Tag Archives: laboratory

Tuesday 12th April 2022 – IT’S BEEN SOMETHING …

jade 3 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… of a nautical day this afternoon when I was out on my rounds.

So while you admire several photos of the Trawler Jade III out there fishing just offshore in the Baie de Granville (and you can tell that she has a good haul on board from the crowds of seagulls that are flocking around her) I’ll tell you about my less-than-exciting day today.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 it goes without saying that I didn’t actually leave the bed at that moment. Mind you, I did beat the second alarm to my feet, although there wasn’t much in it.

In fact I actually felt like death this morning.

philcathane jade 3 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022So while Jade III and Philcathane cross each other in the bay, I had my medication and then sat down to deal with today’s radio programme that I should have done yesterday.

And although I’d already done half of it previously, it took me much longer than it ought to have done.

At about 09:20 I had a ‘phone call. “You told us on your questionnaire (for my MRI scan tomorrow) that you worked in metal.”
“That’s correct. But I’ve not done any welding since 1997 (when I welded up the exhaust on my old Passat) and only some very rare moments of grinding ever since”
“Nevertheless you need to come here for a brain scan. And bring your prescription with you”

jade 3 trawler speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And so I had to rummage through a pile of paperwork to find the prescription and then Caliburn and I set out for the Radiology Centre.

For a change, I didn’t have to wait too long to have my skull x-rayed but I had to wait for an hour for the results. Consequently I went down the hill to the Leclerc to do a little shopping – like sunflower seed, peppers, mushrooms and some flour.

Back at the Radiology centre they gave me my photos. “We gave you a brain scan” she said “but we found nothing” and that’s the most depressing thing that I’ve heard for quite some considerable time.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back here I cracked on with the radio programme and it took me almost until lunchtime to finish it off. It really wasn’t a good day.

At least the bread that I had taken out of the freezer was nice and fresh, and that soft Greek vegan cheese that Alison found for me is absolutely delicious. It’s amazingly like fresh mozzarella. I’ll be buying more of that in due course.

Once I’d finished lunch I spent a short while organising some more photos from August 2019 and my trip to the High Arctic. Right now I’m in a zodiac roaring up Dundas Harbour at Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic, trying to out-manoeuvre a polar bear that was there to keep a close eye on a family of seals.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022When I’d gone out earlier this morning it was quite a reasonable day. But this afternoon it had gone really cold and it was raining.

Not the kind of day that I would have expected to have seen anyone down on the beach, but nevertheless there were some people down there this afternoon, and there were some more people coming down the steps from the Rue du Nord to join them.

No-one in the water though, and that wasn’t a surprise at all.

While I was down there I had a look out to sea to see what was happening, and you’ve already seen Jade III and Philcathane out there in the bay having a good trawl around.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was quite a racket going on this afternoon from the work that’s being undertaken on the medieval wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

They are pushing on with the pointing over there and they seem to have made it as far as the huge vertical crack and that’s going to take some filling.

But it’s not going to be done right now, with one of the workmen sitting on top of the wall eating his butties or something.

Having dealt with all of that I headed off down the path towards the end of the headland. Despite the rain and the cold weather there were quite a few people walking around on the path this afternoon. I suppose that they have come here for a holiday and don’t have anything else to do.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022A little earlier I mentioned that it was something of a nautical day today.

You have seen trawlers and yachts and speedboats out there at sea but right now we have a cabin cruiser going past as I walked around the end of the headland. It was moving rather quickly too as if it was on a Mission from God.

As for me, I was on a mission too, which was to find some shelter from this rain. There was no-one sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon, and that was no surprise, and so I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

le roc a la mauve 3 anakena chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022First stop was to see what was going on at the chantier naval this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw it in a long-distance shot from a different viewpoint yesterday so I wanted to see it from this point of view.

Of course, Spirit of Conrad has now gone back into the water but Le Roc à la Mauve III is still there where she has been for quite a while although her paint job is well advanced.

Anakena is there too. We saw her lifted out of the water a couple of weeks ago. There are a couple of people working on her this afternoon despite the rain and with the tourist season about to start, I bet that they are in a hurry.

jade 3 chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In the meantime, Jade III has finished her fishing session is on her way into the harbour, minus the flock of seagulls that accompanied her out in the bay.

Also in the port today, over at the ferry terminal, are Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes over to the Ile de Chausey, and one of the Joly France passenger ferries.

In the background in the port de plaisance we can just about make out the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

There were also several people with nothing better to do in the miserable weather lounging about looking over the sea wall at nothing particular.

le styx lysandre charlevy chant de sirenes catherine philippe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That’s because all of the activity is taking place on this side, over at the fish processing plant.

From front to back we have Le Styx, Lysandre, Charlevy, an unknown boat, Chant de Sirenes and Catherine Philippe just coming in to tie up.

And there’s quite a crowd over there on the quayside watching the activity. There’s plenty of it going on.

Back here I had a coffee and then, rather regrettably, I fell asleep. So there was half a mug of cold coffee and some in the percolator when I awoke.

and it was freezing cold too. Not even an extra jacket helped so I switched on the portable electric heater for a while.

That was the cue to make a start on listening to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And I’d been quite far, as it happens.

Last night I met some Russian apologists who were excusing the violence and everything that was taking place but before I didn’t go very far into this before it petered out.

Then there was going to be the World Cup and there the organisers of the Welsh FA were on stage and with a crowd inside. They were drawing out of a glass bowl the names of players who were going to represent Wales. They started off with 30 but were choosing 23. They were pulling out these names of players and they were all players about whom i’ve never heard and I didn’t have a clue who they were or where they played. I had no idea exactly what was going on and why they had even thought about selecting some of these names to be in this pool.

And next I was on a station in Germany watching a Trans-Europe Express pulled by one of the NEZ CASSÉ French locomotives of the 1970s. I don’t know anything about this other than that I was on the station.

We were also going on a coach holiday. A girl whom I knew was coming with me – a really big girl (and I do mean “big”). It wasn’t until we were assembled ready to go that I realised just how big because the two of us sitting in a coach seat would be rather problematic. They were discussing all of the holiday but I wasn’t listening very much because I was too busy making a list of things that I had forgotten, including my raincoat so I was going to have to do some shopping when the coach stopped. They we had to board the coach so I took my suitcase but no-one else was bringing their suitcase. I imagined that there was someone collecting them in the office so I had to walk back to the office with mine, against the flow of traffic to leave my suitcase there and then come back. That probably meant that we wouldn’t get a good seat together on the coach. That really suited me because otherwise I would have had to sit next to her and there wouldn’t have been any room on the seat. But I can’t believe that I was coming away on a holiday and i’d left half of my important stuff behind like I had.
Actually, I can because it wouldn’t be the first time. Most people usually make a list of what they need and pack accordingly. I normally just pack and then when I’m away I make a list of what I’ve forgotten
So we all walked back to the coach. I was one of the last to board. Luckily the girl was sitting right at the front next to someone else which was great for me so I walked a few seats back. There was an empty seat next to a young girl who turned out to be Castor. so “hello Castor after all this time. Isn’t it nice to see you?”. I sat next to her. She was busy trying to pass her headphones to the girl in the seat behind her so that she could listen to the sound for the film that was being shown on the coach. Castor wasn’t talking to me yet. She was telling the girl behind her that she used to get up very early and go for a wander around and then go back to sleep for an hour. That was basically how I existed at that time so I thought to myself that with sitting next to her on this trip I might be able to strike up a good relationship with her, and isn’t that some wishful thinking?

We were in Crewe somewhere on the Wistaston Road estate although it was supposed to be somewhere round Pym’s Lane – Minshull New Road area. There were people preparing to go to school. There was a young girl there busy adjusting her cardigan, tying it in a knot at the bottom because it was a warm summer day. There were other people getting into a car to be taken to school because their school was actually on the Middlewich Road. I was walking past all of these people heading down the bacnk but I’m not sure why

Did I dictate the story about the girl who was preparing to go to school adjusting her cardigan as I was walking down the hill where I thought was the Wistaston Green Estate but was somewhere round by Pym’s Lane – Minshull New Road and there were all these people there preparing to go to school as I was walking past them … “yes you did” – ed. What I meant to say was we were now heading back towards the coach. I was one of the last on. Luckily this girl had found someone else by whom to sit, right at the very front seat wedging this person in. That was fine by me. I went back a couple of rows and found an empty seat. It turned out that I was sitting next to Castor so “welcome back Castor”. She was busy passing her headphones to the person in the seat behind her so that person could listen to the sound on the film that was playing on the coach. She was saying that she was a very early riser, awoke in the morning, did a few things and then went back to bed for an hour. That was the kind of thing that suited me because that’s how I behaved. I was hoping that I could have a really good rapport with her during the course of this voyage on this bus.

And I’m surprised that I dreamt the same dream twice a good distance apart and it all sounded almost the same even with the sidelong remarks.

Finally it was the school holidays again so we were back there and I was working on the railway station at Koln or Aachen. A train pulled in and the people started to alight. It turned out that one of the people was a girl whom I knew so I said “hello”. She wondered what I was doing here because she knew me from Brussels. I said that i’d come here to change trains. I asked where her train was going so she told me but that wasn’t really anywhere near the one that I wanted …indistinct…. but there was some detail on it that I could keep.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice and veg. And it was delicious as usual.

And now that I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed for a decent sleep.

So Castor came back last night for the first time for ages. She’s been missed while she’s been away. But even so, it it didn’t look as if she was taking much notice of me. I hope that she’ll be back tonight and I can see more of her.

Monday 20th September 2021 – SOME GOOD NEWS TODAY!

And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

I went to pay the laboratory for my blood test this morning and after they registered my Carte Vitale – the entitlement card for the French Social Services, they told me that I’m registered as a Maladie Grave – a “Serious Illness” case, I don’t have to pay a thing.

So as well as the nice nurses at Castle Anthrax, we now have free blood tests. This illness does have some compensations, but I’ve had to look hard in order to find them.

This morning I was up quite quickly as the alarm went off, thanks to the early night that I had, and with nothing on the dictaphone I must have had a very peaceful, restful night for a change.

After my medication I came back here to check my mails and messages.

Do any of the regular readers of this rubbish recall A PHOTO THAT I POSTED a few weeks ago?

photo from advertisement Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When I posted it I mentioned that the photo was being used on the internet as an advert for a piece of photo-editing software and that when the photo came round again I would post it for you to compare.

It’s definitely the same photo as you can see, so there is something weird going on here with this. I smell something fishy, and I’m not talking about the contents of Baldrick’s apple crumble either.

Having checked my mails and messages I then attacked the next radio programme. And despite a couple of stops for coffee and for breakfast, it was all done and dusted and ready to go by 11:05 and I don’t recall having prepared a programme as quickly as this one.

11:05 I’d finished my radio programme, and 11:06 I was on my way out to the shops to buy salad and fruit.

chicane rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There were roadworks in the Rue du Port and so we had to go through a sort-of chicane to head into town.

What complicated the issue was that firstly I was stuck behind a grockle in a mobile home crawling along at 10mph admiring the seagulls and secondly, a coach had decided to stop there despite the narrow road and the “no waiting” signs in order to discharge his passengers.

After a couple of foul oaths and curses I eventually made it to LIDL and did a lap around the shop for a pile of stuff. And forgot to buy the syrup for the soft drinks too

The laboratory closes at 12:00 for lunch and it was 12:01 when I pulled up on the car park. I just about beat the staff to the door and I was lucky in that they agreed to see me. So with the good news about my account, I headed for home and a coffee.

cherie d'amour chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way out to the shops I went past the chantier naval where I noticed that there was a new occupant this morning.

On the way back I nipped into there to see if I could find her name. Actually, she’s not a new boat because we have seen her before when she was in the chantier naval a while back.

She’s one of the smaller inshore shellfish boats called Cherie d’Amour. She’s usually been seen – for the last few weeks at least – sitting on the silt in the outer tidal harbour and not travelling very far, if at all.

Ordinarily I would have made further enquiries about her but there was no-one around her to ask.

le pescadore chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was there, there was another task that I had to do, one about which I’ve been talking for a while.

There’s been a trawler in the chantier naval for the last several weeks and i’ve never been able to find out her name. But seeing as the paintwork was almost finished I imagined that her name would have been painted on the wind deflector above the cabin windscreen.

Sure enough, they’ve repainted her name and I can now tell you that she’s called Le Pescadore. She’s one whom we’ve seen before although I’m not surprised that I didn’t recognise her because back then, she was painted light blue and yellow. But she’s certainly carrying the same registration number

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On my way back to Caliburn I went to have a good look at L’Omerta.

She’s a catamaran-type, which explains why they are happy for her to sit in the silt when the tide goes out, and I bet that there’s a really good view from that lower window when she’s out at sea.

One thing that I noticed is that she has two screws or propellors, one on each pontoon. I don’t recall having seen that on a small catamaran before.

So back at the apartment I made myself a coffee. That was a good morning’s work and it’s one less thing to worry about.

There was a huge pile of washing-up to do because I’d forgotten to switch the water back on after my return from Leuven. It wasn’t until late last night that I realised and switched it back on. And now having clean crockery and cutlery I could make lunch.

That’s the last of the bread so tomorrow morning first thing I shall have to make some more.

After lunch I listened to the radio programme that will be broadcast on Friday night and the one that I’d prepared this morning. Friday night’s is going to be a belter – a live concert from the Crystal Palace Bowl and it’s one of the best that I have ever done

whitecap waves people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk, so with no Nazguls about this afternoon to threaten me I could make my way safely to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach.

Down on the beach there were very few people, and that’s no surprise because despite the sunshine and the bright sky; it was howling a gale out there.

You can tell that by looking at the whitecaps on the waves as they crash down onto the beach. I know that we have plenty of wind around here, but this was one of the strongest winds that we have had for a little while.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So much so that when I wwent to look out at the sea, I had to take off my cap in case it blew away.

But right out there in the Baie de Granville there was one of the smaller shellfishing boats battling away among the waves. It was having quite a battle too, trying to make progress against the weather.

There weren’t too many people around on the footpath this afternoon and none of the aeroplanes from the airfield taking to the air so I pretty much had the path to myself as I set off towards the lighthouse.

sparrowhawk fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I reached the end, I discovered that I wasn’t alone.

There were one or two people here but there was also one of our sparowhawks hovering around keeping an eye open for anything edible moving around at the foot of the cliffs. And while I was looking, he didn’t seem to be having much success.

And while we are on the subject of people not having very much success, there was a fishing boat down there just offshore. He was too far out for me to see what he was doing or if he was catching anything, but we have yet to see anyone pull anything out of the water.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The tide was too far out for me to expect to see anyone fishing from the rocks at the end of the headland at the Pointe du Rock.

There were however two people sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban braving the gale-force wind although I’m not sure why because there wasn’t anything at all going on out there this afternoon.

By the looks of things they were picking up messages on their mobile phones, but I’m sure that there must be plenty of other places nearby that are much more comfortable than down there to do it.

baie de mont st michel le loup kairon plage Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further on around the headland I could have a really good view of Le Loup, the marker light on the rocks at the entrance to the harbour.

The tide is out so we can see the rocks upon which the light sits, but we have also seen it when the tide has been right in up to the upper of the two red rings, and we can see the tide mark that is the more usual level of high tide.

In the background we can see the beach at Kairon Plage. It looks like quite a nice beach, which it is, and there are quite a few people on it too. The headland here at the Pointe du Roc acts as a windbreak so that it’s not as cold over there as it is here.

le pescadore, catherine philippe cherie d'amour l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further on along the path I came to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval.

We can see all of the four boats that we noticed this morning. From left to right we have Le Pescadore, Catherine Philippe, Cherie d’Amour and L’Omerta. Only four boats down there, which is a far cry from the heady days of a couple of weeks ago when we had no fewer than seven.

There are plenty of vehicles down there so it seems that there is plenty of work going on with the boats. I’m half-expecting to come down here one of these days soon to find that another one or two boats have gone back into the water.

yellow autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was looking down at the chantier naval, I was overflown.

In fact, I was wondering if I was going to see some aerial activity (apart from the sparrowhawk of course) with there being no Nazguls, no aeroplanes from the airfield, and too much cloud to see if there were any full-size aeroplanes going past at 35,000 feet.

However I was not going to be disappointed because rattling past overhead on its way back to the airfield came the yellow autogyro that we see quite often. And he was making heavy weather of the trip back, fighting his was through the headwinds. His rotor was going round at 13 to the dozen but he was barely inching along.

trawler buddy m port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way home to the apartment I noticed this strange trawler moored in the inner harbour.

She’s one whom I haven’t seen before so I had to make a few enquiries. She’s called Buddy M and she’s arrived here earlier this afternoon from her home port of Cork in Ireland.

Tomorrow morning I shall have to check the newspapers to find out why she arrived here because it’s a pretty strange voyage for a trawler like this to undertake.

Back here I made myself a smoothie and then spent another while sorting out some photos from several years ago until it was time for tea.

At the shop this morning I’d bought a pepper and some mushrooms so I made myself another really nice stuffed pepper – and to do the washing up again now that I have mor ehot water.

And with my notes now written, I’m off to bed. I have bread to make tomorrow and a Welsh lesson too, so I can’t hang around.

Tuesday 14th September 2021 – WELL, AT LEAST …

chest x-rays place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… I do actually have a set of lungs

There are certainly two of them inside my ribcage and while I don’t really know anything about what I’m looking at, they both look pretty much the same to me.

And one thing that I like about the French – indeed the European – medical servce is that not only was there just a couple of days between my ‘phone call and my appointment and not a couple of months as in the UK, my appointment was at 10:00 and at 09:51 I had been x-rayed and was waiting for the images.

And they said “wait 30 minutes and then pick up your photos”, but the actual wait was more like just over 20 minutes. Efficient is not the word.

Last night was another bad night that I spent tossing and turning under the covers drifting in and out of sleep. And it really was a struggle to haul myself out of bed when the alarm went off.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There were three presidents or secretaries or whatever of the Rolling Stones Fan Club who had arrived by canal or on bikes on their way into town so I had to go out there to the canal. I was one of the first away and when I arrived I found that George was there. He’d been there for hours watching them because they had been waiting for so long. He thought that there were 4 or them but I definitely only counted three. Then some more of our party turned up so I went into the back of my van to get out the stuff that we needed for this operation.

Later on during the night I’d gone on a holiday somewhere skiing. There were all kinds of organised excursions as well. There was one where they were allocating people to different things. Someone asked me what I was doing on one particular afternoon right before we went home. I said that I didn’t know so they replied that the notice board was “over there”. I had a look and it seemed that I’d been put down for an early start to go on a coach tour. I thought “I may as well go”. Only about half the people who had been put down turned up and no-one was particularly interesting but we had a chat all the same. The concern was with drivers’ hours. Was the driver taking us on this sight-seeing trip going to be the same one who was going to be taking us home in the evening because how would he fit his drivers hours in? We ended up in Coventry at the museum. The bus driver had parked the exit door right over a puddle. everyone was getting out of this coach and wading through this puddle but I slid down the wing because it was an old half-cab bus and reached the ground that way and went off to have a look at a few of the exhibits which showed Coventry basically before it was bombed, and Coventry afterwards. I mentioned to Nerina, who had turned up by this time that I’d written about Coventry for my University thesis (and I DID TOO as it happens). She replied “yes, she knew” but she didn’t seem to be all that interested so I didn’t say any more.

Having written out my notes, I headed off for my x-rays at the Laboratory On The Edge of Town. And that didn’t take as long as I was fearing, and I was back well in time for my Welsh lesson.

teacher taking photo of schoolchildren place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One of the regular features of these pages is “taking photos of people taking photos of people”.

As I pulled into the car park outside here I nearly squidged a crocodile of schoolkids on a walk around the area. They weren’t in any particular hurry to get out of my way.

They all assembled on the clifftop over by the wall that overlooks the beach, and a teacher went to take a photo of them all. Luckily I had the NIKON D3000 to hand and was able to take a quick snap of them all before they all moved on.

The Welsh lesson wasn’t as easy as it might have been, and for two reasons too –

  1. I was struggling to keep awake for some of it
  2. Now that on-line working has come to an end, Zoom has stopped its free offer for schools and colleges, so every 40 minutes we had to log out and back in again.

As for the lesson itself, it passed quite well and I seem to have grasped the hang of what we were studying.

After lunch I had another go at these old duplicates and, to my surprise I found another several thousand that I hadn’t thought too much about. But eliminating the duplicates went ahead quite happily and another 6.2GB of photos bit the dust.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When I went out for my afternoon walk, the first thing that I did was to go over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach.

The tide was quite well in so there wasn’t a great deal of beach to be on. Not that it made a great deal of difference because the weather wasn’t as good as it might have been – cloudy and overcast – and not the right kind of day for sunbathing.

Nevertheless, there were still a couple of people who had taken to the water this afternoon and looked as if they were enjoying it. So hats off to them.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021With the cloud cover that we were having today, it kept the haze down so the view out to sea was quite good.

Not as good as it was the other day but still better than some days that we’ve had. While I was looking out to sea towards Jersey I could see a small yacht about halfway out in the bay.

The island of Jersey was visible in the background but we couldn’t actually see or distinguish anything out there this afternoon.

And so instead, with nothing else going on out there at sea, I set off for my walk along the headland out towards the lighthouse.

boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When I reached the lawn, I could see out across to the other side of the headland and into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Out there in the bay this afternoon was a small motor boat. I couldn’t see what the crew were doing, but I shouldn’t be surprised if they were out there fishing.

My attention was also drawn to the background of the photo. We’ve seen quite a few interesting things on the skyline at the back of Jullouville and today we can see on the right some kind of chimney and on the left there’s some kind of what looks like a stone tower.

One of these days i’ll have to go for a drive around there for a closer look around.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But right now I was more intent on pushing off across the car park over to the headland to see what was going on out at sea.

And, just like yesterday, and one or two other days just recently, I wasn’t the only one interested in what was going on. Today, we had a couple sitting on the bench by the Cabanon Vauban looking out to sea.

Not to any good purpose of course, because out in the bay all the way across the bay to Cancale there wasn’t anything going on at all. Not even a boat of any description.

sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs on the far side of the headland towards the port.

When I’d gone past the sailing school this morning on the way to the laboratory they were busy dragging out a few of the yachts ready to start the lessons.

And this afternoon, as I walked along the clifftop I could see some of the yachts from one of the sailing schools out there in the bay having a lap around before the tide went out.

In the background, there were people out there on the Plage d’Hacqueville having a good walk around. i’ve not yet set my foot on that beach so that’s another job for one of these days.

saint andrews chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The path took me along to the viewpoint that overlooks the chantier naval where I can see what was going on down there.

The work on the little trawler Saint Andrews is progressing. Some of the hull and superstructure has been masked off and they are quite busy giving her a second coat of paint.

She looks something of a mess right now but I bet that she will look really nice when she’s finished.

There wasn’t any change of occupancy in there again today so I carried on down the path

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yesterday I took a couple of photos of the ferry terminal, where we saw the two Joly France boats.

At the time, I mused about the whereabouts of the brand-new ferry Belle France. I didn’t know then where she was but I can tell you where she is today. She’s actually tied up at the ferry terminal this afternoon.

In front of her, out of shot, is the newer one of the two Joly France ferries. The older one of the two is nowhere about so she’s probably out at the Ile de Chausey witnessing the next instalment of dodgems round by the landing stage.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I watched, the reversing siren on Belle France sounded and she reversed out of her berth.

From my viewpoint I saw her reverse out into the channel and she looked as if she was about to head off to the Ile de Chausey, even though there were no passengers on board.

However, having reversed out and turned 180°, she then reversed back into her berth and tied up again. I’ve no idea why she wanted to do that.

From the viewpoint I headed off back to the apartment and my banana smoothie and where I unfortunately crashed out for an hour or so.

This evening I’ve packed my suitcase ready for tomorrow and then made tea – a slice of pie with potatoes and vegetables. And it tasted delicious.

Right now though, I’m off to bed. I need to be on form tomorrow for my trip to Leuven. I’m not looking forward to this.

Monday 14th June 2021 – I WAS OUT …

… and about this morning walking around the footpath at the top of the cliffs at 06:30 this morning.


How it cam to pass was that I was having my medication at about 06:15 when I looked out of the window at the bright blue, cloudless sky and saw an aeroplane fly overhead – well, its contrails anyway. I went to have a look at the flight radar to find out which flight it was (I’ve forgotten now but it was a red-eye from North America).

But what I saw in the distance flying past Finisterre, and at 42,000 feet as well in a direct line for my little rock, was TITAN 1. That’s one of the United States Government’s four “Nightwatch” Boeing 747s that’s fitted out as a National Emergency Airborne Command Post and has presumably come over for the NATO meeting in Brussels this week in case Biden needs to push the red button.

And so, armed with the NIKON D500 I went outside to wait for it.

And I waited. And waited. And waited.

Eventually I went back inside to find that it had performed a dog-leg and gone off out into the English Channel to skirt round the Cotentin Peninsula. She obviously didn’t want anyone to know that she was about. And that’s a shame. Actually being able to see one, even at that distance, would be quite something.

So instead I came back here and started work on the radio programme. having already chosen and paired the music, it was all done and dusted by 11:45, even with a break for hot chocolate and ginger cake.

Yes, I’ve run out of fruit bread so I had to have some of Liz’s ginger cake. And I’ve timed my visit to Leuven just right because I’m running out of that now. I’ll have to see what else the hospital will cut off this time so that Liz will bake me some more cake.

Meanwhile, on the dictaphone we started with something to do with a stately home. The dogs that were pulling the sledge had panicked and roared off and went through the house. The young boy who was standing on the balcony overlooking where the maid was cleaning was pitched over the balcony by the force of the arriving dog team, went straight through a plate glass firescreen and ended up at the feet of a servant who was polishing it. Something else went over the end as well, then a couple more children. Then the guy came in, all apologetic. They were saying that since several weeks this was the only stately home in the bottom 11 to have won any points so it was looking rather good for it. I tried to take some out and just wetting some neat porridge oats and tried to thin it down again or thicken it up again, one or the other, thicken it up, I think and se what it tastes like I fell asleep.

Later on there had been something to do with the Midlands and I was going to talk to a friend about something. He had recommended a school to me, recommended one not to go to so I’d been to the first one, had a look round and liked it. I’d been to the second one which was last on his list and this was where I dropped my sandwiches. I was about to pick them up but some girl picked them up and started to nibble at the filling in between with her fingers. Then she handed them to me and said ‘thank you”. I thought “this isn’t really the kind of school that I want”. I realised afterwards that this is the one that is bottom of the list so I thought that I’d snip that off straight away. I mentioned it to my friend and he gave me all kinds of pointers of what to look for and what to avoid and made 1 or 2 remarks about the school’s accounting and false accounting being put through, that sort of thing.

At some point or other I was in a dismal, dark railway station in a waiting room waiting for my train to be called. Then they announced it and it was right over the far side of the station. I had this huge suitcase and a couple of other things that I needed to carry. I walked out of the waiting room and it was pitch-black. I had to struggle my way through the dark and I lost hold of my suitcase once and couldn’t find it. In the end I made my way up to the top of a walkway and along. I had to enquire again as to my train and it was just coming in. As I was going down the steps it pulled in so I stuck my suitcase with the other stuff in the luggage van and got on this train and made sure that i was in the Glasgow portion. The train was crowded and I was wedged in with a group of men who were going somewhere and doing something together. They had their suitcases and there was no room for anyone to move or do anything. Then I got to Glasgow and ended up on a bus. people were asking me where I was going but I didn’t really have much of an idea and I was telling them any old kind of story. I turned up at this hotel. I explained that I’d come to manage it, that set everyone off in a panic. They were trying to find me a bedroom, a bath and a table to sit and have breakfast. And I mustn’t forget about the couple snogging in this bus and this elderly Scots woman giving them the most fearful disapproving looks.

After a shower and a good clean up, I had lunch. And then Caliburn and I went off to my Covid test in the sweltering heat. It’s a swish new place this, much better than the old one, but it’s too far out of town for me to walk in this weather which is a pain.

So having been all done and dusted, I went to LIDL and stocked up on a few things and then drove back home.

Later on I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst stop was to see what was going on down on the beach this afternoon so I went over to the wall at the end of the car park and stuck my head over the top.

The beach is smaller than it was yesterday of course, with the tide, but despite it being a working day there are still plenty of people out there soaking up the sun. And with the heat that we were having, who can blame them,

But in today’s newspaper there was an interesting article about all of the people down on the beach yesterday. Apparently there were several tonnes of rubbish left behind by the tourists and as the tide comes right in up to the cliffs, the rubbish that the Council’s workforce were unable to recover was swept away into the sea.

So if you are wondering why there is so much plastic and other rubbish in the oceans, now you know why. Bone-idle tourists.

twin engined light aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there looking at the people on the beach I was overflown by another aeroplane.

Not TITAN 1 or one of her three siblings but a weird light aeroplane the type of which I haven’t seen before. As I mentioned a few days ago, France seems to be quite keen on its weird types of light aeroplanes and here’s another one to add to the collection.

It’s some kind of twin-engined machine and we don’t see too many of those at all around here. And it’s unfortunately too far away and too high up for me to read its registration number, assuming that it has one, so I’m not able to tell you very much about it

aeroplane f-gbrk Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs for this one though, I can tell you more – a little more – about it.

As it flew past over my head I was able to read its registration number. It’s F-GBRK and my database tells me that it’s a Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II. The Warrior is a derivative of the Piper Cherokee, which is a lightweight, cheaper alternative to the more famous Piper Comanche.

The model was introduced in 1974 replacing the Cherokee 150, and is fitted with a Lycoming O-320 engine.

And as you might expect, it’s not on the list of departures from the airport at Granville and it hasn’t filed a flight plan either.

people fishing in boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo having sorted out all of that I pushed on along the path at the top of the cliffs, stopping to admire the men in the boat on my way past.

And they seem to be really crowded in there, without enough room to swing a cat, never mind a fishing rod, by the looks of things. And I think that the guy wielding a net to catch the fish off the end of the line is being rather optimistic.

Apart from one or two other small boats out there, there wasn’t all that much else going on out at sea this afternoon. Anyone with any sense would be under an umbrella with a cocktail or in a deckchair with a newspaper over their head in this kind of heat.

yacht rebelle fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was plenty of activity going on in the chantier navale this afternoon, as I discovered when I made my way around there.

The yacht Rebelle is still down there in the place where Aztec Lady lived for so long, but the little trawler-type of boat that had been there for a week or so has now disappeared back into the water. Instead, there is one of the shellfish boats – one of the larger ones – down there now on ramps and blocks receiving attention.

And both of the boats must be receiving plenty of attention today because I don’t recall ever seeing so many assorted vans parked up there while their occupants are presumably at work on the two boats. All of this points to a frenzy of activity so there must be something going on.

gerlean port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd one of our little NAABSA (not always afloat but safely aground) shellfish boats is still there settling into the mud and silt at the quayside underneath the Fish Processing plant.

It’s Gerlean who is there today. L’Omerta was the other one that was there for quite a while. She was there on her own at first but then Gerlean came to join her. And now she is there on her own as L’Omerta seems to have cleared off elsewhere.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the other boats must find it quite inconvenient for these boats to be always moored up here. It means that there is less space for them to tie up and unload and so they have to queue up to find a berth. I’d love to know what the issue is why they can’t tie up in the inner harbour out of the way.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomeone who is however tied up in the inner harbour is Chausiais, the little freighter that runs the shuttle out to the Ile de Chausey.

And being tied up underneath the big crane tells me a couple of things.

  1. The holiday season is in full swing so there’s a good load of luggage and food supplies etc to be ferried over to the island right now
  2. With her blocking the loading bay, we can’t be expecting a visit of Thora or Normandy Trader in the immediate future

In fact Normandy Trader seems to be spending much more time running over to St Malo these days than she does to here. That’s rather a disappointment and quite a loss for the port. Ohh! To see a gravel boat or two right now!

aeroplane 55-oj pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way back to the apartment I was overflown yet again. A different one this time.

And this one needs no introduction from me because she’s 55-OJ, one of the little light aeroplanes that we see flying past on a regular basis. As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I’m going to have to get out to the airport one of these days for a nosey around and to make further enquiries.

But instead, back at the apartment after my day’s exertions in the heat I crashed right out. And for a good 90 minutes too. I really did feel awful.

My bass practice was a little depressing and the least said about my session on the acoustic guitar the better

Tea was pasta with veg and a burger, followed by apple pie from the freezer with custard. I enjoyed that.

Now it’s bedtime and I’ll try to remember my medication that I forgot yesterday, so that I hope to have a good night’s sleep.

And then I can get on with my Welsh revision as long as TITAN 1 isn’t anywhere in the area.

Thursday 28th May 2020 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

air sea rescue helicopter english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall … all of the excitement that has been going on this evening – and is still going on even now judging by the noise just outside my window – just offshore in the English Channel, let me tell you about my day today.

It started off as we meant to go on – with me having yet another late night. Due primarily to me taking too much time to write out my notes from yesterday.

There weren’t any other distractions, which makes a change just recently.

air sea rescue helicopter english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd in accordance with usual procedures just recently, I missed the third alarm.

Not by very much, I have to say, but a miss is as good as a mile, as they say. Nevertheless, 06:30 is not an unreasonable time to be out of bed when I didn’t get into same until about 00:45.

Surprisingly, there was nothing on the dictaphone yet again. And I have the disctinct feeling or impression that at some time during the night I was somewhere else

air sea rescue helicopter english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallIt rather reminds me of the old story about the man who dreamed that he was awake. And when he woke up, he was!

After breakfast there were a few little things to deal with around here, and I even did some tidying up. But I still can’t find my magnifying glass.

And then a shower and weigh-in. And I’ve put on another 100 grammes. I’m not working hard enough on my health, I reckon. I have to be doing better than this.

installing edging floating pontoon rue de port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith it being Thursday, that’s shopping day. And I hadn’t forgotten that I was going to go down to the port to see what was going on down there with the big cranes.

And the answer is that it’s not really evident. They’ve worked hard on the pontoons of course, and they’ve edged and trimmed them now, presumably with the bits and pieces of metal or aluminium that were on there the other day.

But with just one row of pontoons, with the supports poking through, that’s not really wide enough for people to pass carrying boxes of fish and the like.

digging trench rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWe’d seen the traffic lights in the rue du Port and I wanted to see what they were for, seeing as they are still here but the cranes are gone.

Nothing to do with the cranes at all – just digging a trench across the road. It’s a company called Cegelec that’s doing the work so it’s likely that it’s something to do with electrical work.

There are some now power boxes on the pontoons, but I would have thought that they would have been connected into the existing circuit rather than having a new one.

chausiais trawlers leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhen I was up on top of the cliff I’d noticed that Chausiais was moored up in the loading position underneath the big crane.

By the time I’d come down and walked along the harbour she had pulled away. There were several fishing boats pulling away from the quayside too so it looked as if at any moment the harbour gates are going to open and let everyone out.

As for me, I pushed on to the labroatory where I went to pay for my blood test last week and pick up my results.

And my blood count is down – by 0.3. Not that that’s any surprise. After all, I’ve not had my essential four-weekly treatment since January

At LIDL there were quite a few people – more than there have been for a while. There was nothing in the specials that I needed but even so the bill was somewhat large for a mid-week shop, due to the fact that I needed a lot of stuff.

But remember those frozen red fruits from the other week? They had bags of frozen raspberries in there today so I bought a pack. Somewhere lying around I have some agar-agar so I’m going to have a go at making a strawberry flan next week.

trawler entering port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back, I called at La Mie Caline for a dejeunette and then headed for home.

The harbour gates are now open and the queue of boats had long-since departed . It was now the turn of those coming in to pass through the gates, like this one is doing right now.

Back here, I had to shuffle things around in the freezer to fit the strawberries in and then, coffee in hand, I attacked a dozen or so of the photos from July 2019.

Right now, I’m back on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour and just coming in to Reykjavik harbour on a grey and miserable Sunday morning.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallLunch was exciting because it was such a glorious day that I went and ate my butties outside, sitting on the wall overlooking the harbour.

And I wasn’t alone either, as you can see. Sometime during the course of the late morning while I was working on my photographs Thora has sneaked into port and tied up at the loading bay underneath the big crane where I had seen Chausiais earlier.

Word has reached my ear that there’s a strike on in the port of St Malo, and a lot of freight from there is being delivered here instead

boats entering leaving harbour granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t just Thora and a fishing boat that was using the harbour either.

It looked as if the whole world and his wife was either coming or going in and out of the port today. Dozens of people were making use of the facilities in the glorious weather.

For ages I sat and watched them, and I was accompanied by a lizard. I bet they missed me last summer when I wasn’t here. In previous years I’d fed tham with my pear droppings.

yacht baie de mont st michel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallDo you remember the big navy blue yacht that we saw the other night? I’m sure that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing the photo.

She must have moved into here – or, at least, the Port de Plaisance – because here she is again taking advantage of the breeze that was blowing out to see.

But she didn’t hang around for long and disappeared out of my view. So I finished my butties and cme on back to the apartment.

air sea rescue helicopter english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire more photos of this evening’s activities, I worked on my web pages.

Firstly I rewrote one of the pages on one of the websites – a project that I’ve started just recently.

And secondly, I treated a couple of pages on the other website to the new modernisation procedures. One of those pages had a substantial rewrite while I was at it because events have moved on since I first wrote it in 2008 and it’s one of those rare pages that has never had an amendment.

baie de mont st michel st pair sur met kairon plage marker light entrance to port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was time to finish off this week’s accountancy course (next week, it’s Maths!)and then go for my afternoon walk.

Such a beautiful afternoon it was, and so I went off and snapped a beautiful photo of the marker light by the entrance to the harbour, with St Pair sur Mer and Kairon Plage in the background.

Crowds of people out there today. Restrictions here are being further lifted on 2nd June but you would be forgiven for believing that they have been lifted already, with the crowds who were out there.

seagulls pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallNot just crowds of people either.

The tide is well on its way out and so the flocks of seagulls were jostling for position on the rocks ready to dive down onto the mudflats and scavenge for the shellfish.

It’s impressive how they seem to understand about tides and the like. Animal instinct is a wonderful thing and it’s a shame that most humans don’t use theirs.

cleaning mooring chains port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk carried me on around the headland, past the chantier navale where there were still the two boats.

But I was intrigued by the work that was going on in the tidal harbour. There are mooring chains all over there, marked by buoys that presumably float the chains up and down with the tide.

These guys were cleaning out around one of the chains. It’s probably become bogged down in the silt and isn’t moving as it’s supposed to znd needs freeing off.

bad parking college malraux granville manche normandy france eric hallBut you can tell that the schools are back, can’t you?

It’s chucking-out time at the High School down the road and the parents are here, parking on the pavement in a narrow road because, presumably, their little darlings are too tired to walk the extra 20 yards to the huge free car park just across the main road in the Boulevard Vaufleury.

As for me, I carried on with my walk and came back home

And you won’t believe this but me, not having played the piano since I was about 12 (and that’s over half a century) I can now play quite happily a 12-bar blues two-handed with Cmaj7 as the root chord in the American blues scale. It’s so impressive!

It did involve a little cheating – I had to label my keyboard (I have one of these 5-octave keyboards) so that I could see the notes at a glance rather than think about how they relate to middle C – but it was still pretty good and I completed the first week’s course with some kind of comfort.

What was even better was that for my hour on the guitar later, I sat down and worked out the note spacing for the blues scale and then did a half-hour of walking bass up and down the scale followed by half an hour of lead guitar solo

It seems to me that I’ve learnt more in an hour this afternoon than I have in about 50 years of playing guitar.

So week 2 tomorrow. And at this rate I might even catch up with the course. That’s rather more optimistic than yesterday, isn’t it?

Tea tonight was the leftover stuffing with kindey beans made into taco rolls, and a slice of my totally delicious and juicy apple pie – the best one that I’ve made so far.

Outside for my evening walk – and straight into controversy as when I finally reached the clifftop after my struggle up the hill I – and everyone else there – was buzzed by a helicopter.

air sea rescue helicopter english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallWe all stood and watched it for ages at it circled round and round and round the same spot, going lower and lower each time.

It’s the local air-sea rescue helicopter that regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen before, so the conclusion that we reached was that there had been an “incident” of some description.

We noticed, as you can see in this photo, that it’s attracted the attention of a fishing boat that has changed course and now come over to where the helicopter is.

air sea rescue boat helicopter english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallA couple of minutes later, the lifeboat came around the corner to join in the fun.

So whatever it was that was going on, it was clearly important and I’ll ptobably find out about it tomorrow in teh newspapers.

So knowing that this wouldn’t be resolved in a minute I decided to carry on with my run and presumably by the time that I got round to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord they will still be out there working.

open motor launch fishing boat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe presence of the air-sea rescue operation wasn’t deterring the rest of the nautical craft.

Commercial operations would hardly be affected and it seems that leisure activities weren’t halted either. these guys in their open boat are still chugging on their way regardless of the commotion that was going on around them.

Back at the apartment I enlarged the image and I could see that they were loaded up with rods and lines and the rest of the fishing gear.

chausiais joly france ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was some excitement over at the ferry terminal too.

While Chausiais was out on her travels today, it looks as if someone, the little blue and white boat, has ppinched her berth and moored herself to it. That means that poor Chausias has had to go and moor herslf somewhere else, as you can see.

That certainly seems to be something new. I’ve never seen a boat moored there before and I’m not convinced that it’s a good place to moor either, with the force of the rising tide risking smashing her into the wall.

air sea rescue boat helicopter english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo I carried on with my run down the Boulevard Vaufleury and round and across to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord.

The lifeboat was there now, and the crew was alongside the rails presumably looking for something – or someone.

They were there for quite a while too. I stood and watched them for an age but it was clear that whatever they were looking for, they weren’t going to find it in a hurry.

And I was right to, for they were still at it long after I returned home.

picnickers beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd it’s no surprise that I wasn’t alone there either.

My picnickers were there again this evening. And out in force too. They must be multiplying or something because there seems to be more and more of them each night. If I remember correctly, we started off with four.

So I turned round and ran back home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow is a day with no planned interruptions (I say “planned” because we know all about unplanned ones). No accountancy course so I’m going to have a good go at the music course to try to catch up with the arrears. it’s certainly piqued my interest

But of course something is bound to happen to disrupt all of my plans. We all know how that works out.

Thursday 7th May 2020 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall… this evening’s beautiful sunset, let me tell you about my day today.

Just for a change, I went to bed last night at a not-unreasonable hour and I was just about on the point of throwing off my bed covers when the alarm went off.

So, a narrow defeat this morning, which was a shame. It’s high time I got myself onto a winning roll with all of this getting-up lark. I can’t afford to spend my time lying in bed.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night.

There had been some kind of radio meeting during the night. There was a new woman there and we’d been discussing a few things. There was a brochure that we had prepared, like a magazine. It was in French with an English translation. I was looking through this translation and I noticed that this new woman was standing there not too far away and she was trying her best to speak in English. I’m not quite sure why. And then the meeting came round about we were going to abandon our Saturdays. One project that the chief decided on was that we were each going to bring in a piece of fruit once a week and we’d talk about this piece of fruit. He went through the catalogue and when it got to Saturday, he said “of course Saturday we won’t be here so we can’t do Saturday”. Then he came out with a list of reasons why we couldn’t do it with coffee – because some people like it with sugar and some don’t and so on. And it all became confusing.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter breakfast I had a go ata couple of pages of the website and upgraded them.

That all led to a shower and a general clean-up. And for all of my efforts this week, i’ve lost another 100 grammes. At this rate it’ll be years before I’ll disappear completely.

But in other news, I’ve cut my hair today. And it needed it too. I’ll probably find that I’ve lost half a ton of weight now that that lot has gone.

crane pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThursday today and so that means shopping. I grabbed my bag and headed to the hills.

One thing though, and that was that I was interested to see what was going on today with all of the shenanigans down in the harbour over the last few days.

And so this morning we could admire the big yellow crane that was now back again, and it seemed to be doing some stuff with the new pontoons over there.

So that looks like progress.

new pontoon walkway ramp road marking car park rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallDown here on this side of the harbour by the rue du Port we saw them last week manoeuvring one of the walkways into position.

This week we can see that it’s been installed properly now. I can’t wait for the detention à domicile to end so that I can go for a walk down there and see how it is. I want to find out how the bottom is fastened to the pontoon because the pontoon won’t be at a constant height.

But just look at that car park on the right. How disappointing is that? There was so much that they could have done to it to make it so beautiful and all that we’ve ended up with is a slab of tarmac with painted white lines.

So, filled with disappointment I pushed on through the crowds (and I DO mean crowds) up the hill out of town.

First stop was at the laboratory for my test results and to pay the bill. There’s a one-way system in force there so we had to go in through the back door (and out of the front).

And in astonishing news, it’s been months since I had any treatment and my blood count has gone UP! 9.7 is quite ridiculous if you ask me. I’ve no idea what’s going on there.

house renovations avenue marechal leclerc granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way up the hill to LIDL I went past a house renovation that appears to have started, here in the Avenue Marechal LeClerc.

In fact one of the things that I noticed was that in a lot of the shops that are currently closed there are all kinds of repainting and redecorating going on. It looks as if everyone is getting ready for reopening, and using the downtime profitably.

At LIDL I spent a little more money than usual but there was a reason for that. I need a new plugboard with more sockets, and there was a seven-way switchable one on offer for €5:99. So that joined the happy throng.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I called at la Mie Caline for a dejeunette and then headed home. And the shopping was really heavy, what with everything in it. Like two bags of flour for a start.

But my eye caught a change over at the chantier navale. There have been four boats in there just recently but today it looked as if there was now a fifth.

And even more interesting – the boat on the left in the line of four is not the same boat that’s been there for the last couple of weeks. That’s gone and another has taken its place so it seems.

Back here I had a coffee and then made a start on the images for July 2019. For a couple of hours I had a good back at those and another 40-odd have bit the dust.

Right not I’m on the upper deck of The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour watching the tight manoeuvres as we attempt to make our way into the port of Vestmannaeyjar on the island of Heimaey.

old cars citroen acadiane place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was a break for lunch of course, and I happened to glance out of the window where I saw this.

It’s been years since we have featured an old car, so this old Citroen Acadiane is a welcome visitor to our pages.

Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its many guises years and years ago will recall that I had one of these that I bought at an auction, but it was “lost” when the lock-up garages where it was kept were swept away when the site was cleared for houses.

After lunch I launched an attack on the updating of the web pages. And here I made an exciting discovery.

At one stage a while ago I was looking for the working files for my 2014 trip to Canada that I could never find and which I assumed had been lost when the old laptop gave up the ghost in Germany.

But I’d obviously at one stage done some kind of directory compare between the files on the computer and files on my web server, presumably found them on both and knowing that they weren’t ready for publishing, deleted them – but from the computer and not from the web server.

They’ve now been moved over to the correct location, so obviously some more good has come out of this project.

But what with that and an early finish this afternoon I didn’t manage to do as much as I would have liked, but I can’t win a coconut every time.

So after my hour on the guitars, my early finish had given me half an hour spare so I put it to good use.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve run out of pudding and so I decided to make a small apple pie.for the rest of the week or so.

However, rather than use a pastry roll, I’d seen a simple recipe for making simple pastry – basically any given welght of flour and half that weight of butter (or in my case, vegan margarine) all kneaded together until it looks and feels good, and then a couple of tablespoons of water added and kneaded in until the texture feels good.

Take out your silicon baking sheet, dust it with flour, stick your pastry on there, flatten it out and then roll it with your rolling pin, keeping it dusted with flour so it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin as you roll it.

Grease your little baking pan (I used a 15cm one) and cut your pastry to fit it. 150 grammes of flour was enough to make the top and the bottom and there was some left over.

Peel, core and slice a couple of baking apples and add the slices to the pie with some cinnamon, nutmeg, desiccated coconut, brown sugar and lemon juice.

Then add the top, milk the edges and press them down with a fork to seal them. Brush the top with milk and dust with brown sugar, then put a couple of slits into the top to let out the steam, and then bung into the oven.

apple pie apple turnover place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallWith what’s left over (pastry and apple) make an apple turnover.

And here’s the finished product. It looks absolutely delicious. And the apple turnover certainly was because I had it for pudding with some of that almond soya stuff after my burger-on-a-bap and baked potato.

And I’ll have another go at this pastry lark because it really was quit straightforward and simple. In fact, I’m wondering what I can attempt next.

trawlers english channel ile de chausey brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter the washing up (of which there was more than enough) it was time to go off on my evening runs.

There were quite a few people out there tonight, presumably fed up of the lockdown (which seems to be working – only 600 new cases today). And we had plenty of fishing boats to admire too – like these out and about in the stretch of the English Channel between the Ile de Chausey and Bréhal-Plage.

They seem to be working all kinds of new areas these days, and a lot closer to home too.

fishing buoys english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallSo much so that it didn’t surprise me to see these buoys just a few miles offshore.

At first I thought that it might be a seal or a porpoise or something so it was rather a speculative shot that I took. But back home where I could crop it out and blow it up (the cropped image, not the object) I could see that they were these temporary marker buoys that we see floating about every now and again.

Despite all the time that I’ve lived here I’ve never been able to find out exactly what they are but having seen them on fishing boats, my best guess is that they are markers for fishing traps, like lobster pots and the like.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday (and for a couple of other days just recently too) we’ve walked round the headland to discover a fishing boat setting out of the harbour.

There was another one today heading off out today too. There were a few boats out fishing off the Brittany coast near Cancale across the bay and it looked as if this one was on its way to join them.

Looking more closely though, it seems to be surrounded by seabirds so I wonder if it is in fact fishing with its nets out just there.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut here’s another thing.

My evening run took me along the path on top of the cliff past the chantier navale and I could see that there was yet another change of occupants.

We’d seen this morning that we’d increased to five occupants – two of which were new because one of the older inhabitants had gone from the chocks. But tonight we’re down to four again, with one of the new ones having now been put back into the water.

It can’t have been much that she needed

chausiais port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallThe next leg of my run takes me all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury and round into the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and once I reach my marker (the second pedestrian crossing) I can pause for breath.

So I walked back down the road to the walls overlooking the harbour to se what was happening. Chausiais is now back in her habitual mooring spot at the ferry terminal and Marité although you can’t see her, is still moored at the far side of the harbour (and I forgot to look this morning to see why she had been moved).

Apart from that, there was nothing very evident to indicate what work they had been doing around there.

fishing from the steps rue du port granville manche normandy france eric hallSo I ran off round to the viewpoint at the rue du Nord just in time to catch the sunset, as you have already seen.

There were a few people out there again tonight, including these people who were fishing with rod and line from the steps that go down to the beach (or would do at low tide, of course)

They seemed to be having a great deal of fun, whether they were actually catching anything or not, so I left them to it and ran on home.

Half of my notes are finished now, but so am I too. I’m off to bed and I’ll finish the rest tomorrow. It’s a Bank Holiday (VE Day) in Europe tomorrow but in defiance of usual practice I’m setting an alarm so that I can finish my notes early tomorrow.

If I can.

Thursday 2nd April 2020 – I’VE JUST HAD …

… a very friendly, very interesting and very lengthy conversation with a very nice young girl. She stopped me for a chat while I was out for my evening runs tonight.

We were there for about 10 minutes or so chatting away about all kinds of things.

And do you know what?

I don’t have the first clue who she is.

Something else that I don’t have the first clue about is why I bothered to waste my time by going for an early night. Just for a change, I beat the third alarm out of bed and after the medication I had a look at the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night.

I’d started out by doing my best to obey the quarantine but I had to keep on nipping out of my apartment to the room in the attic for something or other. That meant going out into the street and in my the next door and up the stairs. This happened not once, not twice but three or four times and I was sure that someone would cotton on to what was happening. Sure enough, one time I did it, I heard another door bang in the room and heard someone going up the inside stairs, so I stood behind the door and waited. When whoever it was came in, I shouted “BOOH!”and scared them. It was a girl with whom I once worked and she’s someone I haven’t thought about for years. I had a laugh and a joke with her about the situation but I bet that she was being very curious about who was where, for reasons that I suspected were not entirely altruistic. The I was talking to someone else about this and they said “whatever happens, it’s not going to be right for ages and ages yet before the world is back to normal. All kinds of things have been cut off and we can basically forget all about”.
Later on, someone at work was selected for some kind of medical test so he started to prepare himself, saying “yes, I’ll call you when I get there and let you know how things are going on”. My boss recoiled in horror “no, no. Just give us a ring – it will be fine”. he was obviously extremely suspicious about this and I had the feeling that he would have been quite happy if this employee had picked up some kind of infection from one of these medical trials
Moi, je lui proposé que lui, il lui garde et envoyer un audio de son voyage et de contacter avec quelque chose d’intéressant mais il l’a réussi. Le patron lui a accordé raise parce que … Now why am I dictating this in French? I know that I sometimes dream in French (and in Flemish too before now) but this is the first ever time that I’ve dictated my notes in French … so they decided that the risks just weren’t worth the experience of broadcasting like that.
The next voyage was similar to the one just now about the being summoned and going for a walk and sending an audio report and that was rejected too as the story was pretty much the same
Later on we were discussing trains, HS2 and all of this and I’m still convinced that it’s just a white elephant and it’s not going to do anything particular. We had the usual arguments so I wrote a song about travelling from Amsterdam Schiphol airport to Brussels on the TGV. It came to the attention of Alquin and they weren’t sure – should I join Alquin or would they create a band for me and find me a couple of musicians or something like that. In the meantime I’d been collecting some stuff – I’m not quite sure what it was. Quarantine had ended and everyone was out on the streets. There was a big cinema complex and I was walking through it with stuff in my hat. And the thing that I remember was a really really familiar voice said “just leave it up here against the wall, Eric”. I looked round and it was a guitarist who I knew. I can’t think whether it was that Mike Averill or Sherman Downey – someone like that. He said it quite clearly in his voice that I could hear it in my sleep “just leave it here, Eric” and it was the surprise of the realism of the voice and how I heard it that awoke me
I was in a office last night working and the place was in a total tip as you might expect. There was a girl sitting next to me at my desk. She was going through all my papers and there was a load of stuff I didn’t want her to see because it was quite personal. I asked her what she was doing and she replied that she was looking for a file or a letter. I asked which one and she told me that it was in connection with an accident that I had had with a Woolworths van or lorry 18 months ago. She was going some kind of survey on it. She said “I thought that would be in the International file”. I said “no, for if it involved two people of the same nation it would be in the national, not the international one” so I had to go and fetch the file. There were papers everywhere in a big bundle and I thought that i would come back to sort these out. Then I got to thinking that I’m not going to be able to cope with all of this. I’ve probably had enough. I decided more-or-less on the spot that I was going to retire. It was only 2 days to the end of the month so I thought that at the end of the month I would retire and that would be that.

So after all of that, it’s pretty pointless going to bed early, isn’t it?

But as an aside, looking at where I’ve been during the last couple of nights, anyone would think that I had something of a preoccupation with this virus that’s going round. But that’s not the case at all.

It’s true to say that I’m being more careful than I otherwise would be, but I’m not taking this situation as intently or as keenly as some others, that’s for sure. Being engaged in a life-or-death struggle with the illness that I have, this virus thing is just another complication to add to an already-complicated tangle of affairs.

After breakfast I had a go at a couple of albums – tracking down the digital sound files and sorting them out.

And then, after a shower (the first for a few days) I headed out to town.

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn my way out of the medieval walled city I stopped to have a look over the wall to see what was going on, as I had heard the crane in operation.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw Normandy Trader here in port the other day. And here she is, unloading another pile of what looks like shellfish and taking on board a load of timber as a return load to the Channel islands.

It was another quick turn-round too. When I went out in the evening, she was long-gone. She clearly doesn’t want to hang around with these current health issues going on.

repointing stonework rampe du monte a regret granville manche normandy france eric hallMy route into town took me down the Rampe du Monte A Regret

Over the past few months I’ve been seeing workmen there ripping out the vegetation that’s been growing in the cracks between the stones, but today I noticed that they’ve been repointing the joints.

This will look quite nice when it’s all done, but I wish that they would spend more of their time dealing with the bits of wall that are actually falling down.

We’ve seen plenty of those just recently.

As I was going past the laboratory, I called in to see where they had got to with my blood test results. They’d completed the examinations and had posted the results, but of course the post is somewhat sporadic these days.

They gave me a copy so I could review it at my leisure. My blood count is at 9.3, which is quite a surprise to most people because when I last had treatment – two months ago, it was 8.8.

We’ve seen in the past that the results from the hospital and the results from the laboratory differ considerably, and nothing seems to have changed right now. I know that the blood count can fluctuate, but surely not by this much.

There weren’t too many people in LIDL this morning so we didn’t have to queue outside. They didn’t seem to be short of very much at all (except pizza bases – I wonder why there’s a run on those right now) so I did what I needed, as well as buying a metre rule with spirit level and a few other accessories. A baguette too, seeing as my favourite boulanger is still closed.

Back here there was time to deal witha couple more albums before lunch, and also 20 or so photos from July 2019. Dynjandi and the Arnarfjördu were the places for which I was trying to remember the names yesterday.

After lunch I finished off the notes for the two radio projects on which i’m working, dictated them, and started on the editing.

To my chagrin I could have made much more progress than I did, but

  1. I was in discussion for some of the time with Laurent about our Grande Marée Virtuelle – I have some lines to learn
  2. I … errr … went off with the fairies for a good half-hour. And a proper one too – hardly surprising after my last couple of nights but disappointing all the same.

There was the usual hour on the guitars and then I stopped for tea. A slice of that tofu and lentil pie from February with jacket potates, veg and gravy.

While it was cooking in the oven, I sorted out all of the carrots that I had bought on Saturday, washed scrubbed, diced and then blanched them

By this time my tea was ready. And it was followed by a slice of apple pie with vegan ice cream and chocolate sauce. Thoroughly delicious.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallOut on my walk this evening, I missed the sunset.

The sky was a beautiful red though, so I suppose that it’s better than nothing. And while I was admiring it was when I was accosted by the aforementioned young lady.

Bad news when I had my shower this morning. I seemed to have gained 800 grams since the weekend and that’s no good at all. As a consequence I put in no fewer than four runs tonight. I have to get things under control

Another thing that I need to do is to have a good sleep. It won’t be as long as last night’s, unfortunately, but it will still do me good.

But I wonder where I’ll finish up tonight?

Tuesday 18th June 2019 – IT’S NOT BEEN …

… as productive a day as I would have liked today. Full of all kinds of petty interruptions and so on that prevented me from cracking on.

It started well enough though. Up and about long before the third alarm had gone off. I’d been on my travels too, although this was all very confusing. It concerned someone who was allegedly running a taxi, driving around with music playing pretty loud but he didn’t have any taxi plates. He was summoned to talk to a couple of people about all of this and it turned out that the message had come from the Taxi Owners’ Association. He went very begrudgingly to the meeting but came out much happier. Apparently it was just two neighbours from somewhere or other who had written, so he just bought them a drink and the matter had been brushed under the carpet and he was quite happy about that because obviously he didn’t fancy going up against all these taxi drivers because they could all turn nasty and there were so many of them. His wife said something along the lines that they were all pussies anyway and that he would just sweep them aside. She turned to me and said “you’ve had enough confrontation with them and you were relatively unscathed from that point of view” (which was true). And that was that. But then it turned onto trains and we were working with coal trains. I was bragging that we had dealt with every coal train that came out of Crewe. There was that Keith Morris there and he asked “how do you know that you do?”. I said that I was sure. We ended up talking about one particular one that went out early in the morning at about 05:00 and was pulled by two Class 27 locos with 40 wagons. I looked at Margaret for confirmation and she didn’t really say very much. he wanted to know how I knew that they were class 27s. Of course you can tell by the number but I replied “well, I ask! If I want to know something, I ask because I take photos and edit the photos and write about them so if I want to know something about the photos I’ll ask someone locally and they will tell me the answer”.
From there we moved on. I had an old Ford Escort van like I have and we were all going somewhere. There were two seats in the front and a settee in the back but facing backwards rather than forwards. People were clambering in there. I was back in the house getting things ready to leave these people. I had a mattress that I was going to put down in the van for me to sleep on and al old blanket because there was insulation in part of the Escort but not down the left-hand side. So I put the blanket in and used it to fill in the gaps in the walls. They were all looking at it and I explained about condensation and how I was going to sleep in there and then I went to fetch the mattress.

With an early start I had an early breakfast and then cracked on with some work.

First task was to deal with all of the photos from yesterday, and then to attack the dictaphone notes. Another 5 have now disappeared and we are down to just 55. I’ll have to push on and deal with those pretty quickly if I can.

But I was interrupted by trying to arrange another blood test. Eventually, after much binding in the marsh I managed to arrange it for 11:30 tomorrow.

But even as we speak, I had a phone call from the nurse to say that she will be here at about 08:30 tomorrow morning.

After that, I went for another experimental run with Caliburn. But I didn’t get very far, for there was a police road block.

monument Rond-point des Français-Libres pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceIt seems that there was a Fete de dix-huit juin according to the policewoman holding up the traffic.

Whatever the Fete de dix-huit juin is, I really have no idea but the place was swarming with anciens combattants decorated in medals and the like, so it’s quite possibly something to do with the liberation of the town, although that didn’t take place until 31st July 1944.

Whatever it was, we were held up for half an hour – me in a queue of vehicles held up by the police and no controle technique on Caliburn

One thing that I can say is that I could drive reasonably comfortably all things considered. Seeing that I could move hi about, that prompted me to ring up about his annual service and controle technique.

But to my dismay there are no vacancies until the beginning of July and I won’t be here then. So I’ll have to sort out my flights and book him in for as soon as I return.

That took me up to lunchtime, taken once more indoors because it was raining yet again.

It had cleared up by the time I had finished, so i hit the streets for the laboratory.

rendering house repairs rue du port granville manche normandy franceThe men were still working on the medieval walls, but the workmen on the house extension in the rue du Port were likewise working.

They are now working on the rendering on the second wall of the lift shaft – assuming that that there is indeed the lift shaft.

Only one more wall to go, and then I’ll be wondering what they are going to be working on next. There’s such a lot of rebuilding going on in the town right now.

jeep remains on roundabout place godal granville manche normandy franceNot much further along, I came to another stop.

There are some remains of an old Jeep dumped on the roundabout at the end of the Place Godal. Presumably that’s something to do with the fete too.

At the Laboratory I handed over the stuff that was extracted from my knee, and found to my surprise that they do blood tests there – and without an appointment too.

If only I had known!

Across the road is the station so I went to pick up my rail tickets for next week, which I had forgotten to do yesterday.

The sun was on the way out as i walked back, and that cheered me up somewhat.

A cold drink followed by a start on adding the photos to yesterday’s blog. But I was surprised at just how quickly the time passed.

For tea I had a stuffed pepper with spicy rice, gollowed by one of the cocount dessert things that I had made earlier. Liz had told me not to mut as much milk in, so I put about 350 ml of milk and 50ml of that coconut soya stuff in, mixed it up, and poured it into four bowls into which I had previously put a couple of pineapple rings.

After a couple of hours in the fridge it had set really well and it was delicious.

monument Rond-point des Français-Libres pointe du roc granville manche normandy francelater on I went out for my walk.

First stop was to the monument at the Rond-Point des Francais Libres to see if I could see anything that might give me a hint of what was happening.

There were a couple of wreaths out there, but nothing that gave me any indication.

I shall have to make enquiries.

youth stranded on rock pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceDown on the rocks at the bottom of the cliffs was a youth standing there, cut off from the mainland by the rising tide.

I gesticulated at him, but he didn’t reply and didn’t seem to be in any distress whatsoever.

He clearly didn’t seem to need any help, and so I left him to it and continued my walk

speedboat pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceBut had he really be stranded, it wouldn’t have mattered to me because not only would I have been unable to do anything, there was a speedboat loitering around just offshore

They would have been much better-placed to give him assistance.

But they didn’t hang aroudn long after I moved on. They roared past me like their boat was on fire.

youths diving off sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy franceExcuse the rather blurred photo but I was taken by surprise by these kids (of course, it’s very bad form for any photographer to be taken by surprise, but that’s neither here nor there).

Just as I was looking at them wondering what was going on, one of them stood up and dived off the sea wall straight into the sea.

I reckon that I was lucky enough to catch it, but what wouldn’t I have given to have had a faster shutter speed?

channel islands ferry port de granville harbour manche normandy franceMeanwhile, as all this was going on, the roar of a couple of diesel engines told me that something large was coming ino port.

It’s our old friend Granville, the new Channel Islands ferry that has been suffering a load of problems just recently.

That’s twice now this week that I’ve seen her in the harbour here. Probably more than I ever saw her in the whole of last year.

charles marie port de granville harbour manche normandy franceShe wasn’t the only visitor in the harbour either.

Charles-Marie is down there too, moored up in the inner harbour. She might be preparing for her summer season of voyages.

And while I was admiring her, I overheard some squealing coming from further down the road. Some young girl and her boyfriend were trying to walk along the top of the railings like some kind of tightrope walkers.

The girl wasn’t all that good, and after about four steps and a loud squeal, she fell off, right at my feet.

So now I’m back home and I’m ready for bed. I’m hoping to have a better day tomorrow.

speedboat pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
speedboat pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

channel islands ferry granville manche normandy france
channel islands ferry granville manche normandy france

Friday 14th June 2019 – HOW MANY …

… employees of the Credit Agricole Bank does it take to sign a form and put a rubber stamp on it?

The answer is “at least three” – and if the girl who finally dealt with me went to see a colleague or two when she disappeared with my form, it might even be more than that.

Yes, I’ve been out and about today, haven’t I? I need to push on and exercise myself, and as there was a letter to post (my hospital bill), a blood test result to pick up, and a form for the bank to sign, this afternoon seemed like as good a time as any.

Today started off quite surprisingly.

Despite the issues of yesterday I was awake at 04:10 and couldn’t go back to sleep at all. By 05:40 I had given it up as a bad job and was up and about.

To my surprise, the alarm didn’t go off. We had had another upgrade during the night that had switched off the phone. I really must do something about that.

And I’ve been a very busy boy too. I’ve started to transcribe the … gulp … 78 voice files off the dictaphone. I need to catch up on that, and catch up quickly if I’m to be up-to-date before I go away.

Another thing too is that I steam-cleaned the fridge. In an effort to tidy up and clean up, and with the ice box iced up, that was a good place to start. It took a good while but now it looks like it’s supposed to.

A few items went to that great dustbin in the sky and now there is tons of room in there. Well, maybe not tons, but plenty of room all the same.

And that took it out of me a little and I had a little … errr … relax for about 15 minutes.

After lunch I had a shower (the first “proper” shower for a while) and then attended to the accounts. That led to my walk up town.

fuel lorry refuelling trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThere wasn’t all that much excitement out there this afternoon.

Down on the docks we had a fuel lorry lined up ready to refuel one of the trawlers, and that was about that.

First stop was the laboratory for my blood test results from Wednesday. Some of the results are right off the scale, but bad as they might be, none are quite as wild as the “vitesse de sedimentation”.

That should be less than 9, and my figure is 123. I’ll have to see what the doctor has to say about that.

Then to the bank and the pantomime in there. It’s do do with my Belgian pension, and I bet that they are spending more on the admin of it than they will on the monthly payments.

But I did have some luck there;

There’s a special offer there right now on Savings Accounts, and for once I just about fall into the correct category. So I took advantage.

At the Post Office I posted off my payment to the hospital and then staggered up the hill back home. You’ve no idea how unfit I’ve become after two or three weeks without much exercise.

The knee was aching rather a lot by the time that I returned but as Rosemary rang me up for a long chat, I sat with my leg up on a chair for an hour and twenty-four minutes and that eased it off.

While I was tidying up the fridge I threw away some horribly out-of-date stuff but I found some lentil-and-carrot-burgers on the point of expiry, so I had one of those with some pasta, vegetables and tomato sauce.

This evening I had a chat with Liz and now I’m off for an early night. I’m surprised that I’ve kept going for as long as I have and so a good sleep will do me good after my walk.

Friday 17th August 2018 – IT’S BEEN …

… a quiet day today, after all of the exertions of the last week or so.

Much to my own surprise, I was out of bed after the first alarm. And that’s not happened for a while, has it?

And then after breakfast there was more work to be done, and then I started to have a good think about my plans after my next hospital visit. And that reminded me that I hadn’t booked my train to Brussels. That was something that needed my attention, and now it’s completed.

That also reminded me that I needed to go for my blood test. A brisk walk took me to the laboratory and they attended to matters. And much to everyone’s surprise that was all done and dusted and paid for within a matter of a couple of minutes. Not like the UK where you have to wait for a week or so.

And over the road I picked up my railway tickets from the station.

pont aven english channrl st malo granville manche normandy franceOn the way back I picked up a baguette for lunch, but I didn’t make it back home straight away.

My attention was drawn to some movement on the horizon over by the Brittany coast, so I quickly grabbed the zoom lens and went for a wander to see what it was.

Cropping and enlarging the image and then digitally enhancing it, I could see that it’s our old friend the Brittany Ferries ship Pont Aven off a-wandering again.

When I came back home I found that I had no hummus. I’d run out. And so I made another large batch. Chick peas, tahini, olive oil, chick pea water, olives, tomato, garlic and herbs. All whizzed up in the whizzer.

Some of it went into the freezer and some of it into the fridge. That’ll keep me out of mischief for a good while.

lizards eating pear droppings granville manche normandy franceLunch was taken outside on the wall with my butties, my book and my camera.

And while I was there, I was treated to the interesting sight of three lizards side-by-side eating from the same piece of pear.

It makes a change from fighting over it. They must be learning to trust each other after all of this time.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceBut that wasn’t the only excitement that was taking place.

There was a considerable amout of yachts and boats of all descriptions out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel, including our old friend La Granvillaise out there with a full load of passengers enjoying the sun.

Makes me wish that I was out there with them.

street musicians place cambernon granville manche normandy franceAnd it looks as if we might be having some entertainment in the Place Cambernon this evening too. A group of musicians were out there doing a sound check.

Seeing as it was nice weather I loitered for a while in the vicinity to see if they were going to do a warming up session too so that I could see what they might be about, but it was clear after a while that they weren’t going to oblige.

In the end I gave up the idea and left them to it.

This afternoon, apart from talking to another pile of neighbours, I attacked another piece of correspondence that had been hanging around here for a while. I’m going to have to keep myself up-to-date.

And I was on the phone to Rosemary for quite a while – so much so that I missed my tea and ended up with a packet of crisps.

No walk either this evening as I was watching football on the internet. Aberystwyth Town v Cardiff Metropolitan in the Welsh Premier League. Aber were really poor in the first half and were lucky to be only 3-0 down. They were much improved in the second half – although still some way off the pace – and the 4-1 final score was really rather flattering to them. Cardiff Met could have had half a dozen without too much effort.

So now it’s bed time. Shops tomorrow and I need to stock up as I’m having visitors. I hope that they’ve stocked up in NOZ – and that they have some staff to person the tills too.

boats baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france
boats baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france

beach hang gliders plat gousset granville manche normandy france
beach hang gliders plat gousset granville manche normandy france

Thursday 16th August 2018 – YOU HAVE NO IDEA …

… how long it took me today to complete my Medical Expenses claim.

It’s quite true to say that I have let things build up and build up for the last … errr … eighteen months, but it still shouldn’t have taken as long as it did.

And it wasn’t down to a lack of sleep either because I had an early night and slept right the way through until the alarm went off, something that hasn’t happened for quite a while.

We had the usual morning performance and followed by a nice hot shower – the first for a while it has to be said – and cut my fingernails. And then I hit the streets.

First stop was the ferry office. It was closed, which should be no surprise to anyone who reads anything that I have ever written seeing that it’s midsummer and there are crowds of people about.

They did have some leaflets on display for the ferries to the Ile de Chausey but nothing for the Jersey ferries, so I wandered off to the Tourist Office. They had a leaflet but they also told me that the ferries are pretty much booked up for the next few days.

The laboratory was next. I had an e-mail from the hospital 10 days ago to say that there was a build-up of potassium in my body, to change the dose of my medication and to organise a blood test.

The people at the laboratory told me that all I need to do is to just turn up and to bring the e-mail with me, and they’ll do the test on the spot. So that’s tomorrow’s task.

LIDL was impressive today. As well as the usual stuff, they were selling hardware. They had some powerful cable crimpers and accessories, some heatsink tubing and some screw-in hooks so they found their way into the shopping bag. And had I been back in the Auvergne I would have had a lot more than just that.

On the way back I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had a chat in the street for a short while.

Back here, I needed to print out the e-mail from the hospital and that took longer than it might. The ink cartridge wasn’t seating properly and the nozzles needed cleaning and aligning.

By the time that I’d managed to print out the mail, it was lunchtime so I was off on the wall with my butties, my book and a lizard.

This afternoon I had to deal with my medical expenses claim. This involved scanning about 60 receipts, collating them, renaming then as appropriate and then logging into my insurance website and completing the on-line form. And seeing as there were only so many entries allowed on a form, it needed 5 forms in total.

What made things worse was that much of the laser printing from the earlier receipts were faded and it was very difficult for me to read the entries on some of them. I don’t know how they will manage at the Claims Office.

I missed my walk this afternoon with being involved in all of this. But seeing as we were having a torrential rainstorm at the time, it wasn’t much of a problem.

BY the time that I had finished and done a little tidying up, it was teatime. A plate of mixed steamed vegetables with vegan sausages and vegan cheese sauce.

yachts baie de mont st michel st malo granville manche normandy franceOn my walk tonight I met yet another neighbour who also goes for an evening walk. He goes the other way round so in fact we met up twice.

But the route was sodden with water following the rainstorm. Not very pleasant at all.

But at least I could admire all of the boats out there. They seem to be happy that the weather has cleared up and that they could go out to play.

rue du port granville manche normandy franceAlthough the rain had stopped, the streets were still wet.

Down in the rue du Nord the vehicles were making some very interesting tracks on the damp surface.

Even though it’s late evening, the streets were crowded with people and cars. It’s the height of the summer season so we have tourists everywhere, of course.

Anyway, it’s bedtime. And I hope that I have a decent night’s sleep yet again. I need to build up my strength as I’m going to be busy.

yachts baie de mont st michel cancale brittany granville manche normandy france
yachts baie de mont st michel cancale brittany granville manche normandy france

Friday 19th January 2018 – MYSTERY SOLVED.

new harbour gates port de granville harbour manche normandy franceI now know what the shipping containers and the crane down in the harbour are all about. And unfortunately it’s nothing to do with a nes ship coming to the port.

I’ve always said that if you want to know the answer to the question you need to ask the question, so while I was out and about on my travels I went down to where everything was assembled and buttonholed a workman.

The harbour here is tidal as you know, but there’s the deep-water bit where the larger visitors tie up and that has a pair of tidal gates across it so that the water stays in the basin so the ships will stay afloat.

And it seems that we are going to hae new lock gates. All of the pieces are here, and the containers are simply tool stores and offices and the like.

So with the new gates we might be having some new visitors. Who knows?

I had another miserable night last night. I ended up watching a film – Austin Powers as it happens – and as you know any film normally sends me to sleep after 5 minutes. But not last night. I could have watched the film two and three times over had I so desired and I still would have been awake.

But I must have gone to sleep at some point, because I remember waking up. Still dark, long before the alarm. And by the time the alarm sounded, I was up, medicated and well on the way to breakfast.

It didn’t look very hopeful outside with yet more driving rain, but round about 09:45 the rain stopped and we had a very watery sun. “If I don’t go now I never will” I mused, and so off I set.

One of the places on my travels was the laboratory. There was an extra charge that I had to pay because they had to examine part of it again. Apparently I’m missing something in my body (and it’s not a brain).

And then to LIDL where I bought a baguette, some pears and some biros.

Now here’s a thing.

I need a black pen to fill in a computer input form, and there in one of the bins at LIDL were several packs of pens, some coloured blue and others coloured black. So I bought a pack of black ones, like you would – only to find that they have blue ink inside. How weird is that? I’ll go back tomorrow and buy some blue ones and see what colour ink they have.

On the way back, I called at the port as above, and then staggered (because it really was a struggle) back up the hill for a coffee.

This afternoon I made a start on the correspondence. And that wasn’t as easy as it might have been either because the last time that I updated my letterhead was in 2011 and a lot has happened since then. I had to redesign it completely from scratch.

Then I needed a pile of attachments so first of all I had to scan in a few documents. And then spend the next half hour looking for them in the laptop. But then I could write my letters (I managed three today) and print them, as well as all of the attachments.

And not only that, I could print off a few things. It’s a good job that when I received my French driving licence back in 2009 I scanned it into the laptop, because now I have a reasonable facsimile to use with my “declaration of loss” if I’m help up in a police spot-check. It’s good to finally have a working printer

It’s always a good plan to scan your official identity documents for cases such as this.

storm st pair sur mer manche normandy franceIt was then walkies time and as the rain was still holding off – just about – I went out for my afternoon walk around the Pointe du Roc again.

But look at that storm out there! Drifting along – and quite rapidly too – in the general direction of St Pair sur Mer. And as I watched, they got the lot too. It really was something quite impressive to see and I’m glad that it went over there and not over here.

Mind you, it did start to rain shortly after that, but nothing like what they had over there.

digger in tidal basin port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd down in the tidal basin the digger was out there again digging away. So I stopped to watch him for a while.

And to my surprise, there’s nowhere provided for him to dump the silt that he’s excavating. He’s just swivelling his jib around and dumping it elsewhere.

And so he can’t be dredging the basin then. It’s almost as if he’s looking for a body or something like that. I shall have to go for a walk down there sometime and see if I can find out what he’s up to.

Soup for lunch again, and tea, because I didn’t know what I fancied to eat, was baked potatoes and a tin of ratatouille. And that’s significant because that was the last tin of ratatouille from the European tinned food mountain.

Still plenty of other tins of other stuff from back then, but it’s all looking optimistic that ine day sometime soon I might clear it all out.

The walk this evening was punctuated my a couple of showers, and also by a couple of cats – I took a different route up on the walls to avoid the muddy footpath. So according to my fitbit I’ve done 113% of my daily effort today which is quite impressive.

In a short while I’ll be off to bed, and I’ve clearly earned it. I just hope that I can make the most of it.

Monday 15th January 2018 – IT GOES …

… without saying that this morning didn’t go according to plan, doesn’t it?

In fact, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m continually being confounded by issues not of my own making and I have to go to extraordinary lengths to circumvent them.

Just for a change, I was awake before the alarm went off, but that’s not quite the same as saying that I was ready to leave the bed. In fact it was something of a struggle to haul myself out of my stinking pit.

Fist thing though was the urine sample. Despite a thorough search this last few days I’ve not found the report from Leuven so I had to go through the procedure here. That’s what I call “taking the P155”. Then I could have my medication and once that worked, I could have my breakfast.

There was a form to fill in to take to the laboratory and that involved some tracking down of stuff too. But once I’d done that I could set off. Into the howling gale and driving rainstorm. After the couple of nice days that we have had, it goes without saying that as I’m out and about on foot we are going to have this kind of weather, doesn’t it?

First stop was the Mobile phone repairer. Having been told that he was back today I made this my first port of call. But as I really ought to have expected, it’s Monday today and many places are closed in France on a Monday – the mobile phone repairer included.

Next stop was the mairie. The doctor who is doing my medical examination told me that I could find some forms here. But according to the mairie, not any more. The forms are available to download on line.

But at least this means that I need to take some decisive action to resolve the cable issues that I’m having with my printer. The tag that holds the plug in place has broken off so the plug won’t stay connected. I shall have to invent a means of locking it in position, or even making a direct connection.

But it’s just typical of Hewlett Knackered. They can’t use standard infinity plugs like anyone else – they have to go for something really fancy and complicated that breaks under the slightest pressure and renders the machine unusable (unless you have a devious mind of course).

Hiking up to the laboratory (which is just on the station roundabout) I was running out of steam – I clearly haven’t recovered from my health. And the bad news is that the lack of this urine sample means that I’ve had to pay €6:80. no wonder I’m spending a fortune with being so unprepared.

On the way back I picked up a baguette and then staggered back up the hill to here – thoroughly exhausted and thoroughly soaked to the skin – to such an extent that I had to change my trousers.

And just for a change, I had a coffee. First one (apart from some warm brown liquid at the football the other week) since I’ve been back from Leuven. And it tasted awful.

Soup with pasta and bulghour for lunch again, with some of the fresh bread (the rest went into the freezer) and then I had a relaxing afternoon not doing very much, although I did have a good session on the bass guitar. To my surprise, some of the stuff that we used to play 40-odd years ago came back into my mind.

For tea tonight, I made a huge curry – the first one for a while. Mushrooms, peppers and because it didn’t make as much as I was hoping, a tin of sweet corn. One helping tonight and four more for the freezer.

My evening walk was a disappointment. Pouring with rain still and a howling gale. So I just did a short lap around the streets and came home. No sense in risking another attack of Bronchitis.

Anyway, tomorrow I’m off down to town again to see if this mobile phone repairer is finally going to make it back to his shop. He better had be because it’s getting my goat.

And the music?

For most of the day we’ve had Jethro Tull going round. If I really had to choose one group to be my favourite, it would have to be Jethro Tull. It takes me back to my school days and Benefit, Stand Up, Aqualung, Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play – the latter two albums being so good that it took the critics 30 years to realise it.

Those five albums, and many others that they released subsequently, have been on my playlist for getting on for 50 years and won’t ever lose their place. Other bands and artists may come and go but Jethro Tull will always be there