Tag Archives: Ingrid

Wednesday 23rd February 2022 – NOW THAT THE WIND …

woman sitting on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… has calmed down to just “high speed” instead of LUDICROUS SPEED, people are slowly returning to their old habits.

For the first time for a while, there was someone this afternoon sitting down on the bench at the end of the headland at the Pointe du Roc admiring the view.

At least, I imagined that they were admiring the view, because it was one of these days when admiring the view required quite an effort because there was some kind of hazy mist out there which meant that you couldn’t see all that far this afternoon.

contrasting water pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There was however something for me to see, that certainly isn’t to anyone else’s taste.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that every now and again we see something strange happening in the water where there are a couple of distinct colours and a distinct line between them.

Today was one of those occasions, as you can see in the image just here. I’ve no idea what causes this effect – it’s certainly nothing to do with the underlying nature of the sea bed and nothing to do with the clouds in the sky either because we have 10/10ths cloud today.

As for me, I also had another few hours of uninterrupted sleep. In bed at 23:50 and the first file on the dictaphone was timed at 03:41, so that’s almost 4 hours and that’s pretty good going for the last few weeks.

Nevertheless it was a struggle to leave the bed at 07:30. In fact it was more like 07:50 when I finally showed a leg and then I staggered off to take my medicine.

The morning was a very slow start but eventually I managed to summon up the strength to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I’d been injured in some fighting that had taken place and been taken to hospital but the opposing army was closing in so I put on a disguise to modify my appearance. I thought that it looked OK but someone else there thought that it was quite obvious that it was a disguise and spoilt the effect. This led to a bitter argument between the two of us and it ended up by me striking out at this person because I thought that everything was perfect and I was bound to escape detection if the enemy came into this town.

Later on I was out with Paul Temple and his mate, Sexton Smith or whatever his name was, except that in the radio programmes his assistant was a woman called Steve. We were going to do something that involved a trip down the coast of South-West England and North-West France. It meant getting a few things ready but my bedroom was a tip with dismantled Cortina parts all over the place. it took me ages to sort out what things that I needed. We got everything together and the two of us, Paul Temple and me and a third guy who was some kind of French person, we set off from the house in a car down this very long drive. When we reached the main road we got out and got into Paul Temple’s car which was a left-hand drive French registered Austin Cambridge. I asked “what about the food and the things we need to take?”. They replied “you’re in charge of that” so we had to get out the food that we need for the journey. It came to the case of hiring an aeroplane and that was my job too apparently. We then had to pick up his friend and that meant going back up the drive to this house again. Halfway up the drive we encountered another vehicle travelling slowly so we overtook it on this muddy drive but there was an electricity post in the way so we had to swerve back and almost cut up this car. In the meantime he said to the guy who was with us “you fancy a Honda, don’t you? There’s one for sale on the front here” so they talked about this Honda for a while. When we returned to the courtyard in front of this house one of the people there was a schoolteacher – there were several outside – but his friend Sexton Smith or whatever his name was still hadn’t turned up

One thing that I forgot to mention about Paul Temple was the tomcat, a long-haired ginger cat, which had the ability to blend in with whatever boundary it was against and was a valuable member of this expedition, and whatever that is supposed to mean, I really don’t know.

Ingrid telephoned me too, which was very nice because I’ve not heard from her for ages. We had the kind of chat that would rival any one that I’ve had with Rosemary, but then a lot of things have happened since we last spoke to each other.

While I was rummaging around in the freezer I came across a bag of what looked like pie filling and so that gave me an idea for a cunning plan. I put it out to defrost. However it turned out to be some kind of potato curry, by which time it was too far defrosted to put it back.

After lunch, I sprang into action.

For reasons that will become apparent tomorrow, I decided that I needed to bake a cake. For some reason or other I had a fancy for a coffee cake so yesterday I’d trawled the internet for a suitable recipe for a vegan coffee cake using ingredients that I had to hand.

Having finished my butties and fruit I set about mixing everything together in accordance with the instructions. This time I mixed the dry ingredients separately from the wet ingredients and it all seemed to go really well when I combined both lots.

While it was baking, I made a vegan pie with the mix that had defrosted and some pastry that I knocked together while I was in the mood. There wasn’t enough mix to fill the pie so I lengthened it with a tin of sweetcorn and then a tin of lentils.

The cake took ages to bake – probably double the time that it said in the recipe. I think that my oven is rubbish as everything I bake doesn’t work out properly.

When it was done I took it out to cool and put the pie in to bake.

There was a recipe for some vegan coffee cream cake filling that would go really nicely in between the two layers of cake. And having struggled with the icing for the Christmas cake, I mixed it all in the whizzer and that seemed to work perfectly.

coffee cake vegan pie place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When the cake cooled, I cut it in half, spread the cream on the top of one of the halves and pressed them together, and then iced the cake with the remainder.

Here I found an unexpected problem. I’ve never, in all the time that I’ve been baking, had a cake that has risen as well as this one, and as a result it’s too tall to go in my cake tin. I wish now that I’d brought the giant one with me from the Auvergne.

And one thing that I can say, is that if the finished cake tastes as good as the mix did when I licked the spatula, it will be absolutely delicious.

Much later than usual because of the time that the cooking took, I went out for my afternoon walk. However, on the car park I encountered Pierre, the skipper of Spirit of Conrad, and we spent a good few minutes chatting about his plans for the forthcoming season with his craft.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022After he had wandered off back inside the building I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

There weren’t as many people down there this afternoon as there have been over the past few days. Just one or two ambling aimlessly about and someone on the water’s edge scaving for seafood amongst the rocks.

You can see plenty of shellfish stuck to the rocks down there, but the key, apparently, is to find some that are still living. If they are dead then they are of no use and, of course, many of them will have been pillaged by our feathered friends.

trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was looking down on the beach my eyes were also roving around out at sea to see what was going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we peered through the gloom and saw a trawler working away off the Ile de Chausey in the Baie de Granville.

At this distance, because it has to be about 10-12 miles away from where I’m standing, it’s not possible to identify it and I can’t even be sure that it was the same one that was out there yesterday.

Since Brexit and the issues with the Jersey authorities, we’ve seen more and more fishing boats working away out there rather than being further out in the bay.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was here, I had a different view over the section of the wall that they have been repairing in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

The first thing that I noticed was that I could now see the wall from where they have removed the covering to the scaffolding, and they have totally repointed all of that and rebuilt the part of the wall that is above the level of the street.

The second thing that I noticed was that there was someone down there on the scaffolding pointing away at one of the two very large cracks in the wall. And that’s the kind of crack that will take an awful lot of filling.

It will look lovely when it’s finished, although when that might be is anyone’s guess. And then what bit are they going to do next?

people on beach pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Not very many people about on the path this afternoon so I had a very quiet and comfortable walk down to the lighthouse this afternoon.

We’ve already seen someone down on the rocks at the Rue du Nord looking for shellfish, and further along on the beach there was someone else having a go.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw the marker just of the coast here, most of which was covered by the tide. Today though, the tide is well out and we can see all of the marker and the man having a scratch around will give you an idea of the scale of how high the tides are when they come right in.

new flagpole monument to the resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that the other day we saw that the bolts had been drilled in the new concrete base for the flagpole that will replace the one that was blown down in the storm a while back.

When we saw it I mentioned that I supposed that within the next few days we would see the flagpole back up, and here it is today, properly erected. They did that quicker than I was expecting, especially knowing the pace at which they work around here.

So I wandered off across the car park and down to the end of the headland to see what was happening out at sea and to check on whoever might be sitting on the bench out there. And then I wandered off down the other side of the headland.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday down at the chantier naval, we saw some activity with the portable boat lift as it was busy caressing Tiberiade, and I wondered what it was doing.

It’s not possible to see what was going on between the two of them yesterday but today, there’s a new arrival in there. Another yacht is down there receiving attention. And that has an interesting arrangement holding it up in the horizontal.

Back here I had a coffee and, not falling asleep, I made a start on some of the older dictaphone notes that have been hanging around waiting to be dealt with. Just a mere 19 to do now and then I’ll be ready to build up another backlog

Tea tonight was a delicious teamed veg with vegan sausage and vegan cheese sauce. Another delicious meal that I really enjoyed.

Tomorrow I’m having a lie-in, for reasons that will be apparent. I’m not sure that I deserve one after how inactive I’ve been over the last few weeks but I’m going to have one again – if only to see who will be coming with me on a nocturnal ramble or two.

Saturday 25th December 2021 – MY CHRISTMAS DINNER …

christmas dinner place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… was delicious this evening.

Seitan slices cooked in the oven in an onion and garlic gravy with boiled and roat potatoes, peas, carrots, runner beans, chicory, leek and sprouts. Washed down with this alcohol-free beer from Belgium.

Only one thing was missing. I wanted stuffing but I’ve no idea how to make that and I forgot to look it up over the last couple of days.

Breakfast – or rather, brunch – was quite nice too. My home-made potato fritters with baked beans and vegan sausage, and toast with mushroom paté.

That’s really all of the excitement today. I was awake at 06:20 but no danger whatever of me leaving the bed at that silly time of a Bank Holiday. 10:00 is much more like it.

This morning I lazed around doing next-to-nothing – except going through some more duplicate photos. And of this 4TB hard-drive that I’m sorting, there’s now about a third of it that’s free. And still plenty to go at too.

Stuff on the dictaphone from last night’s travels. There we three of us, me, someone else and someone who might have been Percy Penguin who were travelling somewhere. We ended up in some hotel, a cheap hotel. The person with us decided that that was where we were going to stay. But he was concerned whether the hotel was of the right standard etc. I had a look round and I could see that the computer screen had a telephone socket and a computer socket in its foot. I remembered seeing that in several other hotels where we’d stayed which were of reasonable quality so I reckoned that this was it. I called the proprietor and eventually he turned up. He wasn’t sure which room it was and had to look round the hotel to find us. Eventually he found us. There had been a woman with us as well who was the cleaner of the hotel so he signed the form for this other person. My plan was to wait until he’d gone downstairs then to follow him down and book another room, just one room between me and this girl but we never actually got that far as we were still booking this room for this guy when I awoke.

I was with a young girl last night, an American girl from a very wealthy family. This family was being blackmailed and the girl couldn’t understand why it had led to all kinds of problems. Her older brother had been thrown out of home because there was a difficulty between her and her brother. There was a younger child as well. It turns out that her father was not actually her father. I was the father, having had a one-night stand with the mother. I said to the girl that it was all down to what your mother did one night 9 months before you were born. She asked “how is it possible to blackmail a family like this?”. I replied “it’s all a question of shame and disgrace and everything like that touching a nerve”. She said “it’s certainly touched a nerve with my father because the way he’s treated my brother etc”. We had quite a lengthy discussion if he should be saying “don’t you ever get pregnant otherwise you’ll end up in all kinds of mess as well

In the afternoon Laurent came round and we rattled off another pile of questions for these radio programmes. There’s still plenty to go at but I haven’t edited those as yet. One of them is going to be rather difficult but we shall see how it goes. At least, that ad-hoc talk on Erasmus went quite well.

One thing though – that’s now two people who have asked me “why don’t you have someone in to help you with the housework?”. It seems that my increasing inability to cope with everyday tasks is becoming apparent to more and more people.

However I did manage to make my tea. And it was delicious too. And while it was cooking I phoned Ingrid to wish her a Merry Christmas.

That’s everything, really. Nothing much else has happened. It’s been a nice quiet day so here’s hoping for more of the same tomorrow.

And while I’m at it, I hope that you have had a good day today too.

Friday 5th November 2021 – I’VE BEEN …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you in the morning.

Saturday 16th October 2021 – THIS NEW WAY …

… home actually seemed to work a lot easier than going home the normal way. So if ever my 07:17 from Brussels is cancelled in the future and I can’t have another cheap ticket any other way, I’m going to consider quite seriously going this way home again.

The alarm was set for 06:00 but it was pretty much a waste of time because I didn’t have much sleep at all. The heating made so much racket that in the end I went down and switched it off, and then I ended up with people talking outside my door for what seemed like hours.

Nevertheless I was up and about as soon as the alarm went off and it didn’t take me long to finish packing and to make my sandwiches. There was even time for coffee and toast for breakfast.

During the night despite the lack of sleep I’d been on my travels again. We’d been having a history class at University but the teacher hadn’t turned up so we’d been running it ourselves. He finally turned up and started, going round the class talking to each one of us. He mentioned to me about going round to teach his daughter guitar if I was free at 17:30 that evening. When I left work I went to park up somewhere to wait. After a while I thought that I’d better ring Laurence to tell her where I was, that I’d be late. She had obviously been asleep because she was very slurred with a tired voice. She just muttered something about the management but I didn’t hear a thing after that. Then I realised that I didn’t have my guitar so I thought that I’d better return to the office and fetch it.

We were all in a car somewhere. We turned up at a house where we were supposed to be. I couldn’t get my car into the drive because the cars were parked too far close up. I had my brother move his car but there still wasn’t enough room which I thought was really strange. Then I realised that the one on the left was too far over so I pushed that out of the way so that I could drive in. Parked in there was the red Opel coupé of a girl whom I knew, really rusty and rotten. Whoever it was with me said “no tax again”. I replied “it’s taxed until June”. Then I had a closer look and it was June 1988 in the window. I said “that sounds just like her, doesn’t it?”. We walked round the back of the house to go in ready to see the lighting of the Christmas tree.

07:00 is the latest time for me to leave my digs because there’s an express train to Brussels at 07:33. But I was on my way at about 06:50.

martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo October 2021The work that’s taking place in the Martelarenplein outside the station is another one of these tasks that seems to be taking forever. It’s been going on for a couple of years now and progress seems to be very slow.

The fencing is still all around the work so it’s very difficult to take a photo, and the dark early morning doesn’t help very much either, but I did the best that I could in the circumstances.

With having set out so early, I was well in advance of my timetable and luckily, there was an earlier express train, the 07:21, so I didn’t have to wait too long because it was absolutely taters out here and I wish that I’d brought a coat..

class 18 electric locomotive 1903 gare du midi brussels belgium Eric Hall photo October 2021The train that came into Leuven was pulled by, despite its number, a class 18 electric locomotive of the type that we catch quite regularly.

In the darkness I couldn’t see anything of the journey, but we pulled into Brussels with 45 minutes to go before my train to Paris.

And sitting on a draughty station in this weather for that long froze me to the marrow. If there’s a waiting room at the gare du Midi I have yet to find it.

Luckily though, the train came in early and we were allowed to board pretty quickly, which was just as well

Thalys PBKA 4304 gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo October 2021The train that I’m on is one of the PBKA – Pars, Brussels, Cologne, Amsterdam – trainsets, the one on the left in this image taken at the Gare du Nord in Paris.

having scrambled aboard the crowded train to warm up, I found myself sitting next to a Chinese student who was confused about the application of the Eurorail pass. He didn’t realise that there’s a supplement to pay on the TGV and so he was stuck for an excess charge.

This train is a direct one to Paris. No changing at Lille, which is good news for me because the walk is a painful one in my state of health.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I don’t know why the train from Lille to Paris goes from a different railway station to the one that the long-distance TGVs use.

Much of the route to Paris was spent catching up with my beauty sleep so I was wide awake when we arrived in Paris. I had to show my vaccine passport on arrival and then go to look for RER track E.

It’s actually quite a walk but it’s on the level with no obstructions and on a really good surface so it didn’t seem like too much effort.

Down in the bowels, I didn’t have long to wait for a train. Much more comfortable than the metro, rather like a cheap mainline multiple-unit in fact, and it was only 15 minutes to the Gare St Lazare.

There was quite a walk from there too but once more, it was all on the level and going up to the station was on an escalator so there wasn’t any struggle with the baggage.

clocks outside gare st lazare paris France Eric Hall photo October 2021According to my notes, I’ve never been to the Gare St Lazare before so I went outside for a look around as I had some time.

This was quite interesting, all of these clocks. It’s a design by someone called Armand Fernandez, known as “Arman” and not “Arman in Havana”, and was commissioned by the French Government in 1985.

The station is pretty cramped in its surroundings by other buildings and nowhere is it possible to take a decent photograph.

gare st lazare France Eric Hall photo October 2021Inside the station though, it’s light and airy, having been modernised and upgraded about 10 years or so ago.

It’s not very easy to navigate though as the destination boards and platforms aren’t very clearly indicated.

And while finding where the platform that I need is one thing, finding my way onto it was something else completely.

There’s a “magic eye” that reads the QR code of your ticket, but the eye isn’t where you expect it to be and it took me 5 minutes and the assistance of a passer-by to enable me to find a way to pass the barrier.

56643 class Z 56600 electric multiple unit gare st lazare paris France Eric Hall photo October 2021My train is a newish double-decker multiple-unit, a class Z 56600 Electric Multiple-Unit “Regio 2N” double-decker built by Bombardier and entered service in 2014.

It has all mod cons and is very comfortable. Furthermore it’s non-stop to Caen and it doesn’t hang about either, with a top speed of 200kph.

It’s certainly worth remembering this route for the future if ever there’s a perturbation on my regular route. And if they do electrify my line, something that is under discussion right now, we might even see these in Granville which would be nice.

gare de caen railway station Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021At Caen there’s a one-hour wait for the train to Granville so I could go for a walk around outside.

No problems with photographing the station here because there is very little to obstruct the view. i’ve actually been here once before, but not on a train. I came this way on the bus once when there was a rail strike and we stopped here for a breather

It’s not the original railway station of course. Like so many others in the battle zone in Northern France, it was heavily bombed during the early summer of 1944 to prevent the rapid deployment of Axis forces by rail.

eglise st michel de vaucelles caen Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further down the street in the distance above the tram is a church that I think is the Eglise St Michel De Vaucelles.

There was a church on this site in the days of Charlemagne but there is no trace now of any remains from this period. The church that we see today dates from the early part of the 12th Century although it has been heavily modified since then.

It’s one of the starting points for the pilgrimages to the Mont St Michel.

By now it was lunchtime so I went back inside to eat my sandwiches and I actually treated myself to a mug of hot coffee. I’m really pushing the boat out these days, aren’t I?

bombardier 82792 gare de caen railway station Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The train that I catch from Caen is one of the Bombardier units that we have seen quite regularly in Granville.

It’s quite bizarre because there are only four power points per carriage and they take some finding. I had to wait for half the journey before a seat at one of them became vacant.

But imagine that! Just four power points, and in the 21st Century too!

These trains are little branch-line rattlers and not as comfortable as the one on which I’ve just been travelling, but at least it does its job and brought me back to Granville.

marité philcathane belle france chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Coming back home was easier than it has been recently. I only had to stop four times coming up the hill to home.

One of my stops was at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour. Marité is down there of course, with the trawler Philcathane across the harbour on the other side.

Down here close to me are Belle France, the new ferry for the Ile de Chausey, and Chausiaise, the little Chausey freighter in orange, grey and white.

By the looks of things too, there’s someone having a go at mending his nets on the quayside too.

sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further up the hill at another one of my rest stops I could see that the sailing schools were in full operation today.

There are a couple of the yellw and orange ones having a sail about, but the black ones seem to be having a conference of some kind.

Arriving back at the apartment I made myself a coffee and reflected on how nice it was to be back home. And only four stops coming back up the hill with the load that I had in my suitcase was quite some progress compared to how I’ve been just recently.

Football later on, in the Welsh Cup. Colwyn Bay of the 2nd Division against Cardiff Metro of the 1st. A game rather short on skill and technique, but a proper cup-tie all the same played in front of a big, noisy crowd. Cardiff Metro had most of the play, missed a penalty, had a goal disallowed for offside and missed three or four absolute sitters.

Colwyn Bay, who were on the back foot for most of the game and only had one real shot on goal. And so, as you might expect, Colwyn Bay won the game 1-0 to move into the next round.

Now that I’ve had tea, I ought to be going to bed but I’m not tired right now. I’ll go to bed at about 03:00 I suppose and then sleep through until tomorrow afternoon.

That’s what usually happens.

Thursday 8th July 2021 – THIS IS BECOMING …

… far too much of a habit and it’s getting on my nerves, but I just can’t seem to kick this total and utter exhaustion.

When the alarm went off I was up quite smartly and went off for my medication. And afterwards I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone, but instead I ended up asleep on my chair in the office.

It’s shopping day today and luckily I awoke in time to have my shower before setting out into the cold, damp morning.

yachting school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite the poor weather, the yachting school was out in force this morning.

As I went round the corner I noticed all of the yachts out there having a good sail around. And having crashed out so convincingly this morning I’m glad that I’d decided not to do very much in that respect until my health improves, if it ever does.

Instead I wandered off down the Rue des Juifs towards the town to see what was going on there today now that everywhere is slowly opening up for business.

empty quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was a pile of stuff – a big load of timber and a shrink-wrapped boat – on the quayside for the last few days.

As I went down the street today I noticed that it had all gone. One of the little Jersey freighters has obviously nipped in during the rainstorm that kept me indoors yesterday and made off with all of the loot. My money is on Thora at the moment because I usually get to hear if Normandy Trader has been about.

In town I bumped into Bernard, one of the people with whom I’d travelled last year on Spirit of Conrad and we had a little chat before I pushed on up the hill towards LIDL.

And what a stagger it was as well. I can’t do much more than this. Looking back over things a couple of years ago when I could walk up there quite easily, I realise just how much my health as deteriorated. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I feel as if I’ve aged 20 years this last couple of months.

At LIDL I spent a lot of money. They had Brazil nuts in today so I bought two packets – I don’t want to be left short again. And as well as they they had some electric juicers in there, reduced from €19:99 to €11:99. I’d seen those before and liked them, so I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity. And they were quite light too.

And in case you haven’t guessed, I’m going to restart my drinks processing and the sourdough too when I come back from Leuven, seeing as I haven’t any plans to go anywhere this summer.

baby seagull chick rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that last week we encountered a baby seagull in the town centre, clearly disorientated.

There was another one today in the Rue St Paul today. This is the time that they will be stretching their wings and taking their first flights so we’ll be seeing much more of this.

Luckily, where this one fell to earth is in a quiet suburban street with plenty of cover so it should be fairly safe here until its mother comes to look for it.

Yet another thing that regular readers of this rubbish in one of its many previous incarnations will recall is that back in 2002 when I was doing a furniture removal in France I found the carcass of a Solex moped in an overgrown garden so I liberated it and stuck it in my barn.

One day a few years ago when I was walking home from LIDL I encountered a guy who had three or four Solexes in his garage. He’s a collector and restorer and so seeing as this Solex was doing no good in my barn, next time that I was in France I brought it back and gave it to him.

This morning he was there in his garage again so I stopped to have a chat. He had a really amazing curio that he showed me – a kiddies’ bike that actually looked like a small Solex, complete with imitation plastic motor. I’d never seen one of those before – apparently they are quite rare.

The stagger back up the hill with the shopping was awful. I felt every footstep and I had to stop half a dozen times to catch my breath. Not even my hot chocolate and fruit bread would revive me very much, although I did manage to edit a few of the Greenland 2019 photos.

After lunch I carried on with the photos but one thing that I wanted to do was to telephone Ingrid as I haven’t chatted to her for ages. We had a good chat but I had to hang up in the end because I fell asleep talking to her and had to drag myself back into consciousness.

person in sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat made me decide to go out for my afternoon walk, so I wandered off to the end of the car park to look over the wall and down onto the beach to see what was happening.

And here’s a brave soul heading off into the water. The weather had changed and it was rather sunny and warmer than it has been just recently, but still nowhere near warm enough for me to trust to the water.

But this person didn’t seem at all concerned by the temperature and was ready to take the plunge. And in my defence, I can say without any fear of contradiction that whoever it was was the only person to risk going into the water this afternoon.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you are thinking, which you probably are, that this person was the only one on the beach you are in fact quite wrong.

The holiday season is now well under way and the schools have broken up for summer. And so as you might expect, there are plenty of tourists about – individuals and families.

And having been deprived of the beach over the last few days, they were out on the sands in force this afternoon to make up for it, even if conditions were not ideal. But at least they had plenty of beach to be on right now because the tide is still a long way out

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking down onto the beach a dark shadow fell upon me. No prizes for guessing what it is.

It’s one of the Birdmen of Alcatraz out for an afternoon’s flight around the headland and he was travelling quite quickly too, which is no surprise in this weather because there was a fair bit of wind blowing around.

In fact, I’d expected to see quite a few this afternoon now that the holiday season is upon us, we have some sunshine and the wind is still here, but he was the only one as far as I could see.

But these shadows that they create as they fly around are quite eerie, especially if one of them should suddenly fall upon you when you aren’t expecting it. It’s hardly any surprise that the Hobbits were so afraid of the Nazgul in Lord of the Rings

trawler working the baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe still haven’t finished yet with the activity at the end of the car park.

One thing that I do when I’m here is to cast my eyes out to sea to see if there’s anything exciting going on out there, and today we’re in luck. It seems that with the Channel Island fishing grounds being in dispute, the local fishermen are having a go at exploiting other areas of the Bay of Granville that they don’t usually fish.

And here’s a trawler out to see off the coast here seeing what he can pull out of the sea. And he is working too, even if he’s too far out at sea for me to tell for sure if his nets are out, because he was zigzagging up and down out there as he would if he did have his tackle out.

And I wonder what luck he’s having.

fishing boats entering baie de mont st michel coming to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat trawler might be out there working, but others are not so diligent.

It looks as if it’s home time for the local fishing fleet. here are a couple of shellfish boats presumably coming back from their specs on the Ile de Chausey with today’s harvest. And you’ll notice that they have canopies over the hold areas of their little boats. That’s to keep the seagulls away from the catch of course.

So having satisfied myself as to the activity going on at the car park outside here, I could push off along the path, fighting my way through the maskless crowds of tourists who have now arrived in considerable numbers and were out there in the first sun that they have seen since they’ve been here.

powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, I didn’t get very far before I was brought to a standstill by yet more activity in the air.

A little earlier I mentioned that I’d only seen one Birdman of Alcatraz go past me on his wind-powered outfit but the racket going on behind me was enough to tell me that one of his powered cousins had taken off from the airfield and was heading my way.

As he few past I took a photo of him. It’s the red one today and he was quite high up. And while he was up there he did a few laps around here and there as well. He didn’t seem to be in any hurry to come back down to earth.

But I was in a hurry to make my way back home. I was tired and exhausted and was desperate for my coffee.

yacht joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever there was still plenty yet to see before I could go home.

It wasn’t just fihsing boats out there this afternoon heading for home. Leading the charge out of the Ile de Chausey was another one of our old friends, one of the Joly France ferries that run the ferry service between here and the Ile de Chausey.

This one is the older of the two, with the “landscape format” windows and she has quite a crowd of people on board, coming back into port from a day out on the island. And she’s hotly pursued by a yacht too who seems also to be in a hurry to return to port ready for when the harbour gates open

fishing boats waiting to enter port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve talked … “on many occasions” – ed … about the fishing boats going to try out new areas to fish in case the Channel Islanders start to cut up rough later in the year.

As I walked round the corner and down to the car park I was confronted by several trawlers on their way into port. They hadn’t been in the Baie de Granville as I would have seen them, so the conclusion that I drew was that they must have been working in the Baie de Mont St Michel today.

There were about half a dozen there, although only three of them made it into the photograph. Two of them were heading past Le Loup – the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour – while the third was not moving for some reason known only to itself.

You don’t sell your catch moored up outside the harbour and it’s usually the earlier ones in who have the better prices so she needs to get a move on.

joly france fishing boats entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time I’d walked fown the path and all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, there was quite a pile-up of boats.

They were either waiting for a berth – the small ones that is – at the Fish Processing Plant or, in the case of the larger ones, enough water for them to be able to sail into the harbour and for the harbour gates to open.

Poor Joly France had to fight her way through the fishing boats in order to park up at her berth in the ferry terminal. She normally comes in as the tide is ebbing so I assume that she’s going to drop off these passengers and go back for another load while the tide is still high enough.

In that case she can’t afford to hang about.

fishing boats unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe wharf at the Fish Processing Plant is, as you might expect, quite busy this afternoon.

The big orange cranes there will winch up the loads onto the wharf where a fork-lift truck will take them inside the building.

But the vans underneath belong to private operators like fish shops and the like who have contracts with individual boats. When “their” boat comes in, the seafood will be passed by hand to the drivers of the vans who will then load up their vehicle and take it directly to wherever it’s supposed to go without passing through the Fish Processing Plant.

But digging that trench a couple of years ago was a pretty good idea. It fills up quite quickly when the tide turns and it means that there’s a longer window for boats to come in and unload, especially those with a shallow draught.

Anyway I cleared off home to have a coffee and then to work on my notes for my Spirit of Conrad adventure last year but to my shame I ended up falling asleep. I was well away with the fairies too, to such an extent that I missed half of my guitar practice and I’m annoyed intensely by that.

Yes, this is becoming far too much of a bad habit and I wish I knew how to pull myself out of it. I have far too much to do than to fall asleep all the time.

At least I managed to stay awake for tea. Stuffed pepper with rice followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. Delicious as usual.

Eventually I managed to listen to the dictaphone to hear if I’d been anywhere. While I was asleep on the chair I was in Canada with a group of people, all young, keen and enthusiastic. I ended up going for a walk around with one of the girls. She was a single girl in her 30s, having loads of fun teasing this particular boy. During our walk I sat down while she went off to make a ‘phone call – it was a call to this boy to tease him even more that she was out for a walk with me. While she’d gone, I had this idea about maybe marrying this girl so I could claim Canadian citizenship then after an appropriate amount of time we could divorce but I could still claim my rights to live in Canada. I was thinking that maybe I should have done that when I was a lot younger. And I wish that I knew who this girl was.

Anyway, now I’m off to bed. I’ve had far too many bad days just recently and it’s high time that things changed around here. I wish that I knew how to do it.

Tuesday 25th May 2021 – SO WHAT CAN i …

… say about today then?

Nothing of any use, probably. I didn’t go to sleep until late, although it was the usual fallback of starting to watch a film that did the business.

And despite maybe one or two little disturbances during the night I slept right through until 07:47 when I was awaoken by a student nurse bringing me my medication – and a coffee.

There has also been an endless stream of visitors too – doctors, nurses, students, dieticians, cleaners as well as Kaatje my psychiatrist and we had a really good chat.

Quite a few of them came in the morning to when I was trying to revise my Welsh and you’ve no idea just how difficult that makes it, and even one or two came during the actual lesson which made things even more difficult. But nevertheless apart from the video stalling a couple of times the lesson passed well enough.

No lunch for me though because I had another examination to have. This time they took me, complete with the intravenous drip, on a wheelchair down to this big circular machine thing that they pass over the top of you.

For a change I hit the phone this afternoon and telephoned Ingrid. We had quite a chat for a good while. Its been a long time since we’ve had the opportunity to talk to each other and we had a lot to say.

Tea was potatoes and a kind of kidney bean and sweetcorn thing with a hint of green beans. A thin vegetable soup for starters followed by a slice of cake, for which I substituted another packet of crisps. And then, regrettably, I crashed out. The first time since I’ve been at the hospital.

Luckily I’d come round again by the time that Alison phoned me. We had a chat, and she told me that she’s done a little shopping for me and had managed to find a slot to visit me for tomorrow. You’ve no idea just how complicated things are for visiting people at the hospital right now with all of this Covid worry.

So apart from Alison, what is tomorrow going to bring? At least there’s no Welsh lesson but I imagine that there will be plenty of tests and an endless stream of visitors yet again. And maybe one or two surprises as well.

Maybe I might even go off on another voyage during the night. Last night’s wasn’t up to all that much. There were a couple of Greek boys who were boasting to these girls about their wartime exploits and that sort of thing. They explained that they were twins and had elder brothers who were sets of twins. They were going on about this and that and suddenly these girls twigged that these boys were actually a little young and when they did the calculations they found out that it wasn’t these boys who had done these actions. They had been bragging a bit and it was really their elder brothers who had done it. When they let slip that their brothers were fighting in the air force, this girl tried to reassure them that it’s no sin to be proud and it’s no sin to want to fight but you aren’t allowed to etc but these boys were of the proud type and they considered it an insult that they weren’t able to get out and do it.

There might even be a case of leprosy coming into the hospital. It’ll certainly make a change from lucozade.

Wednesday 17th March 2021 – HAVING SAID YESTERDAY …

… that I was going to give up this fortune-telling lark because I couldn’t see any future in it, I’ve changed my mind and I’m now back in business.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir charlevy freddy land aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago when the charter yachts started to arrive in the chantier navale for overhaul, I said that I wouldn’t be surprised if we were to see Spirit of Conrad – the boat on which we went down the Brittany coast in the early summer – in there next.

Well, people, guess what?

That’s right. Over there on the far side where Charles Marie had been moored for the last few weeks, she seems to have gone back into the water and Spirit of Conrad is now there in her place.

There’s another pleasure craft in there today too. Nearest the camera is a small boat called Freddy Land about which I know nothing at all.

But there you are. How about that for a prediction?

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing about which I complained quite voiciferously the other day was the speed at which they seem to be repairing the roof on the College Malraux across from where I live.

It seems that they must have heard me, or else they are regular readers of this rubbish that I write, because they have put on a spurt that has taken le quite by surprise and in just 48 hours they’ve almost finished the part that they had stripped off

They can obviously do it when they really try, so I wonder what holds them up during the periods when they don’t seem to be making any progress at all

Nothing held me up this morning, I have to say. Once more I leapt out of bed with alacrity at the sound of the first alarm … “well, something like that, anyway” – ed … and went off for my medication.

Afterwards I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was a girls’ school that was undergoing a considerable amount of reorganisation and at the parents’ Annual General Meeting quite a few proposals were taken, one of which went against the advice of the headmistress, was to reorganise the year 7.5. That was voted on and the reorganisation was agreed. I pressed “refresh” to reload the document on my computer but my computer crashed so I had to switch it on again and reload the document so that I could read it. It came up OK this time but just then I had a bad attack of cramp (yet again and this is making me feel totally fed up) and awoke.

First task after I’d organised myself was to deal with the booking for my trip to Leuven next week. I’m going on Wednesday, coming back on Saturday, all at the usual time and hoping that I’m not going to be held up like I was last week. I can’t do with this waiting around killing time.

Interestingly, if you thought that the rail-fare was cheap last time, it was even cheaper this time. That can only be good news and it’s not as if I couldn’t do with it. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

Next thing was to have another go at the back-up drive and another pile of stuff has bitten the dust. But very little free space saved. We’ve reached the point, as I explained a few days ago, where the bulk of the big stuff has been done. It’s all little stuff now, 50kb here and there, that kind of thing.

After lunch, I was in great demand so it seemed. Both Rosemary and Ingrid rang me up for a chat – Rosemary twice in fact. But now that I’ve invented a hands-free kit for the phone I was able to take full advantage of the pause by working on the photos from Greenland and I did a huge bundle of those while I was chatting.

harvesting bouchots - the mussels on strings - Donville les Bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather outside was another day of mist and fog.

Nothing like as bad as it was the other day of course. The harvesters of Bouchots – the mussels that grow on strings – were out there in force as you can see, over at Donville les Bains near the holiday camp where I nearly ended up staying. The tide is well out just now so they have plenty of room to move about.

Regular readers of this rubbish might recall that I’ve mentioned the Bouchots before. This was a serendipitous discovery where someone left some ropes out in the sea for some kind of purpose and when he came back a while later he found the m all covered in mussels.

The advantage of mussels grown on strings and not on the sand is that they don’t have sand in them so they don’t taste gritty.

Just one or two people wandering around out there this afternoon as I walked down the path and onto the lawn at the end.

memorial to the resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Monument to the Resistance Fighters of World War II was looking particularly attractive this afternoon so I took a photo of it.

The branches of that tree across the car park fitted nicely into the arms of the Cross of Lorraine and Le Loup, the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour – fitted nicely into the upright.

It’s a shame though that for some reason or other they didn’t treat the metal before they installed it. I’m not sure if a metal plaque streaked with rust was part of the plan at all because it does really look depressing and it will only become worse.

Out in the bay there was nothing at all happening so I walked off down the path to look at the port and the chantier navale.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe chantier navale we’ve already seen, but there was some activity in the wet harbour too.

Our old friend Thora was in there in the unloading bay and there was plenty of other things going on with those two large lorries over there and the tons of stuff piled up on the quayside.

With nothing else going on, I headed back for home and my hot coffee, and I spent the remainder of the afternoon dealing with a day when I was in Central Europe. I seem to be stuck on this day right now and I wish that I could advance.

The guitar practice was enjoyable. I spent my bass guitar session playing a bass solo to “Jumping Jack Flash” just to see how it sounded, and it was pretty impressive. With the acoustic guitar I was having some fun with ELO’s “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” and “Don’t Bring Me Down”.

Tea was a stuffed pepper followed by apple pie and then I came back in here to write up my notes. Now it’s bed time – an early night because tomorrow I’m off to St Lô and the Prefecture to have my fingerprints taken for my new carte d’identité. Things are slowly ticking over here and we might slowly reach a conclusion. And not before time.

On the way back, I’ll take advantage of the big shops there and see if I can’t lay in some stocks of stuff that I can’t get so easily around here.

Friday 5th March 2021 – I’VE HAD ONE …

… of those days where I seem to have been in great demand.

All of the afternoon has been spent talking to different people either on the telephone – first Terry, then Ingrid, then Rosemary and then Liz, one after the other from not long after lunch until all the way through to teatime and I even missed my guitar practice.

It all makes up for the night that I had last night where about 5 minutes after going to bed I had one of the worst attacks of cramp that I have ever had. I was out of bed four or five times trying to ease everything off, something that wasn’t easy for at one stage I had cramp in all four of my limbs at once.

Most of the night was spent not in sleep but in agony, although I must have gone off to sleep at one stage because I remember going on a voyage. We’d been to Dublin for a day out and we were on our way back on the train, a multiple-unit and there was a chance to get out and go to walk around a little village for an hour and then get back on the following train. Our train pulled into this station and we alighted, and I’m not sure what happened and I was ordering the configuration of it, but instead of ending up with 4 carriages I ended up with 45 so I went to delete some. I ended up back with 4 carriages but I’d lost the power car. We had to wait anyway for the next train to come and when that pulled up I explained to the driver what I’d done. He quite simply put his card into the slot and tapped out a couple of things and we ended up back with a power car so we could move off.

Despite everything I was up again quite smartly after the first alarm and after the medication I kneaded the two loads of dough that I had prepared before going to bed last night – one of the sourdough with fruit and the second with the wholemeal bread.

Most of the morning was spent going through the hard drive to remove another pile of duplicated files from the back-up drive. Another 19GB of rubbish bit the dust this morning. Of course, the further you go into this, the slower it becomes, but I’ll get there.

home made bread sourdough fruit loaf place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomewhere in the middle of all of this I broke off to put the bread in the oven and then again round about 10:30 when the oven had switched itself off

The wholemeal bread was cooked to perfection but the sourdough was another failure – a soggy mass of whatever without a trace of having risen at all. My sourdough doesn’t seem to be working at all.

But nevertheless, as a nice moist fruitcake it was something of a success from that point of view and with my hot chocolate it tasted quite nice and made a very good breakfast. But I really need to improve my sourdough technique if I’m to get anywhere with it.

Later on in the morning I crashed out for about an hour on the office chair. Not much of a surprise after the night that I’d had but it was still very annoying and I wasn’t very happy. Especially as it took much longer than usual to come round.

After lunch I fed the sourdough and the ginger beer mother solution and then I had my stream of phone conversations.

But one thing leads to another and these calls didn’t stop me working. While I’d been tidying up the other day I’d found a headset that must have come with a mobile telephone. While I was talking to Ingrid and Rosemary I plugged the headset into the telephone which meant that my hands were free and during the conversations I edited almost 60 photos and I wish that I’d thought about this before.

Now we’re on board a zodiac on our way back to THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR after having visited Brattahlid.

beach rue du nord Granville donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn between everything I went for my afternoon walk around the headland.

But first I went over to the sea wall to see what was going on. Later than usual but even so the tide was quite far in and there weren’t all that many people down there walking around. And that was something of a surprise because for once just recently there was very little wind and there was plenty of sun.

The view along the coast past Donville and into the area was extremely clear today but there was plenty of haze out at sea. The Ile de Chausey was clear enough today, but I couldn’t see as far as the island of Jersey.

There weren’t all that many people walking around today either so I had the path pretty much to myself today.

le loup baie de mont st michel kairon plage Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I walked round onto the lawn near the lighthouse I had a reall good view of Le Loup, the light that’s on top of the rocks just outside the harbour entrance.

You can see the usual high tide mark on the light – the line just below the lower of the two red rings. Of course at the Grande Marée the tide is higher than that.

In the background across the bay the town of Kairon-Plage is standing out quite nicely in the sunshine. And on the right-hand side of the photo just below the skyline is that mystery tower that we saw in a photo the other day and which one of these days I’ll take myself off out to see exactly what it is.

seafarers' monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw the workman painting the lettering on the seafarers’ memorial at the Pointe du Roc

While I was out there this afternoon I went to have a look to see what kind of job he’s done. And it’s not turned out quite too badly at all and we can actually read what’s written on the memorial now without straining ourselves.

From there I walked along the path down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour. There weren’t any more changed of inhabitant in the chantier navale. Still the four boats that were there yesterday and no others. No sign of spirit of Conrad as yet.

naabsa trawler refrigerated lorry fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a change of boat at the Fish Processing Plant.

The big trawler that was moored there in a NAABSA position has now gone back out to sea but there’s one of the smaller shellfish boats now settled down in the silt.

And they seem to be expecting a bumper load of shellfish and aquatic life today. As I watched, one refrigerated lorry pulled away and another one was manoeuvring around ready to reverse into position. A third lorry as already there in the course of being loaded up.

Back here I had my coffee and cake and then carried on with my series of phone calls.

When I finished I went to tea. With plenty of potatoes around here I made some chips in the microwave along with some beans and a burger, followed by more jam tart.

Now I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. Despite my long sleep at lunchtime I’m exhausted and can’t wait to go to sleep. I’m surprised that i’ve kept going this long.

But shopping tomorrow, more football and then a day of rest on Sunday. And I think that after this week, i’ve earned it too.

Saturday 20th February 2021 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

storm waves sea wall port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the waves that are crashing down on the sea wall at the port this afternoon in the gale that was blowing outside this afternoon, I was trying desperately to struggle out of bed.

The two alarms had gone off and I’d even heard the one that I’d set to remind me that the third one is about to go off and give me a three-minute warning to rise.

However I felt myself drifting away and I just about managed to pull myself up out of bed in time to beat it. I didn’t want to miss out on another complete week of beating the third alarm call. It’s not every week these days that I can do it and two complete weeks on the run was is a memorable achievement these days, not to be discarded lightly.

storm waves sea wall port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

There wasn’t anything on there but I have a completely vivid memory of watching through a window as two white dolphins were leaping up and down in the water, calling my brother to look but he didn’t have the least interest in coming to see the spectacle.

Now that my magnum opus is done for now, the next task is to continue with the subsequent entries and make sure that they are up to date. And I even managed to do NEXT DAY’S ENTRY.

storm waves sea wall port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter a shower, I headed off to the shops to stock up with stuff for the next few days and have a few bits and pieces left over for when I come back from Leuven.

Noz didn’t have very much worthwhile except for a new Sports Bag. I’d been looking for one to take with me to Leuven so I don’t have to struggle with a shopping back to bring back the supplies. Black and yellow too!

At LeClerc, no confrontations or anything like that on the car park this week, and inside there wasn’t anything exciting or interesting or useful on sale this weekend. All in all it was rather boring. There was however 20 cents off soya milk so I bought as much as I could carry away because the sell-by date is a year hence and I can certainly use it.

Such are the highlights of my life these days, hey?

One thing that I had done was to go to the techy bit of the shop to see if they had a travel keyboard that might work with the laptop that I repaired. It was a forlorn hope anyway.

Back here I had a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of my sourdough fruit bread and carried on with my work. However at some point I crashed out – crashed out good and proper too and it was another one of those “feeling really awful” ones from which I seem to take an age to come round.

As a result, lunch was rather late today.

One task that needed doing is to feed the mixtures here – the sourdough and the ginger bug. They both seem to be doing quite well and the ginger beer that I made earlier in the week, after a very slow start, is now fermenting nicely. I’ve been venting the pressure on the ginger beer and the kefir every half-day and at last, this afternoon the beer almost presented me with a gusher.

One more feed of those on Wednesday morning before I head off for Leuven and that will see them right for when I come back.

crowds on beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a beautiful afternoon today even with the gale-force winds that were blowing and it had brought out the crowds in force.

I went out dressed for the Arctic temperatures only to find that it was a balmy 14°C – or maybe that should be “barmy” given the fact that we are in the middle of winter. But the crowds down on the beach were enjoying themselves. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many people down there at this time of year.

It’s not as if they had a great deal of beach to go at either because the tide hasn’t gone all that far out right now. But there are still quite a few people having a go at the peche à pied, scrabbling around on the rocks.

crowds on path pointe du roc gymnase jean galfione Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving satisfied my curiosity down on the beach I headed off along the footpath on top of the cliffs.

Considering that this is mid-February and there was a howling gale blowing, I couldn’t believe the crowds of people who were out and about. Everyone was jostling everyone else on the footpaths just like on an August Bank Holiday Weekend. The path down by the Gymnase Jean galfione was packed.

Despite how bright and sunny it looked this afternoon, there was quite a haze about. It wasn’t possible to see out as far as Jersey and it was just as bad down the Brittany coast this afternoon. Warm as it might be this afternoon, it wasn’t warm enough to burn away the haze.

Across the lawn and the crowded car park I went down to the headland. Nothing much happening there at the moment so I turned away to walk on down the path.

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut just as I moved away I felt the sun come out from out behind a cloud so I turned round. And there was the sun streaming down right into the middle of the bay with another one of these TORA TORA TORA moments.

Having photographed that I pushed on past the waves roaring into the sea wall with quite a force considering how shallow the water is there right now, and had a look over into the chantier navale

There were a couple of guys clambering all over the yacht that’s been in there since time immemorial . And just as I went to take a photo of them, they dodged back down into the cabin.

“Obviously very shy” I mused to myself. It wasn’t my day today.

trawlers victor hugo port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were fewer people around here on this side of the headland so, taking my time, I went to see what was going on in the port.

Not many fishing boats out at sea by the looks of things this afternoon. There are plenty of them tied up at their berths. Granville and Victor Hugo, the Channel Island ferries, are there too as you might expect. Apart from a brief flurry of activity in June, they haven’t sailed on a paid voyage for almost a year.

The future is looking quite bleak for the Channel Island ferries right now, and the Joly France ferries to the Ile de Chausey aren’t doing all that much better. I know that I haven’t been out as regularly as I have been in the past, but it’s been a good while since I’ve seen one of those out and about with passengers.

Back here I had a hot coffee and then carried on with the work that I’d been doing and there are now several days’ worth of updates that I’ve completed. I knocked off at about 18:30 to telephone Ingrid for a chat and then went for tea.

Baked potatoes, veg and one of those breaded soya fillets of which I’d bought a large supply from Noz ages ago. And the last of the apple crumble. For the couple of days that I’m here next week, I’ll defrost some slices of apple pie from the freezer.

Having written my notes, I’m not going to be up for very long. That repairing a disk failed – overnight it reached 30% before the repair crashed. But the drive is still recognised so there’s hope for it. There’s a diagnostic tool that I can try to see if I can access the files but it’s very complicated so I need to be at my best to work it to make sure that I don’t make an error.

Wednesday 3rd February 2021 – I REALLY AM …

… eating quite well these days. I really am.

This afternoon I have had one of the nicest lunches that I have ever had.

For a start, I fried two rather large onions in a very large saucepan. To that, I added several cloves of garlic and an assortment of herbs. When they were browning nicely I added the four leeks that I had bought and which I had peeled and sliced, and stirred them in, along with a variety of herbs and ground black pepper.

home made cream of leek and potato soup place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFour small potatoes followed them into the pan, washed and cubed. They were stirred into the mix too.

Once everything was all mixed in, I added a couple of stock cubes, just enough water to cover the contents, and then a box of soya cooking cream. When it was all in the pot, I stirred it well in and left it to simmer for 45 minutes.

Once it was all well-cooked, it was all whizzed up and I ended with probably the finest vegan cream of leek and potato soup that I have ever eaten. I was really pleased with this.

sourdough fruit loaf home made wholemeal bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that wasn’t all of it either, not by a long way. I have made this morning the most perfect loaf that I have ever made after all of these attempts and with my leek and potato soup it was absolutely delicious.

It goes without saying that I was pleased about all of this because my day didn’t start off like that.

Never mind the first alarm, or the third alarm for that matter, it was 08:30 when I finally found the strength to leave the bed and that filled me full of dismay because it made me run so late for everything that I had to do during the day.

First task was to give the sourdough dough a second kneading, and then I shaped it and put it in the smaller of the two silicone moulds and left it for its second proofing.

Second task was to make a 500-gramme wholemeal loaf using traditional years. And I do have to say that for some unknown reason for which I really have no answer, the dough turned out to be absolutely perfect – exactly as it ought to have been – nice and rubbery and elastic and smooth.

It was then left for an hour or so to proof in a mixing bowl and I came in here to make a start on transcribing the dictaphone notes that have been building up over the last few days.

After a break for my hot chocolate and cake for breakfast I gave the dough its second kneading, shaped it and put it into the larger silicone mould and while it was proofing again, carried on with the dictaphone notes.

When the bread went into the oven I made my soup so that it was all ready for eating. It was a rather later lunch than usual but it was well-worth waiting for because everything was exactly as it would have been – especially as I finally seem to have managed to have made a loaf that came out exactly as it should have done after all these attempts.

Once lunch was over, I attacked the form for my registration with the Securité Sociale. Filling in the form was reasonably straightforward but finding the accompanying documents took rather more time than it ought to have done. And when the scanner function on the printer didn’t work and I had to photocopy some of them instead, that took longer still.

By the time that I’d completed everything I was ready for my afternoon walk.

It was quite cloudy outside and windy too and things hadn’t dried up that much. But I pushed on around my little circuit.

chausiais joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was nothing whatever happening out there this afternoon. The only thing of any interest whatever was the fact that Chausiais and Joly France were moored up in the mud over by the ferry terminal and don’t look anything like moving within the foreseeable future.

And the only reason that I took the photos, I suppose, was for the sake of having taken a photo while I was out.

Back here, just as I sat down with my coffee, the telephone rang. Ingrid phoned me and we had another one of these very long chats that took me right up to guitar-playing time.

Tea was pie and veg with gravy followed by apple pie. Like I said right at the very beginning, I am really eating rather well these days. I have never in my life had such good food as I’ve been having since I’ve been living here.

The net result of all of this is that the blog entries for SUNDAY, MONDAY and TUESDAY have been amended to include the dictaphone notes, if you have the patience to read them because during those three nights I travelled miles, as well as taking a couple of old and welcome regulars with me.

Last night though I was with one of the Welsh rock bands and the story gradually evolved as we were trying to work our way between several concerts last night – I hadn’t actually got up on stage but I’d been jamming away in the background while they were there and one of the Man offshoots picked me up and we went off to perform a few gigs. There was a photo that they had passed around of Strawberry Moose playing the drums at some resort in North West England. They’d made some kind of remarks about the Vikings who had come along to conquer that country and were busy beating it up with rock and roll songs because Strawberry Moose still had on his helmet from our voyage with Adventure Canada on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour. One of the couples had a daughter who was about 4. She was a very precocious kid and was actually playing and singing on one of the numbers on stage. Surprisingly she wasn’t doing a bad job at all and everyone seemed to be enjoying it. When we got off the stage at the end she stayed on the stage to do something and her mother had to go and fetch her back. Everyone was making a joke about her being 4 and doing all of this, and I thought that that was most unfair because what she was doing was nothing to laugh at at all. It was quite serious stuff and quite good and enjoyable. I thought that she was getting the rough end of this.

A little later on our coach pulled in to Audlem although it was nothing like Audlem. As we climbed up the hill which doesn’t exist of course we had to stop to let some people out. I asked about the toilets and they replied that they were in the Market Hall. They showed me where it was and I ran off. It was miles, absolutely miles, and on the way back running past this guy I came to a set of stairs and there was an archway over the top every 4th or 5th stair or something. rather than running through the archway I ended up on top of it running from one top of an arch to another down these stairs. I eventually reached the bottom and went outside, and the coach was there. One of the guys who had a toilet cistern said “it’s ok, there’s no hurry. This toilet cistern is no use to me – I’ve just found out that it’s made in Spain, not the UK. We’re just making 1 or 2 phone calls about how to deal with a certain thing” and the coach doesn’t seem much like moving at the moment so I just loitered around outside. This was a hot sweaty dream again.

Later still, we were coming into Shavington via Dodd’s Bank, Nerina and me. I asked if it was OK if we go to a pub – I mentioned the name of a pub – it was one in Crewe somewhere to go and see Jon Dean because he had my bank credit card and one or two other things that I needed for my journey. I could see as she answered back that she wasn’t very happy. As we got into Shavington there was someone (I couldn’t decipher who) who could see the 2 of us together and he smiled a bit because he probably heard that our relationship was just a little rocky but we were still together I suppose which cheered him up.

Somewhat later Jackie and Alison were round at my house revising. I’d been out the previous day to go to Manchester to fetch some car parts and had to go again today because some were missing. I went round to the wholesaler’s first to check and he said it wasn’t there and i’d have to go myself to Manchester to fetch it. I think that I’ve dictated (which I apparently haven’t, so I wonder what it is that I’ve missed out) a lot of this about going with Percy Penguin and having to go and pick her up from her home where she was living. There were loads of other people living in this home as well which which was overrun with cats. I had to find her – she was busy doing something and I couldn’t work my way back downstairs again. A woman told me where to go and I had to climb down a load of pipework which was very awkward as there were no stairs. She was at the bottom and was pleased to see me so I had to get ready to go. I wanted to go to the toilet but a cat kept on getting in the way. And then I realised that I wasn’t going to the toilet in the right place so I found that. Percy Penguin took so long messing around that it was now about 11:30 znd we’d never get to Manchester before the place closed for lunch. I wanted to be back for lunch as I was going to take Jackie and Alison somewhere. We got in the car ready to go and she was talking about driving lessons and how she’d taken a few but Covid had closed it down and when they reopened they had forgotten all about her. I wanted to put “Traffic” on the car radio but for some unknown reason their live album wasn’t on my playlist and I had to select some tracks which was pretty awkward while I was trying to drive. It turned out that they were tracks from some kind of play or something. There was an advert of some kind or other and the music of “Traffic” was used as the background so while I had that on there was some other music coming from somewhere and I couldn’t hear it properly. That was starting to annoy me and all in all I was becoming quite annoyed about everything that was going on.

And so the obvious question is “where am I going to be travelling tonight”.

Thursday 12th November 2020 – I DIDN’T …

… beat the third alarm this morning either – no surprise there, is there?

Probably something to do with my very long day yesterday and the fact that after I’d finished my notes I was editing some photos from the High Arctic and chatting to a young lady friend of mine – she of the corona virus – until the small hours, giving her my moral support – although whether anything that I can do which involves young ladies can be classed as “moral” is a matter for conjecture.

07:30 it was when I raised my ugly head, and when I listened to what was on the dictaphone I wished that I hadn’t gone to sleep. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that occasionally I don’t publish some stuff that I do during my voyages because, believe me, I can have some pretty gruesome dreams at times, but last night was gruesome for a very different reason.

I was working for a Government department last night and was in Montreal – I’d been seconded to work in the office in Montreal. I was staying at a friend’s, someone who had actually found the position for me. I’d gone over there and she had a beautiful flat, a really nice one about 5 stops away on the Metro from where the tax office was. There were lots of people staying there too including my various nieces. It was a pretty crowded apartment with all these people staying in it. So I arrived there and stayed the night and next morning I had to get ready. I was getting ready but there was all kinds of strange stuff going on outside – a huge stampede of cattle in the streets leaping into the river and swimming across to get to the other side on the island, the side where we were. So we walked out to see what was going on. It was due to a food shortage and they were all going off to another Province to be slaughtered. I went back in and had to get dressed. I put some clothes on and then thought “where are the rest of my clothes?” My friend said that she’s tidied away my suitcase and it was stuck right away in a corner under a huge pile of stuff and I couldn’t get at it. I didn’t have a tie but a guy who was there said “your brother has left a few ties here. You’ll have to fill in a form to pay him and you can have this green tie”. So I bought this green tie and there was a long white scarf with it as well that was dragging on the floor. I rolled it up and put it somewhere. “Do you want that?” I replied “it’ll probably come in use for the winter”. I noticed that everyone else was dressed and said “ohh look we’re all in green this morning”. Zero was there and she burst out laughing and said “yes”. Off I set and turned up at the building which was a crummy kind of building in a run-down area. There were crowds of people willing around outside. A guy came over and there were about 4 of us. He gave us a bit of an introduction chat and said that we have to report through door 13B. At 10:00 prompt the doors opened to this office and it was like a huge stampede as thousands of people swarmed in, obviously trying to get a good ticket so they could be in there first. We were swept in in the rush but couldn’t find this doorway. We had a look and there were loads of doors but none was the door that we wanted. In the end one guy I was with, a very tall, very thin guy found like a slit in the wall. He said “go through here and see”. He slipped through this slit and said something like “this is it”. “How the hell am I supposed to get through there?” I asked. He might get through there but I certainly couldn’t. I didn’t think that anyone of any particular size would either. Where our other two people had gone I really didn’t know. I was now pondering about how I was going to get through this slit. If I started I would be wedged in with so many people around me that I wouldn’t be able to extricate myself. That was when I awoke in a sweat.

A little later there had been another instance of me trying to catch a bus. I was scrambling around at a roundabout with cobbles and it had been raining. All these people on motorbikes kept on colliding with each other and falling off. But this was before this particular bit. The only bus coming in was this red bus that wasn’t a local bus at all. I got on and said “take me to a metro station”. he replied “there isn’t one where we are going. I suppose we could drop you off somewhere where you could get another connection”

So later on we were back again in my friend’s apartment a while later. I’d stepped back into this dream where I’d stepped out. This time things were better-arranged and when I got up this morning I could find my clothes and get dressed. I realised that I had the wrong clothes on so I went to look for my clothes. I found dozens of dirty clothes and thought that I was going to have to do some washing now. I’d only been there a day. I got dressed and there was some good music going on. I said to my friend “you have some really good music here and good books”. She said “I’ll tell my son about that”. Presumably he had chosen them all. I started to put the food out but suddenly realised that I was putting out things like vegetables and gravy. That must have been stuff for the evening meal, not breakfast. In the end we all went out and got on the bus. There were 3 of us, me, Nerina and another guy. She sat next to this other guy and started to talk to him in this really friendly involved conversation about going to football matches and discussing her ex-boyfriends, whatever. All the time I was thinking “she ought to be sitting next to me discussing this kind of thing and I was getting extremely jealous. We pulled up at a roundabout and we all got off the bus. Nerina asked “you know which bus you’re getting on, don’t you?”. “No” I replied. She explained to me about the roundabout and said “as long as you get on a bus there and it goes any distance you’ll be fine”

But in connection with the bit about the motorbikes falling over I was telling my brother about my journey and told him a cock and bull story about how I took a taxi because I’d missed all the buses but the taxi could only take me so far and he threw me out at a roundabout where I could get a bus.

Things were certainly happening last night, and I’m reminded of the doctor in THE CANNONBALL RUN who said “I’d really like to probe his case”.

Having written out the dictaphone notes, I had a shower and a weigh-in. And I’ve now gone back over my higher target weight which is a shame. But one of the side effects that I have is “weight gain” and it seems pretty pointless me battling to keep the weight off if they give me all of this that puts it straight back on.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had my shower, I set out for the shops, having forgotten to switch on the washing machine.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw Normandy Trader in port the other day, and then she disappeared again. But she’s back now doing another freight lift to and from the Channel Islands. Apparently she is really busy right now and there is “some talk” – although how serious it is, I don’t know – of buying a bigger ship.

There’s also the delivery of a new pleasure boat – the shrink-wrapped thing on the trailer behind the red and yellow lorry. It looks as if things are hotting up in the harbour.

replacing shop front rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallConsidering that there’s a lockdown on, there are more people about than I would have imagined.

But certain shopkeepers are taking full advantage of the pause well enough. There’s a café there in the Rue Paul Poirier and it looks as if, while it’s closed under the lockdown procedures, that they are ripping out the old front and fitting a new one.

That’s good news if you ask me. It’s nice to see the town slowly being redeveloped as time and funds permit. All we need now are a few more commercial freighters in the port and we’ll be well away. It’s all very well talking about increasing the pleasure boat traffic but what’s the good of the town being packed to the gunwhales 2 months of the year and dead as a dodo for the remaining 10?

One of the reasons why I came here was because of how lively it is throughout the year.

At LIDL I didn’t buy all that I needed, for the simple reason that I couldn’t carry it. I had to buy an extra carrier bag while I was there for what I had already selected.

Pride of place though went to a set of stainless steel mesh sieves. The one that I use for straining my kefir etc is really too big and cumbersome to wield about.

eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way home, I took a little detour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that quite recently I’ve talked rather a lot about the Eglise St Paul. One of the things that I have mentioned is the sad state of the building and how bits are dropping off it rather too rapidly for comfort.

It seems to me that I did mention that there was a ban on walking around or parking near to it, so here’s a photo of the perimeter of the church all roped off and a warning sign “falling rocks” just to illustrate the point that I was making.

It’s a real shame that the building is crumbling away like this.

war memorial eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe real reason why I’d come up here is because, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we’d seen the War Memorial here from across the valley a while ago and I’d mentioned that one of these days we’d come to see it.

And sure enough, here we are. There’s no time like the present. And rather disappointingly, there is no mention of any casualties on the Memorial, just a note “To Our Glorious Dead”. I was hoping to see a list of names of local soldiers who had lost their lives.

But interestingly, it mentions “our matelots”. And that set me thinking because I don’t recall any naval engagement during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, the war to which this monument relates. I can see that I shall have to go off and do some more research.

So after struggling up the hill laden with shopping, I made myself some hot chocolate and a slice of my fruit bread I went to talk to my friend who was now back on line. And we had a lengthy chat that took me up to lunchtime and more of my delicious bread.

This afternoon, I remembered to switch on the washing machine and even with the racket that that was making, waltzing around in the bathroom I managed to fall asleep for half an hour or so. I realise now why I usually set it to go when I’m out at the shops.

Next task was to peel a kilo of carrots – I’d bought two kilos at the shops today because I was right out. So peeled and diced, I blanched them ready for freezing. And while the water was coming to the boil, I fed the sourdough. There’s now 400 grammes of that happily fermenting away (and I do mean fermenting too – it’s bubbling really well) and as I need just 200 grammes of starter for a 500 gramme sourdough loaf, I reckon that my next loaf will be a sourdough one, and see what damage I can do with that.

Somehow I also managed to find the time for amending the two missing journal entries, THURSDAY’S and FRIDAY’S to incorporate the missing bits. I was going to look for the details of that aeroplane that crashed near Leuven in 1944 and I will do that one day, for sure, but there was something else that I needed to do.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have another friend stricken with Covid too, and I wanted to ask her how she was. And a quick 10-minute ‘phone call turned into a phone call of 1.5 hours.

People reading this will be thinking that maybe I begrudge the time that I spend talking on the ‘phone and on the computer because I’m always on about it, but it’s very far from the truth It interferes with my plans of course, but that’s what plans are for and I think very highly of my friends. I don’t have many friends but those I do have are the best friends in the world that anyone could have and I’ll speak to them any time of the day no matter where I am and what I’m supposed to be doing.

Except of course, to certain people to whom I’ve confided my innermost secrets only to find that they have become a subject of discussion in a certain Land Rover news group. No friendship can withstand that, but I digress.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, back at the ranch, what with one thing and another (and once you get started you’ll be surprised at how many other things there are) it was after 17:00 when I finally set out for my afternoon walk and by now the light has gone. So much for trying to keep a constant time in order to compare lighting situations.

As I stepped out of the apartment building I noticed a movement out to sea so I went to investigate.

And it looks as if we are having yet another trawler heading for home today too. Whatever else is happening, there’s still fishing to be done and they are out there hard at it.

But anyway, I pushed on with my walk around the headland to see what else was going on.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the answer to that was “nothing at all”. I had to walk all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour before I noticed the next object of interest.

Normandy Trader has left port. That was a very brief visit – the turnround times are getting shorter and shorter. But in her place is Thora, the other little Channel Island freighter. She’s come in to do a quick sea lift from and to the Channel Islands.

These two seem to be hard at it without a moment’s rest and so it won’t surprise me if they do end up with a larger boat each before much longer.

Unless, that is, everyone is stocking up prior to Brexit (not that it will have too much of an effect on the Channel Islands) and it will all go very quiet afterwards.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I was watching Thora the trawler that I had seen out at sea was coming round the headland towards port.

And at that moment, another one was heading out to sea. So in anticipation of a mid-channel collision, I stayed and watched them for a while. However, there were no shipwrecks and nobody drowndin’, in fact nothing to laugh at at all. So I headed for home as the sun started to sink down towards the horizon.

My hour on the guitar was something of a disappointment because I went to play the Steve Harley song “Riding the Waves”. I’d worked out the chords to the chorus but I couldn’t find my piece of paper with the notes on. And when I finally did find the paper, it sounded all wrong again.

The reason why I like the song, apart from the fact that it reminds me of someone who I’ll talk about at some time in the future, there’s a rapid series of chord changes involving the “F” chord and I need to improve that.

And before anyone says that there’s no “F” chord in it, I play it in a different key to suit my voice. My singing isn’t that good.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper. While I was tidying up the food to put everything away, I came across one that was left over from the other week and it still appeared to be in good shape. So followed down by the last of the pineapple rings, it was delicious. Tomorrow I’ll have to take some frozen apple pie out of the freezer.

porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, I went out for my evening walk and runs around the walls.

There was no-one around tonight so I broke into a run almost as soon as I left the building and ran all the way through the Porte St Jean to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord. But I went back to take a photo of the gate nevertheless because it looked so nice, all illuminated now that they fixed the lights the other week.

Nothing at all going on out at sea – or, if there was, I couldn’t see it – so I ran on down the Rue du Nord to the steep incline that always beats me.

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving recovered my breath, I ran down the footpath underneath the walls, being lured ever onwards by the lights of the promenade at Donville-les-Bains.

With no-one about yet again, I stopped to take a photograph of the night scenery out that way, and then having recovered my breath, ran on down the footpath to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

There was no-one about down there or on the Plat Gousset either, and no-one in the Square Marechal Foch either for that matter, so I could run all the way across there to the other side. Tonight I was really enjoying myself. It was a beautiful night – not too windy, fairly cold and rather crisp.

christmas lights rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on along the walls by the Eglise Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, I looked down to the Rue LeCampion and unless my eyes deceive me, they’ve put up the Christmas lights in the street.

That’s flaming early, I reckon. They must be planning something special right now. I don’t recall the lights being up this early before. Maybe it’s to take advantage of the fewer people wandering around in the streets during lockdown. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s something to do with that.

Back here, I carried on writing up my notes. There were plenty to go at tonight. I’m hoping for an early start tomorrow because I’ve plenty to do. Carrots to dice and blanch of course, and then I ned to start to organise myself about my trip around Europe earlier this year.

It’s not going to get done by me simply thinking about it.

Monday 31st August 2020 – MY BANANA BREAD …

… was something of a success today.

Not exactly perfection, because if the truth be told, it was rather on the dry side, but nevertheless it was delicious and I shall be looking forward to a slice every day with my afternoon drink.

In fact, I do recall purchasing bread like this when I lived in Belgium so from a commercial point of view, it’s quite passable and I shall be thinking of ways to improve it as a go on.

full moon granville manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire the almost-full moon this evening, let me tell you that my day today wasn’t all that much of a success.

Far from it, in fact.

It all went wrong last night where for some reason I wasn’t in the least bit tired and ended up still being wide awake at 02:00. But it wasn’t wasted time because I was actually doing some productive work.

Consequently, no leaving my bed this morning until 08:30 was not the disaster that it otherwise might have been.

I was in Nantwich last night walking up Welsh Row and there was a little girl far too young to be a grammar school pupil but she was in the grammar school uniform all the same walking up there. So I had a chat to her about the school. She said that she didn’t like it all that much – she wanted to go to one in Kent. That’s all that I remember about that.

This morning I have spent preparing another radio programme. All of the first 10 tracks have been selected, paired and merged and the intro added to the first pair.

That took me up to lunch where I tried my new loaf of bread. And that’s pretty good as well and i’m quite pleased with that.

This afternoon I was about to start the text for the radio programmes but Ingrid rang me up. We were chatting on the phone for a couple of hours about all kinds of things

fisheries protection vessel english language granville manche normandy france eric hallAs a result my afternoon walk was somewhat later than usual.

There was plenty of activity out to sea today. This boat here out to sea caught my eye because I couldn’t make out what it was at first. It didn’t look like a fishing boat to me.

Back here at the apartment I had a closer look at it. Although it’s difficult to see, the colour scheme seems to suggest that it’s some kind of official boat – although the police and customs boats are usually grey and blue

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallDown on the beach though it was quite busy today.

Lots of people seem to be taking advantage of the final week of official holidays and a rare warm, comparatively wind-free day.

There were plenty of people in the water today too. And that was no surprise because just look at the colour of the sea. We’ve seen it this beautiful emerald-blue on a couple of occasions this year and it’s really enticing when it’s as beautiful as this.

crowds on beach hang gliders plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued along the path underneath the walls of the rue du Nord and round to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

The tide seemed to be on its way out but what caught my eye here was the pile of seaweed on the beach. Usually it’s pretty clear of seaweed so I’ve no idea where all of this has come from today.

There were several bird-men of Alcatraz up in the air too although it wasn’t really as windy as it has been. Nevertheless they seem to be having plenty of fun out there this afternoon.

builders supplies on port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound by the Square Maurice Marland there wasn’t very much at all going on so I pushed on to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw several pallets of granite on the quayside awaiting the arrival of one of the Jersey freighters. They are still there waiting, but they have now been joined by a pile of these big builders bags full of building materials.

Obviously the arrival of either Thora or Normandy Trader is quite imminent. And with none of the passenger ferries to Jersey operating, they may well be bringing in all kinds of exciting things and in the past we’ve even seen cars being winched out onto the quayside.

working on medieval city walls rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen I was out and about on my travels last week I noticed that in the rue des Juifs there were all kinds of warning notices advising of parking restrictions due to take place.

Today, I can see that all of the parking is now fenced off, and they had this skyjack machine roaming around in the streets.

When I go out to the shops on Thursday I’ll have a good look to see if I can see what they have been doing. It’s high time that they gave some of the walls a bit more attention rather like they did last year to the part a little higher up the street.

digger museum de granville rue cambernon  manche normandy france eric hallSomething else that’s been on my mind has been the town’s museum, situated in the old gatehouse by the drawbridge.

That’s been closed “for renovation” since before I came to live here and it makes me wonder when they intend to reopen it, because there has been little sign of any kind of movement. Today though, a digger has appeared in the grounds and they seem to be digging a big hole.

It’s just going to delay the opening even more, I reckon. I don’t suppose that i’ll ever get to see what the museum is all about.

unloading bouchots de chausey port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound by the port, there was plenty of activity going on.

The fishing boat les Bouchots de Chausey had just come into port and was busy unloading piles of bouchots – the mussels that grow on strings – onto the tractor and trailer.

There were so many crates in the hold that they were using the quayside crane as well as the crane on the trailer. That looks as if it’s a really good catch and they can be well-pleased with that.

It’s nice to see something successful happening here, even if it is stuff that I don’t like.

hang gliders pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I trudged my weary way back home again to check my photos.

The Birdmen of Alcatraz were still out there and as I reached my building a couple of them flew by overhead.

Back here I had my slice of banana bread and then sat down to work on the speech for my radio programme.

And shame as it is to say it, I fell asleep on my chair. Not just for 10 minutes either but for a couple of hours too. When I awoke I felt totally dreadful and it took me a good half-hour to pull myself together again.

It’s probably the worst that I have felt for quite some considerable time.

Tea was a burger on a bun with potatoes and vegetables followed by the last of the apple crumble.

full moon over st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was no-one about at all when I went for my evening walk tonight.

The moon was beautiful tonight as you have probably already seen. it was quite low in the sky tonight and looked really impressive shining as it did over the water at St Pair sur Mer.

Back here I had a chat with Liz and then wrote up my notes for today. having done that, I’m now off to bed, and not before time because i’m pretty tired again right now.

It looks to me if i’m not going to shake off this ill-health for quite some time and that’s really depressing. And if countries continue to pull in their borders it may well be that i might not be able to reach Leuven for my medical appointment at Castle Anthrax on 7th October.

It’s already 9 months since I’ve had my four-weekly cancer treatment and I’m feeling the strain terribly.

It’s also exactly 12 months today since I had my “life-changing” evening – the first of three that I had in the High Arctic that really did change my life for ever.

Three nights that I wanted to go on for ever and at the time, it seemed as if they would too.

It’s quite nostalgic right now, and terribly, terribly sad that it all ended like it did. I don’t regret a thing for a single moment and I’ll never be the same after all of that. Despite the fact that the water has flown well underneath the bridge, I won’t forget it for ever.

Monday 27th July 2020 – THAT WAS ANOTHER …

river allier vichy 03200 france eric hall… horrible day today. At one point during mid-afternoon the temperature inside the cab of Caliburn was 42°C and I had to stop and get out of the cab.

Luckily I was able to find a nice place to do so. To my surprise I found a parking place in the street in the centre of Vichy down by the River Allier so I could park up and go for a walk to cool off a little.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

This morning I was awake and about of bed before the first alarm, something that is always a healthy ambition as far as I am concerned. Plenty of time to attack the notes on the dictaphone because by the sound of things I’d trvalled for miles during the night.

I’d been with Ingrid on board a ship obviously going somewhere and it’s quite clear that we are a couple. We were watching a few other things happening. A notice that we saw said something like “COVID 19 flights to Egyot suspended at the end of April”. As we were roaming about at the end of the stairwell which was cut into the rock evidently we came across another couple and we chatted to them. We ended up down in the basement of the ship trying to find out which were the doors to our particular deck but we were fooling around and quite clearly a couple, the two of us.

Later on we ended up back at my house but my house had been sold, although my possessions were still there. As we walked in through the door there were all these cats there. 3 small cats in waste paper bins and so on. I said “this is typical. Look at these cats. My cats are still in possession and they have sorted the other ones out”. We walked around the kitchen but heard a noise from the living room. I said “hello, anyone there?”. Eventually a Dutch guy came out, youngish, very tall. he came round and shook my hand, said “welcome back from your holidays” and had a really good chat to me, most of which wa in Dutch which I didn’t quite understand. I was with Rosemary and Lieneke. Of course Lieneke was very much in demand for this conversation too.

By now we were all on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR but it was a coach. it was time for us to get off so I walked down to the front of the coach saying goodbye to everyone. Castor and Pollux were there so I said goodbye to Pollux but Castor, I smiled at her, put my head very close to her and said “thanks for everything”. She looked extremely uncomfortable when I said that. That was when I walked down the coach and got off. This was somewhere about Scholar Green and we were looking at a map to work out our way across to Alsager, that way. It was a bit difficult to work out exactly where we were because there were two roads, both of which went across and we could have been stuck by either of them. We were certainly out beyond the confines of Stoke on Trent in that particular area. But it was the look on Castor’s face that got me – a look of real fear. That was what awoke me.

Rosemary had brought me a cup of tea at about 07:30 and by 08:30 we were having breakfast. Afterwards, I packed and loaded up Caliburn, even rescuing my pushbike from Rosemary’s barn where it had been hiding for the last 6 or 7 years or so.

Before I left I fixed Rosemary’s settee and also finished off connecting up her television to her livebox – a task that involved telephoning the helpline.

Off on the road I went, as far as Clermont Ferrand. First stop was the Auchan where I encountered a most unhelpful Secury Guard, bought some more supplies and then I fuelled up Caliburn ready for the long haul east.

Second stop was at IKEA where I bought the rest of the storage jars that I needed, as well as a few other bits and pieces. But I didn’t buy a temporary mattress for Caliburn due to the absurd price that they wanted for one – €79:00 for a folding foam-rubber chair that opens out.

Ad as for the food, that was a major disappointment. I ended up with just a plate of chips and a lump of bread. No salad or anything.

The heat was stifiling when I went outside and it was really uncomfortable and the drive wasn’t very comfortable. Leaving Clermont Ferrand, I went north-east through the countryside and arrived at Vichy

home made raft river allier vichy 03200 france eric hallBut here I had to stop. It was impossible to go any further in this weather. I was melting.

There was a parking place at the side of the road near Parc Kennedy so this was where I stopped. It was a pleasant if not sweltering walk down to the banks of the river but once I was in the shade it was very nice indeed. I was quite envious of the people who were out there on their little home-made rafts going up and down the river.

Being a Pisces I would quite happily have been out there with them.

plage des celestins parc kennedy river allier vichy 03200 france eric hallThere’s a beach there too, the Plage des Celestins, and that was quite a popular place, as you can see in the photograph here.

There’s an ice cream stall, a place to hire deckchairs and also a place where you can hire little boats and so on. And then the row of yellow buoys out there mark the limits to which people can swim in the river. You can see that the boats going out into the river from the slipway at the far end of the swimming area.

A really nice walk along the river in the shade for half an hour cooled me down and I resisted the temptation to see if they had any vegan ice cream on sale. I didn’t fancy standing in the queue.

parc kennedy pont aristide briand pont bellerive river allier vichy 03200 france eric hallAt the end of the Parc Kennedy there’s a bridge across the River Allier.

It’s know, locally as the Pont de Bellerive because it connects Vichy to the town of Bellerive sur Allier on the other side of the river, but as the legendary French politician Aristide Briand had died just a couple of months before its official opening, it was named the Pont Aristide Briand in his honour.

Until the eary 1960s it was the only bridge across the Allier at Vichy but it’s by no means the first bridge. There was even a bridge across the river here recorded by Julius Caesar in 54BC although it might have been built by his soldiers on their way to the Battle of Gergovie.

There have been several subsequent bridges here and this one dates from 1932.

having cooled down a little I headed off eastwards through the mountains towards the Rhone valley, but I didn’t get very far. Tonight I’m in a modern unit hotel in Paray-le-Monial. Because of the heat I had the air conditioning on full blast for an hour and then a shower and a clothes wash.

Tomorrow I’m not going far but I’m still having an early night. I’ve already crashed out once this evening and I’ll be gone again if I don’t get a move on.

Sunday 26th July 2020 – IT’S SUNDAY …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 25th July 2020 – I’M WHACKED PART III

We’ve been hard at it again today.

And still suffering the effects of yesterday because no matter what, I still couldn’t rouse myself out for the third alarm. 06:40 it was when I finally crawled out of bed.

There was the usual cup of tea brought to me, and then I carried on with paperwork and the like.

There was a group of us last night in a hotel, a conference or something like that. I ended up sharing a table with someone who resembled a girl from the radio. It seemed that at every meal I was sitting next to her which pleased me enormously of course. This slowly developed over the period that we were there. We were all on our own in a group, a lot of us, talking about spices and herbs. She had a huge collection of spices that she bought and she told us where to go to get them. She said that anyone who would like to could buy her a spice as a memento. I was immediately keen to go along and do this. In the end I found where she indicated the spice shop was but is was a 2nd hand record shop. I was looking in there at the records and found loads of obscure American records of the type that I’ve been recording of my own collection but this isn’t really getting my thing advanced. At some point I’d been talking to a couple of guys. This girl and another girl had said that they had been friends for 22 years and they can’t possibly have been work colleagues for 22 years because they weren’t much older than that so we were wondering if they had been friends or something. I made some kind of remark “it doesn’t matter if they are 22 years old I could still keep up”. I was with her friend at one particular point when a Ford Cortina Estate mark III gold came by, covered in patches of underseal and rust preventer, that kind of thing. I told her that I had a vehicle like that. She expressed surprise but wasn’t very interested. That reminded me that somewhere along the line I was with Nerina at one point talking about getting a new car for the taxis but for our own private vehicle would we be tempted to get something decent that we could use for a taxi if necessary and was that really a good idea. I thought that I’d like my taxi business to be bigger but only in a bigger town where there is room and scope without treading on people’s toes. But back to this story with the girl from the radio – I remember that they went off on an expedition somewhere leaving some of us behind. I was left behind and feeling very disappointed about this.

At another point in the night there was a question about scaffolding – being on scaffolding and what happens if a pole breaks or someone cuts one while you are on it. Terry told me about a system that he had where there was always a couple of wires to attach the scaffolding to various points somewhere so that if it did break the wires would snag somewhere and at least give some kind of temporary support while you scrambled down.

This yacht thing – there was more to it than that, including me buying a yacht for some reason. And I would love to know what “this yacht thing” was all about and what did I forget to record during the night.

After breakfast we collected our wits and the like and then headed off to Ingrid’s with the trailer. I managed to reverse that all the way down the drive at Daniel’s and drop it off there although the socket would benefit from a pile of easing oil.

Ingrid was pleased to see us and we had a long chat – to such an extent that Ingrid made lunch for us. We were there for quite a while.

Later on we went to Les Guis. I found a few things that we needed either for Rosemary’s house or for the barn and did a little more clearing.

One thing that I did was to place the pane of glass in the frame above the door in the bathroom. I bought that just before I was taken ill and I’d never had the chance to fit it. Rodents had been getting into the shower room and I wanted to keep them out.

That was actually the first constructive thing that I’d done down there. The ret of the time I’ve spent either clearing up or weeding. Having inspected the hole in the attic I injected a pile of expanding foam into it to block it up and I’ll see tomorrow if that has done the trick.

With the van all loaded up we went round to say goodbye to my neighbours but they were busy so we didn’t spend any time there.

Back here we crashed out for an hour or so and then I unloaded Caliburn.

After tea I had a look at a chair that needed fixing. I managed some of it with the aid of an electric drill that had a jammed trigger which was something of a complication, but the project failed because the sunken nut that I had found was too large for the hole. That’s a job for a wood file in due course.

Having had a shower and a clothes washing session, I’m now off to bed. Sunday tomorrow so a lie-in. And I’ve earned that too after this week’s efforts.