Tag Archives: high winds

Friday 16th September 2022 – MEANWHILE, BACK AT …

aeroplane 78ASX pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… the ran … errr … apartment, I’ve been a busy little B today, and while you admire a couple of photos of unidentified light aeroplanes flying by overhead this afternoon, I’ll tell you all about it.

And for a change, I actually had a good night’s sleep. I was in bed at a reasonable time and there was nothing whatever on the dictaphone until the alarm went off.

Mind you, I’m pretty certain that I was awake at a couple of moments during the night and it’s quite possible that there was something going on, but rather unfortunately these days I’m becoming used to the idea of forgetting to dictate stuff.

As long as it’s not Zero, Castor or TOTGA then it’s not all that important. I’d hate to miss a voyage with one of them in it.

aeroplane 78ARY baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But do you know what?

With having the longest uninterrupted sleep (according to the dictaphone) that I’ve had just recently, when I awoke this morning I actually felt worse than I have done for a while. But isn’t that par for the course these days? It always happens like that.

So where did I get to during the night then? When the alarm went off this morning I was actually in Vienna. I’d gone with a couple of friends to see some woman whom we knew about refugees and to help them. We’d been there once before to do something with refugees but we decided that we’d go again. When the alarm went off I was in a disco while one of these women was dancing to some kind of obscure pop music. I was standing there with my hands in my pockets musing on events while the music was playing and everyone was dancing around. That’s where it got to when the alarm went off

While we’re on the subject of aeroplanes by the way … “well, one of us is” – ed … the French have a saying jamais deux sans trois.

F-GBAI Robin DR 400-140B baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And sure enough a few minutes later an aeroplane did go flying over. And it’s one that we recognise too and can identify.

She’s actually F-GBAI, a Robin DR 400-140B that belongs to the local aero club. She was picked up on radar at 16:12 as she flew down the coast, did a lap around Mont St Michel and flew back, coming in to land at 16:36.

So that’s either a sightseeing run or someone clocking up the hours for the renewal of his licence.

My photo was timed at 16:11 (adjusted) which means that she was just about to burst onto the local radar screen when I saw her.

The rest of the day was spent dealing with the photos from Jersey. Having run aground yesterday as I mentioned, I started from the other end and worked backwards. It was a good plan too because I managed to complete over 20 photos and write their notes until I ran aground yet again.

This time, there’s a delightful house at Fliquet that is clearly something special, but I can’t find a single word anywhere about it and it can’t be something that ought to be ignored.

Amongst the pauses today was of course one for my afternoon hobble around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022

And as usual I started off by going over to the wall at the end of the carpark to see what was going on down below.

“Going over” wasn’t exactly the word. “Blown over” is much more appropriate because the wind was quite savage this afternoon and I’d even had to take off my cap as soon as I was outside.

Only a handful of people down there on the beach this afternoon. That was bizarre because even though the wind was thoroughly wicked, it really was a glorious day and I quite enjoyed being out there right now. I’d have thought that there would have been many more people out there in it.

So I headed off along the path towards the end of the headland, admiring the island of Jersey on the horizon which was plainly visible today.

lighthouse cap fréhel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022My eyes were however focused at what I could see out along the coast in Brittany. Many of the headlands were quite visible but Cap fréhel, the one on with the lighthouse, was lost in the haze.

There was something out there in that direction that I could see with the naked eye so I photographed it to examine later to see what it was.

At first I thought that it might be the lighthouse itself but it looks too low down to the horizon and there is what looks like rigging attached to it at the top so I dunno.

We’ll have to pass on this one.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Not too many people out there on the car park today so I wasn’t overwhelmed.

However we did have a couple of people sitting down on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon admiring what was (or wasn’t) going on.

They were probably getting their money’s worth looking at the aerial ballet taking place overhead because it was while I was here that we had all of the aeroplanes going past.

Not so much out at sea though. It was strangely quiet in the water today.

omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was a lot going on at the channtier naval today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we haven’t seen L’Omerta playing “Musical Ships” over at the Fish Processing Plant just recently. She won’t be playing again for a while because she’s come into the chantier naval.

She’s on blocks over there where Le Styx used to be and they’ve already started to work on her. Le Styx has gone back into the water by the looks of things so we’ll have to keep an eye out for her to see what she’s up to.

le poulbot black pearl pierre de jade briscard chant des sirenes omerta fishing boats chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And there’s even more changes down there too.

For a start, Massabielle is no longer there. And the unidentified boat has gone! And never called me “mother”! either. Her place has been taken by Black Pearl.

Next to her yesterday was Pierre de Jade but according to the radar, she’s in the inner harbour today tied to a pontoon so I’m not confused as to whether this is she and the radar isn’t correct for some reason, or whether this is a different boat.

She certainly looks the same to me so maybe she’s left her AIS transmitter behind when she was pulled up into the chantier naval. But I’m going for Pierre de Jade

catherine philippe trafalgar peccavi calean port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022When I reached the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour I had a look to see if I could see Le Styx but if she was there she was hiding quite successfully.

Plenty of other boats there today though. The white one with light blue and red is Catherine Philippe” and moored at the same pontoon behind her is Trafalgar who was there in the chantier naval for a while just recently.

On the other side of the pontoon in yellow and red stripes is Peccavi who appeared in the chantier naval on a couple of occasions just now.

But talking of Le Styx being well-hidden reminds me of the two soldiers who met in a barracks one afternoon
“I didn’t see you at camouflage parade this morning, Private”
“Thank you, Sarge”.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Meanwhile, over on the far wall, Victor Hugo is back in town.

When I was looking at the radar last night, I noticed that she was back. It looks as if her work for the season is now over. And that was a pretty short season too. As I have said before … ” …and on many occasions too” – ed they need to be doing much more than this if the ferry service is to remain viable.

And I for one hope that it does. It’s why I came here. Next year I’ll plan things better and stay over in jersey a couple of days, if it’s possible.

It probably won’t be long either before her sister Granville comes back to port too. I don’t suppose that she’ll be working much longer either and her season will draw to a close.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Chausiaise is still tied up where she was yesterday too. She hasn’t been out anywhere today.

That was that really. Marité was down at the bottom of the harbour and Shtandart wasn’t and with nothing much else happening I wandered off back home for the last of my chocolate drink.

For a while I carried on with my notes and photos, and eventually went for tea.

There were some burgers that were well out of date so I had one of them with pasta and I’ll finish off the other one at some point in the near future. I’m not too bothered about frozen food right now but for reasons that will become clear I want to clean out the fridge and eating the food that’s in it is the best way of doing that.

Shopping tomorrow so I’m hoping for a restful night and a good sleep. But the way that things usually happen around here that’s hardly likely

There isn’t really much that I need but I have to go through the motions and see what’s about.

Football again tomorrow night. I missed it last weekend and I’m ready to curl up in front of a good internet connection and watch Y Drenewydd. But I can’t remember now who they are playing.

Tuesday 6th September 2022 – WHILE I WAS OUT …

rainstorm baie de mont st michel brittany France Eric Hall photo 6th September 2022… this afternoon, I noticed this rather enormous rain cloud out in the bay.

The wind was blowing from the south-east rather than from the north-west this afternoon, and blowing in spades as well. The cloud was down there in the south west though and so any change of direction in the wind could create a few problems.

Sure enough, about half an hour later the wind swung round 90° clockwise and about half an hour after that we had the rainstorm to end all rainstorms.

It didn’t last all that long but it was impressive while it happened and maybe tomorrow we might see some kind of change in the vegetation if we are lucky. It’s still looking quite burnt-out right at the moment.

Maybe tomorrow there might be some change in me too. A couple of weeks ago I was feeling burnt-out too, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. But I seemed to have improved – until I had that big fall on board Victor Hugo last week that stopped me dead in my tracks.

A good night’s sleep will probably do me a world of good too and last night I almost had it too. I only awoke a couple of times during the night and there was only one sound-file on the dictaphone.

But what a sound-file it was!

This was another really long, rambling dream that went on for ages. I was at school, in my room because we had little dormitories. Someone called me but I couldn’t think why. I went outside my room but couldn’t see anyone. I wandered round. In the end I found myself holding a young cat, a light-coloured tabby so I was walking around finding out what I was supposed to do with this cat. I must have walked around the entire school asking people questions about this cat. In the end I ended up in the secretary’s office. She explained to me that it was the cat out of their office. Could they have it back? Surprisingly I felt extremely disappointed having to hand back this cat because even though I didn’t have any equipment I would have quite happily taken it with me and kept it in my room. I told her that if she’s ever looking for someone to look after it for a while I’d be quite happy to do that. She replied “yes but there are a lot of people in the queue”. I was surprised at how disappointed I felt.

Later on there was some kind of festival going on in the school and there were loads of people milling around. I had some sandwiches and I was going off to find somewhere to eat but there was hot food being served so I wondered if this was going to be provided free. I ended up at a kind-of snack café where I could see the prices clearly displayed so I imagined that that would be the same everywhere. I went and found a seat where I could sit and eat my sandwiches. The guy there was Jolyon Robinson from school. He was going on about how few people were going round right now. I explained that most of them have probably gone into town to find a good restaurant. Wherever we went anywhere with the school and was staying on we’d go into town to find an Indian and eat Indians all over the UK. He thought that that was quite strange. I was rummaging around on the table and came across a bill for a restaurant. I said “there you are. Look at this”. I read out the items on the bill and the bill was something like £63:00 for 1 meal for 1 person. I noticed that the price for dessert was a flamenkuche which was £18:00. I said “ik kan een mooije flamenkucke gebacke” in Flemish. He looked at me strangely so I told him what it meant. I said that I wouldn’t pay £18:00 for one of these when I can make one in 20 minutes. Some woman sitting nearby came over and snatched the receipt away from me. She said “this is a receipt from (somewhere else). That’s wrong, what you are saying anyway” but I couldn’t understand at all about why it was wrong and why she was making such a fuss.

Strangely enough, with not travelling anything like as far as I used to do, the idea of adopting a cat is something that has gone round inside my head. For many years when I was on my own in the past I had a cat, my black cat “Tuppence” who used to do her best to chase away any girl who I brought home, and when I was married we ended up with four of them.

Despite having one of the best sleeps that I’ve had for quite a while, it was even so the worst morning that I’d had for quite a while about leaving the bed. I did beat the second alarm to my feet but only just. I was only half-dressed when it went off.

Back in here after the medication I transcribed the dictaphone notes, as you have seen, and the rest of the day was spent editing the photos from Jersey.

And that’s taking much longer than it should do, not because of any difficulty that I had with the editing, but finding out what was actually depicted thereupon. And it needs to be done too because after all, that was the whole point of going to Jersey in the first place

Right now I’m just off the coast here in Granville on my way home with another 15 or so photos to edit. And they won’t take too long to do seeing as I’m back home.

And aren’t they “famous last words”? We’ve heard all of that before.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 6th September 2022With nothing else exciting happening, I went out for my afternoon walk.

High winds and overcast skies were enough to put the willies up anyone this afternoon. There was hardly anyone about up on top of the cliffs so I wasn’t expecting to see anyone down on the beach this afternoon.

And so I wasn’t disappointed to find that the beach was absolutely deserted this afternoon. There wasn’t a soul about

There was however someone with a van working on the new car-park barrier that was installed last week but as soon as he saw me coming, he hopped into the van and cleared off.

As for the bust that was loitering around here for a couple of days, I haven’t seen that since I said something about it on Friday.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 6th September 2022Walking across the car park and down the side street to the viewpoint overlooking the port wasn’t easy. I was continually being blown about by the wind and when you are as unsteady on your feet as I am these days you’ll know all about it.

There wasn’t even one boat out at sea this afternoon and that’s no surprise either. Just have a look at the waves surging around by Le Loup, the marker light on the rocks at the entrance to the port.

No waves and spray splashing around at the base though. The wind is in the wrong direction for that today. We’ll have to wait for that until the wind veers back round to the north-west.

work on crane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 6th September 2022There was some work going on at the crane in the inner harbour.

The crane over there is the one that has recently been refurbished – at a cost not unadjacent to €80,000, so I’m told – but it looks as if there’s a guy down there giving the thing some further attention.

What with the barrier at our car park being adjusted just about a week after it’s been installed, it seems to be the thing these days that nothing seems to work as it should despite all of the care, attention and money that has been lavished upon it.

But on the subject of the cranes, I’m still dismayed that the gravel boats are no longer coming into the port. We haven’t seen one of those for a couple of years.

cancale brittany France Eric Hall photo 6th September 2022While I was up here on the cliffs I noticed that I could see the town of Cancale quite clearly.

While the view out to sea wasn’t all that much to write home about, the wind was keeping the air in the bay quite clear and the clouds were preventing too much reflection from the sun

Mind you, the rainstorm over there wasn’t doing the visibility much good. You can see how heavy it was.

Back here I had a coffee and then carried on with the photos until I ran out of steam. It’s quite hard to keep the concentration going for too long. At least, it is for me.

Tea was a taco roll with most of the rest of the stuffing, accompanied by rice and veg. It was delicious as usual.

Anyway, I’m off to bed in a moment. For some reason I’m feeling quite tired, although I haven’t done all that much today in the way of physical activity.

But what I am going to do it so try to walk with that crutch that I have in the cupboard from three years ago to see if that can encourage me to move around more. I’m fed up of being stuck around here leaning from wall to wall

In theory I could push on farther but I don’t have the confidence to do so right now. That walk back from the ferry terminal to here was a nightmare.

And I’m worried about what might happen if I fall over and can’t pick myself up, particularly when I’m very close to the edge of the top of a cliff.

Monday 25th July 2022 – THE WEATHER HAS …

waves sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… changed dramatically today, as you can see in this photo.

It’s cooled down dramatically, clouded over and a high wind has sprung up. So much so that we are having some impressive waves slamming into the harbour wall while I was out on my afternoon walk.

Contrast that with the situation over the last couple of weeks or so where the heat has been enough to blister a bunch of barnacles and toast a throng of tourists.

This was much more like the usual weather that we have throughout the year and made it feel so much more like home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The situation was reflected in what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

Not too many people down there at all and of those who were, there wasn’t a soul in the water as far as I could see.

Anyway, that’s enough about that. My own day has been slightly better than the last couple of days. I only managed to crash out for about 40 minutes today, and seeing as I was up and about at 06:00 after a night that was rather later than I was hoping, I suppose that it’s not too bad.

Mind you it’s a far cry from the days when I could function properly and thoroughly on only 3 hours sleep, or have a working day of 32.5 hours non-stop on the road.

They were the Good Old Days. As A E Housman once famously wrote, “The happy highways where I went and cannot come again”

After the medication and checking my mails and messages, I sat down to prepare another radio programme. I was doing quite well too for quite a long time but I ended up not finishing until 11:30.

But then that’s the problem with choosing songs by Canadian folk groups, Cheshire-based space rockers and Californian cover artists who are so obscure that they don’t even have a biography listed anywhere on the usual pages.

Interestingly, as an aside I ended up writing a few things about the Mariposa Folk Festival at Orilia, Ontario, in 1968 from out of my head without undertaking any research whatever.

And guess what site my social network provider suggested that I should “like” shortly afterwards? I smell a rat, and I’m not talking about the contents of Baldrick’s apple crumble either.

While I was listening to the finished product I was sorting out my music and then I had a good session on the guitar, punctuated by my lunchtime fruit. It makes me wonder what my current weight may be. I haven’t weighed myself for a week.

Another thing that punctuated my guitar session was, rather regrettably, a crashing-out for about 40 minutes. and how I’m fed up of this. But then I’ve told you that before.

divers zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022For a change I was out for my afternoon walk at the usual time and after having inspected the beach, I headed off down the path towards the end of the headland.

Out there in the bay this afternoon was a zodiac. At first I thought that it might have been a fisherman or two but closer inspection revealed that it was full of Deep-End Dan and his mates.
“Don’t forget the diver!”
“Going down now, sir!”

No idea what they were after – it certainly wouldn’t be pennies thrown in the Mersey off the ferries – but we’ve seen a few training exercises taking place out there in the past.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Not too many people out there today in the wind so I had the path pretty much to myself this afternoon.

Mind you, there were crowds of people down there on the lower path, as I discovered when I reached the end of the headland. They were all congregating around the cabanon vauban at the end of the headland.

No-one out there fishing this afternoon though. I’m not sure whether that might be due to the notice that has been circulating for much of the day that because of high pollution levels, fishing in certain places is prohibited. I wonder if those “certain places” include the Pointe du Roc.

belle france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The people who had actually made it down to the end of the headland had something to admire this afternoon.

Right down at the head of the bay there was a large boat moving around so I took a photo of it with the idea of enlarging and enhancing it when I returned home.

Having messed around with it for a while I could see that it was without any doubt at all Belle France. It looks as if she has taken a party of day-trippers and tourists down to have a gaze at Mont St Michel from the seaward sid.

Under certain circumstances it’s possible to walk out to Mont St Michel from furhter down the coast and it’s one thing that I’ve been intending to do, but not until my knee improves, if it ever will.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022On that not I wandered off on the path down the other side of the headland to see what was happening in the port.

First of all though, there was all kinds of things happening in the bay today. We can see that oen of the sailing schools has gone out regardless of the rough weather, and a few private yachts have gone out as well.

What intrigued me though were all of the cars parked down there on the sea wall. It seemed that there were plenty of fishermen out there. If fishing from the beaches or from the rocks is prohibited, then I suppose that fishing from the sea wall is the obvious place to go.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Plenty of other things happening in the harbour this afternoon too.

Although the tide is well in, the harbour gates to the inner harbour are not yet open. However many of the trawlers and other fishing boats have come into port and they are queueing up waiting for the green light.

And it is a green light too. There’s a red light that shines at the harbour gate when the gate is closed and once it’s open, the light turns to green.

Meanwhile, La Confiance II is still on her own in the chantier naval. No change in there.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022On my way back home I looked at the quayside at the loading bay o check on the freight.

The freight that we saw a couple of days ago is still there but we have also acquired a swimming pool now. So one of the Jersey freighters will be in quite soon to whisk it away. The swimming pools are quite valuable so they won’t leave them lying around for long.

Back here I made myself a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d been doing some research into a guy so I’d been to see someone who ran a company that was connected to him. Somehow I found myself inside the build so when I’d made sure that I had my paperwork and a piece of paper with my notes I rang the bell. This guy went to answer the door but he was horrified to find that I was already in there. he went shouting up and down but calmed down when he realised that I was serious and started to answer a couple of my questions. After a few minutes he was more interested in establishing my bona fides so he ended up interrogating me about myself. I was sitting on my windowsill by my kitchen with my mother inside. He was asking questions about my farm and solar energy etc. I wasn’t asking and he was asking “are you sure that that’s correct?”. I replied “yes”. This went on and on and I was wondering when we were going to get round to doing what we were supposed to be doing which was interviewing this particular guy.

And later it was the town fair on a Saturday morning. We’d all gone and ended up enjoying ourselves, sitting down to have a meal. They guy who was organising it was going to bring me home about 13:00 but every time he came near to where I was sitting he was side-tracked off somewhere by something else. he’d have to run away and do something else and then come back, but before he could come back he’d be side-tracked by someone else again and again and again. In no time at all it was 15:20. I was horrified about what people were going to say about me being out so long when I’d promised to be back by 13:00 but there was absolutely nothing that I could do except sit there and wait for this guy to come along and take me home. He was being continually swept away by everyone and everything and had no idea about making sure that I arrived home at the correct time when I’d promised to my parents that I would.

When I sit down and transcribe my notes they usually ring some kind of bell with me. I’m asleep when I dictate them but nevertheless transcribing them triggers off something in my subconscious. But for the last few days I have absolutely no recollection whatever of anything that has gone through my mind about what happened during the night.

And that’s bizarre.

Tea tonight was quite a delicious stuffed pepper. There’s plenty of stuffing left over so I imagine that there will be a taco roll tomorrow if they are still edible and then a good curry on Wednesday.

The food that I eat here is simple but it’s pretty tasty and pretty good. I do look after myself from that point of view. It will be nice when I can bring up those cupboards and install my new oven. But I’ve no idea when that might be

Tuesday 19th July 2022 – THAT WAS HORRIBLE

There can’t have been too many nights like last night.

When I finally went to bed I had every door and window open in the apartment and a fan on the chest of drawers going off blowing cold air onto my body – no cover over me of course.

The racket was indescribable and totally impossible to sleep but when I closed the doors and windows and switched off the fan the heat was indescribable and totally impossible to sleep. In the end I decided that if I wasn’t going to sleep, at least it’s a better plan not to sleep when it’s hot and noisy rather than not to sleep in the boiling hot, stifling and stuffy oppressive heat.

When the gale sprung up at about 02:00 I wished that there had been a third alternative too. Not even hanging a heavy weight to the end of the curtain would stop it flapping about.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 and I’d had such an awful night, and with a Welsh lesson to come, I decided that a lie-in would do me some good and there I stayed until 09!15

Having organised myself I went for Day One (well, Day Two really) of my Welsh Summer School. This tutor doesn’t seem to be as organised as the others whom I’ve had in the past. She’s one of these people who doesn’t believe in breaks. Instead she crashed on regardless and finished early.

However I can’t complain because
1) it was very nice of her to squeeze me into her course
2) the course is free

What I’ll have to do tomorrow is make a flask of coffee and have some biscuits standing by.

By the time I’d had my midday fruit (at some time considerably later than midday) I went out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022As usual, I wandered off across the car park to the wall at the end so that I could look down onto the beach.

There wasn’t a great deal of beach today. The tide cycle here is about 25 hours or so so every day when I go out the tide is about half an hour later and with the speed that the tide comes in and out here that can make a considerable difference.

There weren’t too many people down there this afternoon either. The weather was not quite as warm as yesterday and, strange as it might seem, at midday or thereabouts we’d had a little shower of rain for a couple of minutes.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022While I was here I was looking out to sea as well.

And as I watched, one of the Joly France boats came out of the mist (because it was quite misty this afternoon) from the Ile de Chausey and was heading back towards the port.

The small upper-deck superstructure and the windows in “Portrait” format suggests that this is the newer one of the two.

And she has quite a crowd on board too. It looks as if they have had quite a busy time out on the island today. There are water supply issues on the island and I bet that this weather has been taxing their facilities.

d-eqdk Breezer B600 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And that wasn’t all the excitement either.

As I watched, a light aeroplane went flying by out in the bay from the south. And as I watched it performed a U-turn and headed back southwards.

When I enlarged the photo back home, I could see that she’s a German-registered plane, D-EQDK. She’s a Breezer B600 and we have in fact seen her before, on the 13th August last year.

According to the flight radar she took off from Avranches 16:04, headed north towards Granville, turned back southwards and then disappeared off the radar near Dinard at 16:27. My photo was taken at 16:13 (adjusted).

f-gbai robin dr 400-140b pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022She wasn’t the only aeroplane in the sky either.

A few minutes later another one went flying by in the bay. This one is one of our usual suspects, F-GBAI, a Robin DR 400-140b that belongs to the Granville Aero Club.

She’s been out and about a couple of times today but at the time that I saw her, according to her flight plan, she was still on the ground at the airfield and certainly wasn’t picked up on the radar.

Maybe someone has the time set wrong somewhere.

yellow autogyro baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Jamais deux sans trois – “never two without a third” as they say around here.

Sure enough 10 minutes later, out of the mist came the familiar rattle of another one of our old friends.

This is the yellow autogyro that we see quite regularly, taking passengers for a spin up and down the bay to see Mont St Michel and whatever else there is of interest in the area.

All we need now is the Loch Ness Monster and Godzilla and we will have had everything.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were plenty of people wandering around on the path today kicking up the dust so I didn’t hang around.

Narrowly avoiding being squidged on the car park I went down to the end of the headland. No-one fishing off the rocks today but there were a couple of people sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

And they had plenty to see as well, like the Joly France ferry going past and the aerial display too.

Quite a few people down there on the lower path as well. The slightly cooler weather this afternoon has brought out the crowds.

les bouchots de chausey la confiance 2 monaco du nord 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Some more changes in the chantier naval today.

La Confiance II and Monaco du Nord II are still in there but over there on the left they’ve now been joined by one of the shell-fishing boats. Her number isn’t on the database that I have but I reckon that she may well be Les Bouchots de Chausey.

Whoever she is, there are several workmen already swarming all over her so it doesn’t look as if they are going to be hanging around.

Mind you, I’ve said a few things like that before and lived to regret it, haven’t I?

joly france chausiaise yacht ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Over at the ferry terminal there’s some congestion.

We have Chausiaise, the little grey, white and orange freighter, and also the two Joly France boats. The one that just arrived is the one at the back of the queue.

By the looks of things Belle France, the newest ferry, isn’t there. She’s not in the inner harbour either so I reckon that she’s probably still out there at the island.

Not much happening in the way of pleasure craft today though. That yacht that went sailing past in the background was the only one that I saw.

loading zodiac onto trailer port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Mind you, had I been out there 10 minutes earlier I might have seen a zodiac out there in the bay.

But as I went past just now, the zodiac was at the ramp underneath the Fish Processing Plant and there was a van and trailer there. By the looks of things they were loading up the zodiac onto the trailer ready to take it away.

L’Omerta was still there too, but she was on her own. Everyone else who was tied up there yesterday has now cleared off.

Having taken my photos, I cleared off too. I have plenty of things to be doing this afternoon and not much time to be doing them either.

Granville victor hugo port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Things seem to be heating up in this ferry dispute too.

In the inner harbour Victor Hugo has now been joined by the newer Granville. They are both tied up there now and that seems to be that for the moment.

It would really be nice if this dispute could be resolved and we could get back into the business of running a ferry service. Right now we seem to be going one step forward and two steps back.

Incidentally, Granville, although the newer of the two ferries, is a second-hand boat. She was built new as the Bornholm Express in 2006 and sailed between Simrishamn in Sweden and the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea and was last seen on that service in 2014.

lorry trans shipping porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022One of the problems of living in a medieval walled city is that the streets and gates aren’t designed for modern traffic.

The Porte St Jean into the old town is quite small and many larger vehicles can’t enter. They have to park up outside the walls and arrange some kind of trans-shipment of their cargoes.

Just like this van delivering wine, in fact. I suppose that his cargo is destined for one of the restaurants in there.

Back here I had a glass of cold coconut drink and then sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I must have gone to sleep at some point during the night.

There was some kind of tennis match taking place. I don’t really remember who it was or what it was about or anything but I think that one of the participants was quite young. There was something about an advertising campaign where you could have stencils to stencil over your vehicle. The company would give you money for doing that kind of thing so that they would have the publicity from the moving vehicle as well as anywhere else.

And then we had to go to stay in a dormitory for some reason, a load of us. It wasn’t separated by sex at all for young people. I found a bed right by the alleyway, the walkway in this dormitory in the hope that a young girl whom I knew would sleep in one of the other beds around me. She was with a group of people so hopefully she might go on the other row and be down this end. I had to go to the bathroom. It was again a communal bathroom and wasn’t restricted by sex so there were all kinds of people coming and going, including one rather insistent girl while I was using the facilities. That was rather uncomfortable. Then I had to hurry back to make sure that I had my bed and that no-one else had it and hoped that this girl would have the bed that was across the walkway from mine.

There was something about a bookstore. all the books were in a total mess and it needed some arranging. I was there doing some work. a young girl kept on coming in to look at the books. She would also come in to chat to me and we became quite friendly. It turned out that she was leaving school and didn’t know what to do. I asked her why she didn’t want to work in a bookshop with us. We always had vacancies and she would enjoy it. Of course I had a two motives. One was to be nice to her and the second was to get to know her much better but that’s beside the point isn’t it?

Just recently I seem to have spent a lot of time thinking about young ladies. I must be becoming broody or something.

I forgot to mention that one of the offices in this dream had a sheep’s skull nailed to the door as a kind of talisman. Someone else who came to see me once and there was a dispute in the corridor which was upsetting. I explained that but it made no difference about people having disputes as long as they weren’t with each other.

Someone with whom I used to work in Chester was teaching at the school where I was working. He came up to me in a class and we were talking. “Do you know what I would really like? I would like to go on holiday to the Isle of Thanet and for you to come with me” which I thought was really nice. We had a really good chat about the Isle of Thanet and me going on about things that we did when we were kids and things that my mother used to tell us that she did etc. This talk went on for quite some time about all kinds of things.

My mother lived in Birchington as a child until she and her sister were evacuated to Frome in Somerset when Manston Airfield down the road came under attack. She had plenty of stories to tell us and in fact we used to go down there every summer in the late 50s and early 60s while she still had her connections there to see things for ourselves.

The guy from Chester wanted to know when I’d be free but what he didn’t know and I didn’t tell him was that I was retiring at the end of the school year so I would be free all the time. There was no case of needing a diary or anything to write stuff down but I didn’t want it generally known quite yet that I was retiring so I didn’t say anything to him while he was discussing everything.

And that’s a recurring theme too these days

However I couldn’t keep going and at about 18:30 I crashed out. Only for about 20 minutes and that’s no surprise after the night, but I wish that I could have kept going.

Tea was a taco roll with rice and then I came in here to write my notes.

Rosemary rang me up for one of our marathon chats and that prevented me from going outside to find out why the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter was hovering around. By the time that I could go outside, it had gone.

So bedtime now. Let’s see how we get on tomorrow with this Summer School. It’s not like the usual ones that i’ve had before but it’s free and at least it keeps me interested and helps me remember what I might otherwise forget.

That has to be some kind of positive anyway.

Wednesday 8th June 2022 – THE EXCITEMENT TODAY …

… has really been intense. I took out not one but actually two loads of rubbish to the bins today – one load of general waste and another of the plastic and glass. Can life really be any more exciting that this?

It did actually remind me of the time when I used to go camping, when all the excitement was in tents, but that’s another story completely.

Once again, I was wide-awake for a good while before the alarm went off and I was up quite promptly when it finally did ring.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022First task after I’d had my medication was to make a big pile of fruit buns as I’d run out.

There’s a pile of brazil nuts ground into a coarse flour, plenty of dried fruit of all descriptions (although I forgot the desiccated coconut), sunflower seeds, a banana and 250 grammes of wholemeal flour.

It ended up making enough dough for 12 fruit buns and they really are delicious – I had one of them for breakfast with my coffee. I seem to have the hang of making them now.

There are enough now in the cake tin to last me until Saturday and the rest are in the freezer ready to be brought out next week.

Not long after I’d finished making the dough and while it was busy proofing, I had a ‘phone call. Apparently my decision to no longer prepare any live concerts is creating waves. Would I go for a coffee with admin on Friday morning?

Apparently it was an “automatic server upgrade” that caused the problem, although who in their right minds would set upgrades on a broadcasting server to “automatic” is beyond my comprehension. You only want it to upgrade when there’s someone there with it supervising.

And “not many people listen to the broadcasts anyway” and “yours wasn’t the only programme to be lost” are not phrases that I would actually use to soothe a troubled breast.

Once I’d dealt with all of those issues and had breakfast, I spent the morning writing about “Clothes” and “When I was a child” as revision for my Welsh exam, playing my acoustic guitar set and then (rather regrettably) crashing out for well over an hour.

As a result I ended up with rather a late lunch again today.

After lunch I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something about Ukrainian refugees being made welcome wherever they went, a restaurant having these Ukrainian refugees in and giving them a meal free, making sure that they sat in the window where everyone passing by could see them. I can’t remember any more than that

And then I crashed out yet again, for another hour or so. This is becoming far too much of a bad habit that I wish that I could break.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022As a result I was late going out for my afternoon walk again.

Nevertheless I headed off across the car park to see what was happening down on the beach this afternoon. And there wasn’t a soul down there today.

Mind you, you can tell what kind of weather we were having. One look at those waves will tell you that the severe winds that we had for several months earlier in the year are now back with a vengeance.

That’s enough to keep anyone indoors right now. No-one would want to be sunbathing in this storm and I don’t blame them for a moment.

thora baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The sea was quite rough out in the bay and I did notice something struggling to make headway against the waves.

From this distance I couldn’t make out what it was so I took a photo of it so that I could enhance it when I returned to the apartment with the hope of being able to identify it.

And once I’d blown it up (because I can do things like that despite modern anti-terrorism legislation) I could see that it was the little Jersey freighter Thora battling her way through the waves on her way back to St Helier. She must have come in on the morning tide.

There were only one or two people on the path up here this afternoon – the wind was keeping everyone away from here too – so I had it pretty much to myself as I wandered around on my little circuit.

kite surfing baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There was no-one on the bench at the cabanon vauban which is no surprise because they would have been blown off the end of the headland in this storm.

And so I carried on walking down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port where a couple of kites caught my attention.

As they came into view from behind the harbour wall I could see that they were actually kite-surfers being pulled along by the kites in the wind. They certainly had the right day for it today.

Apart from Thora, they were the only other things out there on the water and that’s not really a surprise either in this weather. You won’t find any of the sailing schools out there on a day like this.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But some of the Ile de Chausey ferries must be out and about somewhere this afternoon.

The only one in port is Belle France, the newer one of the three. The two Joly France boats aren’t anywhere around the harbour so they must be over at the island. Good luck to those who are coming back on board in this storm.

In the chantier naval there’s no change in occupant. Still the posh new cabin cruiser and the catamaran and that’s your lot. Things have gone a little quiet down there just now.

But apparently L’Ecume II who was in there being repainted for so long is receiving rave reviews for her new appearance. That’s a good advert for the chantier naval.

omerta ch638749 pescadore port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Meanwhile, over at the fish processing plant, our game of Musical Ships continues.

Gerlean is now no longer there this afternoon but L’Omerta is back again from her sojourn in the inner harbour. And tied up behind her is the little trawler Pescadore.

Back here I had a coffee and then fell asleep yet again for another hour. I think that i’ve spent more time asleep today that I have been awake and that’s a dreadful thought. I telephoned Ingrid too but she was busy and she’ll call me back tomorrow.

Having not done any Welsh revision yesterday I wrote some more notes on “Last Weekend” and “Family and Friends”. And the latter one is not very long. I’ve also had the bass out and worked out a couple of numbers off this playlist that I was sent the other day.

Tea was a burger on a bap with potatoes and veg, and now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. But I’m wholeheartedly sick of this continual falling asleep. Obviously it wasn’t this medication that was causing it because while things improved for a couple of days I’m back to square one. I think that tomorrow I’ll write to the hospital, tell them about what’s happening and see what they suggest.

Not that I’ll expect too much from them. Their aim is to keep me alive as long as possible regardless of my quality of life. Mine is all about my quality of life and I don’t care about longevity.

Sunday 29th May 2022 – DESPITE IT BEING …

… a Sunday today, I’ve actually been rather busy. And it’s not like me on a Sunday, is it?

It actually started off like any Sunday ought to have started, by having a nice lie-in. And to a reasonable time as well. None of your middays or anything like that but I was wide awake at 10:05 and by 10:30 I was actually up and about. I’m quite happy about that.

After the medication I started to hunt down the paperwork that I need to complete my tax return. Luckily, the banks have organised themselves correctly and a search on their sites reveals something called “fiscality declarations”. It’s just a case of downloading them and then printing them off.

For a change, I can actually find my pension certificate from Belgium. Last year, my Belgian old-age pension totalled €403:58. Spend, spend, spend, hey?

Unfortunately, there’s a slight problem with my pension from the EU. I need a declaration from them about the tax-free status of my pension from them but as you might expect, their web site is down at the moment.

When I had a look a couple of days ago, the EU’s website was OK but the web site of one of the banks was down. It looks as if they are all taking it in turns to confound everyone and make our tax returns late.

After lunch I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was in the army. A group of us had to go and investigate a chimney from the inside. The vertical transition up and down was easy enough but going from side to side, horizontal transition, was difficult. I had to go first. People were keeping a close eye on what I was doing. I had to call back every couple of minutes to explain the procedure. It was quite complicated to try to move horizontally in this chimney rather than vertically so everyone was keeping close tabs on me. They were pretty impressed with my progress. Someone was telling me about the cables he’d used when he was doing it. He’d plug the electricity cables into a house’s socket but for some unknown reason that had caused certain problems and the light only worked at certain times

And then I’d been away on holiday for several weeks and had taken a whole ton of stuff with me. When I came back to the office and my car I had it all in the office with me ready to move down to the car park. Someone reminded me about a book that he’d lent me. I didn’t remember actually taking it with me. I thought that it must be at home so I went to explain to him. He started to talk to me but then went off to talk to someone else. This happened two or three times. In the end I was fed up of waiting. I went back and started to search through everything that I’d taken with me. I couldn’t find anything there that related to this book at all. There were all sorts of things like 7-inch records, tons of paperwork, all kinds of stuff. Then I thought about how I was going to take all this home. From my office to the car was quite a trek. I’d have to do about a dozen trips to move all this. I thought that I could stick it all in my storage locker and take it home bit by bit over the period of the next few days. I went off to look for a trolley to load it all on so I could take it all round to my storage locker but it was strange that I couldn’t find that book in all this stuff that I had with me. This guy only seemed to be interested in making a scene about his book rather than making genuine enquiries about where it is and what had happened to it.

And then I was also having a laugh at the daughter of my friend Erika in Atlanta, Georgia, who is just 10 years old. According to Erika’s social network, Harper was going over to a friend’s house a few buildings away.
Erika: “Ok, what do we do if someone tries to grab you?”
Harper: “Kick him in the balls and yell ‘FIRE’!”
Erika: “Ha, right, but that’s not a good word, it’s ‘testicles’.”
Harper: “Ok, kick him in the balls and yell ‘TESTICLES’!”
Erika: “You know…that might work too.”.

Kids of that age are wonderful, aren’t they?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk as usual.

There was plenty of sun this afternoon but the strong winds that we had earlier in the year are now back again. For that reason I wasn’t expecting to see too many people out there this afternoon.

And I was right as well. The wind seems to be keeping them all indoors this afternoon. Everywhere was quite deserted, even the car parks up here. It wasn’t like yesterday at all when you could hardly move around down there because of the crowds.

Nobody up in the air either. I would have expected to have seen a few Birdmen of Alcatraz out and about in this weather.

yachts ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022What else I would have expected to have seen would have been fleets of boats out there just offshore having a good run around on a pleasant Sunday afternoon.

However it looks as if everyone has now gone back to Paris now that the long weekend is over. There wasn’t anything at all just offshore. All that I could see was right out at the Ile de Chausey where there was a handful of yachts milling around this afternoon.

No speedboats, no cabin cruisers, no fishermen. “No shipwrecks and nobody drownding. In fact, nothing to laugh at at all” as the old song goes.

And so I headed off slowly down the path towards the end of the headland to see what was happening there.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022One thing that can be said about the day today was that visibility was amongst the best that we have had for a while.

The other day I showed you a photo of St Helier but I can do even better than that today. Even with the naked eye I could see the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel this afternoon and considering that that’s about 70kms away, that’s quite impressive.

One of these days I really will post those photos of the Cap Fréhel lighthouse that I took when we sailed down that way on Spirit of Conrad two years ago. I haven’t forgotten but like most things these days, I never seem to have the time to do anything.

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Yesterday while we were out for our afternoon walk we were overflown by the air-sea rescue helicopter.

Today, someone else has had his chopper out. We were overflown by yet another helicopter as we walked across the lawn at the end of the path.

And this is a helicopter that I don’t recognise. I’m not sure whether or not we have seen it before and unfortunately from this distance I can’t read the registration number that it painted on her tail boom so I’ve no idea who she is.

All of the arrivals at the airfield this afternoon are aeroplanes whom we know for one reason or another so it’s not likely that she went in to land there.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022With no-one in my way and no cars to knock me over on the car park I had a safe passage down to the end of the headland this afternoon.

And as usual, we had a few people sitting down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban admiring the view.

Not that there was much view to admire this afternoon because there wasn’t a single boat out there in the bay this afternoon. I’ve no idea where they have all gone today, unless they have all gone home.

But there are still five weeks to go before the schools break up for summer and then we’ll know all about tourism and no mistake.

cancale brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022A little earlier I mentioned the really good view that we were having this afternoon.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a decent view of Cancale, away across the bay in Brittany so it seemed to be the right moment to deal with that.

We were actually there five years ago and didn’t take a single photo because we couldn’t find a place to park. And then we were there with Spirit of Conrad but we never stepped ashore.

Why I was there 5 years ago was that I was looking for a hotel for the night and one came up that was 18 kilometres away “in Cancale” so I booked it. Of course, as I was to find out later, that’s 18 kms as the crow flies and I ended up driving almost 90 kms around the bay to reach the hotel

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022We had a few more fishermen out there on the rocks this afternoon.

Not engaged in the peche à pied but using a rod and line like the guy was using the other day when we saw him pull a fish out of the water. These three here didn’t have the same amount of success though but then again, I don’t think that anyone was actually expecting them to.

Mind you, one of them did have a bucket so I suppose that he was having certain expectations.

And who knows? Maybe I might have seen him catch something had I waited around long enough but I had places to go, things to do, people to see etc.

yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Before I head for home, I had to take a photo of the latest arrival at the chantier naval.

It’s not exactly what I would call a serious piece of maritime equipment and I’m sure that they don’t need the services of the chantier naval to do what needs to be done to it, but as Marechal MacMahon once famously, said, “j’y suis – j’y reste”.

Back here I made a coffee and started work again as I had plenty of things to do. Firstly, I had some home-made bread to make seeing as I had run out. And so I mixed up a big batch of dough and left it to proof for a while.

Before I’d gone out I’d taken the last load of dough out of the freezer and by know that had defrosted so I kneaded it, rolled it out and then pout it on the pizza tray.

By now the bread was ready for its second kneading so I dealt with that and then came in here for a bash on the guitar for a while.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Later on the bread went into the oven and while it was baking I assembled the pizza and that went into the oven when the bread was cooked.

And here are the finished products. The pizza was quite delicious as usual – much as it pains me to say it, going back to commercial bleached flour was the right decision – and I’ll tell you about the bread at lunchtime tomorrow.

But right now I’m off to bed. I have a 06:00 start in the morning and a radio programme to prepare. High time that I organised myself better than I am doing. I’m never going to make any progress if I don’t.

Thursday 24th February 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… a few photos of the storm that we had today pushing the waves up and over the sea wall in the harbour, let me tell you of a most astonishing coincidence.

My brother’s birthday is the 3rd of September, and that’s the date that World War II broke out. And it looks very much as if my birthday is the day that World War III broke out.

What fills me full of dismay is just how stupid the human race can be, seeing the damage that several World Wars have caused to the whole of the World, that it departs on another orgy of massacre and destruction.

It makes me wonder why I’m bothering having my hospital treatment. Who would want to live in a World as stupid as this one?

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Last night I was feeling in such a depressing mood that when I finished writing up my notes I started to listen to QUADROPHENIA by The Who.

It’s one of the best albums ever recorded and brings back many happy memories of a drive down to South London one weekend in mid-May 1974 to see The Who in concert at Charlton Athletic’s football ground.

We had my old MkI Cortina, PMB270D, a battery-powered tape player and just one cassette tape – “Quadrophenia” – and when we returned to Chester where I was living at the time the guy whose tape it was gave it to me to keep.

And I still have it too, even though I’ve long-since replaced it with a CD.

It’s an album that brings back many happy memories of that Summer and every time I hear it, it brings back a bad attack of nostalgia.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And hence, having listened to it round and round, it was almost 02:00 when I fell into bed to go to sleep.

Once I dozed off I went off on a series of probably the most extraordinary journeys that I have had for quite some considerable time.

The start was a long, rambling dream that I had but I can only remember when we were on board ship. I was making breakfast for these two girls – it was muesli and two teacakes. For some unknown reason the teacakes just wouldn’t toast. They were taking all day. In between I was doing a couple of other things. For some reason, one of those things took far longer than it ought to be done. I suddenly remembered the teacakes just as someone else said something about them so I dashed back to the galley and they were there under the grill but they were on fire. Everyone was really surprised and concerned by this but bread catching fire under a grill when you are toasting it is no big deal. J simply pulled them out with a pair of scissors and put some new ones under. But for some unknown reason this seemed to develop into some kind of major situation and there was no need for it at all

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022But there was someone else. I can’t remember now where I was but I was with someone else. There were lots of pets around. For some unknown reason they had a lion as a pet. It was in a room with me and someone else . It was being rather playful, trying to nip me. Then I could see that it was starting to lose its playfulness and the nips started to become more serious. I kept on pushing the animal away but it kept on coming back. In the end I had to insist to someone that they came along and removed it because I could see that this was going to end in tears if we weren’t careful.

And then we had something involving trams. There was some question that I was coming home from work, something like that, and I’d met these 3 girls. 2 of them I knew and the other one I didn’t. I found the 3rd one quite attractive so I wanted to get to know her better. As it happened they reached the tram stop at more-or-less the same time that I was walking back from work so we started to chat as a group of 4, these 3 girls and me. I suppose that it must have become pretty obvious to the other 2 exactly what I was up to. The thing that surprised me most though was that I was coming back from work and I’d been working on cars. I was in oily clothes and had oily hands. I was hardly the kind of boy that would be respectable but it didn’t bother these 3 girls at all. On one occasion I reached the tram stop just as they were alighting but the girl whom I liked and one of the others alighted so I waved “hello” but they disappeared off. I wondered what on earth was happening here. The 2nd girl came over and said “don’t worry about those 2. They’ve just nipped back to (I think her name was Jane, this 3rd girl) they’ve just nipped back to Jane’s house so that she can fetch her cloak and they’ll be back. Something came up about the address. It was “Toxteth Road” and I was trying to think why I knew about Toxteth Road and why it seemed to be so significant about this particular moment.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022I’m trying to think where I reached with this because it might be that I stepped back into the same dream or else I’ve remembered something different. There was one occasion when I was on my way back home. I was coming in a different way past this tram stop so I went to sit somewhere below it where I could see them alight. I couldn’t find a good spec to sit where I could survey the tram stop. I ended up in the square sitting on a plastic chair where I could see the tram stop about 22 metres away. At that moment someone else whom I vaguely knew turned up. We started chatting and I basically explained that I was waiting here for someone and we carried on talking for a while. Suddenly I realised that the girls hadn’t turned up. I happened to mention it to him and he said “to be honest, they know other people and there’s someone who hangs around that girl who is 55 and they go round there some times. You’ll probably find it extremely difficult to move him out of this girl’s orbit”. I burst out laughing and said “I can’t even get a girl in a bloody dream, can I?”. His ears pricked up and asked “what’s all this about dreams?”. I explained that this was a dream, that I was very interested in dreams and I’d been keeping records of my dreams since that University course 25 years ago when I volunteered to be a guinea pig for the experiment. He was most interested and we had quite a chat about that. But imagine being in a dream and knowing that it’s a dream and talking to someone about it being a dream when one is actually in a dream oneself and being able to recall so much factual information out of one’s subconscious when one is in a subconscious state.

Unbelievably, I stepped back into this dream yet again later on, and how many times have I ever done this before – the same circumstances and characters three times?. Not very many at all, if any. This time we were all in a house, this girl included. She was sorting through some things and on her rubber dinghy she had some paddles. She needed some stuff to clean them. She’d seen across the road in the distance a marine supplier’s so I suggested that we went. We collected our things together but as it was rather cold I went to find my leather jacket. I couldn’t find it, and the cats weren’t sleeping on it so “never mind, I’ll go without”. The 2 of us set off outside and I took hold of her hand and she took hold of mine. We skipped off down the street and across the main road to the other side. She was saying something about if her friends saw her like this with me, what would they think?. I burst out laughing and said “oh just tell them that I’m a dirty old man but I have plenty of money”. She said “dirty? You do wash, do you?” and I replied “ohh yes, on special occasions” and we skipped across the road and skipped up the steps and we saw the sign that said “marine market” and skipped off that way.

And do you know what? That was the happiest that I have ever been for an extremely considerable period of time, probably about for ever in fact, and it was a shame that it actually happened in a dream and not in real life. I should be so lucky. There’s definitely something missing in my life, something that I will never ever recapture – except maybe once a couple of years ago, but the World is not ready to hear that story quite yet.

Finally, I was with Laurence and Roxanne. We were in some country like the Soviet Union, somewhere like that, and we had to go north to a town called Brest (not, presumably the Brest-Litovsk that’s on the border with Poland). We ended up at a railway station quite late at night. There was a large queue so Laurence told Roxanne to stand in the queue until it reached the front. When it did, she went to take over and came back with a pile of tickets. She siad that there was a return ticket for Roxanne but we only have two single tickets. We ended up in a hotel somewhere, a cheap hotel that wasn’t too bad. The next morning we had to pack but there was tons of stuff to pack so it was good that we had some expanding rucksacks but even so there was still quite a struggle. I couldn’t find Laurence. I heard some noise outside the room so I went and found her scrubbing the floor of the corridor. I asked why and she said “you have to make the place tidy when you go”. I replied “yes, tidy is one thing but it looks as if you are working here”. We were arranging all our things. I remembered that when we had set out on this journey there had been quite a few of us and I was ready to go but everyone else wasn’t. It took until really late at night for them to prepare themselves to leave and half of them weren’t ready even then and had to go next morning to buy some stuff while we were away. All in all it was a thing of total chaos, this particular trip. If we had all been properly organised when we set out, none of this would have happened.

When Rosemary had telephoned me yesterday, she said that she would phone me today to wish me a happy birthday. “Not too early” I said and so, sure enough, at 09:15 she phoned me up.

Anyone who rings me up at that time of morning when I’m having a lie-in will hear nothing but a series of grunts and so I’m afraid that the conversation didn’t last very long.

However there was no possibility of my going back to sleep after that no matter how hard I tried. And I did try too – all the way up to 10:50 when I finally abandoned the idea and crawled out of bed.

After the medication the rest of the morning (and a little of the afternoon too) was spent transcribing the dictaphone notes. I’m not sure that there has ever been a night when I’ve travelled so far and with so much emotion.

No breakfast this morning so I had a brunch this afternoon, porridge and toast with plenty of coffee. And then much of the rest of the afternoon was spent acknowledging messages and speaking to Ingrid on the phone who rang me back to send me some birthday greetings

storm beach rue du nord baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And then I went off for my afternoon walk.

Yesterday I made the point that the gale-force wind that we have been having for the last while seemed to have died down. And how I wish that I’d kept my moth closed as the wind was back today, and with a vengeance as well.

You can tell that just by looking at the sea out here in the Baie de Granville. We didn’t even see waves like that at the height of Storm Useless. It was no surprise that there was no-one down there this afternoon, despite the sun.

trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However, having a look around out at sea, I was surprised to see that there was a trawler out there just off the Ile de Chausey.

When Storm Useless was blowing, all of the fishing boats remained in harbour, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but today the winds were stronger and the waves were rougher than they were back then but nevertheless here we are.

We’ve seen a trawler out there for the last few days and although I couldn’t identify it, this one is certainly a different one than whoever was out there before.

And to take this photo, I had to find a suitable wall on which to prop the NIKON D500 because the wind was wobbling it around in my hands.

waves rocks marker light pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday, I posted a photo of the marker light on the rock just offshore here.

Today, I’m rather earlier than I was yesterday and so you can see the difference in the height of the water even over such a short space of time. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we have some of the highest tides in Europe.

There wasn’t anyone else out there this afternoon and that’s no surprise because the wind was wicked out here. At one point I was having to walk crab-like along the path in order to advance, and when the wind suddenly dropped for a moment I almost ended up over the cliff.

storm le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As I reached the lighthouse I had a look over the car park to see what was happening in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Sometimes the bay over there is in the wind shadow where the waves are quite calm, but not today. Le Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour is being battered by the wind and waves this afternoon.

Round the corner actually in the bay the situation was even worse as you have already seen, with the waves slamming into the sea wall. I wasn’t going to hang around spending too long watching and so I headed home in the wind.

Back here, no coffee. I’ve already had too much of that today. But my coffee cake really was delicious. I can’t believe that I’ve actually made a cake that has come out as well as this – a vegan cake with no eggs in it either.

Tea tonight was a slice of pie with potatoes, vegetables and gravy. And that was really delicious. I cut it into 8 slices and the other 7 are in the freezer – for once there was actually some room in there. The filling wasn’t up to much because it was a rather ad-hoc mixture but I’ll do better than this when I prepare one properly instead of dragging something unknown out of the freezer.

So that’s that. I’m going to bed very soon ready to restart tomorrow. If there is a tomorrow. We are living in very worrying times, for all kinds of reasons. But another journey tonight like that one last night and I’ll feel so much better. I wish I knew who she was.

Monday 21st February 2022 – THIS WINDY WEATHER …

storm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… is really getting on my wick these days.

The other day we had a storm warning for Storm Useless and it wasn’t anything at all to write home about compared to what I have experienced in the past. And yet subsequently we have been battered by winds that would have knocked Storm Useless into a cocked hat.

The high winds that met me this afternoon and which were churning up the sea in the Baie de Mont St Michel were better than anything that we have experienced over the last few days.

In fact the last six months or so have seen nothing but wind and I for one am becoming really fed up of it.

Another thing about which I’m thoroughly fed up are these bad nights that I’ve been having.

Last night, despite going to bed at a reasonable time and falling asleep fairly rapidly I awoke shortly after and it was as if my right leg and both my elbows were on fire.

One of the side-effects of one of the medication tha I take makes me itch and with having really thin blood, every time I scratch myself I bleed. And having made a right mess of my right leg a few months ago and then spent several months doing everything that I could to help it to heal, then it’s now back to even worse than it was back then.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall one of my habitual partners in crime (was it Zero?) seeing my leg during one of our nocturnal rambles and bursting into tears. Well, that was exactly how I felt when I saw the mess.

At some point towards the morning I must have fallen asleep because I went off on a ramble. There was something strange last night that involved a girl whom I knew although it took place in French. It concerned some kind of confusion between a couple of people who were having marital problems. I knew someone called Michael and she knew a different person called Michael. I knew the one who was having marital problems and it turned out that the one that she knew was also. When we were discussing them we were confused about who was the one about whom we were talking. But the alarm went off at that moment and I can’t remember any more.

Hauling myself out of bed at 06:00 was pretty miserable but once I’d checked my messages and everything I had a go at my radio programme. And by 10:45 it was all up and running and I was listening to it.

In fact I could have finished it earlier but I had a ‘phone call. The nurse was in the building giving someone a blood test so he wondered if he could come round to give me my fortnightly injection then instead of coming back at lunchtime.

No point in inconveniencing him so he came round and inconvenienced me. Not that it really matters, I suppose

While I was listening to the output, and also to the radio programme that will be broadcast this coming weekend, I had something of a tidy up and did a few other things here and there that needed doing.

After lunch I had some correspondence to deal with and then I headed off into town.

showmen's wagons port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022You’ve already seen the effects of the wind that was whipping up the sea in the bay, but something else down there had caught my eye.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that Carnaval has been cancelled this year but it looks as if the Fête Foraine – the funfair – is still going ahead.

Down there are all the living quarters of the showmen who will be setting up their amusements on the car park down by the Salle Hérel.

That’s not very many compared with what we have seen in the past so it will be interesting to see how things develop over the next few days if more and more of them come into town.

les epiettes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Someone else who has come into town today is Les Epiettes.

She’s painted in the colours of the French Government and the sign on her rails saying “do not tie up to me” would seem to bear that out.

Further research tells me that she’s owned by the Département des Ponts et Chausssées – the Department of Roads and Bridges – and she must be based reasonably locally because Les Epiettes is the name of a buoy somewhere off the coast of the Ile de Chausey.

And that was where I encountered her for the first time when we were out there on Spirit of Conrad two years ago.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Someone else who is in port today is Chausiaise.

But she isn’t moored up where she has been for the last couple of weeks. She’s now moved and is underneath the crane in the loading bay.

That would seem to indicate that she’s off on another voyage somewhere very soon. She usually goes out to the Ile de Chausey although just recently we’ve noticed her coming back from St Helier in Jersey.

With important things to do, I had to leave her there and wander off into town. I’ll go and have a walk around the harbour at some other time. I need to go to see the doctor some time soon.

Meanwhile down at the Post Office I posted off my letter and then made ready to come back home. I wasn’t going to hang around.

sideshows place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022In the street outside the post office the people associated with the fête foraine were setting up a couple of stalls.

It seems that they are making the most of the absence of the Carnaval to take over some of the ground that the Carnaval would otherwise occupy.

Incidentally, despite the fact that the half-term holiday is over, the kiddies’ roundabout is still in the square so it looks by the nature of the stalls here that they are going to have a kiddies’ corner in the town centre.

Presumably, the activities in the car park will be reserved for the adults and take place during the hours of darkness.

new brickwork rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The walk back up the hill towards home was rather more difficult than I was expecting it to be, seeing as I had only myself and the NIKON D500 to worry about.

Halfway up the hill I stopped because there was something that I was keen to see. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago they had replaced some of the crumbling brickwork with some new stuff but they hadn’t actually pointed them.

And when I had a close look today, I saw that they still hadn’t pointed between them. Once the frost and the rain get in there the new brickwork won’t be staying there for very long.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Before I went back to my apartment I braved the gale-force wind and went to see what was happening down on the beach.

Down below on the beach, regardless of the wind, there were several people wandering about. Mind you, it was quite sunny so I suppose that if you could tolerate the wind it was quite a nice day.

Back in the apartment I had my coffee and came back in here where, regrettably, I fell asleep again for half an hour or so. Mind you, after the night that I had, it was hardly any surrpise.

And then I went for tea. A stuffed pepper with rice and I do have to say that the stuffing in the pepper was the best that I have ever made. The way in which I make it is rather hit-and-miss but this evening’s efforts were definitely a hit.

Having written up my notes and having transcribed the massive amount of dictaphone notes from yesterday I’m off to bed. I’ve soaked my leg and elbows in some cold cream and I hope that it will work and I won’t set myself on fire tonight.

Friday 18th February 2022 – I WAS IN …

storm beach rue du nord baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… two minds this afternoon … errr … weather to go out for my afternoon walk.

The local weather office had produced a map today showing predicted windspeeds and Granville just happened to be at the junction of two wind bands – 100-110 kmh and 110-120 kmh – between 15:00 and 17:00, just round about when I usually go out for my walk.

But nevertheless at my usual time of 15:45 I set off out and while the sea looked quite turbulent, as you can see in the photo, the wind was actually something of a damp squib. We’ve had much stronger winds than this in the recent past without any drama at all.

Never mind Storm Eunice, it was more like Storm Useless. 110kph might look inpressive but a few weeks ago we had gusts of 140kph so we are used to it.

For a change, last night wasn’t all that turbulent – or, at least, not as turbulent as it has been. It was probably due to the fact that when it was bedtime I wasn’t in the least tired and it ended up being 01:30 when I finally crawled into bed.

As a result, things wre not all that easy when the alarm went off at 07:30, although I did manage to beat the second alarm.

There wasn’t all that much time for me to go on anything like as many nocturnal voyages as I seem to be doing just recently. I had to go to pay a fine at the police station last night. I hadn’t been given the formal notice to pay but I’d been given the decision. I knew that there was something else happening at the police station that was likely very much to have me arrested but my idea was to have everything over and finished as quickly as possible. I turned up at the police station but the entrance hall there was under all kinds of renovation so I had to walk through all this work, everything like that. I eventually ended up at a temporary desk and handed over the paper. The policeman started to go through the list to see what he had of cases but couldn’t find my case. I saw a name that I thought was mine so I said that i’d seen it so he turned back a couple of pages but it wasn’t and that annoyed him. I thought that if I carried on like this the kind of outcome isn’t going to be any good whatsoever so in the end I decided that i’d keep quiet and let him find it himself and see what happens. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember that bit now.

After the medication I spent the rest of the day transcribing dictaphone notes and updating a few previous journal entries. What started off as being 41 dictaphone sound files is now down to 22.

There were several voyages involving members of my family, which is regrettable, but also a few featuring people like Zero, which always cheers me up. But we’ve not had a voyage featuring Castor for quite some time and that’s disappointing.

There were also several breaks today, firstly for breakfast and secondly for lunch. And I do have to say that my fruit bread is absolutely excellent. This is a really impressive fruit loaf.

There was also a rather unfortunate break when I fell asleep. But that’s not really a surprise these days, is it?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As I mentioned earlier, I did manage to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As usual I went over to the wall overlooking the beach to see what was happening down below. And apart from the waves that were coming in with the kind of force that I haven’t seen for a while, there were actually several people down on the beach.

That was quite surprising because of the weather, but then again apart from the wind it wasn’t actually a bad day. Warm for the time of the year and fairly sunny.

storm le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When I went round the corner where the Monument to the Resistance is situated, I had a really good view of how the storm was raging in the bay.

The waves down there were quite impressive, smashing over the rocks on which Le Loup, the light that guards the entrance to the harbour, is situated.

And judging by the tree on the right, Bob Dylan wouldn’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows around here, would he.

Not that it’s any surprise, but there was no-one out at the end of the headland today admiring the view. Only me of course, and I was glad when I turned the corner and had the wind blowing into my back instead of into my face.

man and van on ramp port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022No change of occupancy in the chantier naval or the ferry terminal today so I had a look around elsewhere.

It was the van on the boat-launching ramp underneath the fish processing plant that caught me eye. I wondered what it was doing there because the incoming tide would make short work of it.

However there was a man standing on the silt down there having a good look around. But at what I really don’t know. However it is round about the time of year when they dredge the harbour so I wonder if he’s eyeing up the job.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Further on down the path towards the inner harbour I noticed that Normandy Trader is still in port.

She came in on the evenign tide last night as I mentioned, and she should have gone out on the morning tide after laoding up (you can see the swimming pool on board) but a message went round earlier in the day that “due to abnormal weather conditions” she won’t be going out until things calm down.

What I did was to send a message to the crew to invite them round for a coffee but they didn’t reply. I suppose that they were quite comfortable on board.

Incidentally, you’ll notice the small “upper deck” behind the wheelhouse. That’s how we know that she’s Normandy Trader and not her sister Normandy Warrior.

philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Also in the inner harbour is a trawler that we haven’t seen for a while.

She’s Philcathane of course, and moored up against the harbour wall just like almost every other fishing boat. It loks as if none of the fishing boats have gone out today and that’s not a surprise in this weather.

Outside the building I noticed one of my neighbours struggling taking her rubbish over to the bins so I gave her a hand. We had a little chat about next-to-nothing and then I came back in for my coffee, clutching my new credit card in my hand.

So “Spend Spend Spend” hey?

After the coffee I finished off what I was doing and then went for tea. Veggie balls, pasta and veg in a vegan cheese sauce and it really was nice. It might only be simple food that I cook but it really is delicious

So tomorrow if Caliburn is still there and hasn’t been blown away I’ll be going to the shops. I wonder how things would work if I fitted him with sails.

Tuesday 28th December 2021 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… a couple of photos of the waves breaking over the sea wall and into the harbour, I’ll tell you about my day today.

And there won’t be much to say because, for a change, I haven’t done a single thing today. Not a thing. I’ve had one of these days where I just lazed around.

Mind you, it all started quite badly today because for one reason or another I forgot to switch on the alarm this morning. Conseuently it was about 10:30 or so when I finally crawled out of bed. It’s a good job that I didn’t have a Welsh lesson today otherwise I may well have missed it.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Once I’d had my medication and so on, I came back in here where I sat down and did nothing at all.

As for breakfast, I missed that. I wasn’t hungry at all after my meal last night. The morning coffee that I had though was beautiful.

There was still some hummus left for lunch so I didn’t need to make any more this morning. And after I’d made lunch there was still enough left over for tomorrow too.

Back in here I had a rather desultory afternoon going through a pile of loose files on one of the old hard drives attached to my laptop and allocating them to various directories.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Of course there was the afternoon walk – I managed to stir my stumps to that extent today anyway.

Down on the beach there were several people wandering around this afternoon, but it was this pair who particularly caught my eye. A little girl and, presumably, her father, both with buckets and spades coming down to build a sandcastle.

No prizes for guessing what the kid had for Christmas, is there?

And despite everything else, there wasn’t a soul out at sea this afternoon. So I headed off through the maskless crowds towards the end of the headland.

pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench at the end of the headland this afternoon.

And that was no surprise because it really was quite windy this afternoon. It had whipped up quite impressively and was churning up the sea. It’s not the weather to be sitting around bearing the full brunt of what was blowing around out there.

There were a few people walking around on the lower path down there and I bet that they were noticing the wind down there.

Nothing out at sea either this afternoon so I didn’t wait around out here. I headed down the path on my way home.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Walking down the path towards the port I could se the waves breaking on – and over – the sea wall into the harbour and I took the photos that you saw earlier.

The closer I came to the wall the more I could see how turbulent the sea actually was.

On the far right of the image you can see how the receding wave has churned up the one that is incoming, although the tail of the incoming wave is just about to give those people walking on top of the wall down there a good soaking.

So having seen everything that I wanted to see, I made tracks for home. I was ready for my hot coffee.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Looking back behind me as I walked down the road, I could see the sunset.

It was another one of these TORA TORA TORA moments, with the rays of the sun passing through the small gaps in the clouds. It really is quite an impressive effect.

Back here I had my coffee and just as I was sitting down to finally start some kind of work, Rosemary called me and we had another lengthy chat that went on for ever. Our conversation finished just in time, because the nurse came round to inject me.

Tea tonight was a burger with pasta and vegetables, but the burger that was loitering in the fridge was a falafel burger, so that’s effectively falafel for two nights running. Not that I’m complaining because it’s tasty and nutritious.

Eventually I caught up with my nocturnal perambulations. There was something about me being in the dentist’s or something. I’d been injected with some kind of anaesthetic or something but I can’t remember any more really than that

At another moment I was out for a walk last night and I can’t remember very much about it except that at one point the footpath was rather narrow. A tractor came towards me carrying two trees. We had to make ourselves very thin in this pathway and hide behind a bush or something somewhere so that this tractor could go past with these trees without knocking us over

There was also some kind of illegal activity going on involving 2 guys one of whom was rather young and simple. The other one had to take him to Liverpool to make sure that he was seen around a police station so that they could get on with what they were planning to do. The other guy wondered why that was necessary. The other one said that it was because he’d been seen hitch-hiking down towards the south so he would have to be taken back up north again. It was a cover to count for his presence there etc. He had to have possessions with him so they decided on a couple of LPS that were there, one from a pop group from the 60s and he suggested taking a Rolling Stones album with him as well. They were sorting this out at this shop place in London before they prepared to go back up north again

Now I’m off to bed, having made sure that the alarm is set for tomorrow. Nice as lie-ins are, I can’t spend the rest of my life in bed. I have to do some work some time some how.

Friday 10th December 2021 – I’M REALLY GLAD …

… that I started to write up my notes earlier this afternoon because the last thing that I was planning to do was to be thinking about eating my evening meal at 22:30 this evening. But there you are.

When the alarm went off it took me quite a while to find the energy and the enthusiasm to struggle to my feet. Things are really difficult right now and I’ve no idea why because if anything I’m actually in better shape physically than I was a couple of months ago.

After the medication and having checked my mails, I decided once I’d recovered my will to live to attack the outstanding dictaphone notes. And eventually, after many vicissitudes, they are now on line.

Having done that, I could then turn my attention to last night’s notes. Sherlock Holmes had been out on his travels last night. There had been some kind of party going on. Someone there had stolen a suitcase full of valuable clothing and Sherlock Holmes was on the trail. He tracked it down to a horse-drawn bus driver who was outside. A big, unruly bloke but Holmes managed to overpower him and hand him over to the Police. The guy was pleading to be let go. When they wanted to find out why he said that there was something urgent that he really must do before midnight. He promised everything he could if he could do it. Anyway they took him back towards the place where this party had taken place. As they got to the door people started coming out. For some reason he violently attacked two of them, a man and a woman. It turned out that they were the people in charge of the organisation for stealing things and he was just their handyman. They were prepared to let him rot in prison which he wasn’t going to allow. Of course with this party finishing at midnight he wanted to be there when they came out so that he could stop them.

Later on last night we were at school. There was something happening, some kind of problem. One of the girl pupils was interviewing a pile of other people. She had us in a room and was letting us out one by one to ask us questions. Eventually it was my turn. She asked me about how things were. I replied that I was really busy. She asked “do you think that you make all of your own problems”. I replied “yes, I do” (and I was dead right there). She asked me about the things that I did so I told her. Someone said “you need someone to help you, don’t you?” to which I turned to this person and said “oh yes but I’ve asked her but she doesn’t seem to be all that keen” – meaning the interviewer girl. She said “I don’t recall you asking me”. I replied “in that case, what are you doing on Saturday? Would you like to go to the pictures?”. She asked what was on. “What are we going to watch? What are we going to see?”. I replied “it doesn’t really matter, does it? Knowing my luck it will be ‘Little Women’, something like that”. To my surprise she answered “yes, OK”. When she had finished what she was doing I took her down to the canteen, sat her down at a table and went to fetch some coffee”. They had some vegan cake. There was some discussion about one vegan cake which I knew that she liked. In the end it turned out that it wasn’t that one at all so I had to make the assistant walk all the way back to the end of the queue to pick up a slice of the other vegan cake, the one that I had so we had two slices of vegan cake and two coffees.

But this makes a real change, doesn’t it? I finally get the girl after all these years. It reminded me of the time the English teacher set a task for his pupils to write an essay including the words “chaste” and “by helicopter”. One boy wrote“The boy chaste the girl and by helicopter” and that’s exactly how I was feeling last night.

The only disappointment is that I when I awoke I found that I didn’t know who she was.

The dictaphone took me all the way up to midday, although there were several interruptions.

Firstly there was giving the soft fruit mix several stirs about to keep the orange and vanilla essence mix percolating into the fruit. And then there was of course breakfast.

There was a phone call too. Caliburn’s winter tyres have arrived and when could I go and have them fitted? “How about 14:00 this afternoon?”

And so at midday when I finished my notes I went and had a hot shower. And the drop in weight of 1.2 kg over the weekend wasn’t a false reading because it showed the same reading today and that’s impressive.

Since I’ve been more careful about what I’ve been eating I’ve lost almost 4kg.

After lunch I went outside to Caliburn. And it was a struggle even to walk across the car park with the howling gale that was blowing up a storm outside. It was a case of “one step forward, two steps back” to reach him.

At 14:00 when the garage reopened I had been outside for almost 10 minutes waiting. And while they were changing his front tyres I had to wait again – until 15:30. I’ve no idea why it took them so long to change two tyres. usually it’s a 10-minute job. They didn’t even offer me a free coffee while I was waiting.

And I was right – they chose to fit the tyres to his front, unpainted wheels rather than the two in the van that I had painted the other day.

They’d taken so long to fit the tyres that the rest of the afternoon was wasted. I went to LeClerc for a few bits and pieces (where I finally found some glacé cherries), stopped at the parcels place to pick up the parcel of Caliburn’s bits and pieces and then came home – struggling across the car park with my shopping – the only thing that was stopping me being blown across the car park and into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Not even time for any photos, and even if I had, it wasn’t safe to be out on the clifftop in this wind.

With my hot coffee I did something that I’ve been meaning to do for ages and had a good shuffle round of the music. It’s becoming rather stale with the same groups seemingly stuck in the same cycle so I shook it all up.

While I was doing that I also relegated a few groups out into the “miscellaneous” folder as I’ve long-since exhausted the possibilities of what they could bring.

Laurent came round for me at 19:15 and we set off for this “fish and films” festival where we met up with a few of our other radio staff members who were covering it. And I was introduced to someone who wanted to be interviewed for my radio project, so we made the necessary arrangements for later in the month.

fish and films festival yacht club Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The festival itself consists of a series of short films that are shown in various localities all over town.

We were actually attending the opening party held at the local yacht club. There was a local jazz band (whom I have met before one afternoon on the headland at the Pointe du Roc) and they were playing a series of jazz standards that feature in several of the films.

But it was a strange festival. To celebrate the “fish and films” they had a “fish and chips” van in the car park who ran out of fish after just an hour. And in a fishing port too! You couldn’t make that up.

But one of our friends shall forever be known as “Chief Petty Officer Pertwee” for inviting us to a meal of “fish and chips” (or just chips in my case) so we waited in the queue at the van for over half an hour only to find out that he had no cash and the fryer didn’t accept cards.

It was just like a scene from “The Navy Lark” and the “Fish and Chip Ship” episode.

By the time Laurent brought me home my stomach was thinking that my throat had been cut so I made a quick dish of pasta and veg tossed in olive oil with grated vegan cheese.

So having written my notes I’m off to bed for hopefully a good night’s sleep. We’re radioing again in town tomorrow night so I want to be on top form. And I’ll miss my football again at the Stade Louis Dior, won’t I?

Saturday 4th December 2021 – DESPITE THE RATHER …

storm sea wall port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… slow start to the day, it’s actually gone quite well and I’ve done a fair bit of work, which is always a surprise on a Saturday.

So while you admire a few photos of the waves smashing into the sea wall, I’ll tell you all about it.

Firstly, the alarm might well have gone off at 07:30 but I didn’t. My back was still stuck to the bed rather badly and it took me 20 minutes to extricate myself.

But at least I’ve worked something out.

One of the (many) why I’ve been sleeping so badly is a strange pain in the big toe on my left foot and I had no idea why that might be. It only happens when I’m lying down in bed.

storm sea wall port de granville harbour  Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Last night, I tried a little experiment. Before going to bed I took off the elasticated stocking from that leg.

And to my surprise, there was no pain at all in my toe. I was awake a few times for other reasons, but not for that. And that’s rather surprising. Especially as I’ve no idea why it might be that it only happened when I was in bed and not during the day.

After the medication I came back in here to check my mails and messages. Having done that, it took me an age to start work because I just couldn’t summon up the energy. A large mug of strong coffee put that right eventually and I could crack on with work.

storm sea wall port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021First task was to edit the photos from yesterday, post them on line and then bring up-to-date yesterday’s journal entry.

Regular readers of this rubbish will have noted that I only wrote out something briefly last night before going to bed. I’d done a lot of work yesterday, and I was feeling extremely weary.

The rest of the day has been spent working on radio stuff. I’ve chosen all of the music for the Christmas radio programme that I’m preparing and paired off all of the tracks. And I
‘ve written out all of the notes too.

As well as that, I’ve finished off writing the notes for the radio programme that I didn’t finish on Monday when I had to go off with Caliburn and have his windscreen fixed.

And so on Monday instead of writing out the notes I’ll just have two loads of notes already completed to dictate and edit.

Tomorrow I won’t be pairing off any music – I did that today with the Christmas programme – because I’m going out radioing tomorrow. Laurent telephoned me this afternoon to say that an interview has been arranged for tomorrow.

As for where I’d been during the night, When an alarm went off somewhere (which it didn’t, of course) I was carrying a large tray of eggs and I nearly dropped the lot

Later I had to go to an airport, Schiphol, but it was nothing like the Schiphol I ever knew. I arrived in Caliburn and parked him and had to find my way to my gate. I couldn’t see it but I looked around and there was some girl standing on top of Caliburn pointing the way to the gate. I followed the crowd and suddenly realised that I didn’t remember where I’d parked Caliburn so I had to go nack and make a note of where he was parked. There was some woman giving the instructions “you go through this particular gate then you phone for a taxi to take you’. I had no idea what this was all about so I went and waited where I was supposed to wait. There was a view of the countryside in front so I took a few photos. Then I noticed that there were these little electric buggy-type cars flying around. They would pull up and take people. I thought that these must be the taxis so i’d wait for one that someone else was taking to my gate and leap aboard with them. Then I looked at my ticket. The boarding time was 09:10 and it was now 10:10 so it looked as if I’d missed my flight. Thumbing back through my papers I found that there was a flight on 4th April that I’d booked and it was now October so I’d missed this flight by about 6 months as well

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Just as I was about to go out for my afternoon walk the heavens opened and we had a terrific rainstorm the like of which I hadn’t seen in quite a while.

When it quietened down a little I nipped out for my afternoon walk and went over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach.

It was so dark that I couldn’t see very much at all and I can’t tell if there was anyone down there or not. At least I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that I was the only person up here on the path. Everyone else has far more sense than to be out in this weather.

waves breaking on rocks place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021It wasn’t just the rain either. There was quite a wind blowing too.

You’ve already seen the waves breaking over the top of the harbour wall – something that looked quite impressive but the wind wasn’t that strong. What we were having was one of those heavy, rolling seas that we have every so often

It’s probably something to do with Storm Arwen and thz amount of built-up kinetic energy in the sea as a result. You can see how much power there is in the waves and how silly it is not to make more of an effort to capture it.

rainstorm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021If anything, the weather was worsening as I was walking around.

The Ile de Chausey was completely lost in this huge raincloud that was coming my way and I didn’t want to have to hang around to wait for it.

There won’t be anything of interest out there at sea in this and even if there were, I wouldn’t be able to see it. And so I carried on along the path down to the car park, and down to the end of the headland instead.

rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There wasn’t anything at all happening down at the end of the headland

And that’s no surprise with this really impressive rainstorm blowing in off the Brittany coast and the Baie de Mont St Michel. Whoever is underneath all of that will certainly know about it

In fact, thinking about it, today was one of the foulest days that we have had for quite a while. And it was so nice earlier on – to such an extent that I was planning on going out and preparing the two front wheels on Caliburn.

But this weather put a stop to any thought of that.

le loup coloured water rainstorm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021One of the many phenomena that we have around here is the colour of the water. We can have whole patches of it that are a different colour than the rest.

There’s a beautiful example this afternoon and it can’t be because of the reflection of light off the clouds because right over where I’m standing the cloud is a nice thick dark grey.

It doesn’t go any darker until much further out in the bay, as you can see with the rainstorm cascading down on the Pointe de Carolles.

But that rainstorm is slowly catching up with me so I’m going to clear off home and have a hot coffee before I’m soaked to the skin.

Back here I carried on working for a while and then went for a shower. I need to be pretty and smell nice for tomorrow,.

By now it was time to make tea. Seeing as I’d bought some peppers yesterday I had a stuffed pepper and it was delicious as usual.

And now I’m off to bed. There’s an alarm set (again!) for a Sunday as I’m being picked up at 10:30 so I need to check my equipment before I go. And there’s some tidying up to do too. If I have people coming round I have to pretend to be respectable, even if I’m not.

Thursday 2nd December 2021 – I’M NOT SURE …

… what happened today. It didn’t feel as if I’d done very much but when I look back on it, I don’t have too much cause for vomplaint.

Mind you, it started off as rotten as it could be because the alarm didn’t go off and I awoke bolt-upright at 07:54. Apparently I hadn’t plugged the phone in correctly at night and the battery had gone flat. I can do without days like that.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages the next step was to check the dictaphone for messages. There were a few entries on there that were transcribed. The earlier days have been added to the relevant entries, and then I turned my attention to today’s.

Last night I was on board a small boat heading towards Greenland and this was going to start to become very interesting for the people who were around here with me but I awoke instead.

Later on I was working at the radio. We were going to record a discussion but for some unknown reason I could not get the sound correctly on my recorder. I’d been trying for half an hour and everyone was really fed up of waiting. Just towards the end of the time it began to be more promising so I thought that I’d go for a trip down the corridor while they were waiting for me. They were playing some music while they were waiting. I had my little Acer laptop and the back was off it. And if you want to know the rest of what happened here, you’ll have to wait until you’ve finished your meal.

Later still I was with Nerina last night. I’ve forgotten a lot of this but we ended up being in Germany. We didn’t really have much time but we found ourselves somewhere round by the border where East Germany used to be. We crossed over the border, not that there was a border to cross these days and picked up a road that was signposted “Dresden”. We followed that for a while. Nerina asked “how are we going to find our way back?”. I replied “we’ll drive down here for a bit and then look on the map for villages near the border, turn down to a village near the border and then go back that way”. We drove that way for a while and then came to a whole row of black and yellow posts and a deserted strip of countryside. That looked immediately like the border to us and we followed it for some time. In the meantime, we encountered a convoy of old British cars, Morris 1000s and the like. There was no border where we were but the posts that held the fencing and barbed wire were still there as a kind-of symbolic gesture. Nerina was driving. We went round a bend and came to a ford so I told her to take it easy. She did, and she got through. She reminded me of a time where she’d driven through a ford but had stopped, got out ang got her feet wet as she stepped into the water. I said “you’d done the difficult bit, hadn’t you, but you fell down on the easy part”.

There was something somewhere where I’d had a new starter fitted on the car. I’d ended up in a garage somewhere while I was waiting to load up the car with my stuff but I could walk around underneath the car and could see that a couple of bolts on the starter were loose. I thought that I’d go and find a spanner. I had my tool kit with me but could find an open-ended 15mm spanner but these looked like 16mm bolts to me and I couldn’t find a decent 16mm spanner. I thought “this is typical. Here I am in an ideal situation to put this right. I couldn’t wish for anywhere better. I can walk around and work on the car in perfect comfort but yet here I am and I can’t find the flaming tool that I need”. All this sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Incidentally, when I say that I “awoke”, I don’t actually mean that. I’m still asleep when I’m dictating these notes, as you could tell if you were to listen to them, but I snap out of the deep unconscious into something that is not so deep that enables me to control the dictaphone, that kind of thing. I don’t know how else to explain it.

Once I’d finished that I went downstairs to put the first coat of paint onto Caliburn’s wheels. It was pouring down and howling a gale so I had to do it inside the back of the van and the smell was overpowering.

While I was out there I bumped into a neighbour and we had a lengthy chat about nothing in particular.

Back in the apartment I grabbed a coffee and then I busied myself again. I had a few entries to update from while I was at Leuven the other day. They are now all on line and up-to-date.

After lunch I had to order the bits that I need for Caliburn – a new rear light unit, a door mirror glass and a windscreen wiper. And that wasn’t as easy as it might have been either because my on-line payment system kept on kicking me out. It worked fine on the computer but not on the telephone.

Next stop was to go and put the second coat on the wheels. The rain had stopped by now but there was still the wind so I asphyxiated myself in the back of the van again.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

First port of call was down at the end of the car park to have a look at the beach to see what was happening there. Today we have a small part of a beach, but there didn’t seem to be anyone on it this afternoon.

But you can see how nice the weather has become by looking at the contrast between the part of the photo that is in the shade and the other part that isn’t. Unfortunately though you can’t see the effect that the wind is having.

trawlers returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021You can do in this photo though.

While I was down there looking at the beach I was also looking out at sea to see what was happening and I noticed that we had two trawlers heading our way, on their way home after a day’s fishing.

And they are making heavy weather of it too which is no surprise. You can see the whitecaps on the waves even that far out to sea so you can imagine that there is plenty of force in the wind this afternoon.

This afternoon I was the only person out there. I could walk in comparative pece along the path without being disturbed. Some of the kids were out there orienteering but they were well off in the distance.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Around the headland I walked and then down the path to where I could overlook the harbour.

And there’s plenty of activity with the portable boat lift this afternoon. For a start they seem to have painted it. It’s no longer a rusty white but a nice light-primer grey.

They’ve also painted the wheels too. They were a rusty dark black before but now they are a nice white. If I’d have known that they were painting the wheels I would have taken Caliburn’s down there and let them get on with job on my behalf.

chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal activity seems to have come to a dead stop.

We saw Chausiaise and, behind her, the older of the two Joly France ferries over there a few days ago and by the looks of things they haven’t moved an inch since then.

But then again, there doesn’t seem to be any custom about. I can’t see anyone at all on the sea wall over there. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen the place looking so deserted. You can tell that it’s winter time already and it’s going to be like this until Carnaval.

That is, if there is going to be a Carnaval this year. i’ve just seen today’s infection figures.

trawlers unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Having said that activity at the ferry terminal seems to have come to a dead stop, that’s hardly the case at the fish processing plant.

There are quite a few fishing boats over there unloading and as we saw earlier when we set out for our walk, they are still coming in. So despite the lousy weather over the last few days, the work still goes on out at sea.

Having finished my walk I went back home and made a coffee and my work then went on too. I’m off to Leuven in two weeks’ time so I needed to make all my arrangements.

It seems that my cheap 07:13 train has died a death. That’s good news in a sense because I’m not scrambling around so early trying to catch a train to Brussels. The train at 06:33 is plenty early enough.

Tea tonight was a couple of those small burgers in breadcrumbs with baked potatoes and veg. They are delicious of course but now I’m running rather low. I foresee a trip to Noz in the near future, although where I’m going to put them is anyone’s guess because the freezer is full.

Having finished my work, I’m off to bed. I have Caliburn’s new tyres to pick up tomorrow and the Law of Averages states that they’ll decide that the worst tyres are the ones that are on wheels that I haven’t as yet painted.

That’s how things usually work around here of course.

Wednesday 1st December 2021 – ONCE AGAIN I HAVEN’T …

… done anything like as much today as I had wanted to.

There have been a variety of reasons for this – not the least being that I had yet another dreadful night, wide-awake at 05:20 and lying there waiting for the alarm to ring at 07:30. I tell you – I’m thoroughly sick of all of this.

As you might expect, it took a good few minutes for me to summon up the energy to leave my bed this morning and then I was pretty much wasted for the rest of the day.

After the medication I had a shower to clean myself up and bang on time Laurent came round for me. We went off to meet Thierry and then the three of us went off to meet Father Christmas and his blasted elves.

As I thought, the interview turned out to fall rather flat. I could understand the logic (whether I agreed with it or not) of submitting the questions in advance, I totally disagreed with the idea of “suggested replies”.

Children have a really fertile imagination and they need to be encouraged to develop it. And sometimes they can come up with some fascinating responses. But having them blindly reading off a script is a pretty dismal activity and it destroys the spontaneity of it all.

Having them all sitting around a table was another bad idea too because it’s always the more powerful ones who are heard. I would have interviewed them one by one where the kids could have responded without any peer pressure and chosen the pick of the answers.

In other words, this affair was micro-managed to an overwhelming degree and Laurent and I were quite disappointed about how it turned out. What had given us the idea for this was that two years ago wandering around the streets one night we had come across Father Christmas and subjected him to an off-the cuff interview. That was a resounding success.

While I was there I took a few photos of Father Christmas and his elves but I can’t publish them of course.

Back here Laurent came in for a coffee and we had a good chat about a few things, and made a few plans for the future.

After he left I went outside to wipe the rust-proofing liquid off the wheels and dry them, but painting them was out of the question. There was a howling gale again and it was sleeting.

Lunch was late again and afterwards I had the morning’s photos to edit and send off. They’ll choose one to illustrate our programme when it’s ready to broadcast.

trawler thora arriving at port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Once I’d finished that it was time for me to go off for my physiotherapy session.

The wind was if anything rather worse than it had been earlier and it was rather difficult to walk.

And I wasn’t the only one having difficulty moving around either. There was a trawler out at sea battling with the storm to come into port and behind her, Thora was being thrown about by the elements.

When I took this photo she was actually being blown sideways by the wind and was coming into port rather like a crab.

pointing wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Down at the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret the pointing of the wall was proceeding apace.

Mind you, I’m not sure what was happening there earlier. On our way back from Father Christmas there was an ambulance and a police car parked up at the side.

The personnel of the vehicles seemed to be quite interested in what was going on down below but as I wasn’t driving and as we had other things to do, I couldn’t go over and have a look.

If it’s anything interesting or important, it’ll be in the local paper in the morning.

Halfway up the hill towards the physiotherapist’s, I had to stop. Not because I was out of breath but because we suddenly had another torrential downpour. I had to nip into a doorway and put on my rain jacket.

It reminded me of how Superman and all of these other superheroes used to dash into telephone boxes and emerge seconds later with their underpants on outside their trousers. Where do they go to change now with the rise of mobile ‘phones and the demise of telephone boxes?

And then of course, there was my brother. He was often seen with his underpants on outside his trousers, but that was less to do with any superhero status and more to do with the fact that he didn’t have both paddles in the water.

No tilting platform today. There was the usual 5 minutes on the cross trainer and then a load of kinetic exercises that somehow took their toll of me.

She had me once more walking along this narrow beam and throwing a ball about. She was impressed with my reflexes co-ordination but as I have said before, my previous life as a goalkeeper and wicket-keeper had a lot to do with that.

father christmas decorations Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On the way home I came via the Place General de Gaulle.

On the way up to the physiotherapist’s I’d seen a few council workmen on up on ladders working on the trees and I was interested to see what they had been doing with them.

By the time that I returned, the workmen had gone but I noticed that some of the trees were now festooned with decorations. And if you ask me my opinion, it’s all a load of balls.

christmas decorations rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of years ago Strawberry Moose reckoned that the Christmas decorations in the Rue Paul Poirier WERE ALL BALLS too.

THis year though, there’s been a change, and not before time either. This year we have the street lined with artificial “Christmas Trees”.

Now what was I saying a few days ago about them recycling the same old decorations year after year and wishing that they would make a change?

Clearly, a great many people are very interested in the contents of my pages and pay them a great deal of attention.

La Bavolette Ii thora marité belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021A short while ago we saw Thora having a bit of a struggle to make it into port.

Well she finally arrived, as you can see in this photo, moored up at the loading bay in front of Marité, with Belle France and the newer Joly France ferry – the one with the smaller upper-deck superstructure, moored alongside her.

The little trawler in the background is an interesting boat. She’s called La Bavolette II – at least, for the moment. And I mean that too because in the past she’s been known by several different names.

She was built in 1982 out of wood and displaces 40 tonnes

philcathane l'ecume II port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021This trawler is much more interesting though.

Not Philcathane, of course – not that she isn’t interesting in herself but she hasn’t had the adventures that the other one in the photo has had.

You can tell by her registration number – beginning with “J” – that she’s a Boat from Jersey and how long is it since we’ve seen a boat from the Channel Islands here in port with all of the shenanigans that are going on right now?

There’s a great deal of talk about illegal fishing right now and this trawler – she’s called L’Ecume II by the way, can tell you an awful lot about that because on two occasions about which I know, her crew has been in the dock and emerged with their pockets far lighter than they were when they went in.

And not only that, 18 months ago she found herself stuck on a sandbank because her helmsman had fallen asleep at the wheel.

In other words, she’s quite a well-known boat, for one reason or another.

storm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021However I wasn’t going to hang around and admire her for too long.

As you can see, out in the Baie de Mont St Michel there was quite a storm brewing up and the gale-force wind was blowing it my way.

As a result, I wasn’t going to hang around. I was going to head for home and a hot mug of coffee, and make plans about what I was going to do for the rest of the week. I actually have a day at home without any interruptions at all – but just you watch all that change.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before I went in I went to have a look at the beach

And that was rather a waste of time because there wasn’t any beach to look at today. The tide was right in now and the water was at the foot of the cliffs. All I had for my pains was a good battering by the wind.

Back here I had my coffee and sat down to try to do some work.

Checking my messages there was a mail from my Welsh course telling me what ingredients I need for the Christmas Cake I’ll be baking on-line on Friday evening. Treacle isn’t available here so I ended up asking Liz for advice on a replacement and chatting to her for quite a while.

For some reason, tea was quite an effort tonight. I’m experiencing brain-fade – not quite as bad as the nonsense I was churning up last night – but I couldn’t think of what to have for tea. I’d really run aground.

In the end I settled for a burger and pasta. That was the best that I could do.

Right now, although I haven’t crashed out today, I’m thoroughly exhausted so I’m off to bed where I hope that I’ll sleep until I awaken.

But not much hope of that, I’m afraid. All of this is really depressing me.

Sunday 27th November 2021 – I ACTUALLY MANAGED …

workmen's compound place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… to go out and about this afternoon to see what damage Storm Arwen had caused.

First port of call has obviously to be the workmen’s compound down at the bottom. Or, rather, what is left of the workmen’s compound.

Parts of it are all tangled up over there, but the rest of it is all over the place in the car park, along with all kinds of other rubbish that has been blown in from all over the place as well

There are going to be some very unhappy people when they come in the morning to inspect their vehicles.

repairing medieval city walls place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another place that was going to be interesting to see is the face of the medieval city walls that they are repairing underneath the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

The walls are still standing, which is a surprise after the battering that it received, but the protection that the workmen built to protect themselves from objects dropped from above did not. And that’s hardly a surprise becuase, as we said the other day, it looked rather flimsy.

The first job on Monday morning therefore will be to re-erect their little shelter. And then they can crack on with the repairing. And by the looks of things they seem to be doing a reasonable job. We can’t afford to have them going for a Burton.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché au chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile, up above in the Place, the scaffolding seems to have survived. The 5 tonnes of water in those pallet tanks seemed to have done its job.

All in all, we seem to have been quite fortunate with the storm. Gusts of 136 kph are not to be sneezed at, and the town’s firemen were called out 36 times during the storm, so it seemed that plenty of people had it far worse than we did.

It didn’t even keep me awake all that much. Although I didn’t go to bed as early as I would have liked, I managed to spend more time asleep than I have done just recently.

That’s not to say that I didn’t go on any travels during the night. In fact, quite the reverse. We were at school last night. My brother had been summoned before the headmaster for something so he actually left at about 08:30 and was playing for another team early on. We had to be back by 10:00 so at 09:45 I went over to the door to meet him. he came out with a group of other people, one of whom was someone from the radio. We all started to talk a little about my brother’s issues although he looked extremely happy just then when he came out. Then something and I don’t know what reminded me that I had to do something with the green folder and send it off to another house at school to have a listen before I could go ahead with the radio programme.

Later on I had Caliburn except that it wasn’t Caliburn but my red Cortina estate, loaded up with all my stuff for moving house like I did when I was moving from the UK to Brussels. I had to go somewhere for a few days so I parked it up in the street in Underwood Lane near where I lived. On my way back we went to a house to pick up some shovels and spades. It was 04:00. A woman came out and I thought that she looked familiar. It turned out that she’d been the person who had bought one of my houses somewhere else. It was her but she’d since moved and bought another house. She was telling me that I now have a house down there as well. We collected everything and went into the street but we couldn’t see Caliburn anywhere. We walked up and down that street 3 or 4 times and there was no trace of him. We were thinking about which scrapyards to ring up, all of this kind of thing but there was still no trace

Later still on I was back in the hospital and I couldn’t find a shovel that I’d use to dig a grave. I pointed to that fellow but he didn’t see us so I thought that I’d stick my 2 bodies into 1 grave. I needed to enlarge the grave. There was a fight going on between fishermen, farmers and the French police. I thought that now there wasn’t very much attraction so I’ll stop where I am because someone was after the issue fee “I see Eric” but I didn’t know my name and I wanted everything cleared up. And what that was all about I have no idea.

Finally we’d been up in the High Arctic as far as Grize Fiord and even further. We’d been in this town watching the aeroplanes come in to land and then all set off back home again. I had this old double-decker bus that we were driving, heading up the A5 from London. My car was in front and for some unknown reason it was driving on its own, driving really recklessly and I was convinced that there was going to be an accident with this. All of a sudden it did a turn right across several carriageways and pulled up against the kerb. I stopped the bus and went round to see what was going on. My brother was there so I asked him why he did that strange manoeuvre. He pointed to this shop selling clothes. I stuck my head in but couldn’t see anything exciting. While he was there I said to the people on board the bus “let me have my stuff and I can load my car ready to go”. I took a few bits and pieces out but someone on the top deck picked up my big sports bag and dropped it over the top straight into the boor of the car. It went in with an Enormous crash. I said that I hoped that there was nothing breakable in there, like my portable computer. Then I had a look at the bus. All the time that it had spent in the High Arctic had taken its toll and it was as rusty as hell, rusting everywhere as f it had just happened overnight. Even the sides of the bus were rusty and you could see the name of the previous owner, “Lena Tours” because of how the bodywork had rusted. I wondered how we were able to drive this without the police stopping us and taking a look.

And why does my brother keep on showing up in my voyages? Why can’t it be someone like Zero or Castor or TOTGA?

Anyway, leaving my bed at 09:00 was not very easy this morning but it had to be done and I staggered into the dining are for my medication. I checked my mails and messages, made a quick breakfast and went for my Welsh lesson – all 5 hours of it.

The time passed quite quickly too, and the one hour for lunch passed even quicker because I seem once more to have run out of pizza dough so I made to make a hurried batch. And it didn’t turn out too badly either, all things considered.

We had plenty of fun in our lessons today and I hope that I remember everything that we learnt. Some of it wasn’t familiar at all so I imagine that it’s South Walian and that will lead to a few complications when we’re back in our normal class on Tuesday after the weekend school.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As soon as the lesson finished I grabbed the camera and finally made it outside.

Having seen the compound across the car park I went down to the wall at the end of the car park here to see what was happening on the beach.

There were actually two people down there, which was a surprise. The weather might have moderated somewhat after the wind of the last couple of days but it was still really cold and not the kind of weather that I would have chosen to be down there.

But there’s no accounting for taste.

outdoor tidal swimming pool donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little further on along the beach towards Donville-les-Bains there was something strange in the water.

My first thought was that it was an ancient wreck uncovered by the storm, something that is a regular occurrence in many parts of the world.

However it seems to be the tidal swimming pool down there at Donville. I didn’t recognise it because I don’t think that I’ve seen it more than a couple of times in all the time that I’ve lived here.

There must be some kind of optical illusion or trick of the light that has made it so visible this afternoon.

tidal swimming pool plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Having inspected the work down at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux I headed off along the path at the foot of the city walls, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been down here.

A little earlier I’d already seen the tidal swimming pool at Donviille-les-Bains so I was interested to see the one at the Plat Gousset here to see if it had survived the storm.

It seems to have managed okay but there’s some kind of turbulence going on at the back og the pool so I wonder what that is all about.

Perhaps they’ve caught the Loch Ness Monster. I didn’t realise that the storm had been that intense.

generator building equipment Square Maurice Marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another feature that occurs quite regularly on these pages is the state of the Square Maurice Marland.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, they spent quite a while on repairing the place a few years ago and since then it’s been left todecay, something that seems to have happened a lot more rapidly that I had tought.

While I was there today though, I noticed that a pile of equipment has arrived here, includiing what looks like a diesel generator in a soundproof box. So maybe things are going to start moving again.

building equipment Square Maurice Marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And a little further on, I can see that they already have.

The part where the children’s entertainments used to be is now cordoned off and they have a strange tracked machine just there. That certainly looks as if it means business.

Much of the surrounding area has been sheeted over too and there’s some building material stacked up too. This is looking as if it’s going to be quite interesting and I’ll be back here more often than I am at the moment to check on things.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Leaving the Square Maurice Marland I headed off towards the Rue St Michel to see how things were unfoding there.

It was difficult to see anything from down at the bottom end the other day because of all of the machinery, so this afternoon I came up via the alley at the top

From this angle it’s quite clear that they’ve scraped away the old horrible surface and that does actually look deep enough to lay some cobbles. But having been disappointed in the past by this kind of thing, we’ll have to see what happens.

And then wonder how long it will be before they dig it up again.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021From the end of the Rue st Michel I walked onto the city walls.

It’s going quite dark quite quickly now and I just about caught the last few rays of sun as the reflected up and through a couple of small holes in this really thick cloud cover.

That was the cue for me to head home. No coffee tonight as I’m pretty-much coffeed out after all that I’ve drunk today. I rolled out my pizza and then went to pair off my music instead, although I won’t be preparing a programme tomorrow as I’m having Caliburn’s windscreen fixed.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021When I’d finished that I went to have a play with my pizza.

When it was assembled it went into the oven for 35 minutes and I was ready for it when it was finally cooked. It was quite delicious too.

having finished everything in what was a really hectic day, I’m ready for bed. I have an early start because I need a shower and a shave before I take Caliburn off. If I have to pretty myself up, that’s going to take more time than I can spare.