Tag Archives: home made bread

Sunday 12th June 2022 – I CAN’T EVEN HAVE …

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022… have a Day of Rest on my Day of Rest, can I?

Sunday is a day when I’m supposed to be having a decent lie-in to catch up with whatever I’ve missed during the week and to tell the truth I would probably still be in bed right now except that I had a rather urgent need to go for a ride on the porcelain horse round about 09:20.

And that killed my lie-in stone-dead, regrettably.

So while you admire a few photos of the various forms of aerial activity that took place around the town this afternoon, I’ll tell you about my rather depressing day today.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022After I’d had my medication this morning I came back here and made a start on work.

What I had to do was to pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. Not that I’ll be doing very much tomorrow, I reckon. If the last few days is anything to go by, I’ll be lucky if I’ll be able to haul myself out of bed at any kind of reasonable time tomorrow.

And then, regrettably, I fell asleep again and that was that. I was still stark out when Ingrid telephoned me and you’ve no idea how difficult it is to hold a conversation with anyone when all you want to do is to sleep.

As a result of the foregoing I had a rather late lunch again.

red powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022After lunch I had a kilo of carrots to peel and blanch ready to freeze and then I had a listen to what had happened during the night on the dictaphone.

I’d been out somewhere and my elder sister had come with me. She was dressed in a pair of thigh-high black leather boots, black trousers and a black jacket. We went to wherever it was and came back. She started to undress in the middle of the room which I thought was a strange thing to do. She told me “you’ve seen all this before” which of course I probably had but not from my sister. It wasn’t the kind of stuff that I was particularly wanting to see. She just peeled herself out of her clothes like peeling a banana. I thought that this was a strange thing to do.

yacht speedboat la grande ancre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And then we were talking about Jeeps and things. Someone was asked to describe a Jeep. They said that it was like a Land Rover where all the bodywork had been bent backwards and warped because they’ve just been driving through a housing estate somewhere that was being built and had hit a raised manhole. The Land Rover had stuck on it but of course the momentum had caused all the bodywork to twist and warp on it. It had made a real mess of everything.

There was also a teacher bringing a party of schoolchildren over on a catamaran. As he was bringing them in close to port he was going round reminding them not to ask anyone any stupid questions when they docked. I can’t remember how this developed.

yachts cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022and finally there was a story about how a village in Russia had been hit by Bubonic Plague. People had heard all kinds of mysteries going on about this place. They had been issuing jigsaws to people to piece together to try to work out what was the answer. Someone finally completed one and left it in the street completed and cleared off quickly. The village was closed and no-one was allowed in or out and everyone was dying, even the medical staff. The leader of the medical staff there was dead and had the place at the top of the roll of honour of those who had died

There was time for half an hour on the acoustic guitar too before I was ready for going out for my afternoon walk. I don’t want to forget what I’ve spent all this time learning. And while I was at it, I worked out a simple chord structure to CITY OF LIGHTS by RUNRIG.

Strangely enough, I seem to recall a while ago someone saying that he wasn’t going to learn any more new songs but just go with what he’d got at that point. I wonder who that was.

But since that date 26 songs have somehow been added to it, all of which I play at some point or other and of which 15 are on the playlist

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But anyway that was the cue for me to go off for my walk around the city walls this afternoon.

First stop is, as usual, a look down onto the beach to see what was happening there today. And with it being a really nice afternoon (I ended up in shirt sleeves at some point) there were quite a few people down there today.

Even a few taking to the water too. In fact this had me trying to think of when I was last swimming in the sea and apart from when I fell in when I was up in the High Arctic in 2018, it was when I was in Greece in 2013

Hans and I were actually talking about Greece a while ago and I happened to mention “the last time I was in Athens was with your sister!” That’s the kind of remark that kills a conversation stone-dead, especially when it’s the truth.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And while I’m here I thought that I’d have a good look at the repairs to the medieval city wall.

They have been doing some more dismantling. Quite a lot more has been demolished compared to the last time that we were here. It looks as if they are making a thorough job of it all, and quite right too.

Much as I would have liked to, I didn’t go down the steps to look at what was happening at the outside of the wall. And for obvious reasons too. Going down the steps is one thing. Coming back up is something else completely, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

lobster pot buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Instead I wandered off through the arch and along the path outside the walls towards the Plat Gousset.

Offshore in the bay, as well as all of the boats that we have already seen, there were a few more of these buoys with flags on top.

We’ve had this discussion on several occasions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I reckon that they indicate where the local fishermen have dropped their lobster pots so they know where to go to pick them up again.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wonder how they manage to train a lobster to actually go on one.

kite surfer baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022It wasn’t just lobster pots, yachts, cabin cruisers and La Grande Ancre who were out there in the bay either.

The number of hang gliders in the air will give you some kind of indication of how windy it was this afternoon, and there was a kite surfer out there making the most of it too.

We saw a couple of them in the bay on the other side of the headland a couple of days ago but we haven’t see one on this side of the headland for a while. It’s a sure sign that “Sumer is a–cumen in. Lhude sing cucu”, hey?

tidal swimming pool diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There were quite a few people wandering around on the path this afternoon so I had to fight my way through the masses down to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

And they still haven’t fitted the diving platform onto the concrete pillar down there. Summer is going to be here and gone before they get round to doing it at this rate

Plenty of people in the water here though, but then access from the promenade to the beach is much easier than scrambling down the steps in the Rue du Nord.

Despite the renovations to the tidal swimming pool, it’s still not holding water between high tides. I thought that was rather the point of it

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022You can see what I mean by the access to the beach from the promenade.

There are a couple of ramps and a set of steps that are by no means as challenging as those at the Rue du Nord. And that’s why there are crowds of people down there sitting in the sand.

They are out of the wind too thanks to the headland.

The red machine that we saw down there working with a pile of dislodged rocks is still there too. That’s going to be quite an interesting job of work. I wonder what the purpose of it all is. I suppose that I shall find out in due course.

baby seagulls with mother seagull rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Having finished my inspection of the Plat Gousset I wandered off down the Square Maurice Marland to see how the seagulls were doing.

The two chicks that I have been observing were huddled up in some shade this afternoon and I couldn’t take a good photograph so in the end I had to settle with another bunch of chicks, with a very proud mummy standing guard over them

Plenty of sea-going activity in the bay this afternoon but there wasn’t anything exciting going on in the inner harbour this afternoon that we haven’t seen before so I left them to it and wandered off towards home and my strawberry smoothie.

artists fair rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022In the old town this afternoon it’s the Artists’ Fair.

There are plenty of artists in the old town with all kinds of galleries and today was when they were having a sale of unsold work. And frankly I could see why it was unsold because it was either far too overpriced or the quality wasn’t up to all that much.

This modern art, surrealism and impressionism with huge swirls of colours, seems to be all the rage but it’s not something that I like at all. I prefer art to be like a photograph, a faithful representation of a view, with skill and talent.

Something that actually looks like what it’s supposed to be, painted by someone who knows how to paint. But these days I’d be embarrassed to put most of what I see on my wall. I know what I want for my apartment, and I know how much I’m going to pay for it too.

Back here, I crashed out yet again for an hour or so and then I did a pile of Welsh revision, going through some of the stuff that I’d written over the last two weeks.

In between all of this, I had some bread to make. I used the last of the loaf on Friday so I made another pile of dough which I left on one side to proof for a while.

After lunch I’d taken out a lump of pizza dough from the freezer and that had been defrosting. By now that was ready so I kneaded it and rolled it out, putting it on the pizza tray so that that could proof too.

home made bread vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While the bread was baking I assembled my pizza and when the bread was baked I put it in the oven to bake as well.

The bread looks absolutely perfect and the pizza didn’t look too bad either. It tasted quite delicious too and I’ll tell you about the bread tomorrow after I’ve sampled it for lunch.

And talking about tomorrow I took out the next batch of fruit buns from the freezer ready to defrost, and put the carrots in there to freeze for the next couple of weeks.

When I finished tea I washed up a pile of stuff in the kitchen and came in here to write up my notes.

Now I’m off to bed. I have an early start in the morning to prepare a radio programme and I’m not looking forward at all to doing it. I’m really not feeling much like anything at all right now.

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.

Sunday 15th May 2022 – TODAY HAS BEEN ANOTHER …

… day when I have lived up to the efforts of my namesake the mathematician and done “three fifths of five eights of … errr … absolutely nothing”.

And that’s with an alarm going off at 07:30 too, And that’s nothing like usual for a Sunday morning, is it?

But having signed up for a weekend Welsh course, the least that I can do is to take full advantage of what is on offer. The Cyndeithas Genedleithol is having a huge push with its target of a million Welsh speakers by 2025 so I may as well make the most of it and learn the language of my grandmother, and what should have been my father’s and our language had my grandmother not been so concerned about her descendants being on the receiving end of prejudice and hatred.

Such was the thinking in the 1920s and 30s and there are still vestiges of it existing today.

Anyway, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not a morning person by any means. I’m a night own. So I’ve no idea what on earth possessed them in sending me first for my mock oral at 09:30.

And it started off as badly as it could be. I was given an advert with gaps in it and I had to ask questions so as to fill in the gaps. And the first gap I could make absolutely no sense of it whatsoever and in the end the examiner had to help me out. Be sy’n digwydd yn Llanaber? – “What’s happening in Llanaber?”. Dw i ddim yn gwybod – “I don’t know”. “So why don’t you ask?”

OK – be sy’n digwydd yn Llanaber?. Easy, wasn’t it?

During the speaking park I gradually warmed up although I did say that I went to watch my friends rather than see my friends, and when it was my turn to ask questions of the examiner apparently I did very well with that. In fact, what should have been a 10-minute oral exam ended up being 25 minutes.

Getting me talking is never a problem. It’s more of a problem getting me to shut up.

Having got that out of the way I joined my class and that’s how I spent most of the day. During my lunch break I nipped off for a trip around the headland.

After lunch we carried on again right through to the end with me fighting off wave after wave of sleep and even the tutor was struggling, setting us tasks that weren’t on the worksheet and expecting us to know the answer.

When we finally finished, I had another few jobs to do. No more bread and no more pizza dough so I had to make another pile of stuff. And I’ve gone back to using processed bleached flour for the pizza because it’s easier to manipulate and makes a much better pizza. IN fact it was delicious.

The bread was wonderful too but all of this meant that I didn’t have my tea until very late.

So I haven’t transcribed the notes on the dictaphone and I haven’t done the photos. I’ll have my work cut out tomorrow at this rate.

Tuesday 26th April 2022 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

speedboat buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022 … something of a nautical day.

After a week or so of next-to-nothing out at sea, we had the lot out there on the water this afternoon. Speedboats, cabin cruisers, yachts and even La Granvillaise if you look closely at one of these photos. It wouldn’t haven’t surprised me if the Loch Ness Monster had reared its ugly head at some point.

And at some point during the proceedings I reared my ugly head from off the pillow this morning, but not at all when I had wanted to. I’ve had a bad day today.

trawler la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022So while you admire a pile of photos of boats on the water this afternoon, I was struggling to leave my bed.

Never mind the alarm at 07:30, nor the alarm at 07:45, I just about struggled to my feet in time to beat the alarm at 08:00.

Nothing at all like how things were yesterday morning.

After the medication I came back in here to check my mails and messages and then revise for my Welsh lesson later this morning. But in actual fact I didn’t. I crashed out and that was that.

cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Eventually I awoke and managed to do a little work before the lesson began.

Luckily our tutor had decided on a revision exercise seeing as we have been on holiday for a fortnight so the hole in my knowledge and the lack of preparation didn’t really matter all that much.

There weren’t all that many of us in the lesson today though. A few dropped out at the end of the second year and we’ve not had any new students in to replace them.

But it’s what you might expect. There won’t be many people of the 1022 who started who will make it through to the end of year 6.

yacht cabin cruiser trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One thing that I did just after taking my medication was to make a pile of dough for another loaf.

I’d given it a second kneading at some point and when the lesson began I put it into the oven to bake. By the time we knocked off for a mid-lesson coffee it was baked and so I had taken it out of the oven to cool.

As a result, at lunch I actually had some more bread. Unfortunately I forgot to photograph it, so you’ll just have to take my word that it was perfectly baked.

And it tasted delicious too. One of the best that I’ve made so far.

trawlers fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from last night too.

I dreamt that I’d turned over in bed and pushed a load of people out who had been on the other side of the bed from where I’d turned over. When I went to look there was no-one there, I’d just turned over and emptied the quilt into the basin in the Canadian High Arctic, no people at all.

I was also running a marathon last night. It finished in Shavington. It was the bank up to Gresty out of Crewe that slowed me right down and quite a lot of people ran past me while I was struggling up that bank. Once I came onto level ground I was able to push on and overtake a lot of them. The final stretch was just something like just 10 laps around a table to the finishing line. I even overtook a couple of people there. 2 parents, a man and a woman, actually crashed out on that 10 laps round the table but their boy kept on going. However I beat him.

trawlers yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Going back to the dream about the marathon, after we’d stopped, someone was in a car driving around with a load of dry-cleaning in it of which she was trying to find the owners. She kept on stopping to ask whether this dry-cleaning was theirs or not.

Finally, it was the school sports day. I wasn’t actually competing in anything. It was like something out of one of these “Trumpton Fort” things, a children’s TV programme where they opened the school building that was like one of these houses in a kids’ TV programme. They opened a grille in the door so everyone could swarm in. The day went on and we were all sitting there outside dressed in white. They announced that the girls could go to choose a partner to dance. I wasn’t expecting to be selected but as the girls came closer and were picking up these boys I could see that there was going to be someone heading my way. It looked as if someone was slowly working their way around but she was cut in by another girl who asked me to dance. I said “yes” and we started to dance but she wouldn’t let me lead. She wanted to lead. It was all extremely confusing. Then this girl suddenly became another boy. It was a boy with whom I was dancing and kept on trying to lead. It was all becoming very confusing.

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

As usual, I wandered off across the car park to have a look down onto the beach to see who was about. This afternoon there wasn’t much beach for anyone to be on but there were a few people down there.

That’s not really much of a surprise because it was quite nice today. Quite a bit of wind … “yet again” – ed … but it was quite sunny and warm.

There was something of a mist out there which cut down the visibility somewhat but even so there was quite a fleet of boats out there this afternoon as we have already seen.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there were quite a few people out there enjoying the view as well.

Here’s a couple sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban but they look as if they have other things on their minds that all of the boats out at sea.

They weren’t concerned by the crowds of people swarming around on the paths around at the end of the headland either.

In fact it was quite a touching scene and to be honest, it made me quite envious. I’m trying to think of when I last had such a romantic scene as this and I really can’t remember.

classe decouverte port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022They weren’t the only spectators either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall, because I have mentioned in the past … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the situation of the classe découverte.

What they do is to send classes from schools in a particular area to another area where the lifestyle is completely different so that the kids can discover what goes on in other parts of the country. Kids from the towns will go to rura areas and vice versa.

The fishing ports will have their fair share of visitors too. Those kids will be staying at the Youth Hostel at the town and will be nosing around the harbour and the fish-processing plant.

The metal objects down there are shellfish dredges. The fishing boats drag them across the sea bed to scrape up the shellfish, rocks, human remains and unexploded bombs

The dredges are constructed to a standard set of dimensions, including the size of the grid framework. That’s to ensure that any undersize shellfish will fall through the framework and back onto the sea bed.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One of the things that had caught my attention this afternoon was the fact that the sailing schools were out and about.

They are all having a good sail around the bay, under the watchful eye of a friendly neighbourhood zodiac making sure that none of its charges comes to grief. Not that the weather was anything like rough enough to cause a disaster today.

Having had a good look around in the harbour and seen everyone coming back home from the sea, I headed off back for home and my afternoon coffee. There was no need for me to hang around this afternoon.

lorry trans-shipping porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the difficulty that people have of receiving deliveries when they live within the medieval city walls.

What usually happens is that they have to arrange some kind of trans-shipment with a smaller vehicle to carry the articles underneath the Porte St Jean

By the looks of this lorry though, it has quite a heavy load on board judging by the way that the rear end is sagging down.

While I was drinking my coffee, Rosemary ‘phoned me up. She’d put the little holiday cottage next door to her house on a database for refugee families from the Ukraine and she wanted to tell me that she’ll be taking in a young family as of next weekend.

We had another one of our lengthy chats on the subject and I gave her a few hints. The solidarity that people are showing in the middle of this crisis is quite heart-warming.

Tea was taco roll with rice and veg. Plenty of stuffing left too so I’ll be having that with pasta and whatever else I can conjure up tomorrow.

But right now I’m going to bed. I’m exhausted yet again and a good sleep will set me up for the rest of the week. What’s the betting that I don’t have it?

Thursday 14th April 2022 – WE’VE HAD ANOTHER …

trawlers yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… nautical afternoon this afternoon while I was out on my patrol around the headland.

So while you lot admire the photos of various water craft out there at sea this afternoon, I’ll tell you all about my pretty miserable day today.

And “miserable” is hardly the word for what I’ve been up to today. It all went horribly wrong.

And it started to go wrong when I awoke this morning – or, rather, when I didn’t awaken. Because when the alarms went off at 07:30 and again at 08:00 I simply turned them off and rolled over.

trawler cabin cruiser speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022What beats me though is that I can do it when I really try, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but today I just couldn’t, for some reason, haul myself out of bed

No matter how much I tried and how much I was telling myself to move, I just lay there. It was actually – would you believe – 12:25 when I finally fell out of bed and that would be a tragedy for a Sunday, never mind a weekday when I’m supposed to be working.

It isn’t as if I’d had a late night either. I was in bed before 23:30 and 8 hours and more is plenty of sleep. It’s not so long ago that I was functioning quite happily on 4 hours sleep every night and I still can when I have to when the trains are messed about and I have to be on the 05:55 to Paris so I need to be up and about at 04:00.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022What I might put it down to is the distance that I travelled during the night. I wasn’t hanging around at all here in bed, despite what you might think.

We had a football match last night. I can’t remember who was playing against who but it wasn’t any football clubs. I dunno – maybe it was a class from night school against another class from night school or something. We were pretty accomplished though. I don’t know how we made up the teams now but I was playing in central defence which is a surprise because it’s about the only position on a football pitch where I can’t play and I still have nightmares about a game where I played in central defence in my early 20s for all of 45 minutes before I was ignominiously – but quite rightly – subbed at half-time but I was having a good game as well. We were doing quite well defending and there was a big crowd watching us, including a little girl who was obviously some connection to me because I was shouting messages to her during the match. On one occasion she asked how long to go. I replied “15 minutes and then we can stop to have a cup of tea”. She shouted back “yes, we can have 4 cups of tea afterwards” in the pauses of the game. We could pause the game and have 4 cups of tea afterwards or something like that.

trawlers waiting at inner harbour gates port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022We were playing another football match where we had a big centre-forward and a striker who played alongside him, something like that, I don’t really know. We’d won 9-0 or was it 7-0. One forward scored 3, I’d scored 2 and this striker guy had scored 2. In the next match we’d played, we played against the league leaders and won 2-0.

There was then a group of us in a house and we wandered off. Suddenly there was a noise and shouting and shots being fired. Those of us downstairs were being pinned down by shots from upstairs on the stairs. There was a woman screaming and we thought that we were being robbed or something at first but something didn’t quite add up. In the end I looked through the railings, almost being shot, and all that I could see were these women so I assumed that these women were trying to rob us. That was exactly the case so we fired back. They fired but we ended up killing 2 and capturing one. It was another one of these violent dreams where I dragged her out of my house by he hair down to the guard and through the fence and I was dragging her off down the street by her hair.

These days I’m having far too many of these violent dreams

trawlers unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And then I’d been to see that Steve Bell rehearse. We’d been having a really good chat while his group was rehearsing. He had dispensed with a couple of players and was down to just a basic four-piece band. He asked if I would go to see them tomorrow or Sunday. I asked where they were and he said that they hadn’t anything lined up on Saturday but they would play anywhere that was reasonable. On Sunday they were playing at a pub in Crewe. It was rather rough, the pub, but it sounded reasonable. He was also saying that he was doing a disco for the college where they had Paul Simon lined up to appear and they were looking for a 80s backing band to support him. My ears immediately pricked up but he was planning to do that himself. In the meantime I thought about this gig, that a certain girl who had once been a girlfriend of mine would be back home. I could contact her to see what she’s doing and hopefully be able to persuade her to come. I must have contacted her and picked her up because we were in the car driving out of Crewe back towards Audlem. We reached Mornflake Oats was. There was a bakery at the back of it. Some woman was reversing an articulated lorry with a loaf of bread on it out of the yard into the road. Thinking that she was going to turn left down the other way, I stopped but she stopped as well so I reversed up a bit more, she reversed a bit more and then dropped this huge loaf of bread off right in the middle of the road. Then she prepared to drive away. I went to ask her what was going on. She refused to answer so this led to an enormous row. Other motorists who had found the road blocked by this huge loaf of bread also joined it. It led to something of a slanging match but this woman didn’t care at all. She was just going to drop the bread there and go off. She was working the early morning shift and that was all she cared about. We all said that we were working night shifts and remembered the days when people were polite but she was stil being quite insistent. In the end, when she drove away and left this loaf of bread here we all cut up this loaf of bread and stole it. We then went back to the route that she had taken with her lorry and started to rig up a system of trip wires across that would stop a lorry and cause her to have an accident, all that kind of thing. We were all quite incensed about this.

And more bread again? What on earth is happening here?

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022My brother contacted me. He was updating his accounts and had something for me so could I go over to see him. I had 15 minutes between finishing work ay 17:00 and my bus at 17:15 so I could call in. He was making all of the arrangements, saying about his savings account that needed splitting between us. He wanted to do it then and there. I explained that I had my bus to catch and I didn’t really have the time. My mother and one of my sisters walked in. My sister said something like “there are people looking for you” about something or other. I said that I didn’t have the time to deal with it at the moment. “Would it be OK if they had a word with me tomorrow maybe or some other time?”.

Later on I’d gone round to my house in Virlet and it was all overgrown. We couldn’t get in through the door. One or two of the neighbours were upset about the state of it. I can’t remember who I was with now but there was a third person there too. She took me to see some more neighbours. They were American soldiers, a man and wife. This 3rd person was telling me stories about them, discussing the conflicts that I was having with the other set of neighbours. She said that the conflict isn’t with me but the house which I didn’t really understand but I let it go. We were doing some stuff outside and I suddenly said to the person with me that we have to go round the front. She wondered why. I went round the front and noticed that all the windows and the doors weren’t my windows and doors. I suddenly realised that I’d actually been messing around and doing all kinds of strange things at the wrong house. It wasn’t my house at all but a 3-bedroomed semi somewhere in the suburbs and not my house stuck out in the wilderness at all.

The sleep that I had had after the alarms went off must have been quite deep because according to the times on the dictaphone I’d even managed to wander off during that sleep. There was a group of us at a seaside holiday resort somewhere. For some unknown reason we had jacked up a car that was parked in a car park. There was one of us underneath it with an angle grinder cutting something out of this car. We had a generator going to power the angle grinder. Of course there were people going past. In the distance I saw what looked like a harbour official complete with peaked cap wandering down the boardwalk. I told whoever it was underneath it that I was going to lower the car down and switch off the generator. I made a gesture to the generator operator to switch it off. He did and we lowered down the car. We had to wait for him to come past. He was taking so much time to do it that right by where all these cars were parked was a café. It was lunchtime and people were bringing their lunch. Someone came and I thought that they were going to get into this car but in fact they sat at a table right next to it and took out all their sandwiches. I thought to myself that this job is going to take a week to do this what should have been a simple 5-minute job whatever it was, with all of these disturbances etc going on. We couldn’t jack up the car and start cutting again while these people were there eating their sandwiches.

But the girl whom I mentioned just now, she was lovely. She was quite a bit younger than me and at one time I’d had a fling with her elder sister. She worked at the library in Nantwich on Saturdays while she was at school and when they had new LPs and cassettes in that she knew I would like, she would smuggled them out when she finished for me to tape and then she would smuggle them back the next Saturday morning.

One Christmas when we had no money (the usual state of affairs in the mid 70s when I was guitaring), we made up some pretty cards out of bits and pieces and then took them round on Christmas Eve to all of the local important bigwigs in Audlem. “Ohh … Merry Christmas. Do come in. Have a sherry, have a mince pie”.

We were both totally smashed by midnight. And it didn’t cost us a penny either.

Her parents hated me with a passion and I do have to say “not without reason” but she was lovely and we would have made a really good couple.

A few years later when I was coach-driving I popped into a bank to draw some cash and guess who was serving behind the counter? We “exchanged pleasantries” but it was all that we had time to do because I was on a 20-minute break.

Some time later I did go back when I had more time but she wasn’t there. Apparently she had only been doing a placement there.

Story of my life, I suppose.

That, believe it or not, took up most of the early afternoon right up until the time that I go out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As usual the first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

As you might expect, with it being such a beautiful day this afternoon, there were crowds down there enjoying themselves.

There wasn’t anyone actually in the water but there were a few people manoeuvring … “PERSONoeuvring” – ed … an inflatable dinghy around down there so I imagine that it won’t be long before someone falls in or they puncture the boat and have to swim for it.

One of my neighbours was also there leaning on the wall looking at the excitement so we exchanged pleasantries too. I’m not the sociable type, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but living where I do, I have to do my best to make an effort.

red powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It wasn’t just on the beach and in the sea that things were quite busy. There were lots of things going on in the air too.

Most of it was too high for me to be able to see exactly but there was no missing this as it passed by overhead.

There are several bizarre machines that fly around out of the airfield up the coast and one of them is this red powered hang glider. He burst out from behind the College as I walked down the path towards the lighthouse.

By the way, I’ve not forgotten my promise to blag a flight in one of these machines. I’m rather pushed for time right now – even more so if I lie stinking in bed until stupid hours of the afternoon.

55-qj light aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There are also several light aircraft whose serial numbers aren’t recorded on any database that I can access that fly out of the airfield too.

One of them was coming the other way, having just taken off, and it passed the powered hang glider as I watched. This one is 55-QJ and we’ve seen this several times in the past.

No point in looking for a flight plan because it doesn’t file one and these planes don’t fly high enough to be picked up on civilian radar so we can’t track them in real time either as we can do with the others.

les epiettes baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Surprisingly, there weren’t too many people on the path this afternoon. They must all have been either out at sea or on the beach or in the air this afternoon so I had the path practically to myself.

Amongst the boats that were out there this afternoon was Les Epiettes, the little boat that belongs to the Ponts et Chaussées, the “Roads and Bridges” department.

The tide isn’t far enough in to allow the harbour gates to be opened so she’s hanging around outside the harbour with all of the others waiting for the tide to come in further

And as you have already seen in a few of the earlier photos, there were plenty of other boats waiting around too. It’s been busy this afternoon out there.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there were plenty of spectators observing the maritime activity too, even if they weren’t up here with me.

Down on the bench by the cabanon vauban we had a young couple soaking up the sun this afternoon.

But I wasn’t hanging around though. I’d just remembered that I’d forgotten to set the coffee on the go before I set out so I need to head for home.

No change in the chantier naval, I noticed as I went past, but Le Roc A La Mauve III now has her signwriting done so it won’t be long before she’s back in the water.

marité chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having seen all of the trawlers either unloading at the fish processing plant or waiting for the harbour gates to open, there’s going to be a dispute or two very shortly.

Chausiaise, the little Ile de Chausey freighter, is tied up where all of the trawlers usually tie up so I imagine that they will all want her to move to her own little spec down at the bottom corner as soon as they come in.

She usually ties up down there at the bottom with ehr friends next to Marité so I’ve no idea what she’s doing there today unless she’s loading up by hand ready to sail on the tide.

Back here I made a coffee and then there was another job that needed my attention.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I said that I would have a potato and mushroom curry for tea tonight, but in fact I’ve ended up with pie, veg and gravy.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That’s because with not being up in time, I didn’t make any bread this morning. Lunch was therefore porridge and toast with what was left of the bread, and when I returned from my walk I made a loaf of bread.

With the oven being on, it’s a shame to waste the heat output so I bunged a few potatoes in as well and then added a slice of pie to warm up. The veg was cooked on the hob and the water was used to make a gravy.

Tea was delicious and by the looks of things, so will the bread. Plenty of sunflower seeds in it and also a Vitamin C tablet seeing as I remembered to buy some the other day when I was at LeClerc.

So having now finished everything I’ll have another play on the guitar and then go to bed. There’s no alarm tomorrow with it being a Bank Holiday and I have remembered to take the hot cross buns out of the freezer ready for tomorrow, but whether I’ll be eating them is something else completely.

Either I’ll be awake at 06:00 and can’t sleep or else it will be another dismal 12:30 start. If only I could find a happy medium I would strike her, but that’s not likely around here, is it?

Friday 25th March 2022 – AS YOU MIGHT …

… expect, today has been nothing like as productive as yesterday was.

But, quite rarely, the problem was nothing to do with a lack of effort on my part – more on the part of someone else who shall be nameless who had me running around on the internet for three hours for what eventually turned out to be no good purpose.

There have been problems with these people in the past over “certain issues” and a little over two years ago I vowed that that time would be the very last … etc etc.

However I relented over the passage of time and subsequently, over the past few months particularly, I’ve been given the run-around over a couple of issues that have caused me to sigh with dismay but today – well, I dunno.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m living on borrowed time and every hour that I waste is an hour that I won’t ever have back again.

On top of that, the doctors have told me to do everything that I possibly can to avoid stressing myself out. It’s only my heart keeping going that’s keeping me going and it’s showing signs of strain, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. But once I stress myself out to such an extent that my heart is affected, I’ve had it.

It’s simply that I can’t afford the stress. There used to be a time when I thrived on stress – never mind your “Management By Objective” – my motto was “Management By Crisis” and it usually worked. But I can’t do it now.

What was even worse was that for the first time since I can’t remember when, I had a good sleep last night. There wasn’t much on the dictaphone at all.

Well, in fact there was, but one entry was the carbon copy of one over two hours earlier, so whether I simply dictated the same dream twice with a lengthy gap in between or whether in fact i dreamt it twice, well, we’ll never know.

We started off last night at the family pile in Davenport Avenue and there was something going on in the garden. it involved a pile of fruit that everyone was eating. I wasn’t down there with them but there was something about I had to fetch more fruit so I went back into the kitchen and found the fruit but it was all black and rotten and sweating and there were mice eating it etc. I had to chase off what I could. In the end the only thing that was any good was a banana, and that wasn’t any good either but I picked it up. One of the cats – or both of the cats – were in there and there was something the matter with him and they were all covered in some kind of black substance like some of the fruit was so I suhered them out of the room where the fruit was. One of them wanted to go upstairs and I wasn’t going to let it go like that so I picked it up. It wasn’t very happy and it was filthy but I took it in my arms and put it outside

And then I dictated it again.

Later on we were in Germany last night at a town fair. We were running it and helping these German people set up their stall. They were selling tools like spanners and dies and taps, etc. Then it seemed that I had forgotten to formally open the event so I had to formally open it with a speech but when I started to translate it into French everyone shouted “shush”. They weren’t interested apparently in hearing it in French so I went to the office and used the PA system to announce it instead, all over the fair. At the end of the night these German people were packing up. I asked them how they had done and they told me that they had sold over 3 million Marks of stuff. I asked if that was Deutsche marks or Reichmarks. We helped them get together but by now it was pretty late so I said that I could run them to the nearest metro station but they suggested that I run them to Blythe Bridge and the main-line railway station there. I thought “yes, I’d do that” but then it turned out that there was a problem with the lines and a lot of the small local stations had closed so for them to return home to Birmingham was going to be extremely difficult.

There was also somewhere where I was heading off somewhere for a job interview in Vienna. I reached the Underground but my ticket wouldn’t read in the machine to let me into the station. I tried it in 3 or 4 different machines and eventually I managed to make it work. Then I couldn’t find the line that I wanted to take me to where this interview was and even worse, I couldn’t remember which was the Metro station where I had to alight to go to this interview. I was being totally disorganised yet again.

Leaving the bed was once more a struggle but I did manage to beat the second alarm.

fruit bread home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After the medication the first task that needed doing was to bake a pile of bread – fruit bread as well as normal bread.

The normal bread tastes as good as it looks, because I had it for lunch but the fruit bread didn’t do so well.

Firstly, I forgot to brush it with milk and dust it with sugar, which doesn’t help matters, and secondly, I forgot it in the oven and it ended up being baked for 10 minutes longer than it should have been.

Still, it’ll be eaten before too long. And it’ll probably taste just as good as it ought to do. Anyway, the odd culinary disaster here and there is par for the course.

Much of the rest of the day, when I was allowed to, I was going through the photos from the Canadian High Arctic. Right now I’m in Quernbiter Fjord among a pod of narwhals. There were some exciting moments on that day.

As usual there were several other more routine interruptions, such as a coffee break, breakfast (with the last of the old fruit bread) and lunch (with the first of the new normal bread).

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland, and the first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park.

Despite the fact that it was another beautiful day today, sun shining, quite warm and all of that, therre weren’t all that many people down there this afternoon. Certainly not like yesterday when we had hordes of people down there.

But whether or not there was anything going on out at sea, that was something else completely because the sea mist that we had a few days ago has closed in and I could see very little this afternoon.

So instead I wandered off down the path towards the headland to see what might be happening

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I arrived at the headland, I thought that I might have been in luck.

A couple of people sitting on the bench (minus dog, or polar bear, or whatever it was) by the cabanon vauban looking as if something exciting was happening gave me a ray of optimism but I reckon that the excitement going on down there had nothing whatever to do with anything out at sea.

And in any case, the visibility in that direction wasn’t any better as it was as I was walking down the path.

And so I called it a day and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On this side of the path I was rather more lucky with maritime activity.

One of the yacht schools was out this afternoon, with a big bunch of pupils sailing around in the bay. It’s always the case – at the start of the year there are dozens of them sailing around (although you can only see a few of them). But by the time we reach the end of the season, the numbers have fallen off dramatically.

And just to reassure you, I haven’t forgotten that I’m supposed to be making enquiries. But right now I’m more preoccupied with my Welsh exam in early summer and all of the (free) revision courses that go with it.

Sailing is for some other time – but I will do it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the photograph just now, you might have caught a little glimpse of Chausiaise moored at the front of the queue at the ferry terminal.

Behind her, in apparently the same place as she was yesterday, is the older of the two Joly France ferries that go out to the Ile de Chausey.

But what had caught my eye was the little boat that was moored behind her. And when I looked closer, there were actually two – a little shell-fishing boat that presumably came in too late to moor on a mooring chain, and one of the little port runabouts is moored alongside.

And the builders’ material is still over there by the crane. That’s not moved either.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, in other news, a couple of things have moved from here by the Fish Processing Plant.

Yesterday we saw L’Omerta and Jade III moored over at the wharf over there but today they have gone.

Jade III is out in the bay fishing, according to her AIS signal, but as for L’Omerta, her AIS signal tells me that she’s moored in the harbour at Les Sables d’Orlonne where she hasn’t moved since April 2019 so we can forget about that.

On the way home, I didn’t even notice if anyone was parked by the Porte St Jean. I just came in for my coffee.

After a good session on the guitar this evening I started another task that I’ve been putting off for quite a while.

For the photos, I keep a monthly index but it always occurred to me that I ought to make one master index that would make searching for things so much easier without trying to remember when or where I was at the time.

So I settled down and made a start. That’s another job that isn’t going to be as easy as it might be either, due to all kinds of complicated reasons.

For tea, I added a small tin of kidney beans and some tomato sauce to the left-over stuffing and had that with some pasta and veg. I’ve had nicer meals than that, I suppose.

But one task that I had to undertake was to dismantle … “disPERSONtle” – ed … the sink waste pipe as some paper that had slipped down there. That’s a messy job and I hate it, for not the least reason being that I have to empty the cupboard underneath and there’s far too much stuff in there as it is.

So now I’ve written up my notes and done another little task that needed attention (more of which anon) I’m going to have a little 10-minute relax and then go to bed. My Welsh weekend starts at 10:30 and I need to nip into town beforehand for a couple of things, like the mushrooms for the pizza.

So what will my Welsh course bring me this weekend? And I hope that I’m in the mood to profit from it.

Sunday 13th March 2022 – GONE!

la bavolette 2 philcathane chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And never called me “Mother”!

A short while ago I mentioned that I expected Marité to put to sea quite soon to find a port with some heavy lifting tackle that could lift her out of the water so that she could be examined for her passenger-carrying licence.

And so here she isn’t. In actual fact, according to my marine radar, she’s in Cherbourg. And that’s a new departure for her. usually she goes around to somewhere around the southern coast of Brittany

Instead, you’ll have to make do with views of La Bavolette II, Philcathane, Chausiaise and Joly France.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that has gone, and which is no laughing matter, is one of the houses in the Rue du Midi.

Yesterday evening it caught fire and it has been totally destroyed. There has also been considerable damage to the adjoining houses too and the situation just there isn’t at all healthy.

The smell of burning is appalling and my hat goes off to the fire crews who were still in attendance this afternoon clearing away the debris. All of the roads in the area are blocked off right now.

There is talk that one of the inhabitants of one of the houses is missing and I don’t know how the situation has developed since I last heard anything.

Last night, I was in bed round about midnight and finally staggered out of bed at 10:45. Not that it was a good night’s sleep either because I was off on a considerable amount of travels during the night.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While you look at a couple more photos of the disaster, I’ll tell you where I went.

I started off picking a team at football for a primary school football match. It turned out to be extremely one-sided with one team winning 6-1. I took some good photos of a couple of the goals and wrote a little piece about it for the local newspaper. The team that had won had a couple of boys in it wo were only 10 as well instead of the usual 11 years old of a primary school football team but even so they were still far too good for the other team that was playing

And then there was a meeting going on at my place discussing photos. It had to take place on the quiet although I don’t know why. I didn’t want anyone to know exactly what was happening about it so everyone was being extremely discreet. In the middle 2 men walked in. They went round to the head of the bed and leant on it. They asked “where’s your car?”. I replied “you’re leaning on it” because it was parked right at the back of the head of the bed. They had a quick look round and there it was. They wanted to know where I’d been, who I’d seen and who I’d met. Of course I could only give them examples of one or two days because I’d been away. I was trying to think who it was that I was supposed to have met and why. I tried to make them give me at least a clue but they wouldn’t at all. I was completely flummoxed. I didn’t want them to know about these photos that we were discussing and I just couldn’t think of what could possibly be of any interest to them with the 3 or 4 people who might have been round at my house over the last week when I’ve been here and not in Leuven.

There were some people wandering around the building, a couple probably in their 50s. They were having a look round and suddenly they stuck their head through my window in my apartment. I walked up to them and said “you don’t look through the window of someone else’s apartment” so they blushed and stammered. They started to ask me a few questions about the apartment. They seemed to be nice people so I invited them in and while I was working at whatever it was that I was doing , just then Tuppence came into the living room and to my surprise she allowed herself to be picked up and stroked. Then Sweep (Tuppence was my cat from years ago and Sweep was one of the kittens that Nerina and I had) came in and the woman did the same to her, picked her up and started to stroke her so I said “it looks as if you are stopping here”. They asked about the empty flat and had another look around mine. I gave them certain information but didn’t mention the price because that’s a personal thing

fire engine rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I started off interviewing Brian Jones for the radio. He turned out to be someone whom I liked very much. I admired his sense of humour, his wit and his outlook on life after leaving the Stones. Eventually I became his driver and we became a very good team together. Gradually he evolved into Stuart Jones … “do you mean Mick Jones?” – ed … of The Clash – I can’t remember who exactly. he was talking about all of the solo concerts that he was doing etc. he was someone who was very simple and straightforward and would play gigs with just a couple of people at small venues – he didn’t need to make a name for himself. He played at a Clash reunion and burst into tears at the end after playing a couple of solo songs of the Clash. Then there was a story about a song that he had heard. Someone sent him a song to hear. After he went home I went round to a museum where I knew someone who was working who knew about this song. Instead I ended up in an aero engine place and I asked about a certain type of aero engine. When I mentioned a German name they said that I couldn’t see it because it was under development, which surprised me so I went back again and asked for this German guy. They couldn’t find him so I went into the engine secretary. They told me that I was out somewhere in the vicinity but I couldn’t get to see him. I tried to find out where so that I could follow him round but I couldn’t manage to do it.

And then I was in a remake of that British comedy film that had McDonald Hobley in it and there was an Indian or an Arab. It was the one with the magic carpet in it and was out in the British Empire in India or Africa with Spike Milligan and Jim Dale and a few other people. It was a surreal film with the idea of people going back to their regiment to spy on the situation and development in the Middle East somewhere. It was all extremely surreal and someone who was excluded from the meeting tried to sneak in but was set on by people with scimitars and all that kind of thing. In the middle of the meeting they all had to stop for tea and because they were British they had to stop for breakfast because it was now breakfast on British hours, all that kind of total surreal comedy type of stuff that took place.

That film started off with the Americans refusing to deal with the British because the British were using substandard Russian scrap steel in their steel fabrication in the Middle East, simply allowing Russian lorries loaded with scrap onto the plant to go straight into the smelter and tip instead of tipping outside the smelter and sorting the stuff so the Americans had no reliance on the metal that the British were producing because of the substandard quality of the scrap. That film was called something like “A Miracle Called Yes” or “A Miracle Called Vest” dated 1964

So in this film there were several of us. There was me, a major, a couple of woman and a young girl had made it so far somewhere in the Straits of Gibraltar where we were holed up in a cave. The young girl seemed to have fallen for the major and this was bound to create problems because the major was drinking and was most unreliable. I had to radio a report so we had to wait there until just before dawn when we’d be picked up and taken away. They sent a boat to pick up the major to take him to the camp where he would be court-martialled. This led to quite a scene between this young girl and the major. I had to order her to stay put while I took him down to get on this boat. I was told that I had to stand by at 04:00 when there would be a radio call to summon us to a meeting by radio. In the meantime we’d have to stay there and make the best of whatever we could until we were sent for. One of the older women who was there was well-aware of the situation and realised what kind of complication all this is going to do and will jeopardise our whole mission just because this major couldn’t keep his hands off the bottle and the women.

And then we were back in the war again last night, defending Nantwich. For some unknown reason the attack was coming from the North. We’d dug in and we had a pile of old anti-tank weapons and were busy shooting up tanks as they came towards us. At one stage ammunition was running low but we managed to find a couple of captured ones and a box of 50 rockets so we were able to equip ourselves and hold out again for another while, brewing up tanks as they came towards us. We thought that there was no reason why we couldn’t hold out for ever here because the infantry was very reluctant to come and engage us while we were busy knocking out all of their tanks

Finally, my mother was looking after the twins again. We had a look and she was receiving almost £160 per week for looking after the 2 of them. It wasn’t easy because there were 2 enforcement notices on them, one on each one. One had killed a man and I don’t know what the enforcement order was for the other. It was extremely difficult and time-consuming to look after them both. Somewhere in this my brother was working in a shop that was having a lot of trouble because someone was off sick. I’d gone in there, wearing 2 pairs of socks so I took off 1 pair. I’d been helping them out and I asked if they needed me to come in tomorrow but they replied that they would be OK. They did ask if I could help them out by paying my brother’s wages for them until they were straight. That would be a good help so I decided that I would go round the next day. I came out of the Co-op which was where the old Ritz Cinema used to be and worked my way down Market Street, out and around the front into Victoria Street where his shop was but I couldn’t remember which door it was that one went into to enter the shop. Later on, I was working on a trailer. He came over to me and said ‘have you ever wondered what the girls do when they are watching us and we aren’t noticing?”. “No” I replied so he started to tell me some kind of story about our youngest sister but he didn’t get very far into it.

After the medication I came back in here and paired up the music for the next radio programme on which I’ll be working. And I do have to say that some of the joins are excellent. And so they should be, given all the practice that I’ve had.

After lunch, I started to transcribe the dictaphone notes and as you can imagine, that took most of the afternoon. Mind you, I did have a pause for half an hour or so while I mixed up some dough for the bread for next week. And it seemed to mix quite nicely too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was the usual pause for my afternoon walk to stretch my legs.

The different perspective of the photo of the beach this afternoon will tell you that instead of going around the headland, I went for a walk around the medieval city walls

There wasn’t very much beach to be on this afternoon. The tide is well in right now but there was still enough beach for someone to take his dogs for a good play around down there.

And there were other people down there too but they were out of shot.

yachts cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And as usual, I was having a good look around out at sea this afternoon too.

No big ships out there right now but instead we had a couple of yachts and a cabin cruiser having some kind of danse macabre out there in the Baie de Granville.

Although it was cloudy and overcast, the view was quite good and although you can’t see it in this shot, the island of Jersey was quite clearly visible, although not clear enough to distinguish the individual buildings.

storm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022“Cloudy and overcast” I said just now.

And there were several storms brewing out at sea. The Ile de Chausey is quite clear this afternoon, but just to the west of it is quite a menacing black storm building up and heading this way. And in actual fact, while I was out a few minutes later, it arrived.

The little cabin cruiser out there in the bay probably received it first before I did, and I bet that the crew knew all about it as well.

And so I cleared off down the path towards the walls.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As we wander off along the walls we come to the place where for the last few months they have been carrying out repairs.

What with my state of health being as it is, I didn’t feel up like going down to the lower level of the steps. Instead I stopped at the top of the steps to take a photo of what they had done so far.

We can see a little better today than we did the last time that we were here and we can see that they have a considerable way to go before they are going to be finished at this end of the wall. And the two huge cracks are going to take some repairing if they are going to hold up.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When we were here a few months ago we noticed that they had actually demolished the wall right down to street level.

They have now built it up to the height that it was before and by the looks of things the job that they have done isn’t too bad although at the moment the pointing is somewhat hit-and-miss.

By the pile of stones here they still have some work to do, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it will look here when they have finally finished it off.

And the five tonnes of water in the containers on the scaffolding have done the job of holding the scaffolding down in all of the storms that we have had.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Here on the outside of the walls, we can see the join where the rebuilt wall meets the repointed wall lower down.

It might not be aesthetically pleasing how they have done it, but it’s a vast improvement on how it was before they started and it might even hold up.

And so I headed off through the arch and down the path underneath the walls to continue on my walk, dodging the piles of cyclists who were disturbing the peace and upsetting all of the pedestrians and who think that the path belongs to them.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down at the end of the path here is a viewpoint that overlooks the beach and the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

Surprisingly there weren’t too many people down there this afternoon. Although it was quite cloudy and threatening rain, it was quite warm again for the time of year and no reason at all why people shouldn’t be going for a stroll.

However, as we saw in an earlier photo, they were all in the Rue des Juifs looking up at the burnt-out house on the walls.

On the way back home I passed the guy who takes his cat for a walk and we had a chat, and then I went to inspect the damage for myself.

bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall yesterday that I said that I would take a photo of the bike shed when I see a bicycle in it.

They also know that pathetic parking is a regular feature of these pages, and here we have two for the price of one – a bicycle parked in the bike shed and a car that has decided that it would like to park there too regardless of the fact that the space is presumably reserved for bicycles.

A little earlier, I mentioned about cyclists thinking that they own the place. Well, car owners can have their moments too, can’t they?

Back here, I gave the bread another kneading and put it in its mould. And then rolled out the lump of dough that i’d taken out of the freezer earlier and had now defrosted.

That went into the pizza tray to proof for a while.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022later on, I put the bread dough into the oven and then assembled my pizza ready to bake it when the bread was finished.

And here are the finished results. The bread is baked to perfection by the looks of things and the pizza was one of the best that I have ever made, even though I forgot to put the olives on, as I discovered later.

After I’d eaten the pizza I tidied up and came back in here to finish my notes. Now that they are finished, I’m going to bed shortly. I have an early start in the morning and a radio programme to make.

The nurse should be coming to inject me too and I have my physiotherapy session in the afternoon too. It doesn’t take long for the cycle of activity to start up again.

Sunday 27th February 2022 – I REALLY DON’T KNOW …

… what’s going on right now because, yet again, I’ve been on the kind of travels that would overrun “Around The World In 80 Days”.

Where this energy comes from, I really don’t know but I wish that I had some of it during the daylight hours when I’m awake.

We started off last night with a woman letting out rooms for prostitution in a medieval town somewhere. Someone came along to rent a room – she had a client with her. This woman had to travel somewhere – it was only about 03:00 something like that so she left everything that might have been incriminating, left it out thinking that she’d be back. She came to the next old town where she fell in with some old man who was talking to her about gravy and sauces. They walked over these cobbles in this cobbled area by these old stables or something. She slipped discreetly away and found herself out in some kind of open ground by the medieval city walls of this town. There was some kind of carnival or fête happening and there were people all dressed up in weird clothes , people who were weird shapes, really tall with big heads. She was trying to find somewhere that while not secret, was a special place where the person who owned it didn’t want it let out that he was there. She didn’t want to be caught with any of his effects on her and of course she wanted to escape from this man with whom she walked into town. She had to find him, and there was a back way through the town and around the walls where she could leave and come back again to where she lived without this guy seeing her. By this time it was me walking through this open ground. I suddenly had this awful feeling that I couldn’t remember this back way if I find this person and picked up whatever it was that he had. How was I going to return home without running into anyone I didn’t want to meet if I couldn’t remember this back way? It was all very worrying.

There was something else going on that made me think about the low-loader that was parked up outside here the other afternoon, that it was in fact some kind of ride for the carnival and funfair that was going to be installed in the Place just here, effectively what we had talked about in that first voyage in that medieval town

Here was something rather interesting. Sulky teenagers are getting earlier and earlier aren’t they? There were a couple of girls aged 6 and 8. They’d had a no-uniform day at school. The next day was to take one of your personal possessions to school to talk about it. The 6 year-old was OK but the 8 year-old didn’t really have any idea what she wanted to take. We were there making all kinds of suggestions to her, even the guitar that I gave her a while ago. She just stood there in the middle of the room shaking her head at every suggestion and not really committing herself to anything at all. It wasn’t as if she didn’t have anything because she and her sister were doing quite well out of having so many relatives and friends.

There was another long, lengthy dream, most of which I have forgotten, but part of it included the father of a girl with whom I was once engaged. He was making himself a pair of shorts. He’d bored a hole up the front and up the back and was busy trying to put this metal bracing in there to hold the front and back together. he was trying, but needed 3 hands to do everything so he wasn’t making a success at all. I asked him “would you like me to hold anything?” which he didn’t. He carried on trying and in the end I took hold of something that he was trying to do, one of these metal things that he had to hit with a hammer. I held it so that he could hit it with a hammer and it went in quite easily after that. He could adjust it as he thought fit. I thought that when he’d dome one in the bottom and one in the top he’d done the bars too tight. It’s true that you can adjust them once you had them on but all of the adjusting is going to be quite a task and not going to be easy so I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t having at least some kind of rudimentary effort at judging the distances while he had them on the bench.

And later I was in a clothes shop. I’d gone to change a jacket, a yellow one for another one. The exchange went off quite well. They also had some black ones in there that were the same as one that I’d bought a while ago. I thought of changing that one for a new one while I was at it. I mentioned it to a server and he said “why not?”. A closer look revealed that they weren’t actually identical and a tramp was wearing one. I thought that maybe if I could take the one off the tramp then I’d be able to swap that. However his was so worn and dirty that they would never believe that it was a very recent acquisition. I made a couple of excuses to the salesman but he insisted that he could do something for me. I thought that this was going to be a pretty strange thing and I wished that I hadn’t said what I’d said before about changing it now. This was going to be embarrassing. In the meantime there were a couple of girls whom I’d noticed. It was so cold outside that that were each wearing 2 anoraks, one which had a hood that went over their headq and then another anorak over the top. I thought that it must be cold if they are dressed like that.

I was also with a girl last night whom I thought light have been my Greek friend from Brussels. We were hanging around together but her boyfriend had decided that he was going to leave her and she was terribly upset. I went to console her. I said “never mind, there’s always me and I’ll look after you”. She replied “yes, I know but not quite in the same way”. I answered “even so, we have rows, don’t we, and we soon make them up and maybe you’ll make it back up with your boyfriend”. She said something like “yes but we used to row about all kinds of things” and mentioned a couple of examples about which we had rowed but it wasn’t really anything important but with her boyfriend this was something much more serious. By this time we were standing underneath a porch at the side of a house. I was trying to console her but it was extremely difficult. Somewhere in all of this was the story of a printer. I’d had a new printer and the question came round about tidying up the office. I was told that I couldn’t have promotion unless I was prepared to work longer hours or show some signs of initiative. Wandering around, I came across a box. I thought that this was the right size for my printer. It would look rather tidier if my printer were in a box. I fetched it and started to prepare the printer but I was distracted by something. When I returned the box had gone. Someone mentioned something that one of my colleagues had taken it to put in his printer. I thought “had he taken my printer in the box etc?”. A discussion came about “well we know what kind of person he is. He’ll put the printer in the box and then can’t work out how to use it”. The guy in charge said “I’ve solved the problem. I’ve sent him down to the second-hand shop”. “What? To get a new box?” To get a new printer?”. “No, to sell his old printer. He won’t really need one and can always borrow someone else’s”.

A group of us were round at a girl’s house last night. There were a few of us talking about this and that. prior to this, we’d been at work and someone had been talking about a trip to the Gobi Desert. When they showed me on the map it turned out that the desert was at the north of Siberia. They were telling us about their trip. I thought that that was very easy to reach but they said that they went via Iceland and across to Norway that way. I asked why didn’t they go to Denmark and take aferry across to Sweden? The chat continued and they left. I ended up with these 2 girls in the office somewhere. I’d already been down for two breakfasts and had nipped out and come back into the office in the hope of catching a 3rd. I said to these girls “I have a cunning plan” and mentioned this trip to the Gobi Desert. The said something like it would cost a lot of money and the don’t really have the time which disappointed me. The subject came round to some kind of concert we were going to. One girl asked “are you buying her ticket for her?”. I replied “no, I’m picking it up for her but she’s paying for it”. The couldn’t understand how this ticked system was working about who was paying for what, who was picking them up but it looked quite straightforward to me. Then it ended up with me, my brother and one of these girls. She had to go into her garage for something and pulled up the garage door. It was full to the brim of old motorbike pieces. My eyes were out on stalks. I asked whose it all was. She replied that it belonged to her uncle but he has to find a new place to put it and it’s not easy. I said “he can put some of it in my garden if he can make me a motorbike out of this”. She replied “he can knock you up a Comet” but I said that that was too small. I’d want something bigger. By this time her sister had come to join us. She was in her nighty.

That’s not the end of it either. There was much more than this but as you are probably eating your evening meal right now, you won’t want to know the gory details.

No alarm this morning, and no ‘phone call either but even so it was about 10:20 when I awoke and I didn’t loiter around very much because for some reason I really was wide-awake. But I made myself a coffee anyway and had a slice of my coffee cake.

First thing that I did after the medication was to pair off the music for the radio. And after I’d finished doing that I had another think. Pete Seeger once said “Songs are Weapons” and I have plenty of them and so I need to use them.

And so I chose another set of songs and paired them off instead. It’ll be a very different radio show this coming weekend.

After lunch I set about making a big pile of dough. I’ve run out of bread and I’m also about to use my last lump of pizza dough and so I mixed a couple of big piles.

One bunch was mixed with sunflower seeds and was put on one side for the loaf, and the second one had oil added and that was put on a different side to be turned into pizza bases at a later date. And I remembered the Vitamin C this time too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And as usual, I broke off to go for my afternoon walk, and that involved, as usual, a walk down tothr wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

And as you can see, there were hordes of people down there this afternoon, sitting around on the rocks waiting for the tide to come in and chase them up the steps to safety in the Rue du Nord.

In fact, I was amazed at the number of people down there this afternoon. I know that it was a nice day today and that there are a lot of people around but I wasn’t expecting to see so many.

cabin cruiser fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday, when we were here on the wall, we looked out to sea and saw a cabin cruiser out there in the distance.

Today, looking out to sea, I saw something else moving around but at this kind of distance I couldn’t see what it was.

Back home I enlarged and enhanced it I could see that it was once more a cabin cruiser. Whether or not it was the same one I couldn’t say because it was much further out to sea than the cabin cruiser was yesterday.

gbr7383r captain corsair yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will also recall that we saw a yacht out at sea just off the Ile de Chausey.

This afternoon there was a yacht much closer to the Pointe du Roc where I was standing to I could take a better photo of her and even identify her.

She’s registered GBR 7383R and so is called Captain Corsair. She’s some kind of racing yacht and took part last summer in the Tour des Ports de la Manche race, one of the largest yacht races in the area, crewed by inter alia some people from the Granville Yacht Club.

f-gifn Piper PA-28-161 Cadet baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another stranger to the area flew past overhead while I was admiring Captain Corsair.

She’s F-GIFN, a Piper PA-28-161 Cadet, and I’ve no idea what she’s doing in the area. She had flown up the coast from the south and then turned in towards the airfield, and then did a sharp U-turn and headed off out to sea over the Ile de Chausey.

She didn’t come in to land at the airfield as far as I can tell, and she doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan or been picked up on radar anywhere ele and so that’s really that, I suppose.

cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When I reached the car park I noticed that there was a cabin cruiser heading out into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Had I waited until I’d reached the other side of the headland it would have gone out of view so I took a photo of it from across the car park.

There were crowds of people out there this afternoon so I was lucky that I didn’t end up with someone’s head in the shot.

And crossing over the car park I was almost squidged by a car that was rushing to take up the last place in the car park. That was pretty crowded too today.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Down on the lower path there were crowds of people wandering around.

There were even some people yet again sitting on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban. There wasn’t all that much wind to disturb them this afternoon so they could sit quite quietly.

There were several motorbikes parked on the carpark and judging by the helmets down there, those people mut have arrived on one.

But I was going to head off on the footpath on the other side of the headland.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Over at the ferry terminal, one of the Joly France boats was moored up there.

She’s the older one of the two, as we can tell because there is no step in her stern.

It’s no surprise that they are quite busy today. There are crowds of people here who have been confounded by the cancellation of the carnival and with it being a nice day today, a run out to sea instead would be quite inviting.

Meanwhile, in the chantier naval, there was no change in occupants today.

carnivalers boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Talking of the carnival, there were some people who were in the carnival spirit.

No big, official parade or procession this year of course but that hasn’t stopped some people from having their own unofficial one. I’m not sure though what this kid is actually supposed to be but hats of to her for making the effort when her friends couldn’t be bothered.

There wasn’t anything of note going on out here so I decided to come on home and transcribe the dictaphone notes. I knew that there would be plenty to do. No coffee though. I’ve already had plenty of that today.

red powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was on my way home, I was overflown once more.

This time it was the red powered hang-glider thing that we see quite often when the weather is fine. She was on her way home after a trip out towards Mont St Michel.

Back here, I attacked the dictaphone notes, and it took an absolute age to finish, with all of the stuff that I’d dictated in my sleep. I really do wonder how on earth I find the time to go to sleep. What surprises me is that I haven’t crashed out at some point during the day.

When the bread had finished rising I put it into the oven to bake.

The pizza dough that I’d made earlier, I divided into 3 and put that in the freezer ready for another time, and then I kneaded and rolled out the dough that had defrosted from the freezer earlier.

vegan pizza home-made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Later on I assembled the pizza and when the bread was baked, I bunged the pizza into the oven to bake.

It wasn’t quite as good as last week’s, but it was delicious just the same. The bread though has done something weird but I’m not sure what. It’ll probably taste just as good as it usually does though.

But now though I’m going to bed. I have to be up at 06:00 in the morning to start my radio programme preparation and there’s a lot to do. And so I need to be in the kind of shape to be able to do it.

Thursday 17th February 2022 – TODAY WAS SOMEWHAT …

… better today than yesterday and at least I manahed to accomplish a couple of things.

Actually it started last night when after I finished writing my notes; I finished off the notes for the radio programme and then in a mad fit of energy I actually dictated them. It can’t be any better than that.

There was something that resembled a reasonable sleep last night. Judging by the times that I dictated the notes of my travels during the night, I must have had a good four hours of uninterrupted sleep.

After that I was off on my travels and I spent a lot of time wandering around. I started off with someone from the Wemsh group, and I wondered when one of them would appear. We’d been doing something or other and a third person whom I know but can’t remember came up to me saying “I saw your note just now back there” but I couldn’t think which note it was at all. I hadn’t written one. We went back into the lounge room and my Welsh friend said something like “right, it’s TV time. There was a programme on there that we usually watch. I had to use the ruler to switch on the TV because it was so high up on the wall. Apparently it was already on – it just needed touching to reactivate it. It tunred out that it was the Wimbledon singles tennis final between Maria Scharapova and someone. He’d written a note or a poem or doggerel about her. The other match that was taking place was the men’s singles final between Boris Johnson and someone else and if that isn’t a nightmare, I don’t know what is. I was surprised about how good Boris Johnson was. he was really making this young guy work his position and for a big man he was a lot quicker on the court than I expected him to be. He had this enormous smash that ended up with him hurtling backwards and hitting the wall at the back. Then he began to pull all kinds of bits and pieces from under his shirt. We realised then that he was wearing some kind of kevlar body armour that had shattered under the impact of him hitting this wall. he was pulling it out bit by bit. When there was a lull in the noise in the stadium I shouted “it’s not a very good advert for kevlar, is it?” and everyone burst into laughter.

Later on I was on my way into work and was at the back end of Tunstall when I saw a motorbike at the side of the road, a Royal Enfield single. I had a good look at it and decided that it was quite nice and carried on to work. Later that day I had to go back out again. 2 girls from the office came with me. One was a girl whom I quite liked. The other one was quite nice but this one was something special. I had my red Cortina and we piled into it. We ended up back in Tunstall again. This bike now had a sign or something on it saying “Series BSA for sale” but it was quite clearly a Royal Enfield. I mentioned that and they said “why don’t you go to see the person and find out?”. I replied “probably because I would be very tempted to buy it”. We found the address so we set off. Soon the houses finished and we were in the open countryside. The second girl said “we’ve been this way before haven’t we?”. The first girl replied “yes. It was that office outing when you went wine-tasting”. I said “yes, and we had a good time at that”. As we drove down this road we were on top of the moors. The wind was really strong, rattling a caravan out in a field. All of a sudden we came to some barbed wire right across the road. We couldn’t go any further, we had to turn round in a farm drive and go back but the bank out of this drive was so steep that the Cortina struggled to make any headway and it was difficult to try to go back out onto the main road again so that we could drive off.

As well as that I was at a school last night with some pupils, actually at a railway station in the underground passage beneath the lines. Someone came down carrying what looked like a solar-powered satellite. They reached the bottom, stopped, had a think, turned round and went back again. I wondered what that was all about. There’s more to it than this but I can’t remember

Finally, someone came out of the library at work bringing something to me. First of all we were having a discussion about some meeting and playing the ‘cello where we had to sit, where we had to stand, how we had to behave. I didn’t understand any of this and I’d never played a ‘cello in my life. I wondered whether I’d misheard or mistranslated. I couldn’t get any of this at all. While I was trying to talk to someone about it, someone came out of the library at work and handed me a kind-of press cutting wrapped in sticky-backed plastic and said that it was very important not to lose it because it means that she can join me. I had a look and it was about Nerina. She’d been awarded either a Doctorate or a Master’s for a dissertation that she had submitted to the University of Québec. Of course I was quite envious because of the Québec connection. I wondered what it was about all of these little privileges she could have so I thought that I’d better go to see the guy who’s in charge of “privileges and immunities” and talk to him aboit it before I posted it on to her wherever she was. At that point I set off to walk home. There were crowds of people on the pavement and a very strong wind and was making very little headway at all. Everone else seemed to be walking okay but it was so strong that it was stopping me going forward. I went over this long railway bridge and had to work out my way home. My way home was going to take me back towards my apartment in Jette but it seemed rather strange because I couldn’t understand anything of what was happening at all with any of this. Nothing seemed to make sense.

When the alarm went off it was something of a struggle to leave the bed but I managed to beat the second alarm all the same.

After the medication, the first job to do was to make the bread as I’d run out.

home made bread fruit bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022In fact I’d run out of all kinds of bread, normal as well as fruit bread. And realising that there isn’t a lot of room in my oven, I couldn’t make fruit buns so it had to be a fruit loaf instead.

The bread dough was one of the best that I’ve made so far, and for some reason that I don’t understand, the fruit loaf went together really nicely. I’ve not had one quite like this at all.

While they were baking I took out the glass and plastic rubbish to the bins outside, such is the exciting life that I live these days that I feel the need to write about it.

The ordinary bread was very delicious, exactly how it ought to be. As for the fruit bread, I’ll tell you about that tomorrow. But what I can tell you that half of the normal bread and half of the fruit bread have gone into the freezer. I can’t seem to get them to last more than three or four days and I suppose that that shows how fresh and natural the ingredients are.

Most of the rest of the day has been spent in some kind of desultory fashion finishing off the radio programme. And it took much longer that it ought to have done for the simple reason that I forgot to dictate some of the text.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As well as lunch, there was also a break for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As usual I went off down to the end of the car park to have a look at what was happening on the beach.

There were actually a few people walking around on the beach this afternoon – one in the middle of the beach and a family over at the foot of the steps.

And they had a nice day for it too. It was warm again for the time of year and it was quite sunny too. Just the right kind of day to go for a look at the sea.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022usually I go and look out to the sea as well but today I was rather distracted.

We’ve seen them working on the medieval city walls over at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux for the last few months and now they seem to have moved around the corner of the wall.

We can see that the protective netting has extended round to there so that would seem to indicate that the workmen have reached as far as there now.

There were several large and deep cracks in the wall just there so they will be quite a while working on that part.

And that reminds me of the time that a nasty crack appeared on the wall of 10 Downing Street, but workmen painted over it before Boris Johnson could read it.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Despite the nice weather there weren’t too many people out and about on the path so I had it pretty much to my self.

Out at sea though, when I finally managed to focus myself on what was going on out there I could see that there were whole fleets of fishing boats out there heading back into the harbour.

The tide was still a fair way out so I don’t imagine that the harbour gates will be open yet so they will be all queueing up outside.

At the end of the headland there was a family peering into the old bunker and another one looking at the monument to the missing sailors, but that was about the lot so I carried on towards the harbour.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Down at the chantier naval there’s been a change of occupancy yet again.

Le Roc A La Mauve III is still down there of course, with her paintwork a long way from being completed, and as for Tiberiade, her sanding down is still going on and her paintwork is a long way from even starting.

And we now have another boat in there too – a yacht without a mast. And the yellow prop on which she is sitting, I haven’t seen that one before.

While I was there I took the opportunity to have a good look at the stern of Tiberiade and sure enough, there are no fishing nets on board her that I can see.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022From the chantier naval I carried on down the path towards the inner harbour.

Yesterday we saw Thora moored at the loading bay and today she is still moored up there. I don’t think that she’s been out and back again in the time available.

While I was writing out these notes I had a look on the shipping radar. Thora doesn’t have an AIS detector so I can’t see where she is, but I did notice that Normandy Trader has now come into port.

That means that tomorrow when we go out for our walk we’ll probably find that the swimming pool that is on the quayside will have gone too.

ch932880 Calean sm735890 lysandre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022A little earlier I mentioned that the tide was quite well out and so the fishing boats will be queueing up to come into port.

The little channel that they dredged out at the side of the fish processing plant a couple of years ago is filling rapidly and some of the smaller boats with a lighter draught are already there.

There are two that I can identify. CH932880 is called Calean and SM735890 is called Lysandre– The SM tells us that she is registered in St Malo.

As for the other two, I can’t tell who they are.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Over the past weekor two we’ve seen Joly France, Belle France and Chausiaise moored together down at the bottom end of the harbour.

Today though we can see that Chausiaise has now moved and she’s tied up where the two Channel Island ferries usually tie up. Those two are still in Cherbourg, presumably being overhauled ready to go back into service.

On the subject of going back, I went back home for my hot coffee, half of which I forgot (I didn’t fall asleep, by the way) and finished off listening to the radio programme that I’d prepared during the day. And after all that, it’s come out quite well.

Tea was something of a disaster. I really fancied some chips seeing as I didn’t have any in Belgium, and as the microwave fryer doesn’t work so well, I tried doing them in the oven. And they took about an hour and a half to do.

What I’ll have to do next time is to see if cooking them for five minutes in the microwave first will make any difference, or else buy some proper oven chips.

So today was a little better, for which I am grateful. If I show the same daily improvement over the next few days then by this time next year I might actually finish something off.

Perhaps a good night’s sleep will do me good.

Thursday 3rd February 2022 – SOMETHING HAPPENED …

… last night that hasn’t happened for weeks and weeks, if not months and months.

and that was that I went to bed at something like a reasonable time, fell asleep quite quickly, and slept all the way through until the alarm went off without awakening once.

The sleep was so deep that I made an executive decision (and for the benefit of new readers, an executive decision is one that, if it’s the wrong decision, the person making it is executed) to switch off the alarms and go back to sleep.

It was just after 10:00 when I finally arose from the dead, hours later than intended, and it remains to be seen whether it’s done me any good. But I don’t care.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Immediately after the medication, before I’d even checked my mails and messages, I set about making the bread.

500 grammes of wholewheat flour, some salt, several handfuls of sunflower seeds, yeast and water (I forgot the Vitamin C tablet), and it all went together perfectly. In fact, the dough felt like the best that I’ve ever made.

It rose quite well too and it was cooked to perfection after 75 minutes. It tasted quite good too, as I was to find out later. I’m quite happy with this;

Half of the loaf has gone into the freezer to keep it fresh for later.

While it was doing its stuff I was checking my mails and messages, and writing a message to someone. It was a very difficult message to write, for all kinds of reasons, but she did ask …

After lunch I worked on the missing radio interview, and that’s all done and dusted now. In fact they are all done because I re-edited a couple of previous ones that needed improving, and tomorrow I’m going to start assembling my programme.

It’s going to be a major “cut and paste” job with plenty of music in between. Hans in Germany wrote a song especially for the occasion, someone else sent me two of his songs, and I’ll be cutting bits out of them to use as appropriate. I’ve no idea how it’ll turn out but I’ll just be glad to have it finished and on its way.

Let’s see if I can do that before I go to Leuven next Wednesday.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As you might expect, there was the usual afternoon break for my walk around the headland.

First stop though has to be the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

Plenty of beach this afternoon, and quite a few people down there for a walk too. There are four people in this photo but altogether I counted at least a dozen or so and there were probably more too.

Not so many up here on the path though. I was pretty much on my own.

boat ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual, I was casting my other eye out to sea at the same time as I was looking down on the beach.

Surprisingly, after yesterday, there weren’t any fishing boats out at sea that I could see, but there was something out just off the Ile de Chausey on the right-hand edge of this rather murky photo.

Out of interest, I took a photo of it and tried to enhance it to see whom it might be, but to no avail. She has a similar kind of silhouette to La Grande Ancre but I don’t think that it’s she.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Out at the end of the headland we were having yet another glorious sunset.

This time of the year is well-known for these, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall because I have said so in the past … “and on many occasions too” – ed.

While the Brittany coast was shrouded in a rainstorm that was stretching all the way down the bay, there was a touch of blue sky here.

And that was all there was of it. The rest of the sky was quite grey and miserable.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon.

No surprise because the whole of the town was out on the beach this afternoon engaged in the peche à pied – “fishing on foot”.

For the benefit of the recent readers of this rubbish, the area of the shore between high and low tide is let out to commercial fishermen who exploit the shellfish that might be found.

However, we have probably the widest tidal range in Europe here and several times per year, the water level drops below the level that is commercially exploited. On those days, subject to a few conditions, the area below the low water line, when it’s exposed by a very low tide, is a free-for-all where anyone at all might harvest whatever they might find.

Including human feet and unexploded munitions too, of which there have been more than just a few.

sparrowhawk pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There might not have been many people wandering around on the path or sitting down on the bench below but I did have some company up here this afternoon.

We haven’t seen our friendly neighbourhood bird of prey for quite a while but here he is this afternoon.

He’s usually to be found on the other side of the headland where there’s a colony of rabbits, but I don’t know what there is that might be of interest to him down here.

In fact he didn’t swoop down to investigate anything in all of the time that I was watching him so it must have been rather slim pickings today. He’ll probably be back on the other side tomorrow if he has no luck here.

le tiberiade chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022A little farther on along the path I noticed some more activity in the chantier naval this afternoon.

Yesterday we saw Coelacanthe in an unusual position at the quayside, moored stern-on, but today all of the excitement centres around her little sister Tiberiade.

She’s made her way into the chantier naval for some kind of attention, to join up with Le Roc A La Mauve III who is sill over out of shot on her blocks near the portable boat lift.

And if you want to tell Coelacanthe and Tiberiade apart when they aren’t side by side (the latter is smaller), then Coelacanthe has wings on the railings at the side of the bridge whereas Tiberiade has open railings.

pollarding crew rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday we saw the pollarding crews out in the town by the Place Pelley working on the trees down there.

By the looks of things this afternoon they are working their way up the Rue des Juifs. They are at one of the viewpoints overlooking the inner harbour where there’s a good view, a comfy bench (which, inexplicably, faces the street and not the port) and more importantly, a handful of trees.

It looks as if it’s their turn to have having the treatment this afternoon. Tomorrow, I suppose, they’ll be finishing off down there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that they did the trees in the Boulevard Vaufleury a few weeks ago.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was here I had a quick look down into the inner harbour to see how things are developing.

There’s another pile of freight that’s appeared on the quayside since we last looked. And that reminds me – we haven’t seen Thora, one of the three little Jersey freighters, in port for a while. I know that the two others were in St Malo this morning but they have gone back to Jersey.

Perhaps we’re going to be having a flying visit sometime soon, or else Chausiaise, currently tied up with her sisters in the inner harbour, might fancy another run out to stretch her legs. It will be interesting indeed if she has decided to pick up the cudgel.

cherry picker place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment, it looks as if we are in for interesting times too.

Right underneath my dining-room window someone has parked a cherry-picker. It looks as if there is going to be some work done around here somewhere at some time in the near future.

They used something like this when they patched up the flashing around the skylights at the front a while back. I wonder if they are going to be starting work on the skylights at the rear, or is it for something else?

Back here I had a coffee and finished off the radio stuff that I’d been doing. Then I had a listen to the dictaphone.

Last night there was a group of us with a couple of American tanks that we’d disguised and painted to be like German small tanks. We were in German uniforms, behind German lines during the German retreat across Europe. We’d been continually held up, which was not part of our plan because it wouldn’t be long before someone recognised what we had. At one point we had to wait around for a while and then we were waved on and ended up in a queue to cross a large river. One of our party wandered off and found a place where he could have some ice-cream. he was sitting there eating it when a large party of Germans turned up. he immediately suspected that these Germans would recognise the tank and arrest everyone who was with it. He decided that he would keep a very low profile with his ice-cream while the events unfolded between these 2 groups of people

And later there was me and my brother (again!) and several other kids. We were playing around at some kind of thing and we ended up, 4 of us, me, my brother and 2 girls, one younger than the other, spending most of our time playing badminton. The other kids weren’t interested at all in it. It was all taking place in some kind of garage. The 4 of us were reasonably clean although we had a few marks on us where we had touched oily things. We gradually split up into 2 camps, the 4 of us badminton players and the others. We wrote a kind-of poem about what we were doing and that was when we discovered the names of these 2 girls (I can’t remember them now). I was sitting down somewhere in this room and I made a gesture to the older of these 2 girls if she wanted to go to play badminton. One of the other kids saw me make this gesture and pulled a face and didn’t seem very keen at all, but it wasn’t anything to do with them. The other girl said “yes, ok” so I picked up my racket, she picked up hers. I asked “where’s your sister?” – I imagined that they were sisters. She replied “she’s gone off to play with your brother somewhere”.

Tea tonight was a handful of those small breaded quorn fillets with veg and potatoes, and that made enough room to put the half of a loaf into the freezer. It’s really cramped in there with no more room to put anything at all.

At the moment I’m resisting the temptation to sort through it all because it’s so well-packed that if I disturb it, I won’t be able to fit everything back in and then I’ll have some real problems. But I’m sure that there are tons of stuff that need eating that have been in there for ages.

Having had my hot chocolate, I’m off to bed, hoping for as good a sleep as I had last night. Not much chance of that, I know, but we can all live in hope.

And then to see what happens tomorrow about this series of radio programmes. Won’t I be glad to see it gone?

Sunday 23rd January 2022 – DAY SIX …

… of my self-imposed confinement to quartes began as you might expect on a Sunday with me not leaving the warmth and comfort of my stinking pit until about 11:00.

Mind you, that wasn’t when I awoke. The painkiller that I took last night to ease the pain in my jaw wore off round about 09:00 and that was about that. I’s a good job that I didn’t go to bed until about … errr … 03:00. Had it been any earlier, it would have worn off earlier.

Anyway 11:00 is a good time to be up on a Sunday even if I did spend a couple of hours huddled up underneath the quilt in the warmth. Nothing ever happens on a Sunday anyway, and even less does when I’m stuck in the house.

After the medication and checking my messages (well, some of them anyway) a friend of mine came on line so we had a little chat for a while, which cheered me up somewhat. And then I sat down to pair off the music for the next radio programme – the one that I’ll do tomorrow and which is programmed to go out on … gulp … 18th November.

As you can see, I like to be well ahead.

After lunch (toast and porridge with lots of coffee) I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. We were on a sailing ship returning home from the Caribbean or somewhere. There had been shortages of crew for the return, for one reason or another. We noticed something strange happening to a cable. It turned out that there was a saboteur on board. He was arrested and he revealed under pressure the name of a friend so those two were cast overboard. I was still of the opinion that there was a 3rd one. One or two people kept on dying here and there as you would expect. There were a couple of women and an elderly nurse. One of the women was exploring around the ship with me one night, being careful not to awaken anyone, and looking at what we could find. We came across something that was even more confusing, that someone had signed their nickname to an order but they weren’t actually known to be about. This led to an enquiry and in the end some young boy admitted that it was he who had signed the order in this nickname, but this left the question of this other person who at the moment was asleep. We started to have all kinds of grave suspicions about him. The old woman who had been awoken by the noise came in and offered to tell us all recipes so we prepared to hear them and write them down. The man appeared but we hadn’t made up our mind what to do about it. It was a very uncomfortable few minutes while he was here and he was bound to notice the uncomfortableness. I had this foreboding that this whole trip was going to end in disaster somewhere. If he didn’t start a mutiny on his own and kill half the officers, then something else would happen to this ship and he would probably be involved in it and it would all end up turning out like Treasure Island.

Later on I’d flown into the USA for some reason and I’d gone to meet a friend. We ended up having loads of trouble meeting up. eventually it took place in a hotel. He came in but there was no room so he had to crush up on a table with some other people. One thing that I noticed was how easily everyone there broke into conversation with whoever it was they were sitting next to whether they had known them before or not. I hardly talked to anyone there. The question of New Year came up. They were talking about how someone had played a concert on one side of the timeline to celebrate New Year and then dashed over the frontier to do the same on another time zone. I said that people between Spain and Portugal can do that. Someone came up with the name of Dundee and asked whereabouts was such-and-such a Firth which I didn’t recognise at all. She said “yes, where Dundee is”. I said “that’s the Tay”. It didn’t strike with her at all but I had to convince her that it was the Tay. She was saying something about how someone did the same thing there but they had quite a drive afterwards to cross the time zone. I was trying to think where you would cross a time zone by car near Dundee. Someone asked what time it was so I had a look at my watch. It was 09:10, without thinking. Someone else said “yes, 09:10”. It suddenly dawned on me that it must be 03:10 where I come from. They said “you must be tired”.

The conversation petered out after that.

By now I was ready to go and prepare my dough for the loaf that I was going to make today. 500 grammes of flour, several handfuls of sunflower seed, a crushed vitamin C tablet, 8 grammes of salt and 2 packets of yeast. And it actually all went together quite nicely.

While I was waiting for it to rise I came back here and rewrote another page of my stay in Leuven, adding in the photos and the details of the nocturnal rambles too. And it’s no surprise that I’m so exhausted with the distances that I’m covering during the night.

Back in the kitchen I switched on the oven to warm up and while it was heating I rolled out the pizza dough that I’d taken out of the freezer at lunchtime and put it in the greased tray.

When that was done I put it on one side to proof and stuck the bread in the oven to bake seeing as the oven was now hot enough. And while all that was going on I made myself a mug of instant hot chocolate and came to sit down for a rest.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022After about an hour or so I went and assembled my pizza and I finished that just as the bread was done. Perfect timing, that was! And so the pizza went into the oven to bake.

Here are the finished products too. Don’t they look nice? And the pizza tasted nice too, even though I had to make do with tinned mushrooms. They aren’t the same as fresh mushrooms, not by a long way.

Now that it’s eaten and all washed up, I can finish my journal entry and go to bed. There’s an early start in the morning for me to attack my radio programme so I need to be at my best.

Not that that’s ever likely to happen these days, of course. But only 2 more days of my house arrest and then on Wednesday I can hit the streets. That will remind me to ring up to cancel the nurse and the physiotherapy. I’m sure that they don’t want whatever it is that I have.

And I hope that the little improvement with my teeth continues too. As the old saying goes, “the teeth in the top are fine but the ones in my bottom are hurting terribly”

Friday 7th January 2022 – NOT VERY MANY …

rainstorm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… photos today, people.

And when you see this photo that I took while I was out on my afternoon walk, you’ll understand why. That’s a rainstorm out there in the Baie de Granville obscuring the Ile de Chausey, and it’s a big one too.

And about two minutes after taking this photograph, I got the lot. Dropped on my head from a great height, as it were.

Had I seen it coming before I went outside I might even have waited for it to pass over, but I didn’t notice it until I was on my way down the path, by which time it was too late, so I carried on regardless and even four or five hours later my trousers are still wet.

It’s a good job that I’d worn my rain jacket.

So what have I been up to today then?

The answer is that I’ve been fairly busy (for once). And that includes during the night too. One of my friends – and I can’t remember who it was now – was teaching a class of Primary School children and the question of cars came up. I’d been dismantling a pile of German cars so I had loads of German numberplates and things. One of the numberplates had a collection of badges on it. There were a lot of things that were very interesting so I arranged to go into her class to give a little talk to the children. Of course Strawberry Moose came with me. When I arrived I was pretty loaded up so people had to open doors etc for me. I finally entered and put everything down. I had to introduce myself and say why I was there. One of the flower pots on the desk fell off onto the floor right in front of us all for no apparent reason so that had to be picked up. Then other things like that started to go wrong. This was taking ages but I’d hardly started. I said that I used to go to this school as a child and Mrs Matthews and Miss Blackburn were my teachers. I’d hardly started but everything was going wrong. We were running out of time. I could see that it would have been far better to have done this in the morning rather than in the afternoon after lunch but it was crazy.

Later on, TOTGA had 2 cats. We were talking on the ‘phone when she gave one such a smack. I asked “what’s up? Poor cat!”. She said “poor chat! How would you like it if one of them had just scratched your brand-new cricket shoes to shreds?” – something like that.

This was something to do with globalisation and my Passat estate. I’d been with a group of people and they’d all decided that they wanted to do different things. This was in the Netherlands or Flanders. I didn’t really want to do anything but they had all decided where they were going. They were all going to different places and I’d be on my own so I tagged on to one of them. There was a howling gale blowing outside that had already blown in one of the windows. We had to run down these 4 flights of stairs to the bottom in the teeth of this gale so I set off. When I reached the bottom there was a German soldier with a rifle holding me up. He asked where I was going and I replied “the hospital” so he showed me where it was and I went on my way. At the hospital we talked about globalisation, how the War had made some big American companies into multinationals. They were talking about cars too. I had a pile of plastic folders on my desk with all information about cars that I’d owned. We went through all of those and came to the one of the Passat. I said that this is the last of the really independent estate cars. After this, everything else was all the same.

There was something else too about TOTGA. She was in goal. There were people throwing all kinds of things at the goal. She was diving around like a goalkeeper keeping them all out. There was something to do with my Passat as well in this but I can’t remember what it was.

So aren’t I the lucky one? A couple of nights of Castor and Zero, and then TOTGA comes along. It’ll be Kate Bush and Jenny Agutter tonight, you just wait and see.

Once I’d transcribed the dictaphone notes (and a second time too because I deleted rather than saved them – it’s a good job that I do my daily back-up) first task was to make the bread.

500 grammes of wholemeal flour, 8 grammes of salt, 80 grammes of sunflower seeds, 2 packs of yeast and 320 grammes of water all kneaded together for about half an hour.

While it was busy proofing, I made the rest of the hummus now that I have a whizzer. And I’ll tell you something for nothing, and that is that I’m not going to be bothered by vampires and werewolves while eating this batch. It’s wicked.

It’s a simple recipe too. For any given quantity of weight, use 50% of chick peas, 25% of tahini (sesame seed paste), some olive oil and chick pea juice to make it up to about 95%, some sea salt, black pepper and garlic. Then whizz it up into a nice puree to the consistency of cement.

Then add your filling to take it up to 100%. One batch had diced olives and the other one diced sun-dried tomatoes. Whizz them in gently, just enough to disperse them throughout the mix but not to atomise them.

Kepp what you need in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer for further use. I have some nice 125ml ice cream tubs that I salvaged from a housemate in Leuven and they are perfect.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, back at the bread. It had risen quite nicely and so it was put in the oven to do its stuff for 70 minutes

And this is how it turned out. Doesn’t it look beautiful?

It tasted beautiful too, especially with the fresh hummus on it. It made a really wonderful lunch and I was very impressed with this. I’m really going to have to start to get back into cooking again.

And if I’m feeling like that, you can tell that I’m feeling much better than I did earlier in the week. I wonder if I can keep this up for a while.

While I’d been waiting for the bread to bake, I’d been doing this little exercise in my journal that I started yesterday. That’s finished now, which is good news.

But what’s surprising is that there were only 79 entries in total that needed to be amended and none at all before 2012. Considering that this played an important part in my life between 1996 and late 2007 and still does to a considerable degree, this is quite astonishing. I was expecting many, many more than this.

After my delicious lunch, I started on this soundfile and by the time that I was ready to knock off for work, I had finished it. Reduced from 27:32 to 11:35.

At least, I thought that I had. But for some unaccountable reason, one of the channels was would up to +36dB and I hadn’t noticed it before I saved it. And so it’s “clipped” horribly and reducing the decibels just turns it into a big mess.

Luckily, it’s the interviewer’s channel so I’m able to take the master recording (I never edit the master recordings, only copies that I make), cut out the questions, re-edit them and paste them back in over the top where the clipping has taken place.

It’s not easy because there is some overlap, but it’s better than I expected. I’ll finish that tomorrow anyway.

When I started using Audacity I knew next to nothing about it. But as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I never make any mistakes. I just learn a lot of lessons very quickly.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Like taking a raincoat with me when I go out for my afternoon walk.

Actually, I might have gathered that something was up by the fact that the place was totally deserted. There wasn’t a soul about. Certainly not down on the beach this afternoon. I had it all to myself.

There wasn’t anything at all going on out at sea – at least, as far as I could see. And that wasn’t very far with that rainstorm just offshore. Quite a change from the last couple of days when we’ve had some of the best views that I can remember.

skip place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There was something going on on the car park though.

Over the last couple of days we’ve seen the lorry and mini-digger coming back and to to the area. And now a skip has appeared with a load of soil in it. Something must be happening somewhere and I suppose that I ought to get out and about and look to see what it is.

But not today. Not in this weather anyway. I girded up my loins, wrapped my raincoat tightly aroud me, stuffed the NIKON D500 up underneath my jumper and waded off through the puddles and down the path.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And it wasn’t until I reached the chantier naval that I stopped either.

But that was because despite the weather, there was some change down there today. Trafalgar, the trawler that we saw in there yesterday, has now disappeared. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

There’s just Gerlean in there today, and she’s heavily wrapped up against the weather, just as I wish that I was.

Not wishing to hang about any longer, I headed back for home and my nice hot coffee. And to finish (and then re-start) the editing of the sound-file. And I’m glad that I’ve done it. Quite a change from a couple of days ago.

Tea was some of these burgers in breadcrumbs that I like, with veg and baked potato. They are quite delicious and I enjoyed that meal very much.

So all in all, a busy day today. And about time too. Tomorrow, I’m shopping. Not for very much because I’m off on my travels on Wednesday morning so I’m only planning on going to Lidl. And I’ll be glad to have my lie-in on Sunday. I’m really looking forward to that.

Friday 31st December 2021 – CALIBURN IS BACK …

… at long last. And I’m lying down in a darkened room with a damp towel over my head recovering from the shock of seeing the bill. It was not pleasant.

And having broken the whizzer yesterday, my tale of woe and misfortune continued this morning when my little dictaphone – my constant travelling and bedside companion for the last seven or so years, went tits-up, much to my great dismay.

And having gone to LeClerc for some lemon syrup to make my hot lemon drinks and having walked away from the shop with just about everything except the lemon syrup, it’s really not my day today.

At least there was some stuff on the dictaphone from sometime during the night, as I discovered some time this morning. I’d been in hospital having all these tests done to me. Finally they took me to some kind of operating theatre or something where there were all these grotesque people waiting for some kind of surgery or lying on a bed. I was just so uncomfortable there. I couldn’t look at anything, just focus on the wall, all this kind of thing, not look around anywhere. At one stage I felt my oxygen cable being tugged so I had to walk to follow it so they could disconnect me from the other peron who was attached to the end. Then they said something like “right, Mr Hall, you can go”. But I didn’t know what they were doing or trying on me, or anything. They hadn’t even started. There was a bowl of something or other and I was looking for some medication in it, some kind of bean, trying to sort my way through. The taxi driver who transported me turned up. He asked “how much did we charge you for the Isle of Man the other day?”. I replied “I don’t know. Didn’t they pay you?” “No” he replied. “All the trips for this week haven’t been paid yet. You really ought to get yourself organised”. I replied “how the bl** he** can I get organised when I’m in here having all these tests? I have no vehicle and I don’t know what the he** I’m doing or what they are doing to me?”. I was having a really good moan and complain about this because I was totally fed up

Later on we were in Italy running the taxis and I had to go to the bank on my way to work to take the money. There was a bike handy, a really expensive type of posh bike so I got on it and cycled off towards the bank. People were noticing it because of the type that it was. I suddenly realised that it didn’t have any brakes. I had to drag my foot along the floor to slow it down or stop it. I reached the bank and had to leave the bike outside. I thought “I hope that i’m not going to be long”. I went into the bank just as they opened and put the cheques on the counter. She pointed out that one cheque hadn’t been signed and the amount hadn’t been entered in the box so I went to do it. Then I noticed that it was an odd amount of money so I thought that I would have to make this up out of my own pocket and this is going to take a while. The bike was outside and I wondered how long would the bike stay outside while I’m in here doing this before someone runs off with it.

Leaving the bed at 07:30 – well, the least said the better about that. I’m having a bad time right now, yet again.

Nevertheless, I managed to make my bread this morning – another delicious loaf of bread that I forgot to photograph before I got stuck into it at lunchtime.

After lunch I telephoned the garage. The repairs were complete but now they can’t find the log-book which they need for the controle technique. He turned out his garage while I turned out the apartment and neither of us could find it. “Ring m back in half an hour” he said.

Half an hour later I rang him back. He had found it, right where it ought to be, in the glove compartment of Caliburn. “Come round in half an hour”.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On leaving the building, I went down to the end of the car park to have a look down onto the beach.

The tide is well in right now so there isn’t a lot of beach at the moment, but a dozen or so people have managed to find enough so that they can have a little fun before the beach is swamped.

And not like the other group of people yesterday. These are actually at the foot of the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord so there isn’t all that much likelihood of them being cut off by the tide, which is just as well. A helicopter rescue isn’t cheap.

yacht baie de granville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021While I was looking down onto the beach my eye was roving around out at sea too, as it usually does.

Today there was actually some maritime activity out there in the bay. A little yacht was buzzing around out there, not doing very much, it has to be said, but there it was.

Having taken a photo I leapt into the little Opel van and set off. Half an hour later the little Opel van and I were back there at the garage and having to wait yet another half an hour before they attended to me, Caliburn and I could finally leave.

And wasn’t my pocket lighter?

At Leclerc I did some last-minute shopping, including another cheap whizzer set. They didn’t have any decent ones and the delivery time on Amazon was unbelievable. No next-day delivery with the Christmas and New Year rush on. And as I said, I forgot my lemon syrup.

But they had some breaded quornburgers in the “end of range” stuff and they are now in my freezer. I do like those, with baked potatoes and steamed veg tossed in vegan butter.

Throughout the day when I’ve not been doing anything else I’ve been editing that sound file that I started the other day. That’s now done and ready for a second run-through.

There are just two more to do and I’ll start those tomorrow. I was going to make a start on them when I returned but for some unknown reason I seem to have fallen into the pit again and I can’t climb out.

Nevertheless, I managed to make tea – taco rolls with the rest of the stuffing left over from yesterday, and then I came back in here to listen to MY NEW YEAR’S EVE ROCK CONCERT.

And if you missed it, you can hear it again tomorrow at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK Time and 15:00 Toronto time.

Here’s hoping that I’m in a better humour tomorrow than I am right now.

But before I go, may I wish you all a very Happy New Year, with everything that you wished for other people in 2021. It was a dreadful year last year and it shows no sign of improvement. But let’s all hope that we’ll see many other much happier years in the days to come and that we can all go off and do things.

Thank you all again for your support over the last year. I love you all.

Wednesday 22nd December 2021 – ALL OF THE …

repointed wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… scaffolding has gone from the Rampe du Monte à Regret, I noticed today.

It looks as if all of the repointing of the wall has now finished, they’ve dismantled the scaffolding, picked up their tools and, as Longfellow once wrote, “shall fold their tents, like the Arabs and as silently steal away.”.

As for the quality of the work, they’ve mixed the mortar too dry by the looks of things. It won’t percolate into the stone and so will eventually solidify and drop out and they’ll have to do it all over again.

christmas market place pleville le pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021You are probably thinking that that means that I can now take the short cut and go down the steps to the street.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The Christmas market is in full swing down there and the whole area is cordoned off. There’s just one entrance and that’s at street level, where there’s a security guard checking Covid passports.

As I type out these notes I’m actually supposed to be down there. A group has been in touch with me about doing a live show for my radio programme and they are playing there tonight.

But if anyone thinks that I’m standing outside in a bitter wind for 2 hours with a temperature of minus 1°C they are mistaken.

And it was freezing this morning too. Winter has come with quite a bang just now. I was freezing when I awoke – at 06:45, about 45 minutes before the alarm went off.

At least I managed to leap out of bed with alacrity (and you all thought that I slept on my own) and dress rather hurriedly before I froze to death.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021After the medication I came in here to check my mails and messages, and then went back into Ice Station Zebra to make the bread for this coming week now that I’ve finished off the bread that I’d brought back from Leuven.

Another 500 grammes of flour, a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds and this time I remembered the Vitamin C tablet too. It all went together really well and kneaded up quite nicely.

It went into the oven and 75 minutes later I had a beautiful, soft loaf of bread with a nice even texture. One of the best that I’ve made so far. My bread-making technique is improving, so it seems.

While I was at it, I cleaned, diced and blanched the 2kg of carrots that I’d bought on Monday. They are waiting for some room to be made in the freezer so I can file them away for future use.

One thing that I needed to do was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. In fact I’d been invited out again for a meal with some people whom I knew. I went off and turned up at this restaurant. I didn’t know these people all that well. There were 2 of them, a guy and a woman who weren’t a couple. We were having a chat and at that moment another girl came down to join us. She was a young girl and dressed so simply but really well, really beautifully that it took my breath away. I made a few complimentary remarks and she blushed I suppose, and sat down. They asked about when the others would turn up. I had heard that someone I used to know and his wife and daughter (who was actually Zero) were coming but they had to go to the dentist’s first so they may not make it depending on what had happened at the dentists, which was going to be something of a shame. They were asking “should be order?”. I replied “no. We’ll have to wait until everyone else turns up and we’ll have to order together, I suppose. That seems to be the normal way of doing things”. However, I did have another reason for not wanting to start until everyone (well, at least one person) was present.

At some point during the night I was walking around the fish docks at some fishing port in the UK. I was doing something at one end of the port where there were a few fishing boats at anchor but I had to walk round the other side of the port where everyone was and that was where you could really smell the fish. Then I had to walk all the way back again but I can’t remember why and I can’t remember what was happening about it all.

As I was off to the physiotherapist this afternoon I needed a shower so I had to wait until the oven had finished backing as I needed the heater in the bathroom. And as a result of everything I ended up having a very late lunch.

freezing fog port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to brave the freezing conditions and head up to the physiotherapist.

And you can see how cold it is by looking out beyond the outer harbour into the bay. You can see a layer of freezing fog that’s obscuring the view of the Pointe de Carolles.

It was the first thing that I noticed when I walked round the corner to the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

And although it’s only 14:45 the sun is pretty low in the sky as well, as you can tell. It’s not the kind of weather to be out unless you have to.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021But talking of being out, the port was quite empty of fishing vessels.

They all must be out at sea this afternoon, except for Jade III that is doing something exciting, having reversed up to the wharf by the fish processing plant. Unfortunately, I can’t see what she’s up to.

There wasn’t much else of any excitement going on around the town so I had a slow, weary trudge up to the physiotherapist. For some unknown reason I wasn’t feeling myself this afternoon which is just as well because it’s a disgusting habit.

At the physiotherapist she put me on the cross trainer for five minutes and then we did some kinetic exercises, finishing off with 5 minutes on the tilting platform. The exercises that I had to do on there were agonising but I suppose that if it hurts men it’s doing me some good – except that it’s hurting me in places where I have no problems and not where I have the issues.

It was a very weary and painful me who staggered into the street when my half-hour was up. And also a very destitute one because it’s the year-end and I had to pay her.

Outdoor Market Place General De Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On the way back I noticed that we had a little mini-outdoor market going on in the Place General de Gaulle.

It usually takes place on Saturday of course and that’s Christmas Day so it looks to me as if they have brought it (or, at least, part of it because there aren’t all that many stalls there) forward to today.

There weren’t all that many people there this afternoon which is really no surprise in this weather, and I felt really sorry for the stallholders who are obliged to stand outside without any real form of shelter from the cold and the wind.

Spirit Of Conrad Aztec Lady Anakena charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021My weary trudge continued on up the hill towards home. However I stopped to have a look at the charter boats in the port.

On the left is of course our old friend Spirit of Conrad in which we sailed down the Brittany coast in the summer of 2019. To her right is Aztec Lady who has now been liberated from her stay in the chantier naval.

The large blue boat to her right is Anakena, the big boat that is planning to sail up the Norwegian coast next summer if conditions allow, and alongside her under a tarpaulin is CHarles Marie. She doesn’t look as if she’s going anywhere any time soon.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021It goes without saying that before I can go in, I have to go for a look at the beach.

And to my surprise there was someone taking a long, solitary walk out towards the water’s edge. all alone down there without another soul around him (or her). That was a lonely stroll.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had work to do. Someone at the University of Newfoundland is writing a thesis on Paradise River, a settlement of sorts on the Labrador Coast. I’ve visited it on several occasions and have dozens of photographs of the area.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … he’s written to me and asked me if he may use some of my photos to illustrate his thesis. So we agreed a trade – I’ll send him some photographs and he’ll send me a copy of his thesis to add to my pile of Labrador literature.

Consequently I had to sort back through my photos for September 2014 and September 2017 to dig out some good ones for him.

Tea was taco rolls with the leftover stuffing, lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans. And now, as it’s cold and I’m cold, I’m off to warm myself up in bed.

Tomorrow I have to tidy up in my bedroom as I have someone coming round on Friday to record something or other for the radio so the place needs to look as if it’s habitable.

Sunday 5th December 2021 – AFTER THIS MORNING’S …

laurent comité de jumelage cerences bere regis Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… exertions, I was glad actually to come back home and sit down.

And for a change, when the alarm went off this morning at 09:30 (and isn’t that early for a Sunday morning?) I was already up and about. A quick tidy-up and a play with my equipment to make sure that it was all in working order and I was ready to go.

And while I was at it, I worked out (quite by accident too) how to switch the recording from 2-track stereo to two mono tracks. And I’m a lot happier now I know how to do that.

Laurent turned up on time and we set off for Cérences, stopping to put fuel in Laurent’s car. It was my turn to pay because, after all, he’s been driving me around on these interviews for quite a few times now.

laurent comité de jumelage cerences bere regis Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The interview was rather a disappointment.

My understanding was that we were to interview the President of this twinning committee and so it would be somewhere quiet and secluded. However it turned out that the whole committee was there and the interview took place in the middle of a Christmas Fair.

There was nowhere to bolt the pivoting mike stand so the committee ended up passing “their” microphone from hand to hand, with all of the pops and crackles that that entailed.

But at least they were content to see us, which is more than most people have been with this radio project on which we are working and I might be able to salvage something out of it.

But all of this is a learning curve for me and it’s only by making mistakes and learning how to rectify them that I’m going to make progress.

On the way home Laurent took me on a little drive to show me a few places of his childhood and then back here I made lunch although I needn’t have done so as I hadn’t realised that the clock on his car wasn’t changed at the end of October and it was earlier than I thought.

After lunch I prepared the dough for my loaf of bread for this week, and also a fruit loaf for breakfast. Yes, a fruit loaf, not fruit buns, and that’s because my oven is too small to make fruit buns at the same time that I’m baking bread. I wish that I had a larger oven.

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

As usual I wandered over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down there this afternoon. And to my surprise there was actually someone down on the beach.

That was a surprise because the weather wasn’t nice at all. It had been quite miserable this morning, brightening up a little while we were on our way home but it had soon clouded over again.

buoy on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And it wasn’t just people who were down on the beach either.

It looks as if Storm Arwen that paid us a visit last weekend has left us a little present. Down there on the beach below is what looks like a marker buoy off a mooring chain

Somewhere around here in some local port will be someone now fishing in vain with his boathook for the mooring chains.

These are sunk in most harbours and regular readers of this rubbish will have seen them in Granville. They run along the bottom of the port, indicated with the red buoys. You fish for the chain with your boat hook, tie your boat to it and drop the chain back into the water.

rainstorm ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021One look at the weather told me that I wasn’t going to stay out here long.

There was a rainstorm cascading down out there in the bay somewhere around the Ile de Chausey. Although it wasn’t as big or heavy a rainstorm that we have had just recently, it would still be wet and the wind was blowing it in my direction.

“This isn’t the time to be hanging around” I told myself, and headed off down the path towards the lighthouse, in the hope that I could complete the circuit and be back home with my mug of hot coffee before it arrived.

brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There were only a couple of people out there this afternoon and that was a shame because once again we were having some interesting light effects.

The cloud cover only seemed to extend as far as the other side of the baie de Mont St Michel and the brittany coast down towards Cap Fréhel was basking in gorgeous sunshine by the looks of things.

Had I not been in a rush to return home I would have gone to stand on my bunker and taken a photo all the way down the coast because the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel was visible with the naked eye yet again this afternoon.

brittany coast cancale Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021But instead, I made do with a photo of the Brittany coast over at Cancale.

The weird clouds and lighting effects were silhouetting the skyline of the town on top of the cliffs over there and it was quite impressive.

It’s a shame though that there was only me out there now enjoying it. Everyone else had gone and there was no-one out there sitting on the bench down below.

And with no boats or anything out at sea this afternoon I carried on down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

tractor trailer fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There was nothing whatever going on in the port this afternoon.

There weren’t any boats moored up at the ferry terminal this afternoon and nothing – not even L’Omerta – moored at the fish processing plant.

The tractor and trailer that handle the loads brought in by some of the smaller boats were down there this afternoon so presumably there are some boats out at sea and which will be coming home on the evening tide.

And with nothing else worthy of note I cleared off home and my coffee before the rain arrived.

Later on I bunged my bread into the oven and let it do its work.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And while it was working I was busy rolling out the dough for the pizza and putting it in the tray to rise.

When it was ready I assembled the pizza and as soon as the bread finished I took it out and the pizza went in. And when it came out, it was delicious too. I think that I have the hang of making pizza now.

And so I should after all of the times that I’ve been baking them. But if I were to have a better oven they would be better still. But that isn’t likely to happen any time soon, if at all.

Eventually I managed to find the time to transcribe the dictaphone notes. At the beginning it was to do with the radio station. We were having to organise some songs but I wasn’t sure about what kind of songs and how many to organise so I was going through other people’s entries on the Social Media page looking for examples that had been suggested by other people at other times. There was one in particular but the guy who had sung it felt himself and made him feel silly but I can’t remember very much more about this.

Later on I was at a holiday camp last night and had Zero with me. There had been a lot going on so I decided in the morning that I’d go back to bed and have a couple of hours sleep. She went off to play somewhere. A woman came along just as I was waking up, sitting there talking to me, telling me about Zero, everything like that. I went to dress but I couldn’t find any of my clothes. There were some clothes lying around belonging to someone else so I put them on. I made a joke that I’d put on my underpants inside-out. Also in an unconnected incident I’d broken my pencil so the joke was going around that I’d put on my underpants inside-out and broken my pencil as a consequence. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember, and a lot more that I can but as you are eating your lunch you don’t want to be reading about it.

Finally I was staying at a strange boarding house with a girl who was a cross between a girl I know in Swindon and another one I know in Scotland. We had separate rooms of course. We were up until fairly late that night then went to bed and arranged to meet next morning. When I awoke it was something like 09:25. I thought “breakfast will be over in a minute so even though I’d switched on the computer and switched on everything and went outside to use the bathroom. I found that thr bathroom was actually a glass cubicle stuck on the end of the house. Everyone could see what you were doing. There were lace curtains at the side but they kept on coming undone. When you finished what you were doing there was no toilet paper, just a pile of old clothes and you had to tear off a bit. I started to do that but there was another couple inside there, from Clacton in Essex. They were talking away. I thought “this is the strangest situation that I’ve ever been in. I could see the girl who was with me. She was down on the lawn sunbathing, talking to it looked as if it was the woman who owned the place. I thought “I’d better get a move on otherwise breakfast will have finished”. I couldn’t seem to tear off a suitable piece of this old clothing to use and ended up with miles of it. Trying to do it in this glass cubicle where these curtains kept coming undone and everyone could see inside was not really very comfortable. In the end I stuffed a large piece of the cloth into my trouser pocket, dressed and went outside with the aim that I can go and arrange myself properly somewhere more quiet and more convenient than this.

And now that everything is done and finished, I’m off to bed. It’s an early start in the morning as I have to radio programmes to prepare. But at least I’ve done a lot of the work already so it shouldn’t take too long.

And isn’t that the Kiss of Death?