Tag Archives: Lord of the Rings

Thursday 23rd September 2021 – WHAT A BEAUTIFUL …

montmartin sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… day it was today – at least, the afternoon of it.

The sky was as clear as a bell and you could see for miles, way out to sea and all along the coast too. With the sun now shining brightly, and down at a lower angle, it had lit up the town of Montmartin sur Mer as if it had been in a spotlight on a stage.

And when I blew up the photo, I could even make out some people on the beach, and that’s pretty good going for that kind of distance.

st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021The view was just as good further out to sea as well.

It was another one of those days where not only was Jersey really clear on the horizon 58 kilometres away, we could even make out some of the buildings at St Helier.

The big tower over to the left is very intriguing. It really could be anything – the “Marine Peilstand 1 Tower” which was a German Army artillery ranging point or La Tour de Vinde, a Napoleonic-era Martello tower, or even the tower the name of which I have forgotten that overlooks St Brelade’s Bay.

yacht ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further on around to the west, the Ile de Chausey was looking quite good too.

The colours weren’t as brilliant or as visible as we have seen them on the odd occasion here and there but the little white cottages at the foot of the lighthouse stand out quite clearly against the dark background of the hill on which the lighthouse is situated.

There wasn’t much going on out at sea though this afternoon. There was just a yacht drifting about rather aimlessly and what looks like a motor boat on the extreme right, but that was about everything.

trawler cap frehel brittany coast France Eric Hall photo September 2021Finally, finishing off our arc from north-east to due west, from my vantage point on top of the bunker at the back of the lighthouse the view was even better.

Right out there in the distance, 70 kilometres away, the lighthouse and fort at Cap Frehel were visible with the naked eye this afternoon, never mind with the camera’s zoom lens.

And we could even see the headland around at the end of the next bay, which I think is the Ile de Brehat at the mouth of the River Trieux

There’s a trawler out there as well, and we can even see that it has its nets out this afternoon. That’s what I call a really good day.

But I’m glad that some people had a really good day today because I had an absolutely awful one.

The night wasn’t as early as I was hoping and when the alarm went off at 06:00 I was right out of it, absolutely and completely. And having another feverish sweat as well.

There wasn’t even time to finish checking my mails and messages before I had gone west and I ended up, to my complete and utter dismay, back in bed and under the covers again. Twice in three days, after going for a couple of years without doing so. That’s a sign of how I’m feeling right now.

It was about 10:20 when I finally staggered out of bed and I’m not sure if I wasn’t feeling any worse either. It took me an age to pull myself together.

But once I did, I made an Executive Decision, and for the benefit of any new reader (of which there are more than just a few these days), an Executive Decision is one where if it’s the wrong decision, the person who made it is executed.

And the decision is that I’ve changed the time of the alarm from 06:00 to 07:30 to give myself an extra 90 minutes in bed, until this situation resolves itself one way or another. Just on Mondays will I be having an 06:00 alarm call as I have the radio stuff to do.

Once I’d had a coffee I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I had to go to meet my aunt off the ferry that was coming in at 06:00 so I had to get up early. There was half my family in my apartment and that was uncomfortable for a start. When I set off, I didn’t realise actually where I was going to have to go to meet everyone. I ended up at the shop and was in there when suddenly my mother walked in. There was some discussion with the shopkeeper about tickets to go to meet people, all this kind of thing, tickets to come back from the ferry terminal on the bus to where they were dropped off at his shop. He said “if my aunt comes, she’ll have a ticket and we can all arrange it them”. Then I had my mother and my brother trying to argue with me. I said “look, for the last 20-odd years I’ve lived on my own. I’m not used to all these people”. That led to a few ribald remarks from my brother and one or two other people. As we walked back to my apartment I found myself thinking “I wish there were some other apartments in this building vacant where I could stick them and get them out of my hair”. There was something as well that I’d told one of my sisters about a book about a Chinese disc jockey that summed up quite a lot the way that I’d been feeling. All the way back we had “my sister couldn’t be bothered to read that book” all that kind of thing and it was a most uncomfortable dream.

I was out with TOTGA last night, of all people. I’d been to go to a Conference on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday so I went to the hotel which was near Birmingham and booked myself in for the Tuesday night to start on Wednesday morning. There were another 2 people there booking and they were only booking for the Wednesday night and Thursday on the same course. He asked me why, and I recognised one of them. I knew that he lived fairly locally so I said that I imagined that he would come straight from home for the conference and then come back here for the next two nights. I can’t remember how it went on from there but there was some time to kill so I ended up going for a walk with TOTGA. We were hand-in-hand walking and chatting. She asked where I would like to go but I didn’t really have much of an idea. She said “how about the cinema?”. I’d never been to the new cinema in Crewe so I said “yes, fine”. We walked along Wistaston Road. There was a queue outside the cinema and it slowly started to move. The tickets were £27:00 to go in, so I thought that I’d pay for her but she was renewing her annual subscription so she said that she’d pay. I insisted on paying but the woman at the counter said “you know that hers is £999, don’t you?” I replied “right, in that case I’d better let you pay”. We arranged to meet one lunchtime as well. She asked me where we’d meet so I replied “why not the cinema?”. We agreed that we’d meet on the lunchtime at the cinema. Then there was the case of making a snack. She had bought me a pizza from here once so I thought “right, we’ll have a pizza”. Apparently you made your own. The cheese though was like a spread that you spread over the base of your pizza and put your topping on top which I thought was an extremely strange way of going about things but I started to do that.

I’d been working on repairing an old MkII Ford Consul. We’d had the engine all stripped down in situ and reassembled it. The owner, my father, was not very happy about everything. He saw petrol lying around in cans and he went and took them away. I had to clean all of these parts, and in the end someone went and fetched the petrol back so I cleaned all of the parts of the carburettor and reassembled it. There were still a few bits and pieces left to do including fuelling it up because there was very little petrol left in it but someone had brought a portable bed and gone to sleep right up against the car where the fuel filler was so I couldn’t reach it. In the end my father came back and asked how we were doing. I replied that it was almost done. He made a few remarks about a few bits that were missing, all this kind of thing. I said “it’s not trouble at all, they aren’t really necessary until we find out how the car runs”. We went to start it and it started first time and sounded nice. He got into it and took it for a little drive around the block. He said “yes, this is fine”, then drove off somewhere else. I remember saying “he’s not going to get very far with the few bits that are missing off it and there’s no petrol in it” And he should know about the petrol because ha was the one who stopped us filling it”.

But in the middle of all of my blasted family coming around to annoy me like they do, it must have cheered me up to have had an afternoon or evening out involving a Close Encounter with TOTGA. But in real life she had far too much sense to involve herself with me to that kind of extent.

What with one thing and another I missed out on having lunch, because, even though I didn’t feel like it, I had a task to perform

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago I bought a new printer to replace the one that was only printing in blue. I hadn’t installed it yet but this afternoon someone sent me an important communication that I needed to sign and send back, so I had to unpack it and install it.

Although it’s the same make and model as the old one, it’s an upgraded version so it took me a while to figure it out, and when I’d finished installing it, even though it would print, it wouldn’t scan.

Eventually I discovered that despite it being one of these multi-function printers from a major manufacturer, the scanner drivers aren’t included in the installation package, something that left me totally bewildered, so I had to go on-line and hunt them down.

And then I couldn’t make the machine work as I wanted. The control panel is quite complicated but seems to be lacking in functionality. I was surprised that it hadn’t installed a “scan” button on the computer desktop.

So after much binding in the marsh, I eventually discovered that the original “scan” icon for the old printer now points to the new one and once I’d realised that, it was all plain sailing.

All of this made me quite late for my afternoon walk, and when I finally made it outside, I bumped into a neighbour who kept me chatting for half an hour. Not that I had the time to spare, but I can’t spend all my life being totally unsociable with everyone.

While we were chatting, there were all kinds of stuff going on in the air. The powered red hang-glider went by overhead, followed by a couple of Nazguls, a light aeroplane and even the air-sea rescue helicopter, but you can’t interrupt your conversation to take a few pictures. It’s not very polite.

launching site for hang gliders Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One we’d parted company and gone our separate ways, like the Knights in THE HOLY GRAIL? i tried to make amends.

The field from where the Bird-men of Alcatraz take off is right next door to the cemetery, which I always thought was a good idea because if they make a mistake on take-off or landing they won’t have far to go, so I took a random photo to see if I could see anyone.

But they must have come in and untangled themselves from their equipment quite quickly because by the time that I looked, the field was pretty much deserted. The bird-men had flown.

bouchots donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Instead, I concentrated myself on what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

Plenty of beach to be on today of course with the tide being out, but not too many people on it taking advantage of the warm, almost windless afternoon.

Meanwhile, further over at Donville les Bains, they are out there in force at the bouchot beds – the beds where the mussels grow on strings rather than in the sand. You can see the tractors and trailers out there as they harvest today’s catch

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was here, I had a look to see how the repair work on the old medieval city wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux was going on

It’s been a while since we’ve had a close look, so I was hoping to see some substantial progress today. But all that I could see was that some white protective sheet had been erected to cover the scaffolding at the far end.

There are however a couple of guys on the scaffolding down at this end working on the wall so if I can get away early on my way to the physiotherapist tomorrow afternoon I’ll go for a closer look and see how they are doing.

jersey trawler Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While all of this was going on, I was having a good look around out at sea.

As I mentioned earlier, Jersey was standing out quite clearly this afternoon. With some digital enhancing we can see plenty of boats out there this afternoon, like the fishing boat over to the right that might even be the same one that we’ve seen in the bay for the last couple of days.

And it’s not all that usual that we see the eastern end of the island so clearly, yet here it is today. I was trying to identify some of the buildings there by reference to an aerial photo, but without very much success.

boats leaving harbour st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further around to the west there’s a really good view of several boats leaving the harbour at St Helier.

The one on the extreme left of the image caught my eye. Blowing up the image as much as I could, I could see that it has some kind of winching gear on the stern, but it looks too big to be a trawler.

However, there was nothing arriving at or leaving the port round about that time that corresponded with a ship of this nature.

And then we have another couple of trawlers heading our way

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy Eric Hall photo September 2021With nothing else going on over here (as if all of this isn’t enough) I went to have a closer look at Cap Fréhel, which I could see with my naked eye today, and then across the lawn and the car pary around to the end of the headland.

In the past, I can’t recall having seen fishing boats working in the strait here between Granville and Cancale over in Brittany, but that all changed fairly recently when we noticed them starting to try to exploit this area. There’s a trawler out there this afternoon trying to see what it can pull up out of the sea bed.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wonder if this constant search for new fishing grounds is due to the issues over fishing rights further out in the Baie de Granville.

hotels baie de mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned how nice the weather was today and how clear the sky was.

Down at the foot of the Baie de Mont St Michel, while we can’t actually see the Mont until someone removes the Pointe de Carolles and the Cabanon Vauban that sits thereupon, we can see the hotels on the mainland this afternoon.

If you look just slightly to the right of the foot of the Pointe de Carolles you’ll see a few white or light grey buildings. These are where anyone who comes to visit the Mont and stay overnight will usually stay because prices actually on the Mont itself are quite simply out of this world.

And there on the mainland they aren’t really all that much better, I suppose. It’s pretty much a captive audience over there.

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, it’s “all change” at the chantier naval this afternoon.

As I walked along the path on the top of the cliff towards the port, I could see that things were looking quite different down there this afternoon. And it looks as if there has been a massive clear-out today.

The only boat that is left today is L’Omerta. The other boats that were in there – Hera, Le Pescadore and Catherine-Philippe – have now gone back into the water.

The next question is “who is going to come into the chantier naval to take their place?”.

belle france chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It’s a lot more normal over at the ferry terminal this afternoon.

The new ferry Belle France and the little freighter Chausiaise are moored over there this afternoon. The two Joly France boats are probably out at sea somewhere. And they’ve closed up the jib of the crane as well, which is good news for the hydraulic seals.

Meanwhile, in other news, there’s some kind of jogging team out there on the quayside going for a run. They’ve turned off and are starting to run along the wall around the port de plaisance.

And I’m intrigues to find out what will happen when they reach the end, because there’s a large gap in the wall. Perhaps it’s the start of a triathlon and they are all going to leap into the sea and swim across.

Back in the past, I took part in a triathlon, but only the once. I was busy doing the water leg when I suddenly thought to myself “this is silly. I’m getting the bike all rusty here”.

marquees chicane rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Over the last few days we’ve seen interesting developments taking place in the Rue du Port.

We have the chicane of course, and the marquee that they erected yesterday. But now a couple more marquees have sprung up on the car park of the Fish Processing Plant. This is all starting to become interesting.

And we can see that Marité is back in town as well. She’s been absent for the last couple of days. Well, in fact, she hasn’t really. She’s been nipping out early on the morning tide for a lap around the Ile de Chausey or over to Cancale and not come back until the evening tide.

Hence my mid-afternoon walk has missed her.

aztec lady capo di fora spirit of conrad mini y port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, In other news, we have a couple of new visitors in the port.

The white yacht on the extreme right next to the blue Aztec Lady is called Capo di Fora. Despite her Italian-sounding name, she’s actually flying the Belgian flag, as, incidentally, her neighbour Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went up and down the Brittany coast last summer.

The large grey yacht is called Mini Y, registered in the UK. She’s a “Baltic 85” yacht built in Finland in 2018 of fibre and composite construction and weighs in at just 50 tonnes.

She’s been cruising along the North European coast for the last few days and just recently has been roaming around St Malo and the waters between there and here

Back here in the apartment I had a few things to finish off and then I was just on the point of starting some work when Rosemary called me again.

Once we’d finished, it was long past my tea time so I grabbed an aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit out of the freezer and had that with some pasta. That tasted really nice, and it would have been even nicer had I not dropped the bottle of tabasco sauce in it.

***Note to self – put toilet roll in fridge tonight ***

And now I’m off to bed – going to make the most of my lie-in for the next few days to see if it makes me feel any better. Although I have a feeling that I’ll need more than this to liven me up.

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.

Thursday 8th July 2021 – THIS IS BECOMING …

… far too much of a habit and it’s getting on my nerves, but I just can’t seem to kick this total and utter exhaustion.

When the alarm went off I was up quite smartly and went off for my medication. And afterwards I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone, but instead I ended up asleep on my chair in the office.

It’s shopping day today and luckily I awoke in time to have my shower before setting out into the cold, damp morning.

yachting school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite the poor weather, the yachting school was out in force this morning.

As I went round the corner I noticed all of the yachts out there having a good sail around. And having crashed out so convincingly this morning I’m glad that I’d decided not to do very much in that respect until my health improves, if it ever does.

Instead I wandered off down the Rue des Juifs towards the town to see what was going on there today now that everywhere is slowly opening up for business.

empty quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was a pile of stuff – a big load of timber and a shrink-wrapped boat – on the quayside for the last few days.

As I went down the street today I noticed that it had all gone. One of the little Jersey freighters has obviously nipped in during the rainstorm that kept me indoors yesterday and made off with all of the loot. My money is on Thora at the moment because I usually get to hear if Normandy Trader has been about.

In town I bumped into Bernard, one of the people with whom I’d travelled last year on Spirit of Conrad and we had a little chat before I pushed on up the hill towards LIDL.

And what a stagger it was as well. I can’t do much more than this. Looking back over things a couple of years ago when I could walk up there quite easily, I realise just how much my health as deteriorated. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I feel as if I’ve aged 20 years this last couple of months.

At LIDL I spent a lot of money. They had Brazil nuts in today so I bought two packets – I don’t want to be left short again. And as well as they they had some electric juicers in there, reduced from €19:99 to €11:99. I’d seen those before and liked them, so I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity. And they were quite light too.

And in case you haven’t guessed, I’m going to restart my drinks processing and the sourdough too when I come back from Leuven, seeing as I haven’t any plans to go anywhere this summer.

baby seagull chick rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that last week we encountered a baby seagull in the town centre, clearly disorientated.

There was another one today in the Rue St Paul today. This is the time that they will be stretching their wings and taking their first flights so we’ll be seeing much more of this.

Luckily, where this one fell to earth is in a quiet suburban street with plenty of cover so it should be fairly safe here until its mother comes to look for it.

Yet another thing that regular readers of this rubbish in one of its many previous incarnations will recall is that back in 2002 when I was doing a furniture removal in France I found the carcass of a Solex moped in an overgrown garden so I liberated it and stuck it in my barn.

One day a few years ago when I was walking home from LIDL I encountered a guy who had three or four Solexes in his garage. He’s a collector and restorer and so seeing as this Solex was doing no good in my barn, next time that I was in France I brought it back and gave it to him.

This morning he was there in his garage again so I stopped to have a chat. He had a really amazing curio that he showed me – a kiddies’ bike that actually looked like a small Solex, complete with imitation plastic motor. I’d never seen one of those before – apparently they are quite rare.

The stagger back up the hill with the shopping was awful. I felt every footstep and I had to stop half a dozen times to catch my breath. Not even my hot chocolate and fruit bread would revive me very much, although I did manage to edit a few of the Greenland 2019 photos.

After lunch I carried on with the photos but one thing that I wanted to do was to telephone Ingrid as I haven’t chatted to her for ages. We had a good chat but I had to hang up in the end because I fell asleep talking to her and had to drag myself back into consciousness.

person in sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat made me decide to go out for my afternoon walk, so I wandered off to the end of the car park to look over the wall and down onto the beach to see what was happening.

And here’s a brave soul heading off into the water. The weather had changed and it was rather sunny and warmer than it has been just recently, but still nowhere near warm enough for me to trust to the water.

But this person didn’t seem at all concerned by the temperature and was ready to take the plunge. And in my defence, I can say without any fear of contradiction that whoever it was was the only person to risk going into the water this afternoon.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you are thinking, which you probably are, that this person was the only one on the beach you are in fact quite wrong.

The holiday season is now well under way and the schools have broken up for summer. And so as you might expect, there are plenty of tourists about – individuals and families.

And having been deprived of the beach over the last few days, they were out on the sands in force this afternoon to make up for it, even if conditions were not ideal. But at least they had plenty of beach to be on right now because the tide is still a long way out

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking down onto the beach a dark shadow fell upon me. No prizes for guessing what it is.

It’s one of the Birdmen of Alcatraz out for an afternoon’s flight around the headland and he was travelling quite quickly too, which is no surprise in this weather because there was a fair bit of wind blowing around.

In fact, I’d expected to see quite a few this afternoon now that the holiday season is upon us, we have some sunshine and the wind is still here, but he was the only one as far as I could see.

But these shadows that they create as they fly around are quite eerie, especially if one of them should suddenly fall upon you when you aren’t expecting it. It’s hardly any surprise that the Hobbits were so afraid of the Nazgul in Lord of the Rings

trawler working the baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe still haven’t finished yet with the activity at the end of the car park.

One thing that I do when I’m here is to cast my eyes out to sea to see if there’s anything exciting going on out there, and today we’re in luck. It seems that with the Channel Island fishing grounds being in dispute, the local fishermen are having a go at exploiting other areas of the Bay of Granville that they don’t usually fish.

And here’s a trawler out to see off the coast here seeing what he can pull out of the sea. And he is working too, even if he’s too far out at sea for me to tell for sure if his nets are out, because he was zigzagging up and down out there as he would if he did have his tackle out.

And I wonder what luck he’s having.

fishing boats entering baie de mont st michel coming to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat trawler might be out there working, but others are not so diligent.

It looks as if it’s home time for the local fishing fleet. here are a couple of shellfish boats presumably coming back from their specs on the Ile de Chausey with today’s harvest. And you’ll notice that they have canopies over the hold areas of their little boats. That’s to keep the seagulls away from the catch of course.

So having satisfied myself as to the activity going on at the car park outside here, I could push off along the path, fighting my way through the maskless crowds of tourists who have now arrived in considerable numbers and were out there in the first sun that they have seen since they’ve been here.

powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, I didn’t get very far before I was brought to a standstill by yet more activity in the air.

A little earlier I mentioned that I’d only seen one Birdman of Alcatraz go past me on his wind-powered outfit but the racket going on behind me was enough to tell me that one of his powered cousins had taken off from the airfield and was heading my way.

As he few past I took a photo of him. It’s the red one today and he was quite high up. And while he was up there he did a few laps around here and there as well. He didn’t seem to be in any hurry to come back down to earth.

But I was in a hurry to make my way back home. I was tired and exhausted and was desperate for my coffee.

yacht joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever there was still plenty yet to see before I could go home.

It wasn’t just fihsing boats out there this afternoon heading for home. Leading the charge out of the Ile de Chausey was another one of our old friends, one of the Joly France ferries that run the ferry service between here and the Ile de Chausey.

This one is the older of the two, with the “landscape format” windows and she has quite a crowd of people on board, coming back into port from a day out on the island. And she’s hotly pursued by a yacht too who seems also to be in a hurry to return to port ready for when the harbour gates open

fishing boats waiting to enter port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve talked … “on many occasions” – ed … about the fishing boats going to try out new areas to fish in case the Channel Islanders start to cut up rough later in the year.

As I walked round the corner and down to the car park I was confronted by several trawlers on their way into port. They hadn’t been in the Baie de Granville as I would have seen them, so the conclusion that I drew was that they must have been working in the Baie de Mont St Michel today.

There were about half a dozen there, although only three of them made it into the photograph. Two of them were heading past Le Loup – the light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour – while the third was not moving for some reason known only to itself.

You don’t sell your catch moored up outside the harbour and it’s usually the earlier ones in who have the better prices so she needs to get a move on.

joly france fishing boats entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy the time I’d walked fown the path and all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, there was quite a pile-up of boats.

They were either waiting for a berth – the small ones that is – at the Fish Processing Plant or, in the case of the larger ones, enough water for them to be able to sail into the harbour and for the harbour gates to open.

Poor Joly France had to fight her way through the fishing boats in order to park up at her berth in the ferry terminal. She normally comes in as the tide is ebbing so I assume that she’s going to drop off these passengers and go back for another load while the tide is still high enough.

In that case she can’t afford to hang about.

fishing boats unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe wharf at the Fish Processing Plant is, as you might expect, quite busy this afternoon.

The big orange cranes there will winch up the loads onto the wharf where a fork-lift truck will take them inside the building.

But the vans underneath belong to private operators like fish shops and the like who have contracts with individual boats. When “their” boat comes in, the seafood will be passed by hand to the drivers of the vans who will then load up their vehicle and take it directly to wherever it’s supposed to go without passing through the Fish Processing Plant.

But digging that trench a couple of years ago was a pretty good idea. It fills up quite quickly when the tide turns and it means that there’s a longer window for boats to come in and unload, especially those with a shallow draught.

Anyway I cleared off home to have a coffee and then to work on my notes for my Spirit of Conrad adventure last year but to my shame I ended up falling asleep. I was well away with the fairies too, to such an extent that I missed half of my guitar practice and I’m annoyed intensely by that.

Yes, this is becoming far too much of a bad habit and I wish I knew how to pull myself out of it. I have far too much to do than to fall asleep all the time.

At least I managed to stay awake for tea. Stuffed pepper with rice followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. Delicious as usual.

Eventually I managed to listen to the dictaphone to hear if I’d been anywhere. While I was asleep on the chair I was in Canada with a group of people, all young, keen and enthusiastic. I ended up going for a walk around with one of the girls. She was a single girl in her 30s, having loads of fun teasing this particular boy. During our walk I sat down while she went off to make a ‘phone call – it was a call to this boy to tease him even more that she was out for a walk with me. While she’d gone, I had this idea about maybe marrying this girl so I could claim Canadian citizenship then after an appropriate amount of time we could divorce but I could still claim my rights to live in Canada. I was thinking that maybe I should have done that when I was a lot younger. And I wish that I knew who this girl was.

Anyway, now I’m off to bed. I’ve had far too many bad days just recently and it’s high time that things changed around here. I wish that I knew how to do it.

Thursday 24th June 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… really tiring day today – so much so that I was stark out for a couple of hours round about midday and ended up having a very late lunch.

And that’s really no surprise because in what time was available I did quite a lot of work.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I struggled out of bed and went off to take my medication. And then back here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

I’d been to see a band play – it might have been Strife – and then a while later they were in a rehearsal room or village hall setting up for a kind of concert. They were going through a few things before they started, talking about stuff on the stage and said “we’re a bit overwhelmed with basses as well because Eric has his stuff here as well and someone else has his stuff” and so on. A little later on he took me on one side and said “did you learn the three numbers like I asked?” I replied “well to be quite honest no I didn’t”. He said “right” and fetched a pile of paperwork out. He said “someone worked out a way of teaching people how to follow music a bit like some kind of game. All you need to do is to watch your ‘phone and watch the paper”. He drew this kind of musical anotation thing with each string going down to the end of the page and then it doubled back going the other way rather like Chinese writing. He said “this is far the easiest way to learn and I’ll show you how it all works in a minute”. I was really intrigued by this method. Anyway sometime during this I’d been to the supermarket or the chip shop or something and while I was waiting around for this group to turn up I bumped into a girl and she gave me a really nice smile. I looked puzzled and she said “you don’t remember me but I was the girl in the shop yesterday. I made a special effort to remember everyone’s faces because I’m new here”. She was really extremely friendly about this kind of thing and that took me by surprise as well.

Having organised myself as well as I can these days I had an hour or so attacking the photos from August 2019. Right now I’m in Montana on the verge of making a fabulous discovery.

That was followed by a shower and – surprise surprise – a haircut. And having tidied myself sort-of-ish and set the washing machine of on a cycle (a very clever washing machine, mine) I hit the streets.

lorries unloading at quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that I had actually managed to proceed very far before I stopped to take a photo.

Yesterday we had seen the two Jersey freighters Normandy Trader and Thora here in the port. By the time that I went out this morning they had both cleared off back to Jersey but it looks as if they (or at least, one of them) is going to be back fairly soon.

These two lorries here are the reason for that. The only reason that they would be here in the port area is if they are bringing merchandise to the quayside for the little freighter to take away back to Jersey with them.

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFull of curiosity I went to see what was going on in the loading bay but I was distracted.

Marité, the old fishing vessel now used for training and sightseeing trips has been away from port for the last week or two but this morning she is back. She’s definitely the star attraction of the waterfront so a photo was in order.

Every time that I see her I’m tempted to find out how and when I can go off on her for a sail but I’m not a big fan of the people who run it. Every time that you go down to their office and ask a question they scowl at you as if “how dare you interrupt us?”, tell me that “everything is on our website” and then go back to chatting amongst themselves.

It’s the kind of thing that makes me wonder if they are Belgians. They certainly know all about Belgian customer service.

It was a long, hard climb up the hill to LIDL this morning. I remember a few times when I sailed up there like a Spanish galleon or if I was on my way to invade Poland but those days are over. After my operation I’ve aged 20 years and I felt every single, solitary step up that hill

At LIDL I didn’t buy anything special but even so the bill today came to almost €13:00. I did buy myself an energy drink because I reckoned that that would be the only way that I’d get up the hill at the other end of my journey.

roofers fitting laths around chimney rue de la houle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back, I hadn’t gone all that far before I came to a stop.

Here in the Rue de la Houle they have been reroofing a house and today they are fitting a series of laths around the chimney as if they are going to be tiling that too. In fact, if you look further along the roof, you can see a chimney that has already been tiled by the roofers.

It’s a strange way of going about things, tiling a chimney like that. All kinds of things can be going on to the chimney, the brickwork and the cementing underneath the tiles and you won’t be able to see it until the chimney collapses. And as I looked at this one, it certainly needed a bit of fixing before they go to seal it in.

digger building site rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing upon which we have been keeping an eye is the building site on the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

There used to be a little cafe here but that had long-since closed. They demolished it and fenced off the site a few months ago, and then a notice appeared to the effect that planning permission had been granted for a 4-storey block of flats.

Today though, I noticed that things might be starting to get under way at long last. As well as some equipment that has been deposited on the sire, there’s a digger here and it looks as if he’s just dug a big rectangular hole in the middle of the plot.

As for why, we’ll have to wait and see. I pushed off down the hill into town where I became entangled in a schoolkids’ crocodile that had obviously just set off from the youth hostel.

As I passed through the town I noticed my first “G” registered car. The turnover is about 2 years and a couple of months for a letter, but the “F” plates started in October 2018. It shows you just what effect Covid had on the new car sales market.

wood on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallUp the hill I staggered underneath my heavy load, wishing that I had a shopping trolley to take with me, and made several stops to catch my breath – one of which was the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay.

That pile of wood wasn’t there yesterday evening and it won’t have come over from Jersey because wood travels in the other direction. It made me wonder if that was what one of the lorries had brought in this morning for one of the Jersey freighters to take away.

Over the next couple of days I’ll have to be keeping my eye open on the quayside. The turn-round of the freighters in the port is so rapid these days that I miss their visits quite regularly. By seeing when the load has gone from the quayside, that will tell me when one of them has been in here.

square potel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRight behind where I’m standing is the Square Potel, which at one time had the famous unstable set of steps.

Work has been promised to start on here in 2022 but the other day we saw a digger in here and it looked as if it had just brought down the set of steps. I was wondering if that was going to herald the start of the work, a year or so ahead, but that was being rather optimistic, I reckon. The digger has gone and the site is fenced off and that looks to be it for now.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the way that the patrimony of he town is treated is a disgrace. The whole place seems to be tumbling down around our ears and the council is showing no sense of urgency.

fishing boat towing dinghy baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHeading back up the hill on my last leg(s) home I noticed something else going on.

There was a boat out there, moving quite quickly and towing a smaller boat behind it. Thinking that it might have been the patrol boat that we have seen a coupe of times just recently I took a photograph of it so that I could have a closer look when I returned home.

However when I enlarged it back at the apartment I noticed that it was simply an ordinary fishing boat heading out to sea. So why it would be towing another boat behind it I don’t know, unless it’s to go closer inshore when it arrives at wherever it’s going.

Back at the apartment I put the frozen food in the freezer, made myself some hot chocolate and cut myself a slice of fruit bread, and then came in here to carry on working.

At some point I crashed right out completely and I don’t know when, because it was another one of those occasions when I didn’t remember going off to sleep.

And this is something that worries me because if I’m going to be out driving around in Caliburn here and there, I would really like to know when I’m becoming tired and ready to sleep so that I can find a suitable place to stop and sleep it off. Just “switching off” like this is the kind of thing from which accidents are made.

Round about 14:00 I awoke again and it took me a good 10 or 15 minutes to orientate my head into the right direction. And when I finally managed to stand on my own two feet I was somewhat unsteady as I staggered around the apartment but I eventually managed to find my way into the kitchen to make a rather late lunch.

After lunch I had a task to complete. Well, to start actually. I have a huge pile of medical receipts that need scanning and then sending off to my insurance company to claim reimbursement. I made a start on some that I had to hand, and then had to break off to go for my afternoon walk.

hang glider point du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHardly had I managed to set foot outside my front door before the dark shadow fell upon me.

It’s the kind of thing that makes me understand what the Hobbits went through as they were being overflown my the Nazgul in LORD OF THE RINGS but of course there’s very little that is sinister in this particular occasion because we all know what’s going on here and there is no evil intent, unless one happens to crash-land on your head.

Yes, we have quite a wind (yet again) today and so the hang-gliders are out in force. There is probably half a dozen out there this afternoon.

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not all of the aerial activity. Not by a long shot.

After the incident with the hang-glider I’d probably gone no more than half a dozen paces before I was overflown by something else. That’s right, someone has got his chopper out this afternoon and is flying around the headland.

It’s not the usual yellow and red air-sea rescue helicopter that we have seen on so many occasions but its grey-green colour suggests to me that it’s a military machine and I wonder why one of those has decided to come out to entertain us today.

Nevertheless it reminds me of the story in which a class of schoolchildren were asked to write a sentence including the words “chaste” and “by helicopter”. And one boy wrote “the boy chaste the girl and by helicopter”.

hang glider beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I always like to do is to go out and check on the beach and see how the tide is doing and whether there are any people taking advantage of it.

One thing that you’ll notice is just how much beach there is compared to YESTERDAY AT ROUGHLY THE SAME TIME. There’s about 50 minutes time difference between each high tide, so comparing this photo and that of yesterday give you some idea of how quickly the water comes in

But anyway, there are a few people out there enjoying themselves on the beach this afternoon, even if they are about to be overflown by the Nazgul that is hovering away in the distance.

tape marking path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier this morning round about 07:15 or something like that I heard a lot of noise – schoolchildren cheering and all that kind of thing. But I couldn’t see anything from here.

But what I noticed this afternoon as I went on my afternoon walk around the headland is that some kind of path had been marked out by all of these tapes. It made quite a circuit and so I wondered if there had been some kind of race going on around the headland. And maybe that might explain the presence of the schoolchildren whom we saw earlier who seem to be lodging in the youth hostel.

But whatever was happening, it was all over now and there was no-one around to ask. Not even anyone coming to take away the rubbish that they have left and to remove the tapes. Maybe I’ll find something in the local paper tomorrow that might give me a clue as to what has been going on with all of this.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow how I wish that I’d come out for my afternoon walk about 5 or 10 minutes earlier. I might have been treated to an exciting spectacle.

The blue and green object on the ground over there near the gun emplacement is the parachute or whatever they call it of one of these Nazgul It seems that one of the bird-men of Alcatraz has come to grief over there and I was quite disappointed at having missed the spectacle.

Quite a few other people didn’t by the looks of things and there are plenty of people with mobile phones and cameras over there who presumably have recorded the incident. But anyway, the pilot or whatever you might call them doesn’t seem to be injured or anything and he’s up and about on his own two feet organising himself and his parachute.

hang glider taking off pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce he’d gathered up his wits, presumably from wherever he might have dropped them, he made his preparations for getting back into the air.

And getting back into the air seemed to be quite easy. He just lifted up his parachute and the wind filled it full of air. Gently, he rose up and away from the ground, and once he had sufficient height he was able manoeuvre himself and his parachute around and head off back the way that he had come.

The crowds of people watching the spectacle clearly enjoyed it. They had all taken enough photos and even a few films about all of the activity. when they return home to wherever home is, they’ll have plenty of exciting films and photos to show the grandchildren

fishing boats baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile all of this was going on, my eyes had been roving around and when they came back they pointed out more goings-on out at sea.

And so I took off down the path and across the car park down to the end of the headland for a closer look at what was happening. And living in a fishing port, you can expect that there is always something to do with fishing.

With issues going on involving the Channel Islands, which need to be resolved within the next seven days or so, the local fishermen are busy trying to exploit new fishing grounds that don’t fall within the scope of the Treaty of the Bay of Granville that the British Government unilaterally revoked under the pretext of Brexit

And so the Baie de Mont St Michel has become a favourite fishing ground at the moment for several local boats who are trying to see whether they can do any good here.

But the story of the Treaty of the Bay of Granville is that it was signed in 1839 between the Channel Islands and the fishermen of Brittany and Normandy to give fishermen from the three regions equal access to the bay. It was reinforced on many occasions, the latest being in 2000.

The Channel Islands are not and never have been part of the European Union and they are also free to negotiate on their on behalf in local affairs independently of the British Government so there is no reason for the British Government to intervene in the affairs of the Channel Islands.

However, the UK has claimed a 12-mile limit around the Channel Islands after Brexit and has revoked the Treaty without consulting either the Channel Islands or the local fishermen who have fished together in peace since 1839, and this is the subject of the dispute.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the meantime while I’m talking about the Treaty of the Bay of Granville another boat comes in from down the Baie de Mont St Michel.

It’s coming in at quite a rate of knots too so I imagine that it must be late for a tea break or something like that. And as it’s surrounded by seabirds, I’m assuming that it must have quite a harvest on board. And that’s why many of these little shellfish-catchers have canopies or tilts across the cargo space – to prevent dive-bombing by the seabirds eager for a cheap and easy meal.

But I’m not going to hang about too long watching it. I’m taking to the path, despite all of the people ignoring the Prefet’s regulations on face masks, to see what’s happening in the harbour.

yacht rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd today, we have another change of occupancy in the chantier navale.

At the moment we’re down to just one boat in here, the yacht Rebelle from London. The other boat that was in here, the fishing boat Gwenn Ha Ruz, or “White and Red” has now departed, presumably back into the water to carry on with whatever it is that she does.

Who will be the next arrival in the chantier navale, I wonder. as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … a thriving ship repairing business is good for the port because it encourages people to base their boats, whether working boats or pleasure boats, in the port where they can be assured of a good and reliable repair and maintenance service.

fishing boat aground ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut this issue of people leaving their fishing boats to go aground when the tide is out instead of mooring them in the inner harbour is still continuing.

There’s another one moored over there this afternoon, right at the ferry terminal. So here’s hoping that none of the joly France ferries to the ile de Chausey want to go out or come in. We know that the Channel Islands ferries Granville and Victor Hugo won’t be going out any time soon.

But as for going out, I’m going back in. I’m ready for a nice piping hot coffee and then I can carry on with the work that I’m doing, sorting out the receipts for my medical expenses and getting them ready to submit to my insurance company.

And by the time I’d sorted them out, I found that there were two months missing. I remember one month where I wasn’t seen by a doctor at the hospital and so didn’t receive a prescription, but I don’t know what happened to the other month. I certainly had a prescription but there’s no mention anywhere of me going to a pharmacy to collect the medication, so I can’t have done.

By the time that it was guitar practice, I was still a long way from sorting them out, never mind scanning them. That’s a job for tomorrow. and so is guitar practice, I reckon, because I’m not making all that much progress with what I want to do. It’s a slow, laborious task.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, because I bought some this morning, followed by apple pie and coconut whatsit. But that’s the last of the coconut so I’m going to treat myself to some custard tomorrow and Saturday.

And now I’m off to bed. I’ve finally caught up with everything that I did today and I’m ready for a good sleep. Tomorrow I’mm continue sorting out my receipts. There must be €1000 here so it’s “spend spend, spend” I don’t think.

Tuesday 7th July 2020 – IT”S NOT VERY …

replacing sewer Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan Leuven belgium eric hall… good news at the hospital unfortunately.

While you admire the roadworks in the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan, which they are digging up in order to replace all of the sewers down there, I shall tell you all about it.

My appointment was for 16:00 so I was there at 15:30 and it took a while to sign in, basically because there is no provision for signing in if you don’t have a Belgian identity card

replacing sewer Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan Leuven  eric hallWhile you watch the car disappearing into its own dustcloud, something that brought back may happy memories of Labrador I went up in the outpatients department where they took a blood sample and then sent me to wait until a doctor sent for me.

Round about 18:00 I was eventually seen. I’ve no idea what took them so long. And this is when they told me the news. My blood count has dropped to 8.3 – just slightly above the critical limit.

That’s a substantial drop from the last time that I had a blood test, when it was 9.4. And this is probably what happened on Tuesday morning last week when I was taken ill on the boat, and why I had such a hard time on my run on Sunday night.

replacing sewer Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan Leuven  eric hallMind you, there’s not a sign of infection in my blood.

Consequently they have decided not to give me any treatment right now. They think that I can struggle on until October and then start a new cycle of treatment.

It seems to me to be a strange manner of proceeding if you ask me, but I suppose they know what they are doing. However they did want to retake the the blood sample so I was told to wait.

replacing sewer Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan Leuven  eric hallAnd wait I did.

And after an hour or so, fed up of waiting in a deserted out-patients’ department and no-one about at all, I eventually found someone who was on the way home and flagged them down. It seems that the doctor had forgotten to tell a nurse.

She couldn’t use my catheter port with it only having been used a short while ago so it had to be taken from my arm.

It was round about 19:20 I was finally able to leave the hospital and head back home.

This morning I was up and out of bed before the third alarm went off. First task was to finish off the notes from last night and that took much longer than expected.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone too. We were out with something like LORD OF THE RINGS last night. We’d been under attack by the Nazgul. After we had pushed them away and they cleared off we were all talking. There was someone who had a model city with a wall all round it. I mentioned to one of the people we were with about this – that would make an ideal defence so he decided that we could all go and stay in that. So we trooped off around the heqdland and there was this city. One of the people who had been with us earlier was a baby. We had started to give this baby bottled milk, all this kind of thing and we reckoned that this baby would be thirsty by now. As we went round the headland we could see that this baby was nursing off its mother so we made the point “ohh look! It’s having mother’s milk on draught”. We went to install ourselves in this toy castle on the coast to defend ourselves against another attack of the Nazguls.
I was back in school last night, but a school in the USA and I was late back from my break – 4 minutes late so the teacher told me, a black guy. We were talking about people on welfare, how they had to wear a certain tyope of sandal but the zip was inside it so you had to put your hand down inside to work the zip. You could always tell people on welfare because of their sandals. I came into the class and I was new, 4 minutes late and the only seat free was next to the teacher so I had to sit there. It was one of those places where your desk was behind you and you had to sit facing forward and you turned round to do your work. I asked him what we were doing. We were talking about colours. There are three colours when you are computing and he should know because he’s built a computer. I rattled off these three colours. He looked at me and wondered what I was doing in his class that I was obviously so old and I knew so much already.

A shower and a clothes-washing session was first, followed by going down to Delhaize for supplies for the next couple of days.

There was my welsh lesson too so I had to do the preparation for that. When the meeting started I realised that this laptop doesn’t have a microphone.

In the end I had to connect the video on the laptop and at the same time run the audio from the mobile phone. A very complicated system but it worked.

Down at the shops I had bought a small loaf so I made sandwiches for lunch, with spicy hummus, tomato and lettuce, followed by fruit.

After lunch I headed off into town.

First stop was at FNAC. The s;all folding headphones that I had bought back in 2016 had stopped working on one side so I wanted another pair to replace them.

demolishing sint pieters hospital leuven belgium eric hallThe headphones themselves were really good apart from that so I was happy to buy another pair. They fit nicely in the top pocket of my backpack.

Walking my way across town in the warm afternoon, I passed by the old Sint Pieter’s hospital in the Brusselsestraat. I had wanted to watch the demolition in action.

And i wasn’t alone there either. There was quite a crowd there in the street watching all of the activity over there behind the fence.

demolishing sint pieters hospital leuven belgium eric hallThere was this enormous machine here that caught my eye.

It was a huge hydraulic nibbler that was eating away at the walls of the building, taking huge chinks out of the wall and sending it crashing down to the ground.

And there, there was a digger with a hydraulic breaker that was breaking up the brick walls into smaller manageable proportions ready to be shovelled up by another digger that was waiting to move it.

It’s going to be quite a big job, disposing of all of the rubble.

demolishing sint rafael hospital leuven belgium eric hallRound the corner is the old Sint Rafael hospital.

That has been slowly run down over the past few years and now it looks as if it’s biting the dust too. There’s going to be a really big empty site there when the two big hospitals are knocked down and I can’t wait to see the area when they have finished.

There are all kinds of plans for the area and we are going to see quite a transformation when it’s all complete. Removing the culvert that covers the River Dyle will be something spectacular.

parking sintjakobsplein sewer leuven belgium eric hallAnother thing that we have been keeping our eye on is the work that has been going on in the car park in the Sint Jacobsplein.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw them digging it out at the end of last year but unfortunately I wasn’t here to see what they were doing in the hole.

They have now filled it it so I won’t ever get to know, but having seen them replacing all of the sewers in the street, it’s very probably something to do with that project.

The resurfqcing of the car park was something that was an essential task. Driving on it was like sailing a galleon on the high seas in a storm. So that is something to look forward to.

replacing sewers realigning road tervuursestraat Heilige-Geeststraat leuven belgium eric hallIt’s not just around here that all of the work is going on.

While they are replacing the sewers, they have taken the opportunity to realign the Tervuursestraat and make to road junction with the Heilige-Geeststraat. That’s always been a difficult junction but this will be much better.

However it prevented me from walking all the way up the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan and I had to go a really long way round to get to the hospital. I’m certainly knocking up the kilometres right now.

soupomat rector de somerplein leuven belgium eric hallOn the way back into town this caught my eye.

We’ve seen breadomats and potatomats and pizzamats on our travels but we haven’t ever seen a soupomat until today This one is parked up behind the bus stop on the Rector de Somerplein

Back here I put my baked beans in the microwave and then went in search of a fritkot. My usual one is closed, the next one has ceased to trade and I had to walk miles before I eventually tracked one down. How is this possible in Belgium?

So beans and chips for tea followed by tangerines and banana dessert.

So now I’m off to bed. No alarm because I deserve a lie-in after today’s effort. I’ll have a think about where I go from here and see what I can do about my current situation.

It’s not what I was hoping for.

Friday 22nd May 2020 – HOW LONG IS IT …

caravanette camping car parked rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hall… since we’ve featured a parking issue on these pages?

At one time there was one almost every other day but there hasn’t been one for quite some time so I reckon that it’s about time that I put that right.

Another thing that gets my goat, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the issue of caravanettes. Apart from reversing into road signs and knocking them over and clearing off without saying anything, they think that the rest of the rules and regulations of the road don’t apply to them either.

So here we’re killing two birds with one stone. “No Parking for Caravanettes” is clearly written on this sign but the driver clearly believes that it doesn’t apply to him.

And there are two reasons why they are banned from parking in the street, apart from the obvious sanitary ones.

  1. This is a historical medieval area with all kinds of apartments crammed into the old stone buildings. I’m lucky in that my building has private parking. Almost all of the others don’t and the streets are so narrow that it’s almost impossible to park within the walls. The locals who live here need all of the parking that they can get
  2. It’s a bus route with the big 12-metre coaches that service the College here coming round that corner and it’s really tight. They need all of the space that they can get and wide vehicles like this overhanging the parking spaces especially right on the corner is giving the drivers an added complication.

But none of the foregoing seems to bother our visitor here as long as he has somewhere to come and spread his virus around.

The local council provides a parking space (a mere 200 metres down the road) for caravanettes and there are plenty of other places, like acres of abandoned docks, for example, where they can park as they please without inconveniencing anyone.

Signed “Grouchy of Granville”.

As for me, I didn’t go to the shops as I said that I would yesterday. But I’ll explain all about that in due course. Firstly, it will be an enormous surprise to regular readers of this rubbish (as indeed it was to me!) who will recall the issues that I’ve been having just recently, to learn that by the time that the third alarm went off I was actually up and about.

During the night I’d been up and about too. I was taking two girls to a night club in Manchester. The night club was in the North and I knew where it was vaguely situated but I didn’t realise that I was coming from Brussels. So I picked up these two girls and put them in the car, a Morris Minor I think, and set out and drove. We got to join the inner ring road in Brussels and they wanted to know why I was going that way. “doesn’t this road end in a field or something?”. I said “no” but then I thought that maybe the way they wanted me to go was the right way so I said “OK we can go that way”. But then I saw a sign for Bolton saying straight on. I thought that Bolton was near Manchester so we could go that way. But then I started racking my brains about how to get across to Manchester, to the north side to this Night Club. I really couldn’t think how to do it. At one point I was trying to drive on the wrong side of the road, I don’t know why and cars were coming that way towards me. But it would have been the right side of the road in the UK but the wrong side of the road whee I was apparently.

After breakfast I sat down and looked at a couple of the website pages that I’d planned to be dealing with. And this is how I spent my day – absorbed in this – and by the time that I’d finished I’d totally rewritten several pages and modified several others too in order to conform to the new specifications. It had been a really good day, just for a change.

There was even time to edit a pile of photos from July 2019 too – catching up somewhat with those.

During the day there had been a whole pile of interruptions too.

Firstly there was a shower and a general clean-up. Not just of me either but of the apartment. That needed to be spick and span, because I was having visitors.

Sure enough, the travelling nurse came round and took a blood sample. We had a really good chat too and he was surprised about the relaxation of the health regulations here too, and is of the opinion that the rates will be going up again as people are misled into thinking that this is all over and drop their guard.

In the meantime I’d had a look around the apartment to see what I needed from the shops and apart from bananas, there was nothing that I really needed. And as for the lack of bananas, I have a few oranges that needed eating so it wasn’t as if I was desperate. Instead I made an Executive Decision (that is, a decision that if it goes wrong, the person who made it is executed) to push on with my work.

My lunchtime bread was really nice. There’s room for improvement of course but it was much better than previous attempts and I shall have to work harder at it. But I’m on the right track, I reckon.

people on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the afternoon walk of course, out there in the sun and the wind (because the wind is now back again).

We had the people back out on the beach again now that yesterday’s sea fog has lifted. Not as many as I was expecting to see, with everyone going out to faire le pont between the Bank Holiday and the weekend.

This kind of social distancing is pretty much acceptable of course. But having seen the crowds on the beaches in the UK and the USA, then they are going to have some really serious problems in a week or two’s time.

medieval fish trap plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish might recall whether or not I’ve mentioned this object before but I can’t remember – although it’s extremely likely.

And you can see exactly how it works in this photo because the tide is quite right. It’s a medieval fish trap and the idea is that at high tide the water overflows the stone walls and as the tide recedes, the water drains out through the joints leaving the fish stuck behind.

The medieval citizens just walk out and pick up the trapped fish, and there’s your lunch. Not mine, of course.

paragliders pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile all of this was going on, I was disturbed once more by a rather dark shadow passing over me, rather like the Nazgul in Lord of the Rings that so frightened the Nine Walkers.

No prizes though for guessing what it is. With this nice sunny afternoon and te high winds that we are having, the Birdmen of Alcatraz are out in force.

This one here was being buzzed by a seagull. They don’t take lightly to intruders and, if the rumours are true, they made pretty short work of the surveillance drones used by the police to patrol the beaches during the detention à domicile

paragliders cemetery donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallA girl and I (keeping our social distance of course) spent a while looking at them waiting for the collision that we felt was going to be inevitable. Not much of a social distance between them even in the air.

It’s amusing (to people like me, anyway) that they take off over there from a field right next door to the local cemetery. If the take-off goes all wrong (which it has done in the past) they don’t have to carry the failures too far.

But then, that’s why they build walls around cemeteries of course. Because people are dying to go in there.

I’ll get my coat.

abandoned personal possessions in waste bin square maurice marland granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall that yesterday we saw a pile of abandoned personal possessions on the wall of the ramp leading down to the Square Maurice Marland.

Even more surprisingly, they are still there today. Not exactly where they had been left, but someone had come along and filed them under “CS”.

Just imagine that in the UK. They wouldn’t have remained around for 30 seconds had someone put them down somewhere. It just goes to show how different people have different moral values in different parts of the world.

By the time that I’d knocked off I’d been hard at it and had a really good day for once. My hour on the guitars was profitable and I enjoyed it so much more because I’ve adopted a new tactic as far as the bass guitar goes and I’m going to work hard at this.

Tea was an “anything curry” made of leftovers and a small tin of lentils, with the last of the rice, the making of which resulted in me throwing the turmeric all over the floor. The apple crumble for dessert wad delicious and I’ll make some more of that.

yacht towing dinghy baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallTime for my evening run, I reckon, so off I set.

The usual struggle up the hill (I just can’t seem to push on any more than I’m doing even after all of the practice that I’ve been having). Eventually I arrived at the cliff top just in time to see this yacht go sailing past me towing a little dinghy behind it.

It was well on its way out of the harbour and I had no idea where it might be going. But it made me quite envious to watch it sail out – to such an extent that I put a couple of plans into operation when I returned home.

cabin cruiser waves baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThat wasn’t all of the maritime activity either.

There’s no point whatever in gratuitously posting pictures of trawlers but this one was quite interesting. As I rounded the corner at the tip of the Pointe du Roc this speedboat flashed by me with a driver who clearly had his pedal to the metal.

You can see how lively the sea was with all of the wind that blowing about, and it looked quite impressive as he carved his way through the waves with all of that sea spray splashing around.

strange phenomenon in water granville manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing is different phenomena of strange effects and patterns in the sea.

As I did my run along the clifftop on the south side of the Pointe du Roc I noticed another one so when I stopped for my pause for breath I stopped to take a photo of it.

Whatever it is and whatever is causing it I really couldn’t say. It looks like foam or something similar but whether it’s from someone who has been emptying their washing machine into a grid or whather it’s a natural phenomenon I really couldn’t say.

But the evenness of the distribution was fascinating. Despite the rough sea right now it was in a perfectly straight line with a right-angled bend further out.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
While I was stopped getting my breath and photographing the sea phenomena, I had a good look down at the chantier navale .

There has been more movement of the occupants down there over the last 24 hours. We are now down to just two boats. The big black and green one that was up on blocks right at the bottom seems to have gone back out to sea.

So on that note I cleared off and ran all the way down the Boulevard vaufleury and my breathing point around the corner at the second pedestrian crossing.

trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was on my way down the boulevard I noticed something in the inner harbour that made me go back to look.

Sure enough, the black and green trawler that was up on blocks in the chantier navale for weeks is now moored underneath the crane in the inner harbour. I’ve no idea why but if Normandy Trader comes into harbour we’ll have a problem.

It goes without saying that when I went out earlier today, Thora was long-gone back to the Channel Islands.

There was nothing doing at the viewpoint in the rue du Nord. The clouds had come down and the sun was well-hidden, so I ran back home.

As I started to type up my notes, Rosemary rang and we ended up chatting until long after 00:30. I have an early start in the morning so I didn’t bother finishing them off. I went straight to bed and I’ll catch up tomorrow.

Friday 31st January 2020 – THE NEXT THREE …

night jersey channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hall… images will tell yu a little story.

Basically they are rubbish but it’s not the quality that counts but the circumstances surrounding them. Take this photo for instance – this is not a handful of trawlers out in the English Channel but lights which I think might be the port at St Helier on the mainland of Jersey, 58 kms away.

And that’s pretty phenomenal.

night st malo brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd take this one here.

These over here are the street lights in St Malo, right across the Baie de Mont St Michel from here in Brittany. Not as far away as Jersey and the Channel Islands of course, but by my reckoning that’s about 35 or 40 kilometres away.

And that’s something that’s even more phenomenal too.

night paimpol brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallBut we’ll leave the best until last.

All of those lights down there, that by my reckoning is St Cast le Guildo and Cap Fréhel and all of that is about 60 kms and more away from here.

No sea haze of course to obstruct the view like there is out to sea and that’s why the photo is clearer than the first. But all of that is pretty impressive.

Hand-held in quite a wind that was blowing – too windy for the tripod unfortunately and I’m a bit wary of that since the tripod blew down off a roof on one occasion with a camera still attached.

But all of this goes to show you what a beautiful, clear evening it was.

It was a lovely morning too and I should know, because for once I actually saw it. Feeling like death of course but I still managed to drag myself out of bed before the first alarm, for the first time since I can’t remember when.

After the medication I attacked the dictaphone notes. I’d been out in Eastern England somewhere, a town called Jura near Cambridge or somewhere like that with a huge lake, that was where I was and I remember this huge map hanging on the wall of that part of Eastern England and I used to study it and work out where towns were, all that kind of thing. One day some lady started to talk. She came to Jura and she tried to take my cup of coffee away thinking that i’d finished with it but I insisted on hanging on to it which got off to a bad start but she was going on to her firneds about how her son in law or grandson in law plays football for a Scottish team and how they were drawn against a big team in the Scottish Cup and how they were only part-timers, all this kind of thing. But she was getting everything wrong and I was thinking that i’d have to correct her somehow but of course that’s not the kind of person that you can correct at the top of your voice and anyway you couldn’t get in any words in edgeways with what she was saying

After breakfast I set about splitting up a few more digital recordings. That’s another one of these projects that I have to continue. It’s quite important because I’ll be pulling a load of stuff out of there for the radio projects.

Later on I carried on with the notes for the radio project on which I am working and by the time that I had to go out, I’d just about finished writing them.

The walk up to the Centre Agora was quite pleasant and I arrived bang on time for a coffee before our meeting.

There’s going to be a jobseekers’ meeting here in Granville on 6th March and we are planning to do another live broadcast. 80-odd employers are going to be present and if previous years are anything to go by, there will be over 1,000 jobseekers coming to meet them armed with CVs and the like.

We will be interviewing the jobseekers and the employees and hosting a kind-of round table discussion, to go out live on the air.
However, that day there’s a lot happening and we are rather short-handed so I’ve been roped in as an interviewer.

The purpose of our meeting this afternoon was to meet the person who is organising the event on behalf of the town council and to agree a strategy. Unfortunately it was another one of those meetings where if someone sets aside 2 hours, everyone there will make sure that it lasts two hours too.

As I have said before … “and on many occasins too” – ed … these kinds of meetings should be held standing up, outside, in the pouring rain. Just as much would be decided, and in five minutes or less too.

It reminds me of a story that I heard about the election of a Pope in the Middle Ages. The cardinals were taking forever about it so the local duke ordered his men to remove the roof from the building where they were meeting.

They reached a decision in minutes once it started to rain.

From there I had a slow walk home, retracing my steps to try to find the glove that I had lost – one of my tactile gloves too – only to find that it had fallen out of my pocket in the apartment.

Not very good, am I?

Anyway, for a couple of hours I recorded the notes that I had written and even managed to start to edit them before I stopped for tea.

Earlier on during the day I’d been through the freezer again and I’d found a pack of frozen mushrooms. Now if there is one thing worse than commercially-frozen carrots, it’s commercially-frozen mushrooms. They are awful.

So what I did was to get one of these half-cooked baguettes and slice id and insert garlic butter into the slices. Then clean a couple of potatoes, and finally take out of the fridge the left-over pastry from the other day and the left-over cooking apple, and make an apple turnover.

All of that went into the oven.

Meanwhile, I fried a couple of onions and added some garlic, and when they were thoroughly fried, added the defrosted mushrooms which I had drained (and you have no idea just how much water there is in frozen mushrooms) along with some herbs.

When the mushrooms were thoroughly cooked, the whole lot went into the whizzer and made a thick mushroom soup which I ate with the potatoes and garlic bread that I had made.

Pudding was the apple turnover with sorbet, and delicious it all was too. And there’s enough mushroom soup and another bread thing for tea tomorrow night too.

trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWe’ve seen some of the photos from tonight’s walk, but there are a couple of others that I took too.

The tide is in and this is the cue for the trawlers to start coming home to port. There were already a few of them at the fish-processing plant unloading their cargo and there were several more on the way into the harbour from out at sea.

It’s a really busy place here, even if we don’t have the gravel boats in any more which is a shame.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd that reminded me – I hadn’t looked at the Chantier navale for quite some time, so I went over there.

There isn’t anything very much exciting going on in there right now. Just a couple of small fishing boats, no yacht of any size and no deep-sea trawler-type of vessel.

Still, there’s always tomorrow, isn’t there? We mustn’t abandon hope quite yet.

So here I am and it’s almost 02:00 and I can’t sleep. If you read this, spare a thought for me and my friends. Thanks to 17.4 million xenophobes and racists We are now stateless people with no more rights than your average Somali or Syrian refugee and our continued residence here depends upon the goodwill of various Governments that have no interest whatever in us while across the Channel in The Land That Time Forgot, the Silly Brits are using their foreign residents as bargaining chips.

As the conversation went in Lord of the Rings -“Have you thought of an ending?”
“Yes, several, and all are dark and unpleasant.”

We could be on the verge of the greatest mass forced migration of citizens since the Eastern Germans during the period 1945-1948 if the UK doesn’t come to its senses pretty quickly.

Tuesday 18th September 2018 – AND SO I WENT …

*************** THE IMAGES ***************

There are over 3,000 of them and due to the deficiencies of the equipment they all need a greater or lesser amount of post-work. And so you won’t get to see them for a while.

You’ll need to wait til I return home and get into my studio and start to go through them. And it will be a long wait. But I’ll keep you informed after I return.
***************

… to bed quite early (and missed all of the excitement too!) and crashed out almost immediately. The record that I was playing Colosseum Live"now THERE’S a surprise" – ed … was still playing when I briefly awoke, so I quickly turned that off and fell back into the Arms of Morpheus.

It didn’t take me long to go off on my travels and a big Hello! to The Vanilla Queen who made her debut. “Vanilla Queen” indeed, living up to her alter ego! The stress is clearly getting to me, that’s for sure.

With having to be up and about so early I was awake at about 04:30. And again at about 05:15. I couldn’t go back to sleep after that and so I Arose from the Dead and started to tidy up and pack.

We’ve now entered Kangerlussuaq, the “Big Fjord” and so I took a few photos. No sunrise today unfortunately and not really all that much else to see. So I toddled off to breakfast where I had a lengthy chat with Dave about Glasgow and GreenocK. Heather came to join us too for a short while.

Afterwards I finished packing my possessions and then I had to wait around for ages to see what was happening.

Before I could check out. We received a USB stick with all of the voyage details thereupon, and I was able to go back upstairs to upload the photos of Strawberry Moose in his kayak.

Eventually we were called down to the zodiacs and were transported to the shore. We passed by Linda, the cruise director, and I’m afraid that I couldn’t resist it. I said to her “I suppose you’ll give me that e-mail address tomorrow”.

I really am wicked! But serve her right.

A fleet of buses was awaiting us – some modern monstrous machines and also a couple of really elderly vehicles, including a Kassböhrer-Setra and, much to my surprise, a DAB-bodied 1984 Leyland bus.

We went past the ruins of Kellyville, an old American radar base and then up the hill to the old American submarine radio base. Long-since dismantled, you could see how tall the antennae must have been by reference to the concrete base and the size of the cable stays. They were massive.

Much to my surprise the diesel generators were still present – a couple of really old straight-eights. I was about to give them a good look-over but before I could do so we were summoned back to the bus.

Back down the hill again and past the cupola for the gun that defended the port installations and the runway for the airstrip at Kangerlussuaq in World War II. In (and out) of the town to look at the Pride and Joy of the urban area – the new bridge that replaced the one that was washed out in an ice-flood in 2012.

We were told of the volume of water that passes through the bridge at the height of the melt-water season and I can’t remember now what our driver said it was but it was certainly impressive. Today we had a floating plaque of ice that was jammed up against the culvert with all of the water passing underneath.

He showed us the site of the old bridge and explained that if we were to dig down in the collapsed morass we would probably be able to recover a digger that was swept away in the confusion.

Up to the top of the mountain on the other side.

There was a beautiful view of Kangerlussuaq from the top, as well as the old radio and radar installations from the Cold War. Some of the equipment is now utilised by the Danes to pick up the data that is transmitted from weather satellites that pass overhead.

And I found some beautiful glacier-polished rock right on top of the mountain. It looked really splendid.

Back down to the airport – the largest in Greenland with the longest runway – another Cold War legacy. Plenty of time to kill before take-off so I went to watch the Air Greenland planes take off. This is the only airport in which the big jets can land so they unload and turn round here and there are endless shuttles of smaller planes that feed the passengers in and out and on and beyond.

I took the opportunity to eat my packed lunch too. Not that it took me all that long. Laszlo and I clearly have different ideas about the size of my appetite.

Still hordes of people congregating around so I spent quite a while chatting to Sherman, Michael, Christopher and Tiffany. They were sharing out the crisps which I thought was quite nice of them.

Eventually we made our way to the departure lounge and I had another stand-off in what laughingly passes as “security”.

“Empty your pockets!” barked a woman with a badge.
“Would you mind saying ‘please’ to me when you address me” I replied.
This led to an extremely warm 5 minutes until she buckled under.

And now our plane is 90 minutes late. isn’t that a surprise? It’s so late that the second plane has in fact arrived first.

I thought that it would be absolutely awful watching the others depart before us, but they sat for half an hour on the tarmac without moving – and then the rood opened, the stairs came out and the pilot descended.

The cynic in me started to work out all kinds of depressing scenarios and in the words of JRR Tolkein “all are dark and unpleasant”.

We were later told a story of what had happened. Apparently some kind of aeroplane had come to some kind of grief on the runway. Our plane couldn’t land and so had flown back to Iqaluit.

But none of this explains why plane 2 had managed to land on the runway, and why another aeroplane from Air Greenland had managed to land. And why they hadn’t grabbed one of the towing dollies that I had seen in action earlier and yanked the plane off the runway.

20-odd years of working in the tourism industry has imbued me with a desperate sense of cynicism that will one day surely be my undoing. However, I am guided by the comment that “a cynic is someone who sees things as they are, not as they are meant to be”.

And seeing the n°2 aeroplane take off before our (earlier) one had landed did nothing to dispel my feelings.

The tour company offered us a meal of sorts. And after much binding in the marsh they managed to rustle up a salad for me. A blind man would have been pleased to see it, I suppose.

But the biggest laugh is yet to come.

After the meal they gave me a bottle of water – unopened and sealed – out or the restaurant so I strode back into the waiting area. And they wouldn’t let me pass with it and we had quite an argument about it.

But behind me were the tour managers with 200 of the identical bottles of water and they passed those into the security area, right enough. And so we had another argument about that too.

In the meantime, the clock in the waiting room had ceased to function. That’s always a handy stand-by when people are feeling the drag of waiting around. They don’t notice the passage of time if the clock isn’t working.

The plane finally arrived at about 20:35 – a good 15 minutes after the “latest update” time and well over 4 hours after its due DEPARTURE time. And in the meantime Sherwin had given us an impromptu concert to pass the time. One suspects that a certain well-filled brown envelope had changed hands at some point. We even had Latonia singing along.

And once the aeroplane had landed, they started up the clock again.

I really must develop a more positive attitude, as I have been saying for quite a while.

Departure time should have been 16:30. We took to the air at 22:15. That was me thoroughly depressed.

What depressed me even more was when I talked to the cabin crew. They told me that there had been a “maintenance issue” and that, together with the associated paperwork, had delayed the take-off

Clearly someone is being … errrr … economical with the truth somewhere.

And I felt really sorry for The Vanilla Queen. She lives in Iqaluit but was having to take the charter flight to Toronto, and then make her way home via Montreal. So where do you think that we stopped for a refuelling break?

Much to my surprise they actually did have a vegan meal on board. And even more surprisingly, it was quite reasonable too, as far as airline meals go.

But that was as good as it got. My good humour that had been slowly disappearing over the last few days – well, the last vestiges have disappeared into the ether now. As Doctor Spooner once famously said, “I feel like a hare with a sore bed”.

I tried to settle down to sleep but no chance of that. I shall have to stay wide-awake with only my good humour to keep me company.

I don’t think.

Thursday 20th October 2016 – NOW THAT WAS A NICE TEA!

Start off with a knob of vegan margarine, and when it’s melted, add a pile of sliced garlic. Fry that nicely and then add a tin of lentils. When that’s all stirred around and cooking nicely, add a couple of teaspoons of curry powder.

When that’s all nicely mixed in, empty a tin of macedonian vegetables into it all, followed by a pile of bulghour and leave to simmer.

While that’s simmering away, put some rice on the go.

When the rice is almost ready, add a Carrefour vegetable stock cube to your lentil, veg and bulghour mix – and there you are. And there’s enough lentil curry for a couple of days.

Downright delicious it was, and followed by a pot of the new Alpro coconut flavoured soya dessert, what else could any man desire? Apart from Kate Bush and Jennifer Agutter of course.

I should have been out wining and dining with Alison but she’s come down with the dreaded lurgy and of course my health is rather fragile. She needs a rest and I don’t need to catch anything at all.

But as for the usual activities, it’s a good job that I went for an early night last night. This morning at blasted 06:45 I was awoken by a couple of residents shouting up the stairs at each other. Some people have absolutely no idea of what it means to “live in Community”.

But I had been on my travels during the night too. I don’t remember too much about it, but I was somewhere in Belgium talking to a group of nouveax arrivants. We were discussing income-generating activities and it turned out that four young boys were involved in making jewellery. They were planning on having an exhibition and so I was giving them advice, like holding in on a Sunday when most Belgians liked to have a day out, and where to go to have leaflets and flyers prepared.

Breakfast was crowded this morning. Hordes of people up there, and that makes a change. It was difficult to sit and read my book. And did you know that they had motor vehicles in Middle Earth? There’s a delightful little paragraph – “Legolas and Gimli were to ride again together in the company of Aragorn and Gandalf, who went in the van with the Dúnedain and the sons of Elrond.”. I wonder which van it was.

After breakfast I had plenty of things to do but for some reason or other I closed my eyes fora few minutes. Next thing that I remembered, it was 11:25. I’d been on my travels too during that … errr … three hours that I was away. Good grief!

I was chatting to a friend of mine on the internet until lunchtime, and then went to purchase my baguette for lunch. And after lunch, the bank in Pionsat would be open, so I needed to telephone them to report yesterday’s little accident. I was pushed around from pillar to post, as you might expect, but eventually I could register the accident and receive a file number. So that was all organised.

I attacked the website after that, and I’ve made some progress with that. Slow, to be sure, but progress all the same. It’ll probably be 100 years before it’s finished.

I had tea after that, and now I’m planning for an early night. After my exertions of this morning though, I’m not sure whether or not I’ll be having another difficult night.

Thursday 13th October 2016 – WELL, YOU MIGHT HAVE GUESSED.

Blood count is down. And protein loss is up. The result of all of that is that I have to go back in just two weeks.

This is a bitter blow to me of course. I need to move on and do things, and I was hoping for six months – or even three months would have done me. But not two weeks.

But I’m not surprised, because I had a horrible night.

I wasn’t in bed all that early, and even so I just couldn’t drop off at all. I gave up trying to sleep at 05:45 and started to read a book – and that had the desired effect, albeit 6 hours too late. It really was a struggle to crawl out of bed at 07:15.

And despite the small amount of sleep, I’m managed to go a-wandering. I was in a car driving down a lane and ended up crossing two railway lines, about 40 yards apart. I’d always believed that they were simply each track of a double-track line built by someone with a sense of humour, but the book that I bought on Sunday in Montreal convinced me that these were just another set of “parallel lines” laid by the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian Northern Railway during the Canadian Great Railway Wars.

It’s funny how, even when I was asleep, I was able to think along logical lines like this, because it’s perfectly true. If you think that the Railway Wars between companies in the UK was savage, vicious and extremely wasteful, you haven’t seen anything until you read about what took place between the Canadian Pacific, the Canadian Nothern and the Grand Trunk Railroad. The useless infighting and unnecessary duplication of routes cost Canada millions of dollars and bankrupted a couple of the companies for no good purpose.

And so at 07:15 I crawled out of bed, at 07:30 I crawled out of the shower (so much for thinking that it would do me some good) and by 07:45 I was crammed like a sardine along with about 500 other people into an articulated bus, having grabbed a coffee on the way. I was decanted out at St Rafael so that I could go down to Caliburn to drop off the stuff that I had bought yesterday.

Having left all of my vegan cheese behind (that’s bad planning if they had decided to keep me in) I then boarded the wrong bus that led off in a completely different direction. I ended up having rather a long walk.

At the hospital, I had my blood test and a chat with the doctor. 2 hours later, the doctor came to see me. “It’s about yuor blood test …” she began. That sounded ominous, and no mistake. But she carried on to say that the blood testing machine had broken down and I would have to hang around for the results. Clogged up with root beer and maple syrup, I reckon.

Kaatje the Social Services girl came for a chat and I had to fill in a form. And having spent most of the morning reading Lord of the Rings I promptly wrote out “13th Orcober”. Yes, it’s getting to me, isn’t it, all of this?

Anyway, I managed just about to keep awake during the afternoon and about 16:30 they came back with the bad news.

With that ringing around in my ears, I went downstairs for a coffee and to make a phone call. And so here I am – back in the hostel where I stayed during the summer. There was a room available – not at the same good price that I was offered last time unfortunately – and so I took it. It’s cheaper that going back home and coming straight back and far less stressful. Stress – or the elimination of it – is quite important.

I set off for the hostel but within 20 minutes I was back in the Day Centre. Bane of Britain has, once again, gone off with his catheter still plugged in. You couldn’t make this up, could you?

And it’s good to be back on familiar territory with no pain at all. And I can have my old room back on Monday too. In the meantime, this one will do. I settled down for a while and then a bit later nipped down the road for a falafel butty for tea. I’ll rescue all of my supplies from Caliburn tomorrow.

Having organised that, I’m off to bed. Nice and early. Remember that I had a bad night last night.

Monday 14th July 2014 – HAPPY BASTILLE DAY

And it started as it meant to go on with my being wide awake at 08:00. And on a Bank Holiday too. And even worse, I didn’t go to bed until 02:30 and so I was expecting to have a long relaxing sleep today. No idea why I awoke so early.

What was evn worse was that I was on my travels again during the night, working at a home for Eastern European boys, and I do remember a boy from Romania coming to the home, and he had a centipede embedded just underneath the skin of his stomach. From there, I went off with Caliburn. We were on the A556 – the major road that runs between Chester and Manchester and connects the M6 and the M63. Coming from the Chester end, I came to the big roundabout on the M6 and so initially I started to descend the slip road for the southbound carriageway, suddenly realised that I really wanted to go northbound but there was a police barrage across the slip road and so my doing a U-turn would attract suspicion. Nevertheless I turned round and slipped around the roundabout to the northbound entrance, and there was another police barrage there. I was, of course, flagged down and the policeman stopped me spoke to me in a mysterious Eastern European language which I understood but couldn’t reply to.

And it hadn’t escaped my notice that I’d gone widdershins around the roundabout, not clockwise as I would do in the UK where, of course, they drive on the left-hand side of the road.

After breakfast I watched part Two of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows and this was much more like it. Even with the same director as Part 1, this film spent much more time exploring the dark side of the whole affair and the tension slowly built up consistently all the way to a climax. In my opinion, it was certainly the best film of the series.

Having said that, the film is full of non-sequitors and inconsistencies and a mature audience will notice the considerable holes in the story, as well as the dozens and dozens of situations and scenarios that anyone who has seen The Lord of the Rings Trilogy will immediately recognise.

And I still say that Ginny is totally the wrong partner for Harry Potter. He would have been much-better suited to Luna and I remain totally convinced of that.

So as the sun came out today, I opened the windows here for the first time for three weeks, and that was the hardest work that I did today.

Tomorrow, I’m back at work.

Sunday 18th September 2011 – SUNDAY IS A DAY OF REST …

… and after my late night last night, I deserved a lie-in. And when I was finally awake I went off to have a nice shower too. But something that I saw made me burst out laughing and I wish that I had a camera with me. Someone came to fill up their 50-litre water container – one of these round ones that looks as if it might be on wheels – and then towed it away with their car. It’s rather sad really.

old volkswagen scrapyard keswick fredericton new brunswick canadaThey say that old Fords never die – they just rust away. But here is the proof that old Volkswagens never die either. They just merge into the landscape.

There’s a good few parked up here, and it did make me wonder what the owner is intending to do with them. There’s a few there that haven’t moved for a considerable period of time.

chevrolet chevelle ss L82 new brunswick canadaI said previously that it’s a rather sad affair when I’m taking photos of vehicles like this and calling them “historic”.

This is a Chevrolet Chevelle SS L82 and it’s a single headlight model that dates it from the very early 1970s I think, although like Eomer in The Lord of the Rings, I would gladly learn better. I do know that the SS refers to SuperSport and that the insurance on one of these would have been unaffordable to most people.

peugeot boxer caravanette german registration fredericton new brunswick canadaThis is however much more interesting.

Not so much that it’s a Peugeot Boxer caravanette, and I bet that you’ve never seen one of these in North America before, it’s actually on German numberplates. I managed to track down the owners to have a chat with them, and it transpires that they came over with Seabridge and Atlantic Containers, the same companies as those whom I met the other week.

So it clearly works and I shall have to look into it. And it’s amazing how quickly my German of 30 years ago comes back when I have no alternative but to speak it. I was impressed with what I could remember.

rick fines harvest jazz and blues festival fredericton new brunswick canadaThere was still plenty of music to be found here and there around the city. Rick Fines and his lady bassist were playing at Officers Square to quite a healthy crowd sitting here in the sun.

I had quite a chat with the bassist afterwards and, to my shame, I forgot to ask her name. That’s rather embarrassing. But she did tell me that she’s been playing guitar since she was 9 and bass since she was 13.

Today is also the day of the Terry Fox run – he was someone diagnosed with cancer who set out to run across Canada to raise funds but died before he could make it.

Now, on the third Sunday in September, loads of people take to the streets to complete a little section of his run.

blue train terry fox run fredericton new brunswick canadaThe run through Fredericton follows the public footpath that was formerly the railway line through the city. and here they had a band to help them along.

They were called Blue Train and while the music didn’t appeal to me all that much, they are local and the vocalist certainly could sing. He had loads of stage presence too so it was quite an enjoyable little concert.

>Now here’s the answer to a question that I have often asked.

tesco truck bodies fredericton new brunswick canadaWhen I worked with that weird American company a couple of years ago I was talking to a couple of people who worked for the giant UK Supermarket company Tesco, and I asked them why they had never set out to conquer North America. And when they did invade North America, they used a totally different name to Tesco, a strange decision when their brand has so much recognition in the UK

So here’s the answer. Someone else owns the trade name in North America. A manufacturer of lorry bodies.

rotten GMC Tracker fredericton new brunswick canadaWe’ve seen a few of these before, and here’s yet another.

Not the GMC Tracker, but the state of the outer sills just in front of the rear wheel. I can remember welding up dozens of cars that were rotten like this back in the 80s but the last welding that I have ever done on a car was to weld up an exhaust pipe on my old Passat in 1997. I haven’t welded up a car body for over 20 years.

And if you notice, the rot here is on the offside, not the nearside. That’s rather unusual as the salty water is usually in the gutter alongside the kerb. One thing though – I can see that there are plenty of openings for me over here. I won’t be short of work.

I went off for a little drive later on and found a Canadian Tire place, where I couldn’t persuade them to sell me their display model AIR403 wind turbine. And here, parked outside, totally unattended and with the engine running, was a big black Jeep.

Could you ever imagine a situation like that in the UK?

Saturday 16th July 2011 – HAVING SPENT THE NIGHT …

… parked up on the Motorway Service Area at Drogenbos, a good (for once) sleep led to a major shopping expedition and I have finally found a new whistling kettle – I’ve been hunting one for ages.

And then after lunch it was round to the apartment.

You might recall that back in the winter we tried everything that we could to undo the lock on the cellar to empty it. And nothing we tried would make it work. This time, I took a couple of enormous extensions and a drill and angle grinder. And of course, trying to unlock the door just one more time “for old time’s sake”, it came undone with no issues whatever!

Just like Sam Gamgee’s rope in Lord of the Rings in fact.

And so that was emptied and the racking dismantled in no time flat and all loaded up into Caliburn. I don’t know how people can function without vans, I really don’t.

And so with plenty of time to spare, another shopping trip, this time to IKEA where I discovered a few exciting items in the sale.

Having called at the Simonis Fritkot for my assiette falafel, I headed off to my motorway service area for a kip. But in fact I spent quite a while fixing a car for a British guy returning from holiday with his family and whose electrical charging circuit had broken down.

No peace for the wicked, is there?