Tag Archives: late night

Friday 30th July 2021 – THE THING THAT …

… surprised me most about this morning was that after so little sleep – much less than 5 hours, I was up and about so early and so … well … maybe not so energetically but at least I wasn’t staggering about incoherently (inasmuch as I am usually incoherent). And I was even back in here to check my mails and my newsfeeds in a reasonably rapid rate of knots.

It wasn’t long though (geologically speaking) until I had to leave the apartment and head off to the doctor’s and my early morning appointment. And I actually made it almost to the surgery before I realised that i’d forgotten to bring my injection with me, by which time it was too late to go back.

skip lorry loading scrap port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way to the doc’s I walked past the docks as I usually do

My attention had been drawn there a long, long way before I could see them by the racket that was coming from down below. When I reached the viewpoint I could see that there was a skip lorry that was picking up the scrap metal in the skips there.

Bearing in mind my post from several days ago, I mused that it was probably old bicycle wheels and World War 11 munitions that had been dredged up in the shellfish scrapers. Start the day with a bang? Why not!

“This is not the time to be hanging around within pressure-wave distance” I thought.

repairing brick wall Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on down the hill, this little matter of interest caught my eye.

In actual fact, it was a closed-off car parking space across the road that I noticed at first before I saw the builders’ tape. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall, without any help from me, that the old medieval walls around here are crumbling away quicker than they can repair them.

Thai wall here, in between the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard des Terreneuviers has been quietly crumbking away and bits have gone missing, but it looks as if the local builders have been having a go at it.

Whatever next?

Next of course was the doctor’s. Having forgotten the injection, it wasn’t much of an omission because the doctor wrote out a prescription for me to have a nurse come round.

Furthermore, stocks of this injection are available in France and he’ll write out the prescription for me when I run out of the stock that I had from the hospital.

The Covid certificate is easy. Now that I have a Carte Vitale and an account at the French Government’s Health database, he could do all the necessary and I now have a proper Covid Europass. My telephone even reads it too.

The knee isn’t so simple. he thinks that it’s just the menisque, the meniscus muscle, and he’s prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication (which means that my daily dose has now gone up to 10) and a course of physiotherapy.

But prescribing a course is one thing – finding a therapist to do it is something else completely, especially in midsummer when everyone has gone on holiday.

At the chemists I had to wait five minutes before they were opened – first in the queue as well. But clutching my medication I headed back home.

aztec lady charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall that a few days ago we saw Charles Marie come sailing into the harbour.

Not having been this way since then, I hadn’t seen whether or not she was still there but sure enough, she’s the blue and white boat across there.

As for the dark blue boat behind her, I couldn’t make out at first whether she was Anakena, the boat that had set off to go to Scandinavia but had been caught in the pandemic. If it had been she, she probably would have set the record for the boat that’s been the longest in the harbour.

However, a closer examination of the photo shows that she’s Aztec Lady and she’s been in there for quite a long time too.

goods on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut remember yesterday? When we saw a pile of goods on the quayside as Normandy Trader was busy loading up, and I speculated that they wouldn’t be getting all of that into her with the swimming pool as well?

It looks as if I was right – although it didn’t really take much of an effort to work it out. There’s still a pile of freight on the quayside despite the fact that the ship has long-since sailed off into the sunset.

That means that we shall be expecting another visit, either from her or from Thora, in the near future. Imagine leaving all of that stuff unguarded on a quayside in the UK.

On the way back home I met a neighbour (I seem to be doing this quite a lot just recently) and we had a good chat for a while. Then I came back in here for my hot chocolate and fruit bread, which really is delicious!

Armed with my breakfast I came in here and settled down to work on yesterday’s journal entry and the next thing that I remember, it was 2 hours later. Luckily I’d finished my hot chocolate before it went cold.

While I’d been asleep on the chair I’d gone off on another voyage. I was in my holiday home getting ready to go back to the Auvergne because I decided that I was going to move my holiday home … start again … I was in the hotel where I was staying in some seaside resort somewhere in the south of France or somewhere in the west of France. I was going to get back into Caliburn and drive back to Virlet to get some stuff because I was planning to rent an apartment here. I’d thought about going to contact all of the Agents Immobiliers in the region about seeing who had a flat to let. I just walked out of my hotel room and across the hotel into the lobby just to walk straight out, get into Caliburn and drive straight back. I saw the rain and thought “do I need anything to take with me to leave back there? Do I need to bring anything else. Then I had a horrible thought about the train – how was I going to get to my hospital in Belgium?

There was really only just enough time to sort out the photos before lunch and guitar practice.

After lunch I had to ring around for a nurse, but everyone seems to be unavailable. Better luck at the hospital where I was able to change my appointment to the following week. And then I could at last push on with my notes.

There was the usual break for my afternoon walk so grabbing the NIKON D500 j cleared off outside.

lancia fulviasport 1600 zagato place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while there was no bus parked outside the building today, I would swap any bus on the road for one of these.

This vehicle is probably one of the fasted production cars that Lancia ever produced, and I didn’t recognise it at first because someone has taken off the distinctive bumpers. But in actual fact it’s one of the Zagato-bodied Lancia Fulvia Sport 1600s.

Made for just two years, 1971 and 1972, there can’t have been many of these made, and there can’t be more than a handful that still survive, especially here in France.

But yes, one of these would do me very nicely, thak you.

man in water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo having dealt with the car, let’s go and deal with the issue of the beach.

It took quite an effort to make it across the car park because there was now a howling gale that had sprung up. I wasn’t expecting to see too many people on the beach, and I was quite right too because everyone was conspicuous by their absence

Apart from a few brave souls wandering around out there, there was this guy leaping up and down as the waves came into shore. He was certainly a braver man than I am.

waves breaking on rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd waves of course, there were plenty because there was quite a storm raging out at sea.

There are some rocks that even when the tide is well in, they aren’t covered over by the sea and the waves were breaking on them with quite considerable force. We aren’t likely to see too many ships out there today.

But there were crowds of people at a loose end wandering what to do and I threaded my way through them along the path, chasing after my headgear that had decided to go off for a stroll all on its own with the aid of the wind.

joly france 1 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I said that we aren’t likely to see many ships out there this afternoon, here’s one that I certainly didn’t expect to see.

It was the clouds of spray being thrown around out there that drew my attention to somethign moving so I went to find a high point on top of one of the old bunkers to have a better view.

Exposed as I was to the wind, it was impossible to take the shot that I wanted for when there was a shower of spray over the ship I was being blown out of position. I had to compromise.

Digital enhancement back home brought out the step in the stern of the ship and this tells us that it’s Joly France I battling its way valiantly out through the gale to the Ile de Chausey and I bet that the people on board were not enjoying the trip.

A few years ago I was on a crossing like that, and everyone was leaning over the railings.
“The trouble with you” I said to one man “is that you have a week stomach”.
“Nonsense” he retorted. “I’m throwing it as far as all the others”.

waves on sea wall baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith all of these storms at sea I was expecting to see waves of hurricane proportions dshing over the sea wall and soaking everyone and everything in the inner harbour.

Consequently I dashed down the path, across the car park and around the corner onto the path onto the other side of the headland in eager anticipation.

And this is the best that I can get.

It’s true that the harbour wall is well-sheltered from the nor’westers by the headland around which I have just walked, and you can tell that by the fact that I have now replaced my headgear. But I was expecting much better than this.

If I knew who to complain to, I would lodge a complaint.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday (was it only yesterday?) we saw one of the shell-fishing boats moored up and aground at the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant.

Today, it looks as if we have had a tactical substitution because while she has now cleared off, another one his come to take her place.

When I went further round to the front, I could see that it’s our old friend L’Omerta who seems to spend a lot of her time moored over there when she isn’t out at sea.

But anyway, that’s not my affair. With nothing going on any different in the chantier naval I carried on with my walk.

man in hazmat gear le tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on down the road I stopped to have a look at what was going on in the inner harbour.

The trawler Le Tiberiade is in there this afternoon. She has a sister-ship, Le Coelecanthe and the only way that I can tell them apart is when I see them together because the latter is bigger than the former.

But as I looked more closely, there was something else that had caught my eye. In the background is a white van and a large commercial pressure-washer, being operated by someone in full hazmat equipment.

So whatever that is all about, I’d love to find out more. Although there isn’t likely to be anything in the local paper about it, and at the speed at which I move these days, I wouldn’t be able to catch him before he went.

unloading builders equipment port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead, I turn my attention to the rest of the inner harbour.

And remember the pile of builder’s material that we saw there yesterday and this morning, well, like Topsy, it “just growed”.

If you look very closely, you can make out the front of an articulated lorry and there’s also a guy on a fork-lift truck busy manoeuvring stuff around there.

All of this seems to indicate to me that the arrival of one of the Jersey freighters is imminent.

But I shan’t be around to wait for it if it arrives on the evening tide. I’m off back home for my coffee.

Downstairs in my letter box was a letter, from the Welsh Joint Education Council. For my “spoken Welsh exam” I’ve scored … errr … 208 out of 220. The reason for that mark is that I have learnt after many years of bitter experience to “Keep it Simple” and don’t try to complicate things gratuitously. Then you can’t tie yourself in knots of your own making.

Back here I finished off yesterday’s entry, about 7 hours later than I had intended, and then made tea. Falafel and pasta with the most delicious pineapple upside-down cake with coconut soya stuff.

No football tonight so I can go to bed. And about time because I’m wasted after my bad night and early start.

Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Thursday 29th July 2021 WHILE I WAS …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 20th June 2021 – HOW LONG IS IT …

citroen traction avant 15 boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… since we’ve featured an old car on these pages?

So here’s one that I saw today and you don’t need any introduction to they type of vehicle that this is because you’ve been introduced to its LITTLE BROTHER on several occasions.

And when I say “little brother” I really do mean this because whilst mine that’s in the back of my garage at Montaigut-en-Combraille is one of the smaller lightweight four-cylinder 7CV models, the one that’s here on these pages is the Real McCoy, the big heavyweight 6-cylinder 15CV models, as you can tell by the badge that is proudly displayed on the right-hand mudguard.

citroen traction avant 15 boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact we can actually put a date to this one, assuming that it’s all correct.

The boot lid features the shape of the spare wheel. That was phased out in late 1952. But it has straight bumpers instead of the curved “whiskers” type. That type was phased out in early 1952

But the real Real McCoy, the Holy Grail of all Citroen Traction Avants that I know existed at one time and which were never put into production, and I’ve no idea if there are any left, are the model 22s.

22 is of course twice 11 and so you might be expecting something special, and indeed you are right. It’s an experimental model fitted with a V8 engine made of two of the four-cylinder 11 engines. If only I could find one of those I would be in heaven, but let’s be honest – it’s not very likely.

What else that wasn’t going to be very likely is me being up anything like early. With having crashed out so definitively in the afternoon I couldn’t sleep and I was still up working at 04:00 this morning. Being awake and up and about at 11:30 on a Sunday was something of a surprise.

There had been enough time for me to go off on my travels during the night. We were looking after 2 children about 8 or 9, a boy and a girl. They were rather unruly and it was hard to keep control of them. As it was nearly bedtime I took them outside to let them play around for a while. That was the idea – I brought a ball with them. I left them out there for what was going to be 10 minutes but turned out to be longer than that. They must have gone to bed on their own so no-one said anything. The next morning I went to awaken them. They asked “what are you going to make us do today”? I asked why and they replied “if we’re going to play football we’re just going to make a noise”. I replied “in that case I’d put one of you up here and the other one somewhere else and you can make as much noise as you want”. When we went outside they had made a snowman only it was the two of them kneeling down stroking a big snow cat. I thought that it was wonderful. I asked “who made that”. They said that they did and some of the cats helped. So I made the kids kneel down by this sculpture and went to find as many cats as I could so I could give them to the kids to hold so that they would all be in the photo. But trying to round up a herd of cats at any one time is pretty impossible as anyone who has a large number of cats will tell you.

After the meds, much of the day has been spent going through the music and sorting a few things out. And in a spectacular burst of energy I paired the music for the radio programme that I’ll hopefully be doing tomorrow.

And then I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing to do while I was out was to go and stick my head over the wall at the end of the car park to see what the score is down on the beach this afternoon.

And while there wasn’t all that much beach to be on because the tide was well in, there were still hordes of people clinging on to the rocks like seabirds, or rather like King Canute trying desperately to turn back the tide. There were even some people looking as if they had been into the water too.

That must have been quite a brave thing to do this afternoon because while it’s summer tomorrow, it was rather like an April day out there right now. The heatwave that we had at the beginning of the week seems to be well and truly gone and that seems to be our lot.

people fishing from boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that that would ever seem to bother a certain part of our society. The fishermen seem to be always there either on the rocks or in their little boats just offshore. That is, if they aren’t right out at sea in a big trawler or two.

Today we have Jerome K Jerome’s “Three Men In a Boat” out there armed with fishing rods and heaven alone knows what else, but probably not a dog called Montmorency. One of the guys has his rod in the water but as the boat is moving along, it’s going to be very unlikely that he will be tempting any of the local sea bass to come in and take the bait.

Of course, fishing is actually very much like having sex. You get your rod out and you never know what you are going to catch.

I’ll get my coat.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the fishermen in the boat weren’t the only people out there hoping to catch a bite to eat this afternoon.

There are a couple of birds of prey who loiter around in the air around the edge of the cliffs here at the Pointe du Roc. As well as the lizards and mice and all of the usual kinds of wildlife that inhabit the cliffs, there’s a colony of rabbits and I would imagine that a young baby rabbit would be just the thing to feed a growing family of vultures or whatever they are.

But while he was swooping up and down a few times, I didn’t actually see him catch anything either although I reckon that he would have far more animal cunning than the fishermen.

crowds of people on footpath british flag pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so I headed off on my walk along the path on top of the cliffs, in amongst the crowds of people who were also out there for their afternoon stroll, most of whom were not taking a blind bit of notice of the order from the Préfet that masks are compulsory here until 30th June.

But there was something interesting down by the war memorial to the Resistance that I noticed for the first time since I came back. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that they were flying the German flag down there the other day but this afternoon I noticed that it had gone and in its place is the Union Flag of the United Kingdom.

“Is there a story behind the substitution of the flags?” I asked myself when I saw it. I would have expected the British flag to have been the more likely of the two seeing as we are celebrating the Normandy landings, but the German flag was flown first. So why the change?

yacht speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was pondering over that conundrum I noticed something moving out in the Baie de Mont St Michel and as it looked rather like something a little weird I went to investigate.

It was a yacht that was out there this afternoon and while there wasn’t really anything in the way of wind today, it was careening right over at quite an angle. There must have been quite something of a wind blowing out there to sea to have caused it to go over at that much of an angle. There isn’t the wake of another boat or anything that is causing it.

The little zodiac that looks as if it’s coming over from the Ile de Chausey looks as if it might be having a few yachtsmen dropping in for a coffee if the yacht goes over much more.

speedboat joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s some much more exciting activity going on around the headland in the Baie de Mont St Michel so I wandered off around the path to meet it.

That little speedboat or cabin cruiser with the fishermen in it that we saw earlier is heading back into port at quite a speed, and here it’s about to collide with the wake of one of the Joly France boats that has just left harbour and is heading over to the Ile de Chausey to presumably rescue some holidaymakers from there.

And that’s the older of the two Joly France boats. You can tell that by looking at the windows. They are rectangular but in “landscape” rather than “portrait” mode.

aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s not quite all of the fun that was going on out there this afternoon.

While I was out there watching the activities of all of the boats off the end of the headland and in the Baie de Mont St Michel I was overflown by another light aeroplane. Unfortunately it was far too far out for me to be able to read its registration number.

And as you might expect, the records of the control tower at the airport here were of no use whatsoever. No planes were recorded as having landed round about this time so I couldn’t even check to see if a flight plan had been filed or if it had been picked up by radar at any point during the afternoon.

yacht rebelle fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I pushed along the path on top of the headland round to the viewing point overlooking the harbour, dodging the unmasked millions as I did so.

From the viewpoint there’s a good view looking down into the chantier navale. I was expecting to see some changes down there over the period while I had been away, but apparently not so. The yacht Rebelle is still down there, up on blocks at the side of the harbour where Aztec Lady lived for so long.

The fishing boat that moved in there not long before I went away is still there too, so there have been no goings, and no comings either, unless I missed them while I wasn’t here.

And there was nothing else going on very much so I went to look at the Citroen on the car park.

One of the things that I did earlier this morning that I have yet to mention was that I made some bread dough. On my return I gave it the second kneading, shaped it and put it in the bread mould.

Then I made a pile of pastry mix, lined a pie dish with some of it, made a filling out of diced apple, raisins, desiccated coconut, cinnamon and lemon juice, and then covered the pie with the rest of the pastry. It was then sealed, brushed with milk, dusted with brown sugar and priced to let out the steam.

With the pastry that was left and the filling that was left, I made an apple turnover.

That lot went into the oven and while they were baking I attended to the pizza. I’d taken the dough out of the freezer earlier and now I kneaded it, rolled it and put it in the pizza dish to rise. After an hour or so when it had risen I assembled the pizza with that I had (which wasn’t much).

apple pie home made bread vegan pizza apple turnover place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here are the finished products. The pizza is delicious even if it was undercooked because I forgot to turn up the oven after the bread.

As for the rest of the food you’ll have to wait until tomorrow because I had no room for any pudding or any bread tonight after the pizza. I shall look forward to that with eager anticipation.

So now that’s all done and I can think about going to bed. Despite the late start I’m ready for an early night what with having to do my radio programme in the morning. And that reminds me – I mustn’t forget to switch the alarms back on for tomorrow morning otherwise I’ll be in a right jam.

But not a jam pie. Thats maybe for a few weeks’ time.

Sunday 14th March 2021 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… day I have had today.

This morning I didn’t leave my bed until 11:45 and I even spent a couple of hours asleep this afternoon so it was something of a wasted day.

But on reflection (which I was able to do some time later) I realised that it wasn’t such a wasted day at all.

After I’d finished yesterday’s notes I went and made the sourdough dough for the fruit loaf that I was planning to make today. But by the time that I’d finished I somehow seemed to have lost any tiredness that I might have done.

Not being able to go off to sleep I switched the computer back on. There was someone whom I knew in Florida who was on line so we started to chat and by the time that I was finally ready to go to bed it was … errr … 05:45.

And during the time that I’d been chatting I’d been dealing with the Greenland photos. Another pile of those disappeared and right now we are inspecting a seabird colony at the foot of the Sermitsiaq Glacier that leads from the Maniitsoq Ice Cap into the Evighedsfjorden or Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord as it’s known today.

After the medication this morning I gave the sourdough its second kneading and put it into its mould and then prepared two lots of yeast-powered dough, one for the loaf of bread that I need for this week and the second batch for the next supply of pizzas.

While that was proofing I made myself some porridge and toast for breakfast, or rather, lunch actually, given the time.

Back in here I made another start on tidying up the back-up drive and despite falling asleep half-way through, I’m now up to 1.11TB of free space and had I remained awake I might even have managed to clear out some more but that was something of a forlorn hope.

It wasn’t until about 16:00 that I awoke and it took me until about 16:30 to recover my composure. I kneaded the dough for the loaf a second time, shaped it and put it into the mould to proof a second time. And then I went out for a walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBeing rather later going out than normal, the tide was well out by now – farther out than I was expecting it to be.

Considering that it was a Sunday, I was surprised to see that there were so few people out there making the most of it. While there was a fair bit of wind today, it was much less than yesterday’s wind and it wasn’t really all that unpleasant.

If the weather the other day had been such to have permitted a couple of people to go for a swim in the sea, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall, I would have expected them to have at least braved the weather that we were having today in order to have a picnic or two on the beach.

people on paths pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnyway, having taken the photo of the beach I walked off along the path on top of the cliffs all the way down to the lighthouse at the end of the Pointe du Roc.

There were quite a few people out there on the lawn having a walk around in the nice weather, many of them with dogs. As an aside, taking animals for a walk is an acceptable way of being out in the streets after curfew here in France and according to stories that I have heard, the local animal shelters are now running out of dogs for adoption. So at least some things are benefiting from the curfew.

Across the lawn and the car park, I went down to the end of the headland but there was nothing going on out in the bay so I followed the path down on the other side of the cliff.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that after we had seen the two Joly France boats and Chausiais moored at the ferry terminal the other day, yesterday we saw one of the Joly France boats and Chausiais moored in the inner harbour.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe mused about the whereabouts of the other Joly France boats that was conspicuous by its absence.

But muse no longer, dear reader, because she’s now come back and is moored up in the loading bay in the inner harbour. Obviously we aren’t expecting the arrival of one of the Jersey Freighters right now.

Back at the apartment I had my coffee and carried on with sorting out the files on the computer. Right now I’m tidying up the directories on the big computer because some time in the near future I’ll be swapping a few hard drives around and I want to have everything sorted out for when I do.

In view of the kind of chaos that I’ve been in for so long in the past that’s taken me so long to sort out just now, I don’t want to repeat it.

Later on I knocked off and checked the dough over.

The two loaves in their moulds were ready – the sourdough had even risen a little, so I switched on the oven and when it was warm, I put them in to bake.

Meantime I kneaded the pizza dough, divided it into three, oiled two and put them into the freezer, and the third one I rolled out and put in the pizza tray.

vegan pizza home made bread sourdough fruit loaf place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the pizza base had proofed I prepared the pizza and when the bread was cooked I took that out and put the pizza in.

hen that was cooked I had my tea and it was probably one of the tastiest that I have ever had. Definitely a success, this one. No pudding though because I’m not hungry. But there is plenty of apple pie in the fridge for pudding for the next few days.

Now that I’ve written up my notes I’m going to bed, regardless of how early it is. I need a good sleep because I have a radio programme to write up tomorrow and I want to be on form. I can’t afford too many days like I’ve had today.

But at least it wasn’t as total a disaster as I was thinking that it might have been had I not buckled down and did some photos while I was still awake earlier this morning.


But that’s enough about me. Let’s talk about the day instead.

With it being Sunday I had a nice little lie-in today.

It was rather a late night last night because I ended up playing the guitar right through into the small hours, for want of anything better to do. So being awake just before 10:00 and not leaving the bed until about 10:30 isn’t of any importance.

Surprisingly, after all the sleep that I had, I didn’t go all that far on my travels during the night. I only remember bits of this but I was with Terry and Liz and we were talking about my Welsh course. I’d somehow led them to believe that I was taking classes physically rather than virtually and taking place in North Wales, Bangor. Terry said that he had to go there so I replied that if it was a Monday I could take him there in the afternoon. He said that it wasn’t. We started to chat about Bangor and he asked where I stayed when I was up there. I replied out by THE MENAI BRIDGE which of course I didn’t stay there at all. I can’t really remember the rest of this.

But anyway it must have been a deep relaxing sleep if that’s all that I did.

As far as work goes, I really didn’t do all that much at all. After all, it is Sunday and I’m entitled to a day of rest here and there.

One thing that I did do however was to make a start on the ginger bug – the base that you use for brewing your own ginger beer. That’s now up and running and we’ll see how that develops over the next week or so, ready to make into ginger beer. Having over the last couple of weeks accumulated a few more flip-top pressurised bottles, I can do that now.

And while I was at it, I fed the sourdough

windsurfer baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course there was the afternoon walk – no afternoon is complete without that.

Mind you, I would much rather have stayed indoors this afternoon because it was horrible out there. Only the guy windsurfing offshore at Donville les Bains would be taking any pleasure from the howling gale that was going on out there this afternoon.

With no-one about at all, I even tried to run along the footpath under the walls but gave it up after half a dozen steps because the wind brought me to a shuddering halt as I tried to make progress.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn view of the howling gale I had decided to take the low road under the walls rather than the high road around the headland.

And you can tell what the weather was like because there are so few people out and about compared to yesterday, and those who were had dressed themselves sufficiently to enable them to cope with the Arctic conditions. Even my ears were freezing as the wind somehow found its way to whistle through the woolly hat that I was wearing to keep my woolly head warm.

It was one of those days where I had no intention whatever of staying outside for a second longer than I had to. I was keen to come on home for my hot coffee.

sunlight baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve had a few occasions over the depths of darkest winter where we’ve been having some spectacular sunsets on the bay out there by the Brittany coast.

Whilst the day has lengthened to such an extent now, we aren’t having the same effects which is a pity. But there were a couple of holes in the thick, heavy clouds this afternoon and we ended up with another TORA TORA TORA moment this afternoon as rays of sun were shining down onto the sea.

There was someone else out there armed with a camera wandering around looking for objects to photograph but I can’t believe that he missed this view.

mural rue lecarpentier rue des degres Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been out on my travels yesterday I’d seen a mural that someone had painted on a gate down in the Rue Carpentier, but there were so many people around it that it was impossible to photograph it.

Today I’d forgotten all about it – until a casual glance down the Rue des Degres brought me face-to-face with it again. There was no-one about here so I could photograph it at my ease, and I’m glad that I waited until today because photographing it like this from the far end of the side street has brought it out quite well.

But I’m curious to know what it’s all about. It’s rather reminiscent of the album cover of COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING but I’d be surprised if anyone recognised that album out here.

yacht aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAround the walls I walked, to see what was happening. And from up here there’s a good view down onto the chantier navale.

There’s no change in the occupants – the two fishing boats, the yacht that has been there for ever and Aztec Lady which has been there for much longer than I was expecting, but I took a photo of it all because it’s not often that we see it from this perspective.

Seeing as I was dressed for the winter, I took the opportunity to take out the rubbish – the general garbage and the recyclable metal and glass. Such is the highlight of the day, hey?

Having taken out a lump of pizza dough from the freezer at lunchtime, it was now ready to prepare. I rolled it out and put it in the pan to proof again while I came back in here to edit some more photos from Greenland.

rice pudding home made vegan pizza Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce it had proofed, I switched on the oven and bunged in the rice pudding to cook while I prepared the pizza.

And when the pudding was ready, in went the pizza. Meanwhile, I parcelled up the remaining slices of apple pie, labelled them and put them in the freezer for when the rice pudding runs out.

The pizza was delicious but I can’t comment on the rice pudding because there wasn’t any room left inside me for dessert. So that will have to wait until tomorrow.

So now I’m off to bed for an early night. I need to have a good start tomorrow as I have nothing prepared for the radio so I’ll be doing a programme from scratch.

I’ve not crashed out at all today so despite the late start I’m tired and if I prolong it, it’s going to be another dismally late start tomorrow and I can’t afford that.

Saturday 14th November 2020 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 13th November 2020 – AFTER EVERYTHING …

… that I wrote yesterday evening about an early night and an early start? it was … errr … 10:30 when I finally crawled out of bed.

If you think that that is devastating, just let me say that after finishing my notes, I started on a little project of no significance, a project that I dip into every now and again, and by the time I started to feel tired enough to go to bed, it was after 04:00.

So 10:30 isn’t really all that bad, I suppose, and at least there was some work of a sort being done.

During the night I’d been on my travels again. I was going somewhere laat night on a bus or something so I had to leave my car, the mk V Cortina NMP parked up at the side of the road. I was going to be away ages so I was worried about leaving it there for so long but as the bus passed by I could see two of the guys from the taxis opening it and climbing in Obviously they needed it for things so that was OK. I ended up round at my mothers where suddenly I had some kind of panic attack – what about all my personal stuff that I’d left in the car? What was going to happen if the people at the taxis got their hands on it? But anyway I got dressed, in a pair of grey trousers that I wore when I was at Shearings. And as I pulled the belt tight, it went two notches over where it usually went which was strange. As I was setting off to visit the parents of a friend my mother shouted “make sure you ring them to tell them that you are coming. Don’t just turn up unannounced”. I thought that that would be difficult to arrange but I said nothing. However my mother said it twice so I wondered what was happening here.

My Covid friend was on line so we had a chat while I finished off what I’d been doing last night. And with the late start that took me right the way up to lunchtime. Something of a waste of a morning, really.

After lunch, fighting off the temptation to go back to sleep, I made a start on amending one of the journal entries from my voyage around Central Europe but I ran aground half-way through.

waves breaking on rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was enough time however for me to go off on my afternoon walk around the headland.

The tide was well on its way in when I went out, and I noticed the effect of the waves breaking on the rocks that were there on the beach and which by now had disappeared beneath the waves near the marker light for the rocks.

They were actually submerged but only to a very minimal depth so although you couldn’t see them, you could see the waves breaking on them.

It was something that held my interest for a couple of minutes and then I pushed on, passing three or four others who were out there this afternoon.

sun in windows carolles Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was very little going on out at sea this afternoon – no boats of any description in the English Channel or the Baie de Mont St Michel.

But there was an exciting phenomenon occurring down the bay round by Carolles. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing the sunlight reflected off the windows of St Pair sur Mer in the late afternoon earlier in the year. Of course, the sun has moved round in the sky and we now have the windows in Carolles picking up the glint of the sun.

You wouldn’t credit just how dark it’s starting to go now, even though it’s only about 16:00. Winter is going to be upon us a darn sight sooner than we think.

coelacanthe joly france waiting for gates to open port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallStill no change in the occupants of the chantier navale. The yacht is still there, as is the vessel Ceres II

But it was interesting out in the tidal harbour though. The gates must have been on the point of opening and boats were queueing up to go into the inner harbour. Here we have one of the Joly France boats, the older of the two, and also one of the two trawlers, either Coelacanthe or her sister La Tiberiade.

There were a couple of other boats in the queue too, and as I watched, the harbour gates opened and the boats went steaming … “dieseling” – ed … into port

le tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallI came to the conclusion that the trawler that I had seen just now was Coelacanthe, and I concluded that for a very good reason too.

Moored up at the Fish Processing Plant was her sister and I could clearly see her name on the side of her superstructure. She’s Le Tiberiade, and one of these days I’ll be able to tell them apart. I’ve noticed a couple of little differences between them when they have been next to one another.

She’s busy unloading her catch right now. There’s a van with an opening cargo door that looks as if it might be taking away some of the seafood, and the tractor is busy negotiating the loading ramp with a full trailer.

coelacanthe thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there, I watched Coelacanthe pass through the gates and into the harbour.

Once inside she began to perform a little nautical danse macabre as she made for her mooring at the rear of the two Channel Island Ferries. And I noticed that Thora was still in port this afternoon. It seems that for one reason or another, she’s not benefitting from these rapid turnrounds that I’ve mentioned before.

But one thing that I did notice from the image that I couldn’t see with the naked eye is that she has steam … “diesel” – ed … up, so it does look as if she’s actually on the point of heading out to the open sea.

thora leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it all was turning out to be quite interesting in there this afternoon.

As Thora “cast off forr’ard, cast off aft” in the inner harbour, Le Tiberiade did likewise and as the one headed for the harbour gate so did the other from the other side, out of view of each other. Half expecting a “Greek meets Greek at the Hull Paragon, Valentine’s Day 1927” moment, I gripped the edge of my seat in eager anticipation.

However le Tiberiade just about made it into the harbour without a collision, Thora

waves on promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been wandering around, I’d noticed that the sea was becoming rather rough. And with the tide being well-in right now I was keen to see what was happening down at the Plat Gousset.

And it was a good move too because even with 90 minutes to go before high tide, the waves were coming in with something of a powerful force and smashing into the sea wall over there.

There weren’t very many people out there enjoying the spectacle from close to, but I imagined that they would all be out there a little bit later at high tide when they really would be treated to something of a spectacle.

thora english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now I imagined that Thora would now be rounding the headland on her way out to sea, so I retraced my steps of earlier up to the viewpoint next to the College Malraux to see how she was doing.

And eventually she came a rattling around the headland into the teeth of the wind and the waves and set course for St Helier. It’s not going to be an easy ride for her in this kind of sea.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I keep on saying that one of these days I’ll hitch a ride on her when she has a couple of trips in rapid succession and see how she does. Luckily I’m in a good position in that I hold a British passport and a Permanent Residency Card for France so there needs to be little in the way of border controls to ease my passage.

thora english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut that’s not going to be for a while with all of this Covid going on. No-one will be going anywhere for quite a while yet.

And so I watched Thora battle her way through the waves for a while and then headed for home.

On the way across the car park I’d seen Gribouille, the big ginger cat, sitting on his windowsill so I went to give him a stroke. And there I fell in with his owner, and learnt some pretty sad news. She’s had a couple of falls just recently, during one of which she fractured her had and it had to be stapled together. But as she doesn’t seem to be able to cope particularly now, she’s moving into sheltered accommodation

Of course, she’s taking my mate with her, but regardless of that, it’s another convivial soul from the building who is moving away. Nothing stays the same for long, and rightly so, but it’s a shame when people move away like this and break up a happy little circle.

Back here I caught up with a few notes and then went to make some kefir. This morning, I’d started on the last bottle and there was another batch brewing nicely.

The four kiwi fruits that I had bought three weeks ago were now nice and ripe so I peeled them and threw them in the whizzer, followed by a generous handful or two of grapes.

Having whizzed them around for quite a while to extract as much juice as possible and then passed it all through my network of meshes and filers into the big jug.

Having done that, I drained off the brewing kefir through a very fine-mesh filter and added it to the juice, stirring it well in, leaving an inch or two of liquid in the bottom to keep the kefir grains covered.

kiwi and grape kefir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSeveral slices of lemon, a fig bisected and 40 grammes of sugar went into my big jar, followed by 2 litres of filtered water. That’ll brew now for a few days while I wonder where I’m going to get some figs from for the next batch after that as I’ve now run out.

The mixed kefir and juice was then strained through a mesh coffee-filter into the various flip-top bottles that I use. They’ll be put into a cool place out of direct light now to complete the second fermentation and in a couple of days they will be ready to drink.

But I made a bit of a boo-boo here. Remember the pineapple slices that I’d had the other day? I’d put the syrup on one side to use in my kefir today but I’d forgotten it. I don’t know whether it’ll keep for four or five days now.

All of that took so much time that I didn’t have my guitar practice, which was disappointing.

Instead, I ended up with some of the best taco rolls that I’ve ever made. That chick pea and couscous stuff that I used in error instead of the bulghour certainly made a difference. And my defrosted apple pie was delicious too

night rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Halllater on I went out for my runs around the walls.

No-one else was out there, everywhere else was quiet, not even the Pizza van in the Place Czmbernon tonight with the lockdown. No-one down in town either.

I had a look to see if the Christmas decorations had gone up in the Rue Paul Poirier but while there is certainly something or other, and several thereof, strung up across the street, there’s nothing illuminated yet.

All of this is to come very soon, I imagine. But I’ll find out more in due course. I ran on home to write up my notes.

Tomorrow it’s shopping day, and I have to track down some figs. That’s not going to be easy because I’ll still without Caliburn so wherever I go and whatever I buy, I’ll have to carry it home and I’m not looking forward to that.

Luckily the freezer is pretty well stocked up and that should keep me going for a week or so but I really do need to organise myself better. I don’t know what it is that I’m doing right now but whatever it is, I’m doing it all wrong.

Tuesday 10th November 2020 – WHAT A …

… bad day this was today.

But I could console myself (although it isn’t appropriate to do so) in the fact my day was nothing like as bad as that of some people.

And therein lies the root of it all. Just as I was going to bed last night, one of my dearest friends came on line for a chat and to tell me the news that she has contracted Covid, and is in isolation in a separate room in her own home away from her family.

We ended up talking to each other until about 03:00 about this and that until she decided that she needed to go to sleep. And so no chance of my waking up at 06:00. 09:20 was a bit more like it, and then I would have stayed in bed until later had I had the choice.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I don’t have too many friends – I go for quality, not quantity – but that’s now two of them, in widely separated parts of the World who are suffering. These are probably going to be the first of many. This virus is coming too close for comfort and I’m not sure how the rest of us are going to escape.

And as I write this, I discover that another two friends of mine suffered from it too, but right at the beginning of the outbreak and so they didn’t really publicise it like people would subsequently.

Anyway, with my running late, I had to prepare for my Welsh class, which took longer than it ought, and when the computer, when I switched it on to connect to the Zoom site decided to perform an upgrade. I had a feeling that it was going to be one of those days.

Our teacher didn’t help much either. She took us all the way through the course, all 2.5 hours of it, without a single break and my head had turned to jelly a long time before the end of the class.

After lunch, and more of my delicious bread, I had a listen to the dictaphone.

During the night we had been watching some kind of report on the economy in north-east France, an industrial town, about the father of a family who worked on a railway siding that served a couple of factories and how things had already been difficult when they had closed the line for a while to replace everything but now they were talking about the factories closing down with people changing habits by buying from abroad etc. They were saying what a hard time people like this father were going to have, yet there he was. He had 8 children and living in some sort of primitive conditions with a tin bath. he was saying that by the time the 8th child got into the bathwater it was pretty black. It would be even worse by the time all of this work had been going on with the dust and everything that it was creating. My friends and I appeared to have very little sympathy for him because he seemed to be one of these people who was stuck in a routine and had a total lack of imagination. All he could do in his spare time was to just breed children

With one or two other things that needed some attention, it was soon time to go out for my afternoon walk

cloud formation cotentin peninsula Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLooking out across the bay I saw what can only be described as a “mariner’s delight”. And any ancient mariner – and, indeed, a few modern ones too – will tell you about these.

A clear but moisture-laden air is blown across the sea by the wind and then hits the coastline. To cross the coastline the air has to rise up and the change in temperature and pressure causes the moisture to condense.

It’s a sure sign of land ahead and mariners throughout the centuries will have their eyes glued to the horizon looking for these cloud banks as they cross vast expanses of water.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that WE SAW A BEAUTIFUL ONE when we were in Labrador in 2010.

joly france english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was peering out to sea I saw movement on the water over by the Ile de Chausey and it was heading my way.

And so I carried on walking, knowing that it was drawing even closer to me as I advanced along the footpath. Of course I had a really good idea of who it might be but nevertheless I took a photo of it for closer examination

Sure enough, I was perfectly correct, not that there was ever any doubt. Our old friend Joly France is on her way back from the islands accompanied by a squadron of birds of some description.

sun shining through clouds baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the point at the headland and I had a look out to sea westwards towards the Brittany coast.

The weather is completely different here as you can see. It’s almost completely overcast. There are a few obvious gaps in the cloud cover and the bright sunlight is coming streaming through them onto the surface of the water.

This is the kind of thing that is well-worth a photo. It has produced quite a surreal effect over there and that kind of view would be almost impossible to reproduce artificially. Nevertheless it would have been nice to catch a trawler or something in the sunlight.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy this time, Joly France had caught up with me and had come around the headland into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

It’s the older one of the two Ile de Chausey ferries. You can tell that bu the fact that the upper deck superstructure is larger than on the other one and the windows on the main deck are more square than deep-rectangular.

But even with confinement it seems that the ferries are still working. As yet I’m unconvinced of the wisdom of that decision as it will merely entice second-home owners and tourists out to the island, taking the virus with them.

With this virus, which has a shelf-life of two days, the only hope of beating it is for a complete lockdown for a couple of weeks. Half-hearted measures aren’t going to be of any use whatsoever.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLeaving Joly France aside for the moment, I wandered off along the footpath to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour to see what was going on.

And we have a visitor in port today. Normandy Trader is here on one of her runs from Jersey and back again. But she’s not moored in the usual place for loading and unloading. She should be underneath the crane that’s round to the left out of shot.

All that I can think of is that maybe Thora was in port too and had needed the crane for loading and unloading but I must have missed her. It can’t be because of Chausiais as she was moored up at the ferry terminal.

Back here there were still a few things to do and so I never did get round to doing what I had planned to do today. But I had a good and enjoyable session on the guitars his evening – more Bowie stuff again on the bass followed by some Creedence Clearwater Revival, and then another 30-minute concert with the acoustic 6-string.

And my singing is improving too. But before anyone gets excited about it, just let me say that it couldn’t get any worse.

Tea was an aubergine and kidney bean whatsit out of the freezer, followed by pineapple and vegan vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. There’s actually some room in the freezer now too, which is a surprise.

Just as I was about to go out for my walk, the telephone rang. It was Rosemary who wanted a “quick chat”. And we excelled ourselves tonight with a ‘phone call that ran on for a grant total of 2 hours and 50 minutes. That must be a new record, especially as during the chat I was also conducting two discussions, one with Liz and the other one with TOTGA, on the internet at the same time.

Not that that’s a problem, because no-one ever knows what I’m talking about so it doesn’t ever make any difference however many people I’m talking to.

But having sorted everyone out, no matter how late it is, I’m off to bed. But I can’t go to bed without mentioning one final thing.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, the question of Brexit has affected many of us who left the UK to seek our fortunes in the Real World. It’s caused all kinds of distress and dismay and we are all having to cope with it as best we can, jumping through all kinds of hoops to ensure that we can keep our homes and our livelihoods here.

Between us all, some of my friends and I have been obliged to apply for (and be granted) Permanent Residency in France. Others of my acquaintance from the UK have now obtained Canadian, Irish, Belgian and German nationality, and probably a few other nationalities too.

And so today it’s “hats off” to Grahame, a regular reader of this rubbish who has proudly told me that he is now an official Austrian citizen. Well done you.

When I think of the talent that the UK is losing, just among my own circle of friends, by this stupid, reckless decision no wonder the country is in such a mess.

And that reminds me – if you want to say tell me something, exchange points of view or simply say “hello”, there’s a contact button on the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

Send me a message and let me know that you are here.

Saturday 31st October 2020 – I DID HAVE …

… my lie-in this morning.

Until all of about 10:00 too. Mind you, seeing as I was still up and about at 03;30 it wasn’t all that much of a lie-in today. Not at all. For some unknown reason, despite my exhausting day I just couldn’t go to sleep.

Anyway, when I listened to the dictaphone this morning- or what was left of this morning – there was some stuff on there from yesterday too. So first thing that I did was to add all of that into yesterday’s entry. Then I could concentrate on where I’d been last night and, more importantly, who came with me.

There was some kind of football match going on last night, a team of grown-up men if you like and they were playing in the Cup against another team. This other team sent out its juniors to face them for some unknown reason and Zero was there playing centre-forward. There were two matches that they had to play and this team of kids won them both, with Zero scoring a couple of important goals playing centre-forward. It’s nice to see her around on my travels.

Later on I was in a van or pickup, presumably Strider and I was waiting at some traffic lights. There were three or four people behind me. I was editing Strider’s signwriting while I was waiting at the lights. I could do that with the computer and it would change all over the van. I was busy doing that and the lights changed so I pulled off. There was a big pickup and another van behind me. We advanced up to another road junction and turned right I suddenly realised why this road had so much traffic on it. It was the main road from Ottawa to Québec and I’d just turned off the main road from Montreal to the east so it’s bound to be extremely busy here. It went through a beautiful pass, a big main road going through this beauiful pass and Québec City was just at the end of it. I thought “why didn’t I come this way before because it seems to be so much quicker. The I realised that going home from Adventure Canada the coach had gone this way; He went to the other side of Ottawa to drop off Castor and Pollux and then turned round and gone back to Ottawa to drop off their grandparents. That seemed to be such a sensible way of doing things and I wondered why I had never thought of doing that before either. And all the time I was wondering what these people in these vehicles were thinking with Caliburn’s signwriting changing just like that while I was either parked at those lights or starting to drive away.

There’s something else that spun into my mind as well, to do with a river. There was a girl doing something in this river, it might have been Zero or it might have been Castor. We were all alongside his river – there was something going on on it and I can”t remember very much now. Later on they drained the river and I started looking on this river bed for something that was concerning this girl. I was chatting to a few of the organisers and they were saying something like “yes well someone found something and we saw them using it”. I wondered whether it might have been this girl who had found it without actually telling me. That was a big disappointment for me because I was hoping to find it and give it to her as a way of drawing her attention to me. But I don’t remember very much about this – it was all very confusing.

And there was far more to this series of voyages too but seeing as you are probably eating a meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

After hat, I went and had a shower and washed my clothes. I need to look as pretty as I can s eeing as I’m staying here until at least Friday. I say “at least” because with more and more European states closing their borders to travel it might not be as easy as I think it might be to return home.

And while we’re on the subject of lockdowns … “well, one of us is” – ed … the Tory Party’s social media site had a post pinned to the top accusing Keir Starmer of “playing party politics with people’s lives” by demanding a second lockdown. It mysteriously disappeared earlier this morning and then later this evening the Tory Party announced the same measures that the Labour Party had demanded and which they had criticised.

You really couldn’t make this up.

After lunch I sat down here for a few minutes – and promptly crashed out. A really deep and depressing and disappointing sleep that lasted for almost an hour.

skip windmolenveldstraat leuven belgium Eric HallOnce I pulled myself together I went out for an afternoon walk around.

Not that I went very far before I came to a halt. There’s been a building site at the back here that has been abandoned for longer than I can remember and which had become a local rubbish dump.

A few months ago I noticed that it had been fenced off, and today I noticed that there was a skip there loaded up with much of the rubbish that had been abandoned. It might be that work is goign to restart there sometime soon and if do, that should be very interesting.

Maybe it’s going to be an extension of this place.

If you’re wondering about the photos by the way, the battery in the NIKON 1 J5 has gone flat on me yet again.

It’s a good job that I had my phone with me right now.

demolition and rebuilding tiensesteenweg leuven belgium Eric HallSo having dealt with that, I pushed onto the Tiensesteenweg where I was nearly squidged by a kid on a scooter.

In the street there’s more stuff of interest going on. There’s a building here that’s been knocked down. The site is fenced off and there’s some heavy machinery there. That presumably means that they are going to be rebuilding something else in its place.

In fact, there were several places up and down the Tiensesteenweg where there is redevelopment taking place. Despite the virus and the retraction of the economy, it still seems to be “full speed ahead” at the moment in this respect.

photographer cardinal ladeuzeplein leuven belgium Eric HallDown the Tiensesteenweg I went, into the Herbert Hooverplein and then into the Ladeuzeplein towards the main shops.

Down at the bottom end of the Square there was a couple having fun with a camera and tripod. One of the things that I seem to do is to spend a lot of my time taking photos of people taking photos.

And for a change, there weren’t too many people about here today. It seems that people here might be taking this health crisis seriously which can only be good news. It won’t disappear if people don’t treat t with respect and obey the rules.

market brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallMind you, that wasn’t the case here. The maket in the Brusselsestraat is still open and there’s even more chaos than normal.

This is what I don’t understand. With a shelf-life of just 14 days, thus virus could be halted if they simply had three weeks of draconian restrictions. Half-hearted measures are not going to be good for anything.

And on the market there was a stall selling bratwurst – ed and that got me thinking. The idea of making sausages out of unruly children might be the answer to the post-Brexit food catastrophe in the UK. Perhaps they need to think about that to go along with hedgerow foraging and apple scrumping.

grote beguinhof leuven belgium Eric HallThere was some more shopping that I needed to so for a change I decided to go on to the Carrefour supermarket on the edge of town.

My route took me down through the Grote Beguinhof, the ancient area on the edge of the city which were formerly a kind of almshouses. Having been derelict for years they are now student accommodation for the University here and it really is a beautiful area.

It’s a pity that it didn’t become private accommodation because an apartment in here would be wonderful. I would be right at home here.

river dijle leuven belgium Eric HallThere’s a dual carriageway not too far away from here and a subway takes pedestrians and cyclists underneath.

But the River Dijle flows along right by here and it was looking really nice at this time of the year with the leaves almost all off the trees.

At the Carrefour there was plenty of vegan food, much of which was reduced so I stocked up with a few extra items for my diet. But looking at the selection, I decided that I would come here again the next time that i come to Leuven. There’s much more choice here.

stadion den dreef leuven belgium Eric HallOn the way back I went to have a look at the Stadion den Dreef.

Yes, I’m definitely missing my live football here. OH Leuven were promoted to the Premier Division for this season but with matches being played behind closed doors, there won’t be any chance of seeing them again for a while.

But there was football on the internet so I came home;

In the Welsh Premier League we were treated to Haverfordwest County against Bala Town. Haverforwest were promoted this year and I’ve seen them a couple of times this season.

Each time that I’ve seen them they have played quite well and deserve their mid-table position. They gave leaders TNS a fright the other week and this week we were entertained to an exciting 1-1 drawn. And had they been more clinical up front, they might have had more of it.

Tea was burgers and pasta with tomato sauce followed by tinned peaches and ice cream.

Bed-time now because I’m going out for the day tomorrow so I need to be on form. Let’s hope that it’s stopped raining.

Wednesday 7th October 2020 – MEANWHILE, BACK AT …

… Castle Anthrax I had my check-up. Blood count is down to a mere 8.2, just 0.2 above the critical limit. They didn’t keep me in, but they didn’t give me a blood transfusion either. They are trying a new treatment on me again, something called Octagam.

One thing that I did was to check on the side effects and symptoms. And to my surprise, I have many of the symptoms that are flagged, a couple of which have even seen me hospitalised. But I assume that they know what they are doing.

Having said that, I’m not convinced that I do. I couldn’t sleep last night and it was long after 02:30 when I finally went to bed. Quite obviously there was no chance of my leaving the bed at the sound of the alarm. I was surprised that I managed to be out of bed by 07:20.

First job was to have a shower and a clothes wash. I need to make myself pretty. And then to make some sandwiches. I’d no idea how long this session was going to last.

And then I hit the streets.

Demolition Sint Peters Hospital Brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhen you have been away for a while from a place that you know, it’s very interesting to see the changes that have taken place since your last visit.

ON OUR TRAVELS AROUND LEUVEN in the past we’ve seen the start of a whole system of changes to the city, starting with the demolition on the Sint Pieter’s Hospital Building where I stayed for a week or two when I first came here in 2016. They are making a considerable advance in dealing with the matter but it looks as if it’s going to take an age.

It’s a shame that A FORMER NEIGHBOUR and customer of my taxis is no longer with us. He would have had that building down in a twinkle of an eye and at much less cost too.

Water Spray Sint Pieters Hospital Brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhile I was watching some of the demolition, my interest was caught by this machine and I was wondering what it might be.

It took me a while but I think that I know now what it might be. It looks like some kind of water atomiser powered mainly by compressed air, I suppose, that’s blasting a pile of water over the heap of rubble that has been knocked down from the building. I imagine that its purpose is to keep the dust down.

You would never have had precautions like that 20 years or so ago. It seems that Health and Safety Regulations have even arrived over here.

Sint Jacobsplein Leuven Belgium Eric HallMy route continued along the Brusselsestraat to the corner of the place where I lived for 6 months, and then round the corner into the Sint Jacobsplein.

When we’d been away for a couple of months last year, we came back here to find a great big hole in the middle of the Square. It was all fenced off so we never had the opportunity to look into it, and even though it’s been at least a year since they made a start on it, they still haven’t finished.

This is turning into a really long job and I’m wondering if I’ll still be here to see the finished product. At least, I hope that they will make a better job of it than they did of that deplorable patch of asphalt in Granville.

Replacing Sewer Biezenstraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hallat the side of the Sint Jacobsplein is the Biezenstraat, and when we were last here IN JULY they were busy making a start on digging it up

Since then, they seem to have made a great deal of progress. And now that I can see the big concrete pipes down there, I can tell now that it’s all to do with replacing the sewer pipes in the street. That makes me wonder if they’ve installed something like a subterranean holding tank or something underneath the Sint Jacobsplein.

And as for the Frittourist, the fritkot on the edge of the Square to the left, the roadworks can’t be doing them much good in the way of passing trade. It’s a good fritkot too, one of the best in the City.

Replacing Sewer Sint Hubertusstraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhen I turn around to look behind me the other way to face the direction of the Hospital, I’m admiring the Sint Hubertusstraat.

When we came here last time, in early July, there was a huge hole in the middle of the crossroads and we had to walk miles around in order to proceed without falling down a great big hole in the road.

But now, it seems that they’ve filled in that part of the street now and while the surface isn’t finished, and not by a long way either, we can still walk past it on our way up the hill towards the hospital.

Apartment Building Block of Flats Monseigneur van Waeyenberglaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallJust after the corner there’s a big block of flats on the left that we always walk past.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago all of the residents were turfed out and once they had gone, the building was completely gutted right back to the framework. They have gradually been rebuilding it and it looks as if they are on the point of packing away their tools.

You can see all of the “For Sale” signs on the windows of the apartments. Most of them that I could see are “sold” and that presumably means that the new inhabitants will be moving into their homes very soon. It’s taken them long enough.

Replacing Sewer Monseigneur van Waeyenberglaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallMy struggle up the hill continued, through all of the roadworks that were there last time. The trench has been filled in and they are reworking the pavements and the cycle track right now.

The actual heavy work is now taking place on the way up between the by-pass overbridge and the roundabout at the foot of the car park. And just as I arrived, they obliged me by picking up a large concrete pipe and dropping it into the hole that they have dug.

For a change, I was early and was quickly logged in. And I found the reason why there had been such a delay in my treatment. In the waiting room there are no longer 40 seats but just 10. and in the communal treatment rooms where 20 people can sit and have their treatment, there are just two seats. There are about a dozen or so confidential treatment rooms where you go for your tests on admission, and now patients are left in these rooms throughout the whole of their treatment.

So Instead of about 50 patients at a session, there are now just maybe a dozen. Hardly a surprise given what’s going on right now.

A nice nurse took care of me and I had a nice young trainee doctor. There have to be some benefits of having this illness. Even nicer, Kaatje came to see me and we has a nice chat. She’s nominally a Social Worker but in reality she’s a psychiatrist, although they don’t let on. Every terminally-ill patient has a psychiatrist allocated to them, and Kaatje can come and administer to my needs any time she likes.

While I had her attention, I mentioned the issues – or lack of them – about not having had my compulsory 4-week treatment since January this year. Not that it will do any good but it’s something that one has to do.

While I was sitting there having my perfusion, I attacked the dictaphone. Last night I was a girl, would you believe? And I was living at home. I’d been downstairs for a meal and tried to talk to people and be interesting but no-one was listening or interested in the least with what I had to say. They were always cutting my speech, that kind of thing. In the end I threw something of a tantrum and stormed upstairs to my room. There was a record player in there and a record on and playing but the needle wasn’t advancing. It was just going round and round he edge again. Sooner or later there was a knock and the door opened. It was my father coming in. I thought that he might have come in to talk to me about things. But no. He just handed me a pair of my gloves that I’d left downstairs and said “you’ve forgotten these” and turned round and went out. I was so disappointed.
Later on there was one of these American sleuths – a Philip Marlowe type. He was renowned for helping his clients in all kinds of ways, many of which were illicit, to escape detection. This came at a price of course. One day he was being interviewed by a gangland boss who he didn’t particularly like. The gangland boss said something like “I understand that you can help people out of certain kinds of difficulties. Well I need a little help – that kind of thing. This private detective taunted him a little bit then said “yes, I’ll do that, $5,000”. To which the mafia type guy, the crook erupted into a rage. He grabbed this guy by the lapels and started to shake him like a dog. Just then, two warders came in to try and sort it all out.

Round about 14:00 my treatment was over and I could leave, having picked up next month’s supply of medication.

Statue Roundabout Gasthuisberg UZ Leuven Belgium Eric HallHere’s something that I’ve not noticed before, although that isn’t to say that it wasn’t there.

In the middle of the roundabout at the bottom of this car park is this large concrete pillar. And I’ve no idea why it’s there and what it’s supposed to represent. My opinion of modern art IS VERY WELL KNOWN so I won’t waste your time in repeating it. But seriously, I can’t see any attraction whatever in a concrete cast-off like this.

It reminds me very much of one of Albert Speer’s flak towers in Berlin, or something designed by someone from the Donald Gibson School of Wanton Vandalism, as I once mentioned IN MY UNIVERSITY THESIS

Demolition Sint Rafael Building Site Kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhile we’re on the subject of wanton vandalism … “well, one of us is” – ed … after my hospital wisit I wandered on down the hill to see what was going on on the Kapucijnenstraat.

When we had walked past there the last time that we were here, they had started on the demolition of the annexes to the Sint Rafael. It’ always very interesting to see how they are doing and it seems to me that right now the whole lot have been swept away. They are even starting to build something on the site, but I bet it won’t be anything like as attractive.

At least the magnificent Flemish-style main building is there, but I may well go for a wander around tomorrow with the camera to record it for posterity because the cynic inside me HAS VERY LITTLE FAITH in modern developers. A suspicious fire could break out at any moment.

Interesting Old Bulding Kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric HallThere is however a good side to all of this demolition, even if it might not seem like it.

There are loads of old houses from the glory days of the city that have been obscured by new development. There’s a little Close off the Brusselsestraat that I haven’t yet explored but with the demolition of a newer building in the Kapucijnenstraat a couple of the houses down at the bottom end of the Close have been revealed.

When I’m out and about next, I’ll have to go to have a closer look, to see whether it is an original or whether it’s a simple modern reproduction.

Repairing City Walls Handbooghof Leuven Belgium Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that last time I was here I made a note about the lamentable state of the city walls in certain places.

It’s quite clear that the good Burghers of the City are keen and regular readers of the rubbish that I write because they now seem to be fenced off and there is scaffolding up in certain places. So maybe they really are going on to do something about it all.

It was round about here that I found a set of keys lying in the road. As it happens, a couple of Municipal Police were walking in the immediate vicinity so I referred the matter to them. I went on to Delhaize for a bit more shopping to take home.

Olleke Bolleke Tiensestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallAfter Delhaize I went to Origin’O for some grated vegan cheese for my next supply of pizza and then headed for home.

In the Tiensestraat I came across my favourite sweet shop. Or at least, it was when I was allowed to eat animal products, because as far as I know, all of their products contain pork gelatine. It’s the kind of place where you put your sweets into a bag and weigh the bag to work out the price.

The first time I encountered one of these shops was when I was in Bruges getting on for 40 years ago. It’s quite a large chain of shops with branches in most of the towns. in fact, some might say that sweets in Belgium are nothing but a load of Bollekes.

Back here, I had a few things to do and that took some time to organise.

Bloemenautomat Brabanconnestrat Leuven Belgium Eric HallLater on, it was time to go out. Alison and I had arranged to meet in the town centre.

And now I have seen everything I reckon. In the past we’ve seen pizzamats, potatomats and, a few weeks ago, a soupomat. Plenty of other mats too. But today is the first time ever that I’ve seen a Bloemenomat – an automatic flower-vending machine – here at the florist’s on the corner of the Brabanconnestraat.

It makes me wonder whether or not it shouts “violet, get your luvverly violets” at passers-by. That remains to be seen.

Photograph Team Rector De Somerplein Leuven Belgium Eric HallHaving inspected the Bloemenautomat, I headed off down the Tiensestraat into the town centre.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one of my favourite photography subjects is to take photographs of other people taking photographs. Whilst that’s not the case in this photograph, I surprised a group of photographers marching actoss the Rector de Somerplein and it was too good an opportunity to miss.

Alison was waiting for me at our usual meeting place. It was nice to meet up again because it’s been a couple of months since we’ve last seen each other.

There seems to be a new place opened, the Wasbar in the Tiensestraat, and it was advertising vegan food. We decided to go there to see what it was like. It was certainly different and overpriced, but if you don’t go, you won’t know.

St Pieterskerk Leuven Belgium Eric HallAfter we’d eaten out meal we headed off back down into town.

At the bottom of the Tiensestraat is the magnificent St Peter’s Church – the Sint Pieterskerk. It’s least the third church on this site – the first known church being first recorded in 986. Made of wood, it was destryed by fire in 1176 and replaced by a church in the Romanesque period.

This one was in turn replaced by the present one, began round about 1425 and, surprisingly, still to be finished. Probably a British construction company was involved somewhere in the proceedings.

St Pieterskerk Leuven Belgium Eric HallHere at the western end, the twin towers of the Romanesque church were to remain but in 1458 they were destroyed by fire.

There was a design proposed to replace them with some really impressive towers but firstly the foundations were not solid enough, then they ran out of money, and then there were a couple of collapses of whatever of the towers had been built. Had the plans been properly completed, it would have been the tallest building in the world at the time.

During the Sack of Leuven in 1914 the church was set alight and the roof was destroyed. And then in 1944 it suffered a direct him on its northern side from a bomb

lights Mathieu de Layensplein Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhile we’d been walking around on our way to our meal we’d noticed some lights down at the end of one of the streets. On the way back we decided to go and have a look to see what as going on.

Here in the Mathieu de Layensplein where they have the brocantes at weekends, one of the bars here has decided to bring a little gaiety into the area by stringing up some very nice lights.

The whole Square looks quite nice and interesting like this and it would have been nice to see more people try this kind of thing in their neighbourhood. With everything that’s going on right now, we could do with some brightening up.

Tiensestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallOn the way back home, someone stopped me in the Tiensestraat and asked for directions.

While I was talking, I was having a look round and having the subject of lights going round in my head, I noticed just how nice the lower end of the Tiensestraat looked with all of the lights on the buildings. It’s another subject that seems to be crying out for a photograph.

Having done all of that, I headed home and missed my short-cut, so I had to go the long way round.

And now I’ve written up my notes (and that was a labour of love) I’m off to bed. No alarm tomorrow because the medication usually takes a lot out of me and I don’t know what this new stuff will be like.

And, of course, I have a 05:30 start on Friday so I need to be at my best.

Wednesday 16th September 2020 – AS I WAS SAYING …

… only the other day, having my body clock disturbed is not really a good idea.

And as I said yesterday, being awake at 03:00 isn’t a very good plan either. And going to bed at 04:15 (and not being able to sleep either) doesn’t help matters.

It goes without saying that I’d switched off the alarms. I wasn’t going to be out of bed by the third alarm and it’s pointless trying. It ended up being another 11:30 today.

There was something on the dictaphone but it seems that I hadn’t gone too far. We were on board a ship last night and the question came round about ancient Egypt. For some unknown reason I imagined myself as a young baby wrapped in a nappy being worshipped as a god or something like that, an immortal. And it was very like a voyage that I’ve had a couple of times in the past.

Or so I said. While there are plenty of examples of me going on nocturnal voyages on board ships, I actually couldn’t think of a nocturnal voyage that bears any relationship to this one with similar events to these.

While I was at it, I dealt with a few more of the arrears from my voyage around Europe. At least that is now getting down to manageable proportions from the 70-odd that were there at the start.

There wasn’t much time to do very much. I spent some time working on the notes for the live broadcast that I’m doing, but I had another thing in mind to do as well.

There are the albums to digitalise, but also some cassettes. I’d borrowed a cassette player from Liz for the task and while I was messing around with the big desktop computer, I came across an input socket on the front, one that I hadn’t noticed before.

And so I had a rummage around and came up with a stereo audio cable, plugged it into the earphone socket on the cassette player and the other end into the input on the laptop.

After much playing around with the selectors I finally managed to make the computer record a cassette – but in mono only. Yet again!

But the word “earphone” on the cassette player should have given me a clue. Sticking a set of headphones in, I found out that there was only one channel working, but that was broadcasting both tracks.

So that’s a mono output and consequently of not much use. I’m going to have to think of a plan B – which might involve having to bring the big hi-fi into here.

Failing that, I know that my DVD player in the living room will record, so maybe I could even plug the big hi-fi into the DVD, record onto the hard-drive, burn to a DVD and then copy it onto the computer.

But I’ll find a way.

chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter a shower, I had to set out on my travels. It’s that time of the year again – one of our three-monthly meetings of the radio station.

It’s a long walk out to the Centre Agora but it does me good. The road goes past the top of the harbour where I can look down and see what is going on. Normandy Trader has disappeared into the sunset, and a long time ago too, and her place has been taken by Chausiais.

After a nice long walk I ended up at the meeting where we had to listen to a few people taking several hours to say nothing at all. At one stage, on my notes I had written “Oh God! I wish that this woman would shut up!”

As I have said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … these are the kinds of meetings that should be held, standing up in the open air in a rainstorm.

port de granville harbour by night manche normandy france eric hallThe weather was really pleasant later on and so I had a lovely walk, the long way around, back home.

It’s not very often that I have the chance to see the town in the dark and so I took a couple of photos on my way home. Like this one of the sea front looking across the beach and the port to the old town (where I live) perched on the rocks.

The photo was taken with the little NIKON 1 J5 which I take with me on walks like this. It’s quite compact and light, fits in a jacket pocket and does well enough in normal lighting conditions (but struggles in abnormal condition).

bar ephemere chez maguie square pleville port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy route went through the town and then up the Rue des Juifs.

From the top of the Rampe du Monte Regret there’s a good view down towards the port. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned the Bar Ephemère, called Chez Maguie, that has sprung up on the little square at the Square Pléville.

It’s open until quite late at night and it looked quite good from up here with all of its lights working so I took a photo of that while I was at it, to add it to the collection.

trawler unloading fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I continued up the Rue des Juifs to the viewpoint overlooking the port.

There wasn’t too much excitement there tonight, except that there was a fishing boat in the harbour, moored up and unloading at the Fish Processing plant.

When I arrived back, I hardly had time to take off my jacket before the phone rang. Rosemary rang me and we had a really good chat for 90 minutes, putting the world to rights, and I ended up missing my tea. But that will do me some good, I suppose.

So, later than I was hoping, I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow so that’s a nice early morning walk. And I have to go via the railway station to pick up my rail tickets, if I remember.

Tuesday 15th September 2020 – DESPITE NOT …

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall… doing everything that I wanted to do, I’ve still had an extremely busy and active day today. I’ve never stopped and, even more surprisingly, I didn’t crash out either. That’s not really a surprise – it’s a shock!

So while you admire some photos of this evening’s beautiful sunset, let me mention that while once more I missed the third alarm, it was only by a matter of seconds and I was immediately up and sitting on the edge of the bed.

Mind you, it did take me a few minutes to collect my thoughts and summon up the strength to move, but that’s par for the course these days.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall During the night I was in my old office in Prince Albert Street. I’d had a shave and a wash but the hairs that I had shaved off my face weren’t flushing down the drain of the sink. There was a young guy sitting there by the side of the sink waiting for me to finish but I was just taking longer and longer and longer because of these hairs. In the end I told him that I was ready to get up but I can’t leave it like this because of the hairs. He said “let me have a look” and he tried to move it as well. He said “what you need is a new sink because the capacity on this isn’t enough. We need to go along and get another sink” which I thought was silly because they just don’t issue sinks like this but off we went, clambering over a few items into the main office and out again over another pile of stores. We were asked what we were looking for and we explained about the new sink. Someone said “you’ll be really lucky finding a new sink like this. You want to try a new plug hole”.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallA few more of the arrears from the dictaphone disappeared too which is good news as I slowly catch up.

After that, I tidied up in the kitchen and the dining area. We have our Welsh lesson this morning and that’s on line. I don’t really want people to see the chaos in which I live these days.

And having put all of that behind me I sat down and did some more revision of the previous course. I’ve forgotten almost everything that I learnt in the Spring.

At least, that’s what I thought because I found that once the lesson started I could actually remember some of the things that I had learned. More than I thought, more than was necessary for our opening session and more than some of my fellow-students.

Interestingly, we have a student from Romania living in Connah’s Quay who is learning Welsh. That’s certainly something quite extraordinary.

Instead of two hours, these lessons are 2.5 hours so we didn’t finish until 13:30. That meant a rather late lunch.

Having used the last of the bread, this afternoon I baked some bread. Some ordinary bread, into which I added a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds, and also a smaller loaf with a banana, some sultanas and a pile of ground almonds added to it, brushed with soya milk and sprinkled with brown sugar.

While all of that was rising in the corner, I attacked the carrots that I had bought the other day. They were peeled and diced, blanched in boiling water with some bay leaves and then drained and left to dry.

While they were drying, I peeled and diced a lump of ginger into some tiny fragments and then boiled them in some water.

While they were boiling, I peeled the lemons that I had, put them in a whizzer and whizzed them gently to separate the juice. That went onto a glass and then the remainder was thoroughly whizzed round into a pulp and then added to the ginger and water that was boiling. This was then set to simmer.

diving platform fishing boats pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile the lemon and ginger was simmering away, I went out for my afternoon walk.

It was a beautiful afternoon again, hot and sunny with very little wind. And plenty of people out there too enjoying it. The fishermen were out there as well.

At least, I reckon that they are fishermen because I can’t think of what else they might be doing in those boats down there so close inshore by the diving platform at the Pointe du Roc.

la grande ancre english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were quite a few other boats out there too. Not very many yachts today, with it not being weekend, but quite a few others.

Here’s one of our old friends again. She’s La Grande Ancre and she seems to spend much of her time engaged in fishing activity and the rest of the time transporting items out to the Ile de Chausey.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw her go out a year or two back with a tractor on her deck and she’s had many other things to transport as well, although she doesn’t seem to do as much in that line since Chausiais arrived.

driftwood part of cabinet washed ashore pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut here’s something interesting down there on the rocks.

One thing that I have noticed about the coastline here is that driftwood of any sort is very rare. We haven’t seen anything interesting, despite all the storms that we have. But this down here is the first substantial item that I’ve seen in all the time that I’ve been here.

The kids were out here again playing around on the grass. And I now know what they are doing, because I had a close look. They are having sessions in Orienteering – being given various sets of co-ordinates and running from point-to-point armed with a map and a compass.

Strangely enough, that’s the one thing that I know something about because in 1971 I came 15th in the North West England Schools’ Championship.

And no – there were not only 15 entrants.

But anyway, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the proceedings over the next few weeks to see how they are doing

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn that note I wandered off around the headland to the other side of the promontory.

And there’s some excitement today in the Chantier Navale. Over the last week or two there have been as many as seven boats in there and that’s been the most that I have ever seen – up until today, that is.

As I went past this afternoon, I noticed that they had just pulled another fishing boat out of the water with the mobile crane. That’s eight boats in there today and I’ve never ever seen that many at any one time.

hang gliders boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallSo we’ve seen crowds on the land and crowds in the sea. I’m sure that you are all wondering what is going on in the air.

The answer is that despite the apparent lack of wind this afternoon the Bird-Men of Alcatraz were flying around somehow. At one particular moment I counted three of them in the air all at once and I’m not sure how they are keeping aloft.

As an aside, I’ve not had any news about the bird-man who came to grief 10 days ago on the rocks by the tidal pool. I wonder how he’s getting on.

police on duty college malraux granville manche normandy france eric hallOne of the things that features quite regularly on these pages is the question of pathetic parking. The Rue St Pierre by the entrance to the College Malraux at school chucking-out time is notorious in this respect.

But not today.

Obviously the local constabulary is a keen reader of my pages because today we have one of Macron’s Finest on duty keeping an eye on things, including, one assumes, the wild parking.

If everyone can park properly in the free car park round the corner when there’s a copper on duty, why can’t they do it all the time?

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOnly one thing remained to be done before I could clear off home.

We have a visitor in the harbour this afternoon. One of the Jersey freighters, Normandy Trader, has come into port on the morning tide.

She’s been in a couple of times since we last saw her but the ship is very busy with plenty of work so there have been some really rapid turn-rounds just recently. She’s been in like Flynn and out again on the same tide which means that I’ve not been lucky enough to be present to snatch a photograph.

We’ve not seen Thora, the other Jersey freighter, for a while either. Things must be hotting up with the run-in to Brexit.

Back in the apartment I put the oven on to heat up and when it was warm enough, I bunged the bread inside.

home made bread banana bread blanched carrots lemon ginger honey cordial place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallTaking the ginger and lemon mix off the heat, I put it in the whizzer, added two tablespoons of honey and the lemon juice that I had decanted earlier and then whizzed it all around into a nice pulpy syrup. Then put it into a bottle with some turmeric.

When the bread was cooked I tipped the loaves out onto a wire rack to cool down.

And here are the finished product. The bread is cooling down on the rack, the carrots are now freezing nicely in the freezer and the bottle of lemon and ginger cordial is in the fridge.

And the cordial is delicious too. I tried a sample of it just now.

rue du nord place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallTea was a burger on a bap with baked potatoes (I did them in the oven while I was baking the bread) followed by apple crumble and soya coconut dessert.

That was the cue to nip out for my evening walk and runs. We’ve seen the beautiful sunset this evening, and I reckoned that while I was out there I would take a photograph of the Rue du Nord and the Place d’Armes.

You can’t see very much of my own building, but in the background to the right is the College Malraux, the local High School.

And, of course, you can see some of the decaying medieval wall that is fenced off to stop people putting themselves at risk by walking close to it.

It’s one of four parts of the wall that are fenced off right now and there seems to be no effort being made to fix them, which is a shame. The whole place is falling to bits.

flock of birds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom the rue du Nord I ran on along the footpath, walked a while to catch my breath and then ran on along the Square Maurice Marland.

While there was nothing particular going on as far as terrestrial objects go, there were huge flocks of birds taking off, flying around in a couple of circles and then landing again – only to take off again and repeating the process ad infinitum.

It’s difficult to make assumptions of course but it seems to me that they are practising their formation flying en masse with all of the young newly-born fledgelings ready for their flight south in a couple of weeks time.

flock of birds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere were hundreds and hundreds circling around, so I stopped and watched them for a while and then ran on home.

But with it being quite light this evening you are probably wondering why I’m out and about so early. The truth is that there’s football on the internet kicking off at 20:45 – Newtown v Caernarfon Town in the JD Cymru (Welsh Premier) League and I wanted to be home in time for the kick-off.

It wasn’t a very exciting match and, to be quite frank, these two teams are not going to be up there challenging for the honours at the end of the season.

The fire has gone out in Caernarfon and their central defence was somewhat conspicuous by its absence. Newtown were probably slightly the better side but their attack was rather wayward and they failed to take full advantage.

However Caernarfon ended up winning 3-2, which surprised me considerably, but it was down to one moment of magic from Paulo Mendes, another from Noah Edwards (aided by some miserable Newtown defending out by the corner flag) and some excellent work from Mike Hayes, who Bala will end up regretting releasing.

It’s now long after 03:00 and I’m still not tired so I’m carrying on working and I’ll switch off the alarms for the morning. I’d written half of the speech for my radio programme this afternoon so I can finish that off and then get on with the internet web lesson that I missed.

Monday 14th September 2020 – I’M NOT SURE …

… whether this has been a good day or a bad day.

When the third alarm went off this morning I was still in bed but surprisingly, I actually sprung up out of bed and sat on the edge. I’ve no idea what happened there – the “springing up” bit, I mean.

And neither will you when I tell you that I was still up and about at 01:40 this morning too. Having a lie-in is one thing but not when it adjusts my body clock quite like this.

As usual these days, it took an age for the bed to stop spinning so that I could get off, and once I’d gathered my wits I had a listen to the dictaphone.

We started off with a voyage that went on for ages and ages. I thought at first that it was a dream about football but it’s not. It took me a while to think about what it was actually about because when I tried to dictate it, it had all gone completely out of my head for a while but suddenly it all came back to me, as the skunk said when the wind changed.

It was actually about skiing. We were all going skiing, a huge group of us with a couple of friends of mine from the Wirral. I had some people whom they knew from the past but couldn’t remember very well some of the people. We’d all met up and having a ski around in the mountains. I was explaining to them my favourite ski runs particularly in the summer when there was still snow up in the mountains and skiing was still possible. We were making plans to all go and they were asking me “did my friends like this? Did my friends like to stop for regular breaks?” All this kind of thing. I hadn’t really got round to telling them that there was only me who was interested in going with them to do this. This conversation about my favourite ski runs in this mountain went on – you get to the top and you get the drag lift up here and you take this nice beautiful red run all the way down here. This went on for ages. Then it was time for break and we were sitting around. I was waiting at a table with this particular group. People were asking “do we want to continue? Do we want to go on?” I said “my group hasn’t asked for any food yet” so I said to them “do you have any requests? And make sure that they are physically possible”. Everyone burst out laughing but no-one actually asked for anything.

A little later it was a beautiful afternoon and I was walking around the little park/lawn place by the Boulevard Vaufleury and is this the first time that I’ve dreamt about Granville? Even though it was beautiful there was no-one really taking advantage of it except a group of schoolkids doing physical exercises under the supervision of a teacher who might have been called Taylor. There were people discussing a murder and whether a certain guy had done it and someone else chimed in “well they’ve got the wrong Taylor there haven’t they?” to which everyone wondered what he was meaning. I’m not quite sure where it went after that.

Not only that, I attacked a few of the arrears and I’m slowly whittling them down. As well as that, while I was listening to this week’s radio programme before I sent it off (I did remember), I spent an hour or so on the arrears of photos for July.

Having sent off the broadcast, I extracted the digital record turntable. Not being able to find the software for it, I had to hunt it down on the internet. But once it was all installed and connected up, it seemed to work quite well and I was able to record an album – the one that I wanted to record.

The only downside is that it recorded in mono. That’s not as big a deal because I can convert it into stereo. It was true mono too – not just one track of a stereo recording, so the fault either lies with the album (it might be a mono recording) or with the settings that I’m using. I shall have to check.

But once I’d done it, I was able to use part of it to complete some old stuff that I have from another time in order to recreate a rock concert that I had seen in 1971. That took the rest of the day but now it’s a nice live concert of almost an hour, including the legendary track about which I shall one of these days recount a very long story.

government boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAs usual, I went out for my afternoon walk. And in the heat too. My thermometer at home was showing 29°C and it felt like it too.

The crowds of people who were out there were enjoying it too. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many people out there on a working day. Not so many people out a sea today though, which isn’t really all that much of a surprise. But this boat was out there again, towing a dinghy behind it this time.

It’s been a couple of times that I’ve seen it now and I’ve still not been able to work out what it is and who owns it.

government boat lifeboat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut anyway I carried on around the headland to the other side and there I was treated to an interesting nautical danse macabre.

The lifeboat was coming out of its berth in the port de plaisance and it crossed the mystery boat right outside the harbour. We had a couple of toots on a siren and then a complicated manoeuvre as they avoided each other.

The mystery boat, which has an interesting heavy-duty crane in the bows, then carried on into the Port de Plaisance. And I carried on home.

There was the session of Welsh and the time on the guitars and then I stopped for tea. Stuffed pepper followed by my delicious apple crumble with the left-over ice-cream out of one of the containers in the freezer. I need to make some more room in there.

donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was still stifling hot when I went out for my evening walk and runs.

There were quite a few people about this evening here and there which is hardly surprising given the heat. There was a heat haze out to sea so the view wasn’t as clear as it has been just recently.

However the view of the promenade at Donville-les-Bains along the coast was particularly impressive tonight and the photograph that I took came out rather well.

The Rue du Nord on the right of the photo has come out rather well and on the left you can see the red lights on the wind turbines round somewhere near Cerences.

people on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallBut my reverie was disturbed by a noise coming from down below on the beach so I had a look over the wall.

Pitch-black is one thing for most of us but for young people it’s something else. These two down here checking messages on their mobile phones seemed to be having a very enjoyable time. And why not?

As for me I walked up to the old gate in the walls and then ran down the path towards the viewpoint over the Plat Gousset.

helicopter english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallBut I didn’t get very far and actually had to break off my run which disappointed me, because the excitement yet isn’t over.

As I was running down the path I was overtaken by a helicopter that flew along the coast and then went to ground down near the promenade at Donville-les-Bains.

“This is a strange time of the night to be having your chopper out” I mused to myself, and then carried on with my run. On reflection, the helicopter is quite probably the local air-sea rescue machine.

Nothing much else happened so I headed home. I managed my three runs although I do have to say that I never ever felt less like it. Having crashed out for 15 minutes after tea has taken its toll.

Tomorrow it’s Welsh class so I need to do some more revision, and then there’s the concert to finish off, followed by the missing week of my internet course.

Then at last I can turn my attention to other stuff. And not before time either.

Thursday 20th August 2020 – IT’S BEEN …

clouds sunset english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall… another slightly better day today, and while you admire a few photos of the evening sunset – because I managed to get out and about today – I’ll tell you all about it.

Mind you, it could just as easily not have been because for some reason or other I couldn’t go to sleep last night. It was 01:30 and I was still awake, working on the computer.

But sleep I eventually did because the alarms awoke me at 06:00. Mind you, that doesn’t mean that I was out of bed at that time.

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall08:15 is a much more reasonable time to be leaving the bed when I’m not feeling well. Plenty of time for me to go off on a noturnal voyage here and there

I was in Scandinavia last night and there was some friction at the border, to do with transporting young people across the national line from one to the other. You aren’t allowed to do it, rather like the old Mann Act in the USA. I can’t remember but I was going across and it was a question of a girl who came under this particular jurisdiction. Whether she had come with me I dunno but I ended up being chased by these people who wanted to arrest me. We had all kinds of James Bond things, Spiderman leaping from buildings, all this kind of thing, running at ridiculous lengths for ridiculous distances at ridiculous speeds, everything so that I could get clear of whoever was pursuing me about this and eventually find my way across the border.

light out to sea english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallBack at the border again I was walking past a kind of supermarket which had a huge tent as an entrance. 4 or 5 men went in there. I thought that these looked suspicious – they were rough, heavily-armed type of people so I waited outside the door. There was someone else waiting outside the door too who was clearly going to be helping them. They came out with these two girls and it was clear that they were intending to take them across the border so I intercepted and grabbed hold of these two girls and steered them off and these people came after me. They caught me in some kind of area but I had a machine gun and just let fly at a couple of people with it. I can’t remember whether I hit anyone or anything like that. With this machine gun I was well in control of the situation here about liberating these two girls .

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallSome time later I was back in a similar kind of situation, if not further along on the same voyage. Yet again, it was a border crossing thing.

This time though I was on a motorbike this time having to cross the border which was not so straightforward as I would have liked bearing in mind that the countries were in the EU. Again it was a question of what to do with the young girl who was there.

Unfortunately I don’t remember much about it because I awoke in the middle of it with the thing well under way and I missed the most exciting bits – the story of my life I suppose.

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallSo now that I seem to be feeling a little better, what exactly have I done today to put my life back in order?

Apart from the usual bits of paperwork here and there that needed sticking away, I’ve actually been something of a busy boy, which took me completely by surprise.

Now that I’ve finally managed to organise the photographs of today you can see something of what I’ve been up to, if you are all up to it, that is.

crowds watching clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallFirst of all and most importantly, I’ve managed two meals today.

For tea this evening I had a ferret around in the freezer and ended up with a potato curry that I had made back in June with some rice. This was followed by an improvised dessert of pineapple chunks and ice cream.

For lunch though, there is no bread here so I had a couple of taco rolls with salad. It’s a good job that I have a packet or two of those in stock. And they were really nice too.

But two proper meals in a day is pretty much of an improvement.

crowds watching clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall
No bread reminded me that I ought to be doing something about it. After all, I have all of the ingredients and I seem to have a little energy and enthusiasm today.

I emptied a sachet of yeast into about 250 ml of slightly warm water into which a table spoon of sugar had been dissolved, and left the yeast to ferment. While that was a-doing I took 500 grammes of flour, added some salt and a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds and mixed it all together with my hands.

Then I added the liquid which by now had a nice frothy foam on top, and mixed it all together and gave it a really good kneading to mix it all togather. When the dough had all gone nice and smooth and elastic afer about 10 minutes, I put it on one side with a cover over the top to proof.

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallThe bread usually takes about an hour or an hour and a half to proof – the dough should double in size – so there’s plenty of time to be getting on with things.

And things I did too. There was another little session on the photos from my little voyage too, and I managed to complete about 35 of them this afternoon.

That might not sound as if it’s very much but the fact that I’ve been able to concentrate to that extent is definitely something of an improvement over how I’ve been for the last few days.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFinding that I was still feeling somewhat better, I plucked up the courage to go for a walk around outside.

And I’m glad that I did, even if it was something of a very slow stagger around, because it really was a beautiful day out there this afternoon. Down on the beach just below the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord there were plenty of people enjoying it.

It was the kind of thing that might have tempted me to go and join them but I wasn’t sure how I’d climb back up the steps.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd so instead I pushed on along the pathway underneath the walls, fighting my way through the throngs of people out taking the air.

Down on the beach at the Plat Gousset there were plenty of people taking the sun too. The tide was well out, as you saw in the previous photo, so there was plenty of room to spread out for your social distancing.

That’s going to be pretty important too because one thing that I know about these viruses, having spent so much time reading about the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918, is that it’sll be back. And back in spades too.

young seagull rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallOne of the things that I wanted to do while I was out was to check on how the baby seagulls were doing.

Off I toddled around to the Square Maurice Marland where I could see over the roofs of the houses in the Rue des Juifs where they had made their nests earlier this year. And sure enough, there was a very fine example of a baby seagull just here.

Not such a baby now either. Probably as big as his mum, I reckon. But at least he’s one of the survivors. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the baby that we were following at first didn’t seem to make it.

tree trunks wrapped in woollen texture square maurice marland granville manche normandy france eric hallBut what’s going on here? This is something completely new that wasn’t here before.

Down on a couple of the trees at the far end of the Square someone has seen fit to knit some kind of woollen warmer for the tree trunks of a couple of the trees. This is extremely puzzling. I don’t understand the purpose of this. After all, the trees have managed quite well on their own for the last God knows how long.

The artists around here are a funny lot, that’s for sure.

Back in the apartment I had a look at the bread to see how it was doing.

It had risen somewhat, although nothing like what I was hoping for. That seems to be a problem with the bread that I make. But anyway, I gave it another good kneading, shaped it, and put it into the mould that I use and which I had greased all ready. It can have another go.

And while it was doing, I went and had a crash out on the chair in the bedroom. The walk had done me in for right now.

home made bread place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hall
When I’d recovered my wits – not that that takes too long these days because I don’t have too many left – I switched on the oven and when it was hot, I bunged the bread inside.

70 minutes later, the timer switched off so I went to extract it. And by the looks of things it came out really well too. Not quite as overwhelming as the previous one, but still looking pretty good.

As for how it tastes, I’ll give you my verdict on that tomorrow lunchtime when I try it. Home-made bread is always good.

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallBy now I’d recovered womwhat from my exertions of the afternoon walk so I decided to take my courage in my two hands and set out for an evening walk.

And how there’s been a change since I was here last because even though it’s only 21:00 the sun is sinking rapidly down behind the horizon. Crowds of people out there enjoying it too, which is not much good for the social distancing, but that’s going to be an eternal problem, I reckon.

Nevertheless I hung around and took a few shots of the sun sinking into the sea.

clouds sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallTen seconds later the sun had gone completely.

You have no idea whatever of just how quicky the sun disappears. By my timing and that of the camera, it was still over 100% above the water just 3.5 minutes ago and that is really quite some going.

And once the sun had gone, the crowds on the headland here slowly dispersed, and me along with it. I had plenty of other things to be doing now that I’m out and about.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued on around to the other side of the headland.

As well as checking up on the baby seagulls I wanted to check up on the chantier navale too. That’s a regular port … “very good” – ed … on out travels. There are four boats in there this evening, and I don’t know if that’s more or less than last time because I can’t remember how many were in there the last time that I looked.

And even though it’s 21:15, there are people down there working on one of the boats. I suppose that when it’s your living, you don’t do an 8-hour day 9-5.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd the people in the chantier navale weren’t the only ones out there working this evening.

As I watched, one of the Joly France boats, one of the two that run the ferries across to the Ile de Chausey, came around the headland towards the port. She had quite a crowd of people on board too. They must have had a really good day out today.

She’ll go right over to her starboard (right-hand) side to come into the harbour. The running water out of the harbour drain has scoured away a chanel over on that side so there’s more depth for the boats to make use of.

philcathane trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale I walked down the Boulevard Vaufleury to the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

There’s a viewpoint there that overlooks the inner harbour and I was interested to see who might be in there. The answer to that was “no-one special”. Just a whole collection of assorted fishing boats, amongst which was the trawler Philcathane, all nicely lit up and reflecting in the water.

From here I walked on home. No chance of running because I’m not up to that.

In fact the walks took a great deal out of me. I was exhausted after the first walk and crashed out on the chair. Right now, after the second, I’m even more exhausted and I’ll be off to bed in a minute. I’ve also made a couple of trips down to fetch stuff from Caliburn but I forgot to mention those earlier. There will have to be a major washing-up session soon so that I can clean everything that I brought with me, once I feel up to it.

So progress is being made – slowly but surely. It’s just like when I was in the High Arctic last year and how I slowly recovered at Rachel’s after my exertions over the three preceding months.

I’m clearly not as well as I used to be.

Saturday 1st August 2020 – I BIT THE …

… bullet today and finally galvanised myself into action for a change.

But more of that anon.

Despite still being awake at long after 03:00, I was actually sitting on the edge of the bed ready to get up when the third alarm went off at 06:15. But nevertheless it was still a struggle to rise up from that position.

Plenty to do this morning, despite my late night. I might not have been tired enough to sleep last night but I was too tired to do any work. After breakfast (more fruit salad and delicious bread) I finally managed to finish the notes from last night.

There was something on the dictaphone too. It was all about Crewe Alexandra winning promotion. They scored a really good goal. Jordan Bowery scored it – he fought his way through the defence to kick home. The commentators were there congratulating the team. It meant that several others didn’t have the chance to play off as the team coming out straight afterwards for another game were going to be extremely disappointed by the results and so on.

To clean myself off I had a good shower, a shave and a clothes-washing session and then I hit the road.

old car aston martin dbr2 ksv 975 1971 lech austria eric hallYesterday when we’d been down in the town we’d seen a Blower Bentley parked up at the hotel.

Today there’s another old and interesting vehicle parked up in the town and in case you haven’t recognised it, it’s an Aston Martin DBR2.

Well, that’s what you might think but it actually isn’t. According to the UK’s Driver and vehicle Licensing Authority it was first registered in 1971 and a little research reveals that when this vehicle was offered for sale in 2007 by Bonham’s the Auctioneers, it was described as a “1971 Aston Martin DBR2 Recreation”.

old car aston martin dbr2 ksv 975 1971 lech austria eric hallIt wasn’t sold cheaply either by Bonham’s. Including the Buyers’ Premium, it went for almost £78,000.

That price might sound expensive for a replica but an original sold for over £9,000,000 so the price of the replica is pretty small beer. And according to the guy who built a few Aston Martin replicas, even the £78,000 represented “a considerable premium to my build prices” so we’ll all have to go along and order one.

But they aren’t really the same as the original ones unfortunately because with being built to modern standards they have modern engines and a different style of chassis that doesn’t flex as much as the older one did and so takes away much of the excitement of driving it.

der lecher taxi lech austria eric hallIt’s easy to see why this town is the favourite town of Strawberry Moose.

He’s not been here for 48 hours and he has started his own taxi company here. And as you might expect, he’s chosen a most appropriate name for his business. I’m sure that he’ll pick up plenty of work over the period that he’s going to be here.

It’s a shame that he wasn’t here for a photo opportunity but he had plenty of other things to be doing to set his business off on the right foot.

alpine horn lech austria eric hallNot only is it the height of the tourist season it’s also a Saturday and so there are crowds of people around iin the town this morning

To entertain them, there were a few alpine horn players standing on the bridge over the river and I’ve no idea why they were taking such an intense interest in me as I was taking their photograph. I wasn’t making half as much noise as they were and I wasn’t blocking the traffic either.

The lederhosen that they were wearing didn’t impress me all that much either The didn’t look particularly interesting. And they all should be wearing their little felt hats with feathers in.

But it did remind me of the time that I was chatting to Lee Jackson, bassist/vocalist of The Nice, who told me that the only cure for an Alpine Horn was an Alpine maid.

river lech austria eric hallToday, I’m going to be doing what I really wanted to do yesterday had I been on form.

What I had wanted to do was to go for a tramp in the woods, but he got away so I was going to walk up into the mountains along the side of the river to see if I could make it as far as Zug. First I needed some supplies, so I went to the supermarket that I had visited yesterday.

Now that i’d organised food for the journey, I set off up the hill

cable lift lech austria eric hallYesterday we saw at the side of my hotel the cables of a gondola lift going up into the mountains to the east side of the town.

From up here where I’m standing, we can look right across the town and see the cables climbing right up into the mountains, the cable pylons on top of the first crest and then the station at the top way over to the right on the second crest.

One of these days when I’ve saved enough money (because it isn’t cheap by any means) I’ll take the gondola right up to the top because I imagine that the views would be totally spectacular. But knowing my luck, there would be a fog, a low cloud or a heat haze.

upper vorarlberg lech austria eric hallAs you saw in one of the previous photographs, there were two ways to go.

One of the ways was by the ordinary road that climbed its way up through the mountains, or the second way, which was the footpath that wound its way along at the side of the river.

The road looked all hot and bothered and not very inspiring but the path along the river went through a load of shade from the trees that were growing along the banks. And so as far as I was concerned that was the only way to go.

river lech austria eric hallAs you can see from this photo, I wasn’t wrong about the road.

You can see it up there where all of those cars are driving. It’s right out in the open there, in the sun and not the place to be in weather like this.

The town of Zug is out of view behind the crest of the ridge that you can see over to the left of the photo. I imagine that the river will wend its way around there and the path that I’m on will follow the river round to the town.

river lech austria eric hallWhere I took the previous photo was from the bridge just there across the river.

Hidden in the trees back there is a large open-air swimming pool and leisure centre that seemed to be very popular with all kinds of people. It was pretty busy. One of the things that I noticed here was an open-air café where I could conceivably buy a coffee on the way back because I had a feeling that I would be needing it.

But not right now because I was rather hot. I sat on a convenient bench and had a drink of the water that I’d remembered to bring with me.

river lech austria eric hallThe longer that I sit around doing nothing, the longer it will take me to reach Zug so I decided to press on along the trail.

It seemed that it didn’t matter which was I was going to do. Every path or road north-westwards up the valley seemed to lead into the hot sun. There was a really big clearing here round by this cabin and if they didn’t already have enough sunshine there were signs that there was tree-cutting taking place here.

There wasn’t anyone around attending to the timber so I carried on along the path.

mountains upper vorarlberg lech austria eric hallNot too far though because something interesting along the way had caught my eye.

On top of the mountains over there are some buildings and what’s exciting is wondering about how the occupiers get up their with their supplies. But seeing as over there is really the back of Lech I imagine that the buildings are some way connected to the ski lift and gondola system so people might come up that way.

But looking at that slope over there, I imagine that the way down on skis to the main road at the foot of the slope would be quite exciting too.

waterfall river lech austria eric hallIn one of the earlier photos you might have noticed some people at the side of the river and also the start of some rapids.

The elevation into the mountains is a lot steeper than you might think by looking at the photos and the water is running quite fast down the river. And with there being different strata of rocks around here and some rocks wearing quicker than other, the presence of rapids is assured

Not the kind that you can shoot in a raft unfortunately – there isn’t enough water for that at this time of the year.

rapids waterfall river lech austria eric hallNevertheless it’s still quite magnificent and powerful, and I’d love to see it in the spring when there is all of the meltwater flowing down the valley.

There has been so much water in the river at times that there have been some impressive flash floods lower down in the valley. There was a catastrophic flood in June 1910 when the flow of water reached 300 cubic metres per second. A church tower 52 metres high in Lechhausen was badly damaged and 5 million marks worth of damages was caused in Augsburg.

As a result in 1911 they started on building flood defences downriver.

rapids waterfall river lech austria eric hallThe town of Lech hasn’t been spared either. In August 2005 a considerable amount of damage was caused due to a sudden flash flood.

But returning to the river itself, its source is in the Formarinsee, a lake higher up in the mountains, and then flows a distance of about 250 kilometres, draining about 3900 square kilometres before feeding into the River Danube near Donauworth where we visited IN 2015.

It’s not a navigable river, due mainly to the shallow depth and the gravel beds. And also due to the fact that there are 33 power stations along its route.

people in water waterfall rapids river lech austria eric hallBut it’s certainly the place to be in the summer, especially on a hot, stifling day like today.

There was rather a large family group of people sitting on one of the gravel beds having a picnic and a paddle about in the water. And I must admit that I was sorely tempted to go and join them and dangle my feet in the water for 10 minutes or so.

But instead, I pushed on along the path towards Zug. At least there was some shade here amongst the trees as I scrambled up and over some of the undulations in the path

zug mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallOver there is the town of Zug, a lot farther away than it looks in this photograph, thanks to the wonders of good long-distance ZOOM LENSES. A couple of minutes further on from where I’d seen the people paddling in the pool I burst out into the sunlight and there it was through the trees.

But now it’s lunchtime and having found a handy bench in the shade, I have my book and my lunch – another half of a small melon and another can of that energy drink that had lifted my spirits yesterday, both of which I had purchased from the supermarket earlier.

And here I sat for a good half hour, in the middle of a golf course apparently judging by all of the people passing by with their golfing trolleys and so on. Not that I could see anything of it through the undergrowth and shrubbery from where I was sitting.

After having sat down and relaxed for about half an hour I pushed on towards the town.

ski lift mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hall
Yesterday I mentioned that we are in the middle of one of the most extensive skiing areas in Europe and so, as you might expect, there are gondolas, ski lifts and drags all over the place.

Here at the side of the river is the bottom station of one of the ski lifts – the Zugerbergbahn – that goes up to the top of the mountains to the north. Up there on top at an altitude of 2100 metres is the Balmalp Lech am Arlberg ski lodge. Tha represents a rise of over 600 metres from my current 1488 metres, according to my telephone.

And avid skier as I was in my younger days, I would have to say that it would have been quite exciting skiing back down from there again through all of those trees. It reminds me of Erma Brobeck who once famously said “I’ve no intention of participating in any sport that has ambulances waiting at the bottom of the hill”.

mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallThe next stage of my route was comparative easy because for about 5 minutes we actually had a path that was flat, level and comparatively smooth.

Over there ahead of us is presumably the car park for the chairlift and also for people going a-walking around in the vicinity too because it really is a nice area to be walking around.

In the background are some of the most splendid mountains that you have ever seen, still with a couple of vestiges of snow upon them. We actually drove past them, but on the other side on our way to Lech from Dornbirn on the Bregenzerwald Bundesstrasse Highway.

mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallThis is probably one of the finest glaciated valleys that I have ever seen.

You can usually tell a glaciated valley from a river valley because of its shape. A river valley is more likely to have a “V” shape whereas a glaciated valley is more likely to be a “U” shape. And this one speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

The ridge going across from left to right in the photo looks at fist glance as if it might be a moraine – a bank of gravel left behind by a glacier as it retreats. But it’s not possible to say without excavating it, and it looks a little too unnatural to me.

mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallFrom the bottom of the valley down by the river up to the village was a climb of about 30 metres, but it looked and felt like a darn sight more than that to me.

Halfway up the path I stopped to recapture my breath and had a look around. There’s a complex of about three or four guest houses on the edge of the village somewhere to the east and I imagine that those buildings over there must be it.

Behind them is the valley up which I walked, and the town of Lech is right down at the bottom somewhere near the left-hand edge of the photo where you can see that cleft between the mountains.

Filialkirche St. Sebastian church mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallEventually I arrived in the centre of the village, such as it is, and found myself standing in a little square outside the church.

The church is the Filialkirche St. Sebastian and it’s an impressive structure for such a small place. There’s quite a story behind it too, in that in the early 17th Century there was an outbreak of the plague here and someone made a vow in connection with the plague.

Unfortunately I’ve not discovered who it was, and what exactly was the nature of the vow, but one of the attributes of Saint Sebastian is that he’s the patron saint of protection from the plague, so I would imagine that it’s due to people praying to Saint Sebastian that if they survive this outbreak they would build a church in his honour in thanks for their safe deliverance – that kind of thing.

musicians upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallApart from the church, there’s little else here to talk about. A couple of hotels, such as this one and that’s your lot.

At least they had some entertainment for us this afternoon, and that’s always welcome. No alpine horns unfortunately, but we do have a guitar, a double bass and a kind of hurdy-gurdy. I was tempted to buy a coffee in order to stop and listen for half an hour, but then I saw the prices.

There isn’t really anything else to do around here, and I suppose that, being so isolated, they can hardly nip to the shops next door for a pint of milk if they run out.

zugertal panoramabus upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallOne thing that I was also going to add is that there isn’t really any passing trade, because this road is actually a dead end that comes to a stop in the depths of the mountains.

But just as I was about to say it, around the corner came a tourist bus full of passengers. There isn’t very much to see except the scenery. And I was reminded of Betty Marsden, the English comic actress who when asked what she thought about the Alps, replied “it was terrible. The mountains hid all of the view”.

And I was extremely interested to see that even though it’s advertising an Austrian service, the bus has German number plates.

mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallOne thing that did catch my eye while I was here was that track down there heading over the mountains to the south.

Had I been 20 years younger and in better health, because it’s much steeper than it looks in this photo, I’d have been tempted to have gone for a walk over there. There’s a waterfall, the Wasserfall Zug a kilometre or so up there, and then a long and difficult walk takes you to a lake, the Spuller See.

From there, you can turn right and head to the Bregenzerwald Bundesstrasse or else turn to the right and follow the valley of the Spreubach down to Dalaas in the Voralberg valley.

mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallHaving had a good look around, I retraced my steps back to the path that I climbed up to the village

So that was Zug then. I’m sure that I’d been here once with Nerina when we passed through in 1988 but I didn’t remember anything at all about it and nothing that I saw had rung a bell with me. It had that kind of effect on me.

But from here I was able to have a better look at that bank while I was up here, and that looks definitely man-made to me from here. There’s a road that runs across it so maybe that’s the reason for the bank. I imagine that it must be quite wet down there in the snow melt.

lake golf course mountains upper vorarlberg zug austria eric hallOn the way up here I missed this – I can’t have been looking down there in that direction.

This is some kind of leisure facility complete with its own lake, and it had me wondering if it might have been anything to do with the golf course across which I stumbled on the way up because despite seeing the holes, the greens and the golfers, I hadn’t seen a clubhouse.

But that’s something about which I can worry some other time. I’ve had a really good walk up here and now it’s time to go back downhill for a rest. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve been going downhill for years.

On the way back I simply retraced my steps for half of the way.

At that cabin where there was all of this new timber, the lumberjacks were busy cutting down another tree so I stood and waited, filming it on my camera. But just when they reached the crucial moment when I expected the tree to come crashing down, they knocked off for a cuppa and that was that.

For a while, I waited around but they didn’t come back so I wrote it off as a bad job and carried on towards home.

When I reached the bridge that we saw in an earlier photo there was another path going straight on down the southern side of the river and as there were a few people following that path, I followed them to see where I would end up.

river lech austria eric hallOver there is the River Lech down in the bottom of the valley.

After scrambling over a couple of stiles and squeezing my way through a couple of narrow gates, i have now found myself back in civilisation, as you can see. The road along which I walked out of Lech earlier today is just the other side of the river where that car is driving

On the left-hand edge of the photo is the little path down which I walked to reach the river so that I could follow the river up into the hills. There’s a little path down there by the waterside that is out of sight.

river lech austria eric hallHere’s a view looking further down into the town. Over there is the river with the waterfront houses and the road behind up which I walked on my way out

The path down which I had walked, called apparently, the Lechuferweg, has transformed itself into a very chic residential street called the Omesberg at the southern end of the town. This would seem to be the place to be around here, where you would live if you were ever to win the lottery.

But I wasn’t going to hang around and enjoy the view or lap up the atmosphere. I was ready for a good, hot mug of coffee and a little relax back at my digs after walking all of this way.

storm mountains upper vorarlberg lech zug austria eric hallAnd have you noticed how the sky has dramatically changed colour over the last few photos?

All the way down the path I was hotly pursued by a low cloud and thunderstorm. Not only the sky but the weather had changed while I was out, and changed quite quickly too. That was another reason to be back in my room as quickly as possible because that lot looks quite nasty..

I just about made it back to the hotel before the heavens opened and drenched the town in a storm of epic proportions. You can understand how come they have these severe flash floods around here with weather like this.

Back here, looking at the storm, I actually crashed out for a while, which was no surprise given the bad night that I had had and the fact that I’d walked almost 10kms today into the mountains and back in the lovely, fresh alpine air.

Tea was a tin of potatoes, a tin of mixed veg and a tin of lentils with some mustard sauce, and it was delicious.

An early night tonight because it’s my last night here. I’m pushing on tomorrow as I still have plenty of places to go and plenty of people to see. Unfortunately June is not available. Her husband is not too well and she’s afraid that any non-urgent meeting might expose him to risk – something that I quite understand.

But still, I’ll be sorry to leave. Lech is one of my most favourite places in Europe and I struck gold with this hotel – I really did. We’ll have tu see what the next 10 days or so will bring.