Tag Archives: knee issues

Wednesday 13th April 2022 – GUESS WHO …

… has a broken kneecap? And for a fourth time too.

The first time was when I went head-over-handlebars on a motorbike when I was 16. The second time was when I slid a motorbike on a greasy road when I was 19 and the weight of two people and the bike itself (a 350cc Triumph) fell on it. The third time was skiing in Scotland when I was in my 20s – and I drove BILL BADGER, my old A60 van, home again.

As for when I did it in the fourth time, all that I can think of is that it was when I had that fall and broke my hand just before I went off on my transatlantic trip across to the High Arctic on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR in the summer of 2019.

But taking a couple of years to manifest itself (it collapsed last spring, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall) is some going.

Anyway, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, I had a lie-in this morning. Not that I intended to but at 07:30 – and at 08:00 – I couldn’t summon up the enthusiasm to leave my stinking pit. 09:25 was much more like it.

Having had my medication, sorted out the mails and messages and organised this week’s musical playlist on the computer, I had a listen to the dictaphone. And there was tons of stuff on there too. I’d had a busy night. No wonder I was in no hurry to leave my stinking pit.

The night started off with a huge long rambling dream about refugees. Again I had them with me and I arrived at a railway station. There were rooms above so we took a room above there. We had to carry all of their possessions up into the room above. That meant 4 or 5 trips in the lift to do it. There were all kinds of things happening – there was some objects still stuck in a lift from someone, I kept on bumping into all kinds of old schoolfriends while I was doing it, there was interaction with authority, one of those things that just went on and on and on while we were trying to move these refugees into this room. I’ve missed out most of it I think but the interesting part was of course all these people from school who kept appearing every time the lift either went up or went down and the doors opened. There would always be someone whom I knew waiting there. One person in particular was there once and also other people

So I had these refugees trying to get them into the upstairs room at this station passing by loads of people whom we knew. Some wanted arguments, some wanted help. I had papers from the Red Cross and had to show them. We were going up and down in this lift moving their stuff into this little room. The dream went on like this for ages. We met so many kinds of people and friends and one or two other people who helped us on our way but the farther we could get away from Vienna or Germany or wherever it was the better

My brother had bought a car, a Ford Cortina estate over the internet. A Mark IV model but he said that it was grey so we imagined that it would be the colour of my father’s old one. He was sitting down trying to work out how to get out and get it because his timetable was so full, he was going here and going there, he was having to work something else. In the end it was going to be several weeks before he could get it so I said that I would go for it. It turned out that it was near Foinavon that’s not the name but it’s on the railway line over Slochd Summit so that rules out Forsinard so of course the Inverness train is the place to go. I checked on the timetables, found the correct train and set off. I had to change at a big station to catch one of the stopping trains that went up the Highland line. The train pulled in and I checked with the guard that there was a local service coming up behind. All the doors closed and I thought that I’d missed the opportunity to leave the train but the door was opened from outside so I had to fight my way out. I found myself on some kind of temporary wooden platform which was just framework and no flats. There were people balancing awkwardly on there trying to enter the train and I was trying to alight. Other people who had already alighted were trying to work out how to go down to the main platform. I had to point them the way. This was a scene of total chaos as everyone who alighted from this train onto this wooden framework or whatever was trying to fight their way down to where everyone else was down on the main platform. I was thinking about all the things that needed doing, that I hoped that the car had enough fuel as it was getting late and I imagined that most places for fuel would be closed round here. I’d have to go to Inverness or Stirling or somewhere to fuel up and I hoped that everything else would be OK. I could imagine 1001 things that could go wrong between me picking up the car and brining it back home again.

I don’t know how this one started but I was working in the American embassy doing something, running errands. There was some kind of issue with the Russian desk in this large building and the Russians suddenly started firing loaves of bread over to the Americans. I caught a few and stored them up but they were coming over more and more and more. Eventually there was a pause so I walked across the hall to the Russian desk, found their senior officer, thanked him very much for sending all the bread to me but I told him that I now had enough fresh bread that I needed so if he wanted to send me any more could he make sure that it was frozen so that I could keep it in store. This was greeted by stunned silence throughout the building. After I had said my little piece I walked back to where the American desk was. I was beckoned over to the desk of the Ambassador’s personal secretary. She said “don’t you ever do anything like that ever again” but she was laughing and so was everyone else. I imagined that although i’d been told off, that everyone else was really quite sympathetic and really quite pleased that I’d gone out there and confronted them over it.

We were a big group of teenagers last night wandering around the streets of Crewe. I can’t remember how this worked out but we ended up at the house of a girl to do something. Her mother came to the door and in the end she fetched this girl. We were all around the back having something of a laugh etc. This girl was being quite chatty and quite friendly. Then it became time for us to leave so I asked her for her ‘phone number. She was possibly playing a game and in the end ended up trying to give me her father’s ‘phone number. She said that she could always remember it because it was 8 over 6, the 6 numbers at the end. Of course I immediately told them what it was, which was 675000 (which of course it isn’t). She gradually warmed a bit and in the end asked me for my ‘phone number. I didn’t have a card on me so I had to borrow a card off someone else, try to write my number but we didn’t have a pen that worked. In the end she decided that she would ‘phone me so that I’d have her ‘phone number and she’d have mine. That was what she did. But all of this took ages and there was much more to it than this but I can’t remember now. It was another one of these dreams that slowly developed into something extremely warm and pleasant and the type that I would want to carry on for ever. I awoke in a night sweat, which I haven’t had for a good few months. “I wish that this could have gone on for ever, this particular dream” I said into the dictaphone, so being able to talk like that while I’m asleep shows you exactly what kind of effect it had on me.

But low-flying loaves of bread as well? As I have said before… “and on many occasions too” – ed … what goes on during the night is much more exciting than anything that happens to me during the day these days.

To take me up to shower time I had a play with a few more photos of the High Arctic 2019 and I wish I could remember the name of the hill on which the flagpole is erected at Dundas Harbour on Devon Island. All that I can think of, and I know that it’s not correct, is the painter Samuel Gurney Cresswell who sailed to the High Arctic as Lieutenant with James Clark Ross and then with Robert McClure.

If I had to pick one of my favourite Arctic explorers he would be up there somewhere, not the least for his quote “a voyage to the High Arctic ought to make anyone a wiser and better man”. Well, it didn’t work for me, as the events of the last few days of my 2019 trip bear witness.

After a shower and a weigh-in (and I’ve lost 600g) I had lunch and then cleared off with Caliburn to the physiotherapist. It’s my last session with her today as she moves on to pastures new. She’s fixed me up with a colleague, but I bet that the new girl won’t be anything like as nice as Sonia. She can massage my clavicles any time she likes.

The trip to Avranches was complicated today because of all the roadworks and road closures. I ended up having to meander through the countryside and then it took me a while to find the centre. And when I found the centre, to find the building where I needed to be.

The scanning machine was made by General Electric, one of my former employers, so I knew that it would be good. And eventually they shoved me through it.

The doctor came to see me afterwards and told me about my kneecap, and also the fact there’s some cartiledge damage too. She’ll send a report to my GP who I’ll have to go to see in due course, but I have to be aware that surgery is not ruled out

There was an Intermarché next to the clinic so seeing as it’s been a few years since I’ve had a good look around inside one, I popped in. But there wasn’t anything there much that interested me. I bought one or two bits and pieces and some frozen peas and beans, and that was my lot.

Then I had to fight my way back through the roadworks. And it was good to give Caliburn a decent run-out this afternoon.

Tea was a taco roll (seeing as I had bought some this afternoon) with the left-over stuffing from yesterday, with rice and veg and it really was nice. But I have plenty of mushrooms left so it looks as if it will be a potato and mushroom curry for tea tomorrow.

So a broken kneecap now. Whatever next? At the rate that bits are dropping off me these days I’m at the stage where I’m afraid to go to the toilet.

In fact I haven’t felt so nervous since I was standing in a toilet next to Shakin’ Stevens but that’s another story for another time.

Monday 10th January 2022 – NOT VERY MANY …

… photographs today. And you’ll find out why as you read on. It’s not been a very good day today. Not at all.

It started off quite well though. When the alarm went off at 06:00 this morning I was actually out of bed quite rapidly for a change. And after the medication and checking the mails and messages, I attacked the radio programme that I intended to do.

And despite a couple of breaks for coffee and for breakfast, It was all finished and up and running by 10:37. And it would have been finished even quicker had the final track that I had chosen been properly formatted.

In the end I had to re-record it and re-format it and that took a while. And had I thought on, I would have re-recorded the whole album because if one track is badly formatted, it follows that all of the others are too.

When I’d finished the programme and listened to it (and to the one that will be sent off later for broadcast this weekend) I went and had a shower and washed a load of clothes ready for my voyage to Leuven on Wednesday.

After lunch the nurse came round and gave me my injection of Aranesp following which I sorted out my papers ready for my walk up to the physiotherapist.

jade 3 loading with crane port de Granville harbour Manche harbour Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way down the hill into town I noticed that there was something happening down at the inner harbour.

If I am correct, the trawler down there is Jade III and there is somethign going on for which she needs the services of one of the dockside cranes.

It can’t be the nets because they are usually loaded from the rear, with the boats stern-on to the quayside, as we have seen on many occasions down there in the past. But this crane is being used on the side of the boat.

This afternoon I was rather late setting out for my appointment so I couldn’t loiter around. I had to push on quite rapidly. But I made it there in time.

And this is where my problems began. In the middle of an exercise my knee gave out again, just as it did that time in Paris, and I fell to the floor quite heavily. I didn’t have the strength to pull myself up, but luckily I was by the wall-bars so I could grab hold of something to help me to my feet.

But at least my physiotherapist had a really good view of what happened. She’s no longer in any doubt about the issues that I’m having. But it’s not boding well for my trip to Leuven on Wednesday.

Luckily, one of my neighbours was there at the same time as me, and he too was a witness to my little incident. He was here in his car so he offered to drive me home which was very kind of him.

Back here I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed outside for a wander around – and fell down the stairs as my knee gave way again. And so I didn’t go very far.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Nevertheless I struggled on across the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

It was rather later than usual, with having had to hang around somewhat for a lift, and so the tide was coming in quite rapidly. And there was no-one down there on the beach at all. The place was deserted.

The weather wasn’t actually all that bad. Although there was some rain in the air being blown around by the wind, it was quite warm for the time of year. In fact, this weather is unseasonably-warm. I don’t think that I’ve ever known a winter quite as mild as this one so far.

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There had been some kind of activity at the chantier naval that I’d noticed earlier so I went for a closer look with the 70-300mm LENS

Gerlean is still there of course, but over on the right the skyjack has put in an appearance from out of the shed where it usually lives. It doesn’t look as if there’s any reason for it to have been brought outside – they usually only need it when they are working on one of the large trawlers.

But even more interestingly, they have a couple of vans with people in attendance over at the portable boat lift. It’s not been back in commission for a month yet but it’s already been under repair once and it looks as if it’s under repair yet again.

ch640361 nais ch638749 pescadore port de Granville harbour  Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, back in the inner harbour, most of the fishing boats that we had seen in there the other day now seem to have gone out to sea.

There’s Pescadore, the blue and black trawler that we saw in the chantier naval the other day, down there, and also one of the inshore shell-fishing boats too.

Luckily I could read her registration number from up here and now that I know where to access the index of French-registered fishing boats, I can tell you that she’s called Nais.

What with the leg giving me issues right now, I didn’t go any farther. I turned round and headed for home, with something of an undignified scramble up the stairs to my apartment.

Back here I made a coffee and came back in here to sit down, where I crashed out definitively. And to such an extent that I was seriously thinking of going back to bed at one point I felt so dreadful. And it’s been such a long time since I’ve felt even remotely like that. When I awoke, my coffee was stone-cold.

And once I recovered I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was staying last night in some weird hotel run by some Indians somewhere. He had only prepared part of my bill but I had to leave although I’d be back later. He hadn’t finished working out how much my evening meal was. I went out but when I returned he told me that Nina had been to see me. She’d turned up not long after I’d gone. There obviously wasn’t much that I could do about that. I waited for him to finish this bil for the meal. It was totally astronomical. He’d done things like because I was the only person there eating at that time he’d charged me the hourly rate of the 3 servers and the cook, that kind of thing. I had to pay their wages for an hour or so. Instead of paying something like £7 or £8 it was £70 or £80. I thought that it was absolutely astonishing. But whatever it was, he was busy explaining why he’d added this in, why he’d added that in and he never reached to point of telling me how much it was. No matter how much I asked him about this bill he still wouldn’t tell me how much it was. It was dragging on and on and on. I wanted him to get to the total but he was too busy with all of these explanations to tell me anything about how much I was going to have to pay at the end.

Tea tonight was taco rolls and rice with veg using the stuffing left over from Saturday. Tomorrow night’s tea will of course be a curry made of everything loitering in the fridge that needs to be eaten before I go off to Leuven.

That is, of course, if I go. With Covid being out of control it depends if there will be a train. And even if there is a train, it depends if I’m in any kind of state to travel there.

This is not going to be a good week for me to travel.

Sunday 25th July 2021 – BANE OF BRITAIN …

trawler yacht rebelle chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall.. strikes again! And in spades too, so it seems.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there is a new trawler that arrived in the chantier naval and from my handy little spec up on the clifftop I couldn’t see a name on her superstructure.

Most of the trawlers around here have their names written on the wind deflector above the windscreen and so I mentioned earlier this week that I’d go down there at some point and have a look.

So here I am – and guess what? Yes, of course, they are repainting her and the wind deflector has been painted over in thick grey primer and I couldn’t see a thing. It’s just as you would expect, really, isn’t it?

What else you might expect as well is that seeing as I had promised my self a nice lie-in this morning I was awake at 07:20. But if anyone really thinks that I’ll be putting my sooty foot on the bedroom floor at that time of the morning then they are mistaken, especially seeing that I didn’t go to bed until something like 03:15 this morning after my mega-crash-out during the day yesterday.

Even putting my feet on the floor at 10:20 and making the effort to move was some tough going but I managed it.

After the meds I made a new mix of dough for another loaf, and this one might actually work because the yeast foamed up like bottled Bass when I activated it. Fresh yeast from a different batch.

Back in here, I went to have a listen to the dictaphone but I couldn’t find it. Eventually I came across it, on the floor still working with 4:45:00 of silence on it.

Well, not silence, actually quite a lot of my snoring and my apologies to Percy Penguin, who doesn’t appear on these pages as often as she deserves, for not believing her. Although what I was doing sleeping with Percy Penguin there is something that I don’t understand.

There was however something of interest on the dictaphone. And I didn’t track it down by listening to it – 4:45:00 of my snoring is far too much even for me – but by looking for my speech waveform pattern with my sound-engineering program, although the sound that I make when I’m dictating in my sleep is nothing like the sound that I make when I’m awake.

Anyway, I digress … “and not for the first time either” – ed.

I was in a Welsh lesson last night with a variety of different people. The first part went well but in the second part the Welsh presenter had a flood so we had to do it ourselves. We talked about where we had come from, what we’d been doing, what we were doing now and what we were going to do, to keep it very simply for the beginners in our lesson to catch up. I can’t remember any more of this. I fell asleep instead.

So having dealt with that I paired up all of the music for the radio broadcast that I’ll be preparing next week and sorted out a speech for my regular guest. That took me up to lunchtime.

This afternoon I started to work again on my trip down the Brittany coast on Spirit of Conrad and wrote out some noted for about 10 photos. I would have done far more than that but I … errr … (fill in your own answer)).

Before I went out for my afternoon walk I kneaded the bread dough a second time, which had by now gone up like a lift, and mixed in the sunflower seeds. Then I shaped it and put it in a bread mould and left it to proof.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course the first port of call was the beach so I headed off across the car park to the far end to have a look over the wall

And what a change from a week ago when there was hardly enough beach to swing a cat. Today there was beach for miles, as much as anyone would want. But it was windy and overcast again, and that might explain why there weren’t too many people about down there.

But surprisingly, there wasn’t all that much going on out at sea either. A Sunday in midsummer and a darn sight better weather than yesterday, and I expected to see everyone out there today making up for lost time.

But not a soul

harvesting bouchots donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever, one place where there was no shortage of activity today was down the coast at Donville les Bains.

The tide is well out, as you have seen, and the bouchot beds are uncovered today. The harvesters are out in force this afternoon with all of their equipment giving it a really good go.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall what happens there but for the benefit of new readers, of which there appears to be more than just a few just recently, the bouchots were a comparatively recent and quite serendipitous discovery.

Someone planted some stakes with ropes attached into the ground for some purpose and when he returned he found that although his original purpose was a failure, the strings were covered in mussels.

Mussels are usually harvested from the sand and thus are quite grainy and gritty, but with growing on strings, there’s no sand in them and so they are said to be quite smooth and delicious, not that I would know of course.

This area is now quite famous for its bouchots

crowds of people on path near lighthouse semaphore station pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnyway, now that the biology lesson is over for the time being, I can clear off along the path on the clifftop.

Not exactly far from the madding crowd. There were loads of people walking around there today on the path as you can see in this photo. And there were plenty more than these too.

And I could count on the fingers of one hand the number who were wearing masks, which is rather disappointing seeing how the infection numbers here are now going through the roof. I really don’t know what the answer to this one is, except that I hope that Darwin catches up with them pretty quickly.

Anyway, high time that I stopped moaning and pushed on along the path. I have things to be doing.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six - F-GVJC baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was round about here that I was overflown yet again by an aeroplane taking off from the airfield at Granville.

This time I can tell you who she is because she has a pretty distinctive shape, even if she is quite far out over the bay. She is in fact F-GVJC, a Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six serial number 7140066 and she took off at 15:59 to perform a series of concentric circles around between here and Avranches.

It’s the same one that w saw the other week and the reason why I wasn’t able to correctly identify her then when we saw her much more distinctly than this is because there’s a coachline that goes right through the middle of her registration number.

For a change, instead of crossing the path and the car park, I took the low road down the steps and along the path lower down.

And it was down there that my right knee gave way again. That’s three times now and for a while I had to hobble, if not limp along on my way. Sometime during the week I have to see the doctor about my injections and I’m going to try to blag my way onto some physiotherapy sessions or something like that. I can’t go on like this. Bits are dropping off me now at an alarming rate and I’m fed up.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way round, I noticed that there were people out there at the peche à pied.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall what goes on here, but again for the benefit of the new readers, the beach between average high tide and average low tide is let off in a series of concessions to commercial harvesters, as we saw with the bouchot farm.

But whether or not they are actually being exploited, no-one else can harvest seafood from there. It’s like gold claims – once it’s claimed, it’s claimed.

However a few times a year the low tides are so low that the water goes below the level of the commercial beds, and that area that’s uncovered is now available as a free-for all for just about anyone who cares to go raking in the sand or prising oysters off the rocks.

But they have to share their catch with their friends. After all, no-one should be selfish with their shellfish.

fishing dredges port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving been forestalled (I’ve gone all Peary-ish again) at the chantier naval, I thought that I’d take a photo of these objects and tell you what they are.

These are actually shellfish dredges. The trawler or fishing boat will drag these out behind it and it basically ploughs up the sea bed.

The shells and other obstructions like bicycle wheels, scuba divers and World War II munitions go in through the mouth and whatever is too small to be of any interest goes out through the grating.

The rest is kept inside the dredge and has given more than one fishing boat crew an unexpected surprise when they have hauled in the dredge. Sometimes, the phrase “shell-fish” is more appropriate than they realise.

Of course, this type of fishing is only appropriate in fairly shallow water where there are no rocks.

fishing dredges port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou’ll notice that they all have a serial number welded onto them in MiG-weld and in some cases the name of the boat to which they belong.

Every boat has a registration number painted on her hull somewhere and the the registration numbers of the boats around here, being registered in Cherbourg, begin with CH, although there are still one or two older boats, such as La Granvillaise for example, who still like to display the old “G for Granville” number.

So having organised that, I hobble off up the hill on my way home cursing my luck about the trawler. I’ve no idea when they will have painted her name back on.

A strawberry smoothie was my treat when I returned, and then I bunged the bread into the oven to bake

While it was going that I peeled diced and blanched 1.5kg of carrots and I would have done the rest too but the saucepan was full by now.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallwhen the bread was baked (and what a good loaf that is) the pizza went in.

And here’s the finished product. Really nice although I still can’t make the base any more crispy than it is.

No pudding, you will note. There is plenty of jam roly-poly left, and I have a cunning plan for the rest of the week, more of which anon.

And tomorrow I’ll tell you about the bread. If it tastes as good as it looks it will be a belter, that’s for sure.

But that’s enough for today. For a Day of Rest I’ve done a great deal and I’ll need a day off to recover.

No chance of that, though. I have far too much to do and I’ve no idea how I’m going to fit it all in with my busy schedule of arrears that are piling up.