Tag Archives: iceland

Sunday 26th July 2020 – IT’S SUNDAY …

… so today was something of a lie-in. Plenty of time to go off on my travels during the night, and I took full advantage. I started off somewhere, I dunno if I was on board ship again. I can’t remember a lot of what was going on but I remember having to go somewhere. I was driving a car and I came across that girl with very blonde, very curly hair who was walking a dog, a girl who I knew to be a friend of a girl I knew. I crept up behind her in the car and went to blow the horn but it didn’t work. In the end I blew it a second time – it worked and she fell down on the floor. I went to open the window to say something to her but the window wouldn’t open so she couldn’t see who it was. There was something else that led from there with a couple of girls. They put a ladder up to climb to this basket because there was something that they could see there. These girls were very very interested in this. When they came back down again they were ever so disappointed because all that it had been had been some kind of bolt on the masthead that had broken off. But there were all kinds of things invloved in this – school dinners, bus rides going on with the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR, zodiacs, this kind of thing and I can hardly remember any of it now.

Later on I was being chased around by all these fascists and a really aggressive woman who was going to make mincemeat out of me. She had the law on her side but we kept on being ahead of them kept on making more remarks and so on. It turned out that we were in Shavington in Edwards Avenue looking up at Edwards Close. That wasn’t how it used to be – there were only two or three houses at the side of it and then a road that went through. We were saying that I bet she knows where she is going for she’s here for the very first time to do something with Mick Matthews who was a member of the British Union of Fascists. Someone else siad “that’s alright. We have nothing to worry about. She can fetch the police because we are all under 12. We can’t be prosecuted and we can’t be found guilty of anything”. She was chasing us all round this situation with her friends and we were doing everything we could to keep one step ahead of her. There was one point where we were invited to a royal banquet. We got there and we had to do this procession round. There was this woman who had also been invited and sitting at a table. We weren’t sure whether she recognised us, whether the scowl that she gave us was just the usual scowl or meant that she recognised us. We noticed that there were two places set for us but we decided that we weren’t going to sit there and we’d get something to eat from somewhere else.

There was something else involving the President of the USA and I can’t remember what that was now.

Sometime later on I was driving a lorry somewhere with a trailer on the back. The trailer was just clipping the lamp-posts, all that kind of thing. I was sure that I was too far over the nearside and on one occasion I’d hit a car that was waiting at a road junction but I didn’t feel a bang so I carried on driving. It turned out that we were at Shearings waiting for a couple of coaches to come in. They were running hours late and we wondered why they hadn’t rung up to say how late they were but of course that would have made them even later. I had to check a coach over but they asked me how much water it had taken. I said “about half” although it was a lot more empty than that – it had taken a lot more than just half the amount. Then I head a voice calling. It sounded as if one coach was on its way in. I wondered who it was but it turned out that it was Rosemary calling offering me a cup of tea.

Yes, a cup of tea brought to me in bed and that’s all very pleasant. I could quite get used to this, but not really at 07:20 or thereabouts on a Sunday morning.

09:20 was when I finally arose, and so I organised a few things here, helped Rosemary set up her television, uploaded the July 2019 photos of Iceland and Greenland to Rosemary’s laptop and then collected my things together.

We drove to La Peize in Rosemary’s car. We ended up at Clotilde’s, who I haven’t seen for a good few years. Christiane was there too and I haven’t seen her for even longer. Clotilde had prepared a nice lunch for us all that was very nice.

puits michelin la peize puy de dome france eric hallAfter lunch we had a walk round the village and ended up at the Puits Michelin, the old coal mine on the edge of the town.

We’ve been here before, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall, many years ago, and there’s quite a story behind this coal mine. For this, we have to turn the clock back to the end of the 19th Century.

Coal had been discovered near St Eloy-les-Mines (which wasn’t “les mines” then of course) back in medieval times but commercial exploitation began in the early part of the 18th Century, with a mine reported as being in existence by 1741. In the latter part of the 19th Century deep mines began to be sunk. Little by little, the valley of the River Bouble was explored and further pits were sunk.

puits michelin la peize puy de dome france eric hallEventually they reached the village of Gouttières.

The railway was expanded down to here and a huge marshalling yard was built for the coal that was expected to be transported from the area. Several more pits were sunk and then they found a beautiful thick part of the seam on the edge of La Peize.

This led to the creation of the Puits Michelin here with its substantial structures and the huge area set aside for an enormous slag heap and spoil tip.

puits michelin la peize puy de dome france eric hallThere are two stories about the subselquent events that occurred leading to the abandonment of the mine.

Here, we’re actually at the border of four different communes and the story that’s often bandied around in the area is the communes could not reach an agreement as to how the rights, the obligations and, more importantly, the taxes would be apportioned between them.

But knowing a little about life in the Auvergne, having lived there for long enough, I consider that to be an unlikely tale. Around here, money certainly talks and I’m certain that a large organisation like Michelin would have been able to overwhelm a few local concillors by waving a handful of used fivers around at various commune treasuries.

However, a good while ago I was having a scratch around in the vicinity and I came across the coal seam where it came out on the surface. So I’m much more inclined to believe that the seam, despite being so thick where the mine was sunk, simply petered out a short distance further on where geological inclination brought it to the surface.

The mine closed down after a mere 5 years and it’s significant that none of the other pits in the area survived all that much longer
.

clotilde rosemary christiane la peize puy de dome france eric hallThe four of uscarried on along oour route past Arno’s and round by the carrière de la Peize where a lot of the stones for the substantial builtings in the are was quarried..

After we left we went Clotilde’s back to my house and collected a few things that I had forgotten and which I needed. I spent 25 minutes looking for A BOOK that I needed but couldn’t find. And after I had given up I put my hand straight onto it by accident.

Having also collected a few other things that would come in handy back at Granville we then drove to the camp site at Les Ancizes.

Ingrid was there already so I treated her and Rosemary to a meal with thanks for all the help that they had given me over the last few days. It was nice to be together for a quiet social occasion after all of the hard work that we had done.

Now I’m back at Rosemary’s and I’m off to bed already. I want an early night as I have a heavy day in front of me tomorrow. There’s a lot to do and I don’t think, the way things are going, that I have a lot of time in which to do it.

Saturday 11th July 2020 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall… day I’ve had today!

While you admire the beautiful sunset from this evening, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that it always takes me a day or two to adjust myself after the travelling to Leuven, but it’s never been quite as bad as this.

It goes without saying that I missed the alarms this morning. No danger whatever of me showing a leg at 06:00. 07:30 would have to do, I’m afraid.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd after the medication I listened to the dictaphone to see if I had been anywhere during the night. Somewhere on my travels I’d ended up near the new by-pass that they were building on the A556. I had a lift in a lorry out of Manchester and it dropped me off right slap bang in the middle of the roadworks and I had to walk all the way up to the M6 roundabout. I could see queues on the new road and I was lucky because there was no traffic here. When I walked off I met my brother and we had a discussion about things that needed to be collected from a little factory just off this old road that was being modernised. We had to walk all the way back to this factory. A guy came out to see us and said “yes I’ll fetch your order”. So we waited and waited and waited and waited. In the end I said to my brother “you stay here. I’ll go back and fetch the van because they are going to come out and say that the order is ready and we’ll have to fetch the van anyway. We may as well do it now while we are waiting”. Then the question of tyres came up. They had sent me four tyres and I had never received them. Then; thinking on, there were two earlier tyres that I had ordered from them and they had never come either. I was wondering what was happening about these tyres and should I bring up the subject while I’m waiting here to pick up this next load of stuff.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallSeeing as I’m off to the shops I went for a shower and a weigh-in. My weight is hovering just underneath my target weight which is good although I would love to lose two or three more kilos.

NOZ was rather a disappointment. Some coconut milk, another box of these breaded soya fillets and a 9-volt battery for the preamp on the 5-string fretless bass. I need to push on more with that.

LeClerc wasn’t much better either. I wandered around rather aimlessly in there, spending most of my money on fruit. They did have some of the small tins of kidney beans in stock. I like using those to lengthen left-over meals to fill taco rolls.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were more frozen falafel too so I bought another box of 12.

Back here I unpacked, put the frozen stuff away and then … errr … crashed out for half an hour or so. It took me quite a while to gather my wits once I returned to the land of the living, something that surprised me seeing as I don’t have all that many left.

Most of the day has been spent dealing with photos. There have been some of those from my journey on board Spirit of Conrad and some more of my Transatlantic voyage last July. We’ve left Vestmannaeyjar and now in our raging storm somewhere in between Iceland and Greenland.

There was the break for lunch of course and also a break for my afternoon walk.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I wasn’t the only one out there either.

Although there was plenty of wind about, there was a beautiful sunshine too. Not the kind of weather that would encourage me to go and sit half-naked on a beach but it evidently appealed to some folk.

More than some folk in fact because the beach was pretty crowded. That’s the inaccessible bit down there.

granvillaise ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNow that the tourist season has officially started the “boats for hire” are back hard at it.

Marite has slipped her moorings, nowhere to be seen, but out there near the Ile de Chausey is a boat that has the same sail configuration as La Granvillaise

It’s not easy to see from this range, even with a good telescopic lens, whether it has the “G90” in its sails that would confirm its identity as La Granvillaise, but I can’t think who else it might be in a yacht like that.

And she wasn’t alone either, as you can see. Plenty of other yachts out there too dashing in and out of the harbour over there. They are keeping busy in the port right enough.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallDodging the massed crowds out on the walls, I made my way down the footpath to the viewpoint over the beach at the Plat Gousset

Here, it’s a bit more sheltered from the wind and I expected to see many more people here. And i wasn’t disappointed because they were out there in droves this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have been rather critical of Mme la Maire’s expenditure in the town but my hat does go off to her for having dealt with the issue of the tidal swimming pool and restoring it for use this summer.

The crowds down there are really enjoying it.

air sea rescue helicopter plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was admiring the view of the beach, I was buzzed by a low-flying object passing by overhead.

“Someone has got their chopper out again” I mused, but it is in fact the Air-Sea rescue helicopter flying back to its base at the airfield at Donville-les-Bains.

It’s obviously been somewhere, but whether on a training flight or a real mission I really couldn’t say. I suppose that I’ll have to keep an eye out in the papers tomorrow and see if there is anything in there to give me a clue.

baby seagull learning to fly rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallNo change at the roofing job in the Place Marechal Foch so I carried on into the Square Maurice Marland

My baby seagull wasn’t there on its roof this afternoon and I couldn’t see where it was at all. Mummy wasn’t there either. But on a roof across the road a couple of baby seagulls were taking their first fluttering flight from ground. This one here was hopping up onto that air vent and hopping off flapping its wings and somehow managing to cover a couple of feet before landing.

My baby seagull is a week or two behind the others so I don’t imagine that it’s flown away already. I hope that it’s OK.

square Maurice Marland granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall the three baby seagulls that we saw a couple of weeks ago having a pile of fun on a roof.

Today though they were being much more sedate, just sitting around in the sun. It gave me an opportunity to have a look at the Square Maurice Marland in all its glory.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I started running last winter I used to run across there. The first ramp that I somehow managed to struggle up is to the right of the tree and it was the steep one on the left of the image that always defeated me.

The place was littered with wedding parties too – there had been a couple of weddings up here and they weren’t half making a racket. But nevertheless I somehow managed to crash out yet again and was gone for a good hour or so. It really was a miserable day from that point of view.

Round about 18:00 I pulled myself together and had a session on the guitars – including the 5-string fretless bass that I’m not using half often enough.

That took me up to tea time, which as usual was a breaded soya fillet with potatoes and veg. I’d bought some endives today so I had one of those with tea.

An old apple turnover from the freezer made up the dessert. It was quite nice with some of the vegan soya coconut stuff.

yacht english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was going out, it looked as if everyone else was coming home.

My first run was once more a disappointment. For the nth time in succession I never made it to the top of the hill, never mind down to the clifftop. But at least I was in time to see this yacht coming in towards port.

The itinerant was there again, buried in his hedge, sitting quietly reading a book. I have to say that I totally admire his stoicism, sticking it out in the hedge in all weathers.

yacht speedboat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallNot needing to pause for breath I carried on past the hordes of picnickers on the lawn and round to the south side of the headland.

And it does have to be said that I was right about everyone heading for home. The town had been thronged with cars and trailers pulling boats into town this morning as I went to the shops. All of those boats that had been launched are not streaming back into port to go home.

There are five boats close to shore on this photo and any other photo of the sea around the port entrance would have picked up a completely different five. There’s a lot of money to be made with the launching fee, that’s for sure.

victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I ran on down the Boulevard Vaufleury but ran out of steam when I rounded the corner, so I went back to see what was going on in the port.

It was rather disappointing to see both Granville and Victor Hugo still in port. It was my understanding that the ferry service to the Channel Islands would be starting today and that one or other (or maybe both) of the ferries would be off.

But apparently not. They are both ties up here, presumably waiting for Godot or something like that. It will be good to see them back at work and bringing some revenue into the town.

While I was on my travels this morning I noticed a couple of Jersey-registered vehicles out an about, so it looks as if the car ferry to St Malo is already up and running.

crowds picnicking on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe next stage of my run took me down the Rue St Jean and through the alley into the Rue du Nord and up to the viewpoint.

There was quite a crowd there watching the setting sun – I just arrived there in time – but I was also interested in what was going on down on the beach. We have the picnickers back this evening having a meal down there. Not for nothing are they called “sandwiches”.

Having seen the sun set I came back home to write up my notes.

That was another disappointing day, spending most of it fighting off waves of sleep. It’s rather depressing that I can’t have a few days when I’m free to concentrate on what I’m supposed to be doing.

But there’s always tomorrow. It’s going to be a baking day with a loaf of bread, an apple crumble and some honey, lemon and ginger drink. Now that i’m back home I ought to be more focused on what i’m trying to achieve.

We shall see.

Friday 26th June 2020 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… I was up before the third alarm went off this morning.

Not by much, it has to be said, but before is before and it’s all good.

Mind you I don’t know why because outside was a really miserable day. I didn’t know if it was raining because I couldn’t see. Wr had a huge sea mist rolling in and it was freezing cold – a far cry from the last few days.

After the medication it was the dictaphone. I had an appointment at the hospital last night and I went to go to the reception. I walked into the office and had to get a ticket to queue up. But the woman called me over as I waslked in. I shouted “in a minute” and went to get my ticket anyway, but I don’t know why. When I got to the desk and said that I had an appointment she asked “who with?”. I said that I didn’t know – it was on the card. She looked on the card and all it had was “Doctor C”. She said “what you’ll have to do is to ring up Doctor Carpentier and se if it’s him. If it’s not him, here are all the other doctors whose names begin with C. You’ll have to ring round all of them until you find the one who is supposed to be seeing you.

Today, with nothing really outstanding that needed doing, I exerted myself by sorting out the washing that had been hanging up on the clothes airer for the last 10 days or so.

Nice and dry of course, and because of the washing softener it actually smelled nice too. Far better than it did the last time that I washed it and forgot about it in the washing machine for a couple of days.

After that, I had some things of my awn to attend to and then I settled down to carry on with a few of the projects that I started a while ago.

Firstly, this involves completely rewriting one of my websites. And that’s not as easy as it might sound either because it seems to have been amended in several stages in the past and some of the early stuff seems to have stuck in a previous format and missed the subsequent amendments.

What I’ve had to do is to prepare a template for each version, work out which version of the site each page is and then amend it accordingly.

So far I did about 4 or 5 pages this morning once I’d sorted out the templates. But it’s not just that – I’m finding lots of stuff that shouldn’t be there as well as a few files that i’d lost here and there along the way.

This afternoon I carried on with editing a web page from another site. What I wrote 20 years ago is not the same as I would have written today, and it’s not easy either to change a style of writing but keeping the same emotion that I had when I first wrote it.

As well as that, it’s been about 12 years since I’ve done any serious third-party web design work so I’m quite rusty in that respect but looking at my site with different eyes, I’ve solved almost instinctively a couple of problems that stumped me whan I was in full flight. I’m not sure how I managed that at all.

As well as that, I had a good go at the photos from July 2019 in Iceland and now I’m back in Heimaey on the way out to Greenland.

Another thing that i’ve done is to make a few tentative enquiries about going off on my travels sometime whenever. I have a couple of plans but they are not for right away or even in the near future. Nevertheless there is no time like the present to get things under way.

rocks light pointe du rock granville manche normandy france eric hallAt the usual time this afternoon I went out for my walk.

Although, once again, I couldn’t see why. In fact i couldn’t see very much at all this afternoon because that sea mist was still hanging around out there.

it was cold too, as I said earlier. I had a sweater on, which is pretty much unthinkable for the latter days of June. Even Gribouille the big ginger cat wasn’t coming out in this weather. He stayed stuck on his windowsill indoors.

seafarers memorial pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWith nothing much to see I trudged on around my little circuit, mixing with the people who were out there. There were actually quite a few – more than I was expecting.

With not being able to see very much in the fog, there wasn’t an awful lot to photograph. But regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen a few photos of the seafarers’ memorial just recently in the bright sunlight, so I thought that I would reproduce the view in the fog.

If you look carefully you can juts about make out the coast on the other side of the bay near St Pair sur Mer and Jullouville

la grande ancre port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith nothing else going on I walked on down along the top of the cliff and then round towards home.

Not an awful lot going on in the harbour either. No Jersey freighter today, but La Grande Ancre is there in port tied up. She has no intention of going out in this, that’s for sure.

From there I headed off back home to carry on working. There was plenty to do. And I might have accomplished so much more had I not gone off with the fairies again for half an hour or so.

When I came round, I was feeling pretty miserable. I reckon that I’m sickening for something else right now and I don’t like that idea very much at all.

But I plodded on with my work and then had the usual hour on the guitar.

Tea tonight was exciting. There was a pepper left over so I sliced it up. A potato was diced and put in the microwave with a little water and some spices (turmeric, coriander and cumin) for a couple of minutes.

While that was doing I sliced up a couple of onions and fried them with spices and also some fennel and fenugreek. A pile of garlic went in next, and then the pepper.

The potatoes followed, with a tin of exotic vegetables that I had picked up from NOZ a while back. And then a handful of spinach.

More spices to taste, and then the pièce de résistance – not a French virgin but a little carton of soya cream (regular readers of this rubbish will recall that they had some on special offer at LeClerc a couple of weeks ago).

So there we are – an Instant Korma, and vegan to boot. With some rice and mixed veg it was delicious and, even better, there are four more helpings for the freezer.

Apple pie and ice cream for pudding with chocolate sauce.

My run was going to be late tonight because I wanted to hear the start of my radio programme. But badger me if the baskets have forgotten YET AGAIN to broadcast it.

Having been missed off the list of “presents” at the meeting last week, I am not very impressed at all by this. If they don’t want my programmes they should have the courage to tell me so that I don’t waste my time.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallEventually I made it outside for my evening run.

And I ran straight into the sunset again. Unfortunately, although the weather is 100 times better than it was earlier and you could actually see things, there was too much cloud about for it to be as spectacular as the last couple of nights.

Anyway, I made it all the way down to the clifftop past the itinerant, even though I didn’t feel much like it tonight.

fishing boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNot a great deal of activity out there tonight.

There was a small yacht way out in the distance over by the Ile de Chausey but there were also some fishermen in their boat just off the cliffs fishing for something or other.

One of these days I’ll have to accost a fisherman and find out what the catch is in the waters off here. The waters aren’t all that deep so it’s not going to be anything super-exotic.

crowds pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was another evening with no-one picnicking in the old gun emplacement so I carried on walking across the lawn.

There were a few people about as well, getting in my way, but round by the Pointe du Roc all of the action seemed to be down at the viewpoint by the old watchman’s cabin.

W’ve seen quite a few groups of people congregating down there just recently and there was another bunch of people hanging out in the evening sun down there. It’s a lovely spot to hang out.

fisherman pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was no fisherman down there this evening though. The rocks around there were looking pretty bare.

It seemed to me as if they had all given up for the duration but, having a look around, I found one of them standing on a rock elsewhere in the vicinity casting his line into the void.

With nothing else exciting going on, I carried on with my run. Past the chantier navale where there were still the five fishing boats.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAt the end of the path i stopped for a breather, and from there i had a look around to see if there was anything exciting.

The two Joly France boats were down there near the ferry terminal but what caught my eye was the older boat of the two. She was moored in rather a dangerous position right by the harbour gate and I was sure that she shouldn’t be staying there.

But closer inspection revealed that her crane was extended and as I ran on down the road, she lifted something out of the forr’ard hold, dumped it on the quayside, and then cleared off elsewhere.

swimmers changing people on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAll the way down the Boulevard vaufleury I ran, round into the medieval city and round through the alleys to the viewpoint at the rue du Nord – a little easier tonight, I reckon.

There were a few people down on the beach this evening. Not picnicking but simply soaking up the sun. Not as many people as we have seen in the recent past.

But I was admiring a couple of people down there. They were drying themselves with towels and sorting out some clothes, so it looked to me as if they had actually been in the water for a swim.

Braver men than I am, Gungha Din.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I said earlier, the sunset tonight wasn’t all that spectacular.

Back at the apartment I showed it to Liz and she described it as a storm in a sunset sandwich, which I thought was very lyrical of her.

For a change it’s a little earlier than usual so I’ll probably go for an early night. I’m expecting a couple of visitors tomorrow so I might even do a little tidying up early tomorrow morning if I feel up to it.

Shopping tomorrow of course, but I don’t need much at all. But I want to go to the second-hand shop because I have a project in mind.

More of this anon

Monday 11th May 2020 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall… the photos of this evening’s beautiful sunset, let me tell you a little about my rather less-than-successful day.

It actually started off exactly as I predicted. Pretty much beautiful weather throughout the detention à domicile and when it was lifted somewhat, at midnight, we were in the middle of a howling gale and torrential rainstorm.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall, having followed my adventures for any great length of time, MANY SIMILAR OCCURRENCES in the past and should, if they had had any sense, have cleaned up at the bookie’s, having bet their mortgage on this happening.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen I awoke … errr … somewhat later than planned, the rain had stopped. But the howling gale was still howling away outside. And it kept it up all day too.

After the medication I went to have a listen to the dictaphone. And sure enough, I’d been off on my travels again. I was talking to one of the girls at work and trying to build some kind of relationship with her. It wasn’t until we were talking about going to a football match so she dressed in a blue denim jacket and blue jeans that I realised exactly who she was – someone who I once trained at a job that I had briefly in the 1980s and that was a name from the past.

As it happened, I did quite like her, but she was already married so that was that. ironically, a few weeks after I’d left and moved on to pastures new, she and her husband separated.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallA little later on (during the night, not during the 1980s) I was off again.

I’d come down to breakfast in a posh hotel where I’d been staying. There were already quite a few people down there even though it was early and I wasn’t the first. We all had a good chat and had some kind of breakfast and the place slowly filled up. I decided that I wanted to take a coffee to my room which was one of the options offered by the hotel so I hunted down the reffer – a girl walled Maria, a Slavonic type of blonde girl and she’s someone I know but I can’t think who – it wasn’t the pretty Polish girl who I knew in Stoke on Trent – so I asked her about the coffee . Sh said “yes, where’s your chit?”. She had to sign it and I asked if I had to sign it as well. She said no, her signature was good. So off she went. Then I awoke and I was lying here for about two minutes wondering what had happened to my coffee and when was I going to get it before I realised that it had been in a dream and no it wasn’t.

It really was that realistic, and there have been a few like that just recently, as regular readers will recall.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAs an aside, someone else whom I know, a girl with whom I was at school, is also taking part in this project.

She contacted me first thing in the morning.
“You appeared in my dream last night, Eric”.
“Did I?” I enquired
“No” she said. “I fought you off”.

I’ll get my coat.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter breakfast, I made a start on the next radio project.

And organising myself like I have done, it was certainly a lot easier to choose the music. In fact, I was rather spoiled for choice and that’s a very good sign.

By the time that I knocked off for lunch I’d

  1. chosen all of the tracks (except the last one)
  2. combined them into pairs
  3. chosen a speech for my guest
  4. written part of the text for the broadcast


It’s not finished though, and it won’t be finished tomorrow either.

Tomorrow morning I have the first part of my Welsh course (it’s amazing, isn’t it – I’ve signed on for three on-line courses to pass the time during the detention à domicile and they all wait to start until it’s over) and in the afternoon I’m baking. The bread is almost running out and I need more apple purée too.

This afternoon I started off my doing some coursework for my Welsh lesson. My grandmother is Welsh and all of the little words she used to say to us when she dandled us on her knee were, as I subsequently learnt, terms of endearment in Welsh. I can still remember her saying a word that sounded like “cooch” when she used to hug us, and that of course is the Welsh word “cwch”.

When she died, my grandfather threw away her family’s Welsh bible with all of the family tree in it (it stopped in 1912) and I went to rescue it.

A coach driver with whom I worked was a native Welsh-speaker and he taught me quite a lot of basic Welsh and I worked my way slowly through the Bible, comparing it with an English one, but I’m determined to learn Welsh properly.

Where we lived as tiny kids, in that part of Wales known as “Part of Flint” until we moved to Cheshire, it was very angiicised. No-one there spoke Welsh and there was even a movement at one time to attach the area to Shropshire during the Local Government reorganisations of the early 1970s.

But you only had to look at my father, small, dark-haired, to know that he was a Celt, not a Saxon or a Norse.

Da iawn

storm at sea english channel brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallThat was the cue for, at last, going out for an afternoon walk.

The footpath down aunderneath the walls below the rue du Nord was open and there were quite a few people there admiring the wicked wind that was whipping up the waves into a foam of frenzy just offshore.

On the lower right-hand side of the photo you’ll see the stone walls of the medieval fish trap.

Water would overflow that during high tide and bring in a pile of fish. As the tide receded the water would seep out through the gaps in the rocks but the fish would be trapped.

People would just go down at low tide and pick up the fish.

digging out tidal swimming pool plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallTalking of tidal traps, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that here at the Plat Gousset there is a tidal swimming pool, but over the years it’s fallen into neglect and disrepair.

But it’s clear that they are anticipating that firstly, the beaches will reopen sometime soon and secondly, we are going to have an influx of visitors this summer.

They have a digger down there digging out years of accumulated sand and silt. And then, I suppose, they’ll repair the leaks in the walls and it’ll be back in business again.

joly france marité port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallA few days ago, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we noticed that Marité had moved to a new mooring and I said that I’d see if I could find out why.

My walk continued across the Square Maurice Marland where there’s a point that overlooks the harbour. But there was no evidence of anything at all to suggest that she has had to move.

The two Joly France boats are down there and look as if they have encroached upon Marité’s mooring, but that can’t be the reason why she’s moved.

Back here I amended today’s web page, fixed the one for the other web site and then attacked some photos from July 2019. I’m now at the Storhordi Nature Reserve on the island of Heimaey off the coast of Iceland.

Halfway through I was interrupted by a phone call. It seems that in these times the Jehovah’s Witnesses are conducting their Ministry by telephone.

We had a very pleasant half-hour’s worth of chat during which I tied him up in a big theological knot.

There was the usual hour on the guitars and I was feeling more enthusiastic again about it, and then I broke off for tea.

There was some stuffing left over from Saturday so I tipped in a small tin of kidney beans and tomato sauce, and had taco rolls and rive for tea.

More pie for pudding with that Alpro almond soya dessert and it was just as delicious as before.

trawler seagulls baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe evening rune were something of a nightmare with the wicked, howling gale blowing about.

The run up the hill was a real struggle and I felt every inch of the way. There were quite a few people out there, not as many as I was expecting, and they were watching the activity out at sea.

This fishing boat was certainly providing a lot of entertainment.

trawler seagulls baie de mont st michel st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france eric hallShe’s been fishing out in the baie de Mont St Michel and she evidently has a full hold on board.

You can tell that by looking at the gulls surrounding her. There must be well over a hundred out there following her in and I hope that the crew are all wearing protactive headgear.

My run down the Boulevard Vaufleury, the longest one, was aborted tonight. The gale was such that it was a struggle to even walk down there, never mind run.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut as soon as I went out of the wind I could run again and I ran round to the viewpoint on the rue du Nord.

That’s where all of my sunset photos were taken this evening, as it sank behind the clouds just above the horizon.

After watching it go down, I turned round and ran on back here.

Bedtime now and I’m not sorry. Our detention à domicile has ended and in some ways I’m rather disappointed. I was doing so well in organising myself and catching up with the arrears.

Let’s see how the future unfolds.

Saturday 9th May 2020 – IT WASN’T …

… a very good start to the day today either.

The alarms went off as usual and I heard them, but by the time that I arose from the dead it was 06:45. I’d missed the third alarm again!

And another thing that I need to do is to apologise for having doubted the word of Percy Penguin, who doesn’t feature in these pages half as often as she deserves. She complained once about my snoring in my sleep and having on a couple of occasions heard the dictaphone still working when I’ve been asleep, and not heard a thing, I had the temerity to doubt her word.

However, we had another occasion during the night where I went back to sleep in the middle of dictating something and … errr … well … quite.

Sorry, Percy Penguin.

Interestingly though, when I came back into the land of the undead, I resumed the dictating at exactly the same point as where I fell asleep.

There have been many occasions where I’ve awoken during the night and gone back to sleep and stepped right back into a dream at the point where I left it, but this is, as far as I’m aware, the first time that I’ve ever done the reverse.

It was another hot and sweaty night and I don’t know where we are but Crosby Stills and Nash are here and they played a concert and then disappeared offstage. I went to have a look at the equipment, all of these boxes. There was a box of accessories for each musician but there was also (…fell asleep right here in the middle …) some boxes on the stage with the names of the people. Each musician had his box and the supplementary musicians had theirs but their names were a bit vague. There was one that said something like Dino with a question mark stating that he was a native American who died in 1975 and nobody – they didn’t even know his name and didn’t even know where he came from but he played guitar with Crosby Stills and Nash and he had died away and they had practically forgotten about him – not forgotten about him of course because obviously he had his box but they didn’t find out anything about him while he was playing there, not even his real name.

After breakfast I had a look at a couple of files on the web server that shouldn’t be there at all and upgraded one that should and then went and had a shower.

And a shave. And a weigh-in and I’ve lost a couple of hundred grammes since last time. Still not enough though – it’s a slow process.

In town today it was difficult to tell that we are still in lockdown here until Monday. It was just like any other Saturday in normal times with the vehicles and the crowds and the local Council have recognised this, I reckon, because the traffic lights are now working properly instead of flashing amber like they have been.

There was a queue to enter LeClerc and even so, the place was packed with people, just like any normal Saturday. My own shopping bill wasn’t all that much and could well have been even less, except that the coffee that I bought on a super-special offer for 6 packs the other week was back on an even more special offer – 6 packs for €11:74.

At that price I had to buy a packet because it really is quite nice, that coffee.

Back here, I had a busy afternoon.

First thing was to go through the web server and identify the files that shouldn’t be there – of which there were plenty. They were brought home to the hard drive here and deleted from the server.

Then I had a look through the hard drive to identify
i) files that aren’t meant to be on the web server anyway
11) files that aren’t ready to be uploaded
give them all a meaningless suffix simply to identify them so that they aren’t uploaded again in error

And then updated the ones that needed updating, and then loaded them back to the web server.

They are all done now, but many of them will have to be done again because there was a slight change to the format halfway through.

But I think that what I’m going to do now that this project is temporarily finished, along with the digitalising of the record collection that has ground to a halt near the end, is to pick on one web page per day and rewrite it with suitable editing.

However, I’m not forgetting the second web page. I shall have to attend to that in due course and update that. However, there are only about 200 or so of those, half the amount that I’ve just done.

There was still half an hour left before knocking-off time so I attacked a few more photos from July 2019. I’m now inside the harbour at Vestmannaeyjar, on the island of Heimaey just off the coast of Iceland but I’m still not moored.

Just for a change, the hour on the guitar was much more enthusiastic. I’m not sure what happened there but anyway, I enjoyed it immensely.

For tea, I had one of the best stuffed peppers that I’ve ever made, followed by a slice of that apple pie from the other day. And that was excellent too. If I’m not careful, I’ll really be pushing the boat out – although evidently not as far as the quayside in Vestmannaeyjar.

mercedes s500 maybach luxembourg numberplates place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the washing up I went out for my evening runs. But I didn’t get far before I was brought to a dead halt.

A short while ago I wrote about people not respecting this detention à domicile, and I don’t know what to say about this. There are at least two cars like this Mercedes S500 Maybach here, and what is interesting is that they both appear to have number plates from Luxembourg on them.

So how did they get here? And what are they doing? Don’t they realise that there’s a lockdown here?

Apart from that Jersey-registered caravenette that was here just asfter the ferries stopped sailing – presumably having missed the last ferry, these are the first foreign-registered vehicles I’ve seen in the town.

victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallTalking of ferries to the Channel Islands … “well, one of us is” – ed … look who’s back.

When I was out last night in the dark I thought that I recognised the change in silhouette in the harbour but it was too dark to see what it was. But sure enough, Victor Hugo is back from her winter sojourn in Cherbourg.

No idea why, though. We’ve been told that the ferries to the Channel islands won’t be starting up any time soon so there doesn’t really seem to be too much point in her coming down here right now.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallWe’d had rain earlier so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of a sunset with all of the clouds about.

It wasn’t anything like as good as some of the ones that we’d been having just recently but that can’t be helped. You can’t win a coconut every time.

And as for my run up the hill, yesterday must have been an exception because it was a struggle once more up the hill. I’ll try it again with no food late in the night and see if it’s that which makes the difference.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn my way past the chantier navale this morning I’d had a quick look at the boats there and came to the conclusion that the one that appeared late last night was not the one that had been there before.

This evening I took my time to have a closer look and indeed it isn’t. It’s a slightly different shade of blue and it has a name – Joker – which the other one didn’t have.

But it’s good to see the chantier navale looking so busy. That’s a bonus for the town.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving inspected the chantier navale I ran on down the Boulevard vaufleury all the way down to my resting point and then walked back to look at the harbour and Victor Hugo

And having done that I ran on round to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord overlooking the Ile de Chausey to see the sunset.

And quite unexpectedly I was in luck. It wasn’t an impressive one but just as I arrived the sun peeked through a gap in the clouds and i was able to photograph it.

fishing from steps rue du nord granville manche normandy france eric halla day or two ago, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we had seen some people fishing from the steps that go down to the beach.

They were there again today casting into the water, but I couldn’t see whether they had caught anything. So I ran on back home.

On the doorstep I met one of my neighbours so we had a good chat for half an hour and then I came in to write my notes.

Now that they are finished I’m going to go off to bed. No alarm (it’s Sunday) and a Day of Rest – the first one for quite a while too so I intend to make the most of it

Friday 8th May 2020 – WHAT THE …

… heck happened here?

Running late yet again, and there was a football match planned on the internet tonight kick-off at 20:30 – a historic match from a few years ago in the Welsh Premier League between Bangor City and Rhyl – so I decided to forego tea, worry about that later, and watch the match in peace.

While I was waiting for it to come on, I busied myself with other things until I noticed the time – 21:35!

So what happened to the match?

A brief visit to the page of the broadcaster, and all mention of the match has been wiped off.

In fact, really, the match tonight should have been Port Talbot Town v Bala and the Bangor match last Friday, but regular readers of this rubbish will recall that it was that match that was broadcast last Fridat night.

There might almost have been another disappointment this morning too but I was saved on a technicality. The three alarms went off as usual but it was about 06:45 when I left the bed.

That might usually have counted as a failure, except that it’s a Bank Holiday here (Victory in Europe Day) and by rights there shouldn’t be an alarm at all.

But in a state of exhaustion I went to bed early-ish last night before I’d finished my notes so in compensation I left the alarm to ring this morning.

There was so much to write that it was 09:20 or thereabouts when I went for breakfast – that’s the penalty of not being focused – and so it turned out to be just like any other Bank Holiday afterwards where I didn’t do very much.

And there was nothing on the dictaphone from the night either.

There were some photos edited from July 2019 but not as many as I would have liked as I had to go back and change quite a few due to having become confused with the numbering. So I’m still on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour trying to get into the harbour at Vestmannaeyjar on the island of Heimaey just off the coast of Iceland.

Round about 12:30 I was thinking about lunch when the telephone rang. It was Rosemary who wanted a little chat. And when she finished, it was 14:21. We had a lot to say to each other.

By the time that I’d eaten lunch it was about 15:15 and that was effectively the day gone. I continued the task of sifting through the web server looking for files that shouldn’t be there, and I moved another few off that I had been looking for for ages.

All in all, it wasn’t a very profitable day and I could have done much better.

There was the usual hour on the guitars and then just as I was thinking about tea, someone with whom I had wanted to speak came on line so I was caught up in another chat.

Hence the running late.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallWith no football to watch I pushed myself on outside for my evening run.

And just about caught the tail end of the sunset. It really was beautiful out there too, Everything. The sun, the wind, the calm, the quiet. One of the nicest evenings so far.

To my surprise too, the run all the way up the hill was the easiest that I’ve had to date. I’m wondering if that might be due to the fact that I had no tea tonight. I shall have to experiment

chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallI ran all the way down the south side of the headland and then all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury, well past my usual stopping place, and then walked back to look at the harbour.

There was nothing much going on as far as shipping went and it was too far to see if they had been working there today. However there were several people at the fish processing plant and they were making quite a noise.

Chausiais was there too, still moored in her usual place over by the ferry terminal ready, I suppose, for a voyage to the Ile de Chausey.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving had a good couple of weeks of no movement whatever at the chantier navale they seem to be working at a frenetic pace just now.

We had five boats yesterday morning and then back down to four yesterday evening, but this evening we seem to be back up to five boats again.

But the boat on the extreme left of the row of four – if that’s not the one that was there in that spot for so long and had disappeared by yesterday, then it’s one very much like it.

trawler aeroplane beautiful sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving digested the scenery here, I carried on with my runs around to the rue du Nord.

While I’d been running around the headland I’d seen the Rescue Boat shoot out of the harbour as if it meant business and I wasn’t quick enough to photograph it. But now we have an aeroplane take off from the airfield at Donville which you can see in the upper left of the photo above the illuminated fishing boat.

That may well be the air-sea rescue ‘plane taking off to follow the boat, so it looks as if we have a naval emergency somewhere.

brehal plage donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallBut it was a beautiful night by the time tha I got down to the viewpoint on the rue du Nord.

It was practically going dark and I couldn’t see much, except the fact that it was looking really nice over to Brehal-Plage and Donville les Bains

That prompted me to take a photo of it. I had the big NIKON D500 fitted with the f1.8 50mm lens so at least it was the correct equipment for the job and the photo came out well enough considering.

rue st jean place d'armes rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut this photo came out even better.

That’s the rue St Jean passing out under the medieval town walls and on into the Place d’Armes and out into the rue du Roc.

As for me, I ran off to my apartment and that was that.

Now it’s bed time and I’m glad because I’m tired. It’s been a rather pointless day today but tomorrow there’s shopping to do and I need to be on form.

There will be queues everywhere, I imagine, so I need to be at my best.

Some hope!

Wednesday 6th May 2020 – THE LEAST …

… said about this morning, the better.

It was quite a late night last night as a pile of good music came onto the playlist just as I was thinking of going to bed, so that was that. I stayed up to listen to it.

And even though I heard the three alarms, ask me if I cared. 08:15 when I finally exerted myself and that’s no good to anyone at all.

To make things worse, there was nothing on the dictaphone either. That’s always a disappointment because I have said on many occasions … “indeed” – ed … as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, that I have more excitement on my little nocturnal voyage than I ever do in real life, and meet far more interesting people

In fact, apart from a brief bonjour to two women walking their dogs together while I was out, I haven’t spoken to anyone else today.

After a very late breakfast I had a knotty problem to resolve. For some unknown reason, none of my mice (or mouses, I dunno) want to work on my big computer, except one that isn’t up to much.

As to why that might be, I’ve no idea. They work fine on other machines and the USB ports work fine with other appliances so it beats me.

After a good rummage around the apartment I eventually found an ancient radio mouse and, to my surprise, that seems to work for the moment.

The rest of the morning was therefore spent editing photos from July 2019. There wasn’t much time to do many and right now I’m on a sandbank in South-East Iceland admiring a bunch of harbour seals.

That loaf of bread that I made seems to improve with age because it was totally delicious – even better than yesterday.

But I was thinking about that at lunchtime. There’s too much of it and it’s going to mean that there will be some left by the weekend. So what i’m going to do is to make a smaller amount (maybe 400 grammes of flour instead of 500 grammes, always assuming that I can find some tomorrow) and make two small loaves.

Smaller loaves will also mean that it will bake quicker too and that’s always a good plan.

After lunch I took out the 10x4GB memory sticks from their quarantine and set about reorganising the music. It took two of them and there was still about 3.5GB left on the computer, mostly of incomplete files that need looking at. But they’ll receive “the treatment” in early course once my hi-fi arrives, whenever that might be.

For the rest of the afternoon I carried on updating the web pages and there’s another 16 or so now done. I’ve no idea how many are left to do but I have to go back and do the earlier ones again – the first batch that I did – as I missed something off.

As for my hour on the guitars, I’m not sure what happened but I couldn’t find the enthusiasm. It was a very long, weary but not very productive time.

It’s probably a sign that that the spirit must be quite weak these days and that usually means that I’m due a bout of ill-health any day now.

And that’s not surprising because it’s now three and a half months since I’ve had my four-weekly cancer treatment and I remember how I was feeling when I was in the High Arctic. The last couple of days out there, I was running on pure adrenaline and I well remember the counter-reaction that I had while I was waiting for the aeroplane in Kugluktuk and my two days in that hotel in Calgary.

Tea was falafel and steamed vegetables in a cheese sauce followed by the last of the rice pudding. I might bake a small apple pie for pudding for the rest of the week, and if there is plenty of flour in LIDL I might have a go at making my own pastry to see where that takes me.

road marking painting rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThe other day I mentioned that they had been planning last week to repaint the white lines in the car park at the back here.

So off I went on my evening run tonight and sure enough, the painters have been past. They’ve done the car park, right enough, but they’ve also repainted the yellow lines here in the rue du Roc for the area where buses and coaches are allowed to park.

Judging by the signs that have now appeared on the other side of the road, it looks very much as if they are going to be back to paint those lines there sometime in the near future.

beautiful sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving recovered my breath, I ran on down to the clifftop to see what was happening out there in the English Channel.

For a change just recently, there weren’t so many clouds in the sky so we had this beautiful sunset out there over the Ile de Chausey.

There were a few people out there enjoying the evening, including a couple with a dog. And they were disturbed by the arrival of these two women with their mutts who wanted to play.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNo social distancing for pooches of course but there are for owners and they were amm rather tangled up for a while.

What I did was to ignore them and concentrate on what was going on out to sea. There were the usual trawlers and other fishing boats out there and this one here was on its way out to join them.

This evening I could see about five in total, working away a little farther out to sea this evening.

full moon granville manche normandy france eric hallI USED TO BE A WEREWOLF!
But I’m all right nooooooooooooooooow!

Yes, it’s full moon again and with there being no clouds to speak of in the sky I had a really good view of it tonight.

Again, it’s a hand-held shot so it’s not as steady as it might be with a tripod.

And that reminds me – I need to set up one of the function buttons on the NIKON D500 to work a “delayed action” shot sequence

chausiais trawler cap pilar port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis photo was interesting because it shows that Chausiais has moved over to the harbour wall by the harbour offices.

And in the foreground is another trawler-type of fishing vessel, the Cap Pilar. I’ve no idea why she might be here or what she’s doing, because she’s actually a boat from St Malo.

So pondering over that, and also the fact that there’s still no change of occupant in the chantier navale I carried on with my run down the Boulevard Vaufleury.

trawler cap pilar leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHalfway down along my run I noticed that Cap Pilar had “cast off forr’ard, Mr Phillips” and was turning round.

So having reached my marker (the second pedestrian crossing up the hill) I walked back to see what was happening. So off she goes out into the evening sunset.

As an aside, when I returned home, I checked on my AIS detector beacon to see where she might be going. And to my amusement her destination was signalled as où je veux – “where I like”.

It’s all very amusing, that kind of remark, but it’s not very much help if she fails to arrive anywhere. No-one can report her missing if they don’t know where she’s supposed to be.

pontoons road marking rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw the first lot of new pontoons put out and fastened to the support pillars that they have installed.

Parked up here down in the rue du port is an articulated lorry with a couple of new pontoons on it. So they are pushing along with this plan to finish the port as soon as possible.

And we saw the road-painting earlier. It looks as if they have been down here too because there are white lines painted on the new car park.

And that’s a disappointment, that car park. They could have done so much more than a squalid slab of tarmac with just a little imagination.

pontoon marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut we can see why Chausiais has moved, and why the pontoons are on the back of the lorry just here.

First of all, Marité is now moored where Chausiais had been, so that means that there’s something going on down in her corner. I’ll have to check that tomorrow when I go out shopping.

But you can see that the line of pontoons has extended now, but they are still a couple short. So they’ll be taking those off the back of the lorry tomorrow, I imagine, and installing them.

Nothing doing at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord tonight. I’d missed the sunset and the crowds were dispersing. And so I ran home.

The notes are finished now so I’m off to bed. It’s not as early as I would have liked but I’m hoping for a decent sleep (such as it is) and an early start tomorrow. I must crack on.

Tuesday 5th May 2020 – I THOUGHT SO!

puddle boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallFor some reason or other, I had it in my mind during the night that we were having a rainstorm.

It’s one of those things that I’m not quite sure why and when day dawend, although it was a miserable morning it certainly wasn’t raining. But on my run around the walls in the evening I pass by a spot that always floods when there’s heavy rain. It’s been dry for a few weeks yet this evening we have a puddle on the path.

And so there you are. Yet you would never have said anything because once the day got under way it was quite pleasant.

And for a change, I had quite a pleasant night too. In bed relatively early and I actually managed to beat the third alarm, which is always a good sign of progress.

After the medication I went and had a listen to the dictaphone. And sure enough, I’d been on my travels again.

First of all, Castor put in an appearance again. Or did she? Because on the dictaphone I definitely use the name on several occasions but even in my sleep I made a note that it wasn’t her. So do I count her as Castor or as an unknown?

No idea myself. It’s the kind of thing that’s really confusing me.

But anyway we were at a party that I was helping supervise. But when it was getting towards the end she said “could you go and fetch me some paper because I need some paper”. I said “there’s some here in the printer” so I went to get some out of the printer but there wasn’t any. I had to go downstairs for it. She came downstairs with me and she started to talk about this game. She’s got to do this – this game has to be done right now – it can’t wait any later as it all has to be finished by midnight and we were getting very close to the time. So we got a piece of paper out. There was a third person down there but we ignored that person. It was a case of asking the questions alternately and doing the actions but the 1st question had been cut out. She was a bit mad at that because some other people taking part in the game had cut it out to spite her and she was not at all impressed.
At some other point during the night I was making sandwiches. I had four people with me doing different things and I had to make sandwiches. I had to buy a pile of strange stuff and the kind of pastry stuff that I had to use as a base had all gone off and gone manky so I ended up having to get some bread and making some sandwiches, but I was just getting completely and utterly confused. It took me ages to do something so straightforward as I was so confused about this. When it came to packing everything up ready to take down to the people I couldn’t find any plastic bags to put them in. It was now 13:30 and I guessed they would be wondering what on earth had happened to lunch. I saw a post on Facebook – one of my people had bought lunch and donated money to LIDL for his lunch and I thought to myself it’s going to be an awful row when I get these sandwiches downstairs. But I had a bit of food everywhere that I couldn’t get organised as to what went on where, anything like that. It was all really confusing and it was taking place on the playing field at Nantwich Grammar School as well.
There was more to it all than this but as you are probably eating your evening meal right now I’ll spare you the details. But the interesting thing was that there was some kind of mix of circumstance – the usual confusion and indecision was there of course, but also for once (and which doesn’t happen very often) something was going right for me until, once again, someone comes along in the night and spikes it. That happens far too often – in real life as well as on a nocturnal voyage. The whole story of my life is that people can’t bear to see me being happy and do whatever they can to spike it.

But anyway, I digress … “again” – ed.

After breakfast (which was late due to the amount of stuff I had to type) I carried on with the radio project and that was done well before lunchtime.

Next task was to sort out the music. All of the irrelevant music (from the radio point of view) was moved into a separate directory so that they are excluded from selection for the radio programme.

The reason for this is that with the 6 directories that I have (AA-FF) next week it’s the turn of music from directory CC to be selected for the radio so I have all of that (50-odd artists with however many albums) going round on a continuous random loop for the next week and I’ll be making a note of likely possibilities.

There’s so much music these days in my collection that it’s easy to lose track of what I have and some really good stuff will slip though my fingers if it doesn’t spring to mind.

So moving the irrelevant stuff out of the way means that I don’t waste my time with it popping up on the playlist.

Another task that I have set myself concerns the updating of the web pages.

That’s a task that I started ages ago and which fell by the wayside as I started back to work on the radio. But now that I have the radio work under control (for the moment) I can return to the programme.

When I started MY WEBSITE it was in 1997 as part of a project for my technology degree. It was completely hand-coded from scratch and pretty basic but over the years it slowly evolved.

The last major upgrade that it had was back in 2007 and I’ve learnt a lot since then. The menus were all handcoded *.css, individually for each page and when the number of pages passed 50, I realised that this would present a problem if ever I had to update anything on the menus.

So while I was laid up in Canada recovering from my exertions in the High Arctic, I taught myself some basic javascript, designed a few javascript menus and some iframe procedure and set about changing the menus over from individual *.css stuff to one common set of menus that can be inserted as a javascript script.

Today, after lunch, I carried on with the project and amended 20-odd pages. I’ll do some more tomorrow too. As an aside, I was impressed with my bread. It’s a much better attempt than the last one.

That still left an hour or so , thus I attacked the photos from July 2019. I managed about 20 of them, spending more time wrestling with a recalcitrant mouse than anything else.

And despite that, I’m still in an inflatable rubber boat in a lagoon amongst the icebergs at the foot of the Vatnajokull Glacier in eastern iceland

After an hour on the guitars, I went to make tea. I had an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit with vegetables, all out of the freezer, with pasta. And having taken stuff out of the freezer, there’s still not enough room for the half of the pie that’s waiting in the fridge for a space.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I mentioned earlier, it was another pleasant evening.

The wind had died down somewhat and there was a beautiful sky and sunset out there tonight. I went to take a photo of it and then ran off up the road to my marker at the end of the hedge.

Having gathered my breath I ran on down to the clifftop past an extremely concerned pedestrian who gave me a weird look. I suppose that I really am a sight, running around the place at my age.

Walking around on the bumpy bit past the demolished bunker of the Atlantic Wall, I startled a woman having a relax in the bushes watching the sunset. Yes, I would give everything that I owned, and more besides, to be able to sing.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallOut in the Baie de Mont St Michel it was really busy tonight.

A brief perusal of the bay showed no fewer than four (and maybe more) fishing boats out there over towards the Brittany coast, and this one on its way out there to join0 them.

And that will come as a surprise to someone who posted this morning another one of these “news stories” about how the small fisherman is banned from fishing while the big industrial concerns are free to come and go as they like.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen enough evidence to know that that is total nonsense.

trawler ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallCarefully avoiding the big puddle I carried on with my run along the tp of the walls.

No change in the chantier navale today, but there is something bizarre going on in the ferry terminal. It seems that a fishing boat – one of the trawler-types – has decided to tie up there.

And I’ve no idea why that might happen either. I didn’t think that they were supposed to be over there, and for all kinds of reasons too. The pontoon to which it is tied is for foot passengers for the ferries.

floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOff on my long run down the Boulevard Vaufleury and round the corner to my marker, and then I walked back to see what was happening in the port.

There’s been quite a lot going on today by the looks of things. We actually have some of the new floating pontoons in place attached to the pillars that they have spent weeks piledriving into the ground.

And across on the other side, they’ve fitted a few new anchorage mounts on the wall. I’ve no idea what they will be anchoring to them, but we’ll probably find out over the course of the next few days.

But it’s all exciting stuff.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom a standing start I ran off up the hill and round the corner to the viewpoint in the rue du Port.

No-one else was there but me but that’s no surprise because the low cloud on the horizon prevented me witnessing the sun sinking below the horizon.

Instead I had to content myself to watching in pass through a gap in the clouds.

My final run was back to the apartment where one of my neighbours was disinfecting the stairs. They are a friendly, sociable bunch of people here, not like anywhere else where i’ve lived, that’s for sure.

It’s late now. There was some good stuff on the playlist. So not much of a sleep tonight but we’ll see how the day unfolds. It’s a bank Holiday on friday so at least I can catch up with my beauty sleep then.


Friday 1st May 2020 – A STRANGE THING …

… happened to me during the night.

There was a group of us living in a house in Crewe and I had to get up and go to work to start a new job. But I was lying in bed and it suddenly occurred to me to get up and get dressed because the bus would be going in a few minutes time. I had to get dressed, and my fitbit came off somehow in all of this. I couldn’t find the tie that I had put aside. I was hunting high and low for this tie. In the end I went to the cupboard, opened it and chose another one. There were about 200 ties in there and everyone was looking at these ties and I said “yes I need to get rid of a few clothes, don’t I?” Someone said “oh yes. I haven plenty of stuff”. I actualy awoke at this point and found myself sitting upright on the point of getting out of bed to go to work.

There have been some really realistic voyages during the night here and there over the years, but this was certainly one of the best.

It had been one of those nights last night where I’d been running really late and I ended up going to bed instead of finishing off my notes.

And so in a break with usual tradition I set an alarm call for a Bank Holiday (it’s Labour Day here so everyone celebrates it by … errr … not doing any labouring) and in a break with even more usual traditions I actually beat the third alarm to my feet.

And this time it was for real too. I felt like that guy about whom Tommy Cooper used to talk –
“I knew a guy who dreamt that he was awake. And when he woke up, he was!”
But it wasn’t half a weird thing that in the middle of the night.

So after the medication I attacked the notes to finish them off. And that took much longer than I was expecting too. I’d resolved not to go for breakfast until they were finished and by the time that I was ready my stomach was thinking that my throat had been cut.

After breakfast it was the turn of the dictaphone to receive attention. I’ve already mentioned something of it but a little later I had someone staying with me overnight. It was another one of these panics to get up in the morning. I cooked a breakfast, toasted cheese, stuff like that and I was getting everything ready while whoever it was (and I’ve really no idea who it was either) was getting ready to leave. I made breakfast in my tiny room which was just like the cabin of The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour which was so small that I had to sit outside – there was only room for one at the table. However as a gesture of solidarity we both ended up sitting outside in the corridor. But my place quite clearly aroused some appreciation. “Yes, I wouldn’t mind retiring to a place like this at all either” so i was explaining the benefits of these homes and how there were people round but they only came if you needed them and apart from that they only came once a week to clean your room, emergency bell pulls, all this sort of thing. And there was general agreement on this.

There was something else on there too but you’re all probably eating your tea right now so I’ll spare you the gory details. But it concerned another voyage on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour, which certainly seems to be receiving an awful lot of my notional custom right now. It’s a good job that I don’t have to pay for these trips for real.

Having done that, I attacked the digitalising of my record collection – the last two albums as well. Whatever is left will have to be done by hand by me. One of those two albums almost ended up in that pile too, seeing that the only copy of one of the tracks was an *.mkv, which is something that I’m trying to keep off my computer, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

However, the light went on in my head, like it does on the odd occasion here and there, and I came up with a very ingenious solution to the problem. And to my surprise it actually worked!

So bearing in mind that one or two albums were shelved because all that I could find was *.mkv stuff, I might go back again and have another run through and see what I can do.

It’s a long process but probably quicker than digitalising them manually.

All of that took me up to lunchtime, would you believe, and there was time to do 30 or so photos. I’m now sitting in a zodiac in a lagoon at the foot of the Vatnajokull Glacier in South-East Iceland.

The hummus that I made yesterday was really nice and worth the effort that I put into it. And so was the apple and pear purée for breakfast by the way.

This afternoon has been somewhat … errr … leisurely. I’ve tidied up a little of the hard drive in here (only a little) and dealt with some outstanding correspondence. I’m not sure if I mentioned it but someone wrote to me about my University thesis for my “Historical Technology” module of my degree.

When it was finished I PUT IT ON LINE (I think that all research should be put on line for future scholars) and someone well-known in that area has written to me to give me some further information and to express his admiration (really!) for what I had written, which was certainly very nice of him.

As well as that, there’s some more radio stuff simmering away in the background, including something that might involve HIS NIBS, and so that required a little thought.

There was the hour or so on the guitars too during which I almost fell asleep, and then tea, which was a stuffed pepper followed by the final slice (not really the final slice because half of it went into the freezer) of the delicious blackberry pie.

And here’s something surprising (or maybe in isn’t). I’d sat down after the washing-up to digest my meal before I went out running and suddenly the football came on the internet. I’d completely forgotten that it was Friday.

A historical match – Port Talbot Town against Bala Town in a Welsh Premier League European playoff from 2013.

And how the standard of football in the Welsh Premier League has improved since then too. This was a “top 5” game yet you would never have thought so.

It ended 1-0 for Bala which was about right. Port Talbot were denied what looked from my viewpoint like two stonewall penalties, but Bala were denied on several occasions by some heroic stuff from my namesake in the Port Talbot goal and had already had a goal ruled out for a foul that was much more innocuous than the one committed on Cortez Belle in the 87th minute at the other end for which the referee waved “play on”.

But it was a very poignant match in one respect. The Spuds couldn’t maintain the momentum following this defeat and slowly slid down the table.

And then down the pyramid. Now they are in the third tier and the glory days of European football in the season 2010-11 when they went to Finland in the Europa League are nothing but a distant memory.

But here’s another thing. Bane of Britain has struck again!

Because of the football I was late – like 22:30 – going out for my runs. It was dark so I decided to swap over the lenses – put the f1.8 50mm lens onto the big NIKON D500 and the 70-300mm LENS onto the old NIKON D3000 and take the big Nikon with me.

So Bane of Britain swapped the lenses over well enough – but then took the wrong camera, as he discovered when he went to take a photo.

So no photos tonight, but at least I managed all of my runs which was good news.

It’s late now, so it’s bedtime. And shopping tomorrow – not that I need all that much but never mind. I wonder of the supermarket will be packed.

Wednesday 29th April 2020 – I MISSED …

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… a few things that I intended to do today.

Perhaps the most important was the first run of the evening, but there’s a good reason for that and if you’ll look at this image just here you’ll understand.

Not only do we have the rainstorm, we have a howling gale blowing outside, right down the road towards me where I do my first run. And it was difficult enough to walk, never mind run up the hill in this

The second thing that I missed was the third alarm. I definitely heard the first two but I must have gone back to sleep again because when the third alarm went off I was still deep down under the covers.

But I wasn’t too far behind myself which was good news.

After the medication it was the dictaphone. For some unknown reason last night I was in my cabin last night on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour playing acoustic guitar to a Creedence Clearwater song but I can’t remember which one. But when I looked I could see that the doorway was blocked and I realised that someone had put outside the doorway a sack with everything – all my food and everything in it that I needed for the next few days while this virus went round. And that’s all that I can remember of it anyway.
But here’s a thing. Yesterday I was writing something for the radio and the subject of a certain former girlfriend turned up, so I included in my article a little anecdote about her.
So who should turn up in my night-time meanderings but the aforementioned. I’d been somewhere and I’d bumped into her although I hadn’t, because she walked right past me as if I wasn’t there. I hadn’t given the matter a great deal of thought but a couple of days later I was sitting in Woolworth’s in Crewe and she was walking through Woolworths and went out of the door that was about 10 feet away from where I was standing. I waved as she went past but again she totally and utterly ignored me. I went to write her an e-mail to ask if I’d done anything to upset her or whatever. In the end I thought “sod it” and I telephoned her. She answered and she was down the street somewhere in Crewe and we ended up having a chat. It was a friendly-enough chat but you could feel that there was something there and I couldn’t understand what it was. This gradually evolved into one of the daughters of my niece and she said something to her mother on the telephone about she won’t be home for supper so could Eric bring it round in his van? Seeing as I was going to a place that evening that was near there. She had never asked me but seeing as it was near the place where I was going it didn’t really bother me that she was proposing me to do something without even asking me first.

After breakfast I made a start on the file digitalisation. For one album there was only one track that I found, which was a surprise because it’s a quite well-known album.

However I found another two to do and it didn’t take long. They were quite quick in digitalising and there were only one or two that “stuck”. But so quick were they that I only had time to do 20-odd photos from July 2019.

But now I’m just pulling up at the Vatnajokull Glacier in Iceland.

One of the photos was a very good one of Rosemary so I posted it to her. As a result she rang me up for a chat and we were on the phone for ages.

All of the time that I’d saved evaporated just like that, but isn’t that just life? Still, taking time out to talk to friends is very important and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Most of the day after that was spent mainly in finishing off the radio project. I finished editing the speech, chopped it into segments, assembled everything together, worked out the time remaining, knocked off 30 seconds for the final speech and then found a final track to fill in the remaining time.

And much to my surprise, it all went together like clockwork and fitted to within a second or two, and I soon fixed that. I could have fixed it earlier too but I was … errr … away with the fairies for half an hour or so, which was quite disappointing.

There was cooking to do too – well, cooking of sorts. I didn’t do the hummus as there was enough for lunch so I’ll do that tomorrow and it’ll be nice and fresh for lunch. It’ll be roast pepper in one batch and sun-dried tomato and olives in the other

But there were the 2kgs of carrots that I had bought on Saturday.

They are all peeled, diced, blanched and in the freezer. I don’t know what it is about shop-bought frozen carrots but they taste ptetty miserable. Mine, or any other home-frozen ones always seem to taste better.

While I was putting stuff away (yes, putting stuff away!) I came across a 2gb memory stick that I had somehow managed to overlook. I copied a pile of music from the recently-digitalised recordings onto that to play on the hi-fi in the living room, and then merged the sound files into the general fun of music.

Once the new memory sticks come out of quarantine there will be some more being moved out of the temporary diirectory so while I was at it, I made a start on a new collection, labelled FF, with the “new” artists who weren’t in any previous collection.

That’s 6 collections with different groups and musicians in each, which means basically that there’s now 7 or 8 weeks (including the monthly live concert) before we complete the circle so a group is only featured at the most once every 7 or 8 weeks.

For my hour on the guitar I tried a new track. I did the bass first followed by the six-string and that seemed to be a better way round. Before I put them away I can have a run through a couple of numbers that I know well and that lifts my spirits.

Tea was lentil and tofu pie with vegetables and gravy followed by the blackberry pie with almond soya. Really delicious stuff, it was too.

rocks marker buoy english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd then “once more unto the breach, dear friends!”

Just me out there tonight, not another soul about. So I struggled up the hill at a walk and then ran down to the clifftop to see the sea. Not as wild as I was hoping, unfortunately, but the tide is a long way from high – not until almost midnight – so it should be good by then.

And 10.3 metres high too. A long way from the highest of course, but good enough to put the wind up the sailors.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallYes, if this is what the storm is like now with the tide three hours out, imagine what it’s going to be like later.

It’s a shame that it’s going to be dark at high tide because I won’t be able to see it.

So instead I carried on with my run. There was no change in the situation at the chantier navale. Still the same four boats, including the new black and green one, so I didn’t trouble anyone with a photo.

trawler fishing boat storm high winds baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThis was worth a photo though. In the dark and way out in the distance out to sea so it’s come out rather blurred but that can’t be helped.

It’s one of the little fishing boats right out there in the baie de Mont St Michel struggling against the waves as it slowly tries to make its way towards harbour.

And I have said before … “on many, many occasions” – ed … my hat goes off to those out there in weather like this trying to earn a living in boats like that. It’s not easy by any means.

builders material on quayside port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis is interesting too.

On the quayside over there by the crane is a pile of builders’ material – wood and these bags that have sand or gravel or stuff like that in them. That can only mean one thing and that is that we are about to have a visit from either Thora or Normandy Trader.

It’s quite likely that I won’t know about it either. What with current developments, their turn-round in the harbour is quite rapid, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall and with me only being allowed out for an hour every day, I’ll almost inevitably miss their visit.

floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSomething else that I’ll be missing from now on will be the floating pontoon.

It’s not there now – the ground’s all flat – in the water but dismantled into its sections and hoisted out on the quayside over there ready for removal.

The big crane isn’t there either. Gone! And never called me mother! Whatever they will be doing now isn’t going to require too much lifting by the looks of things and all of the supporting pillars are now in.

Or are that? What did they do with that offcut that was around there?

But I’ll find that out another day because right now I’m off to bed. It’s not early but it’s not late either, but I have to go shopping tomorrow. Supplies are getting low. So I need to be on my best behaviour and on good form.

Tuesday 28th April 2020 – AND I WASN’T …

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hall… alone tonight either.

There might only have been a handful of people out there this evening enjoying the evening sun but there was enough going on out on the open sea to keep me out of mischief for quite a while

The tide must have been just right this evening because the fishing boats were queueing up to get to the Fish-Processing plant tonight.

As for me, this morning I beat the third alarm just for a change.

Well, to tell the truth I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor when the alarm went off. So I reckon that that counts as a victory for me.

Nothing on the dictaphone which is a shame (what I get up to during the night is far more exciting than anything that I get up to during the day). I’m always disappointed when I haven’t been anywhere or, more to the point, there’s been no-one with me to share my adventures.

Which reminds me – TOTGA hasn’t put in an appearance for quite a while. I wonder where she’s got to.

After breakfast I started on the digitalising. Two albums again. Long, bitty, slow with plenty of searching and one or two versions that i’ve found aren’t the versions that I want but it can’t be helped.

Nevertheless I did almost 40 photos from July 2019 in Iceland and I could have done many more than that except that I got myself into a tangle at one point and had to undo what i’d done and start again.

But at least I’ve managed to escape from Seydisfjordur. It’s the following day and we’re just pulling into the Berufjördur and about to drop anchor off the port of Djúpivogur.

Unbelievably, this took me all the way up to lunchtime and I was pretty fed up of it by that time, as you can imagine. There have to be easier ways of earning a living.

This afternoon I started on the notes for the current radio project and by the time that it came to knocking-off time, I’d written all of the notes, dictated them, uploaded them to the computer and started to edit them.

And had I put my back into it I could have finished except that I … errr … had a little relax at one point. For about half an hour too.

That was disappointing because I missed my carrot-freezing session and that will have to be tomorrow afternoon, assuming that I’m not held up with any other blasted flaming file-splitting

The hour (or more, as it happened) was enjoyable tonight and my playing on the 6-string is improving. Mind you, that’s not saying much. I just wish that my bass-playing would improve. i’m stuck in a rut with that and need to break out.

Tea was a burger in a bap and baked potato, followed by blackberry pie and almond soya stuff. And I have to say that the pie has worked in spades. That expensive jam stuff worked really well and I’ll have to do more of that. I wonder what other varieties they have.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo off I went for my evening run.

And it was agonising to make my way to the top of the hill tonight, due to the headwind that was blowing me backwards all the time. But I eventually made it down to the clifftop to see the fleet of trawlers heading back to harbour

Surprisingly, I was the only one out here tonight admiring them too. I don’t know where everyone else has got to.

trawlers chantier navale granville manche normandy france eric hallhaving recovered my breath I ran on around the headland and past the chantier navale

And we’ve had a change of occupant in there today. We’re now back up to four boats with the arrival of the black and green one over there on the right.

The other three are still here and they’ve been here for a bit too. I wonder for how long the new one will be staying. But anyway it’s good to see the yard busy. The presence of a good, thriving ship repairer will encourage other people to moor their boats here, and that’s good for the town.

trawlers baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallEarlier on, I mentioned that the fishing boats were queueing up to come into the harbour.

And it wasn’t an idle boast either. There are two of them here loitering around just outside the harbour presumably waiting for a berth to become vacant at the fish-processing plant.

And you can tell that they are waiting to unload by the flocks of seagulls that are hovering around all over them. I hope that the matelots are all wearing hats.

trawlers fishing boats fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut you cans ee why they are having to loiter around outside the harbour.

There’s definitely no room at the in tonight with all of the boats here. As one pulls away, another one swings into its place.

The larger commercial boats used the cranes to pull up their catch to the top level where they are wheeled into the fish processing plant.

The smaller boats that are usually operated by private individuals or local shops usually unload by hand onto the deck-level underneath where it’s taken away up the ramp in their own vehicles, and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago we saw a tractor and trailer down there carting stuff off.

new floating pontoon supports ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut hang on a minute – did you catch a glimpse of this in the previous photo?

Now we know why they’ve spent weeks dredging by the ferry terminal and cutting away the rock outcrop, and why they pulled up the cast-iron pillars that we saw a few months ago.

It looks ver much as if we’re going to be having the new pontoons over there too. They are the same, identical mounting brackets that they have used elsewhere in the port.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens when we have them and the tide goes out.

floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallTalking of pontoons, here’s the big floating pontoon that they’ve been using as a work platform.

Today, it seems to have acquired a mini-digger and a crate of gas bottles. It looks as if they are going to be doing a lot of welding right now. I wonder why.

Reflecting on that point I carried on with my run, and past an old woman who made a few remarks. I was tempted to stop and give her a piece of my mind but I don’t have all that much to spare.

sunset english channel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNo-one else admiring the sunset from the rue du Port with me tonight. I was all on my own.

But then again I wasn’t surprised because it wasn’t much of a sunset tonight. It was all obscured by clouds like this, with a clear sky above and the red sunset glow below.

It looks as if we’ve had the splendid evenings for a while. So I carried on home.

no waiting signs parking foyer des jeunes travailleurs place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallBut having run back to the apartment building I had to turn round and go back to the car park of the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs because I’d noticed something.

This was rather a forlorn hope, wasn’t it? No waiting in the car park for this week as they are repainting the markings on the surface. But that didn’t go ahead of course and it’s no surprise. It’s not what I call essential work in these difficult times.

So in a few minutes I’ll be off to bed. But before I go, I’ll leave you with a little comment.

Usually, I’ve been trying very hard to steer away from political comment in my journal. If you want to follow what’s going on in the political world right now you need to follow me on my social networking account.

But I couldn’t let this one pass by.

As regular readers of this rubbish will know, the silly Brits voted 4 years ago to kick out all of the foreigners who have been “stealing their jobs”.

As well as that, Brits are being laid off work in the tens, if not hundreds of thousands due to the effects of this virus and are thus presumably short of money. And there’s a shortage of food in the shops.

With no foreign workers to pick the fruit and veg in the fields in this time of food shortage in the UK, the farming organisations launched a huge advertising campaign throughout the country to get the unemployed and poverty-stricken, starving Brits into the fields.

They needed 70,000 people to replace the foreigners who have been kicked out of the UK and won’t come back. And do you know how many of the unemployed and poverty-stricken, starving Brits turned up for work?

Just ONE HUNDRED AND TWELVE.

And this is how they intend to rebuild the economy after Brexit and after the virus. They are totally deluded over there on that island.

Monday 27th April 2020 – FOR ONLY THE SECOND …

… time (if my memory serves me well, as Julie Driscoll once sang) since this detention à domicile began, we’ve had proper rain today

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I should know because I was out in it this evening, attired in yellow rain jacket and black cap to keep the water off me.

And although there were only two or three other people walking about out there, there was plenty of other movement too. It doesn’t look like very much but deep in the rainstorm out to sea is one of our fishing boats and it’s looking as if it’s heading into harbour.

So they are still out there working.

But talking of movement, there wasn’t much movement in here this morning. I ended up last night doing some things on the computer and it was past 02:00 when I ended up going to bed.

Consequently, even though I heard the three alarms go off I paid no attention to them whatever and it was after 08:00 when I finally arose from the dead.

No-one I knew had come with me on my travels last night which was a disappointment. But I’d been out. There was a row of terraced houses somewhere like Edleston Road in Crewe round about where the old Christian Science church was, a row of terraced houses set well back from the road. They had been derelict for years and there was some scandal about money this sort of thing and I couldn’t quite understand what it was. Tere the protesters protesting about the waste of money being spent on renovating them, whether fraud had been committed in renovating them, something like that or whether the council was goign to charge an awful lot of money to let them out but they were in a dreadful condition. This whole group of protesters had got together and got hold of the front of the building through the window frames and were shaking the building about. In the end they pulled the whole front off it. This demonstration was being policed by the Navy of all people and of course the Navy charged in and arrested dozens and dozens of these protesters and dragged them off. All of the others went streaming home carrying their banners. The banners were all written in German so I couldn’t really understand what they were saying.

A late breakfast and then I attacked the digitalising of my record collection.

Another two albums bit the dust – 40 or so tracks in all and that was a marathon. Some of the tracks were extremely difficult to find and, much to my dismay, one of my more reliable sources had some of the old stuff for which I was looking, but in *.mkv format, which is black-listed on my computer.

Eventually though I managed to track down everything, and in the amount of time that it took I was able to edit over 50 photos from July 2019. I’m now at the Skálanes nature reserve, still in Iceland and STILL on the 11th July. Will the 12th never come?

The bread was something of a disappointment. One of the main problems was that the tray in the oven was too low so while the top is slightly overcooked, the bottom was almost burnt and had it stayed in there much longer, I would have needed an axe to cut through it.

But it was edible and tasted quite nice too, so i’m certainly not discouraged. It’s all part of a learning process and what I have learnt is

  1. put the shelf two rungs higher up
  2. turn the oven down a little so that the cooking is more even

A couple more efforts and I might get there yet.

This afternoon I sat down and chose the music for the next radio project. That was all done (except for the last track of course) and the tracks were joined together in pairs as usual.

And then the hour on the guitars. And I do have to say that I can’t think that I have ever felt less like it. Whatever is the matter with me just now?

Tea was an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit out of the fridge with pasta and vegetables. And that reminds me that tomorrow I have to freeze all of the carrots that I bought on Saturday. I should have done that at the weekend but one thing leads to another and once you start you’ve no idea how many other things there are.

Pudding was the apple turnover and because they had no soya coconut whatsit, I had to buy the almond stuff.

trawler english channel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter the washing up I stuck my nose out of the building, saw the rain and then went back for my rain gear.

Despite the weather I ran all the way up to the top of the hill and then down to the clifftop. We’ve already seen one fishing boat just now, but he wasn’t alone. There were several more out there, like this one here.

And that one has certainly been working and is coming home to unload its catch. You can tell that by the flock of seagulls that is flying around it. There’s at least 30 birds, and maybe more.

baie de mont st michel leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallhaving recovered my breath and walked for a little way I could run on along the clifftop on the other side of the headland.

And it’s certainly busy in port tonight. There are a couple of fishing boats coming in, to be sure, but there are also others going out, like this one.

That report that I read about French fishermen being prevented from fishing – I’ve no idea about where that came from because it’s manifestly untrue, as we have been seeing

trawlers unloading fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd as if to underline the point, there’s a full complementof fishing vessels unloading at the fish processing plant.

Fishing vessels of all sizes too, small, medium and large. And with a few others on their way in, the fish processing plant seems to be just as busy as it was before the crisis.

And quite rightly so too, because people still have to eat. Not me though – you won’t catch me eating shellfish. And not just because I’m a vegan too. I couldn’t stand the things even when I did eat meat.

large crane rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut hang on a minute! There’s a change going on here in the port right now.

That big crane there on the slipway is the big bluey-green crane that’s been living on top of the floating pontoon for the last few months while they have been busy putting in the new supporting pillars for the floating pontoons.

Does this mean that they have finished all of that now? The next few weeks should be interesting over there.

large crane fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNothing new in the chantier navale just now, still the same three boats, so when I had gathered my breath I ran on down on run n°4, the longest one of the batch.

Having run past and up the hill, I went for a walk back fown to see how things where in the harbour. There was no visible change down there that I could see, although the big stationary crane is certainly on dry land and no longer on the floating pontoon.

So how are they going to lower the new floating pontoon walkways into the water then? That’s an interesting question.

floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut in the meantime we can turn our attention to the floating pontoon.

Ther eit is, completely dismantled. Nothing on it now and I imagine that the mobile crane is there to lift it out of the water. That will be the next step I suppose.

We’ll doubtless find out tomorrow.

So I continued with my little extra run from a standing start right up the hill.

jcb pallet lifter place du marche du chevaux rue du nord granville manche normandy france eric hallRound to the rue du Nord. Just one or two people out there but I was more interested in the machine that I’d seen in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

My stroll took me down there to inspect the beast. It’s a JCB pallet lifter but as for what it’s going I really have no idea because there was nothing evident.

And so I ran back home to the apartment.

No matter what happens, I’m going to bed as soon as I’ve done this. I don’t want another morning like this morning. There’s so much to do and not much time left to do it.

One of these days, things will catch up with me. But not any time soon, I hope.

Saturday 25th April 2020 – ANOTHER BAD …

… day today unfortunately. But then, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it all comes and goes in waves and I’ll probably feel much better in a couple of days.

Last night was something of a later night than I was expecting but even so, not as late as some have been. And that’s why I was dreadfully disappointed about missing the alarm again. 07:00 when I finally left the bed.

After the medication I went to find out where I had been during the night. Not very far by the looks of things. We were having a radio meeting but sending our comments to each other as “comments” on a youtube video. That’s all I seem to remember of it so that was a waste of time.

Breakfast was next and then I made a start on digitalising the two albums for today. However, I broke off at some point early on to go and have a shower.

And of the 800 grammes that I lost and then put back on, I’ve lost 400 of them. So I’ve no idea what’s going on with my bathroom scales but as I have said before … “many times … sigh” – ed … my bathroom scales are about as reliable as the blood testing machine at Castle Anthrax.

NOZ is still closed – I went to have a look – and although the car park at LeClerc was half-empty and there was no queue outside waiting to go in, there were certainly more than 100 people inside.

At long last they had my small tins of kidney beans in stock but no pizza bases again. And no pizza flour either. But I bought some ordinary flour last time so I’m going to have a go at making some bread and maybe a pizza base or two tomorrow and see how it comes out, just for fun.

Hummus is getting rather low too so, for a change, I spent a little money and bought a pot of sun-dried tomatoes in oil. I reckon that minced up with some olives and garlic with basil, that would make a delicious hummus for the next round.

But I didn’t really spend an awful lot in there today but it doesn’t seem to have made any difference to the shopping bill because I’m convinced (as are many others) that prices are slowly going up.

By the time that I returned it was quite late so I had a coffee and then made lunch.

There were two albums that I had been digitalising today and it took me until something like 15:45 to finish them. But they were both big double albums with plenty of tracks and I managed to find them all without too much searching and only the odd two or three that needed some persuasion.

These are really classic albums too and almost every track is one that I can use on the radio so it was a very good job.

However, I don’t know why but I crashed out again this afternoon. A really deep, intense one that beats all of the ones that I’ve had to date and I remember thinking to myself at one point that this is no good at all.

It’s right, as well. It is no good. But one thing that I did mention 9 months or so ago was that I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and look on the bright side. Adopt a more positive attitude. That was something going on through my head when I was out later on for my runs.

First thing of course is that I’m still here. That’s confounded many people, especially those who saw me in January and February 2016. Back in those days I couldn’t even walk unaided so what would they say now to the fact that according to the fitbit, so far this month up to Tuesday (21 days) I’d run for a total of 3 hours and 40 minutes, or just over 10 minutes per day.

And just 18 months ago I was standing up to my knees in frozen water at Etah in Greenland, just 600 or so miles from the North Pole? Or 6 months ago I was wrestling with my conscience and my better judgement (not to mention my totally foul humour) as I traversed the North West Passage – a voyage that has killed a couple of thousand people in the past.

Another thing too – and that I’m living in my dream location with the sea lapping at my feet and working in a radio station where I’m given a free hand to write, engineer, direct and produce my own programmes.

None of any of this would have happened had I not been taken ill.

There was still a few minutes to go before guitar practice time so I made a start on bringing up to date the playlist for the Rock show (well, we were talking about the radio just now). It’s fallen way behind and there’s a lot to do. I probably did about a quarter of it and I’ll have a go at the rest tomorrow.

During the course of the day I edited another 25 photos from July 2019 and I’m now climbing up the side of a mountain to a waterfall in Seydisfjordur in Iceland. And I wouldn’t have been here either had I not been ill.

After the guitar session, during which I had some fun with Jethro Tull’s “Locomotive Breath”, I had tea. Burger and pasta in tomato sauce with vegetables, followed by more apple crumble.

flags germany united kingdom united states of america france war memorial resistance granville manche normandy france eric hallIt would be wrong to say that I was alone out there tonight. But half a dozen or so people is a lot less than I’ve been seeing just recently.

There was nothing – nothing whatever – going on out to sea. I couldn’t see a boat or a ship anywhere. But there was a beautiful breeze that really made it a pleasure to be out (which was why i started to feel a little more positive) and the new flags on the flagpoles were flapping away wildly.

There hasn’t been a photo of them from this angle yet so I thought that the lighting conditions would make quite an unusual shot

la grande ancre port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving recovered my breath I went on round the headland and ran along the clifftop on the other side of the headland.

In the distance I could see a boat parked up in the unloading bay so i was wondering if it might have been Thora or Normandy Trader. We haven’t seen them for a few days.

But it is in fact our old friend La Grande Ancre tied up down there and that’s confusing me because I was sure that I saw her sail out earlier in the day when I was on my way to shopping.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving inwardly digested La Grande Ancre I carried on with my runs. And I do have to say that i seem to be running a little easier today and my fourth run – the longest – I added another 20 yards. I can’t be feeling too bad.

An additional surprise – I put in another 25-yard run, from a standing start uphill. And that is something that wouldn’t have happened even a week or two ago. This took me round to the rue du Nord where I could go to see what the sunset was doing.

The answer to that question was “not a lot”.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was plenty of cloud out there this evening and we didn’t have the clear sky that would have given us a magnificent evening as we have had once or twice just recently.

Nevertheless, a little patience brought out a couple of really interesting photos as the setting sun put in a brief appearance between a gap in a couple of clouds.

But it didn’t stay long. A couple of minutes and it had gone again behind the vloud on the horizon.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThat must have been something of a disappointment to the girl whom I’ve seen for the last couple of evenings.

She and her friend came down the steps for a butcher’s at the sunset but they were too late tonight. However, at least I had a “bonsoir” and a smile, which is always nice.

So everything is finished – and so am I – just a couple of minutes before 23:00. Even though tomorrow is Sunday and a Day Of Rest with no alarm to awaken me, i’m off to bed early.

It’s some hope, I know, but I hope that I’ll feel better tomorrow. That evening breeze cheered me up a little so I hope that it’s the start of an upward trend.

We shall see.

Friday 17th April 2020 – WE DIDN’T HAVE …

storm english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall… a beautiful sunset tonight.

Instead, we had the distant, ominous rumblings of a major thunderstorm of the type that we are most used to having on a hot summer evening, but some really intense, heavy grey clouds.

It was impossible to even see the Ile de Chausey this evening beacuse of the rainstorm that, judging by the direction of the wind, was heading my way. And so i didn’t hang about too long tonight just in case I got the lot of it.

Mind you, I did hang about rather longer than I intended this morning. I heard all of the alarms go off but instead I told myself that I deserved an extra half-hour in bed. I’m not sure why, but anyway, I did.

The dictaphone was interesting this morning. I’d had an attack of conscience and released 11 hostages that were being held prisoner. There was one in particular who caused me a great amount of grief and when it was filmed they said that they would continue with the story of this particular relief next week. Bit it was all something like a Hobbitesque-Lord Of The Rings-type of situation with mysterious people in it and I know that this one – a lot had gone on prior to this and this guy was something of a late entrant into this scenario.

And if you can make any sense out of that, you’re perfectly welcome to it.

After breakfast I had a go at some more digital file-hunting. And I’m really getting down to the dregs now because I’m right in the middle of more obscure stuff which I can’t find anywhere at all.

There’s so much that I’m going to have to digitalise myself, and the music industry will owe be a big favour when I’m finished because I’ll upload them onto the databases. All kinds of obscure stuff.

And it took an age too. Hunting stuff down, trying to make it load up (which wasn’t easy), waiting ages for some really painful uploads. In the end it took me up to lunchtime to do it all.

And the sad part about it all was that there were only two or three tracks out of all of this that are suitable for playing on the radio.

But at least I managed to deal with a pile of photos from July 2019 in Iceland. I’m now back on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour heading out of Akureyri on our way to our next stop.

After lunch I unpacked the hard drive that had come in the post the other day. I’ve now uploaded all of the files from the laptop that I use as a DVD player in the dining room and I’m currently uploading the files from the laptop with the broken screen.

While all of this has been going on, I’ve tidied up all of the post that hasn’t been filed away for a while and, having stumbled across a power block and extension cord that I’d forgotten, I changed things around in the apartment so that all of the amps and guitars are now in the bedroom. That means that I can play properly and hear myself properly while I have stuff going on on the computer.

This actually meant SHOCK! HORROR! I had the vacuum cleaner out on the bedroom. And it needed it too.

After the hour on the guitars, working out a couple of Lindisfarne numbers, I went for tea.

It was another Anything Curry seeing as there were some mushrooms left over that I had forgotten to use yesterday. A potato and a pile of spinach with all of that, and some rice and veg and there we go.

Apple pie and banana sorbet for pudding. Delicious.

storm english channel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd then off for my evening’s exercise.

A rather dramatic run up the hill as I struggled for most of the way. but it was worth it because the storm was raging away in the distance. The Brittany coast round by St Malo was taking a real bashing and you won’t see very many storms like this in this part of the world.

And I saw just four other people this evening, with just one guy admiring the storm in the distance with his field glasses. So we exchanged pleasantries for a minute or so – at an appropriate social distance of course.

support pillar for floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving recovered my breath, I ran on back home again.

When I stopped for breath halfway along, I went to look to see what, if anything, had been going on down at the harbour with the new supports for the pontoon.

although it was lighter this evening, I couldn’t really tell if there had been any change in the work. I hadn’t heard any suspicious noise today.

And so I have it up as a bad job and ran on home

Having had a good run tonight, I was glad that I was back early because there was football on the internet.

Yes, someone had found a video of the final match at farrar Road on 27 December 2011 before Bangor City moved to their new stadium and so we had a watch party to see them beat Prestatyn Town.

But I don’t think that anyone realised the vast improvement in standards of play, of pitches, of grounds and of facilities until you watch a match like this. It really was antediluvian.

So an early-ish night tonight, sort-of. Shopping tomorrow, fighting my way through the queues of course and then a relaxing weekend. There’s nothing on the agenda so i’m hoping for a decent weekend for once.

We shall see.

Tuesday 14th April 2020 – WHAT A REALLY NICE …

… gesture.

One of my neighbours knocked on my door earlier.
“I haven’t seen you about for a good few days. I was wondering if you were Ok. Do you need anything?”

That’s what I call Solidarity. It’s what the world has been missing for the last 50 years. Let’s hope that if we learn anything from this world-wide dêbacle, it’ll be that Solidarity is a very important concept and that there’s always a place for it.

Not like – was it Ron Atkinson? – who said “there’s always a place for the Press. They just haven’t dug it yet”.

Even more surprisingly, I arose from my stinking pit as the first alarm went off at 06:00. I bet that you weren’t expecting that – I know that I wasn’t!

But the secret to that was that I had forgotten to put the ‘phone under my pillow and it was on the chair, making enough noise to awaken the dead. Rather like Peel’s “View Hulloo” I suppose.

Actually, I was already awake. I had awoken bang on the spot of 05:58 and I know that for a fact because I looked at the time on my fitbit.

So what all of that was about this morning, I really have no idea.

After the meds it was the dictaphone. I was with my father at a house and Claude had thrown away an old cooker but the cooking panel was better than the one in my house so I took the cooking panel out of the cooker and put it in the kitchen. It worked for a couple of days and then packed up, so we repaired it and it worked for another couple of days and then it packed up again, right in the middle of doing something, making a cup of tea I think. Of course it was a Saturday afternoon, wasn’t it? No chance of getting to the shops to replace it. And Bank Holiday Monday, so we were stuck. I had to get the old one out to put back in to last until the shops reopened. We were talking about it and I was thinking “yes, God, Claude never gave anything good away so that explains that. At the same time I had to take it out and dump it in my garden along with all of the other rubbish that was in there. It was really looking bad, my place and my father said that I ought to take some stuff down to the tip. I said that I would do as soon as the van’s empty but it’s full right now. He said “why don’t you take my van? Take some stuff in my van?”. I was surprised that he would let me because he was never really one for letting people take his vehicles. He started to remember the time that I’d borrowed his van in 1974 and I had a parking ticket, all that kind of thing. I was thinking “God, that’s 40-odd years ago and he’s still remembering that and still talking about it”.

After breakfast I started on the file digitalising again. And what a miserable session that was this morning. It took me ages to find four albums for which I could find everything that I needed. There were several where there were only two tracks, or three tracks or, in one case, nothing at all available and that was depressing.

Some of the stuff is pretty rare, I know, but I was expecting to do better than this. Like I’ve said before … “many, many times ” – ed … that fire at Universal Studios must have been devastating. I’m going to have my work cut out to deal with all of this stuff that I can’t find anywhere else, and I’ll certainly be doing the music industry a great favour when I’ve digitalised it all.

Despite the good start to the day that I had had, all of this nonsense took me almost up to lunchtime. What was even worse was that because of all of the issues I didn’t manage to do too many photos. I’m still inspecting the old Norse village at Gàsir just up the road from Akureyri. I’ll never be finished at this rate.

Nevertheless I cracked on and by the time I knocked off this evening (a somewhat later 18:15) I’d finished writing all of the notes for all of the radio projects as far as I could. That will be dictated tomorrow and I can crack on with editing it – I hope.

Tea was a falafel with steamed veg in a cheese sauce and it’s difficult to make a vegan cheese sauce when you’ve run out of the correct type of vegan cheese that you need.

No pudding tonight – simply because I made too much veg and I have to be careful what I eat.

sunset ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen I’d finished the washing-up I went out for my evening run.

And with all of the vegetables that I had eaten, it was quite a struggle to run all the way up to the top of the hill and I was exhausted. Mind you, it was well worth it because there was a really beautiful evening sun.

There were quite a few people out there enjoying it. And no surprise either because it was slightly warmer tonight than it was yesterday evening.

sunset ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallThe sun was going down quite nicely over the Ile de Chausey so I took another photo of it.

To try something different, I had a play around with the camera settings but it still didn’t give me the image that I wanted, which was a shame. It’s a bit of a disappointment really.

So on that note I exchanged pleasantries with another sun-watcher (from an appropriate social distance of course) and carried on with my run around the corner and along the cliff top.

chausiais joly france ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallStill the same four boats in the chantier navale so I had a look over at the ferry terminal.

Not that the ferry terminal will be doing much, but one of the Joly France boats – the older one, I think – and Chausiais are moored up there. Apparently, in answer to a question that I had posed a few days ago, there’s a freight service twice a week over to the Ile de Chausey.

No-one has said anything about passengers though, so I don’t know how they are moving about, if they are moving about at all, that is.

So I pushed on with my running. And while it was agonising tonight, I managed to complete all of my five runs.

One thing that I have noticed though, is that while I’m not pushing on the distances very much, my recovery time between each run (because I have to pause for breath) is reducing little by little.

And even when I don’t feel up to running, I find that I can still push on regardless and as long as it’s on the flat or downhill I can do it.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallJust for a change, I thought that tonight I hadn’t seen a fishing boat out there and that they weren’t being allowed out.

However I did notice something moving right out to sea near the horizon so I took a speculative photo in order to blow it up (the photo, not the object) when I return home.

Sure enough, it’s one of the big fishing boats right out in the English Channel. So they are still going.

Anyway with a bit of luck I might be in bed before midnight. I’ve had a long day today and I haven’t even crashed out. That must be something of a record.

I wonder if I can keep it up.