Tag Archives: kefir

Wednesday 7th April 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… nautical afternoon out there again this afternoon.

There was so much traffic out there at sea this afternoon that you wouldn’t believe it. Out there at sea is one of the local trawlers, either Coelacanthe or her sister Tiberiade heading out to the fishing grounds near to the Channel Islands now that the fishing agreement has been extended, being followed by an optimistic seagull or two.

There was a smaller boat out there too, heading back to port from I don’t know where because there isn’t any land out there in that direction for her to come from.

yachting school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut there in the Baie de Mont St Michel they had the sailing school as well. A pile of little tiny yachts and their tutor accompanying them in his little boat.

One of the students appears to be trying to get away from the others, so good luck to him.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s my ambition to be out there with them one of these days. Having been to the school last Thursday I am now in possession of the literature to enable me to apply. All I need now is 10 minutes of my time to fill in the forms. But where I’m going to find that time at the moment I really do not know.

At least I made a start in the right direction this morning. Once more I managed to leap out of bed as the first alarm was ringing.

And after I’d had my medication I forgot to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. Instead, I started straight away to attack the photos from August 2019. And by the time that I was bored enough to knock off and do something else, not only had I done the arrears, I’d done today’s supply and a few of tomorrow’s too. I have to get ahead because I’m not going to be here on Saturday.

kiwi and pear kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I’ve been up to today is to make another supply of kefir because I’m running low on stocks.

In the fruit and veg cupboard were several rather ripe kiwis (one of which was rather too ripe to use) so I whizzed up three of them with a ripe pear or two and strained them through the sieve into the big jug. The brewing kefir followed it in and I made a new batch in the big jar for next time.

The stuff in the jug was all mixed up and then poured through the filter stack and bottled in the flip-top bottles where they will fester away for a few days and ferment until I’m ready to use them, hoping that they won’t explode under pressure.

There was also time for a bash at the arrears from Central Europe last summer and I made some headway. Not as much as I would have hoped but I had an interruption, as you will find out as you read on.

Other interruptions of course were the morning break for my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit cake, my lunch, and then my walk out around the headland this afternoon.

seagull window ledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOutside the building I was greeted by one of the regulars who hangs around the neighbourhood.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have often seen the seagull out here. He perches on the windowsill of one of the apartments at the other end of the building and I’m not sure why.

But there was quite a change today. Normally he’s on the windowsill chatting to the model bird on the shelf inside but today, for some reason that I don’t know, he was standing on a different windowsill chirping away to no-one in particular. No model birds for him to talk to there.

seagull street light place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd he wasn’t alone there either.

Sitting on a lamp-post just next to the building is one of the first-year juvenile seagulls. It’s clearly not very happy about the larger one on the window sill in front of it because it’s sitting there bleating away.

Eventually it became fed up of sitting on its perch because it took off and did a few laps of the car park before settling down on the wall at the end of the car park. It’s presumably waiting for daddy (or mummy) to move off the window sill so that it can follow on to the next port of call

men fishing from zodiac english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that last summer we saw a yellow zodiac flitting around in the water here and there.

We haven’t seen much of her since then, up until today. But here she is, moored in the English Channel just off the Pointe du Roc with a couple of guys in it casting out a line or two into the water. It looks as if the fishing season is now underway.

It seems that sea bass is the thing that they spend so much time trying to catch around here, but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we have yet to see anyone actually catch anything while they have been fishing. And I’m not going to hold my breath waiting.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver at the end of the car park, I could look over the wall now that the baby seagull has gone and see what is going on down on the beach this afternoon.

There wasn’t very much beach to be on this afternoon with the tide being a good way in but nevertheless some people had managed to find a secluded little spot down there for a little relaxation. The little kid running towards the sea seems to be enjoying himself but the others are more content with keeping quiet and keeping warm.

Winter coats and woolly bonnets abound down there and it’s no surprise because it really was cold this afternoon and there was a bitter wind. I was certainly wrapped up in my winter coat and wished that I had remembered to put on my woolly bonnet.

yacht jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I said earlier, there was an enormous amount of activity going on out at sea this afternoon.

Right out in the English Channel halfway across to Jersey I managed to pick out a yacht that was sailing on its way to St Helier. It certainly had the right kind of wind to push it along in that direction this afternoon.

And as regular readers will recall, the last time that we saw Jersey we could only just about make out the island and that was our lot. Today, the sky is a little clearer and we can actually see the individual buildings at St Helier. That’s always a good sign.

So with just one or two people walking around on the headland this afternoon, I walked off along the path to the end of the headland to see what was going on.

With the really good view across the English Channel to Jersey this afternoon I went and stood on the roof of the bunker near the end of the headland to see how things were down the Brittany coast.

lighthouse cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the first time for quite a while, we’re able to see the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel down the coast 70 kilometres away. And we can see it quite clearly too, just to the right of centre in this photograph.

When I’ve finished the story of my trip around Central Europe I’ll be starting on the notes of my trip in the Spirit of Conrad down the Brittany coast, and you’ll be able to see exactly how the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel looks from close up, because we sailed right up to it while we were out there and I was able to take some good photos of it.

Climbing down from the roof of the building I made my wy round across the lawn and across the car park down to the end of the headland.

men fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown there on the rocks there were a couple of fishermen having a go at fishing from off the rocks at the foot of the headland.

A little earlier we saw a couple of fishermen fishing from the yellow zodiac and I mused that the fishing season might be under way now. These two guys here would certainly lend credence to that sort of thing.

But once again, despite all of the time that I spent watching them, they didn’t catch anything either. In the end I lost interest and headed off along the path on top of the cliffs on that side of the headland to see what was happening in the harbour.

Not that I travelled particularly far because I came to another halt half-way along the path.

sailing school trawler pleasure cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the sailing school that we had seen earlier had regrouped and they were all performing their own version of a nautical danse macabre over there in the bay.

There was another trawler leaving the port too and heading for the fishing grounds. They seem to be leaving in dribs and drabs just now rather in the mass charge en flotte as has been the usual procedure up until very recently.

There was a nice little cabin cruiser following the trawler out of the port and I wondered where he might be going this afternoon.

While I was there I had a look down into the chantier navale to se what was happening there. There was no difference down there from yesterday – the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou was still in there, with some paint now missing from her hull.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile there was some excitement going on in the inner harbour this afternoon.

Thora, the little Jersey freighter, is in there this afternoon and as I watched , she was being loaded up with material destined for Jersey. Sneaked in on the tide, I reckoned.

With the heavy cloud this afternoon it was impossible to see what was going on above me in the air so I headed on home airless, as you might say. And first task was to collect up all of the rubbish that was lying around and taking it to the big waste disposal bins outside. They were rather overflowing.

Rosemary had rung me up while I was out so I phoned her back. And as a result I missed finishing off my Central Europe trip, missed my guitar practice and missed my evening meal too. In the end I banged a couple of potatoes and some beans into the microwave while I was doing something else.

But now I’ve finished and I’m off to bed. I’ve crashed out twice already while I’ve been typing this and I reckon that the third time will be a good one. Tomorrow is shopping and I need a few things as well. And I have to book my travel to Leuven too for the end of the month.

And to have a go at fixing Caliburn’s door if the wind will drop. I’m going for my second vaccination on Saturday morning and entering and leaving the van is pretty much essential.

Earlier the next morning I finally managed to sort out the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I was in France yesterday and I was in Granville. I still had Les Guis. It was a Friday evening and I had Caliburn completely emptied out so I popped into Caliburn and headed off back to Les Guis with the aim of throwing another load of stuff in the back of the van and setting off back to Normandy. I arrived there and made a start on a couple of things. As well as that I was organising the furniture in there – the stuff that I was keeping and the stuff that I was throwing away, that kind of thing. I started to write out a note and I was doing it on a piece of wood that was an old bed base. There was a ridge where two pieces were joined and a strengthening batten and I was having to write around that. I remembered that TOTGA lived just down the road from me in France near Virlet so I arranged that I ought to go along and see her. She had this great big trailer that I had borrowed and I might need it again for removing. But in any case I wanted to go to see her. I worked out where she lived and of course it was a Saturday morning by the time I’d arrive so I wondered if maybe she’d gone shopping or something like that or should I invite her to come shopping with me or something.

This dream continued later on. I was going into a café and there were 3 girls whom Î knew in there. They shouted out “what’s this about you going for a drink with someone’s secretary?”. The girl whom we knew, it was her secretary. I remember saying something in a bit of a jokey jest type of thing and I hadn’t reckoned on her taking it seriously but apparently she had. She had written out directions of where she was going to meet. I remember her being a sweet little kid, Anoushka, and she’d written out this letter for me and where to meet so I thought that I’d better do this because it sounds interesting. The 3 girls asked me what I was actually doing down here. I said that I’d driven through the night to get to Brussels and I was sleeping in that little lodge place down near St Jacobsplein in Leuven. June Wayland said “but they’ve closed that route that you use, haven’t they?” and I was trying to think of which route she meant because I’d been coming a different way just recently. One of the things that I do remember was that a game of cricket was taking place, England v Pakistan or India or someone and the match was taking place in the conconrse of the airport – the arrivals lounge or the departure lounge. I thought that that was a strange place to have a cricket match. But they were playing there, and I was watching for a few minutes and wandered away but I could hear the commentary. It came down to the final couple of overs and at a certain point England can’t possibly lose the match now. I had to go to the bathroom from my room in this lodge and there was an Indian guy actually standing in the doorway listening to this. I couldn’t make him move. I thought that he might have seen me but he didn’t so I waited until the math finished. Then he saw me and stepped out of the way so I could leave my room. Then I suddenly realised that I ‘d forgotten my towel so I went back for it. Then I’d forgotten something else and had to go back for that. I ended up at the bathroom but there was someone already there.

Tuesday 30th March 2021 – HAVING HAD A …

… really bad night last night, caused n the main by only having 5.5 hours of sleep, I’ve had a rather bad day today.

So bad in fact that most of the afternoon had been spent sleeping on the chair in the office. In fact there were times when I could quite easily have crawled back into bed and gone to sleep. and it probably would have been more productive had I have done so too.

But I can’t complain altogether because despite everything, today has been reasonably productive even if I didn’t spend the morning revising my Welsh (school is out for Easter by the way) as I had intended.

In news that will come as totally earth-shattering to most people, I’ve finally finished the photos for July 2019. And furthermore, I’ve burnt a DVD with those on it that I hadn’t burnt previously. This will be sent to Rosemary who, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, accompanied me from Aberdeen to Kangerlussuak.

As well as that I’ve finished another page of my voyage around Central Europe and THAT’S NOW ON LINE.

There’s just one more page to do but unfortunately that’s the page where I ran aground months ago. So don’t expect that to resurface any time soon.

In the middle of all of this I had to break off this morning to go into town. I’ve run out of fruit so I need some to keep me going until Thursday.

la grande ancre lifeboat yacht port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOff I set down the street towards town and I was arrested by the sight of the lifeboat going out and about for a run around.

They probably haven’t been out for a rescue but it does go out quite often for training exercises and the like and that’s probably what it’s been doing this morning.

There was plenty of other activity going on there at the Fish Processing Plant. Amongst the boats unloading there is our old friend la Grande Ancre who has probably been out collecting shellfish.

And there are plenty of vans parked around there too, presumably to take away the catch from the fishing boats. Whilst the Fish Processing Plant handles a lot of the catch, some of the boats belong to private enterprises such as wet fish shops or restaurants and they have their own vans to take away their shellfish.

Having watched them for a while I skipped off down the street towards town.

pointing rampe du mont à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall the pointing that’s been going on on the wall on the Rampe du Monte à Regret next to the Rue des Juifs.

Having stalled for a few weeks, this project to have apprentices training on the wall seems to have led to something of a spurt and they have advanced quite considerably. Maybe they might even finish it some time soon and start on something else.

Down the steps I went and landed in the Place Pleville and then strode out to the Super U. With the bag that I had in my sac banane I carried away a couple of apples, a couple of pears and a couple of bananas.

It was a shame that the battery in the camera went flat at this point as I would have taken a few more photos while I was out.

Next stop was the Nautical Centre on the seafront. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago I mentioned something about going on a sailing course and that’s the place to be. They were another one of these places where they know nothing but tell you “look on our website”. But at least they have courses and that’s always a start.

Next door to the CRNG is the Salle Hérel. That’s where the new vaccination centre is so I stuck my head inside to talk to someone. There was someone there so I started to tell my story but he cut me short. “I’m just the technician” he said. “If it’s a medical enquiry you need to come back tomorrow when the centre opens”.

So that’s something else that I need to do on Thursday morning on my way back from the shops. If I can have my second vaccination here instead of going all the way to Valognes, so much the better.

Back at the flat I carried on with work until lunchtime.

After lunch I came back in here to carry on work but I didn’t do a thing. I was curled up on the chair in here for most of the time.

When I awoke I was rather late for my afternoon walk so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off out.

people swimming in water beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the wall on the end of the car park I looked down onto the beach to see what was going on down there.

It goes without saying that I had to admire those people down there on the beach. Not just those paddling around up to their knees but the people who were even deeper in looking as if they were about to launch themselves off swimming in the water. They are braver men than I am, Gungha Din.

Mind you, one can hardly blame them. The sun was out, there wasn’t much wind at all and according to my thermometer at my apartment it was 22°C. Not the kind of weather in which I would want to be seen in the sea but I could understand others wanting to have a go.

fishing boat ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just on the beach that there were people around.

Right out at sea by one of the lights on a rock off the Ile de Chausey is one of the trawlers heading off into the English Channel to make its catch. As we saw this morning, they are very busy at the Fish Processing Plant wit all of the boats coming in with their catches.

Having looked around at what was going on I headed off towards the end of the headland, weaving my way through the throngs of people who were out there enjoying the weather this afternoon.

Across the lawn and the car park I went, to see what was happening out at sea. But there was nothing whatever happening out there so I continued on my way along the path on the other side if the headland.

cars parked on harbour wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou can tell that we are at the time of the Grande Marée. Just look at all of those cars parked on the harbour wall right now.

That is presumably where many of the people will be waiting for the “all clear” to go out onto the beach to scavenge for shellfish.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall because I’ve mentioned it before … “on many occasions” – ed … the foreshore is let out to commercial enterprises but at the very low tides of the Grande Marée the shore is uncovered beyond the commercially-let areas and the public has access to those areas.

They can scratch away to their hearts’ content subject to the rules and regulations about quantity and size

diggers laying mooring chains port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlso scratching away to their hearts’ content down in the harbour are the two diggers that are laying the new mooring chains. They seem to be having a whale of a time.

But it beats my why they are doing this now. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a year or two ago they had whole performance down there working on the mooring chains, digging them out of the silt and refurbishing them. So I wonder why they didn’t do this work then rather than making everyone come back now to do it again.

It seems to be typical of the authorities around here that they don’t have a complete programme of work. They drained the inner port a few years ago to replace the harbour gates, and then came back 6 months later to install the new pontoons. They could have done it at half the cost and in half of the time had they done it when the harbour was empty.

Then there was the notice board giving details of the Pointe du Roc. They dug up the grass and installed a path to there. And then 6 months later they installed the monument to the Resistance and dug up the path that they had laid to the noticeboard and replaced it with a path to the Resistance Monument.

They don’t seem to have the aptitude to be able to think things right through

hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s yet more activity at the chantier navale today.

While Hermes I, Lys Noir and Aztec Lady are still on their stocks down there, Spirit of Conrad now seems to have cleared off back into the water after her little sojourn in the chantier navale, all fully repaired and ready for the coming season, if we are actually going to have a tourist season this year.

Hermes I looks quite nice today, all masked off with brown paper. if the weather holds I could see that she’s going to be sprayed with a new coat of paint in certain places. She’ll be as good as new, if not better, by the time she goes back into the water.

And having seen that, and having noticed that there was nothing else going on anywhere else, I cleared off back to my apartment. I have plenty of things that I need to be doing this afternoon.

One of the things that I needed to do was to make another batch of kefir.

Plenty of juice oranges around here so I whizzed up 4 of them to extract the juice which I sieved, and then added the brewing kefir that I had made last time. I’d left an inch or so of the mother solution to use as a starter and then added the sugar lemon and fig and then filled it up with another couple of pints of water.

By now the kefir in the big jug had mixed in quite nicely with the orange juice so I stirred it all around and poured it through my filter stack into the bottles.

orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo here’s the finished product, all nice and orange. That will keep for a few days until I’m ready to use it.

And you’ll notice that I’m using the two bottles in which I had bought the lemonade the other week. We can see how they get on under the pressure of the fermentation. And if they hold out well enough, I’ll know what to buy the next time that they have a special offer.

As I was settling down afterwards to carry on work, Rosemary rang me up. And we had another one of our marathon chats – a mere 2 hours and 24 minutes. I’m amazed that I have so much to talk about.

That meant that I missed my guitar practice and a few other things besides. But at least with the ‘phone and the headset etc, I could wander around and do other stuff while I was talking.

Tea tonight was some vegan nuggets that I had bought in Leuven and hadn’t eaten. They were a couple of months past their sell-by date so I’ll be having the rest tomorrow. They were actually quite delicious with veg and potatoes and the apple crumble that followed it all down was just as delicious. I am eating well these days.

Having written my notes, I’m now ready for bed. I’m exhausted and ready for a really good sleep and it’s high time that I had one as well.

Friday 19th March 2021 – AFTER ALL OF THE …

home made ginger beer orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… excitement last night, I rounded up the surviving bottles and put them in a plastic box on top of the fridge in the bathroom where they won’t cause too much damage in the future if a similar eventuality were to arise.

But making the orange ginger beer is back on again, I reckon, because I don’t think that it was that which caused the problems.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve been using an assortment of various bottles here, mostly recycled lemonade bottles and the like as well as a few rather dodgy cheap bottles.

But I also have three new, expensive bottles that I bought from IKEA. Two are used as water containers and the third was a spare. That was pressed into service to hold the ginger beer and, unbelievably, it was that one that blew up. The recycled ones and the dodgy cheap ones are keeping going.

That was something of a surprise.

What else which was a surprise was that despite tempting fate last night, I did manage to crawl out of bed just after the first alarm. And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

There was a huge murder mystery going on last night with about 20 suspects. There was a detective giving the final denouément right at the very end, going through each person in turn explaining why he would have done it and and finally saying that they didn’t because … and coming up with some reason. This went on for ever and I can’t remember it at all. At the end I was with a woman, someone whom I knew and I can’t think who it was now. We were discussing the radio system. We had half a dozen different aerials, half a dozen different things and we were all switching between the aerials automatically. We would expect a few problems with the automation and I was thinking about having the whole thing redone so that it would still be automatic but I could manually control the aerials so that I knew which aerial was transmitting what. And again this is another thing about which I remember very little.

After the dictaphone notes I made a start on the photos from Greenland. Another pile of those have bitten the dust now and I’m sitting on the deck of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR watching them unload the zodiacs that will take us to the shore where buses will take up to the airport at Kangerlussuaq. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had to break off my Transatlantic voyage here because the ship had been chartered by a bunch of North American schoolkids and being from Europe, I didn’t have a valid police check record. I had to come back 3 weeks later when the ship returned so that I could board her and continue my journey across the Atlantic to the Canadian mainland.

By now it was light so I prepared to do battle with the living room, making myself some hot chocolate and cutting myself a slice of fruit sourdough bread. But just at that moment Rosemary rang with a problem and we ended up having a brief chat. One hour and three minutes to be precise.

The damage in the living room is not as extensive as I thought. One of the windows in the nice unit in the living room has been peppered with shrapnel that has made its marks upon the glass, and the TV screen that I use as a computer monitor has taken a bashing too.

The carpet is in the bath. I’ve scrubbed it, used soap on it, scrubbed it again and rinsed it thoroughly. Now it’s in there drying off. And it’ll have another go tomorrow afternoon after my shower. All of the ginger beer that wasn’t in the tray as soaked into the carpet. There wasn’t much anywhere else.

Tons of broken glass about the place and I’ve brushed up as much as I could. But anyone who comes here now will have to be careful where they sit. We all know what happened to the captain of the Good Ship Venus.

The floor has been washed and it will have another washing tomorrow. And I’ll wash down the furniture etc as well tomorrow.

But some good did come out of all of this. The mechanical stopper of the broken bottle was intact and it had obviously proved its worth by resisting the explosion. So I swapped it over onto one of the cheap bottles and now that makes a really good seal. So all was not lost.

Another task that I had to perform was to speak to a certain young Canadian girl whom I know to acquaint her with the news that I’d received from Rachel yesterday because I imagined that in the confusion she would have been left out. We had quite a chat for 15-20 minutes about the events of yesterday and also about lots of other stuff too.

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

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd for something of a change just recently, we were having a really nice day today.

The weather was cool and windy but there was a bright blue sky and for once there wasn’t any fog or haze. The tide was quite far out and there were several people down there on the beach and amongst the rocks making the most of the nice afternoon.

One thing that I have noticed – or, maybe, it’s more correct to say that I haven’t noticed, is that there haven’t been any bird-men around for quite a while. Where they leap off the cliffs is just over there to the right near the cemetery – something that probably means that if they make a mistake on take-off they don’t have far to go.

But to be serious … “for once” – ed … I wonder what’s happened that means that they haven’t been taking to the air just recently.

jersey channel islands english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith the weather being so much better today I had a good peer out to sea to see if I could seee Jersy on the horizon today.

And sure enough, with a GOOD LONG LENS and plenty of enhancement back at the apartment later, I was able just about to pick out the island. Not as clearly as I have done in the past, but the fact that we can see it at all today 58kms away shows you just what an improvement that we have had.

Not like in the Auvergne, apparently. Rosemary told me that she awoke this morning to a couple of inches of snow.

Just one or two people around today, so I had the place pretty much to myself. I pushed on along the path, across the lawn and across the car park down to the end of the headland.

seafarers memorial le loup jullouville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Memorial to the Missing Seafarers is still there – not that that’s any surprise – but you can actually see it today, which is something.

Yesterday we struggled to see much further beyond Le Loup, the light that sits on top of the rock just outside the harbour entrance, but today with it being clear, we can see the town of Jullouville quite easily across the bay, and right to the water tower on the ridge at the back of the town.

On top of the ridge just to the right of the right-hand flagpole is that mystery tower. I haven’t forgotten that one of these days I intend to go and see what it is

With nothing going on out in the bay across to the Brittany coast I pushed of along the footpath at the top of the cliff.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir freddy land chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown in the chantier navale we have yet more movement and change of occupancy.

Spirit of Conrad, Aztec Lady, Lys Noir, Hermes 1 and Freddy Land are still there, but the trawler Charlevy has gone back into the water. On the morning tide, apparently. So there’s now room for someone else to come in and join the (af)fray.

There might be room for more boats very soon too because the whole place was quite a hive of activity today. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many people down there working on the boats, from private owners in private cars to specialist companies with sign-written vans.

The racket that they were making was quite unbearable. It looks as if everyone is making ready quite rapidly in anticipation of an ease in the lockdown. That’s what I call optimism.

naabsa fishing boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile we haven’t seen to many hang-gliders just recently, we have been seeing a lot of fishing boats abandoned to the tide at the jetty by the Fish Processing Plant.

It beats me as to why. We went for months, if not years, without seeing a one except for special reasons but this last few weeks we see them on a regular basis. Clearly something is up.

My time was also up so I headed off home where I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had quite a chat. And then I came up for my hot coffee.

There was no guitar practice tonight. I can catch up with that another time. But when I returned I attacked that page of my notes from my trip around Central Europe on which I’ve made very little progress just recently, and found that I was advancing quite rapidly. I decided therefore to stick at it until I finished it because I was fed up of it hanging around.

Round about 20:00 I finally finished it and now IT’S ON LINE at long last. I hope that it won’t take me long to finish off this exercise, although there is a page on which I’ve been stuck for a while and I don’t know what I’m going to do about that one.

Tea was taco rolls and rice. I wasn’t very hungry and half of it finished in the bin. No pudding either.

So after the exertions of yesterday and today and having already crashed out for half an hour (and instead of fighting it, I allowed myself to be carried away) I’m off to bed for a good sleep.

No shopping tomorrow. Instead I’ll catch up with the guitar and practice that I missed and wash the living room again.

There’s football tomorrow afternoon and I mustn’t miss that either.

And then I need to slowly thing about going to Leuven. Wednesday, that is. I wonder what they will tell me this time.

Tuesday 16th March 2021 – HAVING SAID …

… yesterday that it looks as if the big yachts are going to be in the chantier navale for a while yet, one of them has now gone back into the water and we already have a replacement.

It seems that I’m not much good at this prediction lark and I ought to pack it in. It’s not the first time that I’ve had to abandon my fortune-telling. The first time, I had to give it up because although I had a crystal ball, there was no future in it. The second time, I had to abandon my studies due to unforeseen circumstances.

trawler hermes 1 charlevy charles marie lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo yesterday we should have been saying “goodbye” to La Granvillaise and instead, this afternoon we are saying “hello” to the trawler Hermes I who has now come to join in the (af)fray. There she is sitting on her plinth in between Charles Marie and Lys Noir

And had you been around here round about 06:00 this morning you would have been saying “hello” to me too because once again I arose from the dead just after the first alarm went off. And that’s after my night last night wasn’t as early as it might have been either. I had another play on the guitar before I went to bed.

Having made yet another major effort to rise from the dead, I went for my medication and then afterwards I listened to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night.

Last night I was with Birmingham Corporation and some woman was giving a talk on something or other to tourists using slide displays and so on. Down in the basement was someone with some old films who was busy showing them. When the woman finished her presentation someone else came in to take over his turn. It was a doctor and she recognised him. They started to chat about old times because they had known each other. But somewhere out on an outside broadcast was another guy who was related by marriage to this woman – I don’t know if he was her husband or something. I was half-expecting him to put in an appearance while this woman and doctor were being so friendly because that really would have stirred up the pot as far as their relationship went. There was much more to it than this but I can’t remember it now.

From then on I had something of a rather busy morning. Between then and 09:00 I had tidied up the apartment, taken out all of the plastic, glass metal and paper that had built up over the last few weeks (and you have no idea just how much there was) and dealt with the 20 photos from Greenland 2019 that I was planning to edit today.

There are now less than 300 to edit for the month of July, and many of those relate to my voyage around North America in the Kia Soul.

Round about 09:00 I made myself a coffee and then sat down to revise my Welsh for this week’s lesson. And somewhere in all of that time I managed to fall asleep as well. And that’s hardly a surprise given the hectic morning that I’d had so far.

Nevertheless, by the time that our lesson started at 11:00 I was at the computer with my hot chocolate and slice of sourdough fruit bread to see me through until lunchtime.

The lesson passed quickly enough although I wasn’t as well prepared for it as I might have been. I made a couple of rather embarrassing elementary howlers. We over-ran yet again and that meant that I was even more late for my lunch than I might otherwise have been.

This afternoon I’ve been brewing. There was a batch of kefir to make and I’d bought a kilo of juice-oranges the other week that were now nice and ripe. Tons of juice in those and they’d made a good batch.

At Leclerc last weekend in the “reduced for quick sale” section there had been a litre of fresh orange juice too and I’d bought that. I’d seen a recipe for ginger beer that is made with orange juice and I wanted to see how that would come out.

And while I was at it, I made a couple of litres of ordinary ginger beer too.

In between all of this I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that I could see very much out there today because the rolling sea fog that has been around and about on and off over the last few days was very much on today and it had rolled right in.

If there was anyone down on the beach today I simply wouldn’t know. And the same would go for anything out at sea as well.

With no-one else about today I was pretty much on my own as I walked down the path. There was nothing of any interest at all except for a bunch of schoolkids being taken for a walk by a teacher. That’s all that there was to relieve the monotony of the blanket of mist that had shrouded absolutely everything.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the car park by the lighthouse I had a look out across the Jullouville to see how the view was today in the fog.

Le Loup was visible, and so was the rock upon which it stands. The fog doesn’t seem to be as thick out on this side of the headland and of course the tide is quite far out right now. But the fog is such that we can’t see anything much beyond that.

Out in the bay across to the Brittany coast the view was just as miserable so I carried on around the footpath and headed on along the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale and the port.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we saw a hive of activity over at the ferry port with the lorry and its crane doing some kind of work.

Today it seems to be quite a bit quieter. The lorry has gone and there isn’t a soul out there working. They still have their blue container that they seem to be using as a store and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen that before on several occasions around and about in the port in the past where they have been working.

So leaving the ferry port and Joly France down there on their own for the moment, I had a look over at the chantier navale to see what was happening there. And we’ve seen the results of that already.

home made ginger beer orange flavoured ginger beer orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack in the apartment I carried on with my brewing activities and I now have quite a good collection of drinks brewing away.

On the far left, we have a large and small bottle of orange ginger beer. At the back from left to right we have the ginger mother solution and then the kefir mother solution.

The three other bottles with orange liquid are the three orange kefir bottles and the remaining two at the front are the ginger beer.

You can see the two bottles with the orange caps. They are the cheaper ones that I bought from NOZ. I’ve had a further tweaking around with them and the seals still aren’t satisfactory. When I can find a couple more bottles of better quality like the lemonade ones that I found in LIDL, these two will be retired to less-pressurised duty.

The hour on the guitar passed well enough and they I had a hurried tea with a curry from out of the freezer because there was football on the internet.

Bala Town, third in the League, were at home to Connah’s Quay Nomads, currently leading the league. This had the potential to be the best match of the season because on their day (which unfortunately isn’t often enough) Bala can be the best team in the League.

And Bala duly obliged, straight from the kick-off before I’d even sat down to watch it. Up at the other end the Nomads equalised after just 5 minutes. Ramsey punched out a long throw-in, the ball hit Michael Wilde on the back of the head and the rebound bounced of George Horan’s head into the Bala net and I don’t think that anyone knew anything about that.

Bala unfortunately were very quiet for the rest of the match and Will Evans was practically anonymous, snuffed right out of the game by the Nomads defence. The Nomads relied on their long ball game to the head of Michael Wilde and the two wingers running on, and their persistence and fitness paid off towards the end when they scored two late goals.

The three points tonight enabled the Nomads to stay at the top of the table but their rather lightweight attack, something from which they have suffered for the last few years, is going to cost them dearly yet again as the season draws on.

Now I’m off to bed and I’m hoping to have a good day’s work tomorrow, including booking my travel for next week, something that I overlooked to do today.

Sunday 7th March 2021 – AFTER I’D FINISHED …

… finished writing up my notes last night I went off and made my kefir. There were a pile of kiwis that were on the verge of going off so I used four of those. Whizzed up in the whizzer and then pressed through the filter system and the brewed kefir mixed in.

While it was seeping through I set another batch of kefir on the way and then the stuff that I’d mixed, I filtered through the filter stack into the bottles and left it to brew.

When I’d finished I came back in here but I wasn’t in the least bit tired so I sat down and did some work. I finished ANOTHER PAGE OF THE ARREARS FROM CENTRAL EUROPE and then I went on and bashed out 30 or so photos from Greenland 2019 and I’m now sailing down Tunulliarfik Fjord.

It was about 01:45 when I finally went to bed so it was something of a disappointment to be awake at 07:50 when I awoke. But there’s no chance whatever of me being up and about on a Sunday at that ridiculous time so I turned over and went back to bed.

10:15 is much more like it on a Sunday.

First task after the medication was to deal with the sink. I went to do all of the washing-up from last night but the water simply didn’t drain out at all.

In the end I dismantled all of the pipework under the sink and found a nice piece of cable to ram down the pipe that I couldn’t dismantle. Judging by how far the cable went down the pipework it was well into the communal lengths before it found the obstruction.

It took quite a while of furkling about with the cable before the obstruction suddenly moved. And then I had to reassemble everything. It wasn’t exactly how I intended to start my Sunday but at least I could crack on.

After all of that I couldn’t concentrate on the blog entry that I’d started and didn’t seem to make any progress so I had another go at the photos. That’s a huge pile of those that I did today and I’m now in a zodiac in Arsuk Fjord heading for a close encounter with a musk-ox.

microlight powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite it being a Sunday, I remembered to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

The sky was absolutely beautiful once more with not a cloud in the sky today. But there were plenty of other things in the air instead. None of the bird-men because there wasn’t enough wind but we did have one or two people up in the air in their powered hang-gliders or whatever they are called.

Several light aircraft were flying past overhead too, but they were too far away for me to photograph with any kind of clarity.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand, something else went flying by quite clearly enough for me to photograph this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have some kind of bird of prey flying around the edges of the cliffs. There’s a colony of rabbits somewhere in the cliffs and I imagine that it targets the very young of the colony together with whatever else it can find in the way of small mammals.

As for the details of its species, I have to say that I have no idea. Despite all of the lectures on birdwatching that I’ve had in the past from Nerina, they weren’t about this kind of bird.

But retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, we were talking about the gorgeous weather today.

girls coming out of the water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNice though it might have been, it wasn’t all that warm at all and so I was surprised, if not astonished, to see a couple of women emerging from the sea like a couple of 21st-Century sirens. I would have expected the water to have been cold enough to freeze the barnacles off a brass dinghy right now.

When we were in the Arctic we had people throwing themselves into the sea even as the surface was freezing over but they were Canadians and it’s the kind of thing that you might expect from them but it’s not the thing that I would normally expect French people to do for pleasure.

There were quite a few people out there this afternoon, not as many as there were yesterday for sure, and with nothing going on out at sea I walked round to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

trawlers fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no change in occupancy in the chantier navale today, the same four boats that have been there since Thursday are still there on their own today, but also, surprisingly, the two boats that were grounded over by the Fish Processing Plant yesterday are still there today.

Every now and again we see the odd boat left there overnight or in between tides but to see them there for this long is quite unusual. It prevents others coming in to unload from reaching the wharf and they can’t be too happy about that.

It’s not as if there isn’t any room in the inner harbour for them to tie up. There is plenty of space in there since they installed the new pontoons.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I mentioned earlier, there wasn’t a great deal of wind this afternoon, but there must be some kind of strong wind blowing from somewhere as you can see from this photograph.

The sea was quite calm this afternoon without any high waves, as you can tell by the wake of the cabin cruiser going past but there was a really powerful current rolling in. It’s about every seventh wave that is the strongest and this seventh waves was smashing in and sending spray right up to the top of the sea wall.

There were several people standing around here at the viewpoint watching the spectacle. I’m not quite sure why because there were no shipwrecks, nobody drownding, in fact nothing to laugh at at all.

yacht st pair sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother indication of how calm the sea really was today was the behaviour of the yacht out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

All of that looks perfectly calm out there and the boat looks perfectly stable regardless of all of the waves beating up against the harbour wall. It seems to be such a really nice day to be out and about on the water.

In the background, the road that leads into Saint-Pair sur Mer is all bathed in sunlight and the chateau d’eau looks particularly prominent today. There’s also some building work going on in St Pair sur Mer too, judging by the crane on the extreme right of the image. I’ll have to go and have a look at that one of these days too.

Back here I made another attempt at rewriting the notes of one of my pages from Central Europe and this time, I made some progress. But I broke off to have a chat with TOTGA and then I had to go to attend to the cooking for the following week.

The pizza dough I had taken out of the freezer this morning and now that it had defrosted I kneaded it again, rolled it and put it on the tray to proof again.

home made vegan pizza apple pie kiwi kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was a roll of flaky pastry left over in the fridge since Christmas so I used it this afternoon and made myself an apple pie with it. And while the pie was baking I assembled the pizza and that went into the oven when the pie was finished.

And here we have the finished products from today’s baking session, along with the kefir from last night. That’s already fermenting so it seems to be a very good batch today. I hope that it tastes as good as it performs.

The pizza was delicious but as for the apple pie, I’ll tell you another time – there was no room for any this evening as the pizza was, as usual, quite filling.

Having done a little tidying up, I’m now off to bed as it’s Monday tomorrow and I’m radioing again. I remember saying at the beginning of the week that I was quite optimistic about the week that was to come and I seem to have accomplished a fair amount for a change. I wonder how this week will turn out.

Saturday 6th March 2021 – SOMETHING RATHER UNUSUAL …

… happened this morning. The alarms didn’t go off and I’ve no idea why.

Not that this is a surprise in itself, but the surprising thing was that despite something of a late night again, I was wide-awake at 06:08. And I don’t understand that at all.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was working the radio for someone last night. They couldn’t come. I was having my rock show but was doing it live. There was no power and everything was being generated by wind and solar. It was going OK but it was a shop at the same time and I was having to sell stuff and I didn’t know where half of the stuff was. Someone came in and asked for a certain brand of tobacco but I couldn’t see it and I couldn’t sell it to them. They were all lounging around the wrong side of the counter anyway. When the programme finished the Chinese Embassy just threw out a pile of cakes from their window into the ground. I sat down to do the cashing up but I couldn’t concentrate. There was a Peter Hammill album playing in the background, one that I hadn’t heard before. I just couldn’t get the maths and the additions right about the profits and loss of the day. In the end I decided that I’d unplug everything and go home and do the working out at home but I couldn’t get this record to stop. When I finally did manage to stop I couldn’t find the stuff that I’d set aside by the record turntable to bring home with me. This was all extremely frustrating.

Later I’d been in a pub in Crewe, the Duke of Bridgewater where I’d bumped into a well-known guitarist. We jammed together and and decided to do this again. For the next occasion I wanted to bring a drummer and I knew exactly who I wanted but try as I might I couldn’t get hold of him. The only drummer I could find was one who wasn’t as good and I was worried that if he came, the guitarist wouldn’t be interested in doing anything further but if I couldn’t find the one that I wanted, what else could I do?

This was the usual scenario of doubt that goes through my mind every so often during the night. We’re back here again, aren’t we?

Part of the day has been spent dealing with merging the old back-up disks and the like and at long last I have integrated everything into just one archives. Tons of stuff went into the bin although there wasn’t enough to free up the space that I need to move the back-up files from the main disk in the computer. But once I get to reviewing the directories and files in the archive, there will be much more room to be going on with.

There were several breaks in all of this.

Firstly there was a shower and a general clean-up, and then I went out to the shops. Nothing very special in Noz and nothing really special in LeClerc either. In fact I wasn’t really out there all that long

back here I carried on with what I was doing but unfortunately I crashed out yet again. Probably one of the longest spells that I’d had too – about 90 minutes or so. That was extremely depressing.

As a result, instead of having my lunch at 13:00 it was 14:30 or thereabouts when I finally went to make my butties.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was the afternoon walk around the headland as usual.

The weather was really nice out there. It was quite cold – very cold in fact – but bright sunshine. This kind of weather had brought the crowds out and we could see plenty of people wandering around and playing about on the beach, even if the tide wasn’t that far out.

Once again, there was plenty of haze about out to sea so I couldn’t see as far as Jersey or down the Brittany coast, but in the other direction down past Donville les Bains and inland towards Cerences and that way it was reasonably clear.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just down on the beach that there were crowds.

The path along the headland was swarming with people too. There were crowds of them out and about swarming around on the path and on the lawn round by the Pointe du Roc in the beautiful weather that we were having. Not a cloud in the sky this afternoon.

And as you notice, the wearing of facemasks was definitely optional. I really don’t understand what goes through the minds of some people. This last week or two has shown a plateau of between 20,000 and 25,000 people with no sign of reducing. And it won’t ever reduce to anything like reasonable numbers if people don’t take this pandemic seriously

naabsa trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no change in occupancy in the chantier navale today. Still the four boats that were there on Thursday.

But there’s yet another change in the boats that are grounded over by the Fish Processing Plant. The little old shellfish boat that was there yesterday is still there today, but she’s now been joined by another one that has been left to settle into the silt.

They aren’t quite aground just yet. When they overhauled the harbour a couple of years ago they dug out a channel alongside the wharf at the Fish Processing Plant in order to prolong the amount of thime that the Plant was accessible. It’s still holding water right now even though the surrounding harbour bed is drying out rapidly.

anakena la grande ancre le pearl port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA few of the fishing boats were out at sea but several others are still moored in the harbour.

Amongst others, we can see La Grande Ancre and, on the right, what looks like Le Pearl. Also down there is Anakena, the boat that was on its way to Northern Europe but which was caught in the Covid lockdown and hasn’t moved since.

Back here I had a coffee and a slice of my cake and then made a start on the arrears of my journey to Central Europe. I’m just pulling in to Lech right now, where I spent two or three happy days relaxing after my long drive from France and my efforts back at my old house in Virlet.

There was football tonight on the internet – top-of-the-table TNS against Bala Town. Despite it finishing 0-0, it was an extremely exciting match. Bala had the best of the play at the start although TNS gradually took control of the match. But right at the end it was TNS with their backs to the wall as Bala Town pushed forward to grab a winner.

Exciting it was, but it would have been even more exciting had the referee given Bala Town a penalty for a handball by a defender. It’s all very well if the referee hadn’t seen the action but in this case he indicated “shoulder” when it was quite clearly the lower arm, well extended from the body.

And had he sent off the TNS player who deliberately elbowed the Bala Town winger Will Evans in the face, right in front of the linesman, it would have been more exciting still.

What with the sending off of Disney a few months ago for Connah’s Quay, it’s no surprise that many people in Welsh football are of the opinion that there are more than God and the Angels looking after TNS.

Tea was taco rolls, made with the left-over stuffing from Thursday, with jam pie for pudding.

Now that my notes are finished, I’m going to make my kefir for the next batch and then I’m off to bed. A nice lie-in on Sunday and then I need to catch up with the photos that I hven’t had time to do today.

Monday 1st March 2021 – DYDD GWYL DEWI HAPUS.

daffodils place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s Saint David’s Day today so Happy St David’s Day to everyone from Wales who is a regular reader of this rubbish, Rhys.

When she came to visit me yesterday, Liz brought me some daffodils that she had plucked from her garden. They weren’t open but I’d left them in a glass of water overnight and this morning I was greeted with this gorgeous sight.

In fact, I have quite a lot of Welsh blood in me – more than you realise – because it’s only because of Welsh bedroom practices that I’m here. Like most people back in the 1950s, my father was a great believer in the use of Welsh letters.

And if you don’t know what a Welsh letter is, it’s a French letter with a leek in it and you need to say that out loud in order to understand it.

This morning, to my own surprise as well as to yours, I actually beat the second alarm, never mind the third alarm, to my feet. Mind you, I was in bed before 23:00 for the first time for ages so I suppose that that might have had something to do with it.

home made ginger beer mandarine kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I did was to vent the gases out of the kefir that I made yesterday.

You can see the bottles on the right here with the new batch that I’m brewing in the large jar at the back. And if you look very closely you can see what I mean about the stoppers on those two cheap bottles that I bought. I’ve replaced the washers with some that are more substantial and while they are certainly working much better than the cheap plastic washers that were on them, the stoppers still aren’t fitting correctly.

On the left is the remaining bottle of ginger beer. That’s definitely a success and I’ll be making more of that. I’ve seen a reference to orange ginger beer and I have some orange juice loitering around that I shall try.

After the medication I attacked the next radio programme and having done some of the work while I was in Leuven I’d completed the work aby about 11:40, only to find that I’d done the wrong programme. But it’s not a big worry because I’m several weeks ahead of myself so I can do the one that I missed next Monday.

For the rest of the morning I did some work on the photos from Greenland. Not very many of those because having now arrived in Qaqortoq in Greenland I needed to find a map of the town in order to identify some of the places that I had visited as I walked around the town.

But even if I do just 20 per day, it’s still going to be decent progress.

One thing that I ought to mention as well is that having edited some of the photos on the little travelling Acer and then on the laptop that I’d bought in North Dakota, the results were pretty dismal because of the poor quality of the screens and the graphics cards and I had to start again with them on this big machine.

But the ones that I’d done while I was in Leuven on the machine that I had repaired were just as they are supposed to be and look quite good on this machine.

All of this is making me think again for the moment about repairing one of the small laptops. This one that I fixed seems to be doing the business and with the CD drive that’s in it, I think that the extra 0.6 kilogramme won’t be such of an issue when I compare the advantages of the machine.

After lunch I had a form to fill in about my Welsh exam, the next radio programme to send off to the tech team and then to carry out some research into the big desktop computer.

The big machine is running with a 256GB solid State Drive as a C drive, a 1TB drive as a data drive and a 4TB drive as a back-up drive. Space is starting to run out on the C drive and the data drive so I’m planning to replace the 256GB SSD with a 1TB SSD, take out the data drive, convert the back-up drive to be the data drive and then add the largest possible drive as a back-up drive.

Or even add more drives in if I possibly can if there are more SATA slots on the hard drive.

It’s also running 8GB of RAM and I’m thinking of upgrading that to 16GB or even 32GB.

All of this means that I have to contact the manufacturers for some further information.

There was also the dictaphone to deal with.

I was up in Canada last night. Darren, one of his daughters and I were in an Artic heading down to somewhere in Maine with a tanker on the back. I was saying how good it was to be back in Canada after all this time. Darren was telling me what he needed me to do. he had a plate off a vehicle and was going to put it on another and I had to block something with this other vehicle so that he could do something with the lorry without having other vehicles inconveniencing him and getting in his way. I didn’t quite understand it but it would all become very clear in due course. We pulled up at a transport café and went in. While we were queueing up in there for something someone pulled up with a Mk I Cortina with British plates on it. I thought that this was really surprising. I had a look at the vehicle and it had some publicity on the side. I went to take a photo with the NIKON J1 but it wouldn’t photograph. We’re back to this thing about photos again and they aren’t working with the J1 (not another occasion with the failed camera!). I was trying for ages. When I looked again it had gone and another vehicle was there with French plates on it, a kind of flatbed mini lorry or something. A couple of minutes later this Cortina was back but with a different number on it now. Someone was playing around because the number ended with “40 G” and someone had written something to do with a lady’s anatomy after the G. Again I tried to photograph it but again the camera wouldn’t work. Those two wandered off out there and I was still trying to make this camera work. One of the guys at the till said something like “they’ve rung up and you have to go”. I made myself a quick coffee but the kettle wouldn’t boil. In the meantime I put milk in the wrong mug so after a couple of minutes and nothing was happening I just tipped it all away and ran off to go back to the lorry to join them again.

Later on I was working in an office and I was being sent on a mission to Germany somewhere. I’d been allocated a room on my own more by accident than design but then we found out that one of the people coming was a woman and they were wondering how best to accommodate her. I suggested that she could have my room and I’d share with someone else. I wasn’t really happy about sharing but there was nothing much you could do in a situation like this. For some unknown reason I couldn’t get them to hear what I was saying. They said “yes that’s the first thing we thought of” but started off on some other rambling explanation that I didn’t understand at all. it seemed such an obvious thing to do so I couldn’t understand why they were going through such a performance and rigmarole and ritual to try to think of another way round this solution. Then I returned home and told my partner whoever i was with that I was off on a mission to Germany. She asked “where in Germany?”. I replied “I don’t really know”. “What do you mean?” she asked. I replied “they are just sending me to Germany, that’s the important thing, that I’m going on a mission and it’ll all work out”. She was surprised that I wasn’t really interested in knowing which town it was that I was going to.

crowds on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallToday was another gorgeous, summer day with a bright blue sky and not a single cloud up there to obscure the view.

The kids are still out on half-term holiday by the looks of things as there were plenty of people around. The beach was swarming with people out and about this afternoon and I can’t say that I blamed them.

While I was out there, I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had quite a little chat about this and that. She told me about the new tenants on the ground floor and one or two other things besides.

However I couldn’t stay out there chatting all day, I had to carry on with my walk.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the end of the headland by the lighthouse I discovered why there were so many people out there on the beach today.

The tide is miles out today so of course it must be the Grand Marée, the highest, and hence also the lowest, tides of the year when the water drops below the level of foreshore that are let out to commercial exploitation. And so everyone swarms onto the sands and the rocks for the peche à pied, scavenging about in the sand and the rocks for whatever they can find there that’s edible.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we did a radio report on the Grand Marée last year that went down really well.

lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the situation in the chantier navale.

Yesterday we saw it down from street level but today I’m up on the cliffs on top where I can look down into the yard. We can see Aztec Lady over there on the right-hand side where it’s been for several weeks now without very much happening to it, and over on the left is Lys Noir up on the blocks where it’s been for a while too.

But that’s all there is today. The fishing boat that has been there for several weeks has gone and while I was in Belgium the yacht that has been there for months on end also left the yard.

But where it’s gone to, I really have no idea.

diggers tractor men working in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s plenty of excitement going on down in the outer tidal harbour today.

While I’d been walking round the top of the cliffs I’d noticed all of the tracks of heavy machinery out there in the silt and I wondered what was going on down there today. But here, there are several heavy diggers down there together with several workmen in attendance and a tractor with a large trailer attached thereto.

There was nothing about that would give any indication of what they were doing, but if anything were to be done in the tidal harbour, the time of the lowest tide of the year would be the right time to be doing it.

topiary trimming trees boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was other work going on in the vicinity this afternoon too.

At the weekend I’d seen “no waiting” signs up on the car parking spaces in the Boulevard Vaufleury and so I suspected that something would be going on there this week. It seems that we’re having a pile of topiary on the trees right now.

It’s quite possible that they are leaving it rather too late though. We’ve already noticed that the birds are starting to build their nests and I can easily imagine that they’ve trimmed out the odd nest or two from the outer branches of a few of these trees.

vegan coffee cake place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack here I made myself a hot coffee and unwrapped the birthday present that Liz had brought me yesterday.

A gorgeous vegan coffee cake made with her own fair hands and so I cut myself a slice to see what it was like. And here’s another one that receives 10 out of 10. It’s absolutely delicious.

The rest of the afternoon, such as it was, was spent working on the arrears of my voyage around Central Europe. But shame as it is to say it, I fell asleep. And how! I was out like a light for a good hour or so and I’d even managed to go off on a ramble while I was out.

I was doing some work at home when Nerina suddenly announced “We’ve forgotten Lil (one of the staff at the Oddfellows Club whom we used to take around in our taxis)”. I said I’d go straight away but she said there’s no real rush. Finish what you are doing. So when I’d finished what I was doing I leapt into a car and set off. I turned up at the pub, the Ash Bank, in Minshull New Road on the Badger Avenue roundabout but it was actually a mirror image of the pub on the other side of the road. When I arrived it was in total darkness and the last two people were getting into a car which then drove off. I looked at the time and it was 00:12 – I was almost 45 minutes late. I followed the car up Minshull New Road where it turned right into West Street. I was quite annoyed that we’d lost a passenger. Had I checked the time I would have dropped everything and gone out straight away. Nerina should have had more of a sense of urgency and I should have paid more attention to the time.

When I awoke, I was totally unsteady on my feet for a good while. I even missed my guitar practice.

Tea tonight was the rest of the pizza with a baked potato, followed by the apple turnover that I’d baked yesterday. And it was all quite delicious. And now I’m off to bed. Welsh class in the morning so I need to be on form.

I wasn’t really feeling much like it last week and I’m hoping to be in a better mood and more enthusiastic about it tomorrow.

Sunday 28th February 2021 – SPOT THE …

lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… difference between this photo and any other photo that I’ve taken of the chantier navale over the last few months.

Yes, as you have probably noticed, the yacht that’s been over there at the far end for the last I don’t know how long has now disappeared, presumably having gone back into the water at long last. I was beginning to think that she was going to be there longer than I’m going to be here, but there you go.

What else didn’t go on as long as I was expecting was the amount of time that I stayed in bed last night. There are some days when I have an alarm to help me to be up and about and I still can’t be on my feet by 08:10 so the fact that I can do that on a Sunday when there’s no alarm is something quite surprising.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. I’d had a very big row with the people for whom I drove coaches at one time. I’m not sure whether I ended up being sacked or resigned but they were sitting there calculating my wages and then ended up owing me 29 days pay for days in lieu of notice. They said that I’d get it in due course. That had all been arranged and they said “what about these Friday nights where we start to sort out the yard so you’d come down and do the office while we do it?”. I made a very non-committal reply to that and wandered off. I ended up playing cricket again, a girls’ cricket team and I was keeping wicket. The girl who was bowling was a pretty wild bowler but she took this long run-up and the ball in the air took this beautiful swerve and caught me on the left shoulder where my catheter is instead of in the gloves. I have the ball back to her and she started off on her run again so I asked “where are you off to? Nantwich?”. She stopped for a minute and burst out laughing. Another girl who was fielding at slip started to move back behind me. I said “no, don’t go behind me!”. I explained that these balls swerving around so much, she’s likely to get one in the face the further back she stands. Someone else turned up from the office where I was working and said to the girls’ captain – he gave her a form and said “just fill this in for Eric, will you? I want to see how he gets on now that he’s in a higher age group” so they started to fill it in before they took their next ball. He asked “what shall I put your occupation down as? Are you still a bus driver with (those people I mentioned earlier)?”.

So what’s this thing about me going back to playing cricket and keeping wicket doing reappearing just now? That’s what’s bewildering me at the moment.

But somewhere along the way I was watching a very large pair of aeroplane wings with four engines falling out of the sky on fire and hitting a tower block, destroying the block and there was debris and all kinds of things all around. Later I talked to a few of the passengers who had been seated in what remained of the fuselage.

There was quite some time left before my visitors arrived so I worked on the notes for my trip to Central Europe back in July and I edited a couple more days.

Liz and Terry turned up at 11:30 and they brought me a lovely present, a nice vegan coffee cake that I’ll be trying out with my afternoon coffee during the course of the coming week. And I have to provide feedback on the recipe and the cake itself as it’s a new recipe that she hasn’t tried before.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen we had drunk our coffee we went out for a walk in the beautiful sunny early afternoon.

There were plenty of people down on the beach which wasn’t any surprise at all given the weather. It was quite warm for February, rather like an early May afternoon. There was not a single cloud in the sky anywhere and, just for a change there wasn’t all that much wind.

Liz, Terry and I had a lot to talk about as we walked around the path. I think that we’ve only ever seen each other once since the autumn. I’ve been on the road to Belgium quite often since October and they were stranded in the UK for quite a while.

english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the things that we discussed was the colour of the sea.

It’s a beautiful emerald greeny-blue colour in this kind of light, the kind of colour that you don’t see very often. It was rather unfortunate though that there was such a haze. It would have been the kind of weather where you might have been expected to see for miles down the coast and miles out to see but today you couldn’t even see the Ile de Chausey, never mind the Channel Islands or the lighthouse at the Cap Frehel.

For a change, we went down the steps at the far end and right around the headland on the narrow path. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been that way.

people on beach rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe crowds were out around there too, walking around the path making the place look rather busy.

The people sitting on the old concrete gun emplacement with their feet dangling into the void was quite interesting, and there were even people sitting on the rocks against the harbour wall. There were a few people picnicking higher up in the cliffs, perched like seabirds on their little nooks.

We ended up back at home and Liz prepared lunch. She’d brought with her some vegan sausage rolls and a salad followed by a sticky lemon cake. It’s nice having good friends who look after me when it’s my birthday.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I don’t have many friends but those whom I do have are the best friends anyone could ever have in all of the world. Quality, not quantity.

We also had some of my ginger beer. And that was what I call “fiery” without any doubt.

After they had left I went and sat down in the bedroom and that was that for about an hour or so. I was well away with the fairies, right out of it and it took me quite a while to come round to my senses, which is quite a surprise seeing as these days I don’t have all of that many senses to come to.

Later on when I recovered I went off and started the weekend’s cooking, hours late.

First task was the pizza. I’d taken some dough out of the freezer earlier and that was now defrosted so I kneaded it again, rolled it and stuck it into the pizza tray to proof again.

And while that was doing, I made myself another batch of kefir, with the last of the mandarines from Christmas. I used those cheap mechanical bottles that I’d bought a while back but replaced the seals with some of the spare ones that I have which were more substantial.

While I was at it, I set another batch off on its way ready for next week.

Some pastry was next and I made myself a jam pie with some of the leftover strawberry jam. And with the pastry that was left I made a quick apple turnover.

home made vegan pizza jam pie apple turnover place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the pizza base was ready so while the pie and the turnover were baking I assembled my pizza. I had no fresh mushrooms so I drained a tin and dried them in the oven for 10 minutes. While the pizza was baking I fed the sourdough and the ginger mother solution.

Having had a big lunch, I wasn’t all that hungry so I only had a couple of slices of the pizza, and it was quite delicious. I’m going to have the rest with a baked potato one night this week. That should make quite a nice tea.

Tonight I’m going to bed early. There’s a radio programme to be prepared tomorrow of course and while I’ve already done some of it while I was away, it still needs a good deal of work.

And for some reason or other that I don’t quite understand, I’m feeling rather more optimistic about this coming week.

That’s a feeling that I can’t explain.

Thursday 18th February 2021 – THAT WAS A …

… really nice tea tonight. And I’ve no idea why either.

For a start, it was the same stuffing that I’d used on Tuesday in my pepper (well, not the same, but leftovers from the same batch) lengthened with kidney beans and stuffed into tacos to make taco rolls with rice (which I remembered to put in the pan tonight). All followed by apple crumble with (because I’ve run out of coconut dessert) some soya vanilla cream dessert.

What beats me is that it’s the same stuff that I’ve had on a regular basis over the past ever so many years and yet it tasted far better tonight than it ever has done.

What else beats me is the news that I was up yet again before the third (now fourth) alarm. That’s not like me at all these days, as regular readers of this rubbish will realise. What’s even more surprising was that it was a horribly late night – or, more to the point – early morning. I was half-expecting to be still in bed right now.

So after medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’m not sure what was happening here but it was another hot, sweaty dream. There were a few of us on a bus or train and we had to go to the toilet. The conveyance came to a stop so we all had to rush to the public conveniences. We stampeded like mad to go there. It was obvious that some people who were older or more infirm than us and we overtook them. One of our party became a steward and was letting people in in accordance with how they had descended from the coach or even people sitting at these tables. We had to wait our turn. In the end we could enter a cubicle but in the one that I was in you had to use a bottle. I went to use it but a guy knocked on the door asking if he could have his bottle back. I said that I was just about to use it to which he replied “oh no, I need it back”. I said “you find me another bottle and you can have this one back no problem whatsoever”. He produced something tiny like a nail file brush container thing. I said “don’t be silly, a proper-sized bottle”. He replied “I can’t see one”, something like that. “There must be one here – there are all these toilets”. Despite the intervention from a couple of other people who were trying their best to help out, he wouldn’t supply a second bottle and insisted on trying to take his away. I wasn’t having any of this. I couldn’t move because I was sitting on the toilet by now. This became something of a stupid impasse. Each time I looked at him, there was always something more missing off his car. It was becoming a wreck and he wouldn’t be able to go there anyway but he kept on insisting for his bottle back and I kept on insisting that he find me something else to use and he offering me this little nail file brush thing and it was all becoming really stupid.

You can’t say that you aren’t being overwhelmed with excitement by some of this stuff, can you?

Later on, there we were, 3 of us, me, a young girl and a woman and we were dressed in some quite elaborate and decent clothing for the carnival, to be a police officer, constable or police observer, whatever but we had to travel in civilian clothes so you don’t know. Everyone was lined up there taking off their ex-military underwear and swapping it. This is where I joined in and we had exactly the same argument as we had before about the issue of handing over the tokens.
So what I want to know is “what have I missed off here that wasn’t recorded?”. That must have been good too.

Later on, I had a shower and a general clean-up, and I even went one better than David Crosby because while he almost cut his hair, I cut mine. It was starting to become too long for how I like it so I’ve cut it right back with a n°2. That’ll keep it out of mischief for a few weeks.

Grabbing a slice of sourdough fruitcake and a mug of hot chocolate I had my one-on-one with my Welsh teacher. It should have been for 15 minutes but we were finished long before that. I told her about my Teflon brain (nothing sticks to it) but she thinks that I’m doing pretty well. That’s surprising because I’m sure that I can do much better than I am.

Rather later than usual because of my one-on-one, I headed off for the shops.

yachting school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the end of the road I had a look over the wall to see what was going on down in the harbour.

Not a lot – no freighters in today so it seems. But the yachting school seems to be in full swing. You can see the little boats with their green sails out there in the bay.

And seeing them there reminds me. That’s one of the things that really needs my attention – to go down there and enquire about taking a course in yachting this Spring. It’s not actually the yachting that interests me but the whole seamanship thing. I know about port and starboard and fore and aft but that’s about it.

However I’m not the worst at this. I know that one of my female friends was most upset when a sailor shouted “avast behind” as she walked past him on the deck.

It had been raining earlier but it had dried up a little so it was quite pleasant walking around the back of the town on the way to the railway station.

When you’ve paid for your tickets on-line you are given a security code and with the code and the bank card that you used to buy your tickets, you obtain your tickets from the machine at the station. But sometimes it’s out of order and the booking office doesn’t open until 09:30 whereas the train leaves at 08:55.

For that reason I always like to go for my tickets a couple of days earlier as I pass on the way to the shops when the ticket office is open. If the machine is out of order the booking office can print them out.

LIDL was expensive today. I spent a lot of money there. But then again I’d forgotten to buy a lot of things at the weekend so I suppose it was about right, I reckon.

demolition of house rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back home I went to look at the old cafe on the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo to see how they are getting on with the demolition.

And it’s not there now – the ground’s all flat, although I doubt if there is a man with a bowler hat beneath it. What there are though are a couple of large signs fixed to the fence telling us that planning permission has been applied for so that a block of flats might be erected on the spot. But I’d heard all about that a week or two ago.

The town was quite busy this morning as I passed through. It’s school half-term this week so the brats are at liberty running around with stressed-out grandparents in tow.

le pearl gates of port de Granville harbour closing Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn up the hill in the Rue des Juifs I staggered with my heavy load. And I reached the park bench on the pavement at a very propitious moment.

Just as I arrived, the red light at the harbour entrance started to flash and as I watched, the gates slowly started to close. I stood and watched them for a while and I was trying to work out the pressure that the hydraulic rams must have to exert to close the gates against the pressure of water that must be upon them. It’s hardly surprising that they have to replace the gates every now and again.

Many of the trawlers are out at sea by the looks of things, but one that isn’t is our old – or maybe I ought to say “new” – friend Le Pearl moored up over there next to the harbour offices.

Where I was sitting was right by the Rampe du Monte à Regret, the path and stairway that leads down to the lower road at the Place Pelley (in case you haven’t guessed it, Granville is honeycombed with alleys, ramps and stairways due to the steepness of the cliffs around here).

pointing rampe du monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is where they have been doing the pointing of the retaining wall for the last while, so I was intrigued to see just how they were doing. And the answer is, as you can see for yourself, that they’ve made no progress whatever over the last three weeks at least.

However, I have heard an interesting little story about this wall. Apparently one of the local Employment Project things that they have around here is running a course in stone-pointing starting in March and the only place where they can have some real practical experience is just here on this wall. So I wonder if that’s why work has ground to a halt – they are going to be having the apprentices doing it as the practical part of their course.

And with all of the renovation plans that they announced for the walls the other day, I suppose that they’ll need all of the apprentices they can find.

trawlers unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo having recovered my breath I headed on up the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the fish processing plant.

Although the gates to the harbour are closed, there is still plenty of activity down there. Some of the trawlers must have only beaten the gates by a matter of a couple of minutes because as I watched , a couple of them jostled for position at the fish-processing plant so that they could unload their catch.

Back in the apartment it was lunchtime so I grabbed my sandwiches. I found some smoked vegan cheese with a sell-by date of January 2020 when I was cleaning out the fridge so I’ve started on that today until it’s gone.

Rosemary had rung me while I was out so I rang her back. Just a little phone call today – one hour and fifty-two minutes. I don’t know what it is that we find to talk about during all of this time.

That took me all the way up to walkies-time so I went back out to see how things were doing.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were plenty of people around today too, especially down on the beach by the steps up to the Rue du Nord. Not as many people as the other day when there seemed to be hordes of them, but more than enough to get into a pile of mischief.

Up here on the car park there were dozens of people milling around, including a couple of brats whizzing around on scooters between the parked cars. Mind you, it was quite warm for the time of year. 9°C on the thermometer that I have and isn’t that quite a bit warmer than this time last week?

So having sorted out all of that, I headed off down the path on my way out to see what the rest of the world was up to.

lighthouse cap frehel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallToday was another one of those days where although there was a sea mist, the coast was fairly clear and you could see for miles down that way even if it was hazy out to sea.

The lighthouse at Cap Frehel was quite clearly visible with the naked eye today, long before I reached the headland and that’s always impressive considering that it’s about 70 kilometres away from here. And one of these days, when I’ve finished the photos and the web pages for my summer in Eastern Europe, I’ll do the photos from my boat trip down the coast and you can see the lighthouse for yourselves in glorious technicolour.

But don’t hold your breath. It’s going to be quite a long job.

rainstorm baie de mont st michel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEven from down where I was standing I could see a big dirty cloud away in the distance so I was keen to go and have a closer look to see what that was doing.

Plenty of people around on the paths and the lawns and even a broken down car with its bonnet up on the car park so it was rather a slalom course that I had to take in order to reach the end of the headland. And I do have to say that I found that cloud quite impressive to watch.

That must be a really impressive downpour going on over there in the bay, and the coastline over there seems to be taking a real pounding. Luckily the wind is in another quarter so we won’t be getting any of that, which is just as well.

sun on sea brittany coast baie se mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe kind of weather that we were having was so much better.

It was quite cloudy and dry, with not too much wind. But we did have another hole in the sky that was letting through a rather large amount of sunshine that was lighting up the bay right in front of me. And the town of Cancale on the other side was brought out quite nicely in relief by the light.

But I can’t stay here all day. I headed on down the path on the other side but there was nothing at all of any interest in the port or in the chantier navale I came home instead for my hot coffee.

orange kefir ginger beer place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving drunk the coffee I turned my attention to the kefir that had been brewing for the last few days.

There are still some oranges remaining that need using so it was orange kefir today, and here are three bottles of the aforementioned that I prepared today, with the new kefir mix to the side and the ginger beer from the other day to the left.

Those bottles that I bought the other day don’t look very happy though. I hope that they are reliable enough to work under the kind of pressure that my kefir reaches.

As well as all of this I’ve done a few more photos of our trip to the hot springs in Greenland and also some more work tagging and indexing the photos from Oradour. They are all completed and I’m now doing them for the Chateau de Chalus.

It’s disappointing that they aren’t ready because I was hoping too have had them finished today. But friends come first of course. And tomorrow I have bread to bake, a Course to study and probably half a dozen other things that I’ve forgotten too, so I’ve no idea when they will be finished.

Talking of friends, Terry has had the statement setting out what French Old Age Pension he’s likely to receive on the basis of his own contributions. He’s amassed enough credits for a monthly pension of €25:00. I told him that I’ll chip in my monthly Old-Age Pension from my employment in Belgium – all €30:23 per month – and the two of us can go berserk.

Spend, spend, spend, hey?

Wednesday 10th February 2020 – I WAS RIGHT …

snow place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall … this morning about the snow.

Actually it’s not as much of a triumph as it sounds. It was a pretty safe guess that it would still be here this morning, judging by the way that it was coming down last night so as soon as it was light I stuck my head and the camera out of the window to take a photograph or two of the beautiful Alpine scenery, such as it is around here on the Normandy coast.

Well, when I say that I stuck my head out of the window etc, that is rather somewhat poetic licence because I did no such thing. I’d checked the temperature earlier this morning when I had my medicine and at that moment it was minus 2°C.

snow place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if anyone thinks that I’m going to be sticking my head out of a window at minus 2°C they are mistaken. In fact that’s the coldest that I can remember it being since I’ve been here.

It’s a far cry from back in the Auvergne when I’d be out working on a roof or in a garden in two feet of snow and minus 18°C but I’m a lot older now than I was back then. But whatever we have here, it has everyone worried as I expected. They’ve cancelled all school transport for today. How would they have managed in the Auvergne?

But did you like the bit about “I’d checked the temperature earlier this morning”? Yes, I managed to beat the third alarm yet again, and that’s a surprise because I ended up working quite late last night – getting on for 01:00 when I went to bed.

This morning I took it rather easy. The only task of note being to rearrange once more the running order on the database for the radio programmes. It seems that the radio engineer is just as confused as I am about where we are in the running order and so we some confusion and on Monday I had sent him a programme that had already been broadcast.

There was the dictaphone to listen to too. I was around Winsford last night and I’m not sure why but I was walking around carrying a paraffin heater with me that was lit. I can’t remember very much at all about this but I was walking through the Shopping Centre there and the guy in the Fast Food Stall was putting up a sign “Closed – back in 15 minutes”. I looked at him and it was the guy who used to work in the bank there. I remember him saying how unhappy he was so we had told him that if he was unhappy he ought to leave. I was on my way to see a girlfriend – no idea who – who lived in Winsford. I hadn’t seen her for years and I was worried that it was rather late. I had a look on my watch and it was still 18:30 so I thought that there was plenty of time yet. I can’t understand though why it was so early. I hadn’t seen this girl for years yet I was so wrong about a lot of the other times that it might only have been a couple of days. And I can’t remember any more than that.

However, this “meeting up with former girlfriends after so many years as if it’s only a couple of days ago” was a recurring theme from a few years back, as regular readers will recall. Back then I was planning on ringing up former girlfriends for dates thinking that they might be free, even if I hadn’t seen them for over 30 years

Just as it was coming up to hot chocolate and sourdough fruit-bread time, Rosemary rang me up for a chat. We put the world to rights and by the time that we finished there wasn’t any point in going for breakfast as it was almost lunchtime.

Not much bread laft now so if I forget to bake on tomorrow morning, it’s going to be soup from the freezer again with the bit of bread that’s left.

orange and kiwi kefir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut once I’d eaten my lunch I made another batch of kefir. Now that I have plenty of empty bottles I can make them earlier than I have been doing and give the contents more time to settle.

Today’s ingredients were orangs and kiwi again, with a mandarine thrown in for good measure. I’m not sure how this batch will turn out but I have high hopes. And having set that under way in the flip-top bottles for its second fermentation, I made another batch that can sit and ferment for the next 6 days or so.

And while I was at it, I had a look at my ginger bug – the ginger beer starter. That’s fermenting nicely in its little corner by the radiator and has started to bubble. That means that fermentation has begun and we are now on our way. It needs five days or so of feeding before it’s ready to use.

Basically, it’s rather like sourdough – you just help yourself to some of it to make a second fermentation in a flip-top bottle with more water and ginger, and and a little water back to your starter again so that the volume of the starter remains constant.

Of course, every other day you feed it with ginger and sugar to keep it going.

For the rest of the day I’ve been working on my Oradour sur Glane notes. Right now, the murderers have been convicted (those who were brought to trial, that is) but the fun is just about to begin.

snow place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOff I went on my afternoon walk in the freezing cold weather.

There was still a fair amount of snow about covering the car park. The bright sunlight had melted some of it but not all by any means.

In fact, we’d had a thaw and then a freeze by the looks of things because there were signs that water had run out of the snow and down the slope towards the grid but then frozen again leaving a nice trail of black ice.

And if you like, you can ask me how I know about this.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow that the fishermen are back out at sea again, we’ve been seeing the trawlers on their way home again from the fishing grounds.

There was another one out there today heading back into port. One whose name I have unfortunately forgotten but she’s the older sister of the new trawler Le Pearl who arrived in port just before Christmas. She’s surrounded by seabirds too, all hoping for a little treat, so she must have a very good catch in her hold.

There were one or two other trawlers way out there too in the distance, heading back for port. It seems that the fishing is now back in full swing after the little pause while the island of Jersey attempted in vain to hold the French fishermen to ransom.

beach cliffs rue du nord plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe sun was pretty low down in the sky today but where the light could actually reach, it was really beautiful

In this photo we’re looking back down along the northern side of the headland past the Rue du Nord and the beach at the Plat Gousset towards Donville les Bains.

But nice as the weather might look, it really was freezing out there and I was glad that I’d come prepared. I usually wear these shell trousers because they wash and dry easily. But they are rather thin and the wind goes right through them.

However, I did bring with me a pair that are one size bigger than I would normally wear. And I simply slipped these on over the ones that I was already wearing and that was great. Mind you, my ears froze again.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much doing anywhere else so I made my way around the headland to look at the activity in the port.

And we aren’t alone there again today. We have a visitor, because Thora is in port right now having come in from the Channel Islands with another load. So she’s keeping busy which is good news.

But that was me just about done. I headed off back home for my afternoon coffee and to carry on with my work. But unfortunately I was out like a light yet again for about half an hour or so, which I don’t suppose is any surprise given the circumstances of last night.

The hour on the guitar passed OK, I suppose. And on the acoustic guitar I was working out the Allan Clark number “Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress” – I’ve no idea why that entered my head this afternoon. And that’s not an easy number to sing because there’s a key change in there somewhere and I end up one scale higher than I ought to be at one point and I can’t think why.

Mind you, it’s the same with “Behind the Mask” that I was playing yesterday. And strangely enough, it’s the same note each time, an “A”.

Tea was taco rolls with the rest of the stuffing from Monday, followed by rice pudding. And having written my notes, I’m not messing about. I’m off to bed for I’m exhausted and a good sleep will do me the world of good, I reckon. And I hope that the photos work properly tonight, Sean. Thanks for the note.

Pleasant dreams, everyone.

Sunday 31st January 2021 – WITH IT BEING …

… Sunday, I had a nice lie-in this morning. All the way up to 11:10 as well.

And despite the late rising from my stinking pit I’m thoroughly exhausted and I’m going to bed in a moment. There’s tons of stuff on the dictaphone too but I didn’t have the energy to transcribe it until a couple of days later, so having now done that I may as well add it in here and now in its rightful place.

The night started with another rambling dream where I was having all kinds of photography issues. I can’t remember much about it at all but I was in Canada travelling with someone and we had been up a kind of mountain, driven up the side of it and taken a load of photos from up at the top and then carried on on our voyage. Somewhere during that I’d taken an exam for the Open University’s Environmental Degree and had to write out an essay or thesis. I wrote out pages and pages of stuff basically off the top of my head which I’m sure was good enough and sent it off but it wasn’t until later that I realised that I hadn’t done a word count. I hoped that I had done enough and not too much and then again with having written it off the top of my head I wasn’t sure how much of it would be identified as plagiarism with me simply having remembered text word-for-word from someone else’s postings. So we ended up in a great big city in Canada somewhere. I was walking around taking photos but again I was having these issues with the camera not taking these photos properly. At one point it was late afternoon near rush hour and the moon had just come up over the end of the town. It was a beautiful setting and I thought that it would be rzally nice in 10 minutes time so I went to get on a bus and work my way around there. I went and stood in a bus queue but then I thought “I don’t know which bus to get on that will take me in the right direction” so I decided that I won’t go on a bus – I’ll walk back. As I walked back I came across a bar and above it was a notice saying that Aerosmith were going to perform here. I went to take a photo of this notice with the bar in it but I couldn’t get the right view or the right perspective and then I had the sun in the lens and the camera wouldn’t work. I tried about 4 or 5 different times. I walked away because it wouldn’t work, very disappointed. Then I took a photo of some woman playing golf. That worked fine except that it was on multiple shot which I didn’t realise until I deleted the one that I had just taken and found another 9. Then I walked back to this place again and found a good perspective and took a good photo with all of the people bowing down to this sign. Then I found that the viewfinder on the camera was broken and all looked very cracked and I hadn’t got it in the photo part of the notice that I wanted so I had to try to take it again. But then the camera malfunctioned again. In the meantime the guy with me was telling me about a guy who was planning a photography trip to the Middle East and asked if I was interested so I had this guy talk to me. He said that they were planning to go some time in November but where we would be going would be up to the people who travelled.

Later on I’d bumped into Nerina again somewhere. I was sorting through a whole pile of Christmas cards. She was looking at them and at the envelopes as I was spreading them out somewhere. She said that i’d forgotten to play with those 6 there an I could see that she was keen to know who they were from. After she had made a few more comments about them I threw them over to her and said “you open them and look for yourself” and carried on with what I was doing. In the meantime there was a little girl there. She was putting all kinds of packs of playing cards into order in a display window. Nerina asked her “what will you be doing for cards when (I think she said) George Bernard Shaw dies? Will you be printing more different cards?” This girl looked totally bewildered so I had to explain to her that the drawings on the back of the cards were by whoever it was whom Nerina had mentioned. This girl still didn’t understand and I thought that it was rather mean of Nerina for teasing the girl like this. I had to go into an office to see someone. I had to climb these flights of stairs, went into this office and noticed that there were skylights in there so for that reason I assumed that we were on the top floor of this building. I had this interview and I can’t remember what it was about, and walked off back downstairs and outside. I carried on walking and came to the town centre. It was the same town as earlier on in the evening but all laid out differently and I couldn’t really remember where I was for a while. There was this brand-new square in this medieval town that didn’t look too awful and trying to find a perspective to take some photos was difficult. In the end I had to have the camera above my head and look at the viewfinder from a distance to get the right photos. Even then they weren’t coming out as I was wanting. There was a huge tower in the centre of this square. I thought “how am I going to get all this into one single shot?”. That was going to be the challenge. I can’t remember any more.

After the medication I sat and vegetated for quite a while, not doing anything at all. It was even a struggle to stand up and make myself a hot chocolate and a bowl of porridge at lunchtime. Whatever it was, it ended up being much later than my usual lunchtime too.

No walk this afternoon. Admittedly I was really tired, but in fact it’s teeming down with rain and not the weather to go out for a walk.

Some time later I attended to the important and urgent cookery issues. I have some bread left over from Leuven so there’s no need to bake a loaf quite yet. But I’ve run out of kefir so I needed to make myself a batch of that.

orange kiwi kefir apple pie jam turnover place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere are plenty of oranges around here and kiwis too so I made an orange-and-kiwi batch and we’ll see how that comes out.

The jam roly-poly is almost exhausted so I needed to make a pudding too. With some pastry rolls in the fridge left over from Christmas I made myself an apple pie with the apples left over from before I went away.

And with the left-over pastry I made a small jam turnover – and I remembered to put the desiccated coconut in it this week, having forgotten last time.

And here we are – here are some that I made earlier, as the old story goes. It looks absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to try it all

home made vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the kefir and the dessert it was pizza time. Sunday is always pizza time, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

There was no pizza dough left over so I had to make some more. Enough for three bases. Once the dough had proofed for a couple of hours it was divided into three and two of them were rolled in oil and put in the freezer. The third was rolled out and put in the pizza tray.

When that had proofed again, I assembled the pizza and cooked it for eating. That was delicious too. No pudding again as it was extremely filling.

So, tired as I am, I’m off for an early night. A very early night too. I can’t concentrate right now so it’s pointless trying. Here’s hoping I feel better tomorrow.

Saturday 16th January 2021 – IT’S AS QUIET …

… as the grave around here this evening.

In fact, it’s as quiet as the grave just about everywhere in France right now. Due to the failure to bring the Covid figures down to a reasonable figure, quarantine has been advanced from 20:00 to 18:00 all throughout the country.

That’s knocked my evening outings well and truly on the head , and all that I have to say on the subject is “thank heavens that we have a Government here that is taking the initiative”. And when I mention that the figures that are causing the French Government such unease are actually only about a third of the chaos and carnage in the UK you’ll understand why I’m happy to be here.

Another thing that has changed is that regular readers of this rubbish will recall yesterday that I mentioned that most of the local fishing boats were still in harbour despite the good weather and I expressed my surprise.

The reason for this is that despite the provisional agreement over fishing rights that was agreed the other day, Jersey announced on Thursday that it was reneging from the agreement.

What will happen now remains to be seen, but we are now living in very interesting times in a French fishing port in Normandy.

As for me, I seem to be living in interesting times here too, as I actually managed to beat the third alarm to my feet. Not by much, I have to say but by enough to call it a victory.

Nothing on the dictaphone unfortunately, and I had something of a vague recollection going round in my head and even more unfortunately I forgot it as soon as I awoke, before I had the time to reach for the dictaphone. So I’ll never know where I went and, even more interestingly, who came with me.

After a shower I headed for the shops. At NOZ I spent rather a lot of money, but most of that was on liquid refreshment like coconut milk, cans of Schweppes bitter lemon and the like rarely if ever seen in France. NOZ does have some good stuff every now and again like this and that’s why I like going there.

At LeClerc, in contrast, I spent very little. There was nothing there that particularly caught my fancy. I did forget (once again) to buy some tomato sauce for the pizza tomorrow so I’ll have to use that aubergine stuff.

Back here I just about managed to put the frozen food away (having to rearrange the freezer as it’s rather full in there right now), made myself a hot chocolate and fetched the last mince pie, and then promptly fell asleep. I suppose that that was completely on the cards after the early start and how I’ve been feeling just recently.

orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA rather late lunch then, and afterwards I attacked the kefir.

Plenty of juice oranges left from last week so it was only natural that I would use those to make another batch. And it’s probably going to be just as volatile as the last lot, I reckon. But it does taste nice so I can’t really complain.

There’s another batch busily festering away now too, and I have in mind some kiwi and pear for this batch next week. That kiwi and pear that I made the other week was pretty good.

seagull on window ledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halllater on it was time for me to go walkies. My only walk of the day as well, unfortunately.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing the seagull that comes along and perches on the windowsill on the first floor of this building by the other entry. Not only was it there again today, its mummy was there with it but she cleared off as soon as I came out.

The best I could do was to take a rather hurried shot of baby before it too cleared off to follow its mummy.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere weren’t all that many people out there today which was no surprise because it was really cold, there was another foul wind blowing and it was threatening rain.

Down there on the beach though there were a few people wandering around taking in the iar. Not like the person down there the other day ina wet suit – that was rather exaggerated – but they were certainly enjoying it all the same.

There has been some heavy rain overnight so the path was pretty much flooded along the top of the cliffs so picking my way along there, I ended up at the end of the headland.

joker fishing boat yacht port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe sun, such as it wasn’t, wasn’t anythign to write home about, so I carried along the path on the other side of the headland.

And we have a change in the occupancy of the chantier navale. Joker is still there, as is the yacht and the other little fishing boat but the big trawler that’s been there for quite a while has no cleared off, back into the water hopefully.

Things must be moving down there.

And I must be moving now too. The rain is coming down quite heavily now and I need a nice hot coffee.

Back here, clutching my hot coffee in my sweaty little mitt I made a start on the day after I left Chateau Gaillard. Strawberry Moose and I are currently laying siege to the Chateau de Chalus to avenge the death of Richard the Lionheart who was killed by an arrow there in 1199.

We actually went (well, I did – he didn’t as it isn’t the kind of place that he should go) to Oradour-sur-Glane to see the ruined village. This was the village that was destroyed by Das Reich on 10th June 1944 and the remains are still there as the Waffen-SS left it.

That is however going to be something of an epic and I need a few really good solid sessions of uninterrupted time (as if I am ever likely to have that) to make a plan of how I’m going to tackle it.

There was an hour on the guitar and then tea. I’d thought of something nice to have but unfortunately I’d forgotten what it was so I had to think of something else.

Someone had sent me a recipe for a cheese sauce with a difference – butter and garlic to make it richer – so I cooked some pasta with a pile of mixed frozen veg and did one of these cheese sauces. And it was delicious too, especially followed by another slice of my jam tart.

There’s no bread so after the washing up I prepared a pile of bread dough. That’ll be proofing overnight and I can deal with that tomorrow morning, if I’m up in time.

Now I’m off to bed. I have visitors tomorrow and I’m not really up to it and the apartment is a tip because I haven’t cleaned it for a fortnight but I really can’t find the energy to do it.

Maybe a decent sleep tonight might give me enough energy for an hour to do something about it.

But I’m not optimistic.

Thursday 14th January 2021 – JUST FOR A …

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… change, I managed to beat the third alarm again this morning.

Well, to be honest, I didn’t. When it started up I was still in bed but I was on the point of hauling myself out of my stinking pit at that moment, and I was out of bed like a ferret up a trouser leg.

Mind you, to be perfectly honest I would have given all that I had to have been able to go back to bed and back to sleep because I didn’t feel like it at all today. It wasn’t a good start to the day at all.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe orange kefir has calmed down enough to drink now, so I took my medication with that this morning. And it is delicious, I do have to say that. It’s a good batch.

And then I came back in here to check the dictaphone. That was one of the things that I promised yesterday that I would do first thing. And indeed there were several files recorded on there so I sat down to have a listen and to transcribe them.

There was one for yesterday and one for the day before and they are now on-line where they ought to be. But don’t worry – there was nothing exciting which is a shame. And no interesting companions, which is even worse.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall The ones from today weren’t any more exciting either.

We started off on a ferry – one of these boats with cabins. I’d designed a pile of furniture and fitted it into these rooms – cabins the previous year. Some kind of incident had taken place between me and a girl. This year I had to design the same cabins and a similar kind of furniture but the measurements were completely different. When everything was laid out in the room it looked fine, OK, but the measurements were different. People crowded in to see what was happening. The guy in charge asked me what I thought about it so I told him. He told me what he thought, that it was very good, that sort of thing but when I mentioned “of course the measurements aren’t the same, are they? I’d like to know why there is the difference. He made a remark about “all the youngsters of today, they aren’t the same as in the past”. I could see that that was some kind of barbed comment. We were making all kinds of barbed comments about this and he even had some kind of winch thing to compress the furniture to see if it would fit any better.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHe then asked if I would be interested in taking the cabin. Of course I was going to hold out for the old measurements, the stuff that I had designed for last year but my partner said something about “we’ll take the bed It’s a lovely diesel-powered bed”, all of this but I was trying to get whoever it was to keep quiet about this because I wanted to solve this problem first but this was knowingly aiding this other guy in dealing with this year’s issues and not the issues that I wanted dealing with last year about this girl – that was it (what was? Which girl?). There had been a disco on board and he was posting all the photos of the New Year’s disco. For some reason I hadn’t gone – whether I hadn’t been invited I don’t know but I’d been scanning these photos to see whether this girl was on there but I couldn’t see her on there so I was wondering whether she had gone or not.

And I wish that I knew who she was.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, there was a question of winning an Audi car in a competition but I had undone the wrong tin and got the wrong food in this so I’d put the stuff somewhere like under the bed or under the pillow in the hope that no-one would notice it and we’d carry on that I might qualify to win this car. I’m not sure if anyone had noticed but a TV presenter had started to make all kinds of cracks about Covid as if he knew that I had some kind of guilty secret about it and he was grinding the axe in me, making me suffer instead of minding these Series 19 Brush locomotives which was what I wanted to do in the first place.

And I don’t know what all that was about either, to be honest.

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, I had a shower and a general clean-up, then grabbing my shopping bag, I headed out into the street for my Thursday shop at LIDL.

And if you thought that the weather had been bad just recently, it had absolutely nothing on what was going on this morning. One glance at the rough seas engulfing that trawler out there would give you a clue as to what the weather was doing.

We’ve had winds, and we’ve had more winds, but this morning’s winds were more than we have had for quite a while.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt first, I wasn’t sure what the ship was that I had seen, so I waited for it to pull into the harbour.

Now that I can see it closer up, I can recognise it as one that’s been in the harbour before, but I can’t think of her name right now. And in the background is the new trawler Le Pearl.

You’ll notice the red light illuminated at the harbour gate too. It started to flash just as our trawler came in and once it was safely in, the gates closed right behind it. Perfect timing, I would say.

Calling at the Post Office to post a letter, I pushed on along my way out of town.

There were a few things of interest that I bought in LIDL but I’m not going to say too much about them right now as it’s something for the future. But I bought my fruit and so on and then headed for home.

On the way back, I stopped off to try out their new cheque paying-in machine. All straightforward and easy once you know what to do.

bad parking rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that pathetic parking takes up a lot of room o these pages – so much so that you are probably as fed up of reading about it as I am of writing about it.

But sometimes, something happens that leaps out at you and you can’t pass it by – like this little incident here. On the left of where this delivery van is parked is a special parking bay reserved for deliveries and it happens to be empty right now. But our hero has parked alongside the loading bay, in the street, right next to a bollard, something that prevents anyone behind him from driving past

You really can’t make up things like this.

heavy industrial equipment place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnyway, I pushed on up the road, not feeling anything like it at all, until I reached my building.

And here, I had something of a surprise. We have visitors in the square. A few huge earth-moving machines are parked up in the car park of the building across the road. It looks as if we are going to be having some major work done somewhere in the vicinity in the very near future.

No doubt we shall find out more about this in the near future.

Back here, I didn’t even have time to unload the shopping before I sat down and promptly dozed off. These walks, loaded up with shopping, are killing me at the moment but I need to do it. But eventually I recovered and was able to drink my cold chocolate and eat my slice of fruit sourdough.

At lunch I used the last of my bread so I need to make another loaf pretty soon, and then I came in here to carry on with the arrears of work. I’m still at the Chateau Gaillard but we’ve reached the period of the Religious Wars right now, so not very much to do.

person in water in wet suit place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was of course the afternoon walk. And even though by now it was raining, I was determined to go out and stretch my legs even more.

But not quite like this person is doing right now. In this wind you are not going to get me anywhere near the water’s edge, not even dressed in what appears to be a wetsuit. He’s a braver man than I am, Gunga Din.

Instead, I wandered off along the footpath on top of the cliffs, battling against the raging storm and the rain.

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAcross the lawn and across the car park by the lighthouse and then down to the headland to catch the full force of the gale.

The weather was comparatively clear today, and for once you could see the Brittany coast and just about make out the church of Cancale on the cliffs across the bay. There was another nice sunset – although it’s not really a sunset right now – out there in the middle of the bay with the rays of sun shining through the gaps in the clouds and illuminating the water.

It’s a shame that the weather was so bad, but then again we wouldn’t have had the effect if the weather had been different.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather might indeed have been bad, but it wasn’t bad enough to put off these two people here down below where I’m standing.

As usual, there is always someone somewhere doing the peche à pied – the scavenging amongst the rocks for the shellfish. This are is quite famous for its shellfish, as you have probably gathered from the number of boats that go out from here and the number of people that we see on occasion when there’s a huge tidal coefficient.

There are always people going around armed with their gratter and bucket.

joker fishing boat trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I wandered off along the path on top of the cliffs on the other side of the headland.

This path takes me to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale and I always like to look down to see what’s going on there. And we have a change of occupant as well today. The yacht that has been there for ever is still there, as are the trawler and Joker, the blue and white shellfish boat.

But there’s a nw visitor in there today – the little silver and grey shellfish boat that has come to join in the fun.

unloading heavy equipment place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving admired the boats back at the chantier navale I headed off for home, to find myself confronted by yet more machinery.

This low-loader has just dropped off a little mini-digger. And seeing that there were a few guys hanging around I went to ask them what was going on.

There’s a street near here called the Rue St Michel and for the last 2 weeks it’s been covered with all kinds of multi-coloured hieroglyphics. It seems that some of those markings indicate a gas pipe, and these guys have come to dig it up and replace it.

Back here I carried on with my arrears and then broke off for my hour on the guitars, which I didn’t enjoy because I discovered that I seem to have lost my voice today, something that will please my neighbours mightily.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time that I went out for my evening walk the rain had stopped and we were treated to just the hurricane-force winds that made it difficult to run.

But at least the sea was enjoying the weather. You’ve already seen several photos that I’ve taken showing the waves coming crashing over the sea wall at the Plat Gousset with such incredible force. And I have to admit that I enjoyed the view as well – in fact I stayed there for a good few minutes watching them.

But I can’t stay there for ever. I ran off across the Square Maurice Marland in the direction of home.

gas pipe fitting repairing rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way home, I go past a little alley that leads down to the Rue t Michel, a dead-end street of old stone houses in the old Medieval town.

In the past I’ve wandered down it a couple of times but I’ve never taken a photo of what’s going on because it’s usually too dark. But tonight, taking my time, I managed to take a rather respectable photo of the end of the street. You can see all of the fencing that they are presumably going to put around the hole that they dig.

You can also see the crazy markings on the surface too but unfortunately, you can’t see the mini-digger, because that’s right behind where I’m standing.

trawler fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe little alleyway continues on to the old Medieval walls and so I went that way for a change.

From there I walked along the walls to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour where there is the really good view over the Fish Processing Plant. Quite a few of the fishing boats are still out fishing so the plant is open with people working there, a refrigerated lorry in the loading bay and a couple of vans on the car park.

And there’s a trawler moored up there too unloading even as we speak

trawler fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut some of the trawlers are already in, moored up at the quayside. And I’m not really sure if they are parking up or preparing to go out, with their lights ablaze like that.

Braving the wind and rain, I ran on home for my tea. With the leftover stuffing from Tuesday, I added a small tin of kidney beans and made myself taco rolls with rice, followed by another wedge of jam pie with soya coconut sauce.

Tons of stuff to write out again today so t’s going to be another late night by the looks of things. And what with an early start, I’ll end up looking and feeling like death. At least I don’t have to go anywhere tomorrow.

Sunday 10th January 2021 – IT WILL BE …

… of no surprise to anyone that I slept right through until about 11:00 this morning. Furthermore, it was 11:30 when I finally fell out of bed.

But then again, I do have to say that because of the deep sleep that I’d had earlier during the day, it wasn’t until about 02:30 that I went to bed this morning. And so the sleep wasn’t as deep and as long as it might otherwise have been.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. We were off on another coach trip. We were leaving from some kind of stately home and there were 2 coaches there. Ours was pretty much full – there were only about 3 or 4 seats so we were all waiting around. One of the coaches pulled up. It happened to be ours so we all scrambled aboard and the driver set off. I had a look round and there were more empty seats on this coach than I remembered but I couldn’t see anyone running after the coach. We reached the end of the driveway and had to cross the traffic and turn – we had to wait for a gap. I looked around and there was still no-one running after the coach. Well, it must be right but there were more empty seats than I remembered. We set off but by now we were on foot, walking. We had a load of giant dolls with us, about 3 feet tall. They were walking. One doll was a female and another was a male. The male was about 40 and the female doll looked as if she was in her late 20s. Someone made a joke about what a good couple they would make and the female doll said “we’ve already had a kiss and he didn’t seem all that interested” and she started ordering him about, this doll, to give her another kiss. It was really funny, this doll giving these orders like this. We were walking up West Street and one of the girls with us was spotting golf balls so we were making jokes about her and her golf balls. There was one that we went past but she didn’t bother to pick it up so we had a few jokes about that. But while we’d been on the bus some people had lapel badges about something or other. Someone had done a deal but hadn’t let on – he’d passed an order around and people had ordered and paid him for these but instead of sending off to buy them he pocketed the money and had some cheap substitutes made. One of the people on the coach actually belonged to this organisation and he could tell straight away that these badges were false so he made the people buy the right ones and pay the money for it. I was keeping a low profile about this because although I wasn’t involved, I knew what had gone on and I was afraid that my name would be mentioned in this connection by someone or other.

That brought me all the way round to lunchtime and so I went off and had a bowl of porridge

After lunch, I went off on a cookery afternoon.

First task was to mix up a pile of dough for the next three pizza bases as I have now run out. That flour mix stuff that I found in Belgium when I was there in November is really good and did a great job. I’ll be sorry when it runs out.

Next stop was to deal with the next load of kefir as I’m running low.

orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I was in LeClerc on Saturday I noticed that they had a pile of juice oranges so I bought a bag of a couple of kilos so I took four of them and whizzed them in my whizzer. I strained them through my filter stack into my large jug and then added most of the kefir that had been brewing for a few days.

Leaving an inch or so in the jar, I made up another batch for a few days later.

Having mixed the kefir and the orange juice in the large jug, I filtered it back through the filter stack into the bottles. And this will keep me going for the next 5 days.

yacht english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time to go off for my afternoon walk around the headland.

There were quite a few people walking around too because although it was cold and windy, it was quite nice and sunlight. The wind was such that there were several yachts out there on the water having a good sail around. This one here was out in the English Channel on its way back presumably from the Ile de Chausey.

For some reason that I didn’t understand, the path was al churned up and muddy so I had to pick my way around the mud on my way along the top of the cliffs.

sunset baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAcross the lawn and down the path across the car park, I ended up at the end of the headland looking out to sea.

There was nothing going on out there to sea as far as boats go, but there was yet another example of a really nice sunset this afternoon. The rays of the sun was pouring through the gaps in the clouds and illuminating the sea right in the middle of the channel.

There were quite a few people out there admiring the sunset and this view this afternoon, and I left them to it as I walked on around the headland and down the path on the other side.

yacht chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale, I had a look down to see how they were getting on.

The trawler was still there up on its blocks and the yacht was still there too. But there were some people on board in protective uniforms and it seemed to me that they were painting the boat. It certainly looks better than it has done from that point of view, although this isn’t really the weather to be out there painting.

There was nothing else going on in the harbour so I came on back home and made myself a nice hot mug of coffee and prepared to start work on some more cookery items.

First of all I fed the sourdough – mustn’t forget that. I need to keep that going even if I’m not having much success right now.

The pizza dough had risen nicely so I needed it again and split it into three. Two of them I rolled in oil, wrapped in baking paper, put in a plastic bag and bunged them in the freezer.

The third one I rolled out and put it into the pizza tray and put it on one side.

Next off I made some pastry and having rolled it, I lined a pie dish with it. There are plenty of half-open jars of strawberry jam around here so I tipped some into the pie dish and put a pastry lid on top and sealed it down and brushed it with milk and water.

With the pastry left over I made a jam turnover and then put the pie and turnover in the oven to bake.

While that was cooking, I prepared a vegan pizza and when the pie and turnover were cooked I took them out and put the pizza in.

rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile the pizza was cooking I headed off for my evening walk around the medieval walls.

Once again, I was all on my own out there except for a couple walking their dog, so I could do my running bits quite happily. At the viewpoint overlooking the town I took a photo of the Rue Pau Poirier just to prove that I was out there and then I turned for home and ran across the Place Maurice Marland.

It was so quiet out there and there was so little going on that I don’t really remember anything about the trip home. However I did run the last length back home again just to keep going.br clear=”both”>

strawberry jam pie strawberry jam turnover vegan pizza place d'armes  Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now the pizza was cooked so I took it out of the oven. And here we are – doesn’t it look delicious? The jam pie and the turnover look really nice.

The pizza was delicious too, although the tomato sauce wasn’t as I would have liked because having forgotten to buy any tomato sauce I’d ended up with a jar of tomato and aubergine purée to use as a base. And as for the jam pie and turnover, I’ll tell you about that tomorrow as I wasn’t hungry after my pizza.

Now I’ve written my notes, I’m off to bed. I’ve had a short day but if I’m not too well I don’t want to push my luck. I need to take it easy until I’m feeling better, whenever that might be.

After all, I have to start back to work in the morning with a radio programme to do.

Tuesday 5th January 2021 – IT’S BEEN ANOTHER …

… miserable day today.

At least I managed to hear all of the alarms this morning and I may not have beaten the third alarm, I didn’t go back to sleep at all and I managed to rouse yself round about 07:00 so as far as that goes, it’s some kind of progress better than yesterday.

After the medication I came back and had a listen to the dictaphone. And to my surprise I found that I had actually been somewhere during the night.

As it happens, I don’t remember very much about my voyage but we were doing something like besieging a castle. The castle was outside Granville somewhere. One thing that I noticed was that there was a dip in the ground by this castle with a kind of embankment running through it. It suddenly occurred to me after all these years that this could have been where the tacot ran through. I’d never succeeded in tracing the route of the tacot but that looked the right kind of place for the tacot to have been.
Some other time we were all in an office discussing a certain company or other. The company had had rather a rocky reputation. Someone produced on their mobile phone a logo that this company used. I had a look at it and thought “that’s the company that administers my works pension”. I mentioned that to the room and I was quite surprised by that because I always thought of them as being a reliable company but apparently they aren’t and that made me worry about my pension.

Having dealt with that I had a good work through my Welsh homework, revised some more stuff and then reviewed the forthcoming lesson. With a quick tidy up, I made myself some hot chocolate and grabbed a mince pie (the sourdough fruit loaf was … errr … spoiled) and switched on the portable computer, only to find that the tutor wasn’t available today and the course has been cancelled. That was pretty annoying but it can’t be helped.

So having drunk my chocolate and eaten my mince pie I sat down to do the second part of the radio programme. And by the time that I knocked off at 18:00 I’d finished typing (but not dictating) the notes. Again, it was something of a hard struggle today to find any kind of incentive or motivation.

There was a variety of reasons as to why it took me so long. First of all, there was lunch of course. Another helping of my gorgeous vegetable soup with home-made bread – a lunch made with my own fair hands. And there’s enough soup for another helping too so that ended up in the freezer for another day along with the rest of the butternut squash soup.

repositioning scaffolding college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe had the afternoon walk too as usual.

And regular readers of this rubbish will recall my musing about the scaffolding up at the College Malraux. They had erected it on just half of the College and I was wondering whether they were just going to do half of the roof. But here they are, dismantling the scaffolding at the far end and re-erecting it down the other half of the wall.

They have also relocated the compound too.

So it looks as if we are going to have the whole of the roof repaired. And judging by the amount of tie that it’s taken to do the part that they have done, they are going to be here for a while.

sunset on water baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere weren’t too many people out there this afternoon either which was no surprise give the cold, windy weather.

The path around the clifftop and across to the headland was pretty deserted so I walked over there to see what was going on. No ships or boats around at all but the evening sunset was shining really beautifully through the clouds onto the water.

We’ve seen a few of these sunsets just recently but the one this afternoon was up there with the best of them. Unfortunately the cliffs at the back were obscured in the low cloud so the distant view wasn’t as good though.

baie de mont st michel st pair sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallTaking my leave of the view, I walked off along the path on the south side of the headland.

The sun was shining brightly down on St Pair sur Mer and it was looking like a stage set all bathed in floodlights. I carried on walking along the path, admiring the new door that they fitted on the public conveniences yesterday. Nice big and armour-plated but they have made a basic error in its design and installation, and the workmen will be back in early course.

And still no change of occupant in the chantier navale either. The yacht on the blocks and the trawler by the mobile boat lift.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown there in the port, we have a visitor in there today.

Brexit doesn’t seem to have interrupted the little coastal freighters from Jersey coming into the port here. Down there in the loading bay underneath the crane we have Thora there. She’s probably come in on the morning tide.

Having taken a photo, I wandered off back home for a mug of hot coffee and a slice of my Christmas cake and to carry on with my work. But then we had another problem to delay me, in that having rather unsuccessfully fought off falling asleep, then I crashed out not once, not twice but three times during the rest of the afternoon and it’s making me feel terrible.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was the usual hour or so on the guitars and then I wandered off out for my evening walk. And walk too because I’m still feeling pretty terrible.

Along the footpath I walked, as far as the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset where I took a photo to prove that I had been out, and then carried on walking back home again for tea.

Tonight I had baked potatoes, burger in a bap and vegetables followed by the last of the Christmas pudding with custard. These have been delicious meals just recently and we’ll have to see what we can do to keep the delicious meals going.

kiwi pear kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving dealt with the food and the washing up, I had another task to perform.

The last bottle of kefir is now in the fridge ready to use and so I had to make some more from the stuff that had been brewing. There were only three kiwis because the fourth had been left rather too long, so I added a pear to it to see how that would develop.

And now I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed. I’m hoping that tomorrow I’ll be feeling a little beter and that I can get on and do some work and finish off what I’ve been trying to do for the first two days of this week. I really need to get going as I have so much work to do and not a great time to do it.