Tag Archives: mandy_m

Friday 23rd September 2022 – THE END OF …

la soupape 1 philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022… an era. And I’m not talking about anything to do with la Soupape I and Philcathane either.

What I’m talking about is what is – or more correctly, isn’t – behind them on the quayside.

In all of the excitement yesterday I omitted to notice that all of the equipment for the gravel boats has gone.

When we were on our travels on Wednesday we noticed a huge crane pull into the harbour but I forgot to go and check what was going on on Thursday and so I missed its removal.

It’s all been sold to the port of St Malo and they sent a lorry or two to pick it up and take it away. And that’s the end of the gravel boats coming into the port.

Presumably that’s going to underline the slow demise of the port as a cargo hub and I wonder how long it will be before the little freighters to Jersey move on. With the gravel trade going, the Chamber of Commerce who runs the port will have to think about how it’s going to finance all of the rest of the operations here.

le tiberiade baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But there will be another time to worry about that. While you admire a few photos of Le Coelacanthe and Le Tibériade having fun and games out in the Baie de Mont St Michel, I shall tell you about my day today.

And although the night was rather later than it otherwise might have been I still leapt out of bed with alacrity (and you thought that I was on my own too!) at … errr … well, maybe not quite 07:30.

After the medication I spent some time slowly dragging myself to my feet, which was not easy today, and then I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

le coelacanthe baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And we started off the night at Zero’ house, and wasn’t that a nice surprise?. There was something going on there about books. I can’t remember what I was actually doing now but she was there. So was her father. Our mother had died. There was a handbook for a Ford van, an E83W vzn, of which my father had two, one after the other, when we were kids and I do actually own a handbook for one, would you believe?. This was being given now to my father so I had to write an inscription in the flyleaf. There was also an encyclopedia left to my mother by someone called “Red George”. That had to be gifted to my father as well so I wrote the dedication in the flyleaf for the workshop manual then I was hoping to disappear with that so that I could present it and the pen over to my brother so he’d write the second dedication then I could get off and see Zero but I had a feeling that this was something where there would be some kind of ceremony or something about and of course she would be long gone by the time that all of this ended.

And this situation with my family trying to spike my guns when I have something interesting going on has a very familiar ring about it, doesn’t it?<

le coelacanthe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022This next one was another dream that didn’t really get going. It was all about how I write up my blog. How I list all the image files which I normally do and then copy them onto a blank page and then fill in the text all around it but for some reason I was copying and pasting into the wrong file at the wrong time at the wrong place and generally speaking I couldn’t really co-ordinate my movements at all. It ended up being something of quite a mess which was a shame. It should have been so simple but I was finding all these ways to complicate it and time was slipping away.

And that’s a regular occurrence too, isn’t it?

But later on, when I was in work. TOTGA turned up for the first time in God knows how long and that was quite nice too. It’s been a good while since she’s been around. We started to talk and I invited her out for a meal as it was lunchtime. She agreed but she told me that someone else had invited her out at lunch and she was thinking of going with them. I immediately downed tools and said “let’s go now ourselves”. I asked her if there was anywhere she didn’t want to go because of other people whom she might meet. I stood up and started to walk out but suddenly realised that I had to pay for the meal that I’d had a while ago. I had to find a waiter but it was the equivalent of LIDL in here. Everyone was queueing etc. In the end the guy with me (for I was now with a guy) muscled his way in to the front of the queue and started to prepare my bill for me as if he was a waiter here or someone like that so that I could leave.

le loup notre dame de cap lihou baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So while you look at the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou going out into the bay past le loup, I was in Virlet last night, taking stuff down to my house. I was doing it and there were one or two other people as well. Loads of other people came to join in. They were bringing stuff with them and putting it in my house as I was trying to sort through it to see what I had. Amongst the things that took me by surprise was a box that I thought was full of screws but when I looked underneath there were boxes of nuts and bolts etc, spark plugs and a condenser and set of points for the Cortina, all kinds of treasures, so I started to sort them out. Other people were bringing stuff. Someone pointed out a lorry fuel tank that was there. He was saying that when he put it there it was in good condition but someone had dropped something on it so it was now dented and useless. I was bringing a large plank with me. there were a couple of kids who were trying to get in my way by grabbing hold of the plank as I went past so I shouted at them. Some woman came past with some stuff that she had found that someone had apparently dropped. There was a fire burning in the grate even though the place had been empty for years. I asked if someone had lit a fire and they replied “yes”, not that I minded because it was cold. It was quite a little hive of business going on in there. At one point I had to find something. I remembered that it was in the fuel tank of my old CZ motorbike so we had to dismantle that but I couldn’t get my hand in to pick it out. I needed things like a long twig or something that I could push inside to dislodge this item. Everyone was really busy.

And apart from that, I’ve been doing stuff on the internet and not having a great deal of fun doing it either.

But there are moves of some description afoot to which I need to attend and they won’t be done if I sit on my derrière and do nothing.

Consequently I have had “arrangements” to make.

And as usual, half the people to whom you write or otherwise try to contact don’t reply to you. People talk about there being a recession and how hard it is to earn money these days. And here I am, with a desperate need to spend some of it and it’s far too much like hard work for anyone to do what is required to prise it out of me.

That was the cue for me to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022It was like November today. Wet, windy, foggy and overcast so my hat comes off to these two people here, especially the one who looks as if she’s just this minute come out of the water.

Not quite à la Ursula Andress, but never mind, hey?

And as far as I could see, they were the only people down there on the beach, and that won’t be a surprise to anyone who was out there this afternoon in this weather. I was in a sweater and a rain jacket in a vain attempt to keep myself dry.

people in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Here are some people in a zodiac having a sail around offshore, as I noticed as I continued on my way.

I don’t know what they were doing but whatever it was, they were doing it with a loud-hailer for the rest of the day,

The kids were also out there again though, orienteering around on the lawn around the bunkers. One little girl had a little chat with me which was nice. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I competed in the North West England Schools Championship on one occasion.

As an aside, not long after I moved to Brussels I saw someone wandering around in sports gear carrying some orienteering equipment so I wandered over to him to ask him.

He was aghast. The moment I began to speak to him he took one step back and stuttered “On se connait?” – “do we know each other?”.

In the end, I ended up running around the streets of Schaerbeek and Evere at night on my own

notre dame de cap lihou le coelacanthe le tiberiade baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022You’ve seen already a few photos of Le Coelacanthe and Le Tiberiade and one of the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou out in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

At one particular moment we almost had one of Tom Rolt’s “Greek v Greek” moments and I thought that it was quite appropriate that the lifeboat was in the immediate vicinity.

From what I could see on their radar plots, they had both been fishing just offshore and were now considering whether or not to head for home. You saw Le Coelacanthe coming into the harbour in one of the earlier photos after she had made up her mind.

And on the AIS database she didn’t have a photograph. But now she does!

le poulbot chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With no-one at the cabanon vauban this afternoon, I pushed on towards the harbour on the other side of the headland.

And it’s “all systems go” at the chantier naval this afternoon. And about to go is Le Poulbot after her length stay in port.

She’s sitting in the cradle in the portable boat lift waiting for the tide to come further in deep enough to drop her into the water.

Gerlean is still there though. You can just about make her out on the right. And L’Omerta is still there too, although you can’t see her.

suzanga black pearl briscard chant des sirenes le poulbot gerlean l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022But also gone! And never called me “mother!” is Pierre de Jade. Her berth is looking quite empty now.

But someone stepped into Le Poulbot‘s shoes before she has even gone into the water. In her place is the pink Suzanga, one of the newest trawlers here in the port.

She’s been here not quite two years and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we “scooped” the local press by having her photographed and recorded here before they did.

So who is going to come along and claim the empty berth then?

calean la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Meanwhile, with both Gerlean and L’Omerta being in the chantier naval, we have other fish frying over at the Fish Processing Plant.

Moored there today, amongst several other boats were Calean and behind her, La Grande Ancre. And there are a couple of guys standing on the lower level by the van taking a great deal of interest in whatever is on the stern of La Grande Ancre.

Behind them, Le Coelacanthe had by now come in to unload. There was another boat too and waiting her turn to dock at the quayside was Le Tibériade.

It’s a shame that there are a few boats that habitually moor up at the wharf and prevent other ships from unloading quickly and having a rapid turnround.

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022So that was that and I headed for home and a coffee.

And I wasn’t the only one heading for home as around the corner towards port came Belle France from the Ile de Chausey with a crowd of passengers on board.

And I bet that they would far rather have been out there yesterday when there was everything going on in the bay. It was quite quiet and boring there this afternoon.

Armed with my coffee I carried on working and then knocked off for tea.

What I’d been doing, surprise surprise, is going through the Accounts of a football club in Wales to see if I could identify why they would want to allow themselves to be struck off the register at Companies House and compulsorily liquidated when they had assets of about £400,000.

That’s a saga that will run and run too.

Tea tonight was a Left-over Curry, delicious as usual, and then I had to run as I’d forgotten about the football this evening.

It’s this weird competition organised by the Scottish Football Association that includes the leading part-time clubs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. TNS were at home to Dundee tonight live on the internet.

Really, it was no competition. TNS had by far the lion’s share of possession but I don’t think that Dundee ever broke into a sweat. They just stepped up a gear when it mattered and made it look easy.

The difference between the “professional” clubs and the “amateur” club is the fitness.

You watch when a big team is playing against a minnow. For much of the game the teams can slug it out toe-to-toe but the danger periods are the first five minutes of each half when the lesser team is struggling to come up to the rhythm and the final 15 minutes when the steam has gone out of the lesser team.

And sure enough, Dundee rattled in two goals almost straight from the kick-off for the second half, and added another one right at the end. They were just in a completely different class to TNS.

Bed time now, and I wonder who’ll be waiting for me. Zero and TOTGA again? Or Castor? It’s about time she put in an appearance again. But my money will be on one of my family coming along to spike my guns.

Watch this space.

Wednesday 3rd August 2022 – I’VE DONE SOMETHING …

… today that I vowed that I would never do. But needs must when the devil drives and it’s a sign of how far down the slippery slope I’ve slid just recently.

In fact what I’ve done, while we’re on the subject of driving … “well, one of us is” – ed … is that I drove to the railway station this morning in Caliburn.

It totally beats me why they can lay on a bus service that serves our building, and then send the bus off to places that don’t include the town centre or the railway station or anywhere else that anyone would realistically want to visit

Having spent far too much time hanging around in the past, I set the alarm for 07:00 today and that gave me enough time to prepare myself and to have a whizz around the apartment to clean it a little and take out the rubbish.

84569 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There were a few parking spaces free just outside the station which was my good luck. I didn’t have too far to walk

As a result I was on the station in plenty of time for the train, which pulled into the station through the fog. The weather was clammy, foggy and not very encouraging this morning.

Our train was, as usual, one of the GEC Alstom Regiolis models, consisting of 2×6-car units. It was quite busy today and by the time that we arrived in Paris it was totally crowded.

Nevertheless I was lucky in that I had no-one sitting next to me so I could spread out and work in comfort.

It didn’t take me long to update the computer and then I read a book all the way to Paris. For a change, it was a novel, “The Man Who Was Thursday” by G K Chesterton.

eiffel tower sacre coeur paris France Eric Hall photo August 2022By the time that we reached Paris the fog had gone and we had a bright blue sky.

My seat was a good one this morning and as we pulled into the city and passed over the petite ceinture, the railway that used to perform a complete circle of the city in the olden days, I had a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower.

In fact you might say that I really had an Eiffel of it.

Over on the right on the skyline is the Sacré Coeur church in Montmartre. Where we stayed a couple of months ago was just round there about 10 minutes away but we didn’t have the time to visit it back then. I haven’t been there since I went with Nerina at some ridiculous time of the morning before the rush-hour traffic hit it some time years ago.

We were about 15 minutes late arriving in Paris but that didn’t matter too much because there was a long wait for my train to Brussels today.

ukrainian refugee centre gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual I walked down the street in the open air to the Metro station instead of going through the labyrinth. It was blistering hot and I melted through the streets to the Metro. The Metro was packed but I managed to find the last remaining seat to Gare du Nord.

At the Gare du Nord I went to check to see if the Ukrainian Refugee post was still operating.

There’s a very active Group of activists in Normandy who are very interested in the lot of the refugees and I have some connection with a couple of them. While I’m on my travels I like to see what’s going on in this respect so I can pass on the information to people who can make use of it.

And then there was the wait for the train. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not taking the earlier “Ouigo” train and going via Lille. I’m not up to the walk across town at the moment so I’m paying extre and going on the later “Thalys” direct to Brussels.

The Gare du Nord was packed as well and there was no hope of finding a seat anywhere. I headed off to my usual comfortable secret bolt-hole where I was shouted at by a trolley driver but I took no notice.

Thalys PBKA 4301 gare du nord paris France Eric Hall photo August 2022And then I had to fight my way on board the train to Brussels.

It was one of the PBKA – Paris Brussels Cologne Amsterdam trainsets and it was packed. There wasn’t a single seat free.

There was all kinds of confusion about the seats too, to which I contributed somewhat, with the ticket inspector having flicked over my electronic ticket while checking it so I ended up sitting in my seat for the return journey instead.

And in the confusion I lost my computer mouse. I had a feeling that it wasn’t my lucky day today.

sncb class 18 electric locomotive gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022As our train pulled in to Brussels, so did a push-me-pull-you for Leuven.

An ancient graffiti-ridden vinyl-upholstered relic of the 1970s as you can see in the photo where they have done a pretty poor job of cleaning it up but it was here and now do I fell aboard and that whipped us off to Leuven.

It was pushed by one of the Class 18 electric locomotives that these days are the mainstay of main-line passenger trains on locomotive-hauled lines. We’ve been on plenty of these in the past.

Having done a little shopping in the supermarket at the back of the station I came on here to encounter a load of confusion about the keys to my room.

And they have put me up two flights of stairs as well and I really don’t need that at all. Not in my state of health right now

pennsylvania volkswagen naamsevest Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022Later on I made it down to Delhaize for the rest of the supplies for my stay here.

And on the way down, this Volkswagen caught my eye, mainly because it’s carrying a number plate from Pennsylvania.

Why I’m interested in this is to find out how the car managed to come over here. There is a vehicle ferry from Europe to North America and back again but it’s for unaccompanied vehicles only and the prices are on another planet.

If I could find a ferry that is at amore reasonable price I’d sell Strider, my Canadian pickup, and take Caliburn over every year to North America.

roadworks Weldadigheidsstraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while back in the Weldadigheidsstraat there was a rather large crane that was doing some kind of work at a house down there.

And so going past today I had a look down the street to see if it was still there, only to be confronted by a pile of paving blocks and building materials.

There’s some kind of process of gentrification taking place in Leuven right now and this street looks as if it’s about to fall victim to the designs of the planners.

What’s regrettable about this is that once the council does this it adds on about €20,000 to the house prices in the area and this makes the properties even less affordable to low-income earners.

Prices in town are already far too high for many people and this kind of thing won’t help any.

In Delhaize I stocked up with stuff and it wasn’t all that expensive. But then again with me being much more restrictive on what I eat these days, I’m not buying as much. And i was lucky enough to find a hard-wired mouse so I’m back in business, and after tea I can write up my notes.

photographer naamsevest Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022One thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that my pages are full of photographs of people taking photographs.

Here’s someone else whom I caught doing it at the corner of the Naamsevest and the Naamsestraat. I had a good look round but I couldn’t see what had attracted his attention but never mind. I cleared off home.

Tea was a vegan burger with pasta and veg – the vegan burgers that I bring from home because LIDL actually does a good line in cheap vegan burgers

The reason why I do that is because if I have one with me and I’m too tired to go to the shops after I arrive, I can buy a bag of chips from across the road and I still have something like a meal to keep me going until I feel better.

What a state of affairs to be in.

Meanwhile – the dictaphone. We were at school, a whole mob of us, and there was a radio play in which we were performing. It started off with someone falling over a pile of students’ outstretched legs so it was a long stretched-out “AAARRRGGGHHH” sound to open it. This was how this radio play opened. It was one of a series of radio plays that the school was actually doing. There was much more to it than this. I was around with a few of the kids so I was a kid myself. We all had something to do with this, a group of us, and I was involved in this and there was definitely something happening in which we were involved but I can’t remember now what it was. It was just how this radio programme started up.

Later on my car was away at the garage having work done at it. There was something involving British Salt and the garage there but I can’t remember what it was. I needed a car to go to Chester and the wholesale warehouse. My last port of call was at my sister’s to see whether she had something. They were living in a mobile home place. I went there and knocked on the flyscreen but no-one came. A neighbour came round and started talking to me about it, pointing out this old car and saying that this was her old car but she had to have one because some of her kids went to Nantwich High School and some went to the local one. This is what you have to do when your children are spread out like that. I knocked a couple of times but she didn’t come to the door so I wondered what was happening. This was not like her. If she had been there she would have come. There was much more to it than this but that’s all that I remember.

And finally I was running tours around Perth and Scotland. I had a variety of part-time people helping me. One young boy, a friend of TOTGA, had just quit because he misunderstood the situation. He expected something else other than guiding tourists around. We were waiting at Tourist Information for a party that was turning up at 16:00. I’d told a friend to turn up at 14:00 so that I could show him a few things and point out to him so that he’d know about them. Time dragged on and he wasn’t there. It was 14:30,14:45 so I phoned him and he was still at home. He said “well I was out last night”. I said “I need you here to do this”. He said that he’d come down and tried to engage me in conversation over the telephone. I said “we’ll talk about this when you arrive because we’re in something of a rush at the moment. Come here as quick as you can”. The person with me asked me about this boy quitting. What did I think? I said that it was rather silly. I could see that once again I was going to be plagued with unreliable employees. I could see that I was going to be here full-time doing all this on my own as usual. I thought that I’m not going to be able to go home until Sunday after everything finishes. It’s a long way to go in an evening to go home. I said that I’ll be going home on Sunday evening. Someone asked “doing what?” so I replied “going home” “doing what?” going home!”. I suddenly realised that they were asking me “doing what” when I was back home. I replied “going back to work of course”. The friend had been telling me that it had been raining which was why he hadn’t come in but actually where we were it was bright sunshine so I had no idea why he decided why he didn’t want to come in and do this and even less of an idea why he didn’t want to tell me that he didn’t want to come in and do this.

Unreliable employees was the bane of my life wasn’t it?

Having already crashed out once earlier, I’m off to bed now. I have no fewer than four appointments at the hospital tomorrow so I can’t afford to hang about. I need a good night’s sleep.

Sunday 8th May 2022 – I WASN’T WRONG …

… when I said that I was likely to have a bad day today.

speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022So while you admire a few photos of the various water craft that was out and about offshore this afternoon while I was out on my afternoon walk, I’ll tell you all about it.

It actually all went wrong late last night because having crashed out so definitively yesterday late afternoon, I wasn’t in the least bit tired and it was long after 02:00 when I finally crawled into bed.

Strangely enough, that was round about the same time that I went to bed last Saturday night too but how I wish that it was for the same reason.

Even though it was really nice to be back in my own bed, I was awake at 10:00 and couldn’t go back to sleep again. Nevertheless it was 11:00 when I finally crawled out of bed.

speedboat zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022After the medication I did some work on the radio programmes, pairing off some music for a radio programme that I’ll be preparing in the future.

At the moment I’m almost a whole year ahead which is good news. I have to concentrate on building up a stock ready for if ever I get to go away again and, of course, for another eventuality which you all know.

That took me up to lunchtime – or, rather, brunchtime, because I haven’t had anything to eat yet. Porridge and toast and plenty of strong black coffee to keep me going for the afternoon because, surprisingly, I was starting to flag already.

As I said yesterday, I had a feeling that it was going to be something of a bad day.

zodiac with fishermen baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But not quite yet because there were still things to do.

The first thing was to write a rather difficult message. I’m not very good at expressing my thoughts and emotions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I always end up making a total mess of what I’m trying to write.

But when someone who has known me long enough to know better calls me “sweet”, then that’s the kind of message that deserves something of a rather special reply of the type that I’m really no good at all at writing.

Why does life have to be so full of complications? It would be so much better if I could simply rely on the power of thought transmission.

Having finally sent something (and that took much longer than it ought to have done) that I still didn’t think was good enough but was the best that I could do, I attacked the dictaphone.

I was having a dream about having to write letters to people (something of a premonition, I reckon). Someone was writing them on my behalf but something had happened. The situation had changed unexpectedly and the person writing these letters no longer felt comfortable doing it. The situation was not as she imagined it and she didn’t think that it was as I expressed it so she refused to write any more. I had to collect all the pens and papers and make a list of the people who have already had their letter, then sit down and write the letter again myself to every one who had been missed.

And then I was round at someone’s house doing some tidying up for them (as if that’s ever likely to happen. I can’t even tidy up for myself!). They decided that they would go out and I was still there, not making a great deal of progress. I was busy making myself something to eat when one of them came back, the first to come back and started setting out some food on the table. There were some cakes that he was laying out. I noticed that one of them was a plain scone and I wondered if that was for me. If so, that was quite nice of them. Then someone else came in with a strange-looking object that was like a glass globe that the top came off. They said “here, cook your food in that”. I can’t remember if it was porridge or something like that that I was making but I cooked it in this glass globe thing. It swelled up really nicely and when you coupled up a Land Rover to it at the back it looked absolutely perfect. Whatever it was that I was cooking had the look of like a cake or something like that but when I took it out of the microwave it went flat again which was a shame because it really looked so nice in this glass globe thing in the microwave.

As I expected, I fell asleep in the middle of dictating all of this. And then I fell asleep as soon as I had finished. And on the latter occasion, it was a really deep, intense sleep that wiped me out completely. Right the way up to time to go walkies.

And when I set out I was really in no fit state to go.

people in water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The first port of call once I was outside was to go down to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there.

The tide was on its way out so more and more of the beach was being uncovered. And there were more and more people uncovered too, to such an extent that several of them had actually taken to the water.

And that wasn’t a surprise because it was a gorgeous sunny late Spring day and there wasn’t much wind to cool things down.

even Rover was having a good time too, down at the water’s edge having a good bark at the passing seagulls, trying to chase them away.

fisherman baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Plenty of boats out at sea this afternoon as we have already seen, and plenty of fishermen too.

It seemed as if every rock had its own fisherman perched thereupon this afternoon. I counted a couple of dozen out there casting their lines into the water.

Not that we actually saw anyone catch anything. That’s been a regular theme running through these pages that we have seen hundred upon hundred of fishermen fishing from the rocks and not once have we ever seen anyone pull anything out.

There were crowds of people on the path too. It looked as if the whole town had turned out today for a walk around. After all, it is a Bank Holiday today – VE Day – and that’s quite an important date in the French calendar.

f-gorn Robin DR400-120 Dauphin 2+2 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022While I was out there looking at the sea I was overflown by a light aeroplane heading towards the airfield.

It’s one whom we know quite well – F-GORN, one of the Robin DR400-120 Dauphin 2+2 aeroplanes that they have.

When I returned home later I had a look at the flight database. The only flight that was recorded for her today was one where she took off at 15:07, flew briefly around the bay and landed again at 15:17.

But my photo was taken at 16:03 (adjusted) so she’s obviously been out again later and kept below radar level.

Incidentally, when I say “adjusted”, all of my appliances like cameras, dictaphones etc aren’t adjusted for Summer Time.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Crowds of people out on the paths, as I said earlier, and also a few people sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban.

There was plenty of activity going on out at sea and there’s little doubt that these people were enjoying the spectacle, both maritime and pescatorial. And with plenty of sun and very little wind, why not?

But I can’t stand here all afternoon watching them. I’ve forgotten to put the coffe on before setting out so I need to go home and make it. I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was happening there.

trawler l'ecume 2 j158 fishing boat valesque le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022One of the things that I had wanted to do was to check the chantier naval to see what was happening there.

And I was right yesterday when I said that I thought that the trawler there might be a Jersey trawler. Indeed it is, and it’s one whom we have met before. J-158 happens to be the registration number of L’Ecume II and she’s been in the harbour here a couple of times.

Her claim to fame is that a couple of years ago her watch fell asleep at the helm and she ran aground on a sandbank. And by the looks of her hull, she looks as if she’s been having a few more issues as well.

Also in the photo are La Roc A La Mauve III, Valesque and an unidentified inshore fisheries boat.

l'omerta ch646489 petite laura port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Yesterday, we saw L’Omerta and another inshore fishing boat over there at the fish processing plant.

They are still here today, and from this viewpoint I can identify the second one. At first I thought that she was Lysandre but on checking her registration number I find that she is actually Petite Laura and she’s a new ship to us. We haven’t seen her before.

You can see in her stern all of the buoys and flags and so on of the type that we see dotted around in the sea just offshore. I’m convinced that they relate to things like lobster pots, indicating where the crew has dropped the pots over the side.

dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having noticed the dredger in port yesterday I was interested in having a closer look at her today.

And I was right. She certainly is St-Gilles Croix-de Vie, she who comes into port quite often.

But I was more interested in looking at the water level in the inner harbour because that looks a lot lower than it usually is. So what’s happening there?

Back here I had a nice surprise. Rosemary has been tidying up at home and she told me that she had sent me a little gift. So in my mailbox was a little parcel containing a little book on identifying ships. That was really nice of her.

Armed with a mug of coffee I came in here and promptly fell asleep again and that’s how I spent most of the late afternoon. I’m not doing too well right now with all of this. The first couple of days after my transfusion always seem to knock me out.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022After lunch I’d taken the last ball of dough out of the freezer.

Now that it had defrosted I rolled it out and left it to proof and then made myself a pizza.

This is the fourth out of this load of dough and I have to say that it was something of a failure becuase 600grams of flour divided into 4 leaves the base too thin. I’ll have to go back to 500 grammes into 3 for the next batch of dough.

So now I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m having an early start tomorrow to prepare a radio programme so I have to be on form. But where I’m going to find the energy to do it I really don’t know.

Thursday 28th April 2022 – I’M NOT SURE …

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… what happened today but I’ve been feeling much better than i have done for the last few days.

And so while you admire a handful of photos of all of the maritime traffic that was out and about this afternoon while I was on my post-prandial perambulation around the perimeter of the Pointe du Roc, I’ll tell you all about it.

Even the bit about not only not crashing out during the day but not actually feeling as if I needed to, and isn’t that some kind of progress from the way that things have been just recently?

ch517520 yann frederic baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Mind you, it was quite a turbulent night, as you can tell from thz amount of stuff that was on the dictaphone.

And after the nurse had been (because I had a blood test this morning) and I’d taken my medication I sat down to transcribe everything.

I was looking at apartments and houses last night. There was some kind of robot thing that went through them while I was looking at them, and put them up to let. It seemed that every time I wanted to buy a place it was miraculously transformed into a letting property. The noise that this robot thing made when it roamed through these houses and apartments was really annoying. I couldn’t find a single property to buy without being overwhelmed by this. When I tried to sell a place, again I was overwhelmed by this kind-of robot thing that came along. It was the same with water. I couldn’t have water at the right temperature. It was either too hot or too cold even when there were two different sets of mixing taps draining into a sink. I couldn’t get the water temperature to be right. This thing with these apartments was really stressful in this dream.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Then we were back on that ship yet again … “which ship?” – ed … but in an aeroplane now. The little girl and 2 other people on board had hi-jacked it and were preparing to sail off somewhere peaceful where they didn’t have to worry about being kidnapped again

Back in that dream yet again and there were Portuguese waiting down the road for that girl, to ambush her. This brought me on to I was actually at someone’s house when someone pulled up outside. The guy looked out of the window and said “Oh God it’s him”. I asked what had happened. he said that he had picked up someone at the docks when he’d come back over from Europe and was taking them home. When they arrived at a motorway interchange this guy had proposed going one way and the other guy proposed going a different wayto reach where they were going. This had led to something of quite a dispute between the 2 of them, quite a bit of bad feeling. When they met again outside this bungalow they explained the situation. I said that when one is used to going a certain way for 15 years and someone comes along and says to go another way it’s always something of a challenge. They gradually eased the situation between the 2 of them.

trawlers yacht le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Finally; we were in North America somewhere. We were standing by this railway line watching these 2 girls running across some land and ended up running to this railway line. Whoever it was who was with me we both looked at these girls but we didn’t recognise them at all. We couldn’t think of why they would want to come to this railway line especially in the fashion that they had done running flat out like that.

So as you can see, the fact that I went the whole day without being tired is something of a miracle.

Another task that I needed to do today was to book my appointment with this Sports Therapist person. So I rang them up and that’s arranged for Thursday 12th May. a moment of destiny amongst so many others, one might say.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022What I have been doing for some (and by no means all) of the day is to do what I should have done a while ago and updated the notes from when I was in Leuven and Kôln.

It completely slipped my mind that they needed editing and so I made a start. And I actually completed one day before I ground to a halt again.

That was because I had been set another task, presumably to prove that I am worthy, as AS THE OLD SAYING GOES. I need to produce an entertaining itit – init – itinin – initit – timetable for the weekend, seeing as I’m the only one who knows where I’m going (and even that is doubtful).

Anyway, that is all done and dusted now – three days of riotous fun and high living – I don’t think. But there are some hot cross buns going spare if I behave myself, but really there’s little chance of that, isn’t there? Especially considering who else might (if I’m lucky) be there.

There were the usual breaks for breakfast, coffee and lunch. And then, of course, the walk around the headland to which I referred earlier.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022

And first of all, as usual, is the wander across the car park to look down over the wall to see what was happening down below on the beach.

And as the weather was so nice and there were crowds of people and parked cars all over the place, I expected the beach to be quite busy. And I was right too. There were probably a couple of dozen people down there.

There was quite a bit of beach as well. The tide is on its way in though so it won’t be like that for much longer. You probably gathered that from the crowds of fishing boats loitering around just outside the harbour waiting for the gates to open.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As I said, there were hordes of people milling around on the paths this afternoon. It was very hard to keep some kind of distance, even more so as I seemed to be the only person out there wearing a mask.

There were a couple of people down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban watching the spectacle going on out at sea because it’s been a long time since I’ve seen so many boats out there waiting for things to happen.

So while they were waiting for things to happen I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what’s happening there – if the multitudes of people would let me pass by.

ch827132 valeque le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022When I arrived at the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval I noticed that there’s a new boat in there.

Le Roc A LA Mauve III looks as if she’s put down roots. She’s still there after all this time. But down there with her is another shell-fishing boat.

She’s carrying registration number CH857132 and that’s not in my list of boats so she must also be new to the area. Luckily I can see what I think might be her name and she may well be called Valeque.

Lots of boats in the outer harbour today as you have seen but it’s impossible to say who they are at this range.

normandy warrior port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But we all know who this is, moored up at the loading bay in the inner harbour.

She’s one of two boats, and the fact that she doesn’t have that raised deck at the stern behind the bridge tells us that she is in fact Normandy Warrior, not Normandy Trader.

She must be in port to pick up the swimming pool that’s been on the quayside for a couple of days.

And the company that owns these two freighters is extremely busy. They are recruiting additional sea-going staff and there’s an advert doing the rounds. If only I had a mariner’s watch-keeping certificate I would be home and … errr … well, certainly not dry.

powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Before I went inside though I was overflown by the little red powered hang-glider thing or whatever it’s called.

It was on its way back from a trip down to Mont St Michel when it flew past me overhead. Luckily it didn’t have the same effect as the seagull did yesterday morning.

Back here I finished off my itinerary for the weekend and then went to make tea.

That sweet potato made lovely chips in the air fryer and I’ll do that again. Someone mentioned seasoning so I added a pinch of chili powder, a pinch of garlic salt and a generous twist of freshly-ground black pepper and that certainly added something to the mix. I’ll do that again too.

So now I’m off to bed. I have an 06:00 start in the morning, to which I am not looking forward at all. But as it’s the most important weeked for a good many years with a very crucial meeting, I have to do it.

What I’ll have to do is to nip out surreptitiously and hope that the butterflies in my stomach don’t notice.

Not that it’ll make much difference because if things run according to form and past history, I’ll make a mess of it. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Friday 22nd April 2022 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… miserable, depressing day today when nothing seemed to go according to plan and I’ve no idea why not either.

Nothing to do with the fact that I was rather later than intended going to bed last night. I ought to ba able to cope with 7.5 hours of sleep. And even so, I managed to haul myself out of bed before the second alarm went off, so that’s progress of some sort, I suppose.

Not that you might think so because it still took me a good while to bring myself into the land of the living and start work today.

First job was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And I had actually been with TOTGA for part of it, somewhere in the UK. I was as usual trying to get my hands on her … “no surprise there” – ed. We were having a discussion about a few different things and the topic of acting came up. She said that I’d appeared in a play somewhere but I couldn’t remember where it was. She mentioned something about somewhere in the East Midlands. I remembered then that there had been a play but I had a walk-on minor role in it. I was sure that that wasn’t what she had in mind but it was the only thing that I could recall at the time when I’d actually been in a play.

Later on I was going to be doing some building work or woodwork and I needed some tools. I made out a list of what I wanted and asked Terry about it. Of course he’s not here so the list was passed on to someone else but I didn’t hear anything. Nothing ever changed. Someone else turned up who also knew Terry. We were chatting about the job. I was talking about the mix-up and it turned out that this wasn’t the chap to whom Terry had given the information. Of course we had to start all over again as he was there on the spot but I couldn’t remember what it was that I had ordered. I didn’t have a copy of the list. I was really stranded about ordering the stuff that I needed for this job and not knowing what I wanted.

Somewhere in the middle of this was a girl who was a football referee. We’d all had new facilities on board this ship. There were several ships that were fishing boats but they were quite small. However they all had had new facilities and with this woman being our skipper as well we asked her whether she had private facilities or whether she had to kick the crew out of this one and use the communal ones. She said that because she was an official referee she had her own private facilities. That made us wonder about what happened about the other women skippers in this fleet who weren’t football referees. While we were talking she said that she wanted me and would I be free the next afternoon.? I had one or two things to do but I told her that I could fit her in for what it was that she wanted if she would let me know.

And then we were back in the Middle Ages. There was some old man who was living his life quite rough, impolite, rude, and had incurred the King’s displeasure. The King had sent someone down to arrest him and bring him back. It turned out to be this guy’s son. Theyw ere having some kind of emotional struggle – the son had to take him before the king but he wanted his son to let him go. This went on for quite some time with all kinds of recriminations etc

There was also something about my tax return. I had to complete it but I didn’t have all the papers. I had to find the papers but there was a time limit. I had to apply for nationality but I’d been there 11 years so I had to take 11 steps on this stepping-stone footpath but even then I couldn’t apply because the downward path from there was so steep and there was nowhere to hold on to. It was something that was getting out of hand. And that reminds me that I have my own tax return to do sometime when I come back from my travels.

Actually, part of me is looking forward to my next journey at the end of next week, but part of me isn’t. That’s because there is going to be something of a showdown where something on which I’ve been working for 30 years might come to fruition, if I’m extremely lucky.

On the other hand, it could lead to a major disappointment. And knowing how things usually pan out when I’m involved, that’s more likely the case.

Most of the day I’ve been working on the photos from the High Arctic again and I’ve finally made it, after a couple of years of attempts, to land on Beechey Island.

Just now I’ve been to visit THE THREE GRAVES of members of Sir John Franklin’s doomed expedition to discover the North-West Passage and having had an encounter with a gyrfalcon, I’m now picking my way through some mid-19th Century “Goldners” tin cans towards the remains of “Northumberland House”, the wooden shack that Pullen’s expedition erected in 1852-53 in case any of Franklin’s men should struggle back to Lancaster Sound.

It’s probably all of this that’s making me so depressed at the moment.

A few years ago I had an interesting discussion with a couple of Polar explorers about the Arctic, and I recalled a quote from someone called Judge Malone who had gone to search for the last resting place of his friend Leonidas Hubbard “I never had that feeling before on leaving the wilderness, but this country has exerted a peculiar fascination upon me. I understand what it was now that drew you … on and would not let you turn back”.

Yes, I have the bougeotte again, as they say around here, haven’t I? But there’s little prospect of that happening right now, the way everything is.

At the moment, the only way to deal with the bougeotte is to go for a walk around the headland and after the heady excitement of the last couple of days, even that was a disappointment today with nothing whatever out of the ordinary going on.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The tape that was tied across the front of the building had gone today so I headed straight for the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down onto the beach.

And with the weather being so nice today, there were crowds of people down there this afternoon making the most of it. But that was no surprise really because the car park was packed with cars this afternoon.

Everyone was hemmed in pretty much close to the cliffs today because the tide hadn’t gone all that far out when I was out having a prowl around. They’ll have a couple of hours now to spread out before it comes back in.

repointing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But here’s a big surprise!

By the looks of things they have finished all that they intend to do with repairing the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and they have now moved the scaffolding further along the wall.

But I don’t like the look of that one little bit. There were a couple of mega-cracks in the wall and they don’t look as if they have done that much towards repairing them. I know when I was repointing my house back 10 years ago I wouldn’t have been very happy leaving any cracks like that in the wall.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was there I was also having a good look around out at sea.

Yesterday we saw a couple of fishing boats out on the Baie de Granville and as you can see, there’s one out there this afternoon. And you can tell by his wake that he’s just done a “U-turn” out there in the ocean.

The marker buoys for the lobster pots are still out there too but he’s a long way away from where they are.

And so dodging the crowds this afternoon I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe ru roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The car park by the lighthouse was full to so I was expecting there to be crowds down there as well.

And this afternoon we had a couple more people on the bench by the cabanon vauban enjoying the sun. And that’s all that they were doing because there were no boats out there, and no fishermen on the rocks either.

Plenty of people on the lower path too having a stroll around but I wasn’t intending to join them. I’m having issues with the steps, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Instead, I headed off towards the port.

people on sea wall joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there was quite a crowd over at the ferry terminal as well.

At first I was wondering whether they might have been queuing up to go for a sail on the Joly France ferry that’s over there. But in actual fact I noticed that the crane is working, with a few heavy bags dangling from its hook.

It’s probably a reasonable form of entertainment for the people over there watching the action.

And there will be more action going on over there as of the 5th May (when I am of course away on my travels) because I have it on good authority that the sailings to the Channel Islands are to resume on that date.

We shall see.

cleaning pontoon chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there’s yet another change of occupant over at the chantier naval.

Le Roc A la Mauve III is still there in what must surely be one of the longest-ever stays that I have ever seen, but she’s now been joined by one of the little harbour pontoons that float around in there.

She’s having a good pressure-washing right now and the guy in charge loos as if he’s having an enormous amount of fun doing it too.

It’s the kind of thing that will keep him out of mischief for a while.

ch714399 l'iris de suse port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And the game of musical ships over at the Fish Processing Plant has taken a new twist today.

Neither Briscard nor L’Omerta is there today. The place is occupied by another inshore shell-fishing boat.

And thanks to her registration number being visible and the index of fishing boats that I found a while ago, I can tell you that she’s called L’Iris de Suse, whatever that is supposed to mean.

So what’s the betting for who will be moored there tomorrow? It’s a toss-up, I reckon, between Titanic and the Mary Celeste.

spirit of conrad charles marie anakena la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But at the moment there are croowds of boats over there in the inner harbour.

There are a few that I don’t recognise but those that I do include Spirit of Conrad, Charles Marie, Anakena and la Grande Ancre.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had a few things to do. It had been a miserable day today with having fought off sleep for much of the morning only to have crashed out completely and definitively for an hour or so before going for a walk..

Nothing is ever going to be done if I don’t get a move on.

Tea was my sausage, beans and chips. And the chips were rather hit-and-miss. I think that I’m not shaking them up enough to move them around in the air fryer half-way through so a few are overcooked and a few others are undercooked. But I’ll keep on persevering.

However, generic French baked Beans are awful. I tried a different lot today and they were just as bad as the last lot. I’ll have to buy the bullet and buy full-price branded stuff.

But that’s tomorrow when I go shopping I reckon. Not that I need much because I’m off on my travels next weekend. Judgement Day is approaching rather rapidly.

Tuesday 19th April 2022 – THINGS ARE MOVING …

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… at the site of the huge fire in the Rue du Midi the other week

On my way down into town for my physiotherapy appointment this afternoon I came across a rather large cherry picker parked in the Rue des Juifs.

With some men up there with a load of building material it looks as if they are starting the repairs to at least one of the houses that was badly damaged in the fire.

Of course, they can’t leave them open to the elements for too long. If the rain sets in there will be more than just the roof than needs replacing.

What else was moving this morning was me – a good few minutes before the first alarm went off as well. Never mind being able to do it when I have to, this just goes to prove that I can do it when I don’t have to as well.

So why can’t I do it all the time? That’s what beats me.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I settled down to deal with the slowest radio programme on record – at least since I have been properly organised. It wasn’t finished until after I returned from the physiotherapist and I still haven’t heard it yet to make sure that it’s OK.

And that’s despite the fact that I’d written some of the notes over the weekend as well.

What happened today was that I was plagued by a whole series of interruptions. I was actually making good time, regardless of coffee and breakfast breaks, and then Rosemary rang me. It goes without saying that that threw all of my plans into a cocked hat because we are quite capable of chatting about nothing at all for several hours.

As it happens, Rosemary has a real problem right now, a problem relating to her health, and she needed a shoulder to lean on.

After we had finished I had to dash around and steam-clean the apartment. It’s been a good few weeks since I’ve done that and I have visitors this afternoon so it needs to be something like.

After lunch my visitor arrived. He has plans to set up a ratline bringing Ukrainian refugees from the Polish border to Normandy on the train and we wanted to pick my brains, such as they are

He’s not actually going to find it as easy as it might be because there are a lot of variables in all of this and even knowing the ropes, doing research, having the contacts and the accommodation (because you aren’t going to do it in an 18-hour railway day) I still ended up having to wait around for hours

Moving small groups around is reasonably straightforward, especially if I’m going that way anyway, but he’s talking about doing it with large numbers and that’s completely impractical, especially on the Paris Underground.

My advice was to go to Moldova and hire a coach and a couple of drivers.

No problem with finding accommodation there. Everyone can sleep on the coach as it’s travelling. Two drivers can do a 28-hour shift between them and that’s all you need to come up from Chisinau. I’ve done that a couple of times in the past when the roads and the coaches were nothing like as good as they are now..

After he’d gone I had a shower and cleaned myself up, and then set out for the physiotherapist.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As my appointment is later than usual today, it was round about the right time for me to go and look down onto the beach so I headed off in that direction.

Of course, it’s no longer Bank Holiday so quite a few people are now back at work. Consequently I wasn’t expecting to see all that many people down there on the beach this afternoon.

And I was right too. There couldn’t have been more than a dozen people down there. Mind you, it was extremely windy again, but that’s not usually enough to keep people off the beach when it’s nice and sunny.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Next stop, as usual, is the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was happening down at the port.

The three boats that we saw moored up at the quayside down there yesterday have moved on but there is another, different boat moored down there this afternoon.

And no prizes for guessing who she is either because we’ve seen her down there on dozens of occasions in the past. It is of course L’Omerta, one of the big shell-fishing boats.

The tide is well out so she’s going to be there a few hours yet at least until she can float off elsewhere.

reroofing rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having taken my photograph I headed off down the hill towards the cherry picker in the Rue des Juifs.

From here, we can see what is going on and why they have the cherry picker. There are a couple of people up there in the nacelle taking roofing material up there onto the roof. The repair work to that house seems to be beginning in earnest.

As for the ruins of the burnt-out one next door, there isn’t really all that much that anyone can do to it. I imagine that they will have to pull it down in the end. The stench of burnt wood would be enough to put off anyone from living in there again.

bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And on that note I carried on down the hill into town.

The last time that we were this way we saw them beginning to set up Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère or “temporary bar” that is set up on the corner of the boulodrome for the summer.

It’s pretty much all set up now and I imagine that it will be opening up before too long, although I would have expected it to have been open in time to catch the Easter trade, especially as Easter is so late this year.

Nevertheless, the presence of the Bar Ephemère isn’t putting off the boulonauts. They are still carrying on around all of the other activity down there. It takes more than this to put them off their stride.

road closed rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill towards the physiotherapist I noticed that the Rue Roger Maris was still closed.

What I’ll do will be to go that way home and find out why. There didn’t seem to be too much going on to cause it to be closed for so long the last time I was there.

Today I had a new physiotherapist. She explained the results of my MRI scan and it doesn’t sound as particularly serious as I thought it might have been. Still, we’ll see what the doctor has to say next week.

As for my treatment, she gave my knee a massage with the electric machine and then had me doing a few exercises.

rue roger maris rue du boscq place des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having been thrown out until next Monday, I headed off to find out what was happening in the Rue Roger Maris.

And what I could see was “nothing at all”. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why the road should be closed.

However what I could see was that they had been putting sets of studs in the road, presumably to mark out a pedestrian crossing of some description. But that’s all completed now anyway so the road ought to be open.

There wasn’t anything of any interest going on in the town centre so I pushed on up the hill.

marité belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On the way up the hill towards home I stopped for a look down into the harbour.

Marité is down there, back from her overhaul. But I’m surprised to see that she’s not out working this afternoon. There are plenty of people around and so there’s a marketing opportunity that’s being missed here.

Not that it surprises me. I’ve made several remarks in the past about the staff who run the operation who seem to be much more interested in chatting amongst themselves rather than dealing with customer enquiries.

Belle France, the new Ile de Chausey ferry, is down there too. The other two boats are missing though, presumably running out to the Ile de Chausey.

government boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was something else that caught my eye while I was looking around the port.

Over there on the right is a boat that I haven’t seen before. She’s in the colours of the French Government so she’s presumably an official boat but I’ve no idea what she’s doing in the harbour.

And in the background there’s a mechanical digger doing some work. That’s something that has escaped my notice until this afternoon. I’ve not seen anything about that anywhere either.

But while we’re on the subject of the port and the redevelopment, the story that I mentioned yesterday of the Big Wheel not coming to the town is creating all kinds of controversy and I expect that there will be much more to say about that in the near future.

trawlers fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another thing that I noticed was what I thought was some kind of strange phenomenon on one of the trawlers just down there.

At first I thought that it was a trick of the light, some kind of prismatic effect creating all kinds of arrays of colour, but a closer examination revealed that it’s just a collection of plastic boxes.

The chute and pipework at the side of the trawler by the way is an ice chute. The trawlers fill their holds with ice before they leave and that helps keep the catch fresh until they return to port.

Back here I had a coffee and listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

it started off with something about Ukrainian people coming to Shavington for shelter, all loaded up with all kinds of fishing equipment but I can’t remember any more about it than this

And then there was a prison break organised for a town in Mexico with some young boy in soldier’s uniform who had gone to see a bandit chief about smuggling 3 revolvers into the local prison so that they could escape. 3 American women came into town and ended up working at some kind of job in town where they could watch everything and keep an eye on the prison break. They set up the town so that there were all kinds of weapons like machetes and daggers deposited in certain strategic places so that if these guys escaped but lost their guns could grab hold of some kind of weapon to defend themselves as they tried to make their way out of town.

Later on I was browsing through a newspaper and came across an advert for a Suzuki GS550 4-cylinder for sale for £1000. It said “ex-Shearings” on it so I was rather tempted by that. My brother rang up the garage in London and yes, they still had one. He said that it was a 1987 model so I took over the phone and had a talk to them about it. It had had new shock absorbers all round and a few other bits and pieces so I said that if I paid £100 deposit could they keep it for the weekend and I could come down and listen to it. If it was making any strange noises I could have my money back otherwise I’d pay the balance. They agreed to that so I gave them my details where they could send their details. Then I spoke to my friend from the Wirral and asked if he fancied a trip down to London on Saturday. He said that he had something to do but he could do it early in the morning then we could go down to pick it up. One of the young girls there said that we had to take 2 cars because she didn’t want to see a motorbike so I had to sit by her and ask her what was the matter with motorbikes, why she didn’t want to see one and what problems she had etc.

Finally I was in Virlet last night. There were quite a few of us round at my house including my brother. He was spending all his time tormenting the next-door neighbour’s dog. In the end I told him off and told him to leave the dog alone. The next-door neighbour came out with his dog and a couple of people who were there and we all started to go for a walk. They came round to where we were standing and had a little discussion. Then we went off for this walk having something of a chat. We ended up back at my house. A little girl who was with us and one with them went and sat next to each other and started to play. The guy asked questions about my tomato plants that I had growing. A girl with me borrrowed my pen and wrote out a note for him. It all started to become reasonably friendly. I thought that this doesn’t sound like my normal neighbours to me. I wonder what’s the matter with them.

And I wish that my brother would clear off. It’s rather annoying having my family hanging around like this. I ran away from home 50 years ago this summer in order to put as much distance as possible between me and the rest of them and I really can’t do with them keeping on coming back like this to haunt me during the night when there are many more people, like Castor, zero and TOTGA for example whom I would much rather see.

As I have said before … “and on several occasions too” – ed … I don’t mind Nerina putting in an appearance every now and again. After all, I did quite happily invite her to share my life, for better or for worse, and I would much rather have her about than quite a few people I could name.

Tea was the stuffed pepper that I should have had last night – well, in actual fact it was one that I found from the previous week that I had forgotten but found when I was vacuuming out the vegetable trays. Still, it was just as delicious. I put a bit more chili powder in it and that gave it something more of a kick.

Tomorrow I have my travel arrangements to make. I’m going a few days earlier, for reasons that will become clear in due course.

But if fortune smiles upon me which I hope that it will, something for which I have been hoping for the last 30 years will surely come to pass, and there might even need to be a name-change somewhere along the line.

Monday 18th April 2022 – THERE WAS MUCH …

yacht trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… more activity out on the water this afternoon.

Still not as much as I would have expected to see, given that it’s a bank holiday and we’re having nice weather, but still much more than there has been just recently.

But be that as it may, let’s retourner à nos moutons and while you all admire the photos of the water craft out there today, I’ll tell you about the morning that I had.

at least, insofar as I remember it because until about 11:00 or so I was deep in the arms of Morpheus. It’s a bank Holiday today so there was no alarm.

cancale brittany trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It’s no wonder that I was exhausted this morning because I must have travelled miles during my sleep, as I discovered when I listened to the dictaphone.

Some girl had fallen foul of a gangster boss for some reason. She’d been taking photos and dictating things into her dictaphone about this and that, dictating her dreams. This gangland boss insisted that she hand over her memory card and dictaphone which of course she flatly refused to do. This led to some kind of argument or stand-off. In the end one of his minions managed to produce some kind pf portable machine that would copy everything off the memory card and off the dictaphone so that she could have copies of everything that she had done. She could possibly have her memory card and dictaphone back. This was again a completely realistic kind of dream and made me worry about my dictaphone.

And then it was the birthday of TOTGA’s daughter so she was dancing around, reciting words in a form of poetry about presents that she would like to have for her birthday. Then TOTGA was talking about going to China … JUST LIKE SWEET REGINA” – ed … so I asked if the whole family was going. She replied “yes” or at least to the China museum which is free for everyone who visits China. She went over to a ticket machine to try to sort out everything from the machine that was there. I’m missing a few bits off this. I can’t remember all of it.

There were a couple of cowboys, taxi drivers, but one of them was an Indian. There had been some talk about disabled passengers. There was a notice on the door that said “if you’re phoning up for an elderly disabled person make sure that the taxi has a wheelchair lift fitted”. Anyway these 2 guys were on horses. One of them had a horse blanket over his horse because he was an Indian. When you took the blanket off you could see the saddle underneath all ready for war. One of his comrades came into town, also sitting on a blanket ready for war. The other cowboy went out to confront him.

people in zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022I was in a pub waiting for someone to bring round a settee to make it more comfortable. When the pub closed for the afternoon I was cleaning it up and doing some tidying up. There was something like an indoor pool in this pub, a water feature. I thought that I’d put a spade in and get down to the bottom here and see what was happening. Then 2 people turned up, a girl who worked here and her boyfriend, and they were in the middle of having an argument so I left them to it. I put my spade into the water and dug down into the mud and pulled up a huge pile of LPs and single, an Alquin double album, a pile of stuff by Alquin, loads of stuff like that. Everyone came to give me a hand to help me pull all of these out. I realised of course that they would all be ruined but I wondered what on earth they were all doing in there. I recognised one or two of them from stuff that I’d upgraded to CD but I don’t remember throwing away. There I was, picking out all these LPs from this dirty, muddy, filthy water inside this pub.

Robert Fripp was having a party to celebrate the release of his new blues album. A whole pile of us went. There was a young girl there, a bass guitarist, who played bass on his album but when she came to listen to his album you couldn’t hear the bass on it at all. She asked Robert Fripp what had happened to the bass and he told her that basically her playing was rubbish. That had of course reduced her to tears. I went to see him and asked if he would play the album with the bass on it. He replied that with the bass being rubbish he didn’t want to feature it. I told him that he didn’t really understand music because music isn’t just one performer, that sort of thing, music is everyone together, the whole ensemble. We had this argument. I told him that there had been other cases like Richie Blackmore who for example had sacked Mark Clark in the middle of a recording session and played the bass himself because he didn’t like Clark’s bass playing and I’m impressed that I could remember that when I was asleep. I said that it was dishonest in a way to have this girl play and then wipe out her playing. I insisted that he play the album version with her bass on it. He said that it would take some time so I asked him if he would send me a copy of the album with her bass playing on it. He had to fiddle around in the corner of the room to try to find the master tapes.

Finally I’d been at work. Everyone was slowly leaving. In the end there was just me and a girl, the girl whom I knew from Stoke whose name I can’t remember, the pretty one who had cancer. We were chatting away and the conversation became more and more about our intimate selves. In the end I ended up kissing her. We spent a good few minutes like that. Then I had to leave. On the way out I bumped into my elder sister. She noticed that I was late so I said that I’d been seeing some guy whose sister she knew who lived in Shavington. Then I walked down to my parents’ house in Davenport Avenue. It had changed quite considerably from when I remembered it, the outside. I knocked on the door and one of my younger sister’s children let me in. It told me to make sure that I wiped my feet but there wasn’t really any need because the lawn inside the house was all churned up like a ploughed field, a real horrible mess. My sister said that one of her children was dropping out of school. I told her that she better hadn’t because she only has one chance at education and this is it. She didn’t seem to think that she was, it was my sister’s idea that she would.

There was an interruption in the middle of this for a rather late brunch. Porridge, coffee and the last of the hot cross buns. I shall have to hope that someone I know is going back to the UK soon to bring me back another couple of batches. They aren’t very easy to make correctly and I do like them very much.

When I’d finished the dictaphone notes I had a good session on the guitar and then made a start on the radio programme that I’ll be completing tomorrow if all goes according to plan.

And while we’re on the subject of tomorrow … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ll have to tidy up the apartment tomorrow as I have someone coming round at 14:00 to see me and the place is something of a mess. How I’m going to manage raising myself from the dead with an alarm after several days of lying in remains to be seen.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But that all relates to tomorrow. Today, it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual I wandered off across the car park to the wall at the end to see what was happening down on the beach.

The tide is of course well out, as we have seen over the last few days. But there weren’t as many people down there today as there have been.

The difference today is the amount of wind that we are having. It’s a lot windier than it has been and I suppose that that is keeping people off the sand. No-one really wants to be out in a cossy in this wind.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But it’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good.

And so consequently we had the birdmen of Alcatraz out in numbers this afternoon. I counted a good half dozen and maybe more out and about in the air.

This one is carrying a passenger too, and I haven’t forgotten that it’s on my bucket list to go up for a flight one of these days if I can find an intrepid birdman intrepid enough to take me up, and a Nazgul strong enough to support the two of us. I really could do with losing another 8 or so kilos to bring me down to what I consider to be my optimal weight.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The birdmen of Alcatraz weren’t the only people up in the air today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last couple of days we’ve seen the red powered hang glider flying around and I mentioned yesterday that I wondered what had happened to the yellow one.

Sure enough, around the corner she came this afternoon, pilot and passenger, on their way back to the airfield after a lap around the bay.

All we need now is to see the yellow autogyro and we’ll have had the full set but she’s been conspicuous by her absence for quite a while now.

There was also a small aeroplane flying around the bay but she was too far out for me to be able to take a decent photograph.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Not so many people out on the path either this afternoon.

That’s much more like how it ought to be these days when there’s a pandemic raging.c Not that I’m all that bothered during normal circumstances but if people won’t wear a mask when I’m a person at high risk, I would rather the path be empty.

Only another 87,000 cases yesterday and 35 deaths. Mind you, it hasn’t escaped my notice that the UK hasn’t declared its figures for the last few days. I wonder what’s going on there right now.

people by cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022With all of the excitement going on out at sea this afternoon I was expecting to see crowds of people down by the cabanon vauban.

Well, at least there were a couple of people gazing out to sea at the trawlers and the zodiac in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And also at the pecheurs à pied too because there were plenty of those down there on the rocks this afternoon too. I wondered why there were so many cars on the car park and so few people about.

So I left them to it and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland.

ch798530 briscard ch638749 pescadore sm517594 rocalamauve port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It looks as if there were several boats that missed the tide and the open harbour gates this morning

Settling down in the silt over there at the quayside next to the Fish Processing Plant from front to back are Briscard, Pescadore and Roc A La Mauve. It’s not like any of those to be moored there deliberately.

Back at the apartment I made myself a coffee and settled down in front of the computer for this evening’s football match – a basement match between Barry Town, second bottom, and Aberystwyth Town, third from bottom, in a game that Barry Town must win.

Considering the positions of the teams in the League, this was one of the most exciting games that I’ve seen for quite a while, ranging from end to end like a tide. Aberystwyth took the lead quite early on and managed to hang on for the victory despite Barry throwing the kitchen sink at them in the final 15 minutes.

Whether Barry Town remains in the league now depends on whether Llanilltud Fadre or Pontypridd Town’s grounds are up to the required standard. I wasn’t impressed at all by the ground at LLanilltud when I’ve seen it.

It was too late for food by the time that the football finished so I had a few rounds of toast instead. It won’t do me any harm to go without a full meal here and there. But now I’m off to relax before going to bed.

Tomorrow I’ve an alarm to set, a radio programme to complete, a meeting to attend and a session with a new physiotherapist as well as an apartment to tidy. My few days off passed rather quicker than I was expecting.

Sunday 17th April 2022 – THE MYSTERY OF THE …

photo credit interlink a changing canada Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… mysterious booklet is solved. All I had to do was to look in the photo credits on the final page.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few months ago some company or other bought a photograph from me – a photo of a small isolated community on the “forgotten coast” of Québec

The photograph has been published in the booklet and they sent a copy to me as a courtesy.

Perhaps I ought to add that much of my photography is no better – and probably a lot worse – than many other people’s but it’s all to do with the fact that I’m quite often wandering around, boldly going forward where the hand of man has never set foot.

Consequently they are of interest more for their curiosity value and content rather than their technical merit.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But be that as it may, it’s been another beautiful Spring day today.

The crowds were out in force this afternoon. And they had plenty of beach to be out there upon this afternoon.

Hordes of people swarming around down there this afternoon, all over the beach as well, not just in the shadow of the cliffs waiting for the tide to come in.

There are quite a few people out there in the distance hanging around the water that is retained in the medieval fish trap. Maybe they are looking for whatever might have been retained in there as the tide is on its way out.

hang glider people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Crowds of people swarming around on the path on top of the cliffs as well.

And as you will probably already have noticed, not a single face mask anywhere in sight. Except of course the one that I was wearing. I managed to remember to bring it with me today.

You will also notice that yet another Nazgul has come to grief over there too. And it doesn’t look as if the Birdman of Alcatraz is in any hurry to either take to the air again or to “fold up their tents, like the Arabs and as silently steal away”

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022A couple of days ago I mentioned that this weekend is one of the periods where the tidal coefficient is one of the greatest of the year.

And seeing as that coincides with the holiday season, we can reasonably expect to see crowds of people down there having a go at the pèche à pied and we are not wrong either because there were crowds down there today having a go.

So good luck to them too. As long as they remember to spread it out amongst their friends. Flexing your mussels, you might say.

Last night I certainly flexed mine while I was in bed because I covered a great distance while I was asleep. There was plenty of time to do so too because even though I didn’t go to bed until about 00:20, I didn’t actually raise myself from the dead until 12:00 this morning.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages, and then it was time for brunch – porridge and hot cross buns again. I have to celebrate the Easter season and I do love hot cross buns.

Having eaten, I turned my attention to the masses of notes on the dictaphone from last night. We started with something about the refugees coming back from Paris or Brussels. We had to walk to an adjacent station to catch the train rather than the station where we usually caught it but I don’t know how this finished because this was all that I dreamt about it.

Then this dream advanced to be something to do with the army. There was a huge depot full of all vehicles – dozens of Ford Anglia estates, stuff like that. They were all being sent for scrap. There was an ERF artic tractor, etc. An ex-girlfriend was there. She pointed to a smashed-up Ford Transit van and said that that used to be hers but it had been hit by a lorry when they were moving it around. They were all talking about these vehicles. She pointed out a couple that had the new green log books but he wouldn’t let them go for some reason or other. There were a few cars parked over there. I thought at first that they were Sunbeam Rapiers or Humber Sceptres but they turned out to be Citroens of some description, saloon cars. We were talking about them and we said “why don’t we take them back as a taxi? Why don’t we ask him?”. That seemed to be the logical thing to do for me but there were dozens of stuff here. They all had a big white cross painted on the side, stuff that was being sent for scrap.

Later on we were back in a big railway station that I recognised as the Gare du Midi (although of course it wasn’t). The refugees were actually leaving, flying by aeroplanes that were taking off from the roof. They had some kind of volunteers down there who would call the train times out and marshall the volunteers to bring them up onto the roof where they could then walk across to the terminal building to catch the ‘plane.

And thenI was at one of these American colleges and I’d been watching American football. They were talking about their own particular college that everyone was expecting them to post a 9-6 season but were on the verge of posting a 10-5. They were talking about the quarterback there who had had a better season than expected. I asked them what they thought about the clubs in their Conference and where they thought that their team was going. We had a chat about that. They pointed out about one young lad sitting there – he was actually their 3rd-choice quarterback and they were saying that when it neared the end they should have put him on to give the 1st choice a rest as the match was clearly won and he would avoid injury for him ready for the next couple of games. They talked about the match, that was actually broadcast on TV that went on until about 03:00 or 04:00. I was doing something that night otherwise I might have watched it but even so it was still quite late. The previous one finished an hour earlier because of the time difference in the USA where they had been playing and I’d missed that one as well. While we were chatting the clock was ticking down, about to come into the 2-minutes where they could take a knee and stop the game. They were all counting down the time while they were talking to me and I bet that you are all as impressed as I am that I can discuss technical phrases and tactics in American football games while I’m asleep

However I forgot to mention that there was something involving pizzas in there with all of the students sitting around eating pizza at this particular moment.

Now that all the Palestinians are safely aboard their train we now had to bring all of their luggage across to the new station. That wasn’t easy because there was just a couple of us on the Metro doing all of this. Eventually we arrived and we had to sort out the luggage into the various stops so that the correct luggage would be put out at the correct station. That brought me back to years ago when I worked in travel for Shearings

Interestingly, I was in Crewe last night in a Cortina mkIV or mkV, a red one that was really nice. I turned up Gainsborough Road into the side street to park. There was a policewoman there with a kid chatting so I thought that i’d better park tidily and properly while she was there. The steering was rather stiff because the car had just had a new steering rack fitted so I had to maul it round. When I got out she came over and told me that even though I had both feet on the floor they weren’t on the floor in the right place. In theory she could give me a ticket but she just wanted to make me aware. I found that hard to believe that your feet had to be in a certain position on the floor of your car but apparently so anything is possible in Tory Britain. We had a little discussion about things. Eventually she told me that there had been a police meeting yesterday. I said that I’d heard about it from someone else, and that there had only been 2 policemen on patrol for the whole of Crewe during the day yesterday while this meeting had been on and most of the policemen were there. That she agreed to

Finally I was living with someone in France. TOTGA had run away from home and came over to France to the town or village where I was living. She settled in a cave. For one reason or another she didn’t come to live with the two of us which must have been a great disappointment for me. We used to take her food etc. Then it was starting to become winter. There were a few more days to go before the school holidays so in the end we talked her into going to register for school for the next term. We told her that every child living in France has the right to education whether they were legal immigrants or not. eventually she went and took the plunge. She went to the local school to register. The school started to give her all kinds of help about who to see and where to go etc.

But imagine that! TOTGA living in a cave nearby and me not being able to take her in.

red powered hang glider baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022all of this took me up to the time when I go off for my afternoon walk.

And no sooner did I set my foot outside the building here when I was overflown by one of the aircraft that buzzes around overhead.

It’s our old friend the red powered hang-glider that we have seen quite often. and it has a passenger on board this afternoon too.

And all of this reminds me that we haven’t see the yellow powered hang-glider or the yellow autogyro for quite some time. I wonder what they are up to these days.

F-GBAI Robin DR 400-140B baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And that wasn’t all the aerial activity this afternoon either.

Buzzing along overhead was F-GBAI, a Robin DR 400-140B that belongs to the local Aero Club. She took off at 15:25, did a lap around the Ile de Chausey, flew down south to do a lap around Mont St Michel, and then back up the coast where she came in to land at 16:00.

And seeing as my photo is timed at 15:54 (adjusted for summer time) then that sounds about right.

By the way, this was the fourth of five voyages that she undertook (so far) today. They have certainly been keeping her busy.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As was the case yesterday, I was surprised to see so few boats out there this afternoon.

It’s certainly true that there would be quite a while before the harbour gates would be open but I would have expected, given the fact that it’s a Bank Holiday weekend, the crowds are thronging around and the weather is so nice, to have seen all kinds of water craft milling around offshore in the bay.

Instead, all we can see today are a couple of cabin cruisers moored offshore, with the occupants probably having a good fishing session. And that was the lot. The weather was quite clear this afternoon and I could see for miles. And there was no other boat that I could see.

pointe du roc objects floating in baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That wasn’t everything that was visible in the water.

As I walked around the corner and across the car park I could see something bobbing up and down just offshore from the Pointe du Roc.

This area is frequented by a few varieties of sea mammals, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall and I was thinking that I might have been lucky enough to have caught the head of one of the aforementioned bobbing up and down.

However, no such luck. It looks more like a plastic 25-litre drum of some description floating around out there and that was disappointing.

cabanon vauban people on bench watching peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022A little earlier, I mentioned the pèche à pied today.

There were quite a few people down there on the rocks this afternoon having a go at harvesting whatever there is to be harvested.

Furthermore, there were spectators to the events too. Apart from the usual people wandering around on the paths there were a few people sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban watching what was going on.

So from there I pushed off along the path on the other side of the headland.

anakena chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022My route took me along towards the harbour where I could see down into the chantier vauban to see what was going on there.

There are no changes to the occupants down there this afternoon but my eye was caught by what was going on with Anakena.

Part of the stern drops down to reveal a step into the water. That’s presumably for the passengers to step into a zodiac or something when it’s out on tour.

And, one assumes, for passengers to leap into the water for the “Polar Dip” when she’s up in the Arctic. And we’ve seen people do that quite frequently on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR

That reminds me of when Castor and Pollux tried to entice me into water at a sub-zero temperature in Cambridge Bay
“I can’t with this catheter in my chest” I replied.
A short while later, someone who had overheard the conversation asked me “had you not had the catheter, what would you have done”?
“I’d have found another excuse” I replied.

Not even Castor could entice me into the water at that temperature. I’ve been in twice up to my knees – on one occasion at just 700 miles from the North Pole – and I’m not going in any deeper than that.

bouchots de chausey port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another boat that we have seen quite frequently is Les Bouchots de Chausey.

Shes often seen pottering around loaded to the gunwhales with shellfish that she passes over to the tractor and trailer that come to the harbour to meet her but today her crew is having a day off.

She’s been left to go go aground in the silt with all of her fishing equipment on board this afternoon now that the tide has gone out.

With nothing much else going on, I headed off through the crowds back to my apartment for my afternoon coffee and a decent session of music on the guitar.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022After lunch this afternoon I’d taken some pizza dough out of the freezer and left it to defrost throughout the afternoon.

later this evening I kneaded it and rolled it out onto the pizza tray. And when it had proofed sufficiently I assembled my pizza and baked it.

It was rather overcooked around the edges this afternoon but nevertheless it was quite tasty and filled a gap in my stomach.

So now that I’ve finished my notes I’ll have a little relax before I go to bed. Although I have a radio programme to prepare, it’s a Bank Holiday so i’m having another lie-in.

And maybe go off on a few more travels too. having had the pleasure of TOTGA’s company last night, it must surely be the turn of Castor or Zero to put in an appearance.

We shall have to see.

Thursday 7th April 2022 – MY BLOOD PRESSURE …

… is up. When it was checked at the hospital this morning, it was at 168 over 109 and that set all sorts of alarm bells ringing in there.

They have told me to double the dose of certain medication that I take, and to visit my GP for a blood test in 14 days time to see if this extra medication is causing any more problems.

Mind you, had I told them the real reason for the high blood pressure they wouldn’t have done anything at all and allowed it to pass. It’s all to do with the fact that I had a visitor during the night, someone who stayed with me all the way through.

Not Zero though, despite my comments yesterday. In actual fact TOTGA had the call-up last night, and a very young TOTGA it was too. There was a group of us on board a ship – maybe even THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR discussing all kinds of things. For some reason I lay down to sleep under a blanket. It was one of those sleeps where you were asleep but you could hear everything that was going on. They were talking away. I turned over and fell off the seat onto the floor. Everyone came round to see me and to see what I was doing and help me up. Gradually the conversation drifted off and it was just me and TOTGA. I started to become quite familiar with her. I happened to mention that I knew almost everyone on board to which she replied that so did she. She pointed out a few people whom she knew. There were persons who were friends of my mother so she said “let’s go downstairs and see who I know through my grandfather”. At this point I slapped her behind. We were halfway down the stairs when there was a bride and groom coming up. They had married and were travelling on their honeymoon, still in their wedding clothes. They were saying that they had just bought a pub in Alsager and had demolished it and were going to build houses on it. They were really surprised to see TOTGA here. The way that the two of us were fooling around, it was quite obvious to anyone that the two of us were a couple, which would have been quite strange because of the difference between our two ages during this dream but it was pretty clear to everyone. TOTGA knew the bride and that’s how we were talking but it was clear to everyone that the two of us were certainly a couple.

I forgot to mention that the group of us was doing things in music and the reason why the 2 of us were alone was that we had to persuade whoever was supposed to be looking after her that she could come on a tour abroad with the rest of us and play the music and that she’d be fine and well-looked after (clearly whoever writes the script and directs these nocturnal rambles doesn’t know me very well. Since when would TOTGA ever be safe alone with me?) etc but we didn’t reach that point in the dream

Later on I stepped back into this dream where the leader of the orchestra was trying to spit up TOTGA and me. He thought that our relationship was inappropriate but I was so unwilling to give her up and she was so unwilling to give me up. All around us things like Russian songs and Russian poems had been written on the walls of this ship and the 2 of us wrote something on there too but I can’t remember what.

And then I was back in this dream yet again but I missed a lot of the start that I can’t remember that I’d dictated into my hand without the dictaphone being there. The 2 of us were walking down a set of steps with some people whom she knew, her parents or guardians or something. I had my arm around her but considering her age that would be most unlikely. Again we were looking for these musicians, talking about playing in this music group. I’ve missed so much off the start of this with dictating into my hand.

Finally I was back in this dream again. We’d made it to Köln. I came out of the station and onto the square there and was thinking about where we were going to play. It looked very much as if we’d made up our minds so I went back to the station to find everyone else and that’s all that i can remember of this, coming out of the station, making up my mind and going back. But I’m sure that there was a lot more to it that I can’t remember now.

So having spent the whole night in the company of a very young TOTGA and on a very familiar basis too, it’s hardly surprising that my blood pressure was racing. Yours would have been racing too under these circumstances.

When the alarm went off I was already up and about and when the second one went off, I had actually already had a shower. It goes to show that I can do it when I really try.

rebuilding tiensestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022Having made my butties I staggered off outside into the rain and my walk up to the hospital.

At the start of the Tiensestraat where it leaves the Rector de Somerplein I walked past the building that they started to knock about a couple of months ago.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we were lucky enough to have had a peek inside back then but it’s not quite so easy right now with all of the goings-on.

But I’m intrigued to see what they are going to be doing with it. I hope that it’s not going to become another fast-food joint. There are already plenty of those in the town and it would be nice to see something rather more substantial.

photographer rector de somerplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that taking photos of people taking photos is a fairly regular theme that runs through these pages.

Today we have something slightly different, a photo of someone making a film.

Back there where they have the camera, there’s some kind of plaque set in the floor that doesn’t announce anything in particular yet it seems to be of a great interest to the guy with his camera and his assistant.

That prompted me to make a mental note to go for a closer look on the way home but regrettably, it seems that I forgot.

marquee stand demolition site brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022My route carried on through the rain down to the demolition site that was formerly Sint Pieter’s Hospital.

The site over there where there’s the concrete base is where they occasionally erect a marquee when there is something going on in the town but right now there isn’t anything happening anywhere.

But as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … if they are going to be building some kind of “model village” on this site with expensive apartments and all that kind of thing, they are going to have to do something about the view.

demolition site brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022This isn’t really what you want to see if you’ve shelled out a lot of money for somewhere reasonable to live, is it?

But then again, as we have often said about Belgium, they don’t seem to be in all that much of a hurry to do things around here so I’m not expecting these apartments to see the light of day for quite a while yet. It took them long enough to knock down the hospital.

But as we saw yesterday, the pile of soil on the extreme right seems to be slowly growing. Perhaps one of these days they’ll get round to landscaping part of the site with it. Just imagine the weeds that will be growing in it once the summer arrives.

new building kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022And while we’re on the subject of growing … “well, one of us is” – ed … the newt building in between the Kupicijnenvoer and the Zongang seems to have stopped.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last time that we are here we saw them caulking the joints where they had installed the windows. This month they have now gone along and installed the exterior cladding.

They have been quite quick doing that, which just goes to show that even Belgian builders can get a move on when they have to. It won’t be long before the tenants start moving in.

It’s not for me though. It’ll be quite dark in there, I reckon. I’ll need more light than they can offer otherwise I’ll wilt.

new building kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022Another new building that has attracted our interest over the last few months is the one that they are erecting further down the Kapucijnenvoer on the other side of the road.

They are making a start on the second floor now and in the normal course of events it shouldn’t take them too long to do that. But the depth of the foundations and the height of the cranes onsite seem to suggest that the building is going to be a lot higher that that.

The size of the underground car park is quite impressive too so I’m intrigued to see how tall the building will be and who is going to occupy it. In Leuven you would think that it would be something to do with the University, but why would they need such a car park?

And the final climb up the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan finished me off. Despite the cooling effect of the rain I was defeated at the halfway mark and had to stop for breath

furniture lift monseigneur van waeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022And a couple of places further up the hill too, although one was for a photo opportunity too.

This is something that you don’t see too often, except in Belgium where you find them quite often. Moving house is sometimes complicated when apartment-dwelling is commonplace, and the easiest way to shift your furniture can often be “out of the window”.

That’s where these furniture lifts come in handy. They can do the job in a couple of minutes. When I moved into my apartment in Brussels in 2000 I hired one, but when I finally moved out in 2011 I went out in the hours of darkness via the interior lift.

And so I struggled on up the hill to the hospital. It was a bad day.

At the urology department they poked and prodded me around, took piles of copious notes and weighed me. Despite all of the exercise that I’ve had over the last week I’ve gained 2kg and I don’t know how. And they’ll “get back to me” in due course.

They had already been looking for me at the Haematology Day Clinic so when I arrived they were ready for me. As soon as I walked into the reception she had the paperwork and my ID bracelet all ready. The fact that they are beginning to know me in the hospital is a little disturbing.

With everything ready, I was coupled up quite quickly and I didn’t have to wait very long for the doctor to see me.

She was much more friendly than the one last time but she had no concrete suggestions about my struggles. Next month I have the appointment with the heart specialist and we’ll see what he can suggest.

Having picked up some extra medication I headed for home and halfway down the hill I had a ‘phone call from Urology. “Come back on 5th May”. So that’s now three appointments on that day. Things are obviously reaching a critical point.

bicycle rack kruisstraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022Several months ago I noticed that they were installing some cycle racks at the side of the Sin Jakobuskerk.

At the time I speculated that they weren’t likely to see much business because they were rather off the beaten track as far as accommodation goes, and it looks as if I might have been right.

What caught my interest though was the electric bike in the foreground. I noticed that it was carrying some kind of registration plate. As well as that, instead of having a chain it has a synthetic drive belt.

Next time that I’m out and about I’ll have to keep an eye out for what’s happening with this situation. I’ve not encountered it before.

The banana-flavoured soya milk that I love and can only buy in Belgium has now run out so I called into Delhaize for more supplies on the way home. And back here I had a coffee and a chat with Liz before I rather unceremoniously crashed out.

This evening I’m not all that hungry so I’ve just had a couple of biscuits. This weight issue isn’t do to food but to water issues, but even so I should take every opportunity to cut down on my food intake.

So having written my notes I’m going to lounge around for a while before going to bed.

But a whole night with TOTGA! Whatever next?

Tuesday 29th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

peccavi carteret trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… various photos of various sea-going craft that were out and about on the water this afternoon, I’ll tell you about my somewhat depressing day today.

It couldn’t have got off to a worse start this morning. When the alarm went off at 07:30 I leant out of bed and switched it off. And the next thing that I remember was when it went off again at 08:00.

Although I didn’t go back to sleep at that point, it was … errr … somewhat later when I finally arose from the dead.

After I had taken my medication I came back in here to sit on my chair where I … errr … fell asleep again for 20 minutes.

cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nevertheless, I awoke in time to prepare for my Welsh lesson today but there was actually no need because we didn’t finish the first lesson last week and we only just about reached the end of it today.

That’s because we spent much more time talking in this lesson and after my weekend course I was feeling much more confident about things. As a result the lesson passed quite well, to my surprise.

There was lunch as well and it seems that I might have miscalculated the bread issue. Even if there’s enough bread left for tomorrow, there won’t be enough for sandwiches on my journey tomorrow and I don’t want to take the bread out of the freezer just for a couple of slices.

What I’ll have to do is to make other plans for lunch on my travels.

ch933900 carteret jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After lunch, having fought off yet more sleep, I had a listen to where I’d been during the night.

I was a famous footballer in the days before I was famous and I’d fixed a car for one of my clubmates, a white 2000E with a black vinyl roof. I had it running really well and everyone came to see it. They stood there and listened to it. Someone noticed the ice in the radiator. I explained that it had only just gone in and it would melt but they all started making fun of this ice that was in there. Just then I was violently sick. This went on for 3 or 4 minutes that I was violently sick. Someone else who had a white 2000E came up, a footballer, and said “come with me. We’re going to the chemist. Apparently it was something to do with what I was eating. It was good for sport and energy but not for my general health. Someone went to fetch his car and beckoned to me get in it but I noticed that one of his rear lights was not working.

belle france joly france black pearl peccavi charlevy port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I was then with a group of people last night in a house somewhere. One person was having trouble with his car so he set off and we followed him. He went down a hill, you could hear his car misfiring from here, and reached the bottom, pulled off and went round the roundabout underneath. It was obvious that he was still having problems. His car managed to go round the roundabout but he ended up in the wrong gear and tried to come back. He was struggling up the hill and an ancient Austin 7 went past. By the time we returned to the house the guy in the Austin 7 had checked the car over, adjusted the points and was giving him a few other suggestions about how he could improve the performance on his car like put a shaft in to connect the gear lever up to the flywheel, one or two other little things like that. They’d made a meal for me but first when I came in the offered me a cup of tea but I asked “what about everyone else for a cup of tea?”. I went to pour some tea for everyone and have mine with my meal in a couple of minutes.

omerta calean chant de sirenes trafalgar pierre de jade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I’d been to see people like those whom I knew from the Wirral and the like. We’d been talking about all meeting up in the States sometime at the end of the summer. Gradually there were just me and one of them left. We were on a petrol station. He was on his Harley Davidson, a gold one. I said goodbye to him and “see you in a couple of months”. He said “what?”. He’d plainly forgotten about this trip about which we’d been talking. I knew really that it wasn’t going to happen so I just thought that I’d mention the trip but without any real hope that it would actually come off. We were looking at all these electric motorcycles including tiny little 33cc ones. I was estimating how much time it would take me to return home on one of those, not because it could travel quickly but obviously it was so uncomfortable that you could never have a comfortable ride on a motorcycle so small as this. We had a look at the 50cc and 75cc ones but they didn’t seem to be all that much better. I set off home and as I walked out of this garage there was a blind spot for the security cameras where I could easily have picked up one of these motorbikes and walked off with it but I decided against it. I set off to walk home, interested to see how many hours it would take me so that I could compare it at some other time with one of these small motorbikes. I didn’t think that it would be any quicker because although you could move quicker, you’d need to spend more time recovering from the uncomfortable position.

Finally I’d been to see Morton playing but they’d been playing somewhere like Hamilton or Motherwell. I walked out of the ground down to the old A74 because the motorway hadn’t been built yet. I started to hitch a lift but there was no-one stopping for me to go home and I ended up in Stirling (don’t ask me how), walking through the town centre of Stirling at night. I thought that I’d better buy a few things to keep me going for the journey because it was a long way. I ended up talking to Louise, discussing changing part of a car. I showed her how to work a power bar backwards so that you didn’t have as long a swing but you could get more power on it. I was still a long way from home and working out how many hours it would take me to actually walk. I arrived at a figure of something like 80 hours if I didn’t have a lift.

person sitting on rock rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022That took me up to the time when I usually go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual, my first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down there.

And there wasn’t all that much beach to be on this afternoon but there were rocks a-plenty and there was someone sitting down there like Piffy on … errr … a rock, acting as if she owned it.

There was quite a bit of mist out at sea again but as you have seen, there was plenty of maritime traffic today as well, with all of the fishing boats heading back to port this afternoon.

repointing medieval city walls place du marche au chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022However my mind was elsewhere this afternoon.

While I was looking down onto the beach, I could also see that there was plenty of activity going on this afternoon on the medieval city walls over at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

There were several people scrambling over the scaffolding, doing some pointing on the wall over there. And there’s plenty of it that needs to be done as well, but over the last couple of weeks since they seem to have made rapid progress.

They may well not be there for much longer, but then again I have said things like that before and been confounded.

storm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022One thing is sure though, and that it that they may well not be there for much longer this afternoon.

Over at the Ile de Chausey is one of the most wicked storms that I’ve seen for quite a while and while, for a change, the wind isn’t all that strong, it won’t be too long before it’s upon us.

That’s really the cue for me to get a move on. I’ve no idea how long it’ll take for the storm to arrive but I don’t want to be caught out and about in it.

But at least I won’t be alone because there were several other people out and about. But I bet that they won’t be out and about for long.

people sitting on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nevertheless, there will be several people who will end up being taken by surprise by the rainstorm, if it does actually arrive.

Down here on the bench by the cabanon vauban, you can’t see over the top of the cliff and beyond the lighthouse and so the couple sitting down here won’t have any idea of what’s lurking out at sea. And it’s not exactly a place from where you can run easily, with all of the steps and the muddy path.

But then I suppose that they can always shelter inside the cabanon if necessary.

Leaving them to it, I headed off down the path on top of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen all of the fishing boats lined up waiting, either to unload at the fish processing plant or for the gates to the inner harbour to open.

But I was more intrigued to see what was happening with Chausiaise. She’s currently moored at the pontoon where many of the fishing boats tie up so they aren’t going to be too pleased to see her there.

And she has her crane extended too so there’s something going on with her right now.

Back home I made myself a coffee and then made another start on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019.

Right now we’re anchored off Devon Island and I’m stuck – there’s a hill there by the old RCMP post at Dundas Harbour where there’s a memorial monument. And I know the name of this hill – it’s named after a sailor on Belcher’s expdition of 1852 but can I think of his name?

To try to think, I had a good spell on the guitar but it didn’t work and even now, as I’m about to go to bed I still can’t think of his name.

Tea was a left-over curry which was delicious and then I came in here to write up my notes. And I had an interruption as well. I seem to be in great demand just recently and I don’t understand why because it’s not the usual state of affairs as far as I am concerned.

But all of that is for another time. I’m going to have a quiet play on the guitar and then I’m off to bed. I have the doctor in the morning and the physiotherapist in the afternoon. And then on Thursday I’m off on my travels again.

There’s no holding me back right now.

Tuesday 22nd March 2022 – WHAT A DISASTER …

… that was today.

My Welsh lesson this ùorning is one that I would very much like to forget. It was the first day of a new year and the morning should have been spent on “refreshing” what we had learnt last year and that simply served to remind me of how much I had forgotten.

That’s the problem when you have a teflon brain – nothing sticks to it. And at times I feel like Homer Simpson and “every time I learn something new, it pushes something old out”.

It all actually went wrong last night when I fell into bed having forgotten to clean my teeth, forgotten the pill that I’m supposed to take and probably forgotten several other things too that I can’t remember now.

And whichever one of it was that I had forgotten meant that I didn’t go to sleep for an age.

Even worse, when the alarm went off at 07:30 I turned over and went back to sleep. I was still asleep when the second alarm went off at 08:00 and it was a good 20 minutes later when I eventually struggled to my feet.

No day can function properly when it starts like that.

After the medication I prepared for the lesson this morning. At least, I read the notes and looked up the words that I didn’t know or couldn’t remember. And there are far more of those than there ought to be.

At least the breakfast of coffee and fruit bread was delicious. I seem to have mastered that these days.

After lunch I carried on editing the photos from August 2019 and right now we’re coming into Icy Arm of Buchan Gulf, a fjord in the north of Baffin Island.

And while many of the photos that I took the previous night and that morning are plagued by bad light and moving ships, the odd one or two, such as THIS ONE have brought bck a few pleasant memories.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then, of course, I went off on my afternoon walk around the headland.

As usual I went over to the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach. And there was plenty of beach too. The tide was miles out this afternoon and there were one or two people down there enjoying the beautiful weather.

There were quite a few people walking around on the path up here too on top of the cliffs. I’ve no idea where they came from because it’s not quite holiday time yet so in theory we shouldn’t be having too many tourists right now.

trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual I was also having a look around out to sea to see what was happening there, and for once just recently, the visibility was quite good.

There were two fishing boats right out there in the bay this afternoon and that was rather puzzling. You can tell by the beach in the previous photo that it’s going to be a good couple of hours before they even start thinking about opening the harbour gates.

So what were they doing? The only thing that occurred to me was that they were fishing, but in the shipping lane between the port and the Ile de Chausey is a strange place to put out your nets.

Apart from that, I have no idea.

girl taking photograph pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was a large party of young people strolling along the path and so I followed them.

When they reached the old wrecked gun, most of them clambered aboard the barrel while one of them took a photo. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that taking a photo of people taking a photo is a regular feature of these pages.

In the background is the bunker with the flat top on which I stand to take photos of Jersey and of the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel whenever the weather permits.

And where, on one occasion, my camera came to grief one night as a gust of wind lifted it and the tripod off the top and sent it all crashing to the ground.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With nothing else much happening I wandered off across the car park behind the lighthouse and across the car park to the end of the headland.

There was nothing going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel but there were quite a few people down there at the cabanon vauban watching it. There are two people sitting on the bench, and another two sitting on a rock behind the bush lower down.

There were a few people at the pèche à pied too but they were too far out for a photograph to do any good.

Instead, I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

spirit of conrad notre dame de cap lihou le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There’s been another change in occupancy in the chantier naval today.

Spirit of Conrad and Le Roc à la Mauve III are still in there but the trawler Suzanga has now departed after her brief stay. In her place we have the port’s lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, the green and orange boat, receiving attention.

A little earlier this afternoon I had bumped into Pierre, the captain of Spirit of Conrad. He tells me that he hopes that she will be back in the water quite soon.

He’s in a hurry to start work and I can’t blame me. Things are not so easy after all of the cancellations that they had when Covid was running even more rampant than it is now.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiaise in the loading bay in the inner harbour.

Today, she’s out there, over at the ferry terminal sitting on the silt. And by the looks of things, she may well be taking some freight from there too. At the side of the crane are some of the big gravel bags full of building materials.

None of the ferries are there this afternoon though. There are only two of them in the inner harbour and so I imagine that the third one is over at the Ile de Chausey waiting for the tide to turn so it can bring the day trippers back home again.

pallet lifter baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022But while I was having a good look at Chausiaise, I noticed out of the corner of my eye something moving about in the bay, even though the tide is out.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that a good while back they laid some kind of outflow out of the port de plaisance into the bay, and you can see it here.

And what you can also see is a pallet loader out there driving around in the bay, heading back to dry land. I wonder what he’s been doing today.

But he’s certainly picked the right time of year to be doing it. We’re having one of the lowest tides of the year right now.

digger trailer lorry porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back home I had a look at what was going on at the Porte St Jean.

The trailer and the digger are there again but the lorry that usually pulls them has left the trailer behind and cleared off. There’s a pickup parked over there but he’s not coupled up to the trailer.

Back here I had a coffee and then listened to the dictaphone notes to find out where I’d been during the night. Part of it was difficult to decipher, not because of the dictaphone but because I was in a deep sleep and mumbling into it instead of talking.

I started off last night with my friends in Pittsburgh and their father. I can’t remember how it started with them and where it went to but later on there was an issue about football. The Turkish team had insisted on playing Russia so all the other football clubs had a boycott. Most of the fans were in favour but some of the players weren’t. David Beckham stood up to make a speech. He started off by saying “you know that I have always defended the weak against the strong” to which the whole crowd burst out into fits of laughter. He just turned round and walked off to a whole pile of jeers and catcalls. Gradually the crowd dispersed. I was with a couple of people who asked what I thought. I thought that the only thing on my mind was not to have a repeat of what happened in 1939 and I’d go to any lengths even if it means cancelling football to it. That was pretty much the general opinion of everyone who was there

To think that TOTGA had finally come all this way out here to see me and just as she did so all of the football matches were cancelled which upset me quite a lot but there was some girl advertising a Russian-made mixer for sale so I felt like asking her if some farmer had towed it away from a war zone and that was how she came to have it.

And if TOTGA put in an appearance last night and I can’t remember anything about it, that’s the kind of thing that fills me full of dismay as well. People like her and the others don’t appear so often in my dreams that I can afford to forget all about them.

Finally, I was giving lessons to people last night about First Class on behalf of the students’ union, making sure that they understood the principles but First Class had changed had changed since I used it 20 years ago. There was practically no-one on there any more and the threads were extremely short. The new intake of students didn’t seem to be interested in using it so it never really took off. I was going through a few of the Conferences in there and they were practically dead, nothing like it was in the old days.

While I was at it, I also booked my rail tickets for my next outing. At least, some of the tickets because I need to liaise with someone else about part of my journey. It’s not as straightforward as you might think.

What else I did was to do some more work on that three-column photo layout on which I ran aground a month or two ago. And it took me less than two minutes to see where I’d gone wrong.

What I did was when I was doing some “cut and paste” out of my photo index, I missed off a square bracket. And once I’d discovered it and put it back, it all flowed together quite nicely.

And then I did something else that has upset everything and I need to find out what it is.

That occurred round about tea-time so instead I went off to make food. Air-fried chips with vegan sausage and baked beans. And the tragedy is that I’ve used the last of the tray of baked beans that someone brought back for me from the UK. I’ll have to buy ones from the supermarket here and they don’t taste the same.

At least they aren’t as bad as Canadian baked beans. Over there they add sugar to them and they taste disgusting.

There’s one piece of good news though, and that is that if I put the vegan sausage in the air fryer with 10 minutes to go, they fry perfectly.

Tomorrow I have the nurse coming around to inject me, and the physiotherapist. Then there’s a Welsh revision on Thursday evening and a Welsh weekend course this weekend. I’ll be glad to go on my travels in order to have a little rest.

And as I write this, it is now well over 24 hours since I turned off the heating. Things are warming up, in more ways than one.

Monday 21st March 2022 – IT’S A GOOD JOB …

… that I had the alarm set to remind me about my visit to the physiotherapist. When it went off at 14:30 I was crashed out fast asleep on my chair in here.

That’s probably because I had quite a hectic morning.

Instead of the usual early night on Sunday, I wasn’t tired so I did some work on the text for the radio programme. So when I finally did go to bed and the alarm went off later at 06:00 it was rather a struggle to leave the bed.

But once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I could carry on with the radio programme. By 09:55 it was all prepared, up and running but I’m not claiming it as a record because of the time that I spent on it last night.

But while I was listening to it and to the one that I was sending off for this weekend, in a mad fit of enthusiasm I wrote all of the notes for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing next week.

Whatever has come over me, working like this?

With no coffee cake left for breakfast, I fetched the fruit bread from the freezer and that had been defrosting. It was quite delicious of course, but not really a patch on the coffee cake.

After I’d finished the notes for the next radio programme I worked on a few photos from the High Arctic in 2019. Progress is slow with them, but at least it’s progress of a sort.

The bread had finished too on Friday but there was half a loaf in the freezer so I brought that out and it had been defrosting. It was nice and fresh, the bit that I sliced for lunch.

When I finished I came back in here to carry on with my photos but that was when I crashed out. But when the alarm went off, I had a very quick shower and clean-up before setting off for the physiotherapist.

lorry trailer digger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I set out for my walk, I didn’t manage to go very far before I stopped to take a photograph.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen this lorry on several occasions, parked up on the pavement outside the Porte St Jean that leads into the walled town.

He has his trailer attached to the rear and on it is the digger. It seems that they won’t pass under the arch and even if they did, they wouldn’t be able to manoeuvre it around the narrow streets.

They probably drop off the digger and it goes into the walled town under its own steam – or diesel.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I go out for a walk in this direction I usually stop here to try out the camera to make sure that it works.

This is the viewpoint on the outer walls at the junction of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and it overlooks the outer harbour and the fish processing plant.

The tide is well out so there aren’t any fishing boats loitering around down there. But there are plenty of vans parked there waiting for the shell-fishing boats to come back in on the high tide this afternoon

There were quite a few people milling around here this afternoon and that was a surprise because it’s not on the usual tourist track.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022From there I wandered off down towards the town centre on my way to the physiotherapist.

For the last couple of days we’ve seen a big pile of freight on the quayside waiting to be picked up by one of the Jersey freighters. It’s still there this afternoon – or, at least, there’s some freight down there but whether it’s the same freight or not I really don’t know.

And still no Marité either. She’s taking her time in Cherbourg having her annual overhaul. It’s a good job that Easter is late this year otherwise she might be having problems.

cranes in operation joly france chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022But here’s some excitement down at the side of the harbour where the Joly France boats are moored.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen some strange things around here in the past but this is one of the strangest.

One of the Joly France ferries and Chausiaise, the little freighter, have their on-board cranes extended and Joly France seems to have made a fine catch – a couple of wheel rims filled with concrete.

By the looks of things, it seems that Joly France is going to pass the wheels over to Chausiaise but as for why, I have no idea.

resurfacing abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Thee wasn’t much at all happening in the town centre, but I noticed that they seemed to have made some considerable advance in what they were doing

They are in the process of tarring over the path, old rails included, and laying stone chippings on the top. This is going to make a pleasant change to how the road surface used to be.

The walk up the hill to the physiotherapist was not as difficult as it has been earlier in the year and I arrived with 10 minutes to spare.

She had me on the couch for 10 minutes while she used her electro-massaging thing on my knee, and then we spent the rest of the time doing some exercises. And she’s asked me to bring my x-rays with me on Wednesday so that she can look at them.

The walk down the hill towards the town centre in the beautiful sunny weather was wonderful and if I had remembered to bring my wallet with me I might have even gone for a vegan ice cream.

Ahh well!

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As I walked back up the Rue des Juifs towards home, I noticed that events have unfolded down in the inner harbour.

Having seen Chausiaise playing about with her crane a little earlier, she’s now moored over at the loading bay so I wonder what she’s up to now and what those wheel had to do with it all.

And all of those things that we saw on the quayside yesterday and some of which we can see on the extreme right of this photo? They are the old bouchot stakes from the Ile de Chausey that are in the process of being pulled up and replaced with newer equipment.

lorry passing under porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Leaving them all to it, I carried walking up the hill towards home.

Earlier I said that the lorries that come here are unable to pass under the arch into the old town. But this one clearly managed to because it’s on its way out – or, at least, trying to.

There’s almost nothing in the way of clearance either side and you can see the guy on the extreme left who is giving instructions to the driver.

And he needs it too. I’ve no idea how long he might have been there before I arrived but he advanced and reversed three times while I was watching before he was satisfied that he could come out without damaging the archway.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And so before I went back in, I went to have my usual look down on the beach to see what was going on.

With the day being so beautiful I was expecting to see crowds of people down there on the beach this afternoon, especially as there was plenty of beach to be on with the tide being out.

And as we can see, there are quite a few people down there this afternoon taking advantage of the beach and the weather. And I do have to say that if I had been feeling up to it, I would have been down there with them.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes, especially as I could actually decipher them today.

I was on my way to Winsford last night, going down the Pyms Lane area of Crewe and out that way. As I passed through the end of the Leighton Park Estate I came across all these canvas tents strung from trees. I stopped and looked in, and there were families with young children living in there. I started to talk to these people as I was interested in finding out their names and who was living in here as I was absolutely outraged by the condition in which the people were living in the 21st Century in the UK. Listening to people’s stories about the pressure under which they were living and the little babies who were there, new-borns, etc was really distressing. It was a really terrible thing to have to see and hear etc.

And this one, I started dictating it without the dictaphone. I had to go off to Wardle, somewhere like that. One of my drivers had left a car here, a MkV Cortina so I went in that. When I came back, I said that we were disposing of all of our cars and having MkVs because this was so comfortable and so good to have been in. Then I had to go off with work and ended up in an office where someone showed me all these jobs that were kept in these binders so I ended up on the desk facing her leafing my way through all of these files

Finally, we’d been to somewhere, I dunno. There were 4 of us and at times there had been 5. The 5th was a girl whom I happened to quite like and I would have liked her to have been with us much more often than the few minutes that she was there. Later we were round at my father’s house. It was getting on towards the end of November and with Halloween coming up on the Saturday he decided he decided that he was going to go away for a few days. That meant that we would be at a loose end so I was thinking that maybe I’d go to Colwyn Bay or Abergele for a few days, find a boarding house or something. We went in and my father’s partner was serving breakfast but there was none for me. She said “I didn’t realise that you wanted any” but everyone else was eating. There were all kinds of crystal glasses of all kinds on it but everyone seemed to have taken the wrong glass, I couldn’t find one for me. I filled mine up with water but it ended up that it was someone else’s milk that I had. We then started to talk about the fun that we’d had with the water bottles this weekend, sometimes there were 4 and then 5 of us and we’d all ended up with the wrong water bottle.

Liz was on line as well and so for the first time for quite a while we had a lengthy chat which made a very nice change.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice, which was even more delicious than usual and I don’t know why that would be. And there’s enough left to make a taco roll tomorrow and having been left overnight to marinade, it will be even better.

This evening I’ve been dealing with a knotty little problem. There was something afoot that might have involved me but some railway engineering in the UK has put an end to all of that. That’s not going to happen now.

But don’t worry – I had no plans to return to the UK.

Tomorrow is the first day of my third year of Welsh. And I’m no more confident than I was 12 months ago. This teflon brain, to which nothing seems to stick, is annoying me intensely but I have to push on regardless.

Brains do tend to seize up if they aren’t used and so I have to do what I can to keep it working and I can’t really think of what else to do with it. And so I may as well push on.

A good night’s sleep will probably do me some good. It can’t do any harm.

But here’s SOMETHING INTERESTING that I was reading today. I could quite easily identify several points in this article, especially the part about “psychedelic dreams”.

And I certainly don’t panic, unless I’m in hot pursuit of TOTGA, Castor and/or Zero and there’s a chance that they will escape my evil clutches.

Thursday 17th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… several photos of the excitement that we had out there in the Baie de Granville this afternoon, let me tell you about the somewhat less-than-exciting day that I had today.

It started off rather badly when I switched off the alarm at 07:30 and … errr … went back to sleep. I awoke with a start at 07:59 and I just about managed to put my feet on the floor as the 08:00 repeat went off.

Mind you, it’s my own fault. I did say that I was planning to have an early night but I picked up the guitar for a quick strum and that, dear reader, was that.

Somehow, from out of nowhere, I managed to start to transcribe the dictaphone notes. That was the first thing that I did once I’d taken my medicine.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022They were collecting goods for refugees again. I was wandering around trying to find a place where I could set up to co-ordinate the relief and find an office. That means finding a house where there was someone and finding a lorry and driver, all that kind of thing. I could do some driving myself but for some reason no matter where I walked there was always something getting in the way. There was even some moment where all of this became extremely violent but I can’t remember very much about all of this particular part of a dream etc. Just walking past these lorries and not being able to go into a house and the feeling of violence that was going on with this as well

Again, I was doing something else for refugees and I was absolutely tired out completely so I went to bed. When I awoke halfway through my sleep I noticed that halfway through the head of the bed were things like bottled from old-age pensioners and messages from old women. I thought that they had donated but they hadn’t donated. Instead, there were all kind sof things like bottles of spirits and (… I fell asleep here …) so when I awoke all those bottles were empty. Obviously someone had left them there to incriminate me or frighten me or something like that but it wasn’t going to work. I was going to carry on.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There were four of us who had been out working for the local council in a lorry. We had been doing all kinds of things, cleaning up places and so on. But tempers between the two drivers were becoming really frayed. One was working inside the cab of the vehicle so the other grabbed a can of spray paint and aimed the spray at him from the other side of the window. The first guy instinctively ducked and banged his head which made the other guy laugh. But now we couldn’t see out of the windscreen. We had to go back to the depot. I’d warned this guy not to use the spray can but he wouldn’t listen so I said that when we arrive at the depot there will be quite a row about this. He said “so you should” because he’d sprayed something like “vegans rule OK” and they’ll all think that it’s me. I was totally disgusted. The fourth guy decided that he was going to go home so we all decided that we would take the lorry back. The fourth guy was only a young apprentice so I told him that I hoped that he wouldn’t really get into any kind of trouble at all over this. I hoped that I wouldn’t either and maybe we would see each other again but this was a terrible note some kind of day’s work, trying to drive home in this lorry when we can’t see out of the windscreen because of the paint etc. I felt dismayed that these 2 guys, after I’d told them about losing their temper between themselves had gone and done this kind of thing that would land us all in all kinds of trouble

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022We’d had some kind of family meeting. My brother was there and so were some others. I suddenly noticed the time. I only had something like 45 minutes to go home, change and reach the airport before my flight on holiday departed. When the meeting came to an end I had to dash out quite quickly, picked up my suit and thought that I’d find a hedge behind which I could change while I’m on my travels. I picked up my things and overtook them as they were wending their way home. I found what looked like a likely place. Now there was only something like 40 minutes to my flight. Just as I was about to go behind the hedge to change into my suit I suddenly realised that I didn’t have my suitcase. That was at my brother’s shop. Of course he’d now locked up and gone straight home. I would have to go there first but I wouldn’t have time and if he hasn’t gone straight home I’m never have my suitcase. It looked to me rather regrettably that I wasn’t going to be leaving on this holiday to the Far East.

An East German bank had a large sum of gold on hand. A group of people set out from the UK to try to rob it. They had to work out all kinds of things such as guards tea-breaks, changes of shift and everything so that they could pass frontiers without very much inspection etc. When they arrived at the bank they raided the vehicle that was carrying it only to find that it was empty. It turned out that what had happened was that the bank had put it on deposit with a bank back in the UK to use as collateral for some kind of financial deal that was taking place. There they were in the middle of the street with a double-decker bus full of their own men, raided this place. They had some of their own men tied up as decoys etc. Now they were arguing about what they were going to do next. Were they going back to the UK to raid this British bank or would they try to raid somewhere else in East Germany or were they just going to abandon the whole thing and go home?

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So, once more, none of my favourite young ladies came to visit me, although I did have a very strong feeling that TOTGA was around somewhere last night and I was surprised to hear nothing about her on the dictaphone this morning.

The rest of the day has been spent, such as it was during all of the other interruptions, in catching up with the outstanding entries from when I was in Leuven. I’d just done some basic rough notes at the time but now they are complete.

As for the interruptions, we had coffee, and breakfast, and lunch, and taking out a huge pile of rubbish. I’m having a good sort-out here and all kinds of stuff that I’ve been keeping for no good reason have gone the Way of the West.

A few phone calls and booking a few hotels for a little journey I’ll be making were also a few tasks that I also accomplished today.

Another thing that I’ve been doing is to have a think about rearranging the kitchen. In the back of Caliburn are the cupboards that I bought ages ago that will replace the stuff that I’m using as an island. But I’m planning on doing something about a wall unit so that I can have a proper oven.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then there was of course the afternoon walk.

And I hardly had time to step out of the front door when I felt the cold hand of doom on my shoulder.

It’s that time of year again. The sun is out and there’s quite a wind so it’s brought out the Birdmen of Alcatraz in numbers. One of them flew past on his Nazgul as I went outside.

He was followed by several of his mates as well. Not quite the Nine Riders but it was pretty much almost. Legolas would have had a few easy targets this afternoon.

people entering water beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And once he was out of the way I could wander across to the end of the car park to see what was going on there.

A reasonable amount of beach there this afternoon and there were several people down there on it.

Even this intrepid pair of pedestrians looking as if they are going full-tilt headlong into the water.

As I said just now, it’s a nice sunny day. But it’s not that nice. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the only water that interests me from a bathing point of view is water at 37°C

When we were out in the High Arctic in 2019 Castor asked me if I would like to jump into the sea with her.

“I can’t” I replied. “I have a catheter in my chest”

Someone who had overheard the conversation asked me later “Had you not had the catheter, what would you have done?”

“I’d have thought of another excuse”. Sea water at -0.5°C might be interesting for some but not for me. Not even Castor could drag me in to water at that temperature.

trawlers returning to port de Granville harbour baie de granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was having a good look around out at sea.

There was probably about a dozen trawlers heading back into port right now. The viewing conditions were absolutely perfect today and I could see for miles out to sea. There have been days just recently when I wouldn’t have seen anything at all quite like this.

The tide isn’t far enough in to open the harbour gates right now but I imagine that it might be by the time that they all arrive in the outer harbour. They won’t have to wait long, I reckon.

Dassault Aviation Falcon 50M trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen plenty of photos already of the Dassault Falcon 50M that was flying around in large circles out in the bay.

This is the type of jet that started the genocide in Rwanda when the one carrying the Rwandan and Burundian Presidents was shot down at Kigali, but this particular one here is one of the 8 Falcon 50M machines owned by the French Navy and used for maritime surveillance.

So what’s it doing here? It certainly had a great deal of interest in what was happening out at sea and was circling around the bay for quite some time

We’ll probably have to wait until tomorrow to find out.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, this was quite an interesting situation.

There were two trawlers here outside the outer harbour waiting for more tide to come in and they seemed to have stopped to have a chat.

It’s not often that you see them as close as this in the open sea and I was wondering if maybe one of the had wanted to borrow a cup of sugar from the other

However, when you see two lots of extremely strange activity taking place in more-or-less the same place, like the Falcon circling around and these two trawlers, you have to wonder if the two events are somehow connected.

joly france sm735890 lysandre ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022We’ve seen the larger trawlers loitering around outside the harbour waiting for the tide, but there’s enough water in there already for the smaller ones.

Coming a-chugging into port is Lysandre, the little shell-fishing boat that is registered in St Malo but now just recently seems to have taken up residence here in Granville.

There’s one of the little port runabouts out there too, heading towards the Joly France ferry that’s moored up at the Ferry terminal.

There must be something exciting going on over there too because there’s a small crowd up on the harbour wall having a good look.

le roc a la mauve 3 la granvillaise charles marie spirit of conrad chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Whatever excitement that might have been going on in the chantier naval is well and truly over now

The unidentified yacht that we’ve been seeing in there for the last few weeks has now disappeared.

We’re now just left with Le Roc A La Mauve III nearest the camera, and then La Granvillaise and Charles-Marie.

Finally Spirit of Conrad on which we sailed down the Brittany coast nearly 2 years ago. A few days ago I was talking to her skipper. She’s off on a circumnavigation of the UK quite soon but I have desisted.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Yesterday I mentioned the freight that was on the quayside.

It’s still there today, and it’s not alone either. Another pile of stuff has come to join it And by the looks of things, there’s a third lot that’s just arrived on the lorry that’s parked behind it.

Back here I finished off my journal entries and then had an hour or so on the guitar. I seem to be much more relaxed than I have been just recently.

Tea was one of those meat turnovers with potatoes and gravy and it was really delicious too

For a change, I ate earlier than usual because I wanted to do my notes and have an early night but as you might expect, Rosemary rang me up for another one of our marathon chats. Consequently it’s much later than I would have liked it to be.

Tomorrow I have a letter to write. I hate writing letters at the best of times and this one has been loitering around for a few months.

Tuesday 15th February 2022 – WHILST YOU ADMIRE …

storm waves baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… several photos of the storm that is slowly brewing up ready for later in the week, I shall acquaint you all with my activities for today.

In fact there were plenty of activities going on through the night – it’s always good to get off to a good start. Nerina and I were being transferred to work somewhere else. We were living up in the North-East at the time. For some unknown reason we had to take two vehicles . I took the BMC1300GT that I had and she took one of the Cortinas. We arranged to meet up somewhere which we did but she wasn’t quite ready. She was still sorting through everything. We were on the slip road of a motorway interchange so I gave her some directions such as get on the motorway here but carry straight across the other side, drive a few miles and take the road that goes diagonally north-east to south-west. Basically it was M1, M62, M6. I said that I’d set off as there were a lot of people around and drive slowly so that she can catch me up. She never did. We both finally met up. On the way down I was thinking “which particular car do we have insured?”. I realised that it was a car that I hadn’t used for ages. There was another one there where the MoT had run out etc (and we’ve been here several times before, haven’t we?). I ought to put the insurance on this one but I wondered if there was an MoT on it as well. When we met she told me all kinds of stories like Margaret had fuelled up the car for her but she’d taken a different car, EBF. I congratulated her on getting down here without any mishap.

storm waves baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022I stepped back into this dream with Nerina again. We were driving somewhere and we went to stop at a pub – a pub where a friend of mine used to work in the summer once. We stopped and made to go in but there was an old Hillman Minx, the rounded type of the early 1950s parked up in the garage and it had Greek number-plates on it. I went to fetch my camera but the lens was filthy so I had to clean it. I went to take a photo of it but the photo wouldn’t take. It didn’t matter which button I pressed or which selections I made etc. I couldn’t take this photo and we’ve been here more than a few times too). Nerina came out and saw me struggling with this so I told her to go and fetch the little one out of my bag. When she got there she found that the little one wasn’t there. I thought that it might be in my jacket pocket on the back seat. I could see that she was extremely unhappy about me spending all my time while we were here trying to get this camera to work and not doing anything else like having something to eat, I suppose

Later on we were with TOTGA in an office somewhere and tidying up one of the rooms. We’d been out somewhere with one of the bosses there. We were taking down all kinds of out-of-date notices etc. She said that she would go and have a look at the food in the cupboard and look for out-of-date products. There were all kinds of stuff in there, soy sauces, vingars, jams and everything – tons of the stuff. She made the remark that the largest producer of soy sauce was in this area and we didn’t have a single bottle of theirs. Then she started to look at expiry dates for stuff that was well out-of-date. I discreetly hid my vinegar bottle from view because I noticed that the expiry date on it was something like 1999 and I was still using it whenever I had chips. I thought that that would be the kind of thing that would give her a heart attack if she saw that. There was always the undercurrent that I wished that the boss would go and leave the two of us alone for a while.

storm waves baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When the alarm went off at 07:30 I had something of a struggle to leave the bed and it was more like 08:00 when I finally showed a leg.

After the medication and checking my emails I sat down to revise my Welsh but my brain today was like a teflon saucepan – nothing would stick to it. We had a kind-of test in the lesson today and I failed miserably. My heart really wasn’t in it.

It’s quite true that under normal circumstances it always takes me a couple of days for me to gather my wits (such as they are) after my return from Leuven, but what went on on Sunday was nothing like normal.

Even so, I still have a feeling that like most other things that I seem to be (or not to be) doing right now, events are slipping away from me quite rapidly.

After lunch I didn’t really do all that much. I’d already almost drifted away a couple of times during the morning and I wasn’t all that energetic.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However I was energetic enough to go out for my afternoon walk.

First stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I could look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there. And as far as I could see, there wasn’t anyone down there at all.

And that’s no surprise because it was raining when I went out, as you can tell by looking closely at this photograph. Not particularly heavy and there wasn’t a great deal of wind but enough to keep everyone except me indoors.

marker light rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual I was having a good look around out to sea, and that was rather a waste of time because the rain out there was such that there was nothing to see.

No yachts, ferries or fishing boats anywhere, and the Ile de Chausey was well-hidden in the mist. I had to content myself with the marker light just there that marks the rocks that you can see, just sinking slowly beneath the rising tide.

Around at the end of the headland there wasn’t anything much going on there either. And even if there had been, I wouldn’t have been able to see it because by now the wind had increased in force and was blowing the rain into my face.

The waves were running rough as you saw in the earlier photos so I wandered off down the path to have a closer look and to take a few photos.

tiberiade fishing boat chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It’s been a week or so since we’ve had a look at what’s happening in the chantier naval.

Tiberiade is having a new coat of paint by the looks of things. You can see that they have made a really good start on sanding her down.

But if she’s having a new paint job, I wonder if her sister Coelacanthe will be in next for her turn.

The other boat down there might be Le Roc A La Mauve III. The colour scheme looks the same and she wasn’t in the place where we left her when we went away.

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While we’re on the subject of fishing boats … “well, one of us is” – ed … we had quite a gaggle of them round by the fish processing plant.

While the tide isn’t deep enough for them to open the harbour gates, they dredged a deeper channel at the side of the fish processing plant so that the smaller boats can come in and moor just there and unload.

It spreads out the working hours of the unloading crews and means that they can handle more boats. The tonnage of seafood landed here increased quite considerably last year compared to the previous year, and that’s good news for the port.

refrigerated lorries fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And while we’re on the subject of the fish processing plant … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was something rather interesting going on there this afternoon.

We have two of the large refrigerated lorries over there parked back-to-back and their tailgates are down as if they are passing goods from one lorry to the other. That looks extremely complicated.

And what is the tanker doing there too? I haven’t seen a tanker here before so I’ve no idea why it’s come. Because the large van is in the way, I can’t see the equipment that the tanker is carrying so I’m not able to tell what kind of tanker it is.

gully emptier place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And while we’re on the subject of tankers … “well, one of us is” – ed … I know what this tanker was doing before it drove away.

As I walked up round the corner from the Boulevard Vaufleury I would see the queue of traffic waiting for something to happen further on. And as I rounded the next corner I could see the tanker driver closing up the manhole in the street and coupling up his hoses.

“Emptying the drains” I said to myself.

Back here I had my coffee and continued on with doing not very much at all until teatime. With the stuffing that was left from yesterday, lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans,

And having written my notes, I’m now off to bed, hoping for a better day tomorrow. One of these days I’ll have the kind of day where everything goes well and I manage to do plenty of work.

And then what will I find to moan about?

Saturday 5th February 2022 – WE’VE HAD A …

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… hive of activity out here today, with tons of stuff going on throughout the day and I’ve no idea why.

It’s a Saturday morning and I’m walking to the shops in the town, so it’s no surprise that I stumbled across the helicopter on my way out this morning.

Regular readers of this rubbish will certainly remember what happened last time I walked into town on a Saturday morning and had a close encounter with the aforementioned. That’s something that I won’t forget in a hurry, and I’m sure that you won’t either.

assembly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It wasn’t just the helicopter either.

There was a group of people, some of whom in military dress uniform and carrying flags, congregating by a wall just here.

Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that I actually live in an old military barracks so seeing soldiers and ex-soldiers loitering around is something to which I’m accustomed.

But anyway, I digress. let’s go back to the very beginning and see if I can last out until the end.

Now here’s a surprise.

When I awoke this morning, it was 07:26 – 4 minutes before the alarm. And so in something of a wild fit of bravado, I hauled myself out of bed just before the alarm went off. And that’s not something that happens every day, is it?

Actually, it was too good an opportunity to miss and it will give me something to crow about until I hit the next disaster.

After the medication I checked the messages etc and then listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was an army disputing the succession to the French throne or something. Someone who governed the centre had taken the initiative but had ended up being invaded by an army from somewhere else, a Duke, and they had had a airly inconclusive confrontation somewhere already at the south of Paris but now they were shaping up for a really important fight that would decide the future of the country, with an invasion or whatever it was. On eof the guys was facing them anyway. They were all organising their armies for this conclusive battle in order to square up and have a proper one this time.

A little later last night I was with TOTGA. The two of us were planning on going on holiday. There was a big meeting taking place about various trips going so we went along to listen to them. They asked if there were any questions. Someone asked “how do you go from Manchester to the airport?” – basic questions like that that people either know the answer to or they look on Google or something. In the end these questions were becoming rather simple. It suddenly came out that the guy was travelling from Stoke-on-Trent. I asked him if he lived there to which he replied “yes” so I told him to give me his ‘phone number and I’d ring him and he could ask me what he liked etc and I’d be able to tell him perhaps a lot better than he’d hear it in the middle of this meeting where he was getting on everyone’s nerves. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember now.

And later again I was with Keith Emerson and Brian Davison of The Nice. I can’t remember very much about this except that Keith Emerson was knocked off his motorbike by a lorry at a roundabout. I can’t even remember whether he was hurt or not.

I did finally end up on board a ship last night. There were quite a few of us, but no-one we knew. It started off watched a TV programme about these boats that go down to the Antarctic with people on but there was no cabin accommodation or anything – you slept on deck so when there was a storm it was quite problematic. I remember thinking that I’ll tell Rosemary all about this and see if she wants to go. It wasn’t before long that I was on board one heading south. First, it started off that we were in London somewhere and had gone for a meal. There wasn’t a big choice of vegan or vegetarian restaurants. The one that we found was passable, I thought, nothing particular to write home about. A couple of other people were extremely disappointed about it and made something of a fuss to the waitress about what they considered to be the poor food and quality. She came over to me afterwards and asked if I wanted anything else. I was nice about the situation so she said that she would bring me a bowl of chips. By this time I was on the deck of this ship and after waiting many, many, many minutes a bowl of chips appeared so I ate them then went for a wander off around. I ended up below deck where a guy appeared with a bowl of chips. He said “I’ve been looking for you. Here are your chips” so I wondered whose chips they were that I’d eaten just now. He asked if they were OK. They were cold but I wasn’t really all that bothered so I ended up with a second bowl of cold salty chips while I was on board this ship heading south to the Antarctic in all kinds of weather.

To finish off I had to go to the Post Office to post a package. It was a lump of dough and by the time I reached the Post Office it was all soggy and wet. I was sure that the clerk was going to refuse it but she put it in a plastic bag for me. The address label was all manky and wet but she said “I’ll manage”. I went back off to work on board a ship. Someone asked if I had my work with me – my University stuff so I replied “no” thinking that they would just give me a course book to read. Instead, they gave me the entire unit stuff, videos, everything. They asked if that was OK and I replied “well basically it’s OK but I don’t know how on earth I’ll manage to carry all this back afterwards.

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022By the time that I’d finished typing out all of that I was ready to go into town.

There had been a racket going on outside for a few minutes but I hadn’t paid too much attention to it, but as soon as I walked out of the front door of this building I was immediately confronted by the air-sea rescue helicopter.

He was hovering around down behind the College Malraux so I decided to head that way into town to see what was going on. You never know …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022One of the first things that I did once outside, and I’ve no idea why, was to go and have a look at the beach.

However, I may as well have saved the energy. The tide is all the way in right now so there was no beach for anyone to be on right now.

You can though see what I mean about people being down there when the tide is on its way in. It comes in quite quickly and goes all the way to the foot of the cliffs. That means that there is no-where for anyone to shelter.

Being cut off from the foot of the steps can cause all kinds of problems.

joly france ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual, I’m also having a look around out to sea, one of the reasons being that occasionally we catch a glimpse of one of the massive super-ferries leaving St Malo for the UK.

Today though we couldn’t see one, but we did see a ferry of another type.

On her way out to the Ile de Chausey this morning was one of the Joly France ferries, taking advantage of the nice weather. And we can tell that it’s the older one of the two even at this distance because there is no “step” in the stern.

You can see how nice the weather is this morning too. We can see all of the colours on the island and the while houses stand out quite clearly against the rocks.

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 emergency services pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … Pointe du Roc, the helicopter is still perched on the big bunker here.

Not only is it surrounded by aircrew and rescue personnel, there’s an ambulance and several police cars in attendance. It looks as if there’s something serious going on.

Everyone seemed to be quite busy so I didn’t go over to interrupt them to find out what was going on. I’ll have to wait until tomorrow and see what’s in the newspaper, or else wait for Sue Grey to finish her report.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022So leaving them to their own devices I wandered off down the steps to the path below.

There wasn’t anyone else down here at the cabanon vauban, but if there had been, they would have seen this yacht heading out to sea from the port de plaisance.

He, and the couple of others who were following him out, were having a nice day for it. There was plenty of sunshine, and enough wind to push them along nicely, although not too much to make it unpleasant.

My walk down into town was quite lonely. I went practically all the way without seeing another soul. I’ve no idea where everyone was.

chausiaise belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022They certainly weren’t all out at sea because apart from the one Joly France boat that we saw, everyone else was here at the suayside.

From left to right of course we have Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes out to the Ile de Chausey and, occasionally, to the Channel Islands as we saw the other day. And then the two other ferries.

In the middle is the very new Belle France that first showed her face in the port last year to help out with the summer traffic, and then to her right the newer of the two Joly France boats.

The other Joly France boat is of course on her way out to the Ile de Chausey.

concrete reinforcement matting double glazed windows port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was here I had a look at the freight waiting on the quayside.

As well as those red plastic objects that we saw from a distance, we have some concrete reinforcement matting and a pile of double-glazed windows. They’ll need to be tied down correctly on their way across to Jersey just in case the wind gets up.

At Carrefour I bought my mushrooms, some specialty bread and a few other bits and pieces, and then had a wander back through the town centre on my way home. There wasn’t anything going on down there that caught my attention. In fact, I must have been in something or a daze.

assembly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Earlier on I posted a photo of an assembly of people here in the Place d’Armes in the courtyard of one of the other buildings.

Back here I stuck my head and the camera out of the window to take a photo and to see if I could hear what they were talking about.

From what I could gather, it was something to do with a handful of soldiers from one of the regiments based here who somewhere in North Africa held of an attack of several hundred “Arabs” (that was the phrase that the presenter used) over a period of several days.

It was in my mind to go out later this afternoon and see if the plaque on the wall behind him made any reference to the incident but I forgot. I’m not much good as a reporter, am I?

And while we’re on the subject, two things have occurred today in this respect.

  1. A journalist in the Grauniad this morning made a huge deal about going to SEE THE “DISAPPEARING HIGHWAY” IN NORTH CAROLINA. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have done that trip, THE FIRST IN 2005 and THE SECOND IN 2017 to compare the differences so we beat this “scoop by the Grauniad by four and a half years.
  2. A French railway magazine of some description is to feature a series of articles highlighting the destruction, if not devastation, of the railway network in the Auvergne and their editorial team has found an article THAT I WROTE BACK IN 2008 that is relevant to their series, and has asked if they may include it in their magazine. It goes without saying … shameless self-publicist that I am.

Anyway, back here I had a coffee and something to eat to take me up to lunch while I sorted out a few things that needed doing – like preparing news articles for publication and that kind of thing.

After lunch I came here to carry on work but, regrettably, I couldn’t keep going. It wasn’t the same kind of crashing-out that it has been here and there just recently, but for all the good that I did, it may as well have been.

What’s even more depressing is reading back through all of the stuff that I wrote al those years ago and wishing that somehow, somewhere I could summon up the enthusiasm and energy to do it all again with the tons of stuff that’s built up over the years that hasn’t been touched.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It was even difficult to summon up the energy and enthusiasm to go out for my afternoon walk. and I’m not sure why I wanted to go, having been out this morning for a good walk around.

Having been over to the beach this morning, only to find that there was no beach to go over to, I went again this afternoon at my usual time to see the lie of the land.

Plenty of beach down there right now of course, and plenty of people down there making the most of it. Several dozen at least.

And that’s not a surprise because it was actually such a nice afternoon. Not much wind, a nice blue sky. What more could any man require?

Except maybe TOTGA, Castor and Zero to share it with me of course. And then I wouldn’t know which way to turn, although I’m sure that I’d soon figure it out.

people on beach bouchots donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It wasn’t just down on the beach at the Rue du Nord where there were crowds either.

Out at Donville les bains they seemed to be just as busy. The bouchot stakes were exposed with the tide being so low so n the distance we could see the harvesting teams out there.

They would have to be careful too as there were crowds of people milling around on the beach, getting under the wheels of the tractors and the like.

For the benefit of our new readers, a serendipitous discovery made years and years ago was that shellfish were found growing on some anchor ropes. When they were sampled they were found to have an excellent taste with none of the grittiness that you associate with shellfish grown in the sand.

And so a business has sprung up here in the bay in various locations where stakes are planted in the sea with ropes slung between them for these shellfish, called bouchots to grow.

repairing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022For a change, this afternoon I decided to go for a walk around the walls seeing as it’s been a few weeks since I went that way.

From somewhere I summoned up the energy to go down the steps to look at the hole in the wall to see what they had done with that. And by the looks of things, they are well on their way to finishing it.

It’s taken an enormous pile of stones, that don’t seem to match the rest of the stonework and that’s rather sad. I don’t think much of the concrete lintel either. When I was fitting concrete lintels in stone walls I’d set them back a few inches and find some nice flat stone to face them with to make it all look more traditional.

repairing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Up on top it’s looking something of a mess too.

They actually took that wall down to ground level and rebuilt it but at the moment it doesn’t look anything like it ought to do. Maybe when they repoint it, it’ll look much better but you can’t really see it very well with the scaffolding and the fencing in the way.

From there I followed the crowds (because crowds there were a-plenty) along the path underneath the walls. One of my neighbours was there too so we had a chat for five minutes and put the world to rights.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2202/22020044.html”>red autogyro baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was there, I was overflown by another light aeroplane from the airfield.

Today it’s the red powered hang-glider that’s going past. And he has a passenger too by the looks of things. Been for a spin around thr bay to take a few photos probably, and one of these days I’ll have to get out and do the same.

But not right now as I have too much to do. I carried on with my walk around the walls, far too close to the madding crowd for my comfort.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On place that I wanted to visit was the Rue St Michel to eat some humble … “you?” – ed … pie.

Having complained bitterly about the state in which they left the surface, they came back a couple of weeks later and put the stone setts down to make it look much more like medieval.

They don’t have the curves sorted though. Medieval stone paving has nice symmetriical curves in it that looks really beautiful but they haven’t been able to recapture that here. It’s probably another one of these medieval skills that’s long-been lost, or else they won’t spend the money and the time in doing it correctly.

red autogyro baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Walking back along the walls, the red powered hang-glider went past again.

By the looks of things, while I’ve been out he’s been back home, swapped passengers and come back out again. He must be keeping busy and that has to be good for business.

Having forgotten to look at the plaque as I said that I would, I came back home for my coffee and to attack another sound file to select the broadcastable bits. And it’s not easy, for various reasons.

But anyway, there’s just one sound file to select and then I can get off and assemble things for broadcasting.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, seeing as there was a rather sad-looking pepper left and I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday. And now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed.

Having had TOTGA visit me last night, I wonder who’ll pull the short straw tonight. I ought to promote a lottery, oughtn’t I?