Tag Archives: marillion

Sunday 9th January 2022 – MY CUNNING PLAN …

… for ENDLESS SUNDAYS at lest started as it ought to have done, with me not showing a leg until 10:50 this morning.

As it happens, I’d actually been awake at 07:20 but if anyone thinks that I’m going to be raising myself from the dead at a silly hour like that on a Sunday is mistaken.

Plenty of time therefore for me to go off on a few nocturnal rambles here and there. I was with a young girl last night but she was no-one whom we knew. She was small and had wavy blonde hair. I was trying to go from somewhere to somewhere else but there were no buses or trains so I had to walk. The first leg of my journey was something like 30km so I was busy counting the paces as I walked to make sure that I was on the right speed. I’d already done 12km by the time that mid-morning came round. As I was going down West Street I’d acquired this girl by then. She knew that her name was Anemone or Aphrodite and was a Greek goddess. I was being pursued by my mother and one of my sisters. We shook them off by going round one side of a pillar box while they went round the other but we cut round and across and down into Underwood Lane. They followed us from there. They were talking about the Girls’ Grammar School which was down there (which, of course, it isn’t) and my idea of taking this girl to the Grammar School was totally wrong because there was some kind of copyright or something like that on the Grammar School and I couldn’t use it for my purposes. Something complicated like this. I took no notice and carried on walking down the road with this girl. It was pitch-black and you couldn’t see a thing. Trying to negotiate the bends in this road and the road junctions when you can’t see anything and you have these 2 people behind harping on, it was extremely difficult. And I wish that my family would stop following me around when I’m in the company of a nice young girl.

Later on there was something like a natural disaster, like a flood and I had to go to rescue someone. There was a big Bedford-type horsebox involved in this as well. When I arrived, I couldn’t see the girl whom I’d been sent to rescue. There was another one but this was disappointing because I remembered the 1st girl from some other time. Later, the same thing happened again. Another natural disaster like a flood and I had to go to rescue someone, with a different horse box this time. This time it was the girl whom I recognised, the blonde with her hair in a pony tail, and whom I should have picked up last time. I managed to arrive there in time to rescue her this time. I don’t know who she is in “real life” but in my dream I knew who she was but I just couldn’t think who.

And later still I’d moved house again. I was living somewhere else and I’d taken all of my solar panels and wind turbines with me. We’d slowly been reinstalling everything back in. There were loads of people helping me. Someone who might have been my father was in charge of everything but I don’t know who he was. One night I’d gone to bed and next morning I awoke but everyone was already there working so I went out to the yard to the outhouse to fetch some milk. I was checking the batteries, everything. Considering that it was bright sunlight and a really nice day there was only 12.3 volts in the batteries. I thought that that was really strange. There ought to be much more in there than that. So I fetched my milk and the guy in charge shouted something like “are you going back inside? They need you to open the hatch to the loft in there”. I replied “yes. I’ve only just come out for a minute. I’ll be back in in a sec”. Someone else said to this guy that they had a new door to install in there to go out”. Someone else asked “did they get one in the end? They were talking about it yesterday”. He replied “yes. You should see it! They really do fancy themselves, this lot!”.

So having had a few days (and nights) of some really interesting and welcome characters in my rambles, I’m now back to being pursued around by members of my family. That’s a shame, isn’t it? They just won’t leave me alone.

After the medication I came here and transcribed all of the dictaphone notes that you have just read, and by then it was time for brunch. Porridge with toast and buckets-full of coffee.

This afternoon I updated all of the journal entries that needed the dreams adding back – all the way to December 15th. And unfortunately there was nothing really startling about anything that had happened during the night for that couple of weeks.

But I did notice that the images hadn’t been added in for several days so that’s something that I need to do next. All of that relentless series of trips to the hospital over that couple of days in December disrupted my routine, I’m afraid to say.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The weather had shown an improvement since yesterday, which was no surprise as it couldn’t surely have been any worse.

There was some light rain falling but that didn’t bother me too much. It seemed to bother everyone else though because there was no-one around on the beach. It was pretty much deserted down there.

And there was nothing of any nature at all happening out to sea either. No boat of any description sailing around in the bay. It’s not as if it’s really winter though. Temperatures are more like late March than early January.

people path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And so with nothing else to detain me, I set off down the path to the end of the headland.

There weren’t very people around on the path either. I encountered no more than half a dozen as I walked down to the lighthouse at the end.

And of those half-a-dozen people, not one of them wearing a mask. There’s an Arrêt Prefectorial about wearing masks in open spaces here in the Manche.

Even if there wasn’t, I would have thought that 303,669 cases of infection yesterday would have given most people a clue as to the gravity of the situation. We aren’t ever going to be rid of the virus if people don’t start to take it seriously.

french flag seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Mind you, on the subject of taking things seriously, we ought to have a look at (what’s left of) the flag that’s flying over the Memorial to the Missing Seamen.

Yesterday I posted a photo of the flag showing that the red stripe was becoming detached from the rest of the flag after the wind that we had had yesterday afternoon.

And so after the wind that we had had yesterday evening, the flag has now been finished off. We apparently now have Liberty and Fraternity, but Equality has now completely Gone With The Wind.

It’ll probably turn up somewhere on the beach out near Jullouville, just like that foot did a few weeks ago.

And while we’re on the subject of feet on beaches … “well, one of us is” – ed … there’s a bay on the border of British Columbia and Washington State where SHOES WITH FEET INSIDE are washed ashore on a regular basis.

So let that be a lesson to you. Always stick a small piece of soap down the bottom of your shoes when you go into the water so that if your feet become detached from your body, they can be washed ashore.

I’ll get my coat.

people cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Just for a change there were some people down there at the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban this afternoon. We haven’t seen anyone down there for a good few days.

Whatever it is that they went to see, it beats me because there was nothing at all going on out in the bay this afternoon. And with the mist, the Brittany coast out there on the other side of the bay wasn’t visible either.

The sea had calmed down somewhat as well from yesterday so they weren’t even having the spectacle of the rough sea crashing down on the rocks.

But as long as they were happy, that’s all that counts, although I wish that they would wear their masks. I left them to it and headed off down the path towards the port and home.

joly france chausiaise ferry terminal gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No change in the inhabitants of the port this afternoon either.

Over at the ferry terminal we have Chaisiaise and the older of the two Joly France boats, the one without a step in the stern. And in the chantier naval we have Gerlean still there. She’s not moved for about a week now.

There was nothing else that piqued my interest so I headed back for home and my nice hot coffee. It’s not been that cold out here, as I mentioned earlier, but it was damp and a mug of hot coffee is always welcome.

After I’d had lunch I’d taken some pizza dough (the last batch as it happens) out of the freezer and left it to defrost during the afternoon.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022After I’d had my coffee I kneaded it again, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray to proof for a while. When it was ready, I assembled it and it went into the oven to bake.

It wasn’t as good as the last two or three. The base underneath the topping was rather soggy still and it can’t go any lower in the oven. It’s already on the lowest rung that there is.

But nevertheless it still tasted totally delicious. I have the knack now, I reckon, of making a good pizza. All I need now is a good oven but that’s going to have to wait for a while, I reckon. I’m still not sure how I’m going to fit an oven in the kitchen.

So now I’m off to bed. I have an early start in the morning in order to prepare a radio programme. The one that will be broadcast this next weekend will be programme 112 but I’ll be working on programme 143. I’m about 6 months ahead, and on purpose too, for obvious reasons, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

The show must go on, hey, whether I am suffering from ill-health or even pushing up the daisies.

Saturday 8th January 2022 – THE LEAST SAID …

… about today, the better because it’s been one of those days that’s best forgotten.

In fact, it all went wrong before it even started, if you know what I mean. The alarm went off as usual at 07:30 and the next thing that I remember, it was 08:03. Yes, for the first time in ages, I’d gone back to sleep after the alarm. Definitely getting back into old habits.

So it was rather a rush this morning to have my medication and then have a shower and clean-up before dashing out to the shops.

Well, to Lidl anyway.

09:11 I’d set out, and at 09:58 I was back in the house. Mind you, it was hardly a surprise because there was nothing whatever going on anywhere. It was a wet, grey, dark, depressing morning, the ideal day to match my mood.

Back here I dictated the dictaphone notes from last night. And I was rather puzzled by one sound-file that ran for 57 minutes. “That must have been some voyage” I mused, only to find that it was 00:34 of me talking and the remaining 56:26 of me snoring. I’d drifted off back to sleep with the machine still running.

And apologies to Percy Penguin. She used to complain about me snoring during the night and I always denied it. Well …

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … apartment we’d come back on a ferry from somewhere in Europe. When we readhed the pier where we could disembark there were thousand upon thousand of us. We had to walk the length of this pier to reach the ferry terminal. Formerly there had been a train service between the ferry and the terminal. You could still see the railway station and the lines and an odd steam-train or two were going past crowded with people. We walked, and reached a T-junction where we had to turn left and ended up in the ferry terminal, suitcases, everything, hordes and thousands of people. I don’t know where it went from this but a little later there was an announcement on the radio that thousands of people were still stranded at the ferry terminal after 2 days. It looked as if we’d been there and there was no way for us to move on at the moment. Someone said something that he had arranged for a nurse to come to look after the disabled people so that their carers could have rest. It was all just total and utter chaos.

Also last night I was with one of my friends from Montreal for a while. We arranged to meet at some other time. She was living in Russia at the time so she suggested we meet and what I thought was today. I asked her where we would meet – I assumed that it would be half-way between the two -and she mentioned the name of a hotel somewhere in Kiev. I had a look on a map on the internet and found the hotel. It wasn’t too far from the railway station and in fact I’d driven past there once with her and she’d pointed it out to me. I wanted to know what time we were meeting so I rang her on her mobile number but had a recorded message something like “please don’t wake my dad, please don’t wake my dad”. I wondered what was happening because that was a long way to go, all the way to Kiev on the train from Brussels and not be met or not be picked up by anyone. I wanted some kind of more definite arrangements but she wasn’t answering her ‘phone.

As well as that I was out in Caliburn last night looking for the place where he would be MoT’d. It was a strange drive in some kind of strange village or town and then out into the countryside where I kept on being surrounded by sheep and i’m not really sure about that.

And just for a change I managed to save the text file without deleting it.

What else I’ve been doing today is to finish off that sound file that I had to re-edit. It wasn’t as easy as it might have been either because there was a lot of “bleeding over” between the channels so I had to be careful how I edited it and some of the stuff that I would have liked to have kept ended up having to go.

But at least it sounds more like something that it ought to do.

Going out for my afternoon walk wasn’t as easy as it ought to have been either.

When I went into the living room to gather up my stuff as I would usually do at the usual time, it was raining like rain that I had never seen and was as black as the ace of spades outside. There was no possibility of going for a walk in any of that.

rainstorm underneath door place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022About half an hour later it eased off so I decided to make a run – well, perhaps a crawl – for it.

And this is what has happened in the building. The rain has come down with so much force and with the wind being so strong, it’s blown all of the water underneath the front door and we’ve had a mini-flood on the ground floor.

Luckily though it’s not made it into any of the apartments down there, but now we know why there’s a kind-of step at the front door of the apartments down there if this is the kind of thing that happens on a regular basis.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Once I’d finally negotiated the entrance to the building I could go outside and see what was going on.

As I expected, the answer was “nothing at all”. There wasn’t a soul down on the beach which is no surprise given the weather that we had just had. Mind you, it was probably drier to actually go and sit in the sea.

With nothing else of any kind of note whatever happening, I pushed off towards the headland. The quicker I start, the quicker I finish.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was out there looking down onto the beach, I was also having a look around out at sea.

Not that I could see very much out there. It was rather like yesterday in that respect. There was another rainstorm circulating out there in the bay that was making life interesting for that small boat that was racing away from it towards the mainland.

Seeing the rainstorm was the cue for me to put my skates on. The wind was blowing it in my direction. I’d been caught in that downpour yesterday and I didn’t fancy another one. The sooner I return home the better

sunset brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However, as I walked on down the path, all on my tod, the sun suddenly and rather dramatically came out over the Brittany coast.

It looked pretty good in this photo but it became even better a little later when the heavy, dark cloud had moved completely away and was shining over the sea.

But I wasn’t to be lulled into a false sense of security by any of this. There might be sunshine over there but there was none of that here and the rainstorm was coming closer and closer.

The rain falls down upon the just
and on the unjust fella
but mostly on the just because
the unjust steals the just’s umbrella

french flag seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A little earlier, I’d mentioned the wind.

In fact, the wind was blowing quite strongly, although not as strongly as it had done when we had had the rainstorm. And you can see what damage the wind has been doing, because it’s shredded the French flag that flies above the monument to the departed seafarers.

And as you might expect, there was no-one else apart from me admiring it. Not even anyone down on the bench by the cabanon vauban, and that’s not a surprise to anyone at all.

waves harbour wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022So with nothing happening in the bay, I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

There was quite a wind and a turbulent sea but with the tide being well-out there were no waves breaking on the sea today. However, over on the wall that protects the port de plaisance we had some waves breaking there.

That’s the first time that I recall seeing the waves there. The wind must be blowing on the correct direction for that to happen. It’s probably quite a rare phenomenon.

Meanwhile, in other news, there was still Gerlean and Joly France in the chantier naval and the ferry terminal, but you are probably fed up of seeing them.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022In the inner port, we had most of the trawlers tied up. They haven’t gone out today.

They must be having a weekend off, or else the weather is too turbulent for even them to put out to sea this afternoon.

And so I made it back home where I was finally able to have my hot coffee. And then I sat down to pair of the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday but to my shame I fell asleep in the middle of doing it.

Not just for 5 or 10 minutes either but for well over an hour. A really deep sleep as well, the type that I haven’t had for several months. And that depressed me more than just about anything else.

When I awoke, the storm was back. And in spades too. A howling gale with driving rain. I’m glad that I went out when I did otherwise I would never have made it.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, and now I’m off to bed. Although I’m not sure how I’ll sleep with the wind blowing tin cans around outside and the fact that I had such a good sleep this afternoon.

But it’s Sunday tomorrow and I’m having a lie-in. Rather like the CATALOGUE PRINCESS, APPRENTICE SEDUCTRESS, I seem to be spending most of my time praying “for endless Sundays” instead of performing ” to scattered shadows on the shattered cobbled aisles” of the streets of the old walled city at the back here.

Anyway, more of the same tomorrow.

Saturday 6th February 2021 – HAVING MOANED …

… incessantly with all of this “woe is me” nonsense about how I can’t get out of bed any more in the mornings, I have to say that when the first alarm went off this morning I’d been out of bed already for a good 8 minutes. And by the time that the third alarm went off 15 minutes later I was already sitting at the computer doing some work.

All of which goes to prove that the problem such as it is isn’t a medical issue but more a personal issue because I can clearly do it when I have to.

What the issue was this morning was that I was dictating the account of a voyage and the batteries went flat in the dictaphone. And for some unknown reason the spare batteries that I keep by the bed were flat too. And so I had to go off and track some others down in the living room.

And by the time that I’d done that, there wasn’t much point in going back to bed just for a couple of minutes otherwise we might have had another wasted morning.

So as for where I’d been during the night, there wasn’t really all that much that was exciting. I had to go somewhere and so for no reason at all I leapt on board a ferry which was the Staten Island ferry but wasn’t and sailed across the bay or river to the other side. There were about 3 or 4 people on there and I stayed on there ready to come back without even bothering to get off the boat. Gradually a few people came on to join me. There was a guy there who was in charge and there was some kind of display stand with newspapers on there and things. I was casually reading a newspaper that was on there. This guy came past and he was talking about me to someone else. My ears pricked up. It turned out that I’d been given a guide with my mobile phone. I’d filled it in but I knew all of the stuff because I’d had mobile phones for years so I hadn’t really bothered much with the guide. It was there so he gave it back to me. Then they started to serve the tea on board this boat so we all stood in a queue. I was with a Flemish guy, next to him. He heard some English people talking – apparently one of the English people had said that now that we are in Flanders we’ll have to learn to speak Flemish. The Flemish guy turned to me and said “that’s a bit crazy, isn’t it? Everyone here in Flanders speaks English”. What was strange about this was that I could actually smell the tea and coffee while this dream was taking place and I’ve no idea who might have been brewing up by the air went to my apartment.

Later on there was me, a guy and a couple of other women. I can’t remember the beginning about this but we had to go and take some things round to see from school (who incidentally is making his debut appearance in my voyages even if he didn’t actually make an appearance), why we would do that I don’t know. I’d made tea and my brother was late coming in. he was carrying a gun – he’d been to fetch a rifle and I was annoyed by this. I didn’t want to have firearms in the house. I told my old standby about when I was working with that boss and I was supposed to carry a firearm and he asked why I wasn’t. I explained and he asked “what would you do if we were held up somewhere”? I replied that I would rely on the force of my own personality. But no-one seemed to think that that was funny. I explained to my brother “the tea’s here, the tea’s there, there’s something here, there’s something there. Make your own tea”. He pulled a face and started to complain. I said “it won’t take long. Even if you put a potato in the microwave it only takes 5 minutes”. I collected what I had to take and I had to take the dog for a walk with me. There were 2 or 3 dogs and I kept on getting the wrong dog. I knew which dog it should be that I should be taking but I kept on being confused. Eventually I sorted it out with the help of someone and a little girl said that she would come with me for the walk. We set out and walked down the street straight into a police barrage. Of course I’d forgotten to fill in my form – it was after 18:00. Luckily I had the dog with me so I said to this policeman “I’m taking the dog for a walk but I’ve forgotten all about the curfew” so he smiled and let me go. This was where I met up with this guy and these 2 women. We talked about places where we had worked, the humour and the acronyms that we had made up, like Work Experience on Employers Premises which made WEEP which is of course what people did who were on the scheme when they received their pay. I said that there were 3 places where I’d worked which had been the most humorous and had the most sense of humour, Crewe, Stockport and Stoke on Trent, and then only half of Crewe.

By now it was shower time, following which it was time to make an early start for the shops.

Nothing of any interest in NOZ but they had a pile of different varieties of canned drinks so I bought a selection. I like to vary my diet as often as I can, and NOZ is the place to do that because they sell all kinds of end-of-range stuff and bankrupt stock from all over Europe and even North Africa at times and quite often there’s some interesting stuff that I don’t normally see.

LeClerc had another pile of fresh veg on offer. 2kg of potatoes at €1:16, 2 heads of broccoli at €0:99 and two bell peppers at €0:99 will do me nicely. Some of the broccoli I’ll blanch and freeze tomorrow as I won’t be able to eat it all at one go.

3kg of carrots at €1:60 was quite tempting too but there simply isn’t enough room in the freezer for that.

Back here I made my hot chocolate and cut a slice of sourdough fruit loaf then I came in here to wade through a pile of e-mails and I managed to file quite a few in the great waste-paper bin in the sky before I was … obliged to close my eyes for a while. 90 minutes actually, and I could have done without that.

The potato and leek soup didn’t look up to much and so that went the way of the west. I had to have sandwiches instead. Next time I’ll leave the eyes in the potatoes so it’ll see me through the week.

After lunch and my little rest, for some reason I was feeling quite productive so I bashed out another 1,0000 words about the massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane as well as updating a previous blog entry from several years ago with more stuff that I had found while researching.

Another thing that I did was in connection with something that I found while sorting through the e-mails. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m having issues about the Covid vaccination, or lack thereof. There was a newspaper article that I had somehow missed about “how to apply for a vaccine” which although not being of much use to me, it nevertheless gave details of a website run by the Health Authorities.

It took me about an hour of surfing through it until I found what I was looking for – “if you have any more questions not covered by our FAQ please complete this form …” and so I did, setting out my case as fully as I could.

Not that it will do any more good than what I’ve been doing so far, but any straw is good enough to clutch at because you never know what might happen. And it reminds me of the story that I heard about Fish, after he had left Marillion, made contact with Rick Wakeman and the ghost of Sandy Denny to produce an album that would be entitled “Clutching at Strawbs”.

yachts english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn between all of this, I broke off for my afternoon perambulation.

Earlier on, on the way back from the shops I noticed the trailer from the Nautical School parked up in the car park, and sure enough, there were several yachts sailing about offshore in the bay and in the English Channel.

The morning had been miserable, grey and overcast but it must have warmed up and cleared up quite quickly later in the morning after I had returned from the shops because it was another nice and pleasant afternoon, even if the wind has risen up yet again.

wind turbines hauteville sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe views outside were really magnificent today and in the fine weather conditions you could see for miles.

All the way down the coast way past Hauteville sur Mer and the Sienne estuary. In fact the wind turbines at the back of Coutances are clearly visible with the naked eye.

For a change this afternoon, I went for my wander around the footpath underneath the walls instead of my usual route around the headland. It’s been ages since I’ve walked this way … “and anyone who mentions “talcum powder” is disqualified” – ed … and I was keen to see what changes (if any) there had been.

And despite the dry, sunny windy weather of the last couple of days, the path was still muddy and depressing.

people on plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were hordes of people milling around outside today, both on the footpath and down on the beach and promenade at the Plat Gousset, all taking advantage of the unseasonal sunny weather.

In fact, thinking on, coming back from the shops this morning the roads were packed coming into town and once I’d wrestled my way out of the shopping zone I came home via the back streets to avoid the jams in the town centre.

It makes me wonder whether it’s school holiday time and all of the tourists from the Paris region have come here to their second homes and holiday bolt-holes. And that’s bad news for me because the past has shown that they bring the Covid with them and the infection rate here soars upwards.

And here I am, not able to have a vaccination.

relaying gas pipes rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back I went to see how they are progressing with laying the new gas pipe in the Rue St Michel.

And the answer to that question, as we expected, is “very slowly”. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of urgency amongst the Belgian and French workforce.

Back here I had a coffee and carried on with my tasks until guitar-playing time, which was spent completely with the acoustic guitar. I have an idea of an hour’s worth of music that I can play comfortably and sing with the acoustic guitar, including, surprisingly, Fleetwood Mac’s “Behind the Mask”.

That song is not as complicated as it sounds when you first hear it. What sounds like a complicated chord arrangement can be played by just moving your fingers around the derivatives of the “A” chord. But I can’t make the lyrics fit the beats at the moment.

Anyway, I wanted to have a work through it and see how it would come out and what I can say is that it has potential. Give it a couple of years.

Tea was a burger with pasta followed by apple pie. The remainder of the apple pie will go in the freezer now until later in the week because tomorrow I’m going to make a rice pudding. If I have the oven on for the pizza I may as well make the most of it.

But I must remember to put the pudding on a tray in the oven as it has a tendency to boil over.

Tuesday 14th January 2020 – I WAS WONDERING …

fallen tree place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hall… how long it was going to be before we had a catastrophe.

The answer is “this afternoon at about 14:00” when this tree came crashing down. It was bound to happen sooner or later because the winds outside are horrific. They aren’t quite the worst that I’ve ever encountered but they are pretty close.

And this tree took the full brunt of it and came crashing down. Lucky that there weren’t any cars parked just there on the car park of the other block of flats.

As for me, I had a really bad day today.

By the time that I finished what I was doing, it was 02:30. Sure enough, the elarms went off at the usual time but it was 07:05 when I finally crawled out of bed.

There was the medication of course and while I was waiting for it to work I attacked some more of this translation. In fact over the course of the day I’ve been nibbling away at it here and there and I’m now at 65%. But even so, my good humour hasn’t returned quite yet.

trawler baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound about 11:00 I headed out of the apartment for this Press Conference.

And as I was leaving my apartment this fishing boat from Jersey was leaving port and heading out into the wicked wind. I don’t envy him at all heading that way in all of this.

At least the rain wasn’t all that heavy, which was one good thing. But it’s been a long time since I’ve seen horizontal rain.

guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hallAt the Stade Louis Dior I was one of the first to arrive and so I had another good chat with the Vice-president, Guy Lefevre.

We’d met each other ON THE BUS THE OTHER DAY GOING TO VERSAILLES and so we continued the interesting conversation that we’d had back then.

But then everyone else began to arrive and we all settled down.

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hallNone of the players were available today but the team’s chief coach, Johan Gallon, came to talk to us.

He gave us a little talk and we all asked loads of questions. What interested me was that I was the only one there asking questions about tactics and the like. Everyone else was much more interested in the emotional side of the match.

He did his best to answer them but without giving away anything that might be of use to the enemy.

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hallHe’s well aware that the match is going to be difficult, much more difficult than against Bordeaux and much more difficult than when US Granvillais met Olympique de Marseille back in 2016.

There were about a dozen of us all told, and two television cameras too. One or two of them were interested in me too – where did I come from and what was I doing there.

I suppose that I’m really something of a novelty around here, being British, asking tactical questions in French and gatecrashing press conferences like this

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter half an hour or so Johan gallon left us to carry on with his other business.

However the Vice-President Guy Lefevre stayed behind and a couple of us continued our chat.

We also discussed the Carnaval because he has a char that parades there and it’s another idea that I have for the forthcoming.

One thing I learnt, which was of great interest to me, was how they transported the chars from their hidey-holes to the Parade.

Apparently the operators of the chars have to have Public Liability insurance but the road risks are arranged by the municipality. The Police provide an exemption from the Road Traffic Acts to cover journeys to and from the parades and the parades themselves.

Another thing is that there is a limit on the number of chars. Just 47 are permitted to parade. Motorised chars, that is. Push-along chars can turn up in any particular number that they fancy.

By the time that we finished, the rain had stopped so I walked home in something like comfort. On the way back I popped in to la Mie Caline for my dejeunette and then came back here.

By now it was 14:15 so that was it. Lunchtime.

This afternoon I started to listen to the recordings that I had made. The quality isn’t up to much but, rather like Samuel Johnson’s dog, “I’m surprised that it is done at all”. I spent some time enhancing the recordings so at least I could hear what was being said.

The plan is to listen to the recordings to hear parts that are obvious “answers” to questions that haven’t been asked, then to record the questions and edit them into the recording.

It’s an old radio practice that has been done for years – in fact when the Beatles first toured the USA they sent over to each radio station a recording of “answers” so that the reporters there could ask their own questions and have an “exclusive live interview”.

dredging ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn that point I went out into the horrendous gale. There were just four of us out there in total today and I was surprised that there was that many.

The wild wind hadn’t stopped them working down at the ferry terminal. They were digging out the silt, tipping it into the dumpers and taking it off to be dumped.

They can’t be going to be spending too long on it because sooner or later they’ll be wanting to send the ferries back out again and they won’t want to be working all around a ferry timetable as well as a tidal chart.

ripping up abandoned railway port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnother thing that’s cracking on is the work on the car park in the rue du Port.

They’ve devastated that pretty much over the last 24 hours as you can tell if you compare it to THIS PHOTO TAKE 24 HOURS AGO. It won’t be long before that will be finished and they will have all gone.

What’s going on in my mind is what it will look like when it’s finished. I hope that it’s not simply going to be a bare patch of asphalt. And I hope that they plant some trees in there too.

Back here I was intending to start work but I’m afraid that I simply crashed out on the chair. I was gone for a good hour too in a deep sleep, the kind of crashing out that I used to have before that last spell of good health.

It’s something that has depressed me completely and I don’t really want to dwell on it.

Instead, I had tea. The last of the falafel with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce, followed by the last of the Christmas Cake. It was delicious too.

So tomorrow I’ll have to start on the rice pudding that I made on Sunday.

high winds storm waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIf anything, the wind outside had worsened tonight. It bowled me along the street on the way out and on the way back there were times when it was impossible to make headway, so strong were the gusts of wind.

You can’t see it at all well but the waves were smashing over the sea wall at the Plat Gousset with the most astonishing violence.

It’s a shame that they’ve taken this decision to turn out the lights along there in winter. No-one can see a thing out there now and it’s terrible for photography.

The wind was so powerful across the square Maurice Marland that is was impossible at times to walk, never mind run.

But having anticipated that, I’d done my running (such as it is) in the sheltered spot on the north side of the city walls. The huge puddles there made it difficult but I pushed on for a few hundred metres.

It might not be much but at my age and in my state of health I think that it’s pretty good.

trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere’s a spot on the city walls that is protected from the wind so I went there for a moment.

There was a trawler unloading at the fish-processing plant so I could snap off a quick shot of it through the trees. Winter is my favourite time for photography because there are no leaves to obscure the shot.

On the way back I bumped into a girl walking her dog and smoking a cigarette. We exchanged pleasantries and then I came back.


Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have a lot of time for kids – sometimes (in fact, quite often) I find them far more interesting than adults – and some of the kids in my radio programme didn’t let me down.

They performed admirably and gave a really good filling to the programme as well as providing some comic relief.

It’s the one thing that I regret – not having a kid of my own and I get quite broody at times. But then if I had a kid I would have to have the partner that went with it and I’m not made for living with other people.

Anyway, it’s later. later than I want to be. Marillion has passed by on the playlist so there’s no reason to stay up any longer. I’m off to bed and tomorrow I’ll crack on and do this radio programme.

Whenever am I going to find time to do my own stuff?

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall
johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall
johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall

johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall
johan gallon guy lefevre stade louis dior us granville manche normandy france eric hall

Wednesday 5th September 2018 – THUS ENDS THE WEB

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

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

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

Despite it being 00:15 when I finally toddled off to bed, it was yet another miserable night. Not that I didn’t sleep of course – far from it in fact – but I was wide awake again at 04:30.

At 05:30 I gave up the struggle and after the medication routine, came upstairs. Too dark as yet to take any real photographs which is a shame, but I did the best that I could;

It’s also really foggy outside yet again. I hope that this means that our trip ashore isn’t cancelled yet again.

Anyway, in the comfort of the ship’s lounge, with no-one else about at all, I did some more work, catching up on where I’d left off a while back, as well as organising a few photos for His Nibs.

Breakfast as usual and then we had to organise ourselves for our day out.

We’re just off the coast of Devon Island, the world’s largest uninhabited island at 59,000 km². It wasn’t always uninhabited. The Thule people had various settlements here and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had an outpost here and it was these that we had come to see.

Mind you, it might not be possible to see anything in this kind of weather because not only do we have a fog we have a blinding snowstorm and it’s going to be quite uncomfortable out there today.

We’ve been divided up into three groups – the advanced hikers who are going off to visit the two sites and climb the mountain pass in between, the intermediate group who are going to walk to the two sites but have a boat ride in between, and the easy people who are just going to be dropped off on the beach for a wander around.

Had there been any archaeological ruins up on top or had there been any chance of having a good view, I might possibly have forced my way up to the top. But in this weather I’m not going to even consider it.

Instead, seeing as I want to visit the two sites, I’m going to go the intermediate way.

So we changed into our wet-weather and winter clothing (and I still think that telephone boxes would be appropriate for this kind of thing) and boarded the boat.

I took Strawberry Moose with me so that he could have a good photo opportunity. One of the cleaners very kindly found me a large bin liner in which to carry him out of the rain.

Having organised ourselves on shore eventually at Morrin Point (whoever Morrin was when he was at home if he ever was), we set off. The experts on this trip were scattered around the various sites of interest and we started off by being given a lecture on lichens. Not the kind of thing that would be of much interest to me but nevertheless it’s all included in the deal.

The experts weren’t the only people to be scattered around. Our group perimeter was constantly guarded by trained polar bear observers. We had to stay within the perimeter and not move out. And the bear observers had to keep the bears outside.

Not that we saw any, but that’s a situation that won’t last over the next couple of weeks.

Next stop was much more exciting.

There’s a Thule village with several houses dating from the 14th or 15th Century here on the headland and this is what we had come to see.

Thule people had several criteria that decided where they were going to build their houses. A piece of flat land, some shelter from the winds and a view of the sea were things that were so important to them.

And this is exactly what we have here. All three criteria come in to play.

There’s a walrus haul-out here on an island in the bay, and there were several meat-stores that were clearly (according to the archaeologists) for the storage of walrus meat.

They kept it in here until they needed it, and it was probably well-putrefied by the time that it came to being used, but to disguise the smell the Thule stuffed the cracks of the walrus cache with aromatic herbs.

As for the houses, they were stone and sod, with some kind of support structure such as whale bones that would support a covering made of walrus hide. That’s very thick and, of course, weather-proof.

All visible trace of that is now long-gone but no archaeological excavation has taken place at this site as yet to give any definite opinion of what went on here.

From here back to the zodiacs to go on the next stage of the journey, watching the advanced hikers disappearing off into the distance.

Just down the bay there was another beach and there we alighted and had to trek up a hill. And in the boggy terrain, the wind and the rain, I was feeling the strain I can promise you that. I was glad that I didn’t go on the advanced hike.

From the top there was a good view of the old abandoned Royal Canadian Mounted Police post.

The story behind this post is all to do with the question of Sovereignty in the High Arctic.

Much of this area was explored and claimed by the British until about 1880 and then given to Canada, who chose not to continue the explorations.

As a result, we had other nations such as the Americans and Danes exploring the High Arctic in this region and there was a risk that they would claim the Arctic islands for themselves. As a result, it was necessary to establish some permanent settlements

As part of this process, here at Dundas Harbour in the 1920s the Royal Canadian Mounted Police established a Post here and it remained active until the funding crisis of the Great Depression brought about its closure.

The Mounties were supported by a few Inuit Special constables and their families and hence a small settlement sprang up. Some Inuit were resettled here from Cape Dorset but they didn’t stay long.

The job of the Mounties was to set up cairns on the outlying islands to claim them for Canada and to generally keep an eye out for interlopers.

But it was a lonely life and hard on the inhabitants. One Mountie committed suicide and another one, who had gone off hunting walrus, was later discovered dying with a gunshot wound, although no-one was able to work out what had happened.

They are buried in a small cemetery up on the hillside at the back of the post. This is claimed by some to be one of the most northerly Christian cemeteries in the world

After the end of World War II the Cold War caused the post to be reactivated, but it only lasted a couple of years. By 1951 the post had closed down again, this time for good.

Strawberry Moose arranged to have himself photographed here a couple of times for the record. And quite right too.

After that, we all headed back to the zodiacs and retraced our steps to the ship. And not before time either because in the three hours that we had been ashore, the bay was starting to ice up.

Once I’d divested myself of my wet-weather and winter gear, I came up to my room and had a nice hot shower and washed my undies. They’ll be dry pretty quickly because the cabins are quite hot when they switch on the heating.

Lunch came along too after this. And today they managed to find me some chick peas to go with my salad. That was very nice.

And I had to laugh (even though I know that I shouldn’t) at The Vanilla Queen. She went up there for her food and some woman came up to talk to her. Even as The Vanilla Queen was collecting her food, this woman insisted on continuing the conversation. The Vanilla Queen then started to eat her food with her fingers but the woman went on and on (and on).

Eventually she said “well, I suppose that I’d better let you eat your meal” and then carried on the chat for another 5 minutes. By this time The Vanilla Queen was totally frustrated and I was almost in tears of laughter – which I know that I shouldn’t have been, but there you are.

This afternoon we started a series of lectures but the first one was interrupted when a cry went up from the Bridge “Polar Bear at 11 o’clock”. The lecture room deserted itself in the same fashion as the cry of “Gold Strike at Bear Creek” did in Carry On Cowboy.

Some people, including The Vanilla Queen, saw the bear but Yours Truly didn’t. So it’s one each right now, for those of us keeping the score.

The lectures eventually carried on, with everything running late of course, and with a freezing audience too, because it was cold out there watching the pack ice and the ice floes drift past.

I missed some of it as, overwhelmed by sleep, I went to crash out. Only to find that the feeling had passed by the time that I got onto the bed.

For tea tonight they rustled up some tofu and vegetables, and we had an interesting chat with the team’s historian about all kinds of things.

There’s mixed news about our future plans. The wind is shifting round, which means that the weather will clear a little. Some of the places that we want to visit will be clear of ice, but the changing winds will have blown the ice across Lancaster Sound into the harbours of other places in which we want to visit.

It is, apparently, the worst year for ice for many years and will continue to confound all of our plans.

Later that night we went out on the upper deck in the snowstorm to watch the midnight sun and the ice floes, as we are now back in the ice again. She’s convinced that she saw a seal but it’s no use asking me. I could hardly see a thing out there.

But one thing is for sure. Following the appearance of His Nibs on shore today, his cover as a stowaway has been well and truly blown.

But he’s been accepted as a bona-fide traveller. He’s been given his own name badge and allowed to share my cabin officially. He was even invited to take control of the ship for a while.

Furthermore, it’s been proposed that the official Expedition photographer will take some official photos of him.

And that can’t be bad.

But there’s also been a dramatic change in situation here on board the Ocean Endeavour

I have rather foolishly … “he means “recklessly”” – ed … allowed a certain situation to develop completely out of hand and my emotions have run away with themselves, like they all-too-often have a tendency to do.

if I allow it to escalate any further it will be to my own detriment, as has been the case on many occasions.

I’m not very good at forcing decisions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. My usual practice is to roll with the road and follow my star wherever it leads me, but this is neither the time nor the place for vacillation.

As Marillion once famously wrote –
“The time has come to make decisions
The changes have to be made”

And so I need to know precisely where I stand in this particular circumstance.

This evening there was the ideal opportunity – presenting itself in a moment of high tension. And so I grasped the nettle.

The result was not what I had optimistically hoped but it was what I had realistically expected, and it killed the situation stone-dead. Which is not really a bad thing, I suppose, because in all honesty I don’t really have the time for distractions. I have much more important things to be doing.

“Thus Ends The Web”

Friday 13th July 2018 – I THINK THAT I WAS …

shellfish hunting low tide port de granville harbour manche normandy france… right last night about the tides. When I went out for my butties, the tide was as far out as I have ever seen it.

There were quite a few people out there too, presumably having a root around in the sand for the shellfish.

Which, they would presumably share with their friends because, as I have said before … "on many occasions" – ed … you mustn’t be selfish with your shellfish.

Going to bed last night was at something of a much-more respectable hour, and I managed to sleep almost until the alarm went off, with a little hiccup at about 04:00 or something like that. I tried my best to ignore the alarm but I couldn’t go back off to sleep and it was about 07:00 when I left the bed.

We had the usual morning performance, but breakfast ended up being quite late. And I forgot my coffee too.

First task was to assemble the two small trolleys that I had bought from IKEA the other day. And now I have a vegetable trolley and a cooking utensil trolley and they are both very handy. And then I had a little tidy-up, much to my own surprise.

Lunch was quite late after all of that, and on the way back in I started to unload Caliburn. I’ve brought quite a bit of stuff up here now, but there’s still plenty to go. I reckon that tomorrow I’ll have to start to unpack things and do some washing.

Another thing that I did was to crack on with my 3D program that I have neglected of late. Especially as a few things that I wanted were in a “50% off” sale today only.

There was also a visit into town. The mixed dried fruit sold in the supermarkets that I frequent is pretty much rubbish but the Super U has some good stuff. I need it for my muesli so I went for a walk down there in the heat, and treated myself to a sorbet on the way back.

port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOn the way back up the hill I observed all of the boats outside the harbour.

The tide was on its way in by now and the smaller craft could make their way to the quayside to unload their catch. The larger boats would have to wait for the tide to come further in before they could come in and unload.

But you can see the effect that dredging out that strip by the quay in the winter has had. Smaller ships can come in earlier to unload and this increases the available capacity at the fish processing plant.

No tea tonight either. My appetite seems to have disappeared. Not quite like it did over Christmas but nevertheless. But it’s not really a worry, because I have quite a bit of weight that I could do with losing, what with this water retention issue.

But it was a pleasant walk around the headland this evening anyway.

So back here and listening to Marillion again. I have a couple of tracks – The Web and Garden Party – going round on a continual loop for some reason. I can’t shift them out of my head.

Marillion is a magnificent band but they always send me into a deep depression and I’ve no idea why. Still, I’ve plenty of time to cheer myself up, haven’t I?

Wednesday 28th March 2018 – I DIDN’T …

… go into town today either.

One look out of the window was enough to tell me all that I needed to know. It wasn’t quite as bad as yesterday but it was near enough.

Another reasonable sleep though – out like a light and slept right through to the alarms and then the usual morning performance.

Once the medication had done its job I started to attack the pile of photographs here. And I don’t want to tell you how many went into the bin because you probably wouldn’t believe that I even had that many. But I’m whittling this down – not necessarily into manageable proportions but at least disposing of unnecessary duplicates … "and triplicates and quadruplicates etc etc" – ed.

And it’s just as well that things are advancing because delivery 2 came today. A 4TB hard drive. The old 250GB one that has run for ever is now overflowing, the 750GB one I’m going to use just for backing up data and so the 2TB one is going to have its work cut out.

And to give you some kind of idea as to how things are shaping, I paid more for the 250GB one that I paid for the new 4TB one, and I do remember that thanks to its mammoth size I won’t ever need anything bigger than 250GB. But then, that was back in the days when a high-quality digital image was 25KB, never mind 25MB.

storm over sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAfter lunch and the session on the guitar I went out to brave the howling gale, seeing as the rain had stopped.

And “howling gale” were definitely the correct words to use as, once gain, it was blowing a good ‘un. It is starting to depress me just a little this weather. It’s been a miserable, wet clingy winter that seems to have gone on for ever

Ready for a change, aren’t I?

roofing boulevard des terreneuviers granville manche normandy franceThe high winds and bad weather weren’t clearly upsetting too many other people though.

They have suddenly put quite a spurt on with this house that they are building, and have now started to put on the roof.

Not much of a pitch on that though. It’s a good job that they don’t have snow like in the Auvergne. We’ve seen roofs collapse under the weight of the snow that we can have down there.

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy franceIt didn’t stop Normandy Trader from making her way into harbour either.

No idea what she brought in today, and when I took this photo she was fully-loaded and ready to depart.

And depart she did because when I was out and about this evening, she had left her berth and gone back to Jersey. She and Grima do seem to be keeping quite busy just now.

Back here, I had a coffee and really good chinwag with Rosemary on the ‘phone about this and that. She’s feeling a little miserable after her operation and needed cheering up.

And then tea. Tidying up the other day I had found a leftover pepper and so it was a case of “stuff that for a lark” – and I duly did. Delicious too, as were the strawberries and vegan cream for pudding.

granville manche normandy franceWhen I went out for my walk is was still comparatively light, so I took a nice photo of some of the houses in the the Medieval town through the gateway at the back here.

20:46 in the evening, that was too. The nights are definitely getting shorter now. It was only a couple of months since it was pitch-black at 17:00.

This year is going just so quickly that I can’t keep up with it? Whatever happened to that six-weeks summer holiday that we had that used to last for ever?

casino place marechal foch granville manche normandy franceJUst 15 minutes later though it was a totally different story.

By the time that I had gone round to the fortifications on the north-east edge looking over the Place Marechal Foch and the Casino it was pretty dark.

I had the 50mm lens with me too, but that has an issue with it, so it seems. The aperture ring isn’t locking, according to the camera, although I can tell that it is. I was going to take some photos with that tonight, but instead, tomorrow I’ll be looking at that to see what’s wrong.

And my mate the black cat was there again tonight. But he wasn’t in very much of a sociable mood, and neither really was I.

And just in case you were wondering, I’ve reached “Marillion” on the playlist. Can’t you tell?

I’m exhausted

I had another difficult night as far as sleep went, and it wasn’t half a struggle to crawl out of bed this morning, but after breakfast and a shower (I have one once a year whether I need it or not) by 10:00 I was at my (or rather, Marianne’s) desk ready to work.

There’s the third part of the radio programmes to do and I was planning on doing something on “who can check your identity”. For once though, the thoughts ran freely (not quite sure why) and by 14:00 I’d done a mere 3000 words on the subject.

That was the cue for shopping. First port of call was at the bank where I handed over Marianne’s death certificate and they promptly closed her account. and it is indeed as I feared – no life assurance policies, no burial policies, not a trace of anything else. Ahhh well – you live and learn. And I thought that I had learned enough by now, but you would never have guessed.

After the food shopping I called again at this electronics shop in the neighbourhood. Here I had another lucky find – two packs of 2×12-volt MR16 LD light bulbs – reduced for quick sale at €10 the pack. I know that I can but them at €3:99 each but the ones I get are rated at 1.2 watts – these are rated at 2.4 watts.

You might be thinking that that’s not very bright, but you wuld be surprised. The “watts” is quite a misleading measurement as it relates to the amount of current consumed. And in a traditional light bulb, much, if not most, of the energy is wasted as heat, as anyone who has touched an incandescent, or a halogen, light bulb will tell you. LEDs are quite cool even when they are lit, indicating that almost nothing is wasted. LEDs generally give out about 5 times the lumens per watt that an incandescent gives out, and while that might sound not an awful lot more (2.4 watts x 5 compared to, say 40 watts) the light from an LED is much more focused.

Anyway, I digress. Back here I carried on with my magnum opus and by the time I’d finished it (23:00 with an hour out for tea) I’d done over 3700 words on indentity checks, followed by over 2700 on “who can enter your house”. I really was having a good day today.

1306001As for tea, it was gorgeous. I might have mentioned that I made a potato pie last night while the pizza was cooking, and there’s half of the aforementioned. Add to that a heap of peas and carrots in butter and mint and it really was the most delightful meal that I’ve had for quite a while (excepting anything that Liz has cooked, of course). I’m going to have to watch myself here – I’m becoming far too civilised. At this rate I shan’t want to go home.

In other news, I’ve been invited by the Scientologists to go to watch a film at their headquarters. All to do with self-assertiveness and taking control. Hardly the sort of thing that Scientologists are famous for, of course. I wonder if there’s anything in this film about the use of pick-axe handles? They are always good for self-assertiveness and taking control.

And finally – “hooray” … ed – they say that retail therapy is always good for the soul when one is suffering from a little depression. For me, music is the key to my state of mind (provided that it isn’t The Thieving Magpie (La Gazza Ladra) by Marillion of course) and I have been feeling considerably depressed just recently, as you know. Consequently when Amazon announced a special promotion of 2 CDs for £9:00, over 1000 albums on offer, many of which I owned on plastic and haven’t yet replaced, well, I rather pushed the boat out a little and now I’m … errr …£63:00 (plus postage to Belgium) lighter.

But there’s some cracking stuff in there and I don’t consider it money wasted at all. I need cheering up right now. I’ve had a difficult Spring.



Wednesday 16th September 2009 – WE ARE GOING TO …

… have a major change of plan.

plasterboard wall ceiling attic les guis virlet puy de dome franceThis morning despite the torrential downpour and Novemberish weather I finished off the plasterboarding as far as I could on the walls. I’ve done exactly one half of it – one complete end (save for 2 places around the window that just require small offcuts from somewhere else) and half of each of the side walls.

I can’t do the rest of the side walls until I lay the flooring there and I can’t do that until I reposition the floor beams.

But you will notice that the ceiling has grown some battens and some of the chevrons have now been covered in white stuff.

What on earth is going on?<

les guis virlet puy de dome franceAfter doing the walls, I cut the first piece of plasterboard to do the ceiling. Not too big – not too heavy. But it was too heavy to hold with one hand while nailing it to the chevrons.

And when I finally managed to attach it (after much manoeuvering and bad language) the weight of the plasterboard pulled it out through the nails. I even invented a kind-of tracking to run it along so that I could glue it in place and then nail it and I was struggling along with that.

90 minutes passed and I still hadn’t done it and then I have another 30 or so to do afterwards. I could clearly see that I would have a major sense of humour failure long before I finished. So it was time for a coffee and a pause for thought

This has led to a major change in direction which will be greeted with hoots of derision from many lurkers to this blog but ask me if I care.

I have a theory in life that I learnt from a very early age due to the family that I had at the time, and that is that if you can’t do a job on your own then you do something else that you can do on your own.

And that is why the idea of plasterboarding the ceiling has now been consigned to the dustbin of history (good job I only bought half the load) and the ceiling is going to be tongue-and-grooved whether I like it or not.

So I spent the remainder of the afternoon fitting battens on the ceiling and putting up between the chevrons the rest of the polystyrene that I didn’t use.

On Saturday I’ll be buying another 35 square metres of insulation and 40 square metres of tongue-and-groove. I can fit that quite easily on my own … “famous last words” – ed.

I also had a very bad attack of nostalgia too. Playing all of these ancient cassette tapes at random, suddenly Camel appeared on the scene with Rain Dances and Mirage.

I was immediately transported back to 1975, the lagoon-blue Ford Cortina PMB270D and Jackie Marshall.

She was still at school but worked on Saturdays in Nantwich library and each weekshe would surf through the new records that they obtained. “Eric would like that” – and smuggle it out for me to tape and then smuggle back in afterwards.

And it looks like I’ve now hit 1975 and so there will be heaps of Caravan, Hawkwind and all other exciting stuff from Nantwich library hitting the airwaves in the attic in the next few days – all groups that she and I used to go and see back in those days.

I wonder whatever happened to her? She was quite cute and sweet but her parents hated me with a vengeance and our relationship was destined not to last.

One day while I was driving for Shearings I stopped off in Whitchurch (Shropshire) to get some cash out of Barclay’s Bank and who should be working behind the counter? We had a brief chat but you can’t spend too much time with a queue of people behind you and I never saw her again after that.

I dunno. What with piles of Marillion and the ghost of Jackie Marshall up there in the attic, it’s a good job there isn’t any Leonard Cohen. If I don’t blog any more after this entry, it’s because I will have found a copy of Ralph McTell’s “Streets of London” and strung myself up in the beichstuhl.

Sunday 16th August 2009 – IT DOESN’T LOOK …

aspire recycled plastic slates lean to les guis virlet puy de dome france… as if I’ve done very much today. And you are probably right too.

In fact there are a couple of good reasons why.

Firstly, the heat on the roof and the glare from the sun meant that I could only stay on there for short periods.

Secondly, I … errr …. didn’t wake up until 12.33 this afternoon.

And that was with an early night too. I’m trying to think of when it was that I last crashed out like that and I can’t honestly remember. But, whatever. It put paid to three hours of work on the roof this morning.

All in all, what with one thing and another, this weekend hasn’t been too successful in the whole scheme of things of getting my living accommodation sorted out. I suppose I shall just have to work a bit harder in the week to catch up.

And there’s a hint that the weather might change too. Seven days we’ve been in brilliant sunshine with not a drop of rain, but later in the afternoon the wind got up and a cloud (does anyone remember clouds?) came drifting over.

I’m in two minds about the rain though. I want to get the roof finished before it rains if I can, but I’ve run out of rainwater in my water butts and they could do with getting filled.

Mind you, it’s given me an opportunity to clean them out and they didn’t half need it.

With this surfeit of electricity that I’m having right now, I’ve got the hi-fi working again too, and Marillion has just come round. I really enjoy listening to Marillion but for some unknown reason, whether it’s Fish or Steve Hogarth singing, it always leaves me in a deep depression. I suppose I’ll be struggling with that for a week or so now.