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Monday 7th March 2022 – IT WAS A …

… very different experience today at my physiotherapy session. She put four electric pads around my knee, coupled them up to some kind of electric machine and then spent 20 minutes putting electric shocks through my knee.

When the machine wasn’t pulsing, it was as if someone was tapping the surround of my kneecap with a small hammer. And when the current was going through it, it was as if some kind of retired Bulgarian weightlifter was squeezing my leg in a downward direction.

But anyway, more of that later.

Last night I actually had the first decent sleep that I’ve had for quite some time. I was in bed by 22:15 and there was one file on the dictaphone at 23:17 and a second at 05:12 and that was about that until the alarm went off at 06:00.

So where did I go during the night?

The night started off by me getting on a train in Central Europe, a steam train. I was trying to syphon some lemon juice from one empty container to another. I looked out of the window and there was a woman having a row with what looked like an old border guard in an old border guard uniform. The woman with me and I went down to see what was happening. He was trying to detain her but as this wasn’t the border here he had no authority so we simply told this woman to come on board and ignore him. He became quite agitated at this and threatened to arrest us all but he had no authority to do that. We took no notice and in the end the woman with me broke the hold that the man had on this other woman. She could board but my lady-friend was subjected to some rough treatment from this guy so I went over there. It ended up that he let go of her and the 3 of us boarded. As the train was heading away I went to find out where everyone was sitting. I found my friend but the other person, she was now a pair of twins whom I knew from years and years ago. They were sitting somewhere else. Being of African descent they were quite obvious in this 3rd class carriage. The woman and I sat not too far away from them. I wandered over to where one of the twins was. She was asleep but when I was very close to her she awoke so I made some kind of gesture that I hoped no-one else noticed that the two of them should come and sit by the two of us and discuss what our next move was going to be. We certainly couldn’t say that we were inconspicuous with what had happened boarding the train.

And later I was with someone last night who might have been a girl with whom I worked 40 years ago. We’d bumped into each other quite by accident and she told me that she was working out at the back of Chester. She mentioned the place and I said “yes, I know it well there. It’s by the Little Chef, isn’t it?”. She replied that it was further on down from the Little Chef closer towards Shelton Bar … “he means John Summers Steelworks at Shotton” – ed. I mentioned that it must be near somewhere else but she replied that that was in the other direction. I thought that I’d better shut up otherwise I’d make more of a fool of myself than I’m doing at the moment. Of course that’s an area that i used to know years ago all around there. We started to talk about this and that and I asked her how she was going to work. She replied that she was going by train. I thought that the railway line there had been closed years ago but apparently not. They had reopened it with new stations and there was a new station that had opened that very day right where we were. That was where she was heading to catch the train. We set off to walk to the station and quite by surprise I found myself holding her hand and we were having a very friendly boy-girl chat about next-to-nothing. When we reached the station there was a train just pulling in so she let go and ran for it but the train didn’t stop. It pushed on right through the station. I arrived on the platform just behind her. We asked someone and they said “the train you want is the 17:17 which is in a minute’s time. That was a non-stop through train, that one. Her train pulled in and she boarded, and I did as well for no particular reason other than to go with her to her particular station.

After the medication I started the radio programme that I wanted to do today and it took me much longer than it ought to have done, simply because there were so many interruptions of all sorts. Have you ever tried to explain to someone with no braincells the difference between cost-of-living increases and price increases?

No wonder the UK is in such a mess.

After lunch I had a shower and a good clean up and then I left for my physiotherapy appointment.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne on the way out to test the camera.

The tide wasn’t very far in at all this afternoon so there wasn’t anyone out and about down there. As usual these days, one of the Joly France boats is over there at the ferry terminal waiting for her next trip to the Ile de Chausey, whenever that might be.

The walk down into town was rather difficult today. There’s a ramp of four steps halfway down the hill where I can test my right knee to see if there’s the strength in it to lift me up.

And today, there was no force whatsoever. I had to climb the steps with the left leg leading and the right leg limping along behind instead of climbing up normally with alternate legs leading.

digging up rue saintonge Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the Rue Lecampion, I noticed that in one of the side streets … “Rue Saintonge” – ed … they had closed off the street and were busy digging up the surface.

It doesn’t look as if it’s a cable-laying job as there’s no trench there and no cables either. It looks as if they are just digging a hole there.

In the town centre I went to the Post Office. I’d written two letter earlier and they needed posting. Not that anything will necessarily come from them but nothing will anyway if I don’t post them.

Up the hill I went to the physiotherapist. It was quite agonising but I managed it without having to stop for breath. I’m not so sure that going to the railway station on Wednesday is going to be any better.

decorating mairie place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back down into town I noticed that there were things going on at the Mairie.

We were all across the road from there showing our support for Ukraine, but I hadn’t noticed the blue and white banner that was attached to the balcony and I was surprised that I had missed it.

And there’s a cherry-picker out there too with a couple of people sticking up posters for something else. I’ll have to wander past there when they’ve all gone and take a closer look at what’s happening.

erecting scaffolding rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There’s something happening in the Rue Georges Clemenceau down at the end of the Rue Paul Poirier.

There are several buildings that have changed hands down there just recently and this afternoon they’ve been erecting scaffolding up around one of them.

Parked over there too is a carpenter’s van so it looks as if the building over there is going to be having a new roof within the next few weeks or so.

The walk up the Rue des Juifs towards home wasn’t as easy as it has been for this last couple of weeks. I wasn’t feeling too good over the weekend and it seems to have continued into today. I hope that it picks up before Wednesday. I don’t want to be going to Leuven like this.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went into the apartment for a coffee I went to have a look over the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

There was plenty of beach to be down on as well today, but only a couple of people down there on it. It seems that everyone has gone back to work or back to school now, and that will be that until Easter when we’ll have the crowds back again.

After I’d had my coffee I transcribed the dictaphone notes and then did a little tidying up. Not for any good purpose because it looks as if the Nurse has forgotten to come round today to give me my injection for Wednesday.

Tea tonight was a curry made of all kinds of bits and pieces hanging around in the fridge. And there’s enough left over for tea tomorrow as well. At least the fridge will be fairly empty when I go to Leuven.

But right now I’m off to bed. It might be early but I’m exhausted. Tomorrow is my Welsh lesson and I need to be on form for that. I’ve been rather flagging over the last few weeks as far as that goes.

Wednesday 8th December 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

replacing cobbles rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… when I said the other day that maybe I was being rather too hasty with my vituperative comments about the surface of the Rue St Michel

Those big bags that we saw on the back of that pick-up yesterday were actually full of cobbles and then are all now dumped on the corner in the Rue de Cambernon. But several have actually made it up to the far end of the street.

If you look carefully at this photograph you’ll see that a pile of them have even been laid and the work is slowly progressing down the hill towards where I’m standing.

Mind you, it’ll take them a good few days to reach this end of the street. And then, I suppose, someone else will come along and dig it up for some other purpose.

After last night’s antics I needed someone to come along and dig me up out of bed when the alarm went off because firstly I was in bed late, not being tired earlier, and then I was awake after just about 4 hours of sleep and couldn’t go back to sleep until, as usual, about 5 minutes before the alarm went off.

Consequently I was staggering around for a good few minutes trying to gather my wits once I finally made it out of bed.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I went and edited the sound-file from Sunday morning. It was a mess as I expected, with pops and bangs everywhere, but I’ve managed to trim well over 40 minutes of sound down to half that – and there’s plenty more to go as well.

However I need to send it off to Laurent for a listen and for him to dictate some supplementary questions.

A propos of absolutely nothing, two of the interviewees started to talk about the Erasmus scheme and the ending of mutual recognition of qualifications and that will make a pretty good interview all on its own so I cut it out and filed it separately.

All of that took me right up to 18:20 this evening, but it was a job well-done.

There were the usual interruptions of course, one of which was for breakfast, and another was for a shower. And having weighed myself again, I’m down to my lowest weight since it piled back on after I stopped running. Those were the days, hey?

With a late lunch as well today, it was almost time to go straight out for my walk to the physiotherapist’s.

repairing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Seeing as I was a few minutes early today, I went to have a look at the repairs to the medieval city wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

First thing that I noticed was that they hadn’t re-erected the shelter that was blown down by Storm Arwen, the shelter that they have over their heads when they are pointing the wall, to stop objects from above falling on their heads.

But then by the looks of things, the pointing has hardly advanced at all since we saw it last. Mind you, they have had other things to worry about, like gale-force winds and the like. And this afternoon’s wind was nothing to be ashamed of either.

You have already seen the photo of the Rue St Michel so I pushed on and walked over the drawbridge into the Rue des Juifs.

marité chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The other day we saw a photo of all of the Ile de Chausey boats moored up in the inner harbour.

However today, there has been some shuffling around of the fleet. The Joly France ferry that was over on the far side of the harbour has now disappeared completely.

Chausiaise has also moved, but not as far. She’s now in front of Marité in the loading bay underneath the crane but I don’t think that all of that freight just there is for her.

As for the other two boats, they are still tied up here against the quayside right underneath where I’m standing.

site of christmas market place pelley le pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There’s quite a lot of activity going on down below too on the Place Pleville de Pelley.

That’s where the bar ephemère hangs out during the summer and is used as the boulodrome for the rest of the time, but today they are setting up some little wooden cabins there.

We’re going to be having a Christmas Fair, so I’m told, and that looks as if it’s it. It doesn’t look particularly impressive though.

Given half a chance I’d be in Aachen or Köln next weekend at a real Christmas Fair, but I’m going nowhere unnecessary while there’s all of this going on.

On the way up the hill I stopped at the Carrefour and bought a bunch of bananas. I’m running low on them and I can’t survive at all without bananas.

At the physiotherapist’s, she had me on the cross trainer again for 5 minutes and then more kinetic exercises, including throwing this ball about again. Today though, I don’t know what happened but I wasn’t feeling anything like as well as I have done this last couple of weeks – and that was nothing much to write home about was it?

ambulance rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I stepped out of the physiotherapist’s, I was overtaken by an ambulance going down the hill at some speed.

There must be some kind of emergency somewhere for him to be driving like that with all of his lights flashing.

Having taken a photo I pushed on down the hill where I bumped into “Father Christmas” coming out of a shop. We had quite a chat about our interview the other day and he was quite impressed with how well it came out.

In the end, they didn’t do a bad job of it but it could have been ohhhh! So much better and I feel that an opportunity has been let slip here.

cherry picker fixing wreath to town hall place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There was more excitement going on when I arrived at the town centre.

There’s one of the Council’s cherry-pickers down there in the Place General de Gaulle and the gus in the nacelle are erecting some kind of Christmas wreath on the wall of the Mairie.

Not that I have any idea why they would be wanting to do that because putting it as high up as they seem to be doing, it’s not as if many people are going to notice it up there.

empty port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now we were having a really heavy hailstorm so I wrapped my rain jacket tighter around me and carried on through the town and up the hill.

The part of the port where the fishing boats tie up was strangely deserted this afternoon. Almost every boat was out at sea, and in this weather too. They must be expecting a bumper harvest this evening when they all come back on the tide.

When you think about it, it’s quite a heroic endeavour being a fisherman and since the demise of coal-mining in the West, it’s probably one of the most dangerous occupations going. On the other side of the Cotentin Peninsula a trawler with four people on board was lost at sea two nights ago.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Despite the lousy weather right now, I went over to have my customary look at the beach.

As I expected, there was no-one down there at all right now. People have far more sense than to be out and about in all of this.

Back here I made myself a nice hot coffee and then carried on with editing this sound file. I was glad when I finished it too – at least this particular bit. There will be plenty more work to be done on it, and on the other sound files too that relate to this project.

And who knows? Maybe even one of my colleagues might contribute something to this project, but I’m not holding my breath.

Tea was the rest of last night’s curry and left-over curry is even more delicious the next day when all of the spices have marinaded deeper into the food.

So that’s enough for today. I’m off to bed. For the next two days I’m staying at home with no plans anywhere. So that’s the cue for Caliburn’s bits and pieces to be delivered to the parcels centre and for his new tyres to arrive, isn’t it?

Tuesday 7th December 2021 – JUST BY WAY OF …

… a change, there has been no excitement in the local area today.

The rest of the body that goes with the foot wasn’t washed up on a beach anywhere in the vicinity. And neither was the Loch Ness Monster or Godzilla. In fact, we were all back to normal again.

Plenty of excitement during the night though. I’d been asked if I’d do a lorry-driving job driving a tanker somewhere. I said that I would and set out from the UK in this artic towing this tanker. We reached the docks and I drove my lorry on board. They said that they would park it so I let them park. When the ship docked I went down below to the hold and found that they’d uncoupled my lorry from the trailer. I though that this is going to be an absolute bitch for me to couple up because I haven’t driven a lorry for 30 years. I have to line everything up, mate it up, connect it up, connect all the cables. I drove round there but thought that this doesn’t feel like my tractor. For a start, my music wasn”t playing and it was a lot rougher to drive than mine. I wondered if I’d got the wrong tractor but they keys all fitted and everything. When I arrived round at the other side I noticed that the tractor had had a couple of its wheels taken off so I had to hunt for a couple of wheels which wasn’t easy. There was a big inspection pit there full of snakes and all kinds of other obnoxious reptiles (and we had this the other day). Eventually I found 2 wheels but on one the tyre was really thin on it. There was another new tyre there ready to put on. I thought “I have to put these 2 wheels back on, change this tyre over, reverse this tractor unit in underneath this trailer and so on. I’ve already been at it for about 6 hours and the ferry has probably done 2 trips back and to to the UK while I’ve been doing this and I’m never going to get away at this rate as I keep on finding more and more problems with this flaming tractor. This continued confusion and frustration is another regular feature.

Something else that is a regular feature is about me being back in work and planning on leaving. My last day should have been a Monday but I left instead on the Friday and was heading to the South Atlantic. However they were overrun with work so they asked me to come back on the Monday. I was really disappointed, firstly because I wanted to be in the South Atlantic and secondly because I’d left behind a whole pile of messy cases that I didn’t want to do. When I finally made it into the office on Monday morning there were a whole pile of cakes and everything on my desk and people making comments about “ohh your appetite’s back as well Eric” – all that. There was also something about a family with a young girl. They had been doing something with the town, some kind of course. The young girl hadn’t been there for the first couple of days because she was ill but she had come back after I’d left and was being very impolite and very awkward. A few people had had words about her behaviour. I don’t know where that fitted in but by now I was back at work with all of these tyres to change (as in the previous voyage) and a whole pile of paperwork and stuff that we were doing and reordering. I was completely fed up with having to come back and if they thought that I would come back the day after, they were very mistaken.

Later on I did step back into that dream where I left off, the one where I was back in work the day after but convinced that that was going to be my final day. I spent a lot of the time looking in hedgerows for orienteering clips that were supposed to be there.

Finally I was in an Inuit settlement in Nunavut. In a gap between a couple of houses was a river but when I looked it was a really long cascading waterfall with about 4 or 5 different drops. I took the camera out to take a photo but it was a really difficult one to photograph. Just as I took the photograph 4 or 5 girls came past on bikes saying “that’s a strange thing to photograph”. I told them to come here and look, which they did. When I showed them the photograph it consisted of them on their bikes obscuring my photograph.

After all of that excitement it was a struggle for me to leave my bed when the alarm went off. When I eventually did struggle to my feet I went off for my medication feeling rather unsteady on my feet.

After checking the mails and messages I sat down to revise my Welsh for the lesson and to write up my notes from last week too. And all of that took longer than it ought to have done as well.

The lesson passed quite quickly and for a change it passed off quite well too without me, for once, making a fool of myself. But I’m really struggling with this teflon brain of mine. Nothing seems to stick to it

After lunch I had a few things to organise that took me right up until it was time for me to go for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As usual, my first port of call was going to be at the beach – or, rather, at the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach.

It was the kind of day where I didn’t expect to se anyone down there, and I was right too. It was fairly windy today but more relevantly, we’d been having rainstorms on and off all throughout the day

At the moment it had stopped raining but 10 minutes ago and at various times during the rest of the day we were having it coming down in buckets.

In fact, no sooner had I taken the photo of the beach it all came down again so I put away the camera on the inside of my rain jacket and trudged off down the path.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021That will explain why there are no photographs until I arrived at the car park at the end of the path – it was too wet to take out the camera.

However by the time I reached here the rain had diminished somewhat so to celebrate the occasion I took a photograph of Le Loup – the marker light that sits on the rock at the entrance to the port.

It looks quite nice framed through the trees like that and the rain that was falling down was giving it something of a surreal effect. We’ve seen plenty of photos of it when it’s been beautifully illuminated by the sunshine so it’s nice to have a photo that is somewhat different.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Talking of the sunshine, we’re having another one of these beautiful sunsets.

Over towards the Brittany coast there’s a gap in the clouds and the sunshine is streaming down and lighting up a little patch on the sea in the centre of the bay.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … this time of the year is always good for this kind of effect and it was rather a shame that I was the only one out there enjoying it this afternoon.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021With nothing else going on I wandered off down the path towards the port.

And there is something going on down at the chantier naval this afternoon. The first thing that I noticed was that the wheels of the portable boat lift have now disappeared. I wonder where they have gone.

There’s a guy down there too, going back and to between the ladder on the side of the boat lift and his van. He’s the only one down there this afternoon – everyone else who has been working down there recently seems to have cleared off.

Probably something to do with the weather, I reckon.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And this afternoon we have a boat over at the fish processing plant this afternoon.

It’s not any of the usual suspects such as L’Omerta but one of the larger trawlers – Jade III in fact, as I was to find out as I drew closer – and as I’m useless at drawing, it was a pretty poor likeness.

Her registration number tells me that she’s from St Brieuc, although we’ve seen her here a few times, and it’s a good job that she has a catamaran hull so that she can settle down in the silt without too many problems.

The problem that I was having now was that it had started to rain fairly heavily so I headed off back home quite quickly.

fork lift truck place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Before I went inside though, I was distracted by the goings-on on the car park outside.

There was a fork-lift truck racing around on there, heading back on its way out again. he drove off towards the medieval walled city again, the wrong way down the one-way street.

He’s presumably working on the Rue St Michel and that reminded me that tomorrow, if I have time, I’ll have to go that way and see what they are up to. It’s been a while since I’ve last checked and I imagine that they’ve made some progress since then.

workmen's compound skip lorry place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021So this is what the fork-lift truck has been up to.

It looks as if there has been a load of material delivered in those large sacks to what used to be the workmen’s compound and the fork-lift truck has been lifting them on to the back of the pickup over there, which is now heading off in that general direction as well.

The skip is back as well, having been gone for a few days. Things must be hotting up over there.

Back here I had a nice hot coffee and then transcribed the notes off the dictaphone for today, which I posted earlier.

This evening’s mean was a curry made of all of the left-overs in the fridge, lengthened with a tin of lentils. There’s enough there for a meal tomorrow as well and that’ll save me having to think of a meal. I’m not sure what’s happening but I seem to have lost all of my enthusiasm for everything just now.

So later than usual, and later than intended, I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I need to make a start on editing the sound-file that I recorded on Sunday morning. I’m hoping therefore to have a decent night’s sleep. It’s been a while ….

Wednesday 10th November 2021 – MARITÉ IS BACK …

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… in port after her little adventure filming whatever it was that she had been filming during the week.

She crept back in on the morning tide and is now happily moored back in her habitual berth and the trawler Saint Gaud has cleared off elsewhere.

Caliburn is back too, but not for very long. The examiner at the Controle Technique didn’t like the crack in the windscreen that’s been there for five years and through four previous controles technique without so much as a mention.

He also needs his headlights polishing too so I’ll go out there with some toothpaste and an old toothbrush to deal with that one day later in the week.

And if I don’t have a decent sleep some time soon I won’t be here for very long either. You can tell just how disturbed it was by the entries on the dictaphone. I started out on my way to Court last night to defend myself against a VAT assessment. I’ve no idea why except that it was something quite old and I hadn’t a clue what it was so I’d just taken a pile of pens and notepaper to write down notes. I found an empty bench and went to sit down and started to rehearse my case. The judge who was sitting at his desk told me not to rehearse my case at all so that confused me even more.

Later on I’d been tidying up a huge pile of papers that were all over the floor, books and everything. It was getting worse and worse the more that I tried to tidy up, everything like that. No matter how much I tried, there was more and more stuff to unpack. Then there was something to do with a couple of friends who came round. We ended up driving back towards Manchester. We were talking about music but the guy wasn’t really listening to what I was saying so I didn’t say very much. When we returned we measured my wall out and found that there were a couple of plssterboards that were too low and needed building up. I took one off the wall to give to him. The we started talking about do he and his wife want to come round for tea or maybe a meal or something and put back the plasterboard but they had to have a look at all the food supplies they had lying around, put it away and see what went into the fridge and let me know

Some time later there was a netball match being played last night. I was on one team. It was strange that everyone except one player was packed into the defensive circle of his own team so there was only me and one girl from the other team playing upfield. We were playing with balloons and I had the upper hand but every time I passed the ball over to the pack to try to get it into the hoop the balloon burst and they had to produce another one. Some balloons were better than others and we never seemed to be making any headway with this. It was all just playing this netball in this one particular area trying to get into the attacking semi-circle

Finally there had been a new road built from Nantwich so although Chester was posted straight on down Welsh Row, Tarporley was for some reason posted off to the right on this new road. A little later on there was a girl driving an Austin A40 in nantwich who was heading towards Tarporley. She decided to take this new road to find out why it didn’t go on down Welsh Row towards Tarporley. At some point she’d parked up her car and was having a huge row with someone. She said something like “my car’s far too new to abandon just like that and walked back to get in her car to carry on down this road. I was there because I was interested in taking photos of the signposts to find out exactly what was happening.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I cracked on with a pile of dictaphone notes from the backlog.

A few more days have been added to the updating and there’s another pile of notes ready to follow that lot tomorrow morning too. It kept me busy for for most of the morning and there’s only four days left to transcribe now.

They aren’t going to be done as quickly as I would like either because by now my turbulent phase was in full swing are there are mounds and mounds of stuff.

There were a couple of breaks in the middle of all of this.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Firstly, I’d almost run out of bread here. And I’d almost run out of yeast too so I had to go with what I had.

For a change I spent quite some time kneading and rolling my dough and it’s come out quite well again. I must remember this technique for the future.

It actually tasted quite nice too and it would have been even better had it had more yeast in it. But I think that the mixture could have benefited from a little more water in it.

The second interruption was the nurse. He couldn’t come on Monday so he came today instead and gave me my Aranesp injection and also my ‘flu injection.

Now i’m injected to the hilt and safe against every known disease, so i’ll probably be run down by a bus as well.

While I was waiting for the bread to cool down I went to take a shower. And my weight is slowly going down. I could make it go down even quicker but experience has shown me that the quicker it comes off, the quicker it goes back on.

omerta port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Having finished lunch I set the washing machine off and then set out for the physiotherapist, taking the NIKON 1 J5 with me.

L’Omerta was still moored up at the wharf underneath the fish processing plant, something that seems to be becoming a regular occurrence these days.

Strangely enough, I’d forgotten how to use the little camera and it took me a while to remember. It’s only been four months as well.

These days, my memory is becoming terrible. I keep on telling people that two things happen to you you when you reach my age.

  1. You forget absolutely everything that there is to forget
  2. I can’t remember what the second thing is


fishing boats victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was still finding my feet with the camera (I don’t ‘arf do some strange things) I noticed that the inner harbour was strangely deserted.

It seems as if all of the big trawlers and most of the little inshore fishing boats were out at sea this afternoon. There were just a few of the smaller inshore boats left behind – and L’Omerta of course.

But Victor Huge and Granville are still there too. A sad casualty of the Channel Islanders’ willingness to leap aboard the Brexit bandwagon despite the fact that, never having been in the EU, Brexit is nothing to do with them, has been the ferries that for a couple of centuries have been running between here and there.

One of the reasons why I came here was for the ferries – a good chance to exercise my sea-legs – but it’s turned out not to be.

pointing Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Last time that we came down the hill in the Rue des Juifs we saw them erecting a scaffolding to enable them to continue the repointing on the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret that they abandoned a while back.

By now it’s all up and they have actually started work. And it doesn’t look to me as if they are apprentices or work experience trainees either but proper time-served employees.

That’s a shame really because there are so many traditional crafts that are rapidly dying out with no-one to carry them on.

To promote this kind of thing amongst the young and the jobless is a really good way of building up a reservoir of skilled workmen and women with a trade that is a meaningful and valuable occupation.

woman speaking into microphone rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down the hill, through the town centre and back up the hill on the other side to the physiotherapist..

It would have given me great pleasure (well, a lot of things would, actually) to have said that I went all the way without stopping but I did actually stop once in the Rue Couraye – just to take a photograph though, not to catch my breath.

The woman was standing on the side of the road with a professional microphone into which she was talking and which seemed to be connected to something in the rear of that car.

Whatever that was about, I have no idea.

The physiotherapist had me doing kinetic exercises again because someone else was using the tilting platform. And right at the end she had me staning on something just 10cms wide, one foot behind the other while she threw balls at me to catch.
“your reflexes are really good” she said. Well, she didn’t. She actually said “vos reflèxes sont vachement bien”

It wasn’t for me to disillusion her by telling her that I spent much of my spare time in my teens and 20s as a goalkeeper and later as a wicket-keeper.

After she threw me out, then biting the bullet I headed off on foot to rescue Caliburn, stopping at Aldi on the way for a can of energy drink.

It’s all uphill to the garage – not very steep but long, long, long and it took it out of me but I made it there in the end.

Having paid the bill I went to collect Caliburn only to find that the battery was flat. One of the guys at the garage gave me a jump-start and so I went for a good long drive to put some juice back into the battery.

It was my intention to go to the shops for food but I didn’t fancy the idea of trying to have a jump start on a supermarket car park.

Back here I put the spare battery on charge just in case he won’t start tomorrow and then went to make a coffee. It was at that point that I realised that tomorrow is a Bank Holiday. I hope that one of the supermarkets in town will be open tomorrow morning.

There were some mushrooms lying around looking sorry for themselves in the fridge so I made another delicious curry with them. These ad-hoc curries with whatever is lying around are turning out to be quite nice.

So now I’m off to bed, to see where else I might be going tonight. And, more to the point, and more importantly too, who’s going with me. I’ve been having a few interesting partners on my travels just now and it’s a shame that they aren’t here in real life.

Thursday 4th November 2021 – HOW LONG IS IT …

… since I’ve walked 110% of my daily total? It must be quite a while, I reckon.

This morning I took Caliburn for his annual service and controle technique and it’s a long way home – just over 6kms in fact. But apart from the final climb up the Rue des Juifs, what parts of it that aren’t on the level are slightly downhill so I thought “now or never”.

As it happens, just as I was walking past the bus stop about 400 metres from the garage, a bus came along and I could even have had a free ride home, but I persevered. And I’m glad that I did.

Mind you, I shan’t be walking back to pick him up when he’s ready. That’s not part of the plan at all.

Even more surprisingly, I’m surprised that I even thought about it after the night that I had. I promised yesterday that I won’t mention bad nights again so I’ll say nothing more.

It was however something of a very mobile and extremely surreal night. I don’t know why but I had just thrown a load of inflatable lifebuoy rings and toys and things into a swimming pool. Everyone had jumped in afterwards after them but thy were adults and even so they were making like whale things like squirting water out of a jet at the back of their helmets and that kind of thing, not being serious at all.

Later on there were 2 Viking ships doing a shuttle service between Norway and England. One of them was delayed for so long that by the time they prepared to leave the other Viking ship or Norse trading ship had come in to the harbour down the coast so they wanted to slip out to sea before the captain of that ship came to look for them to wonder why they had been so long. They slipped out on the tide at night and were caught in a fog. eventually they made a very rough landfall on some kind of island that might have been the Faroe Islands or something but was totally uninhabited. The ship was damaged so they couldn’t sail away so they had to sit and make the most of what it was that they were going to be doing on this island. There was plenty of driftwood for wood but that was really all about everything.

Some time later I was with a friend of mine in that old black MkV that I had and we were going into Crewe somewhere, just generally talking. This Cortina was running really poorly on about 3.5 cylinders and you had to work the gears pretty hard to get it to move. We went all the way down Mill Street where we nearly ran into the back of a car. I stopped by turning left and let some people cross the street, up past Oak Street into the town centre. The whole of the town centre had changed. There was still the pavement opposite the library but that was now a lawn but where the car park and the ring road used to be was now all buildings. I was having to find a place to park there but I couldn’t see anywhere to park. I was thinking that I would have to drive round for a bit in order to find somewhere.

There were plenty of other things going on too. We were on a coach tour going into Hungary. When it was meal-time the coach pulled up in Budapest, but it was no Budapest that I ever knew, something really modern. We all cascaded out and there was a restaurant there and it had absolutely nothing whatever vegan. We went to look at another couple in the vicinity and there wasn’t anything there either. By the time that we’d met up with a couple more off the coach who were looking for something to eat. We went back to the first place but to get there wasn’t easy. We had to scramble down this slope that looked very insecure. Down at this restaurant you had to make your own pizza, make your own sandwiches, take them to the till. There was nothing there that I could eat so we went into the restaurant to look for the tour guide. He wasn’t there. I was becoming extremely annoyed about this because I wanted something to eat but there was nothing there whatever that I could eat.

Finally there was an awfully interesting chat about camisole dresses and school sports days but I’m not quite sure what that was all about – something about rolling the camisole dress up like girls do when they go to school – roll the waist over to make the skirt shorter.

After the medication I went and assembled Caliburn’s door.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the door latch keeps sticking and sometimes I can’t open it from the outside. A few weeks ago I dismantled it and oiled all of the parts with WD40 and I left it half-dismantled to make sure that it works. Today I gave it another oiling and then put it back together.

Having dropped Caliburn off at the menders’, I set out for my marathon walk home. It was sunny but there was a cool breeze and I was very grateful for that.

calvary rue de la font jolie Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the corner of the street near the garage is a calvary – a shrine in honour of the Virgin Mary i reckon.

The plaque underneath it is very worn but the general message suggests that it’s to do with a pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1959

And this reminds me of a story that I have told before … “and on many occasions too” – ed.

In Québec many years ago they had some kind of competition for the design of a calvary. One designer sent in a drawing of John Wayne on his horse

Avoiding the temptation to take the bus, I carried on walking and I was glad that I did because we now have an Aldi open in the town. I popped in there for some energy drink to fuel me up and took advantage of the opportunity to have a good look around.

The place is bigger and has more choice than Lidl, so I can see myself calling in there every so often to stock up, especially as it’s not too far from Noz and LeClerc.

By the time I reached the bottom of the hill in the Rue Couraye I was beginning to feel the strain but I pushed on regardless.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021So much so that I actually made it half-way up the hill in the Rue des Juifs before I had to stop for breath.

Down there in the port, it was all quiet. The quayside was deserted – Normandy Trader and Thora had gone, taking the huge mound of freight with them.

Also gone from the harbour is Marité. Apparently she’s doing some filming somewhere, but I’ve no idea what or where it is.

When I returned home I made some coffee and toast and then came back in here to sink into my comfortable chair. And was I glad to do that! It’s a long time since I’ve been so exhausted and even so, I was really glad that I had accomplished it.

There’s life in the old dog yet!

But that wasn’t the end of my activity for the day either. There’s my appointment with the doctor at 13:30.

When I sat down on returning home I was feeling fine, but when I stood up to go on my way, I knew about it. I felt every inch of the journey down into town, and every bone and muscle in my body as well.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual I took the NIKON D3000 with me on my walk. and I put it to good use just round the corner.

The tide is well out right now so with it being the school holidays, the crowds are out on the exposed beach having a go at the pèche à pied.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the foreshore between high and low tides is leased to commercial fishermen who harvest the shellfish. But at the very low tides the water drops right down below the commercial zone and anything found in this exposed zone is fair game for anyone who cares to harvest it.

The doctor gave me a good going-over while I was there. My blood pressure is up which is a surprise because I didn’t think that I had enough even to make a normal reading.

The chemists have to order the injections of Aranesp for me so when I recovered from the shock of the price (you won’t believe how much they cost) I told them I’ll be down tomorrow to pick them up. It’ll be a nice walk into town in the afternoon, to do something different instead of my usual walk.

While I was at the chemist’s I remembered that I have a free voucher for a flu injection. I handed that over as well and I’ll pick that up tomorrow too.

Back here again I had a very late lunch with my delicious bread, musing on the fact that had suddenly hit me that I’d walked all the way from town and right up the hill to here without stopping for breath even once. And if that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But after all of this I was in no fit state to do very much in the afternoon.

I remembered to pop out (later than usual) too look at the beach. The tide is not quite full in but even so there wasn’t anyone down there, so I didn’t hang around much. I came back in to the apartment for another rest.

At some point I managed to go through all of the photos for yesterday and at some point when I have summoned up the energy I’ll write the text for them. But right now, I’m aching in places that I didn’t even know that I had.

Leaving my seat to go and make tea was exciting too. I can see me having a real struggle to leave my stinking pit in the morning if things carry on like this.

But tea was good tonight. There were some leftover bits and pieces lying around so I made a curry with them and that was quite delicious too.

Anyway, shortly I’ll be off to bed and try again for an uninterrupted night’s sleep, if I can. The pace is hotting up in here with the work building up so I’m hoping to have a really good day at it.

Just watch someone come along and spoil it.

Saturday 25th September 2021 – THIS SHELLFISH FESTIVAL …

marquees fete des coquilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021 … isn’t half bringing in the crowds. And it’s absolute chaosas well by the looks of things.

Several more marquees and stalls have been set up since we last looked and they are packed to the gunwhales with people who have apparently come from all parts of France in order to indulge in an orgy of shellfish.

Including the boat Anakena, the one that was stranded in port at the height of the pandemic. You can see her, the dark blue one moored in the background. She’s been working her way around the Brittany coast, having set sail from Lorient at the end of August.

marquee marité rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And the chicane in the Rue du Port was total chaos this morning as well.

Motorists not knowing where to go and what to do, stopping, and even parking, in the most inconvenient places, and then there were the hordes of pedestrians milling about in the way of all of the traffic.

The way out to the hypermarket was chaos enough at 09:15. I shuddered to think of what it would be like by the time that I come back, so I went the long way round to reach home. And I bet that despite being the long way round, it took me much less time.

bad parking leclerc hypermarket Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While we’re on the subject of bad parking … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was enough bad parking today to fill a photo album, so I’ve selected this example for you.

It’s a delivery van delivering products to one of the boutiques in the Hypermarket. Dozens of empty spaces at this time of morning, including this disabled space right by the front door, but reversing in there is far too complicated for this guy.

What he’s chosen to do is to abandon his van in one of the car park paths, blocking in several cars while he was at it, including one with a driver who was trying to leave. But as long as he’s okay, what does he care about anyone else?

Anyway, let’s return to our moutons as they say around here.

Once more, the blasted phone people sent me a text message that awoke me during the night and I had trouble going back to sleep again. Nevertheless I must have done because the alarm awoke me at 07:30

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too so I copied the audio files onto the computer, and as I type out these notes, I realise that Bane of Britain has forgotten to transcribe them.

Off I went to the shops once I’d awoken. at Noz I didn’t spent much but at LeClerc it was another large bill, due to my buying more coffee and a pile of syrups seeing as I’m running out. I’ve given up making my own drinks for now. I’m not feeling up to tasks like that at the moment.

Another thing that I bought was some of those soya desserts in small pots. I need to vary my diet rather more than I’m doing at the moment.

Back here, having taken the long way round, it was astruggle up the stairs with my heavy shopping. But the fact that I managed it, albeit rather precariously, tells me that the physiotherapy is working somewhat.

Having put down the shopping I made myself a coffee and cut a slice of my fruit bread, and then came in here to relax for a while. I was exhausted after my efforts at the shops.

After lunch, there was football. Trefelin against Connah’s Quay Nomads in the Welsh Cup.

The gul in class was pretty evident right from the kick-off and at one point well into the second hald, the stats showed 28% Trefelin possession and 72% Connah’s Quay possession.

Nevertheless, the score at half-time was just 1-0 to the Nomads thanks to a brilliand Jamie Insall goal. The Trefelin goal was having a charmed life with shots whistling narrowly over the bar or around the post, and when they were on target, they found the Trefelin keeper in exceptional form.

Nomads scored a second goal shortly after the interval as a result of a goalmouth scramble, a goal that should quite properly have been disallowed due to a foul on the keeper, but with the Nomads having been denied a stonewall penalty in the 1st half that everyone except the referee thought should have been given, I suppose it evened things up.

The introduction of Jamie Mullan injected some more spark into the Nomads. He had a point to prove, and set about proving it.

2 late goals for the Nomads sealed what was in the end a comfortable victory, but in all honesty they should have been down the road and out of sight a long time before the interval.

old car peugeot 203 wedding civic offices Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was getting ready to go out for my afternoon walk there was quite a racket going on outside.

My apartment looks out onto the Civic Offices where the marriages take place, and it looks as if this afternoon, judging by all of the people around there, this today must have been the marriage of the Century.

But my attention was drawn to the car down there. It’s been a long time since we’ve featured an old car on these pages, and today there’s a Peugeot 203 down there – the white and red car.

These are gorgeous machines and I would have one in a heartbeat, especially a plateau, or pickup. I found one once ON THE ILE D’YEU when Cecile and I went to visit her mother, but I had to decline.

ship relaying bouchot stakes donville les bains baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As usual I went across the car park to have a look down onto the beach, but my attention was immediately drawn to this.

Whatever is going on down there, I have no idea but there’s a small ship fitted with a crane of some description, and I’m sure that that row of bouchot stakes wasn’t there yesterday.

It looks as if the bouchot farmers are having an extension, and there are quite a few people on the beach down by the campsite having a good look

And had I been feeling much better, I would have been down there having a good look with them.

people on beach rue du nord plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But enough of that. Let’s go back to the beach.

Today was cloudy and overcast so I didn’t expect to see too many people down there, especially with all of the other attractions going on elsewhere.

And I was right in that respect, at least by the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord, because there was only a handful of people there.

Farther along by the Plat Gousset there were a few more people, but that’s always the case. Access to the beach is much easier along there

f-gorn Robin DR400/120 Dauphin 2+2 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there at the end of the car park, I noticed a light aeroplane taking off from the airfield.

She’s F-GORN, the Robin DR400/120 Dauphin 2+2 that belongs to the Aero Club de Granville, on her way out to sea

However I can’t tell you any more than that because she didn’t seem to file a flight plan, and she wasn’t picked up on radar. She’d been out for a couple of flights earlier in the day, flights that had been either recorded or picked up on radar, but for some reason or other, this one hasn’t.

trailer load of everything place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the wall at the end of the car park I set off for my walk, but as I crossed back across the car park I encountered this.

Everyone will know what some of these items are, and I’m surprised to see them on open display like this. But different countries have different attitudes of course.

But whatever the significance of it all is, it beats me. I was thinking that maybe it’s something to do with the wedding that’s going on at the Civic Offices. But it’s certainly strange behaviour and I’ll simply leave it at that.

zodiac men fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From my usual vantage point at the highest point of the walk, I had another look out to sea.

There was a zodiac out there, stationary, with a couple of guys in there. “Fishermen” I mused to myself.

But as I watched and prepared to take a photo, another zodiac came around the headland into the bay travelling at some speed so I waited until they were both in the viewfinder before I pressed the shutter.

At least the moving zodiac gave the stationary one a wide berth. Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen many photos that showed speeding boats passing fishermen far too close for comfort

cabanon vauban person sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Across the car park I went, down to the end of the headland.

There was someone this afternoon sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban having a good look out to sea. And I’m not sure why because with the mist and haze that was about this afternoon, you couldn’t see very far out across the bay this afternoon.

There weren’t any fishermen down on the rocks this afternoon, nor anyone at the peche à pied. They are all probaby at the shellfish festival having a whale of a time.

So leaving our visitor to it, I set off on the path down the far side of the headland.

cherie d'amour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I could see that there was no change in the chantier naval this afternoon. L’Omerta was still in there all on her own.

As for the boats that have been in there just recently, sitting in the silt in the tidal harbour is the yellow Cherie d’Amour. She was in the chantier naval for a short period of time a couple of days ago.

Over at the ferry terminal, Belle France was tied up, but you’ve seen plenty of photos of her just recently. The other two Joly France boats are very probably out at sea somewhere around the Ile de Chausey waiting for the tide to come back in.

marquee chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As for where Chausiaise might be, she’s over there underneath the crane in the loading bay, preulably waiting to load up for her next trip out to the island.

While I was busy looking at the mayhem down at the fish processing plant as everyone swarms around the stalls and marquees, I noticed her over there so I fitted her into this photo of the rest of the activity.

The pile of freight to the right of the crane seems to have increased since we saw it yesterday, and it’s a good job that neither of the two Jersey freighters are coming into port today. It would otherwise have been extremely exciting to watch them try to unload with all of those cars blocking the loading bay.

buffet fete des coquilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I mentioned yesterday, no fête anywhere in France is complete unless there’s a buvette.

THis one of course is no different than anywhere else in that respect. You can see what looks like a bar and row upon row of tables and benches where everyone can sit down and enjoy a quiet drink.

The doors into the Fish Processing Plant are open, and I understand that that is where the dressing of the shellfish is taking place.

There was apparently even a space for small children to try to dress a shellfish, although what you would do with the sleeves of your garment is something that would confuse me.

la granvillaise coelacanthe suzanga port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021No prozes for guessing who this is.

The angle of the sails and the number “G90” painted thereupon will tell you that this is of course La Granvillaise. Never one to miss out on a commercial opportunity, she’s giving tourists a lap around the harbour, presumably for a couple of bob a head.

You might have noticed Marité in an earlier photo. She’s down there too, although not sailing around right now. Also down there at the back on the left is the trawler Coelacanthe and in the foreground is the new pink Suzanga.

yellow autogyro place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Finally, and last but not least, on my way back to my apartment I was overflown by the yellow autogyro.

She came around the corner from behind my building at an altitude of several hundred feet just as I was crossing the road.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then watched a couple of videos with highlights of a couple of other games from the Welsh Cup. I suppose that I should have been transcribing my dictaphone notes but I rather unfortunately forgot.

Tea tonight was the remainder of the curry from yesterday, lengthened with a small tin of lentils, and it was just as delicious. I had one of those soya dessert pots for afterwards to sweeten my palette.

Eventually, I did manage to deal with the dictaphone notes from today. I’d bumped into the captain of one of the little Jersey freighter in Granville and tried to interest him in taking part in our radio programme. But he didn’t have very much for himself to say and he asked about payment. I explained that there was no budget, that we were volunteers. He insisted that there must be some money somewhere. We went round in circles and in the end I thought that I had managed to persuade him that there was nothing. he didn’t speak French but one of his crew did so we arranged that next Sunday we would all meet in one of the bars here and he could let me know exactly what he thought and what he was able to tell me with the aid of his colleague

later, we were at a vehicle exhibition, wandering around looking at all the old lorries that were there, in the USA judging by the plates. A former friend of mine had one, an old Ford-type of lorry but there was no engine in it. We were wandering around and they lifted a flatbed back off a lorry and found that there was another flatbed underneath it, a FEMSA dated 1972. They wondered what this was doing because this was quite rare. They made a few enquiries but the owners knew nothing about it. They rang up FEMSA and quoted the body number. They replied that they sold it to that company in 1972 so this was a big mystery as what they’d bought it for and on what hat they were going to use it. There was an autojumble there as well. I was with some woman looking at all the bits and pieces. She was asking one particular guy loads of questions about stuff. All his stuff was American electrical stuff that was no good for the UK. Eventually we came back and there was a guy actually dismantling a lorry and rebuilding it while the show was going on. He was waiting for some bits but he was quite confident that he would rebuild it and have it on the road. He was planning on a drive from Northern France to South Africa in his lorry so I was interested in going along as a co-driver but he had a team. I still tried to see and ask my way around to see whether or not there might have been a place for me because it was something extremely interesting. But there were all kinds of strange people there, 3 babies, 2 of them very badly sunburnt. There was a woman dressed as a bride who was carrying a baby on her back. I thought “she’s left it rather late to be married, hasn’t she?”

So rather later than I was hoping, I’m off to bed. I’ll leave the phone in the living room where if someone messages me tonight, I wont hear it. It’s Sunday, and a lie-in tomorrow and I’m hoping to make the most of it.

But something will go wrong of course – it usually does.

Thursday 28th November 2019 – I MISSED …

… the second alarm call YET AGAIN – and I’ve no idea why because it’s quite clearly programmed in.

And so when what I thought was the second alarm call went off and I glanced at my fitbit and saw that it was 06:20, no-one was more disappointed than me.

There I was, deep in the arms of Morpheus and I wasn’t alone either, because the Girls from Uummannaq were in there with me.

What was going through my mind was a quote from the report of Vaino Tanner, a Finnish anthropologist who had studied the Inuit in Labrador and reported, in his book “Outlines of the Geography, Life and Customs of Newfoundland-Labrador” of 1944 that inuit girls …

  1. … are the hardest-working of all of the Inuit people (and then goes on to list all of the household tasks that they are expected to do in the home)
  2. … are very keen to marry settlers of European descent
  3. … have an extremely sensual nature

There he was, wondering how he found out all of this, and there I was, about to put Point 3 to the test (and wondering how Tanner discovered that particular point) when, with sitting bolt upright like that, it all immediately disappeared from my mind.

So having had a disappointing medication and breakfast followed by a shower, I attacked the dictaphone notes, totally forgetting that I was supposed to be going to LIDL.

jcb pallet lifter rue st jean granville manche normandy franceEventually, it clicked with me, so I dressed and made a hurried exit.

Stepping out into the street, I was nearly flattened by a JCB pallet lifter that was in something of a hurry going down the street.

And when I expressed the fact that I had almost bee flattened by this thing, al of my friends expressed their regret.

unloading plasterboard battens rue st jean granville manche normandy franceThey’ve been working on another house here in the old town, this time in the rue St Jean, and they’ve had a delivery of metal plasterboard struts.

Our pallet lifter was on his way to lift them into the house, blocking the entire street as he did so, much to the dismay of all of the motorists.

I, however, had a delightful five minutes watching him have all kinds of problems trying to unload the pallet, with part of the metal struts wedged under the load bar of the pick-up.

clouds over granville manche normandy franceThe weather was looking rather miserable today and was on the point of rain.

Over there you can see a nice storm cloud hovering over the town right where I’m heading, and with the rays of the sun shining somewhere else.

There was this feeling that it was not going to be my day today.

storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy franceWhile the wind had dropped considerably from the previous few days, you would never have thought so by looking at the waves down there.

The tide is quite a way out still as you can see and yet we already have something crashing down on the loading ramp at the Plat Gousset.

The amount of energy there is in the sea and yet there are some people who don’t want to harvest it.

fibre optic cable laying roadworks place marechal foch granville manche normandy franceDown in the Place marechal Foch I had better luck.

The workmen were there today and they didn’t run off when I approached them like they did yesterday, so I was able to talk to them.

And I was right. It’s more fibre-optic cable trunking going in. And they don’t have a clue as to when the system will be going live. After all, it’s only been about two years now. There’s no hurry

Having said that, I hurried, right up the hill at something of a good pace all the way to LIDL. And I can tell that I’m doing better because I was talking to myself all the way up. if I can do that, I can’t be too out of breath.

At LIDL there was nothing special that I needed so I just bought a few bits of fruit and veg, some drink and some boxes of rice. I’m on my last box of that so I need supplies.

old cars jaguar xj8 granville manche normandy franceBut how about this that I bumped into on the way home? You don’t see too many of these about and I haven’t seen one for ages.

It’s a Jaguar XJ-8 2+2 coupé, and the reference to the “8” in the model name relates to the fact that it’s powered not by the standard 6-cylinder or v-12 engine but by a V8 engine.

These were launched in 1997 as a kind-of replacement for the XJ-S but because of the reputation that the earlier vehicle had, they just never caught on at all and as I have said, I haven’t seen one on the road for years

normandy trader marite port de granville harbour manche normandy franceHaving fought my way through the town and stopping off for my dejeunette, I headed on back home again.

And peering over the wall, I noticed that our old friend Normandy Trader is back in town again. She must have sneaked in on the early morning tide.

Of course she would, wouldn’t she, when I’m running so late that I don’t have time to go down to say “hello”

young cat rue des juifs granville manche normandy franceThat wasn’t all of the excitement in the rue des Juifs either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I encountered a young black cat in the vegetation up on the city walls. Today, it was the turn of this very young tabby and white to make my acquaintance.

We had quite a chat too for a few minutes before it went off to do some more exploring.

There was half an hour or so to go before lunch so I attacked some more dictaphone stuff. And by the time that I knocked off, I was down to just 59 outstanding entries.

Mind you, the ones that I attacked today (and will be doing for the next few days) are the ones when I was slowly reaching a crisis point and they make rather grim, if not gruesome listening.

There was all kinds of turmoil going on in my head round about this time and that much is clearly evident in what was going on during the night.

After lunch, I started to attack the web pages, to carry on with the updating. By the time I was ready to go for my afternoon walk, I had done 13 of those.

That may not sound like much compared to yesterday, but there were plenty of distractions going on while I was trying to do it and I was lucky that I did that many.

By now we were in the middle of a rainstorm but I didn’t let that deter me.

fishing boats english channel granville manche normandy franceOut in the English Channel towards jersey I could make out something moving in the gloom so I tok a speculative shot to work on when I returned to the apartment so that I could see what it might be.

And it’s another bunch of fishing boats out there doing what they do best, and i this weather too!

However, I’m absolutely certain that we haven’t seen this much activity out there in preceding years. It seems to me that things are changing, and changing quite rapidly too, in the fishing industry.

trees pointe du roc light beacon baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceFurther on around the headland and, as Bob Dylan famously sung, “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” around here.

The tide is right out now as you can see. if you look at the beacon there between the trees, that’s almost totally submerged when the tide is fully in.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we have the highest tides in Europe right here on the coast.

But the rain is now closing in again quite quickly and I have a feeling that I’m about to get the lot of it.

storm pointe de carolles baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceLook at that storm brewing up over the Pointe de Carolles.

That triangular lump just there by the way is part of one of the old bunkers that formerly formed the Atlantic Wall.

After the War they tried to demolish the bunkers and so they packed the first one with explosive.

With the force of the explosion they managed to break every window in Normandy, Brittany and the Channel Islands but as far as the bunker went, they managed to move a hatful of concrete about half an inch.

They decided then to give it up as a bad job.

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy franceBy now it was pelting down again so I didn’t hang around for long. I headed for home.

The Chantier Navale had its usual complement of boats so I didn’t stop to take a photo, but Normandy Trader was still at her berth by the crane so I took a quick photo of her.

And then I came back to the apartment, where I spent some time working on my “Girls of Uummannaq” web pages

There was some curry left over from the other day for tea, but not a frightful lot of it so I added a small potato and some spinach. And it was just as delicious.

For pudding, I had realised that I’d had some soya coconut cream stuff open for quite a while so I thought about that with my pineapple. But it looked rather dubious to me so it went don the drain and I had blackcurrant sorbet instead.

storm waves plat gousset place marechal foch granville manche normandy franceOut and about in the dark I thought that I was alone until I was barked at by a dog, with its owner standing in a deep shadow. It’s a good job that I wasn’t doing anything that I wasn’t suposed to be doing.

But it was dark down there tonight. They had switched off the lights on the Plat Gousset so although the waves were beating down on the sea wall, you couldn’t see them.

Nevertheless, I did my best

night rue lecampion granville manche normandy franceNot so much of a problem in the town though.

The upper floors of the buildings on the south side of the rue Lecampion for some reason mooked quite good this evening, very well illuminated by the street lights.

So much so that I couldn’t resist a photo. And I do like the shadow effect on the stone walls.

No-one about tonight so I had a good run, making half the way up the ramp at the end of my little track. One day I’ll measure it and see how far it is. It’s only about 300 metres, I reckon, if that.

Minette the old black cat was there on her windowsill so she let me give her a little stroke. It seems to be my lucky period for cats right now, although i’m not sure why. I probably smell of fish.

So tomorrow I’m having a day at home. For once I don’t have to go anywhere, but nevertheless I still have a lot of work to do.

To do some information files for my projects for a start. And once they are done, I can tell you all about it.

So there are one or two other little things that need to be done tonight and then I’m off to bed. I’m hoping that I can slide back into the arms of Morpheus and carry on my experiments from last night.

Friday 29th March 2019 – TODAY WAS ANOTHER …

… day when my back was well and truly stuck to the bed. However, it was rather earlier when I finally crawled out – a mere 07:25. I really don’t know what’s the matter with me these days.

As a consequence it was another late start to the day. But at least I finished the searchable text database for the photos for August 2018. Another job crossed off my list.

Once that was done I started to upload the photos to the blog for that month – although I haven’t done the Canada ones because they will be receiving special treatment.

Working backwards through the month, I’ve made it as far back as 21st August 2018.

But I can see why I didn’t do the photos. This was the period when I was having camera issues and quite a few of them are rather depressing. I can see that there’s going to be a period of about three or four months where I shall have to rework all of the photos.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThis took me nicely round to my afternoon walk.

Around the headland with the crowds, to see what was going on at the chantier navale. It’s almost empty now, except for the long-term trawler project and the boat that’s being resprayed.

There’s someone down there on his skyjack working on it right now.

youths playing on house roofs rue du port granville manche normandy franceAt one of the district meetings which I attended, someone was complaining about the kids playing on the roof of their house.

You can see what they were talking about, with those over there looking as if they are going to be there for the Duration.

That would certainly get on my wick and no mistake

speedboat yacht granville manche normandy franceWhile I was out there photographing the brats, my reverie was disturbed by an almighty racket coming from offshore.

It seems that we have the powerboats back again churning up the water offshore.

I thought that this photo would make a nice contrast – the powerboat roaring away in the background and the yacht sliding serenely into the harbour.

victor hugo cold store fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy franceRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that one of the subjects that features frequently on these pages is the collapse of the cod fishery in 1992.

A while ago I mentioned that Granville was back in those days a thriving deep-sea fishing port and that there were plenty of remains that siginify its importance.

Over there behind Victor Hugo is the former cold store for the cod fisheries. You can see the writing on the wall – in the literal as well as the figurative sense.

Back here I attacked the dictaphone notes until tea time, and disposed of another pile of them.

Tea was a potato, mushroom lentil and sweetcorn curry from August 2018, with a leek and baked potatoes, followed by apple crumble.

That set me up nicely for my walk around the walls. No-one about at all, although I made the acquaintance of three cats out there.

But I’ve been having another think about my summer project. A casual enquiry has thrown another shark into the swimming pool and this could really be surprising. I just wish that I hadn’t left so many of my books back in the Auvergne because I could really do with them right now.

On that note, I’m off to bed. It’s shopping day tomorrow and I have a lot to do.

Friday 19th October 2018 – I SHOULD HAVE …

… been back at Mont St Michel today doing my tourist guide bit, but Josée contacted me yesterday to say that there had been a change of plan and she was off elsewhere.

And that was just as well because I wasn’t feeling all that much like it this morning.

Last night had been quite a late night – I was absorbed in a pile of work – so leaving my bed at 06:00 or thereabouts (and I did too – I was taking my medication in the kitchen when the alarm went off at 06:20) was something of a struggle.

After breakfast, I had a few things to do and then finished off the photos from yesterday’s walks. And now they are all on-line. All 40 or so of them so you can tell that it took me quite a while.

Another thing that I did today was to catch up with some tidying up and to do the washing-up that I hadn’t finished yesterday. I’m starting to let things slide in here as far as tidiness and cleanliness goes and I need to get myself back on track while I’m still able to do so. I won’t always be fit enough to tackle things when they need tackling.

There are also a couple of other projects on the go here and I’ve been dealing with a few of them too this morning.

Lunch was taken indoors today. It was overcast, cold and windy outside so I reckoned that I could do with the comfort of a chair in the dining area.

This afternoon, I did a few other bits and pieces and then sat down to tackle the photos from the Arctic. I’m still in Yellowknife on the Pilot’s Monument, and this afternoon I rewrote the things that I wrote about it earlier in the week.

Well, not exactly “rewritten”.

What I do is to write down things as they occur to me, put them into paragraphs and then cut and paste the paragraphs to make a continuous text, adding in a few conjunctions to make the text stream together.

It also involves research. And it’s amazing what you find when you start to look. Instead of worrying about finding enough text, I now have quite a considerable excess.

la granvillaise sailing ship granville manche normandy franceWe had the usual afternoon walk around the headland this afternoon in the sunshine.

And there, sailing about out in the bay off the coast of Bréville-sur-Mer was the sailing ship that we have seen over the past few days.

I had the standard lens on the camera so I took a quick photo of it at long range.

la granvillaise sailing ship granville manche normandy franceBut we haven’t bought a new zoom/telephoto lens for nothing, have we?

Seeing as the ship was sailing slowly, I stuck on the new lens and took a zoom photo.

I’ve still not been able to track down the name so I cropped the photo and blew it up (I can do these things, despite modern anti-terrorist legislation) but it seems that the name of the boat isn’t painted on the bows … “she’s La Granvillaise” – ed.

caravan site bréville sur mer manche normandy franceWhile I had the big new lens on the camera, I took a photo of the caravan site out at Bréville sur Mer near the horse racing course.

That was another place where I had enquired about accommodation when I arrived here.

Liz and Terry have a little caravan and one idea going through my head was to park it on there for the summer, and then try for a good deal in a long-term holiday let through the winter.

When I arrived back here after my walk I found that I had an important e-mail message.

The third lens that I had ordered – a refurbished 18x105mm lens – hadn’t been delivered as promised. And the tracking showed that they had tried twice, even though I had been here on both occasions.

Having instigated a search, I was told that it was now awaiting collection at the Post Office. So I went down there to pick it up.

And down there I found the reason why it hadn’t been delivered, and why I was puzzled as to how come no-one from the delivery company had rung the bell.

It turns out that the address for delivery was incorrect. An error on the part of the dispatchers.

But I’m not complaining, because when I wrote to them to tell them of the delay and the inconvenience, they refunded my postage. I’m quite content with that.

After all of that, I had to sit down for a while and have a little … errr … relax for half an hour.

Tea was a curry from the freezer and it was just as delicious as the day that I cooked it.

brehal sur mer manche normandy franceLater on I went out for the evening walk around the walls with the camera and the new lens.

Part of the plan was to retake many of the photos that I had taken the other day with the 50mm lens so that I could compare them and see the difference.

Just like this one of the sea front at Bréhal sur Mer

rue du nord granville manche normandy franceAnd this one of the rue du Nord with the Place d’Armes in the background to the right.

It won’t be as good as the 50mm low-light lens because it needs more light to work it, but its advantage is that the new lens is a zoom lens rather than a fixed lens.

That means that it’s more useful as a general-purpose lens (which is why I bought it) but I still need to see how it performs.

rue du nord granville donville les bains manche normandy franceThe other day I took an almost-identical photo to this one and the difference is quite apparent. The earlier one has come out much better

But that’s only to be expected with the difference in the light and in the quality of the image.

But it’s still something that the new lens will bring out an image. The Nikon 1 would quite simply not have registered enough of an image to work.

So now I’m off to bed. In the morning I have to go shopping of course. In the meantime you can admire (or otherwise) this evening’s photos.

night time rue du nord place d'armes granville manche normandy franceNight time – rue du Nord with the Place d’Armes in the background.


night time place marechal foch granville manche normandy franceThe Place Marechal Foch in the night-time.


night time plat gousset granville manche normandy franceThe Plat Gousset in the night-time


night time rue georges clemenceau granville manche normandy franceNight time – the rue Georges Clemenceau


night time moon moonlight port de granville harbour manche normandy franceMoon (hidden by the copyright details) shining over the harbour in the Port de Granville


night time moonlight baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceMoonlight in the night over the Baie de Mont St Michel


night time moonlight baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceMore moonlight in the night over the Baie de Mont St Michel


night time moon light granville baie de Mont St Michel manche normandy franceMoon light in the night over Granville and the Baie de Mont St Michel


night time moonlight baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceYet more moonlight in the night over the Baie de Mont St Michel


night time inner port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe Inner Harbour in the port of Granville at night-time


night time inner port de granville harbour  manche normandy franceThe Inner Harbour in the port of Granville at night-time with St Pair sur Mer and Jullouville in the background


night time inner port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe Inner Harbour in the port of Granville at night-time


night time place cambernon granville manche normandy francePlace Cambernon in the night


bar rafale place cambernon night time granville manche normandy franceThe Bar Rafale in the Place Cambernon at night


rue st jean night time granville manche normandy franceThe rue St Jean in the medieval walled town in the night.


Monday 22nd January 2018 – THERE’S NO TIME …

… like the present to start to change into some good habits.

And so I altered the alarm call from 07:30 to 06:45. Not quite the 06:00 of the last year or two, but it’s a change in the correct direction. If I’m having difficulty sleeping, I may as well have no sleep sitting on the sofa than lying in bed.

During the night I’d been on my travels too – I think. I spent it thinking about horses in warfare and how they pull their chariot or whatever behind them – and so they are most at risk from the enemy. But if you could put something in front of them, like a giant lawnmower, and had the horse push it, it would be so much better and much more effective. And so I went off on my travels experimenting. Of course there are countless difficulties in doing this, and I seemed to be having enormous amounts of fun trying to overcome them when the alarm awoke me.

After the usual medication and breakfast I had a few things to do, that took me much more time than it ought to have done, and then I got down to the correspondence.

I can’t remember now how many letters I wrote but looking through my correspondence directory on my laptop there hasn’t been a day when I’ve written anything like as many. Having to go back through my files of paperwork – that took the time as I kept on unearthing more stuff and yet more stuff that needed attention.

And then there’s the printing too, but luckily the printer seems to be working fine just now, which makes a really good change.

Next plan was to fill in these forms that I need for my replacement driving licence. That wasn’t easy because a couple of years ago all of the Groups for vehicles changed and now bear little resemblance to what is on my licence.

So I had to spend a while researching the new legislation to see exactly what new groups I am covered to drive. And it looks as if I’m covered to drive all of them. So I’ve ticked all of the boxes and they can decide if it’s appropriate.

And here’s an added problem – as if I don’t have enough to deal with. I need a “proof of residence” less than 6 months old. And with my electricity bills being annual, the one that I have is time-expired. So I printed off a receipt for my rent from just a week or two ago – and it seems that the Estate Agents have put the wrong address on the form.

The good news though is that when someone sends you a medical report listing a description of your illness and prognosis, they ought to do it in *.pdf format – not in *.doc format because documents in that format can be edited and that surely can’t be right.

I’ve had my to walks today, and my three meals. I need to make some room in the freezer as the peppers have run out and the peas are likely to follow them. So I had a frozen potato and lentil curry. Trouble is, with taking one of those out, there seems to be less room in the freezer than there was beforehand.

It’s an early start tomorrow and I need a shower before I set off, so I shall try for an early night. And – I hope – a decent sleep.

Tuesday 9th December 2014 – BRRRRR!

Minus 2.4°C outside just no when I went outside to take the stats. And it’s getting colder too. Winter is definitely here and no mistake.

This morning though, when the alarm rang, I’d been awake for over an hour and had been polishing off a bottle of fruit juice. That’s what happens when you have an early night. And I’d been on my travels too. I’d been playing football for Cefin Druids but running up and down the wing off the pitch, just to take the throw-ins. But someone else started to take them so I thought “sod this” and went onto the field.

Afer breakfast I fitted the rest of the important cables to the second part of the second layer of the power board in the barn, and fitting it into place.

After that, I started on the front panel. First job was to find the battery isolating switch that I was looking for on Friday. I didn’t find it, but I did find all of the others so now I have one in place. I also found something else that I had lost ages ago – part of the centre of one of the batches of hole saws. No idea how long that I’ve been looking for that but it does just go to show that you always find stuff you have lost whenever you are really looking for something else.

As for the front panel itself, all of the holes have been cut for the gauges and meters as well as for the battery isolator and the light switch. What I’ll do tomorrow is to do the cutouts for the British mains socket, the Euro mains socket, the 12-volt standard socket, the 12-volt overcharge socket and the cigarette lighter socket. When they are wired in, I can install the front panel.

Tonight, I cooked a mega curry of lentils, potatoes and mushrooms. Enough for another three meals and they should keep for a week or so in these new storage jars that I’m using.