Tag Archives: http://www.amazon.fr

Tuesday 12th July 2022 – GUESS WHO …

boats ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… came to see me during the night?

So while you all admire a few water scenes, there I was at work sitting behind my desk sitting next to some woman I don’t know and who should walk in to come and buy some cheese but Zero. She didn’t see me as she came in but she went over to the cheese counter and they cut her some cheese. When she turned to go she saw me and so I waved. She came over and chatted. The girl sitting next to me also knew Zero and said “don’t forget, when you come in you can talk to me any time”. The woman who was a supervisor beckoned her over and said “young lady, do me a favour. When you come in again don’t talk to (the girl who was with me)”. I whispered to her “you can always talk to me anytime you like when you come in”. She smiled, I patted her and she went skipping off. This woman asked me “who is that child?” (because don’t forget that I’ve known Zero ever since she was born). I replied “that’s probably the nicest child in the universe” (and she was, too). They asked me who she was so I told them. Of course they knew the parents of this girl so they all thought that it was marvellous how she’d grown up as she had, so bright and cheerful and energetic.

Then I was back in Stoke on Trent later but Zero wasn’t there. What had happened was that a member of her family had been killed so we’d been scrolling through someone’s phone trying to find hers and her father’s chat pages so that we could post some kind of message of condolence on them. As we kept on looking we just couldn’t find which were the correct pages on this person’s phone. There were thousands of different chats. It was very hard to see whose was what. Eventually we found a photo of both of them with their heads covered in towels but we didn’t even think that that belonged to one of them so we scrolled through this phone for ages trying to find what we were looking for

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022We were back in this dream again on our way to this funeral. We ended up round at someone’s house trying to find their contact details on Social media or their phone number etc so that we could send them messages of condolence. I couldn’t find them on my phone but I knew that I had them somewhere from years ago – probably on the old phone that lies in the van and a few other things. It was becoming late, already 18:30. When we arrived at this guy’s house she asked me who someone was so I explained that there were 4 people currently wandering around, 2 friends of mine who I named but I can’t remember and Zero and her father. I had to work out how to get in touch with them but I couldn’t do it – I needed some help from these 2 people with me or maybe even the 2 people who were going to turn up but time was drawing on and I was going nowhere. In the end to my surprise the guy who was with this woman where I was was actually Zero’s father. I was completely confused then about what was going to happen where, when and how. If that’s the case, where has Zero gone and with whom has she gone?

Finally I was with her father and we were talking about these people who were going to arrive. He said that he’d better push on and tidy everywhere before they arrive. It was 09:15 and I was still in bed so I thought about getting up. I asked him if I could send Zero a “Happy Birthday” message. He handed me his phone so I started to send a message on it. Then I thought that perhaps if I copied the number onto my phone I could send it from my phone and she would know who it was. Then I was trying to take some car registration numbers because they had something to do with how I could contact her although I don’t know how but I couldn’t get close enough to read the numbers. I was either too far away to see them or else I’d overshot. This was becoming extremely confusing. I was turning something simple into something of nightmarish complications.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Later on I was in Caliburn driving quite recklessly through rural France until I came to a stop because there was something going on. I ended up talking to a group of teenagers. There was some guy being harassed by someone or other. he quickly reached over his wall and handed me a cardboard box. He said “here, take this”. I took it and there was a trailer in it and a few other bits and pieces etc, and a couple of phones, one of which was a UK phone and it had a charger. There was no plug on the end of the charger. I was thinking “at last this is how I can contact Zero but I have somehow to make this phone charge”. I asked these kids if anyone had a charger. They replied “no”. They were interested to know why I was in France and what I was doing but they gradually drifted away. Someone told me a cheat how you can charge up your phone without a charger but it looked extremely dangerous to me. I wasn’t going to try it. I thought “once again the solution is here in my hand but I just can’t make it work”.

And isn’t that a regular occurrence? And not just in dreams either.

And here’s a dream without Zero in it although it started off that way. I was again with her father who was running me back to Crewe. I was telling him about the guy whom I used to know in Moathouse Drive who had just given me 3 cars, 2xMkIIIs and a MkIV Cortina. I had to go and pick them up at some time in the near future. I ended up back at my garage and walked in where I had a couple of cars. I found that there were half a dozen cars in there some of which weren’t mine. There was a woman so I asked her what she was doing with her car in my garage. She said that someone had given her permission. I said “I’m the occupier of this garage and I haven’t given any permission”. This escalated and there was a crowd of people who came in who didn’t care at all the fact that I was renting this garage. They had their cars there and other possessions and weren’t intending to leave. They made sure that I knew that I was pretty powerless to make them too.

So stepping back yet again into several dreams one after the other, that’s quite a strange situation too. usually stepping back involves just stepping back once, but how many times ws this?

yacht sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022But why is my subconscious telling me to get in touch with Zero? In the past my subconscious has told me many things that have subsequently turned out to be true, to such an extent that I rely on my subconscious intuition rather more than most people. And it was certainly quite insistent last night.

Especially when after she skipped out of the first dream I awoke bolt-upright and it took me quite a while to go back to sleep. Awakening fully as I did, I’ve always found that in the past it’s been impossible to step back into a dream but I managed it last night, and in spades too.

No surprise then that I was thoroughly exhausted when the alarm went off this morning but nevertheless I staggered out of bed for my medication quite smartly.

And then I transcribed the dictaphone notes, and that took much longer than it ought to have done.

We had a Welsh conversation class this morning too and so as you might expect when I switched on the laptop that I use to connect to Zoom, it decided to perform a full upgrade.

When it had finally finished upgrading I connected to my course but nothing was happening at all. Eventually, further investigation revealed that the internet server at Coleg Cambria had crashed so they had no internet connection. “Your course will be re-arranged”.

That left me with some free time to deal with the photos from June when I was in Germany. I’m now inside the camp at Dachau heading up to the crematorium.

Once again, I didn’t have lunch – that is, except for some fruit. I’ve just been making do with fruit at lunchtime right now. I’ll weigh myself on Saturday to see if I’ve kept this weight off.

This afternoon I fell asleep for an hour or so which is no surprise given the exciting events of the night. Not exactly stark out but it was near enough.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland so grabbing the NIKON D500 I set out.

As usual my first stop was at the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what was going on there.

And once more, we had the crowds out in force enjoying the beautiful weather, even if there wasn’t all that much beach to be on right now.

Of course, they weren’t all on the beach either. Quite a few of them have taken to the water. I suppose that after a week or so of heatwave the water must be nice and warm. But I’m not going to be the one who goes to try it. I’ll take their word for it.

Airbus H225M Caracal helicopter pointe de roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022While I was taking a few photos that you saw earlier of the local shipping, I was being overflown.

It’s not one of our regulars either. This one is a helicopter belonging to the Armée de Terre, the French Army. I’ve no idea what it is except that it’s one of the “Puma” family. It closely resembles a H225M “Caracal” except that the fairing over the wheels doesn’t look right.

The French Army has 18 Caracals although none of them are based anywhere near here.

It’s strange though to see an Army helicopter flying around here. We have the Air-Sea Rescue one of course and the occasional Navy, Fishery Patrol or Customs helicopter. So I dunno.

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So with nothing else happening anywhere at the headland I wandered off down the path towards the port.

And there has been a change in occupancy at the chantier naval. Philcathane who was up on blocks by the portable boat lift has now gone back into the water.

No-one has yet come in to replace her though. But I’m keen to see who else we might have next in there. We could do with a few strangers in there like Wavecat Express who was in there for a wile a month or so ago.

Whatever happened to her? I was hoping that she would bring something new to the port.

omerta calean le styx peccavi port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022However there is plenty of stuff happening over at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon.

We have L’Omerta over there this afternoon, and behind her from left to right we have Calean, Le Styx and Peccavi. And plenty of vehicles around there on the lower level taking away the catch that they are unloading.

Once more, we had quite a few other boats either coming into the harbour or else leaving the Fish Processing Plant for the inner harbour but I was in a rush so I didn’t wait around.

However I did wonder who will be there playing “Musical Ships” tomorrow. It’s all pretty exciting.

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Down at the far end, Marité is back.

She’s finished her trip around to the southern Brittany coast and has come back home. With a bit of luck I’ll see her out in the bay some time soon. If she’s based here in Granville she ought to spend more time closer to home unless she’s off on a real expedition.

Lots of activity going on down at the loading bay. There’s a lorry there and the crane is busy moving a huge pile of building material around. That can only mean that one of the little Jersey freighters will be coming here soon.

And while we’re on the subject of the Jersey freighters … “well, one of us is” – ed … I wonder what was the result of the trials when the freighter Southern Liner came in here to try out the port for size

When I came back home I went into the kitchen to fetch some ice for my banana drink I noticed that the ice box in the fridge was full of ice and so I empted as much out as I could and set the fridge to “defrost”.

That should keep me out of mischief for a while so I had a play with the acoustic guitar and then, as promised, I had the bass out and had a play for an hour or so.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with rice, and then I carried on defrosting the fridge for a while. That’s all finished now so I came in here to write up my notes.

So who’s coming out with me tonight? It would be nice if it would be one of my favourite companions but I don’t suppose that I should be greedy and expect anyone special after last night’s excitement.

So it’ll either be no-one at all or else one of my family. Perhaps I ought to organise a sweepstake.

Monday 14th February 2022 – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY …

… to everyone who has not been wished a Happy Valentine’s Day by anyone else today. I didn’t even have a Valentine’s wish from any of my virtual travelling companions either which was rather depressing. You can rest assured that I wished all of them a Happy Valentine.

It’s the only available female company that I can find these days. Times are definitely hard.

What a state to be in, hey?

Last night although I was tired, I couldn’t go to sleep and it wasn’t until about midnight or thereabouts that I finally crawled into bed.

And there I stayed until about 09:30. I’d been awake for an hour or so before that and I couldn’t go back to sleep so in the end I crawled back out again. So much for my idea of staying in bed until I awoke.

Well, I suppose that I actually did really, but that wasn’t quite what I meant.

After the medication I spent much of the morning slowly working through the notes of where I’d been during the night. I was giving a language course last night on board a ship. One person was going to come along and join in. He hadn’t taken part in any of the others. I knew that someone had put a few notes about pronouns into the mailbox of the class so when the class assembled I rummaged through the mails, folders and files, everything that was there. I found this paper and gave it to him. I said that he needed to give it back to me after the class because I had to write it out properly, photocopy it and give it to everyone. Someone said “you are a one, aren’t you? Giving him a note that’s going to have to make him work down it sideways”. I rounded on them and said “I don’t really know if you understand how much I have to do for you and I’m busy co-ordinating all of this, busy writing a play for the office, busy with 4 or 5 other different things that I had on the go. And of course I have my normal work to do as well. If anyone would like to do any of this for me I’d be more than grateful for whatever assistance I could get”.

And later on we were in the USA heading north into Mexico, don’t ask me how, scrambling over the fields etc. We were saying that with the USA at war we would find the countryside so much emptier when we cross the border. We set off and scrambled through these rocks in these fields and when we came to a main road we had to hide behind a fence or wall until a car went past. Then another came past, travelling quite quickly through these bends but on its correct side of the road. Another car came the other way doing the same thing but this one was slightly over on the other side of the road. It hit the first car and spun it round. The driver of the second car tried to drive away but the one in the first car rammed him so that he couldn’t go. We ran over there to see what was happening and the driver of the car was someone we knew. I challenged him about trying to drive off. He said “you did the same thing once didn’t you?”. I replied that I hadn’t but what did that have to do with anything anyway. A big argument developed between the two of us. He finally calmed down so I went over to the Spanish guy in the other car to see what he was going to do now

There was a dance taking place in the town. A whole group of us went, mainly people like the friends of a girl whom I once knew in the Auvergne, dressed in a hippy-type of trendy clothes etc. I was just in my usual outfit but that brought a fit of derision from some people but I didn’t care – I was comfortable. Someone else turned up in a suit but he was mocked and told to go home and change. There was a big discussion about labels being worn on your clothes etc. Gradually the crowd built up and more and more strange people were coming. There was a girl tied to a post in the town centre. I asked her what was going on. She replied that it was some kind of joke. I asked if she saw the funny side of it and she replied “yes” so I left her to it. It was a really, really strange gathering, all kinds of old hippy-type vehicles, vans and so on around there. Whilst I didn’t mind everything like that and it’s a really good idea to go out once in a while it wasn’t my usual way of enjoying myself but I thought that I’d give it a go, see what happens and see who I met.

There was some French village and the Germans had been. They had set up a machine gun post and killed quite a few of the villagers. There was no doubt that they would come back again so we were busy making sure that there was nothing with which they could set up their post and generally disrupt what we could so that they wouldn’t have an easy time of it. Sure enough they came, engaged in a looting party keen to grab hold of what they could. Someone took a fancy to a kind-of desktop lathe. He was wrenching at it, trying to pull it off its stand, everything like that so in the end I went over there and showed him how to dismantle it, making sure that I drained out all of the oil so that it wouldn’t work. Then I gave him a huge mouthful about how incompetent he was, going to wreck everything and he had no idea. His commandant was standing by so I made a few remarks to the commandant about his methods as well. I just made life extremely unpleasant for this particular German soldier.

So none of my special visitors last night to wish me a Happy Valentine.

There was time for a shower and a weigh-in before lunch. My TRAVERSÉE DE PARIS, even without Bourvil to carry my suitcase, didn’t result in any loss of weight.

Now it seems that I have grounded out. 9 kilos over the weight that I was when I was swanning around the States of North-West USA and how I wish that I could be at that weight again. But I wouldn’t see that again even if someone were to lend me a telescope.

After lunch it was time to go tot he physiotherapist and see what she was going to do to me today.

trawler naabsa port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022

So as usual I stopped at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to test the camera, and there was an ideal subkect over there against the far wall.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen this trawler on several occasions but woe is me! Her name has slipped right off the tip of my tongue.

But there she is in a NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position – or, at least, she must have been earlier – by the steps where the crew can go up and come down again. I suppose that she was late in earlier and missed the opening time for the harbour gates.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Further on down the hill in the Rue des Juifs I stopped to see what was happening in the inner harbour.

Down there on the quayside is a pile of freight. There’s a load of freight that I can’t recognise, stacked up on racks over there, and there’s also a swimming pool.

That would seem to tell me that Normandy Trader is coming in quite soon to pick it up. I know that they have the contract for delivering the swimming pools.

It won’t be the Normandy Warrior, her sister ship, because she’s currently aground in the Channel Islands, having something of a refit.

chausiaise belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Not long before I went away I posted a photo of Chausiaise, Belle France and the newer of the two Joly France boats tied up together at the quayside.

By the looks of things, they haven’t moved since we saw them last. They are still down there. Presumably the older Joly France boat is out somewhere at sea because she wasn’t tied up at the ferry terminal as far as I could see.

Just by here is a ramp of four steps and that’s where I test my knee to see how it’s doing, trying to climb up these steps. And there’s been a deterioration over the last 12 days or so. Not enough power in my right knee to lift myself up even one of the steps.

Climbing up the hill to the physiotherapist’s by the railway station without my luggage was much easier and I did it in one go. And most of the time she spent massaging my patella and she found a spot that hurt when she touched it – something that I hadn’t felt before.

Well, when I say that, after I broke my knee as a teenager it hurt really badly whenever anyone touched it anywhere and that lasted for a couple of years and I had to give up playing football for a while. But it slowly eased off and after a few years it stopped hurting.

Anyway, she’s asked me to take in my medical reports on Wednesday so she can see. She can’t prescribe any medication or anything but she can make recommendations and I have to see my doctor in a week or two’s time to have some more Aranesp.

That’s another thing that gets on my wick as well. Having to have a booster injection so I have the strength to go to the hospital.

On the way home I called in at the Carrefour and picked up some mushrooms and a pepper. I fancy a stuffed pepper for tea and the rest of the mushrooms will come in handy for a curry in midweek.

kiddies roundabout Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022You can tell that it’s still half-term somewhere in France right now.

The kiddies’ roundabout is still in place in the town centre. having had a closer look at it, I’m sure that it’s a lot smaller than it used to be when the Mairie became so excited about it.

The argument was that it was blocking the pavement and forcing pedestrians to walk in the road around it where they were at risk of being squidged by a passing bus or something.

With the cancellation of Carnaval this year, this is really the only vestige of anything that can be called “entertainment” right now in the town and that’s depressing in itself.

chant de sirenes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And so I trudged my weary way up the hill towards home and a nice hot coffee.

The tide had come in a lot further than it had earlier when I was on my way out and the first of the fishing boats has now come in and is waiting for the harbour gates to open.

You can tell which one this is because of the mermaid painted on her bow. She’s Chante de Sirenes – “Song of the Mermaids”.

Over to the left is another one but I can’t tell which one she is from here. And the one that we saw earlier is still over there against the wall and is now well afloat.

There were one or two more further out but I wasn’t going to wait for them. I wanted to go home.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On the way back I went to have a look at the beach to see what was happening down there.

Not very much beach and I couldn’t see anyone down there making use of it. Hardly surprising because it was trying its best to rain while I was out there and I think that most people had more sense than being out there.

Back here I had a nice hot coffee and then regrettably I dozed off and that was that

Later on I went and made tea. Stuffed pepper with rice. And it was delicious as usual. I seem to have the knack pretty well these days about making those.

The plan was to go to bed early and have a decent sleep before my Welsh lesson tomorrow but I ended up repairing someone’s computer over the internet and that was certainly interesting.

But now that the “client” has entered into the BIOS and knows what to do, I’m going to bed. It always takes me a couple of days to recover from my journey and yesterday’s trip was more fraught than usual.

And then I have a radio programme to prepare. I can see it being really busy this week. So nothing new there then.

Wednesday 26th January 2022 – I HAD A …

… lovely tea tonight, I really did.

Steamed vegetables with vegan veggie balls all tossed in a really nice thick vegan cheese sauce. And for a change the vegetables were cooked to perfection and it really was delicious. I loved every mouthful of it.

fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Breakfast was pretty wonderful too.

Yesterday I forgot to mention that I’d finished the last of the Christmas cake, and what a success that was! Even the icing hardened off after a week or so.

Unfortunately the banana and molasses cake had gone the Way of the West over the last four weeks that it had been standing idle, and so I made another batch of fruit buns first thing this morning after the medication and these have worked really well yet again

It’s just a simple 250-gramme bread recipe but with only 2/3rd water and a very ripe banana mixed in, along with sunflower seeds, dried fruit of all kinds and varieties, desiccated coconut and about 100 grammes of brazil nuts ground into rather a coarse flour.

Of coarse … “he means “of course”” – ed … there will have to be some coarseness involved if I’m doing something, won’t there?

Not much last night though. After the heady and turbulent nights that I’ve had in the recent past with Zero, Castor, TOTGA and a few other of my favourite young ladies coming to join me in my nocturnal rambles for hours and hours on end, last night brought me down to earth with a bump. A guy a know from way back when and I were rewiring a car somewhere using bits of wire but there was a whole wiring harness from another scrap car and I was cutting a whole length of wire out of it (and the times that I’ve done that too in real life!). Someone asked me what I was doing so I explained. They were a bit upset thinking that I’d been doing it in a different way but it seemed pretty reasonable to me. Then I could remember that my father could get hold of wire as well so I told my friend that we were using wire with a blue and grey trace but we could get from my father some yellow and grey trace for it and maybe we should go down there. He asked what time my father was working so I could explained. he said that if I get down there to Church Lawton I could take the car because there’s a misfire that needs sorting out and we can pick up some wire while we’re there. Of course I wondered if he was actually going to be out there and be the one to bring me back. We had a discussion about that but I can’t really remember where we went to after that.

Added to this was that some girl was involved in this but I can’t remember why. There was also something about why were we using this black wire with different-coloured tracing in it when we could have had any-coloured wire from anywhere to do the job and the more wire with higher contrast in it the better.

And what was he doing putting in an appearance in my nocturnal rambles? He was one of these people who had a very volatile character and while we had something of a working relationship back in the 70s and early 80s it fell apart dramatically on 2 occasions, the second time for good.

And if you think that that’s interesting, you ain’t seen nuffink yet. I was taxi-driving last night, going down Market Street and then up the bank in Middlewich Street. There was some excitement when a couple of boys on bikes were blocking my path. I got rid of them. Just then I heard a voice cry “Eric!”. I turned round and it was someone on a moped. The name “Frank” came into my head so I said “hello Frank”. Then I realised that it wasn’t so I said “it’s not Frank, it’s Pete”. He used to be the landlord of a couple of pubs in Crewe but had had some severe mental health issues. I asked him what he was doing now and he replied that he was working as a family counsellor. He was off the drink and had himself properly organised, all this kind of thing. We had quite a chat. I asked where he was living. He said he was living with his aunt, or his mother, or someone else who had a motorbike but they were constantly rowing about things but staying together. Then he said “you’ll remember (a girl’s name) “. I looked and there was a girl there. “Last time you saw her, she was a tiny baby” so I looked and asked “how old are you now?”. “11” she replied but she was quite big for 11 so we had a chat and I had a hug which was very nice and we all started to chat about the old days.

And why did he become involved in my travels too? He was someone who lost his town-centre pub due to a redevelopment project and they transferred him to a different kind of pub on a decaying housing estate and his character didn’t suit the locals at all. The last I heard of him, 40 years ago, he was having some really serious and tragic problems and I haven’t heard a word or even thought about him since.

The reason why there wasn’t as much going on during the night as there has been just recently is probably because I didn’t go to bed until almost 02:00. After crashing out so dramatically yesterday I wasn’t in the least bit tired. But when you have an 07:30 start in the morning, there isn’t much time for voyaging.

There had also been my first nocturnal challenge too – and that was changing the batteries in the ZOOM H1 while I’m asleep and the net result of my experiences is that I’m going to replace my ancient Sony with like-for-like. I can change those batteries in my sleep with no problem.

After the meds I made my fruit buns and then after breakfast I carried on going backwards through the journal to update it to include the missing journeys and photos.

At 12:30 I ground to a halt and went for a shower, followed by lunch. And the pain in my jaw has eased considerably over the last couple of days so I tried some sandwiches instead of soup. And that worked fine today.

Later on I went off and parked Caliburn on the street outside Lidl and walked down for my physiotherapy session. And the exercises that she’s had me doing, I can feel the difference between my left knee and the bad right one. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve broken both my knees once and the right one a second time in motorcycle accidents in my teenage years.

And then the right one a third time in a skiing accident in the 1970s – and next day drove my old BMC HALF-TON VAN all the way back to Winsford from Inverness and it’s not an automatic.

That van, known as “Bill Badger”, could tell a few stories, and you’ve heard a few of them, Alison.

It’s a good job that I went in Caliburn to the physiotherapist because I had a funny turn in Lidl – a week of inactivity hasn’t been kind to me by the looks of things.

The bill in Lidl was enormous, but seeing as I haven’t been shopping for almost 3 weeks it’s not a surprise. But they did have these tactile glove on offer again and they are great for photography in the winter, if I ever get back to the High Arctic, which these days is looking more and more unlikely until I learn to sail.

On the steps I bumped into my neighbour from up above and we had a chat, then I came in here to put away the frozen food, make a coffee and collapse into a chair. That was hard work.

Now that tea is over and the washing up done, I’m off to bed. Despite my bad night I’ve kept going all day which is good news but I still can’t motivate myself. maybe a good sleep might recharge the batteries, but I dunno.

And in any case, as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … what goes on during the night is much more exciting than anything that happens to me during the day and I wouldn’t exchange any of that for anything else – except if it were to happen in real life.

But fat chance of that.

Saturday 15th January 2022 – HERE I ALL AM …

… not actually sitting in a rainbow, but sitting in my nice comfortable chair in my office thinking that Barry Hay was absolutely right when he said “there’s one thing that I can tell you, man, and that is that it’s good to be back home”.

And after one of the most uneventful journeys that I have ever had too.

In fact the only thing that went wrong during the trip was that the ticket collector caught me having a crafty bite out of my butties. Since 3rd January 2022 it’s against the law to eat on public transport. So he had a good moan at me about it.

The morning started quite bizarrely because although the alarm was due to go off at 05:00 I had left my bed a long time before hand and was busy drinking a coffee and making my sandwiches when the alarm did go off.

Despite the somewhat reduced sleep, I still managed to go off on several voyages during the night. I’d picked up my daughter (!!!) from Crewe Railway Station and we had to go to Edge Hill in Liverpool to catch a boat so we hired a car and drove there. Everyone else stayed on the train. At Edge Hill we had to board this boat to go across the ocean but I can’t remember where now. It involved stepping onto this beach where there were 3 wild animals, an elephant, a tiger and a third animal. The tiger was extremely playful but nevertheless it unnerved me quite a lot as I was trying to walk around this island. It kept trying to pretend to stalk me by getting behind me and attacking me. I had to turn round to face it and chase it away. Then the elephant joined in and started to push me around with its tusk. This was starting to become really out of hand. I had the feeling that this elephant, if I let it, was going to do far more than just play around with me. I told the person who was with me, whoever it was, that if they didn’t do anything to control these animals the elephant was going to have a bullet through the brain. They insisted that it was just being playful but it wasn’t very playful as far as I was concerned and I was determined to deal with this elephant permanently either by having it taken away or else by the fact that I was going to shoot it and I’d do the same to the tiger as well if they didn’t organise themselves any better and control their animals

This was the dream about the “Hawkwind” group about which I’d been thinking. There were a couple of girls called Aral or Araf, something like that, who had joined as well but that was all it was really, about the two groups and merging together to perform those Hawkwind tracks that I had mentioned and I can’t remember anything else about it (and I’d love to know what I missed recording that made me dictate this in this particular way).

I was in Canada last night. I’d just arrived. I’d been to a car auction and there was someone there trying to sell one of these minivan things. He didn’t want very much money for it – about £700 or £800 – but it was a non-runner and needed a lot of work doing to it. It was really only suitable for using as a shed or something. There was a big argument going on between a woman and the auctioneers and a couple of other people about this. The next lot to be offered was an old panel van, the type from the 1940s or 50s. I was talking to the girl. This had no engine in it or anything like that so I said “well if it’s only for a garden shed this is what I’d use as it has no windows in it for a start. It turned out that she was only looking for $50 for it and that was much more reasonable.

Then I ended up at my niece’s house. She was saying something like they could only have one egg delivered by the ‘phone. She gave me a letter than hadn’t been opened and asked me to deal with it. It was something about some company stopping deliveries to the house. I rang them up to find out what had happened. It turned out that there had been a delivery to the house 2 years ago but no-one had signed for it so they were recommending to courier companies that they no longer delivered here. That would stymie just about everything for what was going on in Canada with her and so on so I rang up the tyre depot to speak to her daughter. I asked if she knew anything about this company. She replied that that was the company she dealt with. I asked her about this parcel. She said that she remembered it so I told her that she had to ring them back straight away and explain the situation to them otherwise we aren’t going to have any more deliveries. That will bring the business to a halt. She sounded drunk on the phone, something like that, and I couldn’t get any sense out of her. I carried on talking to her but it was still extremely difficult. Trying to give her the phone number was extremely complicated because she wasn’t paying any attention to anything that anyone was telling her. I thought “this is going to end in tragedy, isn’t it?”

martelarenplein leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo January 2022There’s a reminder alarm that goes off at 05:30 but at that time I was already down the street on my way to the railway station.

Of course I can’t go and look for a train without checking on how the work in the Martelarenplein is progressing. And the answer to that is, unfortunately, “slowly”. They don’t seem to have made very much progress at all since we were here four weeks ago.

It’ll probably be just the same when I come back here in four weeks’ time, if I do. At the rate at which I’m going, I’m not convinced that I’ll still be here in four weeks’ time. I feel as if my battery has gone completely flat.

557 am 96 multiple unit gare de leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo January 2022There’s a choice of three trains to take me to Brussels – the 06:08 stopper, the 06:11 that goes via the airport and the 06:31 direct, all of which arrive at roughly the same time so it makes no difference really which one I catch.

However, the airport train was one of the very comfortable AM96 multiple units. It was already in the station too and looked quite warm and inviting – it was absolutely taters outside – so I clambered aboard that one.

Having gone the long way round, it was 06:58 when it pulled into the Gare du Midi and that left me 45 minutes to wait for my train to Paris. I can cope with that, even if I can’t find anywhere warm and comfortable to sit. I hate these huge, draughty stations where you can’t ever keep out of the wind.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4538 PBA gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric Hall photo January 2022Much to my surprise, the train was announced a long time before the usual 15 minutes. And even more surprisingly, we were actually allowed to board it.

It was quite empty this morning so we had plenty of space to spread out. Not the usual “crammed in like sardines” situation. I made myself comfortable and listened to my Hawkwind concert – the one that I had prepared on my way to Brussels on Wednesday.

And during the journey I did some more work on making notes on the Flatey Book and I could have done more than I did but to tell the truth, I had something of a “relax” for part of the journey.

At the Gare du Nord it took me a few minutes to find a metro ticket that worked, and then I was able to board probably the most crowded metro train that I’ve ever seen

place du 18 juin 1940 paris france Eric Hall photo January 2022At the Montparnasse metro station I came up into the Rue du Départ, plumping for the easier walk on level ground rather than up and down the steps in the labyrinth.

Behind where I come out of the bowels of the earth is the Boulevard Montparnasse and the Place du 18 Juin 1940. I wlked from down that way somewhere when I did my TRAVERSEE DE PARIS during the strike of public transport.

The walk in the opposite direction was quite straightforward and it’s quite depressing to think that I hadn’t thought about walking on the surface beforehand.

At the station it was much quieter than when I was here four weeks ago and I even managed to bag a comfortable seat with a power point.

84564 gec alstom regiolis gare montparnasse paris france Eric Hall photo January 2022No prizes for guessing which one was my train to Granville.

And even more so when the red lights came on with about 15 minutes to go before we were due to depart.

When the train was called, we trooped off to find out seats. Mine was right down at the far end of the train near the driver. And once again, the train was empty. 12 carriages and I reckon that the passengers on the train could have had a carriage each.

On the way home I listened to my concert again and read a book about a cavalry unit from Michigan during the American Civil War. And tried rather unsuccessfully to eat my sandwiches.

84559 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Our train was made up of two 6-car units and I’d been in the front unit. I hadn’t photographed that in Paris so I took a photo of it on my way out of the station at Granville.

First stop was at the Carrefour down the hill from the station. A pizza isn’t a pizza without mushrooms on it and they sell 250-gramme punnets at €0:99 so if I can’t go to LeClerc for my loose ones, I’ll pick them up here.

And that reminds me. I’ve run out of pizza dough so I need to make some more tomorrow.

The town was fairly quiet this afternoon with no tourists and I took the back way home anyway so I had even less to worry about – except for the ambulance that nearly ran me down in a back street. And then reversed back to have another go seeing as he had missed on the way past.

replacing bricks on wall rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Going up the hill towards home dragging my suitcase behind me was something of a struggle and I was glad to stop halfway up and eat my butties.

There was also some work on the wall in the Rue des Juifs that I’d missed. Some of the capping bricks had crumbled away and they have now been replaced. I suppose that they will be back on Monday to point them.

Back here I had a coffee and collapsed into my chair without moving for a good couple of hours. All of this travelling is exhausting me and the final climb is killing me off, I reckon. And if they can’t find the problem at the hospital, I suppose that I’m going to be stuck like this.

Tea was some of those small breadcrumbed soya fillets with veg and potatoes. Really quite delicious. I needed that.

And now I’m off to bed. I’m absolutely whacked after my early start and my trek home. A good sleep will do me good, so just watch someone phone me up or something.

Monday 3rd January 2022 – I’M FEELING A LITTLE …

… better today, although once more I don’t know why, because nothing any different happened today.

having made an effort, I was in bed at some kind of reasonable time – still not as early as I would have liked but early enough to make sure that I had something like a reasonable sleep.

And I didn’t go too far on my travels either. I’d gone back to school. There was something in the newspaper about something or other and I found myself back in school with all this information, or at least some of it. I’ve no idea why. I arrived at the lift (which there wasn’t in my day) and was trying to work out from the names of the teachers on there which lift was going to fo to where. After I’d been doing this for a couple of minutes, someone came over to me – a teacher – and asked me but I couldn’t explain why I was there because I didn’t have all of the information so I made up some story about a handball match and said that we didn’t have handball when we were at school so I was hoping to interview someone about the game. She mentioned a name and wandered off but I couldn’t see that name on this list. There was someone there, an adult person with a baby mentality. She told me that it was 38 so I made some kind of baby talk reply back to her and went back to get into the lift.

Later on there was some kind of headline in the local paper “Boris Johnson gives £30,000 to kids’ school toilet”. It turns out that the tilet in this school had been damaged in some kind of attack and according to the headline he’d given the money to this school to repair it. However it turned out that it was money from a certain budget that had been set aside for this kind of work anyway so it was nothing to do with him, nothing to do with a gift, nothing to do with anything. Just a normal routine that had been gaslit by this newspaper.

And having spent the last couple of nights in the company of some rather interesting and agreeable young ladies, last night’s companions, such as they were, were rather disappointing.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I fell out of bed fairly rapidly, which was something of a surprise to me given the way that things have been just recently. And after the medication and checking the mails and messages, I attacked the radio programme and it was all up and running by 10:30, with breaks for coffee and breakfast included.

And I would have finished it earlier too had I been able to find the ZOOM H8 as soon as I started looking at it. Eventually after much binding in the marsh, I found it on the shelf by the computer still plugged into the microphone and the mains.

Next time, I must remember to put it away properly.

Just as I started to listen to the programme that I’d made, Rosemary rang me and we had a very long chat as usual so by the time I’d finished listening to the programme that I made today and the one that I was sending off for broadcast, I ended up having a very late lunch.

First task after lunch was to blanch and then freeze the sprouts and the leeks that were left over from New Year. Now I have a nice collection of frozen veg and there is still no room in the freezer. Every time I take something out, I end up sticking something else back.

The rubbish bin was now full to the brim so I braved the rainstorm and took it outside to the containers.

The dictaphone notes are all now finished too and tomorrow I’ll make a start on updating some of the journal entries where the “overnight notes” haven’t been, in the hope that I can find myself in the company of a few more interesting and agreeable young ladies.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When I went out earlier, it was raining quite heavily but by the time that I went out for my afternoon walk it had eased off a little. Just a little.

First port of call was of course the beach so I wandered off to the wall at the end of the car park. And while there is more and more beach, there are fewer and fewer people on it.

In fact, there was no-one down there this afternoon that I can see. And that’s hardly a surprise given the weather.

In fact, you can tell from the photo just how miserable the weather is this afternoon. Visibility down to about three or four miles with a haze that is actually the cumulative effect of a rainstorm.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022As usual, I was lookign around out at sea as well.

And deep in the bay flitting in and out of the squalls was a trawler having a good fish about – at least, all of its white lights were illuminated and that’s a legal requirement for a fishing boat that has all of its nets out.

There was another one further out as well. I caught the occasional glimpse of it during the periods when the rain abated.

No-one on the beach and there was no-one on the path either this afternoon which, given the weather, was no surprise. I could have a wander around in perfect safety despite the totals of infections and deaths. The number of infections in Normandy has more than doubled since the holidaymakers arrived.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No-one was down at the bench this afternoon, but there was plenty of activity elsewhere in the vicinity.

Out at sea off the coast were three fishing boats. The tide is on the way in of course but it will be half an hour at least before it’s deep enough for the boats to moor up at the fish processing plant so they are loitering around offshore until the moment arrives when they can come in.

They haven’t had much of a holiday, these fishermen.

So on that note, I headed off down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port and the chantier naval.

La Bavolette II gerlean chantier naval port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And there has been more activity in the chantier naval since I was here last yesterday afternoon.

Although that fishing boat down there has Le Saint Gaud painted on her superstructure, according to the shipping register she’s now called La Bavolette II, having changed her name quite recently.

She’s there in the chantier naval alongside Gerlean who is still in there since the other day.

But I wasn’t there for long. The rain was making me feel quite depressed so I turned for home. I had things to do.

articulated lorry and trailer port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However I couldn’t go home quite yet.

Over on the other side is a large articulated lorry and trailer. At first I thought that it might belong to Plenty’s dad. His lorries come in here quite regularly although I haven’t seen one for a while.

This one however is from somewhere else and if I had to guess, I would say that it’s from the Netherlands. The telephone number isn’t the correct format for Flanders.

Back here I put the coffee on the go and while it was percolating I went for a shower. And while I was at it I went one better than David Crosby and actually did cut my hair.

And finally, I was able to drink my coffee.

In the fridge was half a tin of baked beans from Saturday morning. Consequently I cut myself some chips and used the microwave fryer to cook them. They ended up as a soggy mass which was a shame but they were still nice for a change. Baked beans and a vegan burger rounded it off quite nicely.

When this play on the radio finishes, I’m off to bed. Our Welsh lesson starts up again tomorrow so there is a lot of revision to do and lessons to prepare.

Saturday 23rd October 2021 – IT WAS ANOTHER …

red powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… one of these aerial days today. Two on the run just now is good going.

But it really is getting to be a bit like “Play School” around here. It’s not the shape of the window through which we’ll be looking today, but to see which colour powered hang-glider goes flying by overhead as I walk around my circuit.

Yesterday it was the yellow one that went by, so today it’s the turn of the red one to fly overhead on its way back to the airfield. And carrying a passenger too. I really ought to go down there and blag myself a turn aboard one of these little machines.

light aeroplane 50SA pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A short while later on, another machine with which we are quite familiar went past.

She’s 50SA, a light aeroplane that isn’t registered in any database that I have been able to find so I’ve still no idea as to who she is and what she’s doing.

There was plenty more to see too, flying by in the clear sky at 35,000 feet but Brain of Britain had let the battery in the NIKON D500 go flat so I ended up with the NIKON D3000.

It was fitted with the big, powerful lens but while the near-distance shots are pretty good in most circumstances, it won’t focus properly for long-distance shots and at 35,000 feet it won’t focus at all.

Last night was another miserable, sad night. I’d been listening to my radio show but fell asleep just before midnight just as “Man” were finishing. And then I was awake at 05:30 in the morning and just couldn’t go back to sleep. Except of course, 5 minutes before the alarm went off.

While I was taking my medication etc I was listening to the latter part of my rock show, and then I headed off for town and the shops.

At Noz I stocked up the wine cellar a little – not that I drink it myself but I’m often invited out these days – and they had some more vegan food in the freezer there at a give-away price. There’s no room in my freezer but it fitted in somehow.

At Leclerc there was nothing whatever of any interest except some vegan burgers at a greatly reduced price so I bought a couple of those. I now have the European Vegan Burger Mountain in my fridge and I wish that I’d bought a larger one now.

They did however have grapes at €1:49 per kilo so I posted the fact on my social network.
“Don’t do that” replied Hans. “You’ll have everyone swarming over from the Uk to strip the shelves bare#34;
“They’ll have a job” I retorted. “After i’ve passed through there aren’t any left.”

Back here I put the cool and frozen stuff away (not without a fight) and then made myself some coffee and toast. Using the proper coffee machine because I’m awash with real coffee at the moment, as I discovered when I tidied up the shelf unit a couple of months ago, and it all has to be used.

While I was sitting down I had a listen to the dictaphone. We were in Liverpool probably last night. It started off with me in Croydon or somewhere. All the kids were milling around in the street heading for school, all in a blue school uniform. Gradually the scene moved into the school. There were some kinds on the 1st floor balcony and others downstairs on the ground floor. I was on the ground floor. All of a sudden this drunk came rolling down the steps on the balcony, over the end of the wall and landed smack on the floor right in front of where I was sitting. It turned out to be Paul McCartney. He came down to see it and check that it was OK. Then the assembly started. There was a guy with a guitar so we were all poking fun at everything that was about to happen, like kids do. McCartney said something about someone needs to go out at half-time to do something. I said that I’d go because I’d suddenly realised that I couldn’t remember what I’d done with my camera and where I’d put it

After lunch I sat down and carried on with my medical receipts. A few of them are missing and a few others have timed out, but I sent them in just the same with a note to excuse them.

There was also plenty of stuff about my radio project so I spent the rest of the afternoon dealing with that.

people on beach rue du nord yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Of course, I had to have a break for my afternoon walk.

Out across the car park and down to the wall at the end where I could see the beach. Plenty of beach, and plenty of people too. After all, it was a nice afternoon.

Some yachts out there too over across the bay near Coudeville. I’ve no idea where they have come from because the tide is well out here and they aren’t likely to have come out of the port here in the mornign and hung about all day.

men with kayaks beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There was yet more items of interest further along the beach.

There were a couple of guys dragging kayaks into the water. And they are fishermen by the looks of the rods that they have on board their craft.

And that must be a difficult job, because when you are sitting down with your legs outstretched in a kayak, you’re only pulling from the waits with no help at all from the leg muscles.

Obviously it’s not a good idea to make love in a kayak. After all, making love in a kayak has a lot in common with Watney’s beer. They are both f***ing close to water.

joly france ile de chausey bay de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021THis morning as I was on my way out to the shops, I drove past the harbour just as one of the Joly France boats, probably the one that was aground there yesterday afternoon, was leaving for the Ile de Chausey.

When I took this pic, I could see something large and white just offshore from the Ile de Chausey. Blowing up the photo, which I can do despite modern anti-terrorism legislation, I could see that it is indeed a Joly France boat.

She’s not likely to be coming home though. It’s a good couple of hours before the tide is far enough in and it only takes her half an hour or so to cross the bay. She’ll be hanging around for a bit until she can reach the jetty on the island.

coudeville plage kayakers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A little earlier, I mentioned that the bay was looking quite nice in the sun.

For that reason I took a photo of Coudeville-Plage. However, due to focusing and other issues with the NIKON D3000 over distance, this one and the previous one haven’t turned out too well.

Mind you, you can see the two kayakers at the bottom of the image so the near-distance shots have come out reasonably well.

Actually, as with the NIKON 1 J5 in the dark, I think that I’m expecting too much of these cameras and pushing them beyond their feasible limits.

Either that, or my technique is rubbish.

man fishing pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The guys in the kayaks weren’t the only ones who had gone fishing this afternoon.

Down on the rocks at the end of the Pointe du Roc is another fisherman, standing up this time. I noticed him as I crossed the car park a little further back so I came down to see how he was getting on.

It goes without saying that he didn’t catch anything while I wss watching, which is no surprise. Either they never ever catch anything or my presence is the kiss of death to the local fishermen.

Anyway, I left him in peace and cleared off.

yann frederic chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Next port of call is the viewpoint overlooking the harbour so I headed off along the path on top of the headland.

Yann Frederic is still in there, which was good news. That means I can take another photo of her because yesterday’s was rubbish, with the waving long grass confusing the focal length of the image.

Why I needed to do that is because I had a look on the shipping database and found that she doesn’t have a photo on there. As I maintain the AIS beacon detector for the port, I suppose that I’m responsible in some way towards the boats in here so I went to put that right and upload a photo of her.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Another boat that is still here is Jade III.

She’s actually moored on the slipway as you can see, not settling down in the silt. There was someone around there with her but I couldn’t see what he was doing. It can’t have been anythign important.

Back here I had another coffee and finished off the outstanding work.

There was football on later, Y Drenewydd v Caernarfon.

Y Drenewydd won the game 1-0 with a goal scored in first-half stoppage time by the excellent Mwandwe. Caernarfon were strangely subdued with their three star midfielders, Thomas, Edwards and Hughes looking very much out of sorts this afternoon and they didn’t look much like scoring.

In the end the finished the match with two out-and-out strikers, Cai Jones and Mike Hayes up front as well as the veteran former Welsh International defender Steve Evans playing centre forward, but it still didn’t look as if they would ever score with their misfiring midfield.

Incidentally, Steve Evans was booked for a foul just a couple of seconds after coming onto the field before he’d even touched the ball.

Later on I had tea – a couple of the small breaded burgers that I had bought this morning and they were nice too.

But now it’s ridiculously late so I’m off to bed, even though I’m not tired. But here’s hoping that I have a good sleep.

Saturday 9th October 2021 – I DON’T BELIEVE IT!

Yesterday I posted that I had a really good sleep all the way up to 04:41 in the morning.

Anyone care to guess what time I awoke this morning?

Yes, you’ve guessed it. 04:41. Someone round here somewhere must have an alarm clock set for an early start, unless my body clock is playing tricks with me again. It can’t be a coincidence.

Although I was once more in bed early yesterday evening, the big difference is that I had a wretched night. I spent most of the night tossing and turning in my bed it it didn’t seem as if I had slept at all.

Mind you, the dictaphone tells a completely different story because by the looks of things I travelled miles during the night.

After the medication and checking my mails, I prepared to fight the good fight with the dictaphone. And I wasn’t joking about the miles either. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

We were at school, primary school and we’d had a test. Then the teacher sat down and started, we thought, to read through it and give us the answers. No-one understood what she said about question 1 and she didn’t mention question 2 so I asked “could we have the answer to question 2?”. She replied “you’re supposed to be writing down the answers”. We said “we’ve done that. We’re waiting for the answers”. She replied “the next person who makes a noise will be beaten”. Just then one of the children had been playing with something, a traffic light or something, and the lens fell off. She grabbed hold of the child and took it into her room and prepared her cane. There was another teacher there and they were discussing this child’s anatomy about where they were going to give it the cane. This wasn’t the first time that this has happened. I remembered seeing it perhaps on some other occasion the previous day or something. Of course, all the children there were quite distressed by this.

Later on I was playing bass with a guitarist and I just couldn’t find the opening note. It was one of these heavy metal power trio things like Robin Trower. My bass playing was awful. Eventually he told me that the opening note was E which I didn’t think it was, but that was what we started to play.

There was something else about some people. There had been a raid on a camp somewhere and they had found a steel door. Behind the door was a pile of illegal immigrants or asylum seekers. They had gone through and processed them, and found that there were some valuable workers there with them. They were then going to embarrass a few other countries by pointing out what they had found in this batch of asylum seekers.

So the French were interested in these people as resistance fighters from start to finish yet the British were more discerning looking on them as sex objects, that kind of thing.

There was a family barbecue and everyone was buying everything. We were all there at 09:00 lined up outside the supermarket. I was the first one away and took my stuff to where this was being held. My brother was in charge of the camp and I noticed that he had 10 litres of petrol stored somewhere and was planning to burn down some undergrowth near where this petrol was. I went back for a second load. I had a Landrover chassis but it wasn’t really – no body on it and you sat in it rather than on it, towing a trailer. We returned and my brother was there by this time and one of Lynette’s children had stayed with me. We started to unload this stuff. he was fetching out his petrol and putting down a circle ready to burn. I said “don’t be stupid! You have all that fuel there and some gas. He asked “what do you mean? The first lot has already been burned”. I can’t remember who I looked at but I said “thank God I wasn’t here at the moment when you did that.

All these pretty girls (which pretty girls?) were a pile of water too at the port (if that makes any sense) and I wanted to send them away because much as they were very attractive and helping to keep the male/female ratio a little closer than it might be, they were distracting me from anything else going on.

There was some kind of downhill water racing course in a machine, like a series of rapids or something like that. You go down there and when you reach the lake at the bottom you have to swim underneath the water in a tunnel and come out at the other end where the finishing line it. I did it 3 times and filmed it, including the bit of me going under the water down this tunnel which of course is an astonishing thing for me and made a collage together of how the film would be. Nerina was in here somewhere and I was showing this film to her and actually going ahead and doing it for her although I can’t think why. I can’t remember where this went or what happened about it afterwards.

We were off on board the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR again and it was lunch, or evening meal and we were queueing to get it. There seemed to be two queues, one for the normal meal and another for the fish or cheese variety. I had a look at the cheese variety that turned out to be a white square of fish in cheese sauce with toast. I thought that I would try that but I couldn’t find the vegetables. I managed to grab plenty of toast but there were some people chuntering about “all these people pushing in, doing this and doing that”, whatever. Despite the fact that I had to pay 20p extra my meal was looking like a washout. I went over to where Liz was sitting and asked if this looked right to her, my meal I had to choose a place to sit and there wer e2 seats, one either side of her, that were free. The one on the right was opposite another seat of course. I could see that the seat facing Liz was the handbag of the mother of Zero. The seat next on the right had someone else’s handbag on, and the seat on the left facing the seat on the right of Liz had nothing on it. I wondered if that was where Zero was going to sit so I decided that i’d sit at that seat facing there in the hope that it would be the case.

And that’s not all of it either. There was other stuff too but I’m sure that you wouldn’t appreciate my posting it as you are probably eating your meal right now.

It took me all morning to type out all of that – right up to lunchtime. But there was a reason for that.

home made bread fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Yesterday saw me almost reach the end of the bread, so seeing as I wasn’t going to go shopping this morning, I decided to do some baking.

There were only two or three fruit buns left too, so while I was at it, I made half a dozen of those. If I make some space in the freezer somehow (don’t ask me how) I can freeze half the load and three of the fruit buns for when I return from Leuven.

And I shall too, because this batch has turned out really well. The buns look really good and believe me! The loaf is excellent!

After lunch, there was football on the internet. Connah’s Quay v TNS.

TNS are way out in front of the table but Connah’s Quay, despite winning the league for the last two years in succession, are stuck in mid-table and their manager left in midweek. Nevertheless it was a pulsating, exciting match decided by a penalty for TNS not long after the start of the second half.

Mind you, it could have been completely different had Connah’s Quay been awarded a penalty for what looked like a pretty clear handball earlier in the game.

Both sides had a player sent off for fighting later in the game and we carried on into no less than 6 minutes of injury time that came from God Knows Where because this is the first match that I have seen for ages where neither first-aid attendant was required to enter the pitch.

Connah’s Quay actually had the ball in the TNS net in the dying seconds of the game but it was ruled out for offside.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021This took me up to walkies time so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off outside.

Almost immediately I felt the icy hand of death upon my shoulder, but what had happened was that a Nazgul had gone flying by overhead. A two-seater Nazgul too.

In fact, I could have photographed any number of them this afternoon because they were out there in force. probably about half a dozen that I could see at any one time and I bet that there were more than that as well in total.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Having dealt with the issue of the Nazgul, I wandered off to the end of the car park to see what was happening on the beach.

And with the tide being out this afternoon, there was plenty of beach to be on. And there were crowds down there too – more than we have seen on the beach for quite a while.

That wasn’t really a surprise because despite it being October and there being a fair bit of wind about, the day was the warmest that we have had for a couple of weeks and once I was out of the wind I was obliged to remove my jacket.

aerial ballet hang glider powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I was watching the people on the beach, another Nazgul flew by overhead.

And around the corner from behind the College Malraux came the little red powered hang glider that had been out for a spin.

As they closed up on each other, they performed a really delightful aerial ballet – they really did. Not a danse macabre as we have seen the trawlers in the harbour do so often but a proper little dance.

powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So having performed its little pas de deux with the hang glider, the powered machine headed off.

Its route took it out to sea across the Baie de Granville and I could follow it for quite a way. But then it headed off towards the airfield to come in to land.

The little scene had been witnessed by the crowds of people who were out there this afternoon. It seems that the whole town had come out up here for a walk.

hang glider falls to earth pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I fought my way through the crowds of people I had a very unexpected sight right in front of me.

Another Nazgul had gone by overhead and as I walked along the path he came tumbling out of the air and touched down right on the very edge of the cliff. With the camera already in my hand, it was an instinctive shot into the sun, hence the overexposed image.

My intention was to go over there and buttonhole him and ask him about his association and how I can blag my way up into the air, but as quick as he came down, he leapt of the cliff and was away, long before I could catch up with him.

digger heavy machine laying pipeline baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I was walking over the path towards the car park, I could see that there was plenty of activity going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

It’s a Saturday of course today, a weekend, so no-one was more surprised than me to see the heavy tractor thing and the digger out there working on this pipeline. It’s very unusual for this kind of work to be carried out at a weekend.

Obviously the tide is playing an important role in this, and with the lowest tides of the season being round about now, they must be paying the workmen a good bonus to have the work done.

Crowds of people out there too having a dab at the pèche à pied while they have the opportunity.

SNU Service National Universel pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There were three Gendarme vehicles and a pile of gendarmes on the car park and they seemed to be dealing with this group of people, one of whom was carrying a banner.

Thinking that I might be witnessing some kind of exciting incident I sidled up to one of them. “Who are you?” I asked.
“We’re the SNU” he replied
“What’s that?”
“The Service National Universal#34;
“And what’s that all about?”
“We volunteer” he said, and at that he wandered off. Talk about informative!

Anyway, having made my own enquiries subsequently I can tell you that this is a French Government initiative aimed at kids between 15 and 17 who want to “participate in the construction of a society of Engagement built around national cohesion”.

And don’t blame me. I’m only quoting. I don’t write rubbish like that. I have my own brand of rubbish to write.

F-HFMS Robin DR 400-160 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And while I was talking to that young person, I was overflown by a light aeroplane from the airfield.

And she’s a new one. We haven’t seen her before. We’ve seen plenty like her though because she’s a Robin DR 400-160 like some of the aeroplanes at the Aero Club de Granville, but this one is owned by the Aeroclub d’Andaines, near Alençon and is registered F-HFMS.

With no flight plan filed, I can’t tell you where she was going from here at 16:20, or even how she’d arrived here, but she was picked up on radar at 19:33 somewhere in the vicinity of Vire and did a big loop towards Alençon.

She disappeared off the radar at 19:59 not too far from Alençon somewhere near her home airfield at Rives d’Andaines.

trawler pescadore yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Having spent a lot of time out there this afternoon, I headed off back down the other side of the headland overlooking the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And here in the chantier naval this afternoon we have another new arrival to accompany the yacht that came in here on Thursday morning.

She has her AIS beacon switched off so I couldn’t tell you her name at first but her serial number came up trumps. She’s Pescadore and why I didn’t recognise her was that she used to be blue and yellow before she had a new paint job.

She was in here a couple of weeks ago, so I wonder what has happened to make her come back.

l'omerta tractor trailer vehicles under fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Another one of our old favourites from the chantier naval is sitting on the silt over there at the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant.

She’s L’Omerta and was in the chantier naval for a repaint a couple fo weeks ago as well.

And it looks as if they are going to be expecting a bumper harvest of shellfish this evening when the tide brings in the boats that are out working. As well as the tractor and trailer in position, we have several vehicles on the concrete pad underneath the Fish Processing Plant waiting to take away the loads from their boats.

Back here I made a coffee and sat down for a relax. I should have gone up town this evening to watch the football but I wasn’t up to in. Instead I carried on with the updating of some of the journal entries for August to add in the details of my nocturnal voyages.

They are all now complete, so something positive came out of today.

Something else that I forgot to mention was that somewhere along the line I had a play with that desktop mixer and made it work after a fashion. But I need to do more work on it some time.

Tea tonight was a breadcrumbed vegan burger with veg and some more of those nice potatoes.

Now that my journal is finally finished, I’m off to bed, hoping that there’s no 04:41 alarm in the morning.

Today has been something of a bad day. As well as not having had much sleep, I’ve opened a letter, thrown the contents away and filed the envelope, made a mug of coffee without any coffee in it, and boiled the kettle without any water.

Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Friday 8th October 2021 – I WAS IN BED …

… last night really early – at about 22:40 as it happened, and I had one of the best, deepest sleeps that I have ever had, all the way through until … errr … 04:41. And then the wheels fell off.

When I awoke, I was drenched in sweat yet again (and isn’t this becoming a regular occurrence?), probably the worst yet, and then I spent the time until the alarm went off at 07:30 just tossing and turning in bed.

Staggering out of bed I went for my medication and then back here after dealing with my mails and messages I made a coffee and dealt with the dictaphone.

Yesterday’s voyages are now on line in the appropriate place and then I had a listen to today’s. I’d found myself a nice young girlfriend and I’d been round at my mother’s house with her. It was time for her to go home so I said “yes, you have school in the morning”. She said no, she wasn’t going to school. I asked 2 or 3 times but it didn’t sink in with me. We went to go out and it was pouring down with rain. My mother asked “what are you going to do now?” I replied “put our hoods up”. THe girl decided that it was rather too much so my mother said that she’d run us. I replied “I’ll drive – where are the keys?”. My mother refused and I thought that this was a strange turn-round from how things usually are. I got into the back of this Cortina estate and my mother and this girl got into the front and set off. My mother’s driving was all over the place, driving up the kerb and everything. I said to the girl “I told you that you’ll regret this”. We came to a road junction out of Vine Tree Avenue into Somerville Street in Crewe and I’ve no idea why we were there but my mother didn’t slow down. She just carried on. I shouted “aren’t you going to stop?”. She jammed her foot on the brake and the car slid across the road junction just missing another car coming the other way. I took this girl and we left the car and said “right, we’re walking”. This girl was rather unhappy about walking and said “we can always go to see Reg and have him drive us home” but he was just about walking as far in the other direction as it was walking her home to her house from where we were. I had this feeling again that here was something else that was slipping through my hands. That’s turning into a regular part of my dreams, isn’t it? Here I am with a bird on my plate and just as I’m about to get my fork stuck into it …

Later on I was back working in an office and who should start to work there but TOTGA? Of course I was very interested in that but she never seemed to have the time to talk to me, which was rather a shame. This affected me once to such an extent that I couldn’t concentrate on my work. I had the bougeotte, the need to move around. I went out of the office to go for a little walk. Some other woman came out and asked me where I was going so I told her. She said “well if you like I’ll come back afterwards and peel your carrots for you” which I thought was a strange thing to say. I got into my car, which was the Omega, left-hand drive, and drove it down the ramp into the car park. But my badge wouldn’t work the car park and quite a queue of people built up behind me. The guys in the office down there controlling the car park weren’t in the least bit interested. Eventually one of them came over and tried my badge but it didn’t work. He said “your badge has expired” and that was that. I had to make all of these people behind me reverse out of the way and I had to reverse the Omega back up which wasn’t easy with these vehicles coming down behind me and going off somewhere else. I ended up back in my office. By now there was a party taking place at lunchtime so I walked round the corner and there was TOTGA still sitting at her desk working. I went over and asked her “aren’t you taking part in the festivities?” and that was when things ground to a halt unfortunately, although I had a feeling that I was heading for yet another disappointment

Later still I was in some kind of army. I can’t remember much about this but someone came along with a cannon so I gave him a run out. His was far better than any artillery I had in my army so I was very keen to sign him up. I can’t remember what happened after this.

Finally, I’d gone to see a car for sale. An Opel. 40 miles on the clock despite it being 4 years old. It had been bought for someone who had become ill and had never ever used it. I went to see it and it really was in good condition as you would expect but it had had a bang underneath it and the paint had come off one of the sills. The sill was bent and the floor pan was rather bent. I offered then £4,000 for it but they wanted £8,000 which was what they had paid, which was probably right 4 years ago. I offered them £4,000 which they thought was a humiliation but I pointed out these defects and said “let me know what you think”.

It’s hardly surprising that I was totally exhausted after all of that, especially as it seemed to be so full of disappointment. Nothing seems to be going my way during my nocturnal rambles, rejected by TOTGA and having relationship issues with a girl whom I wish I knew who she was, and my family sticking their oar in to spike my guns just like in real life all those years ago.

Anyway, let’s not brood on the past.

Much of the morning was spent with this radio project, following up a couple of hot clues about people who might have a few things to say for themselves. But one thing that I have noticed, particularly with the Brits, is that they will spend days if not weeks moaning about something and yet refuse to do anything about it, even when the opportunity is presented to them on a plate.

A shower came next and as a surprise, I went one step further than Dave Crosby. Must be because I had a ‘flu for Christmas. I weighed myself today too and in the space of a week I’ve lost 1.2kg. At this rate, I’ll be gone completely in 18 months.

After an early lunch I headed off into town.

building work boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The first port of call, for a change this afternoon seeing as it was early, was to see if there was any sign of life at the roadworks in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

And there was actually someone there too. As I was walking down the hill he walked out of the compound and went to sit in the digger that was there. And that’s all he did – just sat there.

But there has been some kind of activity because the skip that was here has now gone. You can see the mark on the road where it was left. So something is happening, although it’s hard to say what it is.

dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further on down the road, there’s still no change in the port.

The dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie is still down there in the harbour, still surrounded by all of the pipes and tubes. It looks as if nothing of any importance has moved since yesterday.

But I need to be moving so I pushed on down the Rue des Juifs and then down the steps towards the Place Pléville-Lepelley

place pléville-lepelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The Place looks empty and deserted right now.

Over the summer there was the Bar Ephemère, “Chez Maguie”, down there with several tables and benches and all kinds of things but a couple of weeks ago it was all folded back up into the shipping container that was its home.

But now that’s no longer here. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Usually there are hordes of people here too playing boules but there’s not a soul down there this afternoon. And that’s a surprise, seeing as it’s lunchtime right now.

diesel fuel spill place semard Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk up the hill wasn’t as bad as it has been just recently. I only stopped once to catch my breath and if that were the case every time I’d be quite happy with that.

At the roundabout in the Place Semard there looks as if there has been a diesel spillage. There’s a big trail of sand around the roundabout that stops as the road begins to climb the hill. A couple of scooters were taking the bend very gingerly.

The physiotherapist had me on the tilting platform thing for 20 minutes and then the cross trainer to finish off. I pushed my personal best on by another 10 seconds and could have done better except that my right knee was feeling the strain. I was glad to stop.

After he threw me out I went across the road to the little Carrefour. I’m running low on fruit and I don’t want to go all the way out to the hypermarket tomorrow for just a few things as I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday morning.

Fruit is expensive in there but it’s right on the way home so I may as well splash out. And they had 1.5kg of nice-looking potatoes on special offer at €0:99 and I’ve run out.

It was a stagger back home carrying all of that but it had to be done and it saves me going out tomorrow of course

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk up the hill in the Rue des Juifs wasn’t as easy as it might have been had I not been loaded up, and I was glad to reach the viewpoint overlooking the port.

Leaving on the wall with my energy drink in one hand, I could see that we’ve had a change down there on the quayside.

One of the Jersey freighters (it was the Normandy Trader with a skeleton crew as I learnt later) has been into port this morning, taken away a lot of the stuff that was on the quayside and it looks as if she’s unloaded another pile of freight that is waiting to be collected.

eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way down the hill earlier I noticed that there was something going on by the Eglise St Paul.

While I was here I took a photo and back home in the apartment I could enlarge (I only have the NIKKOR 30-110mm LENS on the NIKON D3000) the photo to see what was happening.

It looks as if they are working on the rear of a building in the Rue Couraye and using a crane to swing stuff over from the road by the church. Strangely, I’d just been walking up and down the Rue Couraye and I hadn’t noticed a thing. I must be slipping..

repairing flags boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days I posted a photo of the flags on the car part at the Boulevard Vaufleury that had been shredded by the wind early in the week.

Today, they have turned up there in a cherry-picker and there are a couple of workmen there. Are they chanign light bulbs in the street lights there, aor are they actually dealing with the flags?

Whatever it is that they are doing, they have an interested spectator in Georges René Le Peley de Pléville who is watching from his plinth.

IN case you are wondering who he is, which I’m sure you are, he was born in 1726 in Granville and was variously a privateer, governor of Marseille and an Admiral of the French fleet, to name but three of his many positions.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way back home I went via the beach to see what was going on there.

Plenty of beach for it to be going on on, and quite a few people down there too, all armed with rakes and all kinds of unusual tools to scratch away at the sand to pull out whatever is left there by the tide.

Back home I made myself a coffee and then, rather regrettably, I fell asleep for 20 minutes. It’s been a while since I’ve slept like that, especially since I’ve been lying in, but I suppose that the walk and the physiotherapy has taken it all out of me

Once I’d recovered I set about adding a few of the noctural voyages for the journal entries for August. I’ve actually made it as far back as 21st August and there’s still plenty to go at yet.

Those potatoes looked so nice that I had steamed veg, veggie balls with vegan cheese sauce for tea and it was totally delicious tonight.

Now that my notes are finished, I’m going to have a quiet relax for half an hour and then go to bed for an early night.

No shopping tomorrow, but I have a desktop mixer panel with which I need to have a play around and make work. It’s been sitting on my shelves for far too long and it’s about time that I brought it into use if I can.

Sunday 11th July 2021 – I’VE NOT HAD …

… a very good day today, and I don’t know why that is.

Well, I do, but it’s something that I don’t care to talk about on here and involves a trip down Memory Lane to places that I’ve been trying to forget.

But I would ordinarily say that I don’t know what’s brought it on, but actually I do – I just don’t know why it’s caught me unawares like this.

It’s one of those things that always seems to hit us when we are at our most vulnerable so I’ll need to have a good night’s sleep and in the words of the boxer Jack Johnson, “Eat jellied eels and think distant thoughts”.

This morning after my walk around the upper town at midnight (and about which I haven’t forgotten the photos, by the way) I was to my surprise awake at 07:00. But badger that for a game of cowboys. 09:30 was too early too but 10:45 is much more respectable for a Sunday.

After the medication I came in here again to listen to the dictaphone. At first there was something going on in a big old rambling house full of kids last night but I can’t remember what it was now. And waking up with an attack of cramp and when was the last time that I did that as well? I thought that some of this medication was supposed to stop that.

So having had some kind of meeting (when did this take place?) with a Greek girl with whom I was very friendly in Brussels who put in an appearance I was off in some medieval city somewhere in medieval times. There was some kind of difficulty that I can’t remember now but a man became involved in it who was a so-called spy and he helped me resolve this difficulty. In the end he stood on this bridge of this canal with his hand behind his back hiding a gun these 6 people road up asking for information. He replied “sorry, I don’t have one”. They replied something like “how is it possible to be in this country without an identity card?”. At that moment, from behind his back he pulled out a gun. He made them all drop their guns. Somehow at this point he became me. I ordered 5 of those people away and the 6th guy I mounted on a camel and told him to set out to such-a-place and I’d follow him. On the way out there was a barge going past on the canal so I stopped to take a photo of it. We had another one of these sessions when the NIKON 1 J5 wouldn’t work. All the time this guy was getting further ahead of me as I was trying to take this photo. In the end I said “sod it” and chased after this guy on the camel. Then I got to thinking “how stupid am I? I made those people drop their guns in the street and walk away. Why didn’t I throw them over into the canal? All they need to do now is to wait until I’m out of sight, pick up their guns and come along and chase after me. At least had I thrown their guns into the canal they might have chased after me but they couldn’t have done very much without any weapons”.

There was also something somewhere about me being with a few people and the subject of dreams came up. I was told to go and see a woman with whom by some lucky chance I’d just been talking because she was very keen on the subject. I wish I knew where she’d gone so I could chase after her. I explained to the people with whom I was talking that I’d been following my dreams for nearly 30 years.

So at least I managed to go off somewhere at some point.

One task that I wanted to do was to to pair off the music for the next radio programme and find a suitable chat line for my guest. That was all done and organised and took me nicely up to lunchtime.

Before I could make my lunch though I needed to make some bread mix. Only for a small loaf though because I’m going to be away for a while next week and there’s not much room right now in the freezer.

Talking of the freezer… “well, one of us is” – ed … I also took out the last pile of dough from the freezer so that it could defrost ready for tonight.

After lunch I came back in here and the first thing that I did was to sort out the camera equipment. I have three cameras on the go – the NIKON D500 which is the main one, the little NIKON 1 J5 that I use when weight and/or privacy and discretion are czlled for, and the old NIKON D3000 that I bought ON QUECEC IN 2012 after I had broken the Nikon D5000 and which keeps on rolling along.

Each camera now has its own bag with all of its own accessories inside it and surprisingly, I bought a brand-new upmarket camera bag last year. The D3000 has found its way into that and the D5000 is in the bag that the D5000 used to occupy and which I’ve had for ages.

The J5 is in an even older camera bag that belonged to one of the older 1st-generation digital cameras that I had and which packed up nearly 20 years ago.

One of these days I’ll have to go through the redundant camera equipment, sell it off and use the money to repair the D5000.

With time to spare I sat down to deal with the photos from last night. They are all uploaded, edited and some of the text was written. But my afternoon walk intervened.

Before I went on my walk though I kneaded the bread mix, added the sunflower seeds and put it in the bread mould.

full car park place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe crowds outside this afternoon were unbearable. You couldn’t move for people and cars. It was not very pleasant at all.

You can see what I mean from this photo. The public car park just outside this building is bursting at the seams and if you look quite closely at the photo you’ll see the crowds of people milling around there today.

In fact, while you are looking closely, you’ll see a group of several people standing together just to the right of centre on this photo, looking over the wall there. That’s my usual spec for when I’m taking photos of the beach if I’m going off around the headland on my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I’m not going round that way this afternoon. I’m going off on a trek around the city walls.

That means I’m having to look down onto the beach from the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord so the view is rather different than usual.

The tide is well out so there is plenty of beach to be on, and there were plenty of people on it this afternoon taking advantage of the space.

And I’m not sure why because while the conditions weren’t Arctic today the sky was quite overcast and it was cool (if not cold) for the time of the year and there was plenty of wind about. It’s not the kind of day in which you’d catch me sunbathing o the beach, that’s for sure.

people fishing in rock pool beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand, I might be down on the beach for other reasons, rather like this family here.

The retreating tide has left several large rockpools behind it, so while daddy supervises the operation, mummy and the two kiddiewinks have taken off their socks and shoes and, in one case, trousers, and they are scavenging around in the rock pools for whatever they can find.

Which I hope they will remember to share with their friends because, after all, one shouldn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

And as for paddling up to my knees, I’ve done that twice now in water that was much colder than this – AT ETAH IN GREENLAND just 700 miles from the North Pole and the second time in the North West Passage in the Canadian High Arctic, about which I’ll write when I can think of what i’m going to say that will express how I felt on that day with the events that were goign on all around me, without causing too many problems.

But meanwhile, trying to dig myself out of the Black Pit into which i’ve fallen, let’s return to our moutons as they say around here and ask why there are all these people wandering around this afternoon.

people at brocants rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe answer to that is that it’s the annual brocante or car boot sale in the old town, and that always attracts the crowds, which is not a good thing from my point of view.

Not 50 yards from where those people are, and they must have walked past that spot to be where they are is a sign “face masks mandatory”, and yet there are so many people who just couldn’t care less.

Having brought the figures down from over 20,000 per day to just a thousand or so, it can’t give anyone any pleasure to see the infection rate rising again so rapidly and yet people totally disregarding even the most basic of rules because they just don’t feel like it.

But anyway, that’s enough of me moaning and whining for the moment. Let’s return to my afternoon walk around the walls

medieval city wall crumbling place du marche au cheveaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the main reasons that I came around this way was to see what they were up to with that scaffolding the other day, but I wasn’t quick enough with the scaffolding and it’s now gone.

But we can see just so clearly now exactly what is the problem with the city walls at the Place du Marché au Chevaux. You can see the vertical crack in the brickwork right there and it’s not before time that they are going to be dealing with it.

It does in fact remind me of the rather nasty crack that appeared on the outside wall of 10 Downing Street but Carrie called in builders to cement over it before Boris Johnson could read it.

And I still haven’t worked out what that wooden structure is that they have built on top of the wall and what its purpose is supposed to be. I suppose that it will become clear over the next few days, but I remember saying that a few days ago.

cement mixer workmen's cabin place du marché au chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo the obvious question is “what are they going to be doing with the walls?”

Here in the little compound we have what looks like a couple of workmen’s huts but also a cement mixer and tubs full of something or other, so it looks as if they are going to be making a start some time soon on repointing. But I think that it needs a bit more than repointing, if you ask me.

And if you look above the nearest workmen’s hut, you’ll see a map. It tells us of work that they have done in the past in restoring the walls, and what they will be doing this year here in the Place du Marché auc Chevaux.

And I wish that it would tell us what they are going to be doing subsequently because sections of the old medieval walls are being closed off quicker than they can repair them.

It was round here that I fell in with a family – mum, dad, a girl about 12 or so and a grandfather. They were not from round here and were struggling to make out a few of the local landmarks. Jersey was really clear to me today so I pointed it out to them, as well as the Ile de Chausey and even the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel which was perfectly clear with the naked eye today.

bouchot beds donville les bains medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was talking to them, I noticed that the bouchot beds at Donville les Bains were quite visible today too with the tide being so far out.

The tractors were taking advantage of the low tide this afternoon and were out there doing the harvesting.

The medieval fish trap had some water still in it too although no-one was taking advantage of it. I’d love to see it restored and people in there catching their own supper with their own bare hands just like they did in the Middle Ages.

After all, there were enough people down there to have had a good go and made a good catch this afternoon had the fish trap been working properly.

f-gcum Robin DR 400/180 Regent baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was doing that, I was overflwon by a light aeroplane. I mean – we have to have one of those, don’t we, on a day like that?

She’s another one of our old friends, F-GCUM, the Robin DR 400/180 Regent that’s owned by the Granville Aero Club.

And she’s been out for a nice long flight this afternoon. She took off at 13:38 and did a nice figure-of-8 going gown to Avranches then across to Cap Fréhel, back to Granville, over Coutances, up to Barneville Carteret and then back home.

She disappeared off the radar at 15:58 presumably when she went into her landing approach and I saw her about 15 minutes later so it must have been a long, shallow dive into landing.

crowds avenue de la liberation place marechal foch plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIf you think, by the way that everyone is here who is coming here and that the crowds will slowly die away, then look again at this lot.

There’s a whole stream of cars coming down the hill nose to tail in the Avenue de la Liberation. And good luck to them if they can find somewhere to park when they finally get to where they are going.

It’s a Sunday of course and the public transport doesn’t run on a Sunday. Perhaps the local council needs to think about that in the summer when there are all of these events and organise a “Park and Ride” on the LeClerc Car Park

Plenty of people too in the Place Marechal Foch and walking along the promenade at the Plat Gousset too. And the ice cream parlour looks as if it’s doing a roaring trade.

seagulls rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course, seeing as I’m here now, I have to go and see how my baby seagulls are doing.

So off I took myself into the Square Maurice Marland, past a couple of little girls playing hopscotch, and up to the place where I can see onto the roofs of the Rue des Juifs where their parents have their nests.

Two of my seagull chicks weren’t up to very much, just curled up in the nest having a relaxing afternoon but the third one here was a little more energetic and he was off for a wander around on the roof.

And I hope that he doesn’t fall off like a couple of his friends seem to have done over the last week or two.

seagull rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallActually I was watching this particular energetic one for quite a while.

When I first saw him he was flapping his wings like Billio and I thought that he was going to have a go at taking off, but animals, like children, are very contrary and never do what you want or what you expect. Having got myself into a good position, he did nothing at all.

You can tell by the times of the images. 4 minutes after I took up my position he decided to inspect himself for fleas and that was about the limit of his activity while I was watching.

In the end I became fed up before he did and I cleared off, upon which I imagined him immediately taking off, doing a few loop-the loops and Immelmann turns

people in brocante rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the Square I walked through the alleyway into the Rue Notre Dame where it was all happening.

And the first thing that I noticed was the lack of face masks despite the notices plastered everywhere. And I know that I go on about this quite a lot but 4,000,000 dead and God alone knows how many people’s health permanently damaged, endless queues in hospitals, routine work cancelled (remember, I went 9 months without my four-weekly cancer treatment) just because people can’t be bothered to take the most basic precautions.

But anyway, even though I remembered to bring my money, I didn’t even look at what was on offer. I have seen the prices in the past and that’s been enough for me. Not even the chip van could tempt me this year.

people place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrowds of people in the Place Cambernon too, mainly at the bar down the far end.

However I didn’t go that way, I carried on around the church and at the edge of the walls overlooking the port I fell in with one of my neighbours chatting to a couple at the nice house with the nice round turret.

We had quite a pleasant chat for 10 minutes or so but then I set off for home as I had work to do.

autogyros pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I hadn’t gone very far before I was brought to yet another halt.

On my way along the street I’d heard a rattling from the air and I’d wondered what it was. But suddenly in a gap between two houses, two of these autogyros came flying past in formation.

Two-seater autogyros too so they were obviously up to something, like a photo shoot or a film shoot. And one of these days I’ll have to get myself up there in one of those things for a photo shoot.

But not right now. Ad I said earlier, I have things to do this afternoon. Like kneading the pizza dough that had now defrosted, rolling it out and putting it on the pizza dish that I had greased.

When everything was ready I switched on the oven and bunged the bread in to bake, and when the pizza dough had proofed sufficiently I assembled my pizza.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the bread was baked I put the pizza in and let that bake, and here are the finished products.

Only a small loaf as I mentioned earlier, and I’ll tell you about that in a day or two, but the pizza was delicious as usual.

No pudding because there is still some chocolate sponge left and in any case, I’m pretty full right now.

And now my notes are finished I’m off to bed. I’ll sleep off my depression and have a better day tomorrow. And if I have time, I’ll finish off those photos from last night and post them up.

We’ll see how I get on.

Saturday 10th July 2021 – 265 DAYS …

players warming up us Granville en avant guingamp stade louis dior granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… since we were last in the Stade Louis Dior to watch a football match, so I’m told.

And I nearly missed this one as well because the kick-off was at 16:00 and at 15:00 I was fast asleep, crashed out in my chair slumped over my desk. It was something of a scramble for me to make it to the stadium in time for the kick-off.

Up until that point it had been a reasonably good day as far as I was concerned. Once more I was up as soon as the alarm went off at 06:00 and although it was a struggle to gather my wits (which will be quite a surprise to everyone seeing as I have so few wits left these days) I gradually pulled myself round ready to face the day.

First task after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. Noticing that the newspapers had arrived today we read them and we noticed that the group “White Spirit” was appearing somewhere. They had one of these young female singers so the two girls would have liked to have seen them. I ended up buying 4 tickets and I took a friend of mine and the 2 girls so the 4 of us went. The 2 of us decided that we didn’t really want to go so we’d wait outside the hall in the car. He’d had to paint the doors inside-out so the paint was one colour but I’d had the tin and taken a look inside it and it was the right lot so I thought that … indistinct … Anyway they wandered off. This girl was singing and at the end of the first song she came down the corridor and came out to us saying “I hope that you 2 are going to behave because I’m going to be coming out here afterwards to see you”. She stayed to chat to us for a while. She was sucking on a stick of rock and I thought that seeing as she has a stage performance to do she’s being extremely I couldn’t think of the word. But there was much more to it than this of course but I can’t now remember what it was. And never mind the guy – who were the 2 girls we took to the concert and who was the girl who came to see us? Yes, all these girls appearing during the night and I can’t remember who they are. What kind of state is this to be in?

Later on I had to go to Manchester with a computer or PA or something so I got on the tram. Someone I knew was on there so I said “hello” to him. We set off and were well on our way when suddenly the tram came to a stop. I walked down towards the front past this guy again to see what was happening. There was some big accident in front of us so I got off the tram and started to wave the traffic through. All the traffic including this tram got through this obstruction. It all drove away and left me standing there so I had to hitch-hike. I had a lift with someone in a Mark I Cortina and it was an automatic with a bench seat in the front, or it might have been column change with a bench seat in the front. We were talking about something with these cars. I said something and he denied it but I knew that I was right but he wasn”t having any of this at all. In the end I took the rubber mat out of the front and emptied it out to make the car a bit tidier. He told me that I could drive on the way back. There was lots more to this dream as well but I can’t remember it now.

Having dealt with all of that, what remained was to bring up to date yesterday’s journal entries. Perhaps I should add at this point that although I said that I was going to have an early night last night, but in fact I became engrossed in the acoustic guitar and ended up playing for a couple of hours.

And I can’t do the slip-change from Chord C to Chord F and back again like I used to. I’m far too rusty.

Having organised the notes from yesterday I spent the rest of the morning organising the new laptop bag and making sure that it has everything that I need in it.

And then I packed the little suitcase that I’m taking with me, and sorted out the clothes that had been airing on the clothes airier on my windowsill since I can’t remember when.

While I was sorting things out I came across an old USB drive and a USB SD micro-card reader stuck in the pocket of an old abandoned bag.

And searching further I came across the missing audio cable for which I’ve been searching since I don’t know when. I must have taken it with me to Canada a few years ago so that I could couple up my old *.mp3 player to Strider’s audio input socket, and then forgotten to unpack it.

Here’s hoping that whatever new vehicle I might buy to replace Strider will have a USB socket. Yes, I was having a good look at a Subaru Forester estate car this afternoon while I was out.

After lunch I came in here to do some work on my photos but I soon crashed out on the chair. And then it was a rather desperate struggle up the hill.

moulin childrens roundabout place generale de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way out to the football ground I went past the Place Charles de Gaulle and the Saturday market.

Summer is in full swing here in Granville if you are a kid (except in the Square Maurice Marland of course) and the kiddies’ roundabout is in full swing with plenty of potential customers. I stayed to watch the proceedings for a minute while I caught my breath and then pushed on up the hill.

And it was a long, lonely climb up there and I had to stop four or five times to catch my breath. I’ve aged 20 years over this last couple of months and that has filled me full of dismay. But I eventually arrived at the Stadium Louis Dior.

players us Granville en avant guingamp stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEn Avant Guingamp play in the French Second Division, but this was described as “A Team from EA Guingamp” which probably means that it contained triallists and players on the fringes of the first team rather than the first team itself.

And in an astonishing match, and in a game that Granville pretty much dominated, they somehow managed to lose the game 3-0. Threw it away completely and comprehensively.

Two goals they gave away by defenders going to sleep and there should have been a third as well except that the Guingamp player stood on the ball instead of kicking it. The third goal was a wonder strike of a curling free kick round the blind side of the defensive wall.

Granville had a bew player playing in the centre of defence – an older guy – and he certainly looked as if he had been around the block a few times. He was head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch. He wasn’t a centre back from what I could see but more of a defensive midfielder distributing the ball out of defence. If he has signed for the club then things are looking up.

But once again, total defensive lapses and a bunch of forwards who couldn’t score in a brothel

2 players with n°33 us Granville en avant guingamp stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here was something interesting that I have never seen before on a football pitch at this level.

Two players on the same team with the same number. And about 20 seconds after I had noticed, so did a few other people and the “older” n°33 was quickly withdrawn and replaced by another player. And he’d only been on the pitch for a couple of minutes too.

The younger n°33 took some time to warm up but once he got going he had a good game. He almost scored too, getting in on the end of a delicious cross to the far post but his shot was somehow scrambled off the line.

So after all of this I think that it’s going to be a long, hard season, if we manage to complete it.

no parking in town on Sundays Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way up towards the football ground I’d noticed the town centre covered with these signs.

There had been something in the local newspaper about shops opening all day on Sunday during the summer season but I hadn’t realised that parking will be banned in the town centre too. This makes for interesting opportunities if ever we have a summer here.

Actually it was quite warm now – the sun being out made a change from the damp, dreary start of the day, so I went for an ice cream. But my favourite ice cream parlour was surprisingly closed. I had to walk quite a way before I found another one with non-dairy options.

sale of fresh seafood closed port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I found myself on the quayside at the spot where the fresh fish seller sells his catch from his boat every Friday morning.

However he’s announced that he’s not operating until the middle, missing the entire summer season, which seemed rather strange to me. But then I noticed the photos of his boat, and that explained everything. Do you recognise it?

Anyway, clutching my ice cream I wandered off down the quayside to see what else was going on that I might have missed since I’ve last been on the quaysid.

philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s an old friend of ours riding the waves at her mooring here in the inner harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the past couple of weeks we’d been seeing the trawler Philcathane up on blocks in the chantier naval until she went missing, back into the water, at the end of the week.

By the looks of things she’s all finihsed now with her nice fresh coat of paint and she’ll be ready to go back to the fishing grounds on Monday.

And the interesting question now is “who has gone to replace her in the chantier naval?

tour du roc à la nage no parking at port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut never mind that for a moment. Let’s turn our attnetion to the immediate present and what’s going to be going on in town.

It looks as if they are planning quite a pile of events to welcome the tourists to the town and this one is certainly a new one on me that I haven’t seen before.

It looks as if there is going to be some kind of swimming race from the port and around the Pointe du Roc to somewhere on the other side of the headland. So good luck to those who are attempting it.

And never mind “no parking”. They will probably need a good ambulance of two or three at the finishing line to take away the unlucky ones. Struggling with the tides and the currents in the sea won’t be as easy as some people might think.

helicopter hovering over port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking along the edge of the quayside I was overflown by a helicopter. Someone has hed their chopper out this afternoon.

The only camera that I had with me today was the NIKON 1 J5 and the standard lens (I’ve mentioned before that it passes amost unnoticed into sports grounds and the like where a large DSLP won’t) so I wasn’t able to take much of a photograph of it this afternoon.

Without the telephoto lens I can’t see if it’s the yellow and red air-sea rescue helicopter, a drab olive military helicopter or a multi-coloured civilian chopper. But hs didn’t have any of his emergency lights on so whatever he was doing wasn’t anything urgent. I could press on without witnessing anything dramatic.

trawler galapagos chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo, did you all guess the significance of the photo to which I drew your attention earlier?

We’ve all … “well, one of us” – ed … been wondering who the big blue trawler is that’s appeared in the chantier naval the other day and now we know.

She’s called Galapagos and she belongs to the people who sell the fresh fish on the quayside. And now we also know why they aren’t going to be selling fish until the middle of September and we also have an indication of she’ll be back in the water.

There were some people with the yacht Rebelle. They weren’t very talkative but at least I know that she’ll be back in the water “shortly”.

joly france 1 ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was chatting to the people working on Rebelle we were disturbed by yet more activity – this time coming from the water.

Of course it’s the weekend, a Saturday evening in Summer zo the tourists are out in their hordes The Ile de Chausey is one of the places to be and so by the looks of things, there have been plenty of people out there.

This is when the two Joly France boats that work the ferry out there come into their own. This is the newer one of the two, Joly France 1 as you can tell by the windows in portrait mode, and she has quite a load of people on board today coming back from the island.

From the chantier naval I wended my weary way up the hill in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers and made it back home. There was time to upload the photos to the computer and then I knocked off for tea.

There’s plenty of stuffing left over and also a pepper that won’t survive until next week so a stuffed pepper it was, followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. And that reminds me – it’s been a while since I made a jam roly-poly. That will have to be the next dessert.

Back here to write up the journal today when I noticed that I’d performed 95% of my daily activity today. So never one to miss an opportunity, I took the NIKON D500, fitted the f1.8 50mm lens and went for a walk around the block.

midnight sun baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd who said “The Land Of The Midnight Sun” then?

This is the sight that greeted me as I stepped out of my apartment this evening. We’re situated at 48°50′ here and that’s far from being in The Land Of The Midnight Sun so imagine what it must be like somewhere north of the Arctic Circle.

It did remind me of the nights that I was driving coaches on my Friday night run to Central Scotland and on one occasion one June-end it was so light that when I’d dropped off my passengers I drove to Stirling and parked up on a mountain top near there to watch the midnight sun and that’s 8° further North.

donville les bains rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here at my little spec at the end of the car park I went over to look over the wall.

Not that I was expecting to see anyone on the beach this evening – as a matter of fact I couldn’t even see the beach – but I was more interested in what was going on along the coast, insofar as I could see it.

The Rue du Nord is quite well illuminated right now especially round by the Place du Marché aux Chevaux, and then carrying on to the left we have the lights of the houses on top of the cliffs at the Plat Gousset and then the lights of the waterfront reflecting into the sea down on the promenade at Donville les Bains.

rue du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack across the car park and along to the road now to see what’s going on here right now.

That is of course the Rue du Roc that leads to the headland where we find the lighthouse, the semaphore and the coastguard station – not that you can actually see any of those right now.

It’s very had to believe that a year ago I could run all the way down there to beyond the end of the street lights and then turn left and keep running all the way down to the top of the cliffs. The way I am these days, even just looking at the images makes me feel totally exhausted.

They were halcyon times, they were.

porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s the view in the opposite direction, looking towards the Port St Jean and the entrance to the medieval walled city.

And that shadow down there is the guy on whom I almost stepped in the dark because I hadn’t seen him. I must pay greater attention when I’m out and about in the dark. But at least he gives the photo some animation.

After all is said and done, the Porte St Jean all floodlit at night is one of my favourite photo objects and the shadow gives it something different.

Through the arch we can see the Rue St Jean illuminated by the street lights and in the foreground to the left is the car park for the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallStill 3 or 4% of my daily activity to perform in order to bring me up to my 100% and so I thought that I’d better go for a walk down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour and see what’s going on there.

And it wasn’t easy to find my way down there either tonight as this economy drive means that all of the streetlamps are switched off and I had to grope my way down there in the dark.

What was even worse was that the harbour was in darkness too. There were just a couple of isolated streetlights and that was really our lot. It was difficult to work out where I was or what I was photograpiong but somewhere down there in the shadows are Granville and Victor Hugo.

They are the two boats that in better times provided the ferry service between Normandy and the Channel Islands but the combined effects of Covid, Brexit and the tight-fistedness of the Channel Islands in refusing to pay a subsidy towards the reopening of the service is making the recommencement of the services more and more unlikely.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt least here at this end of the harbour the presence of a couple more street lights makes it slightly easier to see what’s going on.

Over to the right the ferry terminal is brightly illuminated by several lights but to no good purpose because there won’t be any of the ferries coming into port for quite a while yet.

To the left of the image, illuminated by two street lights are the port offices. They are open when the harbour gates are opened and there is movement in and out of the port.

But with thz harbour being in total darkness like this I don’t think that there will be much movement going on right now.

In the foreground, all wrapped up on the darkness of the night, is the fish processing plant and there isn’t much going on round there right now either.

tower of eglise notre dame de cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne final photo before I toddle off back to the warmth and comfort of my own little apartment.

Just behind where I was standing to take those two photos of the harbour area is the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. part of it is obscured by the medieval city walls but the spire isn’t, and it’s illuminated tonight for a change. I can’t go back home without photographing that now, can I?

So back in my apartment I’ve accomplished 102% of my daily activity and been out for my first night-time walk for about 6 months too and taken some photos.

And I’ll have to go out again and take some more, only this time remembering to adjust the ISO from 800 to 6400 so that I can let in more light without straining the camera unnecessarily.

Brain of Britain has struck again, hasn’t he?

Friday 9th July 2021 – NOT VERY MUCH …

… to say about today right now because I’ve been out this evening.

Yes, me socialising! Whatever next? But I had an invitation from a neighbour to go for a soirée. I only intended to stay for half an hour but then I noticed the time – 21:00 and I’d been there for two and a half hours. I thought that I’d better go home. I can amend these notes tomorrow because I’m not going shopping.

Not with having to leave for Leuven on Tuesday. I’ll make do with what’s lying around in the house.

And after all of this whining and moaning that I’ve been doing just recently, I thought that I was going to have a really good day today.

When the alarm went off I leapt to my feet (and I did too!) and went off for my medication. And while I was at it I went through the medication that I need to take with me to Leuven and a few other things that accompany me. I recall that I’d run out of ice cube bags, not that I’ll need them in this weather. I’ll just scrape it off the puddles outside

Back in here I had a listen to the dictaphone. There was something from yesterday so I did that, and THAT’S NOW ON LINE. and then I went and had a listen to last night’s wanderings around. I was with a boy from school last night and we were in a pub. He was asking me about any map that I had because he was going to go out on his bike on a few country roads. The only map that I had in my possession was a map for the whole of the British Isles which he said was no use so I suggested that we go back to my house to download one. That sounded like a good idea so off we went. When we arrived we changed into al all-maroon strip. Then I went downstairs and we had to manhandle my computer downstairs which was not easy. He was passing it down to me, then a voice from upstairs, which was my brother’s, asked me what’s going on. I replied “nothing much – I’ve just come back” saying today that really this is the first time that I’ve come back for about 8 hours and the story finished there – there was a lot more to it than this … I fell asleep here …

As I explained a while back, I’m always asleep when I dictate where I’ve been. But I usually manage to switch off the dictaphone and put it back on top of the unit by the bed when I’ve finished what I have to say. 20-odd years of doing this has taught me a lot.

But just recently these days, more and more often, I find that I’m drifting back off before I’ve finished what I want to say and the dictaphone goes on for hours recording the sound of my snoring.

Having done all of that I made a start on the photos from Greenland in 2019, but with an endless, remorseless stream of interruptions. The most important was the visit of the postie with another couple of boxes of my Amazon order, including the two new hard drives for the computer.

There’s also a bag for the portable computer. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, with me not feeling so well, I’m going back to taking a rolling suitcase with me to Belgium instead of my backpack. A nice big shoulder bag for the computer will be just the job

After a very late lunch I spent a couple of hours just doing things for pleasure, something that I don’t do often enough, and then I went for my walk. And now that I’ve uploaded all of the photos and edited them, I can post them on here.

people leaving beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the first thing that you’ll notice are the crowds of people deserting the beach and heading for the steps back up to the street.

Obviously, I have to go to see what’s going on down on the beach this afternoon so I wander off across the car park and down to the end where I can look over the wall.

And while it’s probably incorrect to say that there are “crowds of people” deserting the beach, it’s true to say that everyone down there is leaving.

And that’s not very many people at all, and that’s no surprise because we’re back in winter and there’s no-one swimming today.

trawler returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was at the end of the car park I could also look out to sea to see what’s happening over there this afternoon.

Here in the Baie de Granville, it’s home-time for the fishing boats as the tide is now coming in. Here’s a trawler heading back to port after a day’s work out in the bay, coming sailing, steaming or dieseling in past the Iles de Chausey

Stuck up on a rock out there on the right of the photo is another one of these lights similar to Le Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour here in Granville, and I’ll tell you its name when I’ve finished my Spirit of Conrad notes.

And the height of the column on which the light is situated tells you the height of the tide here in the Baie de Granville.

trawlers and yacht returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s not just that trawler that’s heading back to port right now. There’s a veritable stampede of vessels heading in that general direction.

In this photo we can see three fishing vessels that have finished work in the Baie de Granville for the day and are heading back to port. But in the lead right now, although I suspect that it won’t be for long, is a yacht presumably heading for the Port de Plaisance where the pleasure boats moor up.

In the background we can see the Brittany coast. The day might be heavy, overcast and about 9/10ths cloud, but visibility is quite excellent today and even Jersey in the Channel Islands was quite clear this afternoon.

ship heading to st malo lighthouse cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo clear was the view this afternoon that I could see for miles. And out to sea off the entrance to St Malo was a boat that didn’t have the profile of a traditional fishing boat.

With the 70-300mm LENS fitted to the NIKON D500 I took a photo of it with the intention of cropping it out and blowing it up (which I can do these days despite modern terrorist rules) to see what i’d caught.

And sure enough, it does seem to be a small freighter heading into St Malo about 35-40 kilometres away from here. And a couple of hours after I’d taken this photo, a small chemical tanker called Tatlisu docked in St Malo harbour.

In the background of this photo the Brittany coast is even clearer than the previous one, thanks to photo enhancement, and on the extreme right of the image we can see the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel, about 70 kilometres away.

boy finishing fishing pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not just the fishing boats that are heading back home right now either. This guy down here looks as if he’s had enough.

After I’d exhausted the possibilities of the sea I walked down the path, across the car park and down to the end of the rocks. The guy was fishing from a rock out there but as I approached he hauled in his line and began to scramble away over the rocks.

What interested me about this is that he didn’t have any equipment, like a net to haul in his catch or a bag to take it away once he’d caught it. It’s almost as if he was expecting to catch nothing. And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have yet to see anyone actually catch a fish with a rod and line.

fishing boats coming in to unload port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSome of the boats with the shallowest draught have already made it home and into the harbour.

So having dealt with our fisherman I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what they are up to.

As I mentioned yesterday, they did a good job of excavating that little channel at the wharf underneath the fish processing plant because even though there are plenty of craft still grounded out on the silt, that channel is filling up quite rapidly with water as the tide is coming in, and the smaller boats can come in to unload.

And I wonder if the yellow and white one is the same yellow and white fishing boat that we saw in the chantier naval a couple of months ago.

l'alize 3 black pearl trawlers chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile we’re on the subject of the chantier naval“well, one of us is” – ed … I had to cast my eyes in that direction to see what was going on there.

And we’ve had a change of occupancy in there today by the looks of things. We still have Rebelle the yacht and three trawlers, but while L’Alize 3 and Black Pearl are still there, Philcathane who was in there between them has now disappeared back into the water.

Instead, another trawler has appeared to the right of Black Pearl. Unfortunately I can’t read her name from up here, so I see that I shall have to go for another walk around the harbour sometime over the weekend.

Not right now though. I’m going back home for a nice hot coffee.

Back here I made another start on my trip on board the Spirit of Conrad and I really thought that, after all of the complaining that I’ve done just recently I was going to hold out until bedtime. But unfortunately it wasn’t to be and I crashed out for an hour.

At least I managed the practice on the bass before I went socialising and that always makes me feel better I suppose.

Having spent much longer than I intended round at my neighbour’s, I’m back in the land of the living and now I’m going to have an early night. I updated the post the following morning instead of going shopping.

Wednesday 7th July 2021 – I’M FED UP …

… of this perishing weather.

rainstorm place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis afternoon I didn’t have the chance to go out for my afternoon walk because it was raining like it had never rained before.

Even in all my wet-weather gear I wasn’t going to set foot outside the building in all of this. Torrential rain had nothing whatever on what was coming down when I wanted to go for my walk.

The irony of it all was that there was a Welsh conversation on-line tonight and I was bent on joining it. And while we were chatting, the sun came out and there was some blue sky too. But the moment the chat finished, down came the rain, right on cue, and that was that.

Last night was another rather late night because something came up on the Old-Time Radio – an Agatha Christie play concerning Hercule Poirot – so I stayed up and listened to it. If it meant for a bad night and following morning, that’s rather a shame but for me I ought to be having some pleasure out of life somewhere.

As a result it was rather a struggle for me to raise myself from the bed when the first alarm went off, and some time after I’d taken my medication and come back in here I’d crashed out, sitting on my chair. And for about an hour and a half too. I must have been tired.

When I’d recovered I made myself a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d bought some item of clothing and it was going to be for me only and it was very special. I was living at Coleridge Way at Nerina’s. Somehow this thing was picked up in her washing and washed along with everything else and hung out on the airing trolley things. I was wondering how on earth I was going to get it back. I had to wait for a moment when everyone was out of the house. I waited for a period of over a couple of days until everyone had gone and I went downstairs and into the living room where all of these clothes were on airers. There had been a bed made up on the sofa. I crept over there to see and it was an empty bed. I thought that with the bed being on the sofa there was something strange going to happen and so I slowly made my way round to where this article was. Then I heard voices in the house so I waited thinking that the way to distract these people whose voice this was would be to leap out and startle them, and that way to forget what it was that was going on. That was what I did, and it turned out that it was my youngest sister and someone else, another female of our family. They’d both been involved in a car accident so I immediately went to console them both and tell them “it doesn’t matter – it’s only metal” and so on. Another guy was there. he was trying his best to console them as well. All the time this article that I wanted was still up on the clothes airers and I was in a very great danger of actually losing it again to someone else who wasn’t going to be careful about what they packed up and what they put away.

Tater on there was another long and rambling dream that went on and one and on. What I can remember was that some girl was having to have lessons. My brother had been giving her lessons but was unable to do so so I was now having to do it. We were living on the Wistaston Green estate and I had to find out where to go. They said that on Saturdays she lived at home but on Sundays she stayed at someone else’s house. On the Saturday it was somewhere on the Wistaston Green estate but no-one actually knew where. We knew where to go and where to park the car ans one of my sisters thought that she knew which house it was but every time I asked for the number it was “oh you just go there and park your car” and so on. The Sunday was a little clearer because I remember taking the phone call when she was changing it to her relative’s house. I could vaguely remember something about that. But there was tons to this and it just went on and on and I can’t rememner any of it.

While I was asleep on the chair though I was working in an office in Stoke on Trent. They had come along and cleared all of the files in the store room and sent them off to a central repository, which I thought was the strangest decision that I’d ever heard. Every time someone rang up or wrote in a letter you had to write to the central repository to get back the file before you could deal with their query. I’d had something to do with one particular case which I’d been working quite regularly but the file wasn’t there so in the end I went into the basement, couldn’t find this file there so a guy whom I used to know and I went off to the central repository which was in Stoke on Trent. He said that he knew his way around so off he went. I ended up just sitting there for a couple of hours and I was totally fed yp so I decided to go back home again. Back to the van was past a compound with all of these big Bentley 3-litres in it. Then there was a place wirh 4 or 5 Isetta bubble cars all mangled, it was that kind of place. Just as I was getting into Caliburn to go back, he appeared. He said that he couldn’t find the file but he’d found one of his big old buckets that he’d had before and went to empty it over the edge of this drop so that he could take it back but he almost ended up going over the drop with all of the rubbish that was in this bucket thing before he could stop himself.

It must have been a really deep sleep on the chair if I’d wandered off like that.

So having organised myself and grabbed my breakfast much of the morning up until lunchtime was spent dealing with the photos of Greenland in August 2019. I’m not about to go for a wander in a zodiac to look at the icebergs in the Davis Strait and Disco Bay just off Ilulissat. And this, I remember, is the day that I allowed my curiosity to get the better of me.

But one thing about editing these photos – it makes me want to go North again.

My work this morning was interrupted by a couple of things. Firstly, I crashed out yet again for half an hour or so, and secondly, I had a visit from the postie. The first of the deliveries from my mega-Amazon order. And so immediately after lunch I went into unpacking-mode.

A pair of batteries for each of the NIKON D500 and NIKON 1 J5 cameras. And I bet that I still end up down the street with flat batteries too at some point or another.

But interestingly, the new generation of chargers work off 5-volt USB connectors rather than the mains current. So that means less gadgets to haul around with me

The new Dashcam came too, and that took ages to work out how to initialise it, and the new multi-caddy that I’ll be using for back-up storage. The memory is here too, as is the new USB 3.0 multi-connector but that’s all a job for next weekend after I come back from Leuven when hopefully, the two new hard drives for the computer will be here.

rainstorm rue du roc foyer des jeunes travailleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time to go for a walk but the lousy weather put the brakes on that, as I told you earlier.

Going back upstairs I stuck the camera out of the rear window overlooking the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs to take a photo of the weather out there as well. I wasn’t going to end up being soaked just for the sake of a couple of photos.

Instead, I came back here and did some more work on my trip down the coast on board Spirit of Conrad last year. This is a pretty slow process because there’s about 400 photos and I don’t really know what to write about most of them – although that has never stopped me in the past of course.

There was a Welsh chat on Zoom this evening so I wanted to join, but the tutor had sent me the wrong link so it took a while for me to be connected. But a couple of things that I noticed, namely

  1. this particular tutor is a lot more disorganised than the two that we have had so far
  2. this was a mixture of people from several groups and the people from our group were much more confident than the people from the other groups

Tea tonight was chips with burger and baked beans followed by chocolate sponge and coconut soya stuff. I’ll be back to making chocolate sauce for the next few days now.

But not right now because I’m off to bed. It’s shopping tomorrow of course, if I don’t fall asleep, and there might even be more toys from Amazon. Won’t that be nice?

Tuesday 30th March 2021 – HAVING HAD A …

… really bad night last night, caused n the main by only having 5.5 hours of sleep, I’ve had a rather bad day today.

So bad in fact that most of the afternoon had been spent sleeping on the chair in the office. In fact there were times when I could quite easily have crawled back into bed and gone to sleep. and it probably would have been more productive had I have done so too.

But I can’t complain altogether because despite everything, today has been reasonably productive even if I didn’t spend the morning revising my Welsh (school is out for Easter by the way) as I had intended.

In news that will come as totally earth-shattering to most people, I’ve finally finished the photos for July 2019. And furthermore, I’ve burnt a DVD with those on it that I hadn’t burnt previously. This will be sent to Rosemary who, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, accompanied me from Aberdeen to Kangerlussuak.

As well as that I’ve finished another page of my voyage around Central Europe and THAT’S NOW ON LINE.

There’s just one more page to do but unfortunately that’s the page where I ran aground months ago. So don’t expect that to resurface any time soon.

In the middle of all of this I had to break off this morning to go into town. I’ve run out of fruit so I need some to keep me going until Thursday.

la grande ancre lifeboat yacht port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOff I set down the street towards town and I was arrested by the sight of the lifeboat going out and about for a run around.

They probably haven’t been out for a rescue but it does go out quite often for training exercises and the like and that’s probably what it’s been doing this morning.

There was plenty of other activity going on there at the Fish Processing Plant. Amongst the boats unloading there is our old friend la Grande Ancre who has probably been out collecting shellfish.

And there are plenty of vans parked around there too, presumably to take away the catch from the fishing boats. Whilst the Fish Processing Plant handles a lot of the catch, some of the boats belong to private enterprises such as wet fish shops or restaurants and they have their own vans to take away their shellfish.

Having watched them for a while I skipped off down the street towards town.

pointing rampe du mont à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall the pointing that’s been going on on the wall on the Rampe du Monte à Regret next to the Rue des Juifs.

Having stalled for a few weeks, this project to have apprentices training on the wall seems to have led to something of a spurt and they have advanced quite considerably. Maybe they might even finish it some time soon and start on something else.

Down the steps I went and landed in the Place Pleville and then strode out to the Super U. With the bag that I had in my sac banane I carried away a couple of apples, a couple of pears and a couple of bananas.

It was a shame that the battery in the camera went flat at this point as I would have taken a few more photos while I was out.

Next stop was the Nautical Centre on the seafront. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago I mentioned something about going on a sailing course and that’s the place to be. They were another one of these places where they know nothing but tell you “look on our website”. But at least they have courses and that’s always a start.

Next door to the CRNG is the Salle Hérel. That’s where the new vaccination centre is so I stuck my head inside to talk to someone. There was someone there so I started to tell my story but he cut me short. “I’m just the technician” he said. “If it’s a medical enquiry you need to come back tomorrow when the centre opens”.

So that’s something else that I need to do on Thursday morning on my way back from the shops. If I can have my second vaccination here instead of going all the way to Valognes, so much the better.

Back at the flat I carried on with work until lunchtime.

After lunch I came back in here to carry on work but I didn’t do a thing. I was curled up on the chair in here for most of the time.

When I awoke I was rather late for my afternoon walk so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off out.

people swimming in water beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the wall on the end of the car park I looked down onto the beach to see what was going on down there.

It goes without saying that I had to admire those people down there on the beach. Not just those paddling around up to their knees but the people who were even deeper in looking as if they were about to launch themselves off swimming in the water. They are braver men than I am, Gungha Din.

Mind you, one can hardly blame them. The sun was out, there wasn’t much wind at all and according to my thermometer at my apartment it was 22°C. Not the kind of weather in which I would want to be seen in the sea but I could understand others wanting to have a go.

fishing boat ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just on the beach that there were people around.

Right out at sea by one of the lights on a rock off the Ile de Chausey is one of the trawlers heading off into the English Channel to make its catch. As we saw this morning, they are very busy at the Fish Processing Plant wit all of the boats coming in with their catches.

Having looked around at what was going on I headed off towards the end of the headland, weaving my way through the throngs of people who were out there enjoying the weather this afternoon.

Across the lawn and the car park I went, to see what was happening out at sea. But there was nothing whatever happening out there so I continued on my way along the path on the other side if the headland.

cars parked on harbour wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou can tell that we are at the time of the Grande Marée. Just look at all of those cars parked on the harbour wall right now.

That is presumably where many of the people will be waiting for the “all clear” to go out onto the beach to scavenge for shellfish.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall because I’ve mentioned it before … “on many occasions” – ed … the foreshore is let out to commercial enterprises but at the very low tides of the Grande Marée the shore is uncovered beyond the commercially-let areas and the public has access to those areas.

They can scratch away to their hearts’ content subject to the rules and regulations about quantity and size

diggers laying mooring chains port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlso scratching away to their hearts’ content down in the harbour are the two diggers that are laying the new mooring chains. They seem to be having a whale of a time.

But it beats my why they are doing this now. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a year or two ago they had whole performance down there working on the mooring chains, digging them out of the silt and refurbishing them. So I wonder why they didn’t do this work then rather than making everyone come back now to do it again.

It seems to be typical of the authorities around here that they don’t have a complete programme of work. They drained the inner port a few years ago to replace the harbour gates, and then came back 6 months later to install the new pontoons. They could have done it at half the cost and in half of the time had they done it when the harbour was empty.

Then there was the notice board giving details of the Pointe du Roc. They dug up the grass and installed a path to there. And then 6 months later they installed the monument to the Resistance and dug up the path that they had laid to the noticeboard and replaced it with a path to the Resistance Monument.

They don’t seem to have the aptitude to be able to think things right through

hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s yet more activity at the chantier navale today.

While Hermes I, Lys Noir and Aztec Lady are still on their stocks down there, Spirit of Conrad now seems to have cleared off back into the water after her little sojourn in the chantier navale, all fully repaired and ready for the coming season, if we are actually going to have a tourist season this year.

Hermes I looks quite nice today, all masked off with brown paper. if the weather holds I could see that she’s going to be sprayed with a new coat of paint in certain places. She’ll be as good as new, if not better, by the time she goes back into the water.

And having seen that, and having noticed that there was nothing else going on anywhere else, I cleared off back to my apartment. I have plenty of things that I need to be doing this afternoon.

One of the things that I needed to do was to make another batch of kefir.

Plenty of juice oranges around here so I whizzed up 4 of them to extract the juice which I sieved, and then added the brewing kefir that I had made last time. I’d left an inch or so of the mother solution to use as a starter and then added the sugar lemon and fig and then filled it up with another couple of pints of water.

By now the kefir in the big jug had mixed in quite nicely with the orange juice so I stirred it all around and poured it through my filter stack into the bottles.

orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo here’s the finished product, all nice and orange. That will keep for a few days until I’m ready to use it.

And you’ll notice that I’m using the two bottles in which I had bought the lemonade the other week. We can see how they get on under the pressure of the fermentation. And if they hold out well enough, I’ll know what to buy the next time that they have a special offer.

As I was settling down afterwards to carry on work, Rosemary rang me up. And we had another one of our marathon chats – a mere 2 hours and 24 minutes. I’m amazed that I have so much to talk about.

That meant that I missed my guitar practice and a few other things besides. But at least with the ‘phone and the headset etc, I could wander around and do other stuff while I was talking.

Tea tonight was some vegan nuggets that I had bought in Leuven and hadn’t eaten. They were a couple of months past their sell-by date so I’ll be having the rest tomorrow. They were actually quite delicious with veg and potatoes and the apple crumble that followed it all down was just as delicious. I am eating well these days.

Having written my notes, I’m now ready for bed. I’m exhausted and ready for a really good sleep and it’s high time that I had one as well.

Saturday 27th March 2021 – THAT WAS PROBABLY …

… the most uneventful journey that I have ever had since I’ve been going back and to to Leuven.

It might have been all so different though. It’s a good job that I checked the telephone before I went to bed because I found that I had forgotten to set the alarms for this morning. And there would be very little chance of me awakening from the dead at 05:00.

So with the alarms switched on and me fully dressed and not having had one of these new knock-out pill things that they have prescribed for me, I went to bed and slept right through, just awakening once and not having had an attack of cramp either.

As for whether there is anything on the dictaphone, you’ll have to wait for another day to find out about that.

When the alarm went off at 05:00 I leapt out of bed with alacrity and by 05:30 I’d packed, made my sandwiches, washed up, tidied up, handed back my keys and was halfway down the road to the railway station.

multiple unit am96 automotrice 569 gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric HallBang on 06:14 my train pulled into the station.

It’s one of the AM96 class of multiple units running the train to one of the smaller towns on the Belgian “Costa Stella”. We’ve travelled on quite a few of these and I happen to quite like them. They are quite clean, tidy and comfortable considering that they are over 20 years old now.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall, because I’ve said it before … “and you’ll say it again” – ed … when two of these sets are coupled together, the two driving cabs that are next to each other can pivot out of the way so that passengers can walk from one set to the next

Despite having to go round by the airport, we pulled up in the Gare du Midi with plenty of time to spare.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4523 gare du midi railway station brussels belgium Eric HallThe train for the next part of my journey – the trip to Lille Europe – was already in the station.

It’s one of the Reseau 38000 tri-volt units on which we’ve travelled quite regularly. The train is the 07:17 to Strasbourg that goes via Lille, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and then cross country.

Although the doors were open, there was a sign saying “do not embark” but after waiting around for 10 minutes freezing we all had a minor revolt and boarded the train regardless. It set off on time and roared off down the line towards Lille Europe Railway station where it arrived on time.

Then I had my 10-minute walk across the city to the Lille Flandres railway station. My leg was still giving me cause for concern but it was certainly better than it was on the way out after my fall. I made it quite comfortably with plenty of time to spare.

TGV Reseau Duplex 218 gare de lille flandres France Eric HallAt Lille-Flandres, my train was already in at the platform. It’s another one of the TGV Reseau Duplex sets that work the route from Paris to Lille.

My seat is, as usual, upstairs on the top deck and, just like the previous train, there was plenty of room to spread out, due to the low numbers of passengers riding right now with the Covid restrictions.

On the way into Paris I ended up having a little doze and awoke with a start as we were creeping into the suburbs. Bang on time yet again. I headed off for the metro and just as I set foot on the platform a train pulled in so I didn’t have to wait at all for my TRAVERSEE DE PARIS, with or without Bourvil to carry my suitcase.

84574 gec alstom regiolis gare montparnasse paris France Eric HallAt the Gare Montparnasse I went up the stairs down which I had fallen the other day, and say a train that looked like mine sitting at the platform.

It wasn’t indicated though so we had to wait around for about an hour or so. That’s the annoying thing about Paris main-line railway stations though. They are huge, draughty and there is nowhere for anyone to sit. I had to stand up leaning against a notice board, watching the police interrogate foreigners and the like and check their papers.

With about 20 minutes to go before our train was due to depart, the platform number came up on the station display board and e could make our way to the train. And it was indeed the train that I had seen at the platform.

84561 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a 12-car train made of two 6-car units and quite naturally I was in the second unit right down the far end.

Once we set off I spent some time working on the photos from my trip in 2019. I’m now on the Deadwood Trail in South Dakota, waiting for the Deadwood Stage to be heading on over the hills, where the Indian arrows are thicker than porcupine quills. I covered a darn sight more than 23 miles on that day.

To my surprise we pulled into Granville 2 minutes early. I gathered up my stuff and headed off down the steps to the Parc de Val es Fleurs into town.

On the way past, I called into Super U to pick up some mushrooms for my pizza tomorrow and then headed for home where I collapsed into a chair.

The football came on later – Caernarfon Town v Cardiff Metro. Caernarfon aren’t a particularly skilful team but they are an efficient team. Cardiff Metro, technically pretty good as you might expect, lack the skill to go with it and are extremely lightweight up front.

The Met’s central defenders are skilful and brave but they are probably the slowest, most ponderous pair that I have ever seen. Caernarfon won the match 3-2, a score that flattered the Met, having taken advantage of the Met’s central defenders by catching them too far upfield on two occasions and beating them to a couple of long balls over the top.

Mind you, Noah Edwards’ long-ball pass for the first goal is about as good as you’ll ever get at this level of football. It was an absolutely inch-perfect curving long-ball pass with the outside of the right foot. Just look at AT ABOUT 25 MINUTES INTO THE VIDEO (ABOUT 11 MINUTES OF THE GAME) and you’ll see what I mean.

For a couple of hours I did some tidying up on the computer and then went for tea. A burger that I had brought back from Leuven with a couple of the mountain of potatoes that are were still waiting for me here.

Now that that’s done, I’m off to bed. No alarm in the morning so I’m hoping for a good lie-in. I reckon that I need it after my day. Not that I had a stressful journey back. There won’t be another one as calm as that.

Friday 19th March 2021 – AFTER ALL OF THE …

home made ginger beer orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… excitement last night, I rounded up the surviving bottles and put them in a plastic box on top of the fridge in the bathroom where they won’t cause too much damage in the future if a similar eventuality were to arise.

But making the orange ginger beer is back on again, I reckon, because I don’t think that it was that which caused the problems.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve been using an assortment of various bottles here, mostly recycled lemonade bottles and the like as well as a few rather dodgy cheap bottles.

But I also have three new, expensive bottles that I bought from IKEA. Two are used as water containers and the third was a spare. That was pressed into service to hold the ginger beer and, unbelievably, it was that one that blew up. The recycled ones and the dodgy cheap ones are keeping going.

That was something of a surprise.

What else which was a surprise was that despite tempting fate last night, I did manage to crawl out of bed just after the first alarm. And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

There was a huge murder mystery going on last night with about 20 suspects. There was a detective giving the final denouément right at the very end, going through each person in turn explaining why he would have done it and and finally saying that they didn’t because … and coming up with some reason. This went on for ever and I can’t remember it at all. At the end I was with a woman, someone whom I knew and I can’t think who it was now. We were discussing the radio system. We had half a dozen different aerials, half a dozen different things and we were all switching between the aerials automatically. We would expect a few problems with the automation and I was thinking about having the whole thing redone so that it would still be automatic but I could manually control the aerials so that I knew which aerial was transmitting what. And again this is another thing about which I remember very little.

After the dictaphone notes I made a start on the photos from Greenland. Another pile of those have bitten the dust now and I’m sitting on the deck of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR watching them unload the zodiacs that will take us to the shore where buses will take up to the airport at Kangerlussuaq. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had to break off my Transatlantic voyage here because the ship had been chartered by a bunch of North American schoolkids and being from Europe, I didn’t have a valid police check record. I had to come back 3 weeks later when the ship returned so that I could board her and continue my journey across the Atlantic to the Canadian mainland.

By now it was light so I prepared to do battle with the living room, making myself some hot chocolate and cutting myself a slice of fruit sourdough bread. But just at that moment Rosemary rang with a problem and we ended up having a brief chat. One hour and three minutes to be precise.

The damage in the living room is not as extensive as I thought. One of the windows in the nice unit in the living room has been peppered with shrapnel that has made its marks upon the glass, and the TV screen that I use as a computer monitor has taken a bashing too.

The carpet is in the bath. I’ve scrubbed it, used soap on it, scrubbed it again and rinsed it thoroughly. Now it’s in there drying off. And it’ll have another go tomorrow afternoon after my shower. All of the ginger beer that wasn’t in the tray as soaked into the carpet. There wasn’t much anywhere else.

Tons of broken glass about the place and I’ve brushed up as much as I could. But anyone who comes here now will have to be careful where they sit. We all know what happened to the captain of the Good Ship Venus.

The floor has been washed and it will have another washing tomorrow. And I’ll wash down the furniture etc as well tomorrow.

But some good did come out of all of this. The mechanical stopper of the broken bottle was intact and it had obviously proved its worth by resisting the explosion. So I swapped it over onto one of the cheap bottles and now that makes a really good seal. So all was not lost.

Another task that I had to perform was to speak to a certain young Canadian girl whom I know to acquaint her with the news that I’d received from Rachel yesterday because I imagined that in the confusion she would have been left out. We had quite a chat for 15-20 minutes about the events of yesterday and also about lots of other stuff too.

By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd for something of a change just recently, we were having a really nice day today.

The weather was cool and windy but there was a bright blue sky and for once there wasn’t any fog or haze. The tide was quite far out and there were several people down there on the beach and amongst the rocks making the most of the nice afternoon.

One thing that I have noticed – or, maybe, it’s more correct to say that I haven’t noticed, is that there haven’t been any bird-men around for quite a while. Where they leap off the cliffs is just over there to the right near the cemetery – something that probably means that if they make a mistake on take-off they don’t have far to go.

But to be serious … “for once” – ed … I wonder what’s happened that means that they haven’t been taking to the air just recently.

jersey channel islands english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith the weather being so much better today I had a good peer out to sea to see if I could seee Jersy on the horizon today.

And sure enough, with a GOOD LONG LENS and plenty of enhancement back at the apartment later, I was able just about to pick out the island. Not as clearly as I have done in the past, but the fact that we can see it at all today 58kms away shows you just what an improvement that we have had.

Not like in the Auvergne, apparently. Rosemary told me that she awoke this morning to a couple of inches of snow.

Just one or two people around today, so I had the place pretty much to myself. I pushed on along the path, across the lawn and across the car park down to the end of the headland.

seafarers memorial le loup jullouville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Memorial to the Missing Seafarers is still there – not that that’s any surprise – but you can actually see it today, which is something.

Yesterday we struggled to see much further beyond Le Loup, the light that sits on top of the rock just outside the harbour entrance, but today with it being clear, we can see the town of Jullouville quite easily across the bay, and right to the water tower on the ridge at the back of the town.

On top of the ridge just to the right of the right-hand flagpole is that mystery tower. I haven’t forgotten that one of these days I intend to go and see what it is

With nothing going on out in the bay across to the Brittany coast I pushed of along the footpath at the top of the cliff.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir freddy land chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown in the chantier navale we have yet more movement and change of occupancy.

Spirit of Conrad, Aztec Lady, Lys Noir, Hermes 1 and Freddy Land are still there, but the trawler Charlevy has gone back into the water. On the morning tide, apparently. So there’s now room for someone else to come in and join the (af)fray.

There might be room for more boats very soon too because the whole place was quite a hive of activity today. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many people down there working on the boats, from private owners in private cars to specialist companies with sign-written vans.

The racket that they were making was quite unbearable. It looks as if everyone is making ready quite rapidly in anticipation of an ease in the lockdown. That’s what I call optimism.

naabsa fishing boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile we haven’t seen to many hang-gliders just recently, we have been seeing a lot of fishing boats abandoned to the tide at the jetty by the Fish Processing Plant.

It beats me as to why. We went for months, if not years, without seeing a one except for special reasons but this last few weeks we see them on a regular basis. Clearly something is up.

My time was also up so I headed off home where I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had quite a chat. And then I came up for my hot coffee.

There was no guitar practice tonight. I can catch up with that another time. But when I returned I attacked that page of my notes from my trip around Central Europe on which I’ve made very little progress just recently, and found that I was advancing quite rapidly. I decided therefore to stick at it until I finished it because I was fed up of it hanging around.

Round about 20:00 I finally finished it and now IT’S ON LINE at long last. I hope that it won’t take me long to finish off this exercise, although there is a page on which I’ve been stuck for a while and I don’t know what I’m going to do about that one.

Tea was taco rolls and rice. I wasn’t very hungry and half of it finished in the bin. No pudding either.

So after the exertions of yesterday and today and having already crashed out for half an hour (and instead of fighting it, I allowed myself to be carried away) I’m off to bed for a good sleep.

No shopping tomorrow. Instead I’ll catch up with the guitar and practice that I missed and wash the living room again.

There’s football tomorrow afternoon and I mustn’t miss that either.

And then I need to slowly thing about going to Leuven. Wednesday, that is. I wonder what they will tell me this time.