel in the town to find out about life in a fishing port.

And with all of the work going on down there with the seafood being unloaded into the vans, they will be learning a lot today.

And I learnt a lot on the way down into the town today. There is a series of steps that I use to test the force in my right knee and I found to my surprise that I could actually haul myself up them today. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that.

la grande ancre swimming pool freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the harbour it looks as if we are going to be having one of the Jersey freighters in port very soon.

One of them has the contract for transporting the swimming pools out to the Channel Islands and with them being expensive items, they won’t want them to be lying around on the quayside for too long.

At least it won’t be going off on board la Grande Ancre. She won’t be taking them but the fact that she’s there in the loading bay means that they will be loading something onto her.

Down into the town I went and then up the hill on my way to the physiotherapists. And the walk wasn’t all that difficult today. Over the last week or so, things seem to have improved from that point of view and I don’t know why.

roofing rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Halfway up the hill I did come to a halt. But not for a breather.

They have been ripping the roof off this building here and they are currently in the process of replacing the woodwork. They certainly seem to have picked the right weather for it at the moment.

At the physiotherapist’s she had me on the couch with her electro-massage thing, followed by five minutes on the cross trainer and then a few exercises. And she showed me an exercise that I can do at home.

After she threw me out I staggered (and it was a stagger too) up the hill and round the corner to Lidl for a few supplies. But to my surprise, they don’t sell baked beans at Lidl and I fancied sausage, beans and chips for tea.

scaffolding on crane new building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back I went past the building work that’s going on at the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

They had the Rue Victor Hugo closed off and they were unloading some scaffolding into the bucket that’s attached to the hook of the crane so I loitered around planning to watch them hoist it up.

When they had finished, they lifted it about a foot off the ground and then they all knocked off for a tea break, which seemed to be a rather strange thing to do.

Dodging yet another classe découverte I ended up in the town centre and picked up a few tins of baked beans from Carrefour. Can’t do without my baked beans.

On the way up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down, so we had a good chat for a while. I’m not usually the sociable type, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I have to make an effort seeing as I live amongst them.

person in sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back into the apartment I went to see what was happening down on the beach.

Not too many people down there today with it being a school day, but even so one of our intrepid adventurers had taken to the water. So hats off to him today.

Back in here I had a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone. I started off in Russia. I’d been collecting photos of steam trains and I had a couple of books to identify them. There were hundreds abandoned all over the place that I had photographed. But then the Russian authorities – something had happened and they didn’t want me to take any more photos. They made me sit on a bench in a station to wait for a train back home. The train was going to be in ever so many hours and hours’ time. all I had to do to thumb through were these photos and the couple of books that I had. Somehow something had happened and I ended up in some kind of industrial town in Northern England with terraced houses. The kids there were playing a game in the street. Even then, this was being gradually subsumed into this Russia thing where the kids were having to hang around in the street for hours and hours and amuse themselves which is difficult when you are bored, until something happens. It was very much the same scenario as me being in Russia

And then I was at work again. I’d set out to go to work fairly early but I’d gone off to do something else on the way. I arrived just before 10:00 and put my things on my desk and went into the assembly. When we all came out and went to sit at our desks there was a discussion going on about food and bread. Someone had been overcharged for his lunch sandwich etc. I already had my lunch sandwich for today but I had one for Friday which I was going to have for my breakfast because I hadn’t had breakfast yet. A girl with whom I used to work came over and said that someone saw me out at Peruwelz this morning on my way into work and wanted to know why I didn’t arrive until 10:00. We had a chat but I didn’t actually tell her the reason and I was intrigued to know who it was who had seen me. I was in a car a little later. I was driving and she was with me. We were going down this road that I don’t recognise and through a couple of speed limits. We wee chatting about nothing in particular.

I forgot to mention that somewhere in all of this I’d bought a black Rolls-Royce for £3500, a runner apparently. I had to go to pick it up at some point but I had nowhere to leave it. If it was a runner I could park it in the street or even park it in the place outside my building but I don’t know.

Regrettably, but not unexpectedly, I crashed out later. And for an hour too. Having made 90% of my daily activity today with having had a good session on the cross trainer, that’s enough to finish me off for today.

For tea, I fancied sausage beans and chips but one look at the sausages in the fridge told me that it wouldn’t be sausages that I’d be eating today. Instead, I had a burger with my beans and chips and, as I suspected, the beans from Carrefour were appalling. Not even pepper, grated cheese and rosemary could improve the taste.

So now that I’ve written my notes I’ll have half an hour on the guitar and then go to bed. I’ve had a busy day today and I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. I need to be on form

Tuesday 22nd March 2022 – WHAT A DISASTER …

… that was today.

My Welsh lesson this ùorning is one that I would very much like to forget. It was the first day of a new year and the morning should have been spent on “refreshing” what we had learnt last year and that simply served to remind me of how much I had forgotten.

That’s the problem when you have a teflon brain – nothing sticks to it. And at times I feel like Homer Simpson and “every time I learn something new, it pushes something old out”.

It all actually went wrong last night when I fell into bed having forgotten to clean my teeth, forgotten the pill that I’m supposed to take and probably forgotten several other things too that I can’t remember now.

And whichever one of it was that I had forgotten meant that I didn’t go to sleep for an age.

Even worse, when the alarm went off at 07:30 I turned over and went back to sleep. I was still asleep when the second alarm went off at 08:00 and it was a good 20 minutes later when I eventually struggled to my feet.

No day can function properly when it starts like that.

After the medication I prepared for the lesson this morning. At least, I read the notes and looked up the words that I didn’t know or couldn’t remember. And there are far more of those than there ought to be.

At least the breakfast of coffee and fruit bread was delicious. I seem to have mastered that these days.

After lunch I carried on editing the photos from August 2019 and right now we’re coming into Icy Arm of Buchan Gulf, a fjord in the north of Baffin Island.

And while many of the photos that I took the previous night and that morning are plagued by bad light and moving ships, the odd one or two, such as THIS ONE have brought bck a few pleasant memories.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then, of course, I went off on my afternoon walk around the headland.

As usual I went over to the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach. And there was plenty of beach too. The tide was miles out this afternoon and there were one or two people down there enjoying the beautiful weather.

There were quite a few people walking around on the path up here too on top of the cliffs. I’ve no idea where they came from because it’s not quite holiday time yet so in theory we shouldn’t be having too many tourists right now.

trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual I was also having a look around out to sea to see what was happening there, and for once just recently, the visibility was quite good.

There were two fishing boats right out there in the bay this afternoon and that was rather puzzling. You can tell by the beach in the previous photo that it’s going to be a good couple of hours before they even start thinking about opening the harbour gates.

So what were they doing? The only thing that occurred to me was that they were fishing, but in the shipping lane between the port and the Ile de Chausey is a strange place to put out your nets.

Apart from that, I have no idea.

girl taking photograph pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was a large party of young people strolling along the path and so I followed them.

When they reached the old wrecked gun, most of them clambered aboard the barrel while one of them took a photo. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that taking a photo of people taking a photo is a regular feature of these pages.

In the background is the bunker with the flat top on which I stand to take photos of Jersey and of the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel whenever the weather permits.

And where, on one occasion, my camera came to grief one night as a gust of wind lifted it and the tripod off the top and sent it all crashing to the ground.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With nothing else much happening I wandered off across the car park behind the lighthouse and across the car park to the end of the headland.

There was nothing going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel but there were quite a few people down there at the cabanon vauban watching it. There are two people sitting on the bench, and another two sitting on a rock behind the bush lower down.

There were a few people at the pèche à pied too but they were too far out for a photograph to do any good.

Instead, I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

spirit of conrad notre dame de cap lihou le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There’s been another change in occupancy in the chantier naval today.

Spirit of Conrad and Le Roc à la Mauve III are still in there but the trawler Suzanga has now departed after her brief stay. In her place we have the port’s lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, the green and orange boat, receiving attention.

A little earlier this afternoon I had bumped into Pierre, the captain of Spirit of Conrad. He tells me that he hopes that she will be back in the water quite soon.

He’s in a hurry to start work and I can’t blame me. Things are not so easy after all of the cancellations that they had when Covid was running even more rampant than it is now.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiaise in the loading bay in the inner harbour.

Today, she’s out there, over at the ferry terminal sitting on the silt. And by the looks of things, she may well be taking some freight from there too. At the side of the crane are some of the big gravel bags full of building materials.

None of the ferries are there this afternoon though. There are only two of them in the inner harbour and so I imagine that the third one is over at the Ile de Chausey waiting for the tide to turn so it can bring the day trippers back home again.

pallet lifter baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022But while I was having a good look at Chausiaise, I noticed out of the corner of my eye something moving about in the bay, even though the tide is out.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that a good while back they laid some kind of outflow out of the port de plaisance into the bay, and you can see it here.

And what you can also see is a pallet loader out there driving around in the bay, heading back to dry land. I wonder what he’s been doing today.

But he’s certainly picked the right time of year to be doing it. We’re having one of the lowest tides of the year right now.

digger trailer lorry porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back home I had a look at what was going on at the Porte St Jean.

The trailer and the digger are there again but the lorry that usually pulls them has left the trailer behind and cleared off. There’s a pickup parked over there but he’s not coupled up to the trailer.

Back here I had a coffee and then listened to the dictaphone notes to find out where I’d been during the night. Part of it was difficult to decipher, not because of the dictaphone but because I was in a deep sleep and mumbling into it instead of talking.

I started off last night with my friends in Pittsburgh and their father. I can’t remember how it started with them and where it went to but later on there was an issue about football. The Turkish team had insisted on playing Russia so all the other football clubs had a boycott. Most of the fans were in favour but some of the players weren’t. David Beckham stood up to make a speech. He started off by saying “you know that I have always defended the weak against the strong” to which the whole crowd burst out into fits of laughter. He just turned round and walked off to a whole pile of jeers and catcalls. Gradually the crowd dispersed. I was with a couple of people who asked what I thought. I thought that the only thing on my mind was not to have a repeat of what happened in 1939 and I’d go to any lengths even if it means cancelling football to it. That was pretty much the general opinion of everyone who was there

To think that TOTGA had finally come all this way out here to see me and just as she did so all of the football matches were cancelled which upset me quite a lot but there was some girl advertising a Russian-made mixer for sale so I felt like asking her if some farmer had towed it away from a war zone and that was how she came to have it.

And if TOTGA put in an appearance last night and I can’t remember anything about it, that’s the kind of thing that fills me full of dismay as well. People like her and the others don’t appear so often in my dreams that I can afford to forget all about them.

Finally, I was giving lessons to people last night about First Class on behalf of the students’ union, making sure that they understood the principles but First Class had changed had changed since I used it 20 years ago. There was practically no-one on there any more and the threads were extremely short. The new intake of students didn’t seem to be interested in using it so it never really took off. I was going through a few of the Conferences in there and they were practically dead, nothing like it was in the old days.

While I was at it, I also booked my rail tickets for my next outing. At least, some of the tickets because I need to liaise with someone else about part of my journey. It’s not as straightforward as you might think.

What else I did was to do some more work on that three-column photo layout on which I ran aground a month or two ago. And it took me less than two minutes to see where I’d gone wrong.

What I did was when I was doing some “cut and paste” out of my photo index, I missed off a square bracket. And once I’d discovered it and put it back, it all flowed together quite nicely.

And then I did something else that has upset everything and I need to find out what it is.

That occurred round about tea-time so instead I went off to make food. Air-fried chips with vegan sausage and baked beans. And the tragedy is that I’ve used the last of the tray of baked beans that someone brought back for me from the UK. I’ll have to buy ones from the supermarket here and they don’t taste the same.

At least they aren’t as bad as Canadian baked beans. Over there they add sugar to them and they taste disgusting.

There’s one piece of good news though, and that is that if I put the vegan sausage in the air fryer with 10 minutes to go, they fry perfectly.

Tomorrow I have the nurse coming around to inject me, and the physiotherapist. Then there’s a Welsh revision on Thursday evening and a Welsh weekend course this weekend. I’ll be glad to go on my travels in order to have a little rest.

And as I write this, it is now well over 24 hours since I turned off the heating. Things are warming up, in more ways than one.

Tuesday 17th November 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change this morning I managed to beat the third alarm. And reasonably comfortably too.

Mind you, I put that down to the fact that I didn’t go anywhere during the night – at least, not that I recorded anyway. By the looks of things it was a nice, relaxing night.

After the medication I did some work on the photos from July 2019 in Greenland and then prepared for my Welsh lesson. And the more we learn, the harder it becomes. I’m having trouble trying to keep abreast of it all.

Armed with a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of fruit bread, we had our lesson. And it passed quite quickly.

Of course we learnt some more words for “yes” and “no” – another 6 of them in fact. Basically, in a Celtic language, there isn’t a “yes” or “no”. If someone asks you “did you …” the answer is “I did”, or “will you …” – “I will” and so on. And when the verb declines as in Latin rather than there being a subject as in English, you can see how complicated this can become.

And we managed to have a break too. Basically we rebelled and decided that we had to go to the bathroom. Sitting straight through for 150 minutes just turns my head to jelly.

After lunch I was very busy. First of all, I peeled and diced some ginger very finely and then brought it to a slow boil in a saucepan. While it was simmering away, I peeled three oranges, put them in the whizzer just enough to extract the juice which I then filtered out (I like my new sieves) into a bottle and then whizzed the rest of it round into a pulp which I then added to the ginger and left it all to simmer.

As I suspected, the pineapple syrup was “off” so I whizzed up two pears and a pile of grapes into a very fine pulp and then filtered out the juice into the very large jug. The pulp I added to the ginger and orange mix which was still simmering.

The kefir was then strained through my very fine filter into the very large jug, all mixed well in and then strained back through the very fine filter into a few of the stoppered bottles. And while all that was happening I made some more kefir, with a dried fig this time

pear and raisin kefir orange and ginger cordial Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the orange and ginger etc was well ready so the liquid was drained off, the remaining pulp was thoroughly whizzed and any remaining juice was extracted.. All of this juice was then filtered to take out the solids and then heated again lightly. A couple of tablespoons of honey were added, the orange juice from step one was added back in and all placed in another stoppered bottle.

And here’s the finished product, as you can see. A big batch of fresh kefir, two large and one small bottle of pear and grape kefir, and a small bottle of orange and ginger cordial.

And I can’t wait to give it all a try. I had a quick sample of the ginger and orange cordial and it nearly blew my cap off. It should be quite exciting after it’s stood for a day or two. And it will be a couple of days before I get round to the kefir but that should be good too.

people on beach Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBelieve it or not, that took me all the way up to walkies-time. I couldn’t believe just how quickly the time had passed by.

It was surprising to see so few people out and about this afternoon though. The wind had dropped quite dramatically and although there was plenty of cloud about it was quite a bright, warm day. yet there was just a handful of people down on the beach and no more than half a dozen pounding out the path around the headland.

When you think about it – a beach almost completely to yourself in the sun. That can’t be a bad thing, even in the High Arctic like the one that we found somewhere on Victoria Island that pleasant afternoon just as my world was about to fall apart.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t exactly all that much more lively out at sea either.

Away in the distance out in the English Channel I could just about make out two objects. Wondering what they might be, I took a photo at full-range. One didn’t show anything that I recognised but the second produced a stationary trawler.

What was even more interesting about this photo was that just beyond it are a couple of these bobbing buoys that we have seen every now and again which are either mooring posts for fishing boats or else markers for lobster pots and the like.

And that’s surprising because they are way out in the distance offshore.

child's sign in car pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut anyway, all of that will be for another time, maybe (or maybe not).

There was still a circuit to complete so I carried on with my walk along the clifftop and over the lawn at the back of the lighthouse. There was a car parked on the car park and this little notice attracted my attention. It’s a shame that part of it is obscured but nevertheless it was certainly something very different.

And why not? There’s not enough humour and levity in the world these days. We all need things to make us smile with all of this nonsense going on right now. These are very sad times in which we are living right now.

sun shining through clouds baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the car park I walked down the path past one of the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall to see what was happening out to sea.

And the answer to that was, unfortunately, nothing. At least, nothing of the moving variety. There was, however, a certain moment, one that didn’t last long, of the sun’s rays shooting out through a hole in the clouds and illuminating a spot on the surface of the sea, just like a spotlight might do on a stage in a theatre.

Luckily I had the camera to hand and all ready, so I managed to take a quick shot while the scene still worked. It’s all very well these professional photographers saying that you have more time than you think, but they have clearly never worked with children animals and nature.

trawler saint brieuc port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallPast the chantier navale and no change there. Still the yacht and Ceres II and no-one else.

But there’s something going on here though at the wharf next to the Fish processing Plant. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we had a discussion a while back about the registration number of boats – CH being CHerbourg (where boats from this port are registered), SM for St Malo and so on.

Here, aground on the mudflats with the tide right out is a trawler registered “SB” which, I imagine, is St Brieuc further on down the Brittany coast. And what it’s doing here, aground and unattended, I really have no idea. It really ought to be tied up in the dinner harbour.

Back here, my friend with Covid was on line so we had another chat. It’s important that she keeps up her morale in this difficult time and I’m trying my best to give her my support. And if that doesn’t work, she’ll have to buy her own.

The hour on the guitar was, for some reason, not as enjoyable as it has been just recently. No idea why. I think that I’m on the verge of what I’m technically capable of doing yet I can’t seem to push on any more. I’ve been trying to fingerpick chords without too much success. But I’m better than I was before I started, I suppose.

Tea was a stuffed pepper again, seeing as I had some stuffing left over. And strangely enough it was the best that I’ve had so far. No idea why. The apple crumble was good too.

beach at night Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut in the streets tonight I really was totally alone. I didn’t meet a single person anywhere on my travels.

At the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I tried a little experiment. With the camera wedged up against a corner of a wall I tried a shot on a longish exposure to see if I could capture anything of the beach in the dark.

The photo is not very good but it reminds me of Doctor Johnson’s story about the dog dancing on its hind legs. The surprise is not that it was done so badly, but that it was done at all. I didn’t really expect to get anything recognisable out of it at all.

And apart from that, there was nothing of any interest as I ran all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

steps escalier du moulin a vent Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers will recall that we see quite regularly the view across the Place down to the Plat Gousset, and the other day I took a photo of the view behind.

To the left there is of course the sea, but to the right there’s a stairway, the Escalier du Moulin A Vent, that goes all the way down to the Place.

There are loads of stairs and I counted them once. I think that I made it 128 or something like that. And at 4 steps to the metre, that makes ordinarily about 30 metres or so but there are several flat bits that have quite a steep slope so it’s a lot higher than that.

A run across the Square Maurice Marland, a walk around the rest of the walls and then another run and I was back home. And this last leg for some reason went pretty fluidly. Much more fluidly than I was expecting.

Tomorrow I must ring up about Caliburn. And then I have a really important job to carry out that I should have done 18 months ago and more.

7th November 2020 – THIS WEEK IS …

polar bear with cubs north west passage victoria strait canada Eric Hall… International Polar Bear Week apparently so I feel that I ought to join in the fun by posting a photo of a couple of mine.

In case you are wondering, this photo was taken last August in the North West Passage, in the Victoria Strait between the Royal Geographical Society islands and King William Island and is just one of the … gulp 2,500 or so exciting photos that I took while I was out there in the High Arctic and with which I shall regale you in due course.

That is, of course, my long-term project for the coming winter – to sort them all out, edit them and upload them to the internet. I’m hoping that once I clear out the arrears back to June, I can crack on with the High Arctic photos, although I’m not sure when all of that might happen.

At least, I didn’t actually fall behind even further today. Even if I slept through the three alarms and didn’t wake up until long after 10:00. It’s always like that when I return home, after all of the effort that I go through, and even more so when I didn’t return home until late.

Being in bed for as long as I was, there was plenty of time to go on several nocturnal rambles, and I must have travelled miles during the night.

I started off in the USA. I can’t remember exactly what we were doing but it involved my father and a whole group of other people whom I knew. There had been some big kind of political debate. Some politician had made a disgraceful affair and all the other politicians were standing up for him. Someone went to get into their car but found that the locks had been changed. This eveil politician had gone around changing everyone’s locks on everything. At that stage I became quite simply fed up and beat both of them into a pulp. I had to sell someone about something or other and I can’t remember what. It was to do with a car needing work or something. I got into my car which was a very new one. I managed to get in and drove away from the scene. As I came up to a set of traffic lights a police car pulled out of a side road right in front of me, blocked the road and put his stop lights on. When the traffic lights changed he went off presumably to drive round the block to come up behind me. But it was a really inconvenient place to stop. There was an abandoned fuel station just across the traffic lights so I pulled over there, of course bitterly regretting what was going to happen next – I was in no illusions. There were a couple of guys there getting petrol out of this abandoned fuel station. They said something about parking there. I said “that’s all right. I’m waiting here to be arrested”. They looked at me a bit wide-eyed so I said to 1 of them “yes the police are coming to arrest me”. He thought that he had better get a move on and do what he’s doing quickly and get out of the way. Just then I saw a group of my friends coming along. They were carrying an engine lift, tools and everything as if they were going to lift the engine out of a car somewhere after what I’d said to them. I thought “this policeman is taking his time isn’t he? I could nip off if I wanted to leave my car there.” But did I want to leave my car there? Did I want to nip off? Did I want to go? There was a cheap Honda Acty microvan things parked up and I was having a look at that.

Later on I was a kid, a teenager doing something with a house. We’d all been working on bits of it and I’d been painting the bedroom. The 1st coat hadn’t worked properly because some filling needed doing on it. I’d done most of that and painted what I’d already done. It hadn’t appeared too badly and I was reasonably pleased with it. Then the tutor came in and started to give me instructions about what he wanted me to do next but I reckoned that in view of the time factor it would be a good idea just to fill the rest of the wall where it needed filling and paint one coat over it to see where it was low. We could fill it again to make it up in the meantime and the coat of paint would be on it ready for the top coat. We had a lengthy discussion about that and in the end he agreed to let me do it as I wanted. He told me that I would have to put a curtain up somewhere over one part where the walls were uneven but I thought that that was going to be a silly idea – it would just draw people’s attention to it but he was pretty adamant so in the end we agreed that we would talk about this again. I did the calculations that by the time I had finished this room putting these coats and this filler on I would have had my A levels by then in which case no-one would be in a position to contradict me at all and I really could then do it as I liked.

There was something where I was doing something with a pile of musicians – it might have been a certain Welsh rock group friends of mine or something like that. We were just sitting around talking about drugs, all this kind of thing. One of them was saying that he hadn’t shot up for a whole 15 concerts but was quite busy taking the weed – the same with a few of the others. I said that I didn’t even know whereabouts to go to get it. I wouldn’t have a clue. They said “that girl who came to your party in your building. She sold us a bag”. I thought that was a bit if a shame because I liked her. Then we ended up at someone’s house after this – it might even have been this girl’s. It was a much nicer apartment than mine, on the floor below from where I was living. We were all getting ready to go places and were sorting through a pile of things and having to tidy everything up. I was sorting through these stones, I’ve no idea why. Some were precious and some weren’t and I was getting it all wrong. There were 3 gear lever knobs from a vehicle in there. It was a really confused thing that I had to sort through. Someone came over to give me a hand. He clearly knew what he was doing. I had to resort what i’d already done because it wasn’t right. I ended up going for a walk around and having a look at her garden which was really nice. On the way back I saw everyone else coming for a walk around the garden. I thought that I might as well have waited until they decided to come rather than go out on my own

Subsequently I was taping a concert of the aforementioned group, trying to get that organised but it was again something that I was only doing half-heartedly and missing most of the joins, thinking that I would have to go back and check it over again. The question of London came up, the question of a restaurant in the basement of a hotel that we go to near the railway station but it had moved down to South London. A girl I was with suggested that we should go there and have a meal. I thought ” that’s a long way to go for a meal and come back. It’s not as if it’s at the railway station where it used to be where we could be in and out in an evening. With this we have to hike most of the way across London to get to it and it’s not going to be the same, particularly with only another two weekends to go…

From there I was walking along Crewe Road into Sandbach and as I was passing the houses at the end of Park Lane I was thinking that I had to go to the bank. But the bank wasn’t where it is but in the street that runs about half a mile to the south, Hassall Road, so I had to find my way around like a deviation. In the end I got to 3rd Avenue and I remembered that I could walk through there that way. I walked down there – there were some kids playing netball in the school plating area there and a couple of boys playing football. I went on and came to a set of steps that I had to walk down. There were two young girls there who were rolling balls down it. Obviously whose ball rolled furthest down the most stairs won. They had a rake that they were using to pull the balls back up. One of them was pulling a ball back up and the rake swung back over her head and nearly impaled me as I was waling past so I made some kind of light hearted remark about it and they laughed. Then I noticed in one of the swimming pools in the back garden of a house round there was a skeleton so I asked “is that your last victim?”. They laughed again. By this time a woman had come down. She thought that it was funny as well so we had a chat. We got to the bottom and there was a really deep puddle. She was talking about the gypsies who lived in Sandbach and how they ahd sometimes washed their clothes in it. When we reached th bottom she said which way she was going, and I thought that this was the other direction so I said goodbye to her. I turned left and she went a little further on and she turned left too. We bumped into each other again. I said “I thought that you were going the other way”. She said “no, this way. I have to fetch some money from the bank”, a different bank. She started to ask “where shall we go from here?” so I said “hurry up and get your money” so she dashed inside the bank.
Later on I stepped back into this dream. I was walking back to the bus. I got on the bus by the centre door and for some reason I didn’t want to sit down at the front so I chose a seat right opposite the centre door where I didn’t have to go very far. Then this woman appeared, the one with whom I’d walked just now. I was hoping that she would get on the bus and come to sit next to me but that was when I awoke.

There was plenty of other stuff too but I can’t remember them. I know that at one time I caught myself dictating into my hand, but I can’t remember what it was that I was saying.

One thing that was rather disappointing was that I wasn’t joined by any of the usual suspects who I like to accompany me. With all of this and the distance that I travelled, I would have expected at least one of them to be there at some point. Instead, I end up with people from whom I spent 38 years trying to escape. It’s just my luck, isn’t it?

By now it was well into the early afternoon and so I ate the half-baguette that was left from yesterday evening. No chance of going out to the shops now – it was far too late.

woman going to swim Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot having done much throughout the day, I reckoned that I ought at least to go out for a walk this afternoon.

But no matter how little I had done and how much I thought that I ought to be doing, I wasn’t going to emulate this woman down here on the beach at the foot of the steps in the Rue du Nord. As I watched her, she marched slowly out to the water’s edge, peeling off her outer garments one by one.

And then she looked for a safe place amongst the rocks where she could leave them and her towel.

woman swimming in sea Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving done that, she continued on her way out to the water’s edge, bent doan and soaked herself in seawater.

Once she was thoroughly wet through, she took the plunge and dived into the water, swimming away from the shore and out to sea.

It’s not the kind of thing that I would want to do. Even on a hot day I’m not all that interested in going into the water, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, even if in the past I have been swimming in the Mediterranean in November. But I’ve no intention of going into the water around here at any time of the year.

marker buoys english channel donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo instead, once my water baby, I wandered off along the Rue du Nord.

With the number of people who were around, many more than I was expecting in the middle of a lockdown, I didn’t feel like showing myself up by breaking into a run. And it’s just as well because during my gentle walk, my eyes probing out to sea picked up something yellow bobbing about on the waves in the sea off the shore of Donville les Bains.

Closer examination reveals that there are in fact two of them, in a nice line across the bay. We’ve seen all kinds of buoys out there in the past, for all kinds of different reasons, and it’s not immediately clear exactly what their purpose is.

people having swam in the sea plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the footpath under the walls, I had a look down onto the beach round by the Plat Gousset.

And amongst the people wandering around down there were three young people in something of a state of undress. It looks as if we have had a few more water babies this afternoon, but I was too late to actually see them in the water.

But one thing that I did notice was the absence of face masks on the people down there. I know that it’s the policy on the promenade for the compulsory wearing of face masks, and I would have thought that now, seeing as we are in lockdown, that the compulsory wearing of masks would have extended further out from where it was before

house renovation rue le carpentier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith crowds of people around, I wasn’t able to go for a run across the Square Maurice Marland this afternoon. Well – not with any sense of pride, at least.

But at the top of the Square I had a look at one of the houses in the Rue LeCarpentier. Just before I left, they had erected some scaffolding up around it. But now, the scaffolding is sheeted in a protected netting and it looks as if work has begun.

Interestingly, the company doing the work advertises itself as a “restorer of the country’s patrimoine – a word for which there is no obvious translation but which means basically the intrinsic cultural values and artefacts, whether it’s song, dance, old machinery and buildings, that kind of thing.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that is of course a compulsory activity is to check on what’s happening down at the chantier navale, seeing as I’ve neglected it for over a week.

The yacht that we saw in there the last time we looked is still present and it’s been joined by another boat. It’s not easy to tell from here what kind of boat it is. I shall have to sneak out later tonight for a closer look.

It goes without saying though that the huge mountain of gravel that was on the quayside has gone, and likewise has Neptune, the gravel boat that came into port as I was leaving town. She fetched up a couple of days later in Whitstable where she unloaded, and the last that I heard of her she had picked up a load of something in Dordrecht in the Netherlands and was on her way to Ridham, just down the road from Whitstable.

Back here this evening there was football. TNS were away at Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League, first away at second. It was a good, exciting match and while TNS were clearly the better team, Bala looked extremely dangerous at times and hit the woodwork twice with the keeper beaten and had Chris Venables had a decent touch on a ball in front of goal with Paul Harrison well out of position, Bala could have taken the lead.

As it was, TNS went into the lead after about 75 minutes only for Bala to equalise 5 minutes later. 1-1 was how it ended, a result which was about right altogether.

Tea was pasta with a couple of the burgers that I brought back from Leuven, followed by pineapple rings with chocolate vegan ice cream. No chance of going for an evening walk as there is apparently a curfew and it’s too late now.

Tomorrow will be really busy. I have bread to make – both “normal bread” and banana bread, as that which remained from last time didn’t survive. I have some kefir to make too, and for that I’ll probably use oranges this time.

The sourdough will need reanimating and feeding too, and then next week I’ll have a go making sourdough bread. I can’t use it this time because, having been in the fridge for a week or more, it’s still asleep.

Just like I’m going to be in a few minutes, I reckon. It takes me a couple of days to recover from my efforts in Leuven and I have plenty of work to do.

Sunday 11th October 2020 – SUNDAY IS …

… Day of Rest, but you wouldn’t have thought so today. I’ve been really busy.

And not just during the day either. Having gone to bed quite early, totally exhausted for some reason or other, I went off on the kind of rambles which would put me to shame in my daylight hours.

I started off around Oldham way last night although it turned out to be around Stockport. It was again to do with taxis. Someone had had a burglar alarm fitted inside their commercial garage premises and someone was talking to me about it, a passenger. I said that my vehicles are all fitted with stuff like this as well. As we were talking about this one of the alarms went off. I went round to see and they were busy trying to deal with this alarm so I had the long extension coil out that you could plug into it from where my car was parked but it didn’t quite make it. I was able to give a little advice to these 2 guys. They were Pakistani guys running this garage, talking about having their own taxi service so we talked about planning permission, where they could park their cars for it. They had plenty of room and plenty of ideas. And then all of a sudden one of the fridges had broken down, one of the freezers so they needed to move the stuff out of there. I have them a hand to do it. It was all like Indian takeaway food, all very unhygenic, stacks of mushrooms in these cardboard crate things, all over the place, stuff dropping off everywhere. It wasn’t the kind of place where I would like to eat once I’d seen how they were storing their food.

A bit later on there was something going on somewhere else where there were two guys, really tough guys who had taken over control of someone’s life. It was again to do with some garage or other – it may even have been the same one. They had beaten this guy severely and got him doing all kinds of menial stuff for them and they were getting him to brush the curtains with a wire brush. In the end you could see that he just put the brush down. They went over to talk to him and get him to do it again – “you know what happened last time” but you could see the look in his eyes. He had snapped. These two people were going to be in a lot of trouble once he let himself go. They couldn’t see it but I could. Then they started picking on me. One of them tried to push me arpund but I got him in a backbreaker on the floor and just sat there like that. He said “let me go! Let me go!” but I just sat there on him in this backbreaker just leaving him there. In the end he got free. “I’m not really interested in fighting you” I said. “Just leave it like this”. Then he started to try to provoke me again. I was sitting there doing nothing but I could see that the only way that I was going to stop this was by doing the same again like I did last time. I awoke in a feverish sweat at this point – something that I need to note because they ask me about this at Castle Anthrax.

Somewhat later, my brother and I had been somewhere in Caliburn and he was driving (as if that was likely to happen). We’d gone through Angouleme on the way out and driven for loads and loads of miles to see something and were then on our way back. When we got to near Angouleme (wr didn’t know that it was Angouleme at first) we saw a nice view. We thought that we’d go and photograph it. But then we thought that there was no road down there. He had a look on the GPS “there was a little bit of road further along here” so we went that way. We parked up and started to walk. We got to where this view was, a deep river with a gorge running through the mountains and this enormous tunnel as if the river had been canalised at one time and the river was flowing through there. I went to take a couple of photos of it but for some unknown reason my camera wouldn’t work. Every time I pressed the switch nothing happened. it gave a FAULT error. I tried three or four times but then gave up. We came to a building where there was a meeting place, museum or something with a lot of people walking around inside it. I wanted to take a photo of the inside but we weren’t allowed in as we hadn’t paid. We had to wait outside and take a photo through the door. Every time I went to take a photo someone stood in front of me and took a photo. In the end I pushed my way to the front and told my brother “next time this door opens, nip in and close a certain door (that I indicated) because the light coming in through there is spoiling the photo.” He did that and I took a photo but again the camera didn’t work. The woman in charge saw my brother and threw him out so we couldn’t take any more photos so we had to wander back. A girl with us (and I don’t remember her being with us at the time) who was definitely someone I know – maybe Maria, my Greek friend – said “it sounds like you have a card problem” so I took out the card. “Oh look” she said. “It’s melted” and it had as well. I thought “it’s a good job that there’s a spare one in the van”. We carried on walking but then I realised that I’m not using the SD card. There was another type of card in there. In the end I worked out how to take that out, clean it and put it back. That didn’t make the slightest bit of difference. It still wouldn’t work. We were walking on, now me, someone else (a Bourvil-type of character), a 3rd person and my brother. As we walked into Angouleme we somehow separated. My brother disappeared. We were following where we thought he went and ended up on a dirt road. We thought “this isn’t the main highway, is it”? We turned round and walked back. What we had by this time was a wheelbarrow that we were pushing. But it only had one handle so it was really difficult to push so we were taking it in turns. Two of us would carry it. We carried it in all different types of styles in order to exercise all differnt kinds of muscles. It was still awkward and we weren’t making much progress. The handle was a kind of wheelbrace, a metal one. Someone was walking past and I was pushing this wheelbarrow with its one handle and it suddenly flipped up. The handle flew over as the wheelbarrow canted over and the handle hit on the head the one who was walking past. I apologised but he had a good laugh and a smile about it. There we were in the countryside miles from anywhere, totally lost with a stupid wheelbarrow and a camera that didn’t work.

After all of that, what surprised me, and what will surprise you too no doubt, is that I was up and about as early as 08:45. It’s been a long time such a thing has occurred when I’ve not been going anywhere, hasn’t it?

Mind you, it took me a good while for my head to stop spinning round and it having come to a stop, I could get on and do things.

One of the things that I hadn’t done was to write up my notes from last night. In my state of health, the kind of walks that I’m doing with this monumental climb up the rock at the end of it is exhausting me more than you can imagine and I ended up being in such a state that as soon as the football finished I went straight to bed.

And so this morning I had to write them up. That was followed by transcribing the dictaphone notes. All of that took much longer than you might think too because with it being a Sunday I wasn’t really concentrating too much. Part of the time was spent sorting out some of the shopping that I had bought on Saturday which I still hadn’t put away properly, and that meant a little reorganisation in the fridge because it’s full to capacity.

After lunch I made a start on the work. There’s no bread here so I needed to make two loaves. The first was my fruit loaf – 250 grammes of flour with a banana, a couple of handfuls of raisins, a dozen or so ground Brazil nuts (I like my whizzer) and, for some variety, a good handful of desiccated coconut.

Then there was the main loaf. 500 grams of cereal flour with a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds thrown in .

One of the criticisms of my bread has been that it’s too dry. And so I left it rather wetter than I otherwise would have done to see if it improves things any. I put them both on one side covered with a damp tea towel and left them to proof.

Then I needed to feed my sourdough. I mixed it all well in, threw away some to keep the weight down to 100 grammes that’s effectively 50 grammes of flour and 50 grammes of water) and then added 50 grammes of flour and 50 grammes of water, mixed it all in, and then put it in a new jar- a thinner, taller jar. I put an elastic band around it where the level of the sourdough is, so that I can check if it’s rising.

That’s gone into the fridge where it can slowly ferment until next week when I can add some more. It needs feeding with the same weight of flour and water as there is in the mixture. So next week, I’ll have to add 100 grammes of water and 100 grammes of flour.

If I’d left the sourdough out in the warm, I’d need to feed it every day. The warmer it is, the faster is its metabolic rate.

But as I have said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … it’s just like having pets around the house, the sourdough and the kefir.

Woman Swimming In Sea Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time for me to go out for my usual afternoon walk. Twice, in fact. The first time was to take out the glass and plastic rubbish. It’s been accumulating for a while and the bag in which it lives was overflowing.

The second time was to make the most of the cold but sunny weather on my walk around the walls. And I wasn’t the only one making the most of it either, and certainly not to the degree that some were taking it. This is what I call courageous. You wouldn’t get me in that water in these kinds of conditions for all the tea in China.

it reminds me on the time on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR when Castor and Pollux asked if I would be taking the Arctic Dip when we were in the High Arctic.
“I can’t” I replied. “I’m not allowed to go into salt water with this catheter port in my chest”.
“What would you done had you not had that catheter there?” asked someone standing close by after they had cleared off
“I’d have looked for another excuse” I replied. I’ve been up to my knees in the Davis Strait 700 miles from the North Pole and that was quite enough for me, thank you.

Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving observed our lady friend for a few minutes, urging her on, I carried on along my path underneath the walls. No chance of going for a run. Far too many people around for that.

Round at the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset I could see what was going on down there. Just a handful of people down there on the beach this afternoon and not one of them taking in the sun, never mind going for a swim. Clearly the hardiness of the locals is something restricted to just a few.

But the seaweed scattered all over the beach had attracted my attention. The storms just recently have been so violent, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, that they seem to have torn a pile of seaweed off the seafloor and dumped it on the beach

Building Material Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route then took me off around to the Square Maurice Marland. Too many people for me to break out into a run so I had a nice walk.

Out at the end I could see down to the docks, and in particular the loading bay where the Jersey freighters come in to dock. And there’s a pile of building supplies in bags down there waiting for loading so it looks as if either Thora or Normandy Trader, or maybe even both, will be coming into port some time soon.

And that reminds me. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen Thora. They have pretty quick turnrounds these days down at the port but I would have expected to have seen it at some point just recently.

And from here I headed on home to my apartment.

Home Made Vegan Pizza Banana Bread Home Made Bread Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack at the apartment I had a look at the bread. Despite having proofed for well over an our, it still hadn’t risen too much but nevertheless I gace them both a good kneading, shaped them and then put them in their mould.

With the bread being of less weight than in the past (it goes too stale by the end) I used a smaller mould – one of my silicone moulds. The bread was sticking too much to the porcelain one that I have been using. The fruit and nut bread went into the usual small cake mould. I came back in here and did some more work.

With about an hour and fifteen minutes to go before teatime I switched on the oven and stuck the bread in it to cook. Meantime, I rolled out the pizza dough that I’d taken out of the freezer at lunchtime, put it onto the greased pizza tray, folded over the dges and left it to proof for forty-five minutes.

When it was ready, I prepared the pizza. It was nicely timed because as soon as I’d finished it, the oven switched off with the bread. So I took out the bread, tipped out the loaves onto a wire grill to cool, switched on the oven again and bunged the pizza in.

It took about 30 minutes to cook – and cooked beautifully too. The edges had risen quite nicely and I’m impressed about how this folding of the edges has turned out.

As for the taste, it was delicious. And I didn’t have any pudding because it was quite filling.

St Helier Jersey Channel Islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter tea, I went out for my usual evening walk.

The sky was really clear tonight and you could see for miles. All the way out to St Helier on Jersey in the Channel Islands. And it’s not every day that I can see so clearly like this all the way out there in the dark. It’s 58 kilometres out to St Helier, as I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … so to see the street lights of the town like this is quite surprising.

And you can clearly see the red aircraft warning lights on the radio tower on the hills at the back of St Helier. And what is the bright light to the left of the image? Is it a fishing boat out there working?

Brittany Coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter taking the photo I walked on along the path at the top of the cliffs on the north side of the headland.

Away in the distance the lights of the small towns all along the north Brittany coast were shining really brightly tonight. You could see all the way down the coast as far as St Cast le Guildo where we slept overnight on board Spirit of Conrad back in July. Right out to the right-hand side of the image is the light of the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel, about 70 kilometres away and you won’t see it much clearer than that.

Here I was nearly bowled over by a couple walking along with one of these LED headlights to see where they were going. Somehow though they didn’t see me until they had almost knocked me over

Le Loup Jullouville Baie de Mont St Michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey were the only people whom I saw. No-one else was out there tonight enjoying the pleasant evening.

On the point of the headland there was a nice view across the Baie de Mont St Michel over to the promenade at Jullouville. Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, was looking quite nice tonight in the starlight. The reflection of the flashing light on the water came out really well.

From there I carried out my three runs tonight. One along the top of the cliffs to the viewpoint, the second along the Boulevard Vaufleury and round the corner into the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne, and the third one from the church back home. And as for the second, I extended my run by another 10 metres tonight. I’m not far from the brow of the hill now and another couple of weeks shall see me over the top and down the other side.

Back here I’ve written up my notes, and now it’s bedtime. Back to work tomorrow and I have a live concert to edit and engineer ready for broadcast. That’s not a work of five minutes.

Saturday 26th September 2020 – I WAS WRONG …

… about the weather last night. We didn’t have the rainstorm today. Or the plague of locusts either. But we had just about everything else.

The high winds are still here and still wreaking devastation about the town. I blame the baked beans that I had for tea the other night.

We also had one of the coldest days that I can remember for a good while too.

That’s probably why I didn’t feel like springing into action this morning and leaping joyously out of bed. Consequently I missed the third alarm. Only by 10 minutes or so, but missed it all the same.

And that’s hardly surprising as I must have been exhausted after my travels last night. I was with my aunt and we were doing a lot of stuff on the computer quite happliy working away. There was another guy with us as well. Suddenly my computer hard drive caught fire. This boy was all for dashing off for phoning up the fire brigade. Of coure I wouldn’t let him do that – I put it out myself. The fire brigade would just smother it in foam and ruin everything. In the end I managed to put out the fire. Of course the hard drive was ruined. My aunt and this boy were going into the City – Bishopsgate, although I don’t know why I thought Bishopsgate because it wasn’t there that I meant. There was a huge computer shop there. I felt really annoyed because I’d been to a computer fair that day and I could have bought a new hard drive there for peanuts had I known but it’s too late now. I asked this boy if he knew about this computer shop. Oh yes, he knew it very well. I asked “while you’re up in London with my aunt can you nip in there and pick me up a hard drive?”. I told him the one I wanted. He said “wouldn’t it be better to pick up a differet type for a MAC or something like that?”. He only ever uses MACs. I said that I use PCs and I’ve used them for years and I know them pretty well so I’m going to stick with them. He had a little bit of a chunter about that. Then I thought that I would have to get him some money as well and I probably don’t have enough cash on me so how am I going to do that? Then it came to booking the tickets so I went to look on the railway site. It turned out instead that I was looking at the bus site. It took endless goes for me to log in on it because everyone was meithering me and I kept on typing the wrong word. Eventually I got in to find that it was buses that we were looking at because we were now actually living in Bath. The first thing my aunt said was that they don’t have a direct bus service from Bath to London any more. We have to go on the train. We had to start looking for things like that. In the meantime we managed to find the times of the buses which would at least get them some of the way. Then the phone rang. My aunt talked to whoever it was and so on. When she hung up she said “that was George and that’s strange. He’s after his wages for the taxis. He’s on holiday and he wants it posted to him in York by cheque”. She couldn’t understand why he wanted it. I said “he’s probably going to buy something special while he’s in York”. “Yes but it’s early. he doesn’t get paid until Thursday but anyway …”. She had a chunter about that. Then I had to go and get her ready for this bus so they could get on it and this other guy too and head off into London
A little later on there was a girl and she was a lot older than she ought to be and she still had a dolly that she cuddled. People used to make remarks about it (Wiske and Schanulleke, anyone?). They decided that they would pass a Law about it. Somewhere inside there they inserted a clause that people who cuddled a pet or other object or person for the purpose of comfort would be exempt, which of course wiped out the whole purpose of this Law anyway. So we all had a debate about it.
Just then this other girl turned up. She was in a purple and gold kind of trouser suit kind of thing that looked more at home in a Middle-Eastern harem. She had long dark-brown hair that was cut in the style of an Egpytian, really precise cuts and edges and so on.
There was much more to it too but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you any discomfort.
And once again I was dictating without the dictaphone in my hand. Either this is starting to become a habit or else it already is and a whole load of stuff has slipped quite literally through my hands.

After a shower, Caliburn and I hit the streets and headed to the shops.

NOZ is always on my shopping list. That’s a shop that buys job-lots of bankrupt stock, overstocks, that kind of thing from all over Europe.

In the past I’ve found plenty of useful things in there and also a whole variety of different foods to vary my diet somewhat. Today they had stocks of Sharwoods products on offer so I now have some vindaloo and madras sauces as well as some mango chutney. Stocks of curry in the freezer are getting low, an I’m also going to learn to make poppadoms, I reckon.

At LeClerc I didn’t spend very much, and most of what I did went on fruit. The place is now looking like a greengrocer’s, which is good for my health (and that reminds me – my kiwi, lemon and ginger cordial is delicious and I’ll be doing that again – hence more kiwis today).

One good thing is that, after much searching, I finally found the fresh figs. So back here, I finally set my kefir en route. How that will pan out remains to be seen.

This afternoon I had a whizz through some more photos of my adventures with Spirit of Conrad in July and we are now in our anchorage for the final night aboard. I reckon that there are about 50 more to edit before I finish.

Then, there are the 400 or so from my voyage into Eastern Europe and once they are completed I can turn my attention to the 3000 that remain from the High Arctic in 2019 and the 2000-odd from the High Arctic in 2018.

And then, finally, I can write up the notes for all of this.

The burning question of the day is not Rafferty’s motor car but whether I’ll finish all of this before all of this finishes me.

A few more albums bit the dust too, some more work was done on revising the web pages, Rosemary rang me and we had a chat for just over an hour, and I even found time to crash out for 15 minutes.

And as for that latter, with everything else that I’ve been doing today, it’s hardly a surprise. I must have been exhausted by then so I’m not too disappointed, even if for the last couple of days I’ve managed to keep going.

chez maguie bar itinerante closed granville manche normandy france eric hallThe day is far from finished too. There’s football this evening so I headed off into town.

And here’s another sure sign that the summer season has ended. The beach cabins have gone and they’ve taken down the diving platform at the Plat Gousset already, but now the itinerant bar Chez Maguie has folded up its tent and crept silently away in the night.

It’s a very significant sign for some of us, but for others it means that the locals can have their boulodrome back until next summer.

football stade louis dior fc flerien flers us granville manche normandy france eric hallProfessional football started back up a few weeks ago, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. But this weekend amateur football has had the green light.

Consequently I headed off up to the Stade Louis Dior to watch Granville’s 2nd XI play FC Flerien, the team from Flers, in Normandy Regional 1.

For the first 15 minutes Granville’s control of the ball and their passing and movement was extremely fluent, but by the end of this little period they were already 2-0 down – a corner that the goalkeeper dropped into the path of an onrushing forward (he seemed to have a good pair of teflon gloves) and a misplaced header under pressure back to the goalkeeper that went to another onrushing forward.

After that, a couple of heads dropped, and the Fleriens got into their stride. We had to wait 55 minutes for Granville’s first shot on target (and about 10 minutes before the end for their other one) and 65 minutes for their first corner.

It was literally men against boys because Granville’s team was quite youthful whereas Flers had three or four old hands who had clearly been around the block far more times than the Granville players could handle.

The match ended 2-0 but really Flers could have had half a dozen and no-one in Granville would have complained.

And I’m glad that the match finished when it did because I was absolutely frozen to the marrow. It’s a long time since I’ve been this cold. I’ve been much warmer than this in the Arctic and next time I go to the football I’ll put on the thermal undies that I bought on Thursday.

blue light pedestrian crossing ave matignon granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back, here’s something that I haven’t noticed before – mainly because it’s been an age since I went into town in the dark at night.

But now there seems to be blue lights shining down on all of the pedestrian crossings on the main roads. Presumably to give motorists a better chance of spotting civilians trying to cross the road.

It brought back many happy memories of a press release that we wonce received from the Parisian authorities when I worked at Shearings – “The policeman who directs the traffic at the roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe will from now on be floodlit to make sure that motorists don’t miss him in the dark”.

marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy route home had to be extended tonight for the simple reason that “if I’m out, I’m well out” and there’s no point in going home with just 90% on my fitbit. I may as well push it up to 100%.

For that reason I wandered on down into the port to see what was going on.

“Nothing much” was the answer to that. Marité was there of course, tucked up in her little corner and so were the two Channel Island ferries, Granville and the older Victor Hugo.

As an aside, we haven’t seen a gravel boat in here for almost 6 months. I was hoping that this new mayor would do something about stimulating the freight trade to the port.

restaurants rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy route continued along the rue du Port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen several photos taken of this street in the dark, all of which have been taken from the cliffs up above.

And so tonight, in an effort to do something different, here’s the reverse-angle shot taken from the street looking back towards the cliffs.

Not that you can actually see the cliffs in this (lack of) light. You’ll just have to use your imagination.

moonlight baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the climb back up the Boulevard des Terreneuviers I stopped (for breath) to look at the tidal port.

There was a beautiful bright moon tonight, even though it’s only half-full, and there was a wonderful reflection of light down in the Baie de Mont St Michel looking across to Jullouville and the Pointe de Carolles.

Actually, considering that this photo was hand-held and taken with the little NIKON 1 J5 with the standard lens, it’s not come out too badly, even if I did have to stop it down by 8 (in fact by 10 because normally the camera has to be opened up by 2 since the lens was repaired).

Back at the flabberblok there was yet more football so I grabbed a bowl of rice pudding and settled down in a ringside seat in front of the internet.

Y Fflint, newly promoted to the JD Cymru League this season after a 20-year absence were entertaining Barry Town. Barry, usually a strong competitive side but who misfired so spectacularly in European Competition earlier and then against TNS on the opening day of the season, have yet to grace my screen this season and I’ve only ever seen Y Fflint play once, in a cup match a few years ago.

The match was quite entertaining because while Barry were much more powerful and street-wise (which you have to expect), Flint matched them blow for blow and I was quietly impressed.

There were three significant items in this match

  1. Alex Titchiner, Flint’s ace striker, was carried off injured after just 2 minutes.
  2. Mike Lewis, in the Barry goal, played the game of his life and made a couple of stunning reflex saves (and that’s not to say that our old favourite, Jon Danby, formerly of Connah’s Quay Nomads, now next-door in the Flint goal didn’t have his moments too)
  3. and had a Flint defender kept his head when Matt Jarvis burst into the area and not conceded a penalty

then the new boys would have had something from this game. They are no mugs, and certainly not cannon-fodder like some promotees have been.

And if TNS managed to sweep away this Barry side so convincingly, then just HOW good are TNS?

There is also some exciting news from Deeside too. It seems that the idea to build a new football stadium on Deeside to be UEFA-compliant for junior international matches, and European club competition and to be shared by next-door neighbours Connahs Quay Nomads and Y Fflint has taken a giant step forward.

Who knows? It might even become a reality if the two clubs can keep up the momentum they they have established over the last couple of years. The announcement that “certain funds have been made available” is major news but, as expected, BBC Wales, with its hands so deep in the pockets of the Welsh Rugby Union to an indecent depth that it imposes a news blackout on Welsh football, has totally passed it by.

But by now, it’s late. Long after midnight, so I’m off to bed. I’ll write up my notes in the morning – if I’m here. It’s Sunday and a day of rest and I might sleep in long past midday.

Friday 11th September 2020 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what has happened this week. I really don’t.

With all of this pressure that I seem to have put myself under with doing these radio programmes, it seems that I overlooked to actually send the one in for this weekend.

Luckily they had something in the pipeline, but it’s really pointless me doing all of this work if I’m not going to send it in. It’s pretty much a waste of time.

And not only that, it seems that I’ve also overlooked to do my second week of internet course.

What with one thing or another, it’s been a pretty miserable week and I’m going to have to be doing better than this.

At least I managed to be out of bed before the third alarm. Sitting on the edge of the bed waiting for the world to stop spinning round so that I could get off.

During the night I’d been in hospital and there had been some kind of operation. I was eventually allowed up. Someone from the hospital phoned me up to see how I was. They were interested to know if I was capable of doing my own shopping and they asked me about my plans. I said “the nearest LeClerc is 20-odd kilometres away so are you happy that i’m going to be cycling 40 kilometres just to go to the shops?” but they didn’t reply very much. It was a very non-commital answer that I had from them. The woman said that she lived in a small town where the nearest supermarket was only a minute or two away by car so she could do all her things like that. That didn’t help my matter very much. As I was walking around I came across a pub. It was a Sunday morning not quite before lunchtime. The pub was on a second level higher up. There were a few people whom I knew in there. I thought “should I go and have a drink?” but then though “that’s a stupid thing to be doing, going drinking”. So I carried on walking and came to the second one and there were even more people whom I knew in there. One of them was a boy whom I knew in school and with whom I shared a flat for a short while later. There was a group of about 4 boys and they were playing a few songs. On bass was another boy who was in my class – someone with whom I had very little contact whatever so how come I suddenly remembered him? I was extremely jealous because they were playing a couple of numbers that we used to play. I thought that they were going to steal a march from our bow and get themselves established in this pub.

While I was at it, I transcribed a few more days’ worth of dictaphone notes from the pile of arrears. There are still 47 entries remaining that cover a three-week period of my voyage to Central Europe.

Apart from that it’s been another slow day with something of a lack of motivation and an excess of fatigue. I’ve finished all of the arrears of photos from June and I’ve now started on those from July.

Only three days from my trip down the Brittany coast in Spirit of Conrad remaining, and then I can start on the photos from Central Europe. I’ve already done some of those but there is still a huge pile to do.

And then there are the photos from my two trips to the Arctic.

At least I managed to remember to book my trains and accommodation for my trip to Castle Anthrax. That’s one thing. Here’s hoping that I remember to print out everything and that my appointment isn’t cancelled.

speedboat english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallWe had the usual interruptions this afternoon too.

The afternoon walk was one of them of course. There were crowds of people out there today walking around in the beautiful weather. Crowds of people on the sea too. Plenty of small boats out there such as this speedboat that was roaring past.

Nothing in the way of large boats though. No Joly France no fishing boats and no Channel Island freighters. It seems to be quite quiet out there in that respect these days.

F-GDED Robin DR400 180 granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was plenty of activity in the air too.

Our autogyro was flying around but rather too far out of range to take a decent photograph. This aeroplane here was flying quite high but with the NIKON D500 and the BIG NIKON ZOOM LENS I could take a good photo of it, and even tell you what it is.

According to the official register, it’s a Robin DR400 180 light aeroplane.

Incidentally, you are quite lucky to actually see it. On 22nd May 2019 it suffered an engine failure and crash-landed in a field near Eurodisney. Luckily no-one was hurt and damage was said to be only minor.

It could have been much, much worse.

yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was no less busy around the southern side of the headland in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

This beautiful yacht was on its way around and into the port de plaisance this afternoon. Just one of several small boats out over there this afternoon.

But apart from that, there wasn’t very much else going on. It was actually quite quiet as far as excitement went. I slowly wandered on home.

Much of the remainder of the afternoon was spent revising my Welsh ready for the start of my course next week. but shame as it is to admit it, I fell asleep on the chair again. To such an extend that I missed half an hour of my guitar practice.

lifeboatmen sauveteurs de mer place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallTea tonight was taco rolls with the remainder of the stuffing from yesterday’s pepper, lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans.

But while I was preparing it, I noticed plenty of movement outside at the Public Rooms. The lifeboatmen, sauveteurs de mer, were congregating outside the building.

As an aside, later on in the evening the band stuck up and there was a lot of music and noise coming from the building.
I enquired as to what was going on there.
“We’re holding a Lifeboatman’s Ball” came the reply.
“Well for God’s sake let go of it” I urged. “He’s making far too much noise!”

Later on I went for my evening walk around the walls.

The lights of Jersey were twinkling quite brightly in the distance and I took a couple of photos of them with the camera. Unfortunately, with them being hand-held and in the dark, they didn’t come out very well and I discarded them.

From there I ran on along the path and then across the Square Maurice Marland.

big wheel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe roadworks in the Rue Notre Dame were finished and the barriers and traffic lights dismantled. I walked past them and carried on around the walls.

But what caught my eye tonight was how nice the port area and the town looked in the streetlights, with the water tower on the skyline in the background just to the right of centre.

The big wheel was looking particularly nice so I reckoned that I had better photograph it tonight. This is going to be the last weekend that it’s here this year

people up to no good city walls granville manche normandy france eric hallBut I’m not quite sure what was going on here.

There were two people with a rather large briefcase and a couple or portable radios hidden away in a corner up on the walls. i’ve no idea what they were doing and they certainly weren’t too keen to enter into conversation.

Having observed them for a couple of minutes I ran on home. My three runs of about 600 or so metres in total once more. There’s only Saturday that I’ve missed in this respect but then again I’ve been well over 120% of my day’s activity ever saturday that I’ve missed.

it’s Saturday tomorrow and US Granville are playing away. I have shopping to do of course and I’m hoping that I remember everything. I’m having a really bad time right now and I don’t know what i’m going to do about it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My first stop today was the railway station.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That cheered me up no end.

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

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

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

Monday 31st August 2020 – MY BANANA BREAD …

… was something of a success today.

Not exactly perfection, because if the truth be told, it was rather on the dry side, but nevertheless it was delicious and I shall be looking forward to a slice every day with my afternoon drink.

In fact, I do recall purchasing bread like this when I lived in Belgium so from a commercial point of view, it’s quite passable and I shall be thinking of ways to improve it as a go on.

full moon granville manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire the almost-full moon this evening, let me tell you that my day today wasn’t all that much of a success.

Far from it, in fact.

It all went wrong last night where for some reason I wasn’t in the least bit tired and ended up still being wide awake at 02:00. But it wasn’t wasted time because I was actually doing some productive work.

Consequently, no leaving my bed this morning until 08:30 was not the disaster that it otherwise might have been.

I was in Nantwich last night walking up Welsh Row and there was a little girl far too young to be a grammar school pupil but she was in the grammar school uniform all the same walking up there. So I had a chat to her about the school. She said that she didn’t like it all that much – she wanted to go to one in Kent. That’s all that I remember about that.

This morning I have spent preparing another radio programme. All of the first 10 tracks have been selected, paired and merged and the intro added to the first pair.

That took me up to lunch where I tried my new loaf of bread. And that’s pretty good as well and i’m quite pleased with that.

This afternoon I was about to start the text for the radio programmes but Ingrid rang me up. We were chatting on the phone for a couple of hours about all kinds of things

fisheries protection vessel english language granville manche normandy france eric hallAs a result my afternoon walk was somewhat later than usual.

There was plenty of activity out to sea today. This boat here out to sea caught my eye because I couldn’t make out what it was at first. It didn’t look like a fishing boat to me.

Back here at the apartment I had a closer look at it. Although it’s difficult to see, the colour scheme seems to suggest that it’s some kind of official boat – although the police and customs boats are usually grey and blue

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallDown on the beach though it was quite busy today.

Lots of people seem to be taking advantage of the final week of official holidays and a rare warm, comparatively wind-free day.

There were plenty of people in the water today too. And that was no surprise because just look at the colour of the sea. We’ve seen it this beautiful emerald-blue on a couple of occasions this year and it’s really enticing when it’s as beautiful as this.

crowds on beach hang gliders plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued along the path underneath the walls of the rue du Nord and round to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

The tide seemed to be on its way out but what caught my eye here was the pile of seaweed on the beach. Usually it’s pretty clear of seaweed so I’ve no idea where all of this has come from today.

There were several bird-men of Alcatraz up in the air too although it wasn’t really as windy as it has been. Nevertheless they seem to be having plenty of fun out there this afternoon.

builders supplies on port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound by the Square Maurice Marland there wasn’t very much at all going on so I pushed on to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw several pallets of granite on the quayside awaiting the arrival of one of the Jersey freighters. They are still there waiting, but they have now been joined by a pile of these big builders bags full of building materials.

Obviously the arrival of either Thora or Normandy Trader is quite imminent. And with none of the passenger ferries to Jersey operating, they may well be bringing in all kinds of exciting things and in the past we’ve even seen cars being winched out onto the quayside.

working on medieval city walls rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen I was out and about on my travels last week I noticed that in the rue des Juifs there were all kinds of warning notices advising of parking restrictions due to take place.

Today, I can see that all of the parking is now fenced off, and they had this skyjack machine roaming around in the streets.

When I go out to the shops on Thursday I’ll have a good look to see if I can see what they have been doing. It’s high time that they gave some of the walls a bit more attention rather like they did last year to the part a little higher up the street.

digger museum de granville rue cambernon  manche normandy france eric hallSomething else that’s been on my mind has been the town’s museum, situated in the old gatehouse by the drawbridge.

That’s been closed “for renovation” since before I came to live here and it makes me wonder when they intend to reopen it, because there has been little sign of any kind of movement. Today though, a digger has appeared in the grounds and they seem to be digging a big hole.

It’s just going to delay the opening even more, I reckon. I don’t suppose that i’ll ever get to see what the museum is all about.

unloading bouchots de chausey port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound by the port, there was plenty of activity going on.

The fishing boat les Bouchots de Chausey had just come into port and was busy unloading piles of bouchots – the mussels that grow on strings – onto the tractor and trailer.

There were so many crates in the hold that they were using the quayside crane as well as the crane on the trailer. That looks as if it’s a really good catch and they can be well-pleased with that.

It’s nice to see something successful happening here, even if it is stuff that I don’t like.

hang gliders pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I trudged my weary way back home again to check my photos.

The Birdmen of Alcatraz were still out there and as I reached my building a couple of them flew by overhead.

Back here I had my slice of banana bread and then sat down to work on the speech for my radio programme.

And shame as it is to say it, I fell asleep on my chair. Not just for 10 minutes either but for a couple of hours too. When I awoke I felt totally dreadful and it took me a good half-hour to pull myself together again.

It’s probably the worst that I have felt for quite some considerable time.

Tea was a burger on a bun with potatoes and vegetables followed by the last of the apple crumble.

full moon over st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was no-one about at all when I went for my evening walk tonight.

The moon was beautiful tonight as you have probably already seen. it was quite low in the sky tonight and looked really impressive shining as it did over the water at St Pair sur Mer.

Back here I had a chat with Liz and then wrote up my notes for today. having done that, I’m now off to bed, and not before time because i’m pretty tired again right now.

It looks to me if i’m not going to shake off this ill-health for quite some time and that’s really depressing. And if countries continue to pull in their borders it may well be that i might not be able to reach Leuven for my medical appointment at Castle Anthrax on 7th October.

It’s already 9 months since I’ve had my four-weekly cancer treatment and I’m feeling the strain terribly.

It’s also exactly 12 months today since I had my “life-changing” evening – the first of three that I had in the High Arctic that really did change my life for ever.

Three nights that I wanted to go on for ever and at the time, it seemed as if they would too.

It’s quite nostalgic right now, and terribly, terribly sad that it all ended like it did. I don’t regret a thing for a single moment and I’ll never be the same after all of that. Despite the fact that the water has flown well underneath the bridge, I won’t forget it for ever.

Thursday 20th August 2020 – IT’S BEEN …

clouds sunset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall… another slightly better day today, and while you admire a few photos of the evening sunset – because I managed to get out and about today – I’ll tell you all about it.

Mind you, it could just as easily not have been because for some reason or other I couldn’t go to sleep last night. It was 01:30 and I was still awake, working on the computer.

But sleep I eventually did because the alarms awoke me at 06:00. Mind you, that doesn’t mean that I was out of bed at that time.

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall08:15 is a much more reasonable time to be leaving the bed when I’m not feeling well. Plenty of time for me to go off on a noturnal voyage here and there

I was in Scandinavia last night and there was some friction at the border, to do with transporting young people across the national line from one to the other. You aren’t allowed to do it, rather like the old Mann Act in the USA. I can’t remember but I was going across and it was a question of a girl who came under this particular jurisdiction. Whether she had come with me I dunno but I ended up being chased by these people who wanted to arrest me. We had all kinds of James Bond things, Spiderman leaping from buildings, all this kind of thing, running at ridiculous lengths for ridiculous distances at ridiculous speeds, everything so that I could get clear of whoever was pursuing me about this and eventually find my way across the border.

light out to sea english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallBack at the border again I was walking past a kind of supermarket which had a huge tent as an entrance. 4 or 5 men went in there. I thought that these looked suspicious – they were rough, heavily-armed type of people so I waited outside the door. There was someone else waiting outside the door too who was clearly going to be helping them. They came out with these two girls and it was clear that they were intending to take them across the border so I intercepted and grabbed hold of these two girls and steered them off and these people came after me. They caught me in some kind of area but I had a machine gun and just let fly at a couple of people with it. I can’t remember whether I hit anyone or anything like that. With this machine gun I was well in control of the situation here about liberating these two girls .

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallSome time later I was back in a similar kind of situation, if not further along on the same voyage. Yet again, it was a border crossing thing.

This time though I was on a motorbike this time having to cross the border which was not so straightforward as I would have liked bearing in mind that the countries were in the EU. Again it was a question of what to do with the young girl who was there.

Unfortunately I don’t remember much about it because I awoke in the middle of it with the thing well under way and I missed the most exciting bits – the story of my life I suppose.

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallSo now that I seem to be feeling a little better, what exactly have I done today to put my life back in order?

Apart from the usual bits of paperwork here and there that needed sticking away, I’ve actually been something of a busy boy, which took me completely by surprise.

Now that I’ve finally managed to organise the photographs of today you can see something of what I’ve been up to, if you are all up to it, that is.

crowds watching clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallFirst of all and most importantly, I’ve managed two meals today.

For tea this evening I had a ferret around in the freezer and ended up with a potato curry that I had made back in June with some rice. This was followed by an improvised dessert of pineapple chunks and ice cream.

For lunch though, there is no bread here so I had a couple of taco rolls with salad. It’s a good job that I have a packet or two of those in stock. And they were really nice too.

But two proper meals in a day is pretty much of an improvement.

crowds watching clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall
No bread reminded me that I ought to be doing something about it. After all, I have all of the ingredients and I seem to have a little energy and enthusiasm today.

I emptied a sachet of yeast into about 250 ml of slightly warm water into which a table spoon of sugar had been dissolved, and left the yeast to ferment. While that was a-doing I took 500 grammes of flour, added some salt and a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds and mixed it all together with my hands.

Then I added the liquid which by now had a nice frothy foam on top, and mixed it all together and gave it a really good kneading to mix it all togather. When the dough had all gone nice and smooth and elastic afer about 10 minutes, I put it on one side with a cover over the top to proof.

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallThe bread usually takes about an hour or an hour and a half to proof – the dough should double in size – so there’s plenty of time to be getting on with things.

And things I did too. There was another little session on the photos from my little voyage too, and I managed to complete about 35 of them this afternoon.

That might not sound as if it’s very much but the fact that I’ve been able to concentrate to that extent is definitely something of an improvement over how I’ve been for the last few days.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFinding that I was still feeling somewhat better, I plucked up the courage to go for a walk around outside.

And I’m glad that I did, even if it was something of a very slow stagger around, because it really was a beautiful day out there this afternoon. Down on the beach just below the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord there were plenty of people enjoying it.

It was the kind of thing that might have tempted me to go and join them but I wasn’t sure how I’d climb back up the steps.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd so instead I pushed on along the pathway underneath the walls, fighting my way through the throngs of people out taking the air.

Down on the beach at the Plat Gousset there were plenty of people taking the sun too. The tide was well out, as you saw in the previous photo, so there was plenty of room to spread out for your social distancing.

That’s going to be pretty important too because one thing that I know about these viruses, having spent so much time reading about the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918, is that it’sll be back. And back in spades too.

young seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallOne of the things that I wanted to do while I was out was to check on how the baby seagulls were doing.

Off I toddled around to the Square Maurice Marland where I could see over the roofs of the houses in the Rue des Juifs where they had made their nests earlier this year. And sure enough, there was a very fine example of a baby seagull just here.

Not such a baby now either. Probably as big as his mum, I reckon. But at least he’s one of the survivors. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the baby that we were following at first didn’t seem to make it.

tree trunks wrapped in woollen texture square maurice marland granville manche normandy france eric hallBut what’s going on here? This is something completely new that wasn’t here before.

Down on a couple of the trees at the far end of the Square someone has seen fit to knit some kind of woollen warmer for the tree trunks of a couple of the trees. This is extremely puzzling. I don’t understand the purpose of this. After all, the trees have managed quite well on their own for the last God knows how long.

The artists around here are a funny lot, that’s for sure.

Back in the apartment I had a look at the bread to see how it was doing.

It had risen somewhat, although nothing like what I was hoping for. That seems to be a problem with the bread that I make. But anyway, I gave it another good kneading, shaped it, and put it into the mould that I use and which I had greased all ready. It can have another go.

And while it was doing, I went and had a crash out on the chair in the bedroom. The walk had done me in for right now.

home made bread place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hall
When I’d recovered my wits – not that that takes too long these days because I don’t have too many left – I switched on the oven and when it was hot, I bunged the bread inside.

70 minutes later, the timer switched off so I went to extract it. And by the looks of things it came out really well too. Not quite as overwhelming as the previous one, but still looking pretty good.

As for how it tastes, I’ll give you my verdict on that tomorrow lunchtime when I try it. Home-made bread is always good.

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallBy now I’d recovered womwhat from my exertions of the afternoon walk so I decided to take my courage in my two hands and set out for an evening walk.

And how there’s been a change since I was here last because even though it’s only 21:00 the sun is sinking rapidly down behind the horizon. Crowds of people out there enjoying it too, which is not much good for the social distancing, but that’s going to be an eternal problem, I reckon.

Nevertheless I hung around and took a few shots of the sun sinking into the sea.

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallTen seconds later the sun had gone completely.

You have no idea whatever of just how quicky the sun disappears. By my timing and that of the camera, it was still over 100% above the water just 3.5 minutes ago and that is really quite some going.

And once the sun had gone, the crowds on the headland here slowly dispersed, and me along with it. I had plenty of other things to be doing now that I’m out and about.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued on around to the other side of the headland.

As well as checking up on the baby seagulls I wanted to check up on the chantier navale too. That’s a regular port … “very good” – ed … on out travels. There are four boats in there this evening, and I don’t know if that’s more or less than last time because I can’t remember how many were in there the last time that I looked.

And even though it’s 21:15, there are people down there working on one of the boats. I suppose that when it’s your living, you don’t do an 8-hour day 9-5.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd the people in the chantier navale weren’t the only ones out there working this evening.

As I watched, one of the Joly France boats, one of the two that run the ferries across to the Ile de Chausey, came around the headland towards the port. She had quite a crowd of people on board too. They must have had a really good day out today.

She’ll go right over to her starboard (right-hand) side to come into the harbour. The running water out of the harbour drain has scoured away a chanel over on that side so there’s more depth for the boats to make use of.

philcathane trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale I walked down the Boulevard Vaufleury to the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

There’s a viewpoint there that overlooks the inner harbour and I was interested to see who might be in there. The answer to that was “no-one special”. Just a whole collection of assorted fishing boats, amongst which was the trawler Philcathane, all nicely lit up and reflecting in the water.

From here I walked on home. No chance of running because I’m not up to that.

In fact the walks took a great deal out of me. I was exhausted after the first walk and crashed out on the chair. Right now, after the second, I’m even more exhausted and I’ll be off to bed in a minute. I’ve also made a couple of trips down to fetch stuff from Caliburn but I forgot to mention those earlier. There will have to be a major washing-up session soon so that I can clean everything that I brought with me, once I feel up to it.

So progress is being made – slowly but surely. It’s just like when I was in the High Arctic last year and how I slowly recovered at Rachel’s after my exertions over the three preceding months.

I’m clearly not as well as I used to be.

Sunday 12th July 2020 – MY BREAD …

home baked bread place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hall… seems to have gone somewhat berserk today.

This isn’t cooked. This is it on its second rise in the windowsill. It’s totally overflowing the bread mould and about to expand onto the windowsill.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall my previous attempts at bread-making. I’ve never ever had bread perform quite like this. But then again it’s new flour and new yeast, and that must make a difference.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall So while you admire this evening’s sunset, let me tell you that the bread rose a darn sight better than I did this morning. Although for a Sunday, 10:00 is quite an acceptable time for me to be up and about.

There’s some stuff on the dictaphone too so I must have been somewhere during the night. Unfortunately what with one thing and another I forgot to transcribe the notes today.

You’ll have to check back tomorrow to see where I’ve been. I for one can”t wait to find out!

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNo time like the present! First thing that I did was to mix the bread dough. 600 grammes of flour and a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds seeing as they were reasonably handy. A couple of teaspoons of salt in there too, all mixed together.

Meanwhile I’d heated 400ml of water to about 30 degrees or so, added a little sugar to activate the yeast, and then a sachet of yeast.

That went onto one side until there was a really good froth on top of the water to show that the yeast was working, and then tipped into the flour and thoroughly mixed together.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe thing about bread dough is that you know when it’s exactly right. It makes a lovely elasticky ball that no longer sticks to anything and takes all of the floury mess off your hands.

It’s something of a “trial and error” procedure so you need a bit of flour and a bit of water stabding by in case your mixture is either too wet or too dry.

When it’s done, you stick it on one side under a cloth for a couple of hours and let it do its stuff.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd while it was doing its stuff I was busy editing some more photos from my trip on the Spirit of Conrad. There are about 400 of those and if I’ve done a quarter I’ll be lucky.

For lunch I had breakfast – muesli with soya milk and some grape juice.

Following that, I made some pizza dough – basically the same recipe as the bread dough except that I add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. 500 grammes of that is enough for three pizza bases.

That went on one side while I greased my bread mould and put the bread dough into it. That went onto the side next to the pizza dough.

crowds pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallSunday is the day when I go for my very long afternoon walk and end up in town for my treat of the week – my vegan banana sorbet.

But with it being such a delicious hot day and all of the bright sunlight that goes with it, it had brought out the people in droves.

And no question of Social Distancing either. Crowds congregating as they wish. Anyone would think that this virus had passed and wasn’t coming back. But several hundred infections and several deaths every day ought to give someone a clue about what is happening.

yachts speedboats english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAt least, out at sea, social distancing of a sort can be maintained.

And how many boats did you count out there in this photo? I haven’t counted them but there must be several dozen all jostling about in the English Channel in between the mainland and the Ile de Chausey.

We have yachts, speedboats, zodiacs, everything. You name it and it’s out there somewhere having a splash around at sea. And if I had the chance, I would be joining them.

yachts speedboat english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallBut it was a really beautiful day for photography.

The sky was hot, the air was clear and there wasn’t a trace of sea mist anywhere. It had all been burnt off. And so the view out to the Ile de Chausey was spectacular.

It’s not every day that you cans ee the colours of the buildings on the island as clearly as this. The lighthouse is there on its peak just to the left of centre, and the semaphore station is the square building on the ridge to the right.

st helier jersey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd it wasn’t just the Ile de Chausey that stood out really well in the afternoon sun.

The island of Jersey was looking quite spectacular too today. We can actually see the houses at St Helier too – and that’s at a distance of about 58 kilometres away.

Unfortunately we can’t see if either Thora or Normandy Trader are on their way to pick up that load of timber that’s still on the quayside here awaiting collection

cap frehel brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd down the coast the weather is just as good too.

We saw yesterday the outline of the lighthouse away down the coast on Cap Fréhel but today we can even see the the Cape itself away on the extreme right of the image here.

As for the thing that’s farther over to th right, I’m still undecided as to what that might be. It could be a yacht or it could be one of the lighthouses off the coast of St Malo but I really have no idea.

1943 carving in concrete pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAnyway, leaving that to one side for the moment I carried on with my walk along the top and then down the stairs to the viewpoint right at the end of the Pointe du Roc.

And here’s something that I don’t recall seeing before – or maybe I do, I dunno. A nice flat piece of concrete in the steps leading down, with a little design in it and dated 1943.

Probably a souvenir from when they were building the Atlantic Wall and there must be a story behind this if only I knew what it was. I wonder who inscribed it here.

seagulls on rocks in sea pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallAs it happened, I’d gone down there for a special purpose.

While I was descending the steps I noticed a huge swarm of seagulls on the rocks and riding the waves and I hadn’t a clue why. My first thought was that they might have been fishing but I didn’t notice any bird catch anything – rather like my local fishermen.

It wasn’t as if they were sleeping either. There was plenty of activity going on down there, so it beats me.

fishing from rocks pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut talking of fishing … “well, one of us is” – ed … one of the rocks out there had a fisherman or two perched thereupon.

Jusding by the writing on the back of the tee-shirt – BELGIUM – they are probably grockles come to disturb the peace of the local inhabitants.

For a good few minutes I stood and watched them too but, true to form, they didn’t pull anything out of the water. As I have said … “on many, many occasions” – ed … I’ve yet to actually see any fishermen actually catch anything there

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued along the old road that eventually comes out by the chantier navale.

And dodging the swarming masses I finally made it down there to see what was going on. We still have six boats in there. I know that you can only see five but the sixth is in front of the two on the extreme left and you can’t see it.

There were massive crowds too on the quayside around here. Holiday season is in full swing and it was definitely a case of “dodge the covid-carrier” around here today.

portacabins gone from port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe gates across the harbour entrance were closed so it was possible for me to walk across the top to the other side.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago we saw a rack of portacabins over here for some reason or other – I never did find out why. But they have gone now so whatever they were doing is finished.

ulm microlight granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving dealt with that I walked through the port and then around the town in a glorious figure of 8, ending up at the ice cream parlour for my Sunday ice cream

But not before I was buzzed once more by yet another low-flying object. A microlight, or ULM as they call them around here, was flying by overhead disturbing the peace.

So having picked up my ice-cream I headed off once more down the Rue Lecampion and down the Rue du Port

buoys on boatd fishing boat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe new car park down there is depressing me completely. A solid mass of tarmac without one blade of grass or any other greenery What a shame.

And that thought brought me along to one of the fishing boats here. Do you notice the buoys and the flags at the stern? Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve often wondered about those, but now I know.

The flags are an indication that a casier such as a lobster pot, is at the other end on the sea bed. And the round buoys can either serve that purpose too or otherwise they might be mooring buoys

coelacanthe tiberiade port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallA couple of our more well-know trawlers are in the harbour today.

Coelacanthe and Tiberiade probably belong to the same company, seeing as they carry the same livery, but they are in fact different types of boat.

Coelacanthe seems to be a bigger boat, with more solid superstructure at the side rails and with a different array on the cabin roof.

One of these days I’ll have to blag myself a ride out to sea in one of them.

Rosemary called me while I was out so I arranged to phone her when I returned home.

Back here, by now we’ve already seen what has become of the bread in the bread mould, and the pizza dough has expanded dramatically too.

In the meantime I phoned Rosemary back and we had a chat. And I worked out a cunning plan, more of which anon

So while the oven was heating up I prepared an apple crumble. The bread went into the oven when it was hot, followed by the crumble. But there was plenty of crumble mix left over so with another apple, I made a small apple crumble too. There will be enough for ages, I reckon, like that.

Once the bread and the crumble was under way I split the pizza dough into 3. One I rolled out and shaped to fit in the pizza tray and the other two were rolled in olive oil, wrapped in greaseproof paper and put in a plastic bag in the freezer for another time.

vegan pizza place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving left the pizza on its tray for half an hour, I then went and prepared it ready for the oven.

When I took out the bread and the crumble, I put the pizza in and let it cook for half an hour. And this is the result.

The pizza base had risen to perfection – it really had – and the toppings of course were the usual delicious items. I have to say that this was the best pizza that I have ever cooked – and I’ve cooked plenty of them, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

home baked bread apple crumble place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAs for the bread and the apple crumble, then the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

And the eating didn’t take place tonight because I was rather full after my pizza and i’m trying to cut down on what I eat. So I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow.

One thing though – with all of this cooking there was a whole pile of tidying up and washing up to do. Not my favourite occupation at all.

later on, I went out for my evening run, dropping off the bin bag in the bin as I went.

people sitting in sunset pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWith a little effort I managed to extend my run up the hill another 50 metres again, and then having walked up to the corner, i ran down to the clifftop.

Nothing much going on there so I walked across the lawn to the other side. On the viewpoint was a couple watching the evening sunset. And quite right too because, as you have already seen, it really was beautiful again tonight.

The next stage of my run took me along the clifftop but there was nothing going on there very much.

striations colour variations in water pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWe did however have another case of the different colours in the water.

And while I was on the train the other day i was reading the account of the journey of Vilhjalmur Stefansson to the Arctic coast of Canada between 1908 and 1912

Of the Mackenzie River he wrote “The huge volume of fresh water in the spring (the river usually opens between the fifth and twenty-fifth of May) not only melts away the sea ice, but also by its current drives away any that happens to be floating about, so that none but the strongest ones from seaward can fill the immediate vicinity of the delta with ice. The volume of fresh water is so large, tluit the whaling ships in passing outside of Mackenzie Bay take water for cooking and drinking purposes that has not a taint of brackishness
even where land is not in sight from the masthead”.

Doesn’t that sound familiar?

people on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallI ran on down the Boulevard Vaufleury and having recovered my breath, I ran on round to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord.

We’ve already seen the sunset out to sea and while there were no picnickers this evening, there were still a few people on the beach.

Crowds up here watching the sunset too so I didn’t hang around for long after the sun had gone down. I ran on home to write up my notes.

And having done that, much later than I intended, I’m now off to bed. It’s been a long day and I deserve a good rest.

Monday 22nd June 2020 – THIS MORNING …

… was another morning to really forget about as far as the “getting up” stakes went.

And it beats me as to why, really, because whilst it wasn’t exactly an early night, I crashed out and went to bed before I’d finished the night’s tasks. Finish the journal and do the back-up.

And the back-up is becoming quite complicated these days.

There’s been an upgrade to the operating system that I use – a major upgrade – and some of the functions are missing.

In the past there was a “search” function where you could specify “today” or “yesterday” or “this month” or “this year”. I have a 128GB memory stick in one of the USB ports and I would would simply “search” for “today” on the computer’s hard drives (there are four in here) and it would come up with all of the files that I’ve created or modified today, then I would just drag copies onto the memory stick.

But that function seems to have gone and what i’m having to do in the meantime until I find a work-around is to go into each of the hard drives on the computer, list all of the files and drag over copies of those that were last saved today.

And that takes about 10 times as long.

So when I eventually did heave myself out of bed and have my medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone. Yesterday’s voyage was transcribed and I amended the journal entry to include it.

But as for the one from last night, I was for ever writing that one out.

Last night I was in Canada – at least, I assumed that it was in Canada. I was in my car off taking photographs and there was someone in a car. But we started – I had to go to the tax office and I had to fill in a load of forms. One of them was the Vanden Plas that I’d got and how I’d come by it, how I was given it, all that kind of thing. And I was being interviewed by these two people – first one and then the other. They were asking me loads of questions about all this kind of thing. The first one came back with a pile of forms. “Here’s a pile of forms and you’ll have to follow the instructions that you will be receiving scrupulously” I had a quick glance though these forms and I couldn’t see what there was in there of any particular importance. I thought “I’ll find out in due course”. To go out it was liek a kind of maze of one room inside another, all with wallpaper painted over them and a rotted chipboard door in one wall that had swollen up. As I was going out a woman was going out with a girl who had her hair in pink pigtails. She went and I got in my car and drove off. Just then I encountered another car that had been bogged down in the gravel and they were trying to push it to get it out. The rear left tyre was totally flat on it, all the tyres were worn, the paintwork was peeling, it was an absolute mess this car.Anyway they pushed it out got into it and drove away. I thought “God imagine a car like that on the road in the Uk these days. My tyre was flat now so I took out the spare and put the wheel on the same nuts as the one that was still on there that was flat so I had two wheels on that particular corner. Just then a girl came past and we started chatting. A little earlier I’d been looking at a map and there was a promontory a way out from here miles down some narrow roads which had a shop there called something like “when the lorry stops, the community stops” or something like that. I imagine that it was a lorry that would take all the supplies out there. She was actually talking about what was I doing here, looking at my car and saying how a train doesn’t do this and a train doesn’t do that and a train doesn’t need inflatable tyres and so on. We started walking off down this road round this lake. I had a dog with me, a black and white sheepdog called Shep. She said “we’ll go on, there are some places to photograph and then we can go back to my place”. I thought “what’s happening here?” So we wandered off with the dog and by this time we had another guy with us – the three of us. The dog decided to disappear so I shouted after him to come back and he knew which way we were going. She stopped at this old derelict house and she said that it was something to do with – she came out with a quote from a book which the other guy immediately recognised as one of these American authors of the 19th Century and saying “is that the house where one of his characters lived?” He named the character and I can’t remember it now. We were talking about this and the blasted dog still hadn’t come back. I thought that I’d better go and look for this dog but I thought “if I do that this guy is going to get his feet under the table with this girl isn’t he? But the dog is much more important, isn’t it?”

Yes, I’m back to having anxiety attacks in my dreams again, although seriously, I don’t think that I ever stopped them over the last few years.

Ohhhh! To have a couple of pleasant voyages like I used to have with convivial companions. It’s been ages since TOTGA, Castor and one or two others have come along to accompany me.

It took me much longer to deal with the dictaphone notes than it ought to have done, and there was the Welsh homework to attend to. All of that took me up to lunchtime which was taken on the wall overlooking the harbour.

All alone, with no lizards, no passers-by and nothing going on down in the harbour. But even so, there has to be something to be said for home-made hummus spread out on home-made bread.

This afternoon I had a radio project to deal with – a live concert to bring myself into synch with everything else. I ended up with 57:09 of music and so I dictated piles of introduction – only to find that I was 15 seconds short – something that seemed most unlikely to me but there we were.

Consequently I dictated some more – only to find that I was still 5 seconds short. But some spurious applause fed into the soundtrack soon dealt with that issue and it’s come out quite well.

low tide beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were the usual breaks during the day of course.

For a start, there was the afternoon walk outside. rather windy but apart from that it was absolutely beautiful weather. The tide was well out although there weren’t too many people down there enjoying the sunshine which was quite a surprise to me.

Not that I intended to go down there. I was off for my walk around the headland.

fishing zodiac kayak granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve spent a lot of time looking at fishermen just recently.

We have the peche à pied of course – the people who scavenge amongst the rocks for the shellfish, and those with rod and line percehed on the rocks. There’s also plenty of movement out at sea too – with the speedboat roaring past the guy paddling his own canoe.

Fishing rods bristling everywhere of course. They all mean business, but in their own fashion.

feeding frenzy seagulls tidal pool granville manche normandy france eric hallIt’s not only humans who are out there fishing.

The local wildlife spends a lot of its time fishing too. We’ve seen whole socks of fleagulls loitering on the rocks waiting for the tide to go out so that they too can go scavenging in the rock pools.

This bunch here seems to he having some kind of feeding frenzy down there in that tidal rock pool. And no fighting means that there must be plenty of food to go round.

And that’s just as well. You mustn’t be selfish with your shellfish

seafarers memorial baie de mont st michel le loup entrance light port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the way round to where the seagulls wee hanging out, I went past the memorial to the seafarers.

There has been a lifeboat station here for a considerable length of time and a couple of crews have lost their lives over the years while out on a rescue.

The memorial stands just here overlooking le Loup – the light that marks the submerged rock at the entrance to the harbour – the Baie de Mont St Michel and the coastal towns of St Pair sur Mer, Kairon-Plage and Jullouville.

There wasn’t a great deal else happening out there so I came on home to carry on with my radio project. But, once more, in something that is becoming only too regular an occurrence these days, I ended up in the arms of Morpheus for 20 minutes or so. And I’m thoroughly fed up of all of this.

There was the usual hour or so on the guitars during which I found that I had forgotten most of what I had learnt.

Although on the 6-string I’ve found that I’ve been changing from Bm to F without even thinking about it and without even looking. 6 months ago I couldn’t even play them and I was changing key whenever a bar chord cropped up in my playing.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper followed by apple crumble and soya dessert. And I really had to force myself to eat it because my appetite has well and truly gone now.

fishing from zodiac english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo later on I went out for my run, and I never felt less like it than I do right now.

All the way up to the top of the hill, around the corner and down to the clifftop without stopping, to see what was going on there. We saw a zodiac out there earlier with a pile of men going fishing, but I’m not sure if that’s the same one.

The tide is right in so that they don’t have to go too far out from the cliffs this evening.

picnickers pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was a really beautiful evening and there were quite a few people out there enjoying the beautiful sunset.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a pile of people picnicking in one of the old gun emplacements, and tonight there’s a different crowd in occupation

It seems to me that that’s the place to be if you are having a family picnic and there’s no doubt that the view from there out across the English Channel to the Ile de Chausey and down the Brittany coast is certainly spectacular.

yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued across the lawn and the car park and down onto the path at the extremity of the headland.

And as I arrived there, this beautiful little yacht went sailing past. It really did make me feel quite jealous and how I wished that I could be out there right now.

In fact I spoke to someone whom I know about going out sme time on a yacht but he never ever got back to me about it so I imagine that that particular plan is kicked in the head.

At this rate I can see me ending up buying a boat and had I been in better health I probably would. But then again, had I been in better health I wouldn’t be here, would I?

fishing from rocks cap lihou pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt’s surprising that during the course of the day we’ve seen almost everything out there fishing – except for anyone perched on the rocks.

We almost have to wait until the end of the evenign before we finally encounter someone. He’s climbed down the old collapsing stairs (they are fenced off these days) to where there’s a small tidal beach.

The tide is right in now of course, so he’s taking the usual step of perching himself on a rock and casting his line into the water from there.

Whether he’s actually catching anything is another question entirely.

people on rocks plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I ran on down to the viewpoint on top of the cliffs and as there was nothing happening there either I ran on all the way down through the medieval town and round on the rue du Nord to the viewpoint.

There’s no beach here to picnic on when the tide is in, so I wasn’t expecting any picnickers. But that didn’t worry these people here. They simply perched themselves on a handy ledge on the rocks and soaked up the sun.

That’s a place that i’m going to remember for future reference. It seems to have everything.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd they were in luck because there was plenty of sun to soak up.

It was another night of beautiful sunset so I stayed there fora while to enjoy it and then ran on home to write up the notes.

Earlier on I’d said that I didn’t feel at all like going out. But somehow the runs seemed to be a little easier than they have been over the last couple of days.

It’s clearly a state of mind that affecting me right now and I think that i’m sinking into deep depression. And that’s all that I need right now.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last summer when I was on my Transatlantic and Arctic escapade for several months without my four-weekly cancer treatment, I ended up deep in the depths of a depression.

On one or two occasions I expressed myself in a manner that made me unwelcome in one or two places and there are still three or four days at the end of August and the beginning of September where I haven’t published my notes because of what I wrote at the time and the manner in which I wrote it.

Back in February when my cancer treatment was dramatically stopped “for the duration” I remember writing something like “God knows what state I’m going to be in by the time they call me back” so it’s no surprise.

It’s just as well that there isn’t anyone around who gets on my nerves otherwise we might have another couple of “those” moments.

But anyway, you don’t want me to burden you with my troubles. You have enough of your own to be dealing with. I’ll go to bed instead before this Steve Harley concert that I’m listening to drags me deeper into the pit.

Who’s going to come along and disturb my sleep tonight?