Tag Archives: Leclerc

Saturday 23rd April 2022 – THIS GAME OF …

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… musical ships moved into a new dimension this afternoon.

Neither L’Omerta nor Briscard were there when I went past on my afternoon walk. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I speculated that either Titanic or Mary Celeste would be there in their place but instead, we have two anonymous inshore shell-fishing boats.

Unfortunately I’m too far away to read their registrations so I can’t tell you who they are but they are new players in the game so we’ll have to watch this space much more closely to see how things develop in the near future.

However in the immediate past, I had a better day and actually managed to go through a day without falling asleep, although it was touch-and-go at one point this afternoon.

And when I saw how far I’d travelled during the night, I’m amazed that I could keep on going. But we’ll leave that for a moment.

Once again I managed to beat the second alarm so that’s progress of sorts, and after the medication and a quick shower (and washing a couple of pairs of trousers because I seem to have run our) I was off early for the shops.

Noz still had some of those mini-burger things, although I noticed this evening that they aren’t the same, but anyway I bought another packet to add to those in the freezer.

LeClerc didn’t come up with al that much either except that coffee was on special offer so I bought a four-pack of the variety that I like. I use a lot of coffee.

They also had carrots at €0:99 a kilo so I bought a packet of those, and actually peeled, diced and blanched them as soon as I came home. Even as we speak, they are freezing up ready for the next couple of weeks.

Finally I could turn my attention to the dictaphone. I was on that … “which?” – ed … space rocket last night. I had my own comfortable room and my bass guitar with me. I seemed to be in there for months as I kept orbiting the earth.

And then I was supposed to be going to Paris. I was staying in a hotel. It was going to be a quick train into Paris and back on the TGV for the evening because I was playing bass in a rock group. There was some kind of commotion in the station at the front of the hotel. It turned out that all the TGVs were cancelled. I’d have to go on a standard train which would take hours and it wasn’t until 20:00, the next one. I asked whether there would be one back later at night or whether I ought to stay over. He said “we’ll find out later” but it was gone 18:00 already so there wasn’t much later to find out. If I couldn’t have a train back I would have to book a hotel etc. I went back to my hotel room. I was in and out a couple of times and suddenly realised that I’d locked myself out of my hotel room. I had to go down to rception. They gave me a duplicate key. Some woman must have overheard me speaking English because she came up to me and invited me to a party “when the war is over” she said. “You’ll have to come round to the party” and she gave me a card. I went to give her a card. She said “yes, I’ll cook you a really good meal”. There was another woman standing nearby. We both said at the same time “oh we’re vegans”. This woman smiled and wandered off leaving the 2 of us so we started to talk. I invited this woman into my room now that I had the duplicate key. I asked her if she wanted a coffee. She said “no”. We started to talk, bearing in mind that I had to be gone in an hour or something like that and I had a lot of things to arrange in the meantime.

I was also in Eastern Europe last night. I had a filing cabinet with me in the back of the coach and there was a load of files in it, including ones on Putin and things like that. While I was doing something a girl came up and took a file from the cabinet. I took the file back from her but she had a piece of paper on her hand. I went to take that too but she didn’t want to give it to me. In the end I had to wrestle it from her hand. She went to ‘phone the police. When I looked at the paper I saw that it was one of hers so I apologised and gave it back to her. I got into my coach to drive away, fearing that any moment now I was going to be swept up in a police patrol and taken off somewhere

It was becoming close to Brexit. Boris Johnson had some kind of notice prepared with the date on it. He was out there in no-man’s land standing by this notice. We could all see him dithering. He went to unhook the date so people started cheering that he was going to call it off. Instead he suddenly and decisively put the date back on and said “right, let’s go”. This immediately started a riot. People began to set fire to everything, piles of paper, coal, buildings, etc. Rees-Mogg went to collect his things together but he found that someone had been into his jewellery box and stolen every single item of his jewellery. This led to a lot of discussion. We were talking to someone about that. They mentioned his jewellery box so I asked “where’s his father?”. The penny dropped with them as well. Everyone immediately understood what I meant and what had probably happened to his jewels. Someone who was rather pro-Brexit asked me where mine was. I replied that he was near Betley, Wrinehill, the last time that I had any news of him.

We were then back on Brexit again. First of all though I had a dog that I was trying to lose. I arrived at Crewe Station and there was a bus coming in going to Chester. It was packed so I led the dog on I was hoping to disappear but at the last moment I had a pang of conscience and couldn’t let it go. In the end I climbed aboard – there was just about room. I went to pay my 50p to the driver but I dropped it. The bus was so crowded that I couldn’t pick it up so someone whom I knew paid my bus fare and picked up my 50p from the floor. We left the bus at the Hurleston reservoir. Rees-Mogg was there, he’d just turned back since … I fell asleep … he was going on about how he’d me this nice lovable clown who had promised him all kinds of riches and wealth and so on. Of course that was Johnson and his proposals for Brexit.

Of course, when I say that “I fell asleep”, I don’t mean that because I am actually asleep while I’m dictating, in some kind of subconscious state. What I mean is that I slip out of this subconscious state into a much deeper state where I don’t function.

Finally I was with Nerina last night. Somehow we’d encountered my father’s sister somewhere along the road. We were all out somewhere. We had a huge, lengthy chat. We’d set out to go shopping actually and somehow encountered them. Then we drove a little way together out of Crewe and Nantwich. It was a really cold, icy winter. First of all I’d been off somewhere and had to walk back. Nerina had been out working when i’d gone but she’d obviously gone in because the weather was too cold. There we were and I suggested to her seeing as it’s a nice cold day and we aren’t doing anything and it’s rather boring why don’t we go to do our shopping in Whitchurch which is where my aunt lived. She thought that that was a good idea. We took my aunt back and dropped her in the centre of Whitchurch. Then we were talking. I was qaying “look at me becoming all family-orientated again. Not like me, is it?”. She made some comment and said “no, particularly as we have to go through your father in order to contact your aunt”. She led me off down these alleyways, down these steps. We had to step through these tables and restaurants where these people were playing chess. It suddenly dawned on me that fancy me having to be shown around a town by Nerina when I knew everywhere but of course she worked in Whitchurch (at least, she did last night anyway) so it was only natural.

But over the last couple of weeks my dreams are becoming quite political and I don’t understand why. I could understand it when there was all of the uncertainty about our position a couple of years ago but these days we are all regularised and our lives haven’t changed so considerably that there is any great cause for concern.

So what’s happening?

After lunch there was football. The final day of the regular season with four clubs – Aberystwyth v Connah’s Quay and Hwlffordd v Cardiff Metro chasing the one spot to play off for wild card in the Irn-Bru Cup or whatever it’s called these days. There was just two points separating the four clubs so it was effectively “winner takes all”.

We were watching Hwlffordd v Cardiff Metro with the other game in the corner of the screen. And the producers made the right call because while the game at Aberystwyth was a drab midfield battle that ended 1-1, we had a game full of excitement that ranged from end to end and back again, one of the best that I have ever seen.

The Met won 2-1 in the end with a winning goal that was worthy of any championship, but how different might things have been if Henry Jones’s diving header in injury time had been half an inch lower and crept in underneath the bar.

And having watched closely a few of the incidents that took place in the various penalty areas, I’m convinced that at times Dean John the referee was refereeing a different match to the one that the rest of us were watching.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022By now it was the usual time for me to go off for my afternoon walk around the headland.

And the first stop was as usual the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach.

Not that I was expecting to see anyone down there this afternoon because the weather had turned cold and overcast. I was even wearing a jacket when I went out.

One saying that I like to use quite often is “your level of success is measured by your level of expectation” and so seeing no-one down below on the beach was no surprise and no disappointment, even if it was a Saturday.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was however something going on out at sea, as I noticed while I was looking round.

Not too far offshore was a yacht swanning around in the bay having a whale of a time.

No fishing boats out there though, at least, as far as I could see, because visibility was quite poor this afternoon. It wasn’t even possible to see the Ile de Chausey this afternoon.

And nothing in the air either. In fact it was quite a quiet day all things considered.

fishermen zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There were a few more boats out there around the corner in the Baie de Mont St Michel though, I noticed

There was this rather large zodiac floating around just off the end of the headland, with three men in it. I thought that they might have been fishermen but I couldn’t see any equipment and they certainly didn’t have any rods out in the water.

But even so, I can’t think of anything else that they might be because the boat wasn’t actually moving when I saw it. It was just sitting there about a mile offshore waiting for something to happen.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There were some yachts from one of the sailing schools having a run around in the bay as well.

These two were having something of a race across the bay, with the rearmost one slightly in the lead. Somewhere out of shot there was a zodiac keeping an eye on the proceedings.

And while we’re on the subject of the sailing school … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve been carrying out a few rather desultory enquiries and discovered that there’s a “boat permit” that licenses you to operate a powered craft of a certain maximum size within a certain distance of shore.

Apart from wanting to sail, of course, that permit is something that I might find to be of use as well. But at the moment everything is on hold until the hospital and the doctor can sort me out.

cabanon vauban person sitting on bench Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022With all of the activity going on out in the bay, I was half-expecting to see it all having something of an audience this afternoon.

And here I wasn’t disappointed either. This woman sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban seemed to be taking rather a keen interest in what was happening with the zodiac.

The way things were, I had half a mind to go down and join her but it wasn’t the kind of day for loitering around. Instead I pushed on down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was going on in the harbour this afternoon.

ch922398, sm735890 lysandre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There wasn’t all that much going on in the harbour either. All in all, it was extremely disappointing for a Saturday.

There were a couple of inshore shellfishing boats out there in the outer harbour. The blue one is of course Lysandre on a visit from across the bay at St Malo but although I can read the registration number of the other one, she’s not in the fleet list that I have.

Still the same boats as yesterday in the chantier naval but no-one over at the ferry terminal either.

You’ve seen the photo of the two boats over at the fish processing plant, and that was really that. I came back for my coffee and to finish off the dictaphone notes.

There was time for another good session on the guitar too this afternoon before tea. A couple of these new mini burger things with potatoes and veg. And even though these burgers aren’t the breaded quorn fillets that I thought they were, they are still just as delicious.

A lie-in tomorrow, at long last. And I can’t say that I don’t need it. It’s been a tough week and it’s going to be even tougher next week as I have physiotherapy twice, a Welsh lesson for which I’m not prepared, an injection, a visit to the dcotors, a trip out and a weekend away.

By the time that I come back I’ll be ready for another break to recover.

But I wonder what I’ll be doing this time next week.

Saturday 16th April 2022 – IT WAS SUCH …

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… a nice afternoon that the crowds were out in droves when I went out for my post-prandial perambulation.

The tide was well out so there was plenty of beach for everyone to be on, and that was just as well because there were plenty of people on it.

It’s been a good while since we’ve seen so many people down there. It looks as if the holiday season has really taken off this weekend and I bet that they are regretting not having the Jersey ferries up and running to cater for all of the trade. This would have been just the weather to go for a ride out to St Helier.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Iwasn’t just on the beach that we had the crowds either.

The paths around the headland were heaving with people as you can see in this photo and the car park was overflowing with vehicles parked on the grass.

Brain of Britain forgot to take his face mask with him too. I bet that I’ll regret that before too long, the way things are. We’re still in 6 figures of daily infections and a couple of hundred deaths each day, and it’s no surprise when you see crowds like this taking no precautions whatsoever.

f-gcum Robin DR400-180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And it was quite busy in the air today too.

Apart from the commercial flights that were passing by too far out in the bay for me to see them properly we had a couple of light aircraft going by too.

None of the little ones that we see quite often though. This one here is F-GCUM, a Robin DR400/180 that belongs to the Aero Club here.

She took off at 16:21, went down the coast, came back, did a lap around the Ile de Chausey and landed again at 17:03. It’s probably just a flight for someone to keep up his hours

While we’re on the subject of hours … “well, one of us is” – ed … I spent hours in bed last night.

All about seven of them because I was, as usual, late going to bed. Just as I was on the point of going, something interesting (and I can’t remember what now) came up on the playlist so I stayed up to listen.

It might have been ONE OF THE SONGS that my Inuit friend HEIDINNGUAQ sent me for a radio show a while back. Any mention these days of Greenland and the High Arctic is enough to stop me in my tracks. I’ve walked those streets in Uummannaq and STRAWBERRY MOOSE and I are in a hurry to go back.

Anyway, I digress … “again” – ed.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment, I finally managed to drop off to sleep and that was where I stayed until the alarm went off at 07:30. And I was still there when it went off again at 07:45.

Mind you, I did managed to beat the third and final call at 08:00 and that is some doing, seeing the way that things have been around here just recently.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I went for a shower to tidy myself up. And since Wednesday I’ve lost another 600 grammes of weight. For some reason or other I must have been having water retention issues and doubling the dose seems to have had some effect.

But that of course reminds me of when I was in Liège a few years ago with my German friend from Munich. We were in a restaurant, surrounded by pretty young girls, talking about … our medication.

That’s when I realised that I was getting old. We would have been talking about something quite different five years ago.

Considering that I didn’t need all that much today, I spent quite a lot of money. And all of it was on food.

Noz came up trumps yet again – more of those little breaded quorn burgers that I like. Two packets of those are now in the freezer.

As for LeClerc, I can’t think what I bought that contributed to the fortune that I spent in there today. And I nearly spent more than that as well because someone disappeared with my trolley and when I caught up with it, a couple of packets of sausages had been added.

car leclerc yquelon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But this in the car park intrigued me. I’ve never seen a car like this before.

Its small size suggests to me that it’s a Japanese town-car model but the steering wheel is on the left and it has a built-in rear fog light so it’s not a “grey import”. But it’s bizarre all the same.

These days though I’m quite out of the loop when it comes to new cars. I don’t have a clue as to what’s on the market and what isn’t

Back here I put the frozen food and the cool stuff away and then made myself a coffee. Eagerly clutching a slice of my fruit bread in my sweaty little mitt as well, I came in here to listen to the dictaphone.

We’d been on holiday to a hotel or some place like that. We’d been picked up by a coach in Manchester and driven to this place. When we arrived we had to all sign a paper for our drinking chits etc. We had been out for the day for a drive. I don’t know what happened but I missed the bus and I hadn’t a clue where I was going to go back because I didn’t even know the name of the town, never mind the name of the hotel. Of course I was on foot in the North-East of England. I thought that the only solution was to walk back and follow the route that we’d taken and hope that I would get it right. Following a route in reverse is not as easy as following it going forward. I set off and I’d been walking for about 10 minutes when I bumped into 2 other people, 2 girls who had also missed the bus. I thought that at least I’m on the right road here. We ended up crossing this enormous suspension bridge with a central stay, the highest central stay I’d ever seen. I remembered coming over this. We’d turned left onto it so I thought that we’d have to turn right. We prepared to cross over it but one of these girls fancied a cup of coffee. I had no money with me so she had to buy it. By now we were on this bridge so we had to cling on to the side rail while she went to fetch this coffee. Then she had to find a place to put it which was on something soft like the mattress of a bed. We were clinging on to the side of this bridge with our arms, she’d put this coffee down and we had to unhitch one of our arms to drink this coffee. This was becoming confusing. I asked her the name of the hotel but she didn’t know it or know the town either. The 3rd one hadn’t anything to say at all so there we were with this coffee hanging onto this bridge by our arms trying to drink this coffee with the mugs on a soft surface on probably the highest bridge in the UK

It ended up being quite a late lunch, what with one thing and another (and once you make a start, you’ll be surprised just how many other things there are).

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And that led to an even later walk around the headland. Wherever did the time go to today?

As I mentioned earlier, there were hordes of people out there on the beach this afternoon. Not just out at the water’s edge either but settling down in the shelter of the cliffs ready for the long stay until the tide comes in.

Gone are the days unfortunately when there would be the beach-side café and the “pot of tea for six” that people my age will remember. And I have a special reason for remembering it too because apparently the people who cared for my mother as a small child had a beach-side café at Epple Bay on the Isle of Thanet between the wars

But, of course, not that I would remember it. I’m not that old, even if I feel like it and look like it as well.

Cirrus SR22 n549cd baie de Mont St Michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And back in the air again we had another visitor. And I DO mean visitor.

This is apparently N-549CD, a Cirrus SR22, and its claim to fame is that apart from THE AIRBUS A400M that we saw a couple of months ago, this has to be about the noisiest plane that I’ve ever heard.

She hasn’t filed a flight plan and she kept below civilian radar so I can’t tell you where she went, but she arrived at the airfield here on the 13th of April after a 3-hour flight from Schwabish Hall in Germany.

She’s owned by the Plane Fun Inc Trustee Corporation from Snellville, Georgia, USA

le loup yacht cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There might have been plenty of things going on on land and in the air this afternoon but there was almost nothing at all going on out at sea.

In the immediate vicinity of the port, loitering around by Le Loup waiting for the tide to come in were a couple of boats, a yacht and a cabin cruiser.

And that was about your lot. There wasn’t anything at all out at sea as far as I could see, and that was a real surprise given the weather and the crowds.

And so with nothing at all to watch, there wasn’t anyone down on the bench at the cabanon vauban either so I cleared off rather rapidly down the path on the other side of the headland towards the harbour.

le roc a la mauve 3 anakena chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there has been yet another change of occupant at the chantier naval today too.

We still have the little Roc A La Mauve III down there and the much bigger Anakena, but where’s Le Styx? She put in an appearance yesterday afternoon but it must only have been a flying visit because this afternoon, she’s gone!

And never called me “mother”!

But if you want to know where Chausiaise went to, she’s over there at the ferry terminal not doing very much at all.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There is something else that won’t, regrettably, be doing very much at all later in the summer. In fact, it won’t be doing anything at all.

Never mind all of the fishing boats tied up in the inner harbour, we’re much more interested in what isn’t there, and won’t be there in the summer.

Regular readers of this rubbish are used to seeing during the months of July and August the big wheel that comes along and sets itself up down there behind the warehouse. But it won’t be back again.

Apparently the inhabitants of one of the blocks of flats there petitioned the Maire to ban it because, apparently, it makes too much noise and they have to spend all summer with their windows closed. And surprisingly, the Maire has acquiesced.

Firstly, I don’t know why people do this kind of thing. Much as I hate tourists, this is a seaside resort and the crowds come here and expect to be entertained. And if you want to live by the seaside, you expect the inconvenience of the tourist attractions – unless of course you are a NIMBY.

Secondly, there are acres of empty space all the way down the far side of the harbour round by where the Channel Island ferries tie up. Why not stick the wheel there? It’ll be far enough away not to disturb the NIMBY residents with what little amount of noise that it really does make.

With all of this, I can’t help thinking that there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

interlink a changing canada Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back here I had another task to perform.

Yesterday, I forgot to mention that I had a strange delivery in the Post. This glossy booklet about “A Changing Canada” in the 21st Century suddenly turned up. It’s not anything that I’ve ordered or requested so I’ve no idea what it is about.

So what I have done is to photograph the front cover, post it on my Social Network, and see if any of my Canadian contacts can throw any light on the aforementioned.

And having done that (with no replies to date) I went and had a really good session on the guitar.

Now that I have some more of those breaded quorn fillets I had a couple of them with potato and veg. They really are nice and if I’m going to fill up the freezer with something, it may as well be them.

But the freezer is now filled up and there’s no more room for anything else. I had to buy a few loose carrots as there wasn’t any space to do any freezing. Just when I think that I have the freezer under control, I fill it up again.

And I daren’t sort through it because it’s so well packed that I would never be able to re-pack it again. At least, if World War III breaks out, I won’t starve for a while.

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

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

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

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

In fact I actually felt like death this morning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 19th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

old car communal rooms place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… of the excitement yesterday at the Communal Rooms, red carpet and all, it kept on going today.

When I went into the dining room to make a coffee, an unearthly rattle told le that there was something exciting about to happen. And sure enough, an ancient car from the 1920s limped into the courtyard.

Furthermore, there was some high-ranking communal official waiting there to receive them, as you can tell from the tricolour sash worn by the person standing at the top of the steps on the right.

All that was missing in fact was the red carpet and the cameraman and that was something of a disappointment.

Incidentally, there was nothing in the news yesterday about the purpose of the red carpet. Not that I thought that there would

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Also extremely interesting today was the big crowd of people down on the beach.

It has to be said that it was a lovely day but even so, it’s a long time since I’ve seen so many folk down there. even Rover was having a good time.

That’s more than I’ve had today because you’re going to have to suffer another long moan and whinge as I talk about my day today.

Once more, I struggled to leave the bed when the alarm went off. I nearly missed the second alarm too.

But after breakfast I went for a shower and put the bedding in the washing machine to wash, and then headed off to the shops.

Noz didn’t have much – just a few varieties of alcohol-free beer that I like so I bought a few packs. Now I think that I have more in stock than they do.

There wasn’t anything special in LeClerc either, but it still ended up being expensive, mainly because they had coffee on special offer so I bought a pile of it. I seem to be going through it quite rapidly.

suzanga spirit of conrad chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back, seeing as I had no frozen food in danger of melting, I went to the chantier naval for a close look at the trawler that was in there.

It’s actually Suzanga, the new trawler that arrived here last August. It was interesting to have a closer look at her because this is the first time that we’ve seen her out of the water.

In the background of course is a bit of Spirit of Conrad. She’s been here for a week or two now being prepared for her summer season.

Back here I hung the washing up to dry and made myself a coffee. Then there was a disaster. I’ve eaten the last of the magnificent coffee cake that I made for my birthday. How sad is that?

Settling down with my coffee I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night. I was on my holidays going south. I was in some kind of vehicle. I came to some sort of tunnel that we had to go through. It was very narrow and very low so there were traffic lights where you have to stop to wait for your turn before you could go forward. I stopped but someone pulled up alongside me on the outside which was strange. Someone in a black suit and black hat rather like an Orthodox Jew came along and tried to sell me a bottle of spirits, absinthe or something like that. I said “no” but he insisted so I told him that I didn’t drink. Then he started to offer me all kinds of other things. While he was doing this, the lights changed and a whole load of people went past into the tunnel. I couldn’t shake off this guy or the car that was parked alongside me on the outside. I was in a left-hand drive vehicle but for some reason I was driving on the left. I went through this tunnel. By now I was on foot pulling my suitcase and my computer bag and other bits and pieces. I came out into a room in a large town where this tunnel ended. There were all these people there who had gone past earlier, loads of nuns and kids and so on. I had to renew my travel permit which I did. I went outside but dropped everything. I found to my surprise that as well as a magnifying glass I was carrying an extremely large sharp knife so I was trying to pick up all these little things like the knife and the magnifying glass and put them in my pocket while I was walking with my suitcase but that wasn’t easy and I was making a great mess of it.

Later on, a group of people from Runcorn were coach operators. The have a company called I-Coaches. They were running out of money so they decided that they would do a few hold-ups to try to bring some money in. They were not particularly successful. The guy who was leading them, his 3 friends were criticising him. In the end one of them said that he would lead the next one. Just then someone came down the hill in a car so they flagged him down. When he stopped, he was eating an orange. The guy who was now in charge pulled out a gun and shot him. Of course this led to all kinds of arguments between the 4 and they split up. 2 went one way and 2 somewhere else. We were back in Runcorn town centre and what was then happening was that there was a police cordon or something and the 4 people there in their groups of 2 suddenly noticed the town was being filled with police. There was a coach involved in it but I don’t know where this fitted in. The two, including the guy who had committed the murder tried to slip through the cordon but the police closed right in on them. The other 2 were there watching knowing that it was going to be their turn next to be pulled up. In court it was a woman in a wheelchair who was prosecuting them, the first lawyer in a wheelchair in the Uk

And then I was at work last night. I had a meal. We all ended up going for this meal, a huge group of us for a formal dinner. I was sat on a table with someone and we were discussing a report that had been prepared. There were 3 groups mentioned and the guy who was on my table was trying to work out who to send them to. He thought that 2 of these names were relevant because of their connection but the third one wasn’t. I said “if that’s what you think, send them there”. But he wanted this lengthy discussion and I was sure that we would arrive at the same conclusion no matter how long we spent talking about it. Then the waiter came round with some of the starters which was thin-sliced cold beef. I explained to him that I was a vegan so he took my plate away and it looked then as if I wasn’t going to have anything to eat. When everyone had finished their starter they started to mill around. I bumped into a colleague of mine and we ended up in a small group chatting. he explained about how when I was in a bad mood I’d drive to Nantwich and just sit and meditate. I wondered how he knew that. Then the waiter came round again putting a bottle of beer at everyone’s table for them to drink. Before I could stop him he disappeared. Knowing what had happened with the starter I knew full well that if I complained about the beer he’d just take it away and not leave me anything so I gave it to my colleague for him to drink.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I promised you some excitement today. And I lived up to my promise as well! At LeClerc they had carrots at €0:79 a kilo so I had bought a kilo. After I’d finished the dictaphone notes I went into the kitchen, diced them, blanched them and put them into the freezer to freeze.

Now how exciting is that?

Actually, it must really have been something because after lunch I came back in here, sat down and promptly crashed out. I’d gone for a good hour too, right out of it. Probably the deepest sleep that I’ve had for several weeks too and there I was, thinking that i’d gone past this stage.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Anyway, I managed to pull myself together and stagger off outside for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As I mentioned earlier, there were crowds of people out on the beach this afternoon. There really were too, as you can tell from this photo.

There was plenty of beach to be on too, with the tide being well out, and it was quite a nice, warm day for the time of year.

Nothing going on out at sea that I could see though. There was quite a thick sea-mist despite the wind and everything was obscured. Visibility was only a couple of miles out to sea.

f-guko Grob G120A baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nothing going on out at sea but just like Thunderclap newman, there was something in the air.

This is a new aeroplane for us – the first time that we’ve seen her. She’s F-GUKO, a Grob G120A. That’s a type of aeroplane about which I know very little, except that it’s a type used by the Royal Canadian Air Force and a few other air forces as a basic trainer.

She took off from Granville airfield at 16:07, flew north for a while and then headed south to Avranches where she landed at about 16:43.

Her previous recorded flight was yesterday, so seeing as I took the photo of her at 15:59, this must have been an unrecorded flight below the level of the radar.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Several people on the path on top of the cliffs too so I had to dodge the crowds as I walked down to the end.

Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the mouth of the harbour, was looking quite nice this afternoon framed by the trees and the signboard.

You can tell how high the tide comes in from this photo. We’ve seen the water well up to the higher of the two red rings when we’ve had a very high tide.

You can also see how thick the sea mist is today. You can make out the Pointe de Carolles in the background but that’s about it. You can’t see any further than that.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With the tide being so far out today, there’s plenty of scope for the pèche à pied.

The people in this group have all come very well-equipped with all kinds of stuff that they will need for a successful afternoon. They all have a couple of buckets each.

But it was the guy in the fluorescent orange waterproof gear that caught my eye. He’ll stand out from the crowd on any beach dressed like that.

He rather reminded me of a press release that we received from the Paris police when I worked for a major holiday company in the UK in the late 80s –
“The policeman who stands in the middle of the Place d’Etoile directing traffic will from now on be illuminated to make sure that motorists don’t miss him in the dark”.

It was round about here that I had an encounter with a couple of tourists.
“Can you see the Ile de Chausey and Jersey from here?”.

So I pointed out to them the Ile de Chausey that you could just about see through the mist and I explained that in this fog, seeing Jersey, at a distance of 58 kms from where we were standing, would be pretty much impossible. I did however indicate the direction, in case they are about some other time when the fog has lifted.

le roc a la mauve 3 suzanga spirit of conrad chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche harbour Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Having dealt with the tourists I headed off down the path towards the port.

Earlier in the day we’d been in the chantier naval where we had seen Suganza and Spirit of Conrad. They are of course still in there, as is Le Roc A La Mauve III with its shiny coat of white polyeurethane paint.

She’ll be ready to go back into the water quite soon, I reckon. But then again, regular readers of this rubbish will recall what happens when I make predictions like that.

One thing that has gone though is Joly France. She was moored over at the ferry terminal yesterday but she’s not there now. The ground’s all flat.

It’s not really the right kind of day for a trip out to the Ile de Chausey and certainly not if you are going sightseeing, but if the service is advertised, they have to go. It’s a Saturday and the seasonal occupiers of the houses will gradually be turning up.

objects on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On my way home, I noticed this huge pile of equipment by the side of the crane in the bay where the gravel boats used to tie up.

Despite enlarging and enhancing the photo, I’ve still not been able to work out what it all is. Ordinarily I would have gone down for a closer look to satisfy my curiosity but it’s been a good 12 months since I’ve been well enough for a quick jaunt like that.

Back here there was a nice surprise. The postwoman has been. And so not only do I have my new course-book for the third year of my Welsh course, I have the new dictaphone too. I can’t wait to try that out.

And so I’ll probably not go off on a voyage tonight, simply out of spite.

This afternoon I’ve had another good session on the guitar, and then I edited some more photos of my trip to the High Arctic in 2019. Right now we’re in the Davis Strait on our way north-west to Lancaster Sound.

There were plenty of really good subjects for photography such as THIS ONE but as you might expect, they were all either early in the morning or late at night when the light is poor, and so when you are on board a moving ship in a lively current, the results are … errr … questionable.

Tea was a couple of those small breaded quornburgers with potatoes and vegetables, all cooked in vegan margarine. And as usual, it was delicious.

But I’m almost running out of those now and I don’t know what I’ll do when they are finished because I haven’t seen any in Noz for ages. I used to buy them in Belgium years ago, and so I suppose that next time that I’m in Leuven I’ll have to go out on the prowl and cast my net further.

Bedtime now, much later than usual as I’ve had a quiet relaxing evening. A nice lie-in followed by a good breakfast with plenty of strong coffee. Hopefully that will set me up for the week but whether it will or not remains to be seen.

Only 11 more days than I’m off on my travels.

Tuesday 15th March 2022 – I HAVE HAD A …

… calamity today.

During the coffee break in our Welsh lesson this morning, I set some coffee on the go in the coffee percolator while I went for a ride on the porcelain horse.

When I came back, I picked up the glass jug from the percolator – and the bottom fell out of it. The coffee went everywhere.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … when I moved here I bought everything new, the cheapest possible, with the idea that I would have at all as quickly as possible and as items give out one by one, I would replace them.

So it was only a question of time before the cheap €9:99 coffee percolator gave out and today it’s been replaced with a high-quality machine with a metal jug that is actually a vacuum flask. I hope that my coffee will be hot enough now instead of barely tepid.

Another disaster was last night’s (lack of) sleep. I went to bed rather later than intended and couldn’t sleep at all for absolutely ages.

Eventually I dropped off to sleep and promptly had a nightmare. and while I’ve had a few that for all kinds of reasons have failed to make these pages, this one didn’t even make the dictaphone. I couldn’t even bring myself to dictate it.

And as a result of this nightmare, I didn’t go back to sleep. Nevertheless it was a struggle for me to leave the bed.

While I was preparing for the Welsh lesson I was drifting in and out of sleep but to my surprise, not only did I manage to end up in advance of where we finished today, it actually passed quite well and was quite a successful lesson.

Unfortunately this was the last session of our second year. Next week will be the first lesson of our third year and to my dismay one of my colleagues whom I happen to quite like has decided not to renew. That’s dismayed me somewhat, to be sure.

After lunch I had a few things to do and then I went to the radiology centre for the x-ray on my knee. It didn’t take too long for the x-ray to be taken- in fact she took 6 – and the wait for the finished photos wasn’t anything like as long as it usually.

LeClerc was next for my new coffee machine and then shopping at Lidl, seeing as I don’t have much in right now. It was quite an expensive shop too, much of which was spent on coffee and brazil nuts.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I returned home I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

With it being later than usual the tide had turned and there were one or two people down there having a wander about. I didn’t stay long watching. I grabbed my stuff and came back in here.

There was quite a fight that I had with the freezer. It’s now full to overflowing, and there’s no room whatever for anything else. But I’m going to have to make a start on emptying it. It’s only the vegetables that seem to run through various cycles. Nothing else much seems to move.

For tea tonight I worked the air fryer again to make some chips. And this time they worked really well. With baked beans and a vegan sausage it was delicious.

And then we had football. Caernarfon v Y Fflint. Caernarfon’s manager and assistant manager are down with Covid right now so it was the Academy manager on the bench and to my surprise his choice of team was certainly different. An attacking Five, something that I haven’t seen since the early ’70s.

A couple of Caernarfon’s players were fairly anonymous tonight for a change but they still had too much in the tank for Y Fflint and ran out 2-1 winners. And had Mike Hayes, their centre-forward, had had more luck with his half-chance efforts, it could have been a cricket score.

Y Fflint have gone right off the boil just recently.

Bedtime now and I need a good sleep. I have a physiotherapy session tomorrow and then in the evening I have the first of my 5 Welsh language revision sessions for my exam in the summer.

It’s all go again around here.

Saturday 26th February 2022 – YOU HAVE ALL MISSED …

earth and tyres dumped by farmers at leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… the excitement that took place through the night at quite a few of the supermarkets in Normandy overnight.

It seems that the local farmers had been to pay a visit, and had dropped off loads of earth, old tyres and other assorted stuff all over the entrances to the car parks so that no-one could enter.

The cashier at LeClerc with whom I spoke about the matter couldn’t tell me what was the object of the exercise, but French farmers don’t need an excuse to be militant . They can do it as a matter of course

tractors and lorry removing earth and tyres leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Some of the obstructions had been moved by the time that I arrived, and when I was on the point of leaving they were removing the others.

One of the workers had seen me taking photographs and came over to talk to me. He wanted to make sure that I knew that they had nothing whatever to do with the depositing of the load and that they were private citizens clearing it up.

Of course, I had no idea that they were anything else, but as they went to great pains to point it out, I thought that it was only correct that I emphasise the point.

Another point that I ought to emphasise was that I didn’t have much sleep last night. Not at all.

It was about 11:30 when I went to bed and with the alarm set for 07:30 I was optimistic that I could have something of a reasonable sleep. However I set off on my first nocturnal ramble at 01:24 according to the dictaphone and I didn’t stop after that. I started off in the north of Québec on a big Harley Davidson. It was winter and snowing heavily, and the only way that I could keep warm was to have my hood up on my jacket right over my head with just a small gap for my face. For some unknown reason the hood came down. I was riding along this autoroute and I was freezing – i’d never been so cold. There was snow and ice everywhere. On one occasion I lost sight of myself and looking on further down the road I couldn’t see where I was on this motorbike. Eventually I managed to catch up with myself and I had my hood back on. I arrived at the place where I was going, somewhere round by Québec or somewhere like that

And later we were back in Québec again, in winter again and at school. Again it was one of those things where my hood came down and I started to freeze to death in the snowstorm without putting my hood back up. Eventually, later on I relocated everything and I could put my hood back up. Then I could go to find the Governor and talk to him about some kind fo reciprocal arrangement for me to leave.

Amazingly, I was back a third time in Québec working in a butcher’s or a food-packing plant where we were putting boxes of food away in freezers ready for distribution. For some reason, in order to move fast, I was on a pair of roller skates and I’ve no idea why that was or how likely it would be and I can’t remember anything more about this, although I do remember that I went back into this dream at a later point but while it was pretty much the same dream my way of moving about this warehouse was a considerable amount slower compared to how it was previously when I was on roller skates.

The dream about the woman in the Ukraine dressed up on the second trip was actually after the Ukraine one that where everyone was freezing cold on the second trip. That’s what I dictated anyway, and what it relates to I really don’t know. Should it be maybe something connected to my second trip to Québec and does the woman relate to the part that I forgot?

It makes me wonder what else I might have forgotten or failed to note when I’ve been out and about at night, and whose visits have I omitted to record.

There was a deer that was wild but somehow it had come into a place where there were lots of people. It started jumping up and knocked over a woman in a bright blue dress before stamping off through the town. This was something to do with me being at work. I’d been absent for a considerable period of time. When I came back I plonked myself in a corner. people were making remarks about me being stuck in a corner. I replied that I’d just sat here to keep out of the way. if it’s someone else’s desk they have to tell me and I’ll quite happily go and sit somewhere else. In the end someone said that it was his seat. I was sure that it wasn’t so I had to gather all of my things. With all of the stuff that I have, it takes much longer than for someone else. Eventually I found that I had almost everything in my arms and stuck into bags etc. They found a place for me on a chair with no table sitting by a wall near a radiator. At least there was a bit of a socket there. One of the girls, Anne-Marie or someone, came to talk to me. “No-one likes Morales”, they said. “You should see his car. It’s parked 15 feet in front of a parking space” etc. That’s just the kind of person whom he is.

While we’re on the subject that vampires come up into this (and what this relates to, I really don’t know). Alison and I suggested meeting Jackie at a town that we know that was decaying, crumbling down where some really depressing things look as if they have taken place. There was something else about whales in an aquarium tank that I can’t remember at all

Finally, I was at some kind of meeting last night. There was some kind of talk being given and later on everyone went for lunch. When we came back out I was looking for a seat because someone had taken mine. There were these 4 statues right at the very front of the room. I patted one on the head and it said “hello” and started to talk to me. I realised that it was one of these pre-programmed things and the reply was based on what you said to it. I asked it all kinds of strange questions and was giving me some reasonably coherent answers, so much so that I was surprised. I was having quite a lot of attention from various people, my conversation with this statue. It turned out that the voice inside it was that of a girl and she came from the Soviet Union somewhere. I had quite an interesting chat with this pre-programmed robot statue thing.

So no TOTGA, Castor or Zero yet again, but having an interesting and exciting chat with a statue is something new. It sounds just about how my real life is these days. If I were to have a statue in here, having an interesting chat with it would make quite a change to talking to myself.

So after the medication I had a shower and then headed off to the shops.

All they had at Noz that interested me was some Italian alcohol-free beer so I bought a couple of packs of that and I’ll try one with my pizza tomorrow.

100 percent veggie food with eggs noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022But what was interesting, for quite another reason, was the 100% veggie Schnitzel escalopes.

Having been caught out on a previous occasion by one of the 100% veggie products that they carried, I check the labels these days and sure enough, it contains eggs. So much for the 100% veggie.

But I thought that the “yellows of eggs from free-range hens in powder” was rather extraordinary. How can powered hens, free-range or otherwise, lay eggs?

At LeClerc’s, apart from forgetting the Vitamin C tablets yet again, I didn’t buy anything special. It was just a normal shop this week. Quite a change from last week.

tractor removing earth and tyres leclerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As I was leaving the supermarket, the tractor that was helping to move the rubbish turned it.

At first, I saw the tyres so I thought that it was coming to drop some more rubbish off but then I saw that those tyres were stuck on the prongs

On the way home I was listening to some SIMPLE MINDS. It’s another one of these albums that always touches a nerve with me. There’s a time and a place for music like this in my life and unfortunately, it always comes round on the playlist at the wrong.

“Somewhere there is someone who can see what I can see”. Yes, and for three whole days (and nights) too.

Back here I had a coffee and a slice of my really delicious coffee cake, and then I transcribed the dictaphone notes, which you read earlier.

After lunch there was football on the internet – Y Drenewydd v Connah’s Quay Nomads. The Nomads won 2-0 but I’m not going to comment on the match for fear of being charged with bringing the Welsh Premier League into disrepute.

What I can say is that if Chris Hughes, the manager of Y Drenewydd knew Jim Finks, the manager of the New Orleans Saints back in the late 80s, he would be repeating his comments “We’re not allowed to comment on the lousy officiating”

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On that note, it’s probably best that I go out for my afternoon walk.

And as usual I wandered off across the carpark to see what was happening down there on the beach. And I don’t know if the young girl down there is the same one who was down there yesterday but the wellingtons certainly looked familiar.

In fact there were plenty of people down there this afternoon. We’re supposed to be having the carnival but that has been cancelled. Nevertheless I imagine that many people had made arrangements to come here and they are here to make the best of it.

cabin cruiser fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And as usual I also had a good look around out at sea while I was here.

The yellow buoy that we saw yesterday was still out there but I was more interested in the cabin cruiser that was right out in the bay.

By the looks of things it’s a fishing party that’s out there – a rod and line fishing party, I mean. There weren’t any trawlers out there this afternoon. When I went past the port earlier this morning they were all moored up at the quayside.

They must be having a day off today.

sea pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one of the things that feature regularly in these pages is the water out in the bay.

We’ve seen a few good examples just yesterday of these variegated layers of water and yesterday we even saw quite a clear demarcation line where two currents had met.

But today, just offshore, we had another really good example of what I mean. There’s no physical demarcation but the colours are quite distinct.

On a completely different subject, there was a girl walking along the cliff edge filming herself and talking on the phone. I was inclined to go over to her to tell her to be careful. After all, I don’t want to be a witness at yet another inquest but she stopped her call as I approached and walked off.

She must have heard all about me from someone else.

yacht ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There was something else that was moving about right out in the bay off the Ile de Chausey so I went to stand on my bunker for a better look.

As I thought, it was a yacht returning to port after, presumably a sail out to the island. Not that I’m surprised because it was a gorgeous day. Quite sunny and just enough wind to move boats around out at sea but not enough to disturb those of us up here on the headland.

The sails were quite distinctive but it isn’t a yacht that I recognise. There were several seagulls keeping her company too so I hope that the crew had their headgear. The seagulls around here have an accuracy that puts Bomber Command to shame.

couple bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The weather was so nice that I was expecting to see crods of people out and about around the car park.

The lower path that goes round the base of the cliff was crowded today and we even had a pair of lovers right out on the headland at the bench by the cabanon vauban and it looked as if they were having a good time.

And so was I, actually. It was nice to be out there in the sun without too much wind to blow me around off my perch. And so I headed off around the corner to the other side of the headland.

yachts le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel there were a several other people out there taking advantage of the good weather.

There were several yachts wandering around in the bay but these two particularly caught my eye and I waited until they were lined up perfectly with Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour.

Over there in the background there were several people walking around on the beach at the side of the road that runs between St Pair sur Mer and Jullouville. They were taking advantage of the nice weather too.

tiberiade la roc a la mauve 3 courrier des iles yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, in the chantier naval it looks as if most of the people connected with the activity down there were having the weekend off too.

As far as I could see, there was just one person down there, working on La Roc A La Mauve III. But by looking around on the ground underneath Courrier des Iles you can tell that they’ve been sanding down her paintwork.

Back here I had a few things to do, such as unpack the shopping and put it away. And I actually found one of the burgers that I especially like.

Consequently, for tea I had a burger on a bap with potatoes and veg. Plenty of mustard and garlic mayonnaise.

So having done everything that needs doing, I’m going to change the bedding. I had a good scrub this morning and I’m feeling quite clean (for a change) so I’m going to make the most of it.

Saturday 19th February 2022 – HAVING SPENT ABOUT …

prego air fryer place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… a week or so trying to fry some chips in the oven earlier this week, I walked into Noz this morning and Lo! And behold! They had some air fryers in stock, at just €29:99 too.

This is a kind of technology that has passed me by up until now so I’ve not really very much idea about how well they work, but at that kind of price it’s well-worth a try.

Bearing in mind the price of oven chips and the electricity that it takes to cook them, I don’t think that it will take too long to recoup my outlay, and they can’t be any worse that what I’ve been eating for chips so far.

One thing that hasn’t convinced me though is the trade-name of the article. I have a feeling that nine months after making my first batch of chips, I’ll be making medical history.

Trying to awaken this morning nearly wrote my name in the history books too. I didn’t quite go back to sleep after the alarm went off but it was pretty close and I only just managed to make it to my feet before the second alarm went off.

After the medication and a shower to clean myself up, I headed off to the shops. Apart from the air fryer, Noz didn’t come up with very much but at leClerc I spent something like a small fortune.

And for two reasons too

  1. Stocks were pretty low seeing as I haven’t been to the shops for a fortnight
  2. They were having one of their special “multiple offers” again and things like orange juice, soya milk, ginger beer and the like I can always use and the bathroom is a fairly cool room in which to store things.

Back here I put away the frozen stuff and then made myself a coffee. The slice of fruit bread was delicious too.

Next task was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night. And talking about dreaming in French – last night I was with my Welsh class but last night we were speaking Flemish. We’d been on board a ship and it had set sail. I had stayed behind for the next leg of the journey. We carried on having our discussion on line. At one point the discussion became very difficult. One of the girls on board this ship said that it was very late. I had a look at what time it was and I could see that it was a certain time where I was so I said “it must be twintig voor negen where they are. That means that it’s probably late and is getting too late for them”. There was then some discussion about whether we should stop or carry on.

And dreaming in Flemish is a totally new departure, isn’t it?

Later on we were out in the Far East and I stepped back into that dream where I’d left off. We were all getting our radio programmes together but this team there was a team of radio presenters who had to guess whose programme was whose. We did all that we had to do and then our programme was revealed to the public one by one. It came down to the last 3 and there was me, another girl and Liz. They presented their radio programmes and then it came to presenting mine. Mine was about a lake so I presented mine. Then the audience had to award prizes to what they considered to be the best and they also had to guess whose was whose. They were doing pretty well until they reached the last 3, the girl, Liz and me, They had me presenting someone else’s programme but I can’t remember which one – it might have been Liz’s. Then it came to mine which was about the lake but they couldn’t decide who presented it so they gave up. I started off singing the title entry to it, waiting on the podium with this little girl and Liz. I said to the little girl “what do you think? Didn’t we do well?” and we started to sing down the microphone which wasn’t actually picked up by the podcast. They asked me what had inspired me to do this programme. I was beginning some talk about how I had a lorry here and I was on my way to do something else and I just happened to notice the lake in a certain situation, state or colour.

After lunch there was football on the internet – Penybont against Ffynnon Taf in the quarter-final of the Welsh Cup.

Playing football in a hurricane is always a lottery. Even though Penybont are one division and quite a bit above their opponents and played with much more skill, the wind was a great leveller and at one stage Ffynnon Taf were actually leading 2-1.

But almost every second of the last 15 minutes was played in the Ffynnon Taff half and 2 goals in a minute near the end after the Wellmen had gone down to 10 players ensured that Penybont went through.

windsurfer people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022By now it was time to go out for my afternoon walk. I mustn’t forget that.

There were quite a few people walking around down on the beach this afternoon, including a windsurfer who looks as if he’s been making the most of the weather today. The sea might not be as rough as it was yesterday but there was quite a wind still.

And you can see what a mess the sea yesterday has made of the beach, with all of the ripples in the sand caused by the force of the waves as they slammed into it at the height of the storm yesterday.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another thing that the storm will have done is to have ripped a load of shellfish from their beds and cast them onto the rocks.

naturally, the seagulls will have made pretty short work of those but there were plenty of people down there scavenging around to see what they can find while the tide is right out. Let’s hope that they don’t find anything that they wouldn’t want to find

Not too many people up here on the path though today. The wind was quite strong and that was keeping them indoors.

The view out to sea and down the coast was quite clear today too but I wasn’t going to stand on top of a bunker to take a photo in this wind. I’ll leave that for another time when the wind calms down.

cancale brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The clear sky though meant that the view across the bay to Cancale was really good this afternoon.

In the lee of another bunker and the lighthouse I could take a photo without being bowled over by the wind.

The church over there is 18 kms away from where I was standing and I know that from bitter experience. I was once looking for a hotel in the vicinity of Granville and one in Cancale – “18kms away” – was recommended. That was of course 18 kms as the crow flies but to drive it was about 70 kms down to the head to the bay and then back up the other side.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022With nothing else going on around the end of the headland I walked on down the path to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval.

The other day I talked about the new props on which the yacht down there had been posed, but while I was out in Caliburn this morning I had a closer look and saw that in fact it’s a wooden framework that has been knocked up quite quickly and doesn’t look all that strong.

And as you can see, there are no nets on board Tiberiade. That’s what makes me think that the nets on which they have been working in the inner harbour belong to her.

By the way, Joly France wasn’t at the ferry terminal. So hats off to any travellers who have gone out to the Ile de Chausey this morning in this weather.

philcathane les bouchots de chausey fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Here though are quite a few people who haven’t gone out to sea today.

As you can see, most of the fishing fleet is in port today, just as it was yesterday. Over on the far side of the harbour are Philcathane and Les Bouchots de Chausey and everyone else is moored up at the pontoon.

On the extreme right is Calean, with Suzanga moored behind her. In front of Calean is Galean, and then Yann Frederic and in front of her is L’Arc en Ciel.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There are people out in the Baie de Mont St Michel having a look at what the storm might have turned up.

But that would be the last place where I would look. That’s right at the entrance to the harbour and all kinds of boats have probably been doing all kinds of things just there.

And so I left them to it and went back home for a hot coffee. But I didn’t have one because I’d had one at half-time during the football and I need to cut down on my coffee consumption. Instead I came in here and …errr … fell asleep for a few minutes.

Tea was a baked potato with veg and a handful of those tiny breaded soya burger things that are really nice when cooked in the microwave in vegan butter.

Tomorrow I’m going to have my long-awaited lie-in and see if I can’t recharge my batteries. They have been run down flat over the last few weeks and I ought to see what I can do about rectifying the situation.

But not tomorrow. I’ll be in bed.

Saturday 29th January – YESTERDAY, I REMEMBER …

… wondering who would be waiting for me when I went to sleep last night.

Much to my surprise, and yours too probably, because things don’t normally happen like this, it was none other than Zero.

She hung around for a while, but nothing like long enough, and eventually evaporated into the night.

What’s surprising about that is that usually when I’m transcribing the dictaphone notes I have some kind of very vague recollection in the back of my mind of what went on and typing it out brings it back. But I have no memory whatever of her being there, except what was on the dictaphone.

So that was rather a waste of a visit, wasn’t it? Her being there and me having no recollection of it.

vegan food with eggs and milk noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This is something else that’s quite surprising.

It was in Noz and advertised as a vegan pancake mix. I was tempted to try it until I noticed the instructions.

You probably have too, if you’ve clicked on the image to see it full-size. To make it, you need to stir in “eggs and milk”. Some vegan food product, isn’t it?

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not an ethical vegan (although I may as well be these days) but a vegan for health reasons. My pancreas failed 30-odd years ago so I can’t digest animal fats.

I was given a choice of four ways of controlling it –

  • taking daily injections to stimulate it (but I’d lose my professional driving licences like my HGV licence, my PSV licence, my taxi licence and all of that, and that was my living in those days)
  • by a transplant (but back in those days it was very much in its infancy and the success rate wasn’t very high)
  • do nothing (and risk an attack and possible death)
  • by diet, cutting out animal fats completely.

The choice was pretty much obvious, so I need to be very careful about what I eat.

And eating stuff that needs eggs and milk is not part of the plan obviously.

Today wasn’t actually part of anyone’s plan because it’s been awful. And I thought that with the last week or so, I was over all of this.

Leaving the bed wasn’t all that difficult even if it was something of s short night compared to what it should have been, and neither was the medication and the shower that I had afterwards.

Then Caliburn and I hit the streets for a tour of the shops – the first time since early December that w’ve had a complete tour.

Noz had piles of things, including that alcohol-free beer that I like, so I stocked up with quite a pile of stuff. No rolling pin to replace the one that I broke ages ago and have been struggling with ever since, no cake tin and no pizza plate either (I’m fed up of my pizza overflowing my plate).

micro creche near noz Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Centrakor – and the first time that I’ve been in there for an age – came up with a good heavy-duty rolling pin but nothing else.

But while I was there I went for a closer look at the building that they’ve been erecting at the back of Noz and Centrakor. It now seems to be complete, and it looks as i it’s going to be some kind of crèche.

And a crèche is not something that happens between two cars in Knightsbridge either.

At Leclerc the fuel tanker doing a delivery was just coupling up to leave after doing a refuelling. That meant that there was no-one there and my timing was perfect because as it pulled away I pulled on right behind and had the first load of diesel.

First time I’ve fuelled up since April last year by the way. I’m going nowhere these days, am I? In many senses of the word..

At Leclerc I ended up with one of those expensive 7-inch cake tins that I mentioned last time. If I’m going to be baking cake I need the correct tin rather than trying to make do with an oversize pyrex bowl

Lots of other stuff too, and so in the end it was a rather expensive morning out. But at least the pantry is full for the next while and I’ll be able to eat.

Back here I put away the frozen stuff (they had some of those breaded soya fillets in Noz and I managed to squeeze them into the freezer somehow), made a coffee, came back in here and … errr … crashed out.

Properly crashed out too. I was gone for ages and ended up with a late lunch.

Back here afterwards I felt like nothing on earth. I tried to have a go at coupling up the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing, on the grounds that doing something – anything – is better than doing nothing at all, but I ended up right out of it yet again. It was an awful afternoon.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022As a result of the foregoing it was rather later than usual when I went out for my afternoon walk. Mind you, I was lucky that I went out at all because I don’t recall ever feeling less like it.

First stop was the beach of course so I dragged myself with a considerable amount of reluctance over to the wall at the end of the car park.

Not much beach, which is no real surprise because I’m about 45 minutes later than usual, and I couldn’t see anyone down there today. But once again, it was fairly warm for the time of year (although I’m back to being absolutely freezing again) so I was surprised that the place looked so empty.

Not many people about at all this afternoon.

ile de chausey storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This quite possibly might have something to do with it.

Out in the bay there was a rainstorm brewing and judging by the direction in which the wind was blowing, it was heading my way.

Not that there was much wind to worry about this afternoon. We seem to be in the middle of a quiet spell from that point of view, in sharp contrast to what we had several weeks ago.

And we did have some rain too. When I went out to the shops this morning it was raining. So it looks as if the clouds have gone back out to sea to fetch some more.

There were a few more people wandering around up by the lighthouse so I kept well clear – I don’t want to catch what they all seem to have – and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland.

There wasn’t anything going on just offshore, or in the outer harbour or the chantier naval either so I carried on.

crane philcathane la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The big crane is still over there, along with la Grande Ancre, Philcathane and another boat that I can’t identify.

However I can tell you more about the machine that the crane came to lift. It was an electrically-powered piling rig and weighed in at 50 tonnes.

It was Normandy Trader that took her away – she apparently has engines that are 100hp more powerful than her sister Normandy Warrior.

Back here I had a coffee, managed not to fall asleep, and then finished off the music for Monday. Then I turned my attention to the dictaphone.

Zero, of course, I have already mentioned. But later I was with a woman and her daughter last night, aged about 6 or 7 like Laurence and Roxanne. We’d gone to visit IKEA – they’d never been before. We had to park on the car park and that was an art in itself as it was extremely busy. Then I had to go and change my clothes because I was in some kind of oily wotk clothes. My office was on the top floor so I rang up to say that I would send someone up to say that I was coming up for some clothes but no-one had any clothes ready for me or anything. There was a huge row about that to start with which didn’t make the rest of the day go well. When we’d all been to the bathroom we went into IKEA, the 3 of us. The little girl had a play on the kiddies’ playground and we bumped into one of my friends from Montréal and had a chat, then carried on wandering around. Then we stopped for coffee. For some reason we didn’t take our coffee together. I had a machine that they had to listen to music so I went to sit somewhere else. The other 2 were sitting somewhere else so I went to join them but the music was disturbing everyone there so I had to turn off the music. The little girl was sulking and said “I’d be happier staying in Crewe” to which her mother said “of course you wouldn’t”. To cheer her up we went and found the kiddies’ toy things and she had a play around on those again. There was lots more to it than this but I can’t remember it now or anything else which is a shame.

Later on I stepped right back into this dream where I was earlier after I’d gone back to sleep. We ended up back in a room. I’d been out somewhere. My brother and 2 other people were there. After about 10 minutes I suddenly thought “where’s this woman and her daughter (and by now, it was my friend from Montréal who was the mother)? They’ve wandered off somewhere”. I thought that I was supposed to be with them so I rang her up on her ‘phone. She said that she was at some exhibition of money-making. I siad “oh, I’d better come and join you”. She replied “it’s only going to be on until 15:00”. She gave me the address . I replied “I don’t know how long it will be until I reach you but I’ll be there”. The other 2 didn’t want to go for some reason and it was just my brother who came with me. I started to look on a map to find this address and I suddenly realised that it was right in the vicinity of where we were standing. I had a very good idea of where it is, Rue des Deux Canals so we shot off outside. There was all kinds of stuff. It was difficult to cross the road because there were all lorries and cars. We went off down one road and came to a turning. I had to stop to check the phone to find the correct address but I couldn’t find the map. While I was doing that my brother said “Reg has been sent to prison again”. I asjed “what for this time?”. “Because he refused to climb over a wall and tie up his boat” and started to read details of the indictment to me while I was busy trying to find this street. It was all becoming a really confusing mess – even more so with my family becoming involved yet again.

There was some more too but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap. I’d bought a couple of those nice burgers that I like and I had a few baps left over. That was quite a nice tea again and I do have to say that it might be simple food but I do eat well.

Bed-time now, and a lie-in tomorrow as it’s Sunday. I deserve it too because despite feelig better than I did, it’s not been an easy week.

In fact I’m not having a very easy time and I don’t know what to do about that. As Bob Dylan sang in TANGLED UP IN BLUE, “the only thing I knew for sure was to keep on keeping on”.

But I’m not doing that all that well these days.

But “I wondered if she’s changed at all – if her hair was still red”. Now who does that remind me of? And will she be meeting me again tonight?

Friday 31st December 2021 – CALIBURN IS BACK …

… at long last. And I’m lying down in a darkened room with a damp towel over my head recovering from the shock of seeing the bill. It was not pleasant.

And having broken the whizzer yesterday, my tale of woe and misfortune continued this morning when my little dictaphone – my constant travelling and bedside companion for the last seven or so years, went tits-up, much to my great dismay.

And having gone to LeClerc for some lemon syrup to make my hot lemon drinks and having walked away from the shop with just about everything except the lemon syrup, it’s really not my day today.

At least there was some stuff on the dictaphone from sometime during the night, as I discovered some time this morning. I’d been in hospital having all these tests done to me. Finally they took me to some kind of operating theatre or something where there were all these grotesque people waiting for some kind of surgery or lying on a bed. I was just so uncomfortable there. I couldn’t look at anything, just focus on the wall, all this kind of thing, not look around anywhere. At one stage I felt my oxygen cable being tugged so I had to walk to follow it so they could disconnect me from the other peron who was attached to the end. Then they said something like “right, Mr Hall, you can go”. But I didn’t know what they were doing or trying on me, or anything. They hadn’t even started. There was a bowl of something or other and I was looking for some medication in it, some kind of bean, trying to sort my way through. The taxi driver who transported me turned up. He asked “how much did we charge you for the Isle of Man the other day?”. I replied “I don’t know. Didn’t they pay you?” “No” he replied. “All the trips for this week haven’t been paid yet. You really ought to get yourself organised”. I replied “how the bl** he** can I get organised when I’m in here having all these tests? I have no vehicle and I don’t know what the he** I’m doing or what they are doing to me?”. I was having a really good moan and complain about this because I was totally fed up

Later on we were in Italy running the taxis and I had to go to the bank on my way to work to take the money. There was a bike handy, a really expensive type of posh bike so I got on it and cycled off towards the bank. People were noticing it because of the type that it was. I suddenly realised that it didn’t have any brakes. I had to drag my foot along the floor to slow it down or stop it. I reached the bank and had to leave the bike outside. I thought “I hope that i’m not going to be long”. I went into the bank just as they opened and put the cheques on the counter. She pointed out that one cheque hadn’t been signed and the amount hadn’t been entered in the box so I went to do it. Then I noticed that it was an odd amount of money so I thought that I would have to make this up out of my own pocket and this is going to take a while. The bike was outside and I wondered how long would the bike stay outside while I’m in here doing this before someone runs off with it.

Leaving the bed at 07:30 – well, the least said the better about that. I’m having a bad time right now, yet again.

Nevertheless, I managed to make my bread this morning – another delicious loaf of bread that I forgot to photograph before I got stuck into it at lunchtime.

After lunch I telephoned the garage. The repairs were complete but now they can’t find the log-book which they need for the controle technique. He turned out his garage while I turned out the apartment and neither of us could find it. “Ring m back in half an hour” he said.

Half an hour later I rang him back. He had found it, right where it ought to be, in the glove compartment of Caliburn. “Come round in half an hour”.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On leaving the building, I went down to the end of the car park to have a look down onto the beach.

The tide is well in right now so there isn’t a lot of beach at the moment, but a dozen or so people have managed to find enough so that they can have a little fun before the beach is swamped.

And not like the other group of people yesterday. These are actually at the foot of the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord so there isn’t all that much likelihood of them being cut off by the tide, which is just as well. A helicopter rescue isn’t cheap.

yacht baie de granville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021While I was looking down onto the beach my eye was roving around out at sea too, as it usually does.

Today there was actually some maritime activity out there in the bay. A little yacht was buzzing around out there, not doing very much, it has to be said, but there it was.

Having taken a photo I leapt into the little Opel van and set off. Half an hour later the little Opel van and I were back there at the garage and having to wait yet another half an hour before they attended to me, Caliburn and I could finally leave.

And wasn’t my pocket lighter?

At Leclerc I did some last-minute shopping, including another cheap whizzer set. They didn’t have any decent ones and the delivery time on Amazon was unbelievable. No next-day delivery with the Christmas and New Year rush on. And as I said, I forgot my lemon syrup.

But they had some breaded quornburgers in the “end of range” stuff and they are now in my freezer. I do like those, with baked potatoes and steamed veg tossed in vegan butter.

Throughout the day when I’ve not been doing anything else I’ve been editing that sound file that I started the other day. That’s now done and ready for a second run-through.

There are just two more to do and I’ll start those tomorrow. I was going to make a start on them when I returned but for some unknown reason I seem to have fallen into the pit again and I can’t climb out.

Nevertheless, I managed to make tea – taco rolls with the rest of the stuffing left over from yesterday, and then I came back in here to listen to MY NEW YEAR’S EVE ROCK CONCERT.

And if you missed it, you can hear it again tomorrow at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK Time and 15:00 Toronto time.

Here’s hoping that I’m in a better humour tomorrow than I am right now.

But before I go, may I wish you all a very Happy New Year, with everything that you wished for other people in 2021. It was a dreadful year last year and it shows no sign of improvement. But let’s all hope that we’ll see many other much happier years in the days to come and that we can all go off and do things.

Thank you all again for your support over the last year. I love you all.

Wednesday 29th December 2021 – THERE’S ONE THING …

… about all of these issues I’m having about trying to have some work done on Caliburn during the Christmas – New Year period. And that is that I’m having plenty of exercise. My fitbit tells me that I’m up to 99% of my daily activity and as soon as I press “send” on this journal entry, I’ll take the rubbish out and push it up to over 100%.

This morning I struggled – really struggled – to leave my bed when the alarm went off at 07:30 (yes, I remembered to set it this morning). Having had a late night last night was probably responsible for that but I was having a chat with someone as well as doing some interesting work.

While I was asleep I was off on my travels again. THere was a big concert in Canterbury with loads of groups on. I was down there and I tracked down one or two but in the end someone pointed me to the direction of the organisers who had a shop there too selling all amplifiers second hand, everything that you need. The tod me who was on and when and where so I made a list of groups whom I wanted to see. I was talking to a couple of boys about this as well and writing a list of what I wanted to see. I happened to mention that I was a bassist and that excited them tremendously. They were very keen so I gave them my phone number. Then I was back in Crewe, making everything ready to leave to go back down to Canterbury again. I set off and I was a good way down the road towards the motorway. It was one of those situations where you had to drive west to pick up the motorway on order to go south-east but I realised that I didn’t have my jacket. I didn’t have the list of acts that I wanted to see or where they were playing. I set off anyway thinking that I can redo all of this when I arrive

There was also something about me being in a shop. The floor was very wet. All of a sudden my knee gave way again and I crashed to the floor. Of course everyone came to help me. I said that it wasn’t the first time that I’d had a similar incident to this – in this shop a couple of years ago. She went off to fetch the accident book to go and look through it to see if I was there and to see what remedy they had done to help me ease the problem that I was having

Later on there was something about some kind of list. It might have been a music list or a shopping list, I can’t remember now. Someone had to take me back home for something because my guitar was playing up. Through a few of the songs you could actually hear my guitar, a really searing Gibson lead guitar playing that wasn’t on the original copies. There was something else too but I can’t remember what that was.

And even later during the night I was back with this big rock concert again, going down to Dover rather than Canterbury) to watch these groups. On Saturday I’d been out with Liz and mentioned it to her but she didn’t know what was happening about the snooker final or anything like that. She said that she could make it if there was nothing preventing her. I had to go to find out which groups they were. I could remember four of them so in order to remember them I wrote them down on my stomach in biro and went back to see Liz to tell her, and wouldn’t my stomach be a gruesome sight for anyone?

After the medication and checking my messages I made a long-awaited start on work – and attacked a pile of dictaphone notes. As well as todays, there are a few previous days that have been transcribed and added in where they belong. There are now only … gulp … 27 entries that need to be transcribed before I’m up-to-date enough to let things slide into arrears once again.

When I’d had enough of that I attacked a sound file of an interview that we did a few weeks ago. The content of this one is far the best of all that we interviewed but the quality isn’t up to much.

And there’s so much that needs to fall by the wayside too. There’s still 4:30 to edit on the first pass but by the time that I knocked off, already over 50% has gone into the bin. There will be much more taken out oo, but I have yet another cunning plan for that.

Brain of Britain forgot to make his hummus this morning so I ended up with vegan grated cheese sandwiches for lunch. It made a nice change, I can tell you.

During the morning I made a couple of phone calls – firstly to my doctor for an appointment to renew my physiotherapy prescription and to obtain the final dose of Aranesp.

The second one was to the garage where Caliburn is currently residing. I should have called them last night but with Rosemary on the phone for as long as she was, they were closed when I called them.

Caliburn wasn’t ready, he told me, which was just as well that I didn’t turn up uninvited yesterday evening, but he should be ready at 17:00. And so accordingly at 15:30 I set off.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Even though it’s a little earlier than normal, I went off to have a look at what was happening on the beach.

Firstly, it has to be said that there wasn’t very much beach for anything to be happening upon right now. The tide was well in and there was hardly enough room to swing a cat down there.

There was however a couple of brave people down there this afternoon on the little piece of beach that was at the foot of the steps. I’ve no idea what they were doing as I couldn’t see that far out and I only had the NIKON 1 J5 with its standard lens.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021From there I walked around the back of the building and down to the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

There were a few trawlers in the inner harbour, so I noticed, but none of the little shellfish boats that I could see. The outher harbour was quite empty for a change and even the yellow Cherie d’Amour seemed to be out at sea this afternoon.

There was something else out in the bay, right down near to the Pointe de Carolles, as I found out when I examined the photo later. Whoever she is, she has a black sail rather in the style of Black Mamba, but it is not she, according to my shipping database.

place pleville le pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021At long last I could go down the Rampe du Monte à Regret and then the steps to the bottom, because today they have cleared away the huts of the Christmas market.

That was very much a sad affair – just a dozen or so huts without a great deal of patronage. Had they installed them in the centre of town, say, at the Place General de Gaulle, they might have had much more luck with it.

So I trudged along on my weary way out through the town centre and up the long climb all the way to the roundabout right at the top, only stopping once for breath which is a great improvement. And climbing the four steps that I use as the guide to test my knee was much easier too.

Once on the flat I could push on to the garage, stopping at the Aldi for a can of energy drink to keep me going. I seem to be living on tha right now.

christmas market wooden chalets Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I came out of the supermarket, a council lorry with a couple of cabins from the Christmas market drove past.

Hence a very hurried (and rather blurred, unfortunately) photo as they roared past the car park.

17:00 I was told to be at the garage, and it was 17:00 bang-on when I arrived. It took me 80 minutes (including the stop at Aldi) to walk there. And there I found that Caliburn was a long way from being finished.

“If you can wait an hour I can lend you a courtesy vehicle” said the proprietor. Well, I need some shopping from LeClerc, which is about 500 metres away …

Back at the garage I had a half-hour wait and then the proprietor lent me the garage’s van – one of thse little Opel vans like a Berlingo. A typical mechanic’s van – nothing works correctly and there are warning lights everywhere, all of which will be repaired “as soon as we have a moment”.

“Give me a ring tomorrow evening” said the proprietor as I left.

And frankly, I’m worried. I can’t understand what are the problems in fitting a set of discs and pads onto the rear of Caliburn. Had I had my health, my tools and a decent place to work, I could have done the job myself in an hour or so. What’s going on?

Back here I made myself a glorious mug of hot chocolate and then arranged tea. And seeing that I now have some potatoes, it was baked potato with burger – a real one – on a bap.

Now I’m off for bed. I’m exhausted after all of my walking – especially now that I’m at 102%. And I still have a lot to do before I can stop for the New Year break.

Monday 20th December 2021 – AFTER THE EFFORTS …

… of the weekend, I paid for it today, as I expected. Without even my Day of Rest to recover on Friday, I was waiting for everything to catch up with me.

As we expect, it was rather a bad night yet again and trying to haul myself out of bed at 06:00 was not as easy as it might have been.

Anyway, after the medication and checking my mails and messages, I attacked the radio programme that I intended to prepare. And I would have set a new record for completing it too had I not deleted it instead of saving it, so I had to start all over again to join it all up.

There were the usual halts for a coffee and also for breakfast. And for breakfast I had some of the banana and molasses cake that I made a couple of weeks ago. It was sticky and sweet and far too molassy for me but I’ve had worse. Next time that I make it, if there is a next time, I’ll use something else instead of all those molasses.

While i was listening to the finished product I was … errr … relaxing. And I needed it too.

And listening to the dictaphone too. I was working in a factory or office or somewhere. There were 2 of us. It was a pretty miserable kind of place, very run-down and not much going on. The shifts were long. 12-hour shifts were not uncommon at all. We’d have a lot of work to do. I’d been there a while and one day the manager called me over. He talked to me, in French of course, and then took me outside and said that we could speak in English. So we spoke in English and he told me a few things that I can’t remember now. he asked me a few questions and in the end said “don’t discuss anything of this with your workmate”. I said “what happens in this room happens between the two of us”. After he’d finished telling me this confidential stuff I went out back into the other office. It was Josée who was my other workmate. She’d been shopping again and had some clothes-washing liquid, a few bits and pieces and a whole collection of bottles. I asked her what they were and she replied “it’s all laundry stuff. After all, I am on the road”. Then she asked me “what does “on the road mean?”. I replied “for me, it means travelling about, voyaging around. Anyway we were packing our things ready to leave. There was a half-eaten bag of crisps lying around somewhere in the office so I packed it up into my backpack to think that I could eat it on the way home.

There was something else about a teacher at a boarding school who was going to throw a tuck shop party in his room. Apparently it was a normal thing that every now and again a teacher would invite a few of the kids to go along and have a little party and a social gathering in their room but that was all that I remember

There was time for a shower and to set the washing machine on the go before lunch. And the bread that I brought back from Leuven was delicious

After lunch I went for my physiotherapy session – and I went in Caliburn too. I have shopping to do for Christmas and I may as well do it while I’m out this afternoon. I parked Caliburn in the street outside Lidl and walked down the hill for my session.

No tilting platform today. A warm-up on the cross trainer and then a pile of kinetic exercises to keep me out of mischief.

At Lidl and later at LeClerc I spent rather a lot of money but I now have my potatoes, chicory, leeks and brussels sprouts to go with the seitan slices that I brought back from Leuven. There’s nothing like a real Christmas dinner with all of the trimmings and the essential vegetables. I don’t intend to starve myself over the Christmas period.

It was late by the time that I returned – only just enough time to make a nice hot coffee and drink it before I had to think about tea. A nice plate of mixed vegetables with pasta tossed in olive oil, ground black pepper and grated cheese. I bought a pile of grated vegan cheese back from Leuven too.

So I’m off to bed in a moment. It’s early but I’m tired. I’ve had a hard day, a long weekend and a difficult period at Leuven. And tomorrow I’m interviewing for the radio. I’ll catch up with these arrears one day, but I don’t know when it might be.

Friday 10th December 2021 – I’M REALLY GLAD …

… that I started to write up my notes earlier this afternoon because the last thing that I was planning to do was to be thinking about eating my evening meal at 22:30 this evening. But there you are.

When the alarm went off it took me quite a while to find the energy and the enthusiasm to struggle to my feet. Things are really difficult right now and I’ve no idea why because if anything I’m actually in better shape physically than I was a couple of months ago.

After the medication and having checked my mails, I decided once I’d recovered my will to live to attack the outstanding dictaphone notes. And eventually, after many vicissitudes, they are now on line.

Having done that, I could then turn my attention to last night’s notes. Sherlock Holmes had been out on his travels last night. There had been some kind of party going on. Someone there had stolen a suitcase full of valuable clothing and Sherlock Holmes was on the trail. He tracked it down to a horse-drawn bus driver who was outside. A big, unruly bloke but Holmes managed to overpower him and hand him over to the Police. The guy was pleading to be let go. When they wanted to find out why he said that there was something urgent that he really must do before midnight. He promised everything he could if he could do it. Anyway they took him back towards the place where this party had taken place. As they got to the door people started coming out. For some reason he violently attacked two of them, a man and a woman. It turned out that they were the people in charge of the organisation for stealing things and he was just their handyman. They were prepared to let him rot in prison which he wasn’t going to allow. Of course with this party finishing at midnight he wanted to be there when they came out so that he could stop them.

Later on last night we were at school. There was something happening, some kind of problem. One of the girl pupils was interviewing a pile of other people. She had us in a room and was letting us out one by one to ask us questions. Eventually it was my turn. She asked me about how things were. I replied that I was really busy. She asked “do you think that you make all of your own problems”. I replied “yes, I do” (and I was dead right there). She asked me about the things that I did so I told her. Someone said “you need someone to help you, don’t you?” to which I turned to this person and said “oh yes but I’ve asked her but she doesn’t seem to be all that keen” – meaning the interviewer girl. She said “I don’t recall you asking me”. I replied “in that case, what are you doing on Saturday? Would you like to go to the pictures?”. She asked what was on. “What are we going to watch? What are we going to see?”. I replied “it doesn’t really matter, does it? Knowing my luck it will be ‘Little Women’, something like that”. To my surprise she answered “yes, OK”. When she had finished what she was doing I took her down to the canteen, sat her down at a table and went to fetch some coffee”. They had some vegan cake. There was some discussion about one vegan cake which I knew that she liked. In the end it turned out that it wasn’t that one at all so I had to make the assistant walk all the way back to the end of the queue to pick up a slice of the other vegan cake, the one that I had so we had two slices of vegan cake and two coffees.

But this makes a real change, doesn’t it? I finally get the girl after all these years. It reminded me of the time the English teacher set a task for his pupils to write an essay including the words “chaste” and “by helicopter”. One boy wrote“The boy chaste the girl and by helicopter” and that’s exactly how I was feeling last night.

The only disappointment is that I when I awoke I found that I didn’t know who she was.

The dictaphone took me all the way up to midday, although there were several interruptions.

Firstly there was giving the soft fruit mix several stirs about to keep the orange and vanilla essence mix percolating into the fruit. And then there was of course breakfast.

There was a phone call too. Caliburn’s winter tyres have arrived and when could I go and have them fitted? “How about 14:00 this afternoon?”

And so at midday when I finished my notes I went and had a hot shower. And the drop in weight of 1.2 kg over the weekend wasn’t a false reading because it showed the same reading today and that’s impressive.

Since I’ve been more careful about what I’ve been eating I’ve lost almost 4kg.

After lunch I went outside to Caliburn. And it was a struggle even to walk across the car park with the howling gale that was blowing up a storm outside. It was a case of “one step forward, two steps back” to reach him.

At 14:00 when the garage reopened I had been outside for almost 10 minutes waiting. And while they were changing his front tyres I had to wait again – until 15:30. I’ve no idea why it took them so long to change two tyres. usually it’s a 10-minute job. They didn’t even offer me a free coffee while I was waiting.

And I was right – they chose to fit the tyres to his front, unpainted wheels rather than the two in the van that I had painted the other day.

They’d taken so long to fit the tyres that the rest of the afternoon was wasted. I went to LeClerc for a few bits and pieces (where I finally found some glacé cherries), stopped at the parcels place to pick up the parcel of Caliburn’s bits and pieces and then came home – struggling across the car park with my shopping – the only thing that was stopping me being blown across the car park and into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Not even time for any photos, and even if I had, it wasn’t safe to be out on the clifftop in this wind.

With my hot coffee I did something that I’ve been meaning to do for ages and had a good shuffle round of the music. It’s becoming rather stale with the same groups seemingly stuck in the same cycle so I shook it all up.

While I was doing that I also relegated a few groups out into the “miscellaneous” folder as I’ve long-since exhausted the possibilities of what they could bring.

Laurent came round for me at 19:15 and we set off for this “fish and films” festival where we met up with a few of our other radio staff members who were covering it. And I was introduced to someone who wanted to be interviewed for my radio project, so we made the necessary arrangements for later in the month.

fish and films festival yacht club Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The festival itself consists of a series of short films that are shown in various localities all over town.

We were actually attending the opening party held at the local yacht club. There was a local jazz band (whom I have met before one afternoon on the headland at the Pointe du Roc) and they were playing a series of jazz standards that feature in several of the films.

But it was a strange festival. To celebrate the “fish and films” they had a “fish and chips” van in the car park who ran out of fish after just an hour. And in a fishing port too! You couldn’t make that up.

But one of our friends shall forever be known as “Chief Petty Officer Pertwee” for inviting us to a meal of “fish and chips” (or just chips in my case) so we waited in the queue at the van for over half an hour only to find out that he had no cash and the fryer didn’t accept cards.

It was just like a scene from “The Navy Lark” and the “Fish and Chip Ship” episode.

By the time Laurent brought me home my stomach was thinking that my throat had been cut so I made a quick dish of pasta and veg tossed in olive oil with grated vegan cheese.

So having written my notes I’m off to bed for hopefully a good night’s sleep. We’re radioing again in town tomorrow night so I want to be on top form. And I’ll miss my football again at the Stade Louis Dior, won’t I?

Friday 3rd December 2021 – JUST A QUICK …

… few lines because I’ve been busy this afternoon and this evening and now I’m absolutely exhausted.

Most of that though is due to the fact that I had yet another dreadful night, but we won’t go into that right now because you’re probably as fed up about these as I am.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I went through the two recipes that I have and made a list of the shopping that I need to do. And then I nipped out to Biocoop for some molasses.

As I was on my way to Noz in the driving rainstorm the tyre fitter rang me up. My tyres hadn’t arrived so my appointment was cancelled. Nevertheless I went to Noz where they had some really nice alcohol-free beer that will be just the thing for the Christmas period.

At LeClerc I bought what I could but the range of French cooking accessories falls a lot short. No glacé cherries, no candied peel, nothing like that at all. And even worse, no essence of alcohol-free brandy in which to soak my fruit.

Back home later I had a coffee and spent the rest of the day trawling through my record collection for Christmas rock songs. In the end I managed to pull out about 15 or so and then I remixed them and began to write out the text for the radio programme for Christmas Day.

sea fog beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021During the course of the afternoon I went out for my walk although I don’t know why because the weather was just as foul as it had been earlier.

It wasn’t just the rain that was annoying either. There was a thick sea-fog and the view was no more than a few hundred yards.

But that was enough visibility for me to say that there was no-one down there this afternoon, and that wasn’t a surprise. I was the only one stupid enough to be out there in this weather this afternoon.

tiberiade baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021That isn’t actually quite correct.

There were some other people out there this afternoon, but they were out there of necessity, not through choice. As I peered out through the gloom a trawler came into view out of a low cloud.

The brief glance that I had seemed to indicate that it might be Tiberiade, one of the larger trawlers that operate out of the port. People still have to eat, regardless of the weather, and as long as they need to eat, the fishermen will still need to go out in all kinds of conditions.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Having taken what photos I could, I went off on my walk along the headland.

From the path at the back of the running track I could just about make out the lighthouse and semaphore down at the far end of the Pointe du Roc.

Although it’s only mid-afternoon, the lights on part of the equipment were already lit. Not that they would do much good because I doubt if you can see tham at any appreciable difference in this fog.

With no-one to disturb me, I carried on down to the end of the path and across the car park at the end.

mushroom pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Nothing going on out at sea (that I could see anyway) and no-one sitting on the bench down below, which was no surprise either.

There was however this gorgeous mushroom growing on the bank and it reminded me of that beautiful mushroom soup that Nerina made for me once many years ago.
“That’s absolutely beautiful” I exclaimed. “Where did you find this recipe?”
“In an Agatha Christie murder story” she replied.

la grande ancre les bouchots de chausey omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021It wasn’t just Tiberiade who had been out there braving the conditions this afternoon.

By the looks of things several others had been trying their luck and were unloading at the fish processing plant.

We can, I suppose, rule out L’Omerta because as far as I can tell she seems to live over there permanently now. But on the extreme left we have La Grande Ancre who pulled away from the quayside almost as soon as I took the photo, and next to her is, I think, Les Bouchots de Chausey .

As for the third boat, the blue and white one, I don’t recognise her at all.

After all of this miserable weather than I had encountered, I was glad to be home. I made myself a nice hot coffee and several plans for the future.

Later on I cleared the decks and prepared everything for the baking session. And I actually knew someone else who was attending the demonstration – my very first tutor from 18 months ago.

The demonstration was quite straightforward although my oven is quite a disappointment at this kind of thing. It took about twice as long as the recommended cooking time, and it would have been even better if I’d bought food-quality bicarbonate of soda rather than general-purpose quality.

treacle banana cake place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021So here’s the finished product. Not quite as crumbly as the previous versions have been but I suspect that the almond-flour and flax seeds might have contributed to that.

It’s supposed to be iced but I’m not sure how a treacle cake would taste with icing on it. I don’t think that marzipan would be a good idea either.

After the demonstration I grabbed a quick tea and then watched the football – Bala Town v TNS. As expected is was all one-way traffic and the score of 4-1 to TNS was not an exaggeration.

It’s not that Bala are a bad side. They have most of the team that was there last season but the quality of the league has increased dramatically.

TNS were always quicker and better and played some nice football. Bala played some nice stuff too on occasion but it was far too little and far too late.

Anyway, now I’m off to bed, and I’m going to try a little experiment. I’ll tell yuo all about it tomorrow if it works.

Monday 29th November 2021 – SAY HELLO, EVERYONE …

marité normandy warrior port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… to Normandy Warrior.

Moored down there behind Marité is the newest freighter to visit the port. You won’t have seen her before because we are lucky enough today to catch her on her maiden voyage to the town

She’s the sister ship to Normandy Trader and you can tell them apart because Normandy Trader has a small upper deck behind her bridge on which lightweight articles can be loaded.

normandy warrior port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A few months ago I mentioned that the crew of Normandy Trader were talking about buying another boat.

What I had assumed that they meant was that they were going to replace her with a larger ship, but actually there’s an issue about licences and permits for larger boats and so they have managed to track down a sister ship and they are going to be operating the two simultaneously.

So here is Normandy Warrior busily being loaded with a huge pile of freight that has accumulated over the last few days for her first return journey from Granville to Jersey.

replacing christmas decorations Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Something else that has been going on today has been the repair to the town following the devastation of Storm Arwen.

The Christmas decorations in the Place General de Gaulle were savaged quite badly. Father Christmas was blown halfway down the street and the trees that they had erected to surround him were all bowled over.

As I walked past on my way to the physiotherapists they were busy re-erecting the trees. Santa had already been restored to his previous place, so let’s hope that he stays there this time.

broken slates rue general patton Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021That wasn’t the only sign of a tragedy either.

As I was walking home along the Rue General Patton I was trying to avoid all of the broken slates that were littering the floor.

It seems that there has been a roof quite badly damaged in the storm and there were broken slates everywhere. This is going to be quite a bill for someone to have to pay

It’s actually quite a testament to our building that despite being exposed to the full force of the wind, we seem to have escaped quite lightly.

school children college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021However I’ve no idea what might be happening here.

When I returned with Caliburn from having his windscreen replaced, all of the schoolkids from the College Malraux were outside on the public car park hanging around.

Whatever had caused it had happened before I arrived so I wasn’t able to identify a reason, but the fact that all of the fire doors are open seems to indicate that there has been a fire alarm and the school has been evacuated.

While we are on the subject of alarms, my alarms didn’t go off this morning. Not that it made any difference because I was wide awake. I’d had another bad night where it seemed that I hadn’t slept at all.

And seeing that there are no files recorded on the dictaphone (and it’s been quite a while since that has happened, hasn’t it?) that’s a distinct possibility.

So I fell out of bed at 06:00 and staggered off for my medication. Then back here I checked my mails and messages and then had an hour or so working on the radio programme that I should be doing this week, although when, I don’t know.

A shower was next, to get myself cleaned up, and then I changed the bedding. I’m not sure when I did that last but one thing that I did notice last night was that it was high (and I do mean “high”) time that I changed it.

And then I put set the washing machine on the go.

Having made sure that Caliburn would start, I prepared myself to leave and then headed off to the windscreen fitter’s. And with the temperature being at 2.5°C, I put my woolly hat on my woolly head for the first time this winter.

Having dropped off Caliburn I went for a walk – to buy the stuff that I need to clean his wheels, to go to Bio-Coop to see if they had any vegan cheese (which they didn’t) and then to LeClerc for a coffee, where I fell asleep for 20 minutes.

When Caliburn was ready I picked him up and drove home, and I was amazed about how pitted and grimy his old windscreen must have been.

unloading scaffolding place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Back at the building there was someone here unloading a scaffolding.

Not to climb up onto the roof, but they were actually taking it inside the building.

These rooms are quite high and to reach the ceiling is not very easy at all. It looks as if someone is redecorating and the scaffolding must be to enable them to paint the ceiling.

Back here I sat down to carry on with the radio programme but unfortunately I dozed off again. As a result I had rather a late lunch.

After lunch I tracked down the rest of the things that I need to give Caliburn his showroom appearance and then headed off to town.

black pearl spirit of conrad Courrier des Iles charles marie anakena aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury I could see that a trawler was just pulling up at the Fish Processing Plant.

She’s Black Pearl, one of the newer trawlers in the port whom we saw sail into port a while back.

Also in the shot are a load of the hire yachts that re laid up over the winter. We have, from left to right, Spirit of Conrad on whom we went up the Brittany coast 18 months or so ago, and then Charles Marie with the little Courrier des Iles moored against her.

Over on the right, Anakena is moored against the quayside with Aztec Ladymoored against her.

installing christmas lights avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021With the Rampe du Monte à Regret being closed while they repoint the wall, I carried on down the Rue des Juifs.

Down in the Avenue de la Liberation the Council’s cherry picker was out installing more Christmas lights. I wonder what this lot of lights is going to be like this year.

Heading through town, I climbed back up the Rue Couraye towards the physiotherapists, stopping off at Carrefour on the way. I forgot the tomatoes this weekend and I bought a can of energy drink to help my climb the hill back home.

At the physiotherapist’s she tightened up the screw on the cross trainer t make it harder for me to work the machine, and then I had a few kinetic exercises to carry out.

Finally I was put on the tilting platform and she obviously likes my company … “I can’t think why” – ed … because she let me stay on the machine for an extra 10 minutes.

abandoned railway line parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I came back down the steps at the Parc Du Val Ès Fleurs to see how the work was going.

From up above though, I could see that they are slowly advancing with the kerb along the line of the old abandoned railway. They are still a long way from finishing it though.

They’ve not made it to the road yet so it was something of a muddy tramp across the churned-up grass onto the car park and then down the steps to the bottom by where they have installed the keep-fit equipment

cutting wood parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was on my way down there I heard the sound of a circular saw being used .

As I walked a little further on I could see that there was a van and a trailer. There was a generator in front of the van and they were using it to power a circular bench-saw.

Having cut the wood into the required length the guy working the saw carried it off to his friends who were working out of shot on the course of the abandoned railway line.

And judging by the amount of wood that he has on the trailer, he’s going to be working there for quite some time.

creating boardwark abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021What they are actually doing is construction some kind of boardwalk at the side of the concrete pathway that they have laid.

While I was going past I asked them if they would be going the full length of the abandoned railway track and they replied in the affirmative. And I can imagine that it will be fun riding a bike on that in the pouring rain.

But once again it’s pretty dismal, all of this concrete that they have been laying all over the place. I’m sure that they could do much better than that if they really tried, but they seem to be singularly lacking in imagination around here.

parc des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile further down the road I came upon the Parc des Docteurs Lanos.

It’s still quite a mess, churned up by all of the heavy vehicles that have been driving on there moving all of the stuff about, and that is going to take a considerable amount of effort to restore it, unless they do as they have done elsewhere an sink it under a mass of concrete.

And talking of stuff, there seems to be considerably less stuff on there now. They are using it up as a considerable rate and the fact that they aren’t replacing it with any rapidity seems to indicate that the work is slowly coming to an end.

rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And talking about masses of concreete, here’s a photo of the view behind me showing the Rue du Boscq.

Last time that we looked down here they were laying yet more concrete reinforcement matting and sure enough, while I was away in Leuven they have poured yet more concrete down.

One of these days I’ll post a photo of the car park at Lezardrieux where we visited with Spirit of Conrad. There, they laid out the car park with small stone setts and used setts of different colours to mark out the lines and it all looked quite nice.

rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the other end of the street, the situation was just the same.

Another mass of concrete poured down at this end too. It all looks so dreary and depressing.

Mind you, there’s a lorry-load of earth down there and they are tipping it into the gap between the edge of the concrete and the stone wall to the right. I wonder if that is where they will be planting the hundreds of trees that they have promised.

But anyway I left them to it and carried on home dodging the broken slates in the Rue General Patton.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Yesterday we saw a really nice sunset, with what remained of the sun peeking through a small gap in the clouds.

This afternoon, we had a similar phenomenon. There wasn’t as much cloud this afternoon and so the effect was much more dramatic.

In the background we can see the church at Cancale across the bay on the Brittany coast, silhouetted against the orange sky, just to the left of centre.

It is one thing that I like about this time of year. At the time when I usually go for my walk, we have some wonderful lighting effects. We’ve seen quite a few already and there will be plenty more before Spring, I hope.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Before I went in for my afternoon coffee, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to look over onto the beach.

There wasn’t anything going on down there this afternoon, for the simple reason that there wasn’t much beach for anything to be happening on. The tide was well in right now.

So on that point I came back in for my coffee and carried on with some work, but I knocked off earlier than I normally do.

That’s because in a fit of extravagance (or forgetfulness) I bought two loads of peppers at the weekend and I had no idea of when I was going to use them. So I made one of my mega-curries with peppers, mushrooms, a tin of diced veg and a tin of white beans.

It was absolutely delicious and there’s plenty left. So when it’s cooled down and there’s some more room in the freezer, I’ll parcel it all up into individual helpings and freeze them for later use.

But right now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a very long day, walked miles and I’m exhausted. I want to make the most of this and hopefully have a really good sleep for a change.

Friday 26th November 2021 – PHEW! THAT WAS EXPENSIVE!

And I don’t even have any photographs for my pains either today.

That is for two reasons too.

  1. there’s a howling gale blowing outside right now
  2. I have been busy all afternoon and couldn’t even find time to go for my afternoon walk

Before we start though, I’m not going to mention last night. You can read the dictaphone notes and make up your own mind.

A train had been requisitioned by the Germans last night and was heading off with all kinds of art treasures that had been looted. They had a man on the front with a machine gun to defend against saboteurs, all this kind of thing but in the corridor of the tender facing the engine driver was another German armed with a sub-machine gun. At a certain point the train ground to a halt and there was some panic going on outside. The commandant in charge said “we’ll get the guy with the machine gun on the crew to reinforce you” which of course caused panic because no-one there actually knew that they were being watched like this on the footplate. At the same time there was a strike going on with football players because of recognition with their previous clubs hadn’t been granted so they weren’t considered as being equal or equivalent footballers to the Premier League and weren’t being able to be picked for the Premier League sides but that was on the point of being resolved.

A little later I was with someone (and I wish that I knew who it was) on a bicycle ride on holiday. I had a rucksack on my back and she had one on hers. We’d had some kind of incident that meant that she’d used my jeans as a mop so she’d had to borrow some jeans from someone for me. We were cycling and came to this bridge over a motorway. There were several lanes and a main road and a side road and a footpath etc. Several lanes went on a bridge over the top of the motorway while a couple went through a tunnel underneath. We cycled on and came to the motorway interchange. This was an awful, really complicated road junction. We were on bikes and the vehicles were running really quickly and not giving us much time to get into position because we wanted the lane far over in the centre. Eventually we managed to pick our way through the traffic without any excitement. We noticed on the map that someone who used to work for the radio lived here in a little cul-de-sac so we thought that we’d go to visit him. He had a bungalow in a kind-of close. When we arrived he was on the doorstep saying that he was just going to bed. he told us about an incident he’d had which involved the police which had left him feeling very bitter about whatever it was that the radio was. He went to bed but we were inside the house and used his bathroom, organised a few things. We noticed that there was an orange plastic skull sitting on his bed. We wondered what that was doing. Then my partner started to take stuff out of my rucksack to rearrange it which was uncomfortable seeing as I was wearing it at the time

And then there was a sandpit there (wherever “there” was) and a kid who was very much like me as a small child playing in it. Someone said something about how he could foretell the future in various respects. I mentioned that I’d had mine told for me and it wasn’t very complimentary

This cable had an olive-green and white speckly very thick-outer a cable with a very solid rigid central core that we could make into all kinds of shapes, but none of them were anything to do with what we were trying to do. And whatever that bit is all about is a complete mystery to me.

Some time later we were driving down the M6, a big group of us. A girl whom I used to know in Scotland was there as well, heading down. At a certain moment I recognised somewhere and said “this is the start of the Morecambe Bay holiday area, isn’t it?”. They didn’t know but we’d gone about half a mile and saw a load of surfers in the water. I mentioned that there was a town down here a little further where I’d been a couple of years ago and there had been an enormous flood. We’d spent our time swimming in what was the town square. When we arrived, the town square was flooded again so we had to drive round and find a place to park and then needed to find the solicitor’s that we were visiting the next day. I was sure that I knew where it was because I’d been here before. So we went and sure enough, this was where it was. Then we had to work out where we were going to stay. Everyone else was broke so we were talking about hostels and everything. Eventually they found some kind of bed and breakfast place that was quite cheap and were talking about booking it there but some people didn’t have any money etc

When the alarm went off I couldn’t get out of bed for quite some time but eventually I forced myself out and went for my medication.

Having checked my mails and messages I cracked on (and I really did too) with the work that needed doing. The sound-files have been sent off with the accompanying notes, and so have my questions for these perishing elves.

One thing that I noticed was that my server wasn’t saving the copies of my mails, which was no surprise as my mailbox was at 101%. I spent a very happy rest of the morning going through and weeding a pile of stuff that had built up in there that should have been deleted a long time ago.

What’s filling the place up is all of the piles of stuff that I’ve been receiving about my family so I went and downloaded it all and deleted it from my mail server. Now my mailbox is now at a more-manageable 73%.

One day I’ll download a mail-handling client like Thunderbird and download everything from the mail server.

There were several phone calls to make too. I contacted the insurance company about Caliburn’s windscreen and then I rang around for some new winter tyres for Caliburn.

When I was in the Auvergne 18 months ago I’d brought a couple of spare wheels back from the Auvergne because winter tyres are now obligatory in many départements in the centre where my farm is and it’s high time that I had some.

Hunting around on the internet I couldn’t find any bargains of the make that I wanted but somewhat closer to home, a tyre fitter could supply exactly what I wanted and on the wheels on the van they will work out even cheaper than the tyres alone on the internet.

Some other stuff is needed too for Caliburn. There’s a cracked mirror and a cracked rear light that the controle technique examiner mentioned, and of course if he’s having a new windscreen he’s having new wipers to go with it.

Rosemary rang me too and we had another one of our mega-chats

After lunch I wandered off to LIDL where I spent a fortune and can’t really see what I bought with my money, except that it was too heavy to bring all of it upstairs.

Next stop was at the windscreen place. The Insurance Company told me that the windscreen people would contact me but as I was driving past, I popped in. And as luck would it, they had a windscreen in stock and a vacant spec in their workshop at 09:00 on Monday morning.

From there I drove to the tyre fitter. he didn’t have the tyres in stock but I paid a deposit and he’s ordered them and they’ll be here on Friday morning. While I was there I bought some rust killer and some wheel paint. I may as well make his wheels look pretty

Final stop was LeClerc where I spent a fortune and once again I couldn’t really see what I’d bought for my money – except the four bottles of ginger beer that they had on special offer and the new slippers to replace my worn-out ones.

By the time that I returned it was 18:00 (where does the time all go?) so I made a coffee and ended up chatting to Liz for an hour.

Tea was a burger on a bap (now that I have baps and the correct burgers) with a baked potato and vegetables, and it was delicious.

Now I’m off to bed. I need my sleep – if I get any with this astonishing storm raging outside – as I have my Welsh weekend class for the next couple of days.

Can you imagine it? Me, setting an alarm on a Sunday! Wonders will never cease.