Tag Archives: Maria Chatziioannou

Sunday 27th February 2022 – I REALLY DON’T KNOW …

… what’s going on right now because, yet again, I’ve been on the kind of travels that would overrun “Around The World In 80 Days”.

Where this energy comes from, I really don’t know but I wish that I had some of it during the daylight hours when I’m awake.

We started off last night with a woman letting out rooms for prostitution in a medieval town somewhere. Someone came along to rent a room – she had a client with her. This woman had to travel somewhere – it was only about 03:00 something like that so she left everything that might have been incriminating, left it out thinking that she’d be back. She came to the next old town where she fell in with some old man who was talking to her about gravy and sauces. They walked over these cobbles in this cobbled area by these old stables or something. She slipped discreetly away and found herself out in some kind of open ground by the medieval city walls of this town. There was some kind of carnival or fête happening and there were people all dressed up in weird clothes , people who were weird shapes, really tall with big heads. She was trying to find somewhere that while not secret, was a special place where the person who owned it didn’t want it let out that he was there. She didn’t want to be caught with any of his effects on her and of course she wanted to escape from this man with whom she walked into town. She had to find him, and there was a back way through the town and around the walls where she could leave and come back again to where she lived without this guy seeing her. By this time it was me walking through this open ground. I suddenly had this awful feeling that I couldn’t remember this back way if I find this person and picked up whatever it was that he had. How was I going to return home without running into anyone I didn’t want to meet if I couldn’t remember this back way? It was all very worrying.

There was something else going on that made me think about the low-loader that was parked up outside here the other afternoon, that it was in fact some kind of ride for the carnival and funfair that was going to be installed in the Place just here, effectively what we had talked about in that first voyage in that medieval town

Here was something rather interesting. Sulky teenagers are getting earlier and earlier aren’t they? There were a couple of girls aged 6 and 8. They’d had a no-uniform day at school. The next day was to take one of your personal possessions to school to talk about it. The 6 year-old was OK but the 8 year-old didn’t really have any idea what she wanted to take. We were there making all kinds of suggestions to her, even the guitar that I gave her a while ago. She just stood there in the middle of the room shaking her head at every suggestion and not really committing herself to anything at all. It wasn’t as if she didn’t have anything because she and her sister were doing quite well out of having so many relatives and friends.

There was another long, lengthy dream, most of which I have forgotten, but part of it included the father of a girl with whom I was once engaged. He was making himself a pair of shorts. He’d bored a hole up the front and up the back and was busy trying to put this metal bracing in there to hold the front and back together. he was trying, but needed 3 hands to do everything so he wasn’t making a success at all. I asked him “would you like me to hold anything?” which he didn’t. He carried on trying and in the end I took hold of something that he was trying to do, one of these metal things that he had to hit with a hammer. I held it so that he could hit it with a hammer and it went in quite easily after that. He could adjust it as he thought fit. I thought that when he’d dome one in the bottom and one in the top he’d done the bars too tight. It’s true that you can adjust them once you had them on but all of the adjusting is going to be quite a task and not going to be easy so I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t having at least some kind of rudimentary effort at judging the distances while he had them on the bench.

And later I was in a clothes shop. I’d gone to change a jacket, a yellow one for another one. The exchange went off quite well. They also had some black ones in there that were the same as one that I’d bought a while ago. I thought of changing that one for a new one while I was at it. I mentioned it to a server and he said “why not?”. A closer look revealed that they weren’t actually identical and a tramp was wearing one. I thought that maybe if I could take the one off the tramp then I’d be able to swap that. However his was so worn and dirty that they would never believe that it was a very recent acquisition. I made a couple of excuses to the salesman but he insisted that he could do something for me. I thought that this was going to be a pretty strange thing and I wished that I hadn’t said what I’d said before about changing it now. This was going to be embarrassing. In the meantime there were a couple of girls whom I’d noticed. It was so cold outside that that were each wearing 2 anoraks, one which had a hood that went over their headq and then another anorak over the top. I thought that it must be cold if they are dressed like that.

I was also with a girl last night whom I thought light have been my Greek friend from Brussels. We were hanging around together but her boyfriend had decided that he was going to leave her and she was terribly upset. I went to console her. I said “never mind, there’s always me and I’ll look after you”. She replied “yes, I know but not quite in the same way”. I answered “even so, we have rows, don’t we, and we soon make them up and maybe you’ll make it back up with your boyfriend”. She said something like “yes but we used to row about all kinds of things” and mentioned a couple of examples about which we had rowed but it wasn’t really anything important but with her boyfriend this was something much more serious. By this time we were standing underneath a porch at the side of a house. I was trying to console her but it was extremely difficult. Somewhere in all of this was the story of a printer. I’d had a new printer and the question came round about tidying up the office. I was told that I couldn’t have promotion unless I was prepared to work longer hours or show some signs of initiative. Wandering around, I came across a box. I thought that this was the right size for my printer. It would look rather tidier if my printer were in a box. I fetched it and started to prepare the printer but I was distracted by something. When I returned the box had gone. Someone mentioned something that one of my colleagues had taken it to put in his printer. I thought “had he taken my printer in the box etc?”. A discussion came about “well we know what kind of person he is. He’ll put the printer in the box and then can’t work out how to use it”. The guy in charge said “I’ve solved the problem. I’ve sent him down to the second-hand shop”. “What? To get a new box?” To get a new printer?”. “No, to sell his old printer. He won’t really need one and can always borrow someone else’s”.

A group of us were round at a girl’s house last night. There were a few of us talking about this and that. prior to this, we’d been at work and someone had been talking about a trip to the Gobi Desert. When they showed me on the map it turned out that the desert was at the north of Siberia. They were telling us about their trip. I thought that that was very easy to reach but they said that they went via Iceland and across to Norway that way. I asked why didn’t they go to Denmark and take aferry across to Sweden? The chat continued and they left. I ended up with these 2 girls in the office somewhere. I’d already been down for two breakfasts and had nipped out and come back into the office in the hope of catching a 3rd. I said to these girls “I have a cunning plan” and mentioned this trip to the Gobi Desert. The said something like it would cost a lot of money and the don’t really have the time which disappointed me. The subject came round to some kind of concert we were going to. One girl asked “are you buying her ticket for her?”. I replied “no, I’m picking it up for her but she’s paying for it”. The couldn’t understand how this ticked system was working about who was paying for what, who was picking them up but it looked quite straightforward to me. Then it ended up with me, my brother and one of these girls. She had to go into her garage for something and pulled up the garage door. It was full to the brim of old motorbike pieces. My eyes were out on stalks. I asked whose it all was. She replied that it belonged to her uncle but he has to find a new place to put it and it’s not easy. I said “he can put some of it in my garden if he can make me a motorbike out of this”. She replied “he can knock you up a Comet” but I said that that was too small. I’d want something bigger. By this time her sister had come to join us. She was in her nighty.

That’s not the end of it either. There was much more than this but as you are probably eating your evening meal right now, you won’t want to know the gory details.

No alarm this morning, and no ‘phone call either but even so it was about 10:20 when I awoke and I didn’t loiter around very much because for some reason I really was wide-awake. But I made myself a coffee anyway and had a slice of my coffee cake.

First thing that I did after the medication was to pair off the music for the radio. And after I’d finished doing that I had another think. Pete Seeger once said “Songs are Weapons” and I have plenty of them and so I need to use them.

And so I chose another set of songs and paired them off instead. It’ll be a very different radio show this coming weekend.

After lunch I set about making a big pile of dough. I’ve run out of bread and I’m also about to use my last lump of pizza dough and so I mixed a couple of big piles.

One bunch was mixed with sunflower seeds and was put on one side for the loaf, and the second one had oil added and that was put on a different side to be turned into pizza bases at a later date. And I remembered the Vitamin C this time too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And as usual, I broke off to go for my afternoon walk, and that involved, as usual, a walk down tothr wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

And as you can see, there were hordes of people down there this afternoon, sitting around on the rocks waiting for the tide to come in and chase them up the steps to safety in the Rue du Nord.

In fact, I was amazed at the number of people down there this afternoon. I know that it was a nice day today and that there are a lot of people around but I wasn’t expecting to see so many.

cabin cruiser fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday, when we were here on the wall, we looked out to sea and saw a cabin cruiser out there in the distance.

Today, looking out to sea, I saw something else moving around but at this kind of distance I couldn’t see what it was.

Back home I enlarged and enhanced it I could see that it was once more a cabin cruiser. Whether or not it was the same one I couldn’t say because it was much further out to sea than the cabin cruiser was yesterday.

gbr7383r captain corsair yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will also recall that we saw a yacht out at sea just off the Ile de Chausey.

This afternoon there was a yacht much closer to the Pointe du Roc where I was standing to I could take a better photo of her and even identify her.

She’s registered GBR 7383R and so is called Captain Corsair. She’s some kind of racing yacht and took part last summer in the Tour des Ports de la Manche race, one of the largest yacht races in the area, crewed by inter alia some people from the Granville Yacht Club.

f-gifn Piper PA-28-161 Cadet baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another stranger to the area flew past overhead while I was admiring Captain Corsair.

She’s F-GIFN, a Piper PA-28-161 Cadet, and I’ve no idea what she’s doing in the area. She had flown up the coast from the south and then turned in towards the airfield, and then did a sharp U-turn and headed off out to sea over the Ile de Chausey.

She didn’t come in to land at the airfield as far as I can tell, and she doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan or been picked up on radar anywhere ele and so that’s really that, I suppose.

cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When I reached the car park I noticed that there was a cabin cruiser heading out into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Had I waited until I’d reached the other side of the headland it would have gone out of view so I took a photo of it from across the car park.

There were crowds of people out there this afternoon so I was lucky that I didn’t end up with someone’s head in the shot.

And crossing over the car park I was almost squidged by a car that was rushing to take up the last place in the car park. That was pretty crowded too today.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Down on the lower path there were crowds of people wandering around.

There were even some people yet again sitting on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban. There wasn’t all that much wind to disturb them this afternoon so they could sit quite quietly.

There were several motorbikes parked on the carpark and judging by the helmets down there, those people mut have arrived on one.

But I was going to head off on the footpath on the other side of the headland.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Over at the ferry terminal, one of the Joly France boats was moored up there.

She’s the older one of the two, as we can tell because there is no step in her stern.

It’s no surprise that they are quite busy today. There are crowds of people here who have been confounded by the cancellation of the carnival and with it being a nice day today, a run out to sea instead would be quite inviting.

Meanwhile, in the chantier naval, there was no change in occupants today.

carnivalers boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Talking of the carnival, there were some people who were in the carnival spirit.

No big, official parade or procession this year of course but that hasn’t stopped some people from having their own unofficial one. I’m not sure though what this kid is actually supposed to be but hats of to her for making the effort when her friends couldn’t be bothered.

There wasn’t anything of note going on out here so I decided to come on home and transcribe the dictaphone notes. I knew that there would be plenty to do. No coffee though. I’ve already had plenty of that today.

red powered hang glider baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was on my way home, I was overflown once more.

This time it was the red powered hang-glider thing that we see quite often when the weather is fine. She was on her way home after a trip out towards Mont St Michel.

Back here, I attacked the dictaphone notes, and it took an absolute age to finish, with all of the stuff that I’d dictated in my sleep. I really do wonder how on earth I find the time to go to sleep. What surprises me is that I haven’t crashed out at some point during the day.

When the bread had finished rising I put it into the oven to bake.

The pizza dough that I’d made earlier, I divided into 3 and put that in the freezer ready for another time, and then I kneaded and rolled out the dough that had defrosted from the freezer earlier.

vegan pizza home-made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Later on I assembled the pizza and when the bread was baked, I bunged the pizza into the oven to bake.

It wasn’t quite as good as last week’s, but it was delicious just the same. The bread though has done something weird but I’m not sure what. It’ll probably taste just as good as it usually does though.

But now though I’m going to bed. I have to be up at 06:00 in the morning to start my radio programme preparation and there’s a lot to do. And so I need to be in the kind of shape to be able to do it.

Thursday 27th January – I FINALLY MADE IT …

work on flagpole base monument de la resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… outside and off around for my afternoon walk around rhe headland – the fist time since a week last Sunday.

And there have been several changes since I was last out and about. There was a council workman over there by the base of the flagpoles having a ply around so while his back was turned I took a quick photo.

It looks as if things might at last be happening with the concrete base of the flagpole that was uprooted in the gales several weeks ago. So watch this space for further developments.

inside bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Another thing that I wanted to do was to button-hole someone involved in the clearing-out of the bunker that they opened a few weeks ago.

Just my luck of course to find no-one in attendance this afternoon. Either they have finished what they were doing or they’ve cleared off early for home.

The skip has gone but there’s still plenty of rubbish in there that needs removing, including several empty bottles of wine and the like. But whether they are related to the war-time occupants or the modern cleaning crew I really couldn’t say.

However I do know that farther down the coast they’ve uncovered yet another bunker from the Atlantic Wall. The cliff there is in danger of slipping so they had a crew out there to clear it of all of the mass of overgrown vegetation so that they can erect a net to hold back the rocks.

And that’s when they found the bunker.

bottom mine pointe du rock Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But this is totally new. We haven’t seen it or even heard a whisper about it before.

One look at it will tell you what it is. It’s a bottom mine, as you can tell from the flat bottom. These are laid in or dropped into shallow water where they sink and sit on the silt on the sea bed until some marine craft activates them by passing overhead.

This one was actually found here in the harbour in Granville quite a while ago and has been floating around the town with no fixed abode ever since. They have apparently decided to locate it here as one of the sites of interest around the town.

My bed would have been a site of interest this morning because I was still in it until 10:00.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I just couldn’t drag myself out. And neither could I for the second alarm at 08:00, and so in the end I gave it up as a bad job and went back to sleep again. It’s really disappointing, especially as last night wasn’t even all that late.

When I eventually did come round into the land of the living it was something of a stagger around until I found my bearings. I’ve lost my marbles a long time ago of course and they won’t be ever found.

Once I was properly awake, the first task was to sit down and transcribe all of the dictaphone notes. I’d travelled miles yet again during the night. I started off with my Greek lady-friend. We’d started off by obtaining a TGV timetable for trains that went to Austria and Switzerland. Gradually our journey began to evolve – talk about everything that I was wanting to bo and she was wanting to do. Little by little we were adding little railway journeys in until finally we reached Greece. The question of swimming in the sea came up. She said that she’d been swimming in the sea while I’d been asleep. In the end I suggested Corinth because it’s a town that I knew and it’s still keeping away from Athens. We had a look on the map that I just happened to have handy and saw loads of holiday resorts and beaches etc all around Corinth. She thought that that wasn’t a particularly good idea. I said “it can be anywhere really al long as we can arrive by train and it has a sea. I mentioned Corinth because it happened to be somehere that I knew” so we started to have some kind of discussion about where in Greece we might go^

I was with a couple of people later on last night driving through the USA. The difficulty that I have with other people is that you can’t keep stopping to take photos and so on so I wasn’t really enjoying myself all that much. We came to a place where there was a stunning view across mountains and valleys so I indicated a place where I would like to stop to take photos but they just drove straight past it. We came to some place that was a kind of museum about some early locksmith who had come to the area so we parked and went in. I picked up a brochure as did these 2 people. Then they announced that it’s time that the museum was closing and everyone would have to leave. I said “there’s no objection really, is there, if we wander around the outside?”. They replied “oh yes, we’ve been told that we have to limit access to internet types like you”, something that totally astonished me. I’d never heard anything the like of that in my life. Of course it brought fits of laughter from my two friends and me but these people were apparently serious. Anyway, was they say, it’s all very well telling us something but how are you going to stop us? They certainly didn’t come round to try to stop me as I was wandering around on my way back to the car

And I stepped back into that dream again later .While we were at that museum there was something about a dog. We didn’t have a dog but I ended up taking this dog for a walk around the field thinking to myself “I’d like to see the people who run this museum try to stop me with this dog”.

Finally I was driving taxis again last night and there was a pick-up from halfway up Middlewich Street. I drove up there and there was an old man standing there at the end of the footpath. I asked him if he’d booked a taxi. He said yes but it wasn’t me, at least that’s what I understood because he had a terrible speech impediment. I radioed into the office. They said that it was some girls going somewhere or other. I waited around for a couple of minutes, they the guy got in. I really couldn’t understand where he wanted me to take him, whether it was the North Ward Club, somewhere like that. His speech impediment was awful.

After lunch I went to clean, dice and blanch 2kg of carrots. I was ony intending to buy 3 or four yesterday to see me through to the weekend but 1kg of loose carrots were €1:39 and a 2kg bag was €1:29. So what would you have done?

Where I’m going to fit them all is anyone’s guess but the freezer is bursting right now. Perhaps there will be more space when I take out the other half of the loaf on Monday, but that’s a long way off.

Definitely First-World problems, aren’t they?

seagull on windowledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022By now it was time to go off for walkies. “Now or never” I mused. It’s been ages since I’ve been out.

And there was someone just outside to greet me too. We’ve seen the seagull before, up on one of the window ledges by the other entrance to the building, and it’s here again to say hello as I walked past.

By the look of its plumage it’s one of the younger ones. Nevertheless, I would have expected them all to have found their feet a long time before this. But that’s the window with the toy bird on the other side looking out, so maybe the seagull here is trying to chat up the toy one with a view to starting a family.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s been quite a long time since I’ve been over to look down onto the beach to see what’s happening there.

Not much beach this afternoon. I’ve missed quite a few cycles of the tide of course. And there wasn’t anyone down there that I could see making the most of whatever beach there was.

Actually, I would have expected that there might have been some people out for a walk down there. It wasn’t a particularly nice day but 9°C out there is warm for January and the kind of weather that should usually bring out at least some of the crowds.

Mind you, with the way that Covid is going at the moment, I’m glad there weren’t all that many people out there this afternoon.

concrete flagpole base monument de la resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And so in the company of a couple of joggers I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

A little earlier I mentioned the Council’s builder. I had a little chat to him when he wasn’t doing anything. They’ve laid the concrete base as you can see, and now they are going to leave it to cure for a few days or so, and then they’ll drill it and replace the missing flagpole.

And so I wished him the best of luck. It wasn’t very windy at all this afternoon but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we can have some devastating winds up here at the Pointe du Roc that’ll make short work of anything that’s not fastened down securely.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Passing by the bunker that we saw earlier I walked down the path towards the port.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the chantier naval so I was keen to see what was going on down there. And to my surprise, Gerlean is still in there, not having moved by the looks of things since I passed by here last, and a good few weeks before that too.

She has company too. The boat to her left is one that I don’t ever recall having seen before in port. And there’s a small one over on the right too.

Unfortunately I can’t read their names or registration numbers from here so I’m not able to identify them. I’ll have to try again tomorrow to have a better look.

crane on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However, there’s so much more excitement going on over at the loading bay.

There’s a large lorry with an even bigger trailer, and then we have the huge portable crane that we see every so often here in the harbour that looks as if it’s just unloaded a rather large piece of machinery from the trailer – something with caterpillar tracks.

The other material on the quayside suggests that one of the Jersey freighters is going to be in port in the very near future so I wonder if the large machine is destined to be joining them and they’ll all be going out to Jersey together.

Quite possibly the machine is beyond the lifting capacity of the dockside crane, hence the portable crane.

trawler returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Before I leave the dockside for home, I heard a familiar rattle from behind me so I turned to see what it was.

The harbour gates are closed right now but it seems as if it’s not going to be long before they open. This looks like the first trawler to make it back home ready to unload its catch, whenever it can come in to tie up.

Back here I made a coffee and then finally after much prevarication over the last week made another start on the big radio project. I actually finished one speech too, with all of the amendments. Only another 4 or 5 to do, so I’m hoping that I can keep the momentum going tomorrow – including an early start.

Tea was some of those small soya fillets in breadcrumbs, and with some of those and some more veg gone I manage to squeeze in one bag of carrots to freeze. There’s another one to go in, but that wil have to wait for some other time.

And now I’ll try for an early night. High time that I had one, and had a decent sleep too. Nothing is being done around here and that’s driving me to distraction.

At least the afternoon’s walk has blown away a few cobwebs. But I wish that I knew what I had to do to dispose of the spiders that are crawling around inside me.

Tuesday 23rd November 2021 – I’M NOT GOING …

… to talk about my night last night. I shall just leave you to imagine it.

The only thing that I can say is that it reminds me of that American football coach who was asked his opinion about the match in which his team had been controversially defeated.
“I’m not allowed to comment on the lousy officiating” he said.

So staggering out of bed … errr … a short while after the alarm went off, I went and had my medication.

While I was medicating I remembered a few months ago that I said that I need to cut down on the amount of medication that I take. At the time I was on 8 tablets a day.

So now, having argued with the staff at the hospital about it all, I find that I’m no on … errr … 14. That went well, didn’t it?

Back in here I went through my mails and messages and then prepared myself for my Welsh lesson. In the middle of all of this, Rosemary rang up for a chat. And for a change, we only chatted for a few minutes.

The Welsh lesson went quite well and one of my fellow students passed me a recipe for a vegan Christmas cake.

And if this isn’t enough to be going on with, there’s an on-line Zoom lesson on a Friday evening in a couple of weeks time which is based upon baking, and the subject is … a vegan Christmas cake.

It looks as if I’m going to be having a surfeit of Christmas cake this year. I suppose that it’s much more exciting than a surfeit of lampreys, to which King Henry I would be the first to agree.

After lunch I had a few phone calls to make but I was out of luck. There wasn’t anyone answering the telephone anywhere and I don’t know why. It’s not a Bank Holiday today.

person on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Later on I went out for my afternoon walk, rather later than I intended

There was something exciting going on down on the beach this afternoon. However, I’m not quite sure what it was.

There was another howling gale blowing and as a consequence the beach was almost deserted, except for this one person down there.

And despite enlarging and enhancing the image as much as I possibly could, I couldn’t make out what it was that he was doing. But it looked interesting, that’s for sure.

jersey fishing boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was looking down with one eye onto the beach, the other eye was roaming around out at sea.

At the moment, we are having some kind of turbulent issues with regard to fishing and as a result we’re encountering fishing boats in all kinds of unlikely places here and there every now and again.

There was a handful of boats out there in the Baie de Granville this afternoon wandering around looking for something to catch. They can’t be on the way home because as you saw in the previous photo, the tide is well out.

You’ll also notice how clear the weather was too. The island of Jersey is quite clear this afternoon in the background.

ile de chausey boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Once I’d gathered my wits (which takes much longer these days than it ought to do bearing in mind how few I have left) I set off along the path towards the lighthouse.

As I wandered down the path, the angle of the sun was such that a couple of boats just offshore from the Ile de Chausey were suddenly illuminated. It was quite a strange, eerie situation

The Ile de Chausey was looking quite good too and I imagined that the view down the coast towards Cap Fréhel would have been quite impressive, but I wasn’t going to clamber up on top of the bunker in this wind.

There wasn’t anyone sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban and there was no-one fishing off the rocks, so I carried on down the path towards the port.

workmen working on portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Ten days or so ago I mentioned that I wouldn’t take any more photos of the portable boat lift in the chantier naval until there was something exciting happening.

And today, we actually do have some excitement down there. They have the cherry picker extended with a few guys in the nacelle having an inspection of the metalwork.

On top of the framework there was someone clambering around making an inspection. And so it looks as if they are finally getting round to dealing with the issues that have led to it being taken out of service.

And who knows? We might even actually see it back in operation by the due date.

joly france belle france chausiaise marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Over at the ferry terminal there was one of the Joly France boats, but as you have seen it more than just a few times just recently, i’ll spare you another photo.

On the other hand, the other three boats that operate for the ferry company are all moored up together down in the borrom corner. From left to right we have Belle France, the other Joly France ferry and, on the outside, Chausiaise, the little freighter.

In the background, moored up against the quayside in her usual place is Marité. She won’t be going far for the next few months.

Back home, I had a coffee and then transcribed the notes on the dictaphone.

Yesterday’s notes are now on line and then I turned my attention to last night’s. We’d all been camping. I’d been with Liz and Terry in a caravan and several other people had turned up. My Greek lady-friend from work was there with a tent. We all went back and the next day I came up on my own with a car and caravan. I arrived far too early for the ferry across so I sorted out the car, put it in position and decided to walk into town to find some baps. Just then the Greek girl turned up. I said “so when did you leave?”. She replied “17:00”. I said “if you had said anything I would have brought you up” to which she didn’t say very much. I walked down into Crewe to go to the little bakery towards the bottom end of Victoria Street but everywhere had changed. There had been loads of demolition so I couldn’t find this bakery at all. I thought that if I went to queue in one of the supermarkets, everyone will have arrived by then and my van sitting first in the queue for the ferry and no-one could get on because it’s in the way. There was a lot more than this too but I can’t remember any of it now. But I picked myself out a bed already, a nice double bed, and thought that if no-one else turns up to share it, that will be too bad.

For tea I finally managed to eat my stuffed pepper and rice, and now that I’ve finished my journal, I’m going to bed. I have a radio interview to edit as well as going for my physiotherapy appointment.

There are a couple of letters, mainly incendiary ones, to write as well so I want to make sure that I’m in good form.

Sunday 11th July 2021 – I’VE NOT HAD …

… a very good day today, and I don’t know why that is.

Well, I do, but it’s something that I don’t care to talk about on here and involves a trip down Memory Lane to places that I’ve been trying to forget.

But I would ordinarily say that I don’t know what’s brought it on, but actually I do – I just don’t know why it’s caught me unawares like this.

It’s one of those things that always seems to hit us when we are at our most vulnerable so I’ll need to have a good night’s sleep and in the words of the boxer Jack Johnson, “Eat jellied eels and think distant thoughts”.

This morning after my walk around the upper town at midnight (and about which I haven’t forgotten the photos, by the way) I was to my surprise awake at 07:00. But badger that for a game of cowboys. 09:30 was too early too but 10:45 is much more respectable for a Sunday.

After the medication I came in here again to listen to the dictaphone. At first there was something going on in a big old rambling house full of kids last night but I can’t remember what it was now. And waking up with an attack of cramp and when was the last time that I did that as well? I thought that some of this medication was supposed to stop that.

So having had some kind of meeting (when did this take place?) with a Greek girl with whom I was very friendly in Brussels who put in an appearance I was off in some medieval city somewhere in medieval times. There was some kind of difficulty that I can’t remember now but a man became involved in it who was a so-called spy and he helped me resolve this difficulty. In the end he stood on this bridge of this canal with his hand behind his back hiding a gun these 6 people road up asking for information. He replied “sorry, I don’t have one”. They replied something like “how is it possible to be in this country without an identity card?”. At that moment, from behind his back he pulled out a gun. He made them all drop their guns. Somehow at this point he became me. I ordered 5 of those people away and the 6th guy I mounted on a camel and told him to set out to such-a-place and I’d follow him. On the way out there was a barge going past on the canal so I stopped to take a photo of it. We had another one of these sessions when the NIKON 1 J5 wouldn’t work. All the time this guy was getting further ahead of me as I was trying to take this photo. In the end I said “sod it” and chased after this guy on the camel. Then I got to thinking “how stupid am I? I made those people drop their guns in the street and walk away. Why didn’t I throw them over into the canal? All they need to do now is to wait until I’m out of sight, pick up their guns and come along and chase after me. At least had I thrown their guns into the canal they might have chased after me but they couldn’t have done very much without any weapons”.

There was also something somewhere about me being with a few people and the subject of dreams came up. I was told to go and see a woman with whom by some lucky chance I’d just been talking because she was very keen on the subject. I wish I knew where she’d gone so I could chase after her. I explained to the people with whom I was talking that I’d been following my dreams for nearly 30 years.

So at least I managed to go off somewhere at some point.

One task that I wanted to do was to to pair off the music for the next radio programme and find a suitable chat line for my guest. That was all done and organised and took me nicely up to lunchtime.

Before I could make my lunch though I needed to make some bread mix. Only for a small loaf though because I’m going to be away for a while next week and there’s not much room right now in the freezer.

Talking of the freezer… “well, one of us is” – ed … I also took out the last pile of dough from the freezer so that it could defrost ready for tonight.

After lunch I came back in here and the first thing that I did was to sort out the camera equipment. I have three cameras on the go – the NIKON D500 which is the main one, the little NIKON 1 J5 that I use when weight and/or privacy and discretion are czlled for, and the old NIKON D3000 that I bought ON QUECEC IN 2012 after I had broken the Nikon D5000 and which keeps on rolling along.

Each camera now has its own bag with all of its own accessories inside it and surprisingly, I bought a brand-new upmarket camera bag last year. The D3000 has found its way into that and the D5000 is in the bag that the D5000 used to occupy and which I’ve had for ages.

The J5 is in an even older camera bag that belonged to one of the older 1st-generation digital cameras that I had and which packed up nearly 20 years ago.

One of these days I’ll have to go through the redundant camera equipment, sell it off and use the money to repair the D5000.

With time to spare I sat down to deal with the photos from last night. They are all uploaded, edited and some of the text was written. But my afternoon walk intervened.

Before I went on my walk though I kneaded the bread mix, added the sunflower seeds and put it in the bread mould.

full car park place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe crowds outside this afternoon were unbearable. You couldn’t move for people and cars. It was not very pleasant at all.

You can see what I mean from this photo. The public car park just outside this building is bursting at the seams and if you look quite closely at the photo you’ll see the crowds of people milling around there today.

In fact, while you are looking closely, you’ll see a group of several people standing together just to the right of centre on this photo, looking over the wall there. That’s my usual spec for when I’m taking photos of the beach if I’m going off around the headland on my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I’m not going round that way this afternoon. I’m going off on a trek around the city walls.

That means I’m having to look down onto the beach from the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord so the view is rather different than usual.

The tide is well out so there is plenty of beach to be on, and there were plenty of people on it this afternoon taking advantage of the space.

And I’m not sure why because while the conditions weren’t Arctic today the sky was quite overcast and it was cool (if not cold) for the time of the year and there was plenty of wind about. It’s not the kind of day in which you’d catch me sunbathing o the beach, that’s for sure.

people fishing in rock pool beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand, I might be down on the beach for other reasons, rather like this family here.

The retreating tide has left several large rockpools behind it, so while daddy supervises the operation, mummy and the two kiddiewinks have taken off their socks and shoes and, in one case, trousers, and they are scavenging around in the rock pools for whatever they can find.

Which I hope they will remember to share with their friends because, after all, one shouldn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

And as for paddling up to my knees, I’ve done that twice now in water that was much colder than this – AT ETAH IN GREENLAND just 700 miles from the North Pole and the second time in the North West Passage in the Canadian High Arctic, about which I’ll write when I can think of what i’m going to say that will express how I felt on that day with the events that were goign on all around me, without causing too many problems.

But meanwhile, trying to dig myself out of the Black Pit into which i’ve fallen, let’s return to our moutons as they say around here and ask why there are all these people wandering around this afternoon.

people at brocants rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe answer to that is that it’s the annual brocante or car boot sale in the old town, and that always attracts the crowds, which is not a good thing from my point of view.

Not 50 yards from where those people are, and they must have walked past that spot to be where they are is a sign “face masks mandatory”, and yet there are so many people who just couldn’t care less.

Having brought the figures down from over 20,000 per day to just a thousand or so, it can’t give anyone any pleasure to see the infection rate rising again so rapidly and yet people totally disregarding even the most basic of rules because they just don’t feel like it.

But anyway, that’s enough of me moaning and whining for the moment. Let’s return to my afternoon walk around the walls

medieval city wall crumbling place du marche au cheveaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the main reasons that I came around this way was to see what they were up to with that scaffolding the other day, but I wasn’t quick enough with the scaffolding and it’s now gone.

But we can see just so clearly now exactly what is the problem with the city walls at the Place du Marché au Chevaux. You can see the vertical crack in the brickwork right there and it’s not before time that they are going to be dealing with it.

It does in fact remind me of the rather nasty crack that appeared on the outside wall of 10 Downing Street but Carrie called in builders to cement over it before Boris Johnson could read it.

And I still haven’t worked out what that wooden structure is that they have built on top of the wall and what its purpose is supposed to be. I suppose that it will become clear over the next few days, but I remember saying that a few days ago.

cement mixer workmen's cabin place du marché au chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo the obvious question is “what are they going to be doing with the walls?”

Here in the little compound we have what looks like a couple of workmen’s huts but also a cement mixer and tubs full of something or other, so it looks as if they are going to be making a start some time soon on repointing. But I think that it needs a bit more than repointing, if you ask me.

And if you look above the nearest workmen’s hut, you’ll see a map. It tells us of work that they have done in the past in restoring the walls, and what they will be doing this year here in the Place du Marché auc Chevaux.

And I wish that it would tell us what they are going to be doing subsequently because sections of the old medieval walls are being closed off quicker than they can repair them.

It was round here that I fell in with a family – mum, dad, a girl about 12 or so and a grandfather. They were not from round here and were struggling to make out a few of the local landmarks. Jersey was really clear to me today so I pointed it out to them, as well as the Ile de Chausey and even the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel which was perfectly clear with the naked eye today.

bouchot beds donville les bains medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was talking to them, I noticed that the bouchot beds at Donville les Bains were quite visible today too with the tide being so far out.

The tractors were taking advantage of the low tide this afternoon and were out there doing the harvesting.

The medieval fish trap had some water still in it too although no-one was taking advantage of it. I’d love to see it restored and people in there catching their own supper with their own bare hands just like they did in the Middle Ages.

After all, there were enough people down there to have had a good go and made a good catch this afternoon had the fish trap been working properly.

f-gcum Robin DR 400/180 Regent baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was doing that, I was overflwon by a light aeroplane. I mean – we have to have one of those, don’t we, on a day like that?

She’s another one of our old friends, F-GCUM, the Robin DR 400/180 Regent that’s owned by the Granville Aero Club.

And she’s been out for a nice long flight this afternoon. She took off at 13:38 and did a nice figure-of-8 going gown to Avranches then across to Cap Fréhel, back to Granville, over Coutances, up to Barneville Carteret and then back home.

She disappeared off the radar at 15:58 presumably when she went into her landing approach and I saw her about 15 minutes later so it must have been a long, shallow dive into landing.

crowds avenue de la liberation place marechal foch plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIf you think, by the way that everyone is here who is coming here and that the crowds will slowly die away, then look again at this lot.

There’s a whole stream of cars coming down the hill nose to tail in the Avenue de la Liberation. And good luck to them if they can find somewhere to park when they finally get to where they are going.

It’s a Sunday of course and the public transport doesn’t run on a Sunday. Perhaps the local council needs to think about that in the summer when there are all of these events and organise a “Park and Ride” on the LeClerc Car Park

Plenty of people too in the Place Marechal Foch and walking along the promenade at the Plat Gousset too. And the ice cream parlour looks as if it’s doing a roaring trade.

seagulls rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course, seeing as I’m here now, I have to go and see how my baby seagulls are doing.

So off I took myself into the Square Maurice Marland, past a couple of little girls playing hopscotch, and up to the place where I can see onto the roofs of the Rue des Juifs where their parents have their nests.

Two of my seagull chicks weren’t up to very much, just curled up in the nest having a relaxing afternoon but the third one here was a little more energetic and he was off for a wander around on the roof.

And I hope that he doesn’t fall off like a couple of his friends seem to have done over the last week or two.

seagull rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallActually I was watching this particular energetic one for quite a while.

When I first saw him he was flapping his wings like Billio and I thought that he was going to have a go at taking off, but animals, like children, are very contrary and never do what you want or what you expect. Having got myself into a good position, he did nothing at all.

You can tell by the times of the images. 4 minutes after I took up my position he decided to inspect himself for fleas and that was about the limit of his activity while I was watching.

In the end I became fed up before he did and I cleared off, upon which I imagined him immediately taking off, doing a few loop-the loops and Immelmann turns

people in brocante rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the Square I walked through the alleyway into the Rue Notre Dame where it was all happening.

And the first thing that I noticed was the lack of face masks despite the notices plastered everywhere. And I know that I go on about this quite a lot but 4,000,000 dead and God alone knows how many people’s health permanently damaged, endless queues in hospitals, routine work cancelled (remember, I went 9 months without my four-weekly cancer treatment) just because people can’t be bothered to take the most basic precautions.

But anyway, even though I remembered to bring my money, I didn’t even look at what was on offer. I have seen the prices in the past and that’s been enough for me. Not even the chip van could tempt me this year.

people place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrowds of people in the Place Cambernon too, mainly at the bar down the far end.

However I didn’t go that way, I carried on around the church and at the edge of the walls overlooking the port I fell in with one of my neighbours chatting to a couple at the nice house with the nice round turret.

We had quite a pleasant chat for 10 minutes or so but then I set off for home as I had work to do.

autogyros pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I hadn’t gone very far before I was brought to yet another halt.

On my way along the street I’d heard a rattling from the air and I’d wondered what it was. But suddenly in a gap between two houses, two of these autogyros came flying past in formation.

Two-seater autogyros too so they were obviously up to something, like a photo shoot or a film shoot. And one of these days I’ll have to get myself up there in one of those things for a photo shoot.

But not right now. Ad I said earlier, I have things to do this afternoon. Like kneading the pizza dough that had now defrosted, rolling it out and putting it on the pizza dish that I had greased.

When everything was ready I switched on the oven and bunged the bread in to bake, and when the pizza dough had proofed sufficiently I assembled my pizza.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the bread was baked I put the pizza in and let that bake, and here are the finished products.

Only a small loaf as I mentioned earlier, and I’ll tell you about that in a day or two, but the pizza was delicious as usual.

No pudding because there is still some chocolate sponge left and in any case, I’m pretty full right now.

And now my notes are finished I’m off to bed. I’ll sleep off my depression and have a better day tomorrow. And if I have time, I’ll finish off those photos from last night and post them up.

We’ll see how I get on.

Sunday 27th December 2020 – WITH IT …

… being a Sunday, I had a nice long lie-in this morning.

There are lie-ins and there are lie-ins, but 12:30 is stretching something of a limit. My excuse is that I didn’t go to bed until about 02:30 this morning, and the time wasn’t wasted anyway because I’d ben choosing the music for the next radio programme and remixing them ready for use. Not as much as I would like to have done, but it’s progress of kinds all the same.

And then, when you see where I’ve been during the night, you’ll understand why I was in bed for so long. Last night there was a Russian industrialist who had a huge factory. He was very disillusioned about having to turn out stuff for the Russians during the Winter War against Finland in 1939-40. They had surveillance on him because of course he was a very important cog in the wheel and they couldn’t really work out at one time whether it was in fact him or a plant from another country but no-one knew the right kind of questions to ask him and when they did ask him something he came back with the correct answer anyway. Then the was ended and he got down to doing some more usual stuff and then the war erupted against Germany. They ended up with a triumvirate of 3 people who would control the Russian industrial production, at least through the plants in which he had a say about the Russian Army. But it was this lack of trust that was the thing and at 1 point in this dream we were wandering through the streets of Moscow just wondering what on earth was going on and who was doing what to whom and such

I was with someone last night, a cross between a certain girl of my former acquaintance and my Greek friend from Brussels. We were together somewhere and I had to go along and take the van but Caliburn started squeaking again from the wheel bearing so I asked someone at the local garage if they could have a listen to it to see what they thought. The girl there said “yes, fine”. She’d fetch someone and it turned out to be the mechanic from the building where I was living. I didn’t really want him to look at it because I didn’t really like very much of his work but he said that he’d look at it, and of course I’d need a spare vehicle, wouldn’t I? So we made some arrangements to look at it. This girl and I wandered off somewhere and I ended up having to stay in a temporary room in my hotel place where I was staying while Caliburn was being fixed so I asked this girl if she would like to stop with me but she didn’t give me a definite answer on that. From there a few things happened that I had forgotten and I had to head off and walk somewhere alongside a river but the river was probably 200 yards away from the edge of the road. So I walked and at a certain point on my right, down from the highest part of the land was this really steep railway line and this steam locomotive and coal train came down it. I looked over the other side of the road to see where it was but it was so steep that it went into an underground tunnel so you couldn’t see the train. But then this train emerged near the river and swung round to the right to follow the river in the same way that I was walking

But going back to that dream with my Greek friend again – I must have stepped right back into it when I went back to sleep – I was off, picked up to go back to the hotel and I’d had to drop off somewhere at my old place but I crashed out and went to sleep. It was about 17:15 when I awoke in a real panic and had to get dressed and get ready, and I wondered what she had been doing all of this time and whether she was still waiting for me. Of course I couldn’t find any clothes, the clothes were wrong, the oranges – I went to eat an orange but they were all bad. Every time I went to peel one it was bad, rotten. Later on I ended up at another hotel and they gave me the bill and I thought “God, this is half as much again as where I’m staying at the moment” but I had a look round at the hotel and all of the facilities they had and thought “€60 isn’t all that bad for this place”. I went to find myself my room but instead ended up in the dining room. I fetched a coffee and went to sit down at a table. There was all piles of EU stuff all over the place including the new chauffeurs’ arrangements. For some unknown reason I hadn’t had a copy of this but there was a copy on display so I rooted round in a cardboard box for one. When I went back to my table someone was sitting in a seat very close to it so I excused myself wanting to sit near to them and sat down at another chair at the same table. All this time I was wondering about this girl. What was she doing, would she still be waiting etc?

I’d been off to a jumble sale and I had the Minerva and a trailer and a whole pile of other stuff that I was going to sell at this car boot sale. I’d arranged to meet Nerina a little later on. I’d been to this sale and it wasn’t particularly successful and I had loads of stuff left over so I started to get ready to go round to Nerina’s house. Going down Middlewich Street with this trailer but there was loads of stuff on here that belonged to other people. A group of kids had put a pile of flip-top bottles on board. I was trying to tell them that they aren’t mine and I had to explain to them in detail that they’d paid a deposit on these bottles and they wouldn’t have the deposit back if they didn’t take the bottles back. Eventually I found the adults who were with them and told these adults. I stopped my Minerva and said “take them off the trailer”. I went for a stroll down to do something – I can’t remember now and that took me far longer than I thought it would take me. Again I was worried if Nerina would still be there. What was happening about her? When I went back I found that the Minerva had been completely stripped and there was just the bodyshell. Everything else had gone. The trailer had disappeared and all that I was left with was my handcart with a couple of really heavy objects on it. I thought “God, I have to push this all the way home. I can’t pull it with the Minerva”. I was trying to work out which would be the best way home. In the end I worked out to go back up Bradfield Road, past Leighton Hospital and down Middlewich Road and past Wistaston Green home. Then I thought “why don’t I ring up Nerina and get her to come and pick me up, or at least explain what’s happened”. But try as I might, I couldn’t get my phone to work then, switching it on and off, it was still not working when I switched it back on. It came up as if I had a new account and I had to register myself, all this. I was in this narrow lane and there were these 2 tractors coming. They had to drive over the fence and into a field in order to get round me. I was in all kinds of states here about this and I awoke in another cold sweat. But quite often in tis dream I was calling the Minerva a Marina. How strange that was. There’s obviously some kind of Freudian slip involved here.

And all of this missing appointments and anxiety too. There’s been too much of this going on just recently.

What with the late start, transcribing all of that took up most of the early afternoon, especially with a pause for hot chocolate and a mince pie for a break.

moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I was able to go off and about, armed with the little NIKON 1 J5, fitted with the NIKKOR 30-110mm LENS, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been out like that.

The first thing that I did was to take a photo of the moon with the zoom lens at its fullest extent, and then cropped it to see what it would do and how it compares with a photo taken with the NIKON D500. And while the quality is less than that of the big Nikon, it’s certainly good enough, all things considered.

And the moon isn’t all that far away from being full. I shall have to give consideration to shaving the palm of my hands in a day or two’s time.

rue du nord plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs you might expect, I wasn’t alone out there this afternoon either. You can see all of the people out there taking a stroll in the afternoon.

There are plenty walking around on the Plat Gousset away in the distance, but you can also see the Rue du Nord to the right, the little postern gate through which I run, and the path that goes long underneath the walls.

I can’t imagine why the people would be walking around on the path underneath the walls. I would reckon that they might need a snorkel and flippers to go around the path.

rainstorm english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd in case you are wondering why, just have a look out to sea from at the English Channel just now where I’m standing in the car park.

We are in the grip of a severe storm last night and for most of the day, even earlier in the morning when I was still working, it’s been pouring down and with really high winds for most of that time. I even had to postpone my walk this afternoon for half an hour.

We can’t see any ships or anything like that out there and that’s not a surprise at all, given everything that was going on out there.

rainstorm english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom my viewpoint on the car park I pushed on a little further along the track on the top of the cliffs.

And the further along the path that I walked, the more the weather deteriorated. You can see in this photo here just how much it has deteriorated too. In the background, that’s not land at all. There is no land out there at all. That’s the force of the spray of the rain off the surface of the sea.

This is not the moment to be hanging around right now. I need to push on and complete my circuit because if I don’t, I’ll catch the lot of it.

photographer photographing rainstorm pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it seems that I wasn’t the only one out there taking advantage of the weather to take a few photographs.

This guy was enjoying himself out there taking a photo or two or three of the approaching storm. And I wasn’t convinced by the idea of doing it with a lightweight tripod without a ballast weight securing it. The wind was extremely strong here, blowing everything about and a camera and tripod would soon be gone with the wind in all of this.

And look at all of the puddles lying around here. You can see what I mean about the miserable weather that we have been having and why I wouldn’t be on the path under the walls right now.

sunset rainstorm baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo instead, I walked across the lawn and then across the car park down to the point of the headland to have a look out across the Bay to see what is going on over there.

There is nothing whatever going on as far as boats and shipping were concerned but we were having another brilliant sunset evening out there. Not just the heavy clouds and the sunset streaming through the gaps, but also the effects of the rainstorm as it tumbles out of the clouds.

It’s certainly something special today as you can see. But I’m not going to be here admiring it for too long

joly france chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I was right too, because the wind was quicker than I was.

By the time that I reached the viewpoint overlooking the cliffs on the south side (having dodged the flood on the footpath I was soaked to the skin. and whipped by the hailstones. And over there underneath the crane in the loading bay in the port, Joly France and Chausiais are moored there and I’ve no idea why they would be moored over there at all.

Particularly Joly France because she’s not able to carry the type of load for which they would need to use the big crane to load her up. If it were Chausiais moored under the crane, I could maybe undertsand it a little better.

le coelacanthe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou will have noticed that there were plenty of fishing boats moored in the harbour this afternoon.

But not for long. Despite the miserable weather, they were all preparing to go out to sea. One of them, our old friend Le Coelacanthe was making her way out of the harbour being photobombed by a seagull on her way out to sea, her crew all decked in rain and wet gear for what they are about to receive and will be receiving any minute now.

As for me, I’d already been receiving it and I was in a rush to return home to the warm and dry.

When I returned home, I rolled out the pizza dough and put it in the tray ready to rise for the next hour or so.

While I’d been away, Rosemary had telephoned me so I called her back and we had a chat for an hour or so, meaning that I had missed my Welsh homework. I’ll have to do two lots on the train to Leuven tomorrow and that wasn’t part of the plan.

home made vegan pizza place d'armes granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time to assemble my pizza – with tinned mushrooms unfortunately as I didn’t have fresh.

And when I put it in the oven I set out for my evening walk. But there was no possibility of going out anywhere in what was awaiting me outside. This was the kind of rain that I was hoping not to see and it will be disappointing if it’s like this when I go out tomorrow morning.

Instead I came back in and did the washing and tidying up while the pizza was cooking.

Delicious it was too, and no pudding either because it was quite filling.

And now, my notes are written so I’m off to bed. No matter what, I have to be up early tomorrow for my train. I can’t afford to hang about.

Thursday 21st January 2016 – SO IT WAS NERINA …

… who drew the short straw tonight, coming with me to take a coach party down to the south coast, Worthing or somewhere similar. We stopped the night at a town not too far away, somewhere near Lewes. While we were there, I rang up the hotel on the coast to make all of the arrangements for our arrival, and to find out the directions to the hotel. When I came out of the telephone booth into the bar, there were several giant-sized people in the bar, all professional wrestlers who were handing out promotional gifts. I was given a cigarette lighter (of course, I don’t smoke) but it leaked and I was getting all of the fluid all over me and smelling like a tart’s boudoir. In the end, Nerina sent me to wash my hands so I went into the toilet but all of the sinks were full of baby clothes – someone had filled up all of the sinks and left the clothes in there to soak. This had annoyed everyone in the hotel. I went to someone else’s coach because I knew that he had a kind of tap and hand-washing arrangement on an extendible pipe right by the driver’s seat (it was a left-hand drive coach but the entrance was on the left). I used this to wash off my hands. While I was doing this, other coach drivers came up to ask what I was doing, so I explained. I had difficulty closing off this tap no matter what I did, so the other drivers had a try and they couldn’t do it either, so they started to fill their bottles of drink with it. Coming off the coach I heard some woman talking to one of the coach hostesses talking about exit doors on coaches. She was going on about a particular kind of coach and describing a particular kind of door, to which I interjected that that was a B10M (which, incidentally, is a model of chassis, not a body) but no-one was listening and the hostess was saying that it’s not an E62 like we have. So I said “B10M” again, to just the same amount of notice. And back in the hotel still filthy, still covered in cigarette lighter fluid, and I eventually found a map of how to reach this hotel. It wasn’t where I thought at all but to the west of the town on a headland and fairly easy to reach. There was a big coach park right opposite just by the headland and also a small restaurant close by which was useful because I knew what hotel food was like and I could see me eating out every night if the hotel food was rubbish.
And Maria, having made her rather dramatic entrance onto our stage yesterday, is back for a follow-up appearance. This time however, she was quite seriously ill and had been discharged from her employment at the EU. I was running a business from my home with about three or four people sitting at desks doing things (I can’t remember what now) and so to help out Maria and make sure that her Social Security obligations were met, I offered her a small job at my place. And so she came to work, not doing very much. On one day needed to go to a medical appointment so I offered to take her. “You can’t go like that” she said, indicating my present attire, and nipped off upstairs (I’ve had exactly the same conversation with a friend of mine a couple of months ago, by the way). She came back down again with a pair of denim jeans. “Put these on”. “What size are they?” I enquired, to which she replied that they were 32-inch. Now up until I stopped running in the late 1990s I could fit into 32″ jeans, but even on a nocturnal ramble I knew full well that they would be too small, but I tried them on and found that I actually needed a belt to hold them up, which amazed me. But anyway, off we went to the hospital and on the way, I found that the two of us were holding hands, something that Maria would never ever do in real life (and which parallels, incidentally, something that was going through my mind with another person just before I dropped off to sleep).
Later on, the two of us found ourselves out on the ski slopes. We were fighting our way out through hordes of children up the steps to the three ski-lifts that were there and then I came to a sudden stop. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on three or four occasions in the past my nocturnal rambles have taken me to a certain ski-run which involves a passage down a narrow valley, a difficult passage through and over some kind of watershed and then a glorious run down another valley which made all of the hard work quite worthwhile (and we even visited it in our red Cortina estate on one occasion during one night) – anyway, this was where I was heading. But I couldn’t remember how to get there now. Looking at the map board, I could see a black run indicated (ski runs are colour coded to give their degree of difficulty and black runs are the most difficult) which I reckoned would be the one that I wanted, but I couldn’t work out how to get there. Maria said that she knew the way but was surprisingly evasive when it came to actually telling me. I was looking for a map to take with me but there wasn’t one available and so I was feeling really disappointed about this as I had really been looking forward to revisiting this ski run.

On that note of disappointment the alarm went off and I came downstairs. And then had a long loooooooooong wait for the nurse to come. He’d forgotten that it was blood test day and was busy doing his rounds elsewhere while I was sitting here starving.

And talking of blood tests, here’s a shock. I have an id and password so I can go to the laboratory’s website any time after 16:30 and pick up my results. And this evening I found that my blood count has NOT gone down. Now there’s a surprise. I wondered why I had not been “summoned to appear at nine o’clock in the forenoon to answer to the aforesaid” at the hospital.

But this brings with it it’s own problem. I mean – this is good news, make no mistake – that if the blood count is down on Monday, I may well be called in on Tuesday, but I’m being admitted to hospital on Wednesday for my operation on Thursday. On Wednesday I’m definitely having a transfusion (I’ve been told that for definite) and it’s likely that on Thursday and Friday they will be carrying on (assuming that I’m still here on Friday). Too much strange blood all at once can provoke a strange reaction and I don’t want one of those while I’m under the knife. I would have been much happier to go in tomorrow regardless.

But apart from that, I’ve had a quiet day in the house doing not very much at all. I’ve not even set foot outside (although Terry took his van for the controle technique – it passed, by the way). There was a huge mega-sale of items on the 3D site that I use so I spent a little money today (and I would have spent a great deal more had I had it to hand) and I pressed on with my 3D Animation course.

The course set us an interesting challenge. We are doing computer-generated 3D animation now (the part of the course that is of most interest to me) and the aim was to produce a bedroom and fit it with items so that the occupant of the room could be clearly identified. I have therefore been scouring www.sharecg.com – the leading free resource community for the 3D program that I use -for items and happily building a bedroom for my K4 character. She now has a bed with teddy bear, a desk with homework scattered about, a chest of drawers with a boom box on it, a wardrobe with clothes hanging in it (it took me hours to do that), a skateboard with helmet and also a pile of clothes scattered about the floor. No prizes for guessing who is the occupant of THAT room.

Apart from that, I’ve had a shower (so that’s me sorted until September) and a change of clothes (ditto) and done badger all else. And ask me if I care.

But I suppose that really, I do care. I can’t go on like this. I’m not looking forward to the operation and I’m looking forward even less to the week or so that will follow. But I need to do something positive and put my life back on the rails. Much as I enjoy being here, I really want to go home and get on with everything.

Tuesday 19th January 2016 – TERRY’S HAD ME …

… hard at it today.

Sitting there finishing off our post-prandial coffee, when he announced “let’s go and cut some wood!”.

Terry’s wood is free. The commune of Sauret-Besserve has a huge communal forest and part of the privileges of the commune is that you can have a couple of trees. Each year, you lodge your demand with the mayor and he sends round a forester to inspect the forest. Trees that are condemned are then allocated amongst the villagers who have lodged demands, but they have to cut them down themselves.

Terry works with the neighbour across the road to cut down their wood together, and it’s all stacked in 2-metre lengths in a big pile. So we coupled up Terry’s big trailer to the Jeep and went to fetch a trailer-load.

We then had to unload it, cut it into 40cm lengths, then split it into manageable chunks and stack it in the barn. All in the pouring rain, because it really was wet. I managed an hour or an hour and a half and then I had to come in and sit down. I’m definitely not up to it yet, although it is an improvement from when I last tried to do some work. It really was heavy work lifting all of that wood into the trailer.

Apart from that though, I didn’t do a great deal. I didn’t even do anything on my animation course. I’d had a bad night, en early start and so I was pretty much out of it for quite a while in the morning.

Last night, I didn’t end up going to sleep until late – my guilty conscience must be catching me up. And when I finally did go to sleep, it was a fitful night of restlessness and awakening, punctuated by some more impressive nocturnal rambles.

We started off by featuring once more some of my 3D characters. There was some kind of sports tournament involving them and there are loads and loads of people and other 3D characters watching from the sidelines and most people are dressed in fancy dress. I remember a kind of medieval knight in chain mail and someone else wrapped in what looked like an Argentinian flag.
From here, we moved on to a pub somewhere. It was one of these 1950s type of housing estate pubs, the Greenall Whitley type that you used to see everywhere. At this pub, something had happened and the landlady had to be evicted from the premises. However she’d been to the court and obtained a stay of execution of the eviction. One day, though, she had to leave the pub for some reason or other, and on returning, she found that the brewery had taken possession and locked her out. We had all gathered outside the pub to show our support for the landlady and to try somehow to get her back into her property. This involved my brother, my youngest sister’s husband (them again?) a set of steps and a short ladder. We had to use the steps and the ladder to climb up over the verandah and up into a window on the first floor. It was all down to me of course because they certainly weren’t interested in climbing up, and they were making life extremely difficult for me because they didn’t have the ladder in the right place for me, not being able to find the steps, not putting the steps in the right place. They couldn’t do anything correctly. Anyway,to cut a long story short … "hooray" – ed … we couldn’t find a way in there and so had to try another route, up and over the porch over the front door and in through the window above. It wasn’t long before the owners of the pub, the brewery, the clients and the new temporary landlord realised what was going on and they all came surging out. This led to a pile of gratuitous insults being hurled and it all became quite offensive and unnecessary. One person in particular was particularly uncooperative and unpleasant and wanted to know who was in charge of our party. I replied that I supposed that I was. He mentioned something about music so I pointed him in the direction of the manager of the rock group in which I played. He asked the manager if our group could quickly learn 12 songs to play for his audience. In principle, that wouldn’t be too much of a problem but there was a big discussion, if not argument, about how safe would the young girl who sang with us be, walking up to these premises on her own by the main road at night with all of the traffic around, would she be able to cross over the street into the pub?
I ended up back on the taxis again after that. We were on a weekend, a Saturday night in fact. Things were starting to wind down a little and another taxi driver came to see me, rather annoyed, wanting to know what one of his regular passengers had been doing in one of my taxis. It was a really good fare to Wigan too. I had a look in our day book and it seemed that it was a fare from a pub called the Farmer’s Arms (there’s one of those at Ravensmoor, near Nantwich). he was annoyed, saying that none of his regular passengers would ever willingly get into a taxi driven by anyone else, however our records showed that it was a call from one of the employees of the pub that had summoned our taxi and we knew no more about it than that. The driver concerned happened to be on duty and we asked him about it, and he confirmed exactly what I had said, without being prompted. The fare had actually come to £37:00, and that was in early-1980s prices too, so I could understand him being quite upset about losing the fare. We smoothed this over anyway and eventually ended up talking about Air Products at Elton and British Salt at Cledford (two places where my father had worked in the past). It seemed that the landlord of this pub had had something to do with Air Products and that was the connection between me and the Farmer’s Arms. It seemed that this taxi driver had given my telephone operator a hard time over this affair and just at this moment she was there in the street (which bore a passing resemblance to Vine Tree Avenue) so he asked me to go over and present his compliments to her and explain that the matter had been resolved. Most unlike taxi-driving in Crewe, this was.
As an aside, I’d said to my taxi driver that I’d see him back here at work tomorrow morning, but he replied that I wouldn’t – he was going to have a day off. So I had had a look at the job sheets for next morning and saw that we had jobs booked in from 06:00 on that morning, meaning that I would be finishing here at 04:00 as we had jobs booked right up until then, and then back out at 06:00 (not that this kind of thing had ever bothered me too much when I really was doing it back then) but I said nothing, and put on a cheerful face about it.
But on the subject of taxis and British Salt, where’s our Leyland Princess? As a matter of fact, I did have one of those at one time. It was near Christmas 1988 and Nerina and I just happened to be at a car auction and a beautiful 1800 Princess, W reg, went through, with a long MoT and 5 months tax for just £270. But it had the wrong driveshaft in it and it kept stripping the hubs (as I was to find out later). In the end, I went down to the scrapyard and dismantled the entire front end of another one and spent a whole day swapping it over. And then it ran fine until the clutch went. But I digress. But last night, the car was in the hands of one of the mechanics at British Salt (and not George either) having some work done on it, and it was now Friday and we still hadn’t had the car back. I went over to the garage there to talk to the guy to see what had happened to it (strangely enough, the garage was almost a reverse image of how it really used to be). I met up with the guy who told me that it was having to have the servo changed and it will be ready some time next week. But it was now Friday and we were always really busy over the weekend and I couldn’t afford to have the car not on the road. I told him that we really needed it – we were rushed off our feet. I couldn’t afford to wait until Monday for it. So this ended up in some kind of dispute.
But from here, another person entered into the story. A Greek girl called Maria with whom I worked when I was in Brussels. Right now, I can’t remember how or why she fitted in to some part of these adventures last night, but she was certainly there.

3D models, taxis and taxi drivers, British Salt, Maria, my brother and brother in law? We’ll be having Godzilla putting in an appearance next.