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Tuesday 20th September 2022 – MEANWHILE, BACK AT …

fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… the apartment, I’ve been a busy boy this afternoon.

At breakfast this morning I ate the last of the fruit buns and so I needed to make some more. Consequently, after I came back from my stagger around the headland I made a start and mixed up a pile of dough.

It just so happened that I had two extremely ripe bananas and they certainly made a difference. And as a result there was rather too much liquid so I had to add more flour and thus instead of the usual 9 or 10 there are in fact 11

And they are of good size too so I shall be regaling myself for quite a while.

And it wasn’t only just this afternoon that I was a busy boy either. I kept myself quite occupied during the night as well. There was a “Help Yourself” song stuck in the Top 20 and the group was trying to come in from one way to reach it but someone else had come from ahead of it to reach backwards for it. This was going to cause quite some conflict in the charts as the group itself really didn’t do anything except sit there. And if you can make sense out of all of that, then well-done because I can’t.

We were all then waiting round the corner from Exchange Street for a bus that was coming past at 23:17 because it had a car on it that we wanted to pick up. The bus appeared but it just drove straight past the bus stop. We all set out in pursuit. We caught up with the bus as it pulled into the bus station. The driver was basically talking a load of nonsense saying that this is in fact the 21:17 running late and what made us think that we’d get a car on board his bus anyway? He said that there would be other buses coming in even though it was almost midnight and although the bus station would be closing at midnight. We said that someone had better fetch some drinks for us as we were exhausted but he took one and drank it which we thought was rather cheeky of him. Generally speaking we had the air that he wasn’t going to co-operate at all and was just messing us around until the bus station closed and that would be that. We didn’t have our car, we didn’t have a way of going home, we didn’t have anything. I could see about 20 people spending the night sleeping on board this bus in the bus station.

There was also a white and light blue Plaxton Premier driving along the Rue du Port heading towards the chantier naval. I’d no idea what one of those would be doing round here but it looked happy enough

And next, I was working for OUSA last night recruiting. I was talking to a new girl who had just begun her studies. She lived in North London. At first getting information from her was like getting blood from a stone but gradually we warmed up and we had a really exciting chat. She’d worked for a roofing company and had actually been on roofs, doing roofing herself at one time. I was beginning to think to myself that by the time the end of this chat warmed up, this was someone whom I ought to know really a lot better than I do. We were having a bit of s struggle though because she was sent over to see ma and I was talking to her but it was someone I knew from school who was in charge of all the paperwork and the brochures. I went over to fetch some paperwork and a brochure but of course he’d gone home and there weren’t any so it was rather difficult to have this subject and this conversation on the go. But this was a girl whom I’d have really liked to have met a lot more than I did.

Finally I was on a project building a Combined Heat and Power generator using an old diesel engine to run a generator and to heat water that would provide hot water for various projects. It’s proven technology of course but there were always the prophets of doom about. Some scientist had published some work on the subject. he was quite a famous scientist. The debate was going on about whether he was right in this instance. Someone made the point that he had been right 3 or 4 times but as I explained, that counts for nothing because each case is individual. In any case this isn’t new technology, it’s stuff that’s been used for hundreds of years and even in cars they do it with generators and hot water heating the interior of the car so it obviously works. It doesn’t need a scientist to tell anyone. This carried on until the alarm went off.

After the medication I sorted out a few things that I needed to do and then revised for my Welsh lesson. And I’m glad that I did because today we were only 6 students. Still several who are missing.

Mind you, I nearly didn’t join the lesson. When I went to refresh the portable computer that I use, it took that moment to perform an upgrade. I was about 15 minutes late in joining by which time everyone else was already in breakout rooms.

It passed off quite well today, much better than it did last week and I’m hoping that I can keep it up. And also to continue with my Welsh studies too.

Incidentally, you won’t ever find any double-entendres in anything that I ever write. If you happen to come across one, let me know and I’ll whip it out immediately.

After the fruit I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been. I must admit that I had a smile about the trip to Crewe bus station. No chance of that these days because it’s all been swept away in an orgy of demolition.

It didn’t quite manage to survive 60 years, which is a shocking indictment of modern construction techniques, about which I HAVE BEEN VERY BITTER IN THE PAST.

Nevertheless, it shall be sorely missed. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I passed my Biology ‘O’ Level exam thanks to the helpful drawings on the walls of the public conveniences on Crewe Bus Station

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So by now it was time for me to go walkabout

As usual I wandered over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down there today. The tide was quite a way in so really there wasn’t all that much down there for anything to be going on.

And there weren’t all that many people down there either. The weather has definitely turned and for the first time since I can’t remember when, I have put on a sweater in order to go out.

That’s not like me, is it?

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Even though the tide was quite a way out, there wasn’t all that much going on out at sea this afternoon.

Just really a handful of yachts like this one out in the Baie de Granville, and nothing else. We’re really getting to the end of the season now. It’s the first day of Autumn tomorrow if my calculations are correct.

There weren’t too many people up her eon the path either so I had a quiet walk along the tops of the cliffs. The view was good all the way along the coast and even out to Jersey but there wasn’t anything special to see today so I didn’t take any photographs to add to the record.

cabanon vauban people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So despite the lack of action anywhere around, there were still a couple of people down by the cabanon vauban.

It was quite interesting going across the car park to see them because although there weren’t many people up there, I heard some English people and some German people too. Now that the French people have gone home, the foreigners are coming out in force.

But as for the people down below, I don’t know who they were but they certainly didn’t find the bench by the cabanon vauban to be comfortable enough. The ground looks much more comfortable for the person on the left.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But I suppose that there was someone down there for our people by the cabanon vauban to observe.

The tide is far too far in for the adepts at the peche-à-pied to be out in force, but perched down there like piffy on a rock we have a traditional fisherman with rod and line.

He’s concentrating quite hard on what he’s doing but it doesn’t look as if he’s intending to do anything special because like many other fishermen whom we’ve seen down there, he doesn’t have a box or a bucket in which to put any catch that he might take.

It could be of course that I’m completely missing the point of what the fishing is all about and it isn’t to actually catch anything.

There was quite a lot of traffic down on the road so it took me a minute or two to cross over.

gerlean l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And down at the chantier naval this afternoon there’s yet more exciting stuff going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have become quite used to seeing L’Omerta and Gerlean playing “musical ships” down by the Fish Processing Plant but by the looks of things they are now planning on playing a game in the chantier naval.

And you can see that it’s becoming quite tight in there with all the other usual suspects still in occupancy. There is some talk somewhere about the possibility of expanding the chantier naval and you can see why the proposition has been put forward.

But it’s unlikely that it’ll take effect. All of the quayside is a Protected Monument.

arc en ciel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And while the cats, as in L’Omerta and Gerlean are away, the mice have come out to play.

Moored over there at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon is the little trawler Arc En Ciel. She’s another one whom we’ve seen on a couple of occasions in the chantier naval in the past.

While she was there I was trying to make out what was going on and what she was doing, but unfortunately she didn’t hang around long enough. Just after I took this photo she pulled away from the wharf and went into the inner harbour and that was that.

F-GORN Robin DR400-120 Dauphin 2+2 baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Anyway, it was at this moment that I was distracted.

Flying by overhead as I watched Arc En Ciel came an aeroplane. On closer examination it turned out to be one of our old favourites. She’s F-GORN, a Robin DR400-120 Dauphin 2+2 that belongs to the local aero club.

She’d been out a few times during the day and picked up on radar but this flight wasn’t picked up. She was recorded at landing at the airfield here at Granville at 14:03 and the next time she was picked up, she wast taking off at Avranches at 16:29.

As my photo was taken at 16:19 (adjusted) she must have been on her way to Avranches but keeping a very low profile.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the way home I stopped for a look at the inner harbour.

There was a lorry down there unloading a pile of freight ready to be picked up by one of the little Jersey freighters. Although I’m not quite sure how they are going to load it up with Cotes De La Manche moored up in the way.

Back here I made a start on the fruit buns and I do have to say that they looked quite good while they were proofing.

So as I was going to have the oven on to bake the buns, I abandoned my plans to have a taco roll for tea and found some frozen vegan pie in the freezer. That went in to oven with some potatoes and the fruit buns while I cooked some vegetables in thick gravy

The tea was nice and as for the fruit buns, I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

And that’s tomorrow too. Right now I’m off to bed. I have visitors coming tomorrow so I’ll have to do a little tidying up. Not that anyone will notice the difference in here.

Thursday 25th August 2022 – I HAVE BEEN …

… out and about this afternoon, just for a change. And the days when my whole existence can be uplifted into headline news because I’ve actually been into the town centre shows you what’s going on in my life right now.

With a cheque to pay in, some magnesium tablets to buy and a load of ships in port, it seemed like a good plan.

Yesterday’s highlight, which I didn’t mention for fear of overwhelming you all with excitement, was going to the bins to take out the rubbish. It needed something really riveting to surpass that, didn’t it?

Only a few minutes late going to bed, and for a change I had a reasonable night. Mind you, once again it was a struggle to my feet this morning.

After the meds I attacked the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. A bill came through for £170 and I wanted to pay it so I took my credit card and rang up the people concerned ready to pay it over the phone. After being shunted around half a dozen departments I was told that there was another procedure to follow. They explained the procedure to me which I didn’t quite understand but I had a go and the payment failed. I rang them back to explain to them. They explained another procedure which again failed. I was there for about three days trying to speak to all kinds of different people. Eventually they said that they had taken the payment with the credit card over the phone. I asked for confirmation so they put me through to the accounts department to make sure. When I spoke to her and told her about this she replied “you have to pay it”. I retorted “I’ve just paid it”. She asked “have you?” in an air of totally disbelieving tone. I replied “yes” so she said that I’d have to speak to someone in Accounts. I said “I just have done. It was they who just passed me through to you”. I had a feeling that with this money we were just going to be going round and round in a circle and end up nowhere at all. This was taking place while I was in the hospital. I had people in the ward with me so it was really extremely uncomfortable as well.

Afterwards I was in bed but awoke to hear some laughing. The ‘phone went and I couldn’t hear one side of the conversation but the other one was something like “yes, we’re all up and preparing to leave but Eric is still in bed”. I stood up quickly, grabbed my clothes, all my money fell out of my jeans, put on my clothes, kept on having my feet stuck in the legs of my trousers, generally trying to organise myself quickly because they’ll be taking down this tent in a minute. It seemed to me that the quicker I tried to do things, the longer it was actually taking me. I thought that I’d never have enough time to do this and collect my things together before they wanted to pull down this tent.

There was an interruption though in mid-transcribe, and an embarrassing interruption at that.

Yesterday with not feeling so bright and being rather tired, I hadn’t tidied anything up and the place was looking like a total tip. And, of course, I’d completely forgotten about the nurse. She turned up to find me in total chaos and not as clean as I would otherwise have liked the place to have been.

She struggled to find a clean and clear place to put the paper while she wrote out her notes and while she’s a cheerful sort, she clearly wasn’t happy.

All in all, it was rather an shameful situation.

It’s not going to improve very much either because the next time that she’ll be coming to inject me is in 10 days time on a Sunday morning and you all know what I’m like early on a Sunday morning.

After she left I carried on transcribing the notes and almost as soon as I’d finished, Rosemary called me. I’m convinced that when she was here she must have concealed a camera somewhere because she seems to know the precise moment to phone me.

When Rosemary and I finished our chat I started on what was left of the dictaphone notes from my trip around Central Europe and in a mad fit of enthusiasm and energy (don’t ask me where that came from)I completed them all. So that’s another good job completed.

In fact, it took me longer than I was expecting the pause for my lunchtime fruit notwithstanding.

fish processing plant festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Because of the position of the tide, I wanted to go out for my walk earlier than usual this afternoon.

As usual when I’m heading into town my point of reference for checking the camera is the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

There wasn’t anyone down there at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon. Gerlean who sometimes ties up there was in the inner harbour and I couldn’t see L’Omerta, the other boat that loiters around there usually.

Plenty of boxes on the quayside though so they must be expecting a load of traffic.

sailing boats rowing boat festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022In fact you can see Gerlean down there right now tied up to a pontoon.

What you can’t see though is Victor Hugo. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Believe it or not, I can tell you exactly where she ought to be right now without even looking at the radar. She should be back at her berth. She left home at 09:30 for Jersey and left there at 18:30 to return home.

It reminds me of Frankie Howerd when during one of his TV programmes he turned to the audience and asked “how do I know? Well, I have read the script”

While I was over there I picked up a timetable from the ferry terminal so I now know her agenda. It’s all bad news as far as I can see because the season of sailings is so intermittent that there’s no possibility of my going over there for a convenient three-or four-day break as I was hoping.

Going down all of the steps to the Rue du Port was mush more difficult than I imagined. I’m definitely losing my mobility. I then crossed the road and went over along the side of the Fish Processing Plant towards the harbour gates.

la granvillaise marie fernand grain de sail le loup rouge festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The boat that we haven’t seen before on the extreme right is called Le Loup Rouge. She was built in 1962 and has a very interesting history as she was designed by John Illingworth and Angus Primrose as a racing yacht.

She actually won the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s championship that year. Now though, she lives a more sedate life in Cherbourg just going to regattas and exhibitions.

Of course, over there we have on the extreme left La Granvillaise and next to her is Marie Fernand. We are, for the moment anyway, much more interested in the other boat, Grain de Sail

grain de sail festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travailport de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Her claim to fame is that she’s a commercial sailing boat that is powered (almost) exclusively by wind. There’s a small diesel engine on board but that’s just for manoeuvring, so we are told.

But while a uniquely wind-powered boat is nothing unusual, what is unusual about her is that she has a carrying capacity of 50 tonnes and twice a year goes over on a triangular voyage from Europe to New York with local French produce for the American market, and then down to the Caribbean and finally back to Europe.

Not that two voyages per year of 50 tonnes is going to contribute much to the environment, but it’s all to prove a point. And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, when I lived in the Auvergne I did much more than that and for a much longer period to prove a point.

le roc a la mauve 3 festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022My was timed to perfection as the harbour gates were closed so I could walk over the top to the other side.

As I did so, the first of the shell-fishing boats came in to unload at the fish processing plant. This one is Le Roc à la Mauve whom we saw for a lengthy period in the chantier naval.

Towing her little lighter behind her, she chugged into port with a respectable load of shellfish on board. The guy back there at the HIAB was repositioning the boxes, presumably for ease of unloading.

That’s not the kind of thing that you would do out in the open sea. There have been maritime disasters too numerous to mention where the load in a boat has suddenly shifted or been shifted and caused the boat to capsize with all hands. There was one like that in North Wales not so long ago.

grain de sail festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Once I was on the other side of the harbour I went down to Grain de Sail.

There was a member of the crew on board so I button-holed him. His ship is only a four-berth and as it needs four hands to sail it, it doesn’t take passengers on its transatlantic jaunts.
“What about if you only have three crew members and are in need of a fourth?”
“Do you have a “Marine Marchand” – a Merchant Navy certificate?”
“Regrettably not”
“Then I’m afraid that you wouldn’t be considered.”

And so that was that. At least I tried

Instead I admired the arrays of solar panels and the two wind turbines. They also have some hydro-generators too but I bet that they slow down the boat.

Next stop was the ferry terminal where I picked up a brochure for Victor Hugo. And my enquiries told me that Ukrainian refugees going for a day out to Jersey need a UK visa all the same.

kiddies pirate ship festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With things to do in the town I headed that way along the side of the quay.

One thing that I like about France is that they are much more child-friendly than the UK and so I was expecting to see much more for the kids than you would see at a festival across the channel.

And I wasn’t wrong either. You can’t have a Festival of sailing ships without having a pirate ship, complete with pirates and buccaneers to chase the kids and press-gang them into service on board.

Even STRAWBERRY MOOSE has experienced life as an active buccaneer, as regular readers of this rubbish WILL RECALL

In fact, looking for that photo made me all nostalgic. That was an excellent road trip, one of the very best, when I started off in the far north of Labrador and three weeks later I was at Rhys’s in South Carolina.

Housman summed it up completely with his
” That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

kiddies pirate ship festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here.

The buccaneers have now rounded up a crowd of apprentice pirates and one of them is giving them all a lecture on what is expected of them when they serve aboard the Good Ship Glug Glug.

Actually she should have been called The Jolly Roger but the pirate captain’s wife fell off the quayside as she swung the bottle of champers

Anyway, everyone was having a whale of a time (seeing as we are discussing nautical terms) and I left them to it, crossing the ad-hoc bridge over the artificial beach.

film screen festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Yesterday I thought that I saw a puss .. errr … a TV screen down on the harbour so I went for a closer look seeing as I was here.

It was in fact a screen showing a series of cartoons for children explaining in simple terms all about life at sea. It’s nice to see the kids having a fair whack at the festival.

From there I wandered into town to pay my quarterly pension cheque into my bank account. Now where can I go with €142:60? Spend! Spend! Spend! Hey?

At the chemist’s I bought the magnesium tablets. Extra-strong. According to my friend the pharmacist these will give me a donner un coup de fouet – liven me up.

She might actually have a point there. Thinking about it, I started going downhill when I finished the last lot, went without for a week or 10 days and then had that big box of German ones.

marité festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That was it. I could go home now.

The walk back up the hill wasn’t as difficult as I was expecting. I still had to stop a couple of times for breath, at one point where I could overlook the port and see what was happening.

Marité was there of course, one of the centres of attention. But you can see just how busy the Festival is. And it will be like that until Sunday now, I reckon. It’s a good way to finish the summer season I suppose, even if the roads and the car parks will be crowded.

So having gathered my wits, I pushed on further up the hill towards home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, I wanted to see what was happening on the beach, although I don’t know why because I checked the camera on the way out.

The weather was much nicer today although maybe a little cooler. But the absence of people on the beach can probably be explained by the crowds of people down in the town and at the Festival.

Back here I had a surprise. There’s an undercurrent of dissent about the way the building is managed and two or three people are trying to stir up a revolution. They had pushed a letter into my letterbox

As I’m a tenant and not an owner, it doesn’t really concern me so I wrote a quick note on the back of the letter and put it in the letter box of the building’s President.

During this argument I’m taking no sides but I’m keeping in with the President. She’s the one who has my best chance of coming up the quickest with news of an apartment here to sell that I could buy.

The idea behind renting this place was because it would give me chance to look around and see what else was available. But there is no place on earth better than here so I’m staying here and renting rather than buying somewhere less good.

One day an apartment will come up here.

The walk was such that an iced chocolate drink went down well and then I began to update one or two of the blog entries with the dictaphone notes and images.

After a chat on the ‘phone with the President about my note

Tea tonight (at the usual, correct time) was pie with potatoes, veg and gravy. It’s one of my favourite meals and this one was just as nice as ever. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … my meals are simple but they aren’t half tasty.

It’s been a surprising day today – I’ve walked quite a way, not crashed out, done a lot of work. I wonder if I can keep this up. It’s not like me to have a day like this so I’m glad that I made the most of it.

Ready for the (af)fray tomorrow, I hope.

Friday 19th August 2022 – JUST FOR A …

… change, I’ve had a good day today.

Here in the apartment I can’t move because of carboard boxes too. And printers. There are two of them that are destined for that great office in the sky once it goes dark.

What I’ve actually done is to strip out the cupboard and wardrobe in the bedroom. Apart from finding all kinds of stuff that I didn’t know that I had or forgotten that I’d bought, I found a big pile of cardboard boxes that I had no idea why I was keeping them.

They are all now piled up by the door waiting for dark as well, always assuming that I can leave the apartment because of the cardboard boxes in the way of the door.

In fact I had a good couple of hours in the cupboard stripping it out without even stopping to catch my breath. And now, there’s tons of storage space that I’ve liberated. I shan’t know myself at this rate.

As well as that, over the last couple of days I’ve been walking a little easier too and it was better again today, although I’ve no idea why that should be. But whatever it is, all of the foregoing has made me feel much better.

And it’s been a long, long time since I’ve been able to say all that.

It will be interesting if this new, improved me can keep on going and keep the momentum. We all know some very well-worn phrases about swallows and summers but there’s absolutely no reason why I can’t make the most of it while it’s there to be made the most of.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while you admire a couple of photos of the two Joly France ferries coming back from the island in line-astern, I’ll tell you how my day went today.

And as usual these days, it started off with a late night. I’m having a few of those just now.

A turbulent night as well. I didn’t sleep very well at all. Tossing and turning around for much of it, wide awake, something of a failure as far as I can see.

Consequently it was something of quite a struggle to rouse myself from the depths of wherever I was when the alarm went off. I’m having more than just a few of those as well just recently too.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022after the medication I came here to have a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

To my surprise, I hadn’t gone very far. I had a group of people around, a couple of girls whom I knew and one or two others. I was sorting out something to eat. There was a bag full of cooked sausages so I put some plates out and started to put these sausages on the plates for these people. Gradually everyone came in and began to sit down. One of the girls piped up and said ‘now Eric what about our ski holiday?”. I simply had a flash of horror because it was now 20:30 and we had a plane to board at 22:00 to take us to our ski holiday. It had completely and utterly slipped my mind. Of course it seemed to have slipped everyone else’s mind too who was going except this girl who had left it until the last minute to remind me. I sat there totally lost for words which is not like me trying to think of what to say while everyone else sat there and waited for some kind of reply from me but I really didn’t know what to say about that.

It must have been a bad night if I’d only gone off for a wander once despite spending most of the night tossing any turning around like that.

But it’s an ill-wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good, so the saying goes. Having typed that out fairly quickly, in a mad fit of enthusiasm I dealt with (a mountain of) recordings from one of the days when I was out and about in Central Europe. And I bet that that took you by surprise as much as it took me.

Had I not had an interruption in mid-transcribe, I could have done far more too. However Rosemary rang me up and we had another one of our marathon chats that go on for hours and hours.

It’s almost back-to-school time and some arrangement ought to be made for Miss Ukraine to be educated. Whether or not she’ll benefit academically is one thing, but she’ll certainly benefit from having some social contact with local kids of her age.

And now that she’s a teenager I’m sure that the question of “boys” will be somewhere on the agenda at some point in the near future and she isn’t going to meet too many where she is.

Her parents don’t have a clue about what to do and neither does Rosemary so we spent some time surfing the internet looking for clues, as well as having one of our usual chats.

It was after the phone call and having finished the notes that I was transcribing that I attacked the cupboard in here.

It’s not very well-laid out so it’s always going to be problematic but I’ve been stuffing things in there for a little over 5 years without much thought. And I’ve no idea why I have so many empty boxes.

But now they are ready to go along with a lot of other old stuff (yes, I’m ACTUALLY throwing stuff away) and there’s now quite a lot of room to bring yet more rubbish into the apartment. This is progress.

With a break for my fruit and to chat with my niece’s eldest daughter on the internet (it’s her birthday today) all of this took me up to the time for me to go for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And as usual, my first stop would be at the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

With nothing to hold me up on my way across the car park I strode out (for the first time for months). I wasn’t expecting to see too many people down there on the beach because the weather has changed dramatically.

The temperature must have dropped about 20°C since those heady days of 10 days ago and although we had some blue sky, we also had plenty of cloud and wind.

There wasn’t anyone at all in the water and that’s no surprise at all to anyone in this weather

dry footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022During the morning we had had some rain, and with the rain that we had had overnight, it’s done wonders for the local plant life.

Although the path is still quite dusty, the vegetation is starting to regain its colour. We saw yesterday how the weeds had picked up after those two quick showers but if you look closely today at a photo that I took from roughly the same place as the others, you’ll see that the grass is now starting to find its colour.

It’s pretty good how quickly nature can revitalise itself after such a period of stress. Give it a few hundred thousand years after humans have been eradicated from the planet and we’ll see Mother Nature in all her glory.

Well, we won’t, because we won’t be here. But you know what I mean. But it’s not just in the nineteen-seventies that humans have “Mother Nature on the run”.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Just now we saw the older of the two Joly France boats coming across the bay from the Ile de Chausey.

Shortly afterwards we had another boat come around the headland heading out into the bay. At first I thought that it might be Lysandre or her look-alike Petite Laura so I took a photo with the aim of enhancing and enlarging it when I returned home to see who it was.

However, it’s neither of the two. It looks like some kind of unusual design of cabin cruiser that has taken to the water.

So leaving that alone I fought my way through the crowds to the end of the headland. It was busy up here today yet again as holidaymakers look around for something to do.

lobster pot buoys pointe de roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022When I was out here yesterday I forgot to check to see if the buoy for what I preusme to be a lobster pot was still out here just offshore.

So either it’s the same one that I hadn’t noticed yesterday or else it’s an entirely new one that has appeared offshore today. And it seems to have found a friend too.

Not that I would know anything about it but I would imagine that the fact that the flags on the buoys are different colours, they belong to different owners. But I really have no idea. I know that I would want my flags to be different from any other.

There wasn’t anyone on the bench by the cabanon vauban so I cleared off down the path towards the port.

le roc a la mauve III belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was no change in occupant yet again at the chantier naval so I had a look over at the ferry terminal to see what was going on.

Moored over there at the head of the queue is Belle France. We didn’t see her out and about this afternoon but that is not of course to say that she hasn’t gone anywhere.

My attention was also caught by the fishing boat down there with the impressive-looking HIAB on board. She’s le Roc à la Mauve III who we saw in the chantier naval for a while a couple of months ago.

With a crane like that on board they must be expecting to haul in a whole load of shellfish.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, as I was watching Belle France, the first of the Joly France ferries that we saw earlier pulled into port.

She is of course the older one of the two. That you can tell from her windows in “landscape” format and the larger upper deck superstructure. She has quite a crowd of people on board this afternoon. It must have been quite busy over there today.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day I mentioned something about the water over on the island. There was something about that in the local paper yesterday.

Scooped them again, didn’t I? I wonder if they are actually reading my notes.

plant with flowers boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As I walked down the path on top of the cliffs overlooking the harbour I had a look at the lawn by the Boulevard Vaufleury.

A little while ago I mentioned the grass and how quickly it seems to be regenerating. But nothing like as quickly as this here.

This plant has not only recovered its green colour but pushed out some flowers since I was last here. That’s quite dramatic. Mind you, whatever would my friends make of me taking photographs of flowers?

IT HAS BEEN SAID in the past that the only time I would ever take a photo of a flower would be if there were an old car parked upon it.

While I was musing over this, the other Joly France ferry pulled around the headland and you saw a photo of that just now.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before going home to carry on, I went to have a look in the inner harbour.

Victor Hugo has gone out again but back in port is Chausiaise after her run out to St Helier. She docked at 21:04 last night.

Back here I had a coffee and sat down for a while. And regrettably I … errr … disappeared with the fairies. Only for about 15 minutes or so but even so it was something of a disappointment after what else had been happening.

Tea tonight was falafel with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce. Delicious as usual. At least I’m slowly making some room in the freezer but there is still plenty more to go at in there that needs finishing off.

And while we’re on the subject of cold storage … “well one of us is” – ed … it IS nice to be able to open the fridge door without the fear of being buried under a pile of bottles.

So how long will that last?

Anyway I’ll try one more time for an early night. Shopping tomorrow although I don’t need all that much. And we’ll see how long this mad fit of enthusiasm lasts. If it keeps up, I shan’t know myself but not even I am that optimistic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So now you know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How I’m not looking forward to that.

Friday 15th July 2022 – AFTER I’D FINISHED …

fete de la bastille firework display 14th july quatorze juillet feux d'artifice port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… writing up my notes last night I thought that I’d nip out and see if the moon had broken free of the cloud cover that was hanging around.

Instead I ended up being swept along by crowds of thousands of people – and I really do mean “thousands”.

What I’d forgotten is that last thing at night on Bastille Day there’s a huge firework display at the port and it looks as if most of Normandy had come along to stand on the cliffs to watch the spectacle.

And they weren’t disappointed either.

fete de la bastille firework display 14th july quatorze juillet feux d'artifice port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022We were out there for about half an hour while they blasted off a pile of fireworks into the stratosphere.

Considering that it was a free evening’s entertainment, we certainly had our money’s worth and everyone enjoyed it. There was a tumultuous round of applause when it finished, and then I staggered back to my apartment to go to bed.

There were about 60 photos altogether and they are all on line now. You can see them HERE. Remember to click on a thumbnail to see the full-size image.

“Staggered back” is correct too. Yesterday my knee gave way again when I was scrambling over the chest of drawers to close the window in my bedroom. And it seems that I’ve done it a permanent mischief now.

hang glider rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022It was another “mobile” night last night and so while you admire a few photos of Nazguls flying by overhead, I shall elucidate.

My mother told me to take my younger brothers and sisters to the hospital. We didn’t have much time and it was dark so we set out to jog there. We were up there by Goodall’s Corner in Shavington and had to go down the Newcastle Road. There were all these medical cards and records and a few other bits and pieces so I told my brother to take our two sisters and run off down there towards Newcastle slowly while I picked up a few boxes of stuff that need to be carried and I’d run after them to catch them up. In the distance I could see them but when they got to where the petrol station was they crossed over and went into the petrol station. I had to run in after them to drag them out and explain to them that if I hadn’t seen them out of the corner of my eye cross the road I’d have run right past there with the stuff and we would have been separated for ever. I was quite angry and annoyed about this, not because they had crossed the road but because we could have been separated like that. We carried on and came to a place where we had to climb through a barbed wire fence. I knew of a gap where to go but they somehow found some other gap which wasn’t where we needed to be. They all climbed through there anyway. I suddenly found myself alone at this other gap. Once I’d gone through this other gap we had to negotiate a concentration camp and that was very dangerous because if we looked too healthy or too ill we could be exterminated. Then of course we had to exit on the other side and carry on with our trip to the hospital. This required an awful lot of thought and cunning to do it correctly but there I was on my own. I couldn’t work out where they had gone once they’d gone through this other gap and they’d disappeared.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022I forget how this dream actually started but it turned out that we were in native American country and having to be extremely careful. Somehow we ended up losing our way and being attacked or threatened. We had to work our way around and out of there while avoiding a pitched battle which was not going to be easy but I can’t remember all the rest. There was much more to it than this.

I’d decided spontaneously to go to Canada. I booked myself an air ticket and took my suitcase from under the bed. I didn’t even check the case at all – I just grabbed it and set off for the airport. There was a reasonably small-sized queue – we didn’t have to wait all that long to go through the security. But once we were queueing we gradually ended up at the front then it would flash a gate number. Mine flashed. It was 34D. I had a few carrier bags etc that I stuffed in my suitcase and set out to find it. I had to go up some stairs and saw some guys standing by a turnstile type of thing so I went over to them but someone from behind shouted. I looked behind and saw that there was some kind of alcove to the side where there were some immigration or customs people. They told me that I should have gone there first but I hadn’t seen them. There was nothing to indicate that they were there so how was I supposed to know to go there? I thought that this was good. I’d started to have an argument with people already and I’d hardly even arrived, and I’m arguing with the security or immigration people or whatever they were. It won’t do me any good at all.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And while you admire a few photos of the crowds engaged in the pèche à pied There were a couple of girls getting into trouble due to a violation of the school’s dress code. What happened was that the skirts could be cut short depending on some kind of ratio relating to the girls’ waists but what they had done was having shortened them once they had turned round and shortened them again and that was against the school rules. They were then causing trouble about their dress code and were going to have to face the music.

There was also something about the dream in which i went to Canada. Someone had been round at my house helping me to pack. They had to write a label to go on my luggage giving all kinds of personal details including the value of my house. They put “£30,000 by auction”. I enquired about that and they said that I’d paid that much money for it when I’d bought it. I replied “yes but look at the improvements”. They replied that it’s still quite a damp house and it needs even more doing to it – one wall repairing. I tried to argue that even so the value must be an awful lot more than £30,000 but they still didn’t agree with what I was saying.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022When the alarm went off it took me a while to get my head together but regardless, I was still up and about before the second alarm.

After the medication I spent a pleasant hour or so transcribing the dictaphone notes and then edited all of the photos that I took last night of the fireworks.

When that task was completed I prepared the web page with the photos of last night. This 3-column layout that I designed earlier this year needs some work to improve the design but it seems to work quite well and to do exactly what I want it to do.

It’s the kind of thing that makes me with that everything that I were to do would turn out like that.It took quite a while to do,

When the page was finished I had another hour on the acoustic guitar. And I quite enjoyed that session too. It seems to be all coming together at long last but I wish that I could remember what it is that I’m supposed to be playing without having to refer to the music.

Most people think that it’s an age thing but I’ve been like this practically all my life.

It reminds me of a conversation that I had with someone a while back.
“Two things happen to you when you get to my age. The first thing is that you forget almost everything.”
“What’s the second thing?”
“Actually, I can’t remember”

The rest of the day, such as there was, has been spent finishing off everything relating to the photos from June and I’ve started to update the blog entries from when I was away. “Started” yes, but I’m a long, long way from finishing.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There was the usual pause for me to go off and see what was happening down on the beach.

Across the car park I went, noticing that the car that was blocking up the two car parking spaces had disappeared. The sea seems to have disappeared too because the tide was well out this afternoon.

And it seems that everyone had come out this afternoon too. There were crowds on the beach enjoying the sunshine down there, even if there was quite a lot of wind blowing about right now. So much so that one young boy was chasing down the path after his hat.

kite surfer rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022What also caught my eye down there too was some kind of kite or sail.

What I did was to take a photo of it so that I could enlarge and enhance it when I returned home so that I could see what it might be.

It’s not just the Nazguls that are out and about this afternoon. We have a kite-surfer down there somehwer ein the sea, regardless of the whitecaps on the waves.

At least, that’s what I reckon, even if I couldn’t quite make out which guy was flying it. At least it isn’t a Nazgul that has fallen to a watery grave thanks to a lucky shot from Legolas.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There was also a zodiac out there in the bay.

No trawlers today, or anything else for that matter. Just the zodiac. It was actually moving quite rapidly towards the port so I don’t think that it could have been full of fishermen. They wouldn’t be heading to port when there’s still a couple of hours before the tide comes in.

So fighting my way through all of the crowds, a couple of people who actually said “hello” to me, I wandered off down the path towards the lighthouse at the end of the headland.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Crowds on the car park too with cars parked on the lawn, so I headed off for some peace and quiet.

Down on the bench at the cabanon vauban we actually had someone sitting there today. First time for several days that we’d seen someone there.

And she had plenty to occupy her too. Apart from the zodiac that went spluttering by, we had all of the people out there at the peche à pied whom we saw earlier.

But with no trawlers and no other distractions I headed off to the port to see what was happening there.

la confiance 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Today we have had another change of occupancy at the chantier naval.

Monaco du Nord II is still in there over by the portable boat lift, but she’s now been joined by another trawler, La Confiance II.

Who she might be, I really have no idea because we haven’t seen her before here in Granville. But her registration number suggests that she’s an older boat so I’m surprised that she hasn’t featured in these pages before.

And it seems that I’m not wrong about her age either. According to the trawler database, she was launched in 1980 and is made of wood.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Across the bay, our game of “Musican Ships” is continuing.

Today it’s the turn once more of L’Omerta to be tied up at the Fish Processing Plant and settled down in the silt.

Plenty of activity on the quayside up above here. There are loads of shellfish boxes and ancillary equipment up there as if she has just unloaded.

There were crowds on the car park too and what looked suspiciously like a police car cruising around there too. That reminds me that I must change over the insurance sticker in Caliburn’s windscreen before they come cruising around us.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Marité has wandered off today and her berth is now empty. She’s currently at anchor off St. Vaast, just along the coast from Cherbourg.

What else that has also gone is all of the freight that was on the quayside yesterday. According to my maritime radar, Normandy Trader came into port early this morning and loaded up.

Back here I made a coffee and while it was brewing I went and had a shower, a shave and a good clean-up.

When the coffee had been drunk I changed the bedding and then set the washing machine en route. High time that I had some nice clean clothes and clean bedding. I’m letting things slide a little here.

And then I was off to Lidl. I’m running rather low on supplies, especially frozen and fresh vegetables and fruit. The place was packed and the mystery of why stocks had been running low there over the last few weeks was solved. They’ve had a huge change-round in there and everything is in a different place.

That of course is a cunning plan carried out by all large shops. Customers become so used to where all of their regular purchases might be found that they go straight to there and don’t go anywhere else. Shuffling the produce around means that customers have to hunt for their produce, with the shops hoping that they’ll find plenty of other stuff to buy that they haven’t seen before.

Tea tonight was vegan pie with potatoes (now that I have some) and vegetables with gravy. It really was nice.

Tomorrow I’m going to LeClerc for more shopping. Not that I need too much but having broken my floor mop this week, at least I need to replace that. It’s not quite the same as when Nerina went with me to buy a new broom.
“Don’t bother to wrap it” I said to the cashier. “She’ll fly it home” .

Sunday 5th June 2022 – EVEN THOUGH I …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 27th May 2022 – IT’S NOT BEEN A …

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022 … very good day at all today, which has been rather disappointing.

So while you admire a few photos of all of the various types of water craft that were out and about this afternoon while I was out on my afternoon walk, I’ll tell you all about what went wrong.

And it was in fact when I came back from my afternoon walk, poured myself out a coffee and then came in here to sit down and drink it.

Instead, I crashed out. And crashed out completely too into one of the deepest sleeps that I’ve had for quite some considerable time.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And it wasn’t just for five or ten minutes either.

It was for a whole two hours that I was away with the fairies. So much so that I couldn’t move at all. And this is pretty bad news because if I’m thinking of going off on my travels for a little while at the end of next month, I can’t do with falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon.

That was what put me off going anywhere last year. Imagine me farh’n fahr’n fahr’n up the autobahn in Calburn at 120kph and then suddenly dropping off to sleep without any warning.

It wouldn’t be too bad if I knew that I was going and had time to pull over and stop but how things are at the moment, it’s just as if someone flicks a switch and I go out like a light.

sailing boat ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But anyway, I knew it was going to be a difficult day when I had such a struggle to leave my bed this morning.

I actually made it quite comfortably straight after the first alarm but it took an enormous amount of willpower and I would have given everything I owned to have been able to have crawled back underneath the covers

Mind you, after what I’d said yesterday, Zero put in an appearance last night – the first one of my three female friends to do so for quite some considerable time. So who would actually want to leave the bed when she is wandering around somewhere in the ether? Certainly not me.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022So after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out what had been happening during the night.

We were all round at my eldest sister’s last night. There were a few people there, Her daughter was there, and so was Zero. The conversation was becoming rather risqué and I noticed that my sister was keeping a tight rein on things making sure that it didn’t get out of hand. While we were clearing up the mess because they had all made quite a mess eating their tea I said to my sister “you were letting it go a bit beyond the pale just now weren’t you?” rather ironically. She asked me about Zero, what was she like. I replied that she’s no shrinking violet to which my sister’s ears pricked up. I said “I don’t mean it quite like that but you know what I mean. Kids are all a lot older than their years these days”. I was putting all this food in the fridge, all half-eaten stuff, a real mess and I can’t think why my sister was wanting to keep it all. It should all have been in the bin but it was all going in this fridge to be kept which I thought was really strange.

Today I’ve been working on “Neighbours” and “Celebrations”, two of these 28 topics that might appear during the exam. We have 28 subjects and our interviewer chooses 5. We have to speak for at least a minute on each of the 5 subjects and he asks a few questions.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds because things like , for example “Celebrations” and “Your Last Holiday” I can talk pretty much about the same thing – that trip I did in 2018 to CLEBERATE THE 200th ANNIVERSARY OF THE VOYAGE OF JAMES ROSS which one day I’ll finish off.

There are quite a few where there is a considerable overlap of subjects.

But then we have to pick a subject and spend a minute asking the interviewer questions about it. And that’s not as easy as it sounds either.

Rosemary rang me up as well. There was something that she forgot to tell me so that led to another long conversation that went on for ages and ages.

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022This afternoon, as usual I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

But I’d hardly put my sooty foot outside the building before I felt the cold hand of doom fall upon me.

In actual fact it was a pair of bird-men of Alcatraz going fluttering by on their Nazguls, making the most of the windy weather. In fact, there must have been at least half a dozen or so of them up in the air here and there dotted along the coastline.

A couple of them were two-seaters, and that reminded me that one of these days I’m intending to go for a run around with one of them, just for the hell of it.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022With the amount of wind that we were having this afternoon I wasn’t expecting to see all that many people down there on the beach this afternoon.

Consequently when I stuck my head over the wall to see what was happening down there, I was surprised to see the crowds. They were certainly out there in numbers this afternoon, although I did notice that no-one was brave enough to go into the water.

And while we are on the subject of crowds, there were crowds on the path up here this afternoon. Whenever there’s a Bank Holiday on a Thursday, many French people also take the Friday off too – faire le pont and they were certainly doing that in spades today.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The car park at the end of the headland was packed with cars so I had to fight my way through the cars to go down to the end.

No caterpillars today again, but there were plenty of people down there, with several of them loitering around by the bench.

Those of them sitting on the bench were certainly enthralled with all of the maritime displays that were taking place just offshore, and they had plenty to choose from too.

With no fishermen to attract our attention this afternoon I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland.

sm734551 hermine bastien steeven baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Just out there in the bay is a visitor to the port whom we have seen once or twice in the past.

She’s a trawler called Hermine Bastien Steeven and despite her Dutch or Flemish name she’s actually registered across the bay in St Malo as you can tell from her registration number, which begins with “SM”.

It was actually back in April when we first saw her come into port. Things must be rather quiet right now at St Malo.

Meanwhile at the chantier naval there was no change at all in occupancy there today. Still just L’Ecume II and the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie.

petite laura la grande ancre yann frederic port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Lots of activity at the Fish Processing Plant as I went past this afternoon.

Quite a few of the smaller boats were there this afternoon and while I didn’t recognise them all, the ones that I could identify are, from left to right, Petite Laura, La Grande Ancre and Yann Frederic.

Back here I brought my coffee in here and sat down to drink it, and the next thing that I knew, it was 18:30. that was enough to put the damper on just about everything as far as today went

Tea tonight was an aubergine whatsit with pasta – at least, it should have been, but it turned out to be a curry that had somehow found its way into the wrong bag. Still, it’s all eaten one way or another.

After tea I came back here to listen to my live radio programme only to find that we have had yet another technical issue and the streaming service programme has crashed.

Actually, what I think has happened is that the power cut that we had the other day has interrupted the timer and whoever does the scheduling is on holiday so it hasn’t been reset.

But that’s convinced me that I’m not going to do another live concert. It’s a lot of work, you have no idea how much, but I enjoy it so much and the finished product (when it works) is a real work of art so I don’t mind at all.

And so I want it to reach the widest possible audience and that results in having to do a lot of publicity. And then finishing with egg on my face when it all goes tits-up.

The game is, quite simply, not worth the candle. I can’t deal with the anguish

Saturday 16th April 2022 – IT WAS SUCH …

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… a nice afternoon that the crowds were out in droves when I went out for my post-prandial perambulation.

The tide was well out so there was plenty of beach for everyone to be on, and that was just as well because there were plenty of people on it.

It’s been a good while since we’ve seen so many people down there. It looks as if the holiday season has really taken off this weekend and I bet that they are regretting not having the Jersey ferries up and running to cater for all of the trade. This would have been just the weather to go for a ride out to St Helier.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Iwasn’t just on the beach that we had the crowds either.

The paths around the headland were heaving with people as you can see in this photo and the car park was overflowing with vehicles parked on the grass.

Brain of Britain forgot to take his face mask with him too. I bet that I’ll regret that before too long, the way things are. We’re still in 6 figures of daily infections and a couple of hundred deaths each day, and it’s no surprise when you see crowds like this taking no precautions whatsoever.

f-gcum Robin DR400-180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And it was quite busy in the air today too.

Apart from the commercial flights that were passing by too far out in the bay for me to see them properly we had a couple of light aircraft going by too.

None of the little ones that we see quite often though. This one here is F-GCUM, a Robin DR400/180 that belongs to the Aero Club here.

She took off at 16:21, went down the coast, came back, did a lap around the Ile de Chausey and landed again at 17:03. It’s probably just a flight for someone to keep up his hours

While we’re on the subject of hours … “well, one of us is” – ed … I spent hours in bed last night.

All about seven of them because I was, as usual, late going to bed. Just as I was on the point of going, something interesting (and I can’t remember what now) came up on the playlist so I stayed up to listen.

It might have been ONE OF THE SONGS that my Inuit friend HEIDINNGUAQ sent me for a radio show a while back. Any mention these days of Greenland and the High Arctic is enough to stop me in my tracks. I’ve walked those streets in Uummannaq and STRAWBERRY MOOSE and I are in a hurry to go back.

Anyway, I digress … “again” – ed.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment, I finally managed to drop off to sleep and that was where I stayed until the alarm went off at 07:30. And I was still there when it went off again at 07:45.

Mind you, I did managed to beat the third and final call at 08:00 and that is some doing, seeing the way that things have been around here just recently.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I went for a shower to tidy myself up. And since Wednesday I’ve lost another 600 grammes of weight. For some reason or other I must have been having water retention issues and doubling the dose seems to have had some effect.

But that of course reminds me of when I was in Liège a few years ago with my German friend from Munich. We were in a restaurant, surrounded by pretty young girls, talking about … our medication.

That’s when I realised that I was getting old. We would have been talking about something quite different five years ago.

Considering that I didn’t need all that much today, I spent quite a lot of money. And all of it was on food.

Noz came up trumps yet again – more of those little breaded quorn burgers that I like. Two packets of those are now in the freezer.

As for LeClerc, I can’t think what I bought that contributed to the fortune that I spent in there today. And I nearly spent more than that as well because someone disappeared with my trolley and when I caught up with it, a couple of packets of sausages had been added.

car leclerc yquelon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But this in the car park intrigued me. I’ve never seen a car like this before.

Its small size suggests to me that it’s a Japanese town-car model but the steering wheel is on the left and it has a built-in rear fog light so it’s not a “grey import”. But it’s bizarre all the same.

These days though I’m quite out of the loop when it comes to new cars. I don’t have a clue as to what’s on the market and what isn’t

Back here I put the frozen food and the cool stuff away and then made myself a coffee. Eagerly clutching a slice of my fruit bread in my sweaty little mitt as well, I came in here to listen to the dictaphone.

We’d been on holiday to a hotel or some place like that. We’d been picked up by a coach in Manchester and driven to this place. When we arrived we had to all sign a paper for our drinking chits etc. We had been out for the day for a drive. I don’t know what happened but I missed the bus and I hadn’t a clue where I was going to go back because I didn’t even know the name of the town, never mind the name of the hotel. Of course I was on foot in the North-East of England. I thought that the only solution was to walk back and follow the route that we’d taken and hope that I would get it right. Following a route in reverse is not as easy as following it going forward. I set off and I’d been walking for about 10 minutes when I bumped into 2 other people, 2 girls who had also missed the bus. I thought that at least I’m on the right road here. We ended up crossing this enormous suspension bridge with a central stay, the highest central stay I’d ever seen. I remembered coming over this. We’d turned left onto it so I thought that we’d have to turn right. We prepared to cross over it but one of these girls fancied a cup of coffee. I had no money with me so she had to buy it. By now we were on this bridge so we had to cling on to the side rail while she went to fetch this coffee. Then she had to find a place to put it which was on something soft like the mattress of a bed. We were clinging on to the side of this bridge with our arms, she’d put this coffee down and we had to unhitch one of our arms to drink this coffee. This was becoming confusing. I asked her the name of the hotel but she didn’t know it or know the town either. The 3rd one hadn’t anything to say at all so there we were with this coffee hanging onto this bridge by our arms trying to drink this coffee with the mugs on a soft surface on probably the highest bridge in the UK

It ended up being quite a late lunch, what with one thing and another (and once you make a start, you’ll be surprised just how many other things there are).

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And that led to an even later walk around the headland. Wherever did the time go to today?

As I mentioned earlier, there were hordes of people out there on the beach this afternoon. Not just out at the water’s edge either but settling down in the shelter of the cliffs ready for the long stay until the tide comes in.

Gone are the days unfortunately when there would be the beach-side café and the “pot of tea for six” that people my age will remember. And I have a special reason for remembering it too because apparently the people who cared for my mother as a small child had a beach-side café at Epple Bay on the Isle of Thanet between the wars

But, of course, not that I would remember it. I’m not that old, even if I feel like it and look like it as well.

Cirrus SR22 n549cd baie de Mont St Michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And back in the air again we had another visitor. And I DO mean visitor.

This is apparently N-549CD, a Cirrus SR22, and its claim to fame is that apart from THE AIRBUS A400M that we saw a couple of months ago, this has to be about the noisiest plane that I’ve ever heard.

She hasn’t filed a flight plan and she kept below civilian radar so I can’t tell you where she went, but she arrived at the airfield here on the 13th of April after a 3-hour flight from Schwabish Hall in Germany.

She’s owned by the Plane Fun Inc Trustee Corporation from Snellville, Georgia, USA

le loup yacht cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There might have been plenty of things going on on land and in the air this afternoon but there was almost nothing at all going on out at sea.

In the immediate vicinity of the port, loitering around by Le Loup waiting for the tide to come in were a couple of boats, a yacht and a cabin cruiser.

And that was about your lot. There wasn’t anything at all out at sea as far as I could see, and that was a real surprise given the weather and the crowds.

And so with nothing at all to watch, there wasn’t anyone down on the bench at the cabanon vauban either so I cleared off rather rapidly down the path on the other side of the headland towards the harbour.

le roc a la mauve 3 anakena chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there has been yet another change of occupant at the chantier naval today too.

We still have the little Roc A La Mauve III down there and the much bigger Anakena, but where’s Le Styx? She put in an appearance yesterday afternoon but it must only have been a flying visit because this afternoon, she’s gone!

And never called me “mother”!

But if you want to know where Chausiaise went to, she’s over there at the ferry terminal not doing very much at all.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There is something else that won’t, regrettably, be doing very much at all later in the summer. In fact, it won’t be doing anything at all.

Never mind all of the fishing boats tied up in the inner harbour, we’re much more interested in what isn’t there, and won’t be there in the summer.

Regular readers of this rubbish are used to seeing during the months of July and August the big wheel that comes along and sets itself up down there behind the warehouse. But it won’t be back again.

Apparently the inhabitants of one of the blocks of flats there petitioned the Maire to ban it because, apparently, it makes too much noise and they have to spend all summer with their windows closed. And surprisingly, the Maire has acquiesced.

Firstly, I don’t know why people do this kind of thing. Much as I hate tourists, this is a seaside resort and the crowds come here and expect to be entertained. And if you want to live by the seaside, you expect the inconvenience of the tourist attractions – unless of course you are a NIMBY.

Secondly, there are acres of empty space all the way down the far side of the harbour round by where the Channel Island ferries tie up. Why not stick the wheel there? It’ll be far enough away not to disturb the NIMBY residents with what little amount of noise that it really does make.

With all of this, I can’t help thinking that there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

interlink a changing canada Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back here I had another task to perform.

Yesterday, I forgot to mention that I had a strange delivery in the Post. This glossy booklet about “A Changing Canada” in the 21st Century suddenly turned up. It’s not anything that I’ve ordered or requested so I’ve no idea what it is about.

So what I have done is to photograph the front cover, post it on my Social Network, and see if any of my Canadian contacts can throw any light on the aforementioned.

And having done that (with no replies to date) I went and had a really good session on the guitar.

Now that I have some more of those breaded quorn fillets I had a couple of them with potato and veg. They really are nice and if I’m going to fill up the freezer with something, it may as well be them.

But the freezer is now filled up and there’s no more room for anything else. I had to buy a few loose carrots as there wasn’t any space to do any freezing. Just when I think that I have the freezer under control, I fill it up again.

And I daren’t sort through it because it’s so well packed that I would never be able to re-pack it again. At least, if World War III breaks out, I won’t starve for a while.

Wednesday 13th April 2022 – GUESS WHO …

… has a broken kneecap? And for a fourth time too.

The first time was when I went head-over-handlebars on a motorbike when I was 16. The second time was when I slid a motorbike on a greasy road when I was 19 and the weight of two people and the bike itself (a 350cc Triumph) fell on it. The third time was skiing in Scotland when I was in my 20s – and I drove BILL BADGER, my old A60 van, home again.

As for when I did it in the fourth time, all that I can think of is that it was when I had that fall and broke my hand just before I went off on my transatlantic trip across to the High Arctic on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR in the summer of 2019.

But taking a couple of years to manifest itself (it collapsed last spring, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall) is some going.

Anyway, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, I had a lie-in this morning. Not that I intended to but at 07:30 – and at 08:00 – I couldn’t summon up the enthusiasm to leave my stinking pit. 09:25 was much more like it.

Having had my medication, sorted out the mails and messages and organised this week’s musical playlist on the computer, I had a listen to the dictaphone. And there was tons of stuff on there too. I’d had a busy night. No wonder I was in no hurry to leave my stinking pit.

The night started off with a huge long rambling dream about refugees. Again I had them with me and I arrived at a railway station. There were rooms above so we took a room above there. We had to carry all of their possessions up into the room above. That meant 4 or 5 trips in the lift to do it. There were all kinds of things happening – there was some objects still stuck in a lift from someone, I kept on bumping into all kinds of old schoolfriends while I was doing it, there was interaction with authority, one of those things that just went on and on and on while we were trying to move these refugees into this room. I’ve missed out most of it I think but the interesting part was of course all these people from school who kept appearing every time the lift either went up or went down and the doors opened. There would always be someone whom I knew waiting there. One person in particular was there once and also other people

So I had these refugees trying to get them into the upstairs room at this station passing by loads of people whom we knew. Some wanted arguments, some wanted help. I had papers from the Red Cross and had to show them. We were going up and down in this lift moving their stuff into this little room. The dream went on like this for ages. We met so many kinds of people and friends and one or two other people who helped us on our way but the farther we could get away from Vienna or Germany or wherever it was the better

My brother had bought a car, a Ford Cortina estate over the internet. A Mark IV model but he said that it was grey so we imagined that it would be the colour of my father’s old one. He was sitting down trying to work out how to get out and get it because his timetable was so full, he was going here and going there, he was having to work something else. In the end it was going to be several weeks before he could get it so I said that I would go for it. It turned out that it was near Foinavon that’s not the name but it’s on the railway line over Slochd Summit so that rules out Forsinard so of course the Inverness train is the place to go. I checked on the timetables, found the correct train and set off. I had to change at a big station to catch one of the stopping trains that went up the Highland line. The train pulled in and I checked with the guard that there was a local service coming up behind. All the doors closed and I thought that I’d missed the opportunity to leave the train but the door was opened from outside so I had to fight my way out. I found myself on some kind of temporary wooden platform which was just framework and no flats. There were people balancing awkwardly on there trying to enter the train and I was trying to alight. Other people who had already alighted were trying to work out how to go down to the main platform. I had to point them the way. This was a scene of total chaos as everyone who alighted from this train onto this wooden framework or whatever was trying to fight their way down to where everyone else was down on the main platform. I was thinking about all the things that needed doing, that I hoped that the car had enough fuel as it was getting late and I imagined that most places for fuel would be closed round here. I’d have to go to Inverness or Stirling or somewhere to fuel up and I hoped that everything else would be OK. I could imagine 1001 things that could go wrong between me picking up the car and brining it back home again.

I don’t know how this one started but I was working in the American embassy doing something, running errands. There was some kind of issue with the Russian desk in this large building and the Russians suddenly started firing loaves of bread over to the Americans. I caught a few and stored them up but they were coming over more and more and more. Eventually there was a pause so I walked across the hall to the Russian desk, found their senior officer, thanked him very much for sending all the bread to me but I told him that I now had enough fresh bread that I needed so if he wanted to send me any more could he make sure that it was frozen so that I could keep it in store. This was greeted by stunned silence throughout the building. After I had said my little piece I walked back to where the American desk was. I was beckoned over to the desk of the Ambassador’s personal secretary. She said “don’t you ever do anything like that ever again” but she was laughing and so was everyone else. I imagined that although i’d been told off, that everyone else was really quite sympathetic and really quite pleased that I’d gone out there and confronted them over it.

We were a big group of teenagers last night wandering around the streets of Crewe. I can’t remember how this worked out but we ended up at the house of a girl to do something. Her mother came to the door and in the end she fetched this girl. We were all around the back having something of a laugh etc. This girl was being quite chatty and quite friendly. Then it became time for us to leave so I asked her for her ‘phone number. She was possibly playing a game and in the end ended up trying to give me her father’s ‘phone number. She said that she could always remember it because it was 8 over 6, the 6 numbers at the end. Of course I immediately told them what it was, which was 675000 (which of course it isn’t). She gradually warmed a bit and in the end asked me for my ‘phone number. I didn’t have a card on me so I had to borrow a card off someone else, try to write my number but we didn’t have a pen that worked. In the end she decided that she would ‘phone me so that I’d have her ‘phone number and she’d have mine. That was what she did. But all of this took ages and there was much more to it than this but I can’t remember now. It was another one of these dreams that slowly developed into something extremely warm and pleasant and the type that I would want to carry on for ever. I awoke in a night sweat, which I haven’t had for a good few months. “I wish that this could have gone on for ever, this particular dream” I said into the dictaphone, so being able to talk like that while I’m asleep shows you exactly what kind of effect it had on me.

But low-flying loaves of bread as well? 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 these days.

To take me up to shower time I had a play with a few more photos of the High Arctic 2019 and I wish I could remember the name of the hill on which the flagpole is erected at Dundas Harbour on Devon Island. All that I can think of, and I know that it’s not correct, is the painter Samuel Gurney Cresswell who sailed to the High Arctic as Lieutenant with James Clark Ross and then with Robert McClure.

If I had to pick one of my favourite Arctic explorers he would be up there somewhere, not the least for his quote “a voyage to the High Arctic ought to make anyone a wiser and better man”. Well, it didn’t work for me, as the events of the last few days of my 2019 trip bear witness.

After a shower and a weigh-in (and I’ve lost 600g) I had lunch and then cleared off with Caliburn to the physiotherapist. It’s my last session with her today as she moves on to pastures new. She’s fixed me up with a colleague, but I bet that the new girl won’t be anything like as nice as Sonia. She can massage my clavicles any time she likes.

The trip to Avranches was complicated today because of all the roadworks and road closures. I ended up having to meander through the countryside and then it took me a while to find the centre. And when I found the centre, to find the building where I needed to be.

The scanning machine was made by General Electric, one of my former employers, so I knew that it would be good. And eventually they shoved me through it.

The doctor came to see me afterwards and told me about my kneecap, and also the fact there’s some cartiledge damage too. She’ll send a report to my GP who I’ll have to go to see in due course, but I have to be aware that surgery is not ruled out

There was an Intermarché next to the clinic so seeing as it’s been a few years since I’ve had a good look around inside one, I popped in. But there wasn’t anything there much that interested me. I bought one or two bits and pieces and some frozen peas and beans, and that was my lot.

Then I had to fight my way back through the roadworks. And it was good to give Caliburn a decent run-out this afternoon.

Tea was a taco roll (seeing as I had bought some this afternoon) with the left-over stuffing from yesterday, with rice and veg and it really was nice. But I have plenty of mushrooms left so it looks as if it will be a potato and mushroom curry for tea tomorrow.

So a broken kneecap now. Whatever next? At the rate that bits are dropping off me these days I’m at the stage where I’m afraid to go to the toilet.

In fact I haven’t felt so nervous since I was standing in a toilet next to Shakin’ Stevens but that’s another story for another time.

Tuesday 12th April 2022 – IT’S BEEN SOMETHING …

jade 3 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… of a nautical day this afternoon when I was out on my rounds.

So while you admire several photos of the Trawler Jade III out there fishing just offshore in the Baie de Granville (and you can tell that she has a good haul on board from the crowds of seagulls that are flocking around her) I’ll tell you about my less-than-exciting day today.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 it goes without saying that I didn’t actually leave the bed at that moment. Mind you, I did beat the second alarm to my feet, although there wasn’t much in it.

In fact I actually felt like death this morning.

philcathane jade 3 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022So while Jade III and Philcathane cross each other in the bay, I had my medication and then sat down to deal with today’s radio programme that I should have done yesterday.

And although I’d already done half of it previously, it took me much longer than it ought to have done.

At about 09:20 I had a ‘phone call. “You told us on your questionnaire (for my MRI scan tomorrow) that you worked in metal.”
“That’s correct. But I’ve not done any welding since 1997 (when I welded up the exhaust on my old Passat) and only some very rare moments of grinding ever since”
“Nevertheless you need to come here for a brain scan. And bring your prescription with you”

jade 3 trawler speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And so I had to rummage through a pile of paperwork to find the prescription and then Caliburn and I set out for the Radiology Centre.

For a change, I didn’t have to wait too long to have my skull x-rayed but I had to wait for an hour for the results. Consequently I went down the hill to the Leclerc to do a little shopping – like sunflower seed, peppers, mushrooms and some flour.

Back at the Radiology centre they gave me my photos. “We gave you a brain scan” she said “but we found nothing” and that’s the most depressing thing that I’ve heard for quite some considerable time.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back here I cracked on with the radio programme and it took me almost until lunchtime to finish it off. It really wasn’t a good day.

At least the bread that I had taken out of the freezer was nice and fresh, and that soft Greek vegan cheese that Alison found for me is absolutely delicious. It’s amazingly like fresh mozzarella. I’ll be buying more of that in due course.

Once I’d finished lunch I spent a short while organising some more photos from August 2019 and my trip to the High Arctic. Right now I’m in a zodiac roaring up Dundas Harbour at Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic, trying to out-manoeuvre a polar bear that was there to keep a close eye on a family of seals.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022When I’d gone out earlier this morning it was quite a reasonable day. But this afternoon it had gone really cold and it was raining.

Not the kind of day that I would have expected to have seen anyone down on the beach, but nevertheless there were some people down there this afternoon, and there were some more people coming down the steps from the Rue du Nord to join them.

No-one in the water though, and that wasn’t a surprise at all.

While I was down there I had a look out to sea to see what was happening, and you’ve already seen Jade III and Philcathane out there in the bay having a good trawl around.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was quite a racket going on this afternoon from the work that’s being undertaken on the medieval wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

They are pushing on with the pointing over there and they seem to have made it as far as the huge vertical crack and that’s going to take some filling.

But it’s not going to be done right now, with one of the workmen sitting on top of the wall eating his butties or something.

Having dealt with all of that I headed off down the path towards the end of the headland. Despite the rain and the cold weather there were quite a few people walking around on the path this afternoon. I suppose that they have come here for a holiday and don’t have anything else to do.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022A little earlier I mentioned that it was something of a nautical day today.

You have seen trawlers and yachts and speedboats out there at sea but right now we have a cabin cruiser going past as I walked around the end of the headland. It was moving rather quickly too as if it was on a Mission from God.

As for me, I was on a mission too, which was to find some shelter from this rain. There was no-one sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon, and that was no surprise, and so I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

le roc a la mauve 3 anakena chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022First stop was to see what was going on at the chantier naval this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw it in a long-distance shot from a different viewpoint yesterday so I wanted to see it from this point of view.

Of course, Spirit of Conrad has now gone back into the water but Le Roc à la Mauve III is still there where she has been for quite a while although her paint job is well advanced.

Anakena is there too. We saw her lifted out of the water a couple of weeks ago. There are a couple of people working on her this afternoon despite the rain and with the tourist season about to start, I bet that they are in a hurry.

jade 3 chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In the meantime, Jade III has finished her fishing session is on her way into the harbour, minus the flock of seagulls that accompanied her out in the bay.

Also in the port today, over at the ferry terminal, are Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes over to the Ile de Chausey, and one of the Joly France passenger ferries.

In the background in the port de plaisance we can just about make out the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

There were also several people with nothing better to do in the miserable weather lounging about looking over the sea wall at nothing particular.

le styx lysandre charlevy chant de sirenes catherine philippe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That’s because all of the activity is taking place on this side, over at the fish processing plant.

From front to back we have Le Styx, Lysandre, Charlevy, an unknown boat, Chant de Sirenes and Catherine Philippe just coming in to tie up.

And there’s quite a crowd over there on the quayside watching the activity. There’s plenty of it going on.

Back here I had a coffee and then, rather regrettably, I fell asleep. So there was half a mug of cold coffee and some in the percolator when I awoke.

and it was freezing cold too. Not even an extra jacket helped so I switched on the portable electric heater for a while.

That was the cue to make a start on listening to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And I’d been quite far, as it happens.

Last night I met some Russian apologists who were excusing the violence and everything that was taking place but before I didn’t go very far into this before it petered out.

Then there was going to be the World Cup and there the organisers of the Welsh FA were on stage and with a crowd inside. They were drawing out of a glass bowl the names of players who were going to represent Wales. They started off with 30 but were choosing 23. They were pulling out these names of players and they were all players about whom i’ve never heard and I didn’t have a clue who they were or where they played. I had no idea exactly what was going on and why they had even thought about selecting some of these names to be in this pool.

And next I was on a station in Germany watching a Trans-Europe Express pulled by one of the NEZ CASSÉ French locomotives of the 1970s. I don’t know anything about this other than that I was on the station.

We were also going on a coach holiday. A girl whom I knew was coming with me – a really big girl (and I do mean “big”). It wasn’t until we were assembled ready to go that I realised just how big because the two of us sitting in a coach seat would be rather problematic. They were discussing all of the holiday but I wasn’t listening very much because I was too busy making a list of things that I had forgotten, including my raincoat so I was going to have to do some shopping when the coach stopped. They we had to board the coach so I took my suitcase but no-one else was bringing their suitcase. I imagined that there was someone collecting them in the office so I had to walk back to the office with mine, against the flow of traffic to leave my suitcase there and then come back. That probably meant that we wouldn’t get a good seat together on the coach. That really suited me because otherwise I would have had to sit next to her and there wouldn’t have been any room on the seat. But I can’t believe that I was coming away on a holiday and i’d left half of my important stuff behind like I had.
Actually, I can because it wouldn’t be the first time. Most people usually make a list of what they need and pack accordingly. I normally just pack and then when I’m away I make a list of what I’ve forgotten
So we all walked back to the coach. I was one of the last to board. Luckily the girl was sitting right at the front next to someone else which was great for me so I walked a few seats back. There was an empty seat next to a young girl who turned out to be Castor. so “hello Castor after all this time. Isn’t it nice to see you?”. I sat next to her. She was busy trying to pass her headphones to the girl in the seat behind her so that she could listen to the sound for the film that was being shown on the coach. Castor wasn’t talking to me yet. She was telling the girl behind her that she used to get up very early and go for a wander around and then go back to sleep for an hour. That was basically how I existed at that time so I thought to myself that with sitting next to her on this trip I might be able to strike up a good relationship with her, and isn’t that some wishful thinking?

We were in Crewe somewhere on the Wistaston Road estate although it was supposed to be somewhere round Pym’s Lane – Minshull New Road area. There were people preparing to go to school. There was a young girl there busy adjusting her cardigan, tying it in a knot at the bottom because it was a warm summer day. There were other people getting into a car to be taken to school because their school was actually on the Middlewich Road. I was walking past all of these people heading down the bacnk but I’m not sure why

Did I dictate the story about the girl who was preparing to go to school adjusting her cardigan as I was walking down the hill where I thought was the Wistaston Green Estate but was somewhere round by Pym’s Lane – Minshull New Road and there were all these people there preparing to go to school as I was walking past them … “yes you did” – ed. What I meant to say was we were now heading back towards the coach. I was one of the last on. Luckily this girl had found someone else by whom to sit, right at the very front seat wedging this person in. That was fine by me. I went back a couple of rows and found an empty seat. It turned out that I was sitting next to Castor so “welcome back Castor”. She was busy passing her headphones to the person in the seat behind her so that person could listen to the sound on the film that was playing on the coach. She was saying that she was a very early riser, awoke in the morning, did a few things and then went back to bed for an hour. That was the kind of thing that suited me because that’s how I behaved. I was hoping that I could have a really good rapport with her during the course of this voyage on this bus.

And I’m surprised that I dreamt the same dream twice a good distance apart and it all sounded almost the same even with the sidelong remarks.

Finally it was the school holidays again so we were back there and I was working on the railway station at Koln or Aachen. A train pulled in and the people started to alight. It turned out that one of the people was a girl whom I knew so I said “hello”. She wondered what I was doing here because she knew me from Brussels. I said that i’d come here to change trains. I asked where her train was going so she told me but that wasn’t really anywhere near the one that I wanted …indistinct…. but there was some detail on it that I could keep.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice and veg. And it was delicious as usual.

And now that I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed for a decent sleep.

So Castor came back last night for the first time for ages. She’s been missed while she’s been away. But even so, it it didn’t look as if she was taking much notice of me. I hope that she’ll be back tonight and I can see more of her.

Sunday 27th March 2022 – HOW LONG IS IT …

citroen traction avant 7L porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… since we’ve featured an old car on these pages?

It must be quite a good while so I was quite pleased that one of them went coughing by this afternoon while I was out on my afternoon walk.

It’s a Citroen “Traction Avant” of course and I should know because there’s one of them IN MY BARN IN THE AUVERGNE where it’s been for over 20 years and where, unfortunately it will have to stay.

The car is one of the later models as you can tell by the straight horizontal bumper rather than the curly “whisker” bumper. And if you were to see the rear of the vehicle, you’ll see that it has a propor boot rather than a sloping back with the shape of the spare wheel pressed into it like one of the ones THAT WE SAW at Oradour-sur-Glaine in the Summer 2020.

It’s always interesting to watch these more-modern films of wartime France when these cars were everywhere and spot the later models that have slipped into the action that took place long before they were ever manufactured.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022But that’s enough of that. While you admire a couple of photos of just some of the dozens of boats that were out at sea this afternoon, I’ll start at the very beginning.

A very good place to start.

As I mentioned yesterday, we had an alarm this morning, which was just as well, especially as the clocks went forward this morning and there was an hour less for sleep today.

In fact, I set three alarms at five-minute intervals and I actually managed to beat the second alarm, which is quite good going these days.

After the medication I made a quick breakfast and then settled down for my Welsh lesson today.

yacht rowing boat cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022It started off quite badly because it took me a while to warm up.

But once I was going, it all went pretty well and by the end of the lesson this afternoon I was talking much more confidently than I ever have done to date. I reckon that this free revision weekend was worth every penny of the price.

We had the usual breaks for coffee and for lunch, and during the lunch break I made a pile of dough for the next batch of pizzas. And as the bases overflow the pizza tray somewhat, I made a batch with 600 grammes instead of 500 grammes and then divided it into four instead of three.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In some respects it was a shame to be indoors today because I reckon that it was the nicest day of the year so far.

And that’s borne out by the crowds of people who were down there on the beach. And even though there wasn’t much beach down there, they all managed to squeeze on there somehow.

No-one in the water as far as I could see, but there were a couple of people down there looking as if they were stripping off ready for a plunge.

You’ve seen a few photos of the boats that were out there too. The sea mist hadn’t gone completely but even so it was nice enough to tempt a pile of Sunday sailors out into the water for a good sail around.

la granvillaise le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And it wasn’t just the private boats that were out there. There was some commercial activity too out in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw la Granvillaise in the chantier naval a couple of weeks ago having an overhaul. Now she’s out there this afternoon with a quite a crowd of tourists having a sail around in the bay.

It’s easy to identify her from this range as she sails past Le Loup. You can see her registration number – G90 – on her sails.

The lifeboat that’s being towed behind doesn’t fill me with much confidence though. I’m sure that they wouldn’t be able to fit all of the passengers on board the lifeboat if they have any issues.

Maybe they have a few rafts on board just in case.

rowing team baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022The car park was packed to capacity with cars and motorbikes just about everywhere.

They had brought crowds of people down to the end of the headland where there were a few things going on to keep them entertained, like these oarsmen going past on their way back to port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I once had a go at that but I wasn’t much good and I fell into the water. “He must be out of his scull” said a passer-by.

STRAWBERRY MOOSE once wrote me a note to say that he would be going rowing if only he could find a couple of oars. I really must take him up about his spelling.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And believe it or not, I was right about the crowds of people around here this afternoon.

Some of them even managed a grandstand seat, such as these two sitting on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban looking out to sea.

Plenty of others too walking around on the lower path. It’s actually been a while since I’ve been for a walk down there but I’m not as healthy as I was when I first came here, which is rather depressing. Over the last 12 months my health has deteriorated dramatically.

But that’s enough of that for now. It’s time to be pushing off around the other side of the headland.

kids on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While I was walking along the path towards the port, I noticed a kid climbing up the steps that have been cut into the sea wall there.

What went through my mind was that he must have been jumping in from off the top so I hung around for a while to see if anyone else would follow suit.

But in fact they were all drying themselves off and then slowly, one by one, they drifted away. The tide must now be too far out for them to jump in safely, although I’ve never known a bunch of young boys worry too much about things like that in the past.

Nothing else of any interest anywhere else in the port this afternoon so I came back home, stopping to photograph the old Citroen on the way.

Back here, over the next couple of hours I did more work that I would normally do on a Sunday when there aren’t any Welsh revision classes.

Firstly, I divided up the pizza dough into four, rolled three in oil and put them in the freezer and rolled out the fourth one and put it on the pizza tray.

Back in the bedroom I dealt with the dictaphone notes from last night. This first one was a dream something like Peter Frampton who had had a big hit and had ended up saving 3 or 4 of his songs. He had someone write a song for him. It was an unusual type of person whom you wouldn’t associate with rock songs. When he went to meet this person there was so much pressure on him that he was running, and jumped from about 30 feet away and slid on his stomach through the street to this guy. He ended up breaking his spine and had to go into rehabilitation. That enabled the guy to write a song for him and a few others. he went on from there to be a success. It was someone like Peter Frampton, a one-hit wonder who burst out into the mainstream after someone wrote a successful song for him

My father had died last night. We (whoever “we” were) ended up going to the funeral which would be a surprise. Back at the house afterwards there were one or two of his things in which I was interested. I asked who was administering the estate. Someone gave me the name of whoever it was, as it happens the same person who had administered my aunt’s estate and with whom I’d had all that trouble 6 months ago. I eventually managed to find my way out of the house to go to see him. The first thing that happened was that he was really upset that I still had my hat on. Then he told me to make a list of the things that I’d taken but of course I hadn’t taken anything. Then he told me to go along and help hand out the coffee and tea etc. Basically he didn’t seem to be all that interested at all in talking to me or letting me tell him what it was that I was hoping to be able to take away.

And then I was with a girl last night. She was working in a pub. The postman came and brought her something and she immediately burst into tears and asked if she could go to work somewhere else instead of the public rooms. Eventually I managed to track her down and she showed me a telegram. Her aunt who was her only living relative had died. I don’t know what happened after that but I had to have my appendix out and she had to have some kind of operation. In Nantwich how this worked was that they had mobile surgical labs. These were parked up near the church in Churchyardside outside the market. They drove the two of us there because she needed something too. We were going to have our operations in 2 surgical labs one parked behind the other. They drove us there in ambulances and we had to get to the corner of the road and then turn left instead of right into the Crofts and do a U-turn and come up behind. I’d go first and be put in the surgical lab and my ambulance would move away. Then the other surgical lab would pull up behind then the ambulance with the girl would pull up behind and they’d put her in her surgical lab. I was in mine. They were talking away and I was trying to go to sleep but I didn’t drop off. I could hear things going on. After a while someone put a pad of cotton wool over my face and dropped some ether on it. When I came round I was in the surgical lab and they asked me how I was and what I could feel. I said that I could feel some heat like something burning on the right side of my lower abdomen like where they would take out the appendix but they didn’t elaborate on what iy actually was and I didn’t want to know either.

And I’m impressed that I can give coherent directions even when I’m fast asleep.

Finally I was around Chester. I was just wandering around and had to go to wash my hands, and found that the toilets there had become unisex so I could only wash my hands and not the rest of me. I was out there in Foregate wandering around when I saw a boy from school but I kept out of his way and let him walk by. Later on there were some schoolboys who had hijacked a lorry-load of whisky. They were busy stacking it in 3 or 4 cars that they had. They were having all kinds of arguments about people who had disappeared with the odd bottle here and there. Just as they were loaded up a police car arrived so they shot off, right into a column of policemen setting out on their beats and scattered them. A couple of police cars gave chase but they adopted a manoeuvre of dodging down a side street when no-one was looking and coming back up the next one. Of course the police who didn’t see them go down the side street when down the next one so they passed each other at 180°. Then another car came and turned round. It was obviously looking for them but they happened to notice that there were a couple of crates of whisky in this. They thought that this was another couple of crates that they’d lost, that someone had stolen. Having given the police cars the slip they set off. They ended up being stuck in a mountain pass somewhere because the police had a couple of observation parked on the other side of the pass to watch all the cars that came past. They wondered how they were going to do this. They had the idea that they would send one car out with a couple of girls in it and a radio. They would be able to see whether any other police cars followed that particular car. That way they’d know whether they were suspected of actually being hidden up in this mountain.

Having done all that I paired up the music for the next radio programme that I would normally have done this morning.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was the pizza to deal with too.

That had risen nicely while I’d been working so I assembled it and when it was made and the oven was hot I put it in to bake.

For some reason, it wasn’t as good as the last few have been and I don’t know why. Mind you, it was certainly better than the first few that I made before I grasped the technique.

Now that i’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed, even though it’s quite early. I didn’t have my usual long lie-in today and there’s an early start in the morning – even earlier than usual due to the change in the hour.

It’ll probably take me a good few weeks to adjust to the change but if I don’t start now I never will, will I?

Thursday 24th March 2022 – I HAVE BEEN …

… so busy today that I’ve only just realised that, as I’ve sat down to write up my notes, I’ve forgotten to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

And “so busy”? It’s been a long time since I’ve said that, isn’t it? Too early to go crowing though. One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

It didn’t actually start out very well though. When the alarm went off at 07:30 I turned over and went back to sleep yet again. It was at 07:50 when I sat bolt-upright and another minute or two before I fell out of bed.

At least I beat the alarm at 08:00 which was good news.

After breakfast and having made sure that the 3-column page was working correctly (thanks, Grahame) I carried on mounting the … gulp … 184 photos of that group that I saw back at the end of October.

And then came the acid test – would a web page work with three columns of all of these photos?

The short answer to that was “no”. And trying to find an error in 940 lines of code is not easy.

Eventually, I found not one, and not two, but three errors where either I’d missed out a line, missed out a tag or put in a tag somewhere other than where it’s supposed to go.

Eventually, it worked out and I split the page into four to make it more manageable.

So, does it work? JUDGE FOR YOURSELF.

As you might expect, in the semi-darkness and depressing lighting, many of the photos didn’t work out as well as they might have done under other conditions, and in fact some of them never even staggered onto the pages. But a few of them AREN’T TOO BAD.

That took me most of the day to do all that, but to be fair, there were several interruptions like a coffee break, breakfast, and stuff like that.

And lunch of course. And as I was quietly reading a report on a disappeared ocean liner which I was eating my lunchtime butties, I suddenly noticed the time. 13:22.

“Blimmin’ ‘eck!” I cried. “My Welsh revision lesson starts in 8 minutes”.

And despite my pessimism yesterday, that could have gone much worse than it did as well. It shows up how much I don’t know, of course, but at least I managed to struggle through two hours of it without making myself look stupid.

Mind you, I can do that often enough under normal circumstances without practising for it or speaking another language..

As soon as the lesson was over (for it was for two hours and over-run by rather a lot) I cleared off for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022First stop was, as usual, the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach and see what’s happening.

The weather today was gorgeous and I actually could have gone out without a jacket had I so desired. And it certainly brought out the crowds this afternoon.

There’s probably a dozen people in this shot alone, including the person coming down the steps from the Rue du Nord. And any other shot of the beach this afternoon would probably have shown a similar number of people.

Meanwhile, out at sea, I couldn’t see anything at all. And that wasn’t the fault of the weather because it really was nice out there as well.

men working on medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was however quite a racket coming from over where they are repairing the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

That prompted me to take a photo of it from over here and I was actually lucky enough to photograph a couple of the guys who are working there, just to prove that there is actually some work being undertaken there.

And then, joining the throngs of people on the path, I headed off down towards the lighthouse in the hope that I might see something of interest going on – but with no success. There didn’t seem to be anything out-of-the-ordinary happening today.

people on bench with dog cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With no-one playing around on the gun barrel at the lighthouse this afternoon I walked off across the car park and down to the end of the headland.

Today, we have yet more people sitting down on the bench by the cabanon vauban looking out at sea at absolutely nothing at all.

And I wondered what it was that was lying down underneath the bench. At first glance I thought that it might have been a polar bear but not even climate change could produce anything like that around here. It turned out to be a long-haired white dog of some variety or other.

So instead I wandered off along the path on the other side of the headland to spy out the land around there.

spirit of conrad le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And after the frenzied activity of the last few days or so, it’s all gone quiet in the chantier naval.

The only boats still in there are Spirit of Conrad and the little Le Roc A La Mauve III. And by the looks of things, the latter won’t be in there for much longer and as I mentioned the other day, Pierre the skipper is keen for the former to go back into the water some time rather soon.

After all, he has plenty of work booked for the summer and after what he has suffered over the last two years with almost everything being cancelled, I’m sure that the sooner he’s back out there earning money, the better for all concerned.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, over there at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France ferries.

That’s the older one, I reckon. And you can tell that from the stern. The newer one of the two has a step in it. As well as that, the upper-deck superstructure on the older one is larger, although of course you can’t tell that until the two of them are side-by-side.

But it’s interesting in that if one of them is going to be moving and the other one not, it’s always this one that’s on the move, not the other. I would have expected the owners to alternate them so that they have an equal amount of use.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In front of Joly France is Chausiaise, the little freighter that they own that runs out to the Ile de Chausey.

It seems that they have plenty of work for her at the moment because usually she’s tied up in the inner harbour after the occasional trip here and there. Leaving her out here means that she must be off on another trip out sometime soon.

That might explain the sacks of builders’ material that we saw by the crane in the previous photo.

Pretty soon though, they are going to have to start thinking about some other arrangement. If they really are going to restart the ferries to the Channel Islands, as is suggested, they can’t be leaving ships moored up for too long at the ferry terminal.

l'omerta jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back home I came across L’Omerta again, moored in the silt underneath the fish processing plant.

At one time she practically lived there. She spent day after day tied up without moving, and then we didn’t see her for a while. But now she’s made a comeback.

And interestingly, Jade III is behind her, also settled down on the silt. We saw her yesterday tied up in the inner harbour while almost everyone else was out at sea. But today she’s made it as far as the outer tidal harbour before she stopped and tied up again.

There’s something strange happening here and I wish that I knew what it was.

Back home, having ignored the glaziers’ van parked by the Porte St Jean, I made myself a coffee and finished off what I’d been doing with those web pages.

After a good half-hour on the guitar I spent some time editing a few more photos from the High Arctic 2019 and the dog that I saw earlier must have been a premonition because I ended up editing a few photos of a polar bear and her cub that I encountered on Baffin Island while we were wandering around in Buchan Gulf.

Tea tonight should have been taco rolls with the left-over stuffing from Monday but one look at the tacos convinced me that maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. They ended up being filed under “CS”.

But not to worry. Having worked out the other week what those mystery pies were and found that they were savoury vegan pies, I had the last remaining one with potatoes, veg and a nice thick gravy.

Thoroughly delicious.

So what about that then?

During a previous existence when I was travelling for months around Canada every year I was churning out tons of stuff that found its way onto a web page. But somehow, having been swept away in a tide of whatever it was that swept me away, I’ve done very little of what has been important.

So four in a day is something of an achievement. But as I said earlier, doing it on just one day is no big deal. Margaret Thatcher once said something like “anyone can do a good day’s work when they feel like it. But doing a good day’s work when you don’t feel like it is something else completely”.

Over the last few years i’ve had far too many days when I haven’t felt like it. So let’s see what tomorrow brings. There aren’t (officially, anyway) any distractions but something will probably turn up and knock me out of my stride.

And, on a final note, with 40 minutes to spare before bedtime, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. This was something to do with the Lord of Darkness and somehow there was a technique how you could make a car like you would make a crèpe – pour liquid over a hot surface and make some kind of metal. They had made an experimental version for one group of people from the afterlife. Now they were working on their masterpiece. The Lord of Darkness had appeared with his entourage and took his place inside his car. The first car was vibrating a little and there was a danger that the power would run out so they asked the Lord of Darkness how they would deal with it. he replied that you could fit another element of a battery in there because they were several 2-volt cells and you would put another several cells in there to keep it at 12 volt and increase the amperage so that the amperage would probably match what was in his car

And then I’d ordered some LPs from Amazon. They turned up on a van at something silly like 06:00. Someone had a look to see and they were due to be delivered between 07:00 and 11:00 but it made no difference because they were here and we were here. But he couldn’t put the albums in the box in which they were supposed to arrive. There was a plastic box with lid that had to be assembled to put these albums in but for some unknown reason they wouldn’t go in and the box wouldn’t assemble and stay together. He was there for ages trying to fix this. In the end he asked if I would object if he didn’t leave the box but took it back with him. I thought that if I did object, I’d be here for hours trying to assemble it so he may as well take it and go back on his round. He asked which way to go so I replied “go out of our drive, turn right to the end of the road, turn left down to the end of the road and turn right and you’re heading towards the M6. Someone else who was there started to try to give him some really complicated directions. I thought that delivery and van drivers don’t need complicated directions. They keep it simple so there’s less chance of becoming lost. being lost is losing money for them

Later on I was with two other people last night. One of them was my little Inuit girl from Uummannaq. But she hadn’t half put on weight. She had her little sister with her who was about 3 probably. We were doing something, the 3 of us and then it was time to go. The two of them, my friend and the other person who was with me went to sit in the front of the car. I took the little girl and went to put her in the back. One thing that she liked was to be covered up by something so I took a piece of paper, a sheet of a newspaper to cover her up but she already had one and was covered up in it. She was rather cross that I was going to cover her up with 2 things. I had to fold up this piece and put it away. The other 2 wondered what was happening because of the little girl being cross but I explained and that was that.

Finally I was at an auction sale last night. They were selling things like tins of Pemmican and so on. One was from something like 1758 and another was a few years later all the way through to 1933. It looks very much as if someone had raided some explorers’ caches either in the Arctic or the Antarctic or Northern Canada. They were spending a considerable amount of time discussing the provenance of this stuff. I was hoping that they’d hurry up and start the sale

Where as all of this energy and motivation come from just now? Whatever is going on with me?

Wednesday 23rd March 2022 – A FUNNY THING …

workman suspended on rope rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022 … happened on the way to the for … errr … Physiotherapist’s this afternoon.

There I was walking quietly along the Rue Couraye and suddenly a man dropped down out of the sky right in front of me.

At least, that’s what I thought, but on a closer inspection after he had picked up the paintbrush or whatever it was that he had dropped and was hoisted back up, I could see that he was on a rope.

Cleaning or painting the facade of the building here, I reckon, or doing something of a similar nature.

But fancy a safety harness. When I retiled my roof in the Auvergne I was perched about 50 feet up on a roof holding on with my feet as I nailed down the slates.

And another funny thing that happened was that I walked all the way up the hill in the Rue Couraye to the physiotherapist’s without feeling any agony and it’s been months and months since that’s happened. So what’s going on here?

There was a lot going on last night though. I was in bed early and, for a change, out like a light. Another struggle to raise myself from the dead, and after I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, I could listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been.

At first, I was at an interview with STRAWBERRY MOOSE on the radio. The presenter was an extremely dominant and aggressive type of personality who basically shouted at the crowd to make everyone settle down and listen to his story. It was certainly a new departure in radio to hear the way that this programme was being presented. I thought that maybe I could take a lesson from this when I’m presenting some other radio programme some time in the future. It was certainly different, telling everyone to “shut up and listen” and “he’s come all this way to give you this story and the least you can do is pay attention”. it was all quite aggressive

Later, I was at work in the office and the ‘phone rang. I had to bring the Escort estate into Brussels. They were selling it so I had to hunt through my drawers for all of the paperwork for it but I couldn’t find anything. There was nothing at all. The boss had said “make sure that you bring the paperwork because we don’t want to have to come up to your place to look for it”. There I was, looking for ages through my drawers and I couldn’t find it anywhere but then 2 people came in and heard that I was going into Brussels so could they come with me? They hopped in and I thought that i’d better go anyway otherwise I’ll be here all day and I still won’t have the paperwork. Off I set to drive. After I’d gone a few miles I found that I actually had the paperwork in my hand. Of course someone must have had the paperwork to have taken the Escort to be valued. I had that as I was driving. I ended up coming in from the direction of Oostende. I radioed in that I was there and asked where I had to go. They said “the Garage de France”. I asked where that was and they replied that it was near the Gare de Ouest. I didn’t have a clue where the Gare de Ouest was. As I came closer to the office I dropped off these 2 people and stuck my head inside a café. She knew where the place was and she told me but the directions that she gave me didn’t make any sense. Then she said the name of a square where it was. I thought to myself “I wish that I’d brought my GPS in out of my own car and stuck it in the Escort to take it there. I could have solved this problem in 5 minutes had I done that”.

And then I was back in work again. I don’t know if I’d dictated the story of the Ford Escort estate being sold but later I was back in the office. I had a pile of paperwork that I’d picked up on the way in that needed to be sorted. I took it into the office and one of the chauffeurs came up to me and said in one of these high-pitched little baby voices “what’s little Eric got there?”. So I replied “some paperwork”. He asked “what’s little Eric going to be doing with it?” and I replied “nothing whatsoever”. This conversation was on the verge of getting out of hand. In the end the boss came along so as I was in earshot I said to Jef (it’s here, it has a date-stamp on it, it’s been received, it’s been registered, so why don’t you clear off?” or something like that. The boss came over, looked at the papers, took them off me and put them out for sorting. There was no chair at my desk but there were several other chairs dotted around with files on them so I went to take the files off one so I could have a chair to sit. Someone else said “there’s a spare chair up here” but I replied “this one down here will do me”.

At another point I was with one of these American folk singers, someone like Gene Clark, and we were being chased in a car down some kind of road. We turned off up the side down some kind of farm track and were being chased down there but I swerved off the road into a farm gateway and the other car went roaring past. We prepared to drive back where we’d come but another car came the other way. We’d been talking about these huge plants that were growing all over the placen one-eyed I-can’t-remember-the phrase-now but it was in a song by the Byrds, “My Back Pages”. This car came the other way and I asked “is that one of these?” and I said the name. He replied “probably” so we waited until it went. We thought that if he could go all the way through then so could we so I set out to follow it. He said “let’s forget about these plants for now and head off”, something that made me feel rather disappointed

Finally, we’d gone to a big village hall-kind of dance, the whole family, tribe. Our mother had taken us. She was, surprisingly, a big Afro-Caribbean woman. When the dancing took place she danced in a most uninhibited way. It had absolutely no interest for me whatsoever so I was just moping around at the back of the hall. eventually I went over to my mother and said that we really must have to go very soon. She asked the time and I replied “20:20”. For some reason we were due to go at 20:30 anyway. She started to collect everything together. She said that she first came to one of these dances when she was 15 and everyone was shocked and scandalised but even people like James Brown had stuck their head in to see what was happening. I hadn’t really any idea of what to say because I knew how my mother was with her imagination.

Yes, my mother had a very fertile imagination, as we came to realise as we grew older. She lived in her own little world that only rarely had any connection with the rest of the world in which everyone else lived.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I mentioned that I’d had a problem with a three-column website on which I was working. It didn’t take me long to discover the missing tag (or, should I say, the tag that was in the wrong place) and once I’d done that, I finished it off.

You can see it ON-LINE now. The content isn’t inspiring but it was only a test run for a few other purposes that will become clearer over the course of time.

It’s been checked in C-Cleaner, Waterfox and Tor but if someone has access to an Apple-based machine, if you could check it to see that it does what it’s supposed to, I’d be grateful.

Having dealt with that task, the next task was one about which I’d forgotten. At the end of October last year I’d been to see a rock group called “Reload”. I took … gulp … 184 photos and I’d made a start on editing them but as usual, I’d been side-tracked.

This morning though, I sat down and worked my way right through the lot and they are all now edited. I’m now onto mounting them (I’m kinky like that) and they will be on-line in die course.

That will be the acid test of my three-column photo layout – trying to make it work with all of these.

There were several breaks of course – breakfast being one of them with my lovely fruit bread, and then a shower and a good clean-up.

And while I was at it, I did my Dave Crosby impression. In fact I went one better and actually did cut my hair. Probably because I didn’t have the ‘flu for Christmas.

After lunch I headed out for the physiotherapist.

van car porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And we’ve had a change here at the Porte St Jean.

The large lorry and trailer with the digger perched thereupon are not there this afternoon. Instead the place has been taken by a glazier’s van.

In fact that has been there or thereabouts in one of the parking spaces for the past couple of days but today it seems that the driver has taken advantage of the absence of the lorry to move even closer.

In fact, I would have thought that he could have passed underneath the arch. There looks to be enough room.

On the left-hand edge you can see some advertising boards that have been erected. It’s soon to be election time here and they put up these boards for the candidates to attach their posters.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne, I stopped to check the camera – even though I’d checked it just a minute before.

There’s no-one about in the outer harbour and most of the fishing boats in the inner harbour seem to be out at sea. The only one that seems to be in there today is Jade III and I wonder why she hasn’t gone out.

Also absent, as they have been for quite a while, are Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel Island ferries. If service is indeed starting up in April, they need to finish their overhauls quickly and make their way back here to be ready to go.

freight on quayside bouchot stakes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down on the quayside, all of the freight that was there has now gone.

Normandy Trader, one of the little Jersey freighters, came in the other day and whisked it all off to the Channel Islands but there’s another pile that is slowly appearing down there ready for the next voyage.

And you can see all of the old stakes from the bouchot farms on the Ile de Chausey down there to the left of the right-hand crane. That was a good weekend’s work to pull up all of those and replace them.

Whoever is going to take those away will have some work on his hands too.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, down in the bottom corner, there’s been quite a lot happening by the looks of things.

There’s only one boat down there today, and that’s the newer of the two Joly France boats, the one with the smaller superstructure on the upper deck.

We saw Chausiaise out at the ferry terminal yesterday, but Belle France is also missing today. She and the older of the two Joly France boats must be keeping busy running out to the islands today.

And the mystery of why they all had their cranes out the other day is as yet unresolved. I’ve not seen anything at all about it.

reroofing rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A week or so ago I posted a photo of a cherry-picker that looked as if it had lifted some scaffolding up onto a flat roof in the Rue Lecampion.

Over the past few days I’d been keeping a quiet eye on it but today there has been some rapid progress since I last saw it. They’ve removed the tiles from an adjacent pitched roof and replaced all of the woodwork

That was quite quick. It’s not like the typical worker whom we’ve encountered these days.

Carefully dodging workmen dropping out of the sky, I sailed up the Rue Couraye rather more rapidly than just recently for my appointment with the physiotherapist.

She had a good look at my x-rays but told me that there was nothing evident that she could see about why I’m having this trouble with my knee. And that’s bad news as far as I’m concerned because how can anyone fix the problem if they can’t see t?

It’s just like my heart issue, where there’s no obvious problem that anyone can see. I’m not making it all up, I know that.

Anyway she gave me an electromassage, put me on the bike thing for 5 minutes and gave me a few exercises.

After she threw me out, I went to Lidl. I’m out of tomatoes and cucumber as well as a couple of other things. And there’s no big shop at the weekend because I’m on a course and anyway, I’m off on my travels on Thursday next week.

new building rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way home I went past the new house that is being built on the corner of the Rue St Paul and Rue Victor Hugo.

When I arrived the builders were busy chasing away a couple of kids who were pleying in the building, but apart from that there doesn’t seem to have been a great deal going on. I suppose that they will finish it one day.

My route led me through the town and up the hill towards home but I hadn’t gone far up the hill when a neighbour came past in his car. He offered me a lift, which was nice of him I did have a fair bit of stuff to carry.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Back in here I put some coffee on to brew and then picked up the big NIKON D500 to go outside.

Across the car park went I towards the beach to see what was happening there. The tide was well out and with the weather being so nice, there were plenty of people down there making the most of it. Of course, here in France, there’s no school on Wednesday afternoon.

While I was here, I had a look out to sea to see if there were any fishing boats working out here today. There was something right out beyond the Ile de Chausey that I couldn’t see, but that was really my lot. There wasn’t anything else happening out at sea that I could see.

55-qj aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Ther emight have been nothing going on out at sea but there was something having a go at the Thunderclap Newman impression of “Something In The Air”.

And don’t ask me what it is because its number, 55-QJ, is one of those that isn’t in the series of numbers to which I have access. And it goes without saying that she hasn’t filed a flight plan and wasn’t picked up on radar either.

Back here I had my coffee and then had half an hour or so on the guitar before I carried on with mounting the photos of the concert that I attended.

Tea was a curry with the left-over stuff in the fridge. I’ve not forgotten that I have some stuffing left from Monday, but I fancied a curry tonight. I’ll have the stuffing in a taco roll tomorrow.

So as well as that, I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. In the afternoon too, not the evening as I thought. I wonder what kind of catastrophe this will be.

Friday 18th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

filming at civic rooms place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… the excitement of yesterday, there’s been even more today.

Unfortunately not quite of the same calibre, but nevertheless it beats the monotony. Especially when they lay down a red carpet at the Communal Rooms at the back of my apartment and set up a film camera to film whatever was going to make use of it.

Whatever or whoever it was, though, I’m not able to say. I had to go out to the Post Office before it closed and so I missed it.

If we’re lucky, there will be something in the newspapers tomorrow, but I’m not all that hopeful. There wasn’t a word about what the Dassault Falcon was doing yesterday.

fire brigade rue des juifs burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022At that wasn’t everything either.

This afternoon it looked as if it was the local Fire Brigade’s annual outing. There they were, complete with vehicles, standing around and chatting, looking up at the ruins of the houses that were devastated in the fire.

While we’re on the subject of “devastated” … “well, one of us is” – ed … I was pretty devastated this morning.

It ended up being a much later night than I was expecting or hoping, and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I switched it off and … err .. went back to sleep. But it wasn’t as bad as yesterday. I managed to make it out of bed a good few minutes before the second alarm.

Not all that much on the dictaphone through the night either. I must have had something of a decent sleep. I was out somewhere last night on the road that runs between Newcastle and Shrewsbury. I don’t know where I’d been but I ended up down some kind of side road somewhere. I stopped and I’d had a piece of cake and a coffee, standing in the middle of this farm track drinking it and eating the cake while the farmer was driving around in his tractor somewhere. Something had gone wrong but I can’t remember what it was. I looked at the time and I thought “God! I only have 20 minutes to get to work!”. I thought that I’d never reach work on time at all from here because I’m on foot. I put down my mug and plate down in the middle of this track and walked down to the main road thinking that I’d hitch a lift. I walked back towards the road junction that would take me to Crewe which was 4 miles away. First of all a bunch of school kids went past, then an old Austin A40 Somerset followed by an old BMC lorry. I then found myself in this village As I walked through this village I thought that I’d never seen such a village. I didn’t know that there was a village like this on this road and I know it so well. By now I was in Caliburn and. There was some road work in the town centre. Everything was being dug up. There were rocks being cut up with a disc cutter. They were even dynamiting small small rocks. I was just driving over everything, machinery, the lot in Caliburn. Some guy was even putting his feet against the glass windows to stop them vibrating when the dynamite went off.. There was this really sharp U-bend by an expensive estate agent’s. I thought that things were becoming really bad. Some woman went past and said “you’re going to be terribly late for work. It’s 2 days running for me that I’ve had to call in with car problems”. I was back in Caliburn again and came across an auto-electrician. I drove into his workshop. I had to straighten a carpet. A guy came over so I asked him to go to listen to the starter while I turned the engine so he could see if there was a problem with the starter.

Later on I was out near Tarporley in a small village … “Tiverton;” – ed. I bumped into a girl whom I knew but I can’t remember who she was. She had curly ginger hair and I don’t know a girl like that in real life. She was telling me about a family whom I knew who lived by the traffic lights at the Rising Sun. She was saying that they’d all cashed in their chips, sold up and moved on. I asked if she knew where they had gone. She told me of a couple of them but there was one whom she didn’t know. She mentioned his name and I knew the name. He’d gone to Toronto. She said “yes, I remember now. He’s bought a racehorse”. I looked surprised and asked “what’s he doing with a racehorse?”. She didn’t actually know. In the end she said something like “if you’re going to take a chance on buying an unknown racehorse for £1:00 or something you’d buy it from a member of your own family rather than from a complete stranger” but she couldn’t see the purpose of this racehorse. I asked her if it was identical to any others that he owned because there’s always the old “run a slower identical horse in a few races to build up a bad reputation then switch the real one in for an important race once the other one has a bad name”. She said “no, it’s not at all like (she mentioned the name of another horse)” so I thought that perhaps it might be an identical horse or something where in this case this one might be slower. I was about to ask her the question when the alarm went off.

After the medication and transcribing the dictaphone notes, I spent most of the rest of the morning working on the photos from the High Arctic in August 2019. We’re now back on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR after our little walk around Qikiqtarjuaq.

That was where Dennis Minty and I bumped into a local Royal Canadian Mounted Police “Mountie” who gave us a lift in his pickup up to the top of a mountain on the island where we took some superb photos which you will see in due course.

After lunch I had a letter to write. It’s the reply to one that’s been hanging around here for quite a few months and someone somewhere is probably wondering if I’ve died.

“Snail mail” has all but died out for personal purposes but I still have the odd (and I use the term advisedly) technophobe friend who writes letters. Unfortunately, just like me, she has had a hand injury and so I have a great deal of difficulty reading her writing just like people have difficulty in reading mine, and it’s not easy to decipher it.

But anyway, it was eventually ready and in a mad fit of enthusiasm which has sprung up from heaven alone knows where, I actually set off to post it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check the camera and see what was happening down below.

As you can see, the tide is right out at the moment. It’ll be a while before it’s back in today. But there doesn’t seem to be anyone taking advantage of it and going for a bit of the peche à pied.

And if there’s anything going on at the Ile de Chausey this afternoon, they aren’t doing it aboard the Joly France ferries.

There’s one moored up over there at the ferry terminal in the NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position, and the other two are moored up in the inner harbour along with Chausiaise

charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As well as the Ile de Chausey boats in the inner harbour, there’s plenty of other stuff too.

One of the boats here is Charles Marie. We’ve been keeping an eye on her over the last couple of weeks while she was being serviced in the chantier naval but now she must be ready for the sea.

There was a trawler parked in the chantier naval where she was, but I couldn’t see who she was. I’ll go for a wander out that way tomorrow and find out more about her.

And by the looks of things, La Granvillaise wasn’t there either. She must have gone back into the water but she isn’t around in the harbour so I wonder where she’s gone.

There are tons of the containers in which they stack the sacks of shellfish over there on the quayside. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Dodging the pompiers who were having their meeting on the pavement, I carried on down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

The freight was still there but what caught my eye was the lorry and the digger over there on the track of the old abandoned railway.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw them working on the far end of that track in the town centre. They seem to have made rapid progress.

Down in the town I made rapid progress to the Post Office to post my letter. And then I went off to the Credit Agricole. I’ve received a cheque in respect of my Belgian State Pension but I dont now why. Anyway it has to be paid in to my account.

Now what can I do with €60:45? Spend! Spend! Spend! I suppose.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Walking back into the town centre on my way home I had a quick peek down where the old abandoned railway ran to see how they were doing.

And by the looks of things, they don’t seem to be doing a great deal. They have a compactor down there (which was more than they had on the 1800 miles of the TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY IN 2010 but the road surface doesn’t look much different than it did before they started.

And I’m half-expecting one of those boys to end up like an Austin Powers henchman if he isn’t careful. I suppose that the other boy there would refer to his friend as his “flatmate”.

I’ll get my coat.

So having dome my tasks for the day I set off up the hill for home, feeling rather pleased that I’d actually finished a couple of tasks.

Maybe it is these pills that are giving me energy, I dunno, but sometimes I really think that they could give you absolutely anything, tell you what the imaginary effects will be, and then you psyche yourself up to believe them.

kite surfers people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back inside I went to see what was happening down on the beach outside my building.

Today was a really glorious May day today, really warm, but with a strong wind. And so while there were no Nazguls about, there were a couple of people down there kitesurfing. And having a really good time doing it by the looks of things.

Plenty of people walking around on the beach too having a good time. I don’t know where they have all come from.

One of my neighbours was outside the building too, soaking up the rays. he and I had a good chat before I came in for a coffee.

Later on, I had another session on the guitar. I seem to have rekindled my enthusiasm, having done very little since I fell into this depression several months ago. I quite enjoyed it too, although i’m dismayed at how much of my technique I’ve lost.

Tea was a quick falafel from out of the freezer with pasta and veg because there was football on the internet. Y Bala v Penybont in the first of the Welsh Cup Semi-finals.

And for a match then ended 0-0, this was probably one of the best and most exciting that I’ve seen in a long while. Both teams have star players but they managed to checkmate each other at every turn as the game roared from end to end for the whole 90 minutes. It’s a shame that there aren’t more games like this.

So bedtime now. I’m shopping tomorrow and then I’m going to try to do some exciting stuff. What, I’m not quite sure yet.

Who knows? I might do something wild, like take more rubbish out to the bins.

Wednesday 16th March 2022 – AFTER THE OTHER NIGHT’s …

… disaster I remembered to take that pill and decided that I would stay awake and work until I felt really tired.

The wisdom of that idea was quite apparent when it was 02:00 and I was still awake and at the computer.

No-one was more surprised than me to find that at 07:30 when the alarm went off I managed to fall out of bed. Definitely a case of “shaken but not stirred”.

And that became apparent when I came back in here after the medication where, settling down in my comfy chair, I went to sleep again. And that’s how I stayed until 09:00

Part of the morning, once I was properly awake, concerned organising the music again. I had to make a new playlist for one of my batches of music for a start, and then there was some sound files that needed chopping up.

There are dozens of those and the first one proved to be far more difficult than anyone might imagine because after the first 5 tracks, the rest of it doesn’t go in accordance with the running order that I have. In the end after much binding in the marsh, I abandoned that and did three different ones.

That leaves me with about 30 to do. A mere bagatelle.

Something else that I’ve been doing is to run through another pile of photos from th High Arctic in August 2019. And if anyone thinks that they are having problems with prices in the shops these days, then HAVE A LOOK AT THESE in Qikiqtarjuaq, an island in the Davis Strait between the far North of Canada and Greenland.

It’s this kind of thing that makes me glad at times that I don’t live in the High Arctic and I feel sorry for those who do. And my hat goes off to the girl whom I met in Edmonton in 2018 and subsequently on several occasions who threw up her life in Montréal to go and live among the Inuit on Baffin Island

We had the usual interruptions for breakfast (and my coffee machine, while not perfect, is a vast improvement on the old one) and for lunch. I even spent some time having a little sort-out in the kitchen.

But don’t worry – it was only a little one. These new pills aren’t working that well.

As well as that, I sent off an order to Amazon. I need a new course book for the next lot of Welsh lessons, and while I was at it, I ordered a new dictaphone identical to the one that broke down a couple of months ago.

It served me well for a considerable number of years and did exactly what it was supposed to do. Using the ZOOM H1 is too inconvenient when it comes to playing back. Of course I copy it onto the computer to listen to it but it needs a lot of enhancement in order to be able to hear it.

There was also a pause for a shower, and then I wandered off out for my rendezvous with the physiotherapist.

lorry with trailer digger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen quite often one of the main problems that arises when you live in a walled city – big stuff can’t pass through the gateways and has to trns-ship.

We’ve seen on many occasions this lorry (or one very much like it) and its trailer with the digger on board parked up at the Porte St Jean whenever there’s road work to be carried out within the walls

It has to stop here and the driver has to drive the digger off and through into the town under its own steam to get where it’s going and that’s not the work of five minutes either. But there’s no other solution unfortunately – at least, one that’s practical.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You didn’t notice it in the previous photo because I enhanced it but I’ve not enhanced this one, so you’ll notice the rather strange, eerie yellowy-green light.

There’s a dust storm blowing up from the Sahara and it arrived at my friend’s in Munich yesterday late afternoon. But now it’s arrived here and we’re having it. It’s certainly a strange effect.

However, returning to the subject-matter of the photo, the tide is well out at the moment and there are no fishing boats moored up at the Fish Processing Plant.

And there aren’t any ferries at the ferry terminal either. They must be all at sea this afternoon, just like I seem to be these days. But at least they’ll be back sometime soon, which is more that I will.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, down at the loading bay in the port there’s a pile of freight that’s accumulated on the quayside.

That tells us that one of the little Jersey freighters will be coming in within the next day or two to whisk it all away.

And no large masts in the harbour either. That tells us that Marité is still in Cherbourg having her annual check-over ready to start work for the summer season.

By now it was starting to rain – enough to dampen my enthusiasm but not enough to dampen the spirits of the boulonauts who carried on playing. It’ll take more than a torrential downpour to stop them from playing.

renewing road surface abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the town centre we had yet more activity taking place.

That’s the site of the old railway branch (you can still see the rails) that used to go to the cold store where they used to keep the cod that the trawlers brought into port when fishing on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland was still undertaken.

Nowadays it’s a short-cut for pedestrians but at the moment it looks as if they are resurfacing it. I wonder what it will look like when they finish it.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapists was just as good as it was on Monday. And once more she had me on the couch massaging my patella with her electric machine. And then I had some exercises to do.

But the knee doesn’t seem to be strengthening and the left knee now seems to be hurting. I hope that the doctor can see something on the x-rays about which he can do something.

brick capping rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the rain still pouring down, I walked through the completely deserted town centre and back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards home.

When I reached the place where they had been repairing the wall, I had a look at the brick capping that they put on top a good few months ago.

There is still no pointing in between the bricks and the moisture that will penetrate will destroy the capping if there’s any frost to freeze it.

Mind you, by the look of things, winter is a thing of the past. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we haven’t had a winter this year, and it doesn’t look as if we’ll have another one ever again at the rate that things are going.

le coelacanthe trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022By now, the tide is much further in.

A big bunch of the smaller boats with shallow draught is down there at the Fish Processing Plant, all unloading their catch with the various vans and lorries of the owners waiting to take away the harvest.

Behind them, a few of the larger ones are waiting for the gates into the inner harbour to open so that they can go in. We can of course recognise Coelacanthe, the green and white trawler with the gold stripe.

There is even a trawler moored up at the ferry terminal out of everyone else’s way as the rush begins.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the rain that was falling, I was all ready to rush home. But there was one thing that I needed to do first.

But it didn’t really matter because there was no-one down there on the beach. And that’s no surprise because I wouldn’t have been out there in this weather had I not had to.

Back here I made myself a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone.

War had broken out so they were arming the island on which Zero lived with battleships and things like that. My father noticed and made some kind of comment and I replied but I can’t remember what I said but it was basically to do with the fact that we are all in this together. And here’s another voyage in which Zero was involved and I can’t remember how or why. What kind of state is this to be in?

Later on, everyone was getting their stuff out ready to welcome the Ukrainian refugees. One lot that was to come hadn’t come so the people who were waiting to show them their way threw all of their paintwork and the Ukrainian flag into the hedge back on someone else’s land. This caused a lot of problems and they had to prepare the stuff again. It turned out then that someone still had the stuff wrong even though the gates were now open. They were going around in yellow and blue even though they had nothign to do with the situation in the Ukraine.

Finally I was with my brother and someone else. I was supposed to be going outside but it was raining. I took some hot water with me anyway and poured it into the bath but I just lay down and curled up under a blanket or quilt any old how. I wasn’t interested at all in anything. The water was going cold and I was asleep under this quilt. The 2 of them walked past so I gave them a wave and curled up back underneath my blanket again. A little later I was climbing up this hill. There were loads of buses and coaches full of all kinds of children heading down the hill. It looked as if it was like a Sunday School outing or something. I got to where I was supposed to be going. I had some clothes baskets with me. I was going to do someone’s washing. I put down the baskets and the dog moved them so I told it to bring the baskets back. To my surprise, it did. That was quite amusing for both me and the woman who owned the dog when she realised exactly what had happened.

There was much more than this too but you really don’t want to know about it

There was no tea tonight as I had the first of my 5 revision lessons. Instead I grabbed an “unlabelled” frozen pie out of the freezer, defrosted it and warmed it up. To my surprise it turned out to be a vegan lentil pie. There are two more slices of that in the freezer so now that I know what they are I’ll have another tomorrow with potatoes, veg and gravy.

The Welsh lesson was something of a disaster. We were 14 students and the aim was to put us in pairs to chat about topics that the tutor gave us, and then to swap around after 20 minutes. And I’m just dismayed about how much I don’t know and how much I’ve forgotten.

Now i’m off to bed. I have two days with no interruptions so I need to get a move on and hope that no-one interrupts me and I can crack on with work. After last night, I need a good sleep.

If you aren’t tired, you can WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS of last night’s football. And there was so much that they have cut out half of them, which is a shame.