Tag Archives: home made hummus

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 4th June 2021 – CAN YOU IMAGINE …

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

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

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

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

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

And the answer was “nowhere”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I can’t wait.

Wednesday 21st October 2020 – THE ONE THING …

… that I can say about Social Media is that it’s amazing, the things that come crawling out of there.

When I was an adolescent I went to school in Nantwich and had a few friends and contacts there, but lost touch with most people over the years.

The town has its own page on Social Media and I am a member. Occasionally I see the odd name here and there that I remember, so I have a little reminisce. But the other day, seeing the name of a company reminded me of someone I once knew with the same family name. So I asked the question on there – “is anyone in touch with … ?”.

The power of Social media is stunning because within half an hour I had three positive responses and three hours later I was chatting to the person concerned. And as a result, anyone who listens to one of my “live concerts” ON THE RADIO in a couple of months’ time will be treated to the rarest of rare.

There was a rock group from Nantwich that soared to fame for five minutes in the early 70s and then disappeared just as dramatically – totally forgotten by everyone. But I can still remember the names of the three musicians. And I work on the theory that “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”.

And if you don’t make an effort you don’t get either so today I certainly did. I beat the third alarm by a good 30 seconds, I reckon, and that’s good enough for me these days.

So despite only having 5.5 hours sleep last night (I was reformatting the laptop after I’d finished my notes, a task that is still continuing by the way) I still managed to go walkabout.

I was playing football last night, would you believe? I’d gone to Gresty Road to see Crewe Alex play in the FA Cup but frankly it was a boring 0-0 spectacle and wasn’t really exciting me at all. On the next pitch a local Sunday afternoon side with a couple of players whom I knew, really only a scratch side, were playing against Hulll City on the Cup. They were hanging on for a 0-0 draw but of course as you might expect, it was all Hull City and very much a last-ditch defence kind of thing. So I went over to watch them. For some unknown reason I ended up as a substitute for them with about 30 minutes to go. I didn’t really do much but the team which by now had become Man City were attacking and attacking and attacking. On one occasion they worked their way down the left wing, cut back inside and a cross went to one of their players who hit this enormous volley straight at the goal. Of course with me being a goalkeeper my immediate reaction was to stick my hands up and divert it over the crossbar. An obvious penalty and an obvious sending off so I didn’t even wait for the referee to pull his card out. I just walked off the field. The referee took out his card and went to show it to another player. The other player was saying that it was him but of course I wasn’t any good so I might as well leave the field anyway. I said “no, no, it’s me, it’s me”. The referee, seeing that I’d already left the field and was walking up the field just showed me the red card. he didn’t even ask me for my name which was just as well because I didn’t even know which name I was playing under. I went back to Gresty Road and by now there was a torrential downpour, half the crowd had gone and there was no football. People were sitting around in the stands so I asked this woman and her little daughter who were sitting next to me “what’s happening now with the football?” She replied “I don’t know” but pointed to another guy and said “he’ll know. Why don’t you ask him?”. So I went over to ask him.

Later on, I was at a concert. It was something like The Grateful Dead taking place in Crewe market with all of the market stalls. It wasn’t particularly enjoyable because quite simply their music wasn’t loud enough, very very quiet and I was listening. I went over to the group’s mixing desk which was on a market stall in Crewe to tell them to turn it up. They basically shrugged it off and carried on. A little later they announced that tickets would be on sale for another concert, for $5:00 each with a reduction of $0:50 for everyone who had a Grateful Dead club membership, which cost $1:00. I thought “well I wouldn’t mind seeing them again. The sound might be better so I queued up. when it was my turn to get my tickets I said to the woman “I’m going to make myself very unpopular now with you”. She said “what note do you have? A $20?”. I replied “no, $100”. She sighed but I got the money out and handed it over. It was dated February this year. Anyway she took it and started to count out the money from the money that she had just been taking in from everyone else.

One of these days I’m going to review my journeys and review the amount of time I’ve lived in various places, and compare notes. I only lived in Crewe 1970-72, 1975, 1981-1992 yet it features the most by a country mile in my night-time travels whereas Brussels, where I lived the longest, rarely features at all. How bizarre is that?

After I’d been working for a good hour or so I suddenly realised that I had things to do. Thank heavens for my journal in which I write down what I need to do.

First thing was to peel and dice very finely a lump of ginger and put it into some cold water and bring it to the boil very gently.

Next was to prepare the dough for the bread. 500 grammes of cereal flour and rwo big handfuls of sunflower seeds with a couple of dessertspoons of salt. Some sugar was dissolved in 250 grammes of lukewarm water and then a sachet of yeast was added and shaken well in, and left until a nice foamy froth had formed.

Then it was all kneaded together and then left in the mixing bowl under a damp teatowel so that it might rise.

four lemons were next peeled and I took the pith off as well. This was all whizzed around in the whizzer so that the juice might separate. This was put in a cold sterilised bottle, and the rest was whizzed up further into a pulp and then added to the ginger in its water.

Having done the washing up, I then prepared the hummus
For any given quantity of hummus you need

  • 50% of that quantity in chick peas
  • 25% of that quantity in sesame seed paste
  • olive oil (this amount can vary depending on how you like the texture of your hummus)
  • chick pea juice (ditto)
  • Lots of garlic
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • sea salt

You should end up with something like 95% of your given quantity.
All of this should be then put into the whizzer and whizzed around and around into a nice smooth purée. It takes quite a while.

And now you need your filling. I made two loads

  • one with olives
  • one with dried tomatoes

but really you can use what you like.

Dice up your filling into tiny bits and then add it to your hummus. Then GENTLY whizz it in. Too much will purée it and that’s not what you want. Not enough and it won’t be mixed in thoroughly.

And there’s your hummus.

By now the bread had risen sufficiently so I gave it its second kneading, shaped it, and put it in the mould that I use these says – a silicon cake mould. better than nothing. And then the damp teatowel put over the top.

The lemon and ginger was ready after having simmered gently for an hour or so. I took that off the heat, added two tablespoons of honey and then whizzed it around and around in the whizzer until it resemebled a nice syrup. That was then added to the lemon juice in the bottle, mixed well up, sealed and put in the fridge.

Home Made Bread Home Made Lemon and Ginger Cordial Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now, after about half an hour or so, the bread was ready. So that went in a hot oven for 75 minutes. I fed the sourdough and then came in to edit a few photos and to hunt down some places where I’d taken them. And that wasn’t easy either.

And here’s one I made earlier. Yes, we have a loaf of bread here all nicely cooked and fresh out of the oven. Lemon and Ginger Cordial too, but not the hummus. Most of that is in the freezer and there’s only a small amount in the fridge right now.

And I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that the fresh bread from the oven is delicious and my hummus is thoroughly wicked. I shall enjoy eating all of this and no mistake.

Home Made Pear Kefir Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter lunch there was the kefir to see to.

There were two rather over-ripe pears so they were whizzed into oblivion. The resultant purée was pressed through a sieve to extract the juice into a big measuring jug, and the kefir that was brewing was filtered through my filter stack into the big jug. It was all then whizzed around and bottled.

This is something that I’ve never tried before so I’ve no idea how it works. I’ve seen a recipe for apple kefir but not for pear kefir, so I’m hoping that it’s going to work out fine.

Cherry Picker salles Communales Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been messing about I’d noticed some activity in the car park at the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs.

There’s a cherry-picker in there and I wondered what it was doing, so when I went out for my afternoon walk I went to have a peek. And it looks as if they are going some pointing work to the building that is used as the Communal Rooms, where you can hire a room for an exhibition or a wedding reception or something like that.

It’s high time that they did something about it. The upper floors are empty and abandoned and need some repair work so that they can be occupied. I hope that this will be the start of the renovation.

Roofing Rue St Jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw them working on the roof of one of the houses in the Rue St Jean.

They seem to have made some very good progress since we last saw them. It looks as if all of the laths are now on the roof and they have started to trim off the overhang.

But I remain totally unconvinced by the flying scaffolding that they are using on the left-hand side of the house. I’ve worked in precarious positions in the past – in fact on my own house the rear was done with me working without scaffoding although I was wearing a safety harness.

And I’d feel much safer with that set-up rather that the set-up that they have.

Beach Art Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing yesterday was a group of people performing some beach art.

At the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord overlooking the beach I had a look down and I could seem them all again out there today having another go at some art. It looks quite pretty too today.

It’s a shame that the tide has to come in and wash away their hard work. Still, it gives them a clean canvas tomorrow for them to come up with another beautiful design. But it must be very said to see your previous gros oeuvre wiped out by the waves.

Kids Playing In Sea On Beach Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were plenty of people about on the cliffs today too. Far too many for me to go for a run along the path, so I had a nice pleasant walk instead.

Threre were plenty of squeals coming from the beach that distracted me as I was walking. And at the viewpoint I could see the reason for that. Despite it being late October and quite cool outside, a group of kids has decided that it would be fun to run into the sea.

There are certainly some hardy people around, but I’m not one of them. I left them to it and carried on with my walk.

Gravel Piles Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no-one around in the Square Maurice Marland so I took the opportunity to have a quick, impromptu run. And this was the view that I saw at the end of my run.

And this can only mean one thing. Lorries bringing in tonnes of gravel and diggers piling it up in heaps on the quayside. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there’s a quarry not too far away where a really had and durable rock is found. It’s excellent when used with tarmac as roadstone and it’s bought by many people, including two road-making companies in the UK.

And we haven’t seen a gravel boat in here for probably 6 months – a big 2,500-tonne bulk carrier – but it looks as if one of them is on its way to part for another load to take to Whitstable or Shoreham.

That’s good news as far as I’m concerned.

Workmen repairing electric light Porte St Jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way out for my afternoon perambulation I’d seen an Electricity Board van parked up at the side of the road.

So this is what they are doing. One of the floodlights that illuminates the Porte St Jean hasn’t been working, but today it’s receiving some care and attention. Presumably the silicone in the tube is to make a waterproof seal afterwards to prevent more water ingress.

While the workmen were occupied I took a quick photo and then came on home at a leisurely walk to carry on editing photos.

That’s another pile done, including the most difficult ones where I had to track down a road accident. Just 55 left now.

Another task that I had to do was to convert a pile of files into *.mp3 ready for a radio programme, and to carry on working with the laptop organising that too.

Then I could have my guitar practice. And that went much better today and I actually enjoyed it. I was playing a few Neil Young tracks on the bass – tracks like LIKE A HURRICANE – and I find to my surprise that I can actually sing them while playing bass too and that cheered me up no end.

As for the 6-string, I spent my half-hour working out the chords to MODERN TIMES by Al Stewart. And again, to my surprise, by the time that I’d finished my session, I’d even worked out half of the lead guitar solo at the end, and made a reasonable attempt at playing it.

Moon over Baie de Mont St Michel Brittany Coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis evening I had the streets to myself when I went out for my evening promenade.

My first run up the Rue du Roc and my second one down to the clifftop were quite comfortable. And when I got down to the clifftop I could see in the distance the new moon shining brightly over the Brittany coast, so I walked round to the end of the headland to take a photograph of it shining over the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Actually, in view of the clear skies and good views I’d been tempted at first to take the tripod with me. But there was far too much wind for that tonight, which was a shame.

Trawlers Unloading Fish Processing Plant Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead, I ran on along the path on the clifftop past the Chantier Navale. No change there, and the yacht in there isn’t the Spirit of Conrad.

It’s all go though at the fish processing plant. When I’d been running around the headland I’d seen probably a dozen fishing boats making their way in with their catch tonight. By the time I’d reached my breathing point they were all steaming … “dieseling” – ed … into harbour ready to unload.

There were a few of the kids on the car park again tonight so I didn’t stay long there. I carried on with my run down the Boulevard Vaufleury.

Victor Hugo Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving reached the end-point of this particular leg of my run, I walked back down to the viewpoint over the inner harbour.

That was because on my live fleet monitor this morning, I noticed that Victor Hugo was on her way back from Cherbourg, via the Channel Islands. And sure enough, there she is obscured by Granville who has also returned to the fold from her sojourn at Cherbourg.

It looks as if they had gone, just like Marité, because the harbour was to be drained. And they are back now. Although there isn’t much chance of them resuming their ferry runs for the rest of the year.

Trawlers Unloading Fish Processing Plant Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s an even better view of the boats unloading at the fish processing plant from here.

We haven’t taken a photo in the dark of the view from here for quite some time so I reckoned that tonight would be as goos a night as any. I was rather late for watching them unload Les Bouchots de Chausey. There she is in the foreground, quite empty, and the tractor and trailer that takes away her load is rattling off down the streets.

So seeing as I was here I put in another run all the way to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord.

Porte St Jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd on the way back I actually encountered some people.

You will have noticed the electricians earlier fixing the light underneath the Porte St Jean that lights up the stonework and I wanted to take a photo of it. And sure enough, bang on cue, a couple of little kids ran into the shot to animate the scene. That adds a bit of colour to the scenery.

And from there I ran on home. I’d had a really good and athletic night out there again. I must be improving

While I was writing my notes, I tried my lemon and ginger cordial. And that reaches the parts that other cordials can’t reach. So now I’m off to bed, confident in the knowledge that A MAJOR INJUSTICE HAS BEEN PUT RIGHT. 90 minutes too late of course, and will probably be a very expensive 90 minutes at the end of the season. I’m still shaking my head in bewilderment and disbelief.

Tuesday 20th October 2020 – AFTER ALL …

… of the exertions over the last few days I failed miserably this morning.

Never mind the third alarm – it was 07:20 when I left the bed – more than an hour of the day wasted.

And when I listened to the dictaphone I recoiled somewhat too. All of these notes to transcribe. I was running the taxis and there was Doreen, Nerina and mme running the taxis on Saturday night. A job came in to go somewhere way up north and I Do mean way up north. In the end they decided that I should go, and go on a motorbike and that some other driver should come in. I went on my motorbike all the way up to the far north of Scotland to drop off this package and came all the way back. By now it was starting to get light next morning. I’d arranged to pick up Percy Penguin up after work so I guessed that she would still be asleep in her shop. I tried to ring her but my mobile phone wouldn’t work so I just went on round there anyway and she let me in. By now she had transformed into an old black woman who was going to come home with me to the taxi office. She had a couple of big bags of shopping and it ended up with me having to carry them. I was pretty much weighed down. When I got home Doreen was still there. She said that she was glad that she sent me on the motorbike because they’d been really busy throughout the night and had a really good night working non-stop. I had a quick glance through the sheets and saw that there was some ROF work there. I thought “did we have a contract with ROF these days? We used to”. She said “oh no, that’s some tuition that Nerina and I have been doing. We’ve been teaching some people from there”. Later on I was walking home through the streets of Brussels. There was a motorbike shop. It was pretty late at night/early in the morning type of going home but this place was open so I went in. I had a little sit on a Honda 50, a play-around and it transformed itself into a big motorbike. We ended up a group of us talking about motorbikes. Someone prepared some kind of soup and someone drank it. But someone warned “no, no, don’t drink that soup” but she drank it and transformed into soe kind of evil persona. We had to be very careful about what we’d do. But then a couple there said to another woman “come on, we have to go down to the Isle of Thanet to do something”. So they took her away. When she came back she was about 12 feet tall and her upper part was like a metal rod with a metallic design like a hollow shield for a head and also quite evil. It turned out that almost every one of these people had been transformed into some kind of evil thing through a drink or through a soup. So I started throwing the soup on the floor and drinks on the floor to break the bottles so they wouldn’t have to drink it but these people were laughing saying “Oh God it’s far too late now. You’re all going to be absorbed”. It led to a bit of a chase around this place. There was something too about a cake in an oven. I was eating a cake, the type of fruit loaf bread that I make. Meantime I was putting something else in the oven. People were wondering about that and having a laugh but someone else said “Eric? Ohh yes he really does bake and his baking is really quite good” which shut a few people up. But this battle thing with these weird people carried on until in the end there was only me and I couldn’t find anyone else who was sane. It was going to be a really stressful kind of situation. It’s no wonder that I awoke in a feverish sweat yet again.

But there was much more to it but I can’t remember any more now. And after all of that it’s probably just as well.

It left little time for any revision of my Welsh and as a result the lesson was something of a disaster. And I wasn’t the only one either. We were given part of a sample test paper for our exam and we all made a right mess of it. Mind you, we went 1 hour 50 minutes before we stopped for a break and my head had long-since turned to jelly by then.

Mind you, that’s not a surprise. There’s something – and someone – on my mind today. And it brings back memories of three late night evenings in, of all places, on the deck of a ship in the High Arctic where I changed the habits of a lifetime.

As Kris Kristofferson once wrote, “I’ll give all my tomorrows for a single yesterday”. And I will too!

But enough of my being all maudlin now of all moments. I won’t get anywhere dwelling on the past like this.

At lunch I finished off the last of the bread and the last of the hummus so it looks as it it’s going to be another food-making day too tomorrow morning. One thing that has also finished a long while ago is the ginger and lemon drink. That’ll have to be something else on the list too.

This afternoon I’ve had an exciting task.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I bought a new computer in something of a hurry in North Dakota last August when the little travelling Acer gave up the ghost. It was a sale item from Walmart heavily reduced but it came with Walmart’s splash screen and everything else on it that annoyed me but which I didn’t have the time right them to fix.

As I went along, I patched it here and there but it still wasn’t satisfactory so being fed up and having nothing better to do I did a “system restore” to “factory settings” and that involved deleting everything off the hard drive and starting again to reinstall everything.

And when I say “reinstall”, I say that advisedly because after about 6 hours of work it’s done about 88% of the operating system, never mind anything else.

repairing roof rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the middle of all of this, while the computer was festering away, I went out for my afternoon walk.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago in the Place du parvis Notre Dame we saw them set up a series of scaffolding in order to repair a roof on a house there. Today, they are attacking the side of the house that’s in the Rue St Jean.

And they aren’t using any scaffolding either apparently down the side of the house. All of the material seems to be being lifted up by the big machine there and that’s going to cause a few problems if something big comes down there.

Wednesday and Thursday we’ve been promised storm-force winds here (as seems to be usual these days). I don’t fancy being up there on a roof when they are lashing about. And I don’t fancy walking underneath where the guys are working either when there’s a wind blowing all of their stuff away.

peche a pied Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were crowds of people wandering around today taking in the air and I ended up chatting to one of my neighbours at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord.

After he had gone I had a look down onto the beach to see what was going on. The peche à pied is still in full swing as far as the tourists go. There were several more out there in amongst the rocks scavenging for what they could find.

As well as that, we had people milling around, walking their dogs, playing sports or even just taking in the air. After all, although the weather was cold and windy, it wasn’t unpleasant.

Marité Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe crowd had thinned out by the time that I reached the Square Maurice Marland so I had a good run across to the other side to rack up a bonus run.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday the harbour was empty – of water and of boats. Today though we have the water back, and also the boats. Marité has returned and is moored in her little corner again.

So I carried on along the walls and as there was no-one in the street I ran on home again. I may as well clock up some extra metres on my way around when I can.

Back here I carried on with the laptop and then had a break when Rosemary rang me up. While I was in the Auvergne in July I had set “certain steps” in motion and, much to my surprise, they had actually come to fruition . That means some more outlay and I have to do it because it involves several other people.

Tea tonight was veggie balls with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce – thoroughly delicious. And the other half of my apple turnover was even better. It’s the best one that I have ever made and I’m really impressed with that.

Trawler English Channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy walk this evening was something of a surprise.

Well, not my walk, but my run. I was feeling much more like it tonight, much looser, and I ran on past my mark on my first leg with some comparative ease. Down to the clifftop and there was a trawler way out to sea with its bright lights blazing. Too good an opportunity to miss even though it won’t come out well.

It’s probably 5 miles out to sea as well so all in ill it’s not bad at all seeing as it was the f1.8 50mm lens. I’ll settle for that.

Fishing Boats Unloading Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo-one around at all, except for a couple of kids on the car park so I could do my third leg in peace.

At the viewpoint over the harbour where I stop to recover my breath, I could see all of the activity going on at the Fish Processing Plant. The fishing boats are starting to come back into harbour and there were already two of them down there unloading, with a couple more on the way.

One had carried on into the harbour but I missed her. Presumably she’s going to unload at the other side. But never mind. This one has come out OK so I’m not disappointed.

Chantier Navale Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIf I turn my head to the right I can also see into the Chantier Navale.

And here we have a change of occupant yet again. The new little boat that arrived a couple of days ago has now gone but we have been joined instead by a large yacht that bears a striking similarity at this angle to Spirit of Conrad, the boat on which we went down the coast a few months ago.

Of course in this light, it’s not possible to say with any certainty. I’ll have to wait until it’s light and have another look.

And so I ran on the rest of the way home, doing it in two legs as usual but even did an additional lap of honour round the building to push up the total even more.

Now that my notes are written and I’m off to bed. But before I do, just a quick “hi” to someone who made a dramatic reappearance this morning. I’ll be in touch as soon as I can organise myself, whenever that might be.

Monday 22nd June 2020 – THIS MORNING …

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that takes about 10 times as long.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 21st June 2020 – HAPPY SOLSTICE!

Yes, that six months from winter went pretty quickly, didn’t it? It’s all downhill now until the end of the year

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire one of the Birdmen of Alcatraz entertaining the crowds with his daredevil stunts, let me tell you something of my day today.

And it all started off on the wrong foot as usual, when I found myself wide-awake at 07:40.

And if anyone thinks that I’m going to be heaving myself out of my stinking pit at that time of a morning on a Sunday, especially as I didn’t go to bed until 01:30, then they have another think coming.

hang glider lighthouse pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hall09:30 is a much more reasonable time for me to see the light of day on a Sunday.

It’s a day of rest of course and I allow myself one day a week when I can do nothing at all if I so choose and not feel guilty about it.

First task after the medication was one that I had forgotten to do. The dashcam is almost full and the files need downloading onto the computer.

It had to be done quickly because otherwise I’d be tempted to drive off somewhere and forget to take it with me.

26.7GB of files on there, and they all need converting to *.mp4 one of these days whenever I find a moment. There’s masses of them all told.

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut while I was doing that, I forgot to do something else – and that was to check the dictaphone.

Well, rather, I did check it, saw that there was a voice file on there (so I must have been somewhere during the night) but said to myself that when I unplug the dashcam I can plug it in.

And then I forgot.

However I did subsequently remember.

There were a couple of little girls who were having some kind of wrestling fight. There had been three of them, one a little older than the other two. This worked its way round to me being in Belgium and having to come home. I had to do it with a whole series of buses and I had plotted out this route and then forgotten it. All I knew was that I had to be at the Gare du Midi at 09:00. It was 08:45 and I had to get back to the hotel, get all of my stuff, check on this route, arrange – make sure that I got on this bus, book a hotel, all this kind of thing. So I was running back to the hotel but the hotel seemed to get further and further away.Eventually I got there, got my stuff together but there wasn’t enough time to look for a hotel. I realised that I was going to be stranded in the middle of the country somewhere in a small town and if there wasn’t a room at that hotel I was going to be stuck for the night. So I ran out of the hotel and ended up in the company of a friend and she was looking at old derelict houses that another friend had told us about. I was trying to push on to this bus station and she was still looking at these houses. In the end I was looking at cars to see if there were any cars that I could buy just to go there. They were old wrecked lorries the kind that even the Africans wouldn’t touch. We ended up looking at this really depressing single-storey building in a really rough area. She went inside and I thought “God at last I can push on”. She came out and I thought that she had finished but ohh no “can you pass me this tape measure?”. God, I thought all my chances of getting this bus have just totally evaporated now.

Next task was to look for the paper from the controle technique where the guy pointed out a few things about Caliburn that needed attention

That ended up being a massive paper-filing job … “at long last” – ed … and general tidy-up, but there was no trace of it. So I grabbed the new door mirror glass for Caliburn that finally came a few weeks ago, the dashcam and the insurance certificate for the coming year to take down to Caliburn because I was going to search in there for the papers.

However, I stuck my nose out of the door and changed my mind. There was a torrential downpour going on out there.

Back up here I carried on with the tidying up. This time the medication in the bathroom needed arranging to see what I have in stock and what I need from Leuven.

That reminded me – I needed to book my travel to Leuven and my accommodation while I am there. So that was the next task.

Mind you, I don’t know why I might need accommodation. I noted that my appointment is for 16:00 and not at the Outpatients department either but at the main entrance. For a 5-hour process that’s not going to be possible in a department that closes at 17:30.

Do they mean to keep me in, I wonder?

By now the rain had stopped so I went to pick up the stuff to take to Caliburn and there, on the windowsill right underneath where I’d put the stuff was the note from the controle technique.

Anyway, all of that is now in Caliburn and he has his new mirror glass. Let’s see how long this one lasts.

There was no hummus for my lunchtime sandwiches (I’d done all of that this morning!) so I went to make some more.

By the time that i’d finished, I had two batches. One with olives and cumin and the other with dried tomato and herbs. Both with plenty of garlic, pepper and sea salt of course.

As for the olive and cumin, I dunno about that but the dried tomato and herbs is wicked, it really is. No danger of any werewolves and vampires coming around anywhere near me tonight.

crowds lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWith it being Sunday, that’s the day for me to go for my walk down into town for my vegan ice cream.

There were hordes of people out there today. We’ve seen the Birdmen of Alcatraz swarming around like Nazguls after a Hobbit, but there were a darn sight more than 9 walkers out there on the paths.

And on the narrow path around the headland we were jammed shoulder to shoulder in places. I don’t think that social distancing was much in evidence today.

crowds fishing from rocks granville manche normandy france eric hallThese people over there are certainly respecting their social distancing though.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen countless fishermen perched on rocks at the water’s edge casting their lines into the sea and with the tide being right out just now, they have gone right out with it.

And as I have said before – I have yet to see anyone ever catch anything.

silt around new pontoon ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith the tide being out the harbour gates were closed so I could walk across the path over the top to the other side.

What was interesting me was the pontoons at the ferry terminal. With the tide being out, I wanted to see how they were holding up. And the answer to that question is “not very well”.

Either the silt is building up quickly around them, or else the pontoons are slowly sinking into the mud. My money is on the latter and I wonder how long it will be before they have to send a few diggers in to dig the pontoons out again

brocante place Général de Gaulle granville manche normandy france eric hallNot much else was happening at all around the harbour so I went into town to pick up my ice cream. The guy in the shop recognises me now and that’s bad news.

On into town and life here is definitely back to normal, as the monthly brocante is in full swing.

They aren’t anything like the brocantes that we used to have in the Auvergne which is a shame.

Over there it would be private people clearing out stuff that they no longer wanted or needed. Here, it’s professionals trying to make a living and so the stuff is basically banal rubbish sold at 10 times what it’s worth and probably 100 times what they paid for it in a deceased person’s house clearance.

brocante cours jonville granville manche normandy france eric hallJust out of interest I had a wander round to see what there was.

A book on the History of Normandy looked interesting, but not €8:00 worth of interesting by any means. And a nice looking work bench with built-in vice and clamp caught my eye, as did the price of €250:00. Free woodwork thrown in – or burrowed in more likely.

So at that point I abandoned my stroll around and headed for home.

fishing boat yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe weather might have been quite nice, warm and sunny but there was quite a rolling sea out there this afternoon.

The yacht was quite obviously enjoying the windy weather but the fishing boat was making quite heavy weather of it all. Towing a dinghy behind it can’t have helped much either.

All of this windy weather is making me very nostalgic for the sea and a maritime voyage so somewhere – anywhere in fact. I need to stretch my sea legs at some point pretty soon.

Back here I had a bake-in.

First task was to make a pile of pizza dough. Just like bread dough but wit a little oil in the base. 400 grammes of flour is enough for three bases, and having mixed it and got it really nice, i left it on one side.

Next stop was some pastry. 250 grammes of flour and 125 grammes of vegan margarine makes a decent-side pie. Knead it all together for about 10 minutes until it’s thoroughly mixed through, and then add a couple of spoons of water and mix that until it reaches the right texture.

Take 2/3rds of it, roll it out and put it in a greased pie dish.
Peel, core and slice a couple of large apples and fill in the pie base.
Desiccated coconut, sultanas, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg go nicely in there too.
Trim off the excess pastry, and damp the edges of the pie with some milk.
Add the trimmed-off pastry back to the 1/3 of pastry, roll it out and stick it over the top, pushing the edges down with a fork onto the dampened edges of the pastry base to seal it in and then trim off the excess.
Brush the top with milk, dust with brown sugar, pierce a few holes to let out the steam, and bung into a hot oven.

With the excess pastry that you trimmed off, roll it out into a square, add some of the apple and the other interesting bits, dampen the edges with milk, fold it over and squeeze together, brush with milk, dust with sugar, pierce some steam holes and stick that in as well.

By now the pizza dough will have risen so divide into three.
Lightly dust two of them in oil, wrap in greaseproof paper, put in a plastic bag and stick in the freezer.

home made pizza apple pie apple turnover granville manche normandy france eric hallWith the third one, roll it out to size and stick it in a greased pizza tray. brush with tomato sauce, add your toppings and herbs, then cover with your grated cheese.
Then stick your pizza in with the pie and the turnover.

“And here is one I made earlier” – not out of a toilet roll holder and sticky-backed plastic as we used to do with Peter Pervert, John Dope and Valerie Simpleton.

Well, actually, this is the finished product. Today’s culinary offering. The pizza was delicious but I don’t know about the pie because I wasn’t that hungry so I didn’t try any of it.

van converted into mobile home pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallMy run tonight was painful – really painful – but I pushed on al the same and did it all.

But we have a new visitor on the car park by the lighthouse. Not exactly new – in fact he’s been there for two evenings now.

It’s an old rescue van from the fire service and you can still see where the vinyl writing used to be on it. But now it seems to have been converted into a mobile home of some description.

co-equipiere wanted granville manche normandy france eric hallBut I couldn’t help but admire his optimism when I read this notice.

He’s looking for a female companion to accompany him on his travels “in search of the sun” and he plans to be gone a long time.

Judging by the dampness in the plastic and the faded writing, the sign has been up for a long time too so he’s not been having much luck in that respect.

And I can’t say that I’m surprised either.

le tiberiade le loup baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued on around the headland to the other side.

There was a strong wind that was blowing and we were having a really rough sea this evening. This fishing boat, which at first I thought was our old favourite Coelacanthe but is in fact her sister la Tiberiade was really making heavy weather of it.

She’s only just out of harbour too – hasn’t even passed le Loup – the light and marker for the big rock that is out there and the entrance light for the harbour itself

fighting seagulls boulevard des terreneuviers granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I ran on all the way down to my first resting place.

And there I was entertained by an interesting spectacle on the roof of one of the buildings in the Boulevard de Terreneuviers. A group of seagulls were having a fight over something, although I don’t know what.

It was a nasty fight too. They chased one away but he kept on circling and coming back for more. This battle went on for quite some time abd the seagull didn’t seem to have any attention of giving up easily.

fishing from rock plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I ran on all the way down on my elongated run right to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord.

No picnickers again, but that was hardly a surprise because there was only a couple of feet of beach here right now. The tide is well and truly in. there was a fisherman here on the rocks, so I hope that for his sake the tide was on its way out.

If on the other hand it’s on its way in, he’ll find himself stranded if he’s not very careful

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe sunset tonight was a little much – a little too bright to be able to reproduce a good effect.

This is the best of several photos that I took and it’s still not what I would like to see, which is a shame.

So after a couple of minutes and no sign of improvement I ran on home to write up my notes.

Back to work tomorrow and there’s plenty to do. A live concert for a start, followed by my Welsh homework.

We’ll see how far we get with all of that but right now I’m off to bed.

Friday 1st May 2020 – A STRANGE THING …

… happened to me during the night.

There was a group of us living in a house in Crewe and I had to get up and go to work to start a new job. But I was lying in bed and it suddenly occurred to me to get up and get dressed because the bus would be going in a few minutes time. I had to get dressed, and my fitbit came off somehow in all of this. I couldn’t find the tie that I had put aside. I was hunting high and low for this tie. In the end I went to the cupboard, opened it and chose another one. There were about 200 ties in there and everyone was looking at these ties and I said “yes I need to get rid of a few clothes, don’t I?” Someone said “oh yes. I haven plenty of stuff”. I actualy awoke at this point and found myself sitting upright on the point of getting out of bed to go to work.

There have been some really realistic voyages during the night here and there over the years, but this was certainly one of the best.

It had been one of those nights last night where I’d been running really late and I ended up going to bed instead of finishing off my notes.

And so in a break with usual tradition I set an alarm call for a Bank Holiday (it’s Labour Day here so everyone celebrates it by … errr … not doing any labouring) and in a break with even more usual traditions I actually beat the third alarm to my feet.

And this time it was for real too. I felt like that guy about whom Tommy Cooper used to talk –
“I knew a guy who dreamt that he was awake. And when he woke up, he was!”
But it wasn’t half a weird thing that in the middle of the night.

So after the medication I attacked the notes to finish them off. And that took much longer than I was expecting too. I’d resolved not to go for breakfast until they were finished and by the time that I was ready my stomach was thinking that my throat had been cut.

After breakfast it was the turn of the dictaphone to receive attention. I’ve already mentioned something of it but a little later I had someone staying with me overnight. It was another one of these panics to get up in the morning. I cooked a breakfast, toasted cheese, stuff like that and I was getting everything ready while whoever it was (and I’ve really no idea who it was either) was getting ready to leave. I made breakfast in my tiny room which was just like the cabin of The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour which was so small that I had to sit outside – there was only room for one at the table. However as a gesture of solidarity we both ended up sitting outside in the corridor. But my place quite clearly aroused some appreciation. “Yes, I wouldn’t mind retiring to a place like this at all either” so i was explaining the benefits of these homes and how there were people round but they only came if you needed them and apart from that they only came once a week to clean your room, emergency bell pulls, all this sort of thing. And there was general agreement on this.

There was something else on there too but you’re all probably eating your tea right now so I’ll spare you the gory details. But it concerned another voyage on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour, which certainly seems to be receiving an awful lot of my notional custom right now. It’s a good job that I don’t have to pay for these trips for real.

Having done that, I attacked the digitalising of my record collection – the last two albums as well. Whatever is left will have to be done by hand by me. One of those two albums almost ended up in that pile too, seeing that the only copy of one of the tracks was an *.mkv, which is something that I’m trying to keep off my computer, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

However, the light went on in my head, like it does on the odd occasion here and there, and I came up with a very ingenious solution to the problem. And to my surprise it actually worked!

So bearing in mind that one or two albums were shelved because all that I could find was *.mkv stuff, I might go back again and have another run through and see what I can do.

It’s a long process but probably quicker than digitalising them manually.

All of that took me up to lunchtime, would you believe, and there was time to do 30 or so photos. I’m now sitting in a zodiac in a lagoon at the foot of the Vatnajokull Glacier in South-East Iceland.

The hummus that I made yesterday was really nice and worth the effort that I put into it. And so was the apple and pear purée for breakfast by the way.

This afternoon has been somewhat … errr … leisurely. I’ve tidied up a little of the hard drive in here (only a little) and dealt with some outstanding correspondence. I’m not sure if I mentioned it but someone wrote to me about my University thesis for my “Historical Technology” module of my degree.

When it was finished I PUT IT ON LINE (I think that all research should be put on line for future scholars) and someone well-known in that area has written to me to give me some further information and to express his admiration (really!) for what I had written, which was certainly very nice of him.

As well as that, there’s some more radio stuff simmering away in the background, including something that might involve HIS NIBS, and so that required a little thought.

There was the hour or so on the guitars too during which I almost fell asleep, and then tea, which was a stuffed pepper followed by the final slice (not really the final slice because half of it went into the freezer) of the delicious blackberry pie.

And here’s something surprising (or maybe in isn’t). I’d sat down after the washing-up to digest my meal before I went out running and suddenly the football came on the internet. I’d completely forgotten that it was Friday.

A historical match – Port Talbot Town against Bala Town in a Welsh Premier League European playoff from 2013.

And how the standard of football in the Welsh Premier League has improved since then too. This was a “top 5” game yet you would never have thought so.

It ended 1-0 for Bala which was about right. Port Talbot were denied what looked from my viewpoint like two stonewall penalties, but Bala were denied on several occasions by some heroic stuff from my namesake in the Port Talbot goal and had already had a goal ruled out for a foul that was much more innocuous than the one committed on Cortez Belle in the 87th minute at the other end for which the referee waved “play on”.

But it was a very poignant match in one respect. The Spuds couldn’t maintain the momentum following this defeat and slowly slid down the table.

And then down the pyramid. Now they are in the third tier and the glory days of European football in the season 2010-11 when they went to Finland in the Europa League are nothing but a distant memory.

But here’s another thing. Bane of Britain has struck again!

Because of the football I was late – like 22:30 – going out for my runs. It was dark so I decided to swap over the lenses – put the f1.8 50mm lens onto the big NIKON D500 and the 70-300mm LENS onto the old NIKON D3000 and take the big Nikon with me.

So Bane of Britain swapped the lenses over well enough – but then took the wrong camera, as he discovered when he went to take a photo.

So no photos tonight, but at least I managed all of my runs which was good news.

It’s late now, so it’s bedtime. And shopping tomorrow – not that I need all that much but never mind. I wonder of the supermarket will be packed.

Thursday 30th April 2020 – I WAS RIGHT …

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… last night when I predicted the arrival of either Thora or Normandy Trader here in the harbour today.

On my way out to the shops I had a glance over the wall down to the harbour, and there was Normandy Trader down in the harbour.

Another thing that I was right about was the quick turn-round time these days too. She must have crept in on the overnight tide and is leaving right now – right at the moment that the harbour gates are opening.

silt coming in on tide port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd the harbour gates are indeed just opening right at this very minutes, and you can tell that just by looking at the colour of the water coming in on the tide.

You can see that it’s a brown colour – heavily loaded with silt, and that contrasts with the blue of the water that’s inside the harbour.

Whether that’s because the silt that might have been in the water has settled out while the gates were closed, or whether there’s a fresh-water sources from somewhere feeding into the harbour is anyone’s guess.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd I wasn’t just right – I was right in spades too!

Because as I came back from the shops Normandy Trader had long since departed and in her place Thora was now there loading up. That was quick.

Another quick turnround too because when I went out this evening to take the air she had already long-since departed. So when I say at timed that I haven’t seen them for a while, that doesn’t mean to say that they haven’t been here.

The least said about this morning, the better. Not one of my more successful starts to the day, I’m afraid.

But I did make it to my feet and after the meds had a listen to the dictaphone. I was working for the French Government last night on an employment reinsertion project and one of my clients was some young guy I know in back in Pionsat. I had to give him advice and tips about getting back into work, all this kind of thing. Of course it’s pretty evident that he doesn’t need any tips with the amount of work he does on the side but it’s the kind of thing that had to be done. There were all kinds of questions about me, a foreigner advising people on French law. It went on like that for quite some time. At one point I was actually travelling somewhere and I’d come to a strange town that I knew. I tried to buy some fuel but one or two of the petrol stations were closed and there were queues at the other stations so I had a walk around the town for something to eat but I couldn’t find anything to eat. Everywhere was closed as well in this town
And during the night I was getting my carrots ready for freezing, chopping them up and dicing them. At one point I had to measure them but it was a bit late by them because I’d already chopped them up and you couldn’t really assemble them back together again to measure them so that was something as well.

After breakfast I had a go at some music-file digitalising. The first one that I attempted was a nightmare and I had to search everywhere. But I still ended up one track short no matter where I went.

And I was right about one of my assumptions because it was there in black and white in the artist’s catalogue – “this artist is known to be one whose work was lost in the Universal Studios fire” and because he’s a pretty obscure artist, that would appear to be that.

What I’ll have to do is to digitalise the album myself instead of hunting down master tapes, and then upload my versions.

As an aside, I should mention, so that there’s no mistake or misunderstanding, that I’m only digitalising albums that I already own.

Because of all of this, I was late having my shower and late going out to the shops.

heavy machinery rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd even later than I would have been too. There was so much going on out there this morning and of course it’s been a wek since I’ve seen any of it.

For a start, what is this? Some kind of heavy machinery, that’s for sure, and I imagine that the artic at the side has just delivered it.

But whatever it is, it’s an interesting replacement for the large crane that was parked on there for a couple of days after thay had taken it off the floating pontoon.

new pedestrian gangway port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago I was mulling over how they were going to get down to the new floating pontoons.

It’s all very well having the pontoons but it’s no use if you cant get up or down from or to them.

But I found out the answer to this conundrum this morning. We can see the new gangway over there that goes down to the pontoon. I imagine that it’s secured at the quayside but unsecured at the bottom so that it can slide about as the pontoon rises and falls with the tide.

normandy trader crane new gangway rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd if we can avert our eyes from Normandy Trader for a while we can see yet more goings-on just here.

Our big mobile crane is back again, and here she is just about to wrestle with a gangway for the floating pontoons here. I imagine that the gangway will be dropped into position during the course of the morning.

And on the other side of the harbour you can see the big floating pontoon that was being used as a workstation. It’s now been dismantled and is ready to be taken away in early course.

removing british flag union jack place godal granville manche normandy france eric hallA couple of days ago, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that they set up the flags on the Resistance War Kemorial at the Pointe du Roc.

Here this morning down in the Place Godal the local Council had the cherry-picker out playing with the flags here too.

But what they were actually doing was taking down the British flag. I’m not sure why and I wasn’t quick enough to ask them, but it was probably a symbolic post-Brexit gesture or something like that.

We’ll have to see next week whether it goes back up.

So I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … to LIDL for my shopping, through the madding crowds.

On the first day of detention à domicile I remember wandering the streets looking for bread and there wasn’t a soul about at all. Today, apart from the few people wearing masks you would never have thought that these were lockdown times, with the crowds that were out and about.

But it seems to be working. Only 758 new cases today, which contrasts with the sad state off affairs in the UK where there were 6032. At a 15% death-rate 15 days hence, which seems to be the norm, France will soon be reaching Germany’s low totals whereas the UK will be out of control. Even more so when an order of “vital supplies” of ventilators ordered in an emergency turn out to be totally useless

There was a security guy on the door at LIDL too controlling ingress and egress. Older, bigger and more out-of-condition than me, he was too. He wouldn’t have been any use running after shoplifters. But then, he’s not there for that.

In LIDL I spent a lot of money, but I needed quite a lot of stuff as stocks were well down. And so much stuff did I buy that it was a struggle to carry it home. But it’ll keep me fit, I suppose.

But fit for what, I really have no idea.

On the way back I stopped off at La Mie Caline for my dejeunette for lunch and then back here I had a coffee.

Having almost run out of hummus I made another batch. And it’s really easy to do.
Drain a tin of chick peas.
Add to the chick peas half the weight of sesame seed paste (400 grammes of chick peas means 200 grammes of paste).
Add some of the chick pea juice, some olive oil, sea salt, ground black pepper and garlic – usually in total about half of the weight of chick peas again
Chuck the lot in your whizzer and give it a really good whizz around – adding a little more oil or chick pea juice until you have the consistency you like.
In the meantime, dice up your flavouring. I’ve used roast peppers, all kinds of things in the past but today it was sun-dried tomatoes and olives with tarragon.
Add them into the mix in the whizzer and just blip the whizzer so that the flavouring is dispersed throughout the mix – you don’t want to purée it, which is what will happen if you whizz it too long.
Put it in small pots, freeze some of it and put a pot in the fridge for immediate use.

And it was totally wicked on my dejeunette with tomato, cucumber lettuce and vegan mayonnaise.

After lunch I had a look at a second album to digitalise. And this was a loooooooong one too and it took an age. And the disappointment was that for some reason or other, two of the tracks on the master tape where, had this been an LP there would have been a change of side, the one seems to have lost its end and the other its beginning.

So that’s a task for tomorrow – to see if I can track them down.

But one track on the album was one that I used to play in a rock group in the 1970s so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to have an extra go on the bass. That brought back some very happy memories.

And I ended up having to dismantle the computer at one point. The mouse has been playing up just recently but this afternoon it handed in its hat so I had to find another one and untangle a mass of cables to do that.

And it wasn’t easy either.

After another session on the guitars I knocked off and went to make my apple and pear purée, now that I had some apples and pears to make it with.

10 apples peeled, cored and diced, added to a small amount of water with a lot of lemon juice (to stop the apples browning) with desiccated coconut, cinnamon and nutmeg.

3 pears followed suit into the water which was them all put on a low heat, given a really good stir and left to its own devices for about an hour.

In the meantime seeing as I’d had the oven on to sterilise the bottles I stick a couple of potatoes in to bake along with some baked beans and vegan cheese.

A simple tea of course but it was delicious, as was my blackberry pie and almond soya dessert.

home made apple pear puree breakfast drink granville manche normandy france eric hallBy now the fruit was ready so I drained off the liquid and bottled it to use as a cordial for breakfast.

The fruit went into the whizzer and was whizzed round into a purée and then put into the other two jars that i’d sterilised in the oven.

They were left to cool, and you can see the finished results right here. It looks really good and, having tried a sample off the end of the spatula, I can say that it tastes good too.

storm english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallSo at this point, about an hour or so later than usual, I went for my evening walk.

And I was glad that I’d done something during the day too because by the looks of things, it wasn’t going to be the right kind of evening to be out there.

There was a famous storm raging out there in the English Channel somewhere round by Jersey and I wished now that i’d put on my rain jacket – or maybe gone out a little earlier.

storm ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallDespite the howling headwind, which wasn’t quite as strong as yesterday but nevertheless … I managed to run up to my marker point at the top of the hill.

It was something like a struggle – well, a lot like a struggle actually, but I was given the impetus to move on quickly when I saw the storm heading my way from the Ile de Chausey.

As I watched, I could see it getting closer and closer and I didn’t like the look of it at all, so I cleared off.

trawler baie de mont st michel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd even despite the raging weather, there was another fishing boat out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

This kind of weather, rough though it is, won’t stop them at all. But as I have said before … “on numerous occasions” – ed … they seem to be fishing in areas that I hadn’t noticed before.

No change in the chantier navale this evening which was just as well because I didn’t feel like stopping. Still the same four boats from yesterday. They are keeping quite busy in there despite the restrictions.

car park boulevard vaufleury flags european union france normandy granville manche normandy france eric hallBut while I’d stopped for my breath, I had a look at the flagpoles here in the car park in the boulevard Vaufleury.

They’ve been busy with the cherry-picker because they have put these flags up too. We have the EU, then France, then the province of Normandy and then the flag of the town of Granville.

But on that note the rain started to fall. The storm had caught me up. So I ran off down the street and back home, missing off my two final runs due to the inclement weather.

But I was over 100% on the fitbit so I wasn’t too disappointed.

It’s horribly late now and I’m nowhere near finished. Tomorrow is a Bank Holiday here and that’s usually the signal for a lie-in bit I’m going to defy convention, get up early (if I can, of course) and finish off the outstanding stuff before breakfast.

See you in the morning.

Sunday 8th March 2020 – I DON’T KNOW …

… whose idea it is to ring that cacophony of church bells at 11:00 on a Sunday morning but it’s almost as if they don’t want you to have a decent lie-in on a Sunday morning when they go around awakening the dead like that.

It certainly put paid to my morning reverie and I was obliged to leave the comfort and warmth of my beautiful bed.

It wasn’t the first time that I had had to leave the bed either. Round about … errr … 04:00 or something like that, I had to go for a ride on the porcelain horse. I thought that I had passed beyond that, but apparently not.

So I went off and had my medication.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the high winds that we were having and the storm that was raging somewhere out in the Atlantic Ocean, let me tell you about my morning.

First thing that I did of course was to check on the dictaphone. And sure enough, I’d been on a little voyage. I was with someone last night who resembled a girl with whom I had worked for a while although it wasn’t her I’m sure, someone like that. We were discussing languages. Something weird had come up and we had a reply to do which we had done in French or Flemish or something. This led to some kind of discussion about languages and what do we do, how did we behave, all this kind of thing. I made the point sometime during this discussion that what we did is that we’d have the radio on if we were at home and just listen to a French programme or a Flemish programme. It didn’t really make any difference to the two of us what we were listening to. Any of the languages were usually pretty good for us.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter that, I carried on with the project that I’m undertaking – of digitalising my collection of LPs.

On thing that I’ve been able to do is to find about 120 digitalised sound files of albums that I own, and I downloaded them all. I’ve then had to split them into individual tracks.

It isn’t easy because many of them are studio master tapes where the tracks are recorded in “recorded order” of course which is quite often very different than the order in which they are published on CDs and LPs

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnother issue is that some of the tapes include tracks that were never ever published – rejected for one reason or another – and which I don’t have a clue what they are.

And sure enough, one of the sound files on which I was working was one of the latter.

Eventually, after a great deal of effort, I tracked it down. It seems that I have somehow managed to lay my hands on a rare Swedish-only version of a master-tape with one additional track that was only available in a couple of countries and a second additional track that was only available in Sweden.

That should be quite a curio when it comes to playing it on the radio programmes.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall13:30. That’s a very civilised time to have breakfast, I reckon. And the last of the home-made apple juice from when I made the apple and pear purée. It’s certainly quite interesting when I am responsible for the making (within certain limits of course) of almost every product that I eat for breakfast.

After breakfast I didn’t really do all that much. After all, it is Sunday and I’m entitled to a break one day a week when I don’t do much.

Nevertheless, round about 15:30 or thereabouts I decided that I would have lunch. I wasn’t all that hungry, and there was an end of a baguette from yesterday hanging around in the kitchen.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallLuckily, I had remembered to fetch some hummus out of the freezer yesterday. Roasted pepper hummus too, made with my own fair hands.

So I had a hummus, tomato, cucumber and lettuce butty for lunch, followed by the usual apple, pear and banana for afters.

And that reminded me (although I’ve no idea why it would) that the lemon and ginger syrup that I make for my medication is running low. Sometime later this week I’ll have to make some more. I’ve plenty of ginger but I bought some juice oranges so I’ll go for orange syrup this time.

storm baie de mont st michel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallWhatever happens, I mustn’t forget my afternoon walk. I’m only on 3% wandering around the apartment.

Mind you, sticking my head out of the door, I wasn’t too impressed about the idea of going out.

By the looks of things, there was a huge storm brewing away across the baie de Mont St Michel over there on the Brittany coast. And knowing my usual luck, I would probably end up finding myself right in the middle of it before I’d gone too far.

storm baie de mont st michel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallBut anyway, in for a penny, in for a pound. I set off out.

And I wasn’t alone either. Despite the wind there were crowds of people milling around enjoying the weather and I was determined to join them.

My route took me right around the headland and down the steps at the end. And the farther on my travels I advanced, the more I didn’t like the look of the weather. It was just looking worse and worse

storm pointe de carolles baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallMind you, my luck was in, for once.

The storm was advancing quite quickly but as I rounded the headland at the Pointe du Roc I could see that it was going to miss me by a good few miles.

It had found shore down by the Pointe du Carolles and places like Carolles-Plage and Jullouville were taking something of a pounding. I’m glad that it wasn’t here, because it did look particularly nasty over there.

storm high winds port de granville harbourmanche normandy france eric hallMy perambulations brought me further around the headland and here I was greeted with a sight that made the walk all worthwhile.

As I have said before … “many times” – ed … there’s nothing between that harbour wall and the eastern seaboard of the USA and here we have the highest tides in Europe.

Consequently the power that can build up in the water whenever there is a major storm anywhere in the North Atlantic is really impressive and the sea walls here catch the lot of it full force.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallregular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen some really impressive seas come roaring in just here.

And today is no exception to that. I stoop and watched it all for a good 10 minites even though I had other things to do, just because it was so impressive.

Strangely enough, there were several people passing by here, but no-one else seemed to be interested in staying to watch the free show.

trawlers new pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSo instead, I had a wander down to the port. The harbour gates were closed as, believe it or not, the tide is well out (although you might not think so) so I could cross over to the other side of the harbour.

One thing that has been interesting me is the story of the new pontoons that they have been installing in the harbour. We’ve seen the pontoons on the north side of the harbour alongside the rue du Port but I wanted to look at the new ones on this side

That is, assuming that I can get close enough to them, because they are crowded out with fishing boats right now. There can’t be too many out at sea today.

scaffolding anchoring boards port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing that we’ve been looking at as we have been on our way around is the scaffolding that is bolted to the side of the harbour wall here.

Being a Sunday and with no-one around, I took the opportunity to have a closer look, trying not to fall into the harbour while I was doing it.

And the result is that I’m still not too sure of its purpose and the OSB boards here fixed to the wall don’t seem to be able to throw any light upon the subject.

All that I can think of, as a wild guess, is that it’s a set of steps for the crew of the floating pontoon to descend to their little boat.

new pontoon anchoring poles port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWe’ve also seen them installing steel pillars in the harbour in order to extend the row of pontoons out perpendicularly from the harbour walls.

Three have already been installed in the harbour and I was sure that there were others although I couldn’t remember how many. Consequently I went to have a good look aroud and eventually came across them.

And I was correct. I had seen them and here they are – five of them by my reckoning. That seems to indicate two lines of four each and that’s not going to be good news for the commercial boats that come here and need the open space to manoeuvre.

And that’s going to be interesting even sooner than we imagined, because Neptune, one of the gravel boats, has just left Shoreham Harbour – “next stop Granville”. I was right about the heaps of gravel.

quai de hérel roche gauthier granville manche normandy france eric hallAs you probably saw in the previous photograph, the storm has passed, the clouds are now all gone and the sun is now out.

That made me decide to push on and have a marathon walk all the way along the Quai Hérel all the way down to the new block of flats (and how I would love to live here!) and the Pointe du Roche Gauthier.

That’s as far as you can do around here. The path comes to a sudden stop and you have to retrace your steps 100 metres or so until you come to a flight of steps that go back up to the road.

quai de hérel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo, retracing my steps, I can show you the big modern building over there on the left.

That’s the CRNG, the Centre Regional de Nautisme de Granville, and it’s also where the Youth Hostel and the Salle Hérel are.

The Salle Hérel was quite interesting today – or should have been – because they were having a “Free Market” where everyone takes the stuff that they no longer want so that others may help themselves.

However I was too late because anything that might have been of interest had probably long-since gone.

old pallet bulkhead granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk brought me up past the Tax Office and it was round about here that I had an exciting encounter.

It’s not so much the car, but what the owner was using as a bulkhead to stop whatever was in the back sliding forward into the passenger seat.

It’s an old freight pallet cut down to size and trimmed to be an exact fit. I was well-impressed by this and wished that I had thought of it in the past when I had the Passat.

escalier chemin de choisel railway engineering depot gare de granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me onwards down little alleys that I had only glimpsed in the past.

My aim was to do down past the station and down into the Park de Val es Fleurs to see what was going on around there but in the distance I noticed a flight of steps that I hadn’t seen before.

That made up my mind to go and follow my star wherever it was going to lead me and see what was at the other end – stopping for a glance backwards at the railway engineering depot in the background where the trains are stored and repaired.

chemin de choisel granville manche normandy france eric hallMy little climb brought me out into a little housing estate where a small path led to the main Avenue de la Liberation.

This path in turn led me past a nice modern block of flats in the chemin de Choisel. And nice though the flats might have seemed, it wasn’t my cup of tea because someone was playing some music full-blast with the windows in one of the apartments.

Where I live, I have solid stone walls 1.2 metres thick so I can play music as loud as I like without disturbing the neighbours. That wouldn’t work here at all.

ruined house under repair avenue de la liberation granville manche normandy france eric hallOut on the avenue de la Liberation and here’s a thing.

Ever since I’ve been in Granville, and probably for many years prior to that, there were some old, abandoned houses that were fenced off from the road.

It’s been a good while since I’ve been past here on foot and to my surprise something seems to be happening to them right now. We have a crane, a new roof and all other kinds of exciting things.

That will be a nice place to live when it’s all finished.

While I was here, I could have carried on down the road into town, gone down another footpath and the steps to the Park de Val es Fleurs, or else through the gardens of the Musée Christian Dior and down the steps to the Plat Gousset.

buoy english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallObviously the latter will bring me closer to the sea and with me being a Pisces, being close to water is one of my aims, so I made my way down the side of the tennis club.

Last time I was out here, I saw a big cruise ship out to sea, so I had a look to see if I was going to be lucky again.

Not quite. No shipping out there today but we did have one of these mysterious buoys bobbing around in the sea down there. I still haven’t worked out what they are four but my suspicion is that they are something to do with fishing gear – nets or lobster pots, that kind of thing I reckon.

garden musée christian dior granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were crowds of people out there today and a long, continuous line of people coming up the steps.

The steps are quite narrow and there isn’t much room to pass anyone so I had to wait for a while while they came up. That gave me an opportunity to take a photo of the nice archway down there that leads to the final flight of steps down to the promenade.

And the sea was looking pretty rough down there too. This could be very interesting.

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd i wasn’t wrong either.

It’s now 17:40 which means that there’s still an hour or so to high tide, and the sea is totally wicked out there, smacking into the sea wall here with an incredible force and sending spray everywhere.

It’s lucky that the promenade s quite wide otherwise I could easily end up marooned down here and that wouldn’t be very pleasant, having to climb all the way back up the steps again..

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I wasn’t alone here either.

This was a show that you would have to pay a fortune to watch in some places, but we were having it for free. There were probably a couple of hundred people down here this afternoon making the most of the entertainment and we were all having more than our money’s worth.

So impressive was it that I stayed down here for half an hour taking photos when one of the very big waves came in

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallWe’ve had quite a few storms down here so far this year, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and we’ve seen plenty of areas that have been fenced off due to the damage that the wild seas have caused.

There’s some more over there and apparently this needs to be fixed before the Grand Marée, the very high tide, comes in on Wednesday. They’ve engaged some workmen to do the job and they have erected some scaffolding to work from, but I don’t fancy their chances out there today.

It’s a good job that it’s a Sunday – a Day Of Rest – today when they can have a day off.

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire a few more photos of the storm on the Plat Gousset, I climbed back up all of the steps and walked home via the square Maurice Marland.

There was still about 40 minutes or so before teatime, so I busied myself with another pile of photos from July 2019 and my trip to Iceland. I really need to press on with that before i’m much older.

The trouble is, though, that with having no internet out there, I wasn’t able to do any research into the photos. Consequently every one that I am editing, I need to research to find out where it is and what’s in the image.

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallSunday is vegan pizza night of course, but it’s also pudding time seeing as I have the oven on already.

It’s usually rice pudding or some such, but last week we had a delicious apple crumble. Apple pie has been on the menu too in the past and that was what I intended to try today, using the new pie dish that I bought.

These pastry rolls are the business. The cheap ones from LeClerc are vegan of course so I always have a stock of those on hand. And I’d picked up some backing apples too on Sunday.

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallSo, grease the pie dish and unroll one of the pastry rolls and put that in, gently pressing down so that it’s in at the seam at the bottom.

Thinly slice a couple of the apples and lie the slices in on top of the pastry, making as many layers as you can fit in, so that the pastry is completely covered.

On every layer, a think coating of desiccated coconut, brown sugar and lemon juice (and some cinnamon and nutmeg, which I completely forgot, for some reason or other that I can’t explain).

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallUnroll another pastry roll, cut out a top for the pie, with an overhang of about 2 cms.

Wet with some mile the part of the pastry that is on the lip of the pie dish, then put the top on and press it down really hard with a fork to the pastry underneath on the lip. Then trim off the excess pastry.

Put a few slits in the top of the pie to let out the steam, brush with milk and sprinkle with brown sugar. Then bung in the oven.

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallWith the excess pastry, coast it on both sides – and your rolling pin – with flour to stop it sticking, and roll it out with your rolling pin. It won’t be square, so keep on trimming it off and adding the trimmings into appropriate places so that it’s as square as you can make it

Grease a flat oven tray and gently with a couple of spatulas, pick up your flat pastry and put on the tray. Add the leftover apple slices into the centre, with desiccated coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg (which I remembered this time) then fold over all of the pastry and press it together to seal it.

Prick it with a fork to let the steam out, brush with milk and sprinkle with brown sugar, and bung that in the oven too.

apple turnover apple pie place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd here’s the end result. It all looks pretty impressive and I bet it tastes even better even without the spices in the pie. I won’t be trying it this evening though because there’s still some apple crumble left.

Instead, the turnover was cut into 2 and put in the freezer, and the pie went in the fridge ready to start on tomorrow.

Rather like the time that I made a meat and potato pie when I was younger. I left the eyes in the potatoes so that it would see me through the week.

I’ll get my coat.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOne thing that I mustn’t forget is my evening walk. I’m already up to 95% so i don’t intend to go far.

The NIKON 1 J5 and f1.8 18.5mm lens came with me so that I could have a little play around. I reset the ISO to “MAX 3200” rather than “MAX 6400” as the graining is too much, and stopped down a couple of stops to see what I could produce with that.

And f1.74 at 1/50 second and ISO3200 gave me this image. And for a hand-held shot, it’s quite reasonable. Joly France looks quite nice out there at the ferry terminal.

There have been much worse shots than this.

I’m wondering what else I can produce with this camera if I show some patience. Some good might come out of the enforced deprivation of the big NIKON D500

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the rest of the photos of the storm there is something else that I mustn’t forget – and that is to go running.

And it’s a good job that I did those two-and-a-half runs yesterday because I only managed one and a half today. Not because of lack of willingness or lack of fitness, but because my first run down the rue du Roc was right into the teeth of a howling gale.

When I hit the slope of the hill about half-way or so along my course, it stopped me dead in my tracks and that was that. Luckily the return run along to boulevard Vaufleury was with the wind so that was a lot easier and I managed an extra 20 metres or so.

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallSo now I’m back home and in the warmth.

There are tons of photos to edit and lots to write, so i doubt that I’ll be able to finish it tonight. But I’ll do what I can before I go to sleep and whatever remains to be done, I can finish it all off tomorrow.

Not that I’m complaining of course. This was a good day out and a really good walk around – more than enough to tire myself out. If I do fall asleep while writing out my notes, it will be for a very good …

ZZZZZZZ

Friday 28th February 2020 – I MISSED …

… the alarms this morning.

Yes, round about 07:30 when I finally heaved myself out of my stinking pit this morning. I’ve no idea why because last night wasn’t exactly a late night.. after the medication I had a look at the dictaphone as usual. I’d been on a few travels too during the night, but not enough to wear me out.

I’d been in Audlem and it had been some kind of New Years Eve or something like that. There were hordes of people out in the street all dressed in fancy clothes. I’d been wandering around looking at them and admiring their outfits, all that kind of thing. Then I headed down to where the Buttermarket was. There were even more people coming out from down Shropshire Street, all in a sort of nightwear type of thing as if they had been to some kind of pyjama party. They were all streaming up to a pub that of course doesn’t exist somewhere on Stafford Street. This pub was a black and white Tudor building with all kinds of statues on the edges of the roof like in Austria. There were all these bunk beds outside and this was the middle of winter and all these bunk beds for kids outside. These kids were all dressed in nightwear and I couldn’t understand what it was that they were doing. This was really late for kids to be out and so on.
Before that we had been in a procession, a procession of all kinds. We were dressed as seafaring pirates, a Marsupilami thing. We were quite happily parading and making up the story as we went along. We saw some being questioned about who was in a huge queue and who wasn’t and we realised that this was going to be the fate of death for us because we wouldn’t be allowed to continue. We chatted amongst ourselves who it was and ended up talking to this very young girl about 6 or 7 and ask her all these questions but by now we weren’t having the microphone passed down to us and being put on the air.

And there was more to all of this lot too.

After breakfast I had a look at some more sound files and, sure enough, just as expected, a couple of them were all over the place and took an age to sort out; Somewhere in the middle of all of this I took my Carnaval costume back to its owner. We had quite a chat and she had a lot to say for herself about her work so I made a note for the future.

hydraulic concrete breaker rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter having finished the sound files I went down into town for my bread. The long way round too seeing as I wasn’t going anywhere special tody.

But down on the harbour, the hydraulic concrete-breaker that’s been breaking up the rocks over at the ferry port is back so that it looks as if they will be restarting there some time very soon.

Not today though. Chausiais and Joly France were over there moored in a NAABSA position on the bottom. It looks as if they have things to do this weekend.

new pontoon rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was here I went to look at the new pontoons that they’ve been installing.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day I mentioned the cranes on the quayside and that I didn’t think that they will reach over the pontoons.

Today, there were a couple of fishermen there so I asked the question. And the answer is “no, they don’t reach”.
“So what are you going to do then?” asked Our Hero
“Bof” replied one of the fishermen with a beautiful Gallic shrug.

A beautiful word, “Bof” – a must-have word in anyone’s vocabulary. It means basically “I don’t know” but with a much greater air of abandonment.

new pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe tide was out so I could walk across the harbour gates to the other side.

Thora had gone, as I had expected, so I could admire the new pontoons here too. They are cracking on with all of this and I don’t think that it will be long before they have finished.

But as I have said before, I hope that they will leave some space for the commercial boats like the gravel boats that come in here, even if they haven’t been in for a while.

At La Mie Caline I picked up my dejeunette and headed for home.

Still plenty of time before lunch so I made a start on scanning in all of the receipts that needed scanning. And I was surprised that there were so many. I seem to have run aground somewhere in my plan for rolling scanning. even worse, I can’t find the receipts for medication that i bought at the end of June prior to going off on my sea voyage. It was an expensive do too so I hope that I didn’t discard the receipts along with all of the rest of the paperwork that I threw away on my travels.

After lunch, I had something very important to do. I’d used up the last of the hummus so I had to make some more. And although it took a while, it was thoroughly wicked when it was finished.

Basically, for any given weight you need 50% of chick peas and 25% sesame seed paste. These are the important figures to remember.
The remaining 25% of the given weight is made up of all kinds of things – olive oil and chick pea juice for a start. Then I use sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic (tons of that) and then your “flavouring ingredient”.

Everything except your flavouring ingredient goes into the whizzer and it’s whizzed round until it’s a nice creamy paste. Then, add your “flavouring ingredient”. I made two batches, one with the roasted peppers that I had prepared last night and the second with some sliced olives. You add that to the mix in the whizzer and whizz it just enough to disperse it rhrough the mix but not enough to break it up completely.

After that, I could crack on then and fill in these forms. And that wasn’t the work of five minutes either, with so many to do. I hadn’t really realised just how many receipts had piled up over that period when I broke my hand.

crowds beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual pause for my afternoon walk. Around the walls this afternoon, but no run because there were far too many people around.

Despite the wind, there were quite a few people down on the beach at the Plat Gousset too. I’ve no idea what they were doing but they were clearly having a good time doing it.

So I came back to carry on work, but it wasn’t quite the success for which I was hoping. There was a little … errr … repose during the afternoon that slowed me down too.

By the time that I had finished the medical expenses it was 18:30 and so I did something that I haven’t done for quite some time, namely I had a play on the bass. It shows you just how much work I’ve had to do that the guitars have been on the back burner all this time. The track “Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys” by Traffic came round on my playlist so I spent half an hour working out the bass line.

There has been some excitement too. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall my disenchantment with certain events over the weekend. The controller has called a meeting for Monday to discuss them but EVERY ONE of the volunteers is refusing to go and there has been a frantic exchange of e-mails.

There are stories of one or two others who are as disenchanted as I am, but I had no idea that the feeling was so general. Not, of course, that I am surprised.

Tea was an “anything curry” of leftover food in the fridge, including a couple of falafel balls that had been in there maybe longer than they ought to have been.

The evening walk around the headland was disappointing. I only managed one run and that was a struggle too as I had a headwind against me. Reaching my mark, never mind extending it, was something of a battle.

Later, I had the football to watch so I started to write my notes on the little old Acer laptop that I have recently raised from the dead just to prove that it still works.

It was Welsh Cup quarter-final and we should have had two second-division teams, Prestatyn Town and Flint Town United. But their match was called off so the cameras made a dash across North Wales to show us Caernarfon Town v Cefn Druids instead.

Caernarfon scored after just a minute – a wicked deflection from a corner that shouldn’t have been awarded in the first place. And then they had Alex Ramsey to thank for a series of excellent saves to keep them in the game for the next hour.

The match hinged on a moment of madness on the hour-mark.

Arsan, one of the Druids defenders, was fouled and the referee blew his whistle to award the free kick. Arsan, in his folly, kicked out at the Caernarfon player for which he was rightly booked. Probably not 30 seconds later, he had the ball and as he ran past a Caernarfon player, fell to his knees. No clearer case of simulation you will ever see, and he picked up another yellow card and was thus expelled from the game.

In my time I’ve seen some stupid players do some stupid things, but nothing quite as stupid as this.

Within the next 5 minutes Caernarfon had scored two more goals, and went on to score a bizarre fourth right at the end when an outstretched Caernarfon boot touched the ball awkwardly causing it to loop up over everyone and drop down behind a defender into the net.

So I’m off to bed now. For the first time in a while I’m off shopping and I hope that they have more of that Alpro soya ice cream. I started on that for tea tonight and it was delicious.

Sunday 9th February 2020 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

waves storm ciara baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hall … the effects of Storm Ciara as the waves come crashing down onto the harbour wall here this afternoon, a good couple of hours before High Tide too, let me tell you a little about my day today.

With it being a Sunday of course, there was no alarm call. And I wasn’t in any great rush to go to bed last night either (not that it was late by any recent standard) but I was still hoping to have a pretty decent sleep.

But, unfortunately, it wasn’t really meant to be, was it?

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOne glance at the dictaphone was enough to tell me that.

There were files on there that had been dictated at 04:25; 04:48 and 05:27 and all of that points to a very disturbed sleep. And while I finally awoke at about 09:30, it was still another 20 minutes before I could haul myself out of bed.

After the medication I attacked the digital file-splitting project. And I was right when I thought to myself that this seems to bear no relation to what I knew of the album, because it isn’t the album that it’s supposed to be.

Heaven alone knows what it is because it features three tracks that I don’t recognise at all and I wouldn’t even bet that it was the singer who it was supposed to be either.

And even worse, I can’t find any mention of the lyrics anywhere on the internet, which is even more strange.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter breakfast I set about looking at the notes on the dictaphone. And I wish that I hadn’t because they are all somewhat confusing to say the least.

To begin with, I’d received a huge packet of envelopes through the post and one of them -I can’t remember what it was about – but it was really complicated stuff giving me all kinds of information that I didn’t really need and inviting me to do things and be things, so on. The next day I got another letter from a different source saying “be a travel agent” this was and it was a quote for a life assurance, like £36,000 and a bit of insurance for this and a bit of insurance for that and how I would have to make payment for this. Of course I had no intention of making any payment for life assurance as my life is on its way out so I was sitting there trying to work out a way how I could decline this offer and not take it up because it seemed for some unknown reason to be pretty binding and I don’t know why. It had something to do with a voyage I was making with Liz and Terry and we had to go to a club in somewhere like Wrenbury. We left Crewe – we were in Nantwich Road and for some reason I took them down Wistaston Road and out past the park and down the Middlewich Road into Nantwich. They were wondering why I’d gone that way and I said that there’s far less traffic this way and they didn’t understand because it was longer. I said “trust me” and they replied that they had trusted me the last time about this and you’ve brought us this way again. I said “yes but we got there and we got there fine didn’t we?” so I didn’t see a problem. We were going to a party or something and it was in a pub. I asked “is there something like a separate room or a quiet room or something ebcause I don’t really feel like mixing wiht a lot of people and making a lot of noise” They said “yes, you’ll enjoy it and it’s one of the reasons why we go there because there are other things to be doing as well”

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallA little later, there was a concert or something due to take place about the blues or somewhere like that and I know that I had to go there and I was trying to think of a way out of it. There was something about us being on board ship as well and there was a girl here with a very long plaited pigtail-ponytail thing and that’s all I remember about this.

Later still, I’d received an invitation to go and take part in some research on this animal scientific centre out near Wrenbury (… why Wrenbury all of a sudden? …). I wasn’t very sure about this. Everyone was saying what a really good opportunity this is because it’s one of the market leaders in this kind of field. But being vegan I was pretty much opposed to it yet everyone was saying what a great opportunity this might be for me.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd finally, we were on a bus, me George and someone else, it might have been Darren dunno. We were heading towards the French coast and – a tram, not a bus – and the tram was rattly and crowded and people were gradually getting off as we got lighter. I was having a chat to this George character about nothing in particular. At one moment we came round a bend and there was a beautiful view of the port and the ships in it at Ouistreham, all of this. I went to get my camera but by the time that I got myself organised the vuew had gone. Just the canals and the barges on them like Chausiais. I didn’t get a photo of those. As we came round a corner where there was an abandoned railway station with hoardings outside all covered in fly-posting. I thought “Ahhh I know where I am now”. We got off the tram and whoever was the third person came up behind us on a bicycle. They were having a conversation and they asked “what did I think?”. I hadn’t heard the conversation so I said “I don’t know – I haven’t heard it” so they started talking again about Valentines Cards. How many Valentine’s cards do you buy? I replied “as many as you need”. They replied “you just buy one don’t you, for people you like?” I said “and what about the people you love?” They replied that you don’t need a Valentine’s card for them because they know it already. I replied “you should never take people for granted, especially women” but they disagreed with me. In the meantime I was trying to do something with the lends of my camera. I’d put some glue on it to hold something on but it had come off and I was trying to get all of this pink glue off my camera where I had this lens attached

waves storm ciara port de granville harbourmanche normandy france eric hallAs you can see, that took up the greater part of the morning and a little chat with Liz on the internet took care of the rest.

Luckily I had made myself a pot of coffee so I was able to keep on topping myself up throughout the morning as I was going on.

And I needed it too because despite the lengthy sleep, I was creaking away and ready to drop off at the drop of a hat.

trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSomewhat later than I was expecting or hoping, I went for my walk into town for my bread.

And never mind “walk”. It was more like “crawl” in this wicked wind that was blowing. Nevertheless I made it down to the chantier navale to see what was going on.

And there’s another boat in there now, next to the mobile sling. One of the trawler-type of fishing boats that operate from out of the port here. So things are looking up.

trawler fishing boat waves port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut to give you some idea of how strong the wind was, there wasn’t a single boat out that I could see. They were all moored up in port.

And look at the waves that are chopping around them too. They ave to be at least one foot-waves, and you have to remember that the tide is out and the harbour gates are too.

So those waves are building up in just the wind and in a run of a couple of hundred metres.

Imagine what it must be like out in the open sea.

trench port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that they have been digging a trench on the quayside for the past week or two.

Despite the fact that it’s a Sunday and there would be no-one around, I went for a look to see what was going on. And that was a waste of time because I couldn’t see much. Whatever they have been doing is finished and the trench is now filled in.

Still, if there’s someone around during the week I can also ask him

chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOne thing on which I have been musing is the situation re Chausiais.

As far as I could tell, there didn’t seem the capacity to take a lot of stuff aboard so I was intrigued to see how she was arranged. I had vowed next time that I was passing to take a closer look.

And I can now see what the score is and how she is arranged. If you look closely you’ll see that the roof is divided into sections and they slide back one underneath the other to make a big open space for goods.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire a few more storm photos, I picked up my bread from La Mie Caline, came back here and had my lunch. The last of the smoked cheese so I fetched some home-made hummus out of the freezer.

Having eaten, I went back into my office to finish off the notes for the radio project on which I’m working. And unfortunately I couldn’t keep going for long.

In fact I crashed out a couple of times and that really annoyed me because I seem to be getting worse and worse from that point of view

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMind you, a couple of coffees brought me round and I did manage to remain awake long enough to finish them.

There seems to be quite a few too, more than the usual so I hope that they will edit down to a more manageable size. These days I seem to be letting myself be carried away by my verbosity and that’s not good.

Still, I suppose that it’s better than not saying enough. At least it gives my listeners a little break to go to the bathroom.

surfer crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallDespite the winds, I headed off for my walk – around the city walls this afternoon.

And surprisingly, there were a lot of people out there this afternoon despite the weather. A few people down on the beach, including one rather intrepid soul carrying his surfboard.

With there being lots of people about, I didn’t manage to fit in any runs either which was disappointing. I’ll never improve at this rate.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith the urge to push on and do 100% every day as often as possible, I extended my walk out along the headlands.

There were crowds of people standing on the cliffs watching the waves from Storm Ciara smashing their way into the harbour wall so I went and joined them.

And with the trusty NIKON D500 I could take plenty of photos to record the occasion, because it was definitely one of those days

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAll in all, I stayed out there admiring the waves and then came back to my apartment.

First thing that I did was to dictate the notes onto the new ZOOM H1 and then copy them over to the computer for editing.

Ten minutes to the second, there are, but that lot needs quite some editing. And by the time that I’d knocked off for tea, I’d reviewed about 60% and got it down to 07:20, which is good going.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallEven if it were to stay as it was, a final track of about 3:00 would fit in nicely, but I can reduce the amount of discussion by another minute or so at least.

On that note I knocked off for tea. I prepared a rice pudding and put it in the oven while I made the pizza, and then took the rice pudding out when I put the pizza in.

Ohhh! For two shelves in my oven. I really must look into this and see what I can do about inventing something to work as a second shelf.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe pizza was really delicious and so was the rice pudding. And then I braved the elements for the evening walk around the headland.

And brave it was too because the wind was thoroughly wicked. It was a struggle to open the front door, never mind to go outside in it. And once I did make it outside, every step was a struggle.

There were times when I was in a mind to turn back but I pressed on regardless to see what I could do in the weather. It wasn’t easy.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the south side of the headland it was relatively sheltered so I went for my run.

And that was what I called “agony”. Only pride kept me going, I reckon, and I had to sit on the wall for five minutes afterwards to catch my breath as I couldn’t move.

So now I’m back here, finishing off my notes and regardless of the fact that there are still things that need doing, I’m going to bed.

I really am on my last legs and it’s a long walk tomorrow. You can admire the rest of the photos while I curl up in bed.

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall

waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
waves storm ciara port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall

Thursday 9th January 2020 – REGULAR READERS …

clearing the railway line port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… of this rubbish will recall that a good few months ago I spoke about some kind of plan or other involving the abandoned railway network that ran through the port at one time.

This morning on my travels up town to LIDL I happened to look over the wall down to the harbour, and here they are, digging out the infill from where they had covered it up in the past.

It goes without saying that I’m really intrigued with what’s going on down there and on my way for my dejeunette tomorrow I shall be making further enquiries.

no victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith lots of activity going on in the harbour down there right now, you could be forgiven for thinking that that was that.

But not at all. In fact one thing that was conspicuous in one sense was that Victor Hugo was conspicuous by its absence. That means that both of the Channel Islands ferries are out somewhere because Granville, the newer one, is also absent and has been for a day or two now.

It must be all go at the Channel Islands right now

But it wasn’t all go here this morning. The night was reasonably early and I did hear all of the three alarms, but I couldn’t somehow find the intention to leave the stinking pit. It was gone 08:00 when I finally saw daylight this morning and that’s no good at all.

After the medication I attacked the dictaphone and I’m not sure exactly what I was doing in some kind of poor mountain village in poverty-stricken USA but it was doing some thing like a radio programme or whatever, I suppose. I had this young girl with me – she might even have been my daughter. The story goes that she was found kissing one of the boys in this village. They rounded up this girl and me and started to change our clothes and gave us nice clothes to wear. It suddenly struck me that this is marriage, isn’t it? This girl is going to be married off to this boy presumably but she was nowhere near old enough for this kind of thing. She was admiring the clothes that she was wearing and started to hum “here comes the bride” and suddenly had this appalling look of horror on her face as she too realised what was going to happen and started to snatch the clothes off her. These people were trying to grab hold of her to keep the clothes on and that was when I awoke.

After breakfast I was straight into the shower and as I seem to be struggling for clothes right now, I stuck a pile of dirty ones into the washing machine and let them have a run round.

And then the excitement began.

Wit my train being cancelled this morning I mentioned that I was changing my travelling arrangements. So off to the railway station in the pouring rain.

Hardly had I presented myself at the ticket window when the girl there beckoned someone else forward and let them have their say before me. Needless to say, there were words said about that.

She then couldn’t piece together my itinerary so I had to help her put the tickets in order (which had been in order until she had started messing around with them)

So eventually I was able to ask –
Our Hero – “as my train has been cancelled today, I’d like to change my travel and go again in two weeks time”
Girl at Window – “what date is that?”
OH – “two weeks from today”
GAW – “what date is that?”
OH – “whatever date two weeks from today is. The 23rd is it?”
GAW – “I don’t know”
OH doing some rough calculation – yes, 23rd
GAW – “the same trip?”
OH – “Didn’t I say that?”
GAW – “I don’t know”
so eventually after much prompting and grumbling she did it.
OH – “now what about the return?”
GAW – “what date?”
OH – “Just what I said earlier – the same trip but in two weeks time”.
GAW – “What date is that?”
OH – “whatever date is two weeks from the date on the ticket”
GAW – “but you haven’t told me what date”
OH by now rapidly losing his patience and his temper was surely bound to follow – “two weeks from the date on that ticket”
GAW – “but what’s the date?”
OH doing some more rough calculations – the 26th
GAW – “that will be €15:00”
OH – “what do you mean €15:00? I’m having to rearrange all of my trip because the outward train isn’t running. You’ve cancelled it”
GAW – “but the return train is running”
OH – “so how am I supposed to get the return train if I can’t travel out to get it?”
GAW – “I dunno”

The net result of all of this is that they will need to repaint the interior of the station booking office where the paint has blistered under the heat of my incendiary comments. I’ve not changed my return trip as yet but I shall be doing so in very early course once I’ve spoken to the SNCF head office.

LIDL next. And nothing of any excitement there, although I did forget to buy the peppers and mushrooms. I dunno what’s the matter with me right now.

Calling at La Mie Caline for my dejeunette, I then headed off for home.

Most of the day has been spent doing this football thing and by the time that I knocked off it was almost finished. There are 7, or possibly 8 main threads now with all of the isolated soundbites incorporated in to one of the threads as appropriate.

The linking texts have been dictated too but all of that needs editing and some background dubbed onto it, and then I can link it all together and dictate a closure to add in.

It’s about an hour’s work, I reckon, but knowing me, it will probably take most of the morning.

And then I have that stupid, pointless translation to do. It hasn’t escaped my attention that with the project owner not having had the time to edit it, I’m going to have to translate everything. I reckon that I keep about 15-20% of whatever I record on an interview and discard 80-85%, so this tells me that 80-85% of my work is going to end up filed under CS.

And that’s a thought that depresses me greatly as you can imagine. As Sheriff Buford T Justice put it so well in Smokey and the Bandit “we don’t have time for that crap!” I don’t know what people think I am … “and I don’t think that you want to either” – ed.

There were the usual interruptions today. Lunch was one of them of course and that hummus that I made the other day is tasting better and better as the herbs and garlic spread through it.

high winds storm waves port de granville harbour wall manche normandy france eric hallWe had the afternoon walk of course, around the headland.

The sun was out and it was quite bright now. The rain had stopped. But there was a fierce wind blowing around and whipping up quite a wave down there. Some of the waves were crashing over the sea wall with an impressive force.

Not the kind of day to be out there at all.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallNevertheless, there were quite a few people doing their best. There was a line of about a dozen fishing boats heading into port.

If you have any doubt about what the phrase “making heavy weather of it” means, just one look at this boat will explain it to you better than anything I can say.

She was up and down and in and out of the waves all the way around the headland.

la grande ancre fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallYou probably noticed that I mentioned the line of fishing boats out there heading into port.

This is where they are heading and they’ll have to ride out at anchor because there isn’t any room at the inn. Apart from our old friend La Grande Ancre, I count another 8 of them just there.

The pink one that we saw heading this way is going to take the last empty berth and the rest of them out there will have to wait.

fishing boat unloading port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNot for long though.

The unloading takes place pretty quickly, as you can see. There’s quite a load on that boat there and they are using the cranes to stack it onto the trailer that is pulled by the tractor.

Where it goes after that I don’t know, but one of these days I’ll track it down.

fibre optic cable rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBack to the apartment now to carry on working.

And the day that I might be able to work even faster might not be far away. That’s the company that’s installing the fibre-optic cable and they are doing something out in the street just outside the Place d’Armes.

Here’s hoping that it’s the cable being connected up.

Tea tonight was a burger – or, at least, it should have been a burger. But in the packet that i bought “on spec” from NOZ were some galette- thinks, like small thick crepes made with vegan components. Quite different from what I was expecting but tasty all the same and I’ll look out for more of these.

night donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallFor the evening walk I was on my own at first.

Cold and windy but the sky was reasonably clear. Donville-les-Bains was looking quite nice in the dark but I didn’t stay around long to admire it. I went off and had my run.

However I have never ever felt less like it than I did. The strong headwind didn’t help but even so I was all for giving up after the first 100 yards. I kept on going though, and just about made it to the ramp.

night la rafale pizza van place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were crowds of people outside La Rafale, the bar in the Place Cambernon, and the pizza van that wa sparked there was doing a roaring trade.

My attention was distracted by a woman taking a rather small cat for a walk. She explained to me tearfully that it had been diagnosed with this cat disease that goes around. It’s survived a couple of attacks but it now had it again and its days are numbered.

And so i commiserated with her and gave her cat a stroke, poor thing.

Now that I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed. It’s later than I hoped but for some reason I can’t concentrate on anything today.

But at least I didn’t crash out. That’s always something to be grateful for, I suppose.

Friday 3rd January 2020 – I AM NOT LOOKING …

… forward to tomorrow. Not at all. I’ve just found out that our buses are leaving at 07:30, not 08:00, and we are expected to be at the football ground by 07:00.

It looks as if an early night is on the cards, and an alarm at about 05:30 too.

And I’ll have to do better tomorrow morning than I did this morning. Despite hearing all of the alarms, it was still 06:35 when I finally crawled out of bed after a night that was later than I was hoping.

Still, there was time to go off on a couple of travels during the night. One of them featured the welcome return of Zero – someone who has accompanied me on many a voyage but has been conspicuous by her absence for quite some time. But seeing as you are probably eating your tea right now or something like that, I’ll spare you the gory details. But later on, I was at the football and it was something to do with the managers of one particular football club where we were. They had all been fired for some reason or other but I’m not quite sure why now.

After the medication I attacked the dictaphone notes from the night and after breakfast I began to write up the notes for the Project that I had done yesterday.

Not that I got very far though because bang on cue at 10:00 Laurent came round.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last Sunday we went to Donville les Bains to watch the bathers take to the water and we interviewed a few of them. Laurent had listened to the recording and today was the plan to start to edit it.

One problem with a lot of this live stuff is that the interviewees often ramble off on monotonous monologues, and the secret of good radio technique is to let them, because quite often you uncover some unexpected pearls of comment that you would otherwise have missed.

And then, you edit it to cut out the useless bits that you don’t need.

The complicated bit is to listen very carefully to what you have left, and you’ll find that quite often the interviewees have answered questions that you haven’t actually asked. What you need to do then is to recreate exactly the same atmosphere and ambience in the comfort and safety of your own surroundings and then ask (and record) the questions.

That’s what Laurent and I were doing all morning – reviewing the recording and recording an extra … gulp … 24 questions.

After Laurent had finished asking my dictaphone the questions, he went home and I walked down into town for my dejeunette at La Mie Caline. A very late lunch today.

And today was my lucky day. I went round the back of the harbour to see if the gates were closed, but they were open so I couldn’t go across.

gates port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut regular readers of this rubbish will remember a few weeks ago when I arrived at the gates and they were closed, but just as I went to put my foot on the footpath the alarm went off, the barrier went down and the gates opened.

Today though, we had exactly the opposite. Just as I was about to turn round and go back, the gates swung closed.

Absolutely perfect timing to the second that was.

omerta port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNot that I was loitering about (it was raining by now) but I had a look to see who was about in the harbour.

This is a boat called L’Omerta, which is Italian for the mafia code of silence. We saw a boat called Omerta in the chantier navale for quite a while a few weeks or so ago, but I wouldn’t like to speculate that it was the same one as this.

At la Mie Caline I picked up two dejeunettes. With an early start tomorrow I need to make some butties before leaving, otherwise I’ll starve to death.

Making my butties, I discovered that I’d almost run out of hummus. That big batch I made ages ago is almost gone.

Not wishing to be without hummus I made another big batch, one lot of which went in the fridge and the rest in the freezer.

And here’s my recipe.
For any given weight, you need
50% of chick peas
25% of tahini (sesame seed paste)
sea salt and pepper to taste
garlic
olive oil
chick pea juice.
You should find that you have about 95% of your given weight
Stick that lot into a whizzer and whizz it round until it gives a really nice creamy mixture the consistency of cement. It might take a few minutes.
Now you add your extras to bring it up to the given weight. I used olives today, sliced thinly. I’ve roasted some finely diced tomatoes or red peppers in the past.
Add these into the mix and then whizz them around GENTLY. You don’t want to whizz them around so much that they are pulverised – you just want to whizz them around enough to disperse them through the mix.

Today I ended up with about 850 grams – so that was 4×250 ml ice cream tubs that I had collected from my old housemates in Leuven. Three in the freezer and one in the fridge.

While I was at it, I made another batch of muesli and filled up the coffee container.

1st buds on plants granville manche normandy france eric hallAll of that took me up to my afternoon walk and so I trotted off out.

And here was an astonishing sight. Unless I’m very much mistaken, this plant has its first spring buds already.

They talk about global warming and climate change, and the proof is out there if you look for it. It’s really early this year. We’ve not even had a proper winter as yet.

storm waves on wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe rain had died down and it had brought the crowds out again.

But although the wind might have abated somewhat, we’re having a really heavy rolling sea coming in from the Atlantic.

As you can see in this photo, the tide is still quite a way out but there is enough power in the sea to send it slamming into the sea wall with some incredible force

storm waves on wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFor a few minutes I stood and watched it, and then I headed for home. There was plenty of work to be done.

This afternoon’s task was to begin to edit out of the rubbish from the interview and to cut and splice into it our supplementary questions.

By the time I’d finished for the day, I’d edited down 12 minutes into a very snappy 2:30 and it’s come out rather well.

What was disappointing though was that I could have done much more.
1) I … errr … had a little relax for about 15 minutes
2) the sound balance was all wrong (I must teach people to talk to the microphone and not to the people) and it needed to be adjusted.
3) You could clearly hear all of the differences in tone and sharpness in the different segments of the interview and so I had to manufacture a “work-around” and that took time.
I ended up working in 6-track (questions, answers and background, each one in stereo) which is pretty phenomenal for the set-up that I have and it’s worked rather well.

The rest of the weekend I’ll have to work at the remaining … GULP … 18 minutes (although I know full well that about 6 minutes of that is ambience recording)

Tea was falafel in cheese sauce with steamed vegetables, and then the evening walk – and run, and I made it halfway up the ramp. I was on 98% of my daily activity too so I did another lap around the block to finish off.

Now I’ve finished my blog, I’m off to bed. I need my beauty sleep if I’m to be anything like it tomorrow.

Wednesday 13th November 2019 – I HAVEN’T BEEN …

… for any of my usual walks today, and neither have I taken any photos.

The fact is that I’ve been really busy today what with one thing and another (and once you get started, you’ll be surprised at just how many other things there are).

Last night wasn’t as early a night as I was expecting. 00:30 and I was still up and about. Mind you, I was soon in bed and off on another journey or two. And why is it that as soon as I reach for the dictaphone I lose immediately any recollection of what it is that i’m doing or have been doing?
But whatever it was, later on I was in bed and I heard this noise or scrambling going on and I started to wake up, and it was Claire Brierley of all people saying to someone “I’m sending the taxi back for him and it’ll be ready at 08:55”. So I wondered what the heck was going on so I thought that I’d better get up. So I got up and dressed just in time to see her disappearing in a yellow and white two-tone taxi, an old Austin A40 “Cambridge”, this square type with round rear lights. Off they went and I went downstairs and loitered around for a bit. It suddenly occurred to me that it was the office party (… office trip?…) and they were leaving at 09:05 and no-one had woken me up and I don’t know why. So it got to 08:55 and the taxi hadn’t turned up, and 09:00 and at 09:05 he turned up. I the meantime, I think that someone (Joanie and her mother?) had been going through the old taxi records that we had been keeping and she had been asking questions about the fares, like “today to go from (… somewhere …) to Crewe railway station is £1:75. How much was it in your day?” I replied “£1:10 or something” and we had quite a long chat about that. Anyway eventually my taxi arrived and there was this thing in Canada about tipping locally – make sure that you give a good tip, for that way your money stays with the driver and stays local and can work its way back through the economy again. I looked at my cash and for a cheap fare I’d be giving him a huge tip by proportion. I can’t remember whether or not I got into the taxi but I was back where I started from in like a church hall or something – a generic church hall with thick brick pillars protruding from the walls and so on. A little girl was there so I said to her “go on, sing me a nursery rhyme” but she came out with some kind of fantasy poem. In the end Nicole (what’s she doing here?), who was her mother got her to say a little poem for me which was very nice.

So that’s enough of that. I beat the third alarm again and went for an early medication and breakfast. Following which, I bit the bullet and sat down with these dictaphone note that I have been trying to avoid.

And I was right about something that I said back at the time – and that is that they will make interesting reading. And I’m beginning to see what was going on in my subconscious during that particular time.

Ahh well – that’s 7 of them out of the way. Only another 100 to go, and I hope that they don’t make as much grim reading as that last 7 of them did. Otherwise I’ll be back to where I was in my head four or five weeks ago.

At 10:00 I was picked up by this guy who drove me to Coudeville-Plage to see (a video of) this musician. I’m not sure what that was all about at all but it wasn’t what I was expecting.

He brought me back to Granville but I hopped out in the town. I had to pick up a parcel from the Post Office (my microphones have come) and also a baguette for lunch. And I found, to my delight, that the local boulangerie does what it calls dejeunettes, two-thirds-size baguettes for €0:50. Exactly the size that I need for my lunch.

And this home-made hummus that I made the other day is wicked. I’m enjoying every mouthful of it and there is plenty more to come.

This afternoon there were a few things to do and then Caliburn and I set off. We had things to do.

First call was at the Tax Office. I’ve had a reminder that I hadn’t filled in a tax return. If you think that going in to pick one up is easy, then you’re in for a big surprise. I had to queue for over half an hour just to see the receptionist.

He couldn’t give me a form over the counter. “Ohh no!” I had to go to see his colleague.

There was a queue in front of me and for about 20 minutes it didn’t move an inch. Eventually I thought “badger this for a game of soldiers. I’ll miss the Post”. I headed off back to Caliburn and we drove out of town to the big central sorting office for this region and dropped off my parcel.

Back at the Tax Office to resume my place in the queue and wait for another 20 minutes until I was seen. All in all I reckoned that it was about an hour and a half between my initial arrival and being seen.

Even then, I couldn’t have a Tax Return. The woman there told me what she needed me to supply and told me to bring it back. But one thing is certain – and that is that after all of this performance I’ll be registering on-line to do it next year.

Back here, I needed to complete the paperwork for the parcel that I had sent back and also to deal with the website updates. The Norse in Newfoundland can wait until the end – I did another 20 pages elsewhere.

But I’ve found to my dismay that I’ve left off something from the header menu. But then, this is why I went into Javascript, so that I can amend just one file and it will update everything else.

At least, I hope that it will.

For tea I finished off the stuffing from the other night, and finished off the taco rolls as well. I’ll have to buy some more of them because they are nice.

No walk this evening, so my fitbit is going to make depressing reading. But it can’t be helped. Instead, I’ve been downloading some digital music for some of the albums that I own. Dozens of it, in fact. And I’m finding albums that I didn’t even realise that I owned.

Anyway, enough of this. I’m off to bed. An early start in the morning because I mustn’t forget that my train leaves half an hour earlier than usual.

And I want to be on it.

Thursday 7th November 2019 – FATHER CHRISTMAS …

harvey benton guitar ukelele granville manche normandy france… has been today.

They say that he only comes once a year, and when he does, he fills your stocking. Well, he certainly filled one of mine with what he brought today and he’ll be coming again because this is parcel n°1 of 5 … “actually parcels n°s 1 and 2 of 6” – ed.

What is happening is that I’m fed up of saying that I’m going to be doing something and then for one reason or another not doing it. I want to be pushing on … “or pushing off” – ed … and getting these things done, and having the correct equipment to do it too.

The acoustic guitar that I have here is a cheap £25 guitar that was left over from a music festival years ago and isn’t up to very much. This guitar is actually reasonably cheap but it has a good spec and that’s important.

This, and the concert ukelele that I bought too should keep me out of mischief for quite a while, if that’s going to be ever possible.

Talking about being kept out of mischief, I must have been kept out of mischief last night because I don’t remember a thing. It was a late night again, due to listening to music of course, and once more I managed to make it out of bed before the third alarm went off.

With no dictaphone notes to transcribe from the night, I had a quick go at one or two of those until the medication worked and I went for breakfast.

When I woke up this morning it was raining pretty heavily but by the time that I’d finished having a shower, the rain had stopped so I headed off to LIDL.

For a change I didn’t buy anything exciting there and the bill was quite reasonable for a change. But there was something that I ought to mention. Regular readers of this rubbish will remember the blackcurrant sorbet that I bought the other week. They had some raspberry sorbet today, in a larger container and cheaper than the blackcurrant. There’s some of that in the freezer here now.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy franceO the way out to LIDL I’d had my usual glance down in the harbour to see what’s going on.

And we have a visitor here today. A regular visitor in fact – our old friend Thora. She’s come in from the Channel Islands presumably with a load of something to drop off, and she’ll be picking up stuff to take back with her when she leaves.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had a conducted tour around her predecessor, the Grima but I’ve not managed to set my foot on board Thora yet.

group of  people tourists rue des juifs granville manche normandy franceOne of the … “many” – ed … things that I have forgotten to mention is that yesterday on one of my walks I surprised a group of tourists being shown around the old town.

Today, there’s yet more of them. I encountered this party in the rue des Juifs admiring the architecture.

And so with all of these people around, I wonder what’s going on. I’m not used to crowds at all.

rainbow place d'armes granville manche normandy franceBack at the apartment after LIDL, I was treated to the most glorious sight of this magnificent rainbow just offshore.

A couple of my fellow residents were admiring it too, and just at that moment the heavens opened so I fled inside.

But that’s quite unusual for me, isn’t it? Usually the weather waits for me to leave and then soaks me all the way to the shops.

And talking of going all the way to the shops … “well, one of us is” – ed … I strode out there, strode all around the shop and then strode all the way back without stopping for a rest.

And so I’m not quite sure what’s going on. Maybe it’s with having lost this weight and maybe it’s with starting to go running again, but I’m feeling much more like it these days than I did before.

Up until (a rather late) lunch I cracked on with the dictaphone entries and by the time I stopped for my butty I had done 13 of them. Some of them were admittedly quite short but one or two of them weren’t.

After lunch I had a good play with my new toys and then attacked the web page updates. And by the time I was ready to go for my afternoon walk I’d amended 19 of them.

rainstorm out to see ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy franceMind you, I might have been ready to go for my walk, but I don’t think that the walk was ready to go for me.

There was a huge rainstorm going on out there that had totally enveloped the Ile de Chausey and knowing my luck, it would normally be heading in my general direction to have a go at me too.

But for some unaccountable reason it stayed put over there and treated the Ile de Chausey to a good dreanching.

waves crashing on rocks pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceThe wind has died down now. It’s merely gale force.

We still have the heavy seas rolling in off the Atlantic, although nothing like as impressive as the heavy rollers that we saw the day before yesterday.

They were nevertheless still crashing down with some kind of fury on the rocks down here at the foot of the Pointe du Roc. It looks as if this storm is here to stay.

Back at the apartment yet again, and this evening I busied myself making a huge load of hummus. Basically, its 50% chick peas, 25% sesame seed paste, and 25% everything else like chick pea liquid, olive oil, garlic, black pepper, sea salt, and all whizzed up into a purée in the whizzer.

Finally, add a pile of olives and some fenugreek, and whizz it just enough to break up the olives, not to totally liquidise them. And then stick it in little pots one of which went in the fridge for use and the rest went in the freezer.

And it’s wicked.

But beforehand I’d peeled the carrots that I’d bought the other day, diced them and put them on to boil with some ginger, coriander and bay leaves.

When I’d cleaned the whizzer after the hummus, I put the carrots in (taking out the bay leaves of course) with some of the liquid, added some coconut cream and then whizzed that up into a delicious carrot soup.

That’s in the fridge now and that’s going to be lunch for the next day or two, with the leftovers going in the freezer.

Tea was the rest of the curry from the other night and it was delicious too. Even better than the night that I cooked it.

red light out to sea channel islands granville manche normandy franceOn my evening walk this evening the sky was perfectly clear out to the north, and you could see for miles.

There was a red light out there on the horizon flashing occasionally. It’s probably a marker light on the Channel Islands but I took a photo of it anyway and enlarged it.

You can’t see too much on the photo but cropping it out and enhancing it a little, it’s either a multiple light, I’m picking up the reflection off the sea, or else it’s that the camera was shaking around.

Not shaking as much as the guy who I surprised though. He was muttering about this “lousy sh**ty weather” so I crept up behind him and said “i quite agree”.

I bet that he went home to change his underwear.

night donville les bains granville manche normandy franceIt was such a good night that I had a good mess around with the camera taking a few night shots.

Nothing particularly serious – just messing around to have a little fun and games while I was at it. I didn’t have the tripod with me, just the monopod, so the images aren’t anything like as sharp as they might be.

To see what the quality was like, I’d left the ISO setting fairly low and was using a very slow shutter speed.

night granville manche normandy franceThe view around the other side of the walls looking out across the town was pretty good too so I took a few photos of out there too.

What I’ll have to do is to wait for the wind to die down (if it ever does) and on a clear night like this, come out with the tripod. There were some good images that I took last year when i was practising.

And I managed my run too. I made it to my marker just about, and my lungs were bursting but I’ve got to push on and do somethign about my activity level.

Today I’ve done 110% of my daily activity and in the first week of November I’ve run for 26 minutes. I don’t think that I’d managed that much in total since my illness so things are looking up.

So it’s another late night and I’m listening to (and playing) music. I hadn’t realised just how bad that acoustic was until I started to play with this new one and I’m quite happy. But it got me going, I suppose and learning on a bad machine makes it so much more interesting and exciting to play on something much better.

So on that note, seeing as we are talking about music, I’ll leave you all alone.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france
thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france

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night brehal plage granville manche normandy francenight brehal plage granville manche normandy france


night place d'armes granville manche normandy francenight place d’armes granville manche normandy france


night granville manche normandy francenight granville manche normandy france


night granville manche normandy francenight granville manche normandy france


night granville manche normandy francenight granville manche normandy france