Tag Archives: joanie_malcolm

Thursday 21st April 2022 – GLOBAL WARMING ANYONE?

When John Ross, the leader of the first European expedition credited with exploring the north coast of Lancaster Sound, came by here in 1818 and when William Parry examined it in 1819-20, they noticed what might have been the entrance to a bay, which Parry called Croker Bay after the then-Secretary to the Admiralty.

dry valley croker bay devon island canada adventure canada into the north west passage 2019 photo august 2019 eric hallThey weren’t actually sure about whether it was a bay or not because the whole coastline was covered in impenetrable ice so they couldn’t sail in to make sure.

And there I was 200 years later, 25 kms deep into what is quite clearly a fjord rather than a bay, at the mouth of a dry valley where a glacier once flowed and where there isn’t a single trace of ice.

If you want to look for the “Croker Bay Glacier” you need to travel another 5kms up the fjord and eventually you’ll reach it. Over the last 200 years or so, a belt of ice 30kms deep and heaven alone knows how thick has melted.

Anyway I digress … “yet again” – ed.

aeroplane 54aay baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Outside this afternoon we’ve been having an aerial day but while you admire the light aeroplane 54AAY that flew past overhead making its debut on these pages, I’ll start at the very beginning … “a very good place to start” – ed.

And once more, it was a struggle for me to crawl out of bed again. I didn’t beat the second alarm, having gone back to sleep after the first one, but I was still up before the 3rd, even though it was “only just”.

And after the medication and checking my mails and messages, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And to my surprise I found that I’d stepped back into a dream not once but twice.

It’s becoming something of a habit.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One of my former work colleagues starred in this one. It was something to do with his retirement. He’d been called out for overstaying his retirement by some kind of sea creature so he went down to attack this sea creature and had a fight with it. He was stopped and they arranged a proper bour of either boxing or wrestling between the two of them. it was rather unfair because this sea creature had 4 arms instead of just 2 and it had to have its gills reinforced. The fight took place and eventually the sea creature won it. The person commentating said that it was a really good fight but he reckoned that every non-human and probably one or two humans as well really enjoyed the result and how it panned out

And then I started dictating the next dream in French. I was at home and had invited some friends round. They were actually grown-ups and I was only quite young. We ended up playing cards which I thought was a good game. They were 3 middle-aged men and one had a wife but she didn’t want to come. We dealt, and dealt for partners etc. They asked what I had to drink. I had a bottle of beer on the side from yesterday that I could drink. I looked in the drinks cupboard and they had one of these boxes of wine and there was some whisky etc so I started to put everything out ready for people to help themselves to alcohol

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That dream continued afterwards and I’d actually met the wife. They were living in a big detached house very much like UK 1930s but it was in France. She was dreading the start of the French school year because her kids were going to school. I asked her if her move to France was permanent. She told me 20 good reasons why it was. We were having quite a chat when her husband came up and said that when he had the house tidied up and the kitchen arranged I would have to come over for a cup of tea by the fire

Later on I was talking to Percy Penguin, and it’s been a while since she’s put in an appearance. She was being very cagey on the telephone about something. I could tell that there was something going on but she didn’t seem to want to expand on it very much. I couldn’t seem to chisel it out of her. At the same time I was talking to a footballer who lived on the continent. We were planning some kind of event together. My family came on the phone and I started to chat to them and happened to mention something about my youngest sister. They replied “haven’t you heard?”. I said “no” and they answered that she’d died. I was appalled. I asked how. It seemed that she and her husband had gone for a breakfast brunch somewhere. Some security guard had knocked her husband’s cup or something onto the floor so they had “had words”. A fight started and my sister had tried to join in but the security guard pulled out his revolver and shot her 4 times in the groin. At that moment he had been arrested.

Airbus A350-941 F-HTRE pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022We haven’t quite finished yet, but we’ll have an interruption to watch F-HTRE go past overhead.

She’s an Airbus A350-941 owned by Air Caraibes and first took to the air in July 2019. She’s flying TX514/FWI14J from Orly to Fort de France in the Caribbean and went past me at 38,000 feet and 498 knots at vector 272°

But in the meantime I was stepping back into the dream involving my youngest sister. Everyone was now round at my house collecting her stuff to take away. I was busy writing a note to my brother expressing my condolences etc.

Once again it took me a couple of hours to come to my senses, which is a surprise seeing how few I have these days, but when I’d come round I made a start on the photos from the High Arctic of 2019. By the time that I’d finished this evening I was up the end of Croker Bay pinned against a glacier.

There’s a huge batch of photos that I’ve dealt with over the last couple of days. But I’m not out of the woods yet. I have simply moved into different woods.

We had a whole variety of interruptions today, coffee and breakfast being not the least of them.

But on the subject of fruit bread, I had the last slice today.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That’s the cue for another load – this time it was fruit buns because there was nothing else to bake in the oven so I had the room.

And here’s the results. Enough to keep me going until I clear off next Friday, with a few in the freezer for when I come back too.

It’s basically a bread mix of 250 grammes with a pile of brazil nuts ground into a coarse flour, some dessicated coconut, raisins, sunflower seeds, chopped banana chips, some of those mixed dried fruits and a fresh banana all mixed in. And probably a few other things too that happen to be lying around.

And then when it’s all proofed, cooked for 40 minutes on a medium-high oven.

For lunch I took the remaining half-loaf out of the freezer this morning and it had been defrosting. And there’s nothing like fresh bread like that. I’ll have to make another loaf on Sunday, I reckon, while I’m doing my pizza and I’ll freeze half of that too.

taped off front of building place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was of course the usual afternoon walk around the headland.

However today I didn’t go very far before I came to a stop. Just outside the front door in fact.

There’s something afoot here just outside the building, and I’ve no idea what because I haven’t heard anything at all. But whatever it is, they have most of the front of the building taped off, presumably to prevent access.

The plot thickens, that’s for sure.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But anyway, we can leave that for a while. Let’s go and have a look down on the beach.

It was another quite nice day today and the crowds were out enjoying it. Down on the beach too there were plenty of people taking the air including a group of young women playing with a frisbee.

There were other folk down there too, poking around in rock pools, scavenging amongst the rocks and the like. We can tell that the tide is on its way out this afternoon.

And they had beautiful weather for it too.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was up here looking down onto the beach I also had my roving eye wandering around looking at what was going on offshore.

There was quite a haze today so I couldn’t see all that far but I did notice a couple of fishing boats out there. One that we can see here but there was another one further out as well.

And presumably they were working too because they were pointing away from the harbour and following the coast.

Of course, they are far too far out to sea for me to be able to identify them, especially in these weather conditions when I had to peer through a sea mist to see anything at all.

marker buoys baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That wasn’t everything either.

Just down there offshore is a collection of marker buoys. It looks as if someone has dropped a few lobster pots into the water just there.

Mind you, that’s not all that far out and I suppose that they will just come along later this afternoon walking across the sand to collect them and their catch because I’m pretty certain that where they have dropped them is out of the water when the tide is right out.

That speedboat roaring past didn’t have anything to do with them anyway

However that’s not my problem. Armes with my face mask, I went to fight the good fight amongst the crowds of people on the path.

people taking photograph pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a recurring theme that runs through these pages as that oe me taking photos of people taking photos.

But here’s quite a new twist on the subject. Down at the end of the headland I looked back and saw a guy setting up a tripod with his camera perched thereupon.

And having done that, he took up station with his beloved and the self-timer did the rest, much to the chagrin of one of the workers at the coastguard post who wanted to drive past there in his car and who was obliged to wait.

But they did make a handsome couple.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It wasn’t just with lobster pots and trawlers that people were out fishing this afternoon.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen someone perched on the rocks with rod and line at the end of the headland but today we had one of the aforementioned.

And it still bewilders me that these fishermen don’t have a basket or anything in which to put their catch. However, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in all the years that we’ve been watching them, we’ve yet to see a fishermen pull a fish out of the water with rod and line.

There were no spectators on the bench at the cabanon vauban either today. They must have known that I was coming.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From the end of the headland I walked down towards the port to see what was happening there today.

And there has been another change in occupancy at the chantier naval today. Le Roc A La Mauve III is still there showing little signs of moving but Anakena seems to have finished her overhaul and she’s now gone back into the water, ready for her summer voyages to the frozen north.

And how I wish that I was going with her too, but I suppose that you are fed up of me moaning about that. It’s high time that I went out and got myself a life. I need to do something to start moving again but with these heart issues and knee issues it’s not so easy.

But I have the doctor to see next week and the heart specialist at the hospital to see on the 5th of May so who knows? Something might start happening soon, but I’m not holding my breath.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Over at the fist processing plant it looks as if there’s a very long and complicated game of “Musical Ships” taking place.

Briscard was there but she went and L’Omerta came in her place. And then they swapped places, and today they have swapped back again. The excitement here is terrific and I might have to go and lie down in a darkened room.

Instead, I came home for a coffee, a session on the guitar and then (regrettably) I crashed out for a good while. I don’t know what’s the matter with me these days.

Tea was a curry made with leftovers, and delicious it was too. Tomorrow I fancy sausage, beans and chips, especially now that I have my air fryer. I’ve no excuse now for rubbishy chips

But that’s tomorrow. Tonight I’ll have a strum on the guitar and then go to bed. I could do with a much better night and then maybe I’ll have a much better day to follow.

Sunday 13th March 2022 – GONE!

la bavolette 2 philcathane chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And never called me “Mother”!

A short while ago I mentioned that I expected Marité to put to sea quite soon to find a port with some heavy lifting tackle that could lift her out of the water so that she could be examined for her passenger-carrying licence.

And so here she isn’t. In actual fact, according to my marine radar, she’s in Cherbourg. And that’s a new departure for her. usually she goes around to somewhere around the southern coast of Brittany

Instead, you’ll have to make do with views of La Bavolette II, Philcathane, Chausiaise and Joly France.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that has gone, and which is no laughing matter, is one of the houses in the Rue du Midi.

Yesterday evening it caught fire and it has been totally destroyed. There has also been considerable damage to the adjoining houses too and the situation just there isn’t at all healthy.

The smell of burning is appalling and my hat goes off to the fire crews who were still in attendance this afternoon clearing away the debris. All of the roads in the area are blocked off right now.

There is talk that one of the inhabitants of one of the houses is missing and I don’t know how the situation has developed since I last heard anything.

Last night, I was in bed round about midnight and finally staggered out of bed at 10:45. Not that it was a good night’s sleep either because I was off on a considerable amount of travels during the night.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While you look at a couple more photos of the disaster, I’ll tell you where I went.

I started off picking a team at football for a primary school football match. It turned out to be extremely one-sided with one team winning 6-1. I took some good photos of a couple of the goals and wrote a little piece about it for the local newspaper. The team that had won had a couple of boys in it wo were only 10 as well instead of the usual 11 years old of a primary school football team but even so they were still far too good for the other team that was playing

And then there was a meeting going on at my place discussing photos. It had to take place on the quiet although I don’t know why. I didn’t want anyone to know exactly what was happening about it so everyone was being extremely discreet. In the middle 2 men walked in. They went round to the head of the bed and leant on it. They asked “where’s your car?”. I replied “you’re leaning on it” because it was parked right at the back of the head of the bed. They had a quick look round and there it was. They wanted to know where I’d been, who I’d seen and who I’d met. Of course I could only give them examples of one or two days because I’d been away. I was trying to think who it was that I was supposed to have met and why. I tried to make them give me at least a clue but they wouldn’t at all. I was completely flummoxed. I didn’t want them to know about these photos that we were discussing and I just couldn’t think of what could possibly be of any interest to them with the 3 or 4 people who might have been round at my house over the last week when I’ve been here and not in Leuven.

There were some people wandering around the building, a couple probably in their 50s. They were having a look round and suddenly they stuck their head through my window in my apartment. I walked up to them and said “you don’t look through the window of someone else’s apartment” so they blushed and stammered. They started to ask me a few questions about the apartment. They seemed to be nice people so I invited them in and while I was working at whatever it was that I was doing , just then Tuppence came into the living room and to my surprise she allowed herself to be picked up and stroked. Then Sweep (Tuppence was my cat from years ago and Sweep was one of the kittens that Nerina and I had) came in and the woman did the same to her, picked her up and started to stroke her so I said “it looks as if you are stopping here”. They asked about the empty flat and had another look around mine. I gave them certain information but didn’t mention the price because that’s a personal thing

fire engine rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I started off interviewing Brian Jones for the radio. He turned out to be someone whom I liked very much. I admired his sense of humour, his wit and his outlook on life after leaving the Stones. Eventually I became his driver and we became a very good team together. Gradually he evolved into Stuart Jones … “do you mean Mick Jones?” – ed … of The Clash – I can’t remember who exactly. he was talking about all of the solo concerts that he was doing etc. he was someone who was very simple and straightforward and would play gigs with just a couple of people at small venues – he didn’t need to make a name for himself. He played at a Clash reunion and burst into tears at the end after playing a couple of solo songs of the Clash. Then there was a story about a song that he had heard. Someone sent him a song to hear. After he went home I went round to a museum where I knew someone who was working who knew about this song. Instead I ended up in an aero engine place and I asked about a certain type of aero engine. When I mentioned a German name they said that I couldn’t see it because it was under development, which surprised me so I went back again and asked for this German guy. They couldn’t find him so I went into the engine secretary. They told me that I was out somewhere in the vicinity but I couldn’t get to see him. I tried to find out where so that I could follow him round but I couldn’t manage to do it.

And then I was in a remake of that British comedy film that had McDonald Hobley in it and there was an Indian or an Arab. It was the one with the magic carpet in it and was out in the British Empire in India or Africa with Spike Milligan and Jim Dale and a few other people. It was a surreal film with the idea of people going back to their regiment to spy on the situation and development in the Middle East somewhere. It was all extremely surreal and someone who was excluded from the meeting tried to sneak in but was set on by people with scimitars and all that kind of thing. In the middle of the meeting they all had to stop for tea and because they were British they had to stop for breakfast because it was now breakfast on British hours, all that kind of total surreal comedy type of stuff that took place.

That film started off with the Americans refusing to deal with the British because the British were using substandard Russian scrap steel in their steel fabrication in the Middle East, simply allowing Russian lorries loaded with scrap onto the plant to go straight into the smelter and tip instead of tipping outside the smelter and sorting the stuff so the Americans had no reliance on the metal that the British were producing because of the substandard quality of the scrap. That film was called something like “A Miracle Called Yes” or “A Miracle Called Vest” dated 1964

So in this film there were several of us. There was me, a major, a couple of woman and a young girl had made it so far somewhere in the Straits of Gibraltar where we were holed up in a cave. The young girl seemed to have fallen for the major and this was bound to create problems because the major was drinking and was most unreliable. I had to radio a report so we had to wait there until just before dawn when we’d be picked up and taken away. They sent a boat to pick up the major to take him to the camp where he would be court-martialled. This led to quite a scene between this young girl and the major. I had to order her to stay put while I took him down to get on this boat. I was told that I had to stand by at 04:00 when there would be a radio call to summon us to a meeting by radio. In the meantime we’d have to stay there and make the best of whatever we could until we were sent for. One of the older women who was there was well-aware of the situation and realised what kind of complication all this is going to do and will jeopardise our whole mission just because this major couldn’t keep his hands off the bottle and the women.

And then we were back in the war again last night, defending Nantwich. For some unknown reason the attack was coming from the North. We’d dug in and we had a pile of old anti-tank weapons and were busy shooting up tanks as they came towards us. At one stage ammunition was running low but we managed to find a couple of captured ones and a box of 50 rockets so we were able to equip ourselves and hold out again for another while, brewing up tanks as they came towards us. We thought that there was no reason why we couldn’t hold out for ever here because the infantry was very reluctant to come and engage us while we were busy knocking out all of their tanks

Finally, my mother was looking after the twins again. We had a look and she was receiving almost £160 per week for looking after the 2 of them. It wasn’t easy because there were 2 enforcement notices on them, one on each one. One had killed a man and I don’t know what the enforcement order was for the other. It was extremely difficult and time-consuming to look after them both. Somewhere in this my brother was working in a shop that was having a lot of trouble because someone was off sick. I’d gone in there, wearing 2 pairs of socks so I took off 1 pair. I’d been helping them out and I asked if they needed me to come in tomorrow but they replied that they would be OK. They did ask if I could help them out by paying my brother’s wages for them until they were straight. That would be a good help so I decided that I would go round the next day. I came out of the Co-op which was where the old Ritz Cinema used to be and worked my way down Market Street, out and around the front into Victoria Street where his shop was but I couldn’t remember which door it was that one went into to enter the shop. Later on, I was working on a trailer. He came over to me and said ‘have you ever wondered what the girls do when they are watching us and we aren’t noticing?”. “No” I replied so he started to tell me some kind of story about our youngest sister but he didn’t get very far into it.

After the medication I came back in here and paired up the music for the next radio programme on which I’ll be working. And I do have to say that some of the joins are excellent. And so they should be, given all the practice that I’ve had.

After lunch, I started to transcribe the dictaphone notes and as you can imagine, that took most of the afternoon. Mind you, I did have a pause for half an hour or so while I mixed up some dough for the bread for next week. And it seemed to mix quite nicely too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was the usual pause for my afternoon walk to stretch my legs.

The different perspective of the photo of the beach this afternoon will tell you that instead of going around the headland, I went for a walk around the medieval city walls

There wasn’t very much beach to be on this afternoon. The tide is well in right now but there was still enough beach for someone to take his dogs for a good play around down there.

And there were other people down there too but they were out of shot.

yachts cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And as usual, I was having a good look around out at sea this afternoon too.

No big ships out there right now but instead we had a couple of yachts and a cabin cruiser having some kind of danse macabre out there in the Baie de Granville.

Although it was cloudy and overcast, the view was quite good and although you can’t see it in this shot, the island of Jersey was quite clearly visible, although not clear enough to distinguish the individual buildings.

storm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022“Cloudy and overcast” I said just now.

And there were several storms brewing out at sea. The Ile de Chausey is quite clear this afternoon, but just to the west of it is quite a menacing black storm building up and heading this way. And in actual fact, while I was out a few minutes later, it arrived.

The little cabin cruiser out there in the bay probably received it first before I did, and I bet that the crew knew all about it as well.

And so I cleared off down the path towards the walls.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As we wander off along the walls we come to the place where for the last few months they have been carrying out repairs.

What with my state of health being as it is, I didn’t feel up like going down to the lower level of the steps. Instead I stopped at the top of the steps to take a photo of what they had done so far.

We can see a little better today than we did the last time that we were here and we can see that they have a considerable way to go before they are going to be finished at this end of the wall. And the two huge cracks are going to take some repairing if they are going to hold up.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When we were here a few months ago we noticed that they had actually demolished the wall right down to street level.

They have now built it up to the height that it was before and by the looks of things the job that they have done isn’t too bad although at the moment the pointing is somewhat hit-and-miss.

By the pile of stones here they still have some work to do, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it will look here when they have finally finished it off.

And the five tonnes of water in the containers on the scaffolding have done the job of holding the scaffolding down in all of the storms that we have had.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Here on the outside of the walls, we can see the join where the rebuilt wall meets the repointed wall lower down.

It might not be aesthetically pleasing how they have done it, but it’s a vast improvement on how it was before they started and it might even hold up.

And so I headed off through the arch and down the path underneath the walls to continue on my walk, dodging the piles of cyclists who were disturbing the peace and upsetting all of the pedestrians and who think that the path belongs to them.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down at the end of the path here is a viewpoint that overlooks the beach and the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

Surprisingly there weren’t too many people down there this afternoon. Although it was quite cloudy and threatening rain, it was quite warm again for the time of year and no reason at all why people shouldn’t be going for a stroll.

However, as we saw in an earlier photo, they were all in the Rue des Juifs looking up at the burnt-out house on the walls.

On the way back home I passed the guy who takes his cat for a walk and we had a chat, and then I went to inspect the damage for myself.

bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall yesterday that I said that I would take a photo of the bike shed when I see a bicycle in it.

They also know that pathetic parking is a regular feature of these pages, and here we have two for the price of one – a bicycle parked in the bike shed and a car that has decided that it would like to park there too regardless of the fact that the space is presumably reserved for bicycles.

A little earlier, I mentioned about cyclists thinking that they own the place. Well, car owners can have their moments too, can’t they?

Back here, I gave the bread another kneading and put it in its mould. And then rolled out the lump of dough that i’d taken out of the freezer earlier and had now defrosted.

That went into the pizza tray to proof for a while.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022later on, I put the bread dough into the oven and then assembled my pizza ready to bake it when the bread was finished.

And here are the finished results. The bread is baked to perfection by the looks of things and the pizza was one of the best that I have ever made, even though I forgot to put the olives on, as I discovered later.

After I’d eaten the pizza I tidied up and came back in here to finish my notes. Now that they are finished, I’m going to bed shortly. I have an early start in the morning and a radio programme to make.

The nurse should be coming to inject me too and I have my physiotherapy session in the afternoon too. It doesn’t take long for the cycle of activity to start up again.

Saturday 5th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… a few photos of the 120-odd people who turned up spontaneously outside the Mairie in Granville at midday for an impromptu show of support for Ukraine, I’ll tell you about my really miserable night last night.

And when I say “miserable” I really DO mean “miserable” because last night, in a sleep that went on theoretically for just a little over 8 hours, there were no fewer than 14 entries on the dictaphone and that must be something of a record in anyone’s language.

And so it will be no surprise to anyone to learn that when I awoke this morning with the alarm I was thoroughly, completely and absolutely overwhelmed with fatigue.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Although it wasn’t until very much later that I transcribed the dicatphone notes, it’s probably a good idea if I insert them here so that we can keep things in order.

Last night I was standing up but suddenly I fell forward and knocked over this tripod that had some kind of equipment on it like camera equipment or dictaphone equipment. Then I realised that I was wearing a soldier’s uniform and I’d been arrested or captured, something like that

And then there was something about a cucumber rolling around in the bed and I’ve no idea at all what that was all about.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then later on I was out with a friend of mine from Brussels. We’d started off at work – we were working together – and then we decided that we would go for a walk. There’s a bride being married in a couple of days and she was having an exhibition so off we went. We had a lengthy heart-to-heart chat about all kinds of things that had happened between us 20 years ago. It was an extremely intimate discussion. She ended up saying “if only you hadn’t been married, if only you hadn’t been middle-aged” etc. It was a really deep discussion. The bride had settled herself down so we decided that we would go and look. I knew that there was a phrase that you had to use but I couldn’t remember what it was. We walked past this tent and a little head popped out – a little girl. I said “cuckoo, are you getting married?” and she blushed and went back, stuck her head back inside. I could see inside that the bride was asleep in the corner of the tent and there were 3 goats in there as well. I was trying to work out the ritual nature of all of this.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I actually missed out a few things in that story about my friend in Brussels. I can’t remember who I was with at first but we were coming in late for work and we heard people talking about the “Naz” department store. I arrived at work and asked someone what had happened about the department store. They replied that it had fallen down. I asked if it was any relation to the fire a few days ago somewhere. They said “no”. This guy was very interested in telling me so much more about so many different things but I wasn’t interested in hearing them. On my way back to my desk with whoever it was I said that we really need to be in work earlier because we are pushing the boundaries and we need to do better than this and make every effort to arrive at work earlier. When I was walking with my friend we could see in the distance a load of white smoke that might either have been from the collapse of “Naz” or whatever it was called or else the remains of this big fire

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022. Back at home later I was talking to my mother and one of my sisters. I said where I’d been and that many years ago when my blog was in hiatus I used to read books and I’d underline or highlight phrases in books that actually meant something. When I’d been writing my blog subsequently and re-read one of these books and came to a phrase that I’d noted, I’d mentioned it in relation to her. She’s read my blog and seen these references etc but was still interested in coming out with me for a chat. I thought “well, there’s hope yet, isn’t there?”

So there were pirates who stopped a boat and they put everyone ashore. There was a flag that they were flying that had five rings on it like the Olympic flag. I had no idea to engage in this fight so I didn’t go but they swarmed onto this other boat and started hacking the other defenders about to see whether it was going to take them

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And here I am doing it again – dictating a dream when I have no dictaphone with me. I was on a boat somewhere in the Indian or South Pacific Ocean and I was talking about the time that I’d been on a voyage of discovery with my Belgian friend – and fell asleep again in the middle of it – but basically what this was about was something about me being there and maybe taking a boat to Japan and back to the USA. There was a lot more to it than this but unfortunately I can’t remember anything and that’s really disappointing.

And later again I was out on the Pacific on yet another ocean liner with someone else when the subject of this girl in Belgium came up again but I don’t know where it went from here. But how many times last night was it that she put in an appearance?

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Next time I was in the American cavalry in a dark-blue uniform. There was a person of colour in the troop. We came across this girl and noticed her bounty of seventeen dollars which we thought was quite a lot for her seeing as she was an Indian so we resolved to kill her. She was killed in the struggle but handed her jacket all the same to create an entry to receive this money

And yet again dictating in my sleep but it was one on those things where the ones I was with would go and sort out some enemy checks or something like that so we set off in a car and drove. As we drove around the headland we saw the ruins of a castle across a bay that looked very close. We suddenly realised that we had gone within earshot of these particular people and so we’d better not say any more in case they overheard us.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I was at University last night waiting for morning classes to start and I’d been talking to Rosemary on the ‘phone and I said something like “why don’t you come up?”. When I finished I went back into the classroom and took my seat but suddenly Rosemary turned up. I had to go out to see her and talk to her. I sent her off to the cafeteria because our lecture was about to begin. Back in there the cat was on the windowsill so I went to stroke it. Someone said “that’s my cat” but I said that anyone could stroke it as far as I’m concerned. I found that someone else had taken my seat so I had to look for another empty one. Then I had to go through my timetable to find out what lessons I had for the rest of the week so I could go down when this one finished and talk to Rosemary. There were a couple of conversation lessons I couldn’t miss and one or two other things but there was still a fair amount of time so I had to sit down and think about making a plan that I could take to Rosemary in 40 minutes when this lecture finished.

beach rue ru nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After the medication and checking my mails and messages (and having a little relax too) I set off to go into town to do a little shopping. I need some mushrooms for the pizza tomorrow and also a baguette for my Saturday treat.

As usual, I went off to have a look at the beach to see what might have been going on down there today. And one look at what is supposed to be the beach will tell you that there wasn’t anything whatever going on down there right now.

And for an obvious reason too. The tide is right in today at probably its fullest extent and that’s put a stop to everything. You can see now how it’s possible for people to be cut off from the steps.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was also looking out to sea to see what I could see.

Right out on the horizon in the Baie de Granville are a couple of yachts. At least, one of them is a yacht and I’m not quite sure what the other one is.

As you can see, it’s a beautiful day out there this morning but there’s plenty of haze around farther out and the Channel Islands are obscured which is a shame. I was hoping that we might have had a really good view of St Helier today.

And that reminds me – the ferry service is supposed to be starting up some time soon. I must make further enquiries.

cabin cruiser marker light baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022One thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall is that a few days ago we say the marker on the rocks just off the headland here right out of the water.

Today of course, it’s a completely different story. You can see that it’s almost submerged and that will give you a really good idea of how high the tide is. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we have some of the highest tides in Europe just here.

Of course, with the tide being as it is, the harbour gates will have been open for quite a while and that will account for the yachts, and also for the cabin cruiser that’s out there. At first I thought that it might be fishing but judging by its wake it’s in rather a hurry and presumably heading out to the Ile de Chausey.

pointe de grouin brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022The view out to sea might have been obscured by haze this morning but the view along the coast was one of the best that we have ever had.

Although I had to enhance this photograph quite considerably, it shows a really good view of the lighthouse at the Pointe de Grouin on the headland at the entrance to the bay on the Brittany side.

That’s of course where we spent our first night when we were out and about on the Spirit of Conrad in summer 2020.

It was here that I had a ‘phone call about the Demonstration at lunchtime so I abandoned my shopping trip and headed home for a shower and clean-up and to find some blue and yellow clothes.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On leaving the apartment I’m grabbed my ZOOM H8 to record whatever might be happening.

There wasn’t enough time to check the batteries – I use it on the mains here – and so it goes without saying that the batteries were flat. And so were the spare ones too.

But anyway the talk that we were given only lasted for a couple of minutes and that was that. I wandered around taking a few photos until everyone dispersed.

A couple of friends from the radio were here so we all went for a coffee and a chat.

On the way home I popped into Carrefour for the mushrooms and baguette and then crawled slowly (and it was slowly too because I wasn’t feeling too good after my bad night) back home where I had lunch.

This afternoon was pretty slow. Transcribing all of the dictaphone notes took an enormous amount of time and there was also at least an hour and a half when I crashed out completely, absolutely and definitely.

There was football too on the internet – Penybont v Caernarfon. Penybont hit the woodwork twice, had a stonewall penalty appeal turned down, had about 75% of the play and somehow managed to lose 3-0 in a match that they should have won at a canter.

Tea tonight was a couple of those small breaded quorn fillets with potatoes and veg and it was delicious.

This evening, something surprising has happened. Someone from Ottawa has contacted me and asked to be my “friend” on my social network.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have plenty of family and friends in Ottawa. There are also plenty of people who have been with me on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and of course a certain young lady who has accompanied me on several of my nocturnal voyages in the past.

Consequently I was intrigued to see who it might be and how I might know them.

It turns out that it’s someone who has found me “by accident” and wants me ” to always be open, honest and having free speech about everything, share your worries, your children and everything be that support group for me as I will for you, plan together, play together and treat me like I mean something to you, you don’t have to sugar coat anything, as adults, we can handle things. I expect you to treat me right, be truthful, and honest with me because I do believe in gospel truth and that is what I want. I want to feel true love and happiness with you and share everything with you based on love and understanding.”

She will apparently “climb the highest mountains just to be with the one i love”.

So while you are all reading this, I’ll be waiting for the message when she will ask me to send her the air fare so that she can come to join me.

Thursday 3rd March 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

footpath repaired place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… of this rubbish will recall that the other day i made a few scathing remarks about the 5lack of° repair to the footpath on the top of the cliffs just down the road from here.

And so of course, it goes without sating that at some point between Tuesday afternoon and the afternoon today, they came back and repaired it.

Of course I would like to brag that they obviously must have read my journal entry, but I can’t really claim it as a victory for me.

Mind you, I wish that they would have rolled it because with the rain that we have had, it was like walking in porridge.

bicycle shelter under repair place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So that was the situation about the path. How’s the bike shed doing today?

And the answer to that is that there has been absolutely no activity there today except that someone seems to have moved the fence a little.

So that was that, by the looks of things. Heaven alone knows when they will be back.

Anyway this morning, I was back in bed with a great deal of difficulty trying to leave my stinking pit. And I only just made it too before the second alarm went off.

With going to bed late last night after my long phone call, I didn’t take the tablet that I was supposed to. And so I was off on a considerable series of voyages during the night.

We were busy organising things for the radio, interviewing people and so on. I came across someone from the Ukraine so I asked around to see whether someone else would like to interview them. No-one would do that willingly and instead they all encouraged me to do it which I thought was strange. Someone agreed to do the job but only asked 3 or 4 questions which I thought was strange so I was busy in my upstairs room making a list of questions. There were some people from this kind-of radio commune hanging around. At that point 3 girls decided that they would go to bed. I looked out of the window to see who they were. There was one whom I quite liked . They saw me looking so they said “goodnight, Eric” so I replied “goodnight” and we had quite a chat out of this window across this path. A few other people overheard it too. When I went downstairs some woman appeared. She had gone to the airport to meet her daughter who was flying in from the Ukraine but for some reason her ‘plane didn’t arrive. It wasn’t due to arrive now until Sunday. That meant that we wouldn’t be interviewing anyone anyway so I thought that I would take her around and introduce her to everyone here and maybe there would be somewhere where she could stay. I introduced her to the people in the part where I was but for some reason she wasn’t interested in saying “hello” to the kinds which I thought was strange. We went over to the main house. It was a total tip and overgrown garden etc. She met a couple of people there, one of whom was my German friend from the Auvergne. A couple of young boys were showing her posters that they had made, saying “this is what we do. We make these posters and stick them up in all kinds of places”. It was becoming really anarchic, not that I was bothered at all because I’m really anarchic anyway but I wondered how she would react about having to spend the night or maybe more in this type of untidy, unkempt anarchic situation.

Something else came up about this radio programme when I went back to sleep and I found that I was dictating it without holding the dictaphone so I fetched the dictaphone and switched it on, then I couldn’t remember what it was that I was about to dictate

Later on I was round at the house of one of my sisters last night. There were kids everywhere, cats and kittens, everywhere you went to sit, sleeping in food tins etc. She told me to sit down so I did and she put a kitten in my lap. I asked whose it was so she mentioned the name of one of her male cats who was only about 4 months old but had managed to father a litter of kittens. Another one of my sisters was there with a baby. She was trying on an emerald blue-green jacket and trying to choose a suitcase. I asked if she was going away in that outfit. She replied “let’s not push the boat out too far out at the moment”. This was another one of those depressing dreams that I’ve had.

And when the alarm went off I was busy organising some kind of railway tickets for some kind of journey that I was planning but I didn’t go very far with that.

After the medication I transcribed my dictaphone notes, and then much of the rest of the day has been spent in editing and remixing a new live concert for my radio programme.

And this really did take me quite a long time because, with not understanding very much at all of Ukrainian, I’ve had to use a considerable amount of intuitive guesswork as to where one track ends and another one begins so I could edit it correctly.

In the great scheme of things, I don’t suppose that it matters all that much because I doubt if any of my listeners can speak Ukrainian either, but there’s always bound to be one when you don’t expect it

Once I had done that I then had to track down some information about the group who played at the concert, and seeing that that was written in Ukrainian, that wasn’t easy either. However, I had the most astonishing piece of luck the deeper I delved, and if you want to find out more, you’ll need to listen to my radio programme at the end of the month

There were the usual breaks of course. Breakfast with my delicious coffee cake, a mug of coffee here and there, lunch of course, and then of course there was the afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Which started off as usual with me going across the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

And to my surprise, there were crowds of people down there this afternoon. I’ve no idea why either. They don’t look as if they are the usual peche à pied crowd. They don’t have spades, rakes, buckets and all of that kind of thing.

It wasn’t actually the kind of weather to be out there wandering around for no good purpose. While it wasn’t actually raining, it wasn’t far off and there was a mist rolling around not too far offshore as well.

For that reason, I didn’t spend too long looking out to sea trying to see anything.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Now, these people are much more like what you would expect to see when there’s some peche à pied going on.

You can see the rakes, or gratteurs and the buckets in which to carry away one’s catch. Wellingtons are a good idea too if you intend to go wading about in the kind of weather that we are having right now.

There were several pecheurs on the car park too who were busy divesting themselves of their outer garments before driving off home. Strangely, they all had the contents of their buckets covered so that I wasn’t able to see what they had.

yacht spirit of conrad le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022No-one at the cabanon vauban this afternoon so I carried on around the headland towards the port.

Down in the chantier naval we have a nex occupant today. Where Tiberiade was moored over the last couple of weeks we have an old friend of ours.

No prizes for guessing who she is because we’ve seen her from close up – actually from within. She’s Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went down the Brittany coast nearly 2 years ago, and she’s being prepared for her summer season as a charter hire boat when she’ll be off on her travels circumnavigating the British Isles.

notre dame de cap lihou joly france ferry terminal les bouchots de chausey port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal, the older of the two Joly france ferry boats is moored up, presumably waiting for the weekend and its next trip out to the Ile de Chausey.

However in front of her is the local lifeboat – Notre Dame de Cap Lihou. So what’s she doing over there and not in her usual berth in the Port de Plaisance?

The boat that’s careening over in the foreground is another one that we know quite well. She’s Les Bouchots de Chausey and we don’t often see her moored in the harbour during daylight hours. She’s usually out working.

Anyway, I’m going to head off for home and my afternoon coffee.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Yesterday, when we were out and about on our travels, we saw Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters, moored up in the loading bay.

She’s gone back out to sea by the look of things and her place has now been taken by Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey and, occasionally, the Channel Islands.

They were actually using the crane as well. I couldn’t tell whether they were loading or unloading her but her jib was certainly swinging round. There’s certainly quite a load of freight on the quayside and if they are loading, it will keep them busy for a while.

cap lihou port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Over on the far side of the harbour we have one of the trawlers having fun with a fishing net.

She’s Cap Lihou and it looks as if she has caught her nets and tangled them up. They’ve taken them off the boat as you can see by looking at the pulleys on the back, and they are busy sorting them out.

In fact, a closer look at how clean they are and the tangled old mass that you can see on the bollard on the right-hand edge of the photo, she might even be having her old nets exchanged for new ones.

roadmender's lorry rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way home I noticed that the lorry that we see quite often at the Porte St Jean is parked there again today with its machinery trailer.

There must be some more work going on in the old town and so what I’ll have to do is to go along for a walk in there sometime in the near future for a closer look.

Stopping at the bike shed to take a photo, I came back in here for my coffee and a rest. It’s taking a lot out of me these days.

When I finished my concert I attacked the photos again from Greenland in August 2019 and managed to complete about 40 of them. I’m now walking around on Disko Island off the coast of Greenland in the Davis Strait.

It’s known that Erik the Red visited the island, as did many of the “Golden Age” Arctic Explorers, from whence they recruited quite a few Inuit to accompany them on their travels.

It sounds exciting to be walking around in the footsteps of Erik the Red but don’t forget that I’ve actually stood on the foundations of what is believed to be his house in Brattahlid.

Tea didn’t work out too well. I tried the air fryer tonight and while the chips on the top were nicely cooked, the ones underneath were not. It said to “shake the basket” every so often but I think that it needs a lot more than that, like tipping out and repacking.

But at least it was better and quicker than the chips that I had made in the oven last time.

Tomorrow I’ll crack on with my photos, I reckon. I have to back up my computer too and there’s a letter to write as well. I’ve probably forgotten something quite important but I’ll worry about that at the appropriate time.

Sunday 20th February 2022 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… today has been one of those days when I have done nothing at all whatever of any importance.

In fact, it’s been so relaxing that I’ve even forgotten to transcribe the dictaphone notes, as I have just found out. That’s something that I have to do tomorrow after my radio programme is finished.

And when I did, I hadn’t realised just how much there was. I started off with my youngest sister last night but first of all we were in a huge house or something like a castle that was built on a rock. I’d seen a vehicle pull up and I knew whose it was and I knew whom he might have been to see down somewhere else in the building. Later on I climbed down the outside of the building and right the way down the rocks at the bottom where there was a courtyard and there were quite a few people in there having a party, including the woman concerned. It was the mother of a girl whom I know from the Auvergne and who had accompanied me on a few nocturnal rambles in the distant past. I could see that with this party she had obviously known that this guy had been here so I just briefly mentioned it in passing. Then we were chatting away. I thought that I might have been invited to this party but no I wasn’t. I went somewhere else from there and ended up inside and had my sister sitting on my knee. We were chatting about this and that and having quite a bit of fun because she was quite young and I like children of that age so it was all very pleasant. I asked if by any chance my niece and one of her daughters were coming over from Canada. She replied “no they aren’t coming over this year. They came over three times last year and and your brother (who she meant to me) had bean teasing that girl (she meant the one from the Auvergne) about she was having to go into boarding school”. There was a lot more to it than this that I can’t remember.

Something else bizarre happened last night. I don’t know what it was but these two people picked me up, dragged me off and started to interrogate me about something that had happened. I knew nothing about it but they were quite insistent that I did. In the end I had to sign all of these affidavits etc to say that I hadn’t done anything and they were going to give me some money. But they deducted some money for this and some money for that and some money for something else and I ended up with only about 60% of it. But then thinking on it was 60% more than I would have received anyway so maybe it was a good deal although it was something of anguish at the time and rather nerve-wracking as they were quite insistent. In the end I walked away with some cash so I don’t suppose that it could have been too bad and I’m still trying to work out exactly what it was that happened.

There was something else at some point too about a load of new people coming to work in our office so I’d been trying to wrangle a transfer. I was wandering, talking to a few people saying that I hope that they’ll give me a transfer but it won’t be to somewhere exciting like Caithness or Skipton or somewhere like that but to another one of our offices in Stoke on Trent somewhere and that won’t be any good at all.

Laurence and I had been out around Nantwich somewhere wandering around and we came to some kind of museum so we went in for 5 minutes for a quick look around. It was quite nice and I thought that this would be a good place to bring Roxanne. She said “but it would be snowing tomorrow”. I replied “I don’t necessarily mean tomorrow and in any case it’s indoors so she would probably enjoy it anyway”. So we went back out but there was a problem with the trams so we would have to catch a bus. It turned out that there was one in 4 minutes’ time, probably because there was something going on at the cathedral and they had the road up. She set off while I sorted out the tickets and then ran after the tram, which sometimes was a tram, sometimes a bus, and leapt aboard. There was a severely handicapped girl manoeuvring around but I was fighting my way in trying to find Nerina because I was with her now but she wasn’t there. Someone said something like she had just alighted but by this time the bus had started moving. I stayed on but people started to talk about Nerina. Then this vehicle ended up in the wilds somewhere because the normal way home through Wistaston, there was a fight going on between a big group of people and so we must take another way. All the people were running down the street trying to catch up with this bus or something. The driver told me that he was rather confused about where to go so I replied “if you turn right here you’ll end up in Ganshoren and go back over to Jette”. He turned right but it was a road that I didn’t know at all but I saw a sign for Woluwe so I assumed that we were somewhere along the correct road somewhere. All the time this nonsense was going on. We then came to a new part in this road that was even more confusing than what we had come to before and it was a case of guesswork as to which road to take when we reached a certain road junction.

And even later still I was on yet another bus in Belgium. There were a lot of people talking. The subject came round to petrol stations. Someone was saying that there are far fewer petrol stations in Belgium than there ever used to be. She pointed to a Delhaize supermarket that we drove past on the corner of the street and said that in the old days that used to be 2 petrol stations. The talk continued and I noticed one of the people looking at me so I said “excuse me but I’m a foreigner and I’m really interested in what you’re saying”. The carried on talking and in the end we arrived at the terminus and we all had to alight. Someone said to one of the girls “why don’t you take him (meaning me) and show him (something or other)”. She replied “OK” and took me off. It was a shop and she took me down into the basement. I had a wander round in there. Suddenly she started to bake a cake. I wasn’t taking a great deal of notice but when she finished I asked “how did you bake a cake without any eggs in it?”. She replied “I’ve just made this one without any eggs”. I suddenly realised that she had as well and I wished that I had taken more notice of what it was that she was doing. Meanwhile the server from down there came up and said “thank you for being so disorganised. You’ve made me miss my break and you’ve made me have problems serving one of the customers” to which we replied “maybe we’ll offer the customer a piece of cake and it might make them feel better.

After all of that it’s no surprise that I stayed in bed until 10:30 this morning, even though I was wide-awake a long time earlier than that. But Sunday is a day for mending the nets.

After the medication I sat down and paired up the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. And a couple of the joints that I made are totally perfect and I’m well-impressed.

After lunch, I had a football match to watch. While I was in Aachen last Saturday I missed Caernarfon Town v Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League and I have deliberately refrained subsequently from watching any highlights.

This atfernoon I managed to track down the complete game on the internet and so I watched it. I shan’t say anything about the game because, quite frankly, it was one of the most exciting games that I have ever seen. Maybe some of my readers are football fans and if so, you’ll really enjoy this game. It’s at THIS LINK with, rarely, a commentary in English but, unfortunately, with a couple of holes in the recording.

One thing that I will say is that I found the comments of the commentators concerning the Caernarfon Town’s goalkeeper most inappropriate.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in my youth I was a goalkeeper, although nothing whatever like at this standard, and I’ll promise you that an 18 year-old kid keeping goal in a howling gale against grown men, some of whom have been capped for Wales, is always going to be advised to punch instead of catch when he’s surrounded by other players in a crowded penalty area, whatever the commentators might think.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022That took me up to the time that I usually go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual, the first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down below. And to my surprise, there were dozens of people down there going for a walk around.

In this photo are just a few of them, but why this particular view is that there is something on the sand on the extreme left. It seems to be something with a handle but no matter how I enlarged and enhanced it, I can’t make out what it was.

It’s interesting to conjecture that it might be some kind of flotsam and jetsam tossed onto the beach by the storm but I’m not quite sure how likely that would be.

lighthouse semaphore people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As well as crowds on the beach, there were also crowds wandering around on the path on top of the cliffs

And strangely enough, despite the storm warning of the other day, I will bet that the winds this afternoon when I was out were stronger than those during the storm when I was out that afternoon.

There wasn’t anyone out at the headland though and that was no surprise. The wind certainly took away my breath and would have taken away the breath of anyone else sitting down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

There was a couple struggling along in the distance on the lower path, and “struggling” was certainly the word in this wind.

people on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Once I’d gone round the corner to the other side of the headland we were in a wind shadow so it was much easier to move around.

There were quite a few people walking around on the harbour wall too, and with the tide being right out it was probably as safe as it can be. But in a few hours’ time when the tide is right in it might be a different proposition entirely. The seagull was enjoying itself anyway.

One thing that I noticed was the hold hand-powered crane down at the end of the harbour wall. I must have seen it before because I’ve often walked down there in the olden days when I could walk places, but I don’t remember it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal we now have two ferry boats. The newer Joly France boat has come along to join her older sister.

They must have been quite busy this weekend despite the bad weather, so hats off to those who have gone down to the sea in ships.

Back in the apartment I had a hot coffee waiting for me and I couldn’t wait to drink it. Although it’s not cold, according to the temperature, I’m freezing.

And I’ve been freezing for several weeks and I don’t know why. I keep on thinking that I’m sickening for something but it’s certainly taking its time arriving.

After lunch I took out a lump of dough from the freezer and left it to defrost.

Later on this afternoon when it had defrosted I gave it a kneading and then rolled it out onto the tray where it proofed to its heart’s content.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When it was ready I assembled it and stuck it in the oven to bake.

And I do have to say that today’s effort was the best pizza that I have ever made. Cooked to perfection (unlike my previous effort) and tasted totally delicious.

So now that I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m up early in the morning and I have a radio programme to prepare. And then there’s a letter to write, and I need to nip into town to post it.

No physiotherapy for 10 days though. She’s on holiday so I can have a few days off. And I need it too.

Friday 11th February 2022 – THAT WAS A …

… horrible night last night.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I went to bed fairly early hoping to have a really good sleep. However at about 23:00 a party started up in one of the University houses at the back here.

At at 04:30 they were still at it and I hadn’t had a moment of sleep.

Eventually I must have dropped off because when I awoke, at 09:35, there were four files on the dictaphone. I was with my youngest sister last night. To my surprise we were actually boyfriend and girlfriend. We were on a bus doing a lap around a football ground so that we could watch the game but it was almost impossible to see it no matter where I moved to or where I sat or where I went. I tried to sit in all kinds of places. On one occasion I saw the goalkeeper catch the ball but it was behind the line so I indicated that it was a goal. He thought that the ball had come through the side netting into his hands. it was very much a one-sided match. That American guy Lamela was playing and someone said “look what they would have missed had he gone to Celtic”. Eventually the bus stopped because it was half-time. I hoped to find a better seat when everyone had got off. Then I noticed that just round the corner was a petrol station so I said to her “do you want to come along and have a coffee? See if they have a coffee there”. She was searching through her money – she had plenty there, all £10 notes. In the end off we went. She wasn’t very talkative and I had the impression that she wasn’t very happy. We went past a fish and chip shop so I said “would you like a bag of chips as well?” but it turned out to be a place that made venetian blinds. There was something going on about fires at football grounds and they were talking about Airdrie that had been burnt to a cinder and several other grounds where they had had fires, how at Dundee they’d had a big fire but it wasn’t the case at all of an opportunist suspicious fire because the chairman was young, keen and energetic and it had taken him years to rebuild his fortune after the fire even if the club had been refused planning permission to re-erect a stand and how many of their supporters had died in the fire. As they were explaining, my sister asked “how long do we have?”. I replied “normally 15 minutes”. I wondered how much of that time had already passed so I said “as long as it takes if we grab a coffee and are quick back”.

By now I was with Zero and the two of us were at some kind of water park or adventure park. What I’d heard was that they were going to freeze over a waterfall or part of it so that we could go skiing on it. I contacted my friends from the Wirral to see if they wanted to come. Sure enough, they turned up so I went to meet them while Zero was visiting this waterfall walking exercise. She was obviously having a whale of a time. They turned up but for some reason they weren’t very happy at all. My friend’s wife wandered off on her own and he hung around for a minute and then asked “do you want to have a beer or something and I have to go back to the car or something” and walked off in order to get a panda. Zero was enjoying herself but this was coming to an end and they were going to freeze over the waterfall so I had to find the wife. I walked all the way up this slope but I couldn’t see her. I bumped into a few people whom I knew and told them what was happening. They said “surely your friends will turn up to go skiing”. I said “no, they are coming up now”. I walked all the way up the hill but couldn’t find her at all. She had disappeared. Someone said “she’s just walked past at the end of the water wheel” so I decided to turn round and walk back to see if she was there. In the meantime all the kids came off this lake-walking thing so I thought that I’d better go and find Zero otherwise she’ll be the next person who is going to be lost.

I stepped right back into this dream again. The husband turned up and the discussion went on about porridge for breakfast. I offered him some porridge but he thought that it wasn’t porridge but something else. I was absolutely certain that it was porridge and I couldn’t understand why it was that he was saying something different

There had been some kind of incident on Moathouse Drive in Crewe. Someone had been arrested for it and I had to go along and give evidence. I was there making my statement and the person was brought in behind me to make their statement and it was my little Inuit friend from Uummannaq. While she made her statement I waited for her. I had a look round while I was waiting and came across a map of the High Arctic islands in Nunavut. When she finished giving her evidence I said that I’d take her home. I knew where she lived. I showed her this map, explaining to her about the Inuit in Canada and the outlying islands and she was extremely interested. She had some kind of pet like a mongoose or a weasel, something like that, and it was running around inside this room. I had to catch it and that wasn’t easy. It was a persistent animal. In the end I caught it and we both set off. Somehow I ended up back at my house alone with this animal. I let it loose inside my house, my house in Winsford. I’m not quite sure how it happened after that but with me having an empty room in my house and my brother living in all kinds of strange circumstances I ought to invite him to come and stay but it didn’t quite work out like that and I can’t remember how it finished.

After the medication I spent much of the day working on the remaining music for the next batch of radio programmes. All five of them are now prepared and there’s some good music in there.

There were several breaks of course, Breakfast, lunch, and then a couple of chats with Liz and Alison.

Later on I went for a walk around the town to stretch my legs.

dismantling market stall herbert hooverplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022My route took me down the Teinsestraat and into the Herbert Hooverplein.

It’s market day this morning and the square, and the adjacent Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein are swamped with stalls, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen in the past but at the start of the afternoon they begin to pack everything up.

When I arrived this afternoon I was just in time to see the last couple of stalls being dismantled.

At FNAC there was nothing there that interested me. I had half a mind to buy a new voice recorder to replace my old Sony but they didn’t have anything at all.

With nothing that I needed to buy particularly, I didn’t go into ay other shop but instead headed across town to Origin’o, the vegan shop, for some more grated cheese, some vegan sausages and a dessert for Saturday night’s tea

rebuilding medieval city walls handbooghof leuven belgium Eric Hall photo February 2022On the way back into town I came back via the Handbooghof to have a look at the repairs to the city walls around there

There isn’t actually very much to see because of the high fence that they have built around it. Apart from the decoration on the fence, we can make out something of what they have been doing and the different types of brick and stone that have been used.

Sourcing the material to rebuild it can’t have been easy though because I imagine that like most similar places, the walls will have been used as a quarry during the expansion of the town in the past.

At Delhaize there was a disaster. They had run out of the banana-flavoured soya drink that I love. I’ve had to make do with chocolate but it really isn’t the same.

Back here I crashed out for an hour or so, even before I had time to make myself a coffee. I’m not coping too well with things at the moment and the bad night just about finished me off.

So now that I’ve had tea I’m off for a very early night. Grab a few hours sleep before the party starts up again tonight.

Tuesday 25th January 2022 – DAY EIGHT …

… of my self-imposed exile and I actually set foot outside the building this afternoon, for the first time in over a week.

My Covid test result has come back and, as I expected (well, as I knew, really) it was negative so tomorrow I’m going to restart my physiotherapy sessions.

My plan is to take Caliburn, and for several reasons too –

  1. with not having been out for exercise for over a week, I’m not sure how I’m going to manage the climb up the hill and back again.
  2. with everything floating around and my still not feeling 100%, I don’t want to pick up something while I’m out and about in town.
  3. with having been stuck inside for 10 days and not having done any shopping for a week before, supplies are running low so a trip to Lidl with Caliburn is in order.

And so I went outside to make sure that Caliburn will start, having been idle for almost three weeks and with the temperatures hovering around zero. And sure enough, he fired up fairly easily.

While we’re on the subject of zero … “well, one of us is” – ed … I spent much of the night in the company of Zero. And several other people too but it was she who figured the most in all of my lengthy travels.

For some of the time, she was with one of my sisters. They had moved into a house and shared a bedroom, with posters and everything like that all over the bedroom door and wall. I’d been working in the area so I popped in to see how they were doing.

Later on, I dropped straight back into the dream at some point near or nearabouts, with the three of us travelling on a train somewhere.

Later still, there was a reality TV programme about a young girl who I reckoned was Zero, who would choose her boyfriend. The choice had narrowed down to 2. 2 guys turned up, 1 of whom looked like the young dynamic type and the other looked like a slightly older, shy person. It goes without saying that she chose the 1st one. The guy who was 2nd was extremely bitter and disappointed about all of this but I explained to his that he had come a darn sight farther in this competition than almost anyone else and what wouldn’t I have given to change places with him and been up there on the stage at that particular moment when Zero was on the point of making a choice? The conversation drifted around to talk about general life and happiness etc and I can’t remember very much about where it went after this. It was certainly one of those things that if you set your goals too high you’ll fail and you’ll always be unhappy. Success is measured by the level of expectation and I have several examples of this that have occurred during my life. I gave him a few examples but I can’t remember what they mean now.

Still plenty to go at yet. There was 1 of these guys again with a baby or very small child who was about to board a tram. He pointed to one of the trams and said “it’s nice to see some Bristol artwork these days” and went off and boarded his tram.

And then we had 2 girls who had been friends for years. There was a huge pile of glass bottles stored in the garage of one of them. They loaded them into the boot of the 2nd one’s car to take to the recycling plant but half an hour later she was back with the bottles. Her friend asked why and she replied saying “(the name of the other girl’s partner) he’s round there with her at the moment and didn’t want to enter up them”. The other girl went somewhat ashen and said “yes, it was the same with Hugh. They don’t stay faithful for two long”. They began to put the bottles back into the space where the woman had been tidying up after they had gone. Just then her boyfriend or husband came back. He saw what was going on and probably got the message straight away. They started to have an argument which on the girl’s part was more sadness than anything else. By this time I was there and I don’t know why. The girl was talking to me saying “this is where all our money goes”. He was saying “don’t you show him that! Don’t you show him that!” but she showed it to me all the same and said “look where the red circles are”. It was all about guitars that he’d bought and music that he’d bought, everything like that with just 2 or 3 gigs where he’d made a bit of money. The conversation turned round to things like people growing up and taking responsibility, being adult, something that of course never ever happened to me, and it gradually petered out on that kind of discussion.

And finally I was visiting the university and a friend had come over from North America and was staying in the University for 10 days or something. I’d gone to see my niece and her husband, so had he actually come over from North America? I dunno. But I’d gone off to see him and he asked me to stay for a few days so I did, and shared his room. He also had another room-mate and 3 of us in there was rather cramped. We had a very bad night’s sleep the 1st night and the 2nd night his room-mate moved out to go to stay with friends. He and I shared the room but I had another bad night waking up every 5 minutes. In the end he awoke and said that he had things to do so I said that I’d catch him up. It turned out that he had to take a bus to the main university building and the refectory there. I told him “leave some kind of indication where you might be and I’ll catch you up”. He went and I gathered my wash things together and went to find a shower but couldn’t find one. I found some urinals but that was about it. I thought “I’m going to have to go back and take my shower in his room”. I remembered that there was somewhere where food could be obtained so I thought that I’d have a quick look. I couldn’t find it but I found a place where half a dozen old cars had been dumped. Someone was taking some spares off one of them. On the way back to his place there was some kind of dispute between some boys and a couple of girls and a couple of older students from the University had involved themselves in it and were arguing with these boys. I broke into a run, to my own amazement, and ran for miles all the way round the University campus and up these side streets thinking to myself that this is really good with me running like this but I’m never going to meet my friend now because I want to organise myself, go to the bathroom, have a shower, find something to eat and this will take me most of the morning. I wonder where he’ll be by the time that I’m ready to go on the bus and go to the main building to meet him. But I was so happy running that I didn’t really want to stop

There was even more too as it happens, but as you are probably eating a meal or something right now, I’ll spare you the gory details. But is it any wonder that I’m so exhausted these days with all of the mileage that I’m putting in during the night instead of sleeping?

When the alarm went off I arose quite quickly and went off to take my medication, and then to check my mails and messages. Having done that, I sat down and revised my Welsh from last week and prepared for today’s lesson.

There was a new pupil this week as well so some time was spent in introductions, and the lesson itself passed quite uneventfully, and quickly too.

There was some soup left – not much – but there were a couple of frozen potatoes in the freezer that needed eating so I tipped them in as well.

After lunch I started to transcribe the dictaphone notes and it’s no surprise that it took me almost all afternoon (apart from going out to play with Caliburn), although I might have had then done sooner had I not … errr … closed my eyes for quite a while. Much longer than I would have expected or would have hoped for.

But there was a pile of mail in my letter box, all of which were for my next series of appointments at the hospital. And instead of being at 13:30 they are for 11:10 which puts paid to my lie-in to recover from my journey.

With something of a start, I noticed the time. 20:05. Tea thus ended up being out of a tin because there was a football match kicking off at 20:45. Cardiff Metro v Barry.

Both teams at the wrong end of the table and it wasn’t difficult to see why because whatever skill there was only occurred in brief flashes. Cardiff Metro have only a small and diminishing pool of players from which to pick, but Barry seem to have gone backwards this season.

Surprisingly, the Met won 2-0. And surprisingly because at one stage they were really lucky to have nil and I reckoned that it would stay like that if they carried on playing until the next matches on Saturday evening. However one goal from a defensive error and a second from a breakaway down the field in the final minutes as Barry were pushing everyone up for an equaliser sums it all up really.

This isn’t Barry’s season, is it?

Right now I’m off to bed, and to see where I’ll end up during the night. If Zero is as tired out as I am after everything that went on during the night, she won’t be joining me, but TOTGA has had a couple of days off and Castor has been away for a week or so so who knows? I might end up with yet more pleasant companions.

But knowing my luck, I’ll get my family again.

Wednesday 19th January 2022 – DAY TWO …

… of my enforced isolation passed quite uneventfully today.

And I’m glad that I decided to stay in because the news in the local rag was quite discouraging. 60 pupils of “a local High School” (and they didn’t say which one, but there is one just across the car park from here) who went on a ski trip last week have all come back testing positive for Covid.

Consequently, when I do decide to go back out to reconnect with the real world, it will be in the evening after everyone else has gone to bed, as I did 2 years ago at the start of the pandemic.

And going back out might be sooner than I imagine because I’ve felt much better today and if I can keep up the improvement, I might even return to normal by the end of next week, but that’s some long hope, isn’t it?

After going to bed last night just after 20:30, I was awake again at 04:40 and spend the next few hours drifting in and out of sleep until the alarm went off at 07:30.

After the medication I came back in here to gather my wits a little and make a start of some work, but I’ve no idea why, after all of the sleep that I had during the night, I dozed off to sleep again.

By breakfast-time I was awake again, and after my coffee and cake (and if I’m not careful I’ll run out of Christmas cake by the weekend) I slowly tried to wind myself up to do some work. And as it happened I made a start on the sencond run-through of some of the radio interviews.

But only a start. I’d rather not dwell too much on all of that. I was definitely not feeling myself today.

One thing that surprised me was that I remembered to ring up the physiotherapist to say that I won’t be coming today. I’ve no idea what it is that I’ve caught but I’m sure that they don’t want it.

As the afternoon wore on, I gradually pulled myself round, and I’m feeling better than I was this time yesterday – although that’s not saying very much at all. Mind you, I did realise round about 16:00 that I hadn’t had any lunch. I must be ill if I’m off my food.

Mustn’t forget the dictaphone either. Tons of stuff on there. It really must have been a disturbed night last night. We started off by me being given custody of a baby that a girl had had and of which I was the father so I had to collect her from school. We knew that this girl was unstable so we set a kind of trap in this hotel room where I was staying, me and three other people because we were sure that she’d try to come in. Sure enough a man appeared at the hotel at about 02:00. He hid inside a cardboard box and gradually inched it across forward into the hotel lift, went up to the 11th floor, left the lift and came back downstairs to the 10th floor. He burst into my room, but it was in fact the girl. She found one of the people sleeping on the floor but the other one stayed hidden under the bed and didn’t move out. She started to become violent so we were violent back so she just stood there and let us be violent to her. It didn’t seem to affect her in the slightest. We were hitting her with chains but she was just standing there. We were wondering how on earth we were going to get this girl organised. We couldn’t set fire to her clothes because the hotel smoke alarm would go off etc. The more we hit her, the more she just stood there and took it so in the end we were very close to giving it up as a bad job

There was a hot air balloon called “The Olga” that was to take off. There were people around there taking photos. I was taking some. Someone asked of there had been any other photos taken in the past. I didn’t have any. The balloon inflated and set off. Suddenly I remembered that I did have a photo of a balloon called “Olga” so I went to have a look. Sure enough, there it was but it was a different balloon in a totally different situation so it was clearly not the correct balloon which was disappointing.

I was also with someone last night but I can’t remember who. We ended up back in Gainsborough Road. I went in with this other person whose father came from Crewe but she came from Abergele. We went in, and my mother was there with some other woman. Se was doing her bes salesman role explaining about my house, everything. It really did look nice the way that it had all been finished off. In the end she said to me “why don’t you take this woman upstairs and so her around?”. I had to point out that first of all I had no idea what we were doing there anyway when there were tenants in there, to show this woman around upstairs, but I went upstairs. There was a kid asleep in the small bedroom and stuff all over the floor. There was another kid sitting on a bed in another room. I noticed that my fitted wardrobes had been demolished. There was a man in the bathroom so I explained the bathroom to the lady and told her about the central heating, so on. We went downstairs and Joanie and Malcolm turned up with their new baby. She’d brought lots of jars of coffee, stuff like that and I wondered what the hell was going on in my house, people just walking in like this even though there were tenants living in there who obviously can’t have been very impressed.

There was some kind of dispute in Portsmouth about rerouting a bus route. It had taken up 2 parking spaces and led to a confrontation. They were saying that there was no other way to reroute these buses but there was in fact a road but where the bus would end up stopping was by a place frequented by a couple of gangs so the bus company didn’t want to stop there. I happened to be down in Portsmouth at the time, in a vehicle with a trailer on it. When we came to the bank that the buses would have to drive up – it was a dirt track – we couldn’t get the vehicle with its trailer up there. We uncoupled the trailer and drove the vehicle up, then we pushed the trailer up. But one of the guys was standing there looking at me while I was pushing this trailer and not lending a hand at all. We coupled up the vehicle and drove off down this dirt track. At the end was a fuel station so we stopped for fuel. I was with Nerina by this time. She was pointing out some beautiful parts of the town that she could see. I said “it’s not like that at all, really. There are a few nice bits but the rest of it is just mundane”. She replied “you could come here and have your hospital treatment if you like”. I told her that I was happy with Leuven. She saw some other buildings that looked nice but I said that they were industrial ones. We had to go to see someone. We were on our way to him. It seemed to me that she was doing everything she could to slow down our arrival there. he had a couple of daughters who were also concerned in what we were doing. She said “we can see them after 20:00, can’t we, on our way home? And these other people we have to see, we can see them later too”. I had a feeling that the rate we were going on meant that we would never ever get to see anyone. It was just dragging on and on and on, this journey.

Finally, I’d been in Spain. I had been in France and I was flying down to Spain but somehow I’d ended up with a car to hire. A black Alfa Romeo saloon. In it I had all my affairs, everything. When I parked it in this street I was busy doing something and when I looked round, the car had gone. I had a look around but couldn’t see it anywhere. eventually I found a public telephone box by a Formula 1 hotel so I phoned the police. I dialled 11 (as in 112) but someone immediately answered. It was a private person and she couldn’t help me at all. A guy standing nearby who had heard what I waid told me that the number for the police was 22 so I dialled them and explained as best as I could what had happened. They left me hanging on the line for ages and ages and ages. A policeman at his desk nearby wondered what I was doing so I explained it to him. He said there’s nothing much we can do, is there? If the car’s gone, it’s gone”. I said “yes, but no-one has even taken the registration number, the details, my details, all this kind of thing. I thought that at least someone would have come down and taken the information”.

Tea tonight was pasta and veg in a vegan cheese sauce. I fancied something light that would fill me and would be easy to digest. And now I’m preparing myself to go to bed.

But before I do, I saw a video about the snowfall that they have just had in Ottawa, so I sent a message to my family and friends who live there.

But of course there is one person there to whom I would like to send a message to see if she’s OK but it’s probably not good idea to go raking around in the ashes of a fire that was extinguished rather dramatically all that time ago. But as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m a big believer in the sixth sense and so if I send the message via the power of thought backed by sufficient force of character. I’m convinced that she’ll receive it.

Keep the faith!

Tuesday 30th November 2021 – I HAVEN’T DONE …

… anything like as much today as I had wanted to. It’s been a story of continued interruptions.

Well, actually, it hasn’t. There’s only been one unexpected interruption, and that was Rosemary ringing me for one of our marathon chats in the middle of the afternoon. and so where the rest of the time went, I really don’t know but it certainly went somewhere.

For a change I had a reasonable night’s sleep – or, at least I think I did, but I really can’t remember. TI was doing a disco at a party last night. The party was for some local guy and the more I delved into this the more he was an out-and-out crook involved in many activities but he was licensee of the Three Pigeons in Nantwich but had put a tenant in. He was up to all kinds of no good. People had asked me to make sure that some way or another I was able to talk about him and his businesses and I could bring them to everyone’s attention somehow. I thought that that wouldn’t be a problem. I was looking through some photographs of the area and found that the house across the road had two security cameras pointing this way about what was going on at the party. My aim was to have everyone start dancing, making lots of noise, draw their attention to the security cameras and have them do all kinds of silly acts to be picked up on the camera. That would be a really good way to start and I could carry on from there.

Later on I was driving the taxis. There was Nerina and my father, that girl Karen and her boyfriend and a few other people. We were trying to organise some kind of rota for Nerina and I to go away. We had a few people to come in to drive, not very many. We reckoned that it would work if everyone wanted to make it work. My father said that he needed to go and someone else was going but they would be back later so they went off. We reminded them about Peter in Winsford who could drive. There was a taxi job at 09:00. I thought that I’d get the beige Cortina saloon (UOB) ready. I hoped that it would start, everything. I’d get ready to do this job at 09:00 in case no-one turned up. I looked out of the window and the brown Cortina was still there, so was the other one and all the tools were out. had they driven off and left everything behind like that? I went out and there had been some kind of problem with the car that had affected some girl who had been walking past. They were busy talking to her and her boyfriend to make sure that everything was OK. Then I had to find a bed. I knew that a bed was upstairs somewhere so I went with this guy who was staying behind for a while and searched the bedrooms. In the end we found it underneath my mattress that was on the floor. I thought that this is going to be really uncomfortable to sleep when they take away the bed that’s underneath my mattress. I was amazed at just how dirty the place was. There was a big hole in the floor where a floorboard was missing and you could see all the way down into the living room below. I thought that this place was unbelievably dirty and untidy.
There was something else about my youngest sister playing with her dolls but I awoke almost as soon as this started.

First thing this morning after the medication and checking my mails and messages, I cracked on to finish off the journal entry from yesterday. In case you hadn’t noticed, I fell asleep in the middle of writing it up. I’d had a hard day yesterday too.

When I’d finished I sat down to write up my notes from the Welsh lessons from last week and from the weekend, and then to prepare for this weeks. And unfortunately I ran out of time so I went in only half-prepared.

That proved to be my downfall too. Most of the lesson went quite well but I ended up in a Zoom Room with the tutor where I forgot the word for “fifteen” … “it’s undeg pump” – ed.

After a late lunch I went outside and spent an hour or so cleaning, wire-brushing and rustproofing the two wheels that are in the back of Caliburn. When they are dry, I’ll put the first coat on and then the second one on Thursday afternoon ready for the new tyres on Friday.

Back here Rosemary phoned me just as I was sitting down with my coffee and we had a lengthy chat as usual.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Eventually, when I managed to make it outside I went over to have a look at the beach.

And today, there wasn’t any beach at which I could look. The tide is now almost all the way in so that was that as that as far as the beach went. There wasn’t anyone down there at all which is no surprise.

There wasn’t anyone about out at sea either. And that’s despite the tide being well in. That’s the time that you would expect all of the boats to be heading for home in order to be in before the harbour gates close.

workmen's compound place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was out there on the car park I went over to have a look at the workmen’s compound which was blown all the way across the car park in the storm.

By the looks of things they’ve been out collecting the various parts of the compound from around the place and grouped them all together where they used to be. They haven’t reassembled it as yet but I suppose that that’s a job for another time.

There wasn’t anyone else out there except me this afternoon so I could go for a walk in peace and quiet without having to worry about anyone else and whatever infection they might be carrying around with them.

broken concrete posts bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Round on the lawn at the end of the headland there’s a pile of old concrete pillars that they have collected from somewhere.

No matter how strong the storm was, I don’t think that it’s caused this kind of damage. By the looks of things these pillars haven’t been outside in the weather so I wonder if they have managed to fight their way into another one of the old bunkers and pulled them out.

Across the car park I went, down to the end of the headland. There was nothing going on out at sea today and there was no-one down on the bench at the cabanon vauban either, so I pushed on along the path.

chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was no change in situation at the chantier naval so I had a look over at the ferry terminal.

Over there right at the front of the queue is Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey, and behind her is one of the Joly France ferries. There’s no step in the stern so she must be the older one of the two boats.

That was about everything that was going on out there this afternoon so I came on home for a coffee and to finally make a start on some work – not that I did very much this afternoon. For some reason I was feeling quite exhausted.

Tea tonight was veggie balls with pasta and veg, and then I reorganised the freezer to make room for the curries that I made yesterday. The freezer is pretty much over-full. I should really have bought a larger freezer, but I would have filled it with other stuff instead so it wouldn’t make any difference.

So now I’m off to bed. I’m radioing tomorrow – going to interview a pile of elves. I have all of the exciting jobs, haven’t I?

Monday 13th September 2021 – IT’S A PITY …

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… that my 70-300mm LENS is the longest lens that I have.

Had it been of any greater length it might have picked up some really exciting activity out at the Ile de Chausey over the weekend.

Someone in a zodiac pulled up at a landing stage on the island to drop off some passengers and a speedboat, taking a great deal of exception to someone beating him to the pitch, rammed him – not once, not twice but continually over a period of seven or eight minutes.

They say that the police and the harbour authorities are “very interested” in the affair, and i’m not surprised.

If you are interested, you can see A VIDEO OF SOME OF THE ACTION

There was plenty of action during the night in here as well. I’d borrowed a van to do some removals. I had everything in the van and gone to do this but the place wasn’t ready so I had had to hang on to the van. I was going to do it next morning. The guys whose van it was wanted their van back by 11:00. After much discussion we agreed that someone from their place would come with me early in the morning, we’d unload the van and then he’d drive back the van so that I could go on to work. There were two pints of milk on the table so I said that i’d take one with me as my breakfast but my mother refused and said “no”.

A little later there was something going on about an old Transit van that i’d had for years, like that Sykes Pumps one. The diesel engine had been no good in it. I took the diesel engine out of my old white Transit and put it in. Then I tried to start it and to my surprise it fired up. I remember saying to someone that I’ve had this van for 18 years and it’s the first time that I’ve ever heard it run

Later on again I was working in Manchester. There was a huge office car park and we were parked on there. They were talking to an old manager of Rangers FC about what was going to happen to some buildings just below. He said that they were going to turn them into shops so the discussion went on to parking. Were they going to be parked in our area or not? he said not – they would probably have parking of their own. I went outside the compound and looked back. One of the buildings here was a huge 37-storey building like a space rocket thing. I was working in another one. I was lying down on my back looking at this building and these two girls came past. I said that that was where I worked . They looked at it and asked “what floor?”. I said “the ground floor. They won’t get me working on the 37th floor for any love or money. Just then I heard a load of clanking and it sounded as if the car park was being locked. I had to run back to the car park but I couldn’t get in because the gates were closed. There was a security guard there and he opened the gate for me and let me in. He said “I’ll let you in this time but don’t do it again because you won’t be let in otherwise.

There was some other stuff as well but as you are probably eating your meal right now, I’ll spare you the gory details.

After the medication I made a start on the next radio programme. And despite having to stop for a coffee and for breakfast it was all done and dusted by 11:20. And it’s a pretty good one too. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

While I was listening to it afterwards I was busy sorting through a pile of old photographs and weeding out the duplicates. There’s a couple of GB in there right now and I imagine that as I progress there will be plenty more to go with them.

After lunch I had a shower and then did a pile of tidying up because the nurse was coming around to give me my fortnightly injection.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a week or so ago I had a very lengthy talk with the skipper of Normandy Trader. Amongst other things, he told me some news but asked me no to say anything quite yet.

Anyway, now I’m able to spread the news about. Several weeks ago he saw a sister boat to his own and discovered that it was for sale. He made several enquiries and as a result, this morning the boat passed into his fleet.

At the moment she’s called Brecqhou Warrior but she’s likely to have a name change before she starts work.

lotus place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

Once again I was held up before I’d gone too far, because on the car park is one of the little Lotus Sevens.

At least, it says that it’s a Lotus and while I have no reason to doubt that it is, one has to be very careful about accepting cars like this at face value. There are plenty of kit cars out there that resemble the real thing, and some of them are very good indeed.

There are several cases of people having been “taken in” by faithful replicas. It’s very hard to tell some of them apart.

red autogyro place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021esterday, I couldn’t even get out of the door without being overflown by the red autogyro.

This afternoon I should have delayed my walk by about 30 seconds because then exactly the same thing happened. As I was looking at the Lotus, the autogyro came out from behind the College Malraux.

It rattled past overhead, the pilot and his passenger, and disappeared off towards the airfield where presumably it went in to land.

There were several other aeroplanes that went past, light aircraft or full-size commercial aircrat but they were all too far out in the bay or too high up for me to photograph them with any clarity.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Having dealt with all of that, I went over to the wall to look down at the beack to see who was about.

The tide is now well in so there isn’t much beach down there right now but there were still quite a few people down there.

And who can blame them? It was a really nice afternoon with plenty of sun and not a lot of wind. An ideal time to be down there.

There wasn’t anything going on out at sea this afternoon which was quite a surprise, so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs.

One of the sparrowhawks was there looking for food but he wouldn’t keep still long enough for me to take a photo of it, so carried on through the crowds of people.

man on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Across the lawn and across the car park, I went down to see what was going on there.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single boat of any description that I could see out there this afternoon. The only sign of any life was this guy down there sitting on the bench in front of the Cabanon Vauban.

And wherever he has come from, it’s been a hot and difficult walk judging by the sweat stain on his back.

So with nothing to see out at sea, I cleared off along the path towards the port.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There was no change of occupant today at the chantier naval so I looked over towards the ferry terminal to see what was going on there.

Moored up there at the walkway was one of the Joly France ferries that run over to the Ile de Chausey.

This one has the larger upper deck superstructure, no step at the stern and windows in “landscape” format, so she’s the older of the two near-identical boats.

The red crane on the quayside was working although I couldn’t see what it was going to lift, but there was certainly something going on over there with the boat.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021In front of her was the other one of the Joly France boats.

We can see by the smaller upper-deck superstructure and the windows in “portrait” format that she’s the newer one of the two.

And if we could see her stern clearly, we would see a step in it as well.

All that remains to be found now is the brand new Belle France. She must be over at the Ile de Chausey hoping to catch a bit more of the aquatic demolition derby. They could sell tickets for an event like that.

refrigerated lorries fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Not many fishing boats in port this afternoon and I’ve no idea where they all are because I couldn’t see them out at sea.

But they are obvously out there working somewhere because there’s one refrigerated lorry already at the fish processing plant and another one reversing into position.

And this is what makes a mockery of the UK Government’s plans to simplify the HGV driving tests and eliminate the reversing requirement. There’s only one way for an articulated lorry to park in a loading bay, and that’s backwards.

It’ll be extremely interesting when I newly-qualified driver has to reverse up to a loading bay between several other lorries.

Back here I had my banana smoothie and then made a start on my Welsh homework but at 17:00 I had to go upstairs to speak to a neighbour. I have several cunning plans going on around in my head right now, and one of them has something to do with this building.

Tea was another one of these curries made with everything that was lingering in the fridge – well, almost everything because having forgotten the diced peppers yesterday, I forgot them today as well.

Tomorrow I have my lung examination early on, and then my Welsh lesson. There’s my homework to finish too. And then Wednesday i’m off to Leuven. It’s all go here, and I can’t keep up with it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 7th July 2021 – I’M FED UP …

… of this perishing weather.

rainstorm place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis afternoon I didn’t have the chance to go out for my afternoon walk because it was raining like it had never rained before.

Even in all my wet-weather gear I wasn’t going to set foot outside the building in all of this. Torrential rain had nothing whatever on what was coming down when I wanted to go for my walk.

The irony of it all was that there was a Welsh conversation on-line tonight and I was bent on joining it. And while we were chatting, the sun came out and there was some blue sky too. But the moment the chat finished, down came the rain, right on cue, and that was that.

Last night was another rather late night because something came up on the Old-Time Radio – an Agatha Christie play concerning Hercule Poirot – so I stayed up and listened to it. If it meant for a bad night and following morning, that’s rather a shame but for me I ought to be having some pleasure out of life somewhere.

As a result it was rather a struggle for me to raise myself from the bed when the first alarm went off, and some time after I’d taken my medication and come back in here I’d crashed out, sitting on my chair. And for about an hour and a half too. I must have been tired.

When I’d recovered I made myself a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d bought some item of clothing and it was going to be for me only and it was very special. I was living at Coleridge Way at Nerina’s. Somehow this thing was picked up in her washing and washed along with everything else and hung out on the airing trolley things. I was wondering how on earth I was going to get it back. I had to wait for a moment when everyone was out of the house. I waited for a period of over a couple of days until everyone had gone and I went downstairs and into the living room where all of these clothes were on airers. There had been a bed made up on the sofa. I crept over there to see and it was an empty bed. I thought that with the bed being on the sofa there was something strange going to happen and so I slowly made my way round to where this article was. Then I heard voices in the house so I waited thinking that the way to distract these people whose voice this was would be to leap out and startle them, and that way to forget what it was that was going on. That was what I did, and it turned out that it was my youngest sister and someone else, another female of our family. They’d both been involved in a car accident so I immediately went to console them both and tell them “it doesn’t matter – it’s only metal” and so on. Another guy was there. he was trying his best to console them as well. All the time this article that I wanted was still up on the clothes airers and I was in a very great danger of actually losing it again to someone else who wasn’t going to be careful about what they packed up and what they put away.

Tater on there was another long and rambling dream that went on and one and on. What I can remember was that some girl was having to have lessons. My brother had been giving her lessons but was unable to do so so I was now having to do it. We were living on the Wistaston Green estate and I had to find out where to go. They said that on Saturdays she lived at home but on Sundays she stayed at someone else’s house. On the Saturday it was somewhere on the Wistaston Green estate but no-one actually knew where. We knew where to go and where to park the car ans one of my sisters thought that she knew which house it was but every time I asked for the number it was “oh you just go there and park your car” and so on. The Sunday was a little clearer because I remember taking the phone call when she was changing it to her relative’s house. I could vaguely remember something about that. But there was tons to this and it just went on and on and I can’t rememner any of it.

While I was asleep on the chair though I was working in an office in Stoke on Trent. They had come along and cleared all of the files in the store room and sent them off to a central repository, which I thought was the strangest decision that I’d ever heard. Every time someone rang up or wrote in a letter you had to write to the central repository to get back the file before you could deal with their query. I’d had something to do with one particular case which I’d been working quite regularly but the file wasn’t there so in the end I went into the basement, couldn’t find this file there so a guy whom I used to know and I went off to the central repository which was in Stoke on Trent. He said that he knew his way around so off he went. I ended up just sitting there for a couple of hours and I was totally fed yp so I decided to go back home again. Back to the van was past a compound with all of these big Bentley 3-litres in it. Then there was a place wirh 4 or 5 Isetta bubble cars all mangled, it was that kind of place. Just as I was getting into Caliburn to go back, he appeared. He said that he couldn’t find the file but he’d found one of his big old buckets that he’d had before and went to empty it over the edge of this drop so that he could take it back but he almost ended up going over the drop with all of the rubbish that was in this bucket thing before he could stop himself.

It must have been a really deep sleep on the chair if I’d wandered off like that.

So having organised myself and grabbed my breakfast much of the morning up until lunchtime was spent dealing with the photos of Greenland in August 2019. I’m not about to go for a wander in a zodiac to look at the icebergs in the Davis Strait and Disco Bay just off Ilulissat. And this, I remember, is the day that I allowed my curiosity to get the better of me.

But one thing about editing these photos – it makes me want to go North again.

My work this morning was interrupted by a couple of things. Firstly, I crashed out yet again for half an hour or so, and secondly, I had a visit from the postie. The first of the deliveries from my mega-Amazon order. And so immediately after lunch I went into unpacking-mode.

A pair of batteries for each of the NIKON D500 and NIKON 1 J5 cameras. And I bet that I still end up down the street with flat batteries too at some point or another.

But interestingly, the new generation of chargers work off 5-volt USB connectors rather than the mains current. So that means less gadgets to haul around with me

The new Dashcam came too, and that took ages to work out how to initialise it, and the new multi-caddy that I’ll be using for back-up storage. The memory is here too, as is the new USB 3.0 multi-connector but that’s all a job for next weekend after I come back from Leuven when hopefully, the two new hard drives for the computer will be here.

rainstorm rue du roc foyer des jeunes travailleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time to go for a walk but the lousy weather put the brakes on that, as I told you earlier.

Going back upstairs I stuck the camera out of the rear window overlooking the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs to take a photo of the weather out there as well. I wasn’t going to end up being soaked just for the sake of a couple of photos.

Instead, I came back here and did some more work on my trip down the coast on board Spirit of Conrad last year. This is a pretty slow process because there’s about 400 photos and I don’t really know what to write about most of them – although that has never stopped me in the past of course.

There was a Welsh chat on Zoom this evening so I wanted to join, but the tutor had sent me the wrong link so it took a while for me to be connected. But a couple of things that I noticed, namely

  1. this particular tutor is a lot more disorganised than the two that we have had so far
  2. this was a mixture of people from several groups and the people from our group were much more confident than the people from the other groups

Tea tonight was chips with burger and baked beans followed by chocolate sponge and coconut soya stuff. I’ll be back to making chocolate sauce for the next few days now.

But not right now because I’m off to bed. It’s shopping tomorrow of course, if I don’t fall asleep, and there might even be more toys from Amazon. Won’t that be nice?

Sunday 17th January 2021 – HERE ARE …

home made bread vegan pizza jam roly poly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… today’s culinary offerings, all fresh out of the oven.

Yes, I’ve been a very busy boy today, even though I didn’t feel very much like it.

What we have is a loaf of bread of course, a vegan pizza ditto, and as an extra special treat a rather overdone (unfortunately) jam roly-poly for pudding next week.

Firstly, as for the pizza, I forgot the tomato sauce so I had to make my own. Three tomatoes were whizzed around in the whizzer and strained to remove the worst of the liquid. The mush was then put back into the whizzer with some concentrate from a tube, some oregano, basil and tarragon and all whizzed up into a purée.

The jam roly-poly is rather different. A mug and a half of flour, half a sachet of yeast some salt, a little sugar and a dab of oil, and make a dough like you would for a pizza.

Leave it to proof for a while and then knead it and roll it out with the rolling pin into a large square. Spread with jam, sprinkle with desiccated coconut and roll it up. And then leave it for an hour or so.

Finally, dust with cinnamon, brush with milk, sprinkle with brown sugar and then cook. I had to cut mine in half to fit in my oven, but here we are – pudding for next week.

That’s not the best of it though.

It’s Sunday with no alarm but even so I was up and about by 09:00 and by 11:15 I’d steam-cleaned the apartment, taken a load of rubbish outside and had the place looking nice and respectable – something that I never thought I would be able to manage.

Liz and Terry promptly turned up, bang on cue, and now I have a major problem because the frozen hot-cross buns that they brought have caused my freezer to have a major overflow and now the rather inefficient icebox in the fridge has had to be pressed into service

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had a coffee we went for a walk around the walls in the gale-force winds.

And this is one of the reasons why I don’t like coming around the walls in the afternoon – you see the sun shining off the roof of the Casino and yet the Plat Gousset is in deep shadow from the cliffs. Trying to balance this lighting is what one might describe as “extremely challenging”.

Still, once we were out of the wind we had a pleasant walk in the sun across the Square Maurice Marland, watching the picnickers enjoying their food. And I don’t blame them at all.

pipe markings rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned a couple of times just recently the weird hieroglyphics painted on the street, presumably something to do with all of the pipework that they will be doing.

The alleyway that cuts through the Rue St Michel where they are currently working terminates in the Rue du Midi and here’s a good example of what I mean. It’s all quite graphic, isn’t it?

So having noted that, we pushed on home because it was lunchtime. Liz had made some leek and potato soup the other day and had plenty left over so she had brought it round. We had soup and bread (she brought some bread too) followed by fruit and mint tea.

After they left, I started on my cooking and while it was all a-doing I had a listen to the dictaphone.

Even though I didn’t have a great deal of sleep I had been on my travels and gone for miles during the night. A whole group of us was together and we were listening to a programme on the radio – a live broadcast of a court case in New York due to start at 07:45 so we had everything all ready and settled down and turned on the radio and it was Kenneth Horne on “Round the Horne”. We were all extremely disappointed because we had been looking forward to this. It was on a Friday and we didn’t have the paper any more with all of the times on it from the previous weekend so we carried on doing some kind of ordinary stuff and the chat came round to something about times and I suddenly realised that if I was saying 07:45 in New York it wouldn’t be 07:45 UK time but USA time and that would explain the difference. We ended up waiting for a bus in the West Midlands somewhere, watching all these buses go past, including a weird single-decker towing a refreshment trailer with people inside having coffee. This went past about 3 or 4 times. Our bus turned up and we clambered aboard and went upstairs. One of the people with us was Liz Ayers or someone resembling her. There were a load of kids all messing around at the front so she went up to them and gave them a lecture, like any teacher would have done to a pile of children. Of course everyone was astonished by this including some of the kids who were sitting somewhere else but she bawled them out. In the end they all settled down quietly and we carried on. Back in the house there was a large number of us getting ready for tea. I was a bit late – everyone had started. Something came on the radio and I remembered that 1 of the girls had wanted to hear something so when I went down to get my tea I said to the girl “such and such a programme is on the radio now”. She asked “why are you telling me?”. I replied “I thought you asked them to tell you”. “No, that’s Helen” she replied, pointing to a girl whom I didn’t know sitting at the table. I told her and then I had to sit down and had to find my meal because there were dozens of meals on this table and none of them particularly corresponded with any seating position. I tried to work out which meal was mine but it was extremely difficult.

Later on I was on holiday with Castor. We’d been driving around Europe in the car. We’d been out for 3 or 4 days and been to a couple of places and seen a few things. Suddenly, she asked me “Eric, do you know how to have fun? Do you know how to party?”. I had to admit – I said ‘no I don’t” which is perfectly true (and it is too – I have no idea how to do these in real life). We had along discussion about the holiday and so on. “Maybe it’s my fault” I said. I pointed to an ruined old church, an Eastern European type church. “See that?” I asked. “We’re in Brasov in Romania at the moment. Perhaps it’s me – maybe I don’t explain things properly. If you want to go to see something like that somewhere we’ve passed through you have to say ‘let’s go and have a look at that’ – you don’t just have to sit there and come with me. You can make suggestions, all this. You can say anything, like ‘how far are we from Bucharest’ and ‘why don’t we go here?’ “. “Yes” she replied ” but no-one knows all the old stories about these places like you do”. Our chat carried on and I tried to make some sense of what was happening.

Later still, I was in Crewe and I had to catch the bus back to Shavington. I had my suitcase and I’d taken so long over this meal, and that was an event too. The café was small, crowded and the seats were jammed up against each other and difficult to find a place to sit. In the end I found a place and a woman sat with me. We had a quick meal and something, and when she got up to go she began to berate the staff about the untidy place and all this, the lack of room. I thought that this was most unfair considering the conditions under which they were working. Then I thought “God, I’d better get a move on or I’ll miss my bus”. I had to go up to the counter and pay. It was £2:50 for a plate of beans on toast and a couple of drinks which I thought was really good value. I only had my card so they gave me the machine. I had to be careful because this was the kind of place where you hide your PIN while you were tapping it in. When I left I thought “I have 5 minutes to go and fetch my suitcase and go and catch my bus. Should I stay at the hotel an extra night, or catch the next bus or should I go on this bus and come back in a car to fetch my luggage?”. I thought that the taxis would be busy because it’s Saturday so coming back might be difficult. In the end I went on the bus and got to Shavington and walked down the street. Of course, all the cars were out. I thought then that I’d better go back on the bus and get my luggage. Then I saw a couple of young girls moving around the house so I thought that I’d go in. So I went in and everyone was pleased to see me. Someone said “I’m sorry about your luggage stuck in New York. We heard the story”. I didn’t understand that at all. One of my sister’s children started to talk that everyone had been up Big Ben. I spoke to her about it and we had a chat. There was my youngest sister there also so we had a bit of a chat as well.

There was much more to it than this too – a whole voyage as well but as you are having your tea right now probably I’ll spare you the gory details.

So now that tea is finished, I’m off to bed. Despite the short sleep and the full, busy day I’ve managed to keep going. But I don’t want to push my luck. There’s still plenty to do.

Saturday 26th December 2020 – I’M HAVING …

… a few technical issues right now. If the computer causing me a few upsets isn’t enough, it’s now the turn of the NIKON D500 to start to give me grief.

Since the computer blew a fuse the other day, uploading photos from the camera to the computer has been a long, laborious process. The USB sockets on the front must be USB 2.0, not 3.0 because it takes an age and quite often it’s stalled and I have to upload them 1 by 1.

The other day in fact it wouldn’t upload any at all and so I had to open them from the camera with the computer and then save them to the Hard Drive. This evening, I went up upload today’s and yesterday’s and nothing happened at all. Wondering if I were to use the XQD card reader I plugged that in, put the card in and waited …. and nothing happened at all.

And so I put the card back in the camera and “please format this card”. So I plugged the card reader and card into the USB 3.0 port on another computer, and sure enough “device not recognised”. So I put the card back into the camera and plugged that into the machine and although it identifies the camera, it can’t read the card.

So that’s that then. It looks as if I’ll be having to make do with the little NIKON 1 J5 for a while until I can organise the solution to this problem.

I’m not having a very good time, am I?

Especially not as I didn’t get up until about 10:45 this morning. But considering that I was still awake and working at 03:30 this morning that’s not too bad.

After the meds I finally sorted out the dictaphone. There were lots happening through the night but I could only remember a bit of it. They were dealing with some important issue at a Government Office and they had asked someone to bring in a huge pile of paperwork relating to his unexplained wealth. It was an enormous stack of stuff that he had brought in. The husband of one of my sisters was sorting the post and some of it he was actually filing away and I didn’t want him to do that as he was having to present it all to the person who was looking at the file and wanted to make sure that it was all there. I left and was walking down this terraced street in London, a really nice modernised terrace and this guy was living there in one of these terraced houses and they were on their way to move house. So I went to have a look round at their old premises. Just across the road were more houses of this type and 2 guys were walking down there. They decided that they would go into this house to deliver a package. When these boys saw what was inside, one of them let out a really camp expression. I walked on round the corner and almost fell down this enormous hole at least 40 feet deep. At the bottom were a dozen workmen trying to clear some slurry away because there was a huge water leak down there. They were presumably trying to get at it to block it. But all the local kids had somehow managed to jump in and were sitting on the edge of this water waiting to get their bath for a swim. As I was taking a photo another young boy in a swimming costume pushed past me ready to jump in and it was very much a busy kind of place. But there was much more to it than this and I can’t remember a thing now.

A bit later they (who did? Have I missed something here?) dressed a girl up as a mermaid and she came out with these bright red vivid clothes and that took everyone by surprise

Later on that night my sister and I went off and came to a restaurant. She ordered her meal but I had to wait though while they organised a few tables, things like, that, washing the floors. It occurred to me that I could have ordered mine and waited for it so I went to order it. I asked what was on the vegetarian menu. The girl said that they had vegetarian food but no menu, and she told me what there was. There was one dish that I didn’t recognise at all. I asked what it was and she said that “it’s only been on the market since yesterday. I’ve no idea what it is either”. I said “yes, OK I’ll try that”. She decided to serve that for me and put it all ready on a plate. I went back to the table. Before I’d gone away we’d sat to talk to someone who lived in Shavington and when I came back there was someone else there, one of the boys of a family who had several of them. I said “God, has everyone else who has been to Shavington come here?”. My sister was chatting away to this boy then off he went and my meal still hadn’t turned up at this time, hardly a surprise as I’s only been away from the counter 30 seconds.

Apart from that, I’ve not done a great deal today either. Mostly just messing around here and there. But I did do two weeks’ worth of Welsh homework to make up for yesterday. And I did have lunch too – my usual Christmas lunch a day too late of toast and vegan butter and vegan mushroom pate.

Two trips outside today too, my afternoon walk with the massive crowds and my evening run when I was practically all alone. And this evening I seemed to be running a lot easier than I have been for quite a while. The weather wasn’t at all bad either – not what you might think for the middle of winter.

Tea was exactly the same as yesterday, listening again to my Christmas rock concert. I hope that those of you who heard it enjoyed it as much as I did.

Despite being tired, I’m not ready for bed yet. I’ll hang around for a bit, add yesterday’s dictaphone notes to the blog, that kind of thing. A day of rest tomorrow but I have packing to do ready for Leuven on Monday.

Sunday 13th December 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change just recently, I was up and about at something resembling more a respectable time of day on a Sunday – like 10:30 for example, which is a world of a difference away from 12:00 and 12:30, isn’t it?

So having taken my medicine, I went to have a listen to the dictaphone. And phew! Was I busy during the night?

I can’t remember much about the next bit that happened (I can’t even remember any first bit) at night but there was a young girl in it something like my youngest sister. I don’t know what she was doing but later I was out and they were controlling the stuff that was going out of this shop. I had a TV computer screen and took a felt-tip pen and wrote on the screen surround today’s date to make it look as if I’d actually brought this in with me rather than just buying it so that I could take it out of the store without actually paying for it but my big felt-tip pen was all discoloured and the ink didn’t show up very well on the brown surround so I had to take a felt-tip pen off them.

Later, it was my mother’s birthday and I wanted to wish her a happy birthday (don’t ask me why). I was living in Chester at the time so I had to go to Crewe. I had this idea of going with the aid of a stick where I leant all my weight on this stick and pivoted forward like that. I could work up a good rhythm with that and actually go at 7 miles per hour doing that all the way back to Crewe. But then I thought that I would have to turn round and do it all the way back again. There were all kinds of stories about how they were going to use paper boarding but this kind of thing was extremely dangerous after all they had said. There were countless people who had set out with things like this and thought that they could do really well.

Next, we had another one of my “wandering around London” dreams last night. I’d been to see my aunt with a pile of things – I think that I’d been on holiday and I’d called back there just to drop off some stuff. Then I wandered off around and met up with a friend – we were planning on having a night in. But she turned out to me a mixture of herself and my cousin in Canada and we were actually in Canada. I had to go back to her house so I got off this bus with all these people with whom I’d been chatting, and noticed that her street was under more development. They were building another restaurant so I went to talk to her about it and she explained that it was always being modernised and so on. I said that these other people had talked about this restaurant and how good it was going to be and she agreed. Then we got into her car to drive these presents round to Mary’s. But when we arrived it was after the time that their building had been locked up. I said that we ring on the bell and wait 5 minutes and she’ll let us in, then we can get ourselves organised. But she seemed to be reluctant to get out of the car to go to see her and said something about her mother who was in her 90s, the same age as my aunt. In the end I decided that I would go out as well and she would go out and maybe we would just put the presents in the letter box and come back or perhaps maybe just find the time to say a quick hello but we didn’t get to the point of making a quick decision

I was with this same friend yet again subsequently and we had been all around south-west London. She was talking about her relationships and how her husband was moving out at the end of January. I asked her if she knew for sure. Had he given her a date? She said not but reckoned that that was what it was going to be. I asked about her plans and she said that she was going to move to a place called “Sea Breezes” so if he came to look for her he wouldn’t find her. I asked her about this place and she was a bit vague about it. She said that things were going to change – the air, you would feel the sea in it and the ozone. I thought that it would have to be pretty close to the sea but she said “no, it’s in south-west London”. So we set off to go and have a look at it but we ended up being sidetracked miles off our course and we had to come back to retrace our steps. she had been on a bike and in the end she picked up another one and I picked up hers and we both cycled back and came to a place where the hill was really steep. We had to cycle down this hill at an enormous speed. I said “I hope that your brakes work on this bike that I’m riding”. She said “yes so do I”. That unnerved me a little. I had to use my foot to slow down but we reached the bottom and ended up in part of the big urban environment there. I’d lost my friend for a minute and ended up talking to a couple of women. One of them was speaking in a French accent so I started to reply in French. We had a bit of a chat. She noticed the dry ski slope and said “oh, skiers. It’s like Mont Blanc here”. I had a look and I could see someone who resembled my friend going down the slope. I thought “she’s been quick to get there” so I set off. Instead I found her standing in the middle of the road on a traffic island chatting to Jackie. There was a group of about 6 of them. I went over but kept on bumping into this guy and kept on excusing myself. He kept replying “it’s no problem” but I could see that he was starting to become irritated about this but it was a natural reaction that I couldn’t stop. Then I noticed that STRAWBERRY MOOSE wasn’t there so I asked my friend what she had done with him. She pointed “he’s over there” so Jackie went to pick him up. They were all talking to this guy who looked like someone from the OU warning him about the clothes that he was wearing – he shouldn’t go to a certain place wearing those clothes. But his clothes weren’t OU at all – they had some other logo on them that I didn’t recognise so this chat continued

It’s hardly any surprise after all of that that I didn’t have time to do very much today. Transcribing that took a lot of time

But I did find the time to make my fruit bread. Much as I enjoyed my chocolate cake, it was very fatty and probably responsible for the weight that I’m gaining. Not an ounce of fat in the fruit bread, except maybe in the oil from the ground Brazil nuts.

So that was stuck on one side again while I joined up the music tracks for my next radio programme. That’s all done too. And our journey around the World moves on into yet more uncharted territory.

helicopter english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I was ready to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland. First thing though was to exchange pleasantries with a neighbour outside who was taking the air.

It was a good job that I was wrapped up in my rain gear as it was raining outside. And as I stepped out of the car park I noticed that our local air-sea rescue helicopter went flying by, right out there in the English Channel. Someone with his chopper out this afternoon

At first I wasn’t sure what it was because it was so far out at sea. It was only when I returned when I could enlarge the photo to see what it was.

Anyway, I set off down the track to the lawn and across and through the car park to the headland to see what was going on.

fishing boats chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the answer to that conundrum was “nothing at all”. Not even a boat anywhere out at sea. So I walked down to cross over the road and I ran off down the path on top of the cliffs seeing as there was no-one about.

There wasn’t all that much going on in the harbour either. There were no fishing boats at the fish processing plant but there was one moving around in the harbour looking as if it was going out to the fishing grounds.

There were several others moored in the harbour but they didn’t look as if they are going anywhere right now. I suppose that they are all having the day off.

jean claude rabec furniture removals chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there was certainly something quite strange going on in the background.

The company that owns that lorry is one of the country’s leading furniture removers and you can see that from the lorry they are unloading some very large wooden crates. These are the kind of crates that you would expect to see in a long-distance furniture removal such as a removal by sea.

But why unload them at the ferry port? They can only be for Chausiais but surely it’s easier to drop them in with the crane at the loading bay in inner harbour.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here at the viewpoint on top of the cliffs, I had a look over at the chantier navale to see if there was anything new happening.

We’re still stuck at just the yacht right now. Nothing else has come in over the last couple of days since Ceres II went back into the water. Instead we can just admire the weather.

We’re having something of a rainstorm as you can see. The Pointe de Carolles over there in the background is shrouded in thick cloud and the rain is quite heavy out in the centre of the bay and it looks as if it’s settled in for the night.

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut out in the Baie de Mont St Michel the weather conditions aren’t quite as dismal.

We’re having another one of these “sunshine streaming through the heavy cloud” moments across near the Brittany coast, with the rain coming down to the North (on the right) and the South (on the left). In the centre of the image the corner of the cliffs by Cancale and the sea off the coast are really nicely illuminated by the rays of the sun.

But I wasn’t going to hang around to admire it for too long. I was becoming rather wet what with all of this rain. I turned on my heel and headed for home and my coffee, which I forgot to drink.

Instead I kneaded the bread a second time and shaped it, then dropped it into a greased tin to rise again. And having taken a lump of frozen dough out of the freezer earlier, I added some more flour to what was a wet mix, and then kneaded, rolled and shaped it, and stuck it in a pizza tray.

vegan pizza fruit bread rice pudding Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLiz was on line so we had a chat and I did some more work, but later on I put on the oven and when it was warm, stuck the bread in the oven, and then added a rice pudding to the oven as well.

While it was cooking, I prepared the pizza. I had no peppers and, unfortunately, I forgot the olives. But when the bread and rice were cooked, the pizza went into the oven.

The pizza was soon cooked and it was absolutely delicious – one of the best that I’ve made. The bread was left to cool and then stuck in a tin and the rice pudding ended up back into the oven to finish off as it wasn’t quite cooked.

I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t try it. That will be for tomorrow.

casino plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went for my perambulations around the medieval city walls – not that I was feeling much like it and which I won’t be able to do when the 20:00 curfew comes into force on Tuesday.

As seems to be the case these days I kept to the dry land up on top of the walls and the view from up there is different from what I usually see, as is the case with the view over the Plat Gousset.

Down on the path I ran all the way round and after having a pause, ran off around and through the Square Maurice Marland towards home.

christmas lights rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallback on the walls again, I had to remind myself that there’s a little point where you can see the Christmas lights of the Rue Lecampion and I haven’t photographed those yet.

You can see right down the street into the Place Generale de Gaulle and the blue lights on the Mairie that we saw a couple of days ago from up on top. And in the distance in the top right-hand corner you’ll see the lights at the top of the Rue Couraye.

So back here I wrote up my notes ready to go to bed. I’ve already started writing the notes for the radio programme so I’m hoping that I can finish them and have time to go to the shops before lunch. But that remains to be seen. It’s more important to have a decent sleep and a good start in the morning.

But we’ll see about that tomorrow too.