Tag Archives: liz terry messenger

Saturday 9th October 2021 – I DON’T BELIEVE IT!

Yesterday I posted that I had a really good sleep all the way up to 04:41 in the morning.

Anyone care to guess what time I awoke this morning?

Yes, you’ve guessed it. 04:41. Someone round here somewhere must have an alarm clock set for an early start, unless my body clock is playing tricks with me again. It can’t be a coincidence.

Although I was once more in bed early yesterday evening, the big difference is that I had a wretched night. I spent most of the night tossing and turning in my bed it it didn’t seem as if I had slept at all.

Mind you, the dictaphone tells a completely different story because by the looks of things I travelled miles during the night.

After the medication and checking my mails, I prepared to fight the good fight with the dictaphone. And I wasn’t joking about the miles either. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

We were at school, primary school and we’d had a test. Then the teacher sat down and started, we thought, to read through it and give us the answers. No-one understood what she said about question 1 and she didn’t mention question 2 so I asked “could we have the answer to question 2?”. She replied “you’re supposed to be writing down the answers”. We said “we’ve done that. We’re waiting for the answers”. She replied “the next person who makes a noise will be beaten”. Just then one of the children had been playing with something, a traffic light or something, and the lens fell off. She grabbed hold of the child and took it into her room and prepared her cane. There was another teacher there and they were discussing this child’s anatomy about where they were going to give it the cane. This wasn’t the first time that this has happened. I remembered seeing it perhaps on some other occasion the previous day or something. Of course, all the children there were quite distressed by this.

Later on I was playing bass with a guitarist and I just couldn’t find the opening note. It was one of these heavy metal power trio things like Robin Trower. My bass playing was awful. Eventually he told me that the opening note was E which I didn’t think it was, but that was what we started to play.

There was something else about some people. There had been a raid on a camp somewhere and they had found a steel door. Behind the door was a pile of illegal immigrants or asylum seekers. They had gone through and processed them, and found that there were some valuable workers there with them. They were then going to embarrass a few other countries by pointing out what they had found in this batch of asylum seekers.

So the French were interested in these people as resistance fighters from start to finish yet the British were more discerning looking on them as sex objects, that kind of thing.

There was a family barbecue and everyone was buying everything. We were all there at 09:00 lined up outside the supermarket. I was the first one away and took my stuff to where this was being held. My brother was in charge of the camp and I noticed that he had 10 litres of petrol stored somewhere and was planning to burn down some undergrowth near where this petrol was. I went back for a second load. I had a Landrover chassis but it wasn’t really – no body on it and you sat in it rather than on it, towing a trailer. We returned and my brother was there by this time and one of Lynette’s children had stayed with me. We started to unload this stuff. he was fetching out his petrol and putting down a circle ready to burn. I said “don’t be stupid! You have all that fuel there and some gas. He asked “what do you mean? The first lot has already been burned”. I can’t remember who I looked at but I said “thank God I wasn’t here at the moment when you did that.

All these pretty girls (which pretty girls?) were a pile of water too at the port (if that makes any sense) and I wanted to send them away because much as they were very attractive and helping to keep the male/female ratio a little closer than it might be, they were distracting me from anything else going on.

There was some kind of downhill water racing course in a machine, like a series of rapids or something like that. You go down there and when you reach the lake at the bottom you have to swim underneath the water in a tunnel and come out at the other end where the finishing line it. I did it 3 times and filmed it, including the bit of me going under the water down this tunnel which of course is an astonishing thing for me and made a collage together of how the film would be. Nerina was in here somewhere and I was showing this film to her and actually going ahead and doing it for her although I can’t think why. I can’t remember where this went or what happened about it afterwards.

We were off on board the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR again and it was lunch, or evening meal and we were queueing to get it. There seemed to be two queues, one for the normal meal and another for the fish or cheese variety. I had a look at the cheese variety that turned out to be a white square of fish in cheese sauce with toast. I thought that I would try that but I couldn’t find the vegetables. I managed to grab plenty of toast but there were some people chuntering about “all these people pushing in, doing this and doing that”, whatever. Despite the fact that I had to pay 20p extra my meal was looking like a washout. I went over to where Liz was sitting and asked if this looked right to her, my meal I had to choose a place to sit and there wer e2 seats, one either side of her, that were free. The one on the right was opposite another seat of course. I could see that the seat facing Liz was the handbag of the mother of Miss Stoke On Trent. The seat next on the right had someone else’s handbag on, and the seat on the left facing the seat on the right of Liz had nothing on it. I wondered if that was where Miss Stoke On Trent was going to sit so I decided that i’d sit at that seat facing there in the hope that it would be the case.

And that’s not all of it either. There was other stuff too but I’m sure that you wouldn’t appreciate my posting it as you are probably eating your meal right now.

It took me all morning to type out all of that – right up to lunchtime. But there was a reason for that.

home made bread fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Yesterday saw me almost reach the end of the bread, so seeing as I wasn’t going to go shopping this morning, I decided to do some baking.

There were only two or three fruit buns left too, so while I was at it, I made half a dozen of those. If I make some space in the freezer somehow (don’t ask me how) I can freeze half the load and three of the fruit buns for when I return from Leuven.

And I shall too, because this batch has turned out really well. The buns look really good and believe me! The loaf is excellent!

After lunch, there was football on the internet. Connah’s Quay v TNS.

TNS are way out in front of the table but Connah’s Quay, despite winning the league for the last two years in succession, are stuck in mid-table and their manager left in midweek. Nevertheless it was a pulsating, exciting match decided by a penalty for TNS not long after the start of the second half.

Mind you, it could have been completely different had Connah’s Quay been awarded a penalty for what looked like a pretty clear handball earlier in the game.

Both sides had a player sent off for fighting later in the game and we carried on into no less than 6 minutes of injury time that came from God Knows Where because this is the first match that I have seen for ages where neither first-aid attendant was required to enter the pitch.

Connah’s Quay actually had the ball in the TNS net in the dying seconds of the game but it was ruled out for offside.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021This took me up to walkies time so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off outside.

Almost immediately I felt the icy hand of death upon my shoulder, but what had happened was that a Nazgul had gone flying by overhead. A two-seater Nazgul too.

In fact, I could have photographed any number of them this afternoon because they were out there in force. probably about half a dozen that I could see at any one time and I bet that there were more than that as well in total.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Having dealt with the issue of the Nazgul, I wandered off to the end of the car park to see what was happening on the beach.

And with the tide being out this afternoon, there was plenty of beach to be on. And there were crowds down there too – more than we have seen on the beach for quite a while.

That wasn’t really a surprise because despite it being October and there being a fair bit of wind about, the day was the warmest that we have had for a couple of weeks and once I was out of the wind I was obliged to remove my jacket.

aerial ballet hang glider powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I was watching the people on the beach, another Nazgul flew by overhead.

And around the corner from behind the College Malraux came the little red powered hang glider that had been out for a spin.

As they closed up on each other, they performed a really delightful aerial ballet – they really did. Not a danse macabre as we have seen the trawlers in the harbour do so often but a proper little dance.

powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So having performed its little pas de deux with the hang glider, the powered machine headed off.

Its route took it out to sea across the Baie de Granville and I could follow it for quite a way. But then it headed off towards the airfield to come in to land.

The little scene had been witnessed by the crowds of people who were out there this afternoon. It seems that the whole town had come out up here for a walk.

hang glider falls to earth pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I fought my way through the crowds of people I had a very unexpected sight right in front of me.

Another Nazgul had gone by overhead and as I walked along the path he came tumbling out of the air and touched down right on the very edge of the cliff. With the camera already in my hand, it was an instinctive shot into the sun, hence the overexposed image.

My intention was to go over there and buttonhole him and ask him about his association and how I can blag my way up into the air, but as quick as he came down, he leapt of the cliff and was away, long before I could catch up with him.

digger heavy machine laying pipeline baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I was walking over the path towards the car park, I could see that there was plenty of activity going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

It’s a Saturday of course today, a weekend, so no-one was more surprised than me to see the heavy tractor thing and the digger out there working on this pipeline. It’s very unusual for this kind of work to be carried out at a weekend.

Obviously the tide is playing an important role in this, and with the lowest tides of the season being round about now, they must be paying the workmen a good bonus to have the work done.

Crowds of people out there too having a dab at the pèche à pied while they have the opportunity.

SNU Service National Universel pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There were three Gendarme vehicles and a pile of gendarmes on the car park and they seemed to be dealing with this group of people, one of whom was carrying a banner.

Thinking that I might be witnessing some kind of exciting incident I sidled up to one of them. “Who are you?” I asked.
“We’re the SNU” he replied
“What’s that?”
“The Service National Universal#34;
“And what’s that all about?”
“We volunteer” he said, and at that he wandered off. Talk about informative!

Anyway, having made my own enquiries subsequently I can tell you that this is a French Government initiative aimed at kids between 15 and 17 who want to “participate in the construction of a society of Engagement built around national cohesion”.

And don’t blame me. I’m only quoting. I don’t write rubbish like that. I have my own brand of rubbish to write.

F-HFMS Robin DR 400-160 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And while I was talking to that young person, I was overflown by a light aeroplane from the airfield.

And she’s a new one. We haven’t seen her before. We’ve seen plenty like her though because she’s a Robin DR 400-160 like some of the aeroplanes at the Aero Club de Granville, but this one is owned by the Aeroclub d’Andaines, near Alençon and is registered F-HFMS.

With no flight plan filed, I can’t tell you where she was going from here at 16:20, or even how she’d arrived here, but she was picked up on radar at 19:33 somewhere in the vicinity of Vire and did a big loop towards Alençon.

She disappeared off the radar at 19:59 not too far from Alençon somewhere near her home airfield at Rives d’Andaines.

trawler pescadore yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Having spent a lot of time out there this afternoon, I headed off back down the other side of the headland overlooking the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And here in the chantier naval this afternoon we have another new arrival to accompany the yacht that came in here on Thursday morning.

She has her AIS beacon switched off so I couldn’t tell you her name at first but her serial number came up trumps. She’s Pescadore and why I didn’t recognise her was that she used to be blue and yellow before she had a new paint job.

She was in here a couple of weeks ago, so I wonder what has happened to make her come back.

l'omerta tractor trailer vehicles under fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Another one of our old favourites from the chantier naval is sitting on the silt over there at the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant.

She’s L’Omerta and was in the chantier naval for a repaint a couple fo weeks ago as well.

And it looks as if they are going to be expecting a bumper harvest of shellfish this evening when the tide brings in the boats that are out working. As well as the tractor and trailer in position, we have several vehicles on the concrete pad underneath the Fish Processing Plant waiting to take away the loads from their boats.

Back here I made a coffee and sat down for a relax. I should have gone up town this evening to watch the football but I wasn’t up to in. Instead I carried on with the updating of some of the journal entries for August to add in the details of my nocturnal voyages.

They are all now complete, so something positive came out of today.

Something else that I forgot to mention was that somewhere along the line I had a play with that desktop mixer and made it work after a fashion. But I need to do more work on it some time.

Tea tonight was a breadcrumbed vegan burger with veg and some more of those nice potatoes.

Now that my journal is finally finished, I’m off to bed, hoping that there’s no 04:41 alarm in the morning.

Today has been something of a bad day. As well as not having had much sleep, I’ve opened a letter, thrown the contents away and filed the envelope, made a mug of coffee without any coffee in it, and boiled the kettle without any water.

Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Thursday 7th October 2021 – I’M BEGINNING TO THINK …

“which makes a change” – ed … that I may have underestimated the amount of time that it’s going to take me to do this project that I’ve undertaken with the radio.

Today i’ve done almost nothing except write out a (three-page) summary (in French of course) and e-mail it to all of the other members of the team (and that was not without its problems either).

And then deal with the inevitable enquiries, of which there were more than just a few.

There’s plenty of stuff on the dictaphone too but I have yet to find the time to deal with it all.

This is going to be a long three months.

Last night was pretty long too. I was in bed at something like a respectable time but it didn’t seem to do me much good as I was tossing and turning around for much of it.

And despite a period in bed that wasn’t all that much short of 8 hours, I felt like death when I awoke and things didn’t improve for a while.

After the meds and checking my mails and messages, I sat down to write out my notes for this project. I’d already done several rough drafts and so I had to merge them all together, and format them in a way that would be acceptable to users of Microsoft Word.

The rewriting was fairly straightforward but the formatting took an age and I wasn’t convinced that it was correct. In the end, I prepared a *.pdf s well.

The co-ordinator sent me the e-mail list so after lunch I could send it out. But three addresses bounced and so I had to make further enquiries. And despite several attemps, one of them is still bouncing. I have no idea what is happening here.

After lunch I prepared to receive the volley of responses and I wasn’t disappointed. But right now, late in the evening, I’ve not received one for half an hour. I shudder to think what my mailbox will be like in the morning.

There was the break this afternoon to go for my walk, somewhat later than usual.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021First task was to go and have a look over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach.

The tide is well out now. We are not too far short of the lowest tides of this time of year, and as I was expecting, there were plenty of people down there this afternoon.

They weren’t actually going for a walk or a paddle in the sea but were mostly all scratching around in the sand and on the rocks looking for seafood that the tide has left behind. It’s that time of year again.

people on bench jardin de la haute ville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was watching the people on the beach I could hear a tappinng coming from the hole in the wall that we saw yesterday so I had a closer look.

Unfortunately I couldn’t see anyone there from my viewpoint, but instead I noticed a couple of people sitting on the bench by the steps down to the bench.

Where they are sitting is actually a small garden known as Le Jardin de la Haute Ville – the garden of the upper town. People drop off their compostable material up there and some people have created a little plot of flowers and vegetables to bring a little life to the area.

With nothing else happening out here, I headed off along the path on my walk.

cabin cruiser seagull baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I approached the headland, a small cabin cruiser came into view heading towards the port. I’ve no idea why because he’s going to have a long wait.

He was making quite a wake behind him as he approached, and when I had a good look at the photo once I returned home, it looked to me as if he was actually towing something.

That piqued my curiosity so I enlarged and enhanced it, and to my surprise what has actually happened is that I have been photobombed by a seagull. Right on cue.

And so fighting my way past another horde of kids out orienteering, a couple of whom engaged me in conversation, I carried on down the path and across the car park.

young people on bunker roof pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Whether or not these kids are supposed to be orienteering I really don’t know, but they have found a good place to skive off.

Sitting on top of the old World War II German observation post out of the way of passers-by might be one way to avaoid the crowds. It’s just as well that it wasn’t as windy as it was earlier in the week.

And in case you are wondering, there was no-one sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban this afternoon. And that was possibly because there wasn’t anything much happening out in the bay just there either.

peche à pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Round the corner though on the other side of the headland it seemed to be all happening.

The fleet of cars parked all along the seawall told me to expect crowds of people down there on the beach and on the rocks now that the tide is quite a way out.

The pêche à pied is now in full swing with half of the town out there this afternoon scratching around. No need to be selfish not sharing your shellfish with your friends, because they are all probably down there with you.

tractor digger laying pipeline baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021But in that photo I noticed something exciting down there that I couldn’t identify, so when I returned home I blew it up (I can do things like that despite modern anti-terrorism legislation) and enhanced it for a closer look.

And here’s something that I have forgotten all about. A good few months ago there was a digger and some other heavy equipment out there laying some kind of pipeline on concrete blocks.

So here they are, back again now that the tourist season is over and we’re having some low tides at the moment. I’d thought that they had finished this, but apparently not. I wonder how far out they are going to be going with it.

yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Meanwhile down in the nice, clean chantier naval we have a new occupant. So much for me saying that there doesn’t look as if anyone will be in there for a while.

There’s no name on her hull that I can see and although she looks very much like Spirit of Conrad, I don’t think that it’s her. I suppose that means another trip for me to go down and have a closer look.

But where’s the dredger? She’s disappeared from the chantier naval now. But she probably hasn’t gone far, I bet, and the fact that they are working on that pipeline right now seems to be more than just coincidence.

dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021In fact, here she is right now, in the inner harbour.

And furthermore, I can tell you her name. She’s called St-Gilles Croix-de Vie and we know all about her because she was here in port a little over two years ago doing some dredging.

Having made “certain enquiries”, I can tell you all why she’s here too. She’s come to dredge the port de plaisance where the pleasure boats tie up, on the other side of the harbour.

There’s more equipment appeared now o the quayside behind her too. I can see that this isn’t going to be a work of five minutes, whatever is going on right now down there.

building work boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Before I go back home, I went to see how things were doing down in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

Not a great deal of change today, except that we how have a couple of piles of sand and gravel down there, so they are clearly doing something, even if it doesn’t look much like it right now.

Back here at the apartment I had a coffee and carried on dealing with the issues from my mail at lunchtime. I have a lot to learn about all of this because apparently I’m not making myself clear enough.

However, having done it all in French, I’m pleased that I did as much as I did.

Eventually (the next morning, actually) I found the time to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I was with Liz walking through the streets of Crewe, down Alton Street in fact. She was talking to me about her house move and how it had passed, and how much she missed her little Citroen car. It turned out that she didn’t sell to to the guy she was going to bit it had to go back to the garage because there was an issue with the paintwork. Part of it had faded and part of it hadn’t. It was almost white on one side and the guy wouldn’t take it. So we walked and chatted and she kept on wondering where it was that we had to turn off. She didn’t realise that Alton Street was one long straight road. Eventually she said that she had to go to the bathroom so she nipped behind a hedge. I said “Liz, if you’re going to the bathroom, go to the bathroom properly”. There was a public convenience in the park just round the corner. She said something like “it’s my toilet roll, not yours” and off she went. I thought that it would be a good idea if I were to go too.

Later on we were in Greece and we’d been to a party one afternoon or something. Someone pointed out that there was a big tourist attraction nearby but it meant taking a bus. About 7 of us left this party and found a local bus that took us to the big bus station which was where the railway station used to be in the past. We had to find out which was our bus. Then we had to buy some kind of wooden bead that would be our ticket. We met the bus driver who spoke English. She told us which bus it was. She said that she’d be back in 10 minutes and when she came back we could take our place. It was a strange way of doing things. There was another bus with these Japanese girls in it, all sitting by the door on their luggage, inside the bus. We went over to where the food was. It was mostly chips but there were some boxes of things that looked like gold, called Machynlles. I was interested in this because there’s a big gold mine near Machynlleth in Wales that the Romans exploited so I was trying to find out exactly what a Machynlle was. There was a girl there and they were all wearing aprons with what languages they spoke written on it. There was one girl there with Welsh on it so I went over to speak to her. I said a few words in Welsh but she didn’t really understand. In the end I found another woman and explained to her but she couldn’t understand my pronunciation so she went to find the box. Then she couldn’t find the box so I never did get to know. But when we alighted from that bus and were walking towards the bus station there was a girl there. We ended up with my arm around her walking towards the bus station which i thought was strange

There was also something about we were in Scotland. I can’t remember who I was with but we were going to see Morton play. We had to catch a bus but I couldn’t remember which bus it was so we were waiting in Wistaston Road just round the corner from Flag Lane. I was with someone and a bus came. It wasn’t that one so we waited again. I wandered away to do something. Of course that was the moment that the bus came and the person with me stepped on board and went off. In the end I had to hitch a lift in a lorry that brought me to within 10 minutes of the stadium just in time to hear the final whistle.

Tea was a burger and pasta with veg – I wasn’t up to cooking a proper meal and there are plenty of burgers in the fridge. When I come back from Leuven I’ll have a vegan pie to bake and a vegan curry to make. I don’t have the enthusiasm right now.

That’s probably because I’m tired again. I brilliantly fought off a wave of sleep earlier but I can’t do this for ever. I need an early night and a decent sleep – but when I’m going to have one of those is anyone’s guess.

Sunday 19th September 2021 – THIS WAS ONE …

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… of the nicest pizzas that I have ever made.

Surprisingly I can’t think what I did to it to make it any different from the usual. The diced peppers that were left over from several weeks went in the bin as being unfit for human consumption and as I had no fresh mushrooms I used tinned stuff, sticking them in the oven to dry them out.

That was about all that I did that was different but whatever it was, the results were all that counted. No complaints there.

Last night I didn’t go to bed until quite late because I couldn’t find the energy or the motivation to leave my chair. But once I did go to bed I went straight to sleep and stayed there until … errr … 07:30. 6 hours sleep on a Saturday night/Sunday morning is not very much but it shows just how much I slept during the day yesterday.

Even so, there was no danger of my leaving the bed at that time of morning. I went back to sleep and stayed there until 09:20. Even that was quite early for a Sunday but if you can’t sleep, you can’t sleep.

After the medication (when I forgot what medication that I’m supposed to be taking) I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone. I was looking at apartments last night, either to rent or to buy. During the furniture removal that we were doing we were stationary and someone backed into us. There were a whole kind of problems that didn’t involve me because I wasn’t the driver of our vehicle but we were talking about this to a few people and they were surprised that there was even a dispute about it. Anyway we were something going on and I went over to one of the other estate agents who was letting the apartment on behalf of Pozzo. They had the keys so I went to see it. It was strange, an open-plan apartment and had no walls. You looked over the balcony straight down into the hallway. I thought that this was the coldest apartment that there ever is going to be. It was nice but I couldn’t get over the idea of having no walls. In the end I came away. I was with a former friend. We wanted an Indian meal so we looked around. There was this really posh hotel-type place. Finding a place to park was the 1st thing. Then we had to walk to try to find a waiter. There were dozens of them, all done up in buttoned jackets looking like something out of a 18th Century novel. Just as we were about to ask, I awoke.

Later on I was with a group of people and we were at that hotel and left all out clothes there. We had the bill for 4 coffees and it came to something like £299:00. We wandered off into the streets of Glasgow. We had somehow become separated in some roadworks and I could see them disappearing away. I was trying to catch up but there was all kinds of obstructions and road works and people on bikes in my way and I couldn’t catch up. In the end I found myself on a demolition site with all old apartment blocks in the real back-end of Glasgow. I was having to scramble over scaffolding and everything. First of all I couldn’t remember the name of my hotel, and secondly I couldn’t even work out where I was. The map that I had wasn’t much help. I wasn’t even sure which side of the Clyde I was on. Eventually I came out and I was on top of a hill going through a small village. Down in the valley I could see a river and a railway line. I thought “if I can get down there I can probably work out where I am and maybe catch a train back. We were so high up that I couldn’t see how I was going to get down this slope to get into this valley where this river and railway line were.

Once I’d done that the next task was to pair up the music for the radio programme. That didn’t take me all that long and by the time that I was ready to stop for lunch it was all out of the way.

After lunch there were several tasks that needed my attention.

Firstly, the ice-box in the fridge had frozen up so I emptied the fridge and switched it off. A week or two ago Liz had given me some old towels and what with the lino that we laid a few weeks ago, I had everything that I needed and basically the job took care of itself.

When it had defrosted completely I washed and cleaned it, sorted out the food, washed and dried the shelves and then reassembled it. And there seems to be much more room in there than there used to be.

Earlier on, I’d transcribed the other dictaphone notes from when I was away and then turned my attention to FRIDAY’S JOURNAL ENTRY that I had missed.

hang gliders rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There were several breaks in my afternoon routine, including, as usual, the walk around the headland.

But I had hardly set foot out of the building before a squadron of Nazgul took off from the field next to the cemetery and started to head my way.

“Almost perfect timing” you might think, and having read Lord of the Rings as many times as I had when I was nought but a pup, it was somehow rather unnerving watching them head my way.

Probably the same feeling that Frodo and the others had as they were on their way to dispose of the Ring and the Nazgul appeared.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So having managed to escape the wicked clutches of the Nazgul, first stop was at the wall at the end of the car park to check on the beach to see what was happening down there.

With it being a warm but cloudy day, I was expecting to see the crowds down there making the most of it but, surprisingly, it was quite empty. There can’t have been more than a dozen people down there, and there wasn’t anyone that I could see in the water.

With it being one of the last weekends of the summer, I should have thought that the madding crowds would have been down there this afternoon

joly france yachts baie de Granville ile de chausey Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021They may not have been down there on the beach, or even on the path around the headland, but in the gap between the Ile de Chausey and the mainland there were plenty of people.

Here are just some of the yachts that were out there this afternoon. There were probably three times as many as this all told.

In the middle of all the yachts there was something fairly large moving quite quickly towards the mainland. When I returned to the apartment later I enhanced the photo and blew it up, and I could see that it was one of the Joly France ferried coming back from the island.

Unfortunately it was too far out for me to tell which one it was.

f-gsbv Robin DR400 180 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there, I was overflown by a light aeroplane going by towards the airfield.

She’s F-GSBV, one of the Robin DR400-180 that is owned by the Aero Club de Granville.

She’s described in their literature as “a good aeroplane for travelling and is ideal for 4 passengers and their luggage to travel all around France and Europe”. And so today she took off from the airfield at 16:10, did a quick lap around just offshore and came back in to land at 16:24.

Not exactly the “all around France and Europe” as they advertised. Mind you, she did take off half an hour later and was airborne for almost 35 minutes.

cabin cruiser yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021With nothing going on whatever offshore at the end of the headland I carried on round to the path on the other side of the headland.

And out here in the Baie de Mont St Michel there were just as many pleasure boats as there were on the north side of the headland.

Here, we have a fine collection of yachts, a cabin cruiser and a small motor boat. And plenty more of them out of shot too.

There looked to br a rainstorm brewing up down at the foot of the bay near the Pointe de Carolles too, but luckily the wind was blowing from the north-west so it was pushing the rain farther to the south.

yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Here is something that we haven’t seen for a couple of weeks.

There is this big yacht that’s been in the compound of the chantier naval for quite some considerable time and doesn’t seem to have moved at all.

It’s all been masked off and there has been some primer applied with a spray gun, but the work seems to have run aground because I can’t see that any progress has been made for several weeks.

The summer season is now almost over so I don’t suppose that they are in too much of a rush to complete the work.

catherine philippe l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021In the main area of the chantier naval, there has been quite a lot of activity while I was away in Belgium

The trawler Saint Andrews has gone back into the water leaving just the unknown black trawler, the trawler Catherine Philippe and L’Omerta, the shellfishing boat.

By the way things are looking, they aren’t going to be around there for long. The paintwork on all of them looks quite fresh and so they’ll be back in the water quite soon.

Although I do remember having said that sort of thing on several occasions in the past and been made to eat my words. I can see me doing the same with these three.

chausiaise belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Before I headed back for home I had a look out across to the ferry terminal.

Over there is the little freighter Chausiaise, tied up to the outside of the terminal. Behind her is the very new ferry Belle France. The other two Joly France are out at sea and we saw one of them just now.

Back in the apartment I finished off the cleaning of the fridge and filling it up, and then I kneaded out the pizza dough, rolled it out and put it in the pizza tray to proof for an hour or so.

When it was ready I assembled the pizza and baked it ready for tea.

Now that I’ve written out my notes I’m going to bed. I have the radio programme to prepare tomorrow and then go to the shops for some fruit and veg before lunch because there isn’t anything here to eat as far as fruit goes.

One or two other things too, so I’ll be going in Caliburn. I’m not really up to going on foot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 7th September 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… much better and much more productive day today – due almost entirely, I reckon, to the fact that I had a sleep for about 90 minutes or so on my chair this morning not long after I had risen from the dead

As you might expect, it was a struggle to leave the bed this morning when the alarm went off and when I came back in here after the medication, I didn’t do very much in the way of work before I was away with the fairies.

When I finally awoke and came back round into the Land of the Living, I made myself a coffee and then attacked the dictaphone.

Yesterday’s notes were transcribed and went on line, and then I turned my attention to today’s notes.

I’d been on the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR last night and it was our final day out. We’d all been off looking at something and I was wandering around. Suddenly I had this uncomfortable feeling that everyone else had gone. Not to worry, because these were the days when I could run so I set off at a run back to it. Matthew Swann and a few others were there. Yhey were being quite derogatory about it They asked what had happened and I told them that I had fallen asleep. They had a moan and everything like that. I was quite literally leaping over obstructions, scrambling down hills and so on. But it turned out that it was all like giant beds with blankets and sheets on and I was falling down the side of these giant beds and running up the other side of them, hanging on to the sheets and everything as I went over the top. Every now and again I would bump into someone who knew me. They all were wondering what I was doing, whether I was doing something for a bet or a personal achievement. I explained what had happened, and I was wondering what would happen when I would reach the other side of the island. Had all of the boats gone out to the ship and left me right behind? But I awoke in a night sweat, as I have been doing for the past couple of weeks.

Later on there was something about we were driving somewhere in Germany and retracing our steps back the way we had come. It all started to become confusing when we arrived in a big city. There were all these weird blue and white buses and trams driving around and I couldn’t quite follow the signposts for some reason. I wasn’t even sure where I was supposed to be going. After we had driven out of the city and going into the suburbs I suddenly looked over to my right and saw a couple of shops in the distance that were extremely familiar so I turned round and started to head off that way thinking that if I remember them it must have been from when we came in and therefore it’s that road over there that must be the right one out again.

While I was asleep just now I was driving around Montreal with one of my Canadian friends talking to her. She was asking me all kinds of questions about places in Montreal and its vicinity and I knew none of them. I came to the conclusion that I didn’t know Montreal anything like as well as I thought I did. We were discussing dating sites with someone else. he was wondering about their popularity. I said “well sex is the most important part in people’s lives and people just aren’t meeting up as they used to” which he agreed. I went out anyway, going to post a letter and get some food. In the meantime a bus did a U-turn in the road in front of me and clipped a car that was in front. Another vehicle clipped another car somewhere else. I was driving around finding myself in an area that I didn’t really know at all and wasn’t really sure how I was going to find out anything.

Grabbing another mug of coffee, I went for my Welsh lesson and ended up being rather late because the portable computer chose that inconvenient moment to perform an upgrade.

The Welsh lesson passed really well and then after lunch, because I was feeling very lively, I caught up with an outstanding task. A while ago someone gave me a laptop to fit an Solid State Drive in it,seeing as I have a certain little computer program that means that I can do it without going through any complicated back-up procedure.

It took me quite a while because it’s an old steam-driven computer, dating to at least the year 2000 running an underlying DOS operating system so I had to dig deep into my memory from 20-odd years ago.

It works fine now except that I can’t extract the data files from the old drive because this computer doesn’t have a USB 3.0 port so tomorrow, if I’m feeling up to it, I have a cunning plan that I can use to make things work.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This took me right up to the time that I go out for my walk around the headland this afternoon.

Across the car park I went to look out over the wall down onto the beach to seed the crowds of people down there this afternoon. And crowds there were as well today.

Although there are a couple of people wearing swimwear, walking away from the water, there weren’t any people in the water here this afternoon. And this was surprising because this was one of the nicest days that we have had so far this year

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further out along the coast down at the Plat Gousset, there were even more people on the beach.

Quite a few people in the water too, making the most of the opportunity presented to them by the availability of the water in the medieval fish trap.

Way further out on the beach at Donville les Bains, there are dozens of people taking advantage of the sunny afternoon. Of course, you might well expect this now that the children have gone back to school and the holidaymakers have all now gone home.

There was nothing whatever going on out at sea in the Baie de Granville – no kayakers, no frogpersons and not even any fishermen so I had a very lonely trudge around the headland in the heat.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I walked around the corner by the old bunker I could see that out in the Baie de Mont St Michel on the other side of the headland that Le Loup, the marker light on top of the rock at the entrance to harbour, was looking splendid today.

The dark line underneath the lower of the two red lines is where the tide reaches and so it gives you a good idea of how high the tide can be.

Out in the background on the beach at Kairon-Plage in between St Pair sur Mer and Jullouville, there seem to be hordes of people this afternoon. More than I would expect so I wonder what is happening there today.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned that there were no fishermen out in the Baie de Granville.

On this side of the headland however there were plenty of people down on the rocks having something of a scavenge about.

With the tide being so far out this afternoon the public part of the foreshore down there is now uncovered so they can have a good forage for the shellfish and other seafood in rockpools that have been left behind as the water recedes.

Judging by the size of the containers that they have, they must be having a good and successful time.

trawler baie be mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Over the past few months we’ve seen the local fishing boats working out in areas that have previous been unexploited.

Today, right down at the end of the Baie de Mont St Michel close to the Brittany coast, we have a trawler down there this afternoon having a go to see what it can pull up out of the water.

At this kind of distance I can’t see who she is, and I’m not even sure that she comes from here.

So with nothing else happening, I pushed off along the path on top of the headland towards the port.

l'omerta fishing boat massabielle trawler chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And down at the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval I could see that we have had plenty of excitement down there today.

The little trawler Briscard that was nearest the camera and Pierre de Jade, the trawler next to her, seem to have gone back into the water this afternoon.

It didn’t take long for their places to be filled either. L’Omerta, the little shellfish boat that we’ve seen so often sitting on the silt by the Fish Processing Plant, and Massabielle, a trawler whom we haven’t seen before, have taken their places.

It’s all go in the chantier naval these days.

Back here I had my banana smoothie and then had another play with that computer, which took me up to teatime. Taco rolls with the rest of yesterday’s stuffing.

Tomorrow I’m at the physiotherapist’s so I need to have a good relax and gather my strength during the morning. But not 90 minutes-worth.

And while I was typing up my notes, with my other hand I fixed the computer issues that I mentioned just now

Friday 27th August 2021 – JUST IMAGINE …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. tidying up
  2. resting
  3. crashing out

not necessarily in that order.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So that’s a first for me.

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

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

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

So now I know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 22nd August 2021 – AS BARRY HAY …

… once famously said – “one thing I gotta tell you man, that it’s good to be back home.

And indeed it is too. Even though I didn’t go to bed until 02:30 last night, I slept right the way through until 12:40 this afternoon without a single interruption. And I must have needed it too.

There’s some stuff on the dictaphone too. I was with 3 girls and I can’t remember who they were now, which is a disaster, but I do know them. We were in Canada sightseeing in my Passat. In the end we tried to find the big fort that was at the junction of the two rivers on the cliff where the place was being defended. After poring over a map I worked out where it was. A passer-by showed us where it was as well so off we set. We went for a good explore and then went through the forest on the other side of the river which would lead us out to the battlefield and so on. After we’d been there we said “let’s go and visit Liz and Terry because they are leaving”. One of the others said that and the other 2 couldn’t believe that they were leaving. Off we went in the car and came to their apartment. We could see Liz down at the bottom working on the garden so off we went down their garden. The other 3 girls had disappeared somewhere along the way. I said to Liz “can we come and visit or are you too busy?”. She had a dubious think and said “ohh okay”. I turned round anf found that the other 3 had gone so I said “OK I’ll round them up”. Somewhere along the line I had one of these pencil case purse type of things with a huge pile of cash in it and I can’t understand why. There had been some discussion about my cars. Someone said that they couldn’t see the word “Audi” on the clock. I said that it isn’t an Audi but a Cortina – no, it’s a Passat

First thing was of course the medication, and after I’d taken all of that I came back in here to check my messages, of which there were more than just a few.

With all of this medication, I have to wait for about an hour before I can eat anything so it was rather a late lunch – or breakfast – today. Toast and porridge and coffee.

After my meal I paired up the tracks for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow morning. And that reminds me – I mustn’t forget my appointment with the physiotherapist tomorrow afternoon, and to go and do some shopping too because there isn’t much here in the house.

Having dealt with that, it was time to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst place to go to visit is the beach, of course. It’s been almost a week since I’ve seen it and it will be interesting to se how the tide has evolved.

Right now, the tide is quite far out, and there is plenty of room for people to be wandering around and lazing about down there, soaking up the sun. And plenty of people were making the most of the opportunity too.

No-one had actually made it right into the water this afternoon, and that wasn’t a surprise because although it was reasonably warm this afternoon, there was quite a wind blowing, as you can tell by the whitecaps on the waves down there.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile one of my eyes was looking around at the events going on down on the beach, the other one was looking around out at sea.

It’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good, as the old saying goes. And the proof of that is that despite the fact that the tide is well out and the harbour is inaccessible, there’s a yacht out there that is taking full advantage of the wind.

He’s going to have to stay out until the tide turns in about 5 hours time, so I hope that he’s stocked up with supplies while he waits.

There’s another one right out there near the horizon too, but I’ve no idea where he might have come from.

sparrowhawk pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving dealt with the question of the land and the sea so far, it remains for me to check the air to see what’s going on up above.

Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen plenty of photos of the sparrowhawks that seem to congregate around the cliffs here. And there’s another one out there this afternoon keeping an eye open for something for tea.

A year or so ago, there was just one of them and then a second one came along some time later. Now there are four or five of them, so the cliffs are obviously a happy hunting ground, otherwise they wouldn’t be sticking around like they do.

f-gbai ROBIN DR 400-140B baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd then of course, while we were dealing with that, we were overflown by a mechanical device.

This one is our old friend F-GBAI, the Robin DR400-140B that belongs to the Granville Aero Club and which we have seen quite regularly flying around the Baie de Granville.

She took off at 16:03 this afternoon, flew a short way down the coast towards the Pointe de Carolles, back again, did a lap around towards Coutances and then came back into land at 16:17. My photo was taken at (adjusted) 16:12 so I must have caught her coming back from down the coast.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather was quite clear this afternoon and we could see quite far out to sea.

The ile de Chausey was looking quite splendid this afternoon although the houses at the foot of the lighthouse didn’t stand out as well as they have done for us in the past.

There wasn’t all that much activity out there at sea though. I could only see a couple of yachts and that was about my lot. None of the ferries were visible, which wasn’t all that much of a surprise seeing that the tide won’t be far enough in here at Granville to allow them into the harbour for another couple of hours.

beaches marker lights ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe view down at the north-east end of the island was quite clear today as well.

With the tide being so far out, we can see the beaches there today, looking really nice. We walked along those when we were over there with the Spirit of Conrad. Most of them are leased out to seafood harvesters and where you are allowed to walk is controlled.

And you can tell how high the tide comes in by looking at the warning beacons on the rocks. Those rocks are well-submerged at high tide and the height of the beacons with give you some idea of just how much water will cover them.

police car parked on grass pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe paths around the headland were quite crowded this afternoon.

The car park at the Pointe du Roc was completely full and everyone was having to park on the grass at the side of it.

You can tell that it must have been authorised because there is a police car parked on there as well. There were a couple of coppers walking around the lawn amongst the crowds but I’m not sure why. I didn’t actually see them do anything while I was watching.

Mind you, I didn’t wait around all that long. I’m trying not to draw attention to myself.

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead, I went for a little wander around on the lawn on the other side of the car park.

le Loup, the marker light on the rock just outside the harbour entrance was looking quite attractive this afternoon in the sun. You can actually see how high the tide actually rises down in the bay by looking at the change in colour of the material with which she’s built.

There are a few people right out on the beach behind it, and in the background, we can see quite clearly the houses at Kairon-Plage and Jullouville on the side of the coast road down to Avranches.

On the skyline on the right-hand side of the image is that strange tower, and one of these days I’ll go for a wander round over there to see what it is.

man fishing pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s Sunday in August, the height of the tourist season, so I was half-expecting to see crowds of fishermen on the rocks this afternoon taking advantage of it.

In fact, I only did see one of them out there. He was up to his knees in the sea casting his line out into the water, without having very much luck by the looks of things. As far as I could see, he didn’t have a net or a bag with him in which to keep his catch

As for commercial fishermen, or recreational fishermen out there in boats, I couldn’t see a one. There were a couple of small boats out there though, but they were quite far out and it wasn’t possible to tell who they were or what they were up to.

peche à pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, he wasn’t the only person out there fishing this afternoon.

A little further around from where our fishermen was standing, there were three young people scrambling around on the rocks, looking for all the world as if they were doing a bit of the old peche à pied, although the tide wasn’t far enough out to make a good catch.

No boats out there that were close enough to photograph and nothing else of any excitement going on, so I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … along the path around the headland towards the port.

trawler trafalgar charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving been away from the town for a few days, I wanted to see what was happening down in the chantier naval.

There has been quite a high and rapid turnover of boats in there just recently so I was expecting to see a few changes in there.

However, there didn’t seem to be anything different in there. There was Charlevy of course, still there on her blocks on the right-hand side of the image, all masked off and with a nice fresh coat of paint.

The smaller fishing boat is there too in the centre of the image, up on blocks in front of the line of all of the others. There doesn’t look as if there is much room left to bring anyone else in if there is an emergency.

trawler trafalgar charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further along the path I could have a good look at the row of boats by the old dry dock.

There are five of them there, including the trawler Trafalgar nearest the camera. So there’s a total of seven boats in there right now, and that is pretty good going.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … it’s good to see such a busy ship repairers. It encourages people to bring their boats into Granville, knowing that they can be serviced and repaired here. Plenty of boats in the port is good for the town.

yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust before we went away, we also saw a yacht in the yard down here too, looking as if she was about to receive a paint job.

While I was out there this afternoon, I didn’t forget to have a look down there to see how she was getting on.

And by the looks of things, she’s getting on quite well. She’s pretty well masked off and she looks from what I can see that she’s already had a coat of paint on her superstructure. I’ll be very interested to see how she turns out when she is finished.

It’ll be quite exciting too, watching the portable boat lift coming to fetch her and take her back to drop into the water.

horse and carriage chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn one of the earlier photos we had a good view of Chausiase, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey and back.

At that time, I didn’t take a photo of her because I’d seen something else out of the corner of my eye and I wanted to wait until I could take the picture that I wanted.

There wasn’t long to wait, as it happened. Soon enough, a horse and open carriage came into view, carrying some passengers. It looks as if part of the entertainment for this Festival of Working Sailboats includes a ride ina carriage.

However, I’m not sure why this would be. It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t really have much of a nautical flavour about it.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were bound to be further interruptions today, with all of this nice sunny but windy weather.

Sure enough, the Bird-Men of Alcatraz decided to come out and enjoy the weather this afternoon. One by one they came over the Pointe du Roc on their way down to the end of the headland.

There were all kinds of nazgul going by over head. This one is a two-seater, as you can see, and the person in the front seat seems to be filming the voyage as they passed by overhead. They will probably have a good film to show everyone when they return, thanks to the good weather.

crowds festival of working sailboats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I mentioned the other day, this weekend is the Festival des Voiles de Travail, the “Festival of Working Sailboats”.

Today is the climax of the event and so I was expecting to see crowds of people wandering around down there, and I’m not disappointed. The harbour down there was heaving with them this afternoon.

It was interesting to see the old marker buoys that were down there. I’m not quite sure what is the purpose of displaying them. I suppose that if it’s connected with the sea, it’s good enough to exhibit them

And that rectangle that we saw – it’s actually a water tank and there were some model boats going around it.

crowds festival of working sailboats rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the reasons why there were cars parked just about everywhere this afternoon is that the car park down at the port is occupied .

As part of the Festival, they have erected tents and booths on the car park, and part of the exhibition is being held down there. It seems to be quite popular too, with all of the people who we can see down there.

It’s a strange decision though – to hold an event in the centre of the town in order to attract tourists from elsewhere, and put the event on the car park so that they have nowhere to park so that they can visit it. They should have put these tents on the other side of the harbour where the gravel used to be stored.

jazz band crowds festival of working sailboats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the things that we saw them erecting last weekend or whenever it was is a grandstand.

We now seem to have acquired a stage too, and there was a jazz band performing down there this afternoon to give the festival some kind of ambience and to entertain the public as they wander around.

All of the greenery down there was interesting too. We seem to have acquired a kind of desert island environment with sand and palm trees, presumably to give a kind of “Pirates” effect to that part of the exhibition.

If that’s the case, then instead of a jazz band, there ought to have been Roy Plomley, a gramophone record and 8 songs.

Croix du Sud 3 sailing yacht port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the looks of things, we have a new sailing boat in the harbour right now, one that I haven’t seen them before.

She’s called Croix du Sud III and was built in 1934. She was built as a fishing boat and when she retired, she passed through several pairs of hands before being bought by the town of Cherbourg in 2003.

She was completely overhauled as soon as she came into the hands of the town, and again during the winter of 2015-16 and is now the “official boat” of the town. She now represents the town at all kinds of maritime events, and that’s probably why she’s here at the Festival.

Croix du Sud 3 sailing yachr port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe harbour gates are closed so she can’t go outside.

As I watched her, she was doing a series of figure-eights, taking passenger around the harbour. She is completely sold out, by the way, so I couldn’t have a trip on her even if I so wished.

And that was really all that was happening, so I decided to go back home and have a nice cold strawberry smoothie.

You are probably wondering why I haven’t gone down there for a closer look around and ro take a few photographs. The fact is that I didn’t feel as if I could face the walk back up the hill afterwards. I really am in a right state, aren’t I?

Back here I spent the rest of the day going through the photos. As well as today’s, there were those for the previous two days too, which I’ll bring up to date when I’ve transcribed the dictaphone notes.

After my lunch i’d taken out the last pizza dough and it had been defrosting during the afternoon. Now it was ready to be kneaded and rolled, put on the pizza tray and left for an hour to rise. When it was ready I assembled the pizza and then baked it.

It was delicious and really tasty, despite it being rather low on ingrdients. No dessert of course because I wasn’t hungry – my appetite is still down from where it was.

And now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. There’s an early start in the morning and a radio programme to prepare. I need to be on top form.

Wednesday 18th August 2021 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… night that was!

It was alright until about 02:45 when the people in one of the rooms backing onto mine came back in from wherever they had been and put the music on.

And it was still going on at 11:00 this morning when I went out to the shops.

Nothing that I could do would get them to turn down the sound and telephoning the management was a waste of time too as the all-night emergency number was switched to the answerphone.

Luckily I managed to button-hole the manager this morning when I came back and told him what I thought about the situation.

He told me that he will speak to the people concerned. We shall see.

So most of last night was spent drifting in and out of sleep, and there are tons of stuff on the dictaphone. There was a little girl wandering around the complex here. I’d seen her once or twice and I caught up with her again the following day. I asked her what she was doing. She replied that she was looking for a donkey for some part in a film, something like that. We had a look around a few of the outhouses, places like that together, but we couldn’t see anything. We had a little chat and she went on her way. a little while later we bumped into some people who were also wandering around the apartment trying to sort out this music that was coming from another house in the street that backs onto here. It was a woman in her 40s and a couple of young people. We started to chat and the subject came up about this particular situation and the subject of this girl came up. Apparently she was her daughter and was 11. She asked me how she was and I replied that she was a little sunburnt but apart from that she’s fine. The woman said in that case I’ll leave her over in the UK. I replied “there’s no need to do that because she seems to be OK around here and I can keep an eye on her”. Then these people by now were loading something onto the roof of a Volvo, rather like a bed or something with a huge tubular metal frame. They were having to tie it on and I was having to help by holding the corners of these ropes so that they could tighten them up. Of course I had to concentrate for if I relaxed my grip this metal pole would go through the rear window. I remember thinking that I’ve moved some strange stuff in some strange fashions at one time but this beats just about everything.

Later on we were running a camp site, Liz, Terry and me, during the night. In the morning we had to apologise to people because of the noise that was being made because of the noise that was being made and we had to track down the culprits. We were generally tidying things up after people had started to leave and making plans about how we were going to develop things in the future. There was a sleeping bag piled up in a heap down at the bottom end of the course so I went to straighten it out, but there was a girl of about 7 asleep in it. We asked her if she had been the one making all the noise. She said “no” so we teased her – “doesn’t it have a cute little nose, that thing in that sleeping bag?” all that kind of thing.

later still, having been fired rather unceremoniously by Gill Leese for having read the newspaper, there was still an outstanding job that needed to be done, for us to take several lorry-loads of scrap to the scrap breakers. I thought that I’d go out and do that anyway because I wasn’t doing very much. By now everyone had gone. I got into a lorry that was fully-loaded, a rigid bulk carrier with trailer, and set out to drive it. Going through Nantwich and everywhere was quite easy but getting out towards Middlewich and Winsford, the road became a bit tougher and a couple of times I had to get out and walk and set the hand throttle so that the lorry would steer itself through the obstructions. There was one particular bit of obstruction that was very difficult to negotiate but someone came along with a tow rope to help me tow it through. Instead, he had the lorry wedged sideways in it and it was well and truly stuck. I thought “this is going to be a lot more complicated with Gill Leese than I could possibly imagine”.

Round about 09:30 I left my bed and went for breakfast. That was followed by a spell working on choosing the music for another radio programme.

Having only done half the shopping yesterday I went out later this morning to buy the food that I needed for lunch, otherwise I’ll be starving.

After lunch I had a shower and then chose the music for another programme, following which I went out to the bus station.

statue or sculpture of hot air balloon outside bus station leuven belgium Eric HallHere is something that I hadn’t noticed yesterday when I left the railway station.

Belgium, and Leuven in particular might be famous for many things but hot-air ballooning isn’t one of them. Most of the early balloonatics were French. So why there is a statue or a carving of a hot air balloon outside the bus station is something that has completely defeated me.

What I’ll have to do is to wander down that way and see if there’s a plaque affixed to it to give an explanation.

It’s quite new too. I don’t remember seeing it when I was here five weeks ago

martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric HallMeanwhile, while I was here I went to have a look at the Maartelarenplein outside the railway station.

That’s been dug up now for longer than I care to remember and progress is taking place at a snail’s pace. This is a very long task.

This afternoon I had to go to the offices of the local bus company, De Lijn. I have some old multi-use bus tickets but they have been withdrawn. I had to change them for the new type.

Then I boarded a bus that took me to Alison’s new house, known in the locality as “Alison’s Wonderland”. It was her housewarming party.

war graves leefdaal belgium Eric HallInstead of getting off at her house I went on to the next bus stop at the church.

Alison had told me that there were a couple of British Commonwealth War Graves there from May 1940. I was half-expecting to see the crew of a Fairey Battle but instead, it’s two soldiers from the Grenadier Guards killed on 18th May 1940 during the British Army’s retreat from Leuven.

It’s a mystery though why the graves have been left here. It was common policy after the war for to inhabitants of these small cemeteries to be regrouped into a couple of large ones.

civilian war graves leefdaal belgium Eric HallThere were some civilian graves here too. Civilians were by no means spared from the fighting during the German push through Belgium.

From there I walked down to Alison’s for the barbecue. A few of her colleagues from work were there and we all had a chat for a while. But rather earlier than most people I started to feel tired long before events had really warmed up and so like a reporter from the News of the Screws I made my excuses and left.

There was quite a wait for the bus back to town, but the journey passed quickly enough and I was soon alighting at the bus stop across the road.

ambulance attending road accident tiensestraat tiensevest leuven belgium Eric HallThere was an ambulance across the road too with its blue emergency lights flashing.

By its side was a rather badly distorted bicycle that looks as if it’s been run down by a passing car, although there was no other vehicle that looked as if it might have been involved.

Having taken a photo of it, I crossed the road and headed for home and to write up my notes.

Now they are done, I’m off to bed to try to get as mush sleep as possible in case the music starts up again later. But I’m not setting an alarm, just to be on the safe side.

Wednesday 11th August 2021 – GONE!

gone and never called me mother empty quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd never called me mother!

For the past few days we’ve been keeping an eye on the steadily-increasing pile of freight that has been building up on the quayside down in the port. But when I looked down there this afternoon, there it was! Gone!

It looks as if one of the little Channel Islands freighters has paid us a visit on the early morning tide and cleared off back to the islands with its cargo, without saying anything at all about it to me.

gone and never called me mother empty quayside port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that has gone, and never called me mother either is our old friend Marité, the old Newfoundland fishing boat.

She sneaked out on the early morning tide by the looks of things too and probably won’t be back home until the gates open this evening.

What I can see me doing is checking on the times of the tides and going for a morning walk as well as an evening one. I seem to be missing quite a lot just recently.

marité ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd in case you are wondering exactly where Marité might have been this afternoon, then I reckon that this is she.

While I was out on my afternoon walk I was keeping a watchful eye out to sea and with the aid of the big 70-300mm LENS I was able to make out the sails of a very large sailing ship just offshore.

The photo isn’t very good because while it was one of those days where you could see for miles, there was a peculiar taint to the atmosphere that distorted all of the colours and you can’t see things as clearly as we did yesterday.

yachts cezembre fort de la conchée st malo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut with the peculiar atmospheric conditions, this afternoon we could see things around the entrance to the port of St Malo that we don’t usually see.

The big island that you see is the island of Cézembre. At one time connected to the mainland by a causeway that has long-since eroded away, access was forbidden to the public after 1944 as an extremely heavy bombardment had littered the place with all kinds of unexploded ammunition.

Several attempts at sweeping the island have taken place and access has been permitted since the Spring of 2018, although many areas are still closed off.

The rather rectangular island to its left is one of the forts that guards the entrance to the harbour at St Malo. The silhouette resembles very much the Fort De La Conchée, built by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban and Siméon Garangeau. No longer used by the military, it was classed as a National Historic Monument in 1984.

But anyway, I’m running away with myself again, aren’t I?

This morning I awoke with the first alarm and wandered off for my medication. Back here I started to do the morning tasks but the next thing that I knew, it was 09:18. I’d been fast asleep on my chair in the office for a little over 2 hours and I didn’t feel a thing.

Having finally recovered I made myself a coffee and sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I started off in a country area, somewhere like that, and there was a lot of building going on. There were all these Germans there building houses. I had all of my medication so I wandered off to have a look at these houses while I took my medication but I dropped one of my tablets. I had a good look around but I couldn’t find it anywhere so I thought “never mind – I’ll have to go back and get another one”. This girl came up and began to talk to me. She asked me what I was looking for so I told her. She turned out to be Bruce Springsteen’s daughter. We talked about this tablet and one or two other things. She said that she was having to go on holiday soon but there would be someone around at their house. If they wanted to pay she could arrange for someone to be up there at the shop who could maybe bring my tablet back. She explained that their business was being sold and there would be someone new in there pretty soon.

Some time later I’d been going around my garages trying to get myself organised with my old MkIII Cortinas (and this is something that seems to come up quite often). I suddenly realised that now I had electric there was no reason why I couldn’t go back to MiG welding. I resolved that what I was going to do was to start to practise on bits of metal and see how I could develop a technique. While I was there I took a boot lid off a MkIII Cortina and went to replace the locking mechanism on it but then I couldn’t get the boot to lock. I was wondering if I’d assembled it correctly. I put it down in the toilet of this place while I went wandering off and there were people coming in and out of the toilets as you might expect. Some little girl went to the toilet and some older woman, her mother maybe, went running hell for leather after her to try to catch her. Then it was time for me to take myself off so I went outside to walk home and the skies were really, really heavy grey with rainclouds and rainstorms and everything. I didn’t have a jacket and at the moment it wasn’t raining where I was but it was going to rain soon and I was wondering whether I ought to try to reach home before the rain started. It was a big wide road and I had to wait for some traffic to pass. One of them was a big Riley used by the local police. There was another one, a smaller type of police car that went past while I was waiting to find a gap in the road. Then a Morris Oxford MO pulled into a car park just a little further back so I thought that this might have been something like an Austin Morris Owners Club event.

Later still I was living in an apartment somewhere and I’d gone outside to do something. I noticed that the apartment above me was being redecorated. There were 2 vehicles there, an ancient Land-Rover and something else with people taking boxes out of it, all that kind of thing and taking them up the stairs to this apartment. I thought that someone must be moving in. I thought that I’d go round and see them and make a coffee but I wasn’t dressed so I thought that I’d dress and then I’d better have a wash as well. At that point someone came round to see our apartment and see some people who were there. The were all getting in my way and I couldn’t get anything organised. I thought that by the time I get myself organised and these people had cleared off and I’m ready to go the ones upstairs doing this apartment would have probably had a coffee and wouldn’t need one from me so they wouldn’t have any time to sit and chat and talk about themselves.

While all of this was going on, I was chatting to Liz. She had some news for me, but more of this anon.

All of the day has been spent, as I mentioned yesterday, dealing with arrears of work.

The photos from Greenland had quite a lot of time spent on them and just as yesterday, one or two of them touched rather a nerve with me just as yesterday and I can do without sinking into a deep depression right now. As if I don’t have enough on my plate right now.

But to cheer myself I had a little fun with A PHOTO OF STRAWBERRY MOOSE. It’s been a long time since he’s been on an adventure.

Mind you, he has told me that he’s pleased that he’s in the EU and not in the UK at all. Word on the streets is that the UK is about to tear up the EU’s restriction on experiments on live animals, and he would have been afraid that he might been forced to sample my cooking.

As well as that I spent some time on my Spirit of Conrad notes but I’m not doing too well with those. For some reason I can’t seem to summon up the creative spirit these days and that’s annoying me too.

There was breakfast of course, and lunch, and then there was the afternoon walk around the headland to stretch my legs.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo Nazguls casting their shadows of doom over me today so I could wander off calmly across the car park to the wall overlookign the beach.

The tide is once more 40 or so minutes behind where it was yesterday so there’s even more beach to go at this afternoon and there were a few people taking advantage of it as well.

There were even a couple of people in the water and one or two sunbathers, but it’s still quite quiet compared to how it usually is in August when you can’t move outside here for the heaving masses.

man in canoe woman sunbathing on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd there were some people taking advantage of the weather in all kinds of different ways too.

We had a guy out there paddling his own canoe around the headland and I did wonder from where he came seeing as the tide is well out and there isn’t a slipway or quayside in the water right now.

He has a spectator too – a woman sitting on the sand at the water’s edge, prresumably wondering what the canoeist is going to do next.

As an aside, I used to go canoeing when I was at school and on one of our trips on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR I was asked if I would like to take a kayak out.
My response was “I would do if I could find some oars” to which they replied “who you meet and what you do when you are out there is your own business”.

bouchot beds st martin de brehal Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen the bouchot beds out at Donville les bains and talked about them on several occasions.

There are bouchot beds all along the western coast of the Cotentin Peninsula and because of the strange atmospheric conditions today, we can see many more than we do usually.

If my geography is correct, these are the beds to the north of St Martin de Bréhal that stretch all the way along to the mouth of the River Sienne. And it’s not every day that we can see them as clearly as this, even when the tide is quite low.

fishermen in speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we are on the subject of fishing … “well, one of us is” – ed … there has to be some fishing included in the report of the day’s activities.

For the last couple of days, as I mentioned yesterday, there’s been a distinct lack of offshore fishing been going on, which is strange seeing as we are right in the middle of the summer season.

Today though, there were some fishermen out there. This speedboat had several in there but they weren’t doing much fishing as their rods were all furled up. And in any case they wouldn’t have caught much at the speed at which they were travelling.

f-bsno Wassmer WA-4/21-250 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd at this point I was oveflown by an aeroplane from the airfield just along the coat.

Having spent several days without the sight of even one, we made up for it today when this one went past. It’s one that we’ve seen on one occasion in the past, about two months or so ago – F-BSNO, a Wassmer WA-4/21-250.

She was picked up on radar at 16:07 over the sea near Granville – my photo being timed at (adjusted) 16:06 so that’s probably right, and she disappeared off the radar somewhere in the vicinity of the St Malo-Dinard airport at about 16:16 so she wasn’t aloft for long.

Another aeroplane, one of the smaller, lighter ones, flew by overhead almost immediately but I was engaged in a (Flemish) conversation with a couple of Belgians who wanted to know about the offshore islands.

fisherman canoeist pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith fishing seeming to be the activity of the day I wondered if there might be anything going on out at the end of the headland.

And so I scurried across the car park and down to the path to see for myself, and sure enough, we have someone with his rod out, down there on the rocks right at the end, not having much luck as usual.

There’s a canoeist down there too, but I’m not sure if he’s the same one who we saw a couple of minutes ago. If it is, he’s made rather rapid progress.

And I would still like to know how he intends to take his canoe out of the water at the end of his trip because he has a good few hours to wait before the tide will be in far enough for him to have access to a slipway

peche à pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJamais deux sans trois – “never two without a third”, as they say around here.

And so having seen a couple of photos featuring fishing (of a sort) there’s bound to be a third, especially as the tide is so low. There are bound to be some pêcheurs à pied around here somewhere.

And sure enough, there were a couple of them scratching around in the rocks and rock pools a little further around the headland. Plenty of others elsewhere too out on the rocks further round, but when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.

And that reminds me – why is shopping in North America so boring?
Well, when you’ve seen one bunch of shops you’ve seen a mall.

I’ll get my coat.

trawler trafalgar charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeantime, some new activity yet again in the chantier naval.

As I’d been making my way along the path on the southern side of the headland I thought that the layout of the place had changed a little, and sure enough, we have another little trawler come to join the crowd this afternoon.

She’s called Trafalgar, a strange name to give to a French vessel bearing in mind the outcome of the battle of that name on 21st October 1805, and we haven’t seen her before – at least not to note. She’s now in here keeping company with Charlevy and the two others whose names I have still not discovered.

paddleboarders plage greve de herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday I drew your attention to that swimming pool area at the beach at the Grève de Hérel.

And it’s a good job that I did so too because it’s a hive of activity this afternoon. The guys from one of the sailing schools have taken out some pupils on there and it looks as if they are going to be receiving some paddleboard instruction, or something of that nature.

If there are any sunbathers and swimmers on the beach over there, that’s not going to be too popular with them. There’s precious little enough water as it is without having to share it with a sailing school.

small boat aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile back at the ran … errr … harbour there are more boats left to go around at the wharf as the tide goes out.

Regular readers of this rubbish well recall having seen this one a few times on and off, painted in colours that are more usually associated with Government vessels than private ones.

But she would seem to be a private vessel because those red buoys look to me like the buoys that they use to indicate the presence of their lobster pots.

And something that I’ve always wondered is “how do you train a lobster to go on a lobster pot?”

On that note I’ll head for home.

Back here I had a cold drink and carried on with my notes until guitar practice time. That was followed by taco rolls with the last of yesterday’s stuffing, followed by apple crumble.

It’s early yet, but who cares? I’m going to bed. If I feel up to it I’ll resume my weekly treks to LIDL tomorrow but I’m not too optimistic. I’m a little better than I was and I could climb the steps without clinging on to the handrail, but even so that’s a long way from when I used to sail up the bank like a Spanish galleon.

Saturday 31st July 2021 – NO CAUSE FOR …

llamas la ruche nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… allama!

Or even three of the beasts.

This evening I had very strange companions. Just for a change, and for something that doesn’t happen all that often, I was out socialising tonight. Two of my “friends” whom I know from my social network were married this afternoon and I had been invited to the bunfight afterwards, which I thought was very kind of them.

After all, I can’t go on being totally unsociable all my life. Sometimes I have to come out of my shell even if I don’t want to and I don’t feel like it.

But let’s not go getting ahead of ourselves.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I was out of bed quite smartly, and after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone.

To my surprise there was something on there from yesterday when I was crashed out on the chair. I transcribed that and added it in to yesterday’s page, and then concentrated on the entries from last night.

Last night there was some story about some young black footballer who had been called up to the England under-23 or under-something national side to replace a player from Oxford who had fallen ill. Although it might not look like it they were trained in a completely different fashion otherwise I can’t tell you any more than that because I can’t remember.

The other one (which other one?) was to do with young people and something about rising up but the only rising up they were ever likely to do these days was to rise up out of bed and go to the bathroom which was exactly what I did at the time.

Later on, a friend of mine had started work in Crewe and was coming to Crewe with her bike on the train and wandering off to work. I met her at the station. On the way I took her to these friends of mine who had an Indian restaurant in Nantwich Road where Alan Pond’s used to be, one of these cheap café-type of places. He was very flirty towards her which she didn’t like. I said “this is where you come if your train is late”. She replied “I get a taxi if my train is late”. “Yes” I replied “but this is where you come to telephone and where you telephone your office to explain the delay”. “Ohh” she said and we went off down Mill Street to another Indian café‚ where we went in. The guys there knew me. They’d had Indian cafés all over Europe at one time in different places, one of them in Brussels. Esi was eating a proper meal but I was having all kinds of different bits and pieces given to me by the proprietor. He was telling me all his stories about his place in Walsall, he went to India and met new people, he’d had all kinds of new ideas and came back and opened this place which was doing really well. We were having a lengthy chat but then I noticed the time. My friend is going to be hours late for work if we don’t get a move on quick, so I had to decline everything else that was being offered to me and try to get her to head for work.

The next task that I attacked was that there was a JOURNAL ENTRY FROM A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO that needed updating. That’s now on line too, and not before time either.

After breakfast I had a good go at fixing the printer and once it was working after a fashion I printed out a dozen or so of my favourite acoustic songs in case I needed them.

Having packed my things I had a shower, found some new clothes, had lunch and then loaded Caliburn. Once he was organised I headed off to Coutances.

Strangely enough, despite shopping this afternoon in two different places, the Leclerc and the Lidl there, I couldn’t remember what I needed to buy so I didn’t buy much. But at Lidl I saw a young girl with the most beautiful hair that I have ever seen, so it made the trip all worthwhile.

eric hall liz messenger sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd then it was off through the countryside to Nicorps and this wedding.

And here I am, in the black jacket and cap sitting next to Liz. Someone picked me up as an ancillary object in another photo so I cropped ourselves out and saved the image so that I can say in my best Max Boyce tradition I WAS THERE.

The photo was posted on the social media page for the wedding and I have no idea who posted it, but credit is given to the original poster. It’s not one of my own photos of course.

sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire a few wedding photos, I was busy trying to find a place to park Caliburn.

And that wasn’t easy either. There was quite a crowd of people here. In the end I managed to find some kind of gravel hardstanding on top of an earthen bank. Caliburn coped admirably with the climb up.

The next problem was finding out where everything was taking place because it was like a labyrinth around there with passages there leading to just about everywhere except where I wanted to go.

food stall sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing that I noticed when I arrived was the food stall.

We were really going to be done proud with what was on offer this afternoon. I ended up with chips, a vegan pitta, plenty of salad and a pile of bread. But the carnivores could have had almost anything that they wanted, there was so much choice.

Later on in the evening I had a laugh and a joke with Lee and Sam about the amount of food that was left over. They’ll be eating rice for breakfast, pasta and salad for lunch and chips for the tea for the next month.

father of the groom sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe entertainment started with an opening speech by the father of the groom welcoming everyone to the event.

Don’t ask me why it’s the groom’s father. usually it’s the bride’s father who welcomes everyone to the wedding. And so it’s probably me who has the whole thing wrong – that’s the more likely interpretation of events.

But anyway, whoever he is, he declared the celebrations open and the bunfight could begin. And I realised at this particular moment that this is the first social event that I’ve been to for over 18 months.

sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe only people whom I really knew at that event were Liz and Terry.

They were sitting at a table right in the middle of the courtyard so I went over and said hello .Liz told me to pull up a chair, which I did.

There was another couple sitting at the table with them – people whom I hadn’t seen before. The guy was quite interesting and knew quite a lot about photography and transport.

sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe two of us ended up chatting together for quite some time about ferries and railways and all of that kind of thing.

He comes from Weymouth apparently, and has been trying to stimulate some kind of exchange between there and Granville, but with little success.

There is quite some controversy over what’s happening in the port of Weymouth and as it happens, there has been a considerable amount of discussion on the subject in one of the Groups of my Social Network, something that I had been following closely.

sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was just as well because I was quite clued up on the subject and we had an interesting and in-depth discussion on the subject.

Unfortunately he had to leave quite early. he has a health problem too, but I shall be looking forward to meeting him again if the occasion ever arises. It’s quite rare to meet someone who shares my interests.

While all of this was going on, I’d turned my attention to the food supply and as I said earlier, I had a really good spread. There were some vegan desserts too, as I found out later on but I was too late and they had all gone by the time that I found out.

sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs the evening drew on I started to become cold and tired and I began to think about going home.

What finally made up my mind was the fact that they had organised some music – a guitarist and singer playing along to backing tapes.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have a big issue about things like this. Backing tapes are taking over everywhere and bass guitarists like me and drummers too are being pushed out of the circuit. It’s something about which I feel quite strongly.

sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallAccordingly I went to see Sam and Lee, presented my excuses and gave them my thanks.

We had quite a lengthy chat about quite a few different things but of course they are playing host to a hundred or so people and so they had to wander off and socialise with others.

Liz and Terry were going to hang around so I gave them a card to give to the guy whom I’d met earlier, should they encouter him before I do, and I headed off to find Caliburn.

deer sam beavis lee edwards wedding nicorps Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere is a variety of ways that I could take in order to go home so I took the road that went to the by-pass around Coutances.

After about two minutes down the country lane, I had quite a surprise as a deer leapt out of the hedge and ran across the road just a metre or two in front of me. Both Caliburn and the deer had a very narrow escape.

Passing underneath the big railway viaduct I found the by-pass and picked up the road towards Granville and home.

circus lorry 2 trailers brehal Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I passed through Quettreville sur Sienne I encountered a convoy of what is known as “Showmen’s Goods” – several large lorries , each one of them towing several trailers.

Luckily I had the dashcam working so I could take a still of one of the lorries. This large one is a rigid heavy-duty four-wheeler towing two large trailers, but I regretted not having been in a good enough prosition to take a photo of the articulated tractor unit towing three trailers. That would have made a really good image.

It wasn’t easy to pass them as they were occupying most of the road and I had to pick my overtaking spots quite carefully. Luckily Caliburn was well up to the job

The Rue des Juifs was closed to traffic as there was some kind of animation taking place. I had to end up going around the headland to reach home.

Right now I’m off to bed. I’ll deal with the photos tomorrow and maybe make a bit more sense of this.

Good night.

Thursday 29th July 2021 WHILE I WAS …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 21st July 2021 – YOU CAN TELL …

zodiac speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… just what kind of day it4s been today? just by looking at a few photos that i took.

While I was out at the Pointe du Roc this afternoon there was the infernal racket once more as a rather large zodiac went roaring past, fully-loaded with passengers.

At least they were all wearing lifejackets, so it seemed, and that’s good news because it’s not every boat that sets out with its passengers properly equipped.

And as to where they are going or where they have come from, I’ve no idea. But wherever is their destination, they are cracking on as if they have le feux dans les fesses as they say around here, and are scorching past that speedboat, which is nothing like as speedy as the zodiac.

trawler l'alize 3 galapagos yacht rebelle chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, while we are on the subject, it seemed that I arrived at the chantier naval at just about the right time this afternoon.

What with everything going on out at sea, it’s no surprise to see that one of the trawlers that was in there also has itchy feet.

You’ll notice that while there is still the yacht Rebelle, we only have two trawlers, L’Alize 3 and the new one whose name I have yet to discover, up there on blocks.

So where has Galapagos, the other trawler that was up on blocks, gone? Have a look very carefully at the portable boat lift. Can you see it in the cradle being lowered into the water in the harbour?

This morning I couldn’t see anything at all. Never mind STARRY-EYED AND LAUGHING I was bleary-eyed and coughing as I crawled from my stinking pit as the alarm went off at 08:00.

After the pile of meds that I’m obliged to take these days, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been on my travels during the night. We were out last night again with the family, some of us, and I was with a girl and I can’t remember who she was again. She went off for a little stroll round where we were standing and fell in with someone who was quite a famous singer. He gave her a great big kiss so she was talking to him and sitting on a seat, though my wife didn’t mind. When they were sitting on these seats there was an odd number and someone was being left out. In the end they came back to my place, a caravan or something, and went over to where my niece, her husband and a few others were standing, grabbed hold of my niece and took her over there instead (… I fell asleep here …) anyway these guys and other people came over after us after we had gone back and I wasn’t quite sure why but they ended up picking up my niece she and the person who was her daughter and one or two other people and these two famous stars all set off and wandered off.

Another thing as well was that I was with my and my mother somewhere in a big apartment but it was a cluttered place and you couldn’t get much furniture against the walls and I was going to be moving here so I had to work out which of my stuff I was going to throw away. But I was asleep standing up against the window and you don’t really want to know the rest because you are probably eating your tea right now. And it’s been a while since one of my nocturnal rambles has finished in a mass of blood and gore and stuff like that, although with my family involved, it’s more than likely.

Later on I had a ticket for the Cup Final and Liverpool were playing a lesser team. It was quite an ordinary stadium, not Wembley. I walked towards the stadium and then turned back and sat down at a seat. Terry said “aren’t you going in?” “In a minute” I replied and then I headed off in. I wanted to squeeze my way into the stands behind the goal but it was empty – just 2 or 3 people. I went to take a place right at the top but the fascia board of the stand roof obscured the view so I had to come a few rows down. Some one asked “are Liverpool the ones in red?”. I replied “quite likely” – then I drew the guy’s attention to the fact that the other team weren’t wearing a proper kit but all kinds of multicoloured buttoned shirts, all different.

It’s not really surprising, is it, that sometimes I awaken more tired than I was when I went off to sleep.

So having printed out … gulp … 29 pages of notes for today’s class, I made my hot chocolate and grabbed some fruit bread and attacked the lesson.

We whacked our way through the whole pile of stuff by the time we finished, bleary-eyed yet again. We are going at a frantic pace and it’s no surprise that one of our number seems to have fallen by the wayside.

One of our number comes from Nantwich, he daughter went to my Grammar School and she knows everywhere that I know. She’s a big rock fan too so I sent her a link to my radio shows (shameless self-publicist that I am) and a copy of the “Strife” concert that I featured as my live concert at the end of February.

There really wasn’t much time for anything else – it was walkies time, rather later than usual of course this week.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo matter how late I am, I always have to go for a look over the wall at the end of the car park down onto the beach below to see what’s happening there.

So off I toddled across the car park to look down on the beach and today, there was even less beach to look at than there was yesterday.

Plenty of people as well, some stretched out in the sun, others drying off and the rest splashing around in the sea like a bunch of demented dolphins.

A few kids today too – not many but certainly more than yesterday. And that beats me why there aren’t any more of them in weather like this in midsummer during a school holiday.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, as is my custom, while one pf my eyes was roving around the beach, the other one was roving out to sea to see what was going on there.

And we have another yacht today. I say “another” because I’m pretty certain that it isn’t the same one that we saw yesterday. It’s smaller for a start, and there seems to be only one man visible aboard her.

And although it looks as if she’s stationary, she is in fact moving slowly and she followed me all the way arund the headland.

And that reminds me of the man who went into the newsagency and asked the woman behind the counter if she kept stationery.
“Only until the last 10 seconds” she replied “and then I go berserk”.

Or as my doctor friend once told me about a young girl whom he was examining – “are you sexually active?” he asked her discreetly when her mother was out of earshot.
“No” she replied. “I just like there”.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw this boat out here in the Baie de Granville yesterday.

Today, there is no doubt as to her identity. If you look very closely, you’ll see that she has her “old” registration number painted in black at the top of one of the sails as you will see if you look closely.

“G90” – so there is no doubt at all that she is in fact La Granvillaise as I thought yesterday. And she’s out again presumably doing a carbon-copy of yesterday’s trip around and about

And as you might expect, there’s another perishing speedboat roaring past her as she leisurely cruises around out at sea.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, while everyone seems to be out in the sea playing around, some other people are still having to work.

As I looked farther out to sea I could see something moving around out there and sure enough, it was indeed a local trawler setting out for the fishing grounds.

By the time that I’d spotted it, it was already way out to sea, sailing past the outlers to the north-east of the Ile de Chausey and going at quite a rate of knots.

From my spec, I cleared off across the car park to the end of the Pointe du Roc to see what was happening there.

And with nothing going on there of any more importance than we have already seen either, I headed off down the path.

charles marie entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut hang on a minute! I hadn’t gone very far before I had to stop to take another photograph.

Into the port comes a boat whom we haven’t seen for quite a while. I wasn’t quick enough to photograph it before it began to disappear from my view, but I reckon that even without seeing her name, she’s Charles Marie – another one of the boats that plies for hire in the harbour.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen her. She must have a full summer season booked up and is keeping herself really busy even despite Covid.

And I’m glad that someone is for it’s rather grim for some of the others, such as the Jersey ferry boats Granville and Victor Hugo.

coelacanthe leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I watechd Charles Marie disappear out of my sight, something else came the other way. Instead of entering the harbour she was leaving it.

It’s only when Tiberiade and Coelacanthe are side by side that I can tell them apart. But cleverly enlarging the photo when I returned to the apartment later, I could see that the trawler that we have here is Coelacanthe.

She’s heading out for the fishing grounds too, I reckon, and is also in quite a hurry for she’s not hanging around. And also in this image – and the previous one too – is the yellow and white fishing boat who was in the chantier navale for a while and whose name I have forgotten yet again.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on around the path, we’re back in playtime again.

It looks as if it’s full sail ahead for the yachting schools today. There seem to be a couple of different ones and you can tell them apart by the colours of the sails of their boats.

They are all out there in the bay this afternoon making the most of things and I’m quite jealous. Had I not had this little problem a couple of months ago, who knows? I might even have been out there with them I’m determined to have a go at sailing one of these days and pick up another certificate to add to my collection.

goods on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom here I can see down into the inner harbour and the loading bay where the little freighters load up.

It’s no surprise to see that Thora who we saw yesterday has gone out of harbour. The turnround of these boats is so quick these days.

Yet there’s another pile of stuff on the quayside. Either it’s stuff that Thora brought in with her or else one of the Jersey freighters will be coming back soon and it’s a load for her.

But one thing that is annoying me is that we haven’t seen a gravel boat here for ages. There’s a special kind of gravel found near Avranches and there’s a big ready-mix concrete and roadstone plant near Sittingbourne.

We used to have big 2,500 tonne bulk carriers in here every few months taking gravel to Sittingbourne but with Brexit and the collapse of the British construction industry, we haven’t seen one in ages.

trawler galapagos leaving chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s something that we saw earlier this afternoon.

The trawler Galapagos was leaving the chantier naval earlier and was being lowered down into the water by the portable boat lift.

Now, she’s back in the water and giving her engines a little trial before presumably heading off into the wild blue yonder.

So what’s all this about “no fresh fish being sold until” …. whenever it was … then? She’s back in the water a long time before she’s due to start selling her produce, so has this overhaul been quicker than expected, or ar the crew all now going to be going off on holiday?

As for me, I’m going off back home because it’s late and I have things to do. And by the time that I had finished I’d missed my bass guitar practice. The acoustic practice I’d done at lunchtime.

Tea tonight was pasta and burger followed by more of my delicious apple turnover.

And now I’m off to bed. All fighting fit and ready for my Welsh lesson tomorrow. I don’t think.

Tuesday 20th July 2021 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I vowed never to do – but needs must when the devil drives as we all know.

What I did was to change the times of the alarms from 06:00 etc to 08:00 etc and try for a decent lie-in to make sure that i’d be fighting fit for my course today.

The lie-in bit worked, I suppose, but the fighting fit bit didn’t – by the time that the lesson ended I was feeling rather groggy.

marite baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut while I might not have been fighting fit today, something else was.

Having a good sail around the Baie de Mont St Michel with a load of passengers on board was none other than Marité. She seemed to be coping quite well and she’s 30-odd years older than me.

In case you are wondering, she’s the last of the Newfoundland Grand Banks wooden fishing trawlers built in 1921 if I remember correctly. When her service was over she was sold a couple of times and finally rescued by an Association here.

She’s been fully restored and is licensed to carry passengers for hire, and that’s how she makes her living.

But I’m not going to be able to make a living the way I’m going on with this fatigue that’s getting me right down.

It might have helped had I had a continuous 8-hour sleep, but I noticed that there was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night.

I had to go to work down in London so I had to leave my old office so I went into there and thanked them all, particularly one group wit whom I worked. Then Nerina and I got into the car and headed off. I was telling Nerina a little about my house but not too much as I wanted to surprise her about the house that I had down in the south that was about 10 minutes from Croydon on the train. We drove down there and ended up at my house which was a 3-bedroom semi just like Gainsborough Road except that it was in the middle of a row. It had a garage and I showed her around the garden and took her indoors and had a look round. She came back and said “it’s better than I thought it would be, judging by the way you were telling me”. She started talking about how she would want a job. I replied “with 10 minutes on the train to Croydon you can find any kind of job you like”. So we started to open the post, there was some post there. One was a bill and then a reminder saying that they were going to cut my electricity all for £60:00 for three months that I’d been living there but hadn’t had a bill or anything so Nerina wanted a job and I said that we could find one for her quite easily.
Something else that occurred in this dream and I don’t know if I mentioned it … “you didn’t” – ed … but in the back garden of this house I had BILL BADGER up on ramps and the back wheels off while I was checking the brakes but it looked as if I’d backed him up into next door’s garden partly so Nerina and I put the wheels on with the aim of dropping it on the ground and pushing it forward away from next door’s garden. Somewhere in there Rosemary appeared as well. She’d been a taxi driver and had picked up a fare at Crewe Station to go to Battersea so she had taken the opportunity to go to her house which was in Main Road Shavington near the Elephant and Castle to pick up some paperwork that she needed to take to London so she had gone that way to Battersea. I met her when she was back. She had one of these Dacia – the vans, there’s an estate car version of the Dacia van and she had one of those.

What’s interesting about all of this is, as I have probably said before, that I haven’t seen Nerina for well over 25 years but she’s quite a regular passenger with me on my nocturnal rambles. Since those days, a variety of people have come and gone from my life and have also come and gone from my nocturnal rambles too, but Nerina still persists.

Whatever happened to TOTGA, Castor and Pollux, Miss Stoke on Trent, the Girl From The Auvergne and countless others who blazed a trail through my nocturnal rambles at one time or other, hung around for a while and then disappeared just as rapidly as they came?

It’s probably something to do with lives being so entwined, I supposed, that it’s impossible to untangle then. Mind you, some of these other relationships, well, maybe not “relationships” in the way that you might think of them, were pretty intense too.

One day, when I can find the right words to express it, I’ll fill in those missing three days of my journal from the end of August 2019 about one of the most intense experiences that I have ever had.

To quote Agatha Christie, I was “embarking on a hazardous journey in troubled waters facing who knows what currents of misfortune” but “one must follow one’s star wherever it leads, even unto hell itself”.
But then, to quote Agatha Christie yet again, “Beware of the day when your dreams come true”.

But that’s enough of me being all maudlin. That’s not helping anyone at all.

After the medication I transcribed the dictaphone notes and updated yesterday’s entry with the details of the night’s journey, did some organising and by then it was time for my Welsh course.

Armed with my hot chocolate and fruit bread I took my seat in front of the computer and we were off. Another hectic place with 52 pages of documents that needed to be downloaded from the internet.

In the lunch pause I had a shower and then I was back at my place for round two. And we belted along all the way until the end.

Coincidentally, the subject of Welsh Bibles came up and I was proud to be able to show the class my grandmother’s Welsh Bible. When she died, my father threw it away with the rest of her possessions and I had to hunt it down to rescue it.

When the lesson finished I found Liz on line so we had a chat and made plans for a date next week

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was long-past the time for my afternoon walk and peer over the wall at the end of the car park to look down on the beach.

So off I set across the car park and had a peer. And while there wasn’t all that much beach to be on, that didn’t bother most people.

They were deep in the water and having a really good splash around this afternoon. But to my surprise there were very few kids down there in the water.

Usually it’s the first thing that kids do – go charging down the beach and straight into the water without even bothering to change into their swimwear, as we have seen on several occasions.

frogmen rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe even had a few frogmen, or were they frogwomen down there as well joining in the fun.

They seemed to be enjoying themselves this afternoon but I’ve no idea what they were finding to do there. If they have lost something, they can just wait until the tide goes out.

But it was no surprise to see so many people because it really was lovely. One of my neighbours came over for a chat, carrying his towel. He’d just been for a dip.
“Why don’t you go in?” he asked. “It’s lovely”.

So I made my excuse about my catheter port that I had used on several previous occasions, including once with Castor. But in all reality, if anyone thinks that I’m going to be putting my sooty foot into any water that is less than 37°C they are sadly mistaken.

yacht baie de granville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just on the beach and close in to shore that there were loads of people. There were plenty of others much further offshore.

This was just one photograph of any number that I could have taken of any water craft out there this afternoon.

The reason why I chose the yacht was because it was just so majestic out there in the Baie de Granville. She was riding at anchor a couple of miles off the shore

There were some people on board but I couldn’t see how many or what they were doing, so I cleared off along the path round the headland for my walk..

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s a very familiar sight to the many regular readers of this rubbish, who will recall having seen it on endless occasions.

From this distance there was no change of reading her name, because she was about 10 miles out but her rigging gives us a clue.

She can only be one of two boats, and the fact that she is white and not brown tells us that she is La Granvillaise, even if we can’t see the tell-tale number G90 on one of her sails.

She plies for hire around the harbour too and it looks as if she has a full load this afternoon. I’ve no idea where she’s going but wherever it was, I have to admit to being quite envious

man fishing from rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that we haven’t seen very much of just recently is fishermen..

It’s always usually very popular and we’ve had week after week in the past of fishermen perched on every rock within a radius of 20 miles, but I haven’t seen any for a while.

But never mind, there’s one out there this afternoon on a rock at the Pointe du Roc, not looking as if he’s going to catch anything. He has no net to haul them in and no basket in which to keep them.

However that won’t matter because regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve never ever yet seen a fisherman haul anything out of the water – not even a bicycle wheel or an old boot.

powered hang gliders pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was admiring the fisherman at the Pointe du Roc, I was overflown yet again.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few days ago that we saw a pair of powered hang gliders or whatever they are flying over our heads while we walked around the path. Well, here they are again, flying past my knapper as I’m busy doing some thing else.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … one of these days I’ll have to go for a drive out to the airfield and see what’s happening there because there must be tons of exciting stuff and I’m missing it all.

light aircraft 50SA pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat includes machines like this one too, that overflew me a few minutes later.

Its registration number is 50SA and that’s not a number that’s on any national database so I’m not able to search it. We’ve seen plenty of this type of number and this type of aircraft and the number must be on some kind of register somewhere that will tell me more about the aeroplane.

And the only way to find out is, I suppose, to go to beard the lion in his den and receive the information first-hand.

But not today. I have far too much to do right now so I’d better push off and get a move on or it won’t be done.

marite baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, it looks as if Marité has caught me up.

She was sailing round to the harbour so I reckoned that she was going to put into port. But instead she continued on her way past, doing a circuit of the bay by the looks of things.

One of these days I’ll have to go out for a sail on her too, even if I don’t think much of the people who are in charge of her.

While I was here I had a glance into the chantier naval but there was no change of occupant in there today so I pushed on elsewhere.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallLike to the viewpoint where I could see into the inner harbour.

And look who’s in here today! It’s Thora, one of the two little Channel Islands freighters that run between here and the Channel Islands. They don’t come in here as much since Brexit, having to go instead to St Malo where there are proper Customs facilities.

Back at the apartment it was already 17:45 so there wasn’t all that much time left before it was guitar practice so I couldn’t do too much in the time available.

For tea I had steamed veg with veggie balls and vegan cheese sauce and it really was delicious. The apple turnover that I’d made on Sunday for dessert was also delicious – cooked to perfection.

So anyway, right now I’m off to bed. I’ve kept the alarm set at 08:00 because there’s no point in getting up early and then falling asleep again. I promised myself that I’d never surrender to this illness but having fallen asleep in a Welsh lesson recently, it’s not fair on the teacher and I need to show some respect, no matter how dismal it is..

Monday 14th June 2021 – I WAS OUT …

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

Really!

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

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

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

And I waited. And waited. And waited.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 9th June 2021 – IN NEWS THAT WILL …

french flag, usa flag, german flag pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… infuriate every gammon for miles around, we can now see which of the four flagpoles was taken away earlier in the week.

The interesting thing about this is that the three nations whose flags are represented there have long-since given up fighting World Wat II and for the past 70 or so years have been working together to make the world a far better place in which we all can live (except when, of course, the Septics elect a Republican president).

There’s only one nation that is still fighting World War II and that’s the Brits. Still unable to live down the humiliation of throwing away their weapons and running away from the Germans and ever since then, clinging to the coat-tails of the Americans.

This inferiority complex was never better shown than on a few islands just in sight here on the horizon. The one part of the British Isles occupied by the Germans in 1940, the liberation passed by the Channel Islands in July 1944 but because the Americans refused to let the British have the resources, the British were too afraid to confront the Germans on their own and left their own people to starve, cut off from supplies, until after the Armistice in May 1945.

The people in the Channel Islands have never forgotten this of course, although the British have, a long time ago. Humility and remorse is not something in the character of the average gammon.

What’s not in the average character of me right now is this getting-up-at-06:00 lark, although I’ve been doing it for long enough these days. Still, to my surprise, I hauled myself out of bed as the alarm sounded (well, maybe a minute or two later) and went off to sort out the medication, which takes far longer than it ought these days.

Back here, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I went during the night. I was with a boy from school last night last night and somehow we had ended up being chased out of our accommodation. We had to walk and travel one stop on the train and we found another place where they were building some kind of armed camp to defend themselves against the authorities. We went to squat there. I asked him how he felt about seasick and he said that he wasn’t very good. We were in this room and I asked “what about your trip to Shearings? Are you still interested in going?”. He replied “yes” … (indistinct) … but instead he dressed and with about 12 minutes to spare I took him out and thought what was the matter with him … (I fell asleep here for a good few minutes) … I don’t know where I got to with that when I fell asleep dictating but we found some refuge in this place and then we got to the time when his pickup was ready so I asked him if he was still interested in going with Shearings, going on something that I had organised. He wanted to go with Shearings so I told him to get his things ready and I’ll see him on the bus somewhere. And the moral of this story is “never give up no matter how tempting the other alternatives are because you never know how good the profits of what you are planning are going to be” and what those last few words have to do with anything that has occurred I really have no idea.

And once more, apologies to Percy Penguin (who doesn’t appear in these pages anything like as often as she deserves) for doubting her when she complained that I snored when I was asleep.

Most of the day has been spent revising my Welsh, with plenty of comfort breaks, coffee and hot chocolate breaks, lunch breaks and even a couple of work breaks when I updated a couple of the Leuven pages (but don’t ask me which they were – you’ll have to go back and find out for yourself). And I made an appointment to visit the doctor tomorrow too.

My Welsh exam took place at 16:00 and by 16:15 it was all over. Although I made a couple of basic errors, I think that overall I might have done OK.

Luckily I’d found tucked away in the revision section of the course book 50 standard questions that might go with one part and 50 keywords that would go with another part so I spent a couple of hours working over different answers to the standard questions, and then inventing questions to fit the 50 keywords.

And I’m glad that I did that because while not many of the actual questions or keywords came up in the test, question patterns were pretty much the same. That will make up for me saying ‘sgynno fo on a couple of occasions when I should have said ‘sgynny hi. And that’s an important distinction. If only I’d stuck to “mae gan Caroline …”.

Anyway, about half an hour late, I went out for my afternoon walk.

volvo skip lorry collecting skip place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd right outside the front door we have yet more activity. And had I come out at my normal time I would have missed all of it.

The other day we saw a skip lorry drop off a skip and drive away empty. Today we’ve seen the reverse of the operation. An empty skip lorry has pulled up and he’s now reversing into position where he can lift up a skip onto the back of his lorry and drive away with it.

They were out working until quite late last night, judging by the times that the dumper came past here while I was writing up my notes. It’s not like French workmen to do overtime. There must be a penalty clause somewhere about to come into operation, hence the rush.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs is my custom, my next stop is to go and look at the beach to see what activity there is going on there right now.

Off I strolled across the car park over to the wall at the end where I can stick my head over the top to see what gives down there. And the answer is “not all that much”. There’s more beach than yesterday because the tide isn’t as far in, and it’s also a nice day considering what we have had just recently.

And so I was surprised to see only one couple down there on the beach, as far as I could see. And they are either preparing to go into the water or else they have just come out. It’s not all that clear. But it is a Wednesday afternoon and the schools are off this afternoon. So why aren’t there crowds of kids swarming about down there this afternoon?

Maybe they are all in the swimming baths at the Cité des Sports – it’s opened this afternoon for the first time since a long time ago.

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall And I hadn’t moved all that far away from where the people were down on the beach before there was yet more excitement this afternoon – this time, there’s Something In The Air as Thunderclap Newman would have said.

The other day I pontificated on the fact that we hadn’t seen the Bird-men of Alcatraz for quite a while, and so immediately there was one who took to the air. He must have been out there for a trial run and to report back to the other boys in the band, because this afternoon there were at least four of them out there enjoying themselves and probably a few more than that besides.

But for some reason they didn’t bother me all that much. I was able to walk faster than they could fly and so they never caught me up as I walked off along the path.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the things that we have been doing recently, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is to look at what’s going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel to see if the fishermen from Granville are exploiting it.

And so I walked past the flags, that you saw earlier, across the car park and down to the end of the headland to see if there were any trawlers out there this afternoon. And sure enough, there were quite a few of them out there today.

Right down at the bottom of the bay right up against the Brittany coast are three of them working hard. And they were just three of a dozen that I could have photographed. But they will do because they were quite close together rather than spread out across the bay.

And look how clear the Brittany coast is this afternoon. That’s somewhere near Cherrueix which is about 20 miles away as the crow flies.

trawler hera rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the viewpoint overlooking the port I could see quite a lot of activity going on there and in the chantier navale today, which makes a nice change.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw her still in the portable boat lift yesterday. But now, they have put her up on blocks, so it would seem to be more than a five-minute job that they will be doing on her.

The trawler Hera is still in there of course, but the question to which I’m more interested in knowing the answer is “what happened to that hulk that was in there for a few days?”. To my untrained eye that looked as if it needed much more work to make her seaworthy than the time that they spent on her.

fishing boats unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut you can tell that it’s coming up to that time of day when the tide will be well in.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few years ago that they dug out a deep channel a couple of years ago at the quayside under the Fish Processing Plant so that it would fill very quickly when the tide started to come in.

There’s already some water in that channel and there are a few of the inshore shellfish boats with a very low draught that have been able to come in and unload. The larger boats will have to wait until there is more water.

And doesn’t that yellow one resemble the one that was out in the Baie de Granville yesterday?

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOooh! Look who’s moored up in the inner harbour underneath the loading crane?

It’s one of our old friends from the Channel Islands. This is Thora, one of the little coastal freighters that plies her trade between here and Jersey. At one time, a long time ago, she used to be a car ferry working between the island of Bressay and the “Mainland” of Shetland. That’s a comparatively sheltered water so I bet she and her crew know all about conditions in the English Channel between Jersey and here when the going gets tough.

She still occasionally doubles as a car ferry. At the time that the lockdown was at its height and the big ferries weren’t running, people being repatriated had to come over on Thora and regular readers of this rubbish saw more than one or two cars lifted out of her by the big crane.

f-gorn Robin DR400/120 Dauphin pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo we’ve seen a bit of almost everything today. So what remains to be seen that we haven’t seen as yet? I know! How about an aeroplane?

Sure enough. Almost as soon as I’d said it one of the little light aircraft came flying by. I must have made a pact with the devil, I reckon.

This one is F-GORN, a machine that we have seen on many occasions. She’s a Robin DR400/120 Dauphin and she seems to have spent a lot of her time today flying around in circles not too far from the airport. Not that that should come as any surprise to anyone because she is actually owned by the Aero Club de Granville and is used either for instructing or solo flying by club members.

autobianchi stellina place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey say that you should always leave the best until last and so how about this one? It’s this kind of thing that made it all worthwhile going out late for my walk.

And so I’ll tell you that you have undoubtedly never ever seen one of these before, and you undoubtedly will never ever see one again, and that’s because there were only ever 502 of these made, and that was 55 or so years ago.

The first ever Italian car to have a fibreglass body and powered by FIAT’s water-cooled 767cc engine, it’s an Autobianchi Stellina and just what it’s doing here I really don’t know. These would be as rare as hen’s teeth in Italy, never mind here.

Back here I cut myself a big slice of Liz’s ginger cake as a reward for my efforts and made myself a nice hot coffee. And then I came back into my little office where I promptly fell asleep. About 2 hours I was away with the fairies and so the guitar practice, when I finally came round, was short and horrible.

Tea was a burger in a bap, and then seeing that I had no pudding I made something that I haven’t made for ages – viz. a baked apple with hot custard. And wasn’t that delicious too?

But now I’m off to make some bread dough, and then I’m goig to bed. I’ve had enough of today. it was only seeing that Autobianchi that cheered me up.