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Saturday 24th September 2022 – I REALLY DON’T KNOW …

… how to start today. I’ve been trying to think of some significant event that could open up today’s entry with a bang, but I couldn’t really think of anything.

It’s been that kind of day today.

35ma light aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you admire a couple of photos of a few light aeroplanes that were flying around this afternoon, I’ll start at the beginning.

When the alarm went off I was in a University lecture and the lecturer was reading out the conditions for a test. The way he calculated the marks to be awarded only led up to 80%. he said “don’t worry. The other 20% will be awarded depending on how well you got on watching a couple of films”. Of course that didn’t seem right to me. he started to give the instructions but I was busy drawing flowers on the whiteboard that I had. he came out with something and I made rather a lame joke about it. Half-way through, the invigilator came in to ask him if he was ready to start. He said “I have them wound up. They are already cracking jokes “. I thought that had I known, I would have cracked a better joke than that.

light aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It wasn’t a very enthusiastic start either.

Although I managed to beat the second alarm, it wasn’t by much. I was still dressing when it went off.

But after I had taken my medication I wandered off for a shower and a general tidy-up.

And then it was time for a quick trip to Lidl. I didn’t want much today because I have something organised later in the week and shan’t need much food – at least as far as LeClerc goes, so there wasn’t much point in going there.

It actually took much longer in Lidl than it might otherwise have done. Only one queue open, and some doddering old woman was having a dispute with the cashier.

She seemed to think that the cashier had failed to charge the reduced price for a short-dated item and nothing that the cashier would do to convince her and it took an age for the matter to be settled. Of course, the cashier isn’t going to print out the receipt and give it to the customer until the bill has been paid.

And when it did come to paying, the old woman had to dig deep in every pocket and bag that she had in order to find the right amount of cash.

There was a lot of words being said by those of us who were stuck in the queue.

f-gnnx Pierre Robin DR400-120 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you admire F-GNNX, a Robin DR400-120 belonging to the aero club at St Brieuc that came to pay us a visit this afternoon, I was eventually finishing my purchases and driving home.

Having sorted out my purchases I came in here to check my mails and messages.

Do you remember the saga of Not My Cat from the other week? A friend of mine was followed home by two kittens yesterday. They came into her house and settled down. She added “despite leaving the front door open they didn’t want to return outside at all”.

Anyone who knows anything about cats will realise that the cats have now adopted their human and that is that.

Armed with a coffee and some cheese on toast, I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

You’ve already read one note from the dictaphone but there was something else too. We were back in the war. The area of Russia where we were living was invaded by the Germans. I’d been caught as being away from my own place when I’d been talking to this girl. I ended up having to work for the Germans but I eventually found my way back home again. There was a second wave of invasions and I was caught yet again away from home so we decided that I’d pretend to be a flatmate of this girl and I’d be having singing lessons. This is how it started. Of course the military came to raid us again. It turned out that the guy who was in charge of the military was the guy who raided the place where we lived the first time so that didn’t work and we were all taken off.

So no TOTGA, no Castor and no Zero last night. But no-one else to disturb me so I ought to be thankful for small mercies.

After lunch I was idly surfing the internet, like you do … “like YOU do” – ed … and I came across a live football game – Wales under-19s v Republic of Ireland under-19s.

It was pretty short of skill as you might expect but a couple of players impressed me. I don’t think that anyone would ever get past whover was Ireland’s n°4.

There were a couple of distractions while it was going on, which meant, would you believe (and knowing how things usually pan out with me, you probably would), I missed the two goals that Ireland scored. 2-0 for Ireland, the final score, which rather flattered them, I reckon.

As the final whistle sounded, it was actually bang on time for my afternoon walk so I hopped outside.

people taking photograph on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a regular feature that runs through these pages is one of photographs of people taking photographs.

Sown on the beach we had some guy posing at the water’s edge with some kind of dog that seemed to be a fashion accessory at his feet while someone else was taking photographs with a mobile ‘phone.

Not exactly what you would call the height of artistic endeavour but it makes some kind of unusual subject.

And just as well too because as far as I could see, they were the only people down there on the beach this afternoon.

jersey shtandart baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And while I was up here by the wall, I was having a look around to see what was going on out to sea.

And look who’s back in the neighbourhood. Right out there in the bay a good few miles offshore is our old friend the Russian sailing ship Shtandart. She’s come back to haunt us.

And I can tell that it’s her for the simple reason that there is no AIS signal from anyone out there in that direction. Had this been any other sailing ship she would have had her AIS transmitter functioning but regular readers of this rubbish know all about her switching hers off.

And look at Jersey in the background. On the extreme right we can even make out one of the offshore Martello Towers but I can’t make out which one it is from here.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022That prompted me to take another look at Jersey, without the distractions of Shtandart.

Over on the right we can see the blocks of flats at St Clément. As you’ll see when I finally add the photos from my trip to Jersey there are four fourteen-storey blocks of flats one behind the other on the seafront there and they show up quite clearly.

And then to the left we have various buildings in and around St Helier. It’s not easy to identify which is which because the sunlight is rather bizarre today.

But what I will do is to cadge a lift over to Jersey in Normandy Trader and film a video of the approach when the identity of the buildings will be much clearer.

And while we’re on the subject of Normandy Trader, Nathan her skipper tells me that he came into port on Wednesday while my friends and I were out to pick up those dumpers that we saw at the quayside on Sunday, and then had to come back the following day for more agricultural equipment.

la grande ancre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was some other stuff out and about too this afternoon.

One of the boats was instantly recognisable. I didn’t need the zoom lens on the NIKON D500 to tell who she was.

Sure enough, it’s another one of our regular customers, La Grande Ancre returning from a day’s fishing out at the Ile de Chausey.

The other boats were too far out to have any realistic idea of whom they might be, so I ignored them for the time being and headed off for my walk – or “hop”, more like.

wedding pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022The path along the clifftop was really busy this afternoon. There were quite a few people walking about.

However what had attracted my eye was this large group of people on one of the lawns at the end of the headland by the car park.

While I’d been watching the football earlier, one of the distractions was the noise of motor horns coming from vehicles at the Public Rooms presumably attending a wedding. What looks to have happened now is that all of the guests had adjourned to the lawn to carry out their celebrations in the open air.

They even had a couple of cars parked on there, decorated with flags and the like. You can see one of them over on the right.

kayakers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It actually wasn’t all that much of a nice day for it, no matter how it looked in the previous photos.

And I’m sure that the guys in the two kayaks down there would be able to confirm it. It was cold to the extent that I had on a sweater, and there was quite a wicked wind blowing – one that was certainly rocking the boat.

This would have been the kind of weather that had I been out there on the water I would have wanted some kind of heating. But it’s never a very good idea to light a fire in a canoe for as you know, you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

I’ll get my coat.

cabanon vauban person on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022What with all of the activity down there this afternoon, once more I’m surprised at the insouciance of some people.

Here we have a big wedding, a pseudo-Spanish galleon, a couple of kayaks, some fishing vessels and several aircraft flying by, all of which in a very strong wind, and here we have someone else sitting in a ringside seat on the bench down by the cabanon vauban and he is far more preoccupied by something else.

Maybe it’s his telephone, maybe it’s a good book, but there’s that much other stuff happening that I would have thought that he might have taken more of an interest in it.

la grande ancre baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Especially as just a minute or two later, La Grande Ancre goes sailing … “dieseling” – ed … part.

When I’d seen her earlier, she seemed to be pretty-much loaded up and I was really interested to see what she might have been carrying.

So here she is, and just look at all that shellfish. and not even a single seagull launching a dive-bombing raid for a free lunch.

It certainly must be profitable out there on the Ile de Chausey with all of that on its way back to the Fish Processing Plant, so I hope that they don’t hit any rough seas otherwise all that lot will come sliding off.

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022having seen la Grande Ancre I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

Yesterday we had seen Le Poulbot in the cradle of the portable boat lift waiting for the tide to come right in so that there would be enough water to float her away from the quayside. Anyway, she’s now cleared off back into the water than that is that

There’s still that empty place though where Pierre de Jade was until earlier in the week. I suppose that someone will come along to claim it in due course

In the meantime, Gerlean and L’Omerta are still where they were, over on the right of the yard.

ch922398 Gwenn Ha Ruz port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022By now, one of the other boats that was out in the bay has come into port.

She’s one that we have seen before – CH922398, otherwise known as Gwenn Ha Ruz, which means “White and Red” in Breton.

There’s quite a load on board her too so it must have been a really good day out there today from that point of view.

By the way, don’t confuse Gwenn Ha Ruz with Gwenn Ha Du, “White and Black” in Breton. That is the colour (and nickname, incidentally) of the flag of Brittany. And you can see the similarity between the Welsh and the Breton languages.

Back here I had a play with the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. It’s going to be a special programme because there’s an event that needs to be celebrated so I spent quite a while trying to find some appropriate songs.

But now I have my 10 and one or two extra to fill in at the end. But I’ll need to make sure that there wiil be plenty of stuff to cut out of the text because I don’t have the same room to manoeuvre as I usually would for an 11th track.

Tea was a baked potato with veg and one of my breaded quorn fillet things. They really are nice. And as I’m having to ration the potatoes at the moment I had a slice of apple pie from the freezer. Dated September 2020, it was still quite nice.

And now before I go to bed I need to make a start on a mega-back-up. It’s been ages since I’ve done a complete one for the travelling laptop so I need to think about that.

It doesn’t matter how long it takes of course because Sunday is a lie-in and I fully intend to make the most of it.

What could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday 14th September 2022 – PECCAVI WASN’T BACK …

peccavi le styx chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… in the water for very long, was she?

A couple of days ago we sw the portable boat lift hovering around her like a bird of prey, and yesterday she had gone.

But this afternoon as I wandered around the headland on my walk, I noticed that she’s back in the cradle of the portable boat lift, either looking for a berth or else having ha da quick touching up and waiting to be lowered back down again when the tide comes in later this afternoon..

We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what’s happened to her. But whatever is going on, it was rather a short stay in the water.

Just for a change my stay in bed last night wasn’t all that short. I was (for once) actually in bed at something like a reasonable time and it’s been a while since that’s happened.

Quite a few little voyages during the night too. I can’t remember who I was with now but I was at a fishing port somewhere. I had a daughter who lived here. My partner asked me about her so I made a couple of excuses and said that she’s just been sent to bed because she’s misbehaved. Just as I was saying that, round the corner she came along wiht the nurse or nanny who looked after her. I thought “that’s my story blown, isn’t it?”. I said to her “hello. What are you doing?”. She replied that she had indeed been sent to bed but for a different reason to the one that I just gave. I asked her if she wants to see me when I’m here, she obviously has to be on her best behaviour because if she keeps on being sent to bed she won’t be able to see me at all. The two of us, my friend and the child’s nurse or nanny, we had a little chat together about everything.

And later, Marianne and I were in the Metro or Underground on our way to a theatre to watch a play or a cinema. We were passing through different Underground stations talking about groups whom we’d seen performing at concert halls nearby. As we closed to our destination Marianne said suddenly that she didn’t have her handbag with her. She’d left it at one of our stops. She had to leap off the train and go back. I carried on and got off at our stop and took up a place where I could watch the train arrive. It wasn’t many minutes afterwards when she arrived, saying that she didn’t have her bag, didn’t have her purse etc. I looked a bit suspicious about everything. She came up with some small change to leave the Underground etc. We went over there and I bought the tickets to go in, all the drinks, sweets etc. We decided that we’d go somewhere else but I can’t remember now where that somewhere else was.

Finally I was unloading a load of Rowntrees products from Strider when I awoke. I thought that he was saying that that company would haul anything if the price was right. They had a couple of large containers with their food on board that was destined for Taylor’s to share out at Christmas. The rest of it was shop deliveries. Even though it was all mis-sorted all over the place it had to be delivered to individual shops. We were going on about our relationship with the shop, about how sometimes it was very good, sometimes it was very bad depending on the particular issues. Before that I’d been somewhere or other from town. We’d been wandering around and there had been this 6-cylinder Harley Davidson parked up at the side of this building. It had been there for a while. Everyone would come to look at it, Harley Davidson aficionados from all over the place. One day a Harley Davidson club turned up to see it and decided that they would take some of us for a ride so somehow they managed to disconnect the lock on it. Someone else bought a trailer of the type that this Harley Davidson would pull when it was working. I was unlucky enough that I had a lift on a traditional Harley. They went north out of Crewe through the lanes. It was a wild experience. He was playing an LP of A NEIGHBOUR OF MINE like THE TALE OF SIR ROBIN but it was the tale of the guy who was actually driving the motorbike and I can’t remember now his name.

For the benefit of any new reader, anyone who knows anything about LORD OF THE RINGS will know exactly what make and model of vehicle Strider is. He’s on my mind at the moment because he’s just been for his safety inspection in Canada and I’m told that he needs some welding. That’s bad news of course but he is 14 years old and is left outside during the Canadian winters, so it’s not a surprise.

It’s high time that I made up my mind about what to do with him.

Having dealt with all of that then most of the rest of the day has been spent with dealing with my Jersey photos. I’ve not done too many of those because most of the time has been spent researching.

And most of that time was trying to find out when a couple of buildings were erecting. It’s always puzzled me that there’s much more information available about older buildings than there is about newer ones

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There were several breaks during the day of course, the afternoon walk being one of them.

As usual I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach. And today, it was a case of playing “spot the human being”. I certainly couldn’t see one in this photo.

Not that that’s really surprising. The weather has turned yet again and the temperature has dropped. It’s quite cool there and pretty much overcast. Winter won’t be long in a-coming, I reckon.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Looking out to sea was pretty much a waste of time this afternoon as well.

There was quite a sea mist and you couldn’t see the Ile de Chausey this afternoon. I’d almost given up hope of seeing anything out at sea when this zodiac came into view from around the headland. So at least that was something.

There was a guy on board who had in his possession a couple of fishing rods. So there’s no surprise as to where he’ll be going.

However I’m more concerned as to where he’s come from because in the kind of range in which a zodiac travels safely, there’s no port with a ramp into the water right now. It’s only people like us who’ll travel 30 miles in open water on a zodiac trying to find our ship.

But be all that as it may, about 30 seconds after this zodiac came by, another one came around the headland. It looks as if there’s quite a lot going on as far as they are concerned.

lobster pot marker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022A little further on, I came across another marker buoy with a flag.

Having seen quite a few of these, I’m even more convinced that they mark the position of lobster pots that have been dropped overboard in the hope of making a catch.

And just in case I hadn’t seen enough of them already, there were several all dotted along the coast here.

They were all flying the same colour of flag so that seems to be pretty conclusive that the same flag belongs to the same owner, and a different flag belongs to a different owner.

cabanon vauban man on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With not too many people out and about this afternoon I wasn’t expecting to see anyone down at the bench at the cabanon vauban.

Nevertheless there were two people down there this afternoon. One of them went and hid out of sight behind the cabin when they saw me coming, such has my fame spread these days. But the other person took no notice so he fitted in quite nicely to my photo.

One or two people down on the lower path too but they didn’t hang around waiting for the bench to clear so that they could take their turn at sitting down.

And neither did I hang around. I cleared off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

pierre de jade chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And plenty of excitement today in the chantier naval.

We’ve seen Peccavi back in town, but it looked very much as if we had yet another trawler in there that wasn’t in there yesterday.

To be on the safe side I took a photo of it with the aim of examining it back at base but when I did so, it turned out to be Pierre de Jade who was in there yesterday.

They must really be cracking on with that because they have already painted out her name with some undercoating. And with all of the workmen swarming all over her in contrast to how the work is progressing on the other boats, it looks as if they have a pressing engagement for her.

shtandart marite chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Meanwhile down at the far end of the inner harbour it looks as if we have a full house.

Not only is Marité there but it seems that Shtandart is back in town as well, tied up in her usual place. So what’s the story with her then? For how long is she staying?

Chausiaise is down there too in the loading bay underneath the crane. Now that things are quietening down at the end of the summer, maybe she’s thinking about going out with another load to the Channel Islands.

Meanwhile what I am thinking about is going home for a coffee. I’m really struggling, going round my circuit and I certainly can’t do it in 15 minutes as I used to. Fings ain’t looking so good.

For a while I carried on with my photos and later on ended up having a chat with my neighbour. This things isn’t happening this weekend, as I said, but we were talking about a few more opportunities. However, they are increasingly unlikely from my point of view.

Tea tonight was another delicious, magnificent curry and then Rosemary rang so we had another one of our marathon chats. Hence I’m running rather late tonight yet again. There’s no end to it.

Tomorrow I’ll be carrying on with my photos from Jersey. At least I’m ashore now having a coffee – about a quarter of the way through the images. It’s going to take another age to finish it, and then I can restart on all of the other hundreds of outstanding days when there was so much to do that is as yet undone.

It never ends, does it?

Saturday 10th September 2022 – NOT MY CAT

not my cat place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Say “hello” to Not My Cat.

There’s a lengthy thread on all forms of Social Media with posts about Not My Cat. Anyone who knows anything about cats will know that they come and go as they please and finding Not My Cat in a house is a regular occurrence.

Finding Not My Cat in a block of flats is even more rare especially when, as far as I know, no-one has a cat and there’s a security door.

But I opened the door to my apartment this morning and there was Not My Cat waiting outside. Quite a young cat by the looks of things. He (or she) ran inside before I could do or say anything, did a tour of the place, found a cosy spot on the sofa, curled up and went to sleep as if he owned it.

When I stroked him he purred quite loudly and I’m sure that he could have settled down here for ever and how I would have liked that. Only the other day I was talking about having a cat around the place. But someone would be missing him somewhere.

A little later I had to go out so I picked him up to carry him out. He ran down the stairs to the front door and as I opened it he skipped off outside like a 5 year-old girl and that was that. He didn’t have any fear or anxiety about going out.

And that was that. What a shame because even though it was only for half an hour or so, I really enjoyed having Not My Cat here.

Maybe it’s a sign from somewhere.

He’s not the first Not My Cat that I’ve had around. Back in the Auvergne there was a FERAL BLACK CAT that roamed around that adopted me during that really bad winter that we had.

Not My Cat wasn’t the only visitor that I had today, and that will explain the mad burst of energy and all of the tidying up just recently. But I’ll tell you more about that in a minute.

When the alarm went off this morning at 07:30 I was straight out of bed which is a surprise by itself and by the time that the 3rd alarm went off at 08:00 I’d had my medication showered and shaved.

When Lidl opened its door at 08:30 I’d already been outside for 5 minutes and by 09:15 I was back here.

It was an expensive shop at Lidl today but I’m not going to miss out on Bags of Brazil nuts at 40% off. And I’m certainly not going to miss out on grapes at €0:99 a kilo. We’re coming to the interesting time of the year.

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022When I pulled up on the car park I noticed that Marité ws out and aboout on her travels again so I went upstairs to fetch the NIKON D500.

Back down here I strolled over to the wall at the end of the headland and took a photo of her.

She was quite far out by the time that I came back down too. It was a windy morning and she had some of her sails unfurled but I bet that the diesel motor was churning away too.

Settling down with a coffee, I had a listen to what was on the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I can’t remember too much about this particular voyage but we were working on a friend’s boat for some unknown reason, some kind of galleon. We needed to contact someone else about it. That other place asked us for the name of the boat and who owned it. For some unknown reason every time we tried to say his name a different name came out. They couldn’t match it with anything in their database. We must have said it 3 or 4 times and they still didn’t get it right as far as we were concerned.

A little later I was with Liz, wandering around the shops. We came to a newsagent’s where they had some brochures about camping. I had a look at a couple of them. One of them was for a company called Action Canada. The name caught my eye. I noticed that up in Labrador they had a camp site and 3 months there in June, July and August cost something like €3,000. I thought to myself “I could do this”. I picked up a brochure and showed it to Liz. When we had a look, this was a brochure for the British Isles only. I’d picked up the wrong one. I went back to try to find the one for Canada to find that where they had been, the owner had cleared out this particular range. We were scrabbling around looking for this particular brochure in stuff that was piled on the floor but we couldn’t find it. I was thinking to myself “here’s another one that has slipped away isn’t it?”.

Finally I was out with a bus-load of passengers and we were cruising around the back end of Shavington. We ended up on a dirt road. We were making comments about the dirt road etc. All of a sudden we came to a bit where they were tarmacking it. They actually had the whole road blocked off. I reached where these guys were working and asked “which way is past for me?”. He pointed to a steep bank that was probably about 1:2. he said “go down there”. I asked “are you serious?”. He replied “yes”. I thought that at the very least the front end of the coach is going to ground out on the bottom etc. I had the passengers making sure that they were sitting down and strapped in, and ever so slowly went down there and managed to bring the coach down to the bottom. We pulled away and ended up right where we ought to be in this café where we were stopping for lunch. I went in to see the girl. She was telling us that we would have to wait for a bit because we were early. I asked where was the best place to park the coach. She replied “about 1.8 kms away”. I replied “I’m not walking 1.8 kms”. Nerina who was with me said that she’d walk around the local area for a minute and look around. She was telling us about a mine shaft that was here which was why we’d come here for a coffee stop so that the people could see the mineshaft. She started to give the whole rigmarole speech. I thought “if she does this we aren’t going to have the time for the meal” so I had to somehow stop her and organise things properly. It occurred to me sometime during the night that I’d done the whole of the morning’s trip without putting on any music on the PA of the coach. I thought “that’s not like me at all to do that”.

Bang on cue at 11:00 my friends turned up. Someone whom I knew from my time in Manchester and with whom I’d kept in touch ever since, and was even best man when I married. We haven’t seen each other for eight years and so when I heard that he and his wife were passing through the area on their way down south, I invited them to call in.

And this is when Not My Cat appeared.

There was so much to discuss and we were in here for a couple of hours. However the weather improved dramatically and it looked like a nice day so we decided to go for a walk around the headland.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022You can see how much the weather had improved by looking at this photo of the Ile de Chausey.

With the sun being behind me the colours on the island came up much better than they notmally do in the afternoon. Perhaps I ought to go out more often in the morning.

There’s a yacht sailing around out there too but that was all the marine traffic that there was just now. Marité must be loitering around somewhere behind the island.

We couldn’t see Jersey today though. Still, I suppose that you can’t have everything.

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022We carried on walking along the path towards the port.

There was no-one on the bench at the cabanon vauban but there was something in the iar, for the first time for several days. It’s a different autogyro than the one that we normally see. That one is yellow but this one is white and red.

It seems that this place is becoming much more popular as far as aerial travel goes, with all kinds of different planes putting in an appearance.

We went to la Rafale for a coffee and waited for a while until the crowds down in the town dispersed after the market was over, and then we went to hunt for food.

And just as you might expect, all of the restaurants had closed for the afternoon.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Instead, we went for a walk around the harbour.

As we reached the Ferry terminal where we made a pit stop, we were lucky enough to witness the arrival of one of the Joly France ferries from the Ile de Chausey.

This is the older one of the near-identical pair, as you can tell by her windows. There’s quite a crowd on board and they can’t have appreciated the weather that was out there in the bay this morning.

While we were there on the quayside at the fish-processing plant we saw the tractor and trailer belonging to Les Bouchots de Chausey pull up, as well as another outfit that I didn’t recognise. It looks as if the shell-fishing boats are out there working today.

briscard chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022One place that I wanted to visit seeing as I was out on my travels with people who could pick me up if I fell over was the chantier naval

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there’s a shell-fishing boat in the chantier naval that I haven’t been able to identify and I wanted to see who she might be.

We headed off that way and that enabled us to identify that it is Briscard who is in there next to Peccavi.

Hhaving ascertained that we wandered back into the town to find food. Our first choice didn’t serve meals on a Saturday evening so we ended up at the pizzeria. They also served Italian food and to my surprise it was no problem at all to rustle up a vegan meal for me.

It was quite delicious too.

bar ephemère chez maguie place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way home we went up the Rue des Juifs where we would look down on the boulodrome.

The Bar Ephemère, Chez Maguie, is still here and in the twilight it’s looking quite nice with all of the lights that illuminate it.

Whether it will be here there next year though is something else completely. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the residents of the building opposite have launched a petition to oppose it.

They were successful in obtaining a ban on the Big Wheel that we used to have here and that has probably given them courage. If only we had a maire and a town council who would do their job and respect the wishes of the other residents.

It’s quite true that I moan about the tourists being here, but even I realise that without them this town would be a very poor place.

old cars chevrolet covette stingray rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Something else that we saw on the way up was a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

It’s been quite a while since we featured an old car in these pages. For some reason or other we don’t seem to see so many these days, so it cheered me up to see something like this just parked at the side of the road.

This is one of the third generation of Corvettes, one of the “T-top” versions, and it’s a later rather than earlier model because of the bumpers. The earlier ones had a traditional metal bumper but in 1973 it was replaced with the plastic “collision bumper”.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022We stopped a little higher up for me to catch my breath, and to overlook the port.

Now that it’s going dark and all of the lights are on, it’s looking quite dramatic down there tonight. All of the lights reflecting off the water, and the lights at the town of Carolles down there underneath the Pointe de Carolles.

The ferry terminal is still lit up, although it looks as if all of the ferries are now back home. Presumably they are cleaning them out ready for work tomorrow.

Looking at this photo, I really ought to start to go out again at night like I used to.

sunset baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Back in the car park my friends prepared to leave to go back to their camp site.

We watched the sun go down while we were there but it wasn’t as spectacular as some that we have seen. It actually sunk below the horizon a while back and all that we are seeing is the reflection of the sun in the sky.

We’ve seen some good ones of those in the past. One in particular that I remember was on 21st June one night when I was in Scotland years ago when I drove my coach up to the top of a hill near Stirling in Scotland at celestial midnight and watched the night fail to go dark and the sun to rise a few hours later.

After they had left I went back in. 135% of my daily activity when I’m having major mobility issues is something of an achievement. And so I’m going to bed while I still can. I’ll probably pay for all of this tomorrow but who cares?

Live for today, regardless of what happens tomorrow.

Wednesday 31st August 2022 – AND THAT, DEAR READER …

… is probably that!

Having been feeling a little better (both physically and mentally) this last week or so I decided today to pousser le bateau dehors as they might say around here, And I’ve had a day out.

What I was looking forward to was a good day out, and how I wish that it was. However my knee gave out again on the way out and luckily there was a handle to grab hold of.

On the way back I wasn’t so lucky. BOTH knees gave out and I couldn’t pick myself up at all no matter how hard I tried. It took two people to pick me up and sit me in a seat.

The walk back from the port took me almost an hour, taking baby steps and stopping frequently when my knees (and hips because they are now aching badly) gave out and clinging to everything to which I could cling. And I can’t climb steps with either leg now except if I’m grasping hold of something to pull me up.

Consequently I don’t think that I’ll be going far from now on.

Anyway, leaving aside the “feeling sorry for myself”” stage, let us begin. And I’ll “start at the very beginning – a very good place to start” as the old song goes.

So having gone to bed at some reasonably early time last night I was up and about at 07:00 when the alarm went off and the first thing that I did was to go and have a shower and a clean-up ready for the off.

Last night I’d packed my bag so I didn’t have too much to do and so at about 08:05 this morning I left the house, forgetting the secret supply of cash stashed away in Caliburn. And I was to regret that later.

There were quite a few people on the move today so I joined the crowd heading down the hill towards the town and then at the Rampe du Monte à Regret, like the KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE we each went our separate ways because there was a lot going on today.

And it was going down the ramp to the bottom that my right leg gave way but luckily I fell into the wall without hitting the ground. However it hurt like hell and I had to wait several minutes until I felt safe enough to move.

“This is a good start to the day” I thought to myself.

The wall across to the port and down the side of the quayside was agonising and I hoped that it would ease off. And there I pumped into my friend the captain of Normandy Trader and his family. I mentioned a while ago that there was no freight delivery while the Festival was on last week so he and his family had taken a holiday over here.

We joined the immense queue at the Ferry Terminal where we had to wait for what seemed like hours and then finally we could pick up our tickets.

Once in possession of our tickets we passed through passport control and a customs inspection and then had to wait for what seemed like yet more hours.

At passport control the guy there went to stamp my passport but I told him that I had a carte de séjour so he checked it and waved me through.

Finally Victor Hugo came around the corner from the inner harbour once the gates were opened and we could all pile on board.

Yes, that’s right. I’m off to St Helier. Living here all these years and never been once. Only three more sailings to go this year after this one but I can’t make any of them for a variety of reasons and who knows what next year might bring? So it’s now or never.

Not to mention the fact that I’ve been having all these reminders about my Arctic adventures just recently so I’ve really been hearing the call of the ocean and missing the touch of the salt spray on my lips.

We all had to sit inside and buckle up while the captain manoeuvred. Victor Hugo is a high-speed craft and walking about on board is not for the faint-hearted so it’s discouraged.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall several weeks ago that we saw Victor Hugo loitering around for quite some time off the end of the headland pointing towards Jersey. She did it again this morning. The cynic inside me suggested that now that they have rowed her out of the harbour they need to wind up the elastic band.

Once we were ready we shot off towards Jersey. I was given permission to go up to the upper deck and go outside. I was told that I had to remain seated and there was a large rubber collision buoy tied by the rails which made a comfortable seat.

And that reminds me. You might have to wait a while for the photos because there’s not much short of 100 that I took today and they all need editing.

It seemed to take quite a while to arrive at St Helier (not incidentally, pronounced as “Hell ‘ere”) and regrettably my seat was on the wrong side of the boat to photograph our arrival. But when the crewmen began to prepare for docking and were otherwise engaged I nipped over to the other side of the boar for a few photos.

There was another passenger on board who had difficulty walking so we helped each other to immigration. It seems to be miles to the terminal where immigration was quite painless.

From there it’s quite a long walk into the town and I wasn’t up to much of it but there’s a pop-up café that serves vegan food on the quayside where the pleasure boats tie up so I made for there. No snacks though – it was all main meals so I had a coffee and ate my crackers. I always buy packets of those and these are my emergency supplies when I’m travelling.

With no cash on me I headed to the bank where I drew out some money. Regrettably though the notes were endorsed “Bank of Jersey” so I’m going to be pretty limited as to where I can spend them.

The town centre of St Helier is actually quite nice. I did a recce of interesting sites and came across a healthfood shop that had inter alia “Old-time” vegan sausages. 16 of them went into my backpack and they’ll be in the freezer when I return home.

There were also some packs of hot-cross buns in one of the supermarkets there so I bought a pack of those for lunch.

An extremely long walk took me back into the town centre via the ferry terminal (I must learn to read the stuff that’s given to me) and outside the bus station waited for the “Vintage Bus” that was going to take me on my “Vintage Tour” of the eastern end of the island.

And you’ve no idea how disappointed I was when a single-decker Bristol LH turned up. And what does that make me when I was actually 21 years old when the “Vintage Bus” was built? That is really what I call “depressing”. and even more so when I found out that the bus was actually first registered as new when I was 23.

It was a beautiful drive out to St Catherine’s Pier at the extreme north-east of the island where we stopped for a look around. This pier and its installations were part of what the British Government hoped would be a good port for the Royal Navy but it took so long to build that steam had given way to coal and warships had evolved so much that there wasn’t enough draught in the harbour for the new generation of warships so it was abandoned.

We headed back down south along the coast and stopped for another break at Gorey, a beautiful little place where there’s a magnificent view of Mount Orgueil Castle

Back in town I bought an energy drink and went to sit down to eat some of my hot cross buns and have a drink. Following which I went off for a wander around the old harbour looking at what was happening there.

Before going back to the boat I went to one of the supermarkets. On my travels I’d seen some tins of real baked beans. British baked beans taste like no others in the World and having had a diet of European and North American ones for years and now that I have some real sausages, I put four tins of beans in my backpack as well. And if I could have carried them I would have had four more.

The walk back to the ferry terminal was agony. I was aching just about everywhere so it was a long, slow walk. And it was a good job that I decided to leave myself plenty of time because by now quite a wind was blowing and the sea was roughing up.

We left 20 minutes early straight into the wind. They let me upstairs and outside quite early on so I sat on the buoy and filmed our departure, and then took plenty of photos on the way back. I was joined by a young boy at some point who was quite interested in the geography and history of the area so we had quite a chat.

Standing up to go back inside as we pulled into port, this was where I had my fall and that was that, right in front of the President of the company that is now operating the line. A couple of crew members came, picked me up and sat me in a seat while we tied up.

Climbing the 30 steps up to the passport control was agonising, really agonising. Luckily it was the same passport control officer on duty so I gave him my carte de séjour along with my passport and that kept him happy.

As for the walk back here, I don’t really want to talk about it. I don’t think that I’ve ever been in so much difficulty. Climbing the stairs was even worse. Back here I collapsed into my chair and that was that until bedtime.

During the night though I’d travelled miles and it took me a while to transcribe all of the notes. I started off skiing. Things were just totally confusing. I had a bag of chips and some coffee etc. You had to enter this house by the 1st floor window. That was how the ski slope started. You had to climb up there and then ski down and keep on doing that all the time. I was in this queue with my bag of chips and my coffee but there were no ladders going up to the 1st floor windows. You had to lift yourself up with your arms onto a kind of ledge, push yourself up and in. I couldn’t do that, not in my state of health and with my chips and coffee etc. In the end the woman behind me gave me a leg up. Everyone was moaning because they all thought that I was pushing in the queue. By the time that I was up there on top everyone had gone there from behind. I sat down with my ships and coffee. a woman came clambering in through the window. We made some kind of witty remark about what i’d been up to in that queue. I mentioned that my coffee was going cold. She said that there was another coffee. Someone climbed in through the window behind her so she asked him if he had a coffee for me, but he didn’t. Then I couldn’t find my chips (“maybe I’d had them” I mused later). I could find loads of newspaper but the actual piece of newspaper with the chips wrapped in, I couldn’t find that at all. My idea to sit down and have a quiet 15 minutes to eat my chips and drink my coffee looked as if is was totally wasted

There was a drugs gang based in Nantwich that had been supplying drugs throughout Europe. This was at the time that the political changes were taking place in the late 80s and early 90s. There were all these upheavals happening and they were taking advantage of it to flood the world with the drugs from the Congo. Eventually they were caught. They were in Court and the judge was describing them as totally vile and evil human beings who’d brought death and misery to millions”. It looked very much to me as if he was leading up to a penalty of life imprisonment.

Later on I’d been round to someone’s house as a teenager. We’d been hanging out together. His mother didn’t look very happy at all. I had the impression that she’d been having arguments with the in-laws. Someone had died and the in-laws were bringing themselves much further forward in their lives and making it a misery for everyone else as they did things their way. I think that this woman had had some flak. She asked us if we’d like a coffee. We replied “yes” so she disappeared. We carried on doing some stuff and then decided that we’d go and play Scalextric upstairs in the bedroom so he’d go and tell his mother. I thought “yes, we’ll have these coffees as well because it’s been taking ages”. He went into the kitchen and there was his mother sitting on a chair really red-faced looking as if she’d been crying. I went over and was about to ask her what was the matter when I noticed a gesture from this boy to say nothing so I said nothing. He simply explained to his mother what we were doing. We went upstairs to his room. The 1st thing was to find my headphones that someone else had picked up and was wearing instead of theirs. I had to sort my headphones out and generally organise myself for this game of Scalextric but it was this guy’s mother who was worrying me.

And then I had to go to work so I decided that I’d take the Melody again. It was rather later than usual so I set off. I noticed that I didn’t have very much fuel so I went towards Stoke on Trent and turned off down a side road that went down a steep hill and back up the other side into a town where I could fuel up. I was actually pedalling it at this point. I came to the town and stopped at a road junction. Some woman who ran a corner shop said that someone was asking after me which I thought was strange because who knows that I’m coming this way and how would she know me anyway?. I asked what time and she replied “about 06:53”. I went and found a petrol station and fuelled up. Someone was there with an enormous cat in a cage. They’d taken the trap off the cage so you could see inside it. Everyone wanted to stroke it but the owner was very possessive of it and wouldn’t allow people to stroke it. We all said that it was a really wonderful cat. That cheered him up a little.

That dream where I was on my bike, I ended up with a young Chinese girl. I’d been in Crewe and was trying to find a bus back home. I couldn’t work out where the bus stop was and I couldn’t out the bus times so I just waited. I saw a bus arrive that was going back to my house so I shouted at it. he pulled up about 100 yards down the road. I had to run. It was really crowded but I fought my way on. The Chinese girl was on there. We started to chat and ended up having quite a flirt about. It was quite obvious that we were a couple. She complained that I hadn’t had a shower which was quite right. Anyway she’d had a lot of financial problems spending largely on her credit card. She’d had to sell her house and use the equity to pay off her credit card. I talked to her about that but she didn’t seem in the least embarrassed or anything. In the end it was quite later, almost 02:00 when we pulled up in the town where we had to alight. She went skipping off to the tram and I had al ths stuff to carry. I dropped half of it so I picked it up and we went outside. She was telling me about a shop there that had a couple of kittens. Then we set off to walk the rest of the way home

And finally I was back on that tram, with an English girl this time. She had to reassemble her glasses again because they came apart and she put them in her glasses case. We boarded the tram but there were only 4 or 5 of us on there and she wouldn’t come and sit by me or sit on my knee or something. We began to talk to the driver who was a professional boxer. He was to have a fight on the Monday night and if he were to win it he might even go through the entire season undefeated. This tram rattled in towards the city centre to pick up everyone else and the alarm went off.

It’s no wonder that I was exhausted after all of that. But I’m more interested in seeing how I feel tomorrow.

Right now though I’m off to bed and there will be no alarm in the morning. I’ll sleep until I wake, and then I’ll come back at some point during the day tomorrow to tell you all of my story.

“I am hurt but I am not slain, I’ll lay me down and bleed a while, and then I’ll rise and fight again” as said Sir Andrew Barton, according to one of the Child Ballads.

The photos will follow later.

Sunday 21st August 2022 – HAVING FINISHED …

… all of my work for the weekend by Saturday afternoon, I did something that I haven’t gone for quite some considerable time, and that was that I spent a few hours doing nothing at all except passing the time on the computer to no good purpose.

It was probably something to do with crashing out during the morning and the strong coffee that I’d had at half-time during the football but it was 04:00 when I finally fell into bed and I wasn’t tired then either. But with no alarm in the morning, I didn’t care either.

No-one went past with a steam engine this morning but even so I awoke a couple of times and at one point I was even planning on leaving the bed. But at … errr … 12:30 I finally saw the light of day.

First thing that I did of course was to go for the medication and then the next thing was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. We were going for a ride on a fairground attraction but it was at an airport. We were in the queue and people just kept on pushing in front of the queue or pushing in ahead of us. There was no discipline in this queue. I rang up the owner or organiser etc to tell him. Of course while this was happening there were even more people pushing in to the front etc so that was a pointless exercise.

Later on I’d ordered a bank robbery in the style of THE LAVENDER HILL MOB with a few people, someone like Sid James and one of the women out of SAINT TRINIANS films. We had the money and secreted it away waiting for an opportune moment. Someone had come along and recognises Sid James as bandit from in the past, even though he’d been keeping his name quiet. Another member of my team came to hear about this and began to feel really edgy. He came to see me and I explained that this was all part of the plan. Instead of them using me to lay their hands on the money and no-one else I’d been using them to lay hold of their experience to pull the job and that I was well in control of the situation even if I didn’t think that I was.

And then there I was lying in bed until some ridiculous time when I decided eventually to get up. As I was sitting on the edge of the bed my father went past the room and shouted at me “isn’t it about time that I got myself going, something like that?”. So I started to dress. I picked up a few things and went downstairs into the street to walk down to the living room. I suddenly realised that I somehow seemed to have acquired one wellington boot and one cardboard box in which to fit my feet. I couldn’t understand what was happening here so I had to go back to my room and sort out some proper footwear so that I could go back down to the living room.

After brunch I did something even more exciting, which was to transcribe not one but two days’ worth of dictaphone notes from my trip around Europe. If I’m not careful I’ll be catching myself up at this rate and that won’t ever do.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022By the time that I’d finished it was time to go out for my afternoon walk.

Not many people down there on the beach today, and there wasn’t anyone sunbathing.

Not that I was surprised because it was quite cool this afternoon. at one stage I was wondering whether to put un a sweater or something. And had I done so, I wouldn’t have been the only one wearing one.

There was someone wrapped in a towel so if he had just come out of the water he’s a better man that I am, Gungha Din.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And as usual while I was here I was having a good look around out to sea.

The first thing that I saw was something fairly large heading out of the bay past the Ile de Chausey and into the English Channel.

It wasn’t easy to identify it so I took a photo with the idea of enlarging and enhancing it when I returned hom later.

And in fact it’s a trawler heading out to sea, something that’s quite unusual for a Sunday. My understanding is that to preserve stocks, commercial fishing is discouraged if not prohibited on a Sunday. So maybe it’s a positioning voyage.

Unfortunately I can’t identify who she is at this distance.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022She wasn’t the only boat out there this afternoon.

The tide is well in so I imagined that the harbour gates and the port de plaisance are open. And with it being a weekend, every man and his dog have brought their water craft to the port.

Five or six yachts in this photo along with several other assorted craft, but really I could have taken a dozen photos from here, all in different directions, that would have included as many boats in each one

So on that note I wandered off on my walk. Today I’m going for my post-prandial perambulation around the medieval city walls

kayakers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Trawlers and yachts aren’t all of the watercraft out there this afternoon either.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m always on the lookout for a few oars here and there and I spotted some others out in the bay this afternoon.

Having seen the kayakers practising in the tidal basin next to the Nautical Centre behind the port, it’s no surprise to see a couple of them out here in the bay this afternoon.

The little wheels on the deck of the one in front are quite interesting too. I suppose that they help when you are trying to manoeuvre your kayak around on dry land. I remember the fun that I used to have trying to do that when I was kayaking at school.

swimmer plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Anyway off I went around the walls and found myself along the little path at the foot thereof that leads to the Plat Gousset.

There was something flailing around out at sea and I wondered if it might be a dolphin or a whale or something like that. After all, there have sightings of all kinds of strange beasts in and around Normandy just recently.

But it is in fact a swimmer and he seemed to be making good and steady progress. And in this weather he deserves a medal.

There have already been REPORTS OF SHARKS IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL. I’m not too sure if any are man-eating sharks but to be on the safe side I’d only swim far out if you are a woman or a child.

“And would a shark swallow me whole?”
“No. He’d spit that bit out.”

I’ll get my coat.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The path leads on round to the viewpoint that overlooks the Plat Gousset and I always stop there when I’m round this way.

Down below there aren’t the crowds that we have been having over the last few weekends. The cooler weather today is keeping them off the beaches which is just as well as sometimes just recently it’s been overwhelming down there.

There was a line of people sitting on the concrete wall at the edge of the slipway down to the beach.

Don’t ask me why because there was no entertainment down there today. Some weekends, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there has been street theatre, musicians, all that kind of thing down on the Plat Gousset.

No policemen causing a road block this afternoon down on the corner of the Place Marechal Foch.

braderie rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were thousands of people milling about in the streets of the centre of the town though.

There’s another braderie taking place at the town-centre shops today. All of the streets are closed to traffic and the shopkeepers have set out their stalls for all of the passers-by.

It’s all surplus stock, last years unsellable items, this years end-of-summer-season sales with the aim of emptying the shops so that they have room for all of the autumn and winter stock that will be arriving soon.

In the past I’ve been for a wander down there but there never was anything that particularly caught my eye at a price that I could afford.

So resisting the temptation to go down the steps into the town, I carried on with my walk around the walls.

plant trough square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022In the Square Maurice Marland there seems to be something rather bizarre happening.

While the square itself is descending into something of a less-than-genteel shabbiness we suddenly seem to have acquired a handful of plant troughs.

They are labelled with the names of individual “gardeners” who have presumably adopted the troughs and there are all kinds of things growing in them.

In this one for example, there’s what looks like a beetroot and some kind of strange plant with fruit that bear more than just a passing relationship to a tomato. Whatever the third plant it, I really have no idea.

dead leaves square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022A little further on down the path in the square there was something quite interesting to see.

This is something about which I’ve heard so much said just recently. The drought is causing all kinds of problems, one of which is that there is no longer enough water to hydrate the leaves of many of the deciduous trees.

The result of that is that many of the leaves are drying out and the tree is obliged to shed them in order to guarantee the survival of the ones less badly affected. That’s clearly quite evident here with dead leaves in the trees and an enormous pile of discarded leaves blown into a corner by the wind.

All of this behaviour in nature is in a sharp contrast with human behaviour. In humans, if one member is weak o unhealthy, the mother sacrifices everything to keep the weakest one alive. In the natural kingdom the weakest are often discarded to aid the survival of the strongest or healthiest.

yacht le loup port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was a small sailing ship just outside the harbour heading our way.

And so I waited accordingly until it came into view so that I could photograph it. I have a feeling that I ought to know who she is but no name springs to mind. Regular readers of this rubbish ought to recognise them just as well as I do these days.

With nothing else happening out there this afternoon I came home for a glass of iced coconut milk and then to sort out the photos.

After lunch today I’d taken a lump of frozen dough out of the freezer and it had been defrosting during the course of the afternoon.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022When it was ready I kneaded it, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray where it could sit proofing itself.

When it was ready I assembled it and put it into the oven to bake and once more it looked quite appetising when it came out of the oven.

It tasted delicious too, which it always does these days. I seem to have found the knack of making them now which is no surprise after the number that I’ve baked over the last couple of years.

So having finished my notes, I’m off to bed. Despite the short day I’m exhausted and I’m ready for bed, especially with an 06:00 start in the morning. There’s a radio programme to do tomorrow.

Considering that Sunday is a day of rest, I’ve had a busy day today. In fact, I’ve had a busy weekend and if I manage to keep this up I shan’t know myself.

It’s quite possibly no coincidence that I had my first shot of Aranesp on Monday for over 2 months but I dunno. They say that it’s the injection of last resort and when I read THE SIDE-EFFECTS I can understand why. And now they want to increase the dose.

There’s no way that I would be having that injection if there were any other solution.

Saturday 20th August 2022 – IF EVER I LAY …

… my hands on whoever went past here in what sounded like a steam engine at 06:08 this morning, they’ll be eating soup through a straw for the next month. I was having a really good sleep at that moment and after it had gone past I didn’t go off to sleep again.

And there I was, hoping for a decent sleep as well.

belle france joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while you admire a few photos of the Ile de Chausey ferries, including a rather delightful “Greek v Greek” moment between Belle france and the newer of the two Joly France boats, I’ll fill you in.

Although not in the same fashion as I would had you been driving steam engine around here at 06:08 this morning.

Anyway, I suppose that I was being somewhat optimistic about a good night’s sleep. It was another late night, later than intended so I was fighting a losing battle before I started.

Just as I was going to bed last night, the broadcasting company that covers the Welsh Premier League posted the highlands of the games that evening, Y Drenewydd v Y Fflint and Connah’s Quay Nomads v Airbus UK Broughton.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Of course I had to stay up and watch them before retiring, didn’t I?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I used to enthuse about Lifumpa Mwandwe at Y Drenewydd. He’s no longer there, having moved to the North American professional game in the Summer.

But it looks as if he’s been replaced in my estimation by Okera Simmonds, about whom I said a few positive things last weekend.

Top of the League now, Y Fflint, after their impressive victory last night, but they’ve been there before and fallen away towards the end of the season so I’m not making all that much of it.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This morning despite the early awakening I had a difficult start yet again to the day, struggling to leave the bed.

But a good shower after the medication livened me up somewhat. I also set the washing machine off as I’m running out of clothes. By the looks of things I haven’t done any washing for months but that can’t be right

Having organised all of that I headed off to the shops. Well, shop, actually because I only went to Leclerc. There’s not much point going to Noz these days although one of these days I’ll have to go to Lidl I suppose.

At leclerc I didn’t buy anything special at all. It was rather a mundane shop today and didn’t cost very much at all. A few more months of spending like this will sort me out, I reckon.

On the way back home I went to the dechetterie.

Last night I took out the printers and left them by the side of the rubbish bins so that anyone who would like to can help themselves to them and see what they can make of them.

While I was at it, I stuck all of the cardboard boxes into Caliburn and seeing as I was quite early (I was there at leClerc at opening time) and didn’t have any frozen food, I went by the dechetterie to drop them off.

container dechetterie Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But I was surprised by the grills that they have around the containers these days. It means that you have to tear up or crush your boxes to pass them through the slots and drop them into the containers.

It was all very reminiscent of the old piano-smashing competitions where you had to demolish a piano and pass the debris through a hoop, and the quickest one would win.

Anyone as old as me would surely remember those. And what a waste of good pianos that was.

Back here I put everything away (and that’s a surprise), hung up the washing and then made some toast and coffee for breakfast.

le loup joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While you admire another photo of Joly France going out and passing Le loup on her way back to the Ile de Chausey, I was finishing breakfast and then having a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

There was a concert that I didn’t attend for some reason but a lot of my friends did. I had a visit from someone who told me that the rock group for this concert so would I think about doing something? I took my guitar and things and went off to this concert. There were about half a dozen people messing around on stage. One was my friend from the Wirral with his drum kit. I gestured to the stage and he picked up what I was doing. One of the guitarists stayed up and in the end we made ready to play an impromptu set with just a dozen numbers of typical 3-minute standards. The guitarist was sulking with me and I’m not quite sure why but I determined not to let that bother with me. I’d just ignore him and just be my usual gushing outgoing self on stage and he can sort out his own problems.

Later on I had a girlfriend who worked in a Chinese restaurant. We were due to go to the cinema so I turned up to see if she was ready but she was waiting on in the restaurant. I asked her what was happening. She said that she had to work today because no-one else had come in and her mother who ran the restaurant wanted her to work. I rolled up my sleeves, took off my jacket and said “here, I’ll give you a hand”. I was running around clearing tables etc. A group of young people came in. They knew the girl and saw me. They asked why I was there and I said that I’m taking her to the cinema but she’s having to work and can’t go. They started to talk to her and asked what was on etc. They wanted to know the reasons why she was working in the restaurant instead of being out enjoying herself etc.

Actually that dream reminded me of something that happened many years ago when we used to go skiing on a dry slope on the Wirral on a Sunday evening.

There was a Chinese take-away just down the road with a really cute young girl who worked the counter. We used to go there for a takeaway for tea. Not that I like Chinese food but I would have gone anywhere to see her.

On one occasion a group of us was going to a Chinese banquet so I had a cunning plan. Without saying anything, I asked her to show me how to eat with chopsticks so that I would look good at this banquet and so she gave me a few lessons.

When I felt competent enough, I put my plan into operation. “You’ve been so kind and helpful that i’d like to thank you. Would you like to come with me to the banquet as a recompene?”.

She replied “no”.

Ahh well … . Someone else who had a lucky escape, I suppose. My life is littered with those.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I was somewhere like in the story of Tim The Magician from MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL but he was actually walking forward as he was making the explosions. They were assembling a team to meet him.

It was at that point that this steam engine thing, whatever it was, went whooshing past on the street and awoke me. I could actually hear the noise that it was making when I listened to the recording.

However prior to that I’d been back at work again, another one of these dreams where I was sitting on piles of arrears of work and thinking to myself that I could retire today if I like because I’m past retirement age and it wouldn’t make any difference. I started to drop a couple of hints to a couple of people. They were talking about where I was going. I replied that if the Northwich office has air conditioning I’ll be going there tomorrow. It’s high time that this place brought itself kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. They started asking someone else questions about the place in Northwich but she couldn’t tell them much.

And isn’t that a recurring dream too, about me being at work past retirement age with piles of arrears?

We had yet another mad fit of enthusiasm and I transcribed the notes for another day when I was off in the Great Wild World back in June-July. I’m not sure what’s happening there.

But it wasn’t as enthusiastic as it might otherwise have been as I rather regrettably dozed off for 20 minutes while I was doing it. Mind you, with having had such a rude awakening, I’m not really surprised.

After my lunchtime fruit I peeled, diced and blanched a kilo of carrots. They were on special offer at LeClerc so I reckoned that I should pick some up. Believe it or not, there was actually some room in the freezer.

Next task was to pair off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be doing on Monday. I know that that’s usually my task for Sunday but I need to make the most of this enthusiasm and go ahead while the going is good.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That took me up to the time that I usually go out for my afternoon walk.

There were quite a few people down there on the beach this afternoon. The weather has improves somewhat and while it wasn’t actually warm, it was quite sunny and that had brought out the crowds.

Some of the people had even managed to drag themselves into the water and my hat went off to them because the weather wasn’t quite that good.

You wouldn’t catch me going into it but then again, water for me to immerse myself in it needs to be at 37°C.

yachts speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, while I was up here on the cliff looking down I had my other eye roaming around offshore.

Out there in the bay there was quite a bit of activity today. In the foreground we had a speedboat that looked as if it was in a devilish hurry, as you can tell by the size of the wake that it’s creating.

A little further behind it is a couple of small yachts. Judging by the sails they belong to one of the sailing schools that are in the vicinity.

There are several of those and when I find out what this series of medical appointments is all about, then I really am going to see whether or not there’s a way that I can fit a course of sailing into my activities.

commodore goodwill english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022It wasn’t just in the immediate vicinity where I was looking either.

Right out in the English Channel way behind the Ile de Chausey was something quite large out on the horizon. It’s definitely a ship, but which one?

Back here I had a look at the radar and nothing obvious presented itself. However Commodore Goodwill left St Helier at 11:59 and arrived at St Malo at 19:34 and she has the same silhouette as the ship out there on the horizon.

However 7.5 is an awfully long time for the crossing so I don’t know what happened there.

She wasn’t the only mystery ship out there this afternoon.

la cancalaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Further round was a small sailing ship, far too far out for me to identify it, but I took a photo of it all the same so that I could have a closer look back home later.

Having enlarged it, it’s still not possible to say with any certainly and you’ve no idea how many other ships were out there confusing the radar screen this afternoon.

However one of the boats out there was La Cancalaise, sister ship to our own La Gravillaise but based across the bay at Cancale, and the outline of the boat in the photo is not unlike their outline.

Consequently, I reckon that it would well be La Cancalaise out there, in the absence of any better suggestion.

f-guxa Robin DR-400-120 Petit Prince baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was out there admiring the shipping I was overflown by a light aeroplane that was coming from the direction of the airfield.

She’s F-GUXA, a stranger to us. She’s not appeared in our notes before.

She’s a Robin DR-400-120 Petit Prince, construction number 2467 and is owned by the Aéroclub Regionale De Caen.

Unfortunately she doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan as far as I can see and she must have been keeping quite low because she wasn’t picked up on the civilian radar to which I have access, so that’s really that.

cabin cruiser speedboat yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022But meanwhile, back in the ocean, the sea was crowded today.

Considering how quiet it’s been out at sea just now, it looks as if everyone has been saving up for the weekend. It’s certainly brought them out in their droves.

There might only be three or four boats in this photo but I reckon that in total there were about 50 altogether in the vicinity of the port today here and there.

No-one from the sailing school, which was a surprise though, although on my way to the shops this morning they were having kayaking lessons in the tidal basin next to the Nautical Centre behind the port.

A right bunch of oars if you ask me.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022at least the people down on the bench by the cabanon vauban were having their money’s worth this afternoon.

Those who were down there during the week didn’t have all that much to cheer about but with all of the traffic out there today, that probably made up for it.

And all of the pedestrians too. The car park was heaving yet again and there were crowds down on the lower path.

The buoys for the lobster pots were still there, and in fact they seem to have acquired yet another friend for company.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022having seen what there was to see at the end of the headland I walked down the path towards the port.

On my way I was overflown yet again, this time by the little yellow powered hang-glider. He’d just come up from down at the end of the bay, presumably having taken a passenger for a sight-seeing trip because there were two of them on board.

There was no change at the chantier naval today either. There were still the same boats there as yesterday.

And no-one at the ferry terminal. We’d seen the Joly France ferry come in but she’d unloaded and gone back out straight away. It must be busy out there this afternoon.

zodiac diving boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were none of our usual suspects at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon.

However my attention was drawn to what was going on at the slipway underneath. One of the harbour lighters is there – the one that takes the divers out and about – and there was quite a crowd on board.

As well as that, a van towing a zodiac had pulled up and there was quite a crowd around there as well. There’s plenty happening over there this afternoon.

Back here I made a coffee and then came in here to play about with the photos for a while.

That took me up to kick-off this early evening, Aberystwyth Town v Cardiff Metropolitan

Both teams had won their opening matches last weekend but with the result tonight, how poor must Airbus have been last weekend?

Even though this game was played at Aberystwyth, the Met tore Aberystwyth to shreds and the final score of 0-4 was no exaggeration. Apart from a spell of about 15 minutes in the second half, Aberystwyth offered nothing at all.

Last season their defence was incredibly shaky and at times they were in deep trouble at the wrong end of the season, but they have made a few new signings and they have done nothing to improve the side.

The defence is going to have to be stiffened up quite considerably and they really need something up front. Alex Lang in the Met goal had very little to do today.

Tea was another one of those breaded quorn fillets that I like from Lidl. They are really nice in vegan butter with baked potatoes and steamed veg.

Tomorrow I’m having a lie-in. It’s Sunday and having done all of my work already it’ll be a quiet day I hope. Who’ll come along to disturb it? Or will that blasted steam engine thing go past again at 06:08?

Wednesday 10th August 2022 – YOU CAN’T MAKE …

bad parking place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022… it up, can you?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I did promise not to keep on moaning about the examples of pathetic parking that I’m seeing on a daily basis, but there are some times when you can’t really avoid making some kind of comment about what you see.

This is in our own car park – a private car park for this building where there are barely enough parking spaces for all of the inhabitants.

Two inhabitants don’t own cars which means that there are a couple of empty spaces but if ever they were to have guests there would be some kind of punch-up on the pavement, a grapple in the garden or a laying-out on the lawn.

It really is shameful.

Meanwhile, in other news, to my complete surprise, I haven’t crashed out at all today.

What I put it down to is that I’ve been quite busy today (although not with anything of any relevance) and as a result, time has simply flown by.

It was rather exciting when the alarm went off at 07:30 though. I was in the middle of a dream,in the High Arctic last night of all places in a small town. There was like a granite railway station there, like a port with an arcade and café and one or two shops. There was a Boots chemist that had closed down with a note saying “I’m not like some people around here with a grandfather who owns a chemist on a hill”. There was indeed a chemist on a hill that the people in town used, not the one down in this centre. There were a couple of other shops there closed as well. I’d gone to meet my youngest sister and we’d had a coffee and chat. Eventually I’d managed to find a plug so I could plug in my telephone and laptop as well so that they would charge up. The telephone went OK but I found that the laptop was still working, not switched off so I had to switch it off before it would charge up. There was a photo of some old Inuit guys on there. The funny thing about this was that when the alarm went off at that point while I was doing this. I thought to myself immediately that I’d better lie in bed for 10 minutes or so to give my phone and computer a chance to charge up before I got out of bed.

It’s amazing what goes through my head at times when I’m in that place somewhere in between asleep and awake.

Anyway I had the medication and so on, and forgot to check the mails and messages, and then organised the music playlist for the next series of programmes. I have 6 different playlists, numbered AA to FF with about 50 artistes in each and I rotate through them in a kind of order. I use about 11 tracks every week so it means that a complete cycle of artistes will take me between 4 and 5 programmes multiplied by the 6 playlists (that I work through in order) or about 28 weeks.

Of course, it’s not so simple because there are piles of “various artistes” too from samplers and so on from a previous existence in the 70s and they are dropped here and there into the mix every now and again.

Anyway, this week’s playlist consists of 14 artistes from list CC. Such exciting people and groups as Rory Gallagher, Eloy, Mountain and Atomic Rooster are amongst this week’s artistes.

That took longer than I thought as I hadn’t done it for several months, but once it was up and running I had a listen to the dictaphone to hear where else I’d been during the night. Percy Penguin (again! She’s becoming a regular!) was round at my house last night. We were going to have tea so I suggested that we have a stuffed chicken. So between the two of us we worked out the basic rudimentary properties of a good stuffing that was vegan and Percy Penguin would be bound to be about when we’re talking about a good stuffing. We went into the main kitchen of the house, not my little lean-to type of place but the main kitchen where everyone else was in order to cook this half-chicken that I had. Once we’d gone in there I had to go and fetch everything that I needed like saucepans, herbs, spices, quinoa, stuff like that. I began to collect everything but it became obvious pretty soon that I couldn’t remember half the stuff I need. I was going to be overloaded with stuff anyway. I wouldn’t be able to carry it and what would happen then? In the meantime there were people coming in and out of my place like the chemist and his wife in the middle of this rainstorm. They were doing something in my living room. There was a cat there that was soaking wet and the whole of the area by the door was wet through with this rainstorm as well. I had to go back out with what I’d managed to find to go across to the main house with what I had. Again I was sure that it was nothing like enough. I didn’t have the correct saucepans or anything. I could see that this was going to turn out to be a total tragedy because already if you are talking about 20 minutes per pound to cook a chicken it’s already going to take a couple of hours to do and it’s already about 20:00. I can’t see this chicken being ready for hours before we can eat it. Of course she’d have to go home as well. It was just going to be total confusion.

But I liked the idea of the vegan stuffing to eat with the chicken.

The story of half a chicken is not as far-fetched as it might seem. One Christmas (it might have been 1977) I wanted a small turkey but I couldn’t find one anywhere. I must have been in a dozen butchers. At the last one, in Willaston, there was a woman in front of me who was also searching for a small turkey, to no avail.

So I looked at her, she looked at me, and we both bought the last one remaining, quite a large one, and told the butcher to cut it in half. And each of us clutching our respective half, rather like the KINIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE we went our separate ways.

Meanwhile Retournons à nos moutons there was something else to do with baking where a girl, a young teenager, and there was some kind of cake that needed making. The girl didn’t want to become involved but the father did it all on his own on the quiet and it turned out to be quite a reasonable job. It looked really nice. When his family found out they were quite pleased about him having done it. That’s all that I can remember.

And then of course there was the trip by boat to the High Arctic. Yes, I’m becoming broody again.

Something else that I’ve done today was to transcribe a few more notes from the dictaphone, and then I’ve been doing a few rather unproductive things of my own.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022One of the more productive things that I’ve done today was to go for a walk around the headland as usual, and that always starts with a look at the beach.

And so dodging the poorly-parked cars I wandered off to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down there to see what was happening.

It was another beautiful summer day so I was expecting the crowds again and while there wasn’t much beach to be on, given the state of the tide, there were plenty of people down there upon it.

Quite a few of them had taken to the water as well which was no surprise given the weather that we were having, and I was feeling quite envious.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And as you can imagine, I was feeling quite envious of these guys.

While I was looking around I noticed this zodiac out to sea in the bay. I couldn’t see what the guys were doing on board but at the speed at which they were travelling it wouldn’t have been fishing.

Even though there was a seagull giving them a fly-past, they didn’t seem to have any fishing equipment on board.

Anyway, I fought my way through the crowds towards the end of the headland to see what was happening there.

boats heading for port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022You can tell that it won’t be long before they close the gates at the entrance to the port de plaisance.

As I was standing on the roof of the bunker looking out to see, I could see stream after stream of pleasure boat heading back from the Ile de Chausey, being led home by a yacht, although I had a feeling that that wouldn’t last long.

At the end of the headland I went across the car park to the end of the headland. But today there were no fisherman and no-one sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban either.

And so I didn’t hang around. I headed off down the path towards the port.

l'omerta la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Over at the fish processing plant we’ve had a change of occupancy.

L’Omerta is still there as you might expect, but Gerlean and Le Styx are no longer there. Their places have been taken by La Grande Ancre and one of the little port lighters.

There was no change in the chantier naval today either. There were the same boats there that were there yesterday, and Chausiaise was still moored up at the ferry terminal. But not with Victor Hugo who was still sitting forlornly in the inner harbour.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While we’re on the subject of ferries … “well, one of us is” – edThora is in port again.

She used to be a car ferry in the past and worked between a couple of the islands in the Shetlands but was retired when new, larger ships were bought.

In her retirement she first went off to be a diving support vessel, presumably out at the oil rigs, but later she was bought and came down here where she’s used as a little freighter that runs a shuttle between Granville and St Helier.

And that’s a route that’s becoming busier and busier. We had two little freighters on the route but a third, Normandy Warrior, came to join them.

And we’ve seen the big freighter Southern Liner that came in to try out the port.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022We haven’t finished with ferries yet either.

While I was having a good look around out to sea I noticed something moving deep down at the head of the Baie de Mont St Michel.

That prompted me to take a photo of it and back in the apartment I could enhance and enlarge it to see if I could recognise who was down there

By the looks of things it’s one of the Joly France ferries taking a ship-load of tourists out for a lap around the bay this afternoon while they have the tide in their favour.

joly france entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022After much deliberation I reckoned that it was the newer one of the two with its windows in portrait format.

And I can confirm that because just at that moment, around the headland from the Ile de Chausey and into port came another one of the Joly France boats.

We can tell by her windows in landscape format that she’s the older one of the two, hence my guess for the other one. She doesn’t seem to be Belle France anyway.

But that was the cue for me to wander off home. I haven’t had my fruit yet. I must have been busy.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before I do go home though, I’ll just take a photo of one of the yacht schools.

There were three or four of them out there this afternoon but this one caught my eye with the zodiacs of the monitors being used as tenders behind the yachts.

Back here I had my fruit and then came in here to carry on with what I was doing. And so engrossed was I that I had a late tea. Curry of bits and pieces out of the fridge and it certainly was delicious. And rather light the yacht school, a tender behind will be appropriate for me too.

So bedtime now, and then a day tomorrow where I hae an important letter to write and a few ‘phone calls to make. Everything will be back to normal next week. Except me of course. That’s too much to ask.

Tuesday 2nd August 2022 – I REALLY THOUGHT …

… that I was going to have a good day today, but it all went pear-shaped round about 18:00 when after valiantly fighting off sleep for most of the day up to that point I finally succumbed.

And it might only have been for about 45 minutes too but it was still 45 minutes more than I wanted.

Mind you, last night I did end up going to bed rather later than intended, having been stuck at the computer longer than I wanted because a “Paul Temple” episode came up on the playlist just as I was going to bed.

However, at least the night was better than the previous one and I didn’t go as far on my travels.

But more about that in due course.

Much of the day has been spent going through the kitchen sorting out the herbs and spices, seeing what I have in stock and working out what I need to buy. And that took me longer than you might think as well because I had stuff everywhere.

It’s all sorted out and counted now, and arranged so that I know where it is.

When I’d done that, the next thing to organise was the medication. That’s something else that I have spread about all over the apartment and I don’t really know what I have. In fact there is probably more of medication that I no longer use than medication that I currently take

Something else that I needed to do was to back up the computer. I haven’t backed up the big computer onto the portable computer since I was on my travels back in June and so I’ve had to copy everything over onto the memory stick that I take with me so that I can do it on the train.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on my key ring I have a tiny 64GB memory stick that’s about half the size of a postage stamp. That lives on the key ring and I use it for transferring files between the desktop machine and the travelling laptop

Strange as it may seem, all of the foregoing took me until quite late in the afternoon. I do have to admit that I wasn’t in much of a hurry but all the same there was still plenty to do.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland today.

And first stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I could look down onto the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

There was plenty of beach to be on too because the tide was quite far out this afternoon. And the nice weather had enticed quite a few people out there to take advantage of it as well.

Some of them had even gone into the water too which was a surprise. It wasn’t that nice

boat zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And as usual, while I was there, I had a good look around out at sea to see what was happening out there too.

There was a stationary cabin cruiser down there just offshore with a couple of men on board who looked as if they might be fishing. And so I’m sure that they weren’t all that happy when that zodiac roared over so that the crew thereof could exchange a few pleasantries with them.

And that really was that in Granville Bay. There weren’t any fishing boats or any other pleasure craft or any other water craft of any nature out there. I had no idea where they had all gone. This was the kind of weather where I’d expected to see quite a few people out and about.

Right out in the English Channel beyond the Ile de Chausey there were a couple of sails away on the horizon.

la cancalaise english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With the 70-300mm LENS I took a photo of one of the sets of sails to see if I could enlarge and enhance it when I returned home so that I might be able to identify it.

And so having done the necessary, I couldn’t identify the ship but I could certainly identify the arrangement of her sails, and that told me that she was either La Granvillaise or her sister La Cancalaise who sails out of Cancale.

Sure enough, when I checked the fleet radar, I could see that La Cancalaise was out and about on her travels in that general area this afternoon so that seems to answer that question

F-GCUM - Robin DR400/180  baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That wasn’t all of it either.

While I was walking down the path in company of all of the crowds of people, I was overflown by a light aeroplane out there in the bay.

She’s another one of our regulars – F-GCUM – a Robin DR400-180 that belongs to the aero club and which flies around the bay quite often.

This afternoon she took off from the airfield at 16:05 and flew down the bay where she did a lap around Mont St Michel and then flew straight back up the coast, when she landed back home at 16:33

There were crowds of people down at the car park, so much so that they were queueing to find a place to park.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Nevertheless there wasn’t anyone down at the bench at the cabanon vauban this afternoon, and that means that they missed quite a free show.

One of the sailing schools from Granville had gone out this afternoon and they had ended up right across the bay on the Brittany side.

And it’s not every day that you see the sailing schools go so far on their travels. We’ve only seen them over there once or twice in all of the time that we’ve been here.

You can see how far the tide is out in the bay this afternoon too. The water on the Brittany side of the bay is quite shallow.

aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022and right now, as I was looking down the bay, I was overflown yet again.

Unfortunately the aeroplane didn’t manoeuvre itself into a position where I would read its registration number, and there wasn’t anyone out and about on the radar there at that particular moment so I couldn’t identify it like that.

So instead I set off to walk down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there this afternoon.

There was no change at the chantier naval today. There were the same five boats there that were there yesterday.

l'omerta fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There’s a little change going on at the Fish Processing Plant though.

L’Omerta is still there playing “Musical Ships” today, but she’s there on her own. Gerlean isn’t there though though. She’s cleared off and right now she was moored at one of the pontoons in the inner harbour.

It beats me why L’Omerta can’t do the same.

But they are assembling quite a collection of fishing equipment on the quayside up above her. Is that all going into L’Omerta at some point, or is someone else coming in to take it away?

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, in the inner harbour, Victor Hugo is back again.

She’s spent the last 12 days in Cherbourg apparently, without going anywhere at all. And so as far as this plan to reopen the ferry service between Granville and St Helier goes, the plot sickens.

Back here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. We were with a group of people last night discussing these films on TV last night about how some of this surrealist comedy was done so well that you’d think that it was real even though you knew that it wasn’t. Then there was the kind of tragedy that you’d have that was done really well but you knew immediately also that it wasn’t real so you had a hard time equating to the other film because you always had in the back of your mind that this isn’t real at all, quite a difference from the comedy type of film. We were having an extremely in-depth conversation in our sleep. Of course I had my foot firmly in the comedy camp. A couple of people arguing against me mentioned films but I had never seen them so I didn’t really know.

Later on I’d been out around the town with a friend of mine from Manchester of all people. We’d been wandering round a couple of bars and places. It was quite busy because it was I dunno Roses Day or something, a day of a Battle of the Roses. In the end I had the idea to go down to the computer halls at the University even though it was late, take STRAWBERRY MOOSE with us, climb into the laboratories and send a few messages to Yorkist supporters about their failure at one of the battles that was being celebrated today. i’d done it before on previous occasions and thought that this might be another moment to do it. My friend was rather reluctant but anyway we went out. We found that the streets were totally deserted. There wasn’t a soul around. We couldn’t understand why. We expected to see crowds of people around there. I’d been trying to get some kind of picture on my laptop before going out but that hadn’t worked at all. That was one of the reasons why I suggested going out for it I had my laptop working we could have done it with that. Everywhere was totally quiet, the driveways were closed and locked. They had these metal fences up to keep people out but there wasn’t a soul about at all. It was just so eerie considering what was going on in the bar and what kind of important historical day it was.

They were still carrying out experiments on people’s knee joints with this machine. They kneel down onto the floor and are clamped into this machine and it puts vibrations through it. I was clamped into one after much complaining by authorities but it was designed for me anyway. A few other people were clamped in. One guy had osteo-arthritis but they turned him down. I was the one who had to tell him that he couldn’t be included in the study and had to send him back to wherever it was that he came from. The question of my knee is even infiltrating into my dreams these days.

Tea tonight was the rest of the curry from yesterday and it’s even more delicious when it’s been marinading for 24 hours in its own juices.

Now here’s a surprise. After I finished the washing-up I steam-cleaned the microwave. It hasn’t been cleaned for a while and needed a good going-over.

But that is one of the things that needs to be replaced in due course. It was a small, cheap microwave with a plastic cover over the metal interior and the plastic is now lifting off and the metal is rusting. It’s not very hygienic but there’s no point in replacing it until I have my new kitchen units up here.

So an early-ish start tomorrow because I’m off on the train to Leuven. Not that I’m looking forward to it but we’ll see how it goes. It’ll do me good to get out and about, even if it’s only going just that far.

Sunday 31st July 2022 – I’VE ACTUALLY BEEN …

jet blast st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo 31 July 2022… out and about today, just for a change.

There was a group called “Jet Blast” entertaining the lunchtime crowds at the summer street market at St Martin de Bréhal up the coast from here and Laurent had sent me a mail to ask me if I would like to go.

It meant setting an alarm this morning and regular readers of this rubbish will recall how well that goes down on a Sunday, but it’s high time that I got out and about to changer mes idées as they say around here.

It’s pretty much common knowledge that most people think that I ought to get out more often.

As a consequence of my early start (and isn’t 09:50 an early start on a Sunday?) I was early in bed for a Saturday night. Not quite before midnight but there wasn’t all that much in it.

It was a highly mobile night with tons of stuff on the dictaphone but I didn’t have time to transcribe it. I didn’t even have time for the medication because the side-effects take a while to work. Instead, I went and had a shower and a good clean-up. I need to look pretty.

Bang on time to the second Laurent rang the bell so I went downstairs, grabbing a raincoat on the way because it looked grey and overcast. And then we headed off.

st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It’s been several years since I’ve been to St Martin and I’d almost forgotten what it looked like.

And with it being the summer market, the place was packed. We were lucky enough to find a car parking place within staggering distance of the centre of the town which was just as well because I’m not as mobile as I used to be.

And then we walked down the road into town past some of the really nice houses and Laurent filled me in with a few of the secrets of the owners of the properties.

The larger places are mainly second homes of wealthy people from Paris who have all kinds of skeletons in their cupboards that only the locals know.

st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The main street was closed to traffic and that was where the commerçants had set their stalls out.

You could buy almost anything here this afternoon, and there were all kinds of people walking around carrying all kinds of things that they had purchased.

Even the local lifeboatmen – the Sauveteurs de Mer – had a stall selling tee-shirts and similar in order to raise funds.

The cafés and restaurants were packed as well and trying to find a place to have a coffee was simply not possible this morning.

st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Instead we walked down to the promenade to see what was happening there.

The tide doesn’t come in anything like as much as it does at Granville down the coast so there’s always quite a few people enjoying the beach at all hours. Except, of course today, because I really was thinking that it was going to rain and so did everyone else by the looks of things.

The likelihood of rain doesn’t make any difference to anyone who fancies a dip in the sea hence the two people who were brave enough to do in there this morning and good for them

marité st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022I was glad that I’d taken the NIKON D500 and the 70-300mm LENS with me.

As usual, I was having a good browse around out at sea and was able to pick up some sails out there on the horizon. It didn’t take much identifying to work out who she was. She was of course Marité out and about this morning in the bay.

As for the boat that was with her, I couldn’t recognise her and there wasn’t anything shown on the radar so whoever she was, she didn’t have a working AIS on board so that was that.

la granvillaise st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022You don’t need an AIS beacon to tell who she is.

The configuration of her sails is enough to suggest that she’s La Granvillaise and in fact when I returned home and enlarged and enhanced the image I could see the writing of her registration number on her sails.

There was actually quite a lot of maritime traffic out there this morning but down at sea level it’s not always easy to make it out. I’m much happier at 50 metres above sea level on my cliffs back home.

Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And talking of the cliffs back home, it’s amazing what you can see with a good zoom lens.

The long tall building in the centre is the College Malraux and the slightly taller building to the left is where I live. The slightly smaller building to the left of that is where the public rooms are, where the wedding took place yesterday. The whitish building in between the two is the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs.

My afternoon walk goes from my building along the top of the cliffs to the right all the way down to the end where the lighthouse is, and then back down the path on the other side of the headland.

So now you know.

jet blast st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So then we had “Jet Blast” up on stage.

A three-piece band that performed a pretty staple diet of rock and funk music, I’ve seen much better than these. But I’ve also seen much worse too and for a small seaside resort on a Sunday morning I don’t suppose that they were too bad.

What let them down very much was their choice of songs. Musically there wasn’t much wrong with them but with the kind of voices that they had, they shouldn’t be trying to sing songs like “Live And Let Die”.

jet blast st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022As for their version of “The Immigrant Song”, I much preferred the version by THE VIKING KITTENS.

And who could possibly sing the wrong words to “Born To Be Wild”? Even with me the way I am these days – I can sing the lyrics perfectly to obscure rock songs of the 1960s but ask me what I went into the kitchen for five minutes ago.

It reminds me of when I went to see “The Who” in London back in the early Seventies with Roger Daltrey singing “… errr … root ti toot ti tattoo too”.

We did have a few drops of rain too after about 15 minutes but it didn’t last all that long. Nothing at all to worry about.

jet blast st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Their finale was a rather low-tempo version of SOUL SACRIFICE, a long way from the original version.

What was interesting about this is that in the live version by Santana, there’s a very lengthy percussion solo. “Jet Blast” imitated that (to a certain degree) by not only the drummer but the guitarist and the bassist abandoning their guitars for some percussion instruments.

It was certainly a different way of performing it so hats off to them for initiative and innovation, even if it lacked the inspiration of the original. But then no-one can play Santana quite like Carlos Santana

jet blast st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022They were on stage for about 90 minutes or so altogether and all in all I don’t suppose that it was too bad at all.

Everyone in the audience seemed to enjoy it anyway, some more than others.

Just for a change, I didn’t take too many photographs, but those that I took are ALL ON LINE

We managed to grab a table in a café afterwards and have a coffee and a chat. We made a few plans for some more trips out but all of that depends very much on how things develop with my health. I can’t plan too far ahead these days.

kite surfer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Later on Laurent drove me home.

Before I came in I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening there and, being distracted by a kite surfer, I forgot to look down onto the beach.

Back here I had work to do. I went through and edited all of the photos and created the web page to which I referred to make sure that all of my images from today are on line. And then I set about transcribing the mountains of dictaphone notes.

I was at the top of Vine Tree Avenue in Rope Lane. There were a couple of people waiting for the bus. Just then Sweep, my grey cat, came and they started to call it names so I asked what was up. They said that it was mean because it attacked them. I picked her up and stroked her and asked them if she looked as if she was a mean cat that attacks people. They must have been mean to it to make it attack. We had a little chat about cats etc. Then I decided that I’d come in and I’d bring Sweep in with me. I brought her into my flat but she didn’t seem all that happy being indoors and wanted to go back out again. I was getting the impression that she was going to start on a kind-of new life somewhere that didn’t involve me as a human in it and I felt really disappointed by that.

Later on I’d gone to get a job in an office somewhere talking about car insurance. It was specialising in Ford Cortinas. The talk that I was given told me that I was going to be learning all about Cortinas even down as far as the MkII. I said that that was very nice but I owned my first MkI Cortina in 1974 … “actually 1973” – ed … and since then I’ve owned the lot and I have at the moment a MkII, 3xMkIV and 2xMkV. We had a chat about them. Then I went round to one of my garages because I had Cortinas dotted about all over the place in different garages and workshops. In one of them I had a couple of engines up on pallets but the pallets were uneven so I was looking for slivers of wood to even up the pallets. I was hunting around for ages for these, then I suddenly realised that in my workshop I’d have them where I’d been cutting wood. My workshop was open with hordes of people milling around inside it, all my tools and everything were in there. I went in and found a few bits of wood but by dismantling some kind of template that I had in there I found all the wood that I needed. There was a girl in there whom I thought looked quite attractive, a young girl. She came over to me and asked “didn’t you used to do the car boot sales for MENCAP?”. I replied “I was there driving a friend but I didn’t actually take part in the organisation or anything. I was certainly present”. She was telling me who she was there with and having a chat. I said “hang on a minute”. I was chewing on a piece of wood. “Let me take this wood out of my mouth”. She looked astonished. “What are you chewing on?”. I replied “wait a minute” and took these pieces of wood out of my mouth. I started to chat to her again and we had a nice friendly conversation.

I had an office at the back of a railway station on top of a railway line. I was doing some research into one of their locomotive engineers there. Something came up about this nationally so I offered to let someone have a look at my research. They seemed to think that I was in much more need of help myself because of all of the mess that I was in. I said that I was in a mess but it was all a question of organisation, not of facts. I collected a great many of the papers and it was just a matter of sorting them out but they were quite welcome to come along and refer to some of them while this was all going on.

There was something in there that they were going to be giving their workers fewer holidays and less paid time off and that sparked a walk-out of people from there.

There was something going on about computer programming. I can’t really remember very much but it was to do with people getting old and cars parked in the street restricting the flow of traffic but I can’t remember any more about this.

We (whoever “we” were) were at a motorcycle rally and someone’s motorcycle had broken down. We went to have a look at it and took the back wheel out which was no problem at all but it wouldn’t detatch from the hub housing. I left it on one side and had a look around the rest of the motorbike. In the end the driver admitted that what was happening was that it was the primary-chain tensioner had given up so I asked to know a way of adjusting the timing or getting a new chain and tensioner to fit. He explained that with these new-fangled motorcycles it’s not as easy as that and in any case you can’t just set the timing by eye even if you were able to change the chain and tensioner. It has to be done by some kind of celestial line-up that means that you have to take the motorcycle to either Mexico City or Moscow in order to set the timing. This is way beyond any technical capability I ever had so I could see that I was going to have to admit defeat before I started on this particular motorbike because there was no way that I had this kind of facility.

Finally I had a go at the music that I’ll be using in the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow, pairing it off ready for writing the notes tomorrow morning.

With all of everything that had been going on today I’d forgotten to take the dough out of the freezer so there was no pizza tonight. Instead I had sausage, beans and chips and that made a very acceptable meal. I also finished watching FAREWELL MY LOVELY which is one of the most powerful films that I’ve ever seen, up there in the same class as THE MALTESE FALCON and THE BIG SLEEP.

Now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. It’s an early start in the morning and I’ve plenty to do as usual. And then I have to summon up the courage to go to Leuven on Wednesday.

How I’m not looking forward to that.

Monday 11th July 2022 – LAST NIGHT WAS …

fisherman in boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… another extremely mobile night.

So while you admire a few nautical photographs featuring some of the dozens of watercraft that were out there today, I’ll tell you all about it.

I started off out with my mother last night. We were delivering beer to various pubs all round a town somewhere. She was driving this artic. at one point we came to a pub on a corner and we took stuff in. I was back sitting inside the passenger seat which was on the right on this lorry. Then she started throwing bottles of wine to me to stack inside the cab. I caught most of them but there were 3 that I dropped. 2 of them I was able to pick up because they had dropped inside the cab but the 3rd one fell on the street. Just then an artic appeared coming from our right and tried to turn into the junction where we were parked. Of course it was practicaly impossible. They widened this road junction by demolishing the pub and a few other places that were on the corner so that he could turn in but when we looked around he had driven away. He hadn’t actually come back now that they had made these major adjustments to this road junction. I was outside picking up this bottle then I had to climb aboard the lorry. The only way to do this was round by the left-hand side of the lorry. I could walk so far but then I had to drop down into a stream and walk along it somehow reach up and open the door hoping that it wasn’t locked and haul myself up and in. I dropped myself into the stream, the water was wetting my feet as I walked. I reached right up and this door was open, unlocked which was a real piece of luck so I started to haul myself up. But I didn’t have the strength to haul myself right up and go in. I was dangling from this door, not able to haul myself up that final few inches so that I could get into the cab.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022We were in Germany, walking our way all across Europe, in Germany and still had 1000 or so km to go and only a couple of days. We were pressing on quite rapidly and I was certainly at the point of exhaustion but carried on. We came to a supermarket in a small village. The sign said “you are halfway” which meant halfway across Germany but we saw it and of course laughed thinking that if we’re only halfway on our journey now what’s the other half going to be like. We carried on and one of my party said that we need to stop and take a break. There were some bollards in the road a couple of kilometres further on so we can stop and rest on those and take a break before carrying on

In that dream there was something about us sitting at a table and the waiter brought over a carton with all different kinds of milk. He went around the table asking what people wanted to drink. I said that I wanted plantaardige melk which of course is Flemish. It took him a minute to understand what I was saying – for some reason he thought that I’d said “Scottish milk” at first and was going on about how milk was milk. When he suddenly realised what I’d said he said that that kind of stuff was disgusting. I said that it makes no difference. He asked me what kind of milk I want and that’s what I want.

boats ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And then I had my big Opel Senator and I was down the lanes between Shavington and Weston. It wouldn’t start for some unknown reason so I rolled it but it slipped out of my hands and rolled off down the road and disappeared into the hedge. I ran after it but when I reached where I thought that it had rolled into the hedge it wasn’t there. I had a look all the way along the hedge in the area for probably an hour but I couldn’t see it at all. It was quite dark and everything. I wasn’t making very much headway at all so in the end I ran back home to round up my mother and brothers and sisters to come and help me look.They wouldn’t come and my mother said that she had better things to do. I wondered what could be better than giving me a hand for half an hour in an emergency but she didn’t say anything. In the end I went to fetch my motorbike and go to look for my car. The motorbike hadn’t run for ages so I had to start it with fresh petrol from a ladle. As I was going away from the house my mother was upstairs. She opened the door and made some kind of disparaging comment to me so I tuned to her and let loose a volley of rather offensive abuse. She asked “what do you mean by calling me that?”. I replied “don’t worry. If Mrs Chesters (our neighbour in Shavington) hadn’t been at her window I would have called you something else as well. I started my motorbike and rode it up towards Weston but then I realised that I hadn’t a clue how much petrol was in it. I thought that if I run out of petrol now on the motorbike I’d be in a real pickle. I reached Dodd’s Bank and took the new road around the corner where I met someone from the Welsh football supporters who had just moved into Shavington. We said hello and one or two things. A little further on I met someone else. We mentioned this guy who I’d just seen but I couldn’t stop to talk. I had to go off down the lanes and start to look for my car again before someone found it and had it towed away. Then I’d have no idea what would become of it.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Finally I’d gone to Blackpool in Caliburn. I was driving down the road into town when there were these red flashing lights so I stopped. Caliburn rolled a little so I put on the handbrake. Suddenly I noticed that I was on tramlines and a tram was coming so I had to reverse a little. The tram passed so close to Caliburn that it shook the vehicle. Someone said “that’s close” and someone else replied “when you’ve had your vehicle a long time you know its exact length”. I drove into Blackpool and found a place to park, went and brought some sticks of rock for my family and friends then went off for a wander around. I’m not sure what happened next after that but I ended up in a house in London. The ground floor of it was a flat where someone who lived had gone to live in the Auvergne or somewhere similar, emigrated. The flat was dark and not in very good condition. There was a lot of furniture about. I was with this person’s daughter. We were talking about the flat and a neighbour was there talking about the rock that I’d bought in Blackpool. After the neighbour had left I was looking around thinking “how on earth did they fit all of the furniture that they have taken to the Auvergne in here? It looks cluttered in the Auvergne. Here with all of the stuff that’s left there wouldn’t have been room for any of it”. The girl replied “yes I was wondering that”. When we looked at the condition of some of the furniture and condition of the flat I couldn’t understand why they wanted all of their stuff in the Auvergne to be treated like Royalty. It certainly wasn’t the case here in Blackpool. Her father lived somewhere in the neighbourhood before he was married but her mother had lived in the flat in the basement of this building. She asked me if I would like to go to see it. I said “yes, but is it vacant?”. She replied “no, there are people living in there “. I asked “do they mind?”. She replied “I told them that there was someone coming to look at the bed that they have for sale so you can go in and have a look around”.

cap lihou baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So as Cap Lihou goes sailing past the end of the headland, I’m wondering why it is that the last few nights have been so animated.

Some nights have been positively peaceful with nothing going on at all whereas others have been non-stop from start to finish. I’m intrigued to see whether it’s something to do with the full moon, the state of the tide or the conjunction of the planets

And I shall refrain from making any remark at all about Uranus.

But seriously, just why oh why do members of my family keep sticking their oars in?

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’ve no real objection to Nerina wandering around with me in the depths of night. After all, regardless of anything else I did actually invite her to share my life for better or for worse. But even so, she’s not been around for a while.

As for my family, I fled across the sea in order to leave them far behind me yet they keep on creeping into my night-time activities. Whatever happened to Castor, TOTGA and Zero? And the Vanilla Queen? And Percy Penguin? It’s rather sad when I can’t actually choose my own companions but have to make do with people whom I kicked out of my life 30 years ago?

baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Anyway, when the alarm went off at 06:00 I was out of bed quite quickly and after the medication and so on I sat down to work on the radio programme that I wanted to prepare today. It took me about 4 hours to complete it which, although not particularly fast, was still faster than a few of them have been of late.

While I was listening to it afterwards, I had several tasks to perform.

Firstly I had to send to the owners of this building a copy of my home insurance. And that’s not as easy as it might have been because the way that my French bank’s website and client page is configured, you have to be something of a detective and a mind-reader to track it down.

The next problem was much more complicated.

Someone whom I know had imported into Europe from Canada a vehicle that is not sold over here. And now they need some parts for it. Do I know anyone?

As it happens, my niece’s husband is in the motor trade so after contacting the “client” and obtaining all of the details about the car and its VIN I’ve been liaising with “Canada” about sourcing the parts, arranging shipping, dealing with issues like payment and so on.

Luckily one daughter of my niece works for one of Canada’s largest transport companies so this might actually happen, but it’s not easy and it’s not straightforward.

Once I’d finished with all of that (for now) I had a go at my mailbox. You have no idea how many mails there are in there that arrived while I was away. And I reckon that about 80% of them are junk. I’d had a quick scan through over the weekend and replied to the ones that seemed to be urgent so if you are still awaiting a reply from me, let me know.

As a result of the foregoing I ended up rather later than usual going for my afternoon walk.

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

And as you might expect, there were crowds of people down there this afternoon, and the water was heaving with people.

That’s no surprise because I think that it’s just about the warmest day of the year today. I’ve had all of the windows open in my apartment and doors propped open in order to have a nice through draught of cool air

The holiday season is really in full swing right now and it’ll be like this until the beginning of September. I hope that they fix the barrier on our private car park.

The next couple of photos are pretty miserable but what is important about them is not so evident at first.

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022The sky was really clear today and you could see for miles, right out as far as St Helier on Jersey, which you could see with the naked eye.

But there was a weird effect of haze going on out there that was obscuring part of the island several feet above sea level. I could see the island itself quite clearly, except for the part that had disappeared in the mist.

What was interesting about that is that the tower that we can see from here is quite clear just to the left of centre in the photo but it’s part of the island that is right behind it that is lost in the haze. And that’s weird. I would have expected to have not seen the tower either

It’s a phenomenon about which I know very little.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Something else that was quite clear with the naked eye was the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel.

According to my calculations, that’s about 70 kms away from here so it’s not every day that we can see it, even with the 70-300mm LENS. Only 14 times in the last 12 months in fact, one of which was exactly a year ago today.

It’s a really good idea to have an indexable and searchable on-line journal.

So fighting the crowds that were milling around here, I wandered off across the car park down to the end of the headland. But today we have no fishermen on the rocks and no-one on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

l'omerta gerlean yann frederic la bavolette 2 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022From the end of the headland I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland.

Nothing new at the chantier naval today but it looks as if we’re back to playing “Musical Ships” again. L’Omerta and Gerlean were actually moored there together at the fish processing plant.

There were several other boats moored there too. One of the lighters that chugs around the port and also a couple of trawlers – Yann Frederic and over there on the right, La Bavolette II.

There were other trawlers that were on their way into port as well. We saw a couple of them earlier and there were a few more out in the bay heading our way, but I wasn’t going to wait around.

windsurfers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Meantime, my attention was diverted elsewhere.

A little earlier we had seen some yachts from one of the sailing schools out there in the bay but there is also a windsurfing school too, by the looks of things. They seem to have plenty of clients this afternoon, with several zodiacs standing by for when someone falls in

They seem to have erected some kind of barrage of small boats out there too, presumably to stop people going beyond a certain area, but the surfers will know al about it if the wind takes them headlong into the boats.

And from there I headed off home.

hang gliders baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were crowds of people back at the wall overlooking the beach again so I wondered what was happening.

As I watched, a couple of hang-gliders took off from the field next to the cemetery so I waited for them to come my way. But in fact, they just stayed around there and didn’t go far at all.

Back here I had a coffee and then had a good session on the guitar. And that reminded me that I’d still left the bass in Caliburn so I went down there to rescue it and bring it back up here with the Roland bass cube.

Tomorrow I’m going to make a start on this music song-book. You never know when it might come in useful.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice and it was actually quite delicious. One of my better attempts, I reckon.

Tomorrow I have a Welsh conversation class on Zoom. I have to keep in practice. And I need to hunt down a summer school as I did last year. I had plenty of success with that

So I hope that I’ll have a good sleep tonight – and I also hope that one of my preferred companions will come with me for a good roam around tonight instead of the ones who have accompanied me just recently.

Thursday 16th June 2022 – GONE!

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And never called me “Mother”!

Yes, when I went for a wander out on my way to the physiotherapist’s this afternoon, I noticed that Victor Hugo, the Channel Island ferry, is no longer in port.

In actual fact, I saw a photo of her in the harbour of St Helier to where she set off this morning with a ferry-load of passengers, and I was unlucky enough to have missed her

But it just goes to show that she is actually out there working, despite what her prolonged sojourns in the harbour here might suggest.

While we’re on the subject of prolonged sojourns … “well, one of us us” – ed … I could have done with a prolonged sojourn today because while today was an improvement on what was going on last week, it wasn’t as good as the last day or so. It’s a case of one step forward, two steps back unfortunately.

The night was what would be called a very mobile night with a lot going on and I must have travelled miles. And at one point I fell asleep in mid-dictate and there’s a sound file of one hour and 41 minutes, most of which is of me snoring.

And my heart-felt apologies to Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in these pages half as often as she deserves) who used to complain that I snored in bed and I always denied it. Well, the evidence is there for everyone to hear.

By 06:45 I was wide awake again and leaving the bed at 07:30 was fairly easy for a change. After the medication and checking my e-mails I sat down and transcribed the dictaphone notes.

All of them.

I started off last night in the Canadian High Arctic working as a radio presenter for some outpost out there in the High Arctic but that’s all that I remember. I can’t remember any details at all about what was happening while I was out there doing it

I was back in this dream about this little girl again. They were doing up her house ready to exhibit it as a museum. They had loads of photos that they were exhibiting, they were doing quizzes about her life etc. I can’t think of her name but it was in the USA cotton belt in the 1920s and 30s, a small child. She was very well-known and very wealthy, from that kind of background, like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. We were going through some paperwork and finding when we got these kids helping us to sort it out. Everyone wanted to be her and be like her even though the period was very depressing and they were living in some very depressing circumstances. All of their family stuff we were finding in this house we were going to exhibit as a museum to her and probably to Disney too. It was taking up a lot of our time and progressing quite slowly. We even found stuff of when she had to capture her cat so that they could take her cat with them on holiday. There were newspaper articles about the cat from Minnesota that was visiting everywhere right now that were going in this girl’s dream, highlights and that sort of thing.

We were back on an island where there was some kind of celebrity living here so we decided that we’d tidy up the island and make it look nice, collect all the rubbish in then go through and find out what she wanted to keep then we could either throw away the rest or sell it. Selling it would bring in some money to the commune because it isn’t really making very much at all. Lots of important things are being missed off due to lack of money. This conversation went on for quite some considerable time with this discussion about all of this tidying up of the island somewhere in the northern hemisphere in the artic before someone pointed out that it is in fact a German citizen, she’ll be real fell asleep here

And when I awoke again I don’t know if I mentioned this actress who lived on this island who was the Queen Bee etc, rules didn’t apply to her. She had a kind-of Jeep and one day she was going somewhere and she cut the corner of the traffic at a road junction and something coming the other way hit her. Although she wasn’t particularly damaged it caused a lot of damage to her car and to the other car and blocked the road for quite some time. Everyone was going around saying how it served her right that it should happen to her, that she received something that she deserved at last and it might teach her to behave with a little more humility even though she’s someone rich and famous

Later on I was in Crewe. I’d been away somewhere and had come back. I had to go into work next morning so I set my alarm. Before I went to bed I’d spoken to Percy Penguin on the phone. For some unknown reason my alarm hadn’t gone off and it was past 09:00 when I awoke and I had to be in work by 10:00 at the latest. I had to run around to wash and change then nip to the grocer’s for some food as I didn’t have any. It was 10:30 before I was ready. I had to walk to work and it was cold and snowing and a long weary trudge through the streets of Crewe, some streets that I didn’t recognise. I couldn’t remember where the office was and I kept on taking wrong turnings. I thought “how on earth am I going to face everyone that I’m turning up for work at this time of day when the working day starts so much earlier than this?”. I was annoyed with Percy Penguin for not having rung me to remind me. I was annoyed with quite a few people who knew that I was back. They could have placed a towel or something under the door and made sure that I was ready for work that next morning. Instead no-one had done that and I was hours late wandering around the streets in a panic.

Then we were all in a car. We’d gone off somewhere and were driving around these streets, a big group of us. The idea was that we had gone to look for some pea soup. We reached a place where we stopped and a few people alighted. Gradually more and more people alighted just leaving me and a girl. We were having a really good chat about something or other and it was quite entertaining. It’s not like me at all to have such a good chat with someone. In fact I ended up being more interested chatting with this girl than in the pea soup. She told me all about pea soup, telling me that the most exciting thing about pea soup was how they got it in. Everyone came back into the car and moved it onto the pavement to park it out of everyone’s way then they all alighted to wander off to find some stuff. This girl and I were still in there chatting. I thought to myself that I’d never had a chat quite like this with a girl before, let alone an interesting chat. It was quite obvious that she was really interested in chatting with me. That’s something I’m not used to at all, people chatting to me in this kind of extremely friendly fashion. I thought that I might be onto something here.

That bit about working on the radio in the Canadian High Arctic was interesting though. A week or so ago CBC (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) was advertising a vacancy for a radio presenter in their outstation at Rankin Inlet in Nunavut in the Canadian High Arctic.

As you might expect I applied for the job and when I checked my e-mails this morning I had a mail from them saying that as the work is in Inuktitut (which I can’t speak very well and which the advert didn’t mention) I couldn’t be considered.

But they have plenty of other vacancies in the High Arctic where English and French are spoken and would I like to send them my CV? I’ll get to the High Arctic yet!

The rest of the day has been spent revising my Welsh, with a couple of moments of falling asleep. Once for about 15 minutes in the morning and also about 25 minutes in the afternoon.

Mind you, I wasn’t able to concentrate very much. I might not be falling asleep as much as I was last week but I’m still pretty much wiped out.

Before lunch I had a good shower and then after lunch I carried on with the revision until it was time for me to go out.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And as usual, the first place where I went was to the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to make sure that the NIKON 1 J5 was still working.

And the port was quite deserted today. The tide was well out as I was going past and by the looks of things it had taken all of the boats with it.

There was no-one playing Musical Ships today. No Gerlean and no L’Omerta either. They must both be out there somewhere in the bay working today.

But there are plenty of vans and lorries at the Fish Processing Plant today. It looks as if they are expecting a busy day today.

No-one over at the ferry terminal either. They must all be having a busy day running out to the Ile de Chausey today

emptying burnt out houses rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022On the way down the hill I noticed that there was some activity going on at the burnt-out houses.

By the looks of things they are emptying the houses of furniture and possessions and the like, tipping the stuff into the skip. They may well be starting pretty soon on rebuilding the houses.

And that’s not going to be the work of five minutes either.

Down in the town I stopped at the Post Office to post a letter and then carried on to the physiotherapist. It was more difficult than the walk on Monday and I had to stop a few times for breath.

The exercises were a little easier though although I’m totally dismayed about my loss of balance. Just a few years ago I was running up and down along beams on the roof and along the floor of my house. I can’t even stand on one leg these days.

After 10 minutes on the exercise bike (that wasn’t easy in this heat) to finish off she threw me out and I staggered down the hill into town.

The climb back up the hill towards home was much more difficult than it was the last time that I did it too. I seem to be having a relapse.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Before I went back in I walked over to the wall to have a look down onto the beach to see what was happening.

Plenty of beach and plenty of people on it too. Not that I’m surprised because it really was a gorgeous day today.

Back here I made myself a smoothie and tried to concentrate on my Welsh revision but it really was hard to do so, tired as I was. and I drifted away for my second bout of sleep s well at one point.

No tea tonight. There was the last of the revision sessions, three hours from 19:00 to 22:00. I grabbed a packet of crackers and during the pause I had a bowl of porridge.

But at least I seem to have got the hang of these discussion points and was able to have a few good conversations about some of them. These gap-filling questions are another thing entirely and if I’m going to fall down anywhere, that will be where it is.

Having written my notes I’m off to bed. Revision in the morning and my exam is at 15:00. And then the next part of the adventure depends on how I feel.

Whatever I do, I must remember to set an alarm for my exam. I don’t want to miss it after all of this effort.

Monday 13th June 2022 – NOW HERE’S A THING!

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While you admire a couple of photos of various sea-going craft, including what looks like Marité out there in the bay, I’ll tell you about my rather surprising day.

In fact, I seemed to be rather better today. The walk up to the physiotherapist and back again wasn’t quite as bad as it has been of late, and I only crashed out for about 15 minutes today, and that’s rather surprising considering the way that things have been.

Especially when I was up and out of bed this morning at 06:00 ready to work on my radio programme.

Once again today I wasn’t particularly rushed to complete it and it was about 11:30 when I finally finished it. And that was despite stopping for a coffee and also for breakfast sometime later

trawlers yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Although it’s not one of the better programmes from a music point of view, it’s a good one from a technical point of view with some of the nicest joins that I’ve made for a while.

What slowed me down somewhat as well was that for part of the time I was having a chat with Alison on the internet. She had a few exciting pieces of news to impart.

When I’d finished preparing the radio programme i had a listen to one that I’d made several weeks ago that will be broadcast this coming weekend, to make sure that it’s all correct

And while I was listening to it, I was tidying up and sorting out a few files on the computer freeing up a little more space.

There was time for me to have a shower before going to lunnch, to make sure that I was nice and clean and presentable ready to go to the physiotherapist’s.

After lunch I had a listen to the programme that I’d prepared this morning while I was still doing some housekeeping on the computer, and then it was time for me to go out for my appointment.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022As usual, the first thing that I needed to do was to go to make sure that the NIKON 1 J5 was working properly.

That means going to the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the viewpoint overlooking the outer harbour to see what was happening there and take a photograph of it.

As it happens, there was nothing to see today. The tide is quite far out and there is no-one playing “Musical Ships” this afternoon.

But the tractor and trailer are down there on the lower level waiting for the boats to come in later on this afternoon. They will take away the boxes of shellfish although to where I don’t know. I’m not quick enough on my pins these days to break into a run to follow it.

yacht pescadore wavecat express chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Meanwhile I’d heard a racket coming from over in the chantier naval.

It looks as if the portable boat lift has just a yacht out of the harbour earlier today and is presumably waiting for the tide to come in so that they can lower it back in.

And apart from that, there’s no other change in the occupants of the chantier naval. We still have Pescadore and Wavecat Express in there today along with the cabin cruiser and the catamaran that have been in there for a while now.

So with nothing else going on I wandered off down the hill towards the town.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022A little further on I came to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour where I stopped to see what was happening there.

Marité, the large sailing boat, wasn’t there. We saw her in an earlier photo out there in the Baie de Granville, but there was a pile of freight waiting on the quayside.

That means that we will be going to be having a visit from one of the little Jersey freighters some time soon.

And it might even be Normandy Trader because I saw a photo this morning to suggest that her overhaul is complete and she’s gone back into the water ready to carry on where she left off.

cherry picker Rue de l'Abreuvoir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There weren’t too many people in the town today – there never are on a Monday as many places are closed.

But what there was was a cherry picker in one of the side streets with a guy in the nacelle doing some maintenance work on one of the buildings.

He had the street coned off to traffic and as I watched, a motorist reversed out of a parking place, flattened a couple of the cones and then drove away. It’s not just pathetic parking that’s an issue around here.

And gritting my teeth, I prepared myself for the long, weary climb up the hill towards the physiotherapist’s.

furniture lift rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And here’s something that I’ve not seen before in France.

We’ve seen plenty of them in Belgium though, haven’t we? A furniture lift being used to help someone move from one of the apartments in the Rue Couraye.

One thing that I have noticed is that many of the stairs in the buildings here are steep and narrow and I must admit that I wouldn’t feel safe, even if I was feeling fit and healthy, carrying heavy loads down the kind of stairs that you find in some of the buildings here.

At the physiotherapist’s she had me doing a few exercises and then 10 minutes on the exercise bike. And things seemed to be a little easier today.

When the session was finished I staggered out into the daylight and down the hill towards the town centre, and then back up to the other side of the hill towards my building.

gerlean rocalamauve l'omerta la grande ancre le styx port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022By now all of the boats are coming into the port one by one to unload their catch.

We can identify several of them – Gerlean, Rocalamauve, L’Omerta, La Grande Ancre and Le Styx are the ones that we can recognise at a glance.

Round about here I bumped into one of my neighbours. She’s the nurse and home help who lives on the floor above and, biting the bullet, I told her that I’m intending to engage her services when I come back from my travels.

Cleaning my apartment is now quite beyond my capabilities and if I don’t do something about it soon, it’ll be too late and I’ll end up living in some kind of squalid circumstances and I need to avoid that at all costs.

car driving the wrong way place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Now here’s something else worthy of note.

Just now I mentioned a motorist squidging a couple of cones down in the Rue Paul Poirier. But up here outside my apartment we have something even more interesting.

You can see quite clearly the “no entry” sign by the gate. This street here is a one-way street but this motorist doesn’t seem to care less about any of that. He’s pushing on regardless.

There’s definitely something wrong with a lot of people when they don’t care less about the rules of the road.

It’s not just cars coming the other way but there are loads of pedestrians around here who are used to cars only coming one way with the flow of traffic and won’t be looking out for vehicles coming in the opposite direction.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Before I went in I went across the car park to have a look down on the beach to see what was happening there.

There weren’t all that many people down there this afternoon. Only a couple of people. There wasn’t anyone else taking advantage of such a nice day which was a surprise.

On the way back here there was another neighbour loitering around so I had a chat with her as well. She’s not doing very well at the moment either. It seems to be quite an epidemic of illness in the building.

Back here I made a strawberry smoothie and came in here to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

I was working behind the bar in this night club. Someone came in asking for a packet of cigarettes. They gave me the little square card with the barcode on and I had to go to the machine. It was hung from the ceiling so I had to climb up onto a couple of tables and 1 or 2 other things and then I’d be lucky if I could reach it. At one of the tables was a girl called Alison whom I knew from school whose surname ought to have been “Raleigh”. She was there with a guy so I was talking to her. The guy was looking at me rather strangely so I said that we knew each other from school and didn’t say too much. She made a few remarks about one or two people whom we knew and she knew in particular. Then I had to reach for this cigarette machine but I couldn’t reach it. It was one of those things that you were only ever going to have one go at reaching because if you overbalance you’ll fall. If you fell you’d need to grab hold of the cigarette machine to stop you falling into a void. I was there tottering away on the edge of this table thinking that I’m never going to reach this machine and get this pack of cigarettes. I had absolutely no confidence that I was ever going to do so. It seemed a strange place for this machine anyway. Everyone was urging me on to go and get this packet of cigarettes but I just couldn’t see how I was going to do it without it all ending in tears. It was all extremely confusing and extremely bad for the morale this kind of dream where I couldn’t even think about getting this pack of cigarettes. All I could think about was stopping myself from falling into the void.

Then there were a few of us walking through this shipyard when all of a sudden we were pounced upon by a group of people. They started to attack and torture us, asking us questions about the ships that we’d seen being built. Wr hadn’t taken very much notice so we weren’t able to say very much. They started to become even more aggressive and the attackes became even more painful as they tried to make us tell them things but we couldn’t really tell them anything because we hadn’t noticed anything while we were walking through the shipyard

I had a cheque for £347 that I had to take to the bank. I handed it over the counter to the cashier but she credited it straight away into my bank account without asking me what I wanted to do with it. A little later in the day I’d run out of money. I realised that I’d only wanted to pay £200 into the account and I wanted the rest as cash so I had to go back to the bank and argue about that they had done with this cheque. Eventually I managed to find the woman whom I’d seen earlier (at least I thought that it was her) and discuss the situation with her before she would then return some of the money that was paid into my account from this cheque

It was while I was finishing it off that I fell asleep but surprisingly it was only for a few minutes.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice and veg and now that I’ve typed my notes I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be on form.

And who knows? I might have a better day tomorrow too but one swallow doesn’t make a summer, does it?

Thursday 9th June 2022 – I WAS DOING …

… really well today. I went all the way through to the late afternoon without crashing out and I even managed to accomplish a great deal of work which was quite a surprise.

And when you see how far I travelled during the night, it’s a surprise that I wasn’t dead on my feet a long time before I did.

Once again I was awake before the alarm went off – at about 06:30 in fact – and there was no difficulty at all in leaving the bed as soon as the alarm sounded.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. We started off with something to do with Christmas time. There were Christmas carols. Some young girl had to sing them but someone was busy trying to make her intoxicated and she was far too young for that so that they could take advantage of her. Her mother found out about what was going on and stepped in to put a stop to the situation developing out of hand. There was part of it with someone having an on-line chat. She was having all of these people queueing up to have on-line chats with her as soon as she came on-line. There were so many that she couldn’t carry on a conversation with any of them and was being swamped. If it had been a case of 2 or 3 conversations it wouldn’t have been too bad but this was dozens of people calling her for conversations as soon as she came on line and she wasn’t able to cope with any of this at all. That was a dream that was again extremely vivid and extremely real, far too real to be comfortable.

Then I had to go to the Wistaston Green estate to pick up Andrew Beddow to take him to one of the clubs in Crewe. The taxi fare came to £1:40 but he gave me a 20-guinea piece to hold onto as a sign of good faith while I waited while he went off to change a £20 note so that he’d have the correct change to give me. We were talking about taxis and money and the clubs etc. It was quite an interesting chat.

There was some kind of quiz game on TV. One of the contestants was having a right mauling and the producer went over to the presenter to ask him to go easy with the contestant because she was someone from his old school. He wanted her to have an easy ride about it. The presenter wasn’t having any of this and if anything, started to make the questions even tougher for this particular girl. That’s all that I remember of this which is a shame.

There was a swimming pool where a lot of young girls used to go. The owners had it in their heads that they wanted to set up cameras and film everyone from a safety point of view and tuition point of view. None of the customers or regulars were having it. They believed that this was being done for some kind of mischievous purpose. Everyone just upped and walked out. Even the boss of this company quit as well right in the middle of him having some kind of beauty appointment with Frank Sinatra when he handed in his notice and left.

Nerina and I had both been at work as well and we’d come home to our flat as usual. We had to go out again so we made ready. She was going out of the door and I had to check to make sure that I had my keys and money etc. There was a note on our door so she picked it up and read it. She asked me if I’d go down and put the money in an envelope that someone would give her and then inside an envelope that someone else would give her and take it to the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival so that they’d be up-to-date and if I could spend any time to work down there that would be great. I said that I’d see what I could do about that. Then we prepared to go out. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember any more now. What confused me about this was that I found myself dictating this into my hand as well and I had to go back and start again from the beginning using the dictaphone this time. That’s how come I forgot a lot og it

And then I had to go to Nantes or Rennes and I was in the red Cortina estate. I drove all the way down there and found what I had to do. I had to come back in 2 days time. I had all my dirty clothes and a big plastic sack and I wandered around looking for a tap. Eventually I found one in a park and filled the plastic sack of clothes full of water. I was going to leave it down there for a couple of days all to soak and I could pick it up when I returned in 2 days time for the next meeting or whatever it was. While I was wrestling with this bag a woman, her husband and three little girls came down the steps. Of course I was in their way with this bag so I had to move it out of the way. I didn’t realise how heavy it was now and it was quite a wrestle for me to move it out of the path so that they could all go past and go on into this park.

Meanwhile I went all the way down to the end of the yard in these 2 old Commer vans so that I could dismantle all of the plumbing fittings that were around here. And I have a feeling that I’ve missed off a lot of this one as well.

After the events of recent times, I’m surprised that I wasn’t stark out at some early point in the morning after all of that.

There was an interruption at 10:00 for breakfast with my delicious fruit buns and to answer the telephone when Ingrid rang me. We chatted for quite a long time as we had plenty to say to each other. It’s been quite a while since we last spoke.

Having finished the dictaphone notes I had a form to fill in.

Every couple of years I have to complete a certificate to say that I’m still alive so that I can continue to receive my pension. The doctor countersigned it last time that I was there but I’d forgotten to send it off. Now they were telling me that they are planning to stop paying me unless I send it back quite soon.

It did rather remind me of the story that I’d heard about the guy who had been left a large sum of money in a will “if he could prove that he was still alive”. He had to find a Justice of the Peace to swear an oath.
The JP asked him “Are you …. (Mr X)?”
“Yes I am”
“Are you still alive?”

That left me with enough time for a shower and a good clean-up before lunch.

After lunch I had several e-mails to write. As I’ve mentioned before, this Sports Therapist wants to give me a few sessions of therapy and he wants to give a prescription to the physiotherapist about some special exercises.

Before he can do so, he needs a resumé of my health condition, presumably to make sure that nothing that he’s prescribing will compromise my hospital treatment or create a bad effect on my health.

Another thing is to tell them about how I’m feeling about my health in general, that seems to be deteriorating quite rapidly now. And so I composed an e-mail to each of the services that is treating me to make them aware of the situation and to ask them for the resumé.

gerlean port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022By now it was time for me to go out for my trip to the physiotherapist.

And as usual, I went to the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was happening this afternoon down in the harbour.

And our game of Musical Ships has taken another turn this afternoon. L’Omerta is no longer there this afternoon but in her place Gerlean is back again.

At the moment then there are only these two boats playing “Musical Ships” and I wonder how long they’ll be able to keep it up, or whether we’ll have some more players in due course.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While I was here I had a good look out in the baie de Mont St Michel.

There was plenty of activity going on there this afternoon too. After the storms of yesterday that kept everyone indoors a few of the sailing schools were out there today.

There were two sailing schools out there just outside the harbour with a couple of zodiacs shepherding them around.

And there was a third one out there deeper in the bay too as I discovered later as I was walking down the hill towards town. The students were certainly having their money’s worth this afternoon.

While I was here I had quite a shock as well. A girl who was the spitting image of Castor went walking past. I did a double-take and I still wasn’t convinced that it wasn’t she and it was quite unnerving.

Something similar happened to me in Brussels a few years ago now. It’s been years since I’ve seen Zero in the flesh and I’ve often imagined how she might have looked as she’s grown older.

And then in Brussels, of all places, into a café where I was drinking walked a girl who was exactly how I had imagined Zero to be by then. I was so surprised that I dropped my coffee.

painting zebra crossing Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here – there was work going on in the street this afternoon.

The pedestrian crossing here has faded quite considerably and this afternoon they are repainting it.

And that reminds me of the time that a pedestrian was trying desperately to cross a busy street and a passer-by yelled at him “there’s a zebra crossing just a little further down the street”
“Well, I hope that it’s having better luck than I am” retorted the pedestrian.

So hotfoot in desperate pursuit of the Castor lookalike and failing miserably, I headed off down the hill into town and the Post Office where I posted my letter about my pension and then wandered off to the physiotherapist.

Somehow today, although the climb up the hill was agony again, the physiotherapy session wasn’t quite as painful today. Even so, I staggered out of there at the end of the session looking like “The Death of Nelson”.

Even walking down the hill was painful, and the least said about the climb back up towards home the better.

victor hugo chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Once again, I had to make several pauses on the way back up there to catch my breath.

One of them was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour. Marité was there with members of her crew clambering all over her, but I was more interested in Victor Hugo and Chausiaise

We still haven’t seen Victor Hugo in action so far despite the service to the Channel Islands being up and running for over a month. We’ve noticed her absence on a couple of occasions and I’ve seen photos of her out around the Channel Islands when other ships have encountered her, but that’s all there is so far.

And Chausiaise seems to be leading something of a nomadic life in the harbour, moving around from berth to berth.

speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Having recovered my breath I pushed on up to the top of the hill and home.

Before going inside though, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look at what was going on out at sea this afternoon.

It’s not easy taking photos out there today as I only had the NIKON 1 J5 and the standard lens with me. I could pick up this speedboat that was out in the bay but that was the best that I could do.

Whether there was anything else out there I really couldn’t say. The focal length of the lens isn’t all that long and in any case the weather conditions weren’t as good as they have been just recently.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And of course while I was here I had to go and look at what was happening down on the beach this afternoon.

Sticking my head over the wall and having a look I could see that there were plenty of people down there on the beach this afternoon and several of them had actually taken to the water.

There was a little wind about, although nothing like as much as yesterday, and it was nice and warm. In fact, I’d come all the way back from the physiotherapist’s in my shirt sleeves.

It was that kind of day today. I actually saw a lizard today – a sure sign that sumer is acumen in.

bus with passengers place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There was a crowds of people loitering around in the vicinity and as I watched, a coach pulled up and they all scrambled aboard.

Where the coach is parked is where they put that new kerb in the other day, and the fact that the coach is there explains in part why they installed that kerb.

As of 1st July they are reorganising the town’s bus service. There’s a new line being added and there are a few more changes, one of which is rerouting the bus that comes up here. Instead of going down the Boulevard Vaufleury where no-one lives, it will now coming through the square where everyone including me lives, and the bus stop will be where they installed that kerb.

That couldn’t be much better for me, could it?

Back here I had a strawberry smoothie and then I crashed out. I knew that I couldn’t keep going for ever. I’m surprised that I kept going as long as I did after the night that I had. I was out of it all for about 90 minutes and felt like death.

There was plenty still to do but I’ll have to do that tomorrow for I’m not in any fit state to do it now.

Tea was steamed veg with vegan cheese sauce and falafel, and that was just as delicious as usual.

So having written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m totally exhausted and I’m hoping for a good night’s sleep where I can recharge my battery and have a better day tomorrow. I have that meeting tomorrow at 10:00 about the radio and we’ll see what happens there.

Sunday 5th June 2022 – EVEN THOUGH I …

… had a nice lie-in this morning, I still couldn’t manage to go for a whole day without crashing out at some point.

Only for 20 minutes or something like that but it was still enough for me to feel quite miserable about the whole affair.

Anyway, you don’t come here to hear me moaning – at least, I hope that you don’t. I ought to be out here bringing joy and gaiety into everyone’s life instead of sitting here feeling miserable.

This morning I didn’t awaken until about 10:00 and it was about 10:45 when I finally fell out of bed. There’s a pile of stuff on the dictaphone from during the night but as I type out my notes this evening it seems that I’ve forgotten to transcribe them.

Yes, it’s not been a very good day today.

So after the medication it took me a while to come round into the Land of the Living and then I paired up the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. I forgot to do that last week and that delayed me somewhat.

Mind you, I don’t think that I’ll need any excuse to be delayed tomorrow. I’m really not feeling anything like it at all. I did however manage to find some kind of motivation to run through my acoustic set again. It seems to be working OK for the moment.

After lunch I came back in here where I fell asleep. And later on I made a batch of dough for the pizzas, seeing as I seem to have run out again. 500 grammes makes a nice load for 3 pizzas. It was all mixed up quite nicely and left on the side in order to proof.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The other day I mentioned that I hadn’t been for a wander around the medieval city walls for a while.

What surprised me was that I actually remembered today, and that’s the reason why this afternoon’s photo of the beach is taken from a different viewpoint.

There were quite a few people down there this afternoon on the beach, but no-one brave enough to go into the water. This couple were busy drying themselves off so I was wondering whether they had taken the plunge before I arrived.

And once more, no boats out there in the bay today, as far as I could see.

repairs to medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Another thing that I wanted to check on was the work that was going on on the medieval city walls just recently.

They’ve been making quite a racket with power tools and the like over the last few days so I imagined that they were pushing on. And I wasn’t wrong either.

They have dismantled completely a small part of the wall here in the Rue du Nord and have removied the rotten mortar from the joints of another long length of wall.

The other day one of the workmen told me that they expected to be here for another year and I’m beginning to see that he might not have been joking.

repairs to medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022One of the things that I wanted to do was to go down the steps to look and see how they were progressing with the outside of the wall.

That wasn’t possible this afternoon because there were crowds of people hanging around just there and I’d have to wait for ages before they cleared off.

Instead, I went to have a look at the outside from farther round in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux but they have now covered it completely in security netting so it’s not possible to see anything at all.

What I ought to do, I suppose, is to go out later in the evening when there is no-one around. In fact I used to go out twice a day but I’ve not been up for that for quite a while.

35ma aeroplane Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022From the Place du Marché aux Chevaux I wandered off along the path underneath the walls towards the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

But here I was overflown by another aeroplane. This one is another one of the light aircraft that hang around the airfield and which we see every now and again. We saw 50SA yesterday – today it’s the turn of 35MA.

And as I said yesterday, their registration numbers aren’t in the database to which I have access, they don’t file flight plans and they don’t fly high enough to be picked up on civilian radar so I can’t tell you anything at all about them.

building work plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022When I got to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset I could see that there’s something exciting going on.

At first I thought that it might have been something to do with the phenomenal rainstorm that we had overnight but the cement mixer there seems to indicate that this is a project that’s been going on for a little longer.

By the looks of things they are digging out some rocks from the cliff at the back. I wonder if this is a security issue or whether it means that we are going to be having some more facilities on the Plat Gousset to attract more visitors.

Mind you, the fact that the Big Wheel has been banned from the town seems to indicate that encouraging tourism isn’t all that high on the list of priorities of the current town council.

They seem to be much more interested in turning the town into a genteel retirement home for the fortunate few at the expense of the younger, fitter, healthier population of the town.

tidal swimming pool plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022At least though they have managed to give the tidal swimming pool something of a recondition this last couple of weeks.

And at long last it seems to be retaining its water. It’s not been very successful at that in the past and even so, it’s draining out of the drain rather too quickly than I would have expected to see.

And although you can’t see it in this photo, they still haven’t put the diving platform on top of the concrete pillar. That is usually installed at some point shortly after Easter and I can’t understand why they are leaving it so late this year.

Another 4 weeks and the main summer holiday season will be starting.

airbus A400-M baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022With nothing much else going on down there on the Plat Gousset, I headed off towards the Square Maurice Marland

And from around the corner out in the bay came this big Air Force aeroplane flying southwards.

From this angle it’s very difficult to see what it is. I was tempted to suggest that it’s another one of the Airbus A400-M aeroplanes like we saw a couple of weeks ago, but it wasn’t making anything like the racket that one of those would make..

We saw one once at 34,000 feet and the noise was indescribable. At a tenth of that the noise ought to be considerably worse but this was nothing like as loud as I was expecting.

baby seagulls rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Our seagull chicks seem to be doing fine.

There are two of them, so it seems, and they are able to stand on their own two feet in a manner of speaking, and seem to be managing quite fine without mummy keeping an eye on them, for she is nowhere to be seen.

It was quite amusing watching them trying to leap up over the ridges in the roofing sheets. They couldn’t quite manage it and I felt for them because I understand exactly how they feel right now

p692 maroni gendarme maritime port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022We have a new visitor in port this afternoon.

This is a ship called Maroni and she belongs to the French maritime police. I wonder what’s going on around here that brings her into port today. There’s nothing going on around here that I can think of.

She’s not the one that came to check our papers when we were on board the Spirit of Conrad. She was called Geranium I and she was accompanying a survey boat that was checking the sea bed for likely spots to position some offshore wind turbines.

marquee port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The other day I mentioned the marquee that had appeared on the quayside away across on the other side of the port.

With the 70-300mm LENS on the NIKON D500 I could see that there were stalls set up around the outside of the marquee and there were crowds of people milling around.

There will probably be something about it in the newspaper tomorrow that will tell me what was going on.

Back here I had a coffee and then wrote notes on “School Days” and “Technology” for my Welsh revision. I have to keep on going even though it’s a Sunday.

Later on I divided the dough into three and put two lumps in the freezer.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The third one I rolled out and put on the pizza tray. And when it had had its second proofing I assembled this evening’s pizza.

When it was made I bunged it into the oven to bake and 35 minutes later it was ready to eat.

And I do have to say that it was one of the best pizzas that I’ve made. I don’t like using bleached industrial flour but I wasn’t having much success with any other kind.

Eventually I managed to catch up with the notes from my travels during the night. We’d been to Mexico. There had been some kind of scene about a song that we were supposed to know. I didn’t know particularly well so I didn’t join in. When everyone was cleared away I went over to the front and there on the screen were the words. They had song sheets and lyric sheets and batons for timing etc, a huge pile of mess at the side of the runway. I thought to myself that obviously this song wasn’t as well-known as people were pretending with everything to persuade these people to sing and all these people from the EU to join in as well.

And then there was quite a bit of currency manipulation going on with the German mark. People were coming up with all kinds of things that were going to drive the German mark down including blackmail. I had to do some research into it and found several things so I wrote various notes. I had to write them small because there wasn’t all that much room. In the end what I wrote made a great deal of sense even though there was something like 2,000 words crammed into a space of about 3″x3″. I managed to fit in something about blackmail and showed a little evidence as well. I was pleased with what I’d done and was about to present it to a meeting.

And finally there was something that I was doing for a photographic assignment, having to photograph all these people. There was something about having to get them all onto the photo at once which was going to be extremely difficult. I was trying to work out a way to do it when we had an enormous thunderstorm and everyone scattered. It made it virtually impossible for me to do it. I had to remind everyone that they were quite happy to do it before this thunderstorm. There was still the same photograph to do and still the same amount of space and same amount of land. We needed to push on and do this photograph because of the weather.

So now I’m off to bed. I’m up at 06:00 in the morning to start my radio programme so I need to be on form. But not much chance of that happening these days. I’m going to have to do better than this.

Monday 23rd May 2022 – HAVING GONE TO …

… bed last night at 22:15 I bet that you are all dying to know at what time I actually awoke for my 06:00 alarm call this morning.

The truth is that I was wide awake and raring to go at … errr … 05:30 this morning and I actually had difficulty staying in bed until the alarm went off.

That’s not like me at all is it? If recent events are anything to go by, my get-up-and-go has got up and gone a long time before I’m ready to leave my stinking pit.

So having had the medication and a mug of hot coffee I made a start on the radio programme that I needed to to today. I wasn’t in any particular rush and in any case there were several pauses for this and that (but regrettably, not for “the other”. Those days are long-since gone) so a time of 11:20 to finish it was not unreasonable.

And then I spent the next hour or so listening to it to make sure that it’s OK. It actually features several artists who are making their debuts on my radio programmes and you’ll get to hear them if you can wait for about 9 months or so.

When I finished I went for a shower and a good clean-up ready for my physiotherapy appointment, followed by a rather late lunch.

After lunch I had a listen to the radio programme that I’ll be sending off tomorrow for broadcast this weekend. As it’s the end of the month it’s a live concert and I do have to say that if I had to choose my top five live concerts of all time this one will be up there in that lot.

However, the tape is full of holes. It’s been played to death one way or another and it needs a lot of patching. So I made a few notes before I nipped off for my appointment.

saviem low loader porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Just my luck that the battery in the NIKON 1 J5 was flat. And as I was late, I didn’t have time to go back home to change it so you’ll have to make do with the camera on the ‘phone.

At the Porte St Jean we have a really beautiful old lorry this afternoon. An ancient Saviem pulling a low-loader trailer and if you look through under the gate you’ll see some kind of heavy machinery.

It’s probably just brought that here and unloaded it, and it’s gone disappearing off into the old town. I’ll have to go for a wander that way later in the week to see if I can find out what it’s up to.

There’s quite a bit going on in the old town at the moment. The Council doesn’t seem to be shy about spending our money, does it?.

gerlean omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And so I cleared off down to the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was going on there this afternoon.

It’s not really any surprise for me to tell you that L’Omerta is there again this afternoon, but she has a new companion today.

Petite Laura is no longer there behind her, but in front of her this afternoon is Gerlean.

From there I headed off down the hill towards town, becoming entangled in a party of schoolchildren. French schoolchildren too, but wearing what I can only assume were ghastly parodies of a typical English school uniform.

There was something not quite Catholic about all of this and I wasn’t the oly one who noticed it.

speedboat swimming pool port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Thinking that I could head them off at the pass, I stopped for a look down at the port.

The speedboat is still there, and that is definitely a swimming pool that’s appeared there at some point over the last couple of days. And after the amount of rain that we had this morning, it probably has plenty of water in it already.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapist was agony yet again. I’m not doing so well with that these days. I feel as if I’ve gone backwards by several months.

Still, it will soon be the 1st of the month when I have my next appointment with the Sports therapist person. I hope that he can do me some good.

It’s often been said that some women are capable of doing a man to death. I must admit that I staggered out of the physiotherapist’s pretty darn close to it and then I headed rather unsteadily for home.

erecting bollards rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022One thing that has cheered me up is that they seem to be doing something about some of the crazy parking that goes on in the town.

In the Rue Paul Poirier the local council was erecting a row of bollards along the edge of the kerb to prevent vehicles parking on the pavement just there. Not that it’ll do much good because they will just obstruct the traffic somewhere else instead.

But at least they are trying. Whereas the motorists who park on the pavements are very trying.

The walk up the hill towards home was much more like another agonising crawl and I had to stop a couple of times for breath before I made it.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But as usual I went to have a look at the beach before going in.

By now it was raining quite heavily so I wasn’t expecting to see anyone down there on the beach, so I wasn’t disappointed. Everyone has much more sense than me.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had work to do. There were five holes in this concert that needed patching and they had to be done forensically.

Luckily, it’s a group whose music has a pronounced beat and rhythm so I could copy out a segment from elsewhere that has the same beat and rhythm and then superimpose it back over the damaged sector, drag it around until it fitted perfectly, and then cut out the damaged sector from underneath it.

Do that 5 times, which took an absolute age and I ended up being 1.406 seconds over length. But if I can’t lose that amount of time with some judicious editing out of some applause after all of the practice that I’ve had, I can’t be much good.

You can – well, I can – detect one of the joins because it’s in the middle of a lead guitar solo and it doesn’t flow as it ought to, but the others are invisible and I challenge any of the regular readers of this rubbish to detect them when it’s broadcast.

It’s certainly, from a technical point of view, the best concert that i’ve ever done.

There was time to listen to the dictaphone too. There was plenty on there from last night. I was in my office last night, working on the case of a guy whose wife was also working. It was starting to become a little late so I mentioned that maybe Nerina would come round to join me in the office when she finished. As I was pushing on it was becoming later still so I was talking to myself rather out loud like “is Nerina here? Is she hiding from me?”. I carried on doing that. I was trying to find cases where I would know about the man’s income and about the wife’s income, what children they had, whether they went to school or to university or somewhere like that. It suddenly struck me that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing … “that’s something that doesn’t usually bother you” – ed … because it’s 30 years or more since I’d last done this. Things had changed so much over that time that I was probably doing everything wrong anyway. I was going to have to re-learn absolutely everything from the very beginning again in order to start again and have it all correct this time. Of course it was becoming late now and I could see that all that I’d been doing all afternoon has been wasting time because I’m in no condition as far as my knowledge goes today to actually do anything at all about any of this. I wondered why on earth I’d been wasting my time.

And then I was with a girl. I can’t remember who she was but she was a young girl. The subject of the Titanic came up. It was beached in New York and it was possible to go for a guided tour of her. I took this girl and we wet on board the ship and down into the bowels to the waterline where we could see the damage and the holes. It was all extremely impressive. They had one of those pressurised cargo wells like they had on some of the early “Lake-type” submarines where they were open to the water but it was air pressure that kept the water out so that you could actually walk off the boat inside under water and go into the sea. We were busy exploring that because it was quite a novel thing. We had a really good wander around and then headed back. I suggested to this girl that we go for a beer which sounded like a good plan so we stood in the queue for the lift back up to the top of the ship. The question of football came up because every Thursday they were showing Welsh Premier football on the TV. There had been a series of matches that had taken place on one day and what they were doing was to show them one by one every Thursday over the next few weeks. I was explaining to this girl that I was intent upon watching them so I’d be home from work early that particular day curled up in front of the TV. We had a little chat about that as we stood in the queue waiting for the lift in the Titanic to take us back up to street level where we could leave and go for a beer.

So who was this mystery girl? I Wish that I knew. Fancy being with a girl and not knowing who she was.

And finally I was in Crewe last night staying in some lodgings in a little room just off Nantwich Road somewhere. Someone had a big bottle of pop and offered us a drink out of it. I had a drink and another guy who was there, an Australian guy, said “no, you don’t want to have a drink yet. Wait until he’s tried to borrow something then he’ll be much more willing to lend you some more stuff tomorrow. Of course I had quite a thirst so I was happy for that. Then I thought about getting us some food so I thought that I’d try to find a pizza in the area and something to drink as well. I thought that there’s bound to be a place nearby so I went out but for some reason I couldn’t lock my room. I tried 3 or 4 times to do it but it wouldn’t lock so in the end I thought that I’m only going out for a minute so it shouldn’t be too crucial just for a minute. I thought that I’d better leave it and just nip out to get something while everything was still open.

Tea was another delicious stuffed pepper, and now that I’ve finished I’m off to bed. I’ve decided that I’m going to file that medication under CS because whether it’s really that or whether it’s simply auto-suggestion, I seem to be doing much better without it. If I can keep on going like this I’ll be happy but as we know, one swallow doesn’t make a summer.