Tag Archives: la rafale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 27th August 2021 – JUST IMAGINE …

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… walking out of the front door of your building and being confronted with this!

What with one thing and another, my peregrinations today totalled 98% of my daily effort and so I wasn’t going to give up at that particular point – so I decided to just nip out for a quick lap around the block to take the total over the 100%

With it starting to go dark, I debated whether or not to take the NIKON D500 with me, and I’m really glad that I did. It’s been a long time since we’ve featured a really decent sunset.

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you lot admire some more photos of the sunset this evening, let me tell you about my day starting at the beginning.

As you might expect these days, I didn’t have my early night last night. Just as I was on the point of switching off the computer, Jethro Tull came round on the playlist. And so I was treated to an earful of –
A PASSION PLAY
BENEFIT and
STAND UP
three of the finest rock albums that have ever been recorded

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, I did go to bed before
AQUALUNG and
THICK AS A BRICK
came around, just in case …

What surprised me more than anything was that I was up and about at 06:00 just as usual despite the lateness of the hour at which I went to bed. And I can’t keep on going like this.

It took me a while to clear my head, as I’m sure you can imagine, and after the medication I had a few things to do.

sunset ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe early part of the morning was spent alternating between

  1. tidying up
  2. resting
  3. crashing out

not necessarily in that order.

But the tidying up was because I was expecting visitors. Liz and Terry wanted to see me.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you lot admire some close-up photos of the Galeon Andalucia, I was going through the apartment like a dose of salts.

By the time that they arrived, the apartment (well, the parts that you could see) was actually looking quite nice and that must have come as quite a shock to my visitors. It’s been a while since they have been to visit me and they aren’t used to this.

Terry had brought his laptop with him. A few months ago I had fixed Liz’s computer and made it work much better, and now Terry was wondering if I could do the same for his. So that’s a job for some time next week.

But that wasn’t the main reason for their visit. They really wanted to tell me that I have to say “goodbye” to an old friend

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that just a short while before I was taken ill, I’d bought a small mini-tractor for the farm – a Kubota B1220. And I’d done just 13 hours on it, mostly as a generator powering the cement mixer, before I fell ill

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt had been left down on the farm when I was taken ill and a neighbour had contacted me to tell me that someone had been “playing” with it so Terry and I went to rescue it.

It’s been in the bottom of Terry’s barn ever since.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … one of their acquaintances had seen it, had a good look at it, and then made them an offer. As a result, they came round this morning with a bundle of folding stuff.

galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s like the story of the digger. I was sorry to see that go last summer but I’m in no state to do anything with them and it’s just a couple of things fewer to worry about.

As a reward I took Liz and Terry out for a coffee at La Rafale where we had a good chinwag and a good laugh at the antics of a cat sitting outside o a third-floor window ledge and an eighteen month-old toddler.

We discussed a few plans for the future and then decided to go for a walk down to the harbour and look at the Galeon Andalucia and whatever else was down there this morning.

black pearl port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing that we noticed was that there was a small fuel tanker down on the quayside. The driver was busy coiling up his hose as if he’d finished his work.

Where has was parked was right by where Black Pearl and her younger sister Le Pearl who sailed into the port for the first time last autumn were moored.

As we watched, Black Pearl cast off her mooring and set out from the quayside. The harbour gates were open and so it looked as if, having been refuelled, she was setting off to work. And I imagined that Le Pearl would be following her as soon as she’s ready.

philcathane galeon andalucia granville victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut really it was the Galeon Andalucia that we had come to see, just like everyone else in Granville I reckon.

To her left though is the trawler Philcathane, with the Channel Island ferry Granville immediately behind her. To the right of Granville is her colleague Victor Hugo.

My plan was for us all to go aboard for a good look around but Liz and Terry had other things to do so we just loitered around taking a few photos. Then, in the best traditions of the News of the Screws, we “made our excuses and left”.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallActually, the Galeon Andalucia wasn’t the only game in town this afternoon.

While we had been looking at the galleon, we’d see some rather distinctive sail-tops go past behind the harbour wall, so distinctive that there were no prizes for guessing to whom they belonged.

One look at the familiar “G90” number on the sails will tell us that it is indeed La Granvillaise out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel with a ship-load of passengers on board.

She’s someone else towing behind her an inflatable dinghy that will have room for probably about a quarter of the people currently on board.

chausiaise entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLiz and Terry don’t come to Granville all that often and so they aren’t aware of the new boats that have been coming into the port recently.

One of them, whom they haven’t seen before, is the little freighter Chausiaise that takes the supplies and the luggage over to the Ile de Chausey.

This is the last weekend of the main holiday season so she’s going to be busy bringing back all of the luggage of the people who have spent the summer out there, and of the holidaymakers whose two weeks in what has laughingly been described this year as “the sun” has come to an end.

commodore voyager english channel France Eric HallBy now, back at the apartment Liz and Terry made ready to leave, but before they did so, I had a quick glance out to sea from the car park.

A big white blob right out there on the horizon indicates that something large has not long ago set out from the port of St Helier heading for the UK. I took a speculative snap of it to see if I could identify it back at the apartment.

It looked very much like one of the Condor high-speed ferries, and I noticed that Condor Voyager had set sail from the port at 10:32. She would seem to fit the bill quite nicely.

Back in the building I bumped into a couple of neighbours and we had quite a chat. And I’ve been invited to go for coffee with one of them on Sunday afternoon.

There wasn’t much time left before lunch to do very much, and the first thing that I did after lunch was to have a shower. I have the therapist so I need to look clean and tidy. And I switched on the washing machine too afterwards

marite philcathane galeon andalucia port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce I was ready, i hit the streets.

Down the hill in the Rue des Juifs I paid a call at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour. As well as the Galeaon Andalucia, Marité was in port as well and the two of them made a very nice photo, together like that.

Peering through the rigging of Marité we can see the little trawler Philcathane moored up where the gravel boats used to moor when they came here. To the left of Marité is the little red, white and blue boat that we have seen quite regularly just recently.

And I can confirm that she is indeed Les Epiettes, the one that we saw last year out at the Ile de Chausey. She was down there this morning and I noticed her name as we went past, but I forgot to say..

Having taken the photo, I pushed off through the town and up the hill for my appointent with destiny.

emergency ambulance rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I came out of the physiotherapist just in time to see an emergency ambulance, all bells and flashing lights, go roaring past me.

It stopped a few hundred metres down the road and the guys within leapt out and went into a building just there. By the time that I caught up with them, they were still inside so I have no idea what was happening.

As it was quite a nice afternoon I decided that I’d go down to the harbour and have a good look around at what was happening there. We’d seen Galeon Andalucia and Les Epiettes earlier this morning, but there was plenty of other stuff that I wanted to see but had been unable to do so

It’s not easy gratuitously wandering around when you’re in company.

While I was down there, I noticed that the harbour gates were closed so I could go back that way home. Spirit of Conrad was in port and Pierre, her skipper, was there so we had quite a chat for a while about this and that.

His trips to the Channel islands have restarted and ordinarily I might be interested but I have another cunning plan for that.

repainting charlevy charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s a trawler that we should all recognise, because we’ve seen it often enough just recently.

She’s the trawler Charlevy who spent a considerable amount of time just recently undergoing a repaint at the chantier naval.

And by the looks of things, the paintwork wasn’t completely finished there either. The workman standing on the roof of the bridge is armed with a paintbrush, a roller and a large tub of thick black paint and he’s giving the “ancillaries” a good covering.

And she’ll need it too once she’s out at sea this autumn and winter.

yellow autogyro port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the meantime while I was watching the work going on aboard Charlevy an old familiar noise roused me from my slumbers.

Rattling by overhead went yet another familiar face, the yellow autogyro that we see quite often flying by as we are out and about on our travels.

But right now I’m going out and about over the harbour gates to the other side, stopping on the way to exchange pleasantries with a fisherman who actually has a bucket with a couple of crabs in it that he has caught.

So that’s a first for me.

briscard pierre de jade catherine philippe chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here I went down to the chantier naval to have a look at the fishing boats that were in here, and to see if I can identify them.

Two of the three here were pretty easy to identify because I could see their names displayed. On the left, the smaller white and blue one is called Briscard and on the right, the red, blue and white one is called Catherine Philippe.

The middle one was not so easy, but as I was pondering over it, someone came down the ladder on the far side, so I asked him. “She’s the Pierre de Jade he replied.

So now I know.

peccavi unknown saint andrews chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the other three here, I didn’t have the same luck.

Once again, two of them were easy to recognise. On the left, we have Peccavi and on the right under the tarpaulin is Saint Andrews – a rather unusual name for a French fishing boat. Why didn’t they call her Saint-André?

But then, if they can call a French trawler Trafalgar, they can call one almost anything.

The black and blue one in the middle remains a mystery. No name was visible and there was no-one around to ask.

retimbering hull peccavi chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was having a prowl around, I noticed this rather unusual work going on with Peccavi.

It looks as if they are sheathing her hull in tongue-and-grooving and I have never seen that done before on a sea-going boat. I wonder what the reason is for this.

But i’m not going to find out right now because there isn’t anyone to ask. Anyway, it’s time for me to be going home and it’s a long haul back up the hill from here. And by the time that I reached the top, I was pretty exhausted too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBefore I go in though, I ought to have a look down onto the beach to see what’s happening there this afternoon

Surprisingly, there weren’t too many people down there this afternoon. It’s not exactly the height of summer, as I realise, but it was still nice enough for people to be out on the beach enjoying one of the last days before the holidays are over.

That was about the sum total of my trip out this afternoon. I came back for my smoothie and to sit down and relax – and to fall asleep as well.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too, as I noticed later. I was on board a ship last night. Something had happened and my right leg had been injured. They were saying that they were going to have to amputate it. Of course I was totally opposed to that idea. Nevertheless they doped me up with local anaesthetic and operated away. I was trying to stagger round this common room trying to make myself comfortable. I was just so awful about this. I sat down and there was some news on the TV about 4 marathons that were being run at the same time when there was total confusion about who was in which one and where, as well as on one occasion where on a studio leg someone had tripped over an apparatus and fallen into the athletics’ 100-yard sprint track, demolished all of the hurdles just as all the runners were running up to it so they were all entangled as well. That was so real, that dream having my leg cut off and that was one nocturnal voyage that made me very relieved when it was over.

After tea I went out for my little stroll as I mentioned earlier, and now it’s time for bed. I have shopping in the morning and hence an early start. I think that I’ve done enough for today.

Thursday 29th July 2021 WHILE I WAS …

repairing city walls rue du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… out for a walk with Liz at lunchtime on our way back from a coffee we came via the rue du nord, one of the reasons for which being that I wanted to see how they are progressing with the repair work to the medieval city walls.

Much to my surprise, they have already made a decent start to the work and I’m sure that regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen A SIMILAR STYLE OF WORK in the past when they were repairing the walls in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

When they did that work they did what looks like a decent job so I hope that they’ll bet on and do the same here.

And then hopefully they can get on and do the rest of the walls that are falling down around our ears. If medival builders can build something that will last for 600 years there’s no reason why modern builders shouldn’t be able to do so.

But anyway, be that as it may, I was awake at about 06:00 this morning as usual so I had my medication and came back in here listen to the dictaphone. We were all at home but home was dirty, disgusting and untidy and a complete mess. For some reason, at a court my mother’s family life as a young person was being discussed. Then some time later or was it earlier, I dunno, we ended up with anoher girl staying with us and we were trying to think of a place to go. But then this girl started talking about going to somewhere on the North Wales coast where she had been. She asked if we had ever been there and we replied “ohh no, we had far too much class. We went to Rhyl” which provoked howls of laughter but this gave us an idea and we booked a trip to Rhyl. When we arrived on the coach we all piled off and this girl “ohh yes I know all of this, I know all of that” so we were having a laugh and a joke and teasing her. Our mother was telling us to be quiet, we mustn’t be so rude. Then something happened to my mother and she ended up talking about other people behind their backs and we were sitting there saying “mother, don’t be so rude” which of course didn’t go down very well. We crossed the road over to the river.

At that point I’d switched off the dictaphone, which makes a change from the way that things have been just recently.

When I’d finished transcribing the notes I finished off the tidying up of the apartment as far as I could and it actually looks quite tidy, which is just as well, because Liz turned up.

We started off making the first dough for my fruit bread and she gave me several valuable hints for the first kneading, and then we put it into a basin to proof while we had a nice cold drink.

After the drink I mixed the fruit for the filling but Liz thinks that I’m putting too much fruit and nuts in it – and she would leave out the banana too. As for the banana chips she thinks that I should be breaking them up.

Liz showed me her method of adding the fruit and nuts, which might have worked had I not been using so many.

That was the cue to go for a coffee so we walked down to La Rafale, bumping into one of our neighbours on the way. And also meeting another one at the bar.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back we came via the Rue du Nord and I’m pleased to report that the absence of boats out to sea over the last couple of days must have been an aberration because they were all there today.

As many yachts as you might care to see this afternoon and I suspect that it might have something to do with the state of the tide. The tide is well in, the outer port is under water and the gates to the harbour and the port de plaisance are open.

It will be a completely different situation, I suspect, when the tide is ebbing and the gates are about to close. Then all of the marine craft will scuttle off home to safety.

Incidentally, there’s a dark blue flag right out there in the distance. I wonder if that’s Black Mamba gone off for a run around in the bay.

swimmer baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just water craft that were out there this lunchtime.

There was a swimmer down there doing the Australian crawl along the coastline just offshore. In a wetsuit too, and I can’t say that I blame him either because although it was sunny, it wasn’t actually all that pleasant.

Now comes the story of a disaster. Liz hadn’t asked me how I baked my bread and I hadn’t thought to tell her, so when I produced the bread mould back home she was taken by surprise.

The bread fell apart as we tried to move it gently into the mould so that didn’t work too well. Anyway we put it in the oven to bake while we had lunch.

After lunch, our next trick was to make a pineapple upside-down cake. I don’t know why but I’ve been hankering after one of these for a while and Liz had a recipe. Well, of an apple upside-down cake but the theory is still the same so we had a go at that.

That went into the oven and while it was baking, Liz still had some time to spare. A while back she had sent me a recipe for cranberry and pecan cookies and as I actually had some cranberries (but cashew nuts instead) we made a pile of those too. They went into the oven as soon as the upside-down cake was baked, and we went for a walk outside.

50sa aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe hadn’t gone more than five yards out of the building before two things happened.

Firstly, we were overflown by a light aeroplane. Well, not exactly overflown – it was in fact right out at sea and it was difficult to pick it up with the camera.

Some judicious editing when I was back home later showed it to be 50SA – another light aircraft that does not figure in any register that I have been unable to find, even though we’ve seen it before. It’s painted out in the style of a World-War II US Army Air Force fighter although its fixed tricycle undercarriage tells me that it is anything but.

The second thing that happened was that we were swept away in the turmoil of a furniture removal. Someone else is moving out of the building. There won’t be anyone else left except me at this rate, and I won’t be here for all that long at the rate that bits are dropping off me.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo walk outside the building these days is complete, or even begins, without a walk across to the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see the activity down there.

By now the tide has gone well out and there’s plenty of room for people to be moving around this afternoon. Not that there were too many people though because while the weather had improved, it hadn’t improved that much.

nd while I was admiring the people in the water, Liz’s eye had picked out a father rubbing his young children with sun tan oil so that they could all run into the sea and wash it off.

Yes, I used to be a child too, believe it or not.

marité english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been watching the beach with one eye, the other one had as usual been roving out to sea.

Out there was a silhouette on the horizon that looked quite familiar to me so we headed for the nearest high ground where I could have a better view.

Once safely installed I took a photo and later on after Liz had left, I had a look at it, cropped it, enhanced it and blew it up (the photo, not the object)

No prizes of course for guessing what it might be, because we are all familiar with this silhouette right now.

Anything that’s big, with three masts and loads of sail can only be the Marité, our sole remaining Newfoundlander fishing boat, gone out on the morning tide for a lap around the coast and will probably return home this later on the evening tide.

people in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLiz had also spotted this and wanted to know what it was. I explained that it was probably asylum-seekers who had gone to the UK, decided that they didn’t like it and came back.

Seriously though, I thought that it might have been fishermen at first, which it may well be, but of what description?

And I wonder if they had anything to do with the strange square object bottom left? It doesn’t look like a mooring buoy marker or a lobster pot marker, so I wonder if it’s a diver in a face mask?

Mind you, what would be be diving for that he couldn’t find quicker and easier in an hour or so when the tide has gome out and the sea bed is uncovered?

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw the swimming pool on the quayside and I intimated that this would mean that Normandy Trader would be on her way into port quite soon.

And look who’s in port this afternoon then? I wasn’t wrong. And I was very lucky to see her because usually she comes in as soon as the harbour gates open and she does a quick turn-round and disappears back to Jersey with her load before they close again.

And so I’ve no idea why she’s loitering in port this afternoon. I suppose that these swimming pools have to be stowed very carefully because they are quite fragile, especially when they have a rolling sea to contend with.

Tons of other stuff on the quayside too and they’ll be lucky to fit all of that in. They can’t exactly drop it inside the swimming pool.

fishing boat in naabsa position port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut in the meantime, while you are admiring Normandy Trader, there’s another item worthy of note.

Here moored up at the quayside by the fish processing plant is another one of the local fishing boats, left to go aground as the tide goes out.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve discussed this phenomenon on many … “many, many” – ed … occasions in the past so I shan’t dwell on it again. Instead, Liz and I will go home and see how the biscuits are doing.

And cooked to perfection they were too, so we had another cold drink to celebrate, and rightly so because when you are out of the wind it’s really quite warm in the sun.

After another chat, Liz decided to head off for home and make tea for Terry who had been out working.

That was a shame because I had a few things that I wanted to discuss, but they were things of the moment and it’s doubtful that the moment will ever present itself in the same way again.

home made fruit bread oat and cranberry cookies pineapple upside down cake Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving seen Liz safely off on her way, I had a look at all of our cooking efforts for today.

As I mentioned earlier, the fruit load was not as it was supposed to be. The consistency and texture were perfect – the best that I’ve ever tasted and that was certainly a success. But picking it up and putting it into the bread mould halfway through its second proofing was not a success as you can see.

We’d already sampled the cookies and I do have to say that they were pretty good too. That was certainly a success and instead of cranberries and pecans, almost any kind of dried fruit and nut will do.

It’s like most things, when you are baking, you have your basic recipe and you adjust it as you go along, depending on what you have to hand.

When I worked in that Italian restaurant in Wandsworth, the woman who owned it told me that whenever she interviewed a new chef she would always have him make a tomato sauce. If that were good, then everything else would be.

Incidentally, my tomato sauce passed muster, but then Nerina was full of fiery Italian blood so what do you expect? I had a good teacher.

Back in my little office I sat down on my comfy chair and found that I couldn’t move. Not actually stuck in it, but I lacked the energy to pull myself out of it. I started to do some work but I couldn’t concentrate on it and that was the most difficult part.

Eventually a football match came on the internet. Connah’s Quay Nomads were playing FC Pristina in the European Championships. Having lost 4-1 in Kosovo last week they were up against it but it all started so well for them and within 3 minutes they had pulled a goal back.

They were pushing forward and forward incessantly and could have had several more but in the space of five minutes were hit for two soft, sucker goals, the kind that would kill off any team.

Nevertheless, Andy Morrison isn’t one to throw in the towel. He pulled off a defender at half time and sent on an attacker and then it was a relentless stream down the field towards the Pristina goal.

To everyone’s surprise, they managed to score three goals as they created all kinds of panic in the Kosovar defence, and had Mike Wilde not been offside in the 70th minute or had Jamie Insall had a clearer connection on the ball in stoppage time, who knows where they would be now?

But this is the problem with so many Welsh clubs. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. They are up against teams that are much more street-wise and astute than they are, with several internationals from all over the developing world in their teams, and while domestic Welsh teams can turn on a performance like this, little lapses of concentration and stupid, silly mistakes are ruthlessly punished and rob them of just about everything.

Meanwhile, in the other match that wasn’t broadcast, events went on to prove just how wrong I can be. Having stuffed no fewer than 5 goals past FK Kauno Zalgiris of Lithuania last week, TNS went out and did exactly the same again tonight, to record the biggest ever aggregate win by a Welsh domestic side in any European competition anywhere. Teams with a long history in European competition, like Dinamo Tbilsi, Austria Wien and AA Gent were knocked out of the tournament last night.

It was 01:00 when I finally found the energy to go off to bed. And with getting up at 06:00 and going to the doctor’s tomorrow, I’m not looking forward to that at all.

Sunday 6th June 2021 – JUST IN CASE …

food place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… you are wondering why it’s taken so long for this post to come on line, the fact is that I’ve had rather a busy day as you can see.

All of this here is the contents of the shelf unit that is in the kitchen area. That has been totally emptied later on in the afternoon and it isn’t going to go back on the shelves until it’s all had a really good sort-out and I’ve decided what is what. There has been so much confusion and so much has been misplaced and lost at the back of the unit.

Quite frankly, I never really realised that there was so much on there. The pile of stuff goes right around to the left in front of the sofa and has filled the living room area completely.

lino in kitchen place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut this is the real reason why I’ve done this.

Ever since I’ve started cooking and baking seriously I’ve been dropping bits of dough and pastry all over the floor and with it being a nice wooden floor, I don’t want to spoil it and mark it with what I drop. Back at the end of last year when I was at Brico Cash I bought some linoleum and it was living in the back of Caliburn.

Today Liz and Terry came round and they asked if they could do anything while they were there. So we stripped out the kitchen completely and laid it on the floor. And with what was left, Terry cut it to make covers for the shelves.

You have to admit that it looks really good and I’m very pleased with all of this.

But with Liz and Terry coming round to visit me today, I had done something that I rarely, if ever, do on a Sunday and that was to set an alarm. But that was something of a wasted effort because at 05:20 this morning all of the church bells in the town started to ring – presumably celebrating the D-Day landings.

Although I went back to sleep it wasn’t for long and by 08:30 I was up and about having my medication.

There was a little bit of tidying up that I could carry on doing so that by the time that they arrived the place was looking something rather respectable, which makes a change.

We had a coffee and they sampled some of my fruit bread. Liz made a few suggestions as to how it can be improved. And so my next batch of fruit bread will hopefully be better – not that it is actually bad of course, but I’m always open to suggestions. In the past many people have made all kinds of suggestions, but most of them were physically impossible.

Later on we went out for a walk in the sun.

commodore clipper ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I noticed was that out there in the distance there was something moving behind the Ile de Chausey and so I took a photograph of it for later examination.

Back at the apartment later on, I cropped and enlarged the photograph to see what it might have been. It has all of the silhouette of one of the Channel Islands ferries that sail out of St Malo and so I went and had a look at today’s departures from the port of St Malo.

My photo is timed at 11:07 which is actually 12:07 right now and at 10:30 or thereabouts Commodore Goodwill, one of the two ferries that run out of St Malo and around the Channel Islands, set out from St Malo.

But what we had really come to see was what was going on at the bunker that I’d noticed yesterday. It cost €2:00 to go in so we had to have a scavenge around for a handful of cash so that we could go in.

german doctors equipment bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd this was the star attraction in the bunker this year. A complete wartime medical kit belonging to a German doctor.

It seems that a couple of years ago an old woman left her home and was placed in an old people’s home. Her house began to be emptied and when they searched her cellar they discovered this complete kit down there, where it had been since 1944. It’s been donated to the people running the bunker as an exhibit for the proposed museum that they intend to set up here.

The other room of the bunker was empty because of water infiltration through the roof. And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO I was given a guided tour of the bunkers so I didn’t take any more photographs of it.

zodiac fishermen baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back to the apartment we walked along they clifftop so we could watch the sea.

And while we were admiring the view and watching the people relaxing on board the little cabin cruiser down there, a large zodiac or some other kind of rapid boat roared past them. And I bet that the people in there wouldn’t be very popular when the wake of the zodiac hits the little cabin cruiser.

We went back to the apartment and Liz made a big salad out of all of the stuff that I had in the apartment, with my home-made bread and home-made hummus and it was delicious.

Once we’d digested our meal we attacked the kitchen. Terry reckoned that it would take 30 seconds to empty the shelves but his estimate was somewhat optimistic. It took much longer than that. And then I had to go and fetch the lino up from Caliburn.

By the time that we had finished it was quite late but nevertheless I took Liz and Terry down to La Rafale to treat them to a drink. I do have to say that they had earned it.

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back we were overflown by one of our regular aerial pals who we haven’t seen for quite a while.

It’s the yellow autogyro that we first saw several years ago AT THE CABANON VAUBAN when I was here with Hans. I’d seen it quite regularly at one time but for the last few months there hasn’t been a sight of it, despite all of the other aircraft that we’ve seen just recently.

Liz and Terry didn’t come back to the apartment. It was time for them to go home. I went with them to their car and sent them off on their way with my grateful thanks for all of their help.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter Liz and Terry had gone off home I went across the car park to look over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach.

Today there were crowds of people down there lounging around on the rocks. By the looks of things there were even a few people who had been in the water.

That’s hardly any surprise for when I awoke this morning and looked at the thermometer, the temperature outside was already 23°C. If that’s not enough to being out the crowds today then I really don’t know what is.

But there were crowds of people around everywhere today, not just on the beach either. The hordes were swarming around the car park and the paths as well.

35ma aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not just on dery land or out at sea either. The air was pretty busy too as we have already seen with the yellow autogyro.

And here, overflying me as I was watching to goings-on down on the beach is another one of the aeroplanes that fly around here. Its registration number is 35MA and she is definitely one that we’ve seen before, and on several occasions too.

It’s a shame that I don’t have access to the database where this number is referenced, and so unfortunately I can’t tell you vert much about it. One of these days I’ll have to go out to the airport to have a good look around and see if I can find more about this aeroplane and the other one, 55-OJ for which I can’t find any information either.

paragliding pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow over the last few days I’ve been lamenting the fact that we haven’t been seeing any Birdmen of Alcatraz for quite a while.

And so not content with seeing crowds of people on the beach and low-flying aeroplanes, I’m overflown by one of the birdmen who take off from the field by the cemetery so that they don’t have far to go if they make a mistake.

But I left the birdman alone and went inside to see how things were looking. And it’s going to be a long job to sort out all of this mess. And as I was contemplating it, Rosemary rang me and we had a really good chat for half an hour before, emulating the old news reporters from the old News of the Screws I “made my excuses and left”.

According to the guys who had talked to us at the bunker, there was to be a fly-past of an American bomber between 18:30 and 18:45 this evening and I was determined not to miss it so I arranged to clear off outside to watch.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing that I had noticed was a yacht sailing right out there in the Baie de Granville so I wandered over to have a better look and to take a photograph.

It’s not one of the big charter boats that we see sailing around here every so often, unfortunately. It’s quite a small yacht, presumably out of the pleasure harbour or even brought here on a trailer from elsewhere.

There are three or four people sitting down there so it’s probably a small family or a group of close friends out for a breath of wind on a pleasant afternoon. But I wasn’t going to hang around and watch them for I had things to do down at the end of the headland.

people fishing from boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I noticed out there in the Baie de Granville.

There was a strange little boat out here that I hadn’t seen before. There were four guys on board and while one of them was at the controls of the boat two of the others were busy fishing while the fourth guy was busy watching the proceeding. I wonder if he had any more luck that me in seeing one of the fishermen pull a fish out of the water.

But I left them to it and wandered off down to the end of the headland to find a good position to watch the American bomber fly past.

f-bvmc Robin Apex DR-400/140 B aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t long before I heard the sound of an aeroplane approaching so I prepared the camera.

But it didn’t sound like a four-engined Pratt and Whitley to me, and as it came over the headland behind me, I saw that I was right. It’s F-BVMC, which is a Robin Apex DR-400/140 B that had just taken off from the airport here. She was on her way back to somewhere in the Paris area from where she had set off earlier.

And I can tell you that because I had a look at the radar when I eventually returned home. She disappeared off the radar somewhere to the south of Paris so I imagine that she must have come down to land somewhere in the vicinity. And how I wish that these aircraft would file flight plans.

canoe baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallStill no sign of the aeroplane but I was quite comfortable sitting on my nice, big and comfortable rock so I could have a good look around.

Underneath me a canoeist was paddling past in the water down there, heading towards the harbour at the end of the day. He had a good pair of oars with him down there, and we know all about that. When I mentioned to STRAWBERRY MOOSE when I was on board a boat that I needed a pair of oars, he completely misunderstood the situation and brought a couple of ladies, heavily made-up and wearing fishnet tights.

But I had to admire him being out there and shirtless in his canoe at this time of the evening. The evening was coming on and the weather was starting to cool down.

trawler speedboat men in fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut suddenly, things started to liven up down there in the water. The harbour gates must have just opened because a load of traffic suddenly started to swarm out into the bay.

This was developing into an exciting scenario, because the smallest boat that we’d just seen with the four men in it was heading back to port. And a speedboat was speeding around out there too heading into port. The trawler had to do something of a dodging manoeuvre that brought him rather closer to the little boat than I thought was prudent.

For a while I watched them and their activities, but there was no collision and no “shipwreck and nobody drownding – in fact nothing to laugh at at all” which was rather disappointing.

thais leo st brieuc trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis trawler was followed out of port by another trawler, the Thais Leo

And what caught my interest about this trawler was its registration number, which begins with SB. That indicates that it’s a boat that’s registered at the port of Saint Brieuc down the Brittany coast and so I was wondering what on earth it was doing here.

But by now it was about 19:15 and still no aeroplane so I went back up to the bunker to check the time of the aeroplane. But they had all packed up and gone home so I decided to do the same. I must have missed the aeroplane somehow.

Not long after I returned home there was a knock on my door. One of my neighbours who owns a red car who has parked next to Caliburn once or twice told me that she’d inspected her car closely and found no trace of any damage on it. We had a little chat and then she left.

Once she’d gone, I rang Rosemary back and we had a good chat that went on for about three hours, by which time it was far too late for me to think about food and even to think about writing my notes. I was totally exhausted after my long day so I went to bed and I’ll write up my notes in the morning.

Saturday 14th November 2020 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… the way things have been recently, I actually managed to beat the third alarm this morning.

Well, sort-of anyway. I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor waiting for the world to stop spinning round before I stood up.

Mind you,with not having gone to bed until almost 01:00 this morning I did realise that it was going to be a very long day.

There was a sale onlast night and there were one or two things that I wanted so after I’d finished writing my notes I went to make my purchases.

Only to find that Paypal now has this weird system like my French bank does, that in order to make a purchase they will send a numerical code to your phone number for you to enter into a box on the vendor’s website. It’s a system that has never troubled me previously with Paypal so I’ve never had occasion to use it. So when I didn’t receive the text message I found to my dismay that it had been sent to my old number in Virlet which has of course been out of commission for well over 4 years.

Now you can change your ‘phone number, but only if you log in. And to log in, you need the four-figure number that they send to your phone. Which is still in the Auvergne.

The next step is to send Paypal a message. But to do that you need to log into your account, for which you need the four-figure number.

There is of course the option to telephone them, for which you don’t need to log in. But you can only call them between 09:00 and 19:30 Mondays to Fridays.

In the end, having exhausted ever other avenue, I created a new Paypal account, which was not easy, and thanked my stars that there was a one-hour time difference between here and the UK and for having an on-line access to my bank statements.

It just goes to prove a point doesn’t it? If something is going to go wrong, it’s going to go wrong with me.

With what little sleep I had, I still found time to wander off.I was in Nantwich last night. I had a little house there in Welsh Row that used to be an old shop at one time. I had all kinds of various friends and acquaintances. Two of them were people like Walter Billington used to be. They had been to visit me and I’d shown them out but I’d suddenly discovered them back in my house again searching for something. I went to grab them both but one got away. The other one I managed to grab hold of him and got him in an arm lock and stuck his head under a cold tap to cool him down, and phoned the police. It was a sergeant who knew me so I explained exactly what had gone on and where I was. He asked me “are you drowning someone?” I replied “yes”. In the end a black policewoman turned up outside in a Ford Anglia panda car so I dragged this guy downstairs, not caring if he was bumping along the floor or anything, let her in and told her the story. She made him sit in a corner while we went through the kind of things that he might have been looking at.

After the meds and transcribing the dictaphone notes I found some time to do some work on the outstanding blog entries, which makes a change. And then I went for a shower. At least my weight has stabilised – albeit at 100 grammes over one of my target weights. It’s not gone up any but it hasn’t gone down either.

And then I set off for the shops, in a howling gale. And I bumped into the itinerant who is still sleeping rough. I urged him to go to the Mairie to seek help, but he says that he will be OK. I’m not too sure about that but I’ve learnt from bitter experience, as I’m sure you have too, that trying to persuade people to do things, even if you think that it’s in their best interests, quite often rebounds.

replacing shop front rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that when we were on our way to the shops the other day we saw some workmen busily starting to rip out the front of the cafe on the corner in the Rue Paul Poirier.

In just two days, they seem to have really gone to town with it, for not only have they completely ripped it out, they’ve erected a temporary facade around it to protect the building while they set about installing a new shop front.

It would be nice to think that they would replace it with something nice and aesthetically pleasing rather than something that is simply utilitarian. We can always live in hope, I suppose. It’s better than dying in despair.

replacing shop front rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallTalking of utilitarian, this is what I was talking about.

Regular readers of this rubbish will call that we saw a similar temporary structure across the front of a shop in the Rue Couraye when we were out picking up our rail tickets the other day. That’s all been swept away and we’ve been left with this.

But whatever you might say about “utilitarian”, it’s a vast improvement on the cheap and dated 1960s aluminium shop front that was here before.

However there’s a singular lack of imagination around here because there have been three or four new shop fronts in the town since I’ve been living here and they all look like this. Here’s hoping that the one they are doing in the Rue Paul Poirier will be a little more individual.

No figs at the fruit and veg shop, La Halle Gourmande, and none at the Health Shop, La Vie Claire either. It’s the end of the season. So I asked the guy there what I should use in my kefir instead of figs and he gave me a bizarre look and said “dried figs” – the look being the kind of look that means “why aren’t you using dried figs to start with?”.

At LIDL they had a packet of dried figs and they had tons of other stuff too. But I was limited by what I could carry away. It’s a long walk home and the final climb is long and steep. I wish that they would hurry up and fix Caliburn.

Back here I put away the frozen food and one or two other things, made myself a hot chocolate and grabbed a slice of my banana bread, and then came in here to do some work. I was doing all right too up to a certain point, and then the next thing that I remember was that it was 13:45. 90 minutes I’d been out for, I reckon.

It took me a while to come round to my senses and then I ended up with a very late lunch.

That confused all of my timing and I was running well behind after that.

rainstorm english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on in the afternoon I took myself off for a walk around the headland in the gale force wind that was blowing out there.

Although it was dry at the moment, there was plenty of rain about and the strong winds were blowing it all about at a ridiculous speed. The clouds were so thick and heavy that we were having some really unusual lighting effects in the sky like this one across the bay over the Brittany coast.

And with the wind, everything was changing so rapidly too. I’d go to take a photo of a particularly impressive scene and by the time that the camera had focused it had changed considerably.

different colours tidal settlement baie de mont st michel pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnoher thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we mentioned the other day is the phenomenon of different colours in the sea – this layering effect that we see every now and again.

There was another beautiful example this afternoon in the sea just off the Pointe du Roc. I’d struggled around the headland in the wind but when I saw this I considered it to be worth the effort.

We’ve seen plenty of photos of this point when the tide has been out and there’s nothing on what is at the moment the sea bed to cause this dramatic change in colouring. It’s not even the effect of the clouds obscuring the sun either because you can see what the weather is like.

victor hugo spirit of conrad aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith there being no-one about I had a little run down to the viewpoint overlooking the port and then had a slow walk the rest of the way home.

It didn’t turn out to be all that slow though because the rain that had been loitering around just offshore came in and got me and I ended up having to run for it. Not before I’d taken a nice photo of the harbour with the two Channel Islands ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville down there along with Spirit of Conrad and Aztec Lady.

The harbour gates can’t have long opened because we can see the trail of sediment flowing into the harbour from outside. It’s quite a dramatic contrast when you see it in this context.

Back here I played with a few photos, chatted on the internet with Rosemary and then it was time for the football. TNS v Barry Town.

And regrettably, Apart from the first 5 minutes, Barry didn’t start to play until there was 15 minutes to go by which they were already 2-0 down. They pulled back a goal pretty quickly but it was too little far too late.

One thing that I noticed though was that the Barry defenders were giving the attackers of TNS far too much time and space instead of closing them down. With the space that TNS was being gifteg, it’s no surprise that they were running the defence ragged and they really ought to have had a couple more, including what I considered to be a stonewall penalty.

But I really do wonder what Kayne McLaggon had to do to be awarded a free kick in his favour. The TNS central defenders were kicking lumps out of him and when he fell over the outstretched leg of a defender (no penalty, and quite right too) he was booked for diving, which was probably the most extraordinary decision that I noticed.

Tea at half time was out of a tin, followed by another slice of defrosted apple pie.

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd then I went out walkies on my evening circuit.

As it happens, I didn’t go far. It was much later than usual, there’s a curfew too and the gale is still howling away like mad but I needed the exercise. The Rue du Nord was looking quite pretty in the streetlights and as that’s one of the bits that I run, I set off down there, to the surprise of a couple of small dogs and their owners.

At least it’s in the shelter out of the wind so that it didn’t bother me too much. I could run down there quite comfortably until I reach the incline, which brings me to a shuddering halt.

place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s an alleyway that cuts through there and leads to the Place Cambernon so I nipped down there instead of going all the way around the walls.

And it looks as if the Christmas decorations fairy has paid here a visit too. They might not be illuminated yet but they have certainly been installed. This is looking quite good, I reckon.

But the Place Cambernon isn’t. The bar La Rafale and the restaurant La Contremarche are closed. The place is like a ghost town. But then again, it would be even more of a ghost town if everyone caught the virus and died. I cleared off too, back home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow is a day of rest but I have carrots to freeze, bread to bake and pizza dough to make. My work is never completed, is it?

Friday 2nd October 2020 – I KNEW THAT …

Repairing Roof Guttering College Malraux Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… it was a mistake for me to have those baked beans the other night.

The storm that was brewing last night was actually Hurricane Alex or whatever it was called and it finally arrived round about 02:00. By 05:00 is was in its full fury and round about 05:20 the weather station just down the road here recorded a gust of wind at 142Km/H – that’s 85MpH for those of you still working in real money.

This afternoon when I went out for my walk, they were out repairing all the damage – because damage, there was plenty. There was a cherry-picker just across the car park putting part of the roof and the guttering back on the College Malraux. And that’s the leeward side of the building too. I wonder what it must have been like on the windward side.

But imagine being up there on that with the wind gusting like it did. Luckily the wind had died down considerably by the time that I went out and everywhere was slowly getting back to normal – until the next storm.

It’s not surprising therefore that I had a bad night. It was difficult to sleep with all of this going on – that is, unless I was in mid-dictate because in the middle of recounting one episode I did fall asleep. And my apologies to the much-maligned Percy Penguin, who doesn’t appear in these pages anything like as often as she deserves. Yes, so I do sometimes snore when I’m asleep. Et Alors?

For a change I beat the third alarm to my feet this morning. But it didn’t make much difference because there was that much on the dictaphone that I still didn’t have the early night for which I was hoping.

We started off with people all dying off in this country house – a typical Agatha Christie murder thing and there was an investigation going on. Hercule Poirot came to carry out the investigation but he mysteriously died as well. That left everything in the clear so I thought that it was best that I made my getaway at the moent while everyone else was preoccupied. I nipped out. There were all these people at the seaside at tables having a communal meal down the coast. I ran past them. What I hadn’t realised was that Poirot had come to life again. He’d tried a trick. He chased after me and actually caught me. A proper detective led me away. I tried to argue my way out of it but to no avail. He took me to his car which was a long way away by foot. His car had some kind of publicity thing like upturned cows’ udders on the roof for milk.
Rather surprisingly, a while later I had exactly the same dream but it finished differently. It was 2 other people who cornered me, not Poirot. They managed to stop me and the police came up and took me away. But it was the same, identical dream except that it finished in a different way.
Somewhat later, there was a note on my dictaphone about which I don’t have a clue, because it appears that I might have missed the start. There was in fact an entry prior to this, but it was a blank one so I must not have recorded it. However – “This was done (what was?) first in film then it was done the second time also in film, glorious technicolour. Then I walked back to the town at Granville again past a group of (I fell asleep here) said they would kill me. I went to drag them away. (I fell asleep again here for a good few minutes). So I ran but in the end they caught me and that happened twice in both particular dreams. Later still it all came into a hospital, not a country house party, and all this started to happen but I was arrested before I actually poisoned too many of those”.
At least it looks as if it has something to do with the events of the previous dream, but I’ve no idea what it’s about really.
Later on last night I was joined by someone who fluttered briefly into my life 12 or so years ago and who has recently reappeared quite dramatically. I was planning on moving house out of my parents’ home into the one I’d bought at Winsford. She was moving house as well so we were all discussing our plans and so on. I already had a lot of furniture in my house but the dining room table in my parents house belonged to me and what was I going to do about that? Would I take it? Leave it? Sell it or something? It ended up being quite a lengthy discussion. We had had a bit of a lie-in that morning but had things to do. Suddenly it announced on the radio that it was nearly 12:00. Someone said that they’d better get on with this tin of beans while they still can before the contents go off. It was a huge tin of baked beans and someone had tried to open it and made a right mess of butchering the top so someone else had to open it. I had some things to take round to my house, which had now become my house in the Auvergne. I got there and went to quickly look at things and put things away because this girl might come round. Sure enough she suddenly presented herself. She asked if she could use the bathroom. I explained to her that the toilet was a dry one. She replied “ohh no, I can’t use that!”

There was far more to it than this but some of my readers have delicate sensibilities and they are probably eating their meals right now.

So what have I done today?

For a start-off, I’ve done some rearranging of things in my office. I’m fed up of cables that go absolutely everywhere except where they are supposed to go. So I’ve moved a few things around and tidied up the wiring to some degree. That means that as well as the place looking neater, I can actually now get into the two drawers that are in one of the bookcases. I can now start to put things away.

There was still 1kg of carrots that needed freezing. They have been washed, peeled, diced, blanched with bayleaves, drained and they are now in the freezer taking care of themselves.

But I spent all day working on the photos of July this year. All of the ones from the trip on the Spirit of Conrad have been dealt with and I’m now well into the ones for my Great Trek around Central Europe.

What was disappointing though was that I could have done much more except that I crashed out no fewer than three times during the course of the day. An early start is no good if I end up being asleep for all of this time during the day.

Le Loup Baie de Mont St Michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe had the afternoon walk as usual, and although the wind had dropped somewhat, I still didn’t want to spend too much time out there.

No boats of course, as you might expect, and not much else going on. I took a photo of the Baie de Mont St Michel and Le Loup – the light that’s on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, more out of the fact that there was nothing much else going on anywhere. At least you can see how grey and miserable everything looked today.

But when I said that there were no boats out there, that’s not strictly true. Somewhere out there on the rocks is a yacht. The gusts of winds snatched one from its moorings over at Cancale on the Brittany coast and drove it across the bay onto the rocks neat the Pointe de Carolles. There was no-one in it, but a lifeboat did go out. They managed to rescue it and tow it into the harbour during the afternoon.

debris Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne there is yet more devastation.

It’s effectively an alleyway between the high walls of the medieval city on one side and the high walls of one of the old barracks buildings. It’s like a wind tunnel up there at the best of times and so earlier this morning it must have been horrific. It’s brought down mortar and even small stones out of the walls of the barracks. That lot certainly wasn’t there yesterday.

Back here I carried on with my work and then had my hour on the guitar. And strangely, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I couldn’t seem to be able to do anything properly and it really annoyed and frustrated me. I’m not supposed to have days like this.

Tea was taco rolls, using up the rest of the stuffing left over from my stuffed peppers with a small tin of kidney beans chucked in for good measure. That was followed by yet more strawberry flan with coconut soya dessert.

Calm Seas Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor my evening walk tonight, the wind was behaving itself a little more. Now, it could just be classed as “strong”. Nevertheless there were still some brave folks sitting outside at La Rafale.

There wasn’t anyone else wandering around so I had the old town to myself. I ran on down the path to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset and if you want any confirmation about how dramatically the weather has changed, then one view of the sea should tell you all that you need to know.

The tempest that was raging last night even before the storm reached anything like its peak has subsided as dramatically as you can get. Tonight, it was like a millpond out there and as long as I looked I didn’t see a single wave of any significance.

Moonlight Behind Clouds Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe sky was beautifully bright tonight and you could see for miles in all directions, including upwards.

That is, until you reached where the moon was. Here, there was some cloud cover and the moon was obscured. Not enough though to stop the bright moonlight seeping out around the edges and that was just beckoning for a photograph. And all in all, given the limitations under which I’m working, it came out rather well.

No sign of life in the harbour tonight, which is no surprise seeing as there were no boats out today in view of the weather. I know that they go out on most occasions in adverse weather, but today it really was adverse. With nothing to see, I ran on home to my apartment.

Tomorrow is shopping day so now that I’ve finished my notes, I’m having an early night. In fact, I don’t need much from the shops as I’m not going to be here for a few days next week. It’s Castle Anthrax time, but whether or not I go is another thing. Lille is a hotbd of the virus and there’s talk of a severe lockdown. And that’s where I change trains for Brussels.

That’s going to be exciting.

Wednesday 30th September 2020 – ONE THING THAT I …

… like about having visitors is that it obliges me to tidy up the apartment.

So having been through the bathroom and toilet like a dose of salts the other day, I went through the kitchen and dining area this morning ditto and now it actually looks as if someone is living here.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall, if they have been reading this rubbish regularly over the last 15 years or so in one of its previous incarnations is the mystery of the declining hits. At one time back in the earlier years of this century, with far fewer pages, I was racking up hundreds of hits each day. Then dramatically, almost overnight, hundreds of people melted away and the figure plummeted to probably a quarter or even less than what it had been.

In surprise, I tried various means to combat this, but apart from an odd day here and there nothing much happened.

One thing that I noticed however (and it took me a while to configure it) is that there’s a hit and visit counter on my web server and, strangely, that’s still racking up hits and visits in their hundreds per day. So what’s afoot? … “12 inches” – ed.

The next step was to change the hit counter to see if it had a fault – and while the new one shows an improvement over the original one, it’s not that much of an improvement.

And so, as one or two regular readers of this rubbish will have noticed already, I tried a little experiment. If you clicked on a couple of images on yesterday’s posting to see the original image in all of its glory, you might have noticed that one or two are presented in a different way.

These now have a hit counter embedded in them and so following the trail back (to my site, not to your IP address of course) I can track them. And sure enough, the hits on that counter have increased dramatically, all of them being to the images concerned. And they correspond exactly with the counter and the tracks on the web server.

It seems, on further enquiry, that the embedded code in the images for the hit counter is no longer read by stand-alone web counters and hasn’t been since about 2007 or 2008. So now we know, and that explains everything.

You won’t have chance to try this out on any images tonight, for the plain and simple reason is that there aren’t any. It’s been chucking it down violently since about 14:00 and as I result I haven’t been out on my afternoon and evening walks. Mind you, it’s just as well because with having another very late last night, I missed the alarms this morning and it was about 08:00 when I finally crawled out of bed.

Tidying up and then a shower, ready for when Liz and Terry came round.

It wasn’t raining then so we went for a coffee at La Rafale followed by a walk around the walls and back here for lunch. Liz had bought some of her Butternut squash and carrot soup and that went down really nicely with my bread rolls, which didn’t turn out too badly in the end. It was followed by some of my banana bread and strawberry flan.

But the flan hadn’t worked out too well. However, I know the reason for that. With frozen vegetables and fruits, they are pumped full of water. The water in the strawberries slowly came out and diluted the agar-agar. The secret is to either use fresh fruits or else leave the frozen fruits to drain for a lot longer than I am doing.

After the meal we had a good chat about sourdough. While I’ve been working on kefir, Liz has been working on sourdough and we swapped experiences. Not only that, Liz gave me a helping of her sourdough mother-solution and I’ll give her a helping of my kefir mother solution in due course. When the sourdough mother solution has grown enough, probably after I come back from Castle Anthrax, I’ll try my hand at sourdough bread.

That was basically that for today. There wasn’t much time left to do anything after Liz and Terry left.

Tea tonight was a curry out of the freezer followed by some of my flan with soya coconut dessert. And no evening walk.

There was football on the internet tonight. Bala v TNS in the JD Cymru League. After having said that the other night that no TNS side with Paul Harrison in goal would ever concede 2 goals, they promptly went and did just that and for a while they were definitely second-best. However, Bala switched off in the second half and I don’t think that Will Evans, who had ripped TNS to pieces in the first half, actually touched the ball after the interval.

TNS clawed back the two goals, and then we had a floodlight failure that caused the game to be abandoned.

So now I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow, if it isn’t raining so I need to be on form. And who knows? I might even beat the alarm out of bed.

Monday 28th September 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change I had a good day today.

It started quite well too – long out of bed before the third alarm went off.

There was nothing on the dictaphone either. But although you might think that this meant a decent night’s sleep, in fact I was tossing and turning for much of the night and didn’t really have a good deal of sleep.

Nevertheless, fighting-fit (that is – fighting for breath and fit to drop), I attacked the radio programme for this week. And by the time I knocked off for tea, I’d finished it as far as the last track and it won’t take me very long (they are famous last words, aren’t they?) tomorrow afternoon.

Not tomorrow though, because of course I have my Welsh lesson at lunchtime and I need to revise.

What else I did today was to strip out the toilet and the bathroom and clean them to within an inch of their life – the first time since I don’t know when. And it went so much better once I’d emptied the vacuum cleaner of all of the rubbish in there.

light aeroplane pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual break to go for my walk in the afternoon.

We had an aeroplane fly overhead too, but it was too far out for me to read its serial number. However, looking at the flights that came into Granville this afternoon and a closer examination of the image, it could well be F-GBAI.

She’s a Robin DR-400-140B Major, serial 1289. That’s a model that went into production in 1972 and is still being made. She has a 160hp Lycoming O-320-D2A engine.

trawlers english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNot too many people out there walking about today either. The wind had dropped to just “strong” but it was overcast and cloudy, and pretty cold too.

Out at sea though, there were a few things going on. There were several fishing boats out there that were heading into port now that the harbour gates are open.

The sea has calmed down considerably which makes it a lot safer for them to go out. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when we were in the harbour on Saturday evening the place was packed with boats that couldn’t get out to sea because of the weather.

man in dinghy port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHowever, with the easing of the weather, everyone seems to be heading out to sea right now.

In the tidal harbour, once the water comes in, the crew of the boats in there have to make their way out by all kinds of precarious means, whatever is available. Just like this guy standing up in his little dinghy paddling out to his yacht.

It’s quite incredible really that this is the same way that a couple of thousand years ago, people would be going out in boats like this, coracles made of branches and the like. Nothing changes very much, except the materials that they use.

st malo fishing boat port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was another fishing boat heading out to sea, and this one is quite interesting.

If you look closely at the registration number of the boat, it begins with SM. Here in Granville, they all begin with CH – indicating that they are registered in Cherbourg.

This one here that begins with SM – I saw that registration prefix on boats that we encountered down the Brittany coast and that implies in my mind that the registration office for that part of the world across the bay from here is in St Malo.

Back here, I finished off the radio programme as much as I could, without the final track, and then went for tea. A slice of pie out of the freezer with potatoes, veg and gravy. Totally delicious.

The last of the rice pudding disappeared too, and tomorrow I can start on the strawberry flan.

beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on, I went out for my evening walk.

The wind had dropped considerably by now but even so there weren’t too many people out there. There was no-one taking a walk along the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

My run along the footpath under the walls was quite pleasant. I have been feeling a little stiff for the last few days but it all seems to have eased a little this evening

On the way down, I bumped into a neighbour – the captain of the Spirit of Conrad. He’d been to La Rafale with his mates, so we exchanged pleasantries.

houses in rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallWith nothing going on down in the Place Marechal Foch, I ran on round and across the Square Maurice Marland. No wind to hold me up tonight.

Nothing much going on in town either but the street lights illuminating the big houses in the Rue Lecampion looked quite impressive this evening. I stood and admired the view for a few minutes and then I headed off.

Having seen Minette, the old black cat, the other day, I was hoping that I’d see her again but no luck. That must have been a one-off.

rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I walked into the Place Cambernon I looked down the street, the Rue Cambernon, to see what was happening there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw a “police incident” there the other day.

Nothing at all going on tonight, but the creperie restaurant down there was open and illuminated. It looked really nice tonight.

Back here I wrote up my notes and as there was not much to say about today I finished pretty early. I’m going to have an early night tonight ready for my Welsh course tomorrow. I need to be on form.

Thursday 10th September 2020 – IT’S ALWAYS INTERESTING …

traffic lights porte st jean granville manche normandy france eric hall… the things that I see when I’m out and about on my travels around the town.

And it’s not as if I have to go all that far from home to find it either. I hadn’t gone 20 yards otside my front door this morning before I was confronted by a set of traffic lights.

“Road works going on in the old Medieval walled city” I mused to myself. I shall have to go for a look round later on to see what is happening.

roadworks rue notre dame pizza van place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd sure enough, while I was on my travels later this evening, I did come across what was causing the issues.

The road has been dug up on the corner of the Place Cambernon and the Rue Notre Dame. And judging by the names written on the “no parking” signs, it seems to be the Water company whose turn it is right now to dig up the streets.

It’s Thursday night as well, and the Pizza van is there tonight. And with the tables of the bar La Rafale being out in the square and its reserve place prohibited by the road works, it’s had to perch itself precariously on the corner.

Talking of perching oneself precariously on the corner, when the third alarm went off this morning I was perched precariously on the corner of the bed with my feet on the floor.

Not exactly awake but it still counts as being up and out of bed.

What was surprising about this was I’d had such a bad night. At one stage I thought that I would never ever drop off to sleep. There isn’t really much point in going to bed early if you can’t sleep.

When I finally got off to sleep last night I met another strange girl. She was from Venn which wasn’t too far from Eching (which it isn’t, but let’s not go allowing facts to get in the way of a good nocturnal ramble). There was this weird girls’ school and they were teaching these children all this dance, everything like that and poetry recital, that kind of thing. They had a kind of dancing competition. I wanted to see them about something but it was “oh no we can’t interrupt these proceedings now. It’s far too important. You’ll have to come back later”. Off they all went and I went back. All of these girls were in school uniform, grey with grey hats, that kind of thing, a very posh private school, that type of place. They all had taken some strange kind of wooden furniture, shelf kind of thing with two sides like blackboards that you could write on them. They had all taken these with them but there was one left in the garden. I mentioned it to the headmistress. She said “you’ll have to take that. It looks like one of the girls has forgotten it”. “What do you mean ‘I have to take it’?”. She said “you have to take it”. I asked “what do I do with it?”. She replied “you have to learn the ritual and at the appointed time tonight you’ll have to perform the ritual”. I thought to myself “what the hell am I going to be involved in now?”. She insisted that it was terribly important that I did this, so I ended up taking it home with me and stuck it in a corner when I returned home. I had to be very careful about who came to my house. We were listing stuff to sell and I can’t remember who was helping me now, maybe my brother I dunno. We’d listed some stuff to sell and we’d sold it and now we were listing some free stuff. He was listing some stuff that I thought was much more important to sell – we could get a good price for this – but no, he insisted on it being free. There was one thing that he insisted that people make an appointment to come round to pick it up. I said “that’s crazy, tying me to the house and I don’t want to be tied to the house. I want to get rid of these things as and when!”. We had a dispute about that and in the end we agreed that people would just have to ring up and say when they were coming to pick it up, a kind of compromise. After we’d done that, I said “hang on – I have something else to show you”. There was a girl in my house at this time – it might have been Pollux but I’m not too sure about this. I went and brought down this furniture thing and assembled it. I asked this girl ” how’s your Latin?”. She said “I come from Venn, it’s Venn that I speak, that’s near Eching in Germany, like Germany and Austria”. I replied “you’ll get on really well with Hans”. “Yes” she said, “that’s right. From Eching”. I showed them this and explained about this ritual that I had to do. One thing that I had forgotten was that during this competition I had 16 dances to learn. There had been a musician playing all of the dances and for a minute I’d been round with him doing something, trying to work out what the music was for these dances. It was another hot and sweaty night when I awoke and it took me hours to go back off to sleep as well.
Somewhat later I was with a girl and my father was around somewhere. I’d had to go out in a car and there had been some kind of confusion over which one I was to drive. It was suggested that i would take my father’s Zephyr 6 – the MkIV, not the MkIII which was his famous one 3816 TD. I went to try to organise something about all of this and I ended up with a pocket of keys. I had to start swapping them over. Then I noticed – I had to get up from my table at this bar place – and on the way back I noticed this key on the floor. It was the one that I needed to start the car. I showed it to the girl I was with and said “phew! That’s lucky!”. She asked what it was so I told her that it was the key to the car. My father then went to move all of his cars away. he took his mkIII Zephyr and drive it home and came back with the MkIV. There was still a bit of confusion about how we were going to go somewhere. I had a pocket full of rubbish and wondered how I was going to fit this key in. Then I couldn’t find the key and it was hidden in all this rubbish in my pocket. There was the question again about what car I was going in and we agreed that it was my father’s. I asked “what’s going to be in it?”. They replied “just his coat and one or two other little things”. I wanted to ask my father a couple of questions about his cars. I remember the two Ford E83W vans that we had – KLG 93 and XVT 772 – and I’m sure that there was one before them that had become stuck in my head, a 1937 van, and I wanted to know what we had had before that, and what he would consider to be his typical car if someone had to connect him with one particular car, which one would it be? I thought that it was important that he would tell me because of course he wouldn’t last for ever and if I didn’t start asking these questions soon I would never know.

But I’m not too sure why it is that Pollux has suddenly started making a series of appearances in my nocturnal rambles. Where has Castor got to?

There was some stuff on the dicaphone from yesterday too, so I transcribed that and ADDED IT TO THE ENTRY FOR YESTERDAY.

As well as having a shower this morning, I also cut my hair. It’s been a while since I’ve cut it and it was becoming a little straggly.

mobile crane rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd then I went out to the shops.

We’ve seen the traffic lights around the corner but that was far from being the only excitement. There’s a huge mobile crane down there in the Rue Lecampion lifting a load of something or other over the roofs of the houses into the rear behind the Rue des Corsaires.

That was well worth a photo of course, and when I’m down there I shall make further enquiries to see what they are up to.

crane rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd sure enough, when I was down there I could see that there’s quite a major operation going on.

It’s difficult to say what they are doing but there was this kind of glazed roof – at least, it would be glazed had there been any glass in it but I imagine there soon will be – that they are presumably going to lift up and over and onto whatever it is that they are doing.

My first stop today was the railway station.

My Old Fogey’s railcard expired a few weeks ago and with me planning to go to Belgium for my hospital appointment at Castle Anthrax, I need it updated.

That was dealt with without any particular problem and then I went off to LIDL. There was nothing much there that attracted my attention although with fruit being so cheap right now (especially grapes, of course) I ended up with a huge pile of fruit.

archaeological dig square potel granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I went past the Square Potel.

There’s an archaeological dig going on around there right now and we’ve seen the digger in the grounds of the museum. Today though, they were digging a trench in the square and there was an archaeologist examining some artefacts.

Having watched them for a short while I came on home, where I … errr … crashed out on the chair until lunchtime. That’s enough to make me feel really miserable.

After lunch I spent a pleasant hour or so working on the photos from Brittany at the end of June when we went off on the Spirit of Conrad.

joly france english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd the sailing – or, at least, nautical – theme continued while I was out on my afternoon walk.

There were crowds of people out there enjoying the pleasant weather and looking out to sea as something rather large was moving about heading towards us. These days I can recognise the silhouette at quite some distance without needing to crop and enlarge it.

And it is as I expected. Joly France is on her way back with the afternoon ferry from the Ile de Chausey. She seems to be quite busy right now despite the end of the holiday season.

fishing from speedboat pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were plenty of other boats out there too, as you could see in the previous photo.

There are several boats too much closer to home. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we seem to be in the middle of the rod-and-line fishing season. We have another small boat out there today with their rods out trying for a bite.

Here’s hoping that they will have more luck than anyone else who I have seen out there. Three and a half years have I been here and not a single bite have I seen

sailing school baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnyway i pushed on along the path and round the headland to the path on the south side.

One of the things that I regret not doing while I’ve been living here is to make the most of the opportunities that the local sailing school can offer. I would have thought that with the season being over their activities would have ceased but there seems to be another class out there today.

Not having gone down there to make enquiries is an opportunity that I have let slip and I hope that I’ll have another opportunity to put that right.

speedboat cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen we saw the photo of Joly France just now, we saw another boat coming along behind it.

And as I carried on with my walk along the path this rather large pleasure boat came around the headland towards the port de plaisance and I reckon that this is the “other” boat from the previous photo.

Having a good look at this, it’s clear that there is plenty of money around here, what with one thing and another. Not around me though. It seems to have passed me by a long time ago.

Back here I did some Welsh revision and then had my hour on the guitars.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallTea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, followed by apple pie. And then I went out for my evening walk.

There was a beautiful sunset tonight, although maybe I should say that the sun has long-since set. It was very reminiscent of some of the very late nights that I have seen in the High Arctic and makes me all nostalgic.

Before much longer, I’m going to have to make another return out there, even if it’s just to sit on the shore of the North West Passage and admire the sky.

My route carried on with a run down along the footpath, a walk around the corner to gather my breath and then another run across the Square Maurice Marland.

minette black cat rue notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that for a couple of years I had a regular encounter with an old black cat called Minette

Ever since the turn of the year I only recall meeting her once and the feeling seemed to be that she had gone off across the rainbow bridge. However, much to my delight, she was there again tonight sitting on her windowsill waiting for her stroke.

That cheered me up no end.

Nothing much else going on, apart from the roadworks that we have seen, so instead I came home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I have a full day at home in which I can catch up with some arrears. I also need to book my voyage to Leuven for my visit to Castle Anthrax and so that will be a priority too.

But sleep is the first thing to do. And who will come with me on a travel tonight?

Friday 21st August 2020 – IT’S 03:15…

… right now and I’m nowhere near ready to go to sleep quite yet.

But there’s a good reason for that – well – a reason anyway, and that is that I’ve spent most of the afternoon in bed.

This morning depite the alarms going off at the usual time, it was about 08:00 that I finally left the bed.

First task was to tidy up, and the second task was to have a shower and a general clean-up.

Round about 11:00 Liz and Terry turned up to see how I was. I gave Terry his brush cutter and I gave Liz my old acoustic guitar to pass on to one of her grandchildren.

We went down to La Rafale for a drink and a long chat, and then for a long walk around the walls which totally tired me out.

For lunch we had a rather impromptu salad with all bits and pieces that were hanging around here, with some of my home-made bread which went down really well – the general opinion being that it was delicious which pleased me greatly.

After Liz and Terry left I worked on a few photos but round about 14:30 I fell asleep on the chair. I woke up at about 15:30, feeling so dreadful that I crawled into bed and that was that.

Rosemary awoke me round about 18:00 by phoning up for a chat. We had a good natter and then I made some tea. Falafel and pasta in tomato sauce.

This evening I was in no fit state to go out for my evening walk so I stayed in. But nevertheless I can’t go to sleep and that’s no good because it’s shopping day tomorrow and there’s a lot to do.

There I was, thinking that I was getting over this illness but it doesn’t look much like it to me. I have a feeling that this is going to be a long, hard haul.

Thursday 18th June 2020 – LOOK WHO’S BACK!

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall.She’s not been gone for five minutes either!

Well, she has, actually. But certainly not 24 hours, in one of the quickest turn-rounds that I have ever witnessed.

As I went out for my meeting this evening with the radio people, who should be tied up in the port but Thora, one of the two small freighters that plies between here and Jersey in the Channel islands.

Things must be heating up over there if they are now doing runs as frequently as this.

thora unloading car port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd as I watched, the crew put a pair of skids underneath the wheels of the car that was on deck and the crane driver lifted it off and onto the quayside.

There was quite a crowd watching it as well. It’s not every day that there’s a spectacle like this on the quayside. Free entertainment of any kind is well-worth having at the moment.

While all of this was going on, she was being refuelled too. I hope that none of the spectators was thinking about having a cigarette to pass the time.

But enough of this. Let’s return to our moutons. Just for a change I’m not going to mention anything about my early morning, except to say that it was another dismal failure – one of far too many right now.

And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone. And no wonder that it had been a long night. I HAD BEEN walking around a headland somewhere similar to here. There was a race going on and we had a yacht that was entered in it – a big streamlined thing. It was all about this yacht and preparing it and getting it ready.
Later on I was out buying cars. I already had two red Ford Consul II things parked in my drive that I had recently bought, and I saw this absolutely beautiful Zodiac III something like that so I went out and bought it. I thought to myself “well where am I going to keep this without everyone getting upset because my father is really annoyed about me having these two”? I thought that I could move those two on and sell them if I want and keep the black one and in the meantime park the black one down the street and hope that no-one realises that it’s mine. This led to a discussion about the radio. We were having a radio meeting and I remember looking at the interior of the boot of this Zodiac during this time and the boot was absolutely spotless, really nice. It led in the end to me having to apologise to someone at the radio for doing something but I can’t remember what that was either.
A bit later on I needed my driving licence changing over to a new one. I had to have a medical but who should be there giving me a medical but my doctor friend from school which of course took me by surprise. he gave me a medical and told me that I was fit to go and gave me all of the forms so off I went. But I suddenly realised that I hadn’t thanked him or even offered to pay. So I went to retrace my steps around this building but I couldn’t find where it was where he was staying, which office he was in. I was wandering around this building for ages trying to find his office
Later I was off waling down the street trying to walk for miles. One of the places that I had been to was that old BP garage that has figured in my dreams before on the edge of London. This time it had been demolished only this time there was a huge pile of sand there. I was thinking that I had better get back.

There was even more to it than this but as you are probably eating your meal I’ll save it until later.

Having written my notes I then went and had a shower – and afterwards I remembered to put the clothes back in the washing machine with some perfumed fabric conditioner, for I was off to the shops.

roadworks drawbridge rue cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that there are roadworks or something going on somewhere in the vicinity.

So walking down the street I had a quick glance underneath the arch where the drawbridge is, and sure enough, they have a little mini-digger down there doing something and the road is closed off.

No time to go for a look now. I made a mental note to look again sometime today when I would be passing and see if I could find out exactly what is going on.

electric wiring rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallDown into town I went, and along the Rue Lecampion.

There was a cherry-picker here from one of the local electricity companies. It looks as if they are restringing a cable between two of the buildings. Whether someone passing by underneath has snagged it, I couldn’t really say.

First stop for me was at the railway station. My old fogeys railcard has expired and I need to renew it.

But no I don’t. having waited for about half an hour in the queue behind some woman booking a load of railway journeys for all of her family, I was informed that all season tickets and cards are automatically extended by three months due to the virus.

Some good news at last and, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

At LIDL I just bought the basic essentials. There was nothing there that caught my eye particularly, especially as I’m not eating all that much these days. But on the way back I called at La Mie Caline for a dejeunette

bad parking rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd how long is it since I’ve featured some bad parking on these pages?

It used to be a regular feature but things seemed to have quietened down with the virus, but now they are kicking off again. This guy here is parked half on the pavement and half across a pedestrian crossing, making life difficult for all of the pedestrians.

This is a service bus route too and the road is already narrow enough as it is. The selfishness of some people beggars belief.

back home I remembered to tae out the washing from the machine. And now the place smells RATHER LIKE THAT TART’S BOUDOIR ON NEWFOUNDLAND where we stayed back in 2010.

For a good part of the rest of the day I’ve been dealing with my studies. At long last I’ve finished week three of my accountancy course and although I’m well aware of the principles it’s still quite taking.

As well as that, I’m deep into week 4 of my music course. We’re doing diminished scales and chords this week and I do have to say that the practical aspect of this course is now way beyond me.

However I never ever pretended that I could play the piano. I’m here for the theory and for whatever crumbs that I can pick up that have fallen off the table.

Lunch was taken, for a change, on the wall overlooking the harbour. It was a lovely day, even if there was a bit of a wind. And I wasn’t alone either. A lizard came to join me and he enjoyed the bits of my pear that fell to the ground

78 aqj aeroplane pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on I went for my afternoon walk around the headland.

And it wasn’t just on the sea or on land that there were crowds of people. As I walked along the footpath I was buzzed by a low-flying aircraft. I couldn’t really read its number and one of the problems that I have now that I’ve been working with 3-D images is that I kept on trying to rotate the image to see it clearer.

Anyway, I’ll do some research into this plane at some point and see what I can find out about it.

fishing boats heading for home baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallMy perabulation continued around the headland to the Point by the coastguard station.

And it looks to me as if the harbour gates are now opening and there’s enough water by the fish processing plant because the fishing boats, large and small, all now seem to be making their way back towards the harbour to unload.

At least, I assume that they are heading back to unload. There isn’t the usual crowd – or cloud – of seagulls accompanying them as we have seen in the past when a loaded fishing boat comes into port.

fishing boats fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut if those two aren’t loaded, then it seems that everyone else is.

By the time that I had arrived at the fish processing plant everyone else had arrived and there was quite a queue at the quayside waiting to unload.

Quite a large collection of vehicles on the car park too. They are obviously expecting a bumper harvest today. And that is always good news for the port of course. We could do with all of the business that we could get.

heavy equipment leaving on lorry rue du granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd here’s a thing.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last week we saw some more plant and machinery being delivered to the boat ramp down on the rue du Port.

It looks as if I shall never know now why they were there and what is going to become of them. A lorry has turned up and is now taking them away again.

That’s a mystery to me.

lorry tipping rubble place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallBack here I carried on with my work and then headed off to this meeting.

On the way out I met a small lorry that was tipping a pile of rubble into the area that has been reserved for the workmen. It looks as if they are cracking on with whatever they are doing.

At the Grand Café I met the guy who wants to see me.

On the radio we run a series “Evenements et rencontres” where they interview people who visit the town or where there’s an important event taking place. And I’ve done a few of those, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

As it’s getting near to summer they need to build up a bank of programmes and as there has been no-one interesting or any important event taking place just recently they are scratching round for likely candidates. And they’ve decided that they want to interview me.

No idea why. I can think of 1000 people who have many more exciting things to say that I ever have. It rather reminds me of the legendary “Desert island Discs” programme where Roy Plombley learnt that Alistair MacLean was in tow so he dashed off to interview him.
After 20 minutes of dismal interrogation, the producer shouted down to Plombley “for God’s sake ask him about his books” only to receive the reply
“he hasn’t written any”.
It seems that the Alistair MacLean whom they had in front of them was the Alistair MacLean, President of a Canadian Tourist office and not the famous author at all.

A classic case of Omelette sur le Visage and the programme was never broadcast.

The meeting that we had tonight at the Centre Agora didn’t really accomplish a great deal, but we made a few plans for the future. Nothing that particularly effects me very much.

excavating steps rue lecarpentier granville manche normandy france eric hallSome of us went back for a drink afterwards at la Rafake. I stayed for about an hour or so – I have to do my best to be sociable even if I don’t feel much like it.

And on the way back I went to check on the excavations at the rue Lecarpentier. I only had the small camera with me so the photo isn’t the best.

I shall have to go back tomorrow with one of the good ones and take a proper photo, and undertake a proper inspection of the works while I’m at it. Whatever it is that they are doing, it seems to be quite a serious undertaking.

trawler with nets out english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I passed the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I noticed some activity taking place out to sea.

With only the small camera, I couldn’t do a really good job, but it seems that not only do we have one of the larger fishing boats out there, he had all of his tackle out there too.

A good close-up of his net dragging behind him would have made a really good photo and it’s always the case that I seem to be in the right place at the right time with the wrong gear.

Back here I was a baked potato with baked beans for tea even though it was late. Something quick and easy.

Following that I started to write up my notes but being overwhelmed with fatigue I left off and went to bed.

Tomorrow is another day and I can finish my notes off tomorrow.

Wednesday 3rd June 2020 – EVERYBODY SAY “AHHH”

mother seagull with baby granville manche normandy france eric hallregular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been keeping a close eye on the socks of fleagulls that nest on the roofs of the houses in the Rue des Juifs during the Spring.

And so; while keeping an eye on one particular nest today, I noticed something rather different, so I took a photo of it with the aim of blowing it up when I returned to the apartment

And don’t we have one very proud Mummy Seagull here? At least one and maybe two eggs have hatched and there’s a chick or two sheltering under her wings in the nest on the roof.

Well done, mummy, and congratulations. I shall be following their progress over the next few weeks.

hang glider granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the photos of the hang gliders who have been buzzing around the town today like a bunch of Nazgul, let me tell you about my thoroughly miserable day

Just for a change, I was up before the third alarm this morning. But that was as good as it got. Although I had my medication I didn’t feel like any breakfast and in fact I’ve not eaten anything today except some fruit

Yes, I’ve been thinking over the last few days that I was sickening for something and it looks as if I’ve got it.

hang gliders granville manche normandy france eric hallThat’s one of the reasons why I keep my notes – so that I can track my health as it fluctuates up and down. And it’s particularly important right now, seeing as I’ve now been probably 18 weeks without my essential four-weekly treatment.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that back in March I predicted a decline in health. But that wasn’t really a prediction. Based on previous experience – it was a foregone conclusion.

So with no breakfast I decided that, at least while I was still compos mentis that I would attack my two courses, the Accountancy and the Music course.

hang gliders donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I ended up completely finishing a week of each course too.

As for the Accountancy course, this week’s work was spent on basic numeracy. And I do mean “basic” – in fact I’ve no idea what they must be teaching in school these days if a course like this has to instruct its followers in the kind of basic numeracy that we had to do

The music course was exciting. And now at the end of the week I can play the blues on the piano with 5/10th scale chords and in theory, 7/10th scale chords. The theory being because I can’t stretch my hands far enough.

It really makes me wonder how we managed to play the piano when we were mere kids, having to stretch like that.

No lunch of course, but I did have something to do that involved the fridge. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the door pockets are broken on the fridge. The last surviving on was wedged in somehow, but that fell off when I opened the door.

And so, having nothing better to do, I bit the bullet, sorted out the electric drill and screwed all three shelves in. Whether they hold for any length of time I really wouldn’t know, but it has to be better at the moment.

This led to another problem.

The very top shelf is a very tight fit up against the freezer compartment door and with no shelf having been there for 18 months, the ice inside had grown and pushed the compartment door out. And having replaced the shelf, the fridge door wouldn’t now close.

That meant having to defrost the fridge and pull out about half a ton of ice.

But at least the door closes now and there’s room in the freezer compartment to actually put things now. And that’s progress of some kind.

fishing boats english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile all of this was going on, I went for my afternoon walk.

We’ve been having some really glorious weather just recently, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but not today.

As you can see, the weather has changed and we are now back in all of the fog and mist that I thought that we’d left behind a few weeks ago

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was still quite warm outside though, and so I suppose that out of the wind it would really have been quite nice.

At least, that’s what all of the people down there must be thinking. And good look to them too – sooner them than me. You wouldn’t stand any chance of me getting into the sea down there at any time today.

Mind you, the way things are, you wouldn’t be getting me into the sea at any time these days, even at 40°C in the air.

roofing place marechal fochgranville manche normandy france eric hallFor part of my afternoon walk I’d had the company of a neighbour, but she had cleared off and I carried on on my own.

At the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch I had a look down to see how they were doing with the roof of the building there. And the answer was that although progress seems to have been quite rapid, they appear to have had a technical hitch.

Someone was on the roof there hacksawing away at the galvanised sheeting that they have been using to cover the dormer windows. It looks as if they might have misjudged some measurement or other.

yachts sailing school baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallHaving stood and watched them for a while, I moved on around onto the Square Maurice Marland to see what was going on there and to check on my seagull.

It also gave me an opportunity to see what was going on out in the Baie de Mont St Michel. It looks as if the sailing school is now in full swing, with all of the little yachts out there having a lap or two around the marker buoys that they put out there.

It’s probably what they call a “slalom for sailors”, I reckon. And wouldn’t it have been a good idea for me to have enrolled onto a course like that? I must make further enquiries.

wooden steps onto ramp down to fishing boats rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThis photograph here has made me laugh, and it shouldn’t really, because it’s very sad.

It’s not the workman carrying the metal pole down the ramp that has caught my eye but something else there. They’ve spent I really don’t know how many millions of Euros completely refitting the port out with new ramps and pontoons, and it’s taken about a fortnight for social shaping by the citizens to take place to amend it.

All that money, and someone has felt obliged to build a set of steps out of a few old pallets.

crowds la rafale open place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallAll of the restaurants, bars and cafés have been closed in France since the start of the pandemic, but since Tuesday in the “Green Zone” which is where we are living, they can re-open under certain circumstances.

The Place Cambernon Is usually blocked off for July and August to allow the café La Rafale and the restaurant to spread their tables about, but it seems that they have decided to extend the period of closure from now until the end of September.

And La Rafale is taking full advantage of it – and so are the customers too. That’s good news to see the commerce re-igniting.

more work on medieval walls granville manche normandy france eric hallMy perambulations took me on an extended route today because I’d seen some kind of work going on in the distance.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was a major amount of work done on the medieval walls all through last year, and I made some kind of derogatory remarks about some of the work that was done.

It’s nice to see that the local council has been following my journal because the work seems to involve cleaning up the mess that passed for pointing on the stairwell here.

They’ve only been at it for a couple of days and already there’s a vast improvement.

On the subject of vast improvements, I wish that there had been a vast improvement with me.

Back home again I started to write out the notes for the radio project on which I was working. I even finished them too in a most amazing blitz of work.

Next stop was to dictate them – and I even managed that too. However, when I went to edit them I found out that someone driving around here in a motor bike had made such a racket that the microphone had picked it up.

Closing all of the windows I went to dictate it again.

However I didn’t get far, because I crashed out for about 15 minutes or so and woke up feeling like death. Eventually I managed to finish dictating it but as I went to upload it to the computer I went off again.

45 minutes this time, and I missed my session on the guitars. And if I had felt bad before, I was feeling even worse now. It’s a really long time – and I do mean long – since I’ve felt as bad as I did just then.

itinerant visitor pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallNevertheless I was up, so I was staying up. And i wasn’t intending to miss out on my run, despite no food and no health.

There was the usual struggle up the hill – which isn’t getting any better regardless of whatever circumstances. But at least my problems aren’t as bad as some of other people. There’s been an itinerant person wandering around the Pointe du Roc and he seems to have settled down under the hedge for the night.

It beats me why he’s settled there, because there’s plenty of covered spaces where he could settle if he so choose. But I do have to say, that having slept so often in Caliburn, Strider and various hire cars by the side of the sea over the years, there is something hypnotic about sleeping in the open air with the sound of the sea in my head.

storm jersey english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallhaving recovered my breath I ran on down to the top of the cliff to see what was going on.

Nothing much here right now, but away in the distance Jersey and the Channel islands were taking quite a pasting. That’s something of an incredible storm that’s raging out there right now.

There’s quite a high wind blowing here right now, but luckily it’s not coming in this direction but going off out to sea, so it’s not likely to affect us. However, the winds are quite contrary and who knows what’s in store for us overnight.

old cars 1985 morgan pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw a couple of old cars, one of which was a green Morgan, driving around here.

On the car park by the Coastguard Station this evening was this green Morgan. I’m not sure if it’s the same car but anyway, it’s still interesting so with the owner’s permission I photographed it.

He told me that it is an original Morgan, not a reproduction, but it’s one of the modern series and made in 1985. That’s a shame, because I was hoping that it might have been one of the older ones. It’s still nice though.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallDespite the wind, there’s still work to be done.

As I wandered around the headland I noticed a couple of fishing boats heading out across the Baie de Mont St Michel. It looks as if they are heading out towards the Brittany coast to see what they can find to catch over there.

It looks as if the head of the Baie de Mont St Michel has been abandoned by the fishing boats right now. But that may well be because of the school of dolphins that is said to be loitering around up there and which have been seen by one or two people – but not by me.

trawlers yacht chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy run took me down along the top of the cliff and past the top of the chantier navale.

We have another occupant in there today, but I’m not sure whether or not it actually counts. There are the two big fishing boats that have been there for ages, but also a small yacht on blocks next to it.

Whatever it is, it was nice to see it so I took a photo and then carried on with my run all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury.

chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I had stopped for breath, I walked down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was going on.

Chausiais was down there, moored up in the loading position underneath the crane. Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen her heading out to the Ile de Chausey the other day, so it’s strange that she’s looking as if she’s loading up ready to go out again so soon.

Nothing else seemed to be happening so I turned round and ran off to the viewpoint at the rue du Nord, pushing on by about 50 metres that particular segment of my run.

There was nothing going on there either. The sun was hidden in swathes of clouds and so there were no picnickers out there this evening. So I ran on home.

Having written my notes I’m off to bed, for an early night for once. I’m off for a day out tomorrow so I need to be on form. I’ll try some breakfast tomorrow morning and see if I can keep it down, and I have to go shopping too on my way out as supplies are getting low – not that it particularly matters right now.

Tuesday 24th March 2020 – I WAS WRONG …

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… and that’s a habit that I need to abandon as quickly as possible because that’s twice now this year so far that I’ve been wrong and the French have a saying jamais deux sans trois

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago I said that we wouldn’t be seeing the two little Channel Island freighters Thora and Normandy Trader around here for a good while now, but here’s Thora moored up at the quayside this morning.

And she can’t be in quarantine either because when I went out for my evening constitutional she had cleared off back to St Helier – or, at least, she had left harbour.

And excuse the photo. I’d forgotten about the focusing issues with the little NIKON 1 J5 and it’s managed to focus on a blade of grass in the foreground rather than on the ship in the background.

Another thing that I’ve been wrong about (I really must get out of this habit) is the question of memory sticks. I must be confusing myself with the old hi-fi back in the Auvergne because I tried a 16GB memory stick with 900 tunes in the hi-fi in the living room. I’ve managed to track down a supply of reasonably-priced 4GB memory sticks and I’ll be ordering a dozen of those.

Another thing that I need to be ordering is a new set of speakers for the big desktop computer. The set that I’m using is the set that I had back in Expo which I bought probably 18 years ago. They were stored in a damp corner for 6 years before I resurrected it for here. The bass boombox didn’t work but no worry, the two main speakers did.

That is, up until yesterday when the left speaker is on the point of giving up.

And you try to find a decent mains-powered hard-wired speaker system with pre-amp these days. Everything seems to be battery-powered bluetooth these days and that’s no use to me.

This morning I had quite a shock. Lying there dozing my way through the alarms and I suddenly sat bolt upright. Just a minute to go before the final alarm. I just about made it out of bed as well before it rang.

Due to my extraordinary late night last night, that was impressive.

After the medication I looked at the dictaphone. And I’d had another busy night too. But all that I remember of it was travelling from Paris to the South Of France on the train going via Brussels and I can’t remember why I went that way. And that’s my lot.

After breakfast I attacked the file-splitting. I found another complete sound-file which was good news but for a couple of albums you can tell that I’m getting down to the dregs because there are several albums that I found where there are no digital copies anywhere of any track. It looks as if I’ll have to make my own in the end – wow, flutter, crackle and scratch included. I’m not sure how that’s going to work.

But in the meantime there’s still 100 or so to work on. And as I said yesterday, then there are the cassettes.

Having eventually managed to finish that I had a shower (for once) and then headed into town, complete with my paperwork authorising me to travel.

There were more people out and about than I expected, although there weren’t exactly any hordes of people, but the good news is that my favourite bakery, La Mie Caline, is open again.

LIDL was weird. No more than 20 people allowed in at any one time. We had to wait outside and when 5 people left, another 5 would be admitted. The staff were all wearing masks and the checkout staff were behind plastic screens wearing masks and rubber gloves, and also some weird kind of headgear like a welder’s helmet but with a clear plastic face screen.

Clearly taking no chances.

As for me, I just bought the usual stuff plus 3kg of apples. One of my plans is to make a big apple puree sometime in the very near future and they had big bags on special offer today. My orange and ginger cordial is getting low but I have plenty of oranges so I’ll make another batch tomorrow afternoon.

At La Mie Caline I picked up my dejeunette. The manager was there and he was telling me his problems about his staff, having to pay them when he has his takings vastly reduced. It’s going to be a huge problem for all kinds of small businesses and the Government needs to step in to help these people otherwise we’ll have a huge economic catastrophe.

It was lunchtime by the time that I returned so I had my butty and then I came in here to do some work.

By the time I’d knocked off at 18:00 I’d written all of the notes for Project 034 and also for the live concert for the end of May, dictated them and uploaded them to the computer.

But if the truth is known, I could have done so much more. Not only was I easily distracted, I … errr … had a little relax on my chair. No surprise there, is it, after my late night.

Half an hour on the 6-string semi-acoustic and then half an hour on the five-string bass. This extra string is confusing me but if I don’t practise with it, I won’t improve, that’s for sure.

Tonight’s tea was delicious. I found a slice of lentil and bean pie in the freezer so I had that with potatoes, vegetables and a nice gravy. For pudding was another slice of this delicious jam pie with the last of the soya coconut dessert. I’ll start on the vegan ice cream tomorrow and that should be interesting.

night place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallDespite having been out this morning, I still went out for my evening walk. I heard a few people in town and met someone smoking a cigarette on their doorstep but that was the lot.

The Place Cambernon is deserted too. We saw yesterday that the bar La Rafale and the new restaurant La Contremarche are closed. Today, we can see that Mere Poulain’s creperie is closed too.

Not that any of this would deter me, so I managed both my runs, and over the slightly extended circuits too. So i’m pleased about that.

But I’m going to have an early night tonight. I deserve it. I have a nurse coming tomorrow to take a blood sample. The doctor has requested it so that he can see how I’m doing .

But a blood test? I won’t be doing any studying for it, that’s for sure.

Friday 7th February 2020 – I HAD VISITORS …

… today, and that’s always good news because it obliges me to do something about the state of my apartment and get on and do some cleaning and tidying up.

And also to unblock the sink. I seem to have been a little too lax with the carrot peelings from yesterday. And that involved dismantling the cupboard, which meant getting everything out.

And while everything was out I could clean it.

You can see how one thing leads to another and once you get started you’ll be surprised just how many other things there are.

Last night wasn’t as early as I would have liked, and as a result I found it hard to leave the bed. In fact I missed the third alarm completely and ended up leaving the bed at 07:10 and that’s no good at all.

After the medication I had a look on the dictaphone. And sure enough I’d been on my travels during the night. I remember very little about this except that there was a group of us going away from somewhere presumably being chased by someone’s mother and we were down Pillory Street in Nantwich. later on we were again in a group and there was some wise intelligent old man there, a teacher or something and the girl with me, he was talking to her and he said that he was going to draw her a jigsaw now and of course we were all puzzled about what he meant. He drew a jigsaw piece and he wrote a word in it. I can’t remember the word now but when you turned it upside down it created another word that made perfect sense as well. It was a long word – about 15 letters or so and it actually resolved a word no matter which way up you had the piece but obviously it was a different word with a different meaning.

Once breakfast was over I started to cut up another sound file but that was agonising. Nothing whatever corresponded to the track descriptions that I had, and although I knew the album I didn’t know the name of the tracks and that didn’t help. After having done about half of it, I reckoned that I’d better crack on and do the tidying up.

Just as the place was looking more respectable, Liz and Terry came round. I could finally give Liz her birthday present, and then we went for a walk and a coffee at La Rafale.

thora chausiaos pontoons port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter they had left, I could go for my walk into town for my bread.

The tide was out so I could go across the harbour gates and on the other side, I found that Charles-Marie and Spirit of Conrad had been moved. They are right in front of where I’m standing and in their place are a couple of pontoons with scaffolding.

So what’s the why of that? We seem to be living in interesting times in the harbour.

trench port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIgnoring Chausiais for the moment I went to look at the work that they had been doing on the docks.

It’s not at all clear as to what they are intending to do here, and there was no-one around to ask either. So my curiosity still isn’t satisfied and I’ll have to come back when there are people around.

That is, if ever I can manage to find my way down here early enough. I’m not doing so well right now.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWe noticed yesterday that Thora had come into port, and we saw her in the earlier photo above.

My route took me past the ship to see if there was anyone around but no such luck. That’s something else to do another time.

But they ought to start thinking about a coat of paint or two. She looked so nice and fresh when she first came in here almost two years ago and she needs to get back her good looks.

La Mie Caline was next for my dejeunette. But there were none on the shelves. But no matter. They found me one directly out of the oven and that’s one of the benefits of being a regular customer.

Back here I finished off the splitting of that digital music track. After all of that, it seems that the digital recording contains the same track twice and that’s why everything is right out of sync.

After lunch I sat down to write the notes for the next project but crashed out completely for half an hour.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallOnce I managed to get my head together I did some of the work and then went out for my afternoon walk.

The tide was coming in so the fishing boats were heading our way to unload their catch. There were dozens of them just offshore heading into harbour this afternoon, presumably coming back from Guernsey now that the Guernsey authorities have capitulated.

Yes, it’s all very well catching as much fish as you can, but it’s no good if you can’t sell them, as the stupid Brexiters will find out soon enough.

trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall“Heading into harbour” I said, didn’t I?

Well, the early birds were already there and this will give you an idea of just how many active fishing boats there are that operate out of here. Add that lot to the dozen or so that were heading our way and you’ll see that it’s a quite busy fishing port.

Just imagine what it must have been like in its heyday when the fleets of Newfoundland and Grand Banks trawlers were in here

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the rest of the fishing boats out to sea, I came back to the apartment.

To warm myself up (because it was cold and windy outside) I made myself a coffee and came to sit down on my comfy chair. And here, I fell asleep again. A proper deep sleep for half an hour or so, really away with the fairies.

This is something that is depressing me very much.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallNevertheless, I did manage to press on and not only finished the notes but actually dictated them too.

That means that tomorrow when I come back from the shops I can crack on with this one and get it done. And then, maybe on Sunday, do the third.

Tea tonight was a slice of lentil and bean pie that I found in the freezer followed by an apple turnover out of the freezer, with raspberry sorbet.

One thing that I can say is that I’m eating really well.

scaffolding place du Marché aux chevaux granville manche normandy france eric hallWe mustn’t forget the evening walk. Cold and windy and I had forgotten my hat but I pressed on all the same.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the walls round by the place du Marché aux Chevaus are now closed off to the public due to the instability of the walls, but unless I’m very much mistaken, they might be starting work here ver soon.

At least, they have dumped a load of scaffolding off at the site, and I’m sure that this wasn’t here earlier today when I was out.

scaffolding place du Marché aux chevaux granville manche normandy france eric hallSo having admired the scaffolding for a while I carried on with my walk and two runs. The second run was agony but I have to push on and keep going while I can.

Minette was there on her windowsill so we had a chat for a while and I gave her a stroke, and then I came back.

Just in time for the football. Caernarfon Town v Bala Town in the Cymru Welsh Premier League.

In a howling gale, it was always going to be a lottery and skill would count for nothing. The play was about equal but Bala won 2-1 and also missed a penalty. They were much more clinical in front of goal.

But one thing amazed me. I don’t know what was going on in the referee’s top pocket but he must have had a pop-up toaster in there.

Anyone looking at the stats and seeing that there were 7 or 8 yellow cards must have thought that this was a dirty match. But in fact, in my opinion only one of the tackles warranted a yellow card and the rest were for faults about as minor as you could get.

I shudder tho think what would happen if he were ever to referee a match between Stoke City and Uruguay.

So it’s now rather late and I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow, and I bet that I’ll forget half of the stuff that I need. Better have a god night’s sleep.

Thursday 9th January 2020 – REGULAR READERS …

clearing the railway line port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… of this rubbish will recall that a good few months ago I spoke about some kind of plan or other involving the abandoned railway network that ran through the port at one time.

This morning on my travels up town to LIDL I happened to look over the wall down to the harbour, and here they are, digging out the infill from where they had covered it up in the past.

It goes without saying that I’m really intrigued with what’s going on down there and on my way for my dejeunette tomorrow I shall be making further enquiries.

no victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith lots of activity going on in the harbour down there right now, you could be forgiven for thinking that that was that.

But not at all. In fact one thing that was conspicuous in one sense was that Victor Hugo was conspicuous by its absence. That means that both of the Channel Islands ferries are out somewhere because Granville, the newer one, is also absent and has been for a day or two now.

It must be all go at the Channel Islands right now

But it wasn’t all go here this morning. The night was reasonably early and I did hear all of the three alarms, but I couldn’t somehow find the intention to leave the stinking pit. It was gone 08:00 when I finally saw daylight this morning and that’s no good at all.

After the medication I attacked the dictaphone and I’m not sure exactly what I was doing in some kind of poor mountain village in poverty-stricken USA but it was doing some thing like a radio programme or whatever, I suppose. I had this young girl with me – she might even have been my daughter. The story goes that she was found kissing one of the boys in this village. They rounded up this girl and me and started to change our clothes and gave us nice clothes to wear. It suddenly struck me that this is marriage, isn’t it? This girl is going to be married off to this boy presumably but she was nowhere near old enough for this kind of thing. She was admiring the clothes that she was wearing and started to hum “here comes the bride” and suddenly had this appalling look of horror on her face as she too realised what was going to happen and started to snatch the clothes off her. These people were trying to grab hold of her to keep the clothes on and that was when I awoke.

After breakfast I was straight into the shower and as I seem to be struggling for clothes right now, I stuck a pile of dirty ones into the washing machine and let them have a run round.

And then the excitement began.

Wit my train being cancelled this morning I mentioned that I was changing my travelling arrangements. So off to the railway station in the pouring rain.

Hardly had I presented myself at the ticket window when the girl there beckoned someone else forward and let them have their say before me. Needless to say, there were words said about that.

She then couldn’t piece together my itinerary so I had to help her put the tickets in order (which had been in order until she had started messing around with them)

So eventually I was able to ask –
Our Hero – “as my train has been cancelled today, I’d like to change my travel and go again in two weeks time”
Girl at Window – “what date is that?”
OH – “two weeks from today”
GAW – “what date is that?”
OH – “whatever date two weeks from today is. The 23rd is it?”
GAW – “I don’t know”
OH doing some rough calculation – yes, 23rd
GAW – “the same trip?”
OH – “Didn’t I say that?”
GAW – “I don’t know”
so eventually after much prompting and grumbling she did it.
OH – “now what about the return?”
GAW – “what date?”
OH – “Just what I said earlier – the same trip but in two weeks time”.
GAW – “What date is that?”
OH – “whatever date is two weeks from the date on the ticket”
GAW – “but you haven’t told me what date”
OH by now rapidly losing his patience and his temper was surely bound to follow – “two weeks from the date on that ticket”
GAW – “but what’s the date?”
OH doing some more rough calculations – the 26th
GAW – “that will be €15:00”
OH – “what do you mean €15:00? I’m having to rearrange all of my trip because the outward train isn’t running. You’ve cancelled it”
GAW – “but the return train is running”
OH – “so how am I supposed to get the return train if I can’t travel out to get it?”
GAW – “I dunno”

The net result of all of this is that they will need to repaint the interior of the station booking office where the paint has blistered under the heat of my incendiary comments. I’ve not changed my return trip as yet but I shall be doing so in very early course once I’ve spoken to the SNCF head office.

LIDL next. And nothing of any excitement there, although I did forget to buy the peppers and mushrooms. I dunno what’s the matter with me right now.

Calling at La Mie Caline for my dejeunette, I then headed off for home.

Most of the day has been spent doing this football thing and by the time that I knocked off it was almost finished. There are 7, or possibly 8 main threads now with all of the isolated soundbites incorporated in to one of the threads as appropriate.

The linking texts have been dictated too but all of that needs editing and some background dubbed onto it, and then I can link it all together and dictate a closure to add in.

It’s about an hour’s work, I reckon, but knowing me, it will probably take most of the morning.

And then I have that stupid, pointless translation to do. It hasn’t escaped my attention that with the project owner not having had the time to edit it, I’m going to have to translate everything. I reckon that I keep about 15-20% of whatever I record on an interview and discard 80-85%, so this tells me that 80-85% of my work is going to end up filed under CS.

And that’s a thought that depresses me greatly as you can imagine. As Sheriff Buford T Justice put it so well in Smokey and the Bandit “we don’t have time for that crap!” I don’t know what people think I am … “and I don’t think that you want to either” – ed.

There were the usual interruptions today. Lunch was one of them of course and that hummus that I made the other day is tasting better and better as the herbs and garlic spread through it.

high winds storm waves port de granville harbour wall manche normandy france eric hallWe had the afternoon walk of course, around the headland.

The sun was out and it was quite bright now. The rain had stopped. But there was a fierce wind blowing around and whipping up quite a wave down there. Some of the waves were crashing over the sea wall with an impressive force.

Not the kind of day to be out there at all.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallNevertheless, there were quite a few people doing their best. There was a line of about a dozen fishing boats heading into port.

If you have any doubt about what the phrase “making heavy weather of it” means, just one look at this boat will explain it to you better than anything I can say.

She was up and down and in and out of the waves all the way around the headland.

la grande ancre fishing boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallYou probably noticed that I mentioned the line of fishing boats out there heading into port.

This is where they are heading and they’ll have to ride out at anchor because there isn’t any room at the inn. Apart from our old friend La Grande Ancre, I count another 8 of them just there.

The pink one that we saw heading this way is going to take the last empty berth and the rest of them out there will have to wait.

fishing boat unloading port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNot for long though.

The unloading takes place pretty quickly, as you can see. There’s quite a load on that boat there and they are using the cranes to stack it onto the trailer that is pulled by the tractor.

Where it goes after that I don’t know, but one of these days I’ll track it down.

fibre optic cable rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBack to the apartment now to carry on working.

And the day that I might be able to work even faster might not be far away. That’s the company that’s installing the fibre-optic cable and they are doing something out in the street just outside the Place d’Armes.

Here’s hoping that it’s the cable being connected up.

Tea tonight was a burger – or, at least, it should have been a burger. But in the packet that i bought “on spec” from NOZ were some galette- thinks, like small thick crepes made with vegan components. Quite different from what I was expecting but tasty all the same and I’ll look out for more of these.

night donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallFor the evening walk I was on my own at first.

Cold and windy but the sky was reasonably clear. Donville-les-Bains was looking quite nice in the dark but I didn’t stay around long to admire it. I went off and had my run.

However I have never ever felt less like it than I did. The strong headwind didn’t help but even so I was all for giving up after the first 100 yards. I kept on going though, and just about made it to the ramp.

night la rafale pizza van place cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were crowds of people outside La Rafale, the bar in the Place Cambernon, and the pizza van that wa sparked there was doing a roaring trade.

My attention was distracted by a woman taking a rather small cat for a walk. She explained to me tearfully that it had been diagnosed with this cat disease that goes around. It’s survived a couple of attacks but it now had it again and its days are numbered.

And so i commiserated with her and gave her cat a stroke, poor thing.

Now that I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed. It’s later than I hoped but for some reason I can’t concentrate on anything today.

But at least I didn’t crash out. That’s always something to be grateful for, I suppose.