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Wednesday 17th November 2021 – HERE I ALL AM …

… not exactly sitting in a rainbow but sitting on the settee in my little room in the Dekenstraat in Leuven. It’s that time again.

After having a really bad night yet again, I was up and about fairly early and it didn’t take too long for me to sort myself out, make my sandwiches and coffee and do a little cleaning up (only a little) before I headed off towards the railway station.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Before I went too far, I wanted to check to see that the NIKON 1 J5 was working properly and the dull sky of the early morning was a good time to try.

At the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne overlooking the Fish Processing Plant. The plant was illuminated as the refrigerated lorries were loading up and I reckoned that if it would produce something reasonable out of this, there would be no need to nip home and fetch another camera.

And when I looked at it later, it’s come out much better than I expected. I’ve said before that it’s not that the camera is a bad camera, it’s that I’m pushing it to the limits of its capabilities.

baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The photo encouraged me to have a little tinker with the settings and try to push the camera on a little more.

Here’s a nice wide-angle photo of the northern part of the Baie de Mont St Michel. The light on Le Loup is quite clear, as if a little blurred (which is hardly a surprise in this light at this speed with a hand-held shot) and the street lights around the bay from St Pair to Carolles are quite clear too.

It seems to me that the repair that I’ve had done to the camera is working well enough and now I’m tempted to send away the old NIKON D5000 that has never worked properly since I dropped it on A CONCRETE FLOOR IN QUÉBEC

The steps down the Rampe du Monte à Regret are still closed so I had to walk all the way down the Rue des Juifs and the Rue Paul Poirier which adds a few minutes to my time. But in compensation, the climb up to the top of the hill was much easier than it was the last time I dragged a suitcase up here.

There were only one or two stops to catch my breath and in reality I suppose that I could have pushed on regardless had I tried.

gec alstom regiolis 84563 gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The train wasn’t in yet so I had to wait for about 20 minutes for it to arrive.

It was just a 6-car unit today and there weren’t all that many passengers on board. I had a pair of seats to myself and that enabled me to back up my computer in peace and quiet for a change.

There was even 15 minutes when I could have a comfortable little doze to make up for what I didn’t have during the night.

The train pulled into Gare Montparnasse on time and once more I tried the route all the way down the Rue du Départ to the metro entrance. It really is much quicker and easier than going down into the labyrinth and clambering up and down all these flights of steps.

There was only one person in the queue at the kiosk at the bottom of the steps at the Metro entrance so I thought that this would be the moment to buy another pile of tickets as I’m running low.

However the woman in front of me, a Spaniard, was having difficulty with her French and was there for ages trying to understand what the guy behind the window was trying to tell her.

Eventually I managed to be served and I dashed down onto e very crowded platform where I had to wait a few minutes until an equally-packed train came in. We all scrambled aboard and I was lucky enough to find a seat.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4551 PBA gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo November 2021At the Gare du Nord I was still earlier than I used to be despite the encounter at the ticket window.

Consequently, as you might be expecting, we had to wait for an age for our train. There was already one trainset standing at the platform, one of the TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt “Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam” trainsets, but it was too much to expect that this was going to be mine.

Our train was going to be a two-trainset unit and the rear portion arrived from Lille rather late and had to be cleaned and tidied before we could board it.

TGV INOUI 216 are TGV Reseau Duplex gare de lille flandres railway station lille France Eric Hall photo November 2021It goes without saying that I would be right down at the far end of the train. However, although it took me longer to walk right down there, it means that I have less distance to walk at Lille.

It’s one of the TGV Reseau Duplex trainsets, and so once again we are travelling in a hybrid train made up of two different types of trainset. That’s becoming more and more of a regular occurrence.

Although we were late setting out from the Gare du Nord, the train made up the time by the time we reached Lille Flandres railway station. That was good news for me because I wasn’t in the mood to run down the road.

And the walk to Lille Europe was easier than last time too.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4519 PBA gare de lille europe railway station lille France Eric Hall photo November 2021As I walked down the steps (the escalator wasn’t working) into the station at Lille Europe, the train for Brussels pulled in at the same time.

That’s not an issue because there’s a 20-minute wait while they uncouple the front trainset so there wasn’t any panic. The trainset that was left behind was another TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam trainset.

Our train set off on time and I had a nice relaxing journey reading a book on the laptop all the way to Brussels

We were a few minutes late arriving in Brussels so I had to run for my train to Leuven.

push me pull you gare du midi brussels belgium Eric Hall photo November 2021However I gave that up when I found that the escalator to the platform was out of order. I wasn’t up to running all the way up the stairs with my suitcase. Instead I went and waited for the next one.

That one was one of the pushme-pullyou trains that run between Eupen and Oostende and as usual, the locomotive was at the rear end pushing the train along.

It was only 10 minutes behind the one to Hasselt and Genk so I didn’t have to hang around too long and for a change at the Gare du Midi it wasn’t too cold and draughty standing on the platform.

class 18 electric locomotive gare de leuven railway station leuven belgium Eric Hall photo November 2021When we arrived at Leuven I had to hang a round for a couple of minutes to see what the locomotive was.

As I expected, it was one of the Class 18 electric locomotives behind (or in front of) which we travel most of the time. They provide most of the motive power to the long-distance Inter-City trains.

Once the train had pulled away I went to the supermarket at the back of the station for my drink and, for a change, my bread too. I’m not going to have time to go to the supermarket this evening so as long as I have my stuff for breakfast I’ll be fine.

cherry picker martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo November 2021Outside the railway station across the road in the Martelarenplein, there was a cherry picker parked up.

That can only mean one thing – and that is that the Christmas decorations will be going up any moment soon. It’s that time of year already.

The walk down to my little room was easier than it has been of late, and as I arrived I bumped into the centre manager. We had a little chat. After all, it’s been a few months since I’ve seen him last.

After a little doze I had a shower and washed my clothes and then went out to meet Alison. We went back to her house for falafel and chips, and a nice long chat..

Now I’m back here and I’m off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and I’m exhausted as you might expect. A good sleep will do me good and hopefully I’ll be fighting fit for my appointment.

And an early trip out to buy a breadknife as there isn’t one here and I’ll be struggling to cut the loaf that I had bought.

Tuesday 16th November 2021 – LAST NIGHT WAS A …

… much better night, in that I actually managed to go to sleep.

Mind you, it was rather late when I went to bed. I was downloading something off the internet that took far, far longer than I expected and I ended up having to loiter around until it finished. I didn’t want to abandon the proceedings half-way through as I’d probably forget what I was doing.

There was nevertheless plenty of time for me to go for a wander around during the night. I was round at someone’s house. Miss Stoke-on-Trent was there with her father. He had a Volvo but an indicator was out and he couldn’t buy a bulb for it. I had a look at the list of bulbs and it was a current bulb so there was no reason why he couldn’t. We tried a couple of places but couldn’t get one. In the end even though I was going to be late for my bus back from Wheelock I practised by trying to wedge some kind of bulb in somehow. To my surprise it actually worked. I had to get all of my things together and when I went to open the car to take my bag out this large dog in the back tried to come out. I had to lecture this dog firmly to stay put to prepare all my things. I had to go down to the end of the road to catch the bus but it was late now. I has hoping that he would offer to run me back to Crewe and if he did would he bring Miss Stoke-on-Trent with him? That’s a few times now just recently that she’s put in an appearance during the night and I wonder why.

Some time later I was with some guy in a block of flats near the airport watching planes take off, chatting about the aeroplanes. Someone was saying that the last flying Caravelle goes over late at night from here. Of course I knew it and had been out to see it a couple of times at night. Just at that moment a light aeroplane flew past, a tiny thing. He came in to land but his approach was so steep. The guy said “he clipped the top of my balcony the other week doing this”. As he came into tland on the runway he was miles short because of his steep approach and hit a red and white Austin 1100 and was turned upside-down on his top wing. I leant over the balcony to look. The driver of this car ran over and went to look at the aeroplane. I shouted down “is everything OK?”. He shouted “no, phone for an ambulance. I picked up the phone and went to dial 999. By this time there were crowds of people all around this. I couldn’t hear a thing. They were all crowding me, all trying to find out what was happening. I was dialling 999 and I couldn’t hear anyone on the phone because of the noise. I had to push people out of the way and have them keep quiet. It was like a nightmare.

Leaving the bed at 07:30 was something of a struggle after all of this. I’ve felt much better even after 4 hours sleep than I did last night after 6.5 hours sleep.

After the medication I Had a look at my mails and messages and then set about revising my Welsh from last week (once I found my paper with the notes on it) and preparing the lesson for today but regrettably, I … errr … dozed off for 10 minutes instead.

The lesson itself passed quite well and I even managed not to fall asleep either. But regrettably I finished my last fruit bun. I shall have to make some more on Sunday after I return.

After lunch I had a few things to do which resulted in uncovering yet another batch of image files that I had overlooked. Undoubtedly all duplicates because they had been on a portable disk brive so I must have done a back-up at some point a long time ago.

Well, not all that long ago because there was almost … errr … 450GB of them. But moving them over to where I can merge them in had created all that space on my back-up drive which probably means that i’ll be able to do another back-up one of these days.

And if I keep on uncovering files like this, I’ll soon end up with a new slimline version of my computer and all of its assorted drives.

boat offshore beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual there was the afternoon walk around the headland to clear out all of the cobwebs.

At the end of the car park I could look down onto the beach and see what was happening down below.

And the answer was “not a lot” because

  1. There was not an awful lot of beach to be on
  2. There was no-one down there on whatever little beach there was.


fishermen in speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021If you had a close look at the previous photo you would have seen a speedboat of some type or other over to the left.

But this isn’t it. There were three or four of them out there and this was one of the other ones that went roaring past where I was standing.

Judging by the looks of things, they were fishermen. They had all of their gear in the rear, including their fishing rods in the upright position.

Why they would need a boat like this and why they would want to move at this speed I really don’t know because this is the kind of thing that would drive away all of the fish for miles around.

boats offshore baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was a cabin cruiser out there too, anchored out by the marker buoy that se saw the other day.

One of the speedboats came along to join it, something that must have upset the fishermen, if that’s who they were, in the cabin cruiser, when the speedboat turned up at full speed.

There were several other boats in the distance too but I couldn’t see who they were or what they were doing. There was quite a sea-fog today rolling in with the wind that was obscuring almost everything that’s out there.

evening sky baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further on along the path towards the lighthouse I could see the sky doing some interesting things out towards the Brittany coast.

When I arrived at the end of the headland I could see that the mist and cloud had come right down to sea level and it was not possible to see anything at all out there.

But there was another nice gap in the clouds and although the setting sun wasn’t shining through it today, someone was having a lovely evening sunset out there on the other side of the clouds.

Of course, as we all know, “red sky at night means St Malo is on fire”.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Arounf the corner in the Baie de Mont St Michel the sky was rather clearer.

There was a queue of boats, one of which was this yacht, loitering around just offshore around by Le Loup, the light on the rock by the entrance to the harbour.

As to why they were waiting, I don’t know the answer to that because judging by how far in the tide was right now, the harbour gates would have been open for a while and anyone could have gone back in had they wished.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021One thing that I did say previously was that I wouldn’t feature the chantier naval and the portable boat lift unless there was a change in situation there.

While I was out yesterday I noticed that there was something going on over there but with only having theF1.8 18.5MM LENS on the NIKON 1 J5 I couldn’t take photo that was clear enough.

Today though while I was right over there I didn’t have the same issues. But as you can see, we now have a van, a trainer and a cherry picker down there next to the portable boat lift, so it looks as if repairs are now well under way.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There wasn’t really much else going on over there so I had a look over at the ferry terminal.

Moored over there this afternoon is one of the Joly France boats. There’s no step in the stern and the windows are in “landscape” format so by that we gather that it’s the older one of the two.

As for the other Joly France boat and the very new Belle France, they are moored up together in the inner harbour and don’t look as if they will be going out to sea any time soon

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Also not going out to sea any time soon are some of the trawlers that hang around the port.

There’s a handful of them that came in to port a short while ago and are over there unloading at the fish processing plant.

L’Omerta is still over there looking as if she hasn’t moved for quite a while. And she seems to have acquired a tender – or, at least, there’s one tied up to her at this side.

light aeroplane 45AHB boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Seeing as it’s been a while since I’ve seen anything go flying by, I thought that I’d take a photo of this aeroplane as it went by overhead.

It’s another one of the light aircraft whose registration number isn’t in the series to which I have access so I can’t say very much about it.

Just as I was about to cross the road I was almost run down by one of my neighbours driving by so we had a chat, and then I came back for my coffee and to carry on where I left off with my work.

Tea tonight was the rest of the curry and it was just as nice as last night. Now I’m off to bed as I have an early start in the morning and a train to catch.

Leuven here I come.

Monday 15th November 2021 – NOW THAT REALLY WAS …

… a bad night. Had it not been for the fact that there was something on the dictaphone I would have said that I didn’t go to sleep at all. It certainly didn’t seem like it at all.

But during the night I was wandering around Crewe at the back of Delamere Street and Market Street. There was an area of houses that had been condemned and the roofs were off and everything like that. One had been a bar and one a café. I’d gone there with my desktop computer and I’d set myself up in there, doing some work as well as having a little sleep on the bench that was there. After a while I went off to do something quick but when I returned this place was pretty busy. It was advertised as a bar but it was still open. There were some people sitting on the bench where I’d been sitting and working so I had to have them unplug my computer and pass it over to me. They weren’t very happy and neither was I. It was a right grumpy situation there at that bench where I was.

The alarm didn’t go off with its usual serenade this morning at 06:00 and I don’t know why, but as I was awake anyway it didn’t make much difference.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then set about dealing with the radio programme that I needed to prepare.

There weren’t any records set today though because there was a continual series of interruptions, mostly to do with the radio interview that I did on Friday night. And I do have to say that in the time it took me to sort out everything, including yesterday’s work, I could have made the programme myself and had it up and running ready to go.

While I was listening to the finished product and the programme that will be broadcast this weekend I was having a play around with the new ZOOM H8.

And now I seem to have somehow enabled it to record in stereo with one microphone, and now I can’t remember how I did it and can’t return it to mono. I’m going to have to learn so much more about this machine, I reckon.

After lunch I went and had a shower and then prepared myself to go to the physiotherapist.

fishing boats waiting to go into port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down to the corner of the city walls I went where I could see what was going on down in the Harbour.

And by the looks of things, it seems to me that the gates of the inner harbour are about to open. That’s judging by all of the fishing boats coming into the outer harbour right now.

There will be plenty more of them coming in within the next few minutes but I’m not going to be here to watch them because I’m running rather late as it is. I’ll probably catch them on the way back.

boats freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further on down the hill I paused at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a lorry loaded with a couple of shrink-wrapped boats pull up on the quayside. When I looked this afternoon I could see that the boats are now down there waiting to be picked up.

Neither of the two Jersey freighters has been in today, and they’ll need to come in soon because there’s quite a pile of builders’ material building up down there too and they’ll be struggling to get everything on board if it builds up like this.

The walk through town and up the hill was one of the easiest that I’ve had for a while. I didn’t stop at all and I wasn’t in as much distress as I have been just recently by the time that I reached the physiotherapist’s.

Today she had me doing a few more kinetic exercises and then a good 15 minutes on this tilting platform thing.

drains fitted abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I came back by the Parc du Val es Fleurs to see how they were doing with the engineering work.

Last time we came this way we’d seen them doing something with a load of drainage pipes. They now seem to have laid them and buried them in because there are now some drainage access points that have been installed.

This gives you some idea of how high they are going to be building up the road surface. And you can also see the electric conduit that they have fitted. It looks as if we are going to be having some street lights down here too.

workmen working on abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little bit further on I could hear the sound of a cement mixer.

From where I was standing I couldn’t actually see what was happening but there definitely was a cement mixer working away by where they were standing.

Now that winter is arriving, it won’t be possible for me to sneak down there in the evening and spy out the land because by the time that they will have knocked off it will be far too dark to see anything.

When I come back on Saturday, I’ll have too much stuff with me to come back this way.

sports equipment parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing last time that we were down here was the workmen installing some sports equipment.

By the looks of things it’s all here now, installed and ready to use. And according to a notice at the side, there’s even an application that one can download to work out some kind of exercise routine.

Had I not just come from having a go on the cross trainer in the physiotherapist’s, I might have bbeen tempted to have had a little play on the one here myself.

concrete shuttering abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Whatever those guys were doing with e cement mixer the higher up the track, it must have been something to do with this.

This looks like another load of concrete shuttering that they are installing on the edge of the track. There was someone there working on it so I had to wait until he turned his back before I could take a photograph.

And how I wish that they would show some initiative and imagination and use something else. But on that depressing note, I headed off down the street towards the town

workmen parc des docteurs lanos abandoned railway Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at what used to be the Parc des Docteurs Lanos or whatever it is called, the work is still continuing.

And they are really churning it up into a right quagmire. It seems to be the material store and as I watched, an engine with some kind of fork lift attachment came by and picked up a pallet of kerbstones.

He made quite a difficult task of it too, with two wheels off the ground at one time.

With all of this going on here, I imagine that this will be the very last area to be completed, whenever that might be.

concrete reinforcement matting rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But this across the road is absolutely awful, isn’t it?

You can see that all of the area over there, except for some very small parts of the surface, are covered in concrete reinforcement matting. This probably means that they will be pouring concrete all over all of it.

If we are lucky, the small areas that are not going to be concreted might well be reserved for planting trees. That will at least be something, I suppose, but it’s nowhere near enough greenery for my liking.

workmen working on roof rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Now that the border of the road on the left-hand side is fully concreted, I walked along there on my way down the Rue du Boscq.

Half-way down I came across some more workmen. With a rather large cherry-picker or skyjack or whatever it is, they are carrying out some work on the roof of this building down here.

But the machine that they have is a useful piece of equipment and I would have loved to have had something like this when I was down on my farm. I could have had hours of endless fun with this.

concrete reinforcement matting tactile pavement rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the far end there is yet more concrete planned.

They’ve filled all of this in with concrete reinforcement matting so they will be pouring concrete down there any day now.

But you can also see the slab of tactile pavement that has already been installed. Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its previous guises will recall that I once met the girl who worked for the RNIB whose claim to fame is that she was the person who invented tactile pavement.

At one time I could tell you exactly how many times of tactile pavement there were and what the different shapes indicated, but that’s something that has long gone out of my head.

boats freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The way back up the hill towards home was much better than it was a few weeks ago.

Although I did stop halfway up, it wasn’t to catch my breath but to take a photo of the freight on the quayside, totally forgetting that I’d taken the same photo earlier.

Something else that I forgot when I arrived back home was to go and take a photo of the beach at the Rue du Nord. I went straight back home instead. And I suppose that you are grateful for that.

Back here I had a coffee and there were a few things to do but after the events of last night, I ended up drifting off into the Land of Nod for about 10 minutes. And that makes a change from a few months ago when it was well over an hour, and sometimes even two hours.

Tea tonight was a curry made up of everything lying around in the fridge. And there was enough for two nights too, which is good news because it means that I don’t have to cook very much tomorrow.

And now I’m off to bed. I have my Welsh class tomorrow so I need to be at my best. I’m hoping that tonight I might actually go to sleep.

Sunday 14th November 2021 – ONE OF THE BEST …

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… pizzas that I have ever made.

And one of the best that I have ever eaten too. It really was delicious. I just wish that I knew what the trick was to make the vegetables go crispy instead of soggy.

Liz recommends that I gril them slightly before using them on the pizza but that didn’t seem to bring me mush success. Maybe I ought to try it again and persevere until I get it right. I dunno.

Anyway, after yesterday’s issues I’m surprised that I went to sleep last night. But sleep I did, right up to 11:00 here and there.

Mind you I did go off on several voyages during the night, nothing really relating to the events of yesterday but it was definitely a restless night. There was something last night about a group of us having to explain or someone suggested that we explain the difference between the rules between lacrosse and some other sport I can’t remember now, another game that’s descended from the native Americans of North America.

Later on it was the village fête at Audlem. There was music and a procession and exhibitions and everything like that so I went down. Of course there are loads of people in Audlem whom I know and I ended up chatting to these 2 girls, one of them whom I knew really well and they were both about 15 or 16. She was flirting with me absolutely outrageously and I thought to myself “what’s going on here?”. We were talking for ages then the procession started to come past. There was a steam-powered fire engine pulled by horses that was the first thing. I said “I’d better go and take a photo of this” and went to fetch my camera. She came along too. We were chatting and the procession went into the church so we went in and everything was laid out for a meal. She said “we may as well sit down” so we went to find a table. I noticed that she was very careful to pick two seats where I wouldn’t be sitting next to her, just opposite her. I thought “this is rather strange from 5 minutes ago”. We sat down. This woman looked at me as if I had to introduce myself so I said “hello, I’m Eric. I’m the guy who drives the bus that takes …” and I couldn’t think of this girl’s name no matter how hard I tried. The girl said “oh yes, he has a memory like this so I explained about my road accident. It was terribly embarrassing that I could not remember her name at all. But it was the way that she was flirting with me back at the town square. I thought that there was something really strange happening here. I’m not used to this behaviour, certainly not in real life. And I wish that I knew who she was too.

Something had happened and I wasn’t living at home any more, living with a large family. It wasn’t very convenient at all. I was having to share a bedroom with 2 small girls. They were going to have a party last night and there were crowds of people there. One girl told me that I wasn’t in someone’s very good books because I’d attacked him with a mop and the mop happened to be wet and he’d soaked his trousers. I went up to try to dress for this party. First of all I went into the wrong room where there was a little girl still in bed. We had a talk, a laugh and a joke then I went into the room where I was sleeping and I couldn’t find my clothes. Eventually, after much looking about, I came upon them in a white set of chest of drawers like I had in Crewe but it was hidden behind a TV, something like that. While I was getting them my father came in and said that I was going to have to leave. I asked why. He replied “it’s very inconvenient as you’ll soon find out, cramped and everything like that”. Whilst I thought that it was the case that everyone was realy cramped the conditions back where I was supposed to be living hadn’t improved any. He said “you can leave right after this party”. I said “that’s impossible” because I had all my clothes and everything here and I can’t leave just like that in the middle of the night.

I was with a girl – it was either with the girl whom I’d met in Brussels or my friend from the Scottish borders, I can’t remember who now. I was trying to make the beds. This was difficult for me because we were back in the old days of bedspreads, stuff like that, She came upstairs to see what I was doing and she helped me do the beds. We had them done in no time, with me shaking the blankets out of the window, looking at the cats playing around outside and she came to look at them too. I said “it’s much easier making the beds with two of us, isn’t it?”. “Yes” she replied and talked about her mother, how her mother would make them. I said about mine and how she was really difficult and didn’t have much of a clue about everything. She said that there was this Nicholson guy and I remembered that her Family name was Nicholson (which it isn’t). He worked in tobacco but spent much of his time asleep when he came home from work. I don’t know how he coped with his day job if he was asleep like he was when he was at home.

There was more to the night than this but as you are probably having your tea right now I’ll spare you the gory details. But it wasn’t anything to do with the events of yesterday morning.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then set about pairing up the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. And typing this out reminds me that I didn’t choose a speech for my guest. There will now be a short intermission while I deal with that.

So now that I’ve sorted out Louis de Funès, I went for a nice brunch – toast and porridge with plenty of coffee. I do quite alright for myself here as far as food goes.

Once lunch was out of the way I had some work to do. That’s right – me working on a Sunday! Would you believe it?

On Friday night I interviewed that girl from Greenland and I’d intended to deal with the recording yesterday. However, the events of the morning got in my way.

What I did was to separate the two tracks, mine and the interviewee’s, cut out the bleeding over between the mikes (I haven’t had time yet to look at that helpful tutorial you sent me, Grahame), diminish the volume on my track and then cut out any irrelevances from the interview

When that was done I sent them off to the girl who wanted me to do the interview along with the photos that I had taken.

What she can do now is to prepare her own track to ask the questions that I asked as well as any questions that she might want to ask to interject into the monologue of the interviewee.

When I interview someone, I don’t like to interrupt them when they are in full flow. I let them carry on, wait until I’m back home to ask the questions to break up the monologue, and edit them into the recording at the correct place.

Once I’d done that it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021First stop was of course the wall at the end of the car park and the beach down below.

The tide wasn’t actually all the way in this afternoon. There was still a little bit of beach to be on but I couldn’t see anyone down there taking advantage of it.

That’s hardly a surprise because we are now well into the grip of autumn. It wasn’t as cold as it might be at this time of year but it was a real November day with a strong wind blowing that would blow the cobwebs away from the corners of your mind.

yacht ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was there looking over the wall I was also looking out at sea to see what was going on in the bay.

There was something white moving around just off the coast of the Ile de Chausey so I took a photograph of it to examine at my leisure back home later.

Its shape suggested to me that it was a sail, a sail of a yacht, and when I enlarged and enhanced it, I could see that that was the case. He was the only one out there too.

having photographed the object I headed off down the path. There weren’t too many other people down there so it was quite a comfortable walk.

zodiac marker light baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Halfway along the path I noticed that there was somethign happening just offshore.

There’s some kind of marker here sitting on a big lump of rock and there were two guys with a zodiac right by it. I’m not sure what they were doing but they didn’t look like fishermen.

With nothing else going on, I waited for a couple of minutes to see whether they would tie up their zodiac and then shin up the ladder but it took them so long to sort out their equipment that I was distracted elsewhere and that was that.

tora tora tora sun shining through clouds baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As I have said before … “and on may occasions too” – ed … one thing about going out for a walk at this time of day at this time of the year is the marvellous effects that are sometimes produced by the sunlight.

Once again, we have another TORA TORA TORA effect as the sunlight streams through a gap in the clouds and onto the surface of the sea.

However I’m not going to hang about too long. That looks like a tremendous storm in the background and the wind is blowing it my way. The sooner that I go back for my coffee, the better.

brittany coast yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But I shan’t be going back home quite yet.

As I was walking down the path and over the car park I could see all of these yachts out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

The light at the moment is producing some really spectacular effects and it’s probably the best light that I’ve seen for a while. The colours that it’s creating are superb.

Looking closer at the image, I don’t think that I’ve ever seen the wind turbines at the foot of the bay stand out so clearly as they were doing this afternoon.

cancale brittany boat in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the end of the headland there was a couple of people sitting on the bench by the old stone cabin.

However I ignored them today because for once we had some kind of activity going on out there at sea right now.

There’s some kind of boat heading off towards the brittany coast and the town of Cancale but I can’t tell what kind of boat it is.

Even enlarging and enhancing the image didn’t tell me all that much. There are a couple of crane-like objects on the back but that’s all that I could say.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way back home I went past the chantier naval as usual but now that we know the score after my foray down to the port office yesterday, I shan’t be featuring it until there’s some kind of activity taking place at the yard.

Instead, I concentrated on L’Omerta instead, still tied up at the wharf underneath the Fish Processing Plant. It looks as if she’s moved in there permanently now.

Back here I made a coffee and then did some work on cutting up a couple of digital recordings of albums that I had tracked down on the internet over the past few weeks. I’ve pretty-much digitalised my entire collection now but some tracks are quite badly damaged and I’ve been hunting down replacements.

Now that I’ve had my pizza I’m planning on going to bed. I’m up early radioing tomorrow and I have my physiotherapy in the afternoon so I’m going to be having a busy day. An early night and nice deep sleep will do me some good.

Friday 12th November 2021 – TORA TORA TORA!

tora tora tora sunlight through clouds pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021One of the many things that I like about this time of year is the effects tha the sun can produce when it’s low in the sky.

Particularly on days when there is heavy cloud and there are these small gaps through which the sun, low in the sky, can send its beams radiating out into the sea.

Here on the edge of the cliffs we have no obstruction to our view and can see for miles, so it’s really a grandtand seat here to see the sort of effect that so inspired the Japanese naval Air Force when they set out that morning to attack Pearl Harbour

spotlight of the gods brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And sometimes we have an effect that is even more spectacular, like this one seen from the other side of the headland.

This one really is a spotlight of the Gods and I’d love to know what it was illuminating over there on the Brittany coast. it must have been just like on the stage of a theatre during a performance.

It isn’t every day that a photo opportunity such as this presents itself and strangely, I was the only person who seemed to be interested in watching it. These days most people seem to be oblivious of the free shows that Nature puts on for them.

leoma mediatheque Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021If you had read these pages earlier, you might have been wondering why the entry was so short last night.

The answer was that I had been out radioing until quite late. I’d been to see a girl called Leoma who was performing at the local Mediatheque.

She was born in Paamiut, in the south of Greenland, and had come here to tell a few native Greenlandic tales for a small audience in order to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the twinning of Granville with the town of Uummannaq in northern Greenland.

For once in my life I must have had a reasonable night because the entry (there was only one) on the dictaphone was at 07:15 – just 15 minutes before the alarm rang. Nothing whatever at 02:00 or 03:30 or whatever like there has been quite recently.

Last night they had doled out the soup on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and it was just sitting there going cold while there was something going on. I heard somehow that there had been a record number of complaints about something so I mentioned it to one or two people. One of my disabled friends from University was there. We were chatting about the company. I said last year that i’d come north with a different company and it wasn’t the same at all hence I’m back. He said that it was the same for him and several other people whom he knew. I said that at least I reached destinations differently last year. Then our ship pulled into a port. I disembarked and so did a lot of other people, took my camera with me and went to photograph it. There was a big aeroplane coming in to land that flew past overhead. There was a church and the hotel. I couldn’t fit the hotel in the frame so i went to photograph the church first but everyone kept getting in my way. Then I couldn’t get the camera to work. When I did, I found that I didn’t have the shot that I wanted so I had to go somewhere else to take the shot. I walked past a shop, a toy shop, and there were a couple of girls dancing, being very happy. I went to take the photo but a couple of other people got in my way so I couldn’t. When finally I could, I pressed the shutter but the camera didn’t click. I was wondering “have I taken this photo or not? How am I going to be able to check?”.

When the alarm did go off I struggled once more out of bed and went for my medication.

Afterwards, having checked my mails and messages and transcribed the dictaphone notes, I set out to perform the task that I had promised yesterday to undertake – to wit find the spare battery and battery chargers for the NIKON 1 J5.

Finding the mains charger was easy – it was plugged into a plugboard in the dining room. But the USB charger and battery was something else completely.

This led to a sorting-out and filing of a pile of papers, making up my suitcase for Belgium next week, photocopying a pile of medical receipts, a discovery of several other missing bits and pieces (which usually happens at these moments) and SHOCK! HORROR! I actually found what I’d been looking for.

Mind you, it had taken long enough but even so, finding something on the day that I set out to do so must be something of a record.

After lunch I had another go at attacking the photos from Greenland 2019. It’s been quite a while since I’ve attacked that, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

It’s not that I’m actually out of the woods with this backlog of arrears, I’ve simply moved into different woods.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Of course there has to be the usual break while I go for my afternoon walk today.

First place to visit is the beach down below the car park – not actually visit the beach of course because I can’t manage the stairs these days – but to look down upon it from above.

There wasn’t anyone down there that I could see today, which was hardly a surprise because after the balmy day that we had yesterday, winter and the wind are back with a vengeance.

There weren’t too many people around on the footpath this afternoon either which was goon news for me. I could walk around in peace and tranquiliity without running much risk of catching some kind of infectious disease.

cabanon vauban people sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There were a few people though braving it out, sitting on the bench down at the end of the Pointe du Roc.

Not that there was very much to see today because the sun, being so low in the sky, was shining right into the surface of the sea and if there was something out there it was impossible to see it.

But take a look at the sea out there. It’s not as rough as it was the other day but even so there’s quite a storm whipping up the waves somewhere further out at sea.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021However, what the storm was producing at the blunt end was something of a damp squib.

Having left behind the ladies on the ledge I set off along the path to see how the waves were doing as they broke on the sea wall around the corner.

However I needn’t have been so impatient because there wasn’t all that much to see. I wasn’t expecting them to go right over the sea wall but I was expecting to see someting rather more lively than this. And this wave was the best of the bunch too.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile, down in the chantier naval there’s something going on at the portable boat lift.

They haven’t just been content to take off the wheels, they have the stub axles off too. This looks as if it’s going to be quite a long job to fix whatever is the problem with it.

Meanwhile, they’ve corralled it off with the blocks that they use for the boats to settle in while they are being worked on. Not that it’s going to be keeping too many people away from the scene, although it might prevent a car driving into it at the dead of night.

yachts baie de mont st michel crane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further along at the ferry terminal, I see that they have once more left the crane to its own devices fully-extended while they have gone off to do something else.

Things like this makes me wonder how long it will be before this is out of service for repair, and who they will end up blaming for the faulty seals.

But it’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good. I mentioned the wind earlier and there are a couple of yachts out there taking full advantage of it.

Back here I had a shower then a coffee and then checked my radio equipment ready for this evening.

leoma mediatheque Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the Mediatheque I found, to my dismay, that the girl running the show on whose behalf I was going there for THE RADIO hadn’t reserved me a place and it was a sell-out.

Nevertheless I managed to blag my way in and listen to her telling a few animated traditional stories from Greenland, stories that I hadn’t heard before, surrounded by her collection of Qulliks

Although I took a few photos from my very cramped and uncomfortable position, it was impossible for me to record it, despite doing my best.

leoma mediatheque Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021At the end of the show I door-stepped her and after a little chat she agreed to be interviewed by the radio.

We agreed to meet at the Archipel Theatre where there was an exhibition of paintings by an American artist who had visited Uummannaq to paint the town and its scenery

There were plenty of people around there because they were having some kind of party – a vernissage, although it’s the first time that I’ve ever heard of a vernissage given by a dead artist – so I had to hunt around for a quiet room and ended up in the refectory.

leoma mediatheque Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Of course, all of these entertainers have their fans and so I had to hang around for her while she disentangled herself from her admirers.

Eventually she came over and we went off for our chat.

Although she was born in Greenland, her family are French. Her grandfather had visited Greenland quite often and ended up settling there. She was born while her parents were visiting him.

She didn’t stay there long after she was born but in Greenland there’s a droit de sol – nationality is accorded to those who were born there but they have to be present at 18 years old to claim it so she returned. Unfortunately, she’d never visited Uummannaq so that mean that most of my questions ended up in the bin. In fact, she’s never been to the north of Greenland.

In the end we chatted about life in Greenland, which was rather difficult seeing as she hadn’t grown up there, so talking about youth and education and the like was clearly going to be difficult.

Having visited Greenland as often as I have (which is three times more than most people on the planet) I had a good idea of where things differ than mainland Europe and what might be of interest

leoma mediatheque Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021One thing that surprised me (well, it didn’t because I know all about this, although I wasn’t expecting it) was that she was subconsciously aware of the differences between the more urban (if anything in Greenland can be said to be urban) southern part of the country and the more rural and traditional north of the country.

It was very much a case of “us and them”.

She didn’t seem to be concerned as much as I would have expected about the environment either. For her it was a case of exploiting the opportunities that the melting ice-cap had given then in the search for new raw materials to make the country economically self-sufficient, rather than the destructive effect that it will have on the traditional Inuit lifestyle in the north.

That was probably the strongest “us and them” part of the interview and, to be honest, it was an attitude that rather dismayed me. Most of the people whom I know in Greenland are Inuit from the North and their response would have been completely different.

For that reason, it wasn’t a very good interview from the point of view of Uummannaq.

he said that she could spare 5 minutes but we were there for half an hour talking about Greenland, and we would have been there longer had she had anything to say about Uummannaq.

By the time that I returned home it was late to to listen to a group whom I’d been invited to see so I just threw a quick tea together – pasta and veg tossed in a garlic, oil and pepper sauce with grated vegan cheese.

Now I’m off to bed and I’ll add the photos in tomorrow. No big shopping tomorrow as I’m off in the middle of next week. I’ll just pop into town for some basic supplies instead.

Thursday 11th November 2021 – I THOUGHT THAT I’D …

crack in Caliburn's windscreen place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… I’d show you the crack in Caliburn’s windscreen.

According to the examiner at the controle technique this crack is in the field of view of the driver. It certainly is from where I’m standing taking this photo, but remember in Caliburn I’m sitting about a foot higher up from here so it’s nothing like in my field of view from the driver’s seat.

And that’s probably why, for every year since 2016 up until this one, nothing has ever been said about it.

There have been issues like this before. I’ve owned several Transits in the past and on one occasion I was stopped by a policeman for “overtaking on a blind bend”. It was certainly a blind bend for him low down in a Rover 2.6 but up in the driving seat of my Transit you could clearly see the road over the top of the hedge.

Still, not much I can do about it. It does really need replacing so I may as well do it to keep him happy

It does however remind me of the time that a nasty crack appeared on the wall of 10 Downing Street. But the police painted it over before Boris Johnson could read it.

This morning I had quite a fight to leave my bed. And when you see the notes that I transcribed off the dictaphone you’ll understand why.

We were at a holiday camp, a group of us, last night. There had been something going on about some kind of play or something like that and we were all going to have a meeting. We’d booked the place for a couple of days but the previous day while we were there the guy in charge went missing. Next morning there were all kinds of rumours flying around. Some girl came over to our chalet and just walked straight in – she didn’t knock or wait at the door or anything. She said “did you hear the news? So-and-so has been to see the authors of the play and started work already”. I replied “I knew that he had gone yesterday to do this but I want to stress that I knew that he had gone yesterday, but no that I knew yesterday that he had gone”. She replied “all the party is breaking up now and people are going home”. I said “we’re here for another day yet”. It was pouring down with rain, a real wet day. She said something like “you’ll be on your own here. You know that, don’t you?”. I answered “it probably suits me fine to be on my own like that”.

Later on I was with some young girl of mixed race with curly hair. I’d bumped into her 4 or 5 times in one day in London once and since then I’d been bumping into her every now and again. I’d actually started to chat to her because I thought she was nice. She was working in an office somewhere. One morning she’s gone in late to the office and gone to hang up her coat. Seeing as there were 4 or 5 coats in there already she decided not to and to hang it somewhere else. Then she went to see her supervisor to say that she had to leave in the afternoon. The Supervisor said that she couldn’t. The manager said that she had an exam to take in connection with her qualifications so that was going to be OK. Later on that afternoon I was with someone else when this girl walked past me and went down a side street that was quite steep. When she was halfway down she beckoned to me and made a gesture something like “when I’m at the bottom, tell him” – and I couldn’t see to whom she was pointing – “to come down”. I thought to myself “perhaps I ought to go down and have some interpretation of this. Wouldn’t it be a good idea,”. So I asked my friend “do you think that I ought to go down and see what she wants?”. My friend said “no, I don’t think she wants us and you’ll be very lucky if you see her again”. I replied “I’ve seen her so often just recently that I’m sure that there will be more to it”. I had a feeling that there was something nefarious going on, that she was either going to do a robbery or a hold-up or something. Everything about this seemed really suspicious, even not hanging up her coat with the other people looked suspicious to me.

There was something else about this girl as well, something to do with old-time radio. There was an old machine that was available. I’d gone to check the plugs in my room but the centre-piece of the plug where you plugged in the appliance was loose. I told my father and showed it to him. My idea was persuade him to let me have this radio so that I could listen to this girl. We found a few grub-screws but they weren’t the correct ones. They were all screws with broken heads that we’d used in carpentry or something. he said that he’d get round to it. Then he said to one of my sisters “isn’t one of you girls going to start putting a bolt across on your room now?”. One of them replied “there’s this thing, this machine that they say we can travel all around the world from our bedroom in 24 hours. Why would anyone want to do that?”. My immediate response was “why wouldn’t anyone want to do that?”. This started to lead to a discussion between my father and my sister. In the meantime I thought to myself “I’m trying to get hold of him to get him on his own so that I can ask about this radio so that I can get on and listen to this girl but at this rate I’m never ever going to do this. There were just so many distractions again”.

There was another thing about entertainment on board a ship and this girl was in charge of it. I was keen to sign up for the entertainment and everyone was surprised but it was a chance to talk to this girl. Someone said “she won’t be interested in you. She’s a professional hostess and has thousands of people every week whom she sees”. I replied “yes, but you live for the moment and you never know what the future holds.

So that’s three times that this girl put in an appearance last night – with me stepping back not exactly into the same place where I left it but pretty close to it with the same people showing up. There’s definitely something going on right now that I can’t explain.

A little later there was a group of us walking somewhere. We were discussing my dreams and the teacher said that that’s a fascinating subject and wished that she could have a copy. I said “I’ll give you a copy if you like. I write them down”. She seemed to be quite keen at first and then she started to make excuses “I don’t have my computer here” and a few other things like that. I replied “if you really want them you can have them. It’s not a big problem for me”. We went past a house and there was a woman outside. Someone pointed to some footsteps on the floor. The woman said “that’s my son and his football boots”. She had a look in the car and said “you can see where he’s sat when he’s come home and where he’s been looking for his stuff – first turning his head that way and then another way”. This woman rang a bell with me as she had some old cars. I asked where her old cars were. She replied “the woman who lived here has moved away”. I said “I know that she’s gone and taken some cars with her but I’m sure that you had a few old ones”. She pointed to an Austin A35 up by the hedge against the road and there was another one further down in the garden at the bottom. There was something else that I couldn’t recognise. She was talking about these cars and I said “I’m sure you had much more than this at one time”.

So is it any wonder that leaving the bed was rather problematic.

Having put the spare battery on charge last night, it goes without saying that Caliburn started fine this morning. We went to Aldi and while they had plenty of stuff in and plenty of choice, they didn’t have much of what I wanted. And watching girls probably not yet in their 20s dragging four tiny kids around the shop made me realise that this really is rock-bottom shopping.

Not that I’m elitist or anything like that but I’ll probably end up back shopping in Lidl.

Back here I had a coffee and a fruit bun and then attacked the dictaphone notes. And I don’t know what happened today but I had a really good shift and actually finished all of them and updated every one of the journal entries with the missing entries.

And apart from the family and Nerina, I had loads of exciting visitors. Miss Stoke on Trent was there a few time as was Percy Penguin, who doesn’t feature in these pages half as often as she deserves.

TOTGA showed her face too as well as some other people who flit in and out but one surprising omission was Castor. She didn’t turn up at all and I’d swap any appearance of anyone else in my nocturnal voyages for a visit from her.

Something really strange happened on that boat that night and I wish that I knew what it was.

Meanwhile back at the ra … errr … apartment I went for lunch with my nice new bread and then went outside for half an hour to tidy Caliburn a little and to find the screws to reassemble the door panel. I eventually tracked them down and now he’s looking so much better.

However, I wish that I knew where the spring clip that secures the window winder onto the axis sprung off to that day when I levered it off.

man with paddleboard people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another interruption, if there hadn’t been enough already, was my afternoon walk.

Down at the wall at the end of the car park I peered down onto the beach and was astonished to see all of the crowds down there.

There was even someone negotiating the currents with a paddleboard and I bet that he would have known all about it had he fallen off into the water.

And have you noticed the length of the shadows these days? The sun is sinking lower and lower in the sky.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021It wasn’t just seeing all the people on the beach that was surprising either.

Out there in the bay one of the sailing schools from somewhere was being quite adventurous. Four of their boats had gone way out from shore and were busy parading up and down.

And that reminded me – I want to see what the heart specialist has to say about my heart next week so that I can plan about going sailing and going for a flight underneath a Nazgul. Things are building up here.

fishermen peche a pied beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further along on the beach there was plenty more activity too.

Out on the rocks at the water’s edge there was a guy casting his rod and line into the ocean, more in hope than in expectation I imagine. Remember that we have yet to see a fisherman with rod and line actually catch something.

There were a couple of other people down there too. I’m not sure what they were doing. At first I thought that they might have been doing some peche à pied among the rocks but it’s not very easy to see from this angle.

red microlight pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As I left the building to come out I was immediately overflown by one of the little light aircraft from the airfield but I wasn’t quick enough to photograph it.

But never mind. As I was walking along the path an old familiar rattle from the distance told me that one of the powered hang-gliders was heading my way.

Today, we’re having the red one come to overfly us. The yellow one must be having a day off today.

And that reminds me that we haven’t seen the yellow autogyro for a while either. I wonder where he’s got to.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021We’ve seen crowds on the beach, crowds out at see and even a couple of things up in the air so far.

There are crowds on land too and when I saw “crowds” I really DO mean “crowds”. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many people walking around on the path down to the headland before at this time of year.

Mind you, it’s nothing at all like mid-November today. It’s much more like the balmy early evenings on a mid-September day and I don’t recall there being anything like any wind to speak of either.

fishermen people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Walking down the path and across the car park I came down to the end of the headland.

There were crowds down there as well. usually, we might manage just a couple of people by the little stone cabin there if we are lucky but today there were what looked like a couple of families that were admiring the beautiful sun that was blinding me and the camera.

Further out on the end of the rocks at the water’s edge were a couple more fishermen having a go with rod and line. But I didn’t really pay much attention to them.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Instead I cleared off down the path on the other side of the headland.

Over at the ferry terminal this afternoon in a foot or so of water was one of the Joly France ferries to the Ile de Chausey. The older one I reckon because, as you see, there’s no step in the stern.

And for once, they’ve folded up the crane correctly.

Nothing else happening out there. L’Omerta is still settled in the silt and the portable boat lift is still in the middle of the chantier naval with its wheels lying by the side.

Back here I made a coffee and then waded through another pile of photos from that rock concert a couple of weeks ago.

That took me up to tea time and steamed veg with falafel and vegan cheese sauce which was delicious.

Tomorrow I’m busy. There’s a public meeting about the twinning arrangements between Granville and Uummannaq and as I know Uummannaq and some of its inhabitants very well, I’ve been asked by the radio to go and record it and interview a couple of people there.

There’s also a rock concert in town to which I’ve been invited but I don’t know how I’m going to find the time to go.

First task though will be to find the spare battery and the two battery chargers for the NIKON 1 J5. Before I posted the camera off, I put them somewhere safe so I wouldn’t misplace them, so that means that it will be another 5 years before they next see the light of day.

Wednesday 10th November 2021 – MARITÉ IS BACK …

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… in port after her little adventure filming whatever it was that she had been filming during the week.

She crept back in on the morning tide and is now happily moored back in her habitual berth and the trawler Saint Gaud has cleared off elsewhere.

Caliburn is back too, but not for very long. The examiner at the Controle Technique didn’t like the crack in the windscreen that’s been there for five years and through four previous controles technique without so much as a mention.

He also needs his headlights polishing too so I’ll go out there with some toothpaste and an old toothbrush to deal with that one day later in the week.

And if I don’t have a decent sleep some time soon I won’t be here for very long either. You can tell just how disturbed it was by the entries on the dictaphone. I started out on my way to Court last night to defend myself against a VAT assessment. I’ve no idea why except that it was something quite old and I hadn’t a clue what it was so I’d just taken a pile of pens and notepaper to write down notes. I found an empty bench and went to sit down and started to rehearse my case. The judge who was sitting at his desk told me not to rehearse my case at all so that confused me even more.

Later on I’d been tidying up a huge pile of papers that were all over the floor, books and everything. It was getting worse and worse the more that I tried to tidy up, everything like that. No matter how much I tried, there was more and more stuff to unpack. Then there was something to do with a couple of friends who came round. We ended up driving back towards Manchester. We were talking about music but the guy wasn’t really listening to what I was saying so I didn’t say very much. When we returned we measured my wall out and found that there were a couple of plssterboards that were too low and needed building up. I took one off the wall to give to him. The we started talking about do he and his wife want to come round for tea or maybe a meal or something and put back the plasterboard but they had to have a look at all the food supplies they had lying around, put it away and see what went into the fridge and let me know

Some time later there was a netball match being played last night. I was on one team. It was strange that everyone except one player was packed into the defensive circle of his own team so there was only me and one girl from the other team playing upfield. We were playing with balloons and I had the upper hand but every time I passed the ball over to the pack to try to get it into the hoop the balloon burst and they had to produce another one. Some balloons were better than others and we never seemed to be making any headway with this. It was all just playing this netball in this one particular area trying to get into the attacking semi-circle

Finally there had been a new road built from Nantwich so although Chester was posted straight on down Welsh Row, Tarporley was for some reason posted off to the right on this new road. A little later on there was a girl driving an Austin A40 in nantwich who was heading towards Tarporley. She decided to take this new road to find out why it didn’t go on down Welsh Row towards Tarporley. At some point she’d parked up her car and was having a huge row with someone. She said something like “my car’s far too new to abandon just like that and walked back to get in her car to carry on down this road. I was there because I was interested in taking photos of the signposts to find out exactly what was happening.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I cracked on with a pile of dictaphone notes from the backlog.

A few more days have been added to the updating and there’s another pile of notes ready to follow that lot tomorrow morning too. It kept me busy for for most of the morning and there’s only four days left to transcribe now.

They aren’t going to be done as quickly as I would like either because by now my turbulent phase was in full swing are there are mounds and mounds of stuff.

There were a couple of breaks in the middle of all of this.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Firstly, I’d almost run out of bread here. And I’d almost run out of yeast too so I had to go with what I had.

For a change I spent quite some time kneading and rolling my dough and it’s come out quite well again. I must remember this technique for the future.

It actually tasted quite nice too and it would have been even better had it had more yeast in it. But I think that the mixture could have benefited from a little more water in it.

The second interruption was the nurse. He couldn’t come on Monday so he came today instead and gave me my Aranesp injection and also my ‘flu injection.

Now i’m injected to the hilt and safe against every known disease, so i’ll probably be run down by a bus as well.

While I was waiting for the bread to cool down I went to take a shower. And my weight is slowly going down. I could make it go down even quicker but experience has shown me that the quicker it comes off, the quicker it goes back on.

omerta port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Having finished lunch I set the washing machine off and then set out for the physiotherapist, taking the NIKON 1 J5 with me.

L’Omerta was still moored up at the wharf underneath the fish processing plant, something that seems to be becoming a regular occurrence these days.

Strangely enough, I’d forgotten how to use the little camera and it took me a while to remember. It’s only been four months as well.

These days, my memory is becoming terrible. I keep on telling people that two things happen to you you when you reach my age.

  1. You forget absolutely everything that there is to forget
  2. I can’t remember what the second thing is


fishing boats victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was still finding my feet with the camera (I don’t ‘arf do some strange things) I noticed that the inner harbour was strangely deserted.

It seems as if all of the big trawlers and most of the little inshore fishing boats were out at sea this afternoon. There were just a few of the smaller inshore boats left behind – and L’Omerta of course.

But Victor Huge and Granville are still there too. A sad casualty of the Channel Islanders’ willingness to leap aboard the Brexit bandwagon despite the fact that, never having been in the EU, Brexit is nothing to do with them, has been the ferries that for a couple of centuries have been running between here and there.

One of the reasons why I came here was for the ferries – a good chance to exercise my sea-legs – but it’s turned out not to be.

pointing Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Last time that we came down the hill in the Rue des Juifs we saw them erecting a scaffolding to enable them to continue the repointing on the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret that they abandoned a while back.

By now it’s all up and they have actually started work. And it doesn’t look to me as if they are apprentices or work experience trainees either but proper time-served employees.

That’s a shame really because there are so many traditional crafts that are rapidly dying out with no-one to carry them on.

To promote this kind of thing amongst the young and the jobless is a really good way of building up a reservoir of skilled workmen and women with a trade that is a meaningful and valuable occupation.

woman speaking into microphone rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down the hill, through the town centre and back up the hill on the other side to the physiotherapist..

It would have given me great pleasure (well, a lot of things would, actually) to have said that I went all the way without stopping but I did actually stop once in the Rue Couraye – just to take a photograph though, not to catch my breath.

The woman was standing on the side of the road with a professional microphone into which she was talking and which seemed to be connected to something in the rear of that car.

Whatever that was about, I have no idea.

The physiotherapist had me doing kinetic exercises again because someone else was using the tilting platform. And right at the end she had me staning on something just 10cms wide, one foot behind the other while she threw balls at me to catch.
“your reflexes are really good” she said. Well, she didn’t. She actually said “vos reflèxes sont vachement bien”

It wasn’t for me to disillusion her by telling her that I spent much of my spare time in my teens and 20s as a goalkeeper and later as a wicket-keeper.

After she threw me out, then biting the bullet I headed off on foot to rescue Caliburn, stopping at Aldi on the way for a can of energy drink.

It’s all uphill to the garage – not very steep but long, long, long and it took it out of me but I made it there in the end.

Having paid the bill I went to collect Caliburn only to find that the battery was flat. One of the guys at the garage gave me a jump-start and so I went for a good long drive to put some juice back into the battery.

It was my intention to go to the shops for food but I didn’t fancy the idea of trying to have a jump start on a supermarket car park.

Back here I put the spare battery on charge just in case he won’t start tomorrow and then went to make a coffee. It was at that point that I realised that tomorrow is a Bank Holiday. I hope that one of the supermarkets in town will be open tomorrow morning.

There were some mushrooms lying around looking sorry for themselves in the fridge so I made another delicious curry with them. These ad-hoc curries with whatever is lying around are turning out to be quite nice.

So now I’m off to bed, to see where else I might be going tonight. And, more to the point, and more importantly too, who’s going with me. I’ve been having a few interesting partners on my travels just now and it’s a shame that they aren’t here in real life.

Tuesday 9th November 2021 – WE’VE HAD ANOTHER …

aeroplane f-hgsm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… aerial afternoon this afternoon, just for a change.

Not a nazgul or any bird-men of Alcatraz but actually an aeroplane flyng by overhead out in the bay on its way hame to the airfield just outside Donville Les Bains.

Its an aeroplane that we have seen before – F-HGSM, a Robin DR400/160 aeroplane that’s owned by the Aero Club of Greaves of Mont Saint Michel just down the road from here – coming out for a quick lap around towards the end of the afternoon.

aeroplane f-hgsm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021We’ve seen her before, and a few minutes later we saw her again, this time flying the other way.

In fact she’s spent much of the afternoon flying up and down the coast between Avranches and Granville. The first this that she was picked up on radar today was at 14:41.

Unfortunately, many of her flights weren’t picked up on radar. Certainly, these two weren’t. The aeroplane doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan either so I can’t say much more about what she’s been up to.

65px light aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Jamais deux sans trois – “never just two without a third” as they say around here.

Sure enough, no sooner had F-HGSM disappeared off down the coast then around the corner came another aeroplane from the direction of the airfield. But as this one approached me it did a dramatic U-turn and headed back the way from which he came.

Unfortunately I can only tell you even less about this particular one because it’s another one with one of these short registration numbers – 65PX -that isn’t on any database to which I have access. So I let it go off on its way.

This morning, I had a great deal of difficulty going off on my way. Despite a reasonably early night I had an extreme amount of difficulty leaving my bed. But as I promised no to talk about my bad nights I won’t say any more.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then knuckled down to revise my Welsh from last week and to prepare for my lesson this morning.

There was a slight interruption though because the NIKON 1 J5 came back. I shall have a play with that in due course.

The Welsh lesson passed quite quickly and quite well too. An I need to remember now is “Fish Fingers, Baked Beans, More Beans, MMMMM”

After lunch I updated a few more days of the journal from late October, transcribed a few more entries for due course and then set about dealing with last night’s issues. I’d been back at my old school last night but I didn’t recognise anything of it. All of the House names had been changed to reflect the current way of thinking. I couldn’t see a timetable or a room list, a teacher list or anything like that. I was just wandering around aimlessly checking rooms to see if there was anyone I recognised, which I ddn’t. The teachers all looked strange, young and modern to me. Each class had a Social Media page that was pretty open and even the teachers were writing down their innermost thoughts on this. I went to have a look at the roll-call for students who had started this year. There were some from Pontypool, some from Galashiels, even some from Centreville in Canada. This has all changed from how it used to be with just local recruitment. I wondered where they were all staying because there’s nowhere for groups of kids to stay in Nantwich

Then about 85 minutes later, the problem with the school was that they were recruiting from all over the place, Galashiels, down south, even Cetreville in Canada. There didn’t seem to be anyone local at all. All the classes had Social Media accounts. Even teachers were writing their innermost thoughts down there. It didn’t look anything like the school that I knew with local recruitment. It seemed to me that there was a year that was being missed for which they weren’t offering tuition which I thought was strange. I must have dictated the previous notes and then gone back to sleep right back into where I left off yet again.

Later still, I’d been leaving France for Belgium and gone a different way than usual. I was looking over the map and the road that I wanted was over the edge of a page so I was wondering where I was going to end up. At first I thought that it looked shorter but then with it going off the page it started to look longer. I was wondering whether I’d made the right decision. I noticed that it seemed to end up back on the road that I used to take when I went down to the Auvergne through the mountains of the Ardennes. I was trying to work out exactly where that was going to be.
There was also something about living on a farm and buying a car, but I wasn’t allowed to use the car on the road. I bought it and I was trying to smarten it up and getting it to be a kind-of custom hot-rod thing. I’d bought 2 exhaust pipes for it that go down the outside of the car. Then I found out that there was another type that improved performance even more than I ought to have bought and it was starting to get a little bit crazy.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021In the middle of all of this I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

First stop is at the end ot the car park where I can look down on the beach. And considering that we are now rapidly approaching mid-November there were still plenty of people down there this afternoon.

It was actually quite a nice, sunny day which was a surprise, and there wasn’t very much wind. And as you can see, there was plenty of beach down there for everyone to wak upon with the tide being well out this afternoon.

seagulls harvesting bouchots donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further on down the beach towards Donville les bains there were even more crowds down there.

Mainly crowds – or shoud I say flocks – of seagulls. They seem to be enjoying themselves having a feeding frenzy in the tidal pools with all of the fish that has been left behind, stranded by the tide.

Further on down the coast the harvesters of bouchots are also out there at work. You can see a couple of their tractors heading out towards the beds. No trailers though, so they aren’t ready to pull them in just yet.

trawlers yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual, when I’m out and about looking at what is going on down on the beach, I have one eye looking around out at sea to se what’s happening there.

Right now of course we are living in interesting times so I’m keeping a close watch on all of the activity. And there’s plenty og avtivity out there this afternoon.

Out there we have a couple of trawlers looking as if they are working rather than heading in for home. And the yacht that’s out there with them is going to have a long wait before the tide comes in far enough for it to make it back home.

patrol boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021I’m not the only one keeping a close eye on the activity either.

Unless I’m very much mistaken, that looks like a French Navy patrol boat out there having a little wander around in the bay.

Of course, with things starting to heat up around here in the bay, it’s not surprising that the French Government has sent someone in to watch what is going on.

It’s not just the British Navy that has warships, despite what the crooks in Westminster and the collaborationist press will tell the gullible public.

There were quite a few people walking around on the path this afternoon in the nice weather, although I don’t know where they have come from. The schoolkids were out ther eorienteering too but none of them came over for a chat this afternoon.

people taking self photograph cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the end of the path I crossed over the car park to go down to the end of the headland.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, a regular feature on these pages is photographs of people taking photographs of people. And here were a couple of people in action down by the cabanon vauban.

Whether or not “selfies” actually count as photographs of people taking photographs of people, I’ve included it all the same. There was another couple as well on the car park taking photos of each other but I wasn’t quick enough for that.

man fishing off rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And our photoraphers weren’t the only ones down there at the end of the headland.

We had the fishermen out there on the rocks as well. Here is one of them almost up to his knees in the water casting his line into the deep. Not that he’ll be catching very much if past experience is anything to go by.

With plenty of things to do I couldn’t hang around very long to watch. I cleared off down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Over at the ferry terminal there was one of the Joly France ferries sitting in the silt. It’s the older one of the two with the larger upper deck superstructure

On this side of the harbour at the chantier naval there wasn’t anything at all happening.

The portable boat lift is still standing there in the middle of the yard with its wheels off waiting for something to happen to it. And I hope that they won’t be taking too long to repair it. The town needs the business that the chantier naval can bring.

joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021One of the ways of telling the two Joly France boats apart is by the step in the stern of the newer one.

There’s a really good view of the stern of the new one down there in the inner harbour and you can see the step quite clearly.

To the left of her is the very new Belle France ferry that came into the town earlier in the year.

And if you want a full house, Chausiaise, the little Chausey freighter, is over on the right out of shot. There’s nothing whatever going on over at the Ile de Chausey today, not like the other day when we saw them streaming out from port.

roofing rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little further along the road there was quite a racket coming from somewhere in the Rue du Port.

Looking down there from up on top of the cliff I could see that there was someone down there doing a bit of roofing.

It’s certainly the right kind of weather to do it. It’s a nightmare being up on a roof in a torrential downpour and a howling gale, as I know from bitter experience. And I’m surprised that, just for once, there isn’t a howling gale blowing around.

Anyway, there’s plenty of time for him to be soaked to the skin or blown off the scaffolding. It looks as if he’s only just started and the weather can turn at any moment.

people taking photographs boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little earlier, I mentioned something about some people taking photographs of each other.

When I was down at the Pointe du Roc I wasn’t quick enough to catch them but I caught up with them in the Boulevard Vaufleury, standing in the middle of the road defying the oncoming traffic to take their photos.

She had a bunch of flowers earlier. I wonder where she has stuck them.

Back at the apartment I made a coffee and carried on with the dictaphone notes, and that took me right up to teatime.

It was a quick tea of taco rolls and rice with veg (not dropped into the sink tonight) because there was football on the internet. Hwlffordd v Barry Town.

Played in a driving rainstorm on a sodden pitch it wasn’t a very attractive game as the teams struggled to come to terms with the conditions. The match ended 1-1 which was probably a fair result in the circumstances although the goals were really messy goalmouth scrambles.

It wasn’t at all like the match LAST WEEKEND which had a couple of the finest goals you’ll see at this level of football.

Anyway now I’m off to bed for another night’s voyages. Listening to all of the stuff on the dictaphone I’ve been having some really vivid dreams just recently, and plenty of them too.

All of this corresponds with my dreadful nights and I’m wondering if there’s been a change in eithe rmy diet or my medication that has brought all of this on. I shall have to go back and review everything to see what it’s all about.

Monday 8th November 2021 – GUESS WHO …

… has just dropped his rice and veg down the sink?

So we ended up with not very much for tea this evening. Mind you, it’ll do me good for once in a while.

There has however been some good news. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m having heart problems right now.

2 weeks ago I went to see the cardiologist who checked me over, found that I still had a heart (which means that I’m not a Conservative) but it has a few problems.

He gave me a report that I scanned and sent off to the hospital in Leuven, on the grounds that if I’m going to have another major health issue, it makes much more sense to have them both treated at the same place to avoid complications.

Anyway, they have now replied. And they’ve offered me an appointment earlier on the same day that I have my usual treatment in 10 days time. So they obviously think that there’s something worth following up.

This morning’s 06:00 start was rather painful seeing that I didn’t take full advantage of the night in bed that I had.

But after the medication and checking my mails and messages I attacked the radio programme that I wanted to prepare. And by 10:50 it was up and running. I could even have finished it earlier except that for a while I was talking to someone on the internet about something or other.

And that included a break for coffee and for breakfast too.

It was the old ZOOM H1 that I used too, not the new ZOOM H8. I’ve not as yet worked out how to record in stereo with just one mike on that.

While I was listening to the finished product I was doing some research. I’ve received a pile of paperwork relating to our family history and I’ve been going through it.

And if anyone wonders why my mother’s side of the family (including me) is so … errr … combative, it seems that somewhere in our family tree we are related to EDWARD KENEALY of TICHBOURNE CLAIMANT fame, or rather, infamy.

One thing that I’ve been doing as well today is to attack the dictaphone backlog, and another few days from late October have now been updated.

While I was at it, I had a go at last night’s voyages too. There was some kind of machinery or equipment used in connection with my health. I posted something about it and someone posted back that it was ridiculous, that this didn’t exist. I had to go through all this rigmarole to prove that it did and how I was supposed to use it because of my health

Later on there was some guy who had a mine of some description. He had a girlfriend and she and her father went off to look at this mine leaving the guy and his two friends like Bulldog Drummond behind. When they didn’t come back at the end of the day he started to become worried and decided that next morning he would set out to the mine to look for them. Next morning instead there was a press release that this woman considered that he’d been exploiting her and that she was now assuming control of the mine. It was necessary for him to infiltrate this circle of people with whom she was now working. He and one of his friends arranged to disappear and the disappearance became headline news. The 3 of them set off for this hotel where everyone was staying. When they arrived they found that it was some kind of show with cheerleaders or something. They found a cheerleader uniform and dressed in it as girls, but found another group who had exactly the same uniform. They waylaid a couple of girls, borrowed their uniforms and went on to do a kind-of dance routine. One of them lost her dress so quickly the 2nd one had to drag her away and lock her in a room somewhere. This guy couldn’t understand why he was being treated like that. His friend explained to him that with the scientist being missing, he couldn’t go around identifying himself as who he was even if it was simply over the case of a missing dress because everyone would immediately put two and two together, knowing everyone’s relationship wtth each other and immediately guess what was going on. It was very important for them to remain anonymous for as long as possible.

Somewhere in all of this I was fostering a kitten, a tabby and white one. Someone came to see me and saw the kitten. When I went to bed the kitten came and got into bed with me but it got up again, ate some food and wouldn’t settle after that

Later on I was back in Virlet and, surprisingly, back with the kitten. There had been a big rainstorm and a lot of the houses were flooded. Mine was OK. I came back from work, it was my last day at work. I opened the outer door but when I came inside I found that I had left the inner door open. I walked in and there was someone in there. She said “look what your kitten has got”. I had a look and the kitten had one of my bread buns. I said “it doesn’t really matter because it’s been here over a week now so it’s bound to be no good”. She put the kitten down and let the kitten run off with it. We were talking about voyages to space, the stars, saying that they need to be somewhere deep at the bottom of a deep quarry to launch the rocket. We were working out other suitable places. We thought that the Auvergne would be fine for that because it was so soggy that if you put a rocket on top of the ground somewhere it would just sink in and go down to any depth you like before you could fire it.

For some reason or other, the nurse never came round today to give me my injection. I changed the time from 15:00 to 12:00 so I can go for my physiotherapist for 15:30. He didn’t come at 12:00 and he never rang me later on to say that he was here at the normal time but had missed me.

courreur des iles charles marie lorries unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way out to the physiotherapist I went down to look at the port to see what was going on this afternoon.

What caught my eye were the two lorries over there unloading. I’m not sure what they were unloading but the old cold storage plant over there has been closed since cod-fishing on the Grand Banks was suspended in 1992.

There were a few of the charter boats down there this afternoon too. Charles Marie is moored up against the harbour wall, with Courreur des Iles moored alongside. There won’t be much going on with them now until maybe Christmas.

repointing wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago they had some work experience people out repointing the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

They did half of it and then stopped, but today I noticed that there were scaffolders down there erecting scaffolding down alongside the part that they didn’t make a start laat time.

Perhaps we’re going to be having another lot of Work Experience people learning the trade. There’s plenty of work for them when they qualify, and not just around the city walls here in the medieval city. There are plenty of stone houses and walls that could benefit.

Once again I walked all the way up the hill to the physiotherapist without stopping. She had me on this tilting platform thing doing exercises to strengthen my knees and shoulders. We finished off with 5 minutes on the cross trainer.

It has to be said that i’m doing much better now than I was when I first came. But then that’s the point of the exercises, isn’t it?

place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Going back, I went the short way right down the Rue Couraye into the town centre.

The kiddies’ roundabout has now gone, and we aren’t sure if it’ll be coming back again. The owner was in front of the local council last Friday arguing his case about his roundabout, which is larger than he said in his planning application and which forces pedestrians to walk in the road.

He’s asked for a 12-month adjournment of the case to give him time to buy a slightly smaller machine and the council has offered him another site. They haven’t been able to agree a compromise so we’ll see how things develop over the next few days.

erecting christmas decorations rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile, around the corner, the Rue Paul Poirier is closed to traffic.

They have a cherry picker out there and he’s busy putting up the Christmas lights. Unfortunately, they look just like the Christmas lights that they had last year and the year before that, and the year before that as well.

The lack of imagination that they show round here in respect of the Christmas decorations is dispiriting.

Once again, I made it all the way back up the hill to home without stopping once, which pleased me very much. I wonder if these heart tablets that the cardiologist prescribed are having some effect, or whether it’s the effect of the physiotherapy.

It’s still a struggle to make it up the hill and I don’t really feel comfortable while I’m doing it, but I have to do what I can.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Before I went back into the building I went to have a look down on the beach.

Today the weather was cool, windy and overcast so even though there was plenty of beach down there, there weren’t all that many people down there on it. And I wasn’t surprised either.

Back here in the apartment I made myself a coffee and then attacked the photos from that rock concert the other day. There’s another huge pile of those that are now done.

What I’ll be doing will be to create three-column *.css layout to show the photos off. I’ll have to dig deep into my memory for that because it’s been probably not far short of 20 years since I was doing three-column *.css stuff.

Two-column stuff is quite easy because it’s either “align-left” or “align-right” and I use that all the time. But I’ll sort it out.

Tea was stuffed pepper with whatever rice and veg remained in the sieve after I’d finished pouring it into the sink. And it was quite nice too, what I was able to eat.

But now I’m finished my notes I’m off to bed. A nice long sleep, I hope, but if it’s anything like the last few weeks it’ll be a disappointment. I’m seriously considering sleeping pills if this carries on.

Saturday 6th November 2021 – I DIDN’T HAVE …

… such a productive day today as I did yesterday. I found it very hard to make a start yet again.

It should actually have been a much better day today because for once I was actually wide awake a 07:15 – 15 minutes before the alarm went off – and I should have taken full advantage of it but once again, being awake is one thing – actually leaving the bed is something else completely.

Anyway I eventually crawled out of bed and went off for my medication.

Back here I ended up deep in conversation with someone on the internet.

In my possession is a very limited-edition copy of David Hill’s AN ATLAS OF ANGLO-SAXON ENGLAND but unfortunately there are several pages missing.

The person with whom I was chatting had been a student of David Hill at Manchester University and had a copy of the Atlas himself so he copied the pages for me and sent them to me, along with several maps showing the distribution of Royal lands in South Cheshire, North Shropshire and the Maelor, my old stamping ground of course, and a copy of his thesis on the Domesday Book entries for that area.

That really was a wonderful gesture and I was very grateful for all of that. It’s restored a little of my faith in human nature.

boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021After breakfast I headed off out to do some shopping. No Caliburn so I went on foot to the local shops in town.

And by the looks of things I wasn’t the only one going out and about this morning. There was a relentless stream of boats heading out to the Ile de Chausey this morning.

That suggests that the gate at the entry to the port de plaisance opened a short while ago and everyone is taking full advnatage.

boat yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Of course, some boats are quicker away than others.

This one was right out in the bay going past the Ile de Chausey and by the size of the wake that he’s creating compared to the size of his boat he must have le feu dans ses fesses as they say around here.

On the other hand I don’t believe that the yacht to the right has gone out at that kind of speed. Either she’s been out all night or else she’s come from a non-tidal harbour, if there is such a thing around here

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021My route today was to go around the headland and down into town that way.

And I hadn’t gone too far along the path before one of the Joly France came around the corner.

One look at the stern is enough to tell us that she’s the older boat of the two. The newer one has a step cut into the stern.

There’s quite a crowd of people on board the boat as well. It’s not the best day to be going out to the Ile de Chausey but at least it’s not raining.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2111/21110044.html”>boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As I walked down the path and across the car park I could hear this dreadful racket coming from the water and I wondered what it might be.

At the end of the headland I found out that it wasn’t just one boat making a noise but a whole collection of them.

It looks to me as if the whole world is heading out to the ile de Chausey this morning and I’ve no idea why it should be so popular. I haven’t seen anything in the local newspaper.

And while we are on the subject of the local newspaper, the helicopter was scrambled yesterday to rescue two people stuck in a tidal swimming pool but a pleasure boat beat the helicopter to it.

fishermen boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And that’s not all of the water craft either.

As I went down the steps to the bottom I noticed that there were three fishermen setting themselves up on the rocks down there.

And they were having a grandstand view of everything going sailing past them this morning.

And they can consider themselves lucky too. Many people would pay good money to see a spectacle like this and we are all having it for free.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021I walked along the path at the foot of the cliffs and that brought me down to by the chantier naval.

We can have a closer look at the portable boat lift and see how sorry it’s looking without her wheels. It must be some kind of serious repair that’s had her holed up like this in the middle of the yard.

But we can do with getting her back on her feet – or her wheels, at any rate. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … a proper functioning boat repair yard is vital to the success of the port.

fishing boat with tender leaving fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Tanking of the success of the port … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was a small fishing boat unloading as I was walking along the quayside.

It didn’t take her long and, hauling her tender alongside her, she was soon off on her way again.

Her name was clearly visible on the wind deflector over the cabin but it was written in some crazy Gothic script that I couldn’t decipher. And as she doesn’t have an AIS beacon, I can’t check her registration number against my records.

crab left behind by the tide port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was something else of interest in the tidal harbour this morning.

What he’s actually doing here I really don’t know. Whether he’s fallen out of a basket from a boat that’s unloading or whether he simply fancies going for a walk is something of a mystery.

But one thing is certain and that it’s very rare for a crab to be left behind by a receding tide. If he doesn’t get a move on, he’ll be on someone’s dinner plate this evening.

st gaud port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Yesterday from up above at the viewpoint overlooking the port I noticed that there was a trawler moored where Marité is usually tied up.

As I was down this way I went for a look to see who she was.

She’s the Saint Gaud, named after a former Bishop of Evreux. There’s a shrine dedicated to him at St Pair sur Mer that used to be a centre of pilgrimage where mothers would bring their babies to receive a blessing.

After his retirement as Bishop he came to live in the Forest of Scissy part of which is today the town of St Pair sur Mer.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Next to her at the quayside is the little Chausey freighter Chausiaise.

She has a sliding top that covers the hold, as you can see. It’s similar to a design that we did in the 1980s for an outdoor swimming pool where the sides and roof slide back underneath one another to make it an open-air one in good weather.

There’s no photo of her in the shipping database and as I maintain the AIS beacon for the port I feel that I’m in some way responsible for the local boats. This photo has come out quite well so it’s now been uploaded to the database.

By the way, up on the city walls just to the left of the French flag is the viewpoint that overlooks the inner port. And that’s the hill that I have to stagger up to go home.

Around the corner I bumped into the itinerant, still going strong. I’ve not seen him for a while so we had a chat and then I went off to buy the lettuce, a baguette, some mushrooms and a couple of peppers. And a can of drink for the journey back.

barbecue marché de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I passed round by the market.

All of the smoke that you can see is from the legendary barbecue about which there was so much trouble two years or so ago. He uses charcoal to grill his sausages and the mayor at the time didn’t like the smell or the smoke so she tried to make him convert to gas.

He took her all the way up the heirarchical ladder of appeals and in the end he won his case, so he still used the charcoal. The Carnaval that year was … errr … rather cruel.

marché de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But as you can see, the market here on a Saturday morning is quite popular. It certainly pulls in the crowds.

For the first few weeks that I lived here I would come back this way from the shops on a Saturday morning but the first weekend that I tried it after the summer holidays started, I found an alternative route very quickly.

On the way back home I stopped halfway up the hill. Not because I was exhausted but rather because I wasn’t and I had my can of drink to drink before I returned home. It was nice sitting on the wall overlooking the port with a can of drink in my hand.

As I approached my buildiing I bumped into yet another neighbour and she held me captive for 20 minutes chatting about this and that. I reallt do seem to be popular right now and i’ve no idea what I’ve done to deserve that.

As a result it was almost lunchtime by the time that I came back inside.

This afternoon I’ve been working on the arears of the journal, adding in the photos and the dreams from when I was in Leuven last month. Now they are all up-to-date.

And after I’d done that I transcribed some dreams for a couple more days and I’ll be adding them in as I go along over the next while – just in time (presumably) to go into arrears again when I go to Leuven in 10 days time. It’s a vicious circle in which I find myself at the moment.

In the meantime, last night I was with my mother somewhere. I was in one room of the house. There was music on the radio so I was playing along on the bass but on one particular song the bass actually switched on and was really loud. When I looked, one of the potentiometers was glowing red-hot with sparks. I couldn’t get down there to turn off or turn down the sound

There had been a whole new road network opened from after Whitchurch to Shrewsbury and Market Drayton. It was quite late at night and I decided that even though I had things to do I would go to see if after someone had told me something about it. I set off and just as I was coming onto the new bit there was a telephone box so I thought that I’d stop and put all my papers in order because I’d thrown them into the car. I wanted to check on the ferry at 02:30 which was the one that I should have been on but then I couldn’t find my papers. The 2 people sitting in the back, I don’t know where they came from were having a rummage around in the car. Eventually they found something and I found the rest. I was sitting on it. Percy Penguin in the passenger seat read out the ferry booking number to me so I wrote it down. I found that I’d already written it once in my notebook. That meant that I could phone up about the ferry that I should have been on.

I’d been doing a coach tour. I’d had to go out, drive over 300 miles, pick up some passengers and bring them back to the depot and be back by lunchtime. I had loads of things that I’d brought with me, tools and everything and I had to get them into my red Cortina estate. That took me an age to do that. Then I had to set off and drive back home but I had a phone call to make, to ring up my niece in Canada. I parked my car at the side of the road and went to the phone box. The number wasn’t actually the number that I thought it was but it was there written down so I thought that I’d go to dial it. Then I noticed that my bike was missing. The car outside had changed into a bike. I went out to look for it and there were 2 girls there. One was Miss Stoke on Trent. She had my bike but she had hit something with it. I asked her why she’d taken it. She relied that 2 boys had taken it and had a ride on it but it was some stupid bike without a computer so they’d dumped it so she’d gone on it and gone for a ride. I had to go back and find a phone box and telephone Canada again. She came with me in the phone box. I started looking for my notebook which I eventually found. There was the number written down in it but it was the wrong number. I remembered that the last time the number had changed. I thought that I’m not going to be able to phone up because I only have one 10p. If I dial the wrong number I’m going to lose it and I won’t be able to call her again.

But here I am, stuck in a tiny, confined space like a telephone box with Miss Stoke on Trent who can’t possibly escape from my evil clutches and I choose that moment to awaken. You couldn’t make up something like that.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual I nepped out at 16:00 to go and see the beach.

At the moment the tide is well out as you can see so there was plenty of beach this afternoon. There were quite a few people down there as well this afternoon going for a good walk around .

The weather is quite cool and there’s a little wind, but it’s been windier and colder than this already so it’s not too bad for November. But I imagine that over the next few weeks winter will be starting to get a grip on everything and that will be the last that we shall see of the idlers.

hermitage promenade donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A few weeks ago I posted a photo or two to show that the beach cabins on the Plat Gousset have been taken away for the wonter to protect them from the storms.

Down on the promenade at Donville-les-Bains they don’t seem to be too concerned by that. The cabins are still there.

To the left is that big building that used to be a hotel but is now a block of apartments and flats. I had a look at a room that was to let there not long after I came to live here but it really was in bad condition and I didn’t like it all that much at all.

Back here I carried on work until tea time. Breaded burgers and veg with baked potatoes and it really was delicious. I must admit that I’m eating really well since I’ve been living here.

Now my journal entry is written I’m going to have a little relax and then go to bed. I can’t describe how much I’ve been looking forward to the lie-in tomorrow but the problem will be that having spent all weel working myself up to it, somethign will happen to put a spanner in the works.

We shall see.

Friday 5th November 2021 – I’VE BEEN …

… really busy today and accomplished quite a lot, what with one thing and another. And, of course, once you start, you’ll be surprised just how many other things there are.

Nothing important though, regrettably, but nevertheless it’s all helped.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Perhaps the most important thing that I did today was to bake some fruit buns.

The last one of the previous batch disappeared on Wednesday and being so busy yesterday, I didn’t have the opportunity to make any more. it was toast for breakfast yesterday.

But as soon as I’d taken my medication this morning I made a start on the next batch.

It took an age to mix the dough because I think that my banana wasn’t as big as usual so the mix needed more liquid, but as you can see, it has turned out some lovely fruit buns and I’m really happy with these, even if the dough has separated in the oven.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021After a rather late breakfast I headed off into town to pick up my injections.

But straight out of the front door and looking down the bay, I was surprised to see just how clear everything was today. I could actually see the houses at St Helier, 58 kilometres away, with the naked eye and it isn’t every day that that happens.

Now that Normandy Warrior (more of which anon is up and running, I might yet have an opportunity to go out that way on board a ship to see what there is to sea on the coastline of Jersey.

trawler chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner port I could see that Marité was still out and about on her travels

In her place there was one of the trawlers moored up there. Behind her in the loading bay is Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes over to the Ile de Chausey.

Ther eis still plenty of freight on the quayside after the two Jersey freighters were in port on Wednesday. This might mean that we’ll be having yet another visit some time soon to take it all away. Business seems to be picking up in the port at the moment.

sale of shellfish galapagos port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Of course it’s Friday morning, and that’s the day that it’s possible to buy fresh fish on the quayside.

The concession here is run by the owners of the trawler Galapagos and they are here every Friday morning, except of course when the trawler is in the chantier naval, as she was over the summer.

My first port of call was at the Medical Centre. I’d had my third Covid injection last Friday and I had to pick up my certificate. It was all ready for me so I didn’t have to hang around.

The pharmacy on the other hand was packed out with people and I had to wait a while before I could pick up my injections.

On the way back I almost – very almost – made it right to the way to the top without stopping. I was about 50 yards short and I’ve no idea why I stopped because I could have made it quite comfortably to the top. It was just an instinctive reflex action.

portable boat lift under repair port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But the mystery of why the portable boat lift is parked up in the middle of the yard is now resolved anyway.

As we can see in this photo, it’s had its wheels removed so it’s no longer a portable boat lift. It must be under repair for one reason or another and it’s rather difficult to work on it where it usually lives, with all of the dangers of falling into the sea.

Back here, I had the account for repairing the NIKON 1 J5. I paid that and then seeing as I had my bank account open, I paid another bill or two that were hanging around in the queue.

This afternoon I finished off the journal entry from Wednesday with its 20-odd photos and that’s now on line. And then I went and did one of the ones from when I went to Leuven last.

And that’s not all either. I made a start on transcribing a few dictaphone notes from a while back and they’ll be updating a few journal entries in due course.

Meanwhile, from last night, A well-known gangster like Edward G Robinson came round to the house and what went on resulted in him wanting to be fed. I was in charge of the cooking so I made a main course which was OK but for dessert everything that I was proposing that I knew I had in the freezer or the fridge had gone as if someone had come in and raided the larder one night. This led to an extremely tense situation with him getting more and more angry until in the end I found a tin of pineapple rings. I was able to open them. Even though he was looking at me with a look that could kill, I managed to conjure up something with pineapple rings and ice cream but it was extremely uncomfortable, all of this, with him being menacing like that.

I was recording and editing some radio programmes at some time last night too but I can’t remember now why or when.

Afterwards, there was a football match going to take place between two teams. One team decided that they would put a little bit of dynamite in the changing room of the other team to destroy their equipment before the game. They were setting this dynamite up on the clothes locker but the other guy had the cable wrapped round his leg so when it came to go, he couldn’t leave. This led to a frantic scramble as they tried to untangle this cable. The two of them finally managed to leave the building. Instead of it being a small explosion it was a massive devastation that probably flattened stuff within a quarter-mile radius. Cars were destroyed and everything. People who survived gradually streamed away. Of course all the police were there, everything like that. At some point I was preparing to watch the game, someone asked me if I wanted a game to kick around but I said “no” because of my health. They tried to persuade me. It was hard to understand how anything living had been within that radius. Out of the shelter of a wall came this boy and girl. They’d obviously been having a smooch or something. being in this little recess had saved them. Out of the next recess stepped these two boys, clothes pock-marked and burnt but they were still alive. They walked away, filtered through this police cordonn checked and seen that they were victims and walked on. You could see all the street lights in a blue haze because of the smog and everything. A little earlier I’d been talking to a girl. She’d gone off somewhere down the road so I thought that this would be a good excuse for me to go and talk to her and see how she was doing so that’s what I decided to do

A little later my brother and I were going to watch the Alex. We were considerably early so I’d brought my computer with me to do some work. He was wondering if we had to pay or if we’d get complimentary tickets but I was better than that. I had a key to get into the ground. We fought our way through the crowds up to the front. There was a guy from school there so I said hello to him out of mischief more than anything else, used the key and let ourselves in. We were searched by a woman who was … err … very thorough then I had to find a place to sit where I could work amidst all the crowds. By this time I’d lost my brother. He’d wandered off somewhere so I had to follow him around. There were so many crowds of people that we ended up being blocked and couldn’t move. Worse, it was behind the commentary box so you couldn’t actually see the pitch from there. I was standing there hoping that this was all going to clear in the next few minutes so that we could find somewhere decent to sit and have a good view.

Finally I was with a girl last night and we ended up in a bar. For some reason she was very unhappy and had her head sunk down on her lap. I put my head down on top of hers and whispered a few nice things to her and gave her a little kiss. After a while she asked “shall we go?”. I was wondering about “go where and why?”. Of course, with my curiosity getting the better of me I sad “yes, let’s go” and we prepared to leave.

helicopter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another thing that I did in the middle of all of that was to go out to look at the beach.

Not that I made it very far across the car park before I was called into action. Someone had his chopper out this afternoon and just as I walked out of the door it went flying past.

It’s the red and yellow one, the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter that is based at Donville les Bains. I’ll probably find out tomorrow what it’s been up to when I read the newspaper, unless it’s a training exercise. They aren’t usually reported.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Once the helicopter disappeared behind the college I went over to look at the beach.

There was quite a bit of beach this afternoon. The tide is well out yet and there were a few people down there taking advantage of the lovely afternoon because it really was nice as you can tell.

Considering that it’s the beginning of November the weather is unseasonably mild. It must be building up to a really hard winter I reckon. It’s been a while since we’ve been in the grip of an Arctic winter.

yacht jersey channel islands baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021So with the nice clear weather, the view out to the Channel Islands was just as good as it was earlier in the day.

What caught my eye was something white right out there off the coast of Jersey so I photographed it on the offchance that it was something interesting.

Back in the apartment when I enlarged and enhanced it I could see that it was a yacht. I was impressed that I could pick it out at this distance.

It was Ingrid’s birthday yesterday but I was rather busy so I rang her up to talk to her once I returned. She told me all of her news, some of which wasn’t very cheerful, and I told her of mine, ditto. We’re a right pair, between the two of us.

Tea tonight was a baked potato, a vegan burger and a tin of refried beans. I haven’t had refried beans since I was IN SANTA FE IN 2002 but I found a couple of tins in Noz a while back and they need eating.

If I were to tell you that in the football tonight Connah’s Quay Nomads put 4 past Bala without reply, you would think that there had been a right spannering going on. And when I tell you that Beriala finished the match with just 9 players, you’re probably not surprised that it was a 4-0 defeat.

But the damage was done long before Chris Venables and Keiran Smith saw red, thanks to probably some of the most clinical finishing that I have seen, and three of the best goals that you are likely to see this season.

Bala unfortunately offered very little up front except for a shot from Chris Sang that he really ought to have scored. In fact it was something of a damp squib performance compared to Connah’s Quay’s fireworks.

A Connah’s Quay victory, certainly, but 4-0 is nevertheless a considerable exaggeration.

Anyway right now I’m off to bed now after my very busy day. No shopping tomorrow as there is no Caliburn but I’ll go down for a walk to the market and pick up a lettuce and some mushrooms.

See you in the morning.

Thursday 4th November 2021 – HOW LONG IS IT …

… since I’ve walked 110% of my daily total? It must be quite a while, I reckon.

This morning I took Caliburn for his annual service and controle technique and it’s a long way home – just over 6kms in fact. But apart from the final climb up the Rue des Juifs, what parts of it that aren’t on the level are slightly downhill so I thought “now or never”.

As it happens, just as I was walking past the bus stop about 400 metres from the garage, a bus came along and I could even have had a free ride home, but I persevered. And I’m glad that I did.

Mind you, I shan’t be walking back to pick him up when he’s ready. That’s not part of the plan at all.

Even more surprisingly, I’m surprised that I even thought about it after the night that I had. I promised yesterday that I won’t mention bad nights again so I’ll say nothing more.

It was however something of a very mobile and extremely surreal night. I don’t know why but I had just thrown a load of inflatable lifebuoy rings and toys and things into a swimming pool. Everyone had jumped in afterwards after them but thy were adults and even so they were making like whale things like squirting water out of a jet at the back of their helmets and that kind of thing, not being serious at all.

Later on there were 2 Viking ships doing a shuttle service between Norway and England. One of them was delayed for so long that by the time they prepared to leave the other Viking ship or Norse trading ship had come in to the harbour down the coast so they wanted to slip out to sea before the captain of that ship came to look for them to wonder why they had been so long. They slipped out on the tide at night and were caught in a fog. eventually they made a very rough landfall on some kind of island that might have been the Faroe Islands or something but was totally uninhabited. The ship was damaged so they couldn’t sail away so they had to sit and make the most of what it was that they were going to be doing on this island. There was plenty of driftwood for wood but that was really all about everything.

Some time later I was with a friend of mine in that old black MkV that I had and we were going into Crewe somewhere, just generally talking. This Cortina was running really poorly on about 3.5 cylinders and you had to work the gears pretty hard to get it to move. We went all the way down Mill Street where we nearly ran into the back of a car. I stopped by turning left and let some people cross the street, up past Oak Street into the town centre. The whole of the town centre had changed. There was still the pavement opposite the library but that was now a lawn but where the car park and the ring road used to be was now all buildings. I was having to find a place to park there but I couldn’t see anywhere to park. I was thinking that I would have to drive round for a bit in order to find somewhere.

There were plenty of other things going on too. We were on a coach tour going into Hungary. When it was meal-time the coach pulled up in Budapest, but it was no Budapest that I ever knew, something really modern. We all cascaded out and there was a restaurant there and it had absolutely nothing whatever vegan. We went to look at another couple in the vicinity and there wasn’t anything there either. By the time that we’d met up with a couple more off the coach who were looking for something to eat. We went back to the first place but to get there wasn’t easy. We had to scramble down this slope that looked very insecure. Down at this restaurant you had to make your own pizza, make your own sandwiches, take them to the till. There was nothing there that I could eat so we went into the restaurant to look for the tour guide. He wasn’t there. I was becoming extremely annoyed about this because I wanted something to eat but there was nothing there whatever that I could eat.

Finally there was an awfully interesting chat about camisole dresses and school sports days but I’m not quite sure what that was all about – something about rolling the camisole dress up like girls do when they go to school – roll the waist over to make the skirt shorter.

After the medication I went and assembled Caliburn’s door.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the door latch keeps sticking and sometimes I can’t open it from the outside. A few weeks ago I dismantled it and oiled all of the parts with WD40 and I left it half-dismantled to make sure that it works. Today I gave it another oiling and then put it back together.

Having dropped Caliburn off at the menders’, I set out for my marathon walk home. It was sunny but there was a cool breeze and I was very grateful for that.

calvary rue de la font jolie Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the corner of the street near the garage is a calvary – a shrine in honour of the Virgin Mary i reckon.

The plaque underneath it is very worn but the general message suggests that it’s to do with a pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1959

And this reminds me of a story that I have told before … “and on many occasions too” – ed.

In Québec many years ago they had some kind of competition for the design of a calvary. One designer sent in a drawing of John Wayne on his horse

Avoiding the temptation to take the bus, I carried on walking and I was glad that I did because we now have an Aldi open in the town. I popped in there for some energy drink to fuel me up and took advantage of the opportunity to have a good look around.

The place is bigger and has more choice than Lidl, so I can see myself calling in there every so often to stock up, especially as it’s not too far from Noz and LeClerc.

By the time I reached the bottom of the hill in the Rue Couraye I was beginning to feel the strain but I pushed on regardless.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021So much so that I actually made it half-way up the hill in the Rue des Juifs before I had to stop for breath.

Down there in the port, it was all quiet. The quayside was deserted – Normandy Trader and Thora had gone, taking the huge mound of freight with them.

Also gone from the harbour is Marité. Apparently she’s doing some filming somewhere, but I’ve no idea what or where it is.

When I returned home I made some coffee and toast and then came back in here to sink into my comfortable chair. And was I glad to do that! It’s a long time since I’ve been so exhausted and even so, I was really glad that I had accomplished it.

There’s life in the old dog yet!

But that wasn’t the end of my activity for the day either. There’s my appointment with the doctor at 13:30.

When I sat down on returning home I was feeling fine, but when I stood up to go on my way, I knew about it. I felt every inch of the journey down into town, and every bone and muscle in my body as well.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual I took the NIKON D3000 with me on my walk. and I put it to good use just round the corner.

The tide is well out right now so with it being the school holidays, the crowds are out on the exposed beach having a go at the pèche à pied.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the foreshore between high and low tides is leased to commercial fishermen who harvest the shellfish. But at the very low tides the water drops right down below the commercial zone and anything found in this exposed zone is fair game for anyone who cares to harvest it.

The doctor gave me a good going-over while I was there. My blood pressure is up which is a surprise because I didn’t think that I had enough even to make a normal reading.

The chemists have to order the injections of Aranesp for me so when I recovered from the shock of the price (you won’t believe how much they cost) I told them I’ll be down tomorrow to pick them up. It’ll be a nice walk into town in the afternoon, to do something different instead of my usual walk.

While I was at the chemist’s I remembered that I have a free voucher for a flu injection. I handed that over as well and I’ll pick that up tomorrow too.

Back here again I had a very late lunch with my delicious bread, musing on the fact that had suddenly hit me that I’d walked all the way from town and right up the hill to here without stopping for breath even once. And if that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But after all of this I was in no fit state to do very much in the afternoon.

I remembered to pop out (later than usual) too look at the beach. The tide is not quite full in but even so there wasn’t anyone down there, so I didn’t hang around much. I came back in to the apartment for another rest.

At some point I managed to go through all of the photos for yesterday and at some point when I have summoned up the energy I’ll write the text for them. But right now, I’m aching in places that I didn’t even know that I had.

Leaving my seat to go and make tea was exciting too. I can see me having a real struggle to leave my stinking pit in the morning if things carry on like this.

But tea was good tonight. There were some leftover bits and pieces lying around so I made a curry with them and that was quite delicious too.

Anyway, shortly I’ll be off to bed and try again for an uninterrupted night’s sleep, if I can. The pace is hotting up in here with the work building up so I’m hoping to have a really good day at it.

Just watch someone come along and spoil it.

Monday 1st November 2021 – WHAT A DAY!

You might think that when I tell you that I finished my radio programme by 10:35 this morning, that I had set a new record. But unfortunately it wasn’t quite like that.

After yet another miserable night I sat bolt upright at 06:11 wondering why my alarm hadn’t gone off at 06:00. I fell out of bed, had my medication and dashed back to make a start with the radio programme.

And then, 40 minutes later when the alarm finally did go off, I was wondering what on earth was happening until I suddenly twigged. I hadn’t had a shower yesterday so I hadn’t plugged my fitbit into the computer to upload the data and synchronise itself.

Consequently it hadn’t adjusted to the change of the hour and I’d actually left my bed at 05:11

Making a start at such a time like that, I might even have finished a lot earlier too but today I decided that instead of using the ZOOM H1, I used the new ZOOM H8.

It is, as you might expect, much more complicated to set up and takes much longer to regulate but the quality is undoubtedly better. It was a really good experience to use it because it made sure that I understood how it worked and that I could produce some results from it.

However I won’t be using it again for my radio programmes – for the simple reason that to record in stereo I need to use two mikes and two channels otherwise it simply records in mono. The little Zoom records automatically in stereo.

Having done that, I had breakfast and then I had a few other things to do that took me right up to lunchtime – and my bread is absolutely delicious, just as I thought that it would be.

My bad day hasn’t quite finished yet either.

After lunch I put the heater on in the bathroom to warm it up ready for my shower and my general clean-up before going out for my physiotherapy session – and then I realised that today in France is a Bank Holiday and there is no physiotherapy today.

And with it being a Bank Holiday, I could have legitimately had a nice long lie-in instead of being up and about at that ridiculous time this morning.

Instead, I carried on with writing up Saturday’s journal entry, and listening to where I’d been during the night. Percy Penguin, who doesn’t figure in these notes half as often as she deserves, had paid me a flying visit. Instead of seeing her at the usual time I was having to see her at a different time. I came back from work, went to the canteen, had some lunch and went round to dump some stuff in her house. There were some people in there and she came and had cut her hair. It was just down to her shoulder blades and I felt very disappointed with that.

Later on I wanted to buy some shares so I had a cunning plan. To go to the Post Office, open a bank account and buy the shares at the Post Office and start to pay the dividends into that account. In the meantime that would enable me to close down one of my two accounts here in France. I arrived at the Post Office rather late and there was a queue right outside the door but I was seen quite quickly. I had to reduce my documentation which was a bit of a fumble. The guy found out that I already had an account there so the first part was quite easy and straightforward. Then he told me that they didn’t actually purchase shares – the office was somewhere else. It wasn’t in the locality where I had to go for them which was something of a disappointment. I should really have done this at the bank. I was preparing to leave but suddenly realised that he hadn’t asked me for the money to pay into this account, presumably because it was open already. I wondered what I was going to do about that.

Finally, there had been an airship that had crashed in north-west France. We’d gone out to investigate it. As we were investigating it we didn’t think that it looked quite right. We heard that somewhere along the route a pile of bodies and debris and everything had been found on top of a mountain along this airship’s route. Our immediate thought was that it had grounded out on some high point and ripped off the rear cabin. This was soon changed after a while when it seemed that the rear cabin had been in an explosion. A bomb had been planted aboard that had blown the rear cabin out and killed everyone in there whose bodies had fallen onto this mountain-top. Of course this had altered the handling capabilities of the airship and that was what had caused it to crash around where we were. We set off in a car to try to locate the spot where these bodies had been found. We were driving somewhere around the Chester way heading into North Wales. There was an old Ford Zodiac with a pile of aerials on it looking as if it was some kind of radio car that was in the hunt. We were heading into North Wales to carry on our quest for this first lot of human remains and so on into North Wales. There was something about someone had bought the site to erect a monument and the site had changed hands again and the new owner was trying to raise money for a monument.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was the break this afternoon for my walk, somewhat later than usual.

There wasn’t anyone down on the beach this afternoon, for the rather prosaic reason that there isn’t any beach for anyone to be on. The tide is right in now, up to the foot of the cliffs.

You can see what I meant yesterday about those people down there. It’s easy to be cut off from the steps that bring people up to the Rue du Nord.

There were very few people around on the path this afternoon so I had this part of my circuit at least pretty much to myself.

people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Along the path and across the car park I came to the end of the headland.

There were a couple of people down there looking as if they were taking a photograph of themselves standing on the end of the headland.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, photographs of people taking photographs is something that features quite often on these pages.

There weren’t any fishermen out there this afternoon on the rocks, and no boats in the bay either. It was all quite quiet as everyone begins to go into hibernation for the winter, which won’t be long a-coming.

le styx unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was no change at all in the chantier naval this afternoon – the portable boat lift was still parked up in the middle of the yard.

Over at the fish processing plant, we had one of the port’s trawlers, Le Styx, unloading over there onto the wharf. You can see one of the many electric cranes that they use to winch the loads up onto the top.

When she finished unloading, she cast off and pulled away from the plant, but I didn’t see where she went because I was moving off down the path towards home.

workmen's compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I walked past the place where I could look down on the workmen’s compound in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

That job that they are undertaking in the Rue Cambernon is taking its time. They must be doing a thorough job on it, whatever it is. I shall have to go down that way on Wednesday on my way to the physiotherapist in order to have a closer look.

Back here I made myself a coffee and carried on with my journal entry from Saturday and now that’s on line. There are just a huge pile of photos now to edit, and I’ll make a start on that tomorrow.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, and it was delicious as usual. And now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a long day and I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be at my best. But no matter what I do, there’s little hope of that.

Thursday 28th October 2021 – NOW HERE’S A THING

man catching fish beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was out on my afternoon walk today I saw this guy bending down at the water’s edge with something in his had.

At first I thought that it was a carrier bag of some description but then I asked myself “is that a fish?”. Ohh no, it can’t possibly be a fist at all.

But when I examined the photograph more closely and enlarged and enhanced it somewhat, I could see that right in front of where he’s standing is a fishing net stretching out into the water.

And so the conclusion is that at long last we have actually seen a fisherman catch something out there and I bet that he’ll enjoy that with his cheap for his tea tonight.

Mind you, catching something with a net is one thing – catching it with a rod and line is something else completely and I’m not going to be really satisfied until I see a fisherman pull a fish out using his tackle and equipment.

Another thing about which I’m not satisfied is my sleeping just now. Last night was slightly better than the previous night or two but still not what I would call satisfactory. In fact, far from it.

And one thing that I never understand at all is that I’m lying in bed tossing and turning and not sleeping all the way up to 5 minutes before the alarm goes off – and then I’m out like a light for all of 5 minutes until I’m awoken.

That’s exactly how it was yet again today and once more, i wouldn’t actually call anything like “athletic” the way that I left my stinking pit.

There was still time enough to go off on my travels during the night I was with girl whom I’d met in Brussels for some part of the night. We were gradually working on our friendship and relationship. I was hoping that this time I might be able to make some kind of couple with her but it didn’t quite work out. And it didn’t work out in real life either, much to my dismay. I always seemed to find myself tangled up with these extremely religious people with high principles

Later on there was a game going on, something like “Just A Minute” where they were talking about repairing coaches. The girl sitting next to me used the term “panel beater” to which everyone objected. I told her that you could go into almost any garage in the country and find someone who would be described as a panel beater, painter and sprayer. She used this as the basis for her argument. In the end the presenter put it to the audience but before they could cheer or booh I awoke.

Later on, I’d gone round to see my friend near Munich. I’d bought myself a coffee from a van on the side of the road and gone to see him. We started to chat. I invited to buy him coffee so he ordered two coffees from this van. Then he disappeared. When he came back out of his house I asked him “have you drunk your coffee?”. He replied “yes, but yours is still over there on the van”. I had to go back to the van and pick mine up. There was something to do with a PA system that I’d seen for sale and I was wondering whether to buy it. he was going on about how nice a stack it was. Even though they were different components it all looked quite nice as a stack.

After breakfast I made a start on updating some of the journal entries from earlier in the month. That meant that the first task was the dictaphone. To my surprise several entries were missing. I’d copied them onto the portable laptop while I was away and instead of filing them to store afterwards, I must have deleted them.

There’s always some complication, isn’t there?

So firing up the laptop I found the files and I was in business. While I was at it, I also found another file or two that for some reason or other hadn’t been copied over when I returned home.

So now the first few days are updated, but this is going to be a long job. For example, only 29 other dictaphone files to deal with.

That took me up to lunch and then afterwards I had some post to be doing. I’ve received a few mails about my radio project and they needed answering pretty quickly. It looks as if I’ve been roped in for another event as well.

But turning my attention to more mundane matters, I really do wonder how I’ve managed to get to where I am today with some of the things that I’ve been doing.

Yesterday, the battery in the NIKON D3000 was flat yesterday, as I found out when I went to take a photo. Anyway, that went on charge when I returned home.

Today, just before I went out, I checked the battery in the NIKON D500 to be on the safe side. That was almost flat too and I wished that I’d checked it earlier so it would have had time to charge up.

And then I realised that a few months ago I’d bought two spare batteries for it. Only cheap low-capacity batteries but why they were important was that they came with a free charger that works off a USB port. I’m collecting USB items, like for example the AA/AAA battery charger that I found because they are lighter, easier to carry and just need the one cable.

So with one of the batteries now in the camera, I had another brainwave.

In the drawer is the old NIKON D5000 camera that worked for years until I dropped it, cracked the case and water ingressed and ruined the PCB.

That takes the same battery is the Nikon D3000 and the battery is still in it so I extracted that and put it on charge. We’ll see if it holds a charge and if so we’ll add it to the pile.

people on beach swimmer rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So somewhat later than intended I went out for my afternoon walk.

And this afternoon the beach was comparatively crowded. It was a really warm, sunny day for the end of October and with it being the school holidays, everyone had gone down to make the most of it.

So much so that on the extreme left-hand edge of the photo you’ll actually see someone swimming in the sea. I don’t envy him one little bit. If the water isn’t at 37°C I’m not going in it.

The path was crowded with people this afternoon as you might expect so I had to fight my way through the crowds towards the lighthouse.

waves on sea wall baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I came out of the shelter of the College Malraux I was hit by the wind coming from a very unusual quarter – the south-west.

It was quite strong as well so I was expecting to see some excitement at the sea wall by the harbour as the waves will be picked up by the wind and hurled into the wall.

But this turned out to be something of a damp squib, didn’t it? The waves weren’t anything at all to write home about. Something of a major disappointment in fact. This was the best of a pretty poor lot of waves coming in on the wind

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was on my way along the path on top of the cliffs I noticed that the portable boat lift had been moved from its habitual resting place.

Thinking that it might be engaged in some kind of activity I hurried along to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what it it was up to.

To my surprise, I saw that it had been driven into the centre of the chantier naval, parked up and left there. There weren’t any boats about here at all.

All of this looks pretty weird to me. I’ve no idea what is happening with this. I certainly wouldn’t want to leave the boat lift here overnight where some motorist might drive into it in the dark.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Over at the ferry terminal, the two Joly France ferries are tied up there.

On the left is the newer one of the two with the smaller upper deck superstructure and the windows in “portrait” format. The older one of the right has the larger upper deck superstructure and windows in “Landscape” format.

And for once, the crane is folded up correctly.

Back at the apartment I made myself a coffee and had more things to do, like splitting a couple of albums into their constituent tracks. And that wasn’t easy for one of them as the tracks ran into each other and I’ll have to think about this carefully.

Tea was the last of the aubergine and kidney bean whatsit, and now that my journal entry is done, I’m off to bed.

But before I go, I’m going to have to try my best not to be so cynical.

Some books that belonged to my grandparents and great grandparents have been discovered and apparently (not that I knew until long after the event) there was a “family meeting” (to which I wasn’t, of course, invited). It was “agreed” that a certain member of the family should take them in and care for them.

My immediate response was “well, that’s the last that anyone will ever see of them”. I really must stop being so cynical.

Wednesday 27th October 2021 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I haven’t done for many months.

And that is that I walked all the way from here to the physiotherapist’s by the railway station in one go without once stopping for breath. And it’s been a long, long time since I’ve done that, hasn’t it?

Mind you, the last couple of hundred yards were a killer but I was determined to keep on going and I made it in the end, staggering into the surgery on my last legs.

But one thing that I didn’t do was to take any photos today. Bane of Britain went out to the physiotherapist’s without checking the battery in the camera so it goes without saying that it was flat, wasn’t it?

“Never mind” I thought to myself. “I’ll take them with the camera on the phone on the may home”. However in the physiotherapist’s was one of my neighbours and when he finished, he waited for me and offered me a lift home.

Usually I don’t take lifts back home because I have to push myself onwards as best as I can and if I stop making an effort, I’ll never ever start again. But he had wasted 15 minutes of his time waiting for me so I couldn’t politely refuse.

Anyway, last night I went to bed at about 23:15 and had a really deep sleep, all the way through to … errr … 02:40. And at 04:50 I was still awake, regrettably. What a dreadful night.

However, at some point I must have gone back to sleep because I awoke, bolt-upright as if a bomb had gone off somewhere, about 10 minutes before the alarm was due to go off.

When the alarm finally did sound, it was a real effort to heave myself out of bed and as you might expect, I felt dreadful. After the medication it took quite a while to recover my senses, which is quite a surprise seeing how few that I have these days.

Once I’d gathered my strength I spent most of the morning playing with my new toy – a 12-channel ZOOM H8 portable mixer-recorder.

It’s much more complicated than my two-channel ZOOM H1 but I’m fed up of having to make do with equipment that isn’t up to what I’m trying to do. The little Zoom is fine for my own radio programmes but not for going out and about to meet people and interview them.

There was an interruption in the middle of all of this for one of my mega-chats with Rosemary who rang me up just as I was about to eat breakfast. And my fruit buns really are delicious.

During the night I was being a detective investigating someone about something. I’d been to his house and met him although of course I didn’t say why I was there. A little later I met a girl and I was around at the house where she lived. I noticed that on the wall was a photo of one of this guy’s flatmates. There was a group of us talking but everyone slowly drifted away until she was on her own. I drew her attention to the photo and told her that if ever she saw me in that house she wasn’t to let on at all that she knew me. Then a group of people came in. One of them was this girl’s boyfriend. They were discussing what they were going to do that night. They asked her and she replied that she was thinking of going out. This guy said “you aren’t going out with Eric, are you?”. She didn’t answer the question. Much as I would have liked to have asked her out, obviously with what appeared to be her boyfriend and a few mates there it wasn’t something that I was going to do at that particular moment although I was keen to know what she was doing in that house with that other guy whose photo she had and what was her connection with it all. I wanted to get her on her own and talk some more about it.

At another point I was working in a Government Office. A file came on my desk for someone who was described as a teacher and railwayman. I had a look and there was a big gap in his employment history so I was searching through some papers in his file and found that he was describing himself as a mandolin player with the Eurythmics. I thought “this sounds really interesting. I shall have to follow this up”.

After lunch I went for a shower and then spent some time sorting out my photos from when I was in Leuven the other day. It’s high time that I organised myself and caught up with the arrears of all of this outstanding stuff.

A little earlier I mentioned the Physiotherapist. I had a few kinetic exercises and then a spell on the rotating platform thing – the first time for ages. And I was glad to have a lift home as I was aching just about everywhere.

Back here I had a coffee and then did some more stuff for my project. This is taking an age and i’m not receiving anything like as much help as I expected or was hoping.

For tea tonight I attacked the European Burger Mountain in my fridge, with some pasta and vegetables. It’s all good stuff.

Strangely enough, after my dreadful night I didn’t crash out today so I must be improving somewhat, I think. But I’m taking no chances. I was just about to go to bed when onto the playlist came Man singing GRASSHOPPER from the album RHINOS WINOS AND LUNATICS.
“Now that night has taken time into its keeping
And thrown it in my face
We just lie here in the darkness counting seconds
And pack them in your case
I have given everything I had to give you
I’d give it all again
But I think the time has come for you to leave me
Tonight has been the last we will have”

“Night has a way of getting colder
Morning has come and I can’t hold her anymore
She will go today”

The lyrics remind me of a night a couple of years ago in the Canadian High Arctic and a certain young lady of my acquaintance. And those lyrics are exactly how it was, an evening that will never ever come again and one of these days I’ll actually write up the journal entry for that couple of days that are missing.

But that’s going to be quite a task as I don’t really even know and still haven’t worked out what actually happened that night.

What a thing to go to bed on, hey? I foretell another bad night.