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Wednesday 17th November 2021 – HERE I ALL AM …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 5th November 2021 – I’VE BEEN …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you in the morning.

Friday 24th September 2021 – MY LIE-IN THIS MORNING …

… would have been really good had it not been for the 12 text messages that I received – 8 of which were from my mobile phone supplier telling me about special offers that I neither want nor need – during the course of the early morning.

There’s always something that goes wrong whenever I try to have to lie in for a morning.

And as you also might expect, I didn’t actually feel much better when I awoke either. But more of this anon.

After the medication I sat down to finish off yesterday’s blog entry. And there were tons of it too. It’s no surprise that I fell asleep halfway through, especially as that long chat had made me start it rather later than usual.

There was a pause in the middle for breakfast but even so, not finishing it until 11:45 was rather extreme. Mind you, I did have a few other things to do while I was at it.

Once I’d done that, I turned my attention to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something last night about being in the Army in World War II in the Home Guard. Our platoon had a couple of machine guns and suddenly the alarm went off so we dashed with our machine guns to our selected point and erected our machine guns so that they were covering the beach. After we had been covering the beach for a few minutes the captain, probably Captain Mainwaring, turned round and ordered our guns to point to the right. The sergeant-major immediately leapt over the wall to accost the captain about this, as it meant that we were now no longer firing on the enemy as they landed. The captain gave him such a dressing-down and sent him back to his quarters. A couple of our soldiers were crying as they wouldn’t be able to have a direct reult on attacking the Germans and stopping them landing. We kept our position for about 5 minutes then the captain dismissed us, saying that we had performed a very valuable exercise and we could all go home, to everyone’s dismay. I was one of the last to leave, and suddenly I heard the sound of horses galloping up. I took cover and it turned out that they were on the TV. It was Kenneth Williams and someone else, some kind of medieval heroes doing something. Much as I appreciate the humour of Kenneth Williams, it wasn’t what I wanted to watch so I had to look for the remote control to flick through the channels to see what else was on.

Later on I had a girl come round to me in Virlet and she ended up staying the night. Next morning I had to take her back to work of course. We were wandering around the farm and I was showing her all of the solar panels, everything, and it all looked pretty overgrown with weeds because I hadn’t been there for ages, even on the roofs. The solar panels were still working fine. There was a ritual that I went through to make a reading but I couldn’t remember what it was. I was stuck there for a couple of minutes. I asked her if she wanted a coffee but she said “no” so I asked if she minded if she waited 30 seconds while I made myself one and I could rake it with me. She replied “no, that’s fine as well”

Finally, there was something weird last night about I was walking down a country lane. Someone had fenced off or roped off all of the grass verges, roped off the drive to his house which was really difficult, like a labyrinth or honeycomb, rows and rows of ropes going across it. As I walked past I dropped my screwdriver over the hedge so I crawled under the ropes all the way up to where my screwdriver was and I met him coling down the drive. I explained that I was after my screwdriver and we had a chat. In the end he invited me in for a coffee. By this time I’d acquired a girl, I don’t know who it was. Then he said that he’d go out shortly but he’d be back later on. We heard the sounds of him locking the door as if we were prisoners in it. We both had a shower and change of clothes and sat and waited, then we managed to make our way out of the house. By this time we had discovered a young lad who was something to do with the farm but was also having a lot of difficulties with him. We packed up a few things and I pinched a couple of carrots because I’d been on my way to the shops to try to buy some. I’d already been to the market and bought some cheese. We set off and had to dismantle a gatepost to get out and had to reassemble everything. That took a while, but we were able to get into our car and drive away, leaving the place exactly as it was before we left but obviously without us in it.

One thing that I wish I knew was “just who are these girls who keep on appearing during the night?”. Especially the one who spent the night with me in Virlet. I have a feeling that I’m missing out on an awful lot these days.

As I have said before … “many, many times” – ed … whatever I get up to during the night is far more exciting these days than whatever I do during the daytime, but it seems to be such a waste when I can’t remember who it is that I’m getting it up with.

After lunch, I had a shower and then set off for my physiotherapy session.

ile de chausey man fishing from rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yesterday I mentioned that if I manage to set out early I would go for a wander around the walls to see what was going on with the repointing.

Before I did so, I stopped off at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord to see what was happening out there on the beach below me.

Not a lot, as it happens, but out there on the rocks we had a lone fisherman casting his line out into the water. I didn’t stay around to see if he caught anything.

And look how clear it is this afternoon over towards the Ile de Chausey in the background.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But let us turn our attention to the repair of the medival city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

On the inside, facing the street, they have already repaired a few patches and it looks quite nice, the work that they have done so far.

But as for the outside of the wall, they are going to be here quite a while trying to fix this. The presence of all of those plant roots are undermining the mortar and that’s what it probably causing a lot of the problem.

But if they repoint it with lime mortar (nasty corrosive stuff) as I did with my house in Virlet, they won’t have too much trouble in the future because any seed that tries to take hold will be burnt to a frazzle.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up along where that white protective sheeting has been fitted, they are also pushing on.

You can’t see very well in this photo but there are two guys down there underneath the footboard that you can see, and as I watched, they were busy raking out the old, loose mortar from the joints.

If you look lower down underneath where they are working, you can see that they have already repointed to a fair height, so they don’t seem to be hanging around, which makes a change these days.

beach diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021My route carried on around the path underneath the walls and round to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

The other day I mentioned that the beach cabins had been taken away for the winter. The Plat Gousset is looking quite bare without them.

Another thing that I mentioned was the diving platform. As you can see, the platform has also been taken away for the winter and there is just the concrete pillar left.

The swimming pool is looking quite lonely as well. No customers, and no water either. This is all a sign that Autumn has arrived, whether we like it or not, and even though it’s still extremely warm for the time of year.

classe decouverte plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Another sign that the tourist season is over is that the Classe Découverte season has started.

During the summer, the youth hostel in the town is full up with young tourists but once they have all gone, it’s the turn of the schools and their Discovery Classes to take over. That’s a big thing in France, with kids from the cities going into rural areas and kids from rural areas coming to the seaside.

Mind you, what they are going to discover at the Plat Gousset is anyone’s guess.

At the viewpoint I staggered off down the steps to the Place Marechal Foch and then crawled wearily through town and up the hill to the physiotherapist. Nothing happening at the building that we saw on Wednesday, and when something does, I’ll post a photo.

The physiotherapist put me through my paces on the tilting platform thing that he has, and I had to abandon one of the exercises, not because of my knee but because my shoulder was hurting. I’m having problems everywhere by the looks of things.

Mind you, I managed to add a few more seconds to my best on the cross trainer.

random road signs parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back home I came past the old railway line and down the steps to the Parc du Val Es Fleurs.

And we can see that just as last time, the local kids have been up to no good with the road signs again.

As I mentioned the other week, part of the park’s car park has been transformed into a store for the equipment that they are using for the building of this new road, that we’ll see in a minute.

But the compound isn’t all that secure while they are down the road working, so anything can happen. And, of course, we were all kids once too – something that many adults forget.

resurfacing parc docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So where was I? Ohh yes, walking down by the side of the old railway line towards town.

They have now stated to dig up this little park just here in order to resurface it. I

‘m not sure what the park is called but the school at the side is the Ecole des Docteurs Lanos, whoever the Docteurs Lanos where when they were at home, if they ever were, and there’s a Park somewhere in the town called the Parc des Docteurs Lanos so I imagine that this could well be it.

But it seems that nothing is sacred when they are on a mission.

grader compacter rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Now doesn’t this here in the Rue du Boscq bring back many happy memories?

Eleven years ago I was the driver of one of the very first vehicles to drive over the new TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we had endles encounters with graders as we made our way through the mountains.

There weren’t so many compacters though, which was surprising, so our drive was rather adventurous to say the least, but seeing a grader and a compacter here reminded me of old times.

digger moving rocks rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further on, there was a large digger having fun with a pile of rocks.

He was dragging them around presumably to put them into position for the compacter to come and compress them into the soil ready for a layer of smaller rocks to be laid on top.

Ohh yes, I can build you a Roman Road any time you like. That course that I studied on Historical Technology was one of the most fascinating courses I have ever studied.

Nothing much else was happening in the town centre so I made my weary way up the hill towards home.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the climb up the Rue des Juifs I stopped more times that I care to remember. This is really getting me down, this health issue.

At the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay in the port we have another pile of freight deposited down there by the crane. One of the Jersey freighters must be on her way.

But it won’t be Normandy Trader, I’ll tell you that. She’s up on blocks in the chantier naval in St Malo having a good clean, a wire-brushing and a new coat of paint to maker herself look pretty.

marquee rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down so I was glad to sit down and rest for a while.

We were sitting on the wall talking, right by where they are erecting the marquees. And I can tell you what they are for as well now.

The season for the Coquilles St Jacques starts next week, and preliminary trials suggests that this is going to be one of the best seasons in modern times.

Consequently, they are going to hold a fête, a buffet and so on this weekend to celebrate what they are hoping to be an excellent season, and there will be shellfish all round for everyone, with a buvette of course. You can’t have a festival in France without there being a buvette involved.

And this is why Hera was in the chantier naval the other day. She was being cleaned and tidied because her owners are going to be giving tourists a guided visit.

bouchots donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back home I went to see what was going on down on the beach, seeing as it was round about my usual time.

Plenty of beach to be on of course as the tide is receding rapidly, but surprisingly there was hardly anyone on there. I couldn’t see more than about half-a-dozen people down there this afternoon.

But with the tide being well out, the bouchot farmers were out in force of course, harvesting close to the shore while they wait for the tide to go even further out.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On my way out, I mentioned that the air was quite clear and the views were quite good this afternoon.

The camera that I had with me today was the old NIKON D3000 fitted with the 18-105mm LENS so I’m not going to have the same photos as yesterday.

However, this one of the north-east end of the Ile de Chausey came out really well.

Back here I made myself a cold drink (I’ve finished the bottle of banana concentrate and I’m not going to open another one and leave it standing over winter) and then came back in here.

Something has cropped up just recently that featured on a web page that I wrote quite a few years ago, so I had to review the page, rewrite some of it and edit the rest to bring it up to date. And once you do one, it leads you on to another.

It relinded me of a quote by Fridtjof Nansen that I read in his book In Northern Mists “the more extensive my studies became, the more riddles I perceived – riddle after riddle led to new riddles and this drew me on”

That took me up to teatime. Plenty of mushrooms left so I made a potato and mushroon curry. There’s some left too, so I’ll lengthen it with a small tin of something and finish it off tomorrow.

After lunch I had a listen to the internet radio. It’s the last Friday of the month so I feature a live concert and tonight’s (repeated tomorrow at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK time, 15:00 Toronto/New York time) is one of the best that I have ever attended since the halcyon days of the early-mid 70s.

It took quite a bit of editing and I was keen to hear how it would come out, and I do have to say that it’s one of the finest that I have ever prepared.

It’s repeated TOMORROW at the times that I mentioned, and is podcastable afterwards. It’s well worth a listen.

moonrise eglise notre dame de cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Just before I went to bed I went into the living room to close the window.

And the moon tonight was beautiful. It was rising tonight just above the roofs of the houses in the old medieval walled city and looked rather strange, being well below the spire of the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

It was obviously one of these essential photography moments so I went and fetched the NIKON D500.

And so right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and as yet, I haven’t fallen asleep. That is some progress, and a good night tonight should help matters even more. I hope.

Tuesday 14th September 2021 – WELL, AT LEAST …

chest x-rays place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… I do actually have a set of lungs

There are certainly two of them inside my ribcage and while I don’t really know anything about what I’m looking at, they both look pretty much the same to me.

And one thing that I like about the French – indeed the European – medical servce is that not only was there just a couple of days between my ‘phone call and my appointment and not a couple of months as in the UK, my appointment was at 10:00 and at 09:51 I had been x-rayed and was waiting for the images.

And they said “wait 30 minutes and then pick up your photos”, but the actual wait was more like just over 20 minutes. Efficient is not the word.

Last night was another bad night that I spent tossing and turning under the covers drifting in and out of sleep. And it really was a struggle to haul myself out of bed when the alarm went off.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There were three presidents or secretaries or whatever of the Rolling Stones Fan Club who had arrived by canal or on bikes on their way into town so I had to go out there to the canal. I was one of the first away and when I arrived I found that George was there. He’d been there for hours watching them because they had been waiting for so long. He thought that there were 4 or them but I definitely only counted three. Then some more of our party turned up so I went into the back of my van to get out the stuff that we needed for this operation.

Later on during the night I’d gone on a holiday somewhere skiing. There were all kinds of organised excursions as well. There was one where they were allocating people to different things. Someone asked me what I was doing on one particular afternoon right before we went home. I said that I didn’t know so they replied that the notice board was “over there”. I had a look and it seemed that I’d been put down for an early start to go on a coach tour. I thought “I may as well go”. Only about half the people who had been put down turned up and no-one was particularly interesting but we had a chat all the same. The concern was with drivers’ hours. Was the driver taking us on this sight-seeing trip going to be the same one who was going to be taking us home in the evening because how would he fit his drivers hours in? We ended up in Coventry at the museum. The bus driver had parked the exit door right over a puddle. everyone was getting out of this coach and wading through this puddle but I slid down the wing because it was an old half-cab bus and reached the ground that way and went off to have a look at a few of the exhibits which showed Coventry basically before it was bombed, and Coventry afterwards. I mentioned to Nerina, who had turned up by this time that I’d written about Coventry for my University thesis (and I DID TOO as it happens). She replied “yes, she knew” but she didn’t seem to be all that interested so I didn’t say any more.

Having written out my notes, I headed off for my x-rays at the Laboratory On The Edge of Town. And that didn’t take as long as I was fearing, and I was back well in time for my Welsh lesson.

teacher taking photo of schoolchildren place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One of the regular features of these pages is “taking photos of people taking photos of people”.

As I pulled into the car park outside here I nearly squidged a crocodile of schoolkids on a walk around the area. They weren’t in any particular hurry to get out of my way.

They all assembled on the clifftop over by the wall that overlooks the beach, and a teacher went to take a photo of them all. Luckily I had the NIKON D3000 to hand and was able to take a quick snap of them all before they all moved on.

The Welsh lesson wasn’t as easy as it might have been, and for two reasons too –

  1. I was struggling to keep awake for some of it
  2. Now that on-line working has come to an end, Zoom has stopped its free offer for schools and colleges, so every 40 minutes we had to log out and back in again.

As for the lesson itself, it passed quite well and I seem to have grasped the hang of what we were studying.

After lunch I had another go at these old duplicates and, to my surprise I found another several thousand that I hadn’t thought too much about. But eliminating the duplicates went ahead quite happily and another 6.2GB of photos bit the dust.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When I went out for my afternoon walk, the first thing that I did was to go over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach.

The tide was quite well in so there wasn’t a great deal of beach to be on. Not that it made a great deal of difference because the weather wasn’t as good as it might have been – cloudy and overcast – and not the right kind of day for sunbathing.

Nevertheless, there were still a couple of people who had taken to the water this afternoon and looked as if they were enjoying it. So hats off to them.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021With the cloud cover that we were having today, it kept the haze down so the view out to sea was quite good.

Not as good as it was the other day but still better than some days that we’ve had. While I was looking out to sea towards Jersey I could see a small yacht about halfway out in the bay.

The island of Jersey was visible in the background but we couldn’t actually see or distinguish anything out there this afternoon.

And so instead, with nothing else going on out there at sea, I set off for my walk along the headland out towards the lighthouse.

boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When I reached the lawn, I could see out across to the other side of the headland and into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Out there in the bay this afternoon was a small motor boat. I couldn’t see what the crew were doing, but I shouldn’t be surprised if they were out there fishing.

My attention was also drawn to the background of the photo. We’ve seen quite a few interesting things on the skyline at the back of Jullouville and today we can see on the right some kind of chimney and on the left there’s some kind of what looks like a stone tower.

One of these days i’ll have to go for a drive around there for a closer look around.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But right now I was more intent on pushing off across the car park over to the headland to see what was going on out at sea.

And, just like yesterday, and one or two other days just recently, I wasn’t the only one interested in what was going on. Today, we had a couple sitting on the bench by the Cabanon Vauban looking out to sea.

Not to any good purpose of course, because out in the bay all the way across the bay to Cancale there wasn’t anything going on at all. Not even a boat of any description.

sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs on the far side of the headland towards the port.

When I’d gone past the sailing school this morning on the way to the laboratory they were busy dragging out a few of the yachts ready to start the lessons.

And this afternoon, as I walked along the clifftop I could see some of the yachts from one of the sailing schools out there in the bay having a lap around before the tide went out.

In the background, there were people out there on the Plage d’Hacqueville having a good walk around. i’ve not yet set my foot on that beach so that’s another job for one of these days.

saint andrews chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The path took me along to the viewpoint that overlooks the chantier naval where I can see what was going on down there.

The work on the little trawler Saint Andrews is progressing. Some of the hull and superstructure has been masked off and they are quite busy giving her a second coat of paint.

She looks something of a mess right now but I bet that she will look really nice when she’s finished.

There wasn’t any change of occupancy in there again today so I carried on down the path

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yesterday I took a couple of photos of the ferry terminal, where we saw the two Joly France boats.

At the time, I mused about the whereabouts of the brand-new ferry Belle France. I didn’t know then where she was but I can tell you where she is today. She’s actually tied up at the ferry terminal this afternoon.

In front of her, out of shot, is the newer one of the two Joly France ferries. The older one of the two is nowhere about so she’s probably out at the Ile de Chausey witnessing the next instalment of dodgems round by the landing stage.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I watched, the reversing siren on Belle France sounded and she reversed out of her berth.

From my viewpoint I saw her reverse out into the channel and she looked as if she was about to head off to the Ile de Chausey, even though there were no passengers on board.

However, having reversed out and turned 180°, she then reversed back into her berth and tied up again. I’ve no idea why she wanted to do that.

From the viewpoint I headed off back to the apartment and my banana smoothie and where I unfortunately crashed out for an hour or so.

This evening I’ve packed my suitcase ready for tomorrow and then made tea – a slice of pie with potatoes and vegetables. And it tasted delicious.

Right now though, I’m off to bed. I need to be on form tomorrow for my trip to Leuven. I’m not looking forward to this.

Saturday 11th September 2021 – IT’S BEEN ONE …

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… of those days where anyone who can possible get out to sea had been out there today.

We started off today with Marité having a really good sail around the Baie de Granville, in company with a pile of other yachts, some of which you can see in this photograph.

She was quite far out at sea this morning and I didn’t really have the time to wait for her to come back closer to the shore. But never mind. Read on …

armorique english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further out there in the bay, right out beyond Jersey, is another ship – a huge one this time.

At first I thought that it might be the high-speed Condor Voyager, which I know to to be out there somewhere, but then I had another think.

Another car ferry, a full-size one, left St Malo about 100 minutes ago and on blowing up my image (which I can do, despite modern terrorist legislation) she has a superstructure that is much more like a full-size ship.

And when I saw that the ship was the Brittany Ferries’ Armorica and compared a shot of her stern with my photo, then I’m now pretty certain that that’s who she is.

commodore goodwill english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There’s another large ship heading the other way, towards St Malo.

Just one quick glance at her was enough to tell me exactly who she is, without even checking the radar or the port arrivals.

Her colour scheme is that of Condor Ferries and so she must be Commodore Goodwill, their big ferry that takes cars and commercial freight between the UK, the Channel Islands and St Malo

In fact, I did check, and she did arrive in St Malo about 50 minutes after I took this photo.

la cancalaise english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Also out there this morning on the right of this image is a ship with a very familiar set of masts and rigging.

At first glance you might be forgiven that she is La Granvillaise but actually, it isn’t.

She actually has a sister boat, a near-identical twin that operates from Cancale on the other side of the bay and is called, surprisingly enough, La Cancalaise, and that’s who she is. I’m pretty certain of that.

As for who the other one is, she could be any one of a couple of hundred yachts that were out there early this morning.

We haven’t finished yet with the maritime activities, but I thought that I would give you all a break from the excitement and give you a chance to recover your breath.

When the alarm went off this morning, I was actually already awake. I’d awoken blot-upright for some unknown reason at 05:47 and there isn’t really much point in going back to sleep then.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. In fact I had been on a bus. I had to go and pick up my youngest sister from School. She was at a school called Pebble Brook which was in Shavington (which of course it isn’t). I had to catch the bus and I asked for Dodd’s Bank. The bus drove into Shavington and went clean past Dodd’s Bank so I had to press the button myself and have it stop. The conductor asked “how pressed the button?” I replied “I did. I should have alighted at Dodd’s Bank”. He asked where I was going and I replied “the Primary School”. He chuntered a bit but anyway I alighted, walked through the track alongside the brook and ended up at school. All the kids were milling around and I could see her there, except that she was more like Roxanne by now. I took her by the hand and we set off. I asked her if she had ever been to see any of the houses where we lived when we were kids. She replied “no. Where are they?”. I said “we’re here” because 61 Osbourne Grove is just around the corner from the school. I showed her that house. of course it’s nothing like the heap that it was when we lived there. It’s all been modernised and 2 houses have been knocked into 1. The people inside could hear me talking about what it was like but they never came out which was a shame so we set off to go round the corner and down the street to Vine Tree avenue.

While I was at it, with not going to the shops today I had a couple of hours to spare so I paired off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be doing on Monday. I may as well get ahead of myself just for a very rare change and it will give me some free time on Sunday.

Then there was some tidying up to do because I was going to have visitors. and sure enough, Liz and Terry came round. Terry gave me back my 3/4″ drive heavy duty ratchet and socket set, and I gave him back his computer that I’d been fixing.

Liz gave me a few old towels that she was planning to throw away. I have nothing here for mopping up heavy spillages, protecting surfaces or anything like that and half a dozen decrepit towels are ideal for this kind of thing.

A coffee at La Rafale was next on the agenda so we headed off out that way, checking out the ships in the Baie de Granville as we went past the viewpoint.

diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021After our coffee we went for a good walk around the old medieval walls.

Regular readers of this rubbish will be interested in the photo just here because if you compare it with THIS ONE taken from the same viewpoint yesterday, this will give you a really good idea of how high the tide is when it’s right in.

You can just about make out the crown of the diving platform, and even a seagull that is photobombing me.

marite baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned Marité, about how she was quite far out in the bay, and I told you to “read on”.

We’d spent quite a time in La Rafale and on our walk but even so, It was quite a surprise to see Marité just here in front of us as we came round the corner.

She’s done her morning lap around the Baie de Granville and it now looks as if she’s going to be doing a lap around the Baie de Mont St Michel before coming back home before the harbour gates close.

charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And we haven’t finished yet either.

There was another boat that seemed to be doing a lap or two around the inner harbour with a load of passengers.

She’s the Charles-Marie of course and this is one of the very rare occasions when we’ve actually seen her with her sails unfurled.

When we returned to the apartment Liz and Terry went to their car and headed off into the sunset – well, not exactly the sunset but you know what I mean – and I came in here because it was almost lunchtime and my nice fresh bread awaited.

After lunch, I had a couple of other things to do, such as carrying on sorting some images – a project that I started ages ago when I merged together all of my hard drives into one large one.

What had restarted my enthusiasm (such as it is) for this particular project was the other day when I spent half a day looking for a couple of photographs and couldn’t find them. I decided that I ought to be more organised and not let things drift as I seem to be doing right now.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This took me up tp the time to go on my afternoon walk around the headland, and as usual, the first port of call was the beach.

Looking over the wall at the end of the car park I could see that there was plenty of beach to be on, and there were plenty of people making the most of it.

There were even a few people who had taken to the water, which was no surprise because although it had been quite cool this morning, as the day went on it warmed up quite dramatically and after the miserable summer that we had, it looks as if it’s going to be unseasonably warm for a while.

powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out with Liz and Terry this morning there had been quite a lot of aerial traffic. Ordinarily I would have photographed some of it but you can’t really do things like that in company.

One of the aircraft that had gone by overhead was the red powered hang-glider, and I was lucky while I was out this afternoon because as I was watching the beach she came by again.

This time of course there were no hang-ups, if you pardon the expression, and I could take quite a nice photo of her as she roared by over my head. Unfortunately, from this position I couldn’t see who was in her.

50sa aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021and that was by no means all of the aerial activity. There was plenty more to go at yet.

Something else that went by overhead almost immediately was one of the little aeroplanes that seem to have a serial number range all of their own that I have yet to decipher.

This one is 50SA, whatever or whoever she might be. I keep on meaning to go one of these days over to the airfield and have a good look around, make a few suitable enquiries and maybe even blag myself a flight in the yellow autogyro. Who knows?

hang gliders pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And had I been out a few minutes earlier, I might even have witnessed some more aerial activity too.

But when I arrived at the lawn by the lighthouse at the Pointe du Roc, I could see that a couple of the Birdmen of Alcatraz had come to grief. It looks as if their Nazguls have given up the ghost, the wind has dropped or else Legolas has shot them down with his arrow in the dark.

Now, the riders are lounging around presumably waiting for someone with a car to come and rescue them from their peril and take them back home.

la cancalaise english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But for the last few minutes I’ve been digressing.

While I was watching the beach and watching the air, my third eye was casting around out at sea to see if there was anything exciting going on out there.

Earlier this morning, I posted a photo of La Cancalaise out there in the English Channel. And when I went out for my afternoon walk I noticed that she was still out there, with a couple of smaller boats to keep her company.

It would seem that they don’t have the same issues with the tides at Cancale as we do here

fishermen in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It goes without saying that if there is going to be all this much marine activity, there are bound to be some fishermen somewhere.

What was surprising though was that despite the dozens of boats milling around, there was only this zodiac that looked as it it had any fishermen in it.

So I left them to it and pushed off on the path along the clifftop past the downed Nazguls and across the car park to see what was happening out in the bay.

To my surprise, the answer was “nothing”. It looked as if the crowds that we had seen out there this morning had all gone home. No point in my loitering around. I’ll head for my home too.

saint andrews catherine philippe l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The path along the top of the cliff on the far side of the headland takes me past the viewpoint overlooking the outer harbour.

From here, there’s a really good view down into the chantier naval and I was right yesterday when I thought that I could only make out four boats down there.

We have the blue and black one whose name I haven’t yet discovered, and facing her is Saint Andrews. The white blue and red one is Catherine Philippe and to her right is the shellfishing boat L’Omerta .

Nothing else has come in this morning to fill the empty places.

stalls and marquees parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the car park at the Boulevard Vaufleury are a pile of marquees and the like.

Ordinarily I would have gone for a nosey about to see what was happening but it’s a sign of how ill I am that I couldn’t face the extra few hundred yards to go and check.

What I’ll do is to go home now, and if they are still there tomorrow I can give them the once-over without having to take too much of a diversion.

But these health issues are really depressing me and no mistake.

Back here there was football on the internet and for once, the broadcasters had picked a match of two teams that are down at the wrong end of the table, Aberystwyth Town versus Cardiff Metropolitan.

Despite the lack of skill compared to the more successful clubs this was an exciting match as the action raged from one penalty area to the other. Aberystwyth played soe really attractive football but the Met were more direct and began to take control the longer the gamae went on.

They were unlucky to find Aberystwyth’s goalkeeper, the Slovenian Under-21 International Gregor Zabret, in stunning form and he kept them out right until the end when a wicked deflection off one of his own defenders sent him the wrong way.

Aberystwyth are now third-bottom in the table but surely, on this performance, they’ll finish higher up the table than this.

Tomorrow is Sunday, and that means a lie-in. I have more visitors in the afternoon so I want to be at my best and maybe even tidy the apartment a little. It does need it.

Monday 6th September 2021 – HERE THIS AFTERNOON …

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… in the port we have Marité, back again after her outing at the weekend and tied up at her usual spec in the corner at the end of the harbour.

And today, it’s Monday, so everyone is back at work or at school and Marité thus has nothing to do and nowhere to go.

So as you might expect, we are having one of the most beautiful, warm and sunny days of the summer so far (even though it’s September).

It’s a very sharp contrast indeed to yesterday when she was out and about with the Sunday day-trippers in one of the thickest fogs that I have ever encountered since I’ve been here when the tourists couldn’t see a thing.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was down there at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour I had a good look around to see how the Galeon Andalucia was doing.

And there she was! Gone! And never called me mother! Apparently she slipped out of port on the morning tide earlier today and is now heading off back down the coast on her way home. I shall have to catch up with her later.

Right now though, I have to say that I had a rather miserable night last night, tossing and turning in bed for ages with a very disturbed sleep.

There is some stuff on the dictaphone too. We were going north to Scotland, 4 of us. One of them was CPO Pertwee. I can’t remember what it was that we were planning to do but to climb a mountain was not exactly some part of it but we thought that that might have been a possibility that we could have reached the top. There was a tremendous overhang at some point and it wasn’t a very easy climb at all. Pertwee asked “what do you think would be in the papers if we actually climbed it?” and he replied that it would be first of all the leader and the fourth person would have climbed up, secondly followed by Pertwee and me, with me carrying all of the equipment of course. Then we turned round and went back and ended up that night on this camp site just outside somewhere in the Scottish lowlands. Who should be bump into but a girl who worked in Crewe. A young girl. I was following the other 3 around all alongside the river but I ended up talking to this girl. We had a bit of a chat but she didn’t seem to be very interested in having a longer chat or anything like that. In the end I drifted away but I couldn’t find the other 3. The bottom end of this path was crowded with people partying. There were lights and everything but I couldn’t find the other 3 and thought “had I know, I would have brought this girl down with me regardless of what she wanted to do and we could have joined the party.

later on we’d all been out at the weekend to go somewhere. There was talk that we might all go out there again the coming weekend. In the meantime we were all thinking about tidying up the house. I was ill and was at home so my mother had me help her tidy up the house which was not my plan at all. She asked me to vacuum off a few surfaces but she had all kinds of rubbish on them including half of a dead plant that she had broken off branches and had leaves everywhere. The vacuum cleaner started to suck up the leaves and jammed so I had to start to pick up all these leaves and branches by hand and move them outside. Then she came down and hardly took a bit of notice about what I was doing and chatting away about this plan of the question of going away again for the day came up. I thought that I’d like to invite this girl who I’d met. I suddenly realised that that meant that there would be 6 of us in the car and it would be overcrowded. I thought that I could take her in BILL BADGER but he was hardly the kind of vehicle for taking girls out on dates. I had several old Cortinas dotted around (again!) the garden and the place wasn’t looking very tidy at all. There was a beige MkIII saloon there that was quite rotten. I was wondering if I set to work and did the bodywork on it this week and get it to be presentable. There was a nagging feeling in my mind that there was a time limit that I had to do something – a legal time limit but I couldn’t remember what it was. I knew that if I didn’t do it there would be complications but I couldn’t remember when or where it was that I had to do this.

Despite how I was feeling, I did manage to crawl out of the arms of Morpheus and into the kitchen to take my medication, and then back into here to check my mails and messages.

Once all of that was dealt with I could crack on with the radio programme that I need to deal with today.

Up until about 10:40 I was doing really well and all that remained was to choose the last track. And then the wheels came off because I was interrupted by a telephone call.

A few days ago I had an idea about a series of radio programme for later on in the year and i’d sent a mail to the co-ordinator. He called me back at about 10:40 and we had a very lengthy chat.

As a result it wasn’t until about 12:05 that I finished the programme, about an hour after I had intended to, and then I had to draft a lengthy report as well as to send out a few feelers here and there to potential interviewees.

After lunch I had a shower and then went to see the co-ordinator where we chatted for well over an hour, batting ideas backwards and forward about how I intend to do it. So now, not only do I have a plan drawn up, I have an awful lot of work before me until Christmas

By the time that I had come back, it was time to go back out again for my afternoon walk, so I grabbed the big NIKON D500 and headed off outside.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Naturally, the first port of call is going to be the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down upon the beach and see what is happening.

And despite it being a work day or a school day, there were plenty of people down there on the beach this afternoon.

Not only that, there were plenty of people down there in the water too. No surprise there, given the beautiful day. You can tell that just by looking at the colour of the water down there.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2109/21090044.html”>people on beach rue du nord plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Now that I can actually see something out there this afternoon, I had a look further down the beach to see what was going on there too.

Down at the bottom of the steps, bottom right in the photo, we have someone armed with his surfboard or paddleboard or whatever on the point of heading out to the water.

Further down, there were plenty of people out there at the water’s edge at the Plat Gousset. That’s the most popular beach around here and is always where you’ll find the crowds, if there are any about. Access to the beach is much easier there.

fisherman in kayak pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was sounding out the beach down there, I was also looking around out at sea to see what was going on there.

This afternoon we have a fisherman down there in a kayak. He certainly has a couple of fishing rods with him but I imagine that trying to cast a line from a kayak is not a very easy proposition.

What has also caught my eye is whatever it is that he has at the back of his kayak. It looks rather like a set of wheels to me, so maybe it’s something that he can use to pull his boat in and out of the water from the beach.

frogmen scuba divers pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021His wasn’t the only aquatic activity that was being undertaken out there this afternoon.

Out there just offshore we have a couple more frogmen – or frogpersons as I suppose that we have to call them these days.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen them a while ago out there in more or less the same spot and I couldn’t understand what they were doing then. It’s probably something to do with training although I don’t know why they would want to do it just there.

red microlight ulm pointe du roc Granville Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was watching the water sports down there I was overflown once more.

It was the little red microlight that we have seen on several occasions. He’s up there with a passenger, by the looks of things, and they were doing a couple of laps around the end of the headland.

Once he disappeared finally out of view, I wandered off across the car park to the end of the headland. There wasn’t anything else going on out at sea which was a surprise given how nice the day was today.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six F-GVJC pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was wandering out that way, something else came flying past overhead.

One look at the machine told me who it might be, without even seeing her registration number. She’s F-GVJC, the Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six that we’ve seen a few times. You can tell that by her elongated nose.

She doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan for this journey so I’m not able to say where she’s going, although it can’t have been far because later on this evening she took off again for Melun, near Paris.

Airbus A321-271NX G-WUKN pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This aeroplane is much more easy to identify because even at 20,000 feet we can see her livery.

She’s G-WUKN, an Airbus A321-271NX and she’s flying flight W65122 on behalf of Wizz Air between Fuerteventura and Luton Airport at a speed of 347 knots. She was built in Germany, where she is currently registered, and her first commercial flight was as recently as March this year.

It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a good view of a full-size aeroplane flying overhead, and we were lucky to have this view because as you can see, she’s being overtaken by a load of cloud and we are on the point of losing sight of her.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021At the end of the headland I could see out into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

There is one of the smaller fishing boats heading back towards port although I don’t know why because the harbour gates won’t be open for a while.

At first, I thought she might be La Grande Ancre but gazing full-on into the sun, it’s very difficult to make out anything.

There were no fishermen down there on the rocks and no-one at the Cabanon Vauban either, so I carried on along the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

yann frederic chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval we can see that a change in occupancy this afternoon.

We stall have seven boats, the same number that we have had for the last couple of weeks, but the green, white and black trawler La Soupape that has been up there on the blocks for several weeks has now gone back into the water.

In her place is another trawler, the Yann Frederic. This is the first time that we’ve taken notice of her since we’ve been living here but I don’t suppose that it will be the last, judging by the length of tile that they spend on the blocks over there.

Mind you, they already seem to have made a good start on her, and there is someone working on one of her aerials.

joly france chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But whatever is happening here, I really have no idea.

One of the Joly France boats, the newer one of the two with the smaller superstructure and deeper windows, is over there moored at the ferry terminal.

Chausiaise is over there too, and I can’t think what she’s doing because it looks as if she’s moored right across the ferry terminal preventing any other boat from going in there to tie up.

The other two ferries, the older Joly France boat and the very new Belle France are nowhere about so Chausiaise had better move herself by the time that they come back.

Having looked at the inner harbour, I came on back home for my banana smoothie and to carry on with some work such as transcribing the dictaphone notes from the night, but instead I fell asleep. Not the way that I wanted to end my working day.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice and veg. And since I’ve been on this kind-of diet and having my physiotherapy I’ve lost 1.6 kilos. Still another 10 kilos to go but that’s probably going to take more effort than I have in the tank.

Now I’m off to bed. Our Welsh lessons start again tomorrow and I have a lot of work to do to bring myself up to date.

Wednesday 11th August 2021 – GONE!

gone and never called me mother empty quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd never called me mother!

For the past few days we’ve been keeping an eye on the steadily-increasing pile of freight that has been building up on the quayside down in the port. But when I looked down there this afternoon, there it was! Gone!

It looks as if one of the little Channel Islands freighters has paid us a visit on the early morning tide and cleared off back to the islands with its cargo, without saying anything at all about it to me.

gone and never called me mother empty quayside port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that has gone, and never called me mother either is our old friend Marité, the old Newfoundland fishing boat.

She sneaked out on the early morning tide by the looks of things too and probably won’t be back home until the gates open this evening.

What I can see me doing is checking on the times of the tides and going for a morning walk as well as an evening one. I seem to be missing quite a lot just recently.

marité ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd in case you are wondering exactly where Marité might have been this afternoon, then I reckon that this is she.

While I was out on my afternoon walk I was keeping a watchful eye out to sea and with the aid of the big 70-300mm LENS I was able to make out the sails of a very large sailing ship just offshore.

The photo isn’t very good because while it was one of those days where you could see for miles, there was a peculiar taint to the atmosphere that distorted all of the colours and you can’t see things as clearly as we did yesterday.

yachts cezembre fort de la conchée st malo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut with the peculiar atmospheric conditions, this afternoon we could see things around the entrance to the port of St Malo that we don’t usually see.

The big island that you see is the island of Cézembre. At one time connected to the mainland by a causeway that has long-since eroded away, access was forbidden to the public after 1944 as an extremely heavy bombardment had littered the place with all kinds of unexploded ammunition.

Several attempts at sweeping the island have taken place and access has been permitted since the Spring of 2018, although many areas are still closed off.

The rather rectangular island to its left is one of the forts that guards the entrance to the harbour at St Malo. The silhouette resembles very much the Fort De La Conchée, built by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban and Siméon Garangeau. No longer used by the military, it was classed as a National Historic Monument in 1984.

But anyway, I’m running away with myself again, aren’t I?

This morning I awoke with the first alarm and wandered off for my medication. Back here I started to do the morning tasks but the next thing that I knew, it was 09:18. I’d been fast asleep on my chair in the office for a little over 2 hours and I didn’t feel a thing.

Having finally recovered I made myself a coffee and sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I started off in a country area, somewhere like that, and there was a lot of building going on. There were all these Germans there building houses. I had all of my medication so I wandered off to have a look at these houses while I took my medication but I dropped one of my tablets. I had a good look around but I couldn’t find it anywhere so I thought “never mind – I’ll have to go back and get another one”. This girl came up and began to talk to me. She asked me what I was looking for so I told her. She turned out to be Bruce Springsteen’s daughter. We talked about this tablet and one or two other things. She said that she was having to go on holiday soon but there would be someone around at their house. If they wanted to pay she could arrange for someone to be up there at the shop who could maybe bring my tablet back. She explained that their business was being sold and there would be someone new in there pretty soon.

Some time later I’d been going around my garages trying to get myself organised with my old MkIII Cortinas (and this is something that seems to come up quite often). I suddenly realised that now I had electric there was no reason why I couldn’t go back to MiG welding. I resolved that what I was going to do was to start to practise on bits of metal and see how I could develop a technique. While I was there I took a boot lid off a MkIII Cortina and went to replace the locking mechanism on it but then I couldn’t get the boot to lock. I was wondering if I’d assembled it correctly. I put it down in the toilet of this place while I went wandering off and there were people coming in and out of the toilets as you might expect. Some little girl went to the toilet and some older woman, her mother maybe, went running hell for leather after her to try to catch her. Then it was time for me to take myself off so I went outside to walk home and the skies were really, really heavy grey with rainclouds and rainstorms and everything. I didn’t have a jacket and at the moment it wasn’t raining where I was but it was going to rain soon and I was wondering whether I ought to try to reach home before the rain started. It was a big wide road and I had to wait for some traffic to pass. One of them was a big Riley used by the local police. There was another one, a smaller type of police car that went past while I was waiting to find a gap in the road. Then a Morris Oxford MO pulled into a car park just a little further back so I thought that this might have been something like an Austin Morris Owners Club event.

Later still I was living in an apartment somewhere and I’d gone outside to do something. I noticed that the apartment above me was being redecorated. There were 2 vehicles there, an ancient Land-Rover and something else with people taking boxes out of it, all that kind of thing and taking them up the stairs to this apartment. I thought that someone must be moving in. I thought that I’d go round and see them and make a coffee but I wasn’t dressed so I thought that I’d dress and then I’d better have a wash as well. At that point someone came round to see our apartment and see some people who were there. The were all getting in my way and I couldn’t get anything organised. I thought that by the time I get myself organised and these people had cleared off and I’m ready to go the ones upstairs doing this apartment would have probably had a coffee and wouldn’t need one from me so they wouldn’t have any time to sit and chat and talk about themselves.

While all of this was going on, I was chatting to Liz. She had some news for me, but more of this anon.

All of the day has been spent, as I mentioned yesterday, dealing with arrears of work.

The photos from Greenland had quite a lot of time spent on them and just as yesterday, one or two of them touched rather a nerve with me just as yesterday and I can do without sinking into a deep depression right now. As if I don’t have enough on my plate right now.

But to cheer myself I had a little fun with A PHOTO OF STRAWBERRY MOOSE. It’s been a long time since he’s been on an adventure.

Mind you, he has told me that he’s pleased that he’s in the EU and not in the UK at all. Word on the streets is that the UK is about to tear up the EU’s restriction on experiments on live animals, and he would have been afraid that he might been forced to sample my cooking.

As well as that I spent some time on my Spirit of Conrad notes but I’m not doing too well with those. For some reason I can’t seem to summon up the creative spirit these days and that’s annoying me too.

There was breakfast of course, and lunch, and then there was the afternoon walk around the headland to stretch my legs.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo Nazguls casting their shadows of doom over me today so I could wander off calmly across the car park to the wall overlookign the beach.

The tide is once more 40 or so minutes behind where it was yesterday so there’s even more beach to go at this afternoon and there were a few people taking advantage of it as well.

There were even a couple of people in the water and one or two sunbathers, but it’s still quite quiet compared to how it usually is in August when you can’t move outside here for the heaving masses.

man in canoe woman sunbathing on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd there were some people taking advantage of the weather in all kinds of different ways too.

We had a guy out there paddling his own canoe around the headland and I did wonder from where he came seeing as the tide is well out and there isn’t a slipway or quayside in the water right now.

He has a spectator too – a woman sitting on the sand at the water’s edge, prresumably wondering what the canoeist is going to do next.

As an aside, I used to go canoeing when I was at school and on one of our trips on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR I was asked if I would like to take a kayak out.
My response was “I would do if I could find some oars” to which they replied “who you meet and what you do when you are out there is your own business”.

bouchot beds st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen the bouchot beds out at Donville les bains and talked about them on several occasions.

There are bouchot beds all along the western coast of the Cotentin Peninsula and because of the strange atmospheric conditions today, we can see many more than we do usually.

If my geography is correct, these are the beds to the north of St Martin de Bréhal that stretch all the way along to the mouth of the River Sienne. And it’s not every day that we can see them as clearly as this, even when the tide is quite low.

fishermen in speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we are on the subject of fishing … “well, one of us is” – ed … there has to be some fishing included in the report of the day’s activities.

For the last couple of days, as I mentioned yesterday, there’s been a distinct lack of offshore fishing been going on, which is strange seeing as we are right in the middle of the summer season.

Today though, there were some fishermen out there. This speedboat had several in there but they weren’t doing much fishing as their rods were all furled up. And in any case they wouldn’t have caught much at the speed at which they were travelling.

f-bsno Wassmer WA-4/21-250 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd at this point I was oveflown by an aeroplane from the airfield just along the coat.

Having spent several days without the sight of even one, we made up for it today when this one went past. It’s one that we’ve seen on one occasion in the past, about two months or so ago – F-BSNO, a Wassmer WA-4/21-250.

She was picked up on radar at 16:07 over the sea near Granville – my photo being timed at (adjusted) 16:06 so that’s probably right, and she disappeared off the radar somewhere in the vicinity of the St Malo-Dinard airport at about 16:16 so she wasn’t aloft for long.

Another aeroplane, one of the smaller, lighter ones, flew by overhead almost immediately but I was engaged in a (Flemish) conversation with a couple of Belgians who wanted to know about the offshore islands.

fisherman canoeist pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith fishing seeming to be the activity of the day I wondered if there might be anything going on out at the end of the headland.

And so I scurried across the car park and down to the path to see for myself, and sure enough, we have someone with his rod out, down there on the rocks right at the end, not having much luck as usual.

There’s a canoeist down there too, but I’m not sure if he’s the same one who we saw a couple of minutes ago. If it is, he’s made rather rapid progress.

And I would still like to know how he intends to take his canoe out of the water at the end of his trip because he has a good few hours to wait before the tide will be in far enough for him to have access to a slipway

peche à pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJamais deux sans trois – “never two without a third”, as they say around here.

And so having seen a couple of photos featuring fishing (of a sort) there’s bound to be a third, especially as the tide is so low. There are bound to be some pêcheurs à pied around here somewhere.

And sure enough, there were a couple of them scratching around in the rocks and rock pools a little further around the headland. Plenty of others elsewhere too out on the rocks further round, but when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.

And that reminds me – why is shopping in North America so boring?
Well, when you’ve seen one bunch of shops you’ve seen a mall.

I’ll get my coat.

trawler trafalgar charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeantime, some new activity yet again in the chantier naval.

As I’d been making my way along the path on the southern side of the headland I thought that the layout of the place had changed a little, and sure enough, we have another little trawler come to join the crowd this afternoon.

She’s called Trafalgar, a strange name to give to a French vessel bearing in mind the outcome of the battle of that name on 21st October 1805, and we haven’t seen her before – at least not to note. She’s now in here keeping company with Charlevy and the two others whose names I have still not discovered.

paddleboarders plage greve de herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday I drew your attention to that swimming pool area at the beach at the Grève de Hérel.

And it’s a good job that I did so too because it’s a hive of activity this afternoon. The guys from one of the sailing schools have taken out some pupils on there and it looks as if they are going to be receiving some paddleboard instruction, or something of that nature.

If there are any sunbathers and swimmers on the beach over there, that’s not going to be too popular with them. There’s precious little enough water as it is without having to share it with a sailing school.

small boat aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile back at the ran … errr … harbour there are more boats left to go around at the wharf as the tide goes out.

Regular readers of this rubbish well recall having seen this one a few times on and off, painted in colours that are more usually associated with Government vessels than private ones.

But she would seem to be a private vessel because those red buoys look to me like the buoys that they use to indicate the presence of their lobster pots.

And something that I’ve always wondered is “how do you train a lobster to go on a lobster pot?”

On that note I’ll head for home.

Back here I had a cold drink and carried on with my notes until guitar practice time. That was followed by taco rolls with the last of yesterday’s stuffing, followed by apple crumble.

It’s early yet, but who cares? I’m going to bed. If I feel up to it I’ll resume my weekly treks to LIDL tomorrow but I’m not too optimistic. I’m a little better than I was and I could climb the steps without clinging on to the handrail, but even so that’s a long way from when I used to sail up the bank like a Spanish galleon.

Wednesday 28th July 2021 – SAY HELLO …

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… to a new resident in the port here.

And we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future that’s for sure. She’s called Belle France and she’s came into port last night to take part in working the ferry service between here and the Ile de Chausey.

It’s not clear whether she’s in addition to the 2 Joly France boats or whether one of them wiil be sailing off into the sunset in early course.

But one thing that I noticed about Belle France is that she doesn’t appear to be fitted with a crane to load the luggage from the quayside, and that may well explain the presence of Chausiaise in the fleet.

My presence this morning can be best explanied by the fact that I managed to stagger to my feet at 06:00 despite not having gone to bed until 01:00 this morning and so for the rest of the story I only have myself to blame.

But nevertheless I kept on going for quite a while. Nothing on the dictaphone and so I worked on the photos from Greenland in August 2019 . And seeing that we are in the middle of the Olympics, WHALES WON THE GOLD MEDAL in the synchronised swimming.

What else I did was to carry on with loading the shelves in the kitchen. I’ve rearranged them somewhat and now I seem to have made much more room there, which is always nice. And while I was at it, I took out the waste paper and the rubbish to the waste bins and washed my bin. What excitement, hey?

While I was sorting through stuff I came across the filters for the water jug so I cleaned the jug and changed the filter over.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned this before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … why I note down things like this. The answer to that is that this journal is indexed and so I can find out when I last changed the filter and when it’s time to change it again.

It’s important that I write these things down to remember them because two things happen when you reach my age .

  1. you forget everything that it’s possible to forget
  2. I can’t remember what the second thing is

Having done all of that (and you’ve no idea how tired that makes me) I came in here. It was round about 12:15 when I sat down and the next thing that I remembered it was 14:05. Yes, I’d had another one of these mega-sleeps that I’ve been sliding into just recently without knowing it.

That led to a very late lunch followed by a very late acoustic guitar practice.

After lunch being fed up of tripping over the clothes airer I put away the dry clothes and then had another look through some papers. And while I didn’t find the papers for which I had been searching yesterday, instead I found Caliburn’s insurance certificate for which I had been searching previously. So I wonder what I’ll be looking for when I find my missing paper.

After another 10 minutes or so dealing with the kitchen shelves, It was time to go walkies

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call is of course the beach down below the cliff just here so I wandered off across the car park for a look.

No buses parked on the kerb or young people on the verge in the car park this this afternoon.

I’m quite a bit earlier than yesterday so the tide isn’t all that far out right now. But nevertheless there are still plenty of people down there enjoying what they can, as I discovered when I stuck my head over the wall.

And that’s not really a surprise because the weather was quite mild today and I’d actually gone out without a jacket, which shows you just how brave I am.


tractors people on beach donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s not just in Granville either.

There must be a very low tide this afternoon because you can see that over on the beach at Donville les Bains the bouchot farmers have brought out all of their tractors and so on ready to begin the harvest as soon as the beds are uncovered.

And you can tell that none of those beaches is affected by the ban because there are quite a few people on the beach right out there, including something of a crowd by the caravan park on the extreme left, as well as a few people taking the waters.

Yes, when I go to visit the airfield, whenever that might be, I’ll pick a nice day and take my butties.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was what my right eye was doing while I was there overlooking the beach. But what was my left eye doing?

As usual, my roving left eye was looking around out to sea to see what might be going on out at sea.

And the answer was “zilch” – nothing at all. There wasn’t a single (or a married) boat between here and the Ile de Chausey and I’ll tell you something else for nothing as well – and that was that this afternoon I didn’t even see a hint of a boat anywhere out at sea at all.

After he crowds of boats that we saw last week and the traffic jams of fishing boats heading for home, I have been amazed by the lack of water craft.

It’s true of course that the tide is out but even so, someone could have nipped out this lunchtime with his butties and gone fishing until this evening when the harbour gates opened up again

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever one thing was not missing from our afternoon’s activities.

Having been overflown by endless squadrons of light aircraft and Nazgul over the past week or two, then yesterday aerial activity in the vicinity was conspicuous by its absence.

The abstinence didn’t last long though. While I was walking along the path near the lighthouse a familiar rattle announced itself and sure enough, the yellow autogyro that we have seen so often in the past went flying by overhead.

And it’s a two-seater too of course. That’s something else I can do whenever I make it to the airfield – I can hitch a ride and go for a fly around. I’d feel much happier in that than in a 2-seater Nazgul.

medieval fish trap plage d'hacqueville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s something that I haven’t noticed before.

The other day I took a photo of Le Loup, the marker light on the rocks just outside the harbour. So today I took a photo a little further inland towards the Place d’Hacqueville.

And doesn’t that look like a medieval fish trap to you? It certainly does to me.

It’s like two stone walls built in a V out to sea. The tide comes on and fills the pool with water and hopefully fish, and when the tide goes out, the water percolates out through the gaps in the rocks leaving the fish behind, trapped

Then the medieval fishwives wade in and pull out the fish for supper with their bare hands

swimming pool port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile from my vantage point above the harbour, I’m not too interested in the chantier naval because nothing has changed in there since yesterday

Instead, looking in the other direction, I can see that very shortly we will be expecting the arrival of Normandy Trader.

And how do I know this? The answer is that there’s a swimming pool on the quayside by the loading crane. There’s a company here in France that exports swimming pools to the Channel Islands and I know that the owners of Normandy Trader have the contract to pick them up and take them back to Jersey.

They won’t leave that on the quayside for long in case it’s damaged. Those things are not cheap at all.

boats aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou are all probably wandering what has happened to all of the boats that we haven’t been seeing out at sea just recently.

Well, here there are – or, at least, some of them. There’s a port de plaisance with a gate to keep the water in and that’s where the expensive stuff and the houseboats are moored, but the less expensive boats and the smaller fishing boats are out here in the tidal harbour.

When the tide goes out they simply settle down in the silt and wait for the tide to come back in and re-float them.

You can see what looks like a little river on the left. That’s water that drains out of the inner harbour quite slowly so that the inner harbour settles down and isn’t full when the tide comes back in, which means that they can open the gates a long time before high tide.

victor hugo granville port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeantime our two Channel Island ferries Victor Hugo in the foreground and Granville in the back ground are still here.

The Channel Islands have announced that entry restrictions to the Channel Islands are being slightly relaxed so people can at long last go to visit the islands.

However, that doesn’t apply to the two ferries. I’ve no idea why not, but it seems a strange decision to me. Maybe they don’t want the kind of numbers coming to the islands that the ferries could bring.

And I do know that there is some kind of issue about finance. The local region has been footing the bill for this for ages and they have suggested that the Channel Islanders put their hands in their pockets too, but as yet, no folding stuff has come from over there.

And as an aside, do you notice a resemblance between Granville and Belle France?

Back here I sorted out some photos, had my bass guitar practice and then went for tea. Chips and curried beans (I found a tin or two in my supplies while I was filling the shelves) and a burger followed by apple pie from the freezer.

Now an early night is called for as I have visitors coming tomorrow, I hope.

Monday 26th July 2021 – IT’S BEEN ONE …

Pennec Gaz'Aile 2 aeroplane F-PSBJ pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of those days when there has been non-stop activity in the air and I could hardly move without being overflown by something or other when I went out for my afternoon walk.

There were several aeroplanes that I was able to photograph and probably many more that I wasn’t able to photograph for one reason or another

Several that we have seen before and a few that are quite new to us, just like this one here that appeared on the scene this afternoon.

And luckily, having blown up the photograph and enhanced it when I returned home I can even tell you something about it.

Pennec Gaz'Aile 2 aeroplane F-PSBJ pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHer registration number is F-PSBJ, as I found out when I did the necessary, and that tells me that this is something quite unusual.

It’s a Pennec Gaz’Aile 2 and it is a home-built aeroplane designed by someone called Serge Pennec from Finisterre in France. Quite surprisingly, the recommended engine for this is a Peugeot 106 diesel engine. It’s not the first time that he has designed an aeroplane fitted with a diesel engine. He’s previously fitted Opel diesels in some of his aeroplanes.

The empty weight despite the diesel engine is just under 600 pounds and has a wingspan of just over 23 feet, and so qualifies as a microlight aeroplane..

This aeroplane is not one that you see every day, that’s for sure, and it was really interesting for me to pick one up in a photograph.

45ahb Albatros AE 209 80CV pusher aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand this is one that we have seen a couple of times and despite it having a clearly-identified serial number, I have been unable to identify it up until today.

But a chance observation on a “for sale” site this afternoon came up with the goods, to my surprise.

The registration number she is carrying is 45AHB and that now tells me that she is a Albatros AE 209 80CV chassis number 111 and originally built in Fréjus in the south of France but now in Poland.

Interestingly, the wings on these aeroplanes fold up for ease of storage.

But anyway, let’s leave the question of aeroplanes for the moment and turn our attention to what’s important.

Last night was another bad night as far as sleep went, but nevertheless I did manage to go off on a couple of travels during the night.

A former girlfriend of mine from school was around last night being her usual bombastic self. Anyway my father wanted to know about whether I would be interested in going to Llanymynech to pick up some stuff for him. I said “yes, of course I would” but I wanted to know what stuff it was to make sure that there was room in the van. I didn’t have Caliburn at that time but BILL BADGER and I was wondering how I was going to get on driving it all that way and back again without any road tax. Obviously father wasn’t going to be suaded by any of this. This girl said that she needed something from the shop as well so I thought that she could come with me and I could pick it up on the way. I started doing a few things, time was slipping by and breakfast was rapidly disappearing, getting on towards midday and I thought that I’d better get a move on. I looked at the shop that she wanted to go to and it was only just down the road so maybe we should go and do that first and do we keep her stuff in the van as well while we go and fetch my father’s or else where else could we keep it. It was becoming one of these really complicated things as well. I know that there was certainly one thing about football in it and certainly something about me being in charge of a club as well.

Later on there was some kind of experiment going on between two Army officers about controlling their food and calories intakes and watching to see whether if one of them was on a diet, the other one who was a control would diet too. While this was going on I was wondering around and noticed some guy on a step sweating. He was short, about 5’1 or 5’2 weighing 79 pounds he said, and trying to get weight off. No matter what he did he was putting it on and he wondered if we knew what the secret was. I replied that as far as I was concerned the secret was exercise and it wasn’t working well enough for him and he wasn’t working hard enough … and then I mumbled …. One of these guys suddenly died and it was the fish soup that had killed him. They had invited his former wife because he’d killed someone but had been found not guilty and a newspaper or something had arranged for him to be in the same hotel that she was in so that they would see each other every day and deliberately to film or write a story about this confrontation. But somehow he had ended up poisoned and they reckoned that it was by his wife but I’ll ell some more of a different dream later, whatever that was supposed to mean.

After the medication I sat down and rattled off another radio programme. By 12:15 it was all done and dusted and it would have been done much, much sooner than that had the store file on the dictating machine that I use not corrupted it self and needed unravelling, and had the selection for the last track not been so difficult.

And I have to slow down or something with these programmes because I’ve no overrun the lead that I’ve built up, meaning that I can’t find a final track without causing myself some complications. I’m going to have to think about a cunning plan for all of this.

After lunch I started to put a few things back on the shelves in the kitchen and then telephoned the doctor to arrange an appointment for Friday morning at … gulp 08:30. I need my injection and I have to sort out this issue about Covid certificates.

Most importantly though, I want to talk to him about my knee. After this weekend’s adventures I might be feeling much better as far as my knee goes, but it’ll only give up again when I’m least expecting it and at a most inconvenient time as well.

Then I sat down to work on my Spirit of Conrad notes and I would have done much more than I did had I not … errr … relaxed somewhat.

As a result it was rather later than usual when I went out for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call, as you might expect these days, is the beach to see what was happening down there.

Consequently I wandered off over the car park, through the crowds of maskless people and looked down on the wall.

Plenty of people down there right now, and they have plenty of beach to be going at too this afternoon. But from what I understand, some of the beaches are closed and access to some others is limited due to a peak in pollution levels.

They take their beaches quite seriously here, because of the shellfish of course. They don’t want anything to compromise that and damage the livelihood of the town.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was admiring the beach and the people thereupon, a dark shadow fell upon me.

Not a Nazgul of course, although it might have been, but one of the hang-gliders. I’ve no idea what he was doing out here this afternoon because there wasn’t all that much wind.

He was certainly the only hang-glider that I saw throughout the afternoon which, given the amount of other aerial traffic, was somewhat surprising.

They should all have been out there yesterday when there was more than enough wind to keep as many of them going as they might like.

hang glider at pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHe didn’t come back either, which I thought was quite unusual, so I was interested to see what had become of him.

And here he is, sitting on the grass here by the old bunker at the Pointe du Roc, with his parachute or whatever it was that you call it, wrapped up by the side of him.

It looks as if there wasn’t enough wind to take him back to the cemetery on top of the cliffs (in more senses than one) so I wouldn’t be surprised if he had telephoned a friend to come and rescue him.

He’s the second one that we have seen gone to earth down here but the one that we saw a few weeks ago managed to get back into the air. It looks as if this guy is going to go home in more dignified circumstances.

f-giki Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way round the footpath on top of the cliffs, the first of the aeroplanes that buzzed me went by overhead.

This is one of the aeroplanes that we have seen on many occasions. She’s a Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931, registration number F-GIKI.

She’s owned by the Granville Aero club and is used as a training aeroplane for pilots and navigation. This afternoon, she’s just been nipping out of the airfield and back again without doing very much exciting while she was at it.

She carried on doing that long after I’d gone back in for my afternoon drink, so presumably it’s pilot training that she’s been doing.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six F-GVJC baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother aeroplane that took off minutes later was this one.

She was much farther out over the bay but her shape was quite a distinctive tricycle undercarriage and from what I would read of her registration number told be that she’s F-GVJC.

She’s the Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six that we saw the other day taking off from the airfield. She spent almost 6 hours flying around a whole series of figures-of-eight down the coast and out to sea centred on the airfield.

But I’m surprised that she could stay in the air for that long, and surprised that she should be doing this when I have no earlier record of her being here. I was assuming that she was just a visitor.

men fishing from zodiac peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt goes without saying that while all of this was going on up in the air, there would bound to be some fishermen out there.

In fact two different lots of fishermen. One of them was patrolling along the foreshore as if he was looking for a place to go and do a bit of peche à pied.

The others were in a zodiac passing by just offshore and with their rods in the upright position and the reaxed posture of some of the people on board, they don’t look as if they are all that interested in having a go.

So really, that’s about everything that was going on out there today. There weren’t any boats or ships or yachts out there this afternoon. Maybe with the tide being right out, that might account for it.

men searching in rock pools peche à pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSeeing some movement out on the rocks out from the Pointe du Roc I decided to head that way.

Through the crowds on the path by the war memorial with cars parked all over the grass and through the car park I went across the car park there and went down to the end of the Pointe du Roc.

Two men were down there on the rocks, and that’s what I had seem from a distance. I’ve no idea what they were doing although my money would be on them looking in the rock pools for stranded seafood like crabs or lobsters.

But it’s nothing to do with me whatever they were doing down there so I wandered off along the path.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFighting my way through the crowds on the path I came down to where the seafarers’ memorial was.

Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour at Granville is looking quite splendid this afternoon, but in the distance over at Kairon-Plage, there’s tons of beach uncovered by the tide and there are what looks like several people out there taking advantage of it.

In the background the water tower on the top of the hills is standing out quite proudly but it’s a shame that the weather isn’t so clear in the distance. There’s far too much haze this afternoon to make the image really clear.

And so I pushed on along the footpath at the top of the cliff towards the port to see what was going on down there.

trawler charlevy yacht rebelle chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we are in luck today because there have been some major changes in the occupants in the chantier naval.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there of course, and so is the trawler that we went to see yesterday. But today they now have company.

Two more trawlers have come into the yard yesterday. One of them, we can’t identify unfortunately because of the way that she’s chocked up, but we can see the name of the other one quite clearly and you’ll see what I mean about the names on the wind deflector above the windscreen

She’s called Charlevy and I’m sure that we’ve seen her before and photographed her on a couple of occasions. So I wonder how long she and the other new arrival will be in there.

With nothing else going on I came back into the apartment and had my guitar practice.

Tea was a bit of a disaster because my stuffed pepper fell apart in the microwave. But the jam roly-poly was delicious yet again.

Now I’m off to bed. No Welsh tomorrow so I’ll do some more tidying up.

Tuesday 20th July 2021 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I vowed never to do – but needs must when the devil drives as we all know.

What I did was to change the times of the alarms from 06:00 etc to 08:00 etc and try for a decent lie-in to make sure that i’d be fighting fit for my course today.

The lie-in bit worked, I suppose, but the fighting fit bit didn’t – by the time that the lesson ended I was feeling rather groggy.

marite baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut while I might not have been fighting fit today, something else was.

Having a good sail around the Baie de Mont St Michel with a load of passengers on board was none other than Marité. She seemed to be coping quite well and she’s 30-odd years older than me.

In case you are wondering, she’s the last of the Newfoundland Grand Banks wooden fishing trawlers built in 1921 if I remember correctly. When her service was over she was sold a couple of times and finally rescued by an Association here.

She’s been fully restored and is licensed to carry passengers for hire, and that’s how she makes her living.

But I’m not going to be able to make a living the way I’m going on with this fatigue that’s getting me right down.

It might have helped had I had a continuous 8-hour sleep, but I noticed that there was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night.

I had to go to work down in London so I had to leave my old office so I went into there and thanked them all, particularly one group wit whom I worked. Then Nerina and I got into the car and headed off. I was telling Nerina a little about my house but not too much as I wanted to surprise her about the house that I had down in the south that was about 10 minutes from Croydon on the train. We drove down there and ended up at my house which was a 3-bedroom semi just like Gainsborough Road except that it was in the middle of a row. It had a garage and I showed her around the garden and took her indoors and had a look round. She came back and said “it’s better than I thought it would be, judging by the way you were telling me”. She started talking about how she would want a job. I replied “with 10 minutes on the train to Croydon you can find any kind of job you like”. So we started to open the post, there was some post there. One was a bill and then a reminder saying that they were going to cut my electricity all for £60:00 for three months that I’d been living there but hadn’t had a bill or anything so Nerina wanted a job and I said that we could find one for her quite easily.
Something else that occurred in this dream and I don’t know if I mentioned it … “you didn’t” – ed … but in the back garden of this house I had BILL BADGER up on ramps and the back wheels off while I was checking the brakes but it looked as if I’d backed him up into next door’s garden partly so Nerina and I put the wheels on with the aim of dropping it on the ground and pushing it forward away from next door’s garden. Somewhere in there Rosemary appeared as well. She’d been a taxi driver and had picked up a fare at Crewe Station to go to Battersea so she had taken the opportunity to go to her house which was in Main Road Shavington near the Elephant and Castle to pick up some paperwork that she needed to take to London so she had gone that way to Battersea. I met her when she was back. She had one of these Dacia – the vans, there’s an estate car version of the Dacia van and she had one of those.

What’s interesting about all of this is, as I have probably said before, that I haven’t seen Nerina for well over 25 years but she’s quite a regular passenger with me on my nocturnal rambles. Since those days, a variety of people have come and gone from my life and have also come and gone from my nocturnal rambles too, but Nerina still persists.

Whatever happened to TOTGA, Castor and Pollux, Miss Stoke on Trent, the Girl From The Auvergne and countless others who blazed a trail through my nocturnal rambles at one time or other, hung around for a while and then disappeared just as rapidly as they came?

It’s probably something to do with lives being so entwined, I supposed, that it’s impossible to untangle then. Mind you, some of these other relationships, well, maybe not “relationships” in the way that you might think of them, were pretty intense too.

One day, when I can find the right words to express it, I’ll fill in those missing three days of my journal from the end of August 2019 about one of the most intense experiences that I have ever had.

To quote Agatha Christie, I was “embarking on a hazardous journey in troubled waters facing who knows what currents of misfortune” but “one must follow one’s star wherever it leads, even unto hell itself”.
But then, to quote Agatha Christie yet again, “Beware of the day when your dreams come true”.

But that’s enough of me being all maudlin. That’s not helping anyone at all.

After the medication I transcribed the dictaphone notes and updated yesterday’s entry with the details of the night’s journey, did some organising and by then it was time for my Welsh course.

Armed with my hot chocolate and fruit bread I took my seat in front of the computer and we were off. Another hectic place with 52 pages of documents that needed to be downloaded from the internet.

In the lunch pause I had a shower and then I was back at my place for round two. And we belted along all the way until the end.

Coincidentally, the subject of Welsh Bibles came up and I was proud to be able to show the class my grandmother’s Welsh Bible. When she died, my father threw it away with the rest of her possessions and I had to hunt it down to rescue it.

When the lesson finished I found Liz on line so we had a chat and made plans for a date next week

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was long-past the time for my afternoon walk and peer over the wall at the end of the car park to look down on the beach.

So off I set across the car park and had a peer. And while there wasn’t all that much beach to be on, that didn’t bother most people.

They were deep in the water and having a really good splash around this afternoon. But to my surprise there were very few kids down there in the water.

Usually it’s the first thing that kids do – go charging down the beach and straight into the water without even bothering to change into their swimwear, as we have seen on several occasions.

frogmen rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe even had a few frogmen, or were they frogwomen down there as well joining in the fun.

They seemed to be enjoying themselves this afternoon but I’ve no idea what they were finding to do there. If they have lost something, they can just wait until the tide goes out.

But it was no surprise to see so many people because it really was lovely. One of my neighbours came over for a chat, carrying his towel. He’d just been for a dip.
“Why don’t you go in?” he asked. “It’s lovely”.

So I made my excuse about my catheter port that I had used on several previous occasions, including once with Castor. But in all reality, if anyone thinks that I’m going to be putting my sooty foot into any water that is less than 37°C they are sadly mistaken.

yacht baie de granville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just on the beach and close in to shore that there were loads of people. There were plenty of others much further offshore.

This was just one photograph of any number that I could have taken of any water craft out there this afternoon.

The reason why I chose the yacht was because it was just so majestic out there in the Baie de Granville. She was riding at anchor a couple of miles off the shore

There were some people on board but I couldn’t see how many or what they were doing, so I cleared off along the path round the headland for my walk..

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s a very familiar sight to the many regular readers of this rubbish, who will recall having seen it on endless occasions.

From this distance there was no change of reading her name, because she was about 10 miles out but her rigging gives us a clue.

She can only be one of two boats, and the fact that she is white and not brown tells us that she is La Granvillaise, even if we can’t see the tell-tale number G90 on one of her sails.

She plies for hire around the harbour too and it looks as if she has a full load this afternoon. I’ve no idea where she’s going but wherever it was, I have to admit to being quite envious

man fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that we haven’t seen very much of just recently is fishermen..

It’s always usually very popular and we’ve had week after week in the past of fishermen perched on every rock within a radius of 20 miles, but I haven’t seen any for a while.

But never mind, there’s one out there this afternoon on a rock at the Pointe du Roc, not looking as if he’s going to catch anything. He has no net to haul them in and no basket in which to keep them.

However that won’t matter because regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve never ever yet seen a fisherman haul anything out of the water – not even a bicycle wheel or an old boot.

powered hang gliders pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was admiring the fisherman at the Pointe du Roc, I was overflown yet again.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few days ago that we saw a pair of powered hang gliders or whatever they are flying over our heads while we walked around the path. Well, here they are again, flying past my knapper as I’m busy doing some thing else.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … one of these days I’ll have to go for a drive out to the airfield and see what’s happening there because there must be tons of exciting stuff and I’m missing it all.

light aircraft 50SA pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat includes machines like this one too, that overflew me a few minutes later.

Its registration number is 50SA and that’s not a number that’s on any national database so I’m not able to search it. We’ve seen plenty of this type of number and this type of aircraft and the number must be on some kind of register somewhere that will tell me more about the aeroplane.

And the only way to find out is, I suppose, to go to beard the lion in his den and receive the information first-hand.

But not today. I have far too much to do right now so I’d better push off and get a move on or it won’t be done.

marite baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, it looks as if Marité has caught me up.

She was sailing round to the harbour so I reckoned that she was going to put into port. But instead she continued on her way past, doing a circuit of the bay by the looks of things.

One of these days I’ll have to go out for a sail on her too, even if I don’t think much of the people who are in charge of her.

While I was here I had a glance into the chantier naval but there was no change of occupant in there today so I pushed on elsewhere.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLike to the viewpoint where I could see into the inner harbour.

And look who’s in here today! It’s Thora, one of the two little Channel Islands freighters that run between here and the Channel Islands. They don’t come in here as much since Brexit, having to go instead to St Malo where there are proper Customs facilities.

Back at the apartment it was already 17:45 so there wasn’t all that much time left before it was guitar practice so I couldn’t do too much in the time available.

For tea I had steamed veg with veggie balls and vegan cheese sauce and it really was delicious. The apple turnover that I’d made on Sunday for dessert was also delicious – cooked to perfection.

So anyway, right now I’m off to bed. I’ve kept the alarm set at 08:00 because there’s no point in getting up early and then falling asleep again. I promised myself that I’d never surrender to this illness but having fallen asleep in a Welsh lesson recently, it’s not fair on the teacher and I need to show some respect, no matter how dismal it is..

Sunday 20th June 2021 – HOW LONG IS IT …

citroen traction avant 15 boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… since we’ve featured an old car on these pages?

So here’s one that I saw today and you don’t need any introduction to they type of vehicle that this is because you’ve been introduced to its LITTLE BROTHER on several occasions.

And when I say “little brother” I really do mean this because whilst mine that’s in the back of my garage at Montaigut-en-Combraille is one of the smaller lightweight four-cylinder 7CV models, the one that’s here on these pages is the Real McCoy, the big heavyweight 6-cylinder 15CV models, as you can tell by the badge that is proudly displayed on the right-hand mudguard.

citroen traction avant 15 boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact we can actually put a date to this one, assuming that it’s all correct.

The boot lid features the shape of the spare wheel. That was phased out in late 1952. But it has straight bumpers instead of the curved “whiskers” type. That type was phased out in early 1952

But the real Real McCoy, the Holy Grail of all Citroen Traction Avants that I know existed at one time and which were never put into production, and I’ve no idea if there are any left, are the model 22s.

22 is of course twice 11 and so you might be expecting something special, and indeed you are right. It’s an experimental model fitted with a V8 engine made of two of the four-cylinder 11 engines. If only I could find one of those I would be in heaven, but let’s be honest – it’s not very likely.

What else that wasn’t going to be very likely is me being up anything like early. With having crashed out so definitively in the afternoon I couldn’t sleep and I was still up working at 04:00 this morning. Being awake and up and about at 11:30 on a Sunday was something of a surprise.

There had been enough time for me to go off on my travels during the night. We were looking after 2 children about 8 or 9, a boy and a girl. They were rather unruly and it was hard to keep control of them. As it was nearly bedtime I took them outside to let them play around for a while. That was the idea – I brought a ball with them. I left them out there for what was going to be 10 minutes but turned out to be longer than that. They must have gone to bed on their own so no-one said anything. The next morning I went to awaken them. They asked “what are you going to make us do today”? I asked why and they replied “if we’re going to play football we’re just going to make a noise”. I replied “in that case I’d put one of you up here and the other one somewhere else and you can make as much noise as you want”. When we went outside they had made a snowman only it was the two of them kneeling down stroking a big snow cat. I thought that it was wonderful. I asked “who made that”. They said that they did and some of the cats helped. So I made the kids kneel down by this sculpture and went to find as many cats as I could so I could give them to the kids to hold so that they would all be in the photo. But trying to round up a herd of cats at any one time is pretty impossible as anyone who has a large number of cats will tell you.

After the meds, much of the day has been spent going through the music and sorting a few things out. And in a spectacular burst of energy I paired the music for the radio programme that I’ll hopefully be doing tomorrow.

And then I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing to do while I was out was to go and stick my head over the wall at the end of the car park to see what the score is down on the beach this afternoon.

And while there wasn’t all that much beach to be on because the tide was well in, there were still hordes of people clinging on to the rocks like seabirds, or rather like King Canute trying desperately to turn back the tide. There were even some people looking as if they had been into the water too.

That must have been quite a brave thing to do this afternoon because while it’s summer tomorrow, it was rather like an April day out there right now. The heatwave that we had at the beginning of the week seems to be well and truly gone and that seems to be our lot.

people fishing from boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that that would ever seem to bother a certain part of our society. The fishermen seem to be always there either on the rocks or in their little boats just offshore. That is, if they aren’t right out at sea in a big trawler or two.

Today we have Jerome K Jerome’s “Three Men In a Boat” out there armed with fishing rods and heaven alone knows what else, but probably not a dog called Montmorency. One of the guys has his rod in the water but as the boat is moving along, it’s going to be very unlikely that he will be tempting any of the local sea bass to come in and take the bait.

Of course, fishing is actually very much like having sex. You get your rod out and you never know what you are going to catch.

I’ll get my coat.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the fishermen in the boat weren’t the only people out there hoping to catch a bite to eat this afternoon.

There are a couple of birds of prey who loiter around in the air around the edge of the cliffs here at the Pointe du Roc. As well as the lizards and mice and all of the usual kinds of wildlife that inhabit the cliffs, there’s a colony of rabbits and I would imagine that a young baby rabbit would be just the thing to feed a growing family of vultures or whatever they are.

But while he was swooping up and down a few times, I didn’t actually see him catch anything either although I reckon that he would have far more animal cunning than the fishermen.

crowds of people on footpath british flag pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so I headed off on my walk along the path on top of the cliffs, in amongst the crowds of people who were also out there for their afternoon stroll, most of whom were not taking a blind bit of notice of the order from the Préfet that masks are compulsory here until 30th June.

But there was something interesting down by the war memorial to the Resistance that I noticed for the first time since I came back. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that they were flying the German flag down there the other day but this afternoon I noticed that it had gone and in its place is the Union Flag of the United Kingdom.

“Is there a story behind the substitution of the flags?” I asked myself when I saw it. I would have expected the British flag to have been the more likely of the two seeing as we are celebrating the Normandy landings, but the German flag was flown first. So why the change?

yacht speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was pondering over that conundrum I noticed something moving out in the Baie de Mont St Michel and as it looked rather like something a little weird I went to investigate.

It was a yacht that was out there this afternoon and while there wasn’t really anything in the way of wind today, it was careening right over at quite an angle. There must have been quite something of a wind blowing out there to sea to have caused it to go over at that much of an angle. There isn’t the wake of another boat or anything that is causing it.

The little zodiac that looks as if it’s coming over from the Ile de Chausey looks as if it might be having a few yachtsmen dropping in for a coffee if the yacht goes over much more.

speedboat joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s some much more exciting activity going on around the headland in the Baie de Mont St Michel so I wandered off around the path to meet it.

That little speedboat or cabin cruiser with the fishermen in it that we saw earlier is heading back into port at quite a speed, and here it’s about to collide with the wake of one of the Joly France boats that has just left harbour and is heading over to the Ile de Chausey to presumably rescue some holidaymakers from there.

And that’s the older of the two Joly France boats. You can tell that by looking at the windows. They are rectangular but in “landscape” rather than “portrait” mode.

aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s not quite all of the fun that was going on out there this afternoon.

While I was out there watching the activities of all of the boats off the end of the headland and in the Baie de Mont St Michel I was overflown by another light aeroplane. Unfortunately it was far too far out for me to be able to read its registration number.

And as you might expect, the records of the control tower at the airport here were of no use whatsoever. No planes were recorded as having landed round about this time so I couldn’t even check to see if a flight plan had been filed or if it had been picked up by radar at any point during the afternoon.

yacht rebelle fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I pushed along the path on top of the headland round to the viewing point overlooking the harbour, dodging the unmasked millions as I did so.

From the viewpoint there’s a good view looking down into the chantier navale. I was expecting to see some changes down there over the period while I had been away, but apparently not so. The yacht Rebelle is still down there, up on blocks at the side of the harbour where Aztec Lady lived for so long.

The fishing boat that moved in there not long before I went away is still there too, so there have been no goings, and no comings either, unless I missed them while I wasn’t here.

And there was nothing else going on very much so I went to look at the Citroen on the car park.

One of the things that I did earlier this morning that I have yet to mention was that I made some bread dough. On my return I gave it the second kneading, shaped it and put it in the bread mould.

Then I made a pile of pastry mix, lined a pie dish with some of it, made a filling out of diced apple, raisins, desiccated coconut, cinnamon and lemon juice, and then covered the pie with the rest of the pastry. It was then sealed, brushed with milk, dusted with brown sugar and priced to let out the steam.

With the pastry that was left and the filling that was left, I made an apple turnover.

That lot went into the oven and while they were baking I attended to the pizza. I’d taken the dough out of the freezer earlier and now I kneaded it, rolled it and put it in the pizza dish to rise. After an hour or so when it had risen I assembled the pizza with that I had (which wasn’t much).

apple pie home made bread vegan pizza apple turnover place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here are the finished products. The pizza is delicious even if it was undercooked because I forgot to turn up the oven after the bread.

As for the rest of the food you’ll have to wait until tomorrow because I had no room for any pudding or any bread tonight after the pizza. I shall look forward to that with eager anticipation.

So now that’s all done and I can think about going to bed. Despite the late start I’m ready for an early night what with having to do my radio programme in the morning. And that reminds me – I mustn’t forget to switch the alarms back on for tomorrow morning otherwise I’ll be in a right jam.

But not a jam pie. Thats maybe for a few weeks’ time.

Thursday 10th June 2021 – IT SEEMS THAT …

century 21 electric bicycle place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the phrase “The Office Bike” has a completely different meaning here in France than it does in the UK.

There was an estate agent in the building dealing with an apartment that’s for sale in the building (it’s way overpriced so don’t worry) and sticking visiting cards in everyone’s letter box. And instead of a company car, he has a company electric bicycle on which he can get about the town.

How times are changing. I suppose that it’s better than going on a private jet.

As for me, I’ve had a better day today. And it’s high time that I had one of those, isn’t it?

In bed slightly earlier than usual just recently but it was a disturbed, tossing and turning and cold sweat night. That’s a few of these sweaty nights that I’ve had just recently, and the reason why I comment on them is because they ask me about them at hospital. It’s a possible side-effect of one of my medication, but I can’t remember which one.

Tons of stuff on the dictaphone to whet my appetite.

Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson had won an adventure and thewere seeing this out of the way when suddenly something even more new and terrible came along from somewhere in the Indian Ocean which had nee, inspired by Moriarty, which was when I awoke in a cold damp sweat again

There was something in this dream as well about me having an old Vauxhall, old car, a big old Ford type of thing – I can’t remember now. I’d been at work and taken very ill again. I’d ended up spending most of the morning fast asleep in a bed. In the afternoon I decided to go home. The illness was far too much for me to cope with now. There was some firewood to put on the fire and I wondered if I was actually going to leave it or whether I ought to take it. I thought that if I take it then I could use it and they won’t miss it here. I picked up and went outside. It was Clifton Avenue and my car was outside covered in snow. It had been pouring down with rain and my car was covered in snow, damp snow. I went down and got in and started the engine. Then some kind of Hillman Minx came up behind me followed by a Vauxhall Cresta. The Hillman Minx did a U-turn at the end and drove back down the hill again totally followed by this Vauxhall Cresta. Then about 3 minutes later this Hillman came back and did the same thing again only this time it went onto the pavement to do its U turn down the far side of my van – car and then back off. It came back a 3rd time with this car pursuing it and there was an awful row, these people shouting. I was wondering what was happening so I was interested in following them so I could see. So I got to turn the corner with some tight manoeuvres to get round and end up behind them without making it public what I was trying to do with the third vehicle, third parking space. I had to go into Jubilee Avenue to turn round and ended up on Wistaston Road (actually Stewart Street) at one time so I had to turn round again to get behind these cars
At a car park where the cattle market used to be and there were cars being stripped down there. They would just come and dump them and Shearings used to pick up there and we’d always find a few cars dumped. One day I went down there and there was another one dumped. Well there were 4 or 5 but this one was encroaching onto our field and I had to move it out of the way. Then I noticed that all of my tools were there. Someone had broken into my car and pinched all my tools and had been using them to work on one of the abandoned vehicles and had scattered my tools and equipment and everything all over the place everywhere and I wasn’t very well but I had to spend all this time picking them up. It really annoyed me, not just the fact that people had stolen them but they couldn’t be bothered to put them back or even in any kind of resemblance of being tidy after all the effort that I’d made to sort them out and tidy them up in the past

There had been a reorganisation of electoral boundaries in Crewe. Where I lived had been moved into another constituency area for the town but this was an area that was heavily dominated by the Conservatives and my area was a marginal seat held by the opposition. I felt that this was a way of trying to win that particular seat for the Conservatives by moving the boundary to move out some of the people who would be voting against them at the election and I was trying to write a letter of complaint to the CSEB about this but I couldn’t find the address and no-one there seemed to be able to find it either but I wanted to complain about this gerrymandering

Did I say anything about a group of us? Four of us were together and we had some kind pf hire car from somewhere. We’d all ended up staying in a room in a hotel. A couple of people had the itch and decided that they wanted to move on so I’d awoken and started to assemble a fishing rod with the idea that I was going to go out and fish for things as a way of doing something different. But gradually one by one 2 other people awoke and the 3 of us decided that we would all move away and leave that person behind. The guy assembled all of his stuff and went off to the bathroom to have a bath while the girl started to prepare a ton of make-up. I thought to myself that the idea of makeup was not what I had in mind. We were going to be footloose and fancy-free and all to do with nature, getting back to basics and going back to our roots. Putting on a ton of makeup and foundation cream and all that kind of thing had nothing to do with what I was intending

After the medication I had to sort out all of the paperwork that I’m taking to the doctor. There’s so much of that now that it’s difficult to know where to turn. After that I had a shower and in the few minutes that remained I edited some of my photos from August 2019 in Wyoming.

When it was time to go out I hit the streets.

scaffolders college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as you might expect, my attention was distracted the moment that I stepped out of my front door here.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the scaffolding that has covered the building here since late summer last year. That’s the company that installed it, and they are here with a large pick-up and a pretty big lorry armed with a crane.

All of this can only mean one thing, and that is that they have come to collect the scaffolding. It’s taken them long enough to complete the job and as you saw in the photo a week or so ago, the job looks as if it’s finished. So with a bit of luck the scaffolding will be gone by the time that you read this. I can check when I go out this afternoon, if I remember.

skip lorry place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallthat wasn’t all that was going on right outside my door either. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw the skip lorry here yesterday. Well here he is again.

It’s not clear at all if he’s been bringing an empty skip or going to take away a full one. He was parked up in this position when I came out, and didn’t move for the whole time that I was outside here, so I’ve no idea what he was up to.

And as it happens, I was out there for a while too. One of my neighbours was also outside waiting for someone who was coming to pick her up. We had quite a little chat, and then she climbed into her friend’s car and I cleared off down the road towards the doctor’s for my appointment.

pointing rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing is the pointing work that’s being undertaken on the wall by the Rampe du Monte à Regret by one of these Job Creation Schemes.

The progress was slow as you might expect from one of these Organisations and its puplis, not that there was much supervision, but now it seems that the work has ground to a halt. Not only have all of the students departed, leaving the wall unfinished, but they have taken away all of the scaffolding too.

Wasn’t that something of a flash in the pan? Unless of course it’s to do with the summer tourist season and they will be back once the tourists have cleared off home again.

At the doctor’s, he and I had a good chat. He had a report from the hospital and he was greatly concerned about the amount of blood that they took from me during my operation. Apparently it’s no surprise that I’m tired and exhausted with all of that.

He reckons that it will be a long hard road before I’m feeling myself again, and I can’t even do that right now. They say that a man has a brain and … errr … something else, and only enough blood to work one at a time. I don’t even have that at the moment.

He gave me some information that I requested and wrote out a prescription for my medication. I know that I usually pick it up in Belgium and I still shall, but I want to be a couple of months ahead in case I go off on a ramble some time and need to build up a stock.

Interestingly, he had a stock of Lyrica in this office and he gave it to me. I forget now how many times I’ve been given this from different people now. I suppose they can’t dispose of it, except to people like me. But I suppose that it’s safe for me to take it because I had all of the side effects before I started to take it. “impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless” – I was all of that even before I was ill, never mind all of the rest.

So after having gone through all of that, the doctor threw me out and I headed off for LIDL.

workmen preparing base of terrace rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere in the Rue Couraye we have some excitement going on this morning.

The mayor has passed some kind of rule or regulation that cafés and the like can occupy one car parking space in the street outside their premises, or as near as they can get, to make some kind of outside terrace, if they don’t already have one, in order to welcome the tourists in the nice weather.

It looks as if we are having another one installed here, although I can’t see who would be occupying it as there doesn’t seem to be a café or restaurant just here. I suppose I’ll have to wait and see who moves in to occupy it once it’s finished.

At LIDL I didn’t buy all that much. mainly because I couldn’t carry it. You’ve no idea how difficult it was just to bring me up the hill. The hill at the other end of town in the Rue des Juifs is just as steep and just as long and to go up there with a load of shopping is not my idea of fun.

One thing that I did buy was a litre of drink, which I demolished quite quickly. My raging thirst has come back again, and in spades too.

After leaving LIDL I headed for home via the Rue St Paul.

portacabin rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that several months ago we witnessed them demolish the old café on the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

Very shortly afterwards, a planning notice for several apartments went up on the site, and it looks as if it’s been granted because we now have a portacabin office and another temporary building on site. Who knows? They might even be starting work sometime soon if we aren’t careful.

But the answer to the scaffolding question that I posed earlier has now been resolved, jusding by a notice that I saw stuck on the building. The mayor has banned the erection of all scaffoldings and the like for the period until September this year, in order to keep the town pretty for tourists.

So now we know.

home made bread rice pudding place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo now that I’m ready to have my lunch, let me show you my culinary delights for today.

Not much in the way of excitement. Just a beautiful, soft loaf of bread and a rice pudding for dessert for the next few days. The rice pudding is quite nice, because I had a little sample when it was cooked. As for the bread, I think that I have that sussed now because it really was nice and tasty. I’ll go with that.

After lunch I had a few things to do –

  1. ring up for a Covid test. But that was a waste of time because they are only open in the morning. I’ll have to try again tomorrow.
  2. try to change an appointment in Leuven next month. This new app thing has a facility to send messages, so I did. Whether it works or not is another question.
  3. Book my accommodation in Belgium. And he’s given me a nice discount, for which I’m always grateful. They do look after me there.
  4. Book my rail trip to Leuven. The bit from here to Brussels was fine but on the SNCB for some reason every time that I tried to pay for my ticket, it was refused, no matter which card I used. However, on the app it worked fine first time and I don’t understand that at all.



As a result, all of that took far longer than it should have done.

The rest of the day apart from desperately fighting off waves of fatigue, I’ve been splitting LPS that I digitalised into their individual tracks. Due to an error in the admin side at the radio where the broadcast of a programme was missed, I’ve ended up with a vacant week and I don’t really know what to do with it.

Several suggestions have come to my mind, but the one that I’ve decided on is that I have piles of stuff that hasn’t yet been allocated into their parent groupings, and some of them are new artists with no previous example of their work anywhere in my broadcasts. And so I’m going to do a programme of completely new, unique and individual stuff.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou’ve already seen the photo of the bike that I took on my way out of the building, so here’s one of the beach that I took next.

With nothing on the car park right now to distract me I wandered off to look over the wall down onto the beach and blimey! Where has the water gone? The tide is well out to sea today. And to my surprise, despite the nice day, there were probably no more than half a dozen people on the beach that I could see.

But there’s an interesting phenomenon over there on the horizon, something about which I’ve talked … “AT GREAT LENGTH” – ed … elsewhere ON ANOTHER OCCASION.

Yes, the bank of cloud in the background. There’s a clear blue sky and hardly any cloud today but the prevailing winds that are coming from the west from over the sea have picked up an amount of water vapour water vapour. The air has to rise up to clear the cliffs and the hills over there on its way into the interior and this causes the air to cool down and so the water vapour condenses and forms clouds.

That’s one of the ways in which ancient mariners could tell if they were near land, by seeing the cloud formations.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut there at sea again today is the yellow inshore fishing boat that we’ve seen on several occasions just recently.

And I’m slowly coming round to the conclusion that maybe it isn’t the same yellow boat that we saw up on blocks in the chantier navale earlier in the year. If you look very carefully, down the side of the hull you’ll see a wide black stripe edged in white. I don’t recall seeing that on the boat that was in there.

There wasn’t anyone else out there close enough for me to photograph – they were all too far away – so I left them to it and I set off along the path to do my lap around the headland with the madding crowds that were thronging around this afternoon

aeroplane 50 nj pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt some point or other, as I wended my weary way along the clifftop, I was bound to be overflown by an aeroplane this afternoon.

And it’s another one about which I know very little, if nothing at all. I can’t even see its registration number properly. It might be 50-NJ in which case it’s definitely a new one on me. But whatever it is, it’s another one of these strange series of numbers that crop up quite regularly in one manner of another.

No point in looking for a flight plan because it won’t have filed one. And it won’t have flown high enough to have been picked up on radar, so basically we can forget all about this one. I really must make an effort and go out to the airport to make further enquiries..

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, was looking very nice today.

What were even nicer was the large black dog and the girl who was looking after him. At one point there was a photo crying out to be taken but just as I was about to take it, they both moved and the moment was gone. I had to take one of Le Loup instead.

And from this photo you can tell how far the tide is out today. The rock on which the light sits is actually exposed, but when the tide is right in, it’s almost up to the lower of the two red bands. I suppose that the red bands are there so as to give any ancient mariner an idea of what the tide is doing.

yacht rebelle trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd we’ve had yet another change of occupier today in the chantier navale. It’s all happening in there.

My walk along the clifftop on the other side of the headland took me to the viewpoint overlooking the port where I could see what happening.

And there’s been a tactical substitution of trawlers today. Hera, the trawler that has been there for a while has now gone back into the water and another trawler has come in to join the yacht Rebelle.

I can’t see who she is but I can see that she’s having some electric arc welding being done on the bottom of her hull, and there’s an angle grinder working around the other side so it’s all systems go down there with that boat.

microlight aircraft baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing else of note happening down there I headed for home, on the way to which I was overflown yet again.

This time it was a microlight or U.L.M on its way out for a lap around the bay. It’s certainly been a very busy day with so much going on.

Back at the apartment I carried on splitting LPs until it was time for guitar practice, which for some reason tonight was pretty gruesome. I’ve no idea why I’ve lost my touch and my co-ordination. I was glad when I could knock off and go for my tea tonight.

And having bought or made the necessary, I had stuffed peppers and rice for tea followed by rice pudding, which was delicious.

But I’m totally exhausted now and I’m off to bed. And I need it, and I deserve it. It’s been a hard day and I shall be glad of some rest.

Sunday 23rd May 2021 – YOU WOULD HAVE …

… expected that I would have learnt enough about tempting fate about my postings.

“An early night” I said. “Fighting fit for tomorrow” I implied. Well, quite. Not even the usual good-old reliable stand-by of watching an old black-and-white film of the dozens that I have downloaded from THE INTERNET ARCHIVE for copyright-lapsed media and many other similar sites, something that has worked WITH MONOTONOUS REGULARITY AND RELIABILITY in the past

In fact I’d watched 2 films and there wasn’t even the vaguest possibility of sleep.

What was happening was that a pain developing in the very region that they had mentioned. And as the evening, and the night had worn on it became worse and worse. Why I hadn’t worried about it at first was because it was a pain that I’d had before and had eventually gone away all on its own.

And I hadn’t mentioned it before in these notes because it was rather a delicate subject.

By 04:30 the pain was indescribable and eventually I succumbed. In all my life I’d never had a pain quite like this. The nurse told me to wait for an hour while she monitored it and as there was no amelioration she called the night doctor.

He had a look and a poke around, and the next thing was that a porter turned up and whisked my bed off to the operating theatre. And after a considerable amount of moving about and swapping rooms, they eventually found where I was supposed to be.

The surgeon was only a young girl but she tried a trick or two first, none of which worked so I was moved yet again. She came along as well, I suppose because I did see her later. But when I arrived, it was just about 08:30. I was undressed and someone clamped a mask over my face. “Have a whiff of this” he said.

The next thing that I remember was that it was 12:35 and I was in the post-op room. “When can I go back to my room?” I asked. “There’s an important football match at 13:15”. And there was too. Pen-y-bont v Y Drenewydd in the other European Competition qualifier. “Later” replied a nurse.

Had I known and had anyone said, I’d have taken my phone with me to watch it down there because by the time that they had monitored everything and the blood transfusion had finished (blood count down yet again to 7.5 despite yesterday’s transfusion) and a porter had come to take me back, I was just in time to watch the final 30 seconds of the game.

Y Drenewydd won the match 1-0 so we are all set up for an intriguing final with Caernarfon for the last place. The 6th and 7th teams have knocked out the 4th and 5th. These two clubs are quite equal but I think that Caernarfon are playing at home and they have that certain little something.

So that’s the Kiss of Death duly given then.

intravenous drip gasthuisberg university hospital Leuven Belgium Eric HallSo here I am in my room with a pile of intravenous drips on the walkie thing. And that’s not all because there are another couple … errr … elsewhere and I’m not photographing them. You’re probably eating your meal or something right now.

Down below I’m all bandaged up and I’m confined to bed, so the nurses are pretty safe at the moment. My request for a gondola’s pole so I can punt my bed around the hospital corridors in hot pursuit has been denied which is a shame.

This would be just the ideal moment for Castor to come along and put in an appearance, enter my bubble and soothe my fevered brow. And wouldn’t that be nice if it were ever to happen. But it’s not unfortunately so I shall have to cope on my own which is a bit miserable.

hospital meal gasthuisberg university hospital Leuven Belgium Eric HallAt least the food here is better than at that dreadful doss-house in Riom where they served me up half a plate of overcooked courgettes that time.

Tonight’s tea was a couple of small breadcrumbed quorn burgers of the type that I once bought in NOZ, with potatoes and endives. With tomato soup to start and although I couldn’t eat the dessert (a milky chocolate dessert thing) the nurse brought me a bag of crisps instead.

The issues with the diet by the way are due to the fact that both the dietician and cute Kaatje who says that she is my social worker but is really my psychiatrist (all terminally ill patients have a psychiatrist allotted to them) are on holiday until Tuesday.

When it all went quiet I made up a playlist of my favourite albums so I’m surrounded by some really good music, I’ve had internet chats with Esi and Alison, internet chats with Rosemary, Liz (whom I’ve convinced that my suffering is worth at least 2 cakes) and TOTGA as well as a few others, friendly nurses who run off and bring me bottles of Sprite and packets of crisps, and reasonable food, a comfy bed and some peace and quiet.

What more could any man desire? Apart from TOTGA, Castor and Kaatje to bubble up and soothe my fevered brown of course.

Wednesday 19th May 2021 – YOU’RE PROBABLY WONDERING …

… about why it’s taken me so long to put my notes of today’s travel on line.

The truth is that last night with 164% of my daily total of effort recorded on my fitbit, I crashed out completely at about 21:15 and crashed out properly too – in bed under the bedclothes and out like a light. I vaguely remember waking up again at about 23:20 but that was my lot until 05:20 the following morning.

And that’s another mystery, isn’t it? Whenever I do go to to bed really early I can’t seem to make the most of it and end up waking early, except on a Saturday a couple of weeks ago.

But returning to our moutons, as they say around here, Wednesday is the day that I travel to Leuven. I was up and about at 06:00 as usual as the first alarm went off.

First task was to make myself a coffee, and then make a thermos flask of coffee for the journey. Those water bottles that we received for our expeditions on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR really are the business.

Making my sandwiches and so on for breakfast and lunch was next, the sourdough and the ginger beer needed feeding too so I attended to that. It will be interesting to see if there’s another eruption of the sourdough while I’m away. To be on the safe side, I’ve put the jar in a bowl to stop it going everywhere.

Having done a few more bits and pieces I headed off down the road towards the railway station, realising after about 200 yards that I’ve forgotten to pack any clean clothes. Too late now to do anything about it now.

people on terrace rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown in the town I noticed a few changes hat have taken place since I was last here. Cafés can now open their terraces to the general public.

Many of the city centre cafés don’t have terraces of course but the local council has given them authorisation to set up ad-hoc terraces on the street in front of their premises. And even though it’s a cold, damp 08:15 or thereabouts on a midweek morning, there are a few clients who couldn’t wait to sample the delights of which they have been deprived for so long.

Draymen too delivering beer barrels and crates too. That’s a welcome sign too.

But I still think that it’s far too early to be opening up like this with casualties the way that they are. I can’t help having the feeling that it’s as if the Government has given up the fight against containing the virus and relying on the vaccination programme. This is all going to end in tears.

beach cabins on lorry cours jonville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there are other more positive signs of summer too, as I noticed further along at the junction in the Cours Jonville.

As I waited to cross the street one of the Council lorries pulled up in front of my. It was pulling a trailer and was loaded up with the beach cabins off the Plat Gousset.

At the end of the season the cabins are taken off the promenade to keep them safe in a compound in the Council’s maintenance depot. They don’t leave them on the promenade through the winter

Regular readers of this rubbish who will recall having seen the winter storms smashing their way onto the promenade at high tide will not be surprised by this. Coming back at the start of the season and finding a pile of matchwood waiting for you isn’t the way to run a seaside resort.

gec alsthom regiolis 84555 gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the railway station my train was already in and waiting for me so I could go and find my seat and sit down. And that was just as well because with not feeling very well, the walk up there had thoroughly exhausted me.

It was only a 6-car unit too – just one of the GEC Alsthom Regiolis sets that we usually have – so it was pretty crowded this morning. I had a companion sitting next to me, but that didn’t stop me sleeping for the first part of the journey.

The rest of the journey was spent updating the laptop. This morning before setting out I copied onto a memory stick the files that had been updated on the big computer since my last trip to Leuven. I have one of these tiny 64GB memory sticks attached to my keyring which I use as I travel about to copy files from one computer to another.

The Gare de Montparnasse was still quite empty – full life hasn’t yet returned to Paris (and quite right too) – and it was easy to find a seat on the Metro train to the Gare du Nord. I always walk down to the end of the platform at railway stations because I’ve noticed that the crowds seem to congregate at the middle so the ends of the trains are usually much more empty.

At the Gare du Nord there were very few people around yet again so I took full advantage by buying another carnet of 10 tickets. I seem to be going through them quite quickly these days.

TGV Reseau Duplex 216 gare du nord paris France Eric HallAs I arrived upstairs at the terminus where I catch my train, a train from Lille pulled in and I reckoned that this will be mine going back out again.

We won’t be allowed on it for quite a while because they have to clean it thoroughly these days before we can get back on, so I spent the time looking around. I can tell you a little about my train while we are waiting.

It’s one of the old TGV “Reseau Duplex” double-deckers that they use on high-volume routes. The first time that I had travelled on one was a few years ago when I went from Lyon to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on my way to Montreal, and doesn’t that seem like a lifetime ago, the way things have been this last year or so?

sncf locomotive 522228 class bb 22200 gare du nord paris France Eric HallWhile I was looking around I came across this beautiful machine.

Anyone who has travelled on an express train in France before the days of high-speed high-capacity multiple-units will have been on a train pulled by one of these. It’s locomotive 522228, one of the class of BB22200 locomotives that flooded the SNCF network back in the old days and are the epitome of French long-distance travel.

The Nez Cassées or “Broken Noses” began to be introduced in 1975 and a total of 205 were introduced. Some of them have even been timed at travelling in excess of 200 kph. But in 2012 they began to be withdrawn for breaking and that marks the end of this era of traditional travel. And that’s a tragedy

TGV Reseau Duplex 215 gare du nord paris France Eric HallEventually the details of our train were posted up on the board so we could all swarm down to platform towards our seats.

As you might expect, mine is down at the far end of the train, which I suppose isn’t too bad because it means that I don’t have so far to walk at Lille Flandres. It’s a train of two-units coupled together and, surprisingly, we have two units of consecutive numbers.

This wasn’t quite as full as the rain on which I’d come from Granville so I had no neighbour. I could eat my lunch in comparative comfort and read my E-book.

It’s a book written in 1918 and talks about the early history of flight, AIRCRAFT AND SUBMARINES: THE STORY OF THE INVENTION, DEVELOPMENT, AND PRESENT-DAY USES OF WAR’S NEWEST WEAPONS by Willis J Abbot and makes several claims about powered flight taking place before the Wright Brothers but by people other than the usual suspects Gustave Whitehead and Richard Pearse.

It’s a fascinating read about submarines because there is little research that has been done into the German U-boat campaign of 1914-18 compared to what was done in the Second World War and the massive tomes of CLAY BLAIR

Interestingly, there’s an obscure reference in Abbot’s book to the fate of the Hunley – the world’s first killer submarine. He says that divers a couple of years after the end of the American Civil War found it still embedded in wreck of the Housatonic, although no mention of that was made when Itzé and I WENT TO VISIT THE HUNLEY after it had been recovered.

Our train pulled into Lille Flandres railway station bang on time and so I set off in the damp atmosphere down the road towards Lille Europe Railway Station.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4518 SNCF TGV POS 4403 gare du lille europe France Eric HallOur train was already in the station but there was 20 minutes before our train was due to depart so I had plenty of time to take a photo of it.

Once again it’s a train consisting of two train sets. Mine is 4518, one of the TGV Reseau 38000 tri-volt trains, the same type as the Thalys PBA trains that work between Paris, Brussels and occasionally Amsterdam. It’s coupled up to 4403, one of the POS units tat formerly worked the eastern TGV network.

its neighbour 4402 is the train that holds the world speed record for conventional train travel, having reached 574.8 kilometres per hour on 3rd April 2007.

push me pull you sncb locomotive gare du midi brussels belgium  Eric HallThe train that took me on to Leuven from Brussels Gare du Midi was one of the SNCB “push me pull you” units with the locomotive pushing it from the far end.

And I was lucky to catch it too because there was another barrage at the station with the police checking the travel papers of people getting off the train. I was paperless, as you might expect, so I had to bluff pretty hard to be allowed officially to enter the country.

But I know what to do for the next time that I arrive in the country, and I can see that I shall be having to change my travel habits.

But anyway, they let me in and I could head off for my train.

sncb series 55 locomotive 5503 haren brussels belgium Eric HallFor a change, our train took the older route that passes by the huge railway rolling stock depot at Haren, and alongside the area where they park the redundant locomotives prior to scrapping.

Amongst the locomotives in there today is 5503, one of the Class 55 diesels of the SNCB. This was a generic design used by many railway companies in Europe, and this particular model was built by BN, a Belgian company now part of Bombardier, and powered by General Motors EMD engines.

It’s a testament to the efficiency and reliability of the GM engines that 60 years after their introduction there are still plenty of them still in existence. The British version of these, powered by the unreliable and inefficient and, for all intents and purposes, irreparable North British engines that were cheap licensed copies of a MAN diesel engine, never even made 20 years.

To give you some idea, because of the narrow British loading gauge, the engines had to be mounted upside-down so that to even do a simple job like draining the oil and changing the filter, you had to take the engine out.

sncb automotrice am75 haren brussels belgium Eric HallAlso ready to go to the breaker’s yard were a few of the AM75 multiple units.

When I was working for that American company 15 years ago I would have been pleased if one of these had arrived at Jette railway station to take me off to work instead of one of the ancient units that usually took me, but these days they are long obsolete.

Introduced in 1975, there were 44 of these train sets introduced. There are one or two of them still circulating around on the network round by Antwerp and Charleroi and are the oldest multiple units left in action on the SNCB railway network, but I suspect that they won’t be around for much longer.

But I’m interested to see what the next generation of multiple units will be like.

sncb class 18 locomotive 1886 gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric HallAt Leuven I could see which locomotive had been pushing us towards Eupen.

It’s 1886, one of the Class 18 electric locomotives. There are 120 of these locomotives, built by Siemens between 2008 and 2011 and replaced a variety of different locomotives from previous generations built in the 1950s and early 1960s.

From the railway station I staggered off to my accommodation. And it really was a stagger too because I didn’t enjoy the walk at all. And I didn’t have an upgrade today. The place is busy so I’m in a single unit, although bigger and with a double bed, something that you don’t have in a basic single unit.

My trip to the shops was later than usual, and for 2 reasons too. Firstly we had a torrential rainstorm and I wasn’t going out in that. And secondly, I needed all of this time to gather my strength.

roadworks naamsestraat naamsevest Leuven Belgium Eric HallBecause I wasn’t feeling very energetic, I took the shorter route along the ring-road to the supermarket, and ended up at the junction of the Naamsestraat and the Naamsevest.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen the roadworks at this junction for the last couple of times that we’ve been here, and there still appears to be no change. They aren’t making much progress here, which seems typical these days with building work, and I wonder how they are progressing with the other work we’ve been watching.

Anyway, at the Carrefour I did my shopping. They had burgers on special offer and also some reduced vegan sausages so I bought them for the next few teas But I forgot the vegan mayonnaise for my sandwiches which was a shame.

roadworks naamsestraat naamsevest Leuven Belgium Eric HallOn the way back I passed by the roadworks again, which we can see now from a different angle, and then headed on for home

The walk back with the shopping exhausted me and the climb up the stairs to the 2nd floor finished me off. I made myself some food, a burger with pasta and veg, and that was that. I’d had enough for today and so I was going to go bed straight away. I can finish my notes tomorrow.

it’ll also give me a chance to listen to the dictaphone to see where I went during the night because there was a file on the dictaphone to indicate that something had happened during the night.

Nerina was actually involved in this although I didn’t have the chance to see her. I had to go to see someone who had built some kind of magnificent motorbike and was busy building – I dunno, circus or fairground attractions out of old cars and so on so I thought that I go and talk to him about perhaps getting a bike or doing some work or something. He lived on Stoneley Road – no, not Stoneley Road – near where the Hunters Lodge is. So I went down past Nerina’s but she wasn’t there, and I got to this house. I knocked on the door but no-one came. It was a bungalow and the front door was at the side of it. I put my head into the garage but there was nothing in there but I was tempted to go for a really good look around, which I did. When I came out I bumped into a couple who were most surprised to see me. I was most surprised to see them – it didn’t half look suspicious. I explained what I was doing. The guy started to be really aggressive in a light-hearted, funny way saying things like “when they said this kind of thing to Clement Freud on 20 Questions he became most upset, things like that. This went on for a couple of minutes. I ended up being cornered by this man and woman. She was telling me all about the stuff that he was building but e guy was being all aggresssive. Suddenly they ushered me into the house. There in the living room was a load of people all wearing black, motorbike types in black t-shirts, black leather waistcoats and so on and they had all kinds of things in there like cars that were turning into circus attractions, that kind of thing, all together. Someone I knew who was a friend of mine, either my former friend from Stoke on Trent or Rhys (yes, you have a mention, Rhys), said something about having to go and tax his motorbike. I made some kind of comment about my motorbike needing taxing as well, even though it wasn’t MoT’d. That’s where it ended.

The hospital tomorrow, and they are going to be checking my heart. At least I have one, which shows that I’m not a Tory. And I’m thankful for that.

Saturday 1st May 2021 – GRRRRRR!

This morning Caliburn and I nipped out to the shops as is usual on a Saturday morning, only to find that they were all closed.

Of course it’s a Bank Holiday here today, but I’m not used to the idea of shops being closed on days like this. And had I known, I could have had a nice long lie-in and you’ve no idea how dismayed I am about that.

Instead, something strange happened this morning. I was away on a voyage and suddenly I awoke, sat bolt upright and got out of bed in something of a panic as if I was hours late. Looking at my watch, it showed 05:59 – one minute before the alarm was due to go off.

So what happened there then, I have no idea at all. It was all extremely weird.

After the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was up to my eyes in some kind of project that involved cowboys and indians. There was work everywhere that I was trying to do. I had a pencil but it was so blunt that it wasn’t writing and every time that I went to sharpen it I just broke the lead off it again. I wasn’t making very much progress. While I was there a girl came up and said that she had finished what she was doing and was planning on starting the next step. That was something that I particularly wanted to do myself and I’d organised someone else to help me but she was there ready so I basically told her to make a start on it and gave her my notes. She asked how much I would pay her, to which of course I made some kind of ribald comment and decided that I’d go back to my desk and sort out this information, get another pencil, try sharpening that and see if it will sharpen any better that I could use to write what I’m doing while I’m doing now.

Later on, I don’t remember very much about this but I’d captured a large German battleship like the Scharnhorst and I had it in a dry dock behind me. Some girl in whom I had some kind of interest came up to talk to me and totally failed to notice this battleship behind me which I found really surprising and I had to draw her attention to it. And this was when I suddenly awoke.

Once I’d finished the dictaphone I did some more work on the photos from August 2019. I’ve now moved on from my lunch stop ON COTTONWOOD CREEK and I’m on my way to one of the most exciting and important sites on the whole Oregon And California Trail

A little later I went for a good shower and a change of clothes and then went out for my abortive attempt at shopping. And with no bread in the house right now, I bought a baguette from a boulangerie on the way home.

The rest of the day back here I’ve spent a good deal of time scrolling through the 1911 census that has been put on line for free this weekend, trying to find some traces of my family.

That’s not easy because apart from the fact that some of my family was in Canada at this time, my family was somewhat disjointed. On my mother’s side, my grandmother was widowed from her first husband, married a second time, was in a hospital for 25 years after the birth of my aunt which meant that my mother and her sister were fostered out in various families before going to live with an aunt and uncle in Somerset.

And that’s just my mother’s side. On my father’s side it’s even more complicated than that.

That took up most of the rest of the day, what with having yet another hour crashed out on the chair. That was disappointing too because for the first time since I’ve been back from Leuven I was remarkably sprightly this morning and I thought that I was in for a really good day for a change.

There was the usual break for lunch of course, and the walk around the headland this afternoon too.

buoys people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs seems to be becoming quite a habit these days, the first thing that I did once I was outside was to go to the end of the car park and look over the wall down onto the beach to see what was going on today.

Surprisingly there wee very few people down there on the beach this afternoon. There was one person in my field of view down there, but he seemed to be very interested in what look like buoys down there at the water’s edge. There’s a blue one close by the person and a white one a little further out but I can’t see what they are attached to.

But apart from him – or her – that was that really. And that was a surprise. It was quite a nice afternoon, with the wind having dropped and for the first time since I don’t know when, I wasn’t freezing either.

yachts donville les bains baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there at the end of the car park I had a look out to sea to see what was goign on.

And I noticed that the yachting school at Bréhal sur Mer was out there this afternoon. Not too many of their boats but they are having a good sail around in the nice weather and I wish that I was with them.

Instead I set off on my trudge around the headland. Not quite the weary trudge of the last couple of days but I’m still not back to my sprightly self. It’s really hard to imagine that it was less than a year ago that I was running all the way round my circuit.

Not that I would be running today either because although there were very few people on the beach, there were crowds of people walking around the footpath and I wouldn’t want to show myself up.

people standing on rock pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the headland I had a good look around to see whether we had any fishermen out there on the rocks today.

No fishermen today, but there were several people out there just standing about and chatting, including this group of three young people standing on a rock down there having a good chat. In fact, there were quite a few people around there on the lower path this afternoon going the long way round.

While I was there I had a look out to sea to see if there were any fishing boats in the bay but I couldn’t see any at all. But that’s not to say that there weren’t any. I can’t see all of the bay from here.

aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound the corner at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I could see that there are many more boats anchored in there than there have been over the past couple of weeks.

I’m not quite sure if this is telling us that the dredging work is over now or whether it’s just a weekend thing and they’ll all be gone by Monday to give the digger driver the opportunity to carry on with his work throughout the next week.

Meanwhile, in the chantier navale things are as they were yesterday. the little fishing boat is still there and so is Aztec Lady. But no-one else has come to join them as yet.

digger port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on there was ample evidence that the digging work in the harbour hasn’t finished.

If the digging were over they would have taken away the digger that’s been doing it but the fact that it’s still here would indicate that they will be carrying in next week.

But I carried on home to have a coffee and try to do some more work on this flaming census.

At 18:00 I knocked off as there was football. This social media blackout this weekend meant that I couldn’t access my usual source of entertainment. Instead I had to set un an account with the broadcast subcontractor so that I could access it from their website. And surprisingly, it was a much more stable platform.

Last Saturday we saw Connah’s Quay Nomads turn on the aerial performance to devastate TNS. Today in the return match TNS came out with three centre-backs and flooded their penalty area with defenders.

As a result we were treated to a dreadful match with aimless hopeful passes upfield going astray. TNS were a much more skilful and technical side as anyone would guess, but that counted for nothing as their attack was completely snuffed out by the Nomads defence and presented no threat whatsoever.

This was one of those matches that is best forgotten.

Then it was tea time. Rice and a curry out of a tin, followed by apple crumble and my home-made custard. Cornflour, sugar and vanilla essence. While it would be wrong to say that it was real custard, it was certainly acceptable.

Anyway now I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted but I’ll be having a nice lazy day tomorrow I hope. So I hope that no-one spoils it.