Tag Archives: ill health

Sunday 30th January 2022 – NORMAL SERVICE …

f-giki Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… has resumed, at long last.

While I was out for my afternoon walk today I was overflown by an aeroplane from the airfield down the coast.

Well, not exactly overflown because it was way, way out in the bay and I had to do quite a bit of manipulation … “PERSONimpulation” – ed … in order to work out who she was.

She is in fact F-GIKI, one of the Robin DR400s owned by the local aero-club and, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s the first aeroplane that we have seen at close quarters since I can’t remember when.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s also been an absolute age since we’ve seen a pleasure boat out at sea too.

And today, out in the Baie de Granville, there’s a yacht threading its way out towards the Ile de Chausey.

Under diesel power too by the look of things. She’s creating a wake so she’s obviously moving, but her sails have not been unfurled so it’s not the wind that’s pushing her along.

At this kind of distance I can’t see who she is, but I can say that she isn’t Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went down the Brittany coast 18 months ago. Her skipper was sitting on the wall outside the building and we actually had a good chat as I set off for my walk this afternoon.

cabanon vauban people on bench rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Normal service has also been resumed down by the cabanon vauban too.

After a period of absence, we now have some people back sitting on the bench down there, as well as someone sitting on the rocks out at the very end of the headland.

It looks as if people are resurrecting their old habits, despite the rapidly-mounting infection and death toll. It seems to me very much as if people have given up the fight against Covid, and that’s a catastrophe. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, i’ve been told to my face that it I catch it, I’m a goner.

In fact, this morning, I felt like a goner too.

Or maybe I should say “this afternoon” because it was 12:15 when I arose from the dead. And that’s despite going to bed as early as 01:00 too.

And the sore throat is back, so is the cold, so is the inertia, so is absolutely everything. And I’m glad that I paired off the music yesterday because I wouldn’t have been able to do it today.

After lunch, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. People were being interviewed about the effect of the Covid pandemic on their lives. Most people were saying that they were treating it as something that had become normal. There was only one girl who thought that it was something completely special that had changed her life and done things differently because of it. She was standing on the harbour bridge when they were lowering a boat into the water about 30 or 30 feet below where she was standing. Once the boat hit the water she jumped in too and had a greatbig splash across the harbour, swam to the boat and climbed in

Later on there was something to do with a kite that was flying around the Pointe du Roc. He hadn’t made it go very high but there was still a crowd of people there watching him and seeing what he was doing with it.

So no Zero, no TOTGA, no Castor and (thankfully) no family either. All in all, it was rather quiet during the night. I wonder what went wrong.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022That led me up to my afternoon walk.

This afternoon was a really beautiful day, just like mid-April in fact. And while there wasn’t much beach down there, the way that the tide is right now, there were still crowds of people down there making the most of whatever beach there was.

There were crowds of people loitering around up here on top too. The path was packed with folk this afternoon.

Among the people out and about was Pierre, the skipper of Spirit of Conrad. He was sitting on a wall with a couple of other people having a good chat. I joined in and the discussion turned to Greenland and we did our best to try to persuade him to run an expedition out there one of these days.

f-giki Robin DR.400-120 Dauphin 2+2, chassis number 1931 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A little earlier, we’d seen F-GIKI setting out on a flight out into the baie de Granville.

What I would usually do is to check the flight logs and radar plots to see where she was going but I didn’t bother in this case because a couple of minutes later she was back. “Forgotten to switch off the water” I mused.

A few minutes later, another aeroplane flew back again out to sea only this time I was far too far away to take a good shot of it to see if it was F-GIKI going back out again. I was around the other side of the headland.

marker buoys baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But before that, my attention had been caught by a variety of objects out there in the bay.

Closer examination revealed them to be marker buoys of the type that fishermen use when they had sunk some lobster pots or have some kind of net out. We don’t usually see them as close as this to shore.

And have you ever seen a lobster pot? How on earth do you train a lobster to use one of those?

On that note I carried on with my little walk around the headland, across the car park and down to the end of the headland where I saw the people sitting on the bench and on the rocks.

speedboat yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There was yet more action out there, and this is probably what has attracted the attention of the people sitting down there at the end of the headland.

There’s a yacht out there having a little perambulation, and as I watched, a speedboat came roaring by as if, as they say around here, il a le feu dans ses fesses – “he has a fire up his … errr … posterior”.

Anyway I wasn’t going to stay around to see what he was doing, I wandered off back home. There wasn’t anything else of any excitement going on, as if I haven’t already had enough for one day.

Immediately after lunch I’d taken the final lump of pizza dough from the freezer and that had been sitting defrosting all afternoon.

Back here I gave it a really good kneading, rolled it out with my new rolling pin (which is excellent, by the way) and put it on the pizza tray so that it might raise itself from the dead too.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When it was ready I assembled my pizza (forgetting the peppers, by the way) and then shoved it in the oven .

And I do have to say that this was one of the very best ever pizzas that I have ever made. I was well-impressed with this one. Everything about it was perfect.

While I was waiting for it to do its stuff I was occupied doing something that you will never believe. And neither do I, as it happens. But I actually did some tidying up in the bedroom. And that’s not “normal service” by any means, is it?

Not a lot of tidying up, it has to be said, so there’s no need for you to worry. But nevertheless for a Sunday too, that’s really quite extraordinary. There are even places where I can see the floor in here.

But right now I’m going to see my bed. There’s an 06:00 start on a Monday so that I have plenty of time to prepare my radio programme. And there’s plenty of other stuff too, if I could only organise myself (which is a thankless task these days, I know) and a trip to see the physiotherapist.

Another thing that I need to do is to book my travel to Leuven. It’s not long now before I need to leave for my next appointment and I can’t keep on leaving things until the last minute like I usually do. I have to be much better organised than I am.

But not right now. I’m off to bed.

Tuesday 18th January 2022 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I haven’t done for months, if not for years and has brought back all of the bad memories of my time in that hostel in Leuven where I stayed for a while in 2016.

And that is that I went back to bed this afternoon and crashed out.

The day started off badly when either the alarms didn’t go off or I slept through them. And if the kids on their way to school hadn’t decided to make a noise outside my bedroom window I probably would still be in there now.

08:48 was late enough to leave my bed and I had to rush around and revise my Welsh ready for the lesson. And all the time wishing that I was back in bed.

The lesson was awful – I was totally out of everything and struggling to keep going.

When we finished I made my sandwiches and there wasn’t any improvement. But my jaw started to ache really painfully.

Back in my bedroom, I sat down to start work but for half an hour or so I couldn’t do anything. That was why I toddled off to bed. And there I lay until 18:45.

When I awoke I had a fever and a very sore throat that felt as if it was swollen. And I was aching just about everywhere too. A glass of hot blackcurrant with honey and lemon eased my throat a little for a while but the sore throat slowly returned.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too from during the night. This was something to do with a railway. Parts of it were being dug up and replaced by high-speed tracks so the line had gone from being one of the slowest to the fastest overnight. Someone was urging us on to be careful, of course to celebrate what was happening at the railway but it was just confusing for us where they had updated and where they hadn’t

At some point during the night someone had come up with a “Lord Of The Rings” gazetteer or encyclopaedia listing all of the characters, the number of times that they had appeared in the books, and very interesting personal remarks about them

This is the same one as earlier, about the book “Who’s Who In Lord of the Rings” or whatever. I seemed to have stepped right back into this dream where I had left off earlier. I had the book at home and was trying to read it but I was being distracted by all of this, by other people wanting to get their hands on it

I was at work last night and I started out by tidying my desk putting everything where I thought it ought to be. I managed to end up with a totally clear desk, everything put neatly, all the outstanding work put in files all ready to be worked on. I was thinking that i’d never ever had a desk like thins in my whole life. Someone else was busy tidying up as well. She was sorting out her music and ended up with a sampler of some group but it wouldn’t actually fit anywhere where it was supposed to. She was asking around about how she could get it to fit somewhere. I was thinking that the only other answer was to leave out another track of some other group but that really wasn’t the kind of answer that she was looking for. Then there was something about children. There was a pile of children that had to be sorted out as well. This was proving to be extremely difficult but I lost track of everything there. Later on there was a stream in some kind of situation with a couple of stone tablets in it. These stone tablets were electrified so if you were walking up and down this stream you had to jump over the tablets, making sure that you jumped well clear so that you didn’t end up in the water around them which was likely to be electrified as well

Right now I’m going to try to make some soup to see if I can eat it, and then I’m going back to bed. I’ve decided to place myself in quarantine for a week just in case I picked up something unwelcome on my voyage around Paris, so I won’t be going anywhere for a while.

Using a bit of the energy that remained I’ve done a quick inventory and I have enough food in here to keep going after a fashion for a while, and I even found an ancient leek and potato soup that I salvaged, defrosted and added a pile of vermicelli, and managed to eat it. It saved me making anything anyway.

Now with another mug of hot blackcurrant and lemon, I’m going to bed. Let’s see how I feel tomorrow.

Sunday 2nd January 2022 – I DON’T KNOW WHY …

waves breaking on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… but I have had a really bad day today.

And while you admire a few photos of the waves breaking on the sea wall down at the harbour, I’ll tell you all about it.

It probably has something to do with the fact that I didn’t go to bed until about 02:15. And even though it’s a Sunday when I usually have a lie-in, it’s still pretty extreme all the same.

Waking at 07:40 didn’t help matters very much but there was little danger of my leaving the bed at that ridiculous hour. I turned over and tried to go back to sleep, without a great deal of success, and finally arose from my stinking pit at about 10:30.

waves breaking on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There was still plenty of time for me to go off on a voyage during the night too. And having had the pleasure of the company of Castor and TOTGA yesterday, it was the turn of Zero to put in an appearance last night.

She was there last night with a girl whom I knew from Shavington and quite a few girls all playing around by where we were. One of them was becoming a little drunk so all of the others were saying “check the date. Check to see if it’s her birthday”. They were playing around and at one point Zero asked for a beauty spot to be placed on her cheek. I went to fetch a pencil from my car to put it on but someone beat me to it. I was quite jealous and very disappointed about that. They carried on playing around and then all went back to their beds. One of the girls said something about changing the bedding. The woman who was in charge said something like “no, there’s something else. You have to spend another night in that bedding because there’s something else”.

Anyway the story went on from there but you really don’t want to know about it. You are probably eating your meal right now.

But considering how barren the nights have been over the last few weeks and how I’ve been deprived of some really decent company on my nocturnal voyages, having three of my most favourite female figures accompany me around over the last two nights is a very welcome relief.

If only it were for real …

Having raised myself from the dead I had my medication and then came back here and checked my mails and messages. I ended up as well having a chat with my niece in Canada too.

Before lunch I paired off all of the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow morning, if I awaken in time.

Once lunch was out of the way I came back here to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night, and then a few others from the arrears. Now there are only four more to do and that’s tomorrow afternoon’s task.

There might have been more done too but unfortunately I fell asleep – not once but twice too. As I said earlier, I’m not feeling to well right now and I don’t know why because nothing had happened that might have caused it.

Going outside for my afternoon walk was painful too considering how things are.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Nevertheless, outside I staggered and went off to look to see what was happening down on the beach. Although there was more beach than there has been at this time just recently, I wasn’t expecting to see very much activity down there today.

However, there were half a dozen people down there wandering around this afternoon. And just wandering around too – they weren’t really up to very much.

While I was there, I had a good look out to sea to see if there was anything going on. But there were no boats at all of any description in the bay this afternoon, and neither were there any buoys. The sea was totally deserted.

lighthouse semaphone pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There weren’t too many people walking around on the path on top of the cliffs either.

There was something of a wind but no sunshine, but it wasn’t that cold and unpleasant this afternoon, so there was no reason why they should all be staying at home.

At least though I could have the path pretty much to myself and it didn’t really matter very much whether the people whom I encountered were masked or unmasked. And so I pushed on along the path towards the lighthouse at the end of the headland in the gloom, past the ruined bunker and the old gun emplacement.

colours in water baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Crossing the car park I went down to the end of the headland to see what was happening there.

No boats, and no-one down at the bench by the cabanon vauban either. However, what caught my eye was the sea.

One of the things that I have mentioned in the past is the strange situation of the different colours of the water in the sea. This afternoon, off the end of the Pointe du Roc and the Baie de Mont St Michel, the difference in colour was startling. I’ve never seen such a remarkable contrast in the past.

But in the meantime I’d been attracted by the nise of the sea breaking on the sea wall round the corner so I went off down there.

bouchots de chausey unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Having left the sea wall behind me, I headed for home and my hot coffee.

Down at the fish processing plant, the little Bouchots de Chausey was down there, unloading a huge pile of bouchots onto the tractor and trailer. By the looks of things she has a very good catch on board this afternoon

Back at the apartment I had my coffee and then came back in here to carry on with my little desultory activity of transcribing some of the dictaphone notes.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Just after lunch I took out a lump of frozen pizza dough from the freezer and left it to defrost.

When I’d finished all of the transcibing that I was going to do, I went and kneaded out the dough again and then rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray so that it might rise.

Later on I went and assembled it, and then I put it in the oven to bake. And when it was finished, it was absolutely delicious. One of the best that I’ve made.

But now I’m off to bed. I’m not feeling too god, I’m exhausted despite all of the sleep that I had, and I have a 06:00 start in order to prepare my radio programme so I need to be at my best.

Saturday 7th August 2021 – IVE HAD ANOTHER …

… really, really bad day today just like I did a couple of days ago.

Despite me having something of an early night for a change last night, I’ve been like death for most of the day and it’s really beginning to get on my nerves.

The night didn’t go as well as I had hoped either – a terrible pain in my foot meant that I was up at something like 00:30 rubbing some cream into it and that was the last thing that I needed.

Nevertheless I did manage – but only just – to beat the alarm to my feet and then after the meds I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone because there was some stuff on there. We were supposed to be going somewhere today so I got up early and made all the necessary arrangements. The others – there was my brother there and Percy Penguin, one of her friends and a fzw others kept fooling around making no effort whatever to get ready and I was starting to become annoyed. I’d made myself breakfast and by now I was organising dinner – it was 10:30. I had one of these old steak and kidney puddings that you used to have years ago out of a tin. I had one of those on my plate and I’d taken it out of the tin. I hadn’t realised that the others weren’t ready and the pudding was just flopping all over the place making a right mess. I went to put the tin in the kitchen. There was someone in there an I can’t remember who it was. He was asking me about the milk and if my sister had said anything about her headache. I replied “no, she said nothing to me”. All the while there was all of this messing around going on. It was 10:30 and everyone else had been in for breakfast and lunch was starting to be prepared but they were just wasting all amounts of time and we had to be gone by midday and we’ll never be gone at this rate. I was trying to speak to them as well but they were paying no attention whatever.

Later on there were people out near a boating lake in London and had these North American canoes, the type that you kneel in, practising launching them by the four of them running full-tilt into the water, launching the boat and leaping in after it. It was causing all kinds of hilarity amongst the general population watching them but they were getting it down to a fine art and getting off really quickly except that occasionally one of them would forget to leap into the boat or something like that.

Having done that I stripped the bed and now I have nice clean clothes in which to sleep and, having had a good shower and scrub up too, there’s a nice clean me to sleep in them. I put the washing machine on (it was a good fit too) and then Caliburn and I headed for the shops.

LIDL was interesting today, they had more of these flip-top mechanical bottles with drink in them, on special offer, two of them for less than the cost of one empty one at IKEA. i’m going to have to start making drinks again like I said that I would.

Surprisingly, Noz had nothing whatever of any interest and I came away empty-handed so I went to LeClerc where I almost collided with someone coming the wrong way out of the petrol station. I forgot to note the model of my printer so I didn’t buy any ink, and apart from that there wasn’t really anything else of any interest.

back here I put away the frozen food, made myself breakfast and sat down to eat it and drink the hot chocolate.

At some point after that I fell asleep and it was another one of those where I was vaguely awake but totally unable to move or to pull myself around. There was some stuff on the dictaphone too when I looked later. Despite not being up to it, I must have travelled far. I’d been out with a really tiny miniature set of cameras probably no bigger than a couple of grains of gold. The idea was that I was going to leave them dotted around LeClerc so that I could keep my eye on the people who were doing their shopping, see who they were and what they were buying and so on. But while I was doing that one of them fell into a waste paper bin and I thought “it’s not going to be much good in there, is it?”. On my way back I went to go to the toilet and there was a young girl standing outside so I said “hello” to her. I went in and while I was washing my hands she came in behind me and started to ask me question about a game, about the rules, for her family played it in a certain way. I replied “you can play it like that if you like” then a couple of minutes later her little brother came in followed by her mother and father. They were talking about this game and it seemed that the 6 of them, mother, father, 2 kids and another couple would go off down to a caravan every so often. They would stay there for a weekend or something and play this game. She was at the age where she was starting to question all of the rules. Father said “anything to keep the kids quiet” so I made some kind of gesture to say “why don’t you just palm them off on the other couple and clear off?” to which he burst out laughing. This girl knew me by the way from some reason or other because she kept on referring to me by my given name rather than “mister” or “sir” or something. She must have known who I was. And I wish that I knew who she and her family were.

It took me an age to pull myself together and come back into the land of the living and as a result I ended up with a rather late lunch. Back in here again afterwards, I was in almost as bad a way as I had been before lunch. I’m not getting any better.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually I plucked up the courage to go outside and see what was happening down on the beach.

Rather more beach than yesterday of course, but not as many people and as before, no-one brave enough to dip their toe in the briny.

And with a storm raging like this right now, it’s hardly a surprise. Not that I’ve been here for too many Augusts, but I can safely say that this is the worst summer that I can ever remember experiencing.

storm at sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s a better look at the Baie de Granville and the coast down past Donville les Bains and the old hotel where there are those gruesome flats.

The whitecaps on the waves tell you everything that you need to know. There’s a really bitter wind that’s blowing out there – not exactly in the epic proportions of the other day but pretty near enough.

And it was freezing too. It was cold enough when I went out to the shops this morning but as the day has drawn on, it’s just getting worse and I can’t get myself warm at all.

Some of it is down to my health issues of course, but some of it is also down to the temperature.

yacht storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I had one of my eyes roving around out to sea while the other one was looking down the coast.

And I had to look long and hard before I was able to pick up some kind of water craft – the sail of a yacht out near the Ile de Chausey.

And that’s your lot today. I couldn’t see anything else in the water. But you can see the rain squall out there with the rain bouncing off the surface of the sea, with the yacht swathed in the thick of it. I don’t want to hang around and wait for that to arrive. I need to be pushing on.

storm brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not the only rainstorm that’s threatening the Normandy coast either. There’s a nice one brewing over there of the coast of Brittany.

Having decided to head away from the one coming my way from the Ile de Chausey I went down the path and across the car park at the end of the headland where I could see the Brittany coast across the Baie de Mont St Michel.

This one will be in her ein an hour or so so there’s time to take a photo. But not of any boats or ships. There’s nothign whatever doing out on the water except that yacht.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not the day to be going over to the Ile de Chausey unless you absolutely have to.

And so moored at the ferry terminal this afternoon is Belle France. She’s not even proposing to undertake a trip around the bay this afternoon. And if you look at all of the walkways over there and around the harbour, there isn’t a soul out there anywhere.

There were a few people around where I was but they weren’t going anywhere – just loitering around waiting for the weather to make up its mind.

baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou can’t actually see the rainstorms from this side of the headland where I am now, but instead we can see the area where the sailing schools assemble.

And, of course, there isn’t a boat out there this afternoon. Despite the shelter afforded by the headland, you cans ee the whitecaps on the waves. It’s pretty rough out there and I don’t suppose that they wan’t to give any of their pupils an impromptu ducking.

While I was at it, I had another look into the chantier naval to see what was happening, in view of the rather rapid turn-round just recently, but everything remained the same as it was yesterday afternoon.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I headed back towards my apartment, but not before I’d stuck my head into the port to see who was about in there.

The two Channel Island ferries Victor Hugo i, the foreground and Granville behind her are still there. Apart from two or three days last summer, they haven’t been out of port at all since March last year other than to go for their annual service and when the harbour was drained.

The ferry service from here to Jersey has been runiing for almost a couple of centuries and I can see it coming to a shuddering halt, not that it isn’t halted already, if nothing is done to reinstate the service pretty soon.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomeone else in port this afternoon is Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey.

She’s moved from the harbour wall by the ferry terminal where she’s been moored for the last couple of days. That tells me that she doesn’t have anything to do for the next while so it’s unlikely that there are any holidaymakers who will need their luggage conveying over to the island.

Back here, I vegetated some more before going for tea. I’m clearly not well right now. Even tea didn’t cheer me up. A baked potato wot veg and a breadcrumbed vegan burger, followed by a baked apple in lieu of anything else.

Now that that’s done, I ‘m going to go to bed – curled up in my nice clean bedding. I don’t feel like doing anything else right now and even if I did, I couldn’t keep my eyes open to do it and I’d be too cold anyway.

There’s a lot of baking tomorrow so an early night and a good sleep will do me good. So who’s going to party under my bedroom window tonight?.

Friday 30th April 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… slightly better day today. Not very much, but something of an improvement. Mind you, not that things could have been much worse than they were.

And they probably would have been even better had I not had several attacks of cramp during the night, a couple of which dragged me out of bed.

But anyway, I made it up and out of bed just after the first alarm again. And after the medication I listened to the dictaphone. There was some kind of TV programme during the night featuring me. It was like a festival of all my old vehicles. They had managed to collect a whole pile of old vehicles that I used to own and they were all being filmed arriving at this venue where we were supposed to be having this party. The thing that surprised me was that out of all of these old vehicles turning up, they hadn’t managed to go and get Caliburn. I was really surprised by it. I mentioned something like “it’s a shame that I don’t have a boat, isn’t it?”. They said “you do have a boat and it’s on the canal over there” and they were pointing to the canal on Henhull Bridge. I said “God, do I have a boat as well?”. There was something about me getting a boat for going over the sea. And that was one of the times when I awoke with an attack of cramp.

In between all of the wicked attacks of cramp I was visiting a girl, someone like my friend Sue, and I ended up spending the night there, separate beds. I was really tired so by the time that I got up it was quite late in the morning. I went to ‘phone my boss to tell him that I was not going to be in work that day but first of all she had to move an animal out of the bedroom with its pet snail so that I could use the ‘phone in there. But every time I tried to dial I kept on getting a wrong number. In the end I went to dial up on my mobile ‘phone. There was something about the animals she had, a cat and a mouse and a dog and I was training them to eat bits of chocolate that I used to do with my cats, giving them a bit equal and having them sit and wait until I gave the word and this was surprisingly successful. This girl had never seen anything quite like it at all. I went to ‘phone him and ask for Friday off as well and make a few days of it out here with this girl but every time I went to phone I couldn’t get through. This auto-dialler was dialling the first number that I put in that was wrong.

At that point, I went off back to sleep again, leaving the dictaphone running. And my apologies to Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in these pages as often as she deserves) for doubting her word when she complained that I snored in bed when I was asleep (not that I ever did too much sleeping if I was with Percy Penguin).

Transcribing that was about all that I managed to do this morning. Not even a mug of coffee was sufficient to galvanise me into action and after I’d had my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread, I actually crashed out again.

Not for as long as on the two previous days, but it may as well have been, for all the good that it did me from a working point of view.

After lunch I made something of a desultory start on editing my photos from August 2019. Doing anything is better than doing nothing, of course.

Not that I did too many but right now I’m emulating thousands of pioneers on the Trails West to Oregon and California during the Gold Rush years of the late 1840s and 1850s by “nooning” at Cottonwood Creek near modern-day Guernsey in Wyoming. It was an eerie feeling sitting there eating my sandwiches on the same spot where the Donner party had once eaten their lunch just four months before they began to eat each other.

There was the usual pause for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach near fish trap rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual I went over to the end of the car park to look over the wall down onto the beach to see who was about down there.

Just a few people walking around down there today and I’ve no idea why because the weather wasn’t unpleasant at all. There are a couple of people walking around on the beach who caught my eye. Not because of their white jackets, but because they were walking past the medieval fish trap.

You can see that it’s doing its job retaining the water that’s come in with the tide. When it was working correctly back in the olden days the water would slowly filter out leaving the fish behind. And then the fishwives would wade in and pull out the fish with their hands.

And they would probably have much more luck than the modern-day fisherman with his rod and line. Who says that modern methods are more efficient?

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

It was the first thing that I noticed when I walked around the corner and onto the path that leads down to the car park. The tide was not yet right out so there was still plenty of water in the bay. We’ve seen HOW EMPTY THE BAY CAN BE when we are at very low tide.

For a change there weren’t too many cars on the car park. Just three, in fact, this afternoon, and none of them were of any interest. It wasn’t very busy at all so I walked off quietly down to the end of the car park and the end of the headland.

people on lower footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere may not have been anyone about on the cliffs where I’d just been walking or on the car park, but the lower footpath today was heaving with people. There was even someone making an attempt to cycle around it on a mountain bike.

Even more surprisingly, there were no fishermen today on the rocks. It’s too much to suppose that they have given it up as a bad job and gone to the fishmonger’s.

And that reminds me of the story about the mermaid who appeared on the rocks down there. Someone asked what her vital statistics were and the reply was “36 – 24 – €3:60 per kilo”.

On that note, I walked off along the path on top of the cliffs on top of the other side of the headland. I forgot to notice if there were any fishing boats out there working this afternoon.

digger with tractors and trailers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the viewpoint I could see the digger and the tractors and trailers working away at the end of the harbour wall down in the tidal harbour.

It looks as if they have finished digging away at the mountain of sand that had built up at the harbour entrance and were now digging away at a kind of trench further inside the harbour. It’s going to be interesting in a couple of days time to see what they are doing right now.

Incidentally, digging away at the mountain of sand apparently isn’t anything new. It’s a regular task that they undertake every five or so years to keep the passage free.

You can see that the tide is still a fair way up. The waste pipe that they are laying from the pleasure port is still part-submerged in water and the two white diggers haven’t made it out there as yet.

fishing boat out of water chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom this viewpoint I can see down into the chantier navale

There is no change in occupancy there today – Aztec Lady and the smaller trawler are still parked up on blocks down there and that’s your lot. But there’s something else in there too that looks as if it’s just been hauled out of the water. We can tell that by the amount of water down there behind that little fishing boat.

She’s been dropped onto the trailer by the portable boat lift and is about to be whisked away by the pick-up. That’s presumably the driver inside the cabin making the boat secure before they leave. And I was ready to leave too, and have another mug of coffee.

fishing boat grounded out port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBefore I did, I walked past the quay at the fish processing plant.

And there today we have another fishing boat left to go around on the mud as the tide goes out. That’s becoming quite a habit right now.

Back here I made myself a coffee and then carried on with my photographs, such as I was able, and despite another little relaxation for half an hour, and then I had a play on the guitars. And despite how I was feeling, I enjoyed every minute of it too. And I wished that I felt better than I do.

Tea tonight was nothing special. A burger with rice and vegetables with onion gravy followed by apple crumble with the left-over custard from yesterday.

But now I have the opportunity for an early night. After last night, I’m going to have another one of those pills that they prescribe me to have a good night’s sleep. We’ll see how this one works in the hope that I can have a better night’s sleep than I did.

Thursday 29th April 2021 – THERE HAS BEEN …

anakena port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… yet more movement in the chantier navale this morning, and I was lucky to be there to see it.

As I walked down to the end of the road this morning on my way out to the shops (I did actually make it there) I saw Anakena slowly making her way across the inner harbour – the tide being well in at this moment.

She’s been in the chantier navale for quite a considerable time, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, so it’s very nice to see her finally back in the water heading off towards her habitual berth in the inner harbour.

Not very quickly, I have to say. She’s taking her time manoeuvring across the harbour, not in any great rush. I suppose that after all of this time she needs to get her sea legs back again.

anakena victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time that I’d reached the bottom of the steps of the Rampe du Monte a Regret she was pulling into where she normally moors up.

But what caught my eye at this particular moment was the fact the Victor Hugo was also back in town today. Her stay in Cherbourg wasn’t all that long at all – just long enough for them to do whatever it was that they were doing that required the harbour gates to be left open the other day when the tide went out.

Anyway, after my horrible day yesterday, when I went to bed I found that I couldn’t go to sleep straight away. I spent quite a lot of time tossing and turning before I finally dropped off to sleep.

On awakening this morning, I knew that it was going to be another one of those days when I was going to be feeling really bad. And I wasn’t wrong either.

It was a real effort to haul myself out of bed and for much of the morning I didn’t feel like doing anything at all. But based upon the assumption that whatever I do has to be better than doing nothing at all, I filed away a pile of papers and wrote a letter that needed dealing with.

After a shower I gathered my thoughts and then went off to the shops where I encountered Anakena on her little perambulation around the port.

drawbridge pont levis Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere have been a few construction machines wandering around here this last day or two, and it seems that they are back working here in the Rue Cambernon.

That was closed to circulation a while ago while they had it dug up and it looks as if they are doing yet more work on it. One of these days I’ll have to go for a wander around there to see what they are up to.

Stopping off at the Post Office to post my letter, I carried on to the LIDL, totally exhausted by the walk.

And today I spent a lot of money in there, what with supplied being run down due to me not having done any shopping around Granville for a while. They had frozen falafel on special offer so I bought a box of that for future use. I bought some coffee too, which means that I’ll probably find my missing coffee tomorrow when I’m looking for something else.

The walk home was agony. Being loaded up as I was didn’t help much, and not being well made things even worse. But when I returned home I made myself some hot chocolate and with a slice of my sourdough fruit bread I came back in here.

And that was that, unfortunately, for the morning. Whatever time that was left before lunch was spent sleeping on my chair.

After a very late lunch again, I came back here again and fell asleep in plain mid-edit of the August 2019 photos in Wyoming. I’m currently parked on the verge of Highway 319 just north of Glendo, Wyoming, admiring a Burlington Northern and Santa Fe coal train passing by.

Somewhat later than usual, I staggered out into the sunlight for my afternoon walk.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I went over to the end of the car park and looked over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach.

Just a few people out this afternoon. It wasn’t all that warm out there this afternoon and there was plenty of wind about so I suppose that all of that was keeping people indoors. In fact, there weren’t too many people about at all walking around.

With nothing going on out at sea , I pushed off along the footpath on top of the cliffs. The view out to sea was hazy and misty today and there wasn’t much of a view out there. We could see the ile de Chausey but not really very much out to sea beyond there.

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver the past couple of weeks we’ve seen the fishing boats working out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel between the coast here and the Brittany coast over on the other side.

As I walked across the path at the end of the lawn and over the car park, I could see that there were a couple of boats out there working today. There’s a trawler in mid-channel and another fishing boat out on the far side of the bay, although I can’t see what that one is.

There were a couple of others deeper in the bay towards the Mont St Michel but they were too far away to see. So there is evidently enough seafood out there in the bay to keep them in business for a while

people fishing on the rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact, the fishing boats are probably having more luck than these people are having right now.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the amount of people fishing with rod and line into the sea. The rocks on the end of the Pointe du Roc seems to be a popular place (or plaice) for them and there is another pile of them out there today.

It goes without saying that I didn’t see anyone catch anything while I was watching … “no surprise there” – ed … so I left them to it and cleared off down the path on top of the cliffs to carry on with my walk.

diggers working in outer harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom my vantage point on top of the cliffs I can see out past the harbour entrance to see what they are up to out there this afternoon.

Being earlier than I was yesterday, the tide is quite far out and so in the distance we can see the two white diggers that are installing this famous drainage pipe out across the bay. They are making quite good progress with that although I think that once we have a few winter storms and raging high tides, it’ll be interesting to see how well it survived.

The yellow digger is there too right by the harbour wall, digging away at this sandbank and they are making good progress with that too. Not only is it going to be interesting to see how much they dig away, it’ll also be interesting to see what else they will be digging up that’s been embedded in the silt for all this time.

aztec lady fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier today we saw Anakena sailing away out of the chantier navale to her berth after all of this time in there.

Nothing else has arrived there over the course of the day so we are now down to just two boats the little fishing boat that came a day or two ago and Aztec Lady that has been there for a while now.

Back in the apartment I bumped into a couple of neighbours and we had a good chat, and then I came up here for a mug of very strong coffee and to carry on with a few more photos.

That took me up to guitar practice and afterwards I had tea. A slice of pie with veg and gravy, followed by apple crumble and custard. I’ve now run out of custard powder so I might have a go at making my own with cornflour, sugar and vanilla essence.

And right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve had another horrible day today and I can’t afford to have too many of these right now. I really need to organise myself and start to feel better and do a few of the things that have been building up.

So here’s hoping for a good day tomorrow.

Saturday 9th January 2021 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

… another depressing, dismal, miserable day as far as my health has gone.

But more of this anon

heavy frost noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallToday has also been the first day that I’ve had to scrape the ice of Caliburn’s windscreen before I could take him out for a drive to the shops.

Overnight the temperature had dropped to -0.5°C – the first time that it’s been below freezing, and we had had a heavy frost as you can see in this photo of the grass down the side of NOZ. It’s not quite the -16°C of the Auvergne of course through which I lived for 9 years, for the first couple of years at least in the most primitive of circumstances, and there was no snow either.

But winter is here with a bang and although it’s still above freezing even as I type, this brilliant clear sky outside fills me full of misgivings. I’ve turned the heating up.

But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, it was another horrible day for me. Once again I heard the alarms but I couldn’t get out of bed and it was just after 08:00 when I finally tore myself from underneath the covers.

And it took me quite a while to find enough energy to go and find my medication too. It was definitely one of the worst starts to the day that I’ve had.

However I did manage to have a shower too and then I wandered off to organise Caliburn so that I could go to the shops.

NOZ came up with a few odds and sods of this and that but nothing worth shouting about so I wandered down the road to LeClerc.

bad parking leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallExcuse the extremely blurred photo but the camera has focused on some dirt on the windscreen of Caliburn instead of the car over there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that pathetic parking features quite often in these pages, and here’s another fine example. Of course, it’s an Audi, as you might expect, and the driver has just abandoned (I won’t say “parked”) his car like that in two spaces and cleared off inside.

As for me, I had my own parking issues. With Caliburn being wider than a standard car, I always park at the end of a row and park right over so that there’s a good gap up the side. That was what I did today, so the person in the next bay parked right over on the white line which meant that it was a struggle to put my shopping into the side door.

And talking of the shopping, I bought loads of fruit and some other bits and pieces but there was nothing in the sales that caught my fancy.

Back at the apartment I put the frozen food away and then made myself a banana smoothie with plenty of ice – I really did have a fancy for that this afternoon.

And then, regrettably, I fell asleep on the chair and that was that until 14:00. Just going to the shops had totally exhausted me. And I felt totally dreadful when I awoke. I know that I’ve had some bad re-awakenings but I don’t think that I’ve ever had one quite like this.

unloading seafood fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter a rather late lunch I went for my afternoon walk – into town and the chemist’s to pick up the medication that they didn’t have on Thursday.

At the foot of the Escalier des Noires Vaches there was one of the shellfish boats unloading its catch into a fish shop van – presumably there’s some kind of connection between the two. But I didn’t stop to enquire. I pushed on along the quayside where I bumped into the itinerant and we had a little chat.

Having picked up my medication I came on back home and sat down to listen – at long last – to where I’d been during the night.

At some point during the night I ended up in Accrington, although it was nothing like the Accrington that I know, and as I’ve only ever been to Accrington twice in my life I wondered why I would suddenly find myself there on a nocturnal voyage.. I ended up in a big office building and I was looking through all the stuff that was on sale in the Oxfam shop there. There were 2 Oxfam shops and I’d gone from one to the other in these 2 big skyscraper buildings and I hadn’t found anything that I wanted. I ended up in the living room of one of these shops. There were 2 people in there so I asked them if they could tell me the way to the railway station. They said “it’s only a few minutes walk away from here, but really you aren’t supposed to be in here”. I apologised and said “just point me in the direction of where the railway station is and that will be fine”. Some other guy said “we’ll have to get someone to take you”. “Why’s that?” “Well, you aren’t qualified to do that”. I looked at this guy and could see that he’s a foreigner but I could see the first bit clearly that he was talking about the other 2 guys had hushed him up. One of them said that he would sort something out but I shouldn’t really be in that room where they are. It’s a private room.

Later on I was working in a nursing home in the UK. We’d started to organise holidays and I’d been based in Dover. I had to pick up a group of people and they were all elderly and infirm, on crutches and in wheelchairs, that kind of thing and I had to meet them at the station. when they came off the train I was staggered at my lot which wasn’t much good. I had to take them into town, so I pointed out a few things to them. After we’d set off for a couple of minutes someone made me aware that there were 3 people missing. I knew about 1 who had gone off to do her own thing but another couple had apparently gone off to visit a fort in the vicinity. That left me with 15 instead of 18. I told them about an anecdote – how I’d met a hotel keeper down here when I was travelling back and to to Europe but I didn’t have the chance to finish it as I was kept on being interrupted. Eventually I had to tell them about the area where we were and took them to a corner of a street basically. This was the street where my newsreader lived and at that moment my newsreader suddenly decided to update and started to pump out loads of information going back a couple of years. With my newsreader 99% is rubbish and you have to sift through to try to have the 1% that’s good. I thought “how am I going to explain to people that they are going to be seeing news 5 years old that we already know what has and hasn’t happened and how are they going to act when they start to get it again.

Later still I was with 1 of my regular girls but I can’t remember who it was now – something that really fills me with dismay as I’m sure you can imagine. We were talking about cars. I had my collection of vehicles, a Cortina, a couple of others and a BT estate from Italy that I had that I was quite happy showing off. It came to the question of doing them up, and I decided that I would sell everything except the one that I really liked and I’d spend all my money restoring that one. Then off we separated and a short while later she was sitting at a table with a couple of people who had kidnapped her. I walked over and said “hi”. I was breakfast time so I mouthed that I would fetch a loaf and bring it back. I brought it back to the table and these 2 guys were still sitting there. They wouldn’t take a hint about going and leave the 2 or us on our own. I cut a couple of slices off this bread and put them in the toaster but it jammed the toaster and 1 piece just wouldn’t come free and wouldn’t switch off. All smoke started to come out as if the toast was burning inside it.

But this thing about kidnapping (which thing? Have I missed something?) relates to something else that happened earlier where there was a young girl who had to be home at something like 22:30 but it got to 22:15, 22:20, 22:25 and she still hadn’t turned up. I ended up going to a night club and she was sitting on 1 of the tables there. There were a couple of people with her so I gave her a wide berth although I kept an eye on the proceedings. Round about 02:30 her mother stormed in, grabbed hold of her and they had this really intense discussion and I don’t know what happened after that, which is disappointing.

There was more stuff too, but as you are probably eating a meal right now, I’ll spare your stomachs. But it seems that the really disturbing dreams are back again. They went away for a while so I wonder what has summoned them to return.

rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor my evening walks I had a quick dash around my circuit – four legs of my run tonight as well.

There were a few people out there tonight but nothing else much going on at all. I took a photo of the Christmas lights in the shop in the Rue Georges Clemenceau just to prove that I was out and that I wasn’t the only one still with Cristmas lights illuminated, and then I ran back home for tea.

There was some stuffing left over from my stuffed pepper so I added a small tin of kidney beans and a mushroom and then had taco rolls with rice and veg followed by the last of the apple crumble.

So now I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed. A lie-in tomorrow of course and I hope that it’ll do me some good. I can’t go on like this. It’s getting on my wick.

Monday 4th January 2021 – THAT WAS A …

… horrible day today again.

It is a fact that the day after I come home from Leuven, exhausted by the travel and by the effects of the medication, I find it difficult to do anything the next day while I recover my strength. And when I’ve had no sleep the night before and I’ve been carrying heavy shopping around as well, it simply amplifies the effect.

When I’ve slept through the alarms in the past, at least I’ve heard them somewhere in the distance but I’ve taken no notice. This morning though, I didn’t hear a thing. Nothing in the night disturbed me. There wasn’t even anything on the dictaphone so it must have been one of the deepest sleeps that I’ve ever had.

Mind you, I didn’t go to bed until 02:30. Despite the heavy couple of days that I’d had, I wasn’t tired at all for some reason and I don’t understand that. And so it’s no surprise that I didn’t awaken until about 09:30, and didn’t leave the bed until about 10:20.

After the medication then, with nothing to transcribe from the dictaphone. I could make a start on the radio programmes. But while in the past I’ve been able to dash off a programme in a couple of hours, by the time that I knocked off at 18:00 to play the guitar I had just about finished writing, neve rmind dictating and editing, the notes for just one programme.

Fighting off sleep (unsuccessfully a couple of times), and not having the same energy that I’ve had just recently, it’s clear that I can’t keep going like I could previously. I hope that I can pick up in due course.

beach donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLunch was some of my delicious vegetable soup, even nicer than it was yesterday, and later on this afternoon I went out for my afternoon walk.

The temperature had dropped to about 3°C and it was damp and miserable out there. There were a few people nevertheless walking on the beach out by the Plat Gousset this afternoon, something that surprised me.

There was quite a mist out there too and it wasn’t possible to see any distance particularly. So haven’t taken a photograph of the beach I headed off along the path on top of the cliff

people sitting by cabanon de guet pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAcross the lawn and across the car park I went until I reached the end of the headland looking out over the bay.

As I mentioned just now, it was pretty cold this afternoon and so I was surprised to see a couple of people sitting on the bench by the old sentry cabin right out on the end. They can’t have been enjoying the view in this weather.

With nothing else going on out there that I could see, I walked off along the path to see what was going on at the chantier navale. And the answer to that was “nothing”. The trawler and the yacht were still there, in exactly the same position that they where before they left.

workmen repairing public toilets pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot too far away from the viewpoint overlooking the harbour is a set of public conveniences. There’s a roll-up lightweight door that rolls down when they are closed but before I went away, that had been damaged.

Today there were a couple of workmen there. They’d taken away the roll-up door, or what was left of it, and they were fitting a heavy-duty metal sliding door instead. I watched them for a while and then headed home for a nice hot coffee and a slice of Christmas cake.

What with chatting to Liz and dozing off a few times I didn’t do much work, and I knocked off for a very enjoyable session on the guitars.

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went out for my evening walk. Walk, not run. I wasn’t feeling up to running around tonight. I must be feeling under the weather.

It was now 2°C outside and trying its best to rain. Not the best weather to be out there at all. The view along the coast had improved slightly and down the coast to Donville the street lights stood out clearly. The image though, taken with the NIKON 1 J5 didn’t come out as clearly as I liked though. I shall have to have the big NIKON D500 repaired pretty quickly.

As you can tell, I’m down on the footpath underneath the walls tonight. Despite the weather today, it must have been dry while I was away because the path was no longer flooded.

st martin de brehal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the coast, the lights on the promenade at St Martin de Bréhal were quite bright this evening. The view was nothing like as clear as this earlier today

From here I carried on walking along the footpath and eventually ended up at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch. There wasn’t anything else going on around there either so I pushed on across the Place Maurice Marland – again at a walk.

The rain was starting to fall a little heavier now so I wasn’t going to hang around. I might not be able to run today but I can walk pretty quickly.

place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow that the scaffolding has gone from the house on the corner I could walk down the alleyway and into the Rue Notre Dame.

No black cat to greet me tonight, and no Christmas lights in the Place Cambernon either. I’d noticed from my viewpoint earlier that all of the Christmas lights in the town had been switched off so I suspected that that would be the case here.

The lights are still there though. They haven’t actually got around taking them down yet. And so it wouldn’t have heurt to leave them illuminated to add a touch of gaiety to the place in these difficult times.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been walking around the path earlier I’d seen all of the fishing boats out at sea heading home to unload.

By the time that I’d walked around my circuit, the first ones had started coming into port. The tide can’t be far off coming right in.

Back home I made tea. Rice with veg and a vindaloo out of the freezer followed by Christmas pudding and custard. That was a really nice tea.

While i’d been out Rosemary had rung so I called her back and we discussed this and that. for a whole hour and 38 minutes. This is why I’m just dashing off my notes – because it’s late and I’m tired. Tomorrow it’s the Welsh lesson and then hopefully I can push on with this work. And I haven’t forgotten that I didn’t do my Welsh homework today. That was disappointing.

Must do better.

Thursday 17th December 2020 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… day I’ve had today.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile you admire a couple of photos of Thora leaving port under cover of darkness, let me tell you all about it.

And it all went wrong rght at the start when I missed the third alarm. And missed it by a good 35 minutes too which is extremely disappointed. It wasn’t as if I had had a late night last night either. I was actually in bed at about 23:30 which is early for me these days.

And so there I was, late again. I hauled myself off (eventually) into the kitchen for my medication and morning kefir. Kiwi kefir, which was my favourite until I discovered that clementines work well in it too (note to self – “buy more clementines”.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd then back to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been.

We were out somewhere driving last night and we got to Liège on the motorway – we’d been driving on the left as in the UK down a steep bank and everyone was going past me but I thought that when we reach the hill back up on the other side I’ll catch up with them because I had the cruise control set which will carry me on as they slow down – but we had to come off at Liège for some reason at the exit, down the slip road and turn left because the central reservation was closed off and it took us up to the Liège by-pass and we expected to be able to double back and return to the motorway again there. But apparently not. There were riot police and barbed wire all over the place. It turned out that there was a football match taking place in Liège that night between Standard Liège and some European opponent. I thought “this is some extreme to go to because of this football match” we had to inch our way along the ring road until we could arrive at the next junction. Someone else in the queue at the traffic lights to whom I was chatting counted that there were 7 sets of traffic lights between where we were and that next junction. While we were inching our way along, someone in a red Cortina S registered estate drove out of a side alley. Admittedly he was going slowly and it was impossible to see but it took me completely by surprise and nearly hit it. Then I ended up back at the EU and they were proposing a judo class so I went along to the opening lesson. There was a guy there interviewing all of the people there who wanted to join, asking about their experience. Of course with being the last to arrive they kept me until last. Then they came over to me, asked my name and what I did. I replied “as little as possible, like everyone else”. He gave me one of these tired, worn-out looks and went over to the computer screen to look up my details. I thought “if he wanted my details he should have asked for that instead of asking a silly question”. He started to scroll through but couldn’t see my name. I asked “why don’t you type me name on the screen and it will scroll right through to my name”. He replied “it won’t do that”. I said that it had been doing that for 20 years that I know of. He replied that there had been problems with the computer and it doesn’t do that. I had a look at the screen. It was all burnt and mangled, and looked a bit like a relief map of a railway line and a railway station. I was surprised that it was working at all looking like a mess like this

Having transcribed that, which took longer than it might have done, I had half an hour or so on the arrears of work from the summer before going for a shower and getting ready to go out to the shops.

normandy trader thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt looks very much as if we have a full house today down in the port right now.

Thora is still here after her adventures last night, and it’s been pretty common knowledge that Normandy Trader is really busy, so it’s no surprise to see her in port this morning.

She set out at about 03:00 so I’m told, so she’s come in on the morning tide and so Thora has had to move off into the gravel-loading bay in order to allow Normandy Trader to moor underneath the crane in order to be unloaded

I struggled up to LIDL though – not quite as bad as the last tie I went, but near enough. And I didn’t buy much today because I didn’t really need anything special. They had those nice multi-coloured AAA batteries on offer so I bought 2 packs to use for the high-quality equipment. And the clementines of course.

citroen saxo tyres marked rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe way home usually brings me down the Ru St Paul and for the past however many months there’s been a Citroen Saxo parked here. One of its windows is broken and it looks pretty much abandoned to me.

And it seems that the local council has noticed too, because since the last time that I was down here they have tagged the tyres and the road where she’s parked. The intention would seem to be to come back in after a reasonable period of time to check whether or not she has moved at all.

And if not, she’ll be taken away for disposal, I imagine.

But this tagging is interesting. In the old days the officials would note in their notebooks the position of the tyre valves in order to determine if a vehicle had or hadn’t moved. I suppose that there’s only me these days who still goes around with a notebook

Back here after a slow, weary crawl up the hill (noticing that Normandy Trader has already cleared off and that was a rapid turn-round, wasn’t it) I made myself a hot chocolate and cut myself a slice of fruit bread. And this is when I started to have problems because after about half an hour or so, no matter how many things I had to do, I crashed out completely.

And I DO mean “completely” too. It was 14:09 when I next glanced at the time – about 2.5 hours after I’d sat down. And it took me another half-hour to summon up the strength to leave the chair in search of food. You’ve no idea just how depressing that was today on top of the really bad start to the day.

But at least after lunch I managed to fit Caliburn’s new battery and he starts perfectly now too. He’s in need of a good run-out though so we might go for a little trip out on Saturday if I’m feeling up to it.

buoy people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite how I was feeling, I wasn’t going to go and miss my afternoon walk.

And neither did anyone else by the looks of things, that’s all I can say because it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the paths as crowded as they were today. Even down on the beach there were hordes of people moving around in the beautiful sunshine enjoying what may well be the last of the good weather.

And at the top of the photo towards the right you’ll notice a bright yellow buoy of some description. I’d be surprised if it were a lobster pot, so close into the shore at low tide, but who knows what it might be?

Threading my way through the throngs, I walked on along the footpath. Nothing else happening here so I walked across the lawn and the car park to the headland.

yacht cabin cruiser chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing doing there either so I walked along the path at the top of the cliffs to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale.

And it seems that we have a new tenant in there today. But it’s nothing to get excited about unfortunately. It’s only a very small cabin cruiser-type of boat and I don’t imagine that it’s going to be in there for very long, or that it will need all that much attention either.

We could do with a return to the heady days of late summer when we had as many as 9 of the largest types of boat in there receiving attention and there wasn’t room in there to swing a cat.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut down in the harbour, Thora is still there. She ended up not going out on the tail of the morning tide.

But interestingly, we saw in this morning’s photo that there was an articulated lorry pulling a trailer on which were two old shabby sea containers. The lorry and trailer have gone, but the sea containers are now on the quayside right by Thora. I wonder if she’s going to be taking them with her when she goes.

As for me, I must be going too. A nice hot coffee awaits me and I can’t say that I don’t need it. I need something to bring me to my senses, such as they are.

Back here, I did week 2 of my Welsh homework and then carried on with the arrears of work, making very little progress unfortunately. I just can’t seem to fire up the energy.

There was the hour on the guitars of course, which was quite enjoyable, except that I forgot my bass line to “Street Fighting Man” and that was disappointing. too. It’s not a very good day

In accordance with new procedures, it was time for me to go for my evening run about.

fishing boats english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou might have seen in the previous photos for earlier today that the tidal port was quite empty. There was hardly a fishing boat to be seen. And in case you are wondering where they all went, they are here.

In this photo I counted 12 fishing boats on their way back home now that the tide is a-cumen in. And there were probably just as many that didn’t make it into the frame as well.

What’s happening, I reckon, is that they are all out there catching what they can before the curtain comes down on fishing in the Bay on 31st December.

And while we’re on this subject, I heard the report of the meeting that took place the other day between the local fishermen. Basically, they have agreed that if they are restricted from the fishing grounds that were agreed under the Treaty of the Bay of Granville in 1836, then no British fishing boat will be allowed to land its catch in France.

This will complicate matters for our two coastal freighters, particularly Normandy Trader which is chartered by the Co-operative of Jersey Fishermen to bring their catch into Granville.

But I’m just surprised that they didn’t propose to cut the underwater cable that provides the Channel Islands with electricity. All of their electricity comes from here, and my way of thinking is that if they want to cut themselves off from Europe and from their obligations, then they can do, but that’s the kind of thing that works both ways.

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I ran off down the road until my next rest point. And I’m slowly pushing it a little further up the steep hill that’s there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that very occasionally we have seen some very bright lights at the back of Donville les Bains, and we’ve been wondering what they might be. They were there again tonight so I took a photo o that I might have a closer look when I returned home, but nothing evident showed itself

The football ground is in that general direction, but when I was there, I don’t recall it having floodlights

christmas lights rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe next two legs of my run have changed a little. In view of the floods on the footpath I now go along the road and down the steps half-way along near the Place de l’Isthme

There wasn’t anything going on around here so I wandered over to the side. The Christmas lights in the Rue Paul Poirier were looking really good tonight. Both of the big green crosses for the chemists in the street were flashing away but as my first photo of it didn’t work too well I deleted it and went to take another.

And just as I clicked the shutter, not one but BOTH of the lights were switched off. 19:30 bang on the button. Closing time, I reckon.

crescent moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I ran off across the Square Maurice Marland, straight intothe teeth of a roaring gale. I don’t know what had happened but the wind has suddenly picked up.

But as I walked up the ramp at the far end, this was far too good an opportunity to miss. the winds had blown away all of the clouds and this beautiful little sliver of a crescent moon appeared through the trees. It’s not really worked out unfortunately but never mind.

And if you look tothe left of the photograph, you’ll see the ramp that leads up to the viewpoint here that overlooks the port.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I walked up the ramp to the viewpoint to see what was going on there in the port.

And I was treated to another beautiful display of nautical danse macabres as a little freighter steamed … “dieseled” – ed … into port with all of its lights ablaze. At first I thought that it was Normandy Trader either forgotten something or else she’s dome a most amazingly rapid turnround back in St Helier.

But not even Normandy Trader can turn round that quickly. It is in fact Chausiais who now wants a go at the loading crane, but she’s not going to be having that for a while.

thora marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the reason for this is that, surprisingly, Thora is still in port next to Marité. She seems to be taking her time getting in and out these days.

So I watched the procedure for a few minutes and then headed home.

As you saw at the beginning, just after I moved away Marité slipped her moorings and headed off out into the open sea on her way home again and Chausiais slid into the vacant berth.

having put my tea in the oven before I set out, I came back home to hot pie and baled potatoes with veg and gravy followed by rice pudding. Fresh sprouts were on the menu today, and with some steamed frozen broccoli it was all totally delicious.

Now that I’ve written up my notes, I’m off to bed. later than I intended, but that’s how things are these days.

There’s plenty of work to do tomorrow, a few ‘phone calls to make and that sort of thing, and then of course the arrears to attend to. So here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow than I did today. It was all quite depressing what with one thig and another.

But I am noticing little deteriorations in my health here and there. People with this illness have already died during the length of time that I have had it, and while I’m being very careful about what I do, who I meet and what I eat, and about keeping fit, I can’t go on for ever.

We’ll see what the future brings to me.

Friday 27th November 2020 – HAVING NOT GONE …

… to bed until 02:30 this morning, I totally surprised myself by actually being up and about at 06:30.

Mind you, I needn’t have bothered for all the good that I’ve done today. I’ve not been able to get started today and I’m getting rather fed up of this.

So having slowly recovered from my extremely lethargic start and taken my medication, I listened to last night’s adventures on the dictaphone. Despite only being asleep for less than 4 hours, I still managed to find time to wander off.

There needed to be a big marriage in this family in a house very much like my old Grammar School and for some unknown reason they chose me to impersonate the bride. I was OK doing that until the groom appeared along with a couple of wedding cars. Then it became a kind of Brian Rix farce scampering around with all of this. My brother threatened to tell this guy and was making all kinds of suggestions. In the end he said that he needed someone to comfort him and console him, and the groom volunteered. I thought “that’s great. It will get rid of him. I can grab my shoes and clear off”. But I couldn’t find my shoes – I could only find one. The place was an absolute tip with presents and wrapping paper and everything around. But I could only find one shoe, which meant that I was stuck there. This guy came back down again and started to make some story about we needed to get this place tidied up. That was not what was going on in my mind at all. I was hoping to find a way to distract his attention so I could go but I had to find my shoes first and possibly my money and computer and loads of other things but the place was in such a mess that I couldn’t find anything.

It sounds rather like my place right now where I don’t even seem to have the energy to take the rubbish out to the bin.

Most of the day has been spent working on the arrears of when I was in Central Europe back in the summer, although you wouldn’t actually notice. My excuse that “much of the time was spent researching” isn’t really valid. It’s a far cry from the days 15 years ago when I could sit down and dash off 10,0000 words in a session without really thinking about it and without losing concentration and it’s making me even more depressed. Thank heaven that there’s music.

It will be no surprise to anyone that I crashed out round about midday. Crashed out good ‘n’ proper too, for more than an hour or so, curled up on the chair.

And so deep was I in it that I actually went off on a voyage. I was living with a large family and it was a weekend. I was wondering if all of the shops in Crewe had now reopened as I was thinking about going to B&Q for an exterior light for my house at Gainsborough Road and finally getting round to sorting a few things out there, but it was only a half-hearted thing. I was picturing myself doing some wiring but using some green flexible trunking. We were talking about things to do around the house to entertain us and I suggested a party. Someone wondered if I was being serious but I asked them if we had any jelly and cakes in ready. Feeling hungry, I went to the fridge where I had a tin of sweets and took one out, but I didn’t have the time to eat it as I found a Mickey Mouse cut-out of mine so took it over to the settee, sat down and went to put it in a folder. That mad me think about work, how I didn’t really like it and how I was creating arrears but thought then that I could always leave as I’m over the Retirement Age (how many times have I had this dream?) but then the downside would be that I would be really bored and going round in circles like I am now. The little girl came to sit by me with her big black long-haired cat that she was stroking. After a couple of minutes she got up to go somewhere and put the cat on my knee. That awoke me with a start.

At least my butternut squash soup was delicious even though it was quite late. And that was another thing – when I awoke from my little reverie I had the strangest feeling that I’d actually already eaten my lunch.

Back at my insipid work after lunch, up until walkies time and then I forced myself to go out into the cold.

Granville donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd cold it really was too. Winter has definitely arrived now in Normandy.

The sea fog that we saw yesterday morning – or would have done had the camera worked properly, it was back again. Or maybe it hadn’t gone away. The whole of the coast was shrouded in it and visibility was only about 7 or 8 miles, as you can tell from this photo.

You can just about see the coast beyond Donville les Bains, but not much further. It’s certainly a foretaste of things to come and I think that it’s going to be a cold one this year. We haven’t actually had a really cold winter for a while

sun shining into water baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe brats were out orienteering on the lawn again and I helped a little one find a marker that she was looking for, and then I pushed on.

Round on the headland we had another one of these beautiful sunny effects where rays of sunshine shine through the gaps in the clouds and make pretty patterns on the water. It’s not as spectacular as the one a week or so ago but it’s pretty good all the same.

Nothing else going on out at sea so I continued on my way. Too many people around for a decent run so I had a nice sedate walk.

ceres 2 trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been round at the headland I’d heard the sound of an old diesel motor chugging away somewhere so I was wondering what was going on.

And it seems to be all excitement this afternoon at the chantier navale. The green fishing boat that we saw in there yesterday seems to have disappeared but nstead they’ve hauled out another one from the water and dropped her on blocks.

I’ve no idea who she is, so I suppose that I’ll have to make further enquiries. But whoever she is, she’ll be in good company there with the yacht and with Ceres II who seem to have settled in for the Duration.

trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSudenly the engine that I heard revved up. It’s the engine on the mobile boat lift and as I watched, it over-rode the new fishing vessel and they wrapped the lifting tackle around it.

Moving her off to a new more permanent location I imagine. I waited for a while to see but they didn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry.

But can you see the driver’s cab of the boat lift? he has a good view of what’s going on around him while he’s in motion. But it’s quite a beast, that. They need something like that here for lifting the boats in and out of the water. 100 tonnes is no lightweight.

Back at the apartment I made a coffee and then carried on with my paper-stirring until it was time to practise the guitar. At least all of that went well and I had an enjoyable time. Thank heaven there’s music.

Tea was taco rolls and rice followed by another slice of my pie with banana sorbet.

trench place du marche au ble Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter tea, I had to dash out pretty smartish-like for my runs as there would be football on the internet later.

It was another day where I really wasn’t feeling up to all that much but I persevered all the same and managed my 6 runs, to some kind of degree. One of the legs of my runs goes past the other end of the trench that we saw yesterday. There’s no light here at all so you can’t see very much of it but anyway …

On I pushed round to the viewpoint over looking the Place Marechal Foch.

christmas lights avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlthough there was nothing going on down in the Place, there was some excitement happening in the Avenue de la Liberation.

Here we are, the first Christmas lights of the year, shining away in the biscuit shop over there. A sure sign that Christmas is coming. Next it will be the public lighting that we’ve seen them installing throughout the town over the last couple of weeks.

So I cleared off again, running across the Square Maurice Marland and making my way home via the shorter route rather than going by the walls. I was in a hurry.

parking blocked off avenue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s been quite a while since we went up the Rue Notre Dame so I was wondering if we’d see any changes along there.

Not really, I have to say. After all, it was quite dark. But it looks as if there is going to be yet more digging up of the road here, as if there hasn’t already been enough, judging by the fact that some of the parking is now fenced off.

There was a public notice pinned to one of the hurdles but the weather had got to that before I did, so I couldn’t see what it said.

Back in the apartment, I just about made the kick-off. Bala Town were playing Newtown and, to be honest, Bala had far too much in the tank for Newtown. Nevertheless although Newtown’s defence stood up well, they were undone by a couple of moments of magic down the right wing. A score of 3-1 to Bala was probably about right, I reckon, and no-one can complain about this.

And, rather shamefully, I fell asleep for a couple of minutes in the middle of the game.

Not an early night tonight again, unfortunately. One of these days I’ll manage a good, decent sleep without oversleeping. I’ve no idea when that will be, though.

Tuesday 18th August 2020 – I’M FEELING …

… a little better today

That much is evident because I actually managed a day where I spent most of it out of bed – not like yesterday where I hardly moved from the horizontal.

Even though the alarm went off as usual at 06:00, it was about 08:30 when I finally crawled out of bed and apart from a spell between 16:30 and 18:00 when I crawled back under the covers I managed to stay awake.

In fact, it all reminds me very much of the time that I spent in that hostel in Leuven. Pretty similar circumstances, I reckon.

But while I was asleep during the night I managed to take myself off to various places

There was some crazy dream last night about Caliburn where I’d changed one of the logos on Caliburn and it was all in different places. One of the things that I had ended up doing was from the old Caliburn I cut out part of the side which was like sticky-backed plastic kind of stuff and I had to stick it onto the new Caliburn I suppose to make sure that all of the signwriting was in the right place. That was really complicated because I had to get it exactly right and that wasn’t particularly easy.

Later on we were with a group of ex-pats. We were all talking and discussing things. We all decided that we would go to this shop. I got into a car with someone else – a very, very strange place where I was sitting, right down on the floor and the road was roaring past me so quickly. We ended up coming into this Delhaize car park. I had to reverse in and it was really tight. For some reason the steering was really stiff and it took all of my effort to turn the wheel to make this vehicle, which was now Caliburn again, into this parking space. There were a couple of women there talking. They had only just come to France and weren’t settled as yet. They were only giving all kinds of excuses as to why they didn’t want to settle. They all thought that I’d been here for years and was I going to go to this breakfast brunch type of meeting thing later on, in which case I would have to leave them all somewhere

Later still I was on a bus last night going somewhere – it would have been an airport shuttle it was crowded and there were a few of us just basically sitting on the window outside. This bus travelled somewhere away from the airport. It was all very uncomfortable. There were some seats in there but the luggage had been dumped in them but we were clinging on anyway and from there we suddenly started to walk. We walked out of the city past all of these people. There were some kids there asleep on the side of the road, next to adults covered in blankets either on the ground or transats. We were carrying on walking into the countryside and you could see, behind, the planes taking off from the airport. I had a tent or something like that that I was carrying with my rucksack. In the end I put the tent on top of the rucksack, strapped the two together and went to carry it but it was heavy. Then I wasn’t sure about the height, whether I could pass underneath this gateway. I began to think “how the hell am I going to get to this camp site where I’m supposed to be going? This is like miles”.

another thing of interest is that I’ve managed to eat a pear and a banana and to drink a pint of vegetable soup. It all stayed in too which was a surprise, and so things seem to be improving somewhat. Maybe tomorrow I might even find the strength to leave the apartment.

This evening there was some live football on the internet. Crewe Alexandra, just promoted to the third tier of English football were playing Nantwich Town, 4 levels below in the pyramid, in a friendly match.

Nantwich Town fielded two strikers who have Crewe connections – Callum Saunders who was a youth player with the Alex but didn’t make the grade, and Joe Malkin, who had a trial with the club that didn’t lead anywhere.

Crewe took the lead early on but with almost the last kick of the first half, Malkin scored an equaliser. In the second half Saunders came on as a substitute and spent the entire second half strolling through the non-existent Crewe central defence and scored an embarrassingly easy hat-trick to really rub it in.

The Alex pulled back a second goal right near the end but by then it was far too late to do anything. It was probably one of the most embarrassing defeats that I have ever seen.

But the fact that I managed to watch it from start to finish shows that at least I’m feeling rather better than I did this time yesterday.

Let’s hope that the improvement continues.

Sunday 16th August 2020 – JUST IN CASE …

… you’re wondering, I’m back home.

But there’s a slight problem, as Alison will understand because we talked about it. In all honesty for the last couple of weeks I’ve not been feeling myself … “quite right too – disgusting habit” – ed … and the feeling has slowly been getting worse until today when it finally erupted.

Today therefore I was up early and I pushed on home.

Not before I had a listen to the dictaphone though.

There was some kind of police incident last night with all of these really violent criminals and we were caught in the crossfire. These criminals had 12-bore shotguns sticking them inside our vehicle and pulling the trigger, everything like that. I couldn’t see how anyone could have survived in it. It was the most violent thing I’ve ever seen or been involved with. Eventually we were set free. it seemed that the police had overwhelmed these criminals which was the most surprising thing, and when we got out and checked ourselves over we found that we were totally unhurt. I couldn’t believe that for a minute. I was the last to be released from the car. I had a little chat with them. They were telling me all kinds of security precautions that I knew mainly vaguely. Then they took me off to a room. There was a bed in 1 little room, annexe type of place and there was someone in there. I asked him where all the others were. he said that they were in the next room so I went in there. One of the people was a boy whom I knew from school – what the hell is he doing? He was just finishing some tea and saying that he’s on the 16:00 bus the same as me. We started to have a little chat and I remember sayng that apparently I’m unharmed which really surprised me. We had a little chat about something or other involving this.

Later on there was something to do with nurses last night. One of them was talking to some people discussing a strike that had taken place. She said that there was only her and one or two other people and a patient from France who were still working at this particular local hospital. Somewhere in this I had a kind of plastic knife thing like a scraper that was used for cutting rope. I’d used it on a piece of rope but somehow the blade had come dislodged and I had to work out how I was going to get the blade back in because it had taken ages for it to be assembled and I wasn’t quite sure about it.

There was another thing about some kind of lorry. I thought that it was a Ford D-series artic tractor but it was in fact a very short wheelbase kind of lorry with high sides at the back for gravel, that kind of thing parked up at the side of the road. I had to park my van somewhere and work out where was the best way to take a photograph of it. I tried all kinds of places to get a good photograph but the person in this van was getting a bit fed up about it. I managed to get one photograph but it wasn’t very good. It turned out to be a Mercedes too. Then I walked to try to get a photo and ended up at a place where there were loads of people standing as if they were waiting to be picked up by people coming in cars. I had to walk back and clamber over the side of this verge to get a good photo but while I was doing it this lorry just drove away which annoyed me.

hotel st daniel Rue Bataille 16, 7600 Péruwelz, Belgium eric hallFirst thing to do was to go and rescue Caliburn. I wasn’t leaving him out in the street but there was a locked compound opposite (for an extra charge, of course) where he would be perfectly safe.

This gave me an opportunity to take a photograph of my extremely expensive hotel, with the sun streaming into the lens. And expensive it was too – with the receptionist going to check the contents of the fridge in the room before he would chack me out.

We also had something of an argument about a missing bottle of Schweppes until the housemaid butted in to confirm that she didn’t put one in.

The experience put me right off this hotel.

cyclists basilique notre dame de bon secours Place Absil B 7603 Bon Secours Belgium eric hallFinding my way out of town was quite an experience too, with a railway line blocking me at every turn.

However in the end I found what I was looking for. This is the Basilique Notre-Dame de Bon-Secours.

It started life as an oak tree, would you believe, in the Middle Ages. When it died they made a statue of Mary from the wood and it became a centre of pilgrimage for some unknown reason.

In 1637 a chapel was constructed to shelter the statue and then, like Topsy, “it just growed”, The current building dates from 1885-1892, and was awarded the title of “Basilica” by Pope Pius X in 1910.

Incidentally, where I am when I’m taking this photo is in France. Peruwelz is that close to the French border.

Leaving Peruwelz and entering France, there was something that I needed to do so I set course for Albert.

In the past I’d read countless books about the Battle of the Somme and I’d been interested in stories about how the top of the church spire was used as a watch tower by the British and how the Germans could clearly see its gilded top from their lines.

Basilique Notre-Dame de Brebières 20 Rue Anicet Godin, 80300 Albert France viewed from behind German lines eric hallThat was what I wanted to see for myself and due to a variety of different circumstances I didn’t have the opportunity to do that when I was here 18 months ago

So here I am, standing roughly where the Second Line of German trenches would have been prior to the British offensive of 1916 and you can indeed see the church spire quite clearly from here – and probably even clearer still when there is no early-morning mist about.

One of the locals was clearly upset by my stopping outside his house to take the photo. He came out to his front gate to have a look at me so I gave him a cheery toot and a wave as I departed.

ford ranger taking up four parking places super U 82 Avenue du Général Faidherbe, 80300 Albert france eric hallJust down the road is the town of Albert and there’s a supermarket there. That’s where I stopped to buy food for lunch as I don’t have very much in the van.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that pathetic parking takes up a lot of space on my pages, and here’s another one that is probably more pathetic than most.

Here on the car park at the Super U in Albert, this rather sad and sorry person has chosen to take up no fewer than four car parking spaces with his Ford Ranger. It surely isn’t possible to be any more selfish than this.

caliburn 200,000 kilometres france eric hallOn the way home, we reached a very important milestone in Caliburn’s life was reached.

Somewhere between Amiens and Neufchatel-en-Bray Caliburn’s tripmeter clocked up to 200,000 kilometres. Not bad for a boy who’s just celebrated his 13th birthday. He’s in line for a reward when we return home, whenever that might be.

As I mentioned earlier, for the last week or so I’ve not been feeling too good and I’ve gradually become worse and worse. The farther along the road I drove, the worse I became and I began to worry about reaching home.

It was my intention to call in on Liz and Terry and drop off Terry’s brushcutter but I was in no fit state to do that. I pushed on homewards thinking that the sooner I reach home the better

And just as well, for back here, it was a struggle for me to even climb up the stairs.

First thing that I did when I was up here was to call the boys on the great white telephone, after which I could peruse the finest details of what I’d eaten for the last few days.

Now I’m off to bed, with a handy bucket by my side, and normal service will be resumed as soon as the crisis passes.

Wednesday 15th July 2020 – WE HAD ANOTHER …

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall
… horrible day again today and I’m becoming rather fed up of this.

And while you all admire the photos of yet another beautiful sunset, I’ll tell you all about it.

In actual fact it all started so well and for a change I was filled with a certain amount of optimism. Despite something of a late night I managed to beat the third alarm to my feet, and that’s an achievement these days, that’s for sure

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was out last night with Rosemary and we were walking around a field where there were these old prehistoric statues, things like that. We became separated somehow and I was walking down to the edge of the field and who should I see at the edge of the field but Liz Ayers. “God, Liz, you’re dead!” Anyway she didn’t hear me and she was carrying on. I thought “if she sees me she’s going to start coming over to me and talk to me and that’s going to upset Rosemary. That’s not a very good idea”. But there was nowhere to go znd hide. I just had to brazen it out. Then something happened and it was a call for an assembly and everyone started to go back up the hill so I went back up the hill with everyone else. Someone was reading this text as to how as some kind of Pharaoh or God he was expected to walk 100 miles every day. The first day he had done 38 and the next day he had done 42. He set off and a few people started to follow him. Somehow I was swept up into following him as well. A few people started to dodge off down side streets so I went to dodge off down a side street but someone grabbed me and pulled me back into the main procession. It turned out that we were all expected to climb up the side of this house in our bear feet onto a scaffolding and start to rip the plaster off the front of this house. They gave the word and shouted to go so we all shot off. Slowly the rest of the crowd came to join in. There were a couple of guys who couldn’t make it up the side of this house – they didn’t have the right footwear. They were sobbing that they were going to be killed. As the crowd approached them the crowd started to climb up. There was a scaffolding near the top where people were standing and under the weight of the surging people the scaffolding collapsed. There were just a couple of people standing on the end and they had managed to scrape enough plaster off the front of this house to get in. Now they were passing stuff out from the house to throw down to the floor. I’ve no idea where I was by this time except that in the dream I was observing what was happening from a distance.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd whatever that is all about I really don’t have a clue.

For a change, I’ve been relatively busy today. First task was to deal with some more photos from July 2019. And I reviewed about 50 today which is good going as far as I’m concerned. Right now we are having tea on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour before going on a zodiac ride around Kangerluluk fjord – “The Awful Fjord” – in Greenland.

Second task was to write a letter. I’d received a letter the other day from a long-lost friend (I probably mentioned something about it at the time) and I reckoned that I had better reply before I forget completely.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter lunch there was yet more to do. First task this afternoon was to book Caliburn in for his bodywork.

That’s now arranged for late October ready for his control technique at the beginning of November. I need to bite the bullet and have the work done before it gets too bad.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I received – out of the blue a few months ago – a notification that I’m entitled to a works pension from when I worked for that weird American company in Watermael with Alison 15 years ago.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallI’d been sitting on the correspondence for a while but I received a reminder by registered post the other day so I reckoned that I’d better deal with it.

That involved a lot of searching for paperwork, photocopying, scanning, filling in forms and then ending it all off by e-mail. Only to have the e-mail rejected as “too large” so I had to divide it into four parts and send it off again.

That’s not come back yet so it might be good this time. But we shall see. I’ve no idea how much is involved, but it won’t be all that much, that’s for sure.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallFinally there was a very long e-mail to send to a friend – someone I had met on board The Good Ship Ve … errr Ocean Endeavour 2 years ago.

She lived in California but we had somehow lost contact. She replied just as I was about to set off on the Spirit of Conrad to tell me that she had moved to Hawaii and had to stay with friends as her house wasn’t ready.

So that was something urgent that I needed to do before I’m much older. Plenty of things have happened since we last spoke so it’s high time that we updated each other with our news.

swimmer plat gousset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallOf course there was the afternoon walk around the walls.

The mobile canteen was still there although there were no customers around it. But I was more interested in what was going on out at sea. It wasn’t very warm at all so anyone out there in the water earned my respect, no-one more so than Captain Matthew Webb here.

He must be on his way to pay a call at Dawley Bank, although that doesn’t look much like old canal that carried the bricks to Lawley down there.

hang gliders donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallIt goes without saying that there was plenty of aerial activity today with the wind that we were having.

There were dozens of bird-men of Alcatraz in the air today and so I hung around for a while hoping for a mid-air collision to add a little bit of excitement to my otherwise-boring life.

Unfortunately nothing out of the ordinary happened while I was watching. After a couple of minutes I became somewhat bored so I pushed on … “pushed off, he means” – ed … down the path through the crowds of people.

kids jumping from diving platform plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were crowds too, blocking the pavements and paths and so on all the way around my circuit.

Crowds too on the beach and in the water round by the Plat Gousset. And all of the kids were once more on the diving platformm leaping off into the sea.

You saw plenty of photos of them yesterday so I won’t trouble you again. But here’s one for the record just to fill in the gap. I wasn’t going to wait for the others.

big wheel place godal etoile baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe scaffolding was still up with no sign of any workmen at the building in the Place Marechal Foch so I carried on around and into the Square Maurice Marland.

Etoile, the French maritime service’s sail-training ship was out there this afternoon. She looks as if she’s taking a load of passengers out for a day trip around the Baie de Mont St Michel.

The Big Wheel is in operation too with a good load of passengers right now. I can see as many as 6 passengers in there. It’s not as busy as one would think. But apart from that, look at the seagulls all loitering on the roof of the old cold store that was used when the town was an important port for trawlers working the Grand Banks.

baby seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was here I went to look at my baby seagull. But the roof was bare so I reckon that baby seagull has had its chips, if you pardon the expression.

On the other roofs, the rest of the colony of babies are stretching their wings. This one was having a load of fun flapping its wings and taking little leaps about.

They seem to have lost their baby plumage from their heads too and no longer look the same colour or pattern as their eggs. It won’t be long now before they all take to the air and then that will be fun.

etoile baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way home I came across Etoile again.

By now she’s heading off out to see with an an accompanying yacht riding along in her wake to see her off. I wonder if she’ll be coming back or whether this is goodbye.

On my return to the apartment I sat down to have a go at one of my courses but, shame as it is to admit it, I was out like a light on the chair in here for all of 90 minutes. I’d missed a whole early evening of work.

In fact I felt dreadful – dead to the world and it took a good while to pull myself together again. I reckon that this lack of medication is getting to me.

The next morning when I was reviewing the dictaphone I noticed that there was a note on it from this afternoon.

Apparently I’d been in bed with Nerina while I was away with the fairies. She suddenly realised that she had to go for a doctor’s appointment. so she got herself up and said should she bring back some mushy peas as well. I said “yes, and some chips and some vinegar”. I gave her a voucher that I had been keeping for Addison’s chip shop In Shavington where there was a special deal on in chips. She didn’t know where Addison’s was so I had to draw her a map in the sand on the floor so that she could work out her position and where the chip shop was.

Tea was a falafel and veg with cheese sauce. The falafel and veg were cooked in that microwave grill that Rachel gave me. But it doesn’t seem to work too well in my microwave and the food took ages to cook.

Next time that I try it, I’ll have to do things differently. Maybe slice the potatoes thinner, or use more oil, I dunno. But it still tasted nice with the vegan cheese sauce, now that I have some vegan cheese again after my trip to Belgium.

Dessert was more of that delicious apple crumble. I seem to have excelled myself here what with that and the bread.

Etoile english channel brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallOn my run up and around the headland I saw what at first glance looked as if it might be the lighthouse on Cap Fréhel looking even cleared than normal. Consequently I took a photo of it so that I could enlarge it and check when I returned to the apartment.

Closer inspection revealed instead that it’s a big white sailing ship with some of its sails furled.

At first I thought that it was Marité on her way home – after all, there’s only one big white sailing ship around here that I know of. But I counted the masts and there are only two, not three and so that makes me think that it’s Etoile sailing off into the sunset back home to Brest.

chausias big wheel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMarité wasn’t back in her berth in the harbour so she’s not made it back home as of yet.

Chausiais was there, moored up underneath the crane in the unloading bay where the two freighters from Jersey tie up when they arrive. It looks as if she will be taking a load out to the Ile de Chausey on the morning tide.

The Big Wheel was working away too. I like the idea of it being all lit up, something that I have never actually seen because I am usually never here at this time of the year, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

picnickers plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallRound at the viewpoint the canteen vehicle was there all closed up. However they had left an electric cable connected to it and plugged into one of the sockets. Imagine how long that would be there in the UK.

The picnickers were back on the beach too, enjoying the sunset. Not as many as we have seen in the past but even so the three of them there seemed to be having a good time,

And who could blame them? There was a terrible wind blowing but nevertheless it was a pleasant evening to be out

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd talking of the wind, it had upset my running this evening.

It was impossible to run down to the clifftop because it was straight into a headlong nor’easter that stopped me in my tracks and made me walk.

The itinerant was there. He had built himself a little shelter using his wheeled trolley as a windbreak and I can’t say that he didn’t need it.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe rest of the runs passed off without much incident.

The gale that was blowing down the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne stopped me in my tracks.

But that’s nothing new. Since I came back from my adventure on the high seas I’ve not been able to make it up the hill there anyway. Instead, I have to stop to catch my breath before I can do the next lap.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe next lap takes me all the way round to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord where I could stand and admire the sunset.

As it slowly sank into the sea a small crowd of about two people gathered around me to take some photos. And when it had gone beneath the horizon I turned round and ran home.

Back here I wrote up my notes with something of an air of disappointment. My health isn’t doing very well right now which is no surprise because it’s been exactly 6 months since I’ve had my medical treatment.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThey aren’t going to treat me until at least October, something that I find very strange.

But they are in charge and presumably they know what they are doing. It just seems to me to be quite funny that when I miss a treatment they go berserk about it, yest they can let me go for 9 months without anything at all.

And on that note, I’m off to bed. It’s shopping tomorrow so I need to be on form for that.

Tuesday 16th June 2020 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… day I’ve had today!

jcb lifter chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire the photos of the frenetic activity in the chantier navale as they winch the fishing boat Saint Andrews out of the water on the boat lift and load a marker bouy up onto a flatbed lorry, let me tell you about it.

It actually started off quite well, for I was out of bed before the third alarm this morning and that’s not something that happens every day these days.

And then after the medication, I came back to listen to the dictaphone to hear where I’d been during the night.

Saint Andrews fishing boat lift chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallI had a girlfriend last night – a nice young girl very slim, not very tall pale complexion, shoulder length black hair, black jacket and black jeans and I wish I knew who she was. We started to hang around together and we had to go to hire a car for her for some reason. We went (I don’t know why) to the local chemists near the airport to fill in the forms there but they said that they didn’t do it any more. We’d have to go to the airport itself, which dismayed me to have to go back to that place and fight with the crowds. I had a hard job trying to explain it to her – I didn’t want to disappoint her. So we set off to go to the airport ended up trudging through the streets of Nantwich, holding hands. It was all ever so sweet. We’d come down Hospital Street into Millstone Lane around Crewe Road end and were chatting about all kinds of things – food, hairdressing, meals and all this. In the end I ended up with her in my bedroom and she was on my bed. I was beginning to think that it was going to be my lucky day because luck is certainly what I need right now – as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any – but for some unknown reason she transformed herself into a black cat, lying on my bed as a black cat and I was just stroking her and she was purring, and I just couldn’t think of where to go and what to do next.

Saint Andrews fishing boat lift chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAt some point during all of this there was a photo of a house near Shavington – the one on the corner of Eastern Road and Rope Hall Lane near where I used to live as a kid, dated 1917 and taken from Eastern Road to the east with the railway on the right showing that the house was surrounded by field guns. They were obviously using it as some kind of depot and anti-aircraft establishment. I was trying to get my hands on the book that the photo was in so that I could photocopy it and post it on the internet.

Yes it was all go last night and when I awoke I was covered in sweat – that’s something that I need to note because it’s a side-effect of one of my medications. The hospital always ask me about my night sweats and how else am I supposed to remember after almost 6 months away?

Saint Andrews fishing boat lift chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSo having got all of that out of the way, I had a few things to do.

While I was doing them I had a listen to what I recorded for my radio project yesterday.

And I’m glad that I did because there’s an error in it. One of the “applause” tracks that I overdubbed into the project has become misplaced.

That’s the one problem with working with four-track recording and not eight-track – if you start from the end and work backwards as I sometimes have to do, if you forget to anchor what you’ve added in tracks three and four and then add something else onto those tracks in front of it, it shunts everything else ahead of it on those tracks further on down the line so that it no longer synchs in.

But me no daft, me no silly. Having been caught out like that before and having to completely re-do a project from the start on one occasion, I now save all my working files as well as the finished output so I simply rework the recording by cutting out a time segment of the appropriate length.

So that’s a job for some time later in the week.

jcb lifter marine buoy chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNext job was to tidy up the top end of the apartment ready for my Welsh lesson. The place needs to look tidy if I’m broadcasting myself on the internet.

Having made the place look something like, I did the revision for last week’s course and then looked at the notes for today’s lesson.

One of the thing that we were discussing was the weather and it was interesting with people from the four corners of the world and the different weather that they were experiencing.

Shame as it is to say it, I almost fell asleep twice in the lesson and I’ve no idea why.

Well, actually I do, as I worked out later, but I’ll explain that as I go along.

After lunch I made a start on yet another radio project. There’s another live concert – one for the end of August that needs to be completed for Thursday night.

There’s no time like the present so I made a start on that. And that wasn’t straightforward either as one of the tracks that I had been sent had two seconds missing from it.

It wasn’t a commercialised track either so it took me an age to hunt down, record, covert and edit a replacement.

And, as it happened, I didn’t need it either. But that’s another story.

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

boats english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe weather was absolutely dreadful too. It was raining hen wragedd y ffin as they say in the Land of My Father (well, grandmother, actually) but wrapped in my yellow raincoat, i was fine.

Despite the weather there was plenty of activity out at sea today. And not just fishing boats either. The two cabin-cruiser type of boats were stationary so it may well be that they were indeed actually fishing, but I bet that they didn’t appreciate the speedboat roaring past them like that.

The itinerant was out there too, wrapped in his plastic sheet and sheltering under a tree. I really don’t understand that at all when there are so many places where he could seek shelter.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallCarrying on through the rain my walk took me around the headland and back down the other side along the path overlooking the chantier navale

There was a pile of activity going on there this afternoon, including this fishing boat that was racing away from there and I’ve no idea why. I missed that little bit of excitement.

But we had the men in the little engineering yard putting one of the marker buoys that they had made onto the back of a small lorry with their JCB lifter.

And also, the boat lift was in operation, winching the fishing boat Saint Andrews out of the water, presumably to put it on blocks alongside the others that are still in here

giant crane boulevard des terreneuviers granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago now we saw a giant crane come and settle itself down in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers to do some lifting work at an apartment that was undergoing renovation.

This afternoon, it’s back. And with its pattes extended, it’s clearly going to be doing some work sometime soon enough. That’s something to watch out for in the near future.

My walk back home was uneventful and I settle down to do some work. I wanted to finish off this radio project today so I started to write out the text.

And this is where it all went wrong.

Quite simply, I crashed out again after about forty-five minutes. And not just a little five minutes either but I was totally gone, curled up on my chair, for almost two hours.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been totally out of it like that – just like the worst of the days when I was living in Leuven. I’d missed my target, missed my hour on the guitars and when I finally awoke (at 19:05) I felt absolutely dreadful – the worst that I have felt for a good while.

No appetite either. I didn’t feel in the least like food. But to help me function, I had one of these energy drinks. I keep a little supply in stock for emergencies – I lived on those for a while in Leuven.
The foregoing notwithstanding, I still went out for my evening run. It takes more than a bout of serious illness to stop me in my tracks.

And for a change, I only performed four runs, not my usual six.

But there was a reason for this as well, and it’s something that I don’t understand. Whether it was the absence of food, or the couple of brazil nuts that I ate, or the sleep that I had, or the energy drink that I drank, I missed out two of my pauses for breath.

Straight up the top of the hill and without pausing for breath I ran on round the corner, past the itinerant and down to the clifftop.

war memorial french resistance pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallNothing happening out at sea so I walked on along the path to see how the War memorial to the Resistance was doing.

By not the weather had really brightened up and it was quite pleasant out there. I wasn’t the only one out there enjoying it either. There was a small group of people there admiring the remains of the Atlantic Wall and the War Memorial and as I drew closer (I’m not very good at drawing so it was a terrible likeness) I could hear that they were speaking German.

Something inside me was tempting me to go by and say Tschuss as I passed but I resisted the urge.

man fishing from rocks cap lihou pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was someone else out there this evening profiting from the beautiful weather.

He wasn’t alone either. As I passed, he shouted something at someone (not at me) and when I looked back I could see that there was someone else standing on another rock who had been out of my view.

It beats me how they manage to scramble down there onto the rocks and, as I said yesterday, how they manage to scramble back up with all of their gear and their catch.

lorry port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt looks as if we might be having more visitors from the Channel Islands soon as well.

The lorry that brings in the freight has appeared on the quayside down there right now and is parked up. So my guess is that sometime over the next day or two we’ll be seeing either Normandy Trader or Thora coming into the port.

Or maybe even both. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that they both came sailing into port one after the other last Thursday morning.

In the chantier navale there was no sign of Saint Andrews. It must only have been a flying visit and I was lucky to have caught her visit.

Having disrupted a couple of girls taking selfies, I ran on down the Boulevard Vaufleury, round the corner, right past my resting place and on down the rue St Jean.

person on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAlmost at the Place Cambernon I ran through an alleyway to the rue du Nord and back up to the viewpoint there. I don’t understand this at all – I really don’t.

There were no picnickers there tonight which was a surprise, but there was someone sunning themselves on the sand. And the towel that was down there with them suggests that they have been for a paddle in the sea.

The weather might well have been nice – but it wasn’t that nice. Says he who has been in it up to his knees (deliberately too) IN THE DAVIS STRAIT JUST 600-ODD MILES FROM THE NORTH POLE and up to his chest IN THE HAMILTON INLET IN NORTHERN LABRADOR

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut let us return to our moutons as they say around here.

Whoever it was who was enjoying the evening sunshine on the beach had every reason to be there.

It was another one of those really beautiful evenings and the sunset scene was stunning. I took a pic of it and admired it for a while and then I ran on home.

Back here I’ve finished writing up my notes, and now I’m off to bed. I really don’t understand anything at all about how I could be so ill and yet have probably the longest run that I’ve done since about 1999 – cancer and all.

All part of life’s rich pageant, I expect.

Friday 5th June 2020 – I HAD A …

joly france baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… better day today (not that it could have been much worse of course).

So while you admire the photos of Joly France fighting her way out of harbour into the howling gale and the seagull that photobombed me while I was doing it, I’ll tell you all about it.

First of all, it goes without saying that when I crashed out yesterday evening, I switched off the alarms with the intention of sleeping until I awoke.

And that was until all of about 00:30

seagull photobomb joly france baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france eric hallThe first task when I awoke was to deal with the notes and the photos from yesterday.

That took me up until about 03:00 because there was other stuff to deal with too, like the notes of a voyage or two that I’d travelled. And then I went back to bed.

While I was in bed I was off on a couple of mega-voyages, and I dunno why I always seem to have the most interesting trips when I’m not feeling too well.

And some of the stuff I can’t recount because I bet that you are having your tea right now and you certainly wouldn’t thank me for spoiling it for you.

joly france baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france eric hallWe were at the radio last night working and I was asking about something or other to be done. They said that they had this new reporter in, which annoyed me rather. We were talking about a live concert that he had done of some singer, which I had dismissed as being nothing. But it turned out that it had had over a million listeners to the podcast and even I was impressed with that. It gave the whole place a new impetus. Everyone seemed to be much more excited and much more energetic. They had started working with a couple of new programs and we had been given some accounts so that we could use these new programs even if we didn’t know what they were all about. I started to think to myself “why the hell did I want to leave when I’m having such a good time with it now?” Even though we were swamped with work it was all going really well. I’d had this habit of getting stuff that I didn’t want to deal with, just putting it away and not even thinking about it. It was the pressure of that that had been getting to me. But I was actually working on a file and a couple of old pieces of post from January fell out. I looked at them and thought “why the hell did I file these anyway? What needs to be done is just so simple” so I sat down and made a start on dealing with these pieces which was only going to take me 5 minutes anyway.

joly france english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was also the question of the MoT servicing book – a big book, narrow and quite long and we wrote in all the details of the cars, what was being done on them and so on. I’d just finished one batch and I wondered if there was another book so I had to go outside to find the guy who was responsible. He told me “there’s plenty of room in there – you just aren’t looking properly”. I had a good look through and found that there was another batch of stuff in there, another batch of forms that I’d managed to miss

I must have awoken to dictate the notes of the above, and when I went back to sleep I went straight back into the dream in more or less the same place, walking to Nantwich past the Cedars and down Millstone (actually Birchin) Lane and ended up back at the place again. It seemed that I’d gone off last night and left all the drawers empty and all the spares open and I couldn’t find half the stuff. I realised that I had left them out lying everywhere. By this time we were very busy with people coming in and someone else was demonstrating a technique that he had used. He’d been looking for something in some other stores and they were going through a pile of this stuff and he’d actually found a modern-day use for a pile of stuff like on one occasion he’d made a stand for the vacuum cleaner using bits that were lying around and he showed us how he’d done it but he couldn’t undo it though because no-one had the correct screwdriver. It was strange just stepping back into that dream where I’d left off
One thing though was that I was smoking at some particular time and I don’t know why I’d started smoking. I’d burnt myself with a cigarette that I was holding so I went to stub it out thinking that this is a crazy thing to be doing anyway.
Later still We were on board a ship and there had been some kind of incident going on between a woman and a man and the man being given a big bill for his services. As a result the girl who ran the accounting office was not very pleased about it and she came to talk to me about it. Just after she finished there was a knock on my door and it was from one of my cabin friends from a nearby cabin wanting to know if I was ready to come down for breakfast. I had to search for my keys as usual then we set off out. He said what about the third guy who usually came with us that i didn’t particularly like. But there was a ribbon pinned to his door which said “lie in”. Obviously he was wanting a lie-in so we went downstairs. We were on about the 8th floor and the breakfast was on the 2nd or something. We got down to the 6th and there was a small breakfast being set out there and the woman seemed to think that we were from the party that was having the breakfast there. She told us to help ourselves. One of the girls with us went over and grabbed a glass of orange juice. I thought “I could always drink orange juice” so I went over to grab one but it turned out to be apple juice and there was only a mouthful in the beaker and there wasn’t any more in any of the jugs.

After all of that, what surprised me was the fact that with not having gone to bed until 03:00 and done all of that, I was wide awake again at 07:30. That was rather astonishing.

Mind you, that isn’t to say that I was out of bed by then. 08:30 was a much more realistic time to be out of bed.

It took a good while to type out all of my notes, as you can imagine. And I wasn’t feeling in the best of form either so it took even longer than it might have done.

No breakfast either – I still wasn’t feeling like eating anything.

For lunch though, I did try some food. While I had been searching around in the freezer the other day I had come across a pot of carrot and coconut soup. Today I defrosted that, warmed it up and ate it with the last of my home-made bread.

And to my surprise, it stayed down too.

What I’ve been doing for most of the day has been to finish off the radio project that i started. I’d dictated the text a couple of days ago but hadn’t edited it so that was the first job.

When that was finished, and the speech for my invited guest was included, I then had to edit into sections, find the pairs of tracks that I had coupled together, join everything up by using the sections of text to make a bridge between the different pairs.

That left some time over, so knock 30 seconds off that for the outro speech and then find a track of the right length that sounds like an outro track.

That track needs to be remixed to match the volume level of the rest of the programme, the speech needs to be written, recorded and edited, and then everything joined together.

It overran the hour by 5 seconds so I had to edit out 5 seconds from somewhere and then it could be saved.

fishing boat storm english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was a break of course, while I went out for my afternoon walk. Just because I’m feeling ill doesn’t mean that things have to stop.

It was a horrible day out there today. It had been raining quite heavily by the looks of things and there was a howling gale blowing too. This poor little fishing boat pulling its dinghy behind it was really struggling to fight its way back through the waves into port.

As I have said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … my hat goes off to all of them out there in weather like this

donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me down to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord.

Nothing happening on the beach s you might expect. The wind had driven almost everyone back inside. And there was some kind of miserable grey sky down the coast that was causing a peculiar kind of light down at Donville-les-Bains.

And it hasn’t escaped my notice that they have put out all of the beach cabins down at Donville-les-Bains. They are really getting ready for summer down there.

marker buoys plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallMy attention had been drawn in the previous photo to a series of yellow buoys strectched out across the end of the beach so i went for a closer look.

No clear evidence what they are there for though. The only thing that I can think of is that they are a mark to indicate to people the limit beyond which they are not allowed to swim.

Mind you, I think that it will take more than that to stop anyone swimming further out. Barbed wire and machine guns would probably be more effective.

roofing place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk carried me on around the walls to the viewpoint that overlooks the Place Marechal Foch.

The roofing job down there has been going on for a while so I had another look to see where they were. And they seem to have finished what they were doing and the scaffolding has come down.

But there are still a few piles of slates and it looks as if the scaffolding is going up around the back of the building. So there’s more roofing to come, I reckon.

seagull chick egg rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued around the walls and into the Square Maurice Marland.

There was a young family there leaning on the walls admiring my favourite mummy seagull and I was talking about the babies when mummy suddenly stood up and went for a walk.

We could then see quite clearly that she seems to have one chick and there’s one egg there that has yet to hatch. So whether it will or not, that remains to be seen.

seagull chick rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallHowever my particular mummy seems to be a little behind with her offspring.

On the next roof we had a mummy perched there watching her babies already stagger around taking their first steps.

She had two babies, but one of them had disappeared behind the chimney breast before I could prepare the camera. But the other one put on a little dance for me before flopping down exhausted on the nest, with a very proud mummy looking on.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving watched the seagulls for long enough I wandered off an continued my little walk along the walls.

Down in the harbour I’d noticed a little funnel sticking up from the loading bay in the bocks and it didn’t look like Chausiais so I went to see who it was. And sure enough, Thora has braved the storms and gales to come into port.

And she didn’t hang about long either. Another quick turnround for when I went out later, she had gone off back to Jersey.

fishing boats on tow port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallA little earlier we’d seen a little fishing boat fighing its way through the waves as it pulled its dinghy in towards the port.

By the time that I had completed my circuit I was treated to some kind of exhibition of I’m not really sure what it was. I reckon that that’s the boat down there the front one, that we saw struggling through the storm and it seems to have two dinghies behind it.

But as to what the other boat is doing down there with it, I really don’t know.

Back here at the apartment I carried on with my work. It took until 20:00 to complete it, with no pause for the guitars and no food either. I wasn’t hungry and in any case I wanted to finish this exercise before the weekend and I’m glad that I did.

storm jersey english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallMy evening walk and runs was something of a disaster this evening.

One look at this photo will tell you why. There was a howling headwind blowing all the way down the Rue du Roc and it was difficult enough to walk, never mind run up there. And down on the clifftop I could see that Jersey, the ile de Chausey and the Brittany coast were taking a right pasting.

The storm was heading my way, and pretty quickly too. I didn’t think that this was the moment to be hanging about.

trawler pleasure boat chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFinally, I managed to break out into a run, the one along the top of the cliffs past the chantier navale.

And there’s been a change of occupant in there yet again. This time, one of the long-term resident trawler-type of fishing boats has gone back into the water, and its place taken by a little pleasure cruiser.

That’s a nice piece of kit, that boat, and I could see myself cruising around in a white cap in one of those. But I haven’t a clue where I could rustle up the dosh for it.

It reminds me of the guy in Crewe who sent his wife to Boots Corner in Crewe to earn some money for a new car. At the end of the first night she came back with £50 and 50p
“Who gave you the 50p?”he asked
“Why, all of them” she replied.
Yes, Crewe was a right dismal place to live and I’ve no idea how I stuck it for all that time.

My run down the Boulevard Vaufleury was interesting as a dog decided to try to have a little bit of fun.

After he limped off with a pain in his rear left leg, I turned on the owner and told him precisely what I thought of him. In good old colloquial French too, and left him in no two minds of what I thought. I didn’t spend 12 years working with a bunch of French-speaking drivers for nothing.

fishing boats pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving stopped for breath at my usual stop, I walked down to the viewpoint over the harbour to see what was happening.

Nothing very much except that the new pontoon is being put to very good use by the fishing boats that are congregating all around it.

From there I ran on back to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord.

There was nothing happening out at sea this evening, apart from the storm, and as the tide was right in there were no picnickers. So I ran back home instead.

Later than I hoped, I’m off to bed. I’ll set an alarm, hope I’ll beat it, and then go to the shops. Not that I need much because I haven’t eaten anything for a few days.

At least, with keeping a note of how I feel, I know that I seem to be on the upward slope again and in a few days I’ll be back to normal – as if I ever was normal.

Last time this happened, in the USA in July, I lost 10kgs in weight. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could lose another 10kgs?