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Friday 15th April 2022 – WHAT I SAW …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… this afternoon on my wander around the headland.

As usual, the first port of call is the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what’s happening there.

But I needn’t have bothered today. There could have been Godzilla and the Loch Ness Monster down there for all I knew, and I wouldn’t have seen them in this rolling sea mist that’s coming off the water.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have had sea mists before, but nothing quite like this one. It reminds me of the STRAIT OF BELLE ISLE between Labrador and Newfoundland.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Something else that I saw on my travels as I peered through the fog was one of the Birdmen of Alcatraz whose Nazgul seems to have come to grief here on the headland.

So while you admire a few photos of the pair of them wrestling with each other and the elements, I’ll tell you something about my day.

And with no alarm, I was expecting either an 06:00 start or another 12:30 rude awakening but to my surprise, and probably yours too, it was a much more sedate and realistic 09:40 when I finally crawled out of bed.

First stop after the medication this morning was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Again I think that I missed out a lot but I was in Brussels last night – although it wasn’t Brussels – living in an apartment building. Underneath where I was living was a casino. There was a group of us talking about the EU and one or two of the rackets that went on there in the 80s and 90s that were exposed. Someone was running a Social media page called “EU rackets” but it was titled in German where it listed everything that was happening. One of the girls there was a German girl whom I knew. She was saying that she took part in this page to help the guy to run it but he was just as much a racketeer as the rackets that he was exposing. He lived in the building and was into large-scale gambling. Although they weren’t allowed to do it in the building where he lived, he found another way. That was when I mentioned the subject of this casino at the foot of the hill where my apartment building was. We spent a lot of time chatting about gambling and that kind of thing.

And then it was Welsh Cup quarter-final day. I was talking to someone about the games. There were 4 of them of course and were being played two at the same time with one before and one after these two. I couldn’t remember who was playing where and kept on being confused. I was talking to someone but I couldn’t come out with the correct venues and correct teams. We ended up outside a stadium for a match Aberystwyth against Cardiff Metro. We looked in and saw that the game had already started so I said to the people with me that I was going to stay and watch the game. Then I could go to the second and then to the third instead of watching it on the TV. So I went in and said goodbye to the people as I’d be staying here. Someone inside the ground asked “what did you say?”. I replied “I’ll be staying here”. They asked if I had a ticket. I replied that I could walk round and pay for one. There was a cat walking around on the stands so I picked it up for a stroke and went over to talk to someone but they had a lion. The lion expressed a great deal of interest in this cat so I pulled the cat away thinking that the lion might eat it but someone said “no, put it back” so I put the cat back and the lion started to wash the cat.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022This was a continuation of a dream that I’ve had before a long time ago so I said to myself in my dream. Someone was running an office somewhere and a young guy turns up for an interview. Although there’s no vacancy they feel sorry for him and fit him in for a couple of hours because it fits in with his life as a single father and offer him some work. I don’t know where it went from there but tonight it turned out that this guy had been an actor and had played Jesus in some kind of film or play. There was some kind of stigma over him and a couple of other people knew about this and they were doing all they could to keep out of his way. he was pushing his trolley with his possessions on it heading right for these 2 people. They were wondering how on earth they were going to get out of meeting him when suddenly a girl exclaimed “oh, it’s Jesus” and ran over and started talking to him. He started to tell his hard luck story. Someone else who was around interrupted them saying “aren’t you going to deliver those objects that you have?”. He said to this girl that he had better push on and do his job. These 2 objects were destined for the room in which the other 2 people were hiding. They were now panicking about where they could go to keep out of the way of this guy while he stuck these 2 parcels in this room

The rest of the morning was spent working on the photos from my trip around the Canadian High Arctic of 2019. Despite having dealt with a few dozen, I’m still on my zodiac in Dundas Harbour on Devon Island where I look as if I may be until doomsday at this rate.

After a lunch of porridge and hot cross buns I had a few things to do, a session on the guitar and a chat on the internet with someone or other who shall be nameless but you all know who it is, and then, much earlier than usual, I went out for my afternoon walk.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022You’ve seen the weather conditions today so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of photographs.

And the Birdman of Alcatraz and his Nazgul weren’t expecting much of anything either because after having wrestled with each other for a while, he imitated one of Longfellow’s characters and “shall fold their tents, like the Arabs and as silently steal away”.

Frankly, I don’t know what he must have been thinking, having come out in this kind of weather. I would imagine that, being uniquely wind-powered, you would need a good few hundred yards of room to manoeuvre your Nazgul if you are to avoid catastrophe and the visibility wasn’t anything like that good.

Being out in a rolling sea mist is a recipe for disaster if ever I saw one.

cabanon vauban people bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It’s not a Bank Holiday here in France but nevertheless there are plenty of people on holiday, wandering around here and there.

And even a few down on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban too. Although what they might be expecting to see down there is anyone’s guess because I couldn’t see anything.

Actually, I think they realised after a while that it was pretty pointless being down there because, as I watched, they slowly packed up their things and began to move away. Not that things are much better anywhere else, that is.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In the newspaper this morning it said that one of the highest tidal coefficients of the year would be this weekend.

That can only mean one thing – the pèche à pied. With the high coefficient, it means that the public area of the foreshore will be uncovered at low tide so it will be a free-for-all as everyone swarms down there to see what they can find.

There are already a few people down there making their way to the water’s edge. And if this blasted fog would lift we would probably find that there are a few more people further out as well. When we did a radio programme from down there a couple of years ago there were hundreds of people.

ch721430 le styx ch922344 le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022So leaving them to it, I headed off down the path towards the harbour to see what was happening there.

And there’s a change of occupant – or, rather, an additional occupant at the chantier naval this afternoon too. We’ve seen the trawler Le Styx on a few occasions just recently unloading at the fish processing plant but here she is today up on blocks undergoing servicing.

Le Roc A La Mauve III is still there too. At least, I think that it’s her. I can read her registration number from here now but strangely, it isn’t in the trawler database that I found. Perhaps she’s been brought in from elsewhere and is being reregistered.

ch642969 galapagos port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another trawler that we’ve seen once or twice on our way around in the past is Galapagos.

She’s over there by the fish processing plant, settling down in the silt and waiting for the tide to come in. By the looks of things she must have missed the opening of the harbour gates because she’s not one that usually loiters around over there.

As for me, I’m not loitering around either. There’s a good reason why I’ve gone for an early walk this afternoon and I’d better get a move on and head for home otherwise I’ll be late.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But the way things are, I’m not going home quite yet.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiaise tied up at the pontoon where the trawlers usually tie up. That would be bound to lead to complications.

Anyway, she’s cleared off somewhere else now and the trawlers are tied up where they belong.

But still missing from our photo are the two Channel Island ferries Granville and Victor Hugo. The last I heard of them, they had been hauled out of the water at Cherbourg.

But that was a while ago. If the service to the Channel Islands is to restart, they ought to have started it now while the crowds are here for the Easter break.

weeding porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One final thing before I go back inside.

It’s the time of year when they send the gardening crew out. Today, they are pulling the weeds out of the rocks in the medieval walls by the Porte St Jean. If the roots penetrate between the rocks they’ll loosen the stonework and bring it down.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had to repoint the whole back wall of my house in Virlet when I puled the ivy off.

Interestingly, you’ll notice that the van has the old-style number plates. That means that it last had a change of owner prior to 2009. So the local council has owned it for at least 13 years.

It’s not like the UK here where people change cars every couple of years. That’s why second-hand vehicles are comparatively more expensive.

Back at home I settled down in front of the computer to watch Y Bala v Y Drenewydd in the battle for second place. And just as the whistle went for the kick-off Rosemary rang. So that was the first half effectively out of the window.

That was a shame because the first half was the better of the two with both teams going for it. The match finished 1-0 for Bala which was about the right result. Apart from my favourite player Mwandwe, Y Drenewydd didn’t offer much up front today. Bala’s defence was quite effective.

But SPARE A THOUGHT FOR THE WOODWORK at the town end of the Oval Stadium at Caernarfon. I bet that it has a headache this evening after this afternoon’s match against Penybont.

For tea tonight I had the curry that I’ve been trying to have for a day or two. And of course it was delicious. It couldn’t be anything else.

So shopping tomorrow. I don’t need all that much, I suppose, but it’s been a while since I’ve been and I need a few supplies, as well as to see what’s on offer in Noz. I need to vary my diet again, I reckon.

Wednesday 13th April 2022 – GUESS WHO …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But low-flying loaves of bread as well? As I have said before… “and on many occasions too” – ed … what goes on during the night is much more exciting than anything that happens to me during the day these days.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 18th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll get my coat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 1st March 2022 – DYDD GWYL DEWI HAPUS …

… to all of my readers. It was quite appropriate that we had a Welsh lesson today.

But anyway, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here.

bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that ON 7th FEBRUARY I drew your attention to some kind of work that was taking place at the side of the road just outside here.

And this is what they were doing there. It’s taken them a whole three weeks to come back and finish the work but when they started this morning, it didn’t take them too long to finish.

On my way home I discovered that it’s actually a cycle shelter. Not that there are all that many cycles around here that need sheltering.

However, I’m surprised to note that there’s no electric power point there. Electric bicycles are all the rage these days and there will be more and more on the streets in due course. They will need charging at some point, of course, and a bicycle shelter would be the right place to do it.

A few hundred volts of electricity and a recharge would do me some good right now because this morning I fell asleep again after the alarm had gone off at 07:30 and it was the 08:00 alarm that finally awoke me

After the medication and checking my messages I transcribed the dictaphone notes because despite the lengthy sleep that I had had, I hadn’t gone far during the night. The three things that they should be checking in this thesis is boys v girls, the battle of the sexes, the bayonet of the Ents as they march to sacrifice and the third thing is how their behaviour interacts with each other that might lead to any particular death. That was a response to a person in a dream who was wanting help about three different parts to his thesis

There was something about one of these tasks about a baby that had crawled into the top of a cage to try to eat their food and the dog and everyone stoofd around watching it.

And whatever all of that was supposed to mean, I really have no idea at all. But once again, After the frenzied nights of a few weeks ago, yet another night without any of my favourite characters appearing. I suppose that they are as exhausted as I am after what has been going on during the night.

For an hour or so I prepared for my Welsh lesson and I could have done more had I not … errr … relaxed for a few minutes. But at least the lesson passed quite happily this morning, just for a change.

After lunch I spent the rest of the day bringing the blog up-to-date, at least, as far as the recent past goes. All of the posts FROM 7th FEBRUARY. And what was so disappointing about all of this was that despite the amount of stuff that needed updating, there were only two appearances of my favourite characters.

It seems as if i’m losing my touch.

installing bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was also the afternoon walk as usual.

And first thing that I noticed was the pick-up and trailer outside busy with the erection of this shelter. At first I thought that it was a bus shelter, but the local buses don’t come past here and in any case it’s on the wrong side of the road.

But anyway, as I said earlier, I found out later that it was a bicycle shelter, otherwise known as a bike shed, behind which all kinds of things went on when we were at school. So I’m wondering what we might find going on behind here, especially just after school chucking-out time.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So leaving the bike shed on its own in the hands of the workmen, I went across the car park to look down on the beach.

And in contrast to how things have been over the last few days, the beach was deserted. There wasn’t a soul down there at all, despite the fact that there was plenty of beach to be on right now as the tide is still on its way in..

And that no-one is down there this afternoon is no surprise because the rain was teeming down and if I had had any sense I wouldn’t have been out there at all either.

la grande ancre trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was also casting my eyes out to sea to see what was happening there.

There was a heavy sea mist, thanks to the rain, so I couldn’t see much but there were two fishing boats emerging from the gloom on their way in towards the harbour.

One of them is immediately recognisable. The one on the right is of course La Grande Ancre, a boat with a very low freeboard that is often used for transporting freight here and there, and also used for fishing purposes.

The other boat is one that, unfortunately, I can’t identify and she’s too far away for me to read her registration number. One thing is sure, and that it’s not the new Suzanga.

flooded footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the local council with a lorry-load of gravel repairing the footpath where it usually floods.

And you will recall that I asked the question as to whether they would carry on and deal with the other parts of the path that need repair. Well, anyway, here’s your answer.

They must have cleared off home when they’d finished yesterday and as you can see,didn’t come back today. The heavy rainstorm that we are having right now has flooded the path in several other places that, I imagine, will stay like this as long as it keeps on raining.

Only doing half a job sounds like the way that i’m working right now.

la grande ancre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I saw La Grande Ancre out at sea a few minutes ago it looked as if there was something interesting on her deck and it excited my curiosity.

As she drew nearer to the headland I took another photo of her so that I could have a closer look at her cargo when I returned home.

It looks as if she’s loaded up with some of these wire crates that they use for stacking sacks of shellfish, and there are a few shellfish boxes on board too which look as if they are quite full.

By now, the rain was coming down quite heavily and I’m slowly becoming soaked to the skin. I wasn’t going to hang around too long out here. My hot coffee was calling me.

tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 suzanga la grande ancre joly france trawler yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the poor weather, I was in such a rush that I didn’t look down at the cabanon vauban. Instead, I carried on along the path.

There’s a change in occupancy in the chantier naval. One of the two yachts has gone back into the water today, but all of the other craft were still in there.

the outer harbour is crowded with fishing boats right now, even though it will be a while before they open the gates to the inner harbour.

Apart from La Grande Ancre, whose silhouette is easily recognisable, there’s no possibility of identifying anyone else down there. The rain is coming down so heavily that it’s impossible to see clearlu.

Making a quick stop to photograph the bike shed, I came back in here for a coffee and to dry out.

And then to continue updating the journal entries. And what surprised me with this task is that I actually managed to finish it. And it’s been a long time since I’ve completed a task, isn’t it? I even found the time to book my next trip to Leuven.

Tea tonight was a taco roll with the left-over stuffing from yesterday, and it really was quite nice. Tomorrow will be a left-over curry, I reckon, mainly with mushrooms as I have plenty of those. I might even fry some chips in my new air fryer later in the week.

Bedtime now. My physiotherapist is back from holiday tomorrow afternoon, and I also have to see the doctor tomorrow morning. So I must remember to take with me the form that I need him to sign.

Saturday 5th February 2022 – WE’VE HAD A …

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… hive of activity out here today, with tons of stuff going on throughout the day and I’ve no idea why.

It’s a Saturday morning and I’m walking to the shops in the town, so it’s no surprise that I stumbled across the helicopter on my way out this morning.

Regular readers of this rubbish will certainly remember what happened last time I walked into town on a Saturday morning and had a close encounter with the aforementioned. That’s something that I won’t forget in a hurry, and I’m sure that you won’t either.

assembly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It wasn’t just the helicopter either.

There was a group of people, some of whom in military dress uniform and carrying flags, congregating by a wall just here.

Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that I actually live in an old military barracks so seeing soldiers and ex-soldiers loitering around is something to which I’m accustomed.

But anyway, I digress. let’s go back to the very beginning and see if I can last out until the end.

Now here’s a surprise.

When I awoke this morning, it was 07:26 – 4 minutes before the alarm. And so in something of a wild fit of bravado, I hauled myself out of bed just before the alarm went off. And that’s not something that happens every day, is it?

Actually, it was too good an opportunity to miss and it will give me something to crow about until I hit the next disaster.

After the medication I checked the messages etc and then listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was an army disputing the succession to the French throne or something. Someone who governed the centre had taken the initiative but had ended up being invaded by an army from somewhere else, a Duke, and they had had a airly inconclusive confrontation somewhere already at the south of Paris but now they were shaping up for a really important fight that would decide the future of the country, with an invasion or whatever it was. On eof the guys was facing them anyway. They were all organising their armies for this conclusive battle in order to square up and have a proper one this time.

A little later last night I was with TOTGA. The two of us were planning on going on holiday. There was a big meeting taking place about various trips going so we went along to listen to them. They asked if there were any questions. Someone asked “how do you go from Manchester to the airport?” – basic questions like that that people either know the answer to or they look on Google or something. In the end these questions were becoming rather simple. It suddenly came out that the guy was travelling from Stoke-on-Trent. I asked him if he lived there to which he replied “yes” so I told him to give me his ‘phone number and I’d ring him and he could ask me what he liked etc and I’d be able to tell him perhaps a lot better than he’d hear it in the middle of this meeting where he was getting on everyone’s nerves. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember now.

And later again I was with Keith Emerson and Brian Davison of The Nice. I can’t remember very much about this except that Keith Emerson was knocked off his motorbike by a lorry at a roundabout. I can’t even remember whether he was hurt or not.

I did finally end up on board a ship last night. There were quite a few of us, but no-one we knew. It started off watched a TV programme about these boats that go down to the Antarctic with people on but there was no cabin accommodation or anything – you slept on deck so when there was a storm it was quite problematic. I remember thinking that I’ll tell Rosemary all about this and see if she wants to go. It wasn’t before long that I was on board one heading south. First, it started off that we were in London somewhere and had gone for a meal. There wasn’t a big choice of vegan or vegetarian restaurants. The one that we found was passable, I thought, nothing particular to write home about. A couple of other people were extremely disappointed about it and made something of a fuss to the waitress about what they considered to be the poor food and quality. She came over to me afterwards and asked if I wanted anything else. I was nice about the situation so she said that she would bring me a bowl of chips. By this time I was on the deck of this ship and after waiting many, many, many minutes a bowl of chips appeared so I ate them then went for a wander off around. I ended up below deck where a guy appeared with a bowl of chips. He said “I’ve been looking for you. Here are your chips” so I wondered whose chips they were that I’d eaten just now. He asked if they were OK. They were cold but I wasn’t really all that bothered so I ended up with a second bowl of cold salty chips while I was on board this ship heading south to the Antarctic in all kinds of weather.

To finish off I had to go to the Post Office to post a package. It was a lump of dough and by the time I reached the Post Office it was all soggy and wet. I was sure that the clerk was going to refuse it but she put it in a plastic bag for me. The address label was all manky and wet but she said “I’ll manage”. I went back off to work on board a ship. Someone asked if I had my work with me – my University stuff so I replied “no” thinking that they would just give me a course book to read. Instead, they gave me the entire unit stuff, videos, everything. They asked if that was OK and I replied “well basically it’s OK but I don’t know how on earth I’ll manage to carry all this back afterwards.

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022By the time that I’d finished typing out all of that I was ready to go into town.

There had been a racket going on outside for a few minutes but I hadn’t paid too much attention to it, but as soon as I walked out of the front door of this building I was immediately confronted by the air-sea rescue helicopter.

He was hovering around down behind the College Malraux so I decided to head that way into town to see what was going on. You never know …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022One of the first things that I did once outside, and I’ve no idea why, was to go and have a look at the beach.

However, I may as well have saved the energy. The tide is all the way in right now so there was no beach for anyone to be on right now.

You can though see what I mean about people being down there when the tide is on its way in. It comes in quite quickly and goes all the way to the foot of the cliffs. That means that there is no-where for anyone to shelter.

Being cut off from the foot of the steps can cause all kinds of problems.

joly france ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual, I’m also having a look around out to sea, one of the reasons being that occasionally we catch a glimpse of one of the massive super-ferries leaving St Malo for the UK.

Today though we couldn’t see one, but we did see a ferry of another type.

On her way out to the Ile de Chausey this morning was one of the Joly France ferries, taking advantage of the nice weather. And we can tell that it’s the older one of the two even at this distance because there is no “step” in the stern.

You can see how nice the weather is this morning too. We can see all of the colours on the island and the while houses stand out quite clearly against the rocks.

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 emergency services pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … Pointe du Roc, the helicopter is still perched on the big bunker here.

Not only is it surrounded by aircrew and rescue personnel, there’s an ambulance and several police cars in attendance. It looks as if there’s something serious going on.

Everyone seemed to be quite busy so I didn’t go over to interrupt them to find out what was going on. I’ll have to wait until tomorrow and see what’s in the newspaper, or else wait for Sue Grey to finish her report.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022So leaving them to their own devices I wandered off down the steps to the path below.

There wasn’t anyone else down here at the cabanon vauban, but if there had been, they would have seen this yacht heading out to sea from the port de plaisance.

He, and the couple of others who were following him out, were having a nice day for it. There was plenty of sunshine, and enough wind to push them along nicely, although not too much to make it unpleasant.

My walk down into town was quite lonely. I went practically all the way without seeing another soul. I’ve no idea where everyone was.

chausiaise belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022They certainly weren’t all out at sea because apart from the one Joly France boat that we saw, everyone else was here at the suayside.

From left to right of course we have Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes out to the Ile de Chausey and, occasionally, to the Channel Islands as we saw the other day. And then the two other ferries.

In the middle is the very new Belle France that first showed her face in the port last year to help out with the summer traffic, and then to her right the newer of the two Joly France boats.

The other Joly France boat is of course on her way out to the Ile de Chausey.

concrete reinforcement matting double glazed windows port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was here I had a look at the freight waiting on the quayside.

As well as those red plastic objects that we saw from a distance, we have some concrete reinforcement matting and a pile of double-glazed windows. They’ll need to be tied down correctly on their way across to Jersey just in case the wind gets up.

At Carrefour I bought my mushrooms, some specialty bread and a few other bits and pieces, and then had a wander back through the town centre on my way home. There wasn’t anything going on down there that caught my attention. In fact, I must have been in something or a daze.

assembly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Earlier on I posted a photo of an assembly of people here in the Place d’Armes in the courtyard of one of the other buildings.

Back here I stuck my head and the camera out of the window to take a photo and to see if I could hear what they were talking about.

From what I could gather, it was something to do with a handful of soldiers from one of the regiments based here who somewhere in North Africa held of an attack of several hundred “Arabs” (that was the phrase that the presenter used) over a period of several days.

It was in my mind to go out later this afternoon and see if the plaque on the wall behind him made any reference to the incident but I forgot. I’m not much good as a reporter, am I?

And while we’re on the subject, two things have occurred today in this respect.

  1. A journalist in the Grauniad this morning made a huge deal about going to SEE THE “DISAPPEARING HIGHWAY” IN NORTH CAROLINA. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have done that trip, THE FIRST IN 2005 and THE SECOND IN 2017 to compare the differences so we beat this “scoop by the Grauniad by four and a half years.
  2. A French railway magazine of some description is to feature a series of articles highlighting the destruction, if not devastation, of the railway network in the Auvergne and their editorial team has found an article THAT I WROTE BACK IN 2008 that is relevant to their series, and has asked if they may include it in their magazine. It goes without saying … shameless self-publicist that I am.

Anyway, back here I had a coffee and something to eat to take me up to lunch while I sorted out a few things that needed doing – like preparing news articles for publication and that kind of thing.

After lunch I came here to carry on work but, regrettably, I couldn’t keep going. It wasn’t the same kind of crashing-out that it has been here and there just recently, but for all the good that I did, it may as well have been.

What’s even more depressing is reading back through all of the stuff that I wrote al those years ago and wishing that somehow, somewhere I could summon up the enthusiasm and energy to do it all again with the tons of stuff that’s built up over the years that hasn’t been touched.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It was even difficult to summon up the energy and enthusiasm to go out for my afternoon walk. and I’m not sure why I wanted to go, having been out this morning for a good walk around.

Having been over to the beach this morning, only to find that there was no beach to go over to, I went again this afternoon at my usual time to see the lie of the land.

Plenty of beach down there right now of course, and plenty of people down there making the most of it. Several dozen at least.

And that’s not a surprise because it was actually such a nice afternoon. Not much wind, a nice blue sky. What more could any man require?

Except maybe TOTGA, Castor and Zero to share it with me of course. And then I wouldn’t know which way to turn, although I’m sure that I’d soon figure it out.

people on beach bouchots donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It wasn’t just down on the beach at the Rue du Nord where there were crowds either.

Out at Donville les bains they seemed to be just as busy. The bouchot stakes were exposed with the tide being so low so n the distance we could see the harvesting teams out there.

They would have to be careful too as there were crowds of people milling around on the beach, getting under the wheels of the tractors and the like.

For the benefit of our new readers, a serendipitous discovery made years and years ago was that shellfish were found growing on some anchor ropes. When they were sampled they were found to have an excellent taste with none of the grittiness that you associate with shellfish grown in the sand.

And so a business has sprung up here in the bay in various locations where stakes are planted in the sea with ropes slung between them for these shellfish, called bouchots to grow.

repairing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022For a change, this afternoon I decided to go for a walk around the walls seeing as it’s been a few weeks since I went that way.

From somewhere I summoned up the energy to go down the steps to look at the hole in the wall to see what they had done with that. And by the looks of things, they are well on their way to finishing it.

It’s taken an enormous pile of stones, that don’t seem to match the rest of the stonework and that’s rather sad. I don’t think much of the concrete lintel either. When I was fitting concrete lintels in stone walls I’d set them back a few inches and find some nice flat stone to face them with to make it all look more traditional.

repairing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Up on top it’s looking something of a mess too.

They actually took that wall down to ground level and rebuilt it but at the moment it doesn’t look anything like it ought to do. Maybe when they repoint it, it’ll look much better but you can’t really see it very well with the scaffolding and the fencing in the way.

From there I followed the crowds (because crowds there were a-plenty) along the path underneath the walls. One of my neighbours was there too so we had a chat for five minutes and put the world to rights.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2202/22020044.html”>red autogyro baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was there, I was overflown by another light aeroplane from the airfield.

Today it’s the red powered hang-glider that’s going past. And he has a passenger too by the looks of things. Been for a spin around thr bay to take a few photos probably, and one of these days I’ll have to get out and do the same.

But not right now as I have too much to do. I carried on with my walk around the walls, far too close to the madding crowd for my comfort.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On place that I wanted to visit was the Rue St Michel to eat some humble … “you?” – ed … pie.

Having complained bitterly about the state in which they left the surface, they came back a couple of weeks later and put the stone setts down to make it look much more like medieval.

They don’t have the curves sorted though. Medieval stone paving has nice symmetriical curves in it that looks really beautiful but they haven’t been able to recapture that here. It’s probably another one of these medieval skills that’s long-been lost, or else they won’t spend the money and the time in doing it correctly.

red autogyro baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Walking back along the walls, the red powered hang-glider went past again.

By the looks of things, while I’ve been out he’s been back home, swapped passengers and come back out again. He must be keeping busy and that has to be good for business.

Having forgotten to look at the plaque as I said that I would, I came back home for my coffee and to attack another sound file to select the broadcastable bits. And it’s not easy, for various reasons.

But anyway, there’s just one sound file to select and then I can get off and assemble things for broadcasting.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, seeing as there was a rather sad-looking pepper left and I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday. And now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed.

Having had TOTGA visit me last night, I wonder who’ll pull the short straw tonight. I ought to promote a lottery, oughtn’t I?

Monday 24th January 2022 – DAY SEVEN …

… of my self-imposed confinement and I had my first human face-to-face interaction for over a week.

Round about 08:00 I telephoned the nurse to tell him of my health issues and advise him not to come, but he told me that he was quite used to dealing with people in ill-health and it didn’t bother him at all that I was not feeling very healthy.

And so he came round and gave me my injection, and he had brought with him a Covid-testing apparatus. He reckoned that if I’m feeling unwell I ought to have a test. I’ll find out the result tomorrow.

He also brought me some good news. I’m now officially certified as 100% unwell and so most of my medical interventions are now reimbursed at 100% by the French Government. I’m not sure if that’s a good thig or a bad thing.

As for the night that I had, that was a bad thing and no mistake. Nit really very much pain to bother me but it was something of a restless night and I took ages to go off to sleep.

Restless was the word too. We were out taxi-driving last night. My father was out doing a job from somewhere but I don’t know where he’d gone. I was around the house doing something else. I could hear him come back and was talking about someone called Morris. I couldn’t hear everything. It seems that Morris was spending so much of his time looking after other people that he didn’t have the time to look after himself and had lost his pub. I couldn’t think who ha was talking about. He came in and said “I’ve just been talking to a friend of yours”. I replied “I don’t know who that was”. He said “I didn’t know which car to take but there was one just outside the house with a plate on it so I took that”. I had a look and it was a brown Mk IV that he had taken which was OK. There was another job from the immediate neighbourhood so he’d left the car down there for some reason and come back here on foot. The impression that I had was that he was wanting me to go with him to do this job, not that I could think why it needs 2 of us but he was quite keen on me going for some reason. I prepared to go and we went outside and it was Gainsborough Road. There was some talk about the untidy garden that was there and I was becoming fed up of all of these people complaining so I had a mind to find a great big scaffolding and erect it all around the house so that it looked as if there was work being done and leave it sitting like that for a while because it was making me totally fed up

I started to dictate this without the dictaphone in my hand again. I was back hime in Gainsborough Road. Someone had pulled up with a pile of stuff for me and the blonde girl who was there, whoever she was, and I went out to unload their car and stock up my kitchen with everything. Later on I had a newspaper round to go and do. It was going to be fairly easy because with everyone cancelling and so on there was only 1 delivery to make. I prepared to go and thought that if I go quickly I’ll be back before Nina comes back. She didn’t come back yesterday afternoon so I wondered where she’d got to but that was up to her. I had everything together but I couldn’t find my keys for the motor bike. I hunted high and low in the house and found all these loads of different keys, different key rings and everything like that but not one for the motorbike. Plenty for cars that were no longer here but none for a car that was here either. I was starting to panic because I was going to be late to deliver this paper and I may well miss Nina at this rate or she might even arrive before I’ve gone out.

last night there was some kind of dream about a tropical island that a few of us were to visit for some reason. I can’t remember who and I can’t remember anything that actually happened when we arrived there unfortunately.

The train pulled into the station and I boarded with this little girl who was with me. Someone was already sitting in my place so I went to sit upstairs on the top row. But then there was something missing about my clothes so I had to go back down where I used to sit, pick them up from there and bring them back to where I was sitting now. Then there was something else that I needed so I went to go down to fetch it. Someone else asked me to fetch something as well but I thought that this is going to keep on happening and it’ll be a complete nightmare so why don’t I go and sit downstairs near where I’m supposed to be and where everything is within reach

Despite being in isolation I’d gone into hospital to watch a film. It was a small room with about a dozen of us. I knew one or two of the people, including a little girl (I seem to be featuring a lot of little girls in my voyages just recently), from a language class. I was in a hospital nightgown thing and I’d walked all the way from my house to this hospital all the way through the town in my nightgown. When it had finished on the way back, I had a think. There’s a quicker was to go home than going through the town so I decided to go that way. For some unknown reason I ended up with a couple of people who gave me a lift. When we turned into South St there was a huge traffic queue. I was sitting there reading a book so I didn’t really notice it but the guy left the car for a look around. he came back and we waited and waited, then I left the car to stretch my legs and go to have a look. I reached the corner of Catherine Street when suddenly this queue finished and everyone moved off. I couldn’t remember which vehicle I’d been in and my bag with all of my possessions was in it and it drove away. I thought “how am I going to get all of my stuff back now?”.

At some point the question of a new house turned up. I was looking at a new house in Audlem. There was a good deal going on one so I had something of an interest in it. I told the estate agent. On the way home I walked back through the village to find out exactly where this house was. I threw my bag which I somehow had onto the property but it became stuck on the roof of the house next door. There was no-one in and no ladder around so I thought “I’m not going to have that back for a while am I?”. I had a look inside the windows and the rooms were really tiny. I thought that this isn’t going to be much use for me with these tiny rooms. Then I was thinking that seeing as I’m in Audlem it’s only a hop and a skip over the border into Shropshire so why don’t I look around Market Drayton or somewhere like that for a house where I’d be in a different County and make a new start?

Not quite the same as GOING TO CALIFORNIA is it though?.

Yes, I think that Cheshire was glad to see the back of me when I left to live on the mainland.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed, staggered off into the kitchen for my medication and then came back in here to check my messages.

Nothing exciting had happened overnight so I occupied myself with the radio programme that needed doing. Even though there were several breaks for drinks, ‘phone calls and the like, it was up and running by 10:35

It could have been ready earlier than that but firstly I wasn’t as motivated as I might have been and secondly, for some unaccountable reason, I ended up 10 seconds short. A mathematical error somewhere, I suppose.

While I was listening to the results and to the radio programme that I was sending off to be broadcast this coming weekend, I carried on amending the journal entries where I’d left off the photos and the details of the nocturnal journeys for the month of January. They are now up-to-date but there are a couple that need doing for December.

There was also a break to go and have a shower and to tidy myself up ready for the nurse.

After he had gone, I made a very late lunch. Soup with vermicelli and some nice fresh bread from yesterday. And being fed up of the bread not lasting, I cut the loaf in half and stuck one half into the freezer to see how it goes when it’s defrosted in a couple of days time.

With lunch out of the way I finished off listening to the radio programmes and updating the journal but to my dismay I fell asleep again. And for a good hour and a half too.

While I was away with the fairies I really was away too. There was a group of builders working on a building at the back of where I was. It was a new-build with brick and they had done some astonishing things while I’d been watching, like standing on window-ledges on the outside of the property several floors up with no safety harness while they worked on the exterior of the building. When I looked again there were two of them, one kneeling on the window-ledge, the other one standing with his legs either side of the first, again several floors up with no safety equipment. They were now rendering the exterior of the building with cement, using a large plastic sheet to give some kind of decorative effect and this was giving me heart failure watching them work like this.

When I finally awoke it took me a good few minutes to gather myself together – in fact I was all for going straight to bed at that point. It was definitely two steps backwards today.

When I’d recovered I made myself a strong coffee but I somehow couldn’t bring myself round to do much work. Transcribing the dictaphone notes was about as much as I could manage – although there were more than just a few of those to deal with.

Tea was a vegan burger with rice and vegetables and now I’m going to bed. Once more, I’m thoroughly exhausted and I’ve no idea why. I have my Welsh class tomorrow so I’m hoping that I’ll feel so much better than I did last Tuesday.

Sunday 23rd January 2022 – DAY SIX …

… of my self-imposed confinement to quartes began as you might expect on a Sunday with me not leaving the warmth and comfort of my stinking pit until about 11:00.

Mind you, that wasn’t when I awoke. The painkiller that I took last night to ease the pain in my jaw wore off round about 09:00 and that was about that. I’s a good job that I didn’t go to bed until about … errr … 03:00. Had it been any earlier, it would have worn off earlier.

Anyway 11:00 is a good time to be up on a Sunday even if I did spend a couple of hours huddled up underneath the quilt in the warmth. Nothing ever happens on a Sunday anyway, and even less does when I’m stuck in the house.

After the medication and checking my messages (well, some of them anyway) a friend of mine came on line so we had a little chat for a while, which cheered me up somewhat. And then I sat down to pair off the music for the next radio programme – the one that I’ll do tomorrow and which is programmed to go out on … gulp … 18th November.

As you can see, I like to be well ahead.

After lunch (toast and porridge with lots of coffee) I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. We were on a sailing ship returning home from the Caribbean or somewhere. There had been shortages of crew for the return, for one reason or another. We noticed something strange happening to a cable. It turned out that there was a saboteur on board. He was arrested and he revealed under pressure the name of a friend so those two were cast overboard. I was still of the opinion that there was a 3rd one. One or two people kept on dying here and there as you would expect. There were a couple of women and an elderly nurse. One of the women was exploring around the ship with me one night, being careful not to awaken anyone, and looking at what we could find. We came across something that was even more confusing, that someone had signed their nickname to an order but they weren’t actually known to be about. This led to an enquiry and in the end some young boy admitted that it was he who had signed the order in this nickname, but this left the question of this other person who at the moment was asleep. We started to have all kinds of grave suspicions about him. The old woman who had been awoken by the noise came in and offered to tell us all recipes so we prepared to hear them and write them down. The man appeared but we hadn’t made up our mind what to do about it. It was a very uncomfortable few minutes while he was here and he was bound to notice the uncomfortableness. I had this foreboding that this whole trip was going to end in disaster somewhere. If he didn’t start a mutiny on his own and kill half the officers, then something else would happen to this ship and he would probably be involved in it and it would all end up turning out like Treasure Island.

Later on I’d flown into the USA for some reason and I’d gone to meet a friend. We ended up having loads of trouble meeting up. eventually it took place in a hotel. He came in but there was no room so he had to crush up on a table with some other people. One thing that I noticed was how easily everyone there broke into conversation with whoever it was they were sitting next to whether they had known them before or not. I hardly talked to anyone there. The question of New Year came up. They were talking about how someone had played a concert on one side of the timeline to celebrate New Year and then dashed over the frontier to do the same on another time zone. I said that people between Spain and Portugal can do that. Someone came up with the name of Dundee and asked whereabouts was such-and-such a Firth which I didn’t recognise at all. She said “yes, where Dundee is”. I said “that’s the Tay”. It didn’t strike with her at all but I had to convince her that it was the Tay. She was saying something about how someone did the same thing there but they had quite a drive afterwards to cross the time zone. I was trying to think where you would cross a time zone by car near Dundee. Someone asked what time it was so I had a look at my watch. It was 09:10, without thinking. Someone else said “yes, 09:10”. It suddenly dawned on me that it must be 03:10 where I come from. They said “you must be tired”.

The conversation petered out after that.

By now I was ready to go and prepare my dough for the loaf that I was going to make today. 500 grammes of flour, several handfuls of sunflower seed, a crushed vitamin C tablet, 8 grammes of salt and 2 packets of yeast. And it actually all went together quite nicely.

While I was waiting for it to rise I came back here and rewrote another page of my stay in Leuven, adding in the photos and the details of the nocturnal rambles too. And it’s no surprise that I’m so exhausted with the distances that I’m covering during the night.

Back in the kitchen I switched on the oven to warm up and while it was heating I rolled out the pizza dough that I’d taken out of the freezer at lunchtime and put it in the greased tray.

When that was done I put it on one side to proof and stuck the bread in the oven to bake seeing as the oven was now hot enough. And while all that was going on I made myself a mug of instant hot chocolate and came to sit down for a rest.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022After about an hour or so I went and assembled my pizza and I finished that just as the bread was done. Perfect timing, that was! And so the pizza went into the oven to bake.

Here are the finished products too. Don’t they look nice? And the pizza tasted nice too, even though I had to make do with tinned mushrooms. They aren’t the same as fresh mushrooms, not by a long way.

Now that it’s eaten and all washed up, I can finish my journal entry and go to bed. There’s an early start in the morning for me to attack my radio programme so I need to be at my best.

Not that that’s ever likely to happen these days, of course. But only 2 more days of my house arrest and then on Wednesday I can hit the streets. That will remind me to ring up to cancel the nurse and the physiotherapy. I’m sure that they don’t want whatever it is that I have.

And I hope that the little improvement with my teeth continues too. As the old saying goes, “the teeth in the top are fine but the ones in my bottom are hurting terribly”

Thursday 20th January 2022 – DAY THREE …

… of my enforced confinement was very much like Day Two; with very little of any kind of note happening at all.

And seeing as I’m not going anywhere, doing anything or seeing anyone is hardly any surprise.

Although I just about beat the alarm to my feet this morning, it was a dreadfully slow start. But there was a reason for that. I’m suffering from a lack of football and my thirst was satiated last night instead of going to bed early.

It’s the Scottish Cup at the weekend and Greenock Morton, a team in which I have an interest since I wrote a newspaper article about the club and its controversial chairman 20 years ago, have drawn Premier League opposition.

In the past, Morton have had four major acts of giant-killing and last night someone strung together a video of the highlights of those four matches and broadcast them on the internet. So I stayed up to watch them – videocam recordings of old 405-line transmissions in the good old days of steam-driven television.

And worth is just to watch ANDY RITCHIE’S MARVELLOUS GOAL that dumped Aberdeen, Alex Ferguson and all, out of the Scottish Cup.

Anyway, having struggled out of bed and having taken my medicine, I came back in here to see how things were with the dictaphone. There was something on there from last night – and about 20 things from the previous few nights. And you can tell how lightly I’m sleeping these days with the volume of stuff that’s on there. This is no deep, profound sleep that I’m having.

But never mind the dictaphone for the moment. I had other things that needed my attention.

As it happens, I’m a member of an organisation that is fighting to defend the SNCF from the onslaught of privatisation that the right wing of the political spectrum is fighting to impose on the rest of the country. And I happened to post a couple of messages relating to a couple of things that related directly to me.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … the organiser of the campaign asked me for dates and times. And that meant going through about 18 months’ worth of blog entries. They were relatively unimportant, minor things so I hadn’t tagged them and that explains the time that it took.

Perhaps I ought to mention in passing that my journal is tagged and indexed. I keep it as a diary and as a reminder because my memory is hopeless, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. I can sing any number of lyrics of songs from the 1960s and 70s totally word-perfect, but ask me what I was wanting when I walked into the kitchen 5 minutes ago …

It also serves other purposes too, as I have probably mentioned in the past.

Then I could turn my attention to where I’d been during the night. As it happened, Nerina and I had another one of our arguments. This time she had a friend with her and it was pretty permanent so she stormed off, leaving me with the business and the dry-cleaner’s to run. All the people wanted assurance that I’d still be open at 09:00 on a Wednesday. I replied “of course”. Then I realised that it was going to be difficult because there was going to be a bus run that I normally did but I didn’t return until 10:00 so I could see that I had about 2 days to organise a pile of changes to make sure that everyone else was happy and that they could have their dry-cleaning when they wanted but it wasn’t going to be easy.

After lunch (I remembered today) I carried on with the entries from yesterday and was actually planning on doing a lot more but I rather sadly fell asleep. And to my surprise, I was off on my travels there too. I was with my brother and someone else. I can’t remember why now but I had some work to do so I set myself up in a room in some kid of village hall place to do it and they wandered off. However I couldn’t settle and when someone came in – a big ugly-looking man rather like Jack Elam, I lost my concentration completely. I went out for a walk to settle myself down. There, I bumped into my brother and the other person. They were angry that I wasn’t working so I invented a story that I was looking for a torch. The third person said that he had one and went to fetch it and they accompanied me back to where I was working while I tried to invent a story as to why I needed the torch. When we arrived back where I was, my brother bumped into this strange man and let out a gasp of surprise and shock which awoke me.

Later on I went for tea. I’m not feeling very hungry right now but I have to go through the motions. There was some stuffing left over from Monday’s pepper so I had a taco roll with some rice.

Rosemary rang me up while I was eating so I called her back and we had a chat. But not for long because my throat gave out.

But the question of food was rather interesting. Last time that I was ill like this was when I was in Minnesota in July 2019 (in the days when we could travel) and I lost 10kg in weight. If I can lose even half of that during this bout of illness I’ll be happy with that and I’ll have gained something.

So now I’m off to bed – at … errr … 02:05. Just as I was thinking of going to bed earlier, Help Yourself came onto the playlist, followed by Quicksilver Messenger Service with the magnificent John Cipollina, Roxy Blue (a vastly underrated band who could have been another Aerosmith or Bon Jovi and whose lead guitarist is now a dentist), followed by Kate Bush. And that’s enough to keep anyone awake, for all kind sof different reasons.

But now that Kansas has come round, I’ll clear off to bed because we’ll end up next with Lone Star (another vastly underrated band featuring Paul “Tonka” Chapman, later of UFO and Jon Sloman, later of Uriah Heep) and I’ll be here all night.

See you in the morning.

Sunday 16th January 2022 – NO WONDER …

… that I’m exhausted. I must have travelled miles during the night.

One of these days they’ll invent an ethereal fitbit that will track my travels when I’m off on my nocturnal voyages and I bet that the distances that I travel will be interesting.

Anyway, last night I had a very disturbed night (as you will discover as you read on) and despite being awake on several occasions at some kind of ridiculous hour, there was no danger whatever of my leaving my stinking pit until I was good and ready – which was about 10:15 this morning.

After the medication I had to download a few files off the portable computer that I take with me to Leuven, and then I could pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. They went together quite well too, but not as well as they did a couple of weeks ago.

For a few hours afterwards I had a little laze about not doing too much, except for having my brunch. Porridge and thick slices of toast with strong black coffee.

Round about 15:00 I wandered into the kitchen and made a big load of pizza dough, seeing as I’d run out. And I do have to say that for some reason that I can’t understand, it turned out to be one of the nicest doughs that I have made.

Nice and soft and smooth and silky.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022having put the dough on the side in order to rise, I went off for my post-prandial perambulation around the promontory.

First port of call quite obviously was the beach to see what was happening down there today. It’s been a good few days since I stuck my head over the parapet.

Plenty of beach this afternoon but there wasn’t anyone down there on it, although I did notice a couple of people walking down the steps from the Rue du Nord going off for an afternoon ramble.

And while I was at it, I was being photo-bombed by a seagull on its way out to sea.

rainstorm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was there, I was having a good look around out to sea to see if there was anything happening there.

There wasn’t a single boat that I could see out there this afternoon which was a surprise because it was actually quite a nice afternoon, for a change. And after the last few days of winter, it’s warmed up somewhat and now much more like March again.

But there was a rainstorm brewing out at sea in the bay. You can see it out there just offshore, obscuring the Ile de Chausey. Luckily there wasn’t very much wind to speak of this afternoon so there wasn’t very much danger of me being caught in it.

rainstorm sun on sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This afternoon we were having yet more beautiful lighting effects. It’s one of the things that I like about this time of the year.

We were having another one of these really nice TORA TORA TORA light displays where the sun comes streaming through the gaps in the clouds.

And with the rainstorm that was going on out at sea it was producing some quite interesting effects. It was a shame that there were so few people out there watching it. There can’t have been more than a dozen or so people out there on the path up to the lighthouse this afternoon.

sun baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And out in the Baie de Mont St Michel things were even nicer.

As well as the TORA TORA TORA effect we had a spotlight or two illuminating the water as the sun shone brightly through a gap in the clouds.

The rainstorm in the distance was obscuring the Brittany coast but the sea was nice and bright there.

Wouldn’t it have been nice to have caught a yacht or a fishing boat sailing through the beams of light? But you can’t have everything of course.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There actually were some people down there admiring the view as well.

Sitting down there by the cabanon vauban was someone on the bench watching the sunset. And someone further out sitting on the rocks at the end of the headland. It’s a shame that there weren’t any boats out there for us to see this afternoon.

But on another more depressing note, the way things are these days, we have to keep a lose eye on people sitting like that on the rocks. The events of mid-November are still etched quite firmly in my mind.

container pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But never mind that for the moment. There were things that were much more interesting going on that require some investigation.

The skip that’s down here on the headland gives us a clue, and my hat goes off to the driver who dropped it off here.

What is going on right now is concerning the group of people who are planning on opening a museum in one of the abandoned World War II bunkers. They have been given permission to go into another one of the closed-up bumkers and clear it out of 75 years-worth of debris and see what they can find.

pivot for cannon bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022and almost straight away, they uncovered something interesting.

This is the pivot of a field gun – either a 105mm or a 128mm quite likely, that would be used as coastal defence to protect the area from either an invasion landing or a commando raid.

Mind you, when the Germans launched a commando raid on Granville on 9th March 1945, whatever artillery was here in the bunker didn’t do much good to repel the attack.

And, I suppose, as they go further into the bunker, the more and more artefacts will be discovered.

interior of bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But at least they have cleaned the walls of the bunker we can actually see the markings that the Germans painted on the walls.

These are presumably unit identification marks, although I don’t know which units are being indicated.

What I’ll have to do is to have a wander around the area during working hours and hope that I can lay my hands on one of the people clearing out the bunker. The fact that the skip is still here seems to indicate that they will be back here using it at the beginning of next week at least.

And so I’ll make a mental note.

storm waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022although I said that there was very little wind today, there must be something going on somewhere out at sea.

As I walked around the headland I could hear the sound of the waves smacking into the harbour wall so I was keen to see exactly what was going on. Consequently I pushed on along the path towards the post.

It wasn’t much of a show, unfortunately. The waves were more powerful that I was expecting in view of the weather conditions, but they weren’t producing anything spectacular when they crashed into the wall. There was plenty of noise but none of it to any great effect.

les bouchots de chausey unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, over at the fish-processing plant, there was plenty of activity going on.

Les Bouchots de Chausey, one of the little inshore shell-fishing boats, was in port this afternoon, working on a Sunday. And she must have had quite a good catch today.

She’s busy unloading her boxes of shellfish onto the trailer at the back of the tractor over there and you can tell from the amount on there that she’s had a profitable day.

A few weeks ago I encountered the tractor hauling the loaded trailer off through the town and out towards Donville les Bains. And one of these days I’ll follow her to find out where she goes.

gerlean chausiaise joly france chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When I came back from Paris yesterday I could see that there was little change in the chantier naval.

As we can see, Gerlean is still in there. All on her own, too. No-one else has come in to join her while I was away.

Over at the ferry terminal however, we have the usual suspects over there. Chausiaise, the little freighter, is at the head of the queue and behind her is the older of the two Joly France boats – the one without the step in the stern.

ch638749 pescadore ch907879 l'arc en ciel ch898472 cap lihou l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home I went to look at the boats moored in the inner harbour, not the least of the reasons being that L’Omerta was actually tied up for once at the pier.

We also had Pescadore, L’Arc-en-Ciel, Cap Lihou and a couple of other boats that I didn’t recognise tied up down there too.

And of course there were the two Channel Island Ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville, moored up in the background looking as if they aren’t ever going to move again.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night.

In the middle if the night I awoke as I was counting something and trying to write down these numbers with a pen but I couldn’t find a pen that worked. But I can’t remember now what it was that I was counting and I have no idea. It was like a table of numbers or something and this was just one particular row of these numbers but I can’t remember what they were for.

Later on there was a pile of girls, probably about 6 or 7 years of age having to stand in a line and talk about where they came from etc. One girl came from Africa but was a white girl said “Africa, yes, that’s me. That’s where I come from. That’s my home town” etc but I couldn’t help the feeling that this was being transferred over to me as well. I had ti edit the view of this concert because the ratio was wrong – something like 1.5:1 instead of 1.1. If I were to do that I would lose a lot of everything. I had to have the focusing right and the general screen capture size right in order to do it. And I’m impressed with the technical details and terms that I can spout when I’m asleep .

After that there was a girl aged about 10 or 11 or so in a swimsuit and bonnet. Suddenly she was attacked and killed. That cheered me up because it meant that there would be a place for me to go and live on an island so I put myself in the queue but there was someone there in charge, some fellow or person, who said “there are still too many people so the queue needs to be cut down by half” which meant that I wasn’t going to go this time. I would have to wait for something equally dramatic next time before I could go. And isn’t that all a totally gruesome idea?

Last night we were also prisoners of war in something like COLDITZ CASTLE in a high security room with a few of us in it. We tried to escape once but the guy in charge was not very good and not only had we all been recaptured before we’d even done anything he’d had some confidential papers captured too and he’d been shot although not seriously. We were there again and we tried to have another go at escaping. The idea was to lull this commandant person into a false sense of security then when one of his guards would go out to do something, we could overpower the reduced numbers and escape from the castle like Colditz. So one of the guards had to leave. As he pulled up the zip on his ski suit it passed a certain point that someone had indicated with a blue “X”. This meant that the escape was on. He went and someone pulled on the commandant a gun that he had hidden and gathered up quickly everything that they needed. Then it was a case of making the commandant unconscious so someone hit him with the barrel of the gun. It didn’t work so I hit him about 3 or 4 times but that still didn’t knock him unconscious so in the end someone else took over. We then set the room alight. Someone wasn’t happy about leaving the commandant there with this room alight. I replied that every time he flew over Germany he dropped one bomb that killed far more people than just one without any scruples whatsoever

Interestingly, later on we were all in this Prisoner of War camp in this high-security room with the commandant and a couple of the guards. We’d already tried to escape once but had been overpowered by weight of numbers and the guy in charge had been shot, not seriously. They captured all of our confidential papers and I tried to drum it in to the idea thatwe should keep all of the papers like that together so that they could be thrown into the fire early etc. In the end we made ourselves ready. One of the German guards was called away as we hoped leaving the commandant behind. When this guy’s zip was drawn up to a certain spot it was as if a blue “X” appeared on his zip when the two sides were drawn together. That was our signal so we overpowered the commandant and captured his papers etc and prepared to leave. We set fire to the room with some accelerant. Someone was upset about that. We should rescue the captain but I said that each bomb that they had dropped over German territory would kill far more people than just one and that they’d dropped that bomb without any scruples whatsoever. In the end they prepared to scramble down out of this building and this railway cutting on their way off. So what was happening there that I had an almost-identical dream twice I have no idea.

And then I had my house up for sale. There was a group of us round at my other place tidying it up because it was really dirty, building rubble and brick dust everywhere that I was trying to vacuum, not very successfully. My friend from Belfast grabbed hold of me and asked me what was going on about Luxembourg. I replied that they were worried that the whole world was going to be flooded with cheap labour from the Arab states. He asked what I propsed to do about it and I replied “put a tax on foreign workers”. He said that that wouldn’t go down very well with some people. I replied “never mind. It can’t be helped”. We had to keep checking the door to make sure that a girl I know from Luxembourg wasn’t overhearing. We came round to what we were going to do about the apartment that was for sale. Someone told me to be careful and not to accept the first offer I received. I replied “I’m well aware of that” and told them a few stories about apartments that had been sold. “I’m prepared to wait for the right moment” even if it meant leaving it empty or putting it down in ten, but I’d sell it”. Then we were all called together and had to collect our security passes. Helen’s security pass and Steve’s security pass, I’d been involved in the preparation of those and I still had the boxes in which their cards came so I had to be very careful to give the right number to the guy taking the details that whoever he looked at had, he would write down the right number, mine and not one of the other two’s, and that he wouldn’t duplicate the numbers and leave one of the cards out.

Finally there was something about a Land Rover. I was with a friend last night. We’d gone to see a van that I’d just bought – that he’d bought on my behalf. An LDV. We didn’t actually get to see the LDv – we were sidetracked as usual by a Land Rover that he owned. It was a diesel and we were taking about this diesel Land Rover. I mentioned that I owned a Minerva that brought a few smiles from around various people. In the end we ended up back at his wife’s. She was talking about his cars, saying that he had far too many and it was high time that he did a few things with one. Something came up about another Land Rover that he owned, how something had to be done with that so that the Land Rover that we had seen at someone else’s house could be brought home. he said something about going to fetch the van that I’d bought but I asked him “where are you going to park it?”. There was no room in his drive at all. he saw the wisdom in that and said that we can do that another time. By then the wife and I were out somewhere. We had Zero with us. We’d been driving around but I thought that we’d not been going the right way to get back to her house. Instead she took another way. We were waiting to turn right at a road junction but were there for hours, even with people passing on the right to go straight on. Eventually we reached this other house which was in total chaos worse than mine. She was telling these guys about her husband’s new Land Rover. Zero was there with these other kids, all playing with a huge pile of toys and everything. It just seemed to peter out at that particular moment, this story, which was rather a shame.

It’s no surprise that I was exhausted after all of this travelling about. And what a shame that the final voyage petered out just as it was becoming interesting.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But there was so much of it that I had to break off in the middle to go and deal with the dough.

It had risen beautifully so I split it into three batches. Two of them went into the freezer and the third one was rolled out and put in the pizza tray to proof for an hour or so while I carried on with “War and Peace”.

After the dough had risen nicely I assembled the pizza and put it in the oven to bake.

And when it was finished, it looked totally beautiful. And I do have to say that it tasted even better, even if I had forgotten to use the remaining half-pepper that I had brought out of the fridge.

So having written my notes, I’m off to bed. It’s a 06:00 start tomorrow as I have a radio programme to prepare. There’s the physio tomorrow afternoon too, so I need to be at my best.

But we’ll see how tomorrow unfolds, especially if I travel as far during the night as I did last night.

Sunday 9th January 2022 – MY CUNNING PLAN …

… for ENDLESS SUNDAYS at lest started as it ought to have done, with me not showing a leg until 10:50 this morning.

As it happens, I’d actually been awake at 07:20 but if anyone thinks that I’m going to be raising myself from the dead at a silly hour like that on a Sunday is mistaken.

Plenty of time therefore for me to go off on a few nocturnal rambles here and there. I was with a young girl last night but she was no-one whom we knew. She was small and had wavy blonde hair. I was trying to go from somewhere to somewhere else but there were no buses or trains so I had to walk. The first leg of my journey was something like 30km so I was busy counting the paces as I walked to make sure that I was on the right speed. I’d already done 12km by the time that mid-morning came round. As I was going down West Street I’d acquired this girl by then. She knew that her name was Anemone or Aphrodite and was a Greek goddess. I was being pursued by my mother and one of my sisters. We shook them off by going round one side of a pillar box while they went round the other but we cut round and across and down into Underwood Lane. They followed us from there. They were talking about the Girls’ Grammar School which was down there (which, of course, it isn’t) and my idea of taking this girl to the Grammar School was totally wrong because there was some kind of copyright or something like that on the Grammar School and I couldn’t use it for my purposes. Something complicated like this. I took no notice and carried on walking down the road with this girl. It was pitch-black and you couldn’t see a thing. Trying to negotiate the bends in this road and the road junctions when you can’t see anything and you have these 2 people behind harping on, it was extremely difficult. And I wish that my family would stop following me around when I’m in the company of a nice young girl.

Later on there was something like a natural disaster, like a flood and I had to go to rescue someone. There was a big Bedford-type horsebox involved in this as well. When I arrived, I couldn’t see the girl whom I’d been sent to rescue. There was another one but this was disappointing because I remembered the 1st girl from some other time. Later, the same thing happened again. Another natural disaster like a flood and I had to go to rescue someone, with a different horse box this time. This time it was the girl whom I recognised, the blonde with her hair in a pony tail, and whom I should have picked up last time. I managed to arrive there in time to rescue her this time. I don’t know who she is in “real life” but in my dream I knew who she was but I just couldn’t think who.

And later still I’d moved house again. I was living somewhere else and I’d taken all of my solar panels and wind turbines with me. We’d slowly been reinstalling everything back in. There were loads of people helping me. Someone who might have been my father was in charge of everything but I don’t know who he was. One night I’d gone to bed and next morning I awoke but everyone was already there working so I went out to the yard to the outhouse to fetch some milk. I was checking the batteries, everything. Considering that it was bright sunlight and a really nice day there was only 12.3 volts in the batteries. I thought that that was really strange. There ought to be much more in there than that. So I fetched my milk and the guy in charge shouted something like “are you going back inside? They need you to open the hatch to the loft in there”. I replied “yes. I’ve only just come out for a minute. I’ll be back in in a sec”. Someone else said to this guy that they had a new door to install in there to go out”. Someone else asked “did they get one in the end? They were talking about it yesterday”. He replied “yes. You should see it! They really do fancy themselves, this lot!”.

So having had a few days (and nights) of some really interesting and welcome characters in my rambles, I’m now back to being pursued around by members of my family. That’s a shame, isn’t it? They just won’t leave me alone.

After the medication I came here and transcribed all of the dictaphone notes that you have just read, and by then it was time for brunch. Porridge with toast and buckets-full of coffee.

This afternoon I updated all of the journal entries that needed the dreams adding back – all the way to December 15th. And unfortunately there was nothing really startling about anything that had happened during the night for that couple of weeks.

But I did notice that the images hadn’t been added in for several days so that’s something that I need to do next. All of that relentless series of trips to the hospital over that couple of days in December disrupted my routine, I’m afraid to say.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The weather had shown an improvement since yesterday, which was no surprise as it couldn’t surely have been any worse.

There was some light rain falling but that didn’t bother me too much. It seemed to bother everyone else though because there was no-one around on the beach. It was pretty much deserted down there.

And there was nothing of any nature at all happening out to sea either. No boat of any description sailing around in the bay. It’s not as if it’s really winter though. Temperatures are more like late March than early January.

people path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And so with nothing else to detain me, I set off down the path to the end of the headland.

There weren’t very people around on the path either. I encountered no more than half a dozen as I walked down to the lighthouse at the end.

And of those half-a-dozen people, not one of them wearing a mask. There’s an Arrêt Prefectorial about wearing masks in open spaces here in the Manche.

Even if there wasn’t, I would have thought that 303,669 cases of infection yesterday would have given most people a clue as to the gravity of the situation. We aren’t ever going to be rid of the virus if people don’t start to take it seriously.

french flag seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Mind you, on the subject of taking things seriously, we ought to have a look at (what’s left of) the flag that’s flying over the Memorial to the Missing Seamen.

Yesterday I posted a photo of the flag showing that the red stripe was becoming detached from the rest of the flag after the wind that we had had yesterday afternoon.

And so after the wind that we had had yesterday evening, the flag has now been finished off. We apparently now have Liberty and Fraternity, but Equality has now completely Gone With The Wind.

It’ll probably turn up somewhere on the beach out near Jullouville, just like that foot did a few weeks ago.

And while we’re on the subject of feet on beaches … “well, one of us is” – ed … there’s a bay on the border of British Columbia and Washington State where SHOES WITH FEET INSIDE are washed ashore on a regular basis.

So let that be a lesson to you. Always stick a small piece of soap down the bottom of your shoes when you go into the water so that if your feet become detached from your body, they can be washed ashore.

I’ll get my coat.

people cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Just for a change there were some people down there at the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban this afternoon. We haven’t seen anyone down there for a good few days.

Whatever it is that they went to see, it beats me because there was nothing at all going on out in the bay this afternoon. And with the mist, the Brittany coast out there on the other side of the bay wasn’t visible either.

The sea had calmed down somewhat as well from yesterday so they weren’t even having the spectacle of the rough sea crashing down on the rocks.

But as long as they were happy, that’s all that counts, although I wish that they would wear their masks. I left them to it and headed off down the path towards the port and home.

joly france chausiaise ferry terminal gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No change in the inhabitants of the port this afternoon either.

Over at the ferry terminal we have Chaisiaise and the older of the two Joly France boats, the one without a step in the stern. And in the chantier naval we have Gerlean still there. She’s not moved for about a week now.

There was nothing else that piqued my interest so I headed back for home and my nice hot coffee. It’s not been that cold out here, as I mentioned earlier, but it was damp and a mug of hot coffee is always welcome.

After I’d had lunch I’d taken some pizza dough (the last batch as it happens) out of the freezer and left it to defrost during the afternoon.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022After I’d had my coffee I kneaded it again, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray to proof for a while. When it was ready, I assembled it and it went into the oven to bake.

It wasn’t as good as the last two or three. The base underneath the topping was rather soggy still and it can’t go any lower in the oven. It’s already on the lowest rung that there is.

But nevertheless it still tasted totally delicious. I have the knack now, I reckon, of making a good pizza. All I need now is a good oven but that’s going to have to wait for a while, I reckon. I’m still not sure how I’m going to fit an oven in the kitchen.

So now I’m off to bed. I have an early start in the morning in order to prepare a radio programme. The one that will be broadcast this next weekend will be programme 112 but I’ll be working on programme 143. I’m about 6 months ahead, and on purpose too, for obvious reasons, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

The show must go on, hey, whether I am suffering from ill-health or even pushing up the daisies.

Friday 7th January 2022 – NOT VERY MANY …

rainstorm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… photos today, people.

And when you see this photo that I took while I was out on my afternoon walk, you’ll understand why. That’s a rainstorm out there in the Baie de Granville obscuring the Ile de Chausey, and it’s a big one too.

And about two minutes after taking this photograph, I got the lot. Dropped on my head from a great height, as it were.

Had I seen it coming before I went outside I might even have waited for it to pass over, but I didn’t notice it until I was on my way down the path, by which time it was too late, so I carried on regardless and even four or five hours later my trousers are still wet.

It’s a good job that I’d worn my rain jacket.

So what have I been up to today then?

The answer is that I’ve been fairly busy (for once). And that includes during the night too. One of my friends – and I can’t remember who it was now – was teaching a class of Primary School children and the question of cars came up. I’d been dismantling a pile of German cars so I had loads of German numberplates and things. One of the numberplates had a collection of badges on it. There were a lot of things that were very interesting so I arranged to go into her class to give a little talk to the children. Of course Strawberry Moose came with me. When I arrived I was pretty loaded up so people had to open doors etc for me. I finally entered and put everything down. I had to introduce myself and say why I was there. One of the flower pots on the desk fell off onto the floor right in front of us all for no apparent reason so that had to be picked up. Then other things like that started to go wrong. This was taking ages but I’d hardly started. I said that I used to go to this school as a child and Mrs Matthews and Miss Blackburn were my teachers. I’d hardly started but everything was going wrong. We were running out of time. I could see that it would have been far better to have done this in the morning rather than in the afternoon after lunch but it was crazy.

Later on, TOTGA had 2 cats. We were talking on the ‘phone when she gave one such a smack. I asked “what’s up? Poor cat!”. She said “poor chat! How would you like it if one of them had just scratched your brand-new cricket shoes to shreds?” – something like that.

This was something to do with globalisation and my Passat estate. I’d been with a group of people and they’d all decided that they wanted to do different things. This was in the Netherlands or Flanders. I didn’t really want to do anything but they had all decided where they were going. They were all going to different places and I’d be on my own so I tagged on to one of them. There was a howling gale blowing outside that had already blown in one of the windows. We had to run down these 4 flights of stairs to the bottom in the teeth of this gale so I set off. When I reached the bottom there was a German soldier with a rifle holding me up. He asked where I was going and I replied “the hospital” so he showed me where it was and I went on my way. At the hospital we talked about globalisation, how the War had made some big American companies into multinationals. They were talking about cars too. I had a pile of plastic folders on my desk with all information about cars that I’d owned. We went through all of those and came to the one of the Passat. I said that this is the last of the really independent estate cars. After this, everything else was all the same.

There was something else too about TOTGA. She was in goal. There were people throwing all kinds of things at the goal. She was diving around like a goalkeeper keeping them all out. There was something to do with my Passat as well in this but I can’t remember what it was.

So aren’t I the lucky one? A couple of nights of Castor and Zero, and then TOTGA comes along. It’ll be Kate Bush and Jenny Agutter tonight, you just wait and see.

Once I’d transcribed the dictaphone notes (and a second time too because I deleted rather than saved them – it’s a good job that I do my daily back-up) first task was to make the bread.

500 grammes of wholemeal flour, 8 grammes of salt, 80 grammes of sunflower seeds, 2 packs of yeast and 320 grammes of water all kneaded together for about half an hour.

While it was busy proofing, I made the rest of the hummus now that I have a whizzer. And I’ll tell you something for nothing, and that is that I’m not going to be bothered by vampires and werewolves while eating this batch. It’s wicked.

It’s a simple recipe too. For any given quantity of weight, use 50% of chick peas, 25% of tahini (sesame seed paste), some olive oil and chick pea juice to make it up to about 95%, some sea salt, black pepper and garlic. Then whizz it up into a nice puree to the consistency of cement.

Then add your filling to take it up to 100%. One batch had diced olives and the other one diced sun-dried tomatoes. Whizz them in gently, just enough to disperse them throughout the mix but not to atomise them.

Kepp what you need in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer for further use. I have some nice 125ml ice cream tubs that I salvaged from a housemate in Leuven and they are perfect.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, back at the bread. It had risen quite nicely and so it was put in the oven to do its stuff for 70 minutes

And this is how it turned out. Doesn’t it look beautiful?

It tasted beautiful too, especially with the fresh hummus on it. It made a really wonderful lunch and I was very impressed with this. I’m really going to have to start to get back into cooking again.

And if I’m feeling like that, you can tell that I’m feeling much better than I did earlier in the week. I wonder if I can keep this up for a while.

While I’d been waiting for the bread to bake, I’d been doing this little exercise in my journal that I started yesterday. That’s finished now, which is good news.

But what’s surprising is that there were only 79 entries in total that needed to be amended and none at all before 2012. Considering that this played an important part in my life between 1996 and late 2007 and still does to a considerable degree, this is quite astonishing. I was expecting many, many more than this.

After my delicious lunch, I started on this soundfile and by the time that I was ready to knock off for work, I had finished it. Reduced from 27:32 to 11:35.

At least, I thought that I had. But for some unaccountable reason, one of the channels was would up to +36dB and I hadn’t noticed it before I saved it. And so it’s “clipped” horribly and reducing the decibels just turns it into a big mess.

Luckily, it’s the interviewer’s channel so I’m able to take the master recording (I never edit the master recordings, only copies that I make), cut out the questions, re-edit them and paste them back in over the top where the clipping has taken place.

It’s not easy because there is some overlap, but it’s better than I expected. I’ll finish that tomorrow anyway.

When I started using Audacity I knew next to nothing about it. But as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I never make any mistakes. I just learn a lot of lessons very quickly.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Like taking a raincoat with me when I go out for my afternoon walk.

Actually, I might have gathered that something was up by the fact that the place was totally deserted. There wasn’t a soul about. Certainly not down on the beach this afternoon. I had it all to myself.

There wasn’t anything at all going on out at sea – at least, as far as I could see. And that wasn’t very far with that rainstorm just offshore. Quite a change from the last couple of days when we’ve had some of the best views that I can remember.

skip place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There was something going on on the car park though.

Over the last couple of days we’ve seen the lorry and mini-digger coming back and to to the area. And now a skip has appeared with a load of soil in it. Something must be happening somewhere and I suppose that I ought to get out and about and look to see what it is.

But not today. Not in this weather anyway. I girded up my loins, wrapped my raincoat tightly aroud me, stuffed the NIKON D500 up underneath my jumper and waded off through the puddles and down the path.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And it wasn’t until I reached the chantier naval that I stopped either.

But that was because despite the weather, there was some change down there today. Trafalgar, the trawler that we saw in there yesterday, has now disappeared. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

There’s just Gerlean in there today, and she’s heavily wrapped up against the weather, just as I wish that I was.

Not wishing to hang about any longer, I headed back for home and my nice hot coffee. And to finish (and then re-start) the editing of the sound-file. And I’m glad that I’ve done it. Quite a change from a couple of days ago.

Tea was some of these burgers in breadcrumbs that I like, with veg and baked potato. They are quite delicious and I enjoyed that meal very much.

So all in all, a busy day today. And about time too. Tomorrow, I’m shopping. Not for very much because I’m off on my travels on Wednesday morning so I’m only planning on going to Lidl. And I’ll be glad to have my lie-in on Sunday. I’m really looking forward to that.

Wednesday 5th January 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a lorry taking away the material that had been used in resurfacing the Rue St Michel.

At the time I said that if I remembered, I would go that way down to the doctor’s to have a look at what kind of job they have done of it.

Anyway, this will teach me to post vituperative comments about things like the quality of the road surfacing that they do, because while I’ve seen better surfaces finished than this, it’s not actually too bad.

They seem tp have been somewhat confused with the curves in a few places, but considering that this is the 21st and not the 15th Century, I don’t suppose that they have the skill that they used to have.

rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Mind you, I don’t think that they have quite finished.

A little lower down in the Rue Cambernon they are still in something of a temporary situation as they carry on laying the electric cables in the street.

When they finish the cable-laying, they might relay the pavé to the same standard as in the Rue St Michel, but what is actually making me wonder right now is what kind of electric cables they are laying, and for what purpose?

The hope is that we might finally be having fibree-optic cable, some 25 years after we had it in Belgium and 4 years since they started to install it here, but I’m not that optimistic about that. This is the kind of work that can go on for ever.

lorry trailer minidigger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But they obviously have some kind of plans for something, because the lorry, its trailer and the mini-digger were back this morning.

Not unloaded though, so I’ve no idea what was happening. But they haven’t apparently finished quite yet.

But never mind the pavé. After today, I’m pretty much finished. I’ve had another really bad day where I seem to have fallen deep into the pit and been paralysed by inaction. That’s not doing me any good at all.

It’s a shame really, because although I didn’t end up going to bed as early as I would have liked, I was optimistic that I would have as good a sleep as I had last night. But it wasn’t to be. Nothing like, in fact.

There were a few travels during the night and once more, I was blessed with pleasant company. I started off with a girl last night, a young girl. It could have been Percy Penguin, it could have been Castor, one of those two. But I was in the Navy when I met this girl and I was going to take her home so we set out and drove and ended up behind a convoy of farm carts pulled by a tractor. We couldn’t go past it because the roads were narrow and it was too slow. The rear cart was just bumping around hitting just about everything so I couldn’t get too close to that. Then it disappeared somewhere so we could carry on. Then we had to climb over loads and loads of brambles and rocks down this well overgrown path to reach my house. In the end I had to go first and trample down as much as I could and help her over. She was standing on my clothes so I couldn’t move and that was where we ended up. And I wish that I knew which one of my female companions it was.

Some time later, Zero and I went off together in a car to Blackpool. She did a few things on her own and so did I, and then we did a few things together before coming home. It was quite late now as we drove home, which was my old family home in Vine Tree Avenue. When we went into the house I hoped that the two of us would have some time to be alone together but her parents were still up, which was surprising. It was Christmas morning so they had started to celebrate rather early. Surprisingly they said nothing whatever about anything.

Later still I was at the hospital last night and I’d had a booster injection, then I had an appointment with someone. But the booster injection didn’t show up on my passport so I went to see someone at reception. There was already one person being served, then there was me, then a girl came up behind. Thea someone came and started to talk to this third girl so I shouted “hello” quite loudly making it clear that it was me next. I explained the situation to this receptionist and she replied in English that it takes a day or two to come through. That’s why when someone comes to the hospital asking for a pill for the temporary effects they always take a note of their name and number

There was more to it than this but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you any inconvenience. But nevertheless, Zero and either Percy Penguin or Castor all on the same night. My luck really was in for a change.

But talking of people who I met on my travels a long way from home, we haven’t seen anything of The Vanilla Queen for a couple of years. I wonder how she’s doing.

Leaving the bed was agony this morning, and I didn’t have long to hang around before I had to nip off to the doctor’s.

christmas lights place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It came to my mind while I was on my way out that I hadn’t seen the Christmas decorations in the Place Cambernon yet this year.

On my way to the Rue St Michel I went that way for a look as it was still just about dark enough to appreciate them. But they were nothing special. Just the same old stuff that they have every year.

So I took my photograph to add to my collection that one day when I’m feeling better (whenever that might be) and pushed on down the road towards the Rue St Michel, chatting with one of my neighbours whom I encountered on my way down.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022We have a visitor in the harbout too today.

We can tell that this is Normandy Trader by the little raised deck behind the bridge. She’s come in on the morning tide for what I believe to be the first trip of the year, and is busy loading up.

And that might explain the lorry with the building materials that was doing a U-turn in the chantier naval yesterday.

At the doctor’s, he renewed my physiotherapy and my Aranesp prescriptions, and delighted on showing his student doctor a photo of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and telling her all about my voyages.

He mentioned the radio too. I hadn’t realised that I was such a celebrity!

But he also mentioned something else. Apparently he’s had some kind of sneak preview of the report that the cardiologist will present to me next week. There’s something somewhere in my body that I’m supposed to have 50 units of, but which some people might have as many as 250. I have 2246.

No idea what it is though. Craig thinks that it’s the size of my spirit, but I reckon that it’s the number or people whom I p*ss*d off last year. anyway, I’ll find out soon enough.

Next stop was the bank. I’d had my cheque for the last 3 months of my Belgian pension so I needed to pay it in. It also had my Christmas bonus too, so aren’t I the lucky one? And now I can go off and paint the town red with that extra €32:00.

moving apartment post office place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But I didn’t let it lie fallow for long.

There are bills that need to be paid so I headed off to the Post Office to post off a cheque. And there was an interesting removal job going on from the apartment up above.

They could do with a couple of these lifts that are quite common in Belgium. That will be a much more convenient machine that the pallet truck that they are using.

Next stop was the chemist’s to give them my prescription. She’ll have to order them of course, and I can pick them up again later in the afternoon.

normandy trader leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way home we had even more excitement.

Having seen Normandy Trader loading up on our way down into town, we were lucky enough to catch her stern as she sailed off out of the harbour back to St Helier. That’s what I call a quick turn-round.

Back here, the first job was to book my trip to Leuven next week. And that’s not as easy as it might be either.

Covid (would you believe more than 330,000 new cases of infection today?) has decimated the railway network and the trains are not running as they usually would

With the choice of either sitting at Paris Gare du Nord for almost 3 hours or making an early start, I’ve gone for the early start option and I’m on the … gulp … 06:55 to Caen and then to St Lazare in Paris, the reverse of the trip that I took a couple of months ago.

This means that I actually arrive in Brussels at 13:00 but I need to visit my bank there at some point, so this seems like the perfect opportunity. Do it on Wednesday early afternoon while I can.

That took longer than it ought to have done, but nevertheless there was time to start to edit a sound file of an interview before lunch.

After lunch I sat down to carry on with this editing but this is where I ran aground. And seriously too. I need to snap out of this. And it’s not even anything to do with the news that I had at the doctor’s either.

And with the travelling companions that I had during the night, I ought to have a smile on my face and a spriing in my step for the rest of the day

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However not even the thought that Percy Penguin, Castor and Zero might be waiting outside for me made going out at 16:00 to pick up my Aranest any easier.

But once I was out, I was out, and first port of call was the beach to see what was happening down there. And there were a couple of people down there this afternoon.

One person was walking around along the water’s edge, but I have no idea whatever what the other person was supposed to be doing. It looked quite unhealthy to me.

There were a few other people walking around in the distance too but they were too far away for me to see what they were doing.

trawler jersey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The air was extremely clear this afternoon – one of the clearest days that we have had for a while.

As usual I had a good look around to see what was happening out in the bay, and in the distance right out towards Jersey I could see a couple of fishing boats.

And they looked as if they were heading for home too. The tide might be well out right now but by the time that they arrive in the vicinity it will be quite a way in and they’ll be able to come into harbour without too long of a wait.

There were several other boats further out towards Jersey but I couldn’t tell from this photo which way they were heading.

baie de Granville st helier jersey Eric Hall photo January 2022But you probably noticed how clear the air was in the previous photos.

The buildings at St Helier were quite visible with the naked eye even though they are 58 kilometres away.

And that reminds me that I must go over there one of these days to have a look to see which buildings are which. I’ve had a virtual drive-round with an internet program but that’s no substitute for going for a real walk around the town itself.

Talking about going for a walk around the town, I ended up at the chemist’s to pick up my Aranesp and then walked back up the hill towards home, with no drama whatsoever.

It’s still not as easy as it used to be but a lot better than it was in the summer. I’m not sure whether it’s the physiotherapy, the Aranesp or the heart medication that’s doing it.

peche à pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back, I did stop for a moment.

But not for a question of breath, but for a photo opportunity. There were some people out there having a go at the peche à pied. But if I were going to be having a go at it, I wouldn’t be at it at the entrance to the harbour where several dozen boats pass right over the top four times a day.

Back here I had a coffee, but that was that. I’d really run aground by now. So much so that I couldn’t even think of what to have for my evening meal. In a total state of indecision and confusion I ended up with a curry from out of the freezer.

It beats me where this depression has sprung from, but I know that regardless I need to pull myself together and drag myself out of it. I have far too much to do than to waste my time sitting around feeling sorry for myself.

Part of it is the inactivity, with all of this time slipping away without going anywhere or doing anything. But then, I’m not fit enough to go anywhere anyway and even if I could travel, I’d be far too tired and exhausted to do it satisfactorily and to profit from it.

So i’ve no idea what the answer might be. But whatever it is, an endless circuit of physiotherapy and shopping broken by a trip every month to Leuven isn’t it. And with Covid running rampant at the moment almost everywhere, it won’t be anything else.

332,252 cases of Covid in one day is a disgrace.

Wednesday 1st December 2021 – ONCE AGAIN I HAVEN’T …

… done anything like as much today as I had wanted to.

There have been a variety of reasons for this – not the least being that I had yet another dreadful night, wide-awake at 05:20 and lying there waiting for the alarm to ring at 07:30. I tell you – I’m thoroughly sick of all of this.

As you might expect, it took a good few minutes for me to summon up the energy to leave my bed this morning and then I was pretty much wasted for the rest of the day.

After the medication I had a shower to clean myself up and bang on time Laurent came round for me. We went off to meet Thierry and then the three of us went off to meet Father Christmas and his blasted elves.

As I thought, the interview turned out to fall rather flat. I could understand the logic (whether I agreed with it or not) of submitting the questions in advance, I totally disagreed with the idea of “suggested replies”.

Children have a really fertile imagination and they need to be encouraged to develop it. And sometimes they can come up with some fascinating responses. But having them blindly reading off a script is a pretty dismal activity and it destroys the spontaneity of it all.

Having them all sitting around a table was another bad idea too because it’s always the more powerful ones who are heard. I would have interviewed them one by one where the kids could have responded without any peer pressure and chosen the pick of the answers.

In other words, this affair was micro-managed to an overwhelming degree and Laurent and I were quite disappointed about how it turned out. What had given us the idea for this was that two years ago wandering around the streets one night we had come across Father Christmas and subjected him to an off-the cuff interview. That was a resounding success.

While I was there I took a few photos of Father Christmas and his elves but I can’t publish them of course.

Back here Laurent came in for a coffee and we had a good chat about a few things, and made a few plans for the future.

After he left I went outside to wipe the rust-proofing liquid off the wheels and dry them, but painting them was out of the question. There was a howling gale again and it was sleeting.

Lunch was late again and afterwards I had the morning’s photos to edit and send off. They’ll choose one to illustrate our programme when it’s ready to broadcast.

trawler thora arriving at port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Once I’d finished that it was time for me to go off for my physiotherapy session.

The wind was if anything rather worse than it had been earlier and it was rather difficult to walk.

And I wasn’t the only one having difficulty moving around either. There was a trawler out at sea battling with the storm to come into port and behind her, Thora was being thrown about by the elements.

When I took this photo she was actually being blown sideways by the wind and was coming into port rather like a crab.

pointing wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Down at the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret the pointing of the wall was proceeding apace.

Mind you, I’m not sure what was happening there earlier. On our way back from Father Christmas there was an ambulance and a police car parked up at the side.

The personnel of the vehicles seemed to be quite interested in what was going on down below but as I wasn’t driving and as we had other things to do, I couldn’t go over and have a look.

If it’s anything interesting or important, it’ll be in the local paper in the morning.

Halfway up the hill towards the physiotherapist’s, I had to stop. Not because I was out of breath but because we suddenly had another torrential downpour. I had to nip into a doorway and put on my rain jacket.

It reminded me of how Superman and all of these other superheroes used to dash into telephone boxes and emerge seconds later with their underpants on outside their trousers. Where do they go to change now with the rise of mobile ‘phones and the demise of telephone boxes?

And then of course, there was my brother. He was often seen with his underpants on outside his trousers, but that was less to do with any superhero status and more to do with the fact that he didn’t have both paddles in the water.

No tilting platform today. There was the usual 5 minutes on the cross trainer and then a load of kinetic exercises that somehow took their toll of me.

She had me once more walking along this narrow beam and throwing a ball about. She was impressed with my reflexes co-ordination but as I have said before, my previous life as a goalkeeper and wicket-keeper had a lot to do with that.

father christmas decorations Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On the way home I came via the Place General de Gaulle.

On the way up to the physiotherapist’s I’d seen a few council workmen on up on ladders working on the trees and I was interested to see what they had been doing with them.

By the time that I returned, the workmen had gone but I noticed that some of the trees were now festooned with decorations. And if you ask me my opinion, it’s all a load of balls.

christmas decorations rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of years ago Strawberry Moose reckoned that the Christmas decorations in the Rue Paul Poirier WERE ALL BALLS too.

THis year though, there’s been a change, and not before time either. This year we have the street lined with artificial “Christmas Trees”.

Now what was I saying a few days ago about them recycling the same old decorations year after year and wishing that they would make a change?

Clearly, a great many people are very interested in the contents of my pages and pay them a great deal of attention.

La Bavolette Ii thora marité belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021A short while ago we saw Thora having a bit of a struggle to make it into port.

Well she finally arrived, as you can see in this photo, moored up at the loading bay in front of Marité, with Belle France and the newer Joly France ferry – the one with the smaller upper-deck superstructure, moored alongside her.

The little trawler in the background is an interesting boat. She’s called La Bavolette II – at least, for the moment. And I mean that too because in the past she’s been known by several different names.

She was built in 1982 out of wood and displaces 40 tonnes

philcathane l'ecume II port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021This trawler is much more interesting though.

Not Philcathane, of course – not that she isn’t interesting in herself but she hasn’t had the adventures that the other one in the photo has had.

You can tell by her registration number – beginning with “J” – that she’s a Boat from Jersey and how long is it since we’ve seen a boat from the Channel Islands here in port with all of the shenanigans that are going on right now?

There’s a great deal of talk about illegal fishing right now and this trawler – she’s called L’Ecume II by the way, can tell you an awful lot about that because on two occasions about which I know, her crew has been in the dock and emerged with their pockets far lighter than they were when they went in.

And not only that, 18 months ago she found herself stuck on a sandbank because her helmsman had fallen asleep at the wheel.

In other words, she’s quite a well-known boat, for one reason or another.

storm baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021However I wasn’t going to hang around and admire her for too long.

As you can see, out in the Baie de Mont St Michel there was quite a storm brewing up and the gale-force wind was blowing it my way.

As a result, I wasn’t going to hang around. I was going to head for home and a hot mug of coffee, and make plans about what I was going to do for the rest of the week. I actually have a day at home without any interruptions at all – but just you watch all that change.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before I went in I went to have a look at the beach

And that was rather a waste of time because there wasn’t any beach to look at today. The tide was right in now and the water was at the foot of the cliffs. All I had for my pains was a good battering by the wind.

Back here I had my coffee and sat down to try to do some work.

Checking my messages there was a mail from my Welsh course telling me what ingredients I need for the Christmas Cake I’ll be baking on-line on Friday evening. Treacle isn’t available here so I ended up asking Liz for advice on a replacement and chatting to her for quite a while.

For some reason, tea was quite an effort tonight. I’m experiencing brain-fade – not quite as bad as the nonsense I was churning up last night – but I couldn’t think of what to have for tea. I’d really run aground.

In the end I settled for a burger and pasta. That was the best that I could do.

Right now, although I haven’t crashed out today, I’m thoroughly exhausted so I’m off to bed where I hope that I’ll sleep until I awaken.

But not much hope of that, I’m afraid. All of this is really depressing me.

Sunday 21st November 2021 – AFTER YESTERDAY’S EXERTIONS …

… I ended up not going to bed until after 01:00. I reckon that it’s very hard to unwind after all of that effort to make it back home.

And it seems that I must have had some part of a decent night’s sleep somehow because there was nothing on the dictaphone until 07:00 this morning.

All kinds of things were going on last night but I can hardly remember anything of it. At one time there was some kind of fashion show that I was preparing but that’s all that I cam remember. There was also something about a young kid with a knife. It looked as if he or she was going to commit suicide but again I can’t remember anything about that.

Later on I had a big green Vauxhall Victor in my garden. There was some boy who used to hang around watching what I was doing, trying to help, that kind of thing. One day I came home and he had the bonnet open. I asked him what he was doing. he didn’t say anything but it turned out that he was trying to steal it. he had managed to open the bonnet but had snapped the bonnet catch. I told him to collect his stuff and clear off. he was going around telling everyone how had-done-by he was after all the help that he’s given me but I’d just thrown him out. Of course when I was asked I explained the story about trying to steal the Victor.

There was something else about me having 2 apartments, renting out one of them. There was some issue with the tax people about it and the tenant was not being very co-operative which was a surprise because he had co-operated 100% up until recently. I had no idea what was going wrong now

And later still I was in hospital, one of these recovery places. There was a girl there with me. We were sharing a room. There were all kinds of people coming through, visiting, schoolkids even. We were chatting about the people who ran the place. I was saying that they were quite quick to spot talent and had some of the inmates working for them doing various things. We went out and sat upstairs on the city walls. There were crowds of people and it was a nice afternoon. There were all kinds of things happening. There was an aeroplane flying overhead with a trawler slung underneath it. I looked and it was the same style as the ones being built by this firm in Turkey. I tried to take a photo but the camera shutter stuck and it didn’t work out. There was a girl chatting to us, wearing a very short skirt with a bikini on underneath. There were a couple of houses. We noticed that they were numbered 1,3 and 4. We wondered where n°2 was. Then we saw a narrow set of steps going up in between 3 and 4 so we imagined that there might be a bungalow or something at the top of these steps that would be n°2. Why it was n°2 and not n°3 we didn’t know. I had to go off to do something. On the way back I was very unsteady on my feet and everyone coming down this path was bumping into me and I was staggering all over the place. When I returned to where we’d been sitting, the girl had gone and I couldn’t see where she was.

Although it was about 09:30 when I finally awoke, it was about 10:30 when I left the bed. No point in rushing myself, especially on a Sunday after I’ve returned from Leuven.

Having checked my mails and messages and had a little chat on my social network I set about transcribing the dictaphone notes from Friday night/Saturday morning WHICH ARE NOW ON LINE and then from last night, which you have read just now.

When that was out of the way I sat down to pair off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. That didn’t take all that long and I do have to say that it was one of those very rare occasions when all of the joints between the tracks went together perfectly.

After brunch I spent an hour or so working on updating the journal entry from Wednesday when I set out to Leuven. I didn’t finish it then because I had to stop to make some more fruit bread rolls as I’d run out just before I left.

And for once, I don’t know what happened but I managed to make a perfect dough and that doesn’t happen all the time, does it. If they bake as well as they look, they will be wonderful.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While the dough was “resting” I went out for my afternoon walk.

From my vantage point at the end of the car park overlooking the beach I could see that there was plenty of beach to be on. However despite the beautiful sunshine this afternoon, a far cry from when I awoke and it was teeming down, there weren’t all that many people down there.

That might possibly be connected to the fact that it was howling a gale out there. I spent much of my walk clinging onto my cap, thinking that it won’t be long before I’ll be bringing out the woolly hat to go on my woolly head.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There were several other brave people walking around the path on top of the cliff.

But those of us up there were not as brave as whoever it was who was out at sea in a small cabin cruiser.

This was the only boat that was out there this afternoon and that’s hardly a surprise with this wind and this sea.

The view was really clear this afternoon but I didn’t go and stand on top of the bunker to take a photo because I would have been blown off there and my camera has already had a lucky escape up there once.

people at pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021My route from near the lighthouse takes me down the path and across the car park to the end of the headland.

Down at the bottom on the lower path are the bench and the cabanon vauban and there were a few people loitering around there this afternoon.

They weren’t sitting down on the bench as most people do, but they seem to be quite interested in whatever it was that was happening lower down on the beach and the rocks below.

But whatever it was, I couldn’t see what had attracted their attention.

men fishing pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021It wasn’t just people on the end of the Pointe du Roc either.

We had a couple of fishermen out there this afternoon casting their lines into the sea from out on the rocks. The water isn’t particularly deep out there so they won’t be going for anything big.

The waves won’t help them very much either. The wind has stirred up quite a sea and the fish will be far too disorientated in the shallow, turbulent water for them to concentrate on any hook and bait that the fishermen might be casting.

fete de st clement seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was here I had a good look at the seafarers’ memorial.

It’s the Fête de St Clément today. He was one of the very earliest Popes and because of his beliefs he was exiled to the Crimea by Trajan in 100AD or thereabouts

However, according to legend (which is disputed) he continued to practise his beliefs and tried to evangelise the other prisoners on board the ship. As a result, they tied him to an anchor and cast him into the sea.

He is therefore the patron saint of mariners and they have been decorating the monument in his honour.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021My walk continued along the top of the cliff towards the viewpoint overlooking the outer harbour0

Although I said that I wouldn’t be posting anything about the chantier naval until there is some kind of movement or change of situation, I couldn’t for a moment remember where I was up to the last time that I saw the portable boat lift.

As a result, I took a photo of it so that I can compare it with the last photograph that I took of it to see if there has been any work done on it while I was away.

And I couldn’t see anything obvious. They must still be waiting for parts.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal, there wasn’t all that much going on there this afternoon either.

Moored over there is one of the Joly France boats. This one is the older one of the two. You can tell that by the windows in landscape format, the larger upper-deck superstructure and the absence of step in the stern.

There isn’t much else going on over there. A couple of cars were parked up on the quayside but I couldn’t see anyone loitering about. And at least they’ve managed to fold up the crane correctly.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Moored in front of Joly France is Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes out to the Ile de Chausey.

But neither she nor her friend moored behind her will be going out to the island for a while until the tide comes back in, despite the crowds on the sea wall waiting with eager anticipation for something exciting to happen.

Before I set out for my walk, I had set the coffee machine on the go ready for when I came back so I hurried home for my coffee.

The problem with my machine though is that it doesn’t heat up the coffee enough. One of these days I’ll buy an expensive machine that will keep the coffee piping hot for hours.

While my coffee was going cold I finished off Wednesday’s journal entry and that’s NOW ON LINE as well.

Later on the fruit buns were now ready to bake so I bunged them in the oven.

vegan pizza fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While they were cooking I assembled my pizza. I’d taken the dough out of the freezer earlier and rolled it out after I came back from my walk.

Once the fruit buns were ready, the pizza went into the oven too.

The fruit buns look absolutely delicious, but I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow. The pizza on the other hand actually was delicious and I really enjoyed that. Not the best that I’ve ever made, but pretty close to it

No dessert though. It was rather filling.

Now that I’ve finished my journal I’m off to bed shortly. I’ve an early start tomorrow and a lot to do, as well as going for my physiotherapy session so I need to be on form.

Saturday 20th November 2021 – IT SEEMS TO ME …

… that you’ either getting photos or dictaphone entries right now – one or the other and not both.

But over the course of the next few days things will be brought up to date. But then that’s the story of my life these days, isn’t it?

gare montparnasse rue du départ paris France Eric Hall photo November 2021And while we’re on the subject of photos and stories of my life, look at this photograph.

For four and a half years I’ve been struggling through the underground labyrinth from the Gare Montparnasse to the metro station, going up and down flights of stairs like there’s no tomorrow, struggling with suitcases and all kinds of luggage.

Today, I walked up two half-flights of stairs and then up an escalator, and then you can see what I have to overcome in order to reach the Gare Montparnasse. Down at the end of the Rue du Départ in the distance you can see the station, one street that’s straight and level, with the only issue being to wait for the traffic lights so I can cross the road.

How easy is this compared to how I used to travel?

It might have been even easier had I had a good night’s sleep last night. But I don’t sleep very well at all in the beds at this place in Leuven and last night was no exception.

martelarenplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021It didn’t take me long to tidy everything up, make my sandwiches and pack, and I was on the road by 05:35

When I arrived in Leuven on Wednesday I had intended to take a photograph of the Martelarenplein in the daylight but I forgot and so I took a photo on my way into the station.

Of course, you can’t see the work very well because there is a fence and a covering all around it and I have to poke the camera through whatever gap I can find.

martelarenplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021And the work has now spread pout right onto the front of the station building.

They are uprooting all of that now and it looks as if they are about to replace it with a different kind of paving block, and as for why they would want to do that I don’t know.

In the foreground we can see some more tactile pavement of the type that we saw on Monday, and in the background you can see the fence with the covering over it to stop nosy people like me poking cameras in to photograph the work.

08187 class 08 electric multiple unit gare de leuven railway station Belgium photo November 2021It was 05:55 when I set foot on the station platform.

Having completely forgotten that it was early on Saturday, I found that the next express to Brussels was at 06:33 and it was freezing. However there was a local stopper, an 08 class multiple unit, leaving at 06:08.

Although it arrives at Brussels-Midi at the same time as the express, it’s a lot warmer and more comfortable inside the train than sitting on the platform so I clambered aboard. And so I did, and we set off bang on time.

Thalys PBKA 4306 gare du midi brussels Belgium photo November 2021Our train pulled in at 07:00 and my train to Paris doesn’t leave at 07:43 so I had to loiter around in the cold for a while because like most railway stations, Brussels-Midi is a freezing, draughty station with nowhere to sit out of the wind and the cold.

The train was one of the PBKA – Paris Brussels Cologne Amsterdam – units and although these are quite old now, the are quite comfortable and I was glad to be able to be allowed on board early.

It was packed too, with hardly and empty seat. It seems that the 07:13 that I used to catch is no longer running so everyone piles on board this one. I had a young lady sitting next to me but she didn’t say a word throughout the whole journey.

Well, not that I would know too much about the whole journey because I was … errr … resting for about half of it.

As I mentioned earlier, the trip from the Gare du Nord to Gare Montparnasse was the easiest that I have had to date, but when I reached Gare Montparnasse, the wheels came off.

There’s already a 75-minute wait on the freezing, draughty concourse of the railway station but I did notice that the train that I should be catching hadn’t yet arrived from Granville. We were supposed to leave at 10:54 but it hadn’t even come in by then.

By now I was frozen to the marrow so I went of to buy a coffee and as usual, exactly as you might expect, while I was distracted the train pulled in so I had to struggle on board with a suitcase, a laptop bag, a bag with my lunch in it and a full mug of coffee and just two hands to hold it all.

84569 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As a result I couldn’t take a photo of my train – I’m not an octopus – and of course it had to be the rear of a two-trainset unit so I had to do the best that I could at Granville.

It was 11:36 when we eventually set off and for a change I was feeling rather dynamic and I’m not sure why, but I actually did some work on the train back home which makes a change.

Another thing that I did was to finish off reading a book that I had started to read a long time ago, the account of Parry’s voyage in Hecla and Fury which resulted in the latter being left behind on a beach on Somerset Island in 1829.

Her anchors were recovered and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we went TO SEE THEM IN 2014

84567 84565 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Having left Paris 40-odd minutes laten we were just over an hour late arriving in Granville and that filled me full of despair. I really could have done without that.

First thing that I did was to take a photo of the front bit of the unit on which I travelled. And then I took one of the front of the unit that was pulling me along. That’s the one on the left.

Being so late they had hauled another unit, the one on the right, out of the sheds to do the return trip back to Paris.

On the way down into town I called in at the Carrefour. Whatever else that might or might not happen, I can’t do without my mushrooms for my Sunday pizza. Not at any price.

For a change I took a new route through the town centre to avoid the crowds and thus it was maybe a little easier to walk.

It was still necessary for me to stop a few times on the way up the hill towards here, one stop of which was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

marite belle france joly france philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021We have Belle France and one of the Joly France boats, the newer one of the two with the step in the back, moored together just down below.

Marité is down there too of course and over on the far side is the trawler Philcathane, moored where the gravel boats used to tie up. It looks as if we’ve seen the last of them.

And on the quayside is another shrink-wrapped boat. This kind of work is proving to be quite lucrative for the little Jersey Freighters.

boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way up the hill I noticed that the diversion signs had gone and the Rue Cambernon was open to traffic.

Accordingly I glanced down the Boulevard des Terreneuviers to see what was happening to the workmen’s compound. And there it was! Gone! And never called me mother!

What I shall have to do on Monday on my way to my physiotherapy is to go and see how they have finished off the work there.

Back at the apartment I struggled up the stairs into the apartment and crashed down in my chair for a good while to recover. I’d had a long hard journey.

Having backed up my computer with the files off the laptop I then went for tea. I had some falafel left over from Leuven so I finished them off with some pasta.

No washing-up tonight as the water is cold. And it won’t be warm until tomorrow. Anyway I’m too tired to do it so I’m going to vegetate for a while and then go off to bed. A good sleep will do me good but that remains to be seen.

And next morning (well, afternoon actually) I was able to bring up to date the journal with details of my voyages. On Friday night I was in my Welsh class. There was a teacher and a girl and then I turned up. That made two of us. At first I couldn’t understand what was happening because my screen was just so different from how it normally was but I eventually settled down. The girl had to leave nut another guy turned up. We were talking about going to the restaurant but he asked me “have you eaten anything yet? Are you going for a meal afterwards?” I replied “I don’t have any plans as such”. Then the girl came back by which time we had a man teacher, a change from a woman and we had to go back to read this article that we had just read a couple of minutes ago.

Later on I was with Shearings and a meal that we were having as though we’d all been away for a weekend somewhere, all the employees. I worked out where the girls were sitting so I picked a seat that was behind there so I could see them. I put down my stuff and went to find some bread to toast. Someone turned up and sat at my seat. I made myself some toast and went back and had them clear off and I sat down. I wanted some more but couldn’t find any bread. In the end, in the kitchen I found a pile of fruit bread and made myself some toast from that. Someone else came and sat down on my seat again. I thought that I would move them again in a minute. Then there was no coffee left, no orange juice left. In any case these girls hadn’t come down. I thought “this is turning into a right old mess, this is”.