Tag Archives: medieval

Wednesday 6th October 2021 – I NOTICED …

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021… something very interesting this afternoon when I went out for my afternoon walk.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we are keeping a lose eye on the repairing of the medieval city walls round by the Place du Marché aux Chevaux, but I don’t think that I would have missed this.

Either they are intending to do a very throrough job of it or else they have had a calamity, because part of the wall down at the base looks as if it has collapsed and has left a gaping hole.

This is going to cause someone some rather difficult problems.

children's amusements Square Maurice Marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021What else is going to be causeing someone else some severe problems is whatever is going on in the Square Maurice Marland.

When we had the previous Maire there was an anonymous blog (not one of mine, I hasten to add) doing the rounds criticising her for the state of the Square here

She wasn’t re-elected, which was probably the aim of the blog, but since we have had the new incumbent, not only has the Square deteriorated further, most of the kiddies’ amusements that were fenced off from use a few weeks ago have now been removed completely.

So there have certainly been several changes under the new Maire, but I wonder what our anonymous blogger is making of them all.

Last night I went to bed early with the intention of having a really decent sleep right the way through until 07:30, but as you might expect, that never happened.

I was tossing and turning for much of the night and having a couple of these severe night sweats that I need to record. And there were nocturnal voyages a-plenty too.

I started off by going on holiday with Nerina. We were going somewhere down to the south coast and we boarded a plane, one of these small 24-seater things. It took off and we were there in the queue talking about preparing to leave etc. The planes in this queue were going out one by one. Then we took off and ended up flying north from Crewe doing a big circle round over where Wardle Airfield is. I pointed out where my grandparents used to live (and they did, too). I asked her if she had ever met them. She said not, that Wardle didn’t ring any bells with her at all. She asked about a couple of buildings that were there, weren’t they something to do with the Women’s Institute? I replied that they were the original buildings from the airfield.

Later on, I can’t remember how it went but Nerina was living with someone else in squalid circumstances worse than ever I lived in the Auvergne. She had a few people round and was bottling some kind of milky drink so I gave her a hand and ended up bottling a banana smoothie for someone. I had to fill it with water. In the meantime she was inside the house talking to Claude and his wife, whatever her name was. I didn’t really want to go in to see them so I kept outside but I could hear the conversation. In the end something drew me in so I went in. They were both still in bed. They were also living in poor circumstances, not as poor as Nerina. She was getting on really well with them and I was just exchanging pleasantries, if you like, trying not to get too involved.

There was also something about me and a brand-new house that I’d owned somewhere, a 2-bedroomed house. The bedrooms were really small but I can’t remember anything particular about that.

Finally, I’d been out somewhere and not come back until late. I had to go into work so I’d gone to bed. It was my house in Winsford but that new house that I mentioned. Then I had to go out again to see Hans. He was talking about something. I explained that I’d only got in at 06:00 but I had to go to work so I wasn’t doing anything. I drove back home thinking that I was going to have another day off but then I thought that my time records were in such a state that I couldn’t do that kind of thing. It was another one of these “thinking about retiring from work” dreams that occur regularly.

On the way back from Hans’s house I was walking down the road at the back of Wardle Airfield towards my house. For some reason I couldn’t keep my feet and kept on falling over. A guy came out of a side road in a car, the guy who had the farm at the back of me at Les Guis, He asked me If I’d received his package but I couldn’t understand what he meant so I saif that I would check. I ended up back at my house and Claude and his wife were there. he handed me a package and I opened it. It was full of old tools so I had to think what these were. He said “that’s a good deal that you got for that battery”. I suddenly realised that Claude had given me a battery and I’d given it to that farmer, so I’ll go through these tools later and give a few of them to Claude that he might need.

This is a total of four or five different voyages, and not only were they so real that I was totally convinced that they were happening, I seemed to have been stepping in and out of dreams at various points and stepping right back into them round about where I left off, not once, but several times.

And then, of course, we have the recurring dream about me being in a mess at work and so planning to resign.

It’s all very eerie, this.

So after the medication, checking my messages and mails and the like, much of the day has been spent dealing with the radio project that I have in hand.

There is a huge pile of notes that I’ve written for distribution, I’ve spent some time on the phone with the co-ordinator and I’ve also been sending mails and making telephone calls to contacts.

What happens from here on is anyone’s guess but several people at the radio seem to be quite enthusiastic, and quite well-placed to push things forward.

We had the usual breaks – coffee, breakfast, lunch, and then the afternoon walk of course.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021You’re probably wondering why the photo of the beach looks different today from how it has been over the last few weeks.

You’ve probably guessed from the photos at the beginning that I haven’t gone around the headland this afternoon. Instead, I’m walking around the walls.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on Monday we saw several things that seemed to be going on within the walls that piqued our interest and I mentioned that I would go round one day and check up.

peche a pied beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021In fact there were quite a few people down there on the beach this afternoon

The weather was quite nice and we’re getting to the stage of having some really low tides right now, so most of the people down there in this photo and in the previous one seemed to be engaged in the pêche à pied, scavenging about amongst the rocks for shellfish.

And it looks as if the two people in this photo have made quite a substantial haul. There are limits to what one can take away from the beach, and I bet that they can’t be far off it.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2110/21100044.html”>fishing boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There’s other fishing going on down there too.

As usual I was having a good look around out at sea and although there were none of the trawlers (or any other type of boat) out there in the bay this afternoon, there were two fishing boats way out off the headland.

Luckily the sea is quite a lot calmer than it was yesterday so they can have a better working day today. I really felt sorry for those in peril on the sea yesterday in that storm.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The most interesting (from my point of vies) part of the walk around the walls is the repair work that’s going on here in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

They’ve had this scaffolding – this magnificent work of art – up here for a few weeks now and they are slowly advancing up the hill, making good progress with the pointing as they do so.

But having seen the wind that we had yesterday, you can understand why they have it weighted down with 5 tonnes of water. It wouldn’t mast very long in the winds that we have without something to hold it down, and 5 pallet tanks fulll of water is a good place to start.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The last time that we looked over the wall, we saw them working about 6 or 8 feet below the top of the wall.

Today, we can see that they have practically worked their way up to the top at this end, and doubtlessly they’ll be working their way downhill to the end as time goes on.

It was round here that I was overwhelmed by a horde of brats.

There’s no school on Wednesday afternoons but there are plenty of activities for children whose parents have to work.

A bunch of 4 girls aged about 9-11 came swarming around me asking me if I’d noticed something. It turns out that they are one team of orienteers who were having a competition this afternoon around the old town, and were looking for a marker.

It’s a little-known fact that when I was 16 or 17, I competed in the North-West Schools orienteering championships, so I had a little chat with the kids for a minute or two.

Believe it or not, I actually like children round about that age. I think that they get a very raw deal from adults and have a lot to say for themselves, if only someone would listen to them.

There was also someone from the tourist board taking photos, and we had a little chat as well.

peche a pied medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021From the Place du Marché aux Chevaus I went along the path underneath the walls.

Once more, plenty of people on the beach, including all those round by the Plat Gouseet in the medieval fish trap hunting for shellfish buried in the sand.

That’s not really the purpose of the fish trap. In medieval times, and even today if someone were to bother to maintain it correctly, it would retain water after the tide has done out, and which would slowly filter out between the gaps in the rocks.

This would leave a supply of fish behind, trapped by the stone walls, and the average medieval fishwife would wade in there and pull them out with her bare hands.

repair work plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The Plat Gousset has now been cleared of beach huts, as I mentioned last time.

And that’s probably just as well after the storms that we’ve just had. Instead of lifting them up with a crane, they could have moved them with a brush and shovel.

But there’s some kind of repair work going on down there at that blue and white building. I wonder if that’s anything to do with the storms that we have just had.

It actually looks quite peaceful and pleasant down there this afternoon. I bet that it wasn’t like that just now.

Anyway, I cleared off down the Square Maurice Marland, looking at the state (or otherwise) of the kiddies’ amusements as I passed.

tubes and pipes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I had a good peer to see what was going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will remember that yesterday, they hard started to put into the water the tubes that had been on the quayside for a week or two.

Today, by the looks of things, they seem to have put in all of them that I could see. It’s all looking very interesting and so I wonder what the next step is going to be.

And, furthermore, is the dredger that is in the chantier naval going to be playing any part in it all?

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was there, I had a look at the quayside underneath the crane to see what was happening there.

Those galvanised sheets are still on the quayside, and they have now been joined by a few of these sacks of builders’ materials.

This would seem to indicate that we are going to be having one of the Jersey freighters in very soon.

And I’ll be surprised if it’s Normandy Trader because at the last update that I had, the skipper and his mate were somewhere between Lands End and John O’Groats on their bikes.

That reminds me of the famous record-breaking woman cyclist Br Barbara Moore who would either walk or cycle between Lands End and John O’Groats as the fancy took her.

On one occasion, having completed one of her rides, she was asked by a commentator what she planned to do next. She replied, in her thick Eastern European accent I vill strip – and overhaul my bicycle.

digging a trench rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021What has actually brought us to this neck of the woods is the sign that we saw on Monday telling us that the Rue Cambernon is closed to traffic.

That’s the kind of thing that needs to be checked so I wandered round that way, and sure enough, they are digging a trench down the side of the street.

That’s something that is totally bewildering me because only about a year or so ago, or maybe even less, they dug it up to do something else. That’s pretty bad planning if they are now having to dig it up for something else so soon afterwards.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And that’s not the best of it either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the winter (or what passes for winter around here) they’d dug up the Rue St Michel and replaced a pile of pipework, then relayed the street – in asphalt rather than cobbles, to my eternal dismay.

But now it seems that they will be coming back, as all of the hieroglyphics are back on the road surface.

Blue is for water, of course, but I’ve no idea which other colour represents anything else.

They aren’t doing too well with their planning, are they?

abandoned american car place du parvis notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Round by the Eglise Notre Dame du Cap Lihou, the American car from Connecticut is still here.

We first came across it on our return from North America 2 years ago, and it’s still here now, not having moved an inch since then.

Someone has liberated the front number-plate over time but the rear is still there.

Around the corner I was swept up in a swarm of people coming out of the church after a funeral and I had to fight my way through the mob in order to reach home.

After my coffee I carried on with my notes for my radio project, and even found time to update a couple of entries from the end of August by inserting the details of my nocturnal voyages in them.

And then I went for tea.

There was a couple of mushrooms looking sorry for themselves and 2 small potatoes that had seen better days so I heaved a small tin of chick peas in and made myself a quick curry. And it was delicious too.

So now I’m hoping for another early night, hopefully on through which I can sleep undisturbed. It’s high time I had a really good night’s sleep.

But at least – lying-in until 07:30 instead of rising at 06:00 means that crashing out during the day is only happening rarely these days. I’ve been wondering whether I should set the alarm to 07:00. What would happen then?

Friday 24th September 2021 – MY LIE-IN THIS MORNING …

… would have been really good had it not been for the 12 text messages that I received – 8 of which were from my mobile phone supplier telling me about special offers that I neither want nor need – during the course of the early morning.

There’s always something that goes wrong whenever I try to have to lie in for a morning.

And as you also might expect, I didn’t actually feel much better when I awoke either. But more of this anon.

After the medication I sat down to finish off yesterday’s blog entry. And there were tons of it too. It’s no surprise that I fell asleep halfway through, especially as that long chat had made me start it rather later than usual.

There was a pause in the middle for breakfast but even so, not finishing it until 11:45 was rather extreme. Mind you, I did have a few other things to do while I was at it.

Once I’d done that, I turned my attention to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something last night about being in the Army in World War II in the Home Guard. Our platoon had a couple of machine guns and suddenly the alarm went off so we dashed with our machine guns to our selected point and erected our machine guns so that they were covering the beach. After we had been covering the beach for a few minutes the captain, probably Captain Mainwaring, turned round and ordered our guns to point to the right. The sergeant-major immediately leapt over the wall to accost the captain about this, as it meant that we were now no longer firing on the enemy as they landed. The captain gave him such a dressing-down and sent him back to his quarters. A couple of our soldiers were crying as they wouldn’t be able to have a direct reult on attacking the Germans and stopping them landing. We kept our position for about 5 minutes then the captain dismissed us, saying that we had performed a very valuable exercise and we could all go home, to everyone’s dismay. I was one of the last to leave, and suddenly I heard the sound of horses galloping up. I took cover and it turned out that they were on the TV. It was Kenneth Williams and someone else, some kind of medieval heroes doing something. Much as I appreciate the humour of Kenneth Williams, it wasn’t what I wanted to watch so I had to look for the remote control to flick through the channels to see what else was on.

Later on I had a girl come round to me in Virlet and she ended up staying the night. Next morning I had to take her back to work of course. We were wandering around the farm and I was showing her all of the solar panels, everything, and it all looked pretty overgrown with weeds because I hadn’t been there for ages, even on the roofs. The solar panels were still working fine. There was a ritual that I went through to make a reading but I couldn’t remember what it was. I was stuck there for a couple of minutes. I asked her if she wanted a coffee but she said “no” so I asked if she minded if she waited 30 seconds while I made myself one and I could rake it with me. She replied “no, that’s fine as well”

Finally, there was something weird last night about I was walking down a country lane. Someone had fenced off or roped off all of the grass verges, roped off the drive to his house which was really difficult, like a labyrinth or honeycomb, rows and rows of ropes going across it. As I walked past I dropped my screwdriver over the hedge so I crawled under the ropes all the way up to where my screwdriver was and I met him coling down the drive. I explained that I was after my screwdriver and we had a chat. In the end he invited me in for a coffee. By this time I’d acquired a girl, I don’t know who it was. Then he said that he’d go out shortly but he’d be back later on. We heard the sounds of him locking the door as if we were prisoners in it. We both had a shower and change of clothes and sat and waited, then we managed to make our way out of the house. By this time we had discovered a young lad who was something to do with the farm but was also having a lot of difficulties with him. We packed up a few things and I pinched a couple of carrots because I’d been on my way to the shops to try to buy some. I’d already been to the market and bought some cheese. We set off and had to dismantle a gatepost to get out and had to reassemble everything. That took a while, but we were able to get into our car and drive away, leaving the place exactly as it was before we left but obviously without us in it.

One thing that I wish I knew was “just who are these girls who keep on appearing during the night?”. Especially the one who spent the night with me in Virlet. I have a feeling that I’m missing out on an awful lot these days.

As I have said before … “many, many times” – ed … whatever I get up to during the night is far more exciting these days than whatever I do during the daytime, but it seems to be such a waste when I can’t remember who it is that I’m getting it up with.

After lunch, I had a shower and then set off for my physiotherapy session.

ile de chausey man fishing from rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yesterday I mentioned that if I manage to set out early I would go for a wander around the walls to see what was going on with the repointing.

Before I did so, I stopped off at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord to see what was happening out there on the beach below me.

Not a lot, as it happens, but out there on the rocks we had a lone fisherman casting his line out into the water. I didn’t stay around to see if he caught anything.

And look how clear it is this afternoon over towards the Ile de Chausey in the background.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But let us turn our attention to the repair of the medival city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

On the inside, facing the street, they have already repaired a few patches and it looks quite nice, the work that they have done so far.

But as for the outside of the wall, they are going to be here quite a while trying to fix this. The presence of all of those plant roots are undermining the mortar and that’s what it probably causing a lot of the problem.

But if they repoint it with lime mortar (nasty corrosive stuff) as I did with my house in Virlet, they won’t have too much trouble in the future because any seed that tries to take hold will be burnt to a frazzle.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up along where that white protective sheeting has been fitted, they are also pushing on.

You can’t see very well in this photo but there are two guys down there underneath the footboard that you can see, and as I watched, they were busy raking out the old, loose mortar from the joints.

If you look lower down underneath where they are working, you can see that they have already repointed to a fair height, so they don’t seem to be hanging around, which makes a change these days.

beach diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021My route carried on around the path underneath the walls and round to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

The other day I mentioned that the beach cabins had been taken away for the winter. The Plat Gousset is looking quite bare without them.

Another thing that I mentioned was the diving platform. As you can see, the platform has also been taken away for the winter and there is just the concrete pillar left.

The swimming pool is looking quite lonely as well. No customers, and no water either. This is all a sign that Autumn has arrived, whether we like it or not, and even though it’s still extremely warm for the time of year.

classe decouverte plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Another sign that the tourist season is over is that the Classe Découverte season has started.

During the summer, the youth hostel in the town is full up with young tourists but once they have all gone, it’s the turn of the schools and their Discovery Classes to take over. That’s a big thing in France, with kids from the cities going into rural areas and kids from rural areas coming to the seaside.

Mind you, what they are going to discover at the Plat Gousset is anyone’s guess.

At the viewpoint I staggered off down the steps to the Place Marechal Foch and then crawled wearily through town and up the hill to the physiotherapist. Nothing happening at the building that we saw on Wednesday, and when something does, I’ll post a photo.

The physiotherapist put me through my paces on the tilting platform thing that he has, and I had to abandon one of the exercises, not because of my knee but because my shoulder was hurting. I’m having problems everywhere by the looks of things.

Mind you, I managed to add a few more seconds to my best on the cross trainer.

random road signs parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back home I came past the old railway line and down the steps to the Parc du Val Es Fleurs.

And we can see that just as last time, the local kids have been up to no good with the road signs again.

As I mentioned the other week, part of the park’s car park has been transformed into a store for the equipment that they are using for the building of this new road, that we’ll see in a minute.

But the compound isn’t all that secure while they are down the road working, so anything can happen. And, of course, we were all kids once too – something that many adults forget.

resurfacing parc docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So where was I? Ohh yes, walking down by the side of the old railway line towards town.

They have now stated to dig up this little park just here in order to resurface it. I

‘m not sure what the park is called but the school at the side is the Ecole des Docteurs Lanos, whoever the Docteurs Lanos where when they were at home, if they ever were, and there’s a Park somewhere in the town called the Parc des Docteurs Lanos so I imagine that this could well be it.

But it seems that nothing is sacred when they are on a mission.

grader compacter rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Now doesn’t this here in the Rue du Boscq bring back many happy memories?

Eleven years ago I was the driver of one of the very first vehicles to drive over the new TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we had endles encounters with graders as we made our way through the mountains.

There weren’t so many compacters though, which was surprising, so our drive was rather adventurous to say the least, but seeing a grader and a compacter here reminded me of old times.

digger moving rocks rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further on, there was a large digger having fun with a pile of rocks.

He was dragging them around presumably to put them into position for the compacter to come and compress them into the soil ready for a layer of smaller rocks to be laid on top.

Ohh yes, I can build you a Roman Road any time you like. That course that I studied on Historical Technology was one of the most fascinating courses I have ever studied.

Nothing much else was happening in the town centre so I made my weary way up the hill towards home.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the climb up the Rue des Juifs I stopped more times that I care to remember. This is really getting me down, this health issue.

At the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay in the port we have another pile of freight deposited down there by the crane. One of the Jersey freighters must be on her way.

But it won’t be Normandy Trader, I’ll tell you that. She’s up on blocks in the chantier naval in St Malo having a good clean, a wire-brushing and a new coat of paint to maker herself look pretty.

marquee rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down so I was glad to sit down and rest for a while.

We were sitting on the wall talking, right by where they are erecting the marquees. And I can tell you what they are for as well now.

The season for the Coquilles St Jacques starts next week, and preliminary trials suggests that this is going to be one of the best seasons in modern times.

Consequently, they are going to hold a fête, a buffet and so on this weekend to celebrate what they are hoping to be an excellent season, and there will be shellfish all round for everyone, with a buvette of course. You can’t have a festival in France without there being a buvette involved.

And this is why Hera was in the chantier naval the other day. She was being cleaned and tidied because her owners are going to be giving tourists a guided visit.

bouchots donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back home I went to see what was going on down on the beach, seeing as it was round about my usual time.

Plenty of beach to be on of course as the tide is receding rapidly, but surprisingly there was hardly anyone on there. I couldn’t see more than about half-a-dozen people down there this afternoon.

But with the tide being well out, the bouchot farmers were out in force of course, harvesting close to the shore while they wait for the tide to go even further out.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On my way out, I mentioned that the air was quite clear and the views were quite good this afternoon.

The camera that I had with me today was the old NIKON D3000 fitted with the 18-105mm LENS so I’m not going to have the same photos as yesterday.

However, this one of the north-east end of the Ile de Chausey came out really well.

Back here I made myself a cold drink (I’ve finished the bottle of banana concentrate and I’m not going to open another one and leave it standing over winter) and then came back in here.

Something has cropped up just recently that featured on a web page that I wrote quite a few years ago, so I had to review the page, rewrite some of it and edit the rest to bring it up to date. And once you do one, it leads you on to another.

It relinded me of a quote by Fridtjof Nansen that I read in his book In Northern Mists “the more extensive my studies became, the more riddles I perceived – riddle after riddle led to new riddles and this drew me on”

That took me up to teatime. Plenty of mushrooms left so I made a potato and mushroon curry. There’s some left too, so I’ll lengthen it with a small tin of something and finish it off tomorrow.

After lunch I had a listen to the internet radio. It’s the last Friday of the month so I feature a live concert and tonight’s (repeated tomorrow at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK time, 15:00 Toronto/New York time) is one of the best that I have ever attended since the halcyon days of the early-mid 70s.

It took quite a bit of editing and I was keen to hear how it would come out, and I do have to say that it’s one of the finest that I have ever prepared.

It’s repeated TOMORROW at the times that I mentioned, and is podcastable afterwards. It’s well worth a listen.

moonrise eglise notre dame de cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Just before I went to bed I went into the living room to close the window.

And the moon tonight was beautiful. It was rising tonight just above the roofs of the houses in the old medieval walled city and looked rather strange, being well below the spire of the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

It was obviously one of these essential photography moments so I went and fetched the NIKON D500.

And so right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and as yet, I haven’t fallen asleep. That is some progress, and a good night tonight should help matters even more. I hope.

Sunday 12th September 2021 – I KNOW THAT YOU …

… have been sitting on the edge of your seats, gripping tightly with eager anticipation waiting for me to tell you what was going on under the marquees that we saw yesterday.

And so this afternoon on my walk around the headland I went for a closer look, only to find that like Longfellow’s “humbler poets”, they have folded “their tents, like the Arabs, and as silently steal away”.

Gone! And never called me “mother”!

hang glider touches down pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Someone who was not as fortunate as to “steal silently away” was one of the Birdmen of Alcatraz

As I was walking on the path around the headland this afternoon, I was there to actually watch him come to grief as his Nazgul ran out of wind near the lighthouse and he silently descended to earth.

He wasn’t able to relaunch himself either in the time that it took me to walk up there. It seemed that his guy wires had become tangled and he was busy trying to untangle them. Whether he did so or not I don’t know

hang glider overhead pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021His colleagues, however, were having no such difficulty.

All through the afternoon they were whizzing by overhead without the slightest hint of a problem, just like the one overhead right now. It was just the other one who was having issues with the wind and his Nazgul.

The problems that I was having this morning though were of another kind. Like not being able to have a decent sleep for one reason or other. Most of the night was spent tossing and turning in bed.

With having problems sleeping, I was up and about by 09:30 which is quite early for a Sunday. I even had a slice of fruit loaf for breakfast after my medication.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too. I don’t remember much about this first bit except that there was a mother and a young daughter who had gone off somewhere to the seaside. Something happened and the mother was on her own. Someone said something to her like “if you think that that is bad you should see the antics that your daughter is getting up to”. I don’t remember any more about this, but what was interesting was just before I went to bed a few of us were chatting on the internet about exactly this subject – a mother and daughter who we all knew (well, we knew the mother anyway) who had gone to Llandudno for the weekend.

Later on there was some kind of walk doing on from Paris where everyone was walking different points of the compass. I was walking out to the west so I set out and was loading loads of diesel into one of the Mk111 Cortinas. It was really thirsty and really drinking it. I don’t know what was the matter and neither did anyone else. I thought “this isn’t going to be any good” so I set off and walked all the way outside Paris into the countryside. The first night was going to be spent at my house. I’d just moved house into a new modern house and none of my furniture would fit. It was all thrown in everywhere, paper all over the floor and it was really untidy. I thought that I was going to have to sort all of this out again. I set out on the second day and ended up losing everyone. I was on my own walking and night was falling. I walked down a hill where these roadmen were fitting all these cobbles. They were talking about what a good job they were doing compared to the one done underneath where they were working. Eventually I found my friends, all asleep and getting ready to awaken for the next day’s walk. As for the house I’d only just arrived. I was tired, everything like that and I really didn’t fancy going back out straight away to carry on this walk without having had a sleep.

The next plan was to do a little (only a little) tidying up as I was expecting company. And once the place was looking a little more respectable I spent the rest of the time, would you believe, editing the photos from Greenland in August 2019.

Yes, I’ve started on the outstanding arrears again, after all this time.

After lunch my invitee came round and we had a very interesting chat about my project for the radio. He seems to be quite enthusiastic about the idea and so when we have our next quarterly meeting (sometime round about the end of September) we’ll discuss it with the others and see what they can come up with.

red autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021After he left, it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

And I hadn’t even left the building when I was interrupted by the noise of something going by overhead.

It’s our old friend the red autogyro that has been for an afternoon out over the bay to have a good look around, taking a passenger with him.

One of these days I’ll have to blag myself a ride on it, or on the yellow autogyro that we see quite regularly too. I bet that the view from 500 feet is pretty spectacular. It looked pretty good from 25,000 feet when I flew overhead on a scheduled flight a few years ago.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So, without any further ado, I wandered off to have a look at the beach to see who was about.

The tide was well out this afternoon so there was quite a lot of beach to be on. Crowds and crowds of them.

Quite a few in the water as well, and why not? Beautiful blue skies and beautiful blue waster – it was a gorgeous day today with not a great deal of wind about (as our friend the Birdman of Alcatraz whom we met earlier will testify.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So that was the situation lower down on the beach at the water’s edge. What about the situation higher up?

Round by the steps that lead down from the Rue du Nord there were quite literally dozens of people, nestled in their own little nook and cranny in the cliffs out of the wind. A perfect sun-trap.

It actually made me quite envious and I felt like going down there to join them. But the trouble is that I doubt that I could climb back up the steps afterwards when it was time to come home.

repairing medieval stone wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From here, there was a pretty good view of the work that they were doing on the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

They have made some progress at what they have already done so far, but I was more interested in what they were doing with the scaffolding.

It’s not a true “flying scaffolding” because you can see that in places is actually anchored to the ground but it’s still going to be a work of art.

The green railings that you see are those that go around the gate in the walle and on the left of the image you can see the path that leads down from the gate and underneath the walls.

la cancalaise english channel France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I’d been looking around at the beach, I’d also been looking out to sea as well.

There was almost nothing out at sea this afternoon, not even any fishermen, except for this familiar shape out there all alone in the English Channel.

With masts and sails like that, it can only be either La Granvillaise or La Cancalaise and my money is on the latter seeing as she’s right out there in between the Ile de Chausey and the Pointe de Grouin and heading towards land.

st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021The view out to sea today was absolutely excellent and you could see for miles.

Even the houses on Jersey were visible with the naked eye, and with the NIKON D500 and 70-300mm LENS they really came out very well.

But despite how clear they might be, I can still only recognise a couple of them from here. But not to worry, I have a cunning plan to deal with that issue which will be put into operation in early course (I hope) if things go according to plan.

n81fm Mooney M20R Ovation - M20P pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was walking along the path towards the lighthouse and the grounded Nazgul, a, aeroplane went by out in the bay.

She’s one whom we haven’t seen before as far as I can tell. She’s a Mooney M20R Ovation – M20P carrying the registration N-81FM which, if my memory serves me correctly, is a British registration number. So what she’s doing here I don’t know.

She arrived at Granville this morning at 11:49 having been picked up by radar at Etampes at 10:22. When she took off from Granville she stayed pretty low because it wasn’t until 16:46 that she appeared on the radar, somewhere near Flers. And she disappeared off the radar near Etampes at 17:33.

And how I wish that these planes would file flight plans.

Apart from the Birdman of Alcatraz there was nothing else happening along the path so I cleared off across the lawn and the car park.

helicopter baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I did so, something else went buzzing by overhead.

Someone has had his chopper out this afternoon and it went flying by overhead. With it being silhouetted against the sun it was very difficult to see what colour it was but I think that I could see red and yellow paintwork on the fuselage.

That seems to indicate that it might be the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter that is based out near Donville les Bains.

There wasn’t anything happening out there in the bay this afternoon either. So rather disappointingly I fought my way through the crowds (yes, there were crowds) and went down the path on the other side.

tidal creek port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Here’s something that i’ve never seen before, and i’ve no idea why.

This is exactly what a “tidal creek” would look like on some mudflats somewhere in a tidal estuary and while there are one or two little water courses around the harbour area, there isn’t one just here

So I’m totally bewildered as to how come this has suddenly appeared this afternoon, and what has caused it. It’s almost as if an earthquake has occurred.

No change in occupancy at the chantier naval today, so I came on home for my banana smoothie.

This morning I’d taken one of the frozen pizza doughs out of the freezer and it had been defrosting.

Once it had warmed up I kneaded it, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray to proof for a while.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When it had risen sufficiently I assembled my pizza and put it in the oven to bake.

And here’s the finished product. It really does look nice and it tasted even better. And it would have been even better still had I remembered to put the diced peppers on it as well.

So that’s the end of my weekend. rather a productive one too. I’ve no idea why but it seems that the for the last few days I’ve been feeling more like my old self.

Of course, one swallow doesn’t make a summer as we all know, so I don’t want to start crowing too soon, but with another injection due tomorrow, I might actually be feeling more like going to leuven on Wednesday than I have done just recently.

But I’ll let you know more about that tomorrow because I’m off to bed. I have a radio show to prepare in the morning too.

Friday 10th September 2021 – ON WEDNESDAY …

digging trench laying drains rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021 … we took a little trip to see the roadworks that were going on in the Rue du Boscq.

On the way back home from the physiotherapist I came back that way to see how they were doing and they seem to have made a great amount of progress in just 48 hours.

They’ve already started to dig the trench that looks as if it will be going the length of the street and they are laying the drainage pipes in there already. They certainly seem to be advancing a lot quicker than those workmen did in Leuven when they were doing a similar job that took 18 months and more.

lorry load of gravel on old railway line parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021What had excited my curiosity was that a heavy lorry was going down the track bed of the old railway line towards the road works.

He had a trailer that was quite heavily loaded with gravel, and so that gave me some kind of indication that the work was progressing rapidly. They wouldn’t be bringing in the gravel to leave lying around for 12 months or so.

And it was interesting to see that the old track bed was being put to good use as well, even if it won’t ever be a railway line as well. A sign of the times, maybe?

notification of works rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Something else that has appeared since we were here on Wednesday is a noticeboard at the town end of the work setting out the plans.

So we are going to have a cycle path, some car parking, piles of trees (at last), a real footpath and 2 viewpoints, presumably up on top in the Avenue de la Gare where one may look down on the scene.

There don’t seem to be any plans for a lift though to take you up to the station instead of having to negotiate these awful steps.

It’s going to cost pretty much €2,000,000 and I hope that they have their money’s worth out of it.

having fun with signs parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Talking of “these awful steps”, these are the ones that I mean.

Trying to walk up here with a suitcase in the pitch-black in the middle of winter is a nightmare. Since I tried it once like that, I’ve been going up the Rue Couraye instead.

There was a pile of builders’ material that had been dropped here and it looks as if someone has been having a great amount of fun playing around with the road signs. Still, it keeps them out of mischief.

By the looks of things, I didn’t get into much of a way of mischief during the night. There was nothing whatever recorded on the dictaphone. I didn’t sleep right through though – I had a miserable, uncomfortable night tossing and turning in bed for much of it. I was exhausted when the alarm went off.

home made bread fruit bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021After the medication there was the bread-making to be done.

There was no ordinary bread left, and only a very small amount of fruit bread so I decided to make both lots seeing as I had the oven on.

Having had one or two failures with my fruit bread just recently through having tried a new method, I decided on a kind-of hybrid method and that actually looks quite a nice loaf.

After I’ve tried some tomorrow, I’ll tell you what it’s like but I do know that the ordinary loaf is excellent.

Having made the dough I went to have a shower to make myself smell nice and it was just as well that I did because the nurse came earlier than expected.

He had all kinds of trouble trying to find a vein from which to take the blood, but not half as much trouble as some of those butchers in Montlucon did.

Once he had departed I could have my coffee and the last of the old fruit bread, and then make a start. First task was to deal with the dictaphone arrears and now every one of those has been transcribed. Another good job done.

The next task was to deal with an outstanding h=journal entry from THE END OF AUGUST. by the end of the day that was finished and as from tomorrow I can turn my attention back to the 2019 photos and the trip to the Ile de Chausey.

As for updating the journal with the details of the night’s travels for the three weeks or so that I let things lapse, I’ll just do a couple a day.

There were the usual breaks, one for lunch and another one to go to see the physiotherapist.

ferry to ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way out, I went via the old medieval walls.

And from the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I could see way out to sea and there was something of a reasonable size heading out towards the Ile de Chausey.

Without any doubt at all, it was one of the ferries going that way so I photographed it in the hope that back here later I could see who it was.

It wasn’t easy, but I could see that she had no step in the stern and had a more angular that streamlined shape so I think that she may well be the elder of the two Joly France boats.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One of the features that seems to run through these pages is the sad state of the medieval walls.

The area round by the Place du Marché aux Chevaux was closed off about a year or so ago and when I was round this way a couple of months ago they had made a start on repairing them.

Just recently however, they seem to have made rapid progress and while the actual repointing hasn’t progessed that much on the outisde of the walls, we now have a huge scaffolding that is in the course of being erected just there.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021What caught my eye were the huge water tanks that are on the scaffolding there.

With 1,000 litres of water in each of them, each one will weigh a metric tonne. So judging by the way that the scaffolding is being erecting, it looks as if they are going to be erecting a “flying scaffolding” over the walls and the water tanks are being used as a counterweight.

This is going to become quite interesting and one of these days at low tide, I’ll go down onto the beach and have a good look from underneath at what they are doing.

female underwater swimmer rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was looking around at the scaffolding I was also having a look around on the beach as well.

Emerging from the water down there just like Ursula Andress in DR NO was another one of these underwater swimmers, complete with snorkel and flippers.

Whatever it is that they are doing, I still haven’t managed to find out. It can’t be anything special because where they are swimming is uncovered at low tide. It must be some kind of training exercise, that’s all that I can think of.

beach swimming pool diving platform promenade plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A view that we haven’t seen properly, with not having come this way for a while, is the view down to the Plat Gousset.

First thing that I noticed was that it it still seems to be the summer season as far as the local Council is concerned. The beach huts are still there and the diving platform is still on its pillar.

These are all removed into storage at the end of the season. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen the power in the storms that crash down there during the winter. The storms will make a considerable mess of those cabins if they were to remain there during the winter.

There are some steps at the end of the path that go down to the Place Marechal Foch. I went down that way and headed off through the town centre.

delivery van unloading rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Another thing that regular readers of thids rubbish will recall is that bad parking is another regular feature of these pages.

Delivery vans these days are everywhere these days and they park anywhere they like. But if you have a look at this photo very carefully, you’ll see that there’s an empty parking space just to his left,.

Rather than waste 10 seconds of his own by manoeuvring into it, he proceeds to waste about 5 minutes of the time of 20 other motorists stuck in the queue behind him.

This is the kind of thing that brings these delivery drivers into disrepute, and it’s hardly any surprise that people have such a low opinion of them.

At the physiotherapist’s, he put me through my paces on his tilting platform. He gave me a pile of new exercises to do, with the result that just about every joint in my body, except the right knee, which is why I’d gone there for treatment in the first place.

flowers dying avenue de la gare Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, I went down the Avenue de la Gare to look at those flowers that we saw last week.

Whatever was happening to them has obviously happened very quickly because most of the flowers seem to have died in that very short space of time.

And there were no more than a handful of butterflies compared to the other day.

Down the steps I went to the Parc du val es Fleurs to check on the roadworks, and then went to the Carrefour for some fruit, seeing as I won’t be going shopping tomorrow.

empty quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It’s amazing the difference that a couple of kilos of fruit make. It was quite a struggle to climb back up the Rue des Juifs

At the viewpoint overlooking the harbour I could see that the pile of freight that had been visible on the quayside yesterday afternoon has now disappeared.

Checking the comings and goings in he port on the radar later, I could see that Normandy Trader arrived in port at 09:10 and left again at 11:13. That is what I call a quick turn-round. I can’t keep up with all if this.

trawler aground in naabsa position port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yet another subject that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that of fishing vessels which, instead of going into the inner harbour, are left outside in the outer tidal harbour to simply settle down in the silt.

The technical name for this is NAABSA, i.e. Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground, and it seems to be happening more and more frequently these days. We’ve seen this vessel a couple of times now moored up against the sea wall near the entrance to the harbour.

When I first came to live here we would only very seldomly see one, but these days it seems to be a couple of times a week. There must be something going on about the mooring in the inner harbour and I wish that I knew what it was.

trawler saint andrews catherine philippe l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There’s plenty going on over at the chantier naval today though.

By the looks of things, there has been a big clear-out of ships that were in there. Of the seven that we have seen over the lst couple of weeks, we now seem to be down to just four.

The ones that remain, by the looks of things, from left to right, are Saint Andrews, the unidentified one, Catherine Philippe and L’Omerta. Back into the water today have gone Yann Frederic, Peccavi and Massabielle.

The next question that needs to be asked is “who is going to come in to take their place?”. There’s a very high turnover of boats in there these days and those places won’t be remaining empty for long.

tank cleaner porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021from the viewpoint over the harbour I headed off for home.

We have another lorry parked up by the Porte St Jean that can’t fit under the arch. It’s not a question of a trans-shipment today. That’s a tank cleaner or drain unblocker.

Someone must have a problem with the drains and so there’s about half a mile of pipework running into the old town as the driver tries to blast it away. There’s no end of inconvenience that you encounter when you are living within the walls.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Before I went home, I went to have a good look down on the beach as usual.

The tide is well out but there weren’t too many people down there. It was rather cool and windy compared to how it has been and that might explain it.

There did seem to be a few people in the water too, although I don’t know why because it’s not really swimming weather. Anyway, I left them to it and came back here for my banana smoothie and a little rest.

As it happened, it was more than a little rest too. Probably about an hour’s deep sleep, in fact. And it’s no surprise because I’d worked hard at the physiotherapist’s and then i’d had the long walk home up the hill.

Tea was a burger on a bap with a baked potato and veg. No pudding still, but it doesn’t seem to be working because not only did I put that 100 grammes back on, I added another 100 grammes to it as well.

But right now i’m off to bed. I have visitors tomorrow morning and I want to be on form.

Thursday 18th August 2021 – THAT WAS A …

… much better night last night, due to the fact that there wasn’t any noise from the neighbouring room. Mind you, there’s some noise coming from there now so here’s hoping that they’ll shut up in due course before bedtime.

It still didn’t make for an uninterrupted sleep because I was off on my travels during the night and I must have gone for miles. I started off in the USA travelling south and I’d come into Georgia, still travelling south and something must have happened because the next thing that I remember was that I was in a car with half a dozen other people. The woman was driving so recklessly through these roadworks, knocking over all these bollards. We’d been driving down a highway and now we were threading our way through a town. Two of these people were talking about how grateful they were to this woman for picking them up because they would never have found someone else going their way after they had been rear-ended in their car. They were chatting away and I thought to myself that pretty soon I’m going to be going into a couple of new States that I don’t know. So I asked “how far are we from the Georgia Florida border?” The woman replied “we’ll be crossing the border in about an hour or so”. The dawn was just so dramatic. It changed from a dark night to bright sunlight in an instant. I saw that the sun was about a quarter high so I thought that I must have gone to sleep or something. We were talking about race cars. They were mocking my English language about Wimbledon so we ended up talking about tractor pulling. The guy said that he’d be too scared to try tractor pulling because that’s really something.

Later on I was in the far north of Canada somewhere with my friend from Munich, standing on a clifftop watching events unfolding. Dawn was just breaking. We’d been around and I don’t know where but we’d ended up somewhere near a village. It had only been the smaller schoolchildren who had gone to school that day. As dawn started to break there were sounds of sirens or a horn and I thought that it must be an icebreaker coming down the river. I wondered if it would be Terry Fox, the icebreaker that I knew. So we looked and it was a heavy lorry coming down there zigzagging from side to side as if to flatten all of the streets, going downhill backwards to this village. We went down to see and by now all the schoolchildren were assembling, all ages, ready to go into school. There was a shop there that we came across because we followed the lorry and it had stopped there to get diesel. We walked into this shop with all of these schoolkids around, looking at us because we were dressed differently and looked differently. It was a second-hand place with loads of second-hand books and everything. There wee a few guitars there so my idea was that we would have an impromptu concert but all the strings had been knotted together so we couldn’t actually play anything on them. That was a really disappointing thing because we were hoping to have a little bit of fun with them.

Later still I was at my lock-up at Smallman Road and it was in a terrible mess. My brother was there and he started to help me tidy up, something about which I wasn’t very happy because when people start tidying up you don’t know where they put things and you never find them But after half an hour it made an enormous difference and you could actually walk around places which you hadn’t done in there for years. I then suggested o get the stuff out of Caliburn like the two spare wheels and a pile of boxes, the snow chains and everything. That was what we did and started moving stuff around out of Caliburn but somehow I became all oily and we were going to be really dirty and getting these tyres out of the back and so on.

Somewhere along the way I was standing in a queue behind a woman who was buying pieces of broken chocolate but she took so long trying to take her money from her purse that I was sure that I was going to miss what I was going to do and I wished that she would get a move on.

After the exertions of the last couple of days I stayed in bed until 10:00 and when I eventually rose again from the dead I went and had my medication. After that I chose the music for another radio programme. That’s three now that I’ve done and I’ll do the fourth tomorrow, I reckon.

After I’d made my sandwiches I headed off to the hospital for my appointment.

summer flowers herbert hooverlaan leuven belgium Eric HallMy perambulations at lunchtime took me past the Herbert Hooverplein.

No market there this morning, and so instead I could admire the flowers. I’m not a flower person – in fact I once told my friend Lorna that the only time that you would find a flower on any photo that I took would be if there were an old car parked on top of it – but these are particularly beautiful.

As you might expect, I have no idea what kind of flowers these might be. “Yellow and white ones” would be my best guess.

cycling fitness machine grote markt leuven belgium  Eric HallFrom there I pushed on down the hill to the town centre and the Grote Markt.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last time we were here we saw this container with a couple of exercise bicycles in it. And I’ve finally worked out what its purpose is.

It seems that in about 30 days time there will be some kind of cycling World Championships taking place and this is some kind of advertisement to publicise the event.

We’ll see how events unfold here over the course of the next few weeks.

river dijle leuven belgium Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that a month ago we had all of the rain and all of the floods in Belgium

At the height of the storm the river LOOKED LIKE THIS and you can see how different the river is today. The doorway down there shows that there was a couple of feet of difference in the height of the river.

The country is still reeling from the effects of the storm, but luckily we here in Leuven didn’t suffer very much – not half as much as some places over in the east by the German border.

demolition at rear of sint rafael hospital kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric HallAs I pushed along the Brusselsestraat on the way to the hospital, I checked the big building site here.

They have swept away all of what was the Sint Pieter’s Hospital and it seems that they are now starting to demolish the rear of the Sint Rafael Hospital. This is certainly some kind of new development that wasn’t here last time I was in Leuven.

This part of the redevelopment of the site is something that I hadn’t seen on the plans so I’ll be very interested to see how this particular story unfolds.

soil deposited at sint pieters hospital brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallPart of the plans for the redevelopment of the site include some landscaping of the area.

Something else that has turned up on the site since I was last here is a couple of lorry-loads of what looks like soil.

Presumably they are going to bulldoze it all over the site, and I hope that they will plant bushes and trees there as well while they are at it.

Here in the centre of the town there aren’t anything like enough trees and other greenery to revitalise the atmosphere and no effort should be spared to make the place look environmentally friendly.

old medieval tower brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallAfter they cleared away the building and the rubble we noticed that there was an old medieval tower left behind on the site that had been obscured.

It has been protected by scaffolding and there’s some metal sheeting to cover it over. But right now it seems that they are starting work on restoring it – and not before time either. It should look really nice when it’s finished – I hope.

The walk up the hill to the hospital was a nightmare. I had to stop about a dozen or so times in order to catch my breath and when I finally reached the hospital I was obliged to take the escalator up to the first floor.

That’s something that has not happened since I first came here 5 years ago and it’s definitely a backward step.

The nurse who attended to me was very sweet and she can come and massage my clavicles any time she likes. The doctor on the other hand was somewhat lacking in his approach and I don’t think that he’ll be working long in the profession.

He certainly didn’t have the interest in his task – whenever I mentioned something else that was the problem it was “see your GP about that” – except that he said it in French because that the language that he used to speak to me. He didn’t have the least curiosity and that’s no good for a doctor.

My blood count has gone up from 9.0 to 9.2 although it doesn’t seem anything like it. There’s definitely some other underlying problem with the health issues that I’m having right now.

While I was here I made a start on transcribing the dictaphone notes (hence today’s notes) but Alison popped by to see me so we ended up chatting instead. I’ll have to do the outstanding notes tomorrow, unless something else crops up in the meantime.

building site kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric HallOn the way home I went to have a look at the various building projects in the Kapucijnenvoer.

The big building that is receiving all of their attention right now is advancing. Not exactly quite rapidly but there is a great deal of surface area that is involved in this particular project and the volume alone will count for a lot.

It’s going to be quite a while before the building appears above ground level and judging by the thickness of the walls it’s going to be quite a substantial building too that is going to tower up above the surrounding building.

more demolition Onze Lieve Vrouwstraat Leuven belgium Eric HallMeanwhile, while I was looking at the groundwork here with one of my eyes the other eye was off roaming about examining what was going on in the background.

There’s part of this complex that runs round the back of the Onze Lieve Vrouwstraat in the distance and it looks as if they are now making a start on demolishing part of that – something else that I haven’t noticed on the plans of the site.

It seems that they are going to be making quite a clean sweep of the area and while I’m not sorry to see much of it go, there are some parts of it that have a certain something that will be missed when it’s gone.

building site kapucijnenvoer zongang leuven belgium Eric HallOn the way home I wandered off down the Kapucijnenvoer to look at the other building site that backs onto the Zongang.

While I was on my way up to the hospital there was a lorry there with the site crane lifting from the trailer a pile of concrete sheets that are presumably going to be the flooring. But by the time that I came back, they had all gone.

But the building is shooting up quite quickly, much quicker than we would expect, bearing in mind the speed at which other building projects are carried on in the town. Normally they take an age but they aren’t hanging around with this one.

building site kapucijnenvoer zongang leuven belgium Eric HallBut I don’t imagine that the people who are living in that nice house in the Zongang are particularly happy about this building.

While I was passing I peered through the new building out to the back, and you can see how closely they have built this structure to the house behind. This is going to cut out all of the light that would otherwise fall on the building.

There’s supposed to be a parking place for each of the apartments too and I’m not sure how they are going to fit any of that in on the site or in the little yard at the back.

site plan sint pieters hospital brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallOn my way back home I went to have a look at the site plan of the redevelopment to see what this new series of demolitions might mean.

Unfortunately I didn’t check it as thoroughly as I might because I was rather distracted by the noticeboard giving the explanations. And I wonder what exactly is a “Honkhuis”. My imagination is running wild right now.

And so I’ll have to have a look at the noticeboard next time I go past there and make better notes of how the site is going to evolve. But at least I did notice that the culvert that covers the river there is going to be removed and the river will be exposed once more to the open air.

man running dog around velodrome brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallThere is of course the new velodrome that they have built on the site of the old hospital.

On my way past it to the hospital there was no-one actually using it so I refrained from taking a photo, thinking that I’ll catch someone using it on the way back and photograph it then.

There was indeed someone using it, but not a cyclist. When I arrived some little girl was just cycling away from it with her mother. Instead I caught a man taking his dog for a run around it.

Not the best use of the velodrome, I have to say. I was expecting it to be much more popular with the youngsters than it seems to be.

new hardstanding brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallThere’s some more work that’s been undertaken on the site since we were last here.

We now seem to have some kind of hardstanding behind the velodrome, surrounded by a load of potted palms or whatever they might be. The purpose of this hardstanding is a mystery to me.

The way back home was accomplished without as much effort as I was expecting. I stopped at the chemist’s on the way back but she didn’t have everything that I needed so I’ll have to go back there tomorrow to pick up everything. I can do that while I’m having a little walk about

Now that I’ve had tea, and the music seems to have quietened down for a moment, I’m going to go to bed. No alarm in the morning – I’m going to have yet another lie-in. So here’s hoping that no-one manages to disturb me during the night.

Thursday 29th July 2021 WHILE I WAS …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 28th July 2021 – SAY HELLO …

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… to a new resident in the port here.

And we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future that’s for sure. She’s called Belle France and she’s came into port last night to take part in working the ferry service between here and the Ile de Chausey.

It’s not clear whether she’s in addition to the 2 Joly France boats or whether one of them wiil be sailing off into the sunset in early course.

But one thing that I noticed about Belle France is that she doesn’t appear to be fitted with a crane to load the luggage from the quayside, and that may well explain the presence of Chausiaise in the fleet.

My presence this morning can be best explanied by the fact that I managed to stagger to my feet at 06:00 despite not having gone to bed until 01:00 this morning and so for the rest of the story I only have myself to blame.

But nevertheless I kept on going for quite a while. Nothing on the dictaphone and so I worked on the photos from Greenland in August 2019 . And seeing that we are in the middle of the Olympics, WHALES WON THE GOLD MEDAL in the synchronised swimming.

What else I did was to carry on with loading the shelves in the kitchen. I’ve rearranged them somewhat and now I seem to have made much more room there, which is always nice. And while I was at it, I took out the waste paper and the rubbish to the waste bins and washed my bin. What excitement, hey?

While I was sorting through stuff I came across the filters for the water jug so I cleaned the jug and changed the filter over.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned this before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … why I note down things like this. The answer to that is that this journal is indexed and so I can find out when I last changed the filter and when it’s time to change it again.

It’s important that I write these things down to remember them because two things happen when you reach my age .

  1. you forget everything that it’s possible to forget
  2. I can’t remember what the second thing is

Having done all of that (and you’ve no idea how tired that makes me) I came in here. It was round about 12:15 when I sat down and the next thing that I remembered it was 14:05. Yes, I’d had another one of these mega-sleeps that I’ve been sliding into just recently without knowing it.

That led to a very late lunch followed by a very late acoustic guitar practice.

After lunch being fed up of tripping over the clothes airer I put away the dry clothes and then had another look through some papers. And while I didn’t find the papers for which I had been searching yesterday, instead I found Caliburn’s insurance certificate for which I had been searching previously. So I wonder what I’ll be looking for when I find my missing paper.

After another 10 minutes or so dealing with the kitchen shelves, It was time to go walkies

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call is of course the beach down below the cliff just here so I wandered off across the car park for a look.

No buses parked on the kerb or young people on the verge in the car park this this afternoon.

I’m quite a bit earlier than yesterday so the tide isn’t all that far out right now. But nevertheless there are still plenty of people down there enjoying what they can, as I discovered when I stuck my head over the wall.

And that’s not really a surprise because the weather was quite mild today and I’d actually gone out without a jacket, which shows you just how brave I am.


tractors people on beach donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it’s not just in Granville either.

There must be a very low tide this afternoon because you can see that over on the beach at Donville les Bains the bouchot farmers have brought out all of their tractors and so on ready to begin the harvest as soon as the beds are uncovered.

And you can tell that none of those beaches is affected by the ban because there are quite a few people on the beach right out there, including something of a crowd by the caravan park on the extreme left, as well as a few people taking the waters.

Yes, when I go to visit the airfield, whenever that might be, I’ll pick a nice day and take my butties.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was what my right eye was doing while I was there overlooking the beach. But what was my left eye doing?

As usual, my roving left eye was looking around out to sea to see what might be going on out at sea.

And the answer was “zilch” – nothing at all. There wasn’t a single (or a married) boat between here and the Ile de Chausey and I’ll tell you something else for nothing as well – and that was that this afternoon I didn’t even see a hint of a boat anywhere out at sea at all.

After he crowds of boats that we saw last week and the traffic jams of fishing boats heading for home, I have been amazed by the lack of water craft.

It’s true of course that the tide is out but even so, someone could have nipped out this lunchtime with his butties and gone fishing until this evening when the harbour gates opened up again

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever one thing was not missing from our afternoon’s activities.

Having been overflown by endless squadrons of light aircraft and Nazgul over the past week or two, then yesterday aerial activity in the vicinity was conspicuous by its absence.

The abstinence didn’t last long though. While I was walking along the path near the lighthouse a familiar rattle announced itself and sure enough, the yellow autogyro that we have seen so often in the past went flying by overhead.

And it’s a two-seater too of course. That’s something else I can do whenever I make it to the airfield – I can hitch a ride and go for a fly around. I’d feel much happier in that than in a 2-seater Nazgul.

medieval fish trap plage d'hacqueville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s something that I haven’t noticed before.

The other day I took a photo of Le Loup, the marker light on the rocks just outside the harbour. So today I took a photo a little further inland towards the Place d’Hacqueville.

And doesn’t that look like a medieval fish trap to you? It certainly does to me.

It’s like two stone walls built in a V out to sea. The tide comes on and fills the pool with water and hopefully fish, and when the tide goes out, the water percolates out through the gaps in the rocks leaving the fish behind, trapped

Then the medieval fishwives wade in and pull out the fish for supper with their bare hands

swimming pool port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile from my vantage point above the harbour, I’m not too interested in the chantier naval because nothing has changed in there since yesterday

Instead, looking in the other direction, I can see that very shortly we will be expecting the arrival of Normandy Trader.

And how do I know this? The answer is that there’s a swimming pool on the quayside by the loading crane. There’s a company here in France that exports swimming pools to the Channel Islands and I know that the owners of Normandy Trader have the contract to pick them up and take them back to Jersey.

They won’t leave that on the quayside for long in case it’s damaged. Those things are not cheap at all.

boats aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou are all probably wandering what has happened to all of the boats that we haven’t been seeing out at sea just recently.

Well, here there are – or, at least, some of them. There’s a port de plaisance with a gate to keep the water in and that’s where the expensive stuff and the houseboats are moored, but the less expensive boats and the smaller fishing boats are out here in the tidal harbour.

When the tide goes out they simply settle down in the silt and wait for the tide to come back in and re-float them.

You can see what looks like a little river on the left. That’s water that drains out of the inner harbour quite slowly so that the inner harbour settles down and isn’t full when the tide comes back in, which means that they can open the gates a long time before high tide.

victor hugo granville port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeantime our two Channel Island ferries Victor Hugo in the foreground and Granville in the back ground are still here.

The Channel Islands have announced that entry restrictions to the Channel Islands are being slightly relaxed so people can at long last go to visit the islands.

However, that doesn’t apply to the two ferries. I’ve no idea why not, but it seems a strange decision to me. Maybe they don’t want the kind of numbers coming to the islands that the ferries could bring.

And I do know that there is some kind of issue about finance. The local region has been footing the bill for this for ages and they have suggested that the Channel Islanders put their hands in their pockets too, but as yet, no folding stuff has come from over there.

And as an aside, do you notice a resemblance between Granville and Belle France?

Back here I sorted out some photos, had my bass guitar practice and then went for tea. Chips and curried beans (I found a tin or two in my supplies while I was filling the shelves) and a burger followed by apple pie from the freezer.

Now an early night is called for as I have visitors coming tomorrow, I hope.

Friday 16th July 2021 – HOW LONG IS IT …

modern morgan 3 wheeler predikherenstraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall… since these pages have featured an old car?

At one time it used to be quite regular but these days it’s a lot more rare than it ought to be. And unfortunately, this vehicle here isn’t as old as it looks either.

As I was wandering down the Brusselsestraat on my way home I happened to glance down the Predikherenstraat where I saw this.

At first I thought that my luck was in and it might have been a real Morgan three-wheeler but unfortunately I was not labouring long under a disillusion

modern morgan 3 wheeler predikherenstraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallOne glance at the engine was enough to tell me.

ThIs engine is not a nice big 998cc JAP V-twin but an S and S engine, which tells me that this vehicle is less that 8 years old.

And that’s rather a disappointment because I’m really looking forward to finding an original JAP-engined Morgan from the 1920s and 1930s.

So after having taken a few photographs and having had a chat with another admirer I made my way back into town.

But all of that comes later. We need to start at the beginning.

When the alarm went off I was up early this morning and after the medication I came in here to transcribe my dictaphone notes. I was very much persona non grata at some kind of do involving my family and a couple of girls from my class at Grammar School. I can’t remember what it was about but something came up about, was it Welsh Independence or something? They were all sitting there saying that it’s all been done wrong and if it had been organised correctly they should have done this and this and this. I replied “if you don’t like the way it’s done don’t vote for it” so they said they weren’t and it became something of a slanging match. The younger girl who was there was then talking about a few things “well so-and-so will be coming and we’ll be having to do this down in somewhere” something or other and I was of the opinion that she was having a visitor but I couldn’t understand what it was all about obviously, having been left out of the loop for half a story so I checked my diary. There was nothing in my diary so I thought that I’d better write down a few notes. I went to the drawer to find a pencil. My mother asked me what I was doing. I replied that I was looking for a pencil. I found one but it wasn’t sharpened so I needed to find the sharpener to sharpen the pencil to jot down a few of these notes.

As well as all of that I fell asleep too. Only for about half an hour or so but nevertheless …

At about 08:45 I headed out to the hospital for my appointment.

market herbert hooverplein Leuven Belgium Eric HallSeeing all of the people walking along the Tiensestraat loaded up with all kinds of shopping tells me that it’s market day today, as if I wouldn’t have known it anyway.

Here at the Herbert Hooverplein is where it all begins and it spreads out through the Ladeuzeplein and down to the Bondgenotenlaan, swallowing up that whole area.

In the past we’ve been for a wander around the market but unfortunately today we don’t have time. I’m on my way to the hospital for my dermatology session. And so I pushed on down the hill in the Tiensestraat towards the city centre

Halfway down the hill I was almost squidged by a lorry that was reversing back up again having presumably made a delivery there.

cycling energy sprint oud markt Leuven Belgium Eric HallThe previous day I’d noticed something unusual in the Oud Markt – some kind of shipping container with a display screen outside it.

Today it was open so I could see what was happening in there. What we have are a few exercise bikes in there and people can go for a ride on them. Presumably the distance and speed that they travel is added onto the figure shown on the screen.

Normally I would have loitered around to see of anyone was going to have a go and if the total on the screen would increase but there wasn’t anyone around and I couldn’t wait all that long for someone to turn up.

river dijle brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallDown at the foot of the hill is the River Dijle.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we’ve had an unbelievable amount of rain over the last 24 hours and it’s caused all kinds of devastation in the eastern part of the country.

The level of the river has risen quite appreciably since the rain started and even since I last saw it yesterday afternoon it’s risen by another few inches. Not quite as high as it was that day in 2016 when I was living here but another day or two of this weather will deal with that.

That rainstorm yesterday morning was terrific, in many senses of the word.

medieval tower sint pieters hospital brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I talked about the old medieval tower that has now been unveiled to public view following the demolition of Sint Pieter’s Hospital.

Yesterday I’d photographed it by accident because I didn’t know that it was there. But now I do I went there forewarned and forearmed this morning and found a spec where there was a much better view.

It’s protected by scaffolding and corrugated sheeting so that seems to imply that it’s not going to be demolished during the redevelopment of the site and it might even be restored as part of this project that’s ongoing with the city walls further along at the side of the river.

There is some talk about uncovering the river just here too, and that will be interesting if they do that.

bicycle racks kruisstraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that a couple of months ago we saw them installing a set of bicycle racks in a couple of car parking spaces in the Kruisstraat.

At the time I remember speculating that these bicycle racks wouldn’t be receiving much use as there wasn’t a great deal of accommodation in the area

Nothing that I have seen since has changed my opinion. Despite there being space for about 40 bicycles here, there’s not even a handful and that’s how it’s been every time that I’ve walked past.

Sometimes it’s very difficult to actually work out what is going on in the minds of the City Fathers when they do things like this .

tactile pavement goedsbloemstraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing are the roadworks around the Monseigneur van Weyenberghlaan and the Goedsbloemstraat.

Last time we were here we saw them finishing off the Goedsbloemstraat, working on the pavement by the traffic lights. What they were doing, which they have now finished, was to install some tactile paving, the corrugated pavement that gives indications to blind people that they are approaching an obstruction.

Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its previous guises will recall that I once met the girl who designed this tactile paving and we had a little thing going on that unfortunately led nowhere

When I arrived at the hospital I was channelled into the Dermatology clinic where the young trainee doctor poked and prodded me and took sample of my skin. She left me alone for 40 minutes too during which time I … errr … dozed off.

When she returned she had a chat with me about my skin issues, gave me a few prescriptions and then told me to clear off. They will “be in touch”.

On the way back to my digs I went to retake the photos that I didn’t take yesterday.

new building zongang kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric HallWhen the NIKON 1 J5 died on me, I was on my way to take a photo of the new building that’s going up between the Kapucijnenvoer and the Zongang.

And having complained quite long and quite loudly of the Byzantine pace of construction etc in Belgium, then perhaps I should try not to be so vocal in future because they are cracking on with this. It’s going up like a mushroom.

The big difference, I suppose, is that this is a private enterprise building a private building for resale to the general public, rather than a Public Authority work. The quicker it goes up, the quicker the developers can recover their cash.

Nevertheless I suppose that someone will remind me of this in 6 months time when the construction has stalled.

kids on bikes velodrome brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallYesterday we went past this new velodrome that they have constructed. And what with the torrential downpour that we were having, there wasn’t anyone riding around it.

Today of course, the situation is different. The boards are now dry and all of the local kids have descended on the place. A few of them are gingerly feeling their way around whereas one or two of them really have got the hang of the principle of a banked velodrome and are pelting round it.

And like most things involving kids, it all ended in tears a few minutes later in a tangle of kids and bicycles as one came to grief and brought down half a dozen of the others. That was rather odds-on, wasn’t it?

market bondgenotenlaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallHaving dealt with the Morgan, the next couple of photos are going to be quite interesting.

This one here and the one below represent the same image more-or-less, but taken in different ways.

The first one is actually a still taken from a moving picture. I was interested to see what size the resolution of the video would be when I tried it on different screens, but the size of the screen didn’t seem to be an issue.

market bondgenotenlaan Leuven Belgium Eric HallNevertheless I took a still from the video to compare it to a still image.

As you can probably see, there’s quite a difference in quality as you might expect when the full-size images are compared, but reduced to the resolution that I use for publication, the difference is not all that much, which is a pleasant surprise.

Why can’t my dashcam produce images of this quality?

Feeling that I’d earned myself a little treat after my exertions, I stopped off halfway up the hill for an ice cream

medication Leuven Belgium Eric HallJust up the road is a pharmacy so I went there with my prescriptions to have them dealt with.

For someone who said that he wanted to cut down on his medication, just look at all of this. It’s going to be something of a logistics issue just taking this lot home with me on the train. It’s a good job that I have a decent shopping bag with me.

And the cost was astonishing, which is hardly a surprise when you see the amount that I was given. My bill at the pharmacy came to €253:00 which is the same as a year’s expenditure on food, I suppose. When I return home I shall have to send in my accounts to my insurers and see about some reimbursement.

This afternoon fighting off the sleep (not always successfully, I have to mention), after lunch I sorted out the music for three new radio programmes, so that’s another batch of all done and dusted. Things are doing rather well from that point but I need to have a go at a few live programmes.

nissan motor car tiensestraat Leuven Belgium Eric HallSome of the medication wasn’t available at lunchtime so I had to go back before they closed in the evening to pick it up.

But the number plate of this car parked outside appealed to my rather juvenile mind. I was thinking that it would be appropriate for quite a few people whom I’ve encountered.

One (or rather, two) of the items that the chemist gave me filled me full of dismay. It looks as if we’re back on the elastic stockings too. More and more, I can see myself returning to early 2016 and that’s not very good news..

After tea, I’ve done some tidying up and washing up and now I’m off to bed. Early of course, but I have to leave my bed at about 04:30. So I’ll finish this off tomorrow on the train (if I don’t fall asleep on the way back) and post it on line tomorrow night.

You’ve heard that before, haven’t you?

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.

Wednesday 30th June 2021 – THE BIRD-MEN …

hang gliders plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of Alcatraz were out in force this afternoon while I was out for my walk.

Instead of going round the headland I went on the path around the medieval city walls to see how they were getting on with some of the repairs that they have been doing to various things in the old town, but instead I ended up being buzzed by a squadron of Nazgul

They take off and land at the field next door to the cemetery which I always think is good planning because they won’t have far to go if they have an unfortunate accident, and then follow the clifftop along almost to the lighthouse and then fly back to where they started.

hang glider plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat is, always assuming that they can gain enough height to do so.

Some of the bird-men find it easier to do than others. This guy is struggling to find the air currents that will pull him up. Instead, he’s struggling along well below my eye level and well below the top of the cliff and not doing too well about it either.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw one of the birdmen come to grief the other day at the lighthouse and he’s not the first either. Someone else was seriously injured last year, and I never did find out whether he recovered from his accident.

But our intrepid birdman did in fact find a current of air in the end and lifted himself off into the ether over my head.

And I must have found a good current of air to lift me out of bed this morning because I leapt out of bed with an extraordinary burst of energy as soon as the alarm went off. And considering how exhausted I was last night, that must have been pretty close to a miracle.

After the medication I came back in here and finished off last night’s journal entry. There wasn’t much to do but I did it anyway. And following that I carried on with the photos from August 2019. and right now I’m on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR pulling into the harbour at Sisimut, Greenland.

Yes, I really managed to crack on this morning and deal with a nice bundle of them. I even managed to find a photo that I took of THE AURORA BOREALIS in Kangerlussuak Fjord

There was a pause for a coffee break and later for breakfast, and then I had another task to carry out. My little niece Amber graduated from High School in Canada last week and she had sent me a video of THE GRADUATION PARADE AND VALDICTORY SPEECHES.

Being as busy as I am I’d not had an opportunity to see it and so with my hot chocolate and fruit bread, and then with the acoustic guitar I watched the video. And I had to laugh as well. You can tell that it’s New Brunswick. They held the parade in the Tractor-Pulling Stadium

That all took me right up to lunchtime when I had some more of my very nice fresh bread.

After lunch I went to revise my Welsh but once more, ended up crashing out on the chair for half an hour or so. I didn’t realise that Welsh had this effect on me. It’s all becoming quite embarrassing. But anyway that took me up to walkies time and I would have gone out earlier had we not had another power cut. And this time it wasn’t any fuse in my apartment and it came back on after a couple of minutes without any help from me.

trans-shipping rubble porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo schoolgirl loitering outside the door this afternoon again so I could push off into the wild blue yonder. But only a little way because there was something going on right at the back of my apartment at the Porte St Jean.

One of the problems of living within the confines of a medieval walled city is that large lorries and delivery vehicles can’t make their way in so there has to be some form of trans-shipment. In this case, this little pickup is bringing builders’ rubble from within the walls and it’s being scooped up into the back of the larger lorry for disposal.

And while I was passing I had a look at the rubble that they were taking away. And there were several granite setts in there that had presumably at one time been part of the road surface. Throwing those away is really sad if you ask me.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallnext stop of course was to go and look down on the beach and see what was going on down there this afternoon.

And you’re probably noticed that we have a different perspective for the view today. That’s because we are going for our walk around the city walls rather than the headland so instead of being in the car park I’m at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord.

This afternoon there are plenty of people down on the beach enjoying the nice weather. And even a young kid running out of the sea as if she’s just been in for a quick splash round. And if I’d been in the sea I’d be running out pretty quickly too and no mistake.

scaffolding wooden structure workmen's hut place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that has been the subject of much comment and discussion in these pages just recently has been the state of the medieval city walls.

Some more were closed off a week or so back here in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and then a couple of days ago a kind-of workmen’s hut appeared, along with a strange wooden structure that was fastened to the walls.

This afternoon I found a spec on the other side so I could have a look at the outside of the walls to see if I could see to what this wooden structure relates. But it’s not evident at all. But at least you can see the trailer that looks as if it might be a workmen’s hut.

Something else that we can see from this viewpoint is some scaffolding. I haven’t seen that down there before, but I wouldn’t like to insist that it’s only just arrived. I just don’t remember seeing it before.

But I wonder if all of this really does mean that we might actually be seeing some work being done on the walls in the near future in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

lifeguards tidal swimming pool beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA flash of flourescent yellow caught my eye down at the Plat Gousset so seeing as the path underneath the wall was reasonably dry this afternoon, I went that way to have a look.

Being buzzed by a variety of Nazgul on my way along the path I eventually arrived at the viewpoint overlooking the beach, and I could see that I was right. The holiday season is now in full swing and we have a couple of lifeguards on duty in their flourescent yellow jackets.

There is one standing at the water’s edge keeping an eye on the bathers in the sea (and take my word for it – there were a few of those this afternoon) and the other one is supervising events taking place in the tidal swimming pool that still has its water in it. And there were a couple of people in there too.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut out of the wind I bet that it was really nice and cosy if you could catch a few rays of the sun.

Round by the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset we could see the people on the beach. Not exactly the height of summer (which is due to start this weekend of course) but still plenty of reason to be on the beach, especially as it’s half-dayat the schools and the brats have the afternoon off on a Wednesday, as we can tell from this photo.

And the other day I showed you a photo of a couple of girls sitting on the wall overlooking the beach, and I surmised that it must be quite a comfortable spec. And that’s what it must be because there were more girls sitting on the wall this afternoon.

f-gsbv ROBIN DR 400-180 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was walking around the path underneath the walls I was overflown yet again, only this time not by one of the Bird-men of Alcatraz but by an aeroplane.

Even though it’s quite far out in the Baie de Granville I can actually identify it from here. She’s F-GSBY, one of the aeroplanes that we see on a regular basis. She’s a Robin DR400-180 and is owned by the Granville Aero-Club where she’s used for either advanced flying training or for hire.

According to my radar she took off at 16:55, flew down to do a lap around Mont St Michel and then flew back to the airport where she landed at 17:21. And as my photo is times at 16:15 (it’s set to real time, not summertime) that looks as if it’s correct.

And I haven’t forgotten that I must make suitable enquiries at the airport about the navigation school

seagull chicks rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile we’re on the subject of flying … “well, one of us is” – ed … there are other flying objects that need our attention.

So with that in mind I pushed on round to the Square Maurice Marland to have a look out onto the roofs of the houses in the Rue des Juifs to see how our baby seagull chicks are doing.

And they look as if they are doing quite well too. There are three of them on that roof over there and they have grown quite a lot this last couple of weeks. One of them was flapping his wings quite vigorously and so I don’t think that it’ll be too long before he’s ready to take to the air.

But the Square is still a mess and it’s quite annoying. Sumer is here and some of the kiddies’ entertainments have been taken away and the rest are fenced off and overgrown. This is not the way to run a holiday resort.

boat on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we saw a huge pile of merchandise stacked up on the quayside ready to be taken away by one of the Jersey freighters.

Word on the streets is that Normandy Trader came in for a quick “in and out” early this morning on her way back from St Malo and it looks as if she’s cleared almost all of the load. The boat wrapped in shrink-wrap is still there so either Normandy Trader was full or else that’s a load for Thora.

What’s intriguing me though is the appearance of the garden shed over there. If it is a product for export, I’d expect it to be flat-packed to save on loading space. But it could be for a small office for either one of the boats or else for a customs or police presence (but why wouldn’t they be in the police station across the road?). We shall have to see.

resurfacing venelle st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt te start of the afternoon we saw the trans-shipment going on with the rubbish and a few of the granite setts.

What they seem to be doing now is trying to resurface the Venelle St Michel with granite setts in certain places and judging by the excavations, in other places too. It’s probably from here that the rubbish and the granite setts were discarded and I don’t understand at all the idea of disposing of those.

But I’m still dismayed by the surface of the Rue St Michel and its stone-chips. They could, and should, have done so much better than that.

There were some people in the back garden of a house here having a party, with a tabby-cat sitting on the wall. It let me stroke it, which surprised the people in the garden. But I left them to it and came on home for a coffee and to do some work on my boat trip on the Spirit of Conrad last year.

The practice on the bass went well and then I went for tea – burger on a bap followed by chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce.

Now, tired as I am, I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I’m shopping and I want to carry on with my Spirit of Conrad stuff as well as do some more photos from Greenland. High time that they were all done and dusted.

Sunday 13th June 2021 – SUNDAY IS …

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… pizza day as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and so for the first time for several weeks, having been stranded in Leuven a couple of weeks ago and then having had visitors last weekend, I’ve been having pizza withdrawal symptoms.

And so I made myself a nice pizza today, and put on it a bit of everything that I had. And it was delicious too. A really good way to end a weekend in my opinion.

But no dessert tonight though. The pizza was quite filling and there was no more room left. And that’s just as well, for I didn’t fancy the rice pudding that was left anyway. That’s destined for the bin and for the remaining 2 nights that I’m here before I go off to Leuven I’ll drag some apple pie out of the freezer. There’s a ton of that in there.

This morning, the lie-in wasn’t as long as I would have liked. Or maybe it was because I’ve complained about some of these mega-lie-ins in the past. Being up and about by 09:25 is probably realistic.

Mind you there are some who disagree. I remember once when I was staying with a friend that I always liked a lie-in on Sunday. She replied “you can stay in bed until 09:00 if you like”. I remembered that I thought that round about 09:01 some sharp words would be spoken.

After the mountain of medication I came in here and had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. We started off with something going on last night about Liz’s chocolate cake and something or other involving music but I can’t remember what it was. It was another one of those things that when I awoke it disappeared completely from m mind, not that there’s much to hold it in these days.

At another time I was in a pub in Crewe – it might have been the Cheese Hall – talking to the barmaid, someone I knew. It might have been some girl with whom I worked at one time even. A guy (someone who was once a friend of mine and with whom she’d once gone out) came in and said to her “don’t think I’m prying or anything but have you seen anything of do-and-so?” and he mentioned a guy’s name. It turned out to be a guy who I got on well with fairly reasonably. She asked why and he replied “I didn’t want to say anything but he and I became champions of the George’s pools team on Monday night so of course we were all giving him our congratulations and there were the usual “how many people entered? Just two?” that kind of thing. We got talking and he was working on boats. He said how he would love to be working on cruises one day. That gave me an idea and I immediately, well, not signed him up but got him to be interested in a project that I was doing involving cruises and I was thinking of hiring the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. I can’t remember where I’d go with it but I’d get all of my friends as stewards and stewardesses and we’d go off and have a really good time like we did at the time of the institution.

I was at my sister’s in Canada. I’ve no idea what I was doing there. She was talking about changing jobs or she had a new job, something like that. As I was tidying things up, on the settee I came across a folder that was talking about her new job. I forgot myself and started to read it. I’s read about 2 pages before I realised that everyone else was in the room so I shut it and moved it. There was a black cat actually sitting in the fire and it was smoking so I had to move it away otherwise it would catch fire. My sister said something about le being on the settee so I had this pair of pliers in my hand so I showed her this pair of pliers that I said I’d pinched my hand with. I was thinking while I was there about getting a MIG-welding set so that I could start to weld up all of the vehicles that I had to repair. Then we were back again hunting for the vehicles that I’d dumped all round Crewe somewhere and wondering where they were and whether I should go and collect a few back.

That bit about having Ford Cortinas dumped all over Crewe was at one time a recurring dream but it’s one that I’ve not had for a little while.

The first mission for today, if I chose to accept it, was to defrost the fridge. The pizza dough is in the freezer compartment and that has all iced up and I can’t even open the little door, never mind get anything out. So I took most things out, put a towel at the bottom, switched it off and let nature do its bit.

Second task was one that I had been putting off for quite a while. as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve been digitalising my record collection for the last 18 months or so. There are a good few cassettes that need recording digitally and I’ve yet to find a successful means to do it.

One thing that I tried was to couple up an old tape deck and run a line out into the Zoom H1 but that didn’t work all that well.

This morning I resurrected an old amp, connected all of that up (which involved no little amount of manipulation and even some tidying up). The net result of that was a set of pierced eardrums from the headphones that I was using.

So having ruled that out, I’m now back to the only other remaining idea that I have, of using one of the old laptops with a lead from the hifi in the other room.

I wish that I’d remembered to bring the old cassette player back from the Auvergne last year. I had such success with that years ago.

Giving the stack of ice in the fridge a prod every now and then, I next split up a few more LPs that I’d recorded a long time ago. Just a few more to go now and that task will be finished. Then there will only be the cassettes to deal with.

That took me up to lunch. And as usual these days I had porridge and a couple of slices of toast, followed by coffee.

Having spent the morning shuffling the music around and dealing with the fridge (all done with and finished now) this afternoon I’ve been attacking photos from August 2019.

And by the time I knocked off, I was actually standing with my feet in between some real waggon ruts from the 1840s and 50s right in the middle of South Pass – the “real” bit of South Pass where I was actually supposed to be.

From here, it’s all downhill to Winnipeg and then to Toronto where my Voyage of Destiny begins.

Right now, though, I’m going on my Voyage of Destiny outside the building.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course, we have to go out and have a look at how things are doing on the beach this afternoon.

And sure enough, there were crowds of people down there too because today was the hottest day of the year so far and there was hardly any wind to speak of, which will come as a big surprise to most of you. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, this has been the windiest year that I can ever remember.

And in case you are wondering about the change in perspective of the photo today, I’m not at my usual spec down at he end of the car park. I’ve gone the other way round and I’m in the Rue du Nord heading off around the walls.

people swimming in medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s a thing that will take many people by surprise.

Where those kids and other folk are swimming is actually in the old medieval fish trap. And that shows you that it’s still reasonably effective at what it does compared to more modern techniques because the concrete tidal swimming pool has drained itself of all of its water. Modern isn’t always best.

All that we can hope for is that some old medieval fishwife with a home-made trident doesn’t actually spear a small boy instead of a fish by mistake, or else another small boy doesn’t have his toe bitten by a crab that is bent on making good its escape before a fishwife can grab it.

people playing football sunbathing on beach plat gouseet Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route continued around the walls until I came to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset, where I could see what was going on down there.

That spec down there really is protected from the wind and so if the crowds were going to be anywhere today, that was where they would be. And I’m not wrong as we? We have some kind of informal football match going on on an impromptu pitch down by the diving platform (which has now been reinstated for the summer) and a few other private kick-abouts among the dozens of people sunning themselves.

But I have no time to stand and watch them. I’m pushing off around the corner and across the Square Maurice Marland to see what’s happening there.

seagull with chicks rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing that I do is to have a look to see how the various families of seagulls and their chicks are going.

This little family was quite interesting and I spent quite an amount of time watching them. One seagull chick was being quite well-behaved but the other one was having quite a dispute or something with its mother and I wasn’t sure why. But when I saw them, the mother and chick were taking it in turns to chase each other around the roof here in the Rue Des Juifs.

The baby chick was giving its mother some nasty pecks in what I can only describe as some kind of teenage seagull angst. And I really ought to have stayed around to see how the situation developed.

seagull chicks rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the other end of the Place Maurice Marland were a few more seagull chicks. And here, there seemed to be no parent in sight. It’s not like a seagull parent to fly off and leave the chicks unattended so this is rather an unusual situation.

What, however, seems to be a usual situation is the state of the place. There was some kind of campaigner campaigning about the previous mayor and how she had let the place become run-down.

But I wonder what our anonymous blogger has to say about the new mayor who not only has let the place deteriorate even more, but many of te kiddies’ amusements are blocked off and many of those that aren’t have been removed.

And at summer time too when the tourists are here.

crafts stalls rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallInto the Rue Notre Dame I went, but I didn’t get very far before I was brought to a standstill by the crowds.

On my way into the old city I noticed that there were diversions everywhere and there were signs telling us that “an event” was taking place. And so there was too. It’s another one of these craft fair things where people sell the the most overpriced in-bad-taste articles at the kind of prices that would make even a Bond Street salesman blush.

For quie a while now I’ve been trying to find a nice seascape original to hang in my living room, but not at the kind of prices that they are asking here, even if I were to find anything half-decent, which is most unlikely.

craft stalls rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Place Cambernon and Rue Cambernon were lined with stalls too, but I wasn’t going to push my way down there with all of those people thronging around carrying God-alone-knows-what kind of virus with them.

And that was what appalled me, quite frankly. The Préfet of the département has decreed that face masks are compulsory until 30th June but you only have to look at this photo and the previous one to see that half of the people aren’t wearing them and of the other half, half of those aren’t wearing them properly.

Where are the authorities who are supposed to be enforcing this measure? I headed for home rapidly and my nice cold strawberry smoothie with ginger cake. And I’ve timed this hospital trip quite nicely because I’m right down on cake.

What else can I persuade the hospital to chop off so that Liz will feel sorry for me and bake another cake?

Anyway, having had tea and written my notes, I’m off to bed. I have the radio stuff to do tomorrow, followed by a visit to have a Covid test. It’s non-stop, isn’t it?

Sunday 16th May 2021 – IN ACCORDANCE WITH …

… usual procedures I had a good lie-in today. I awoke a couple of times, like at 07:20 for example but no chance whatever of my leaving the bed at that ungodly hour on a Sunday morning.

10:30 was a much more reasonable time to be awake definitively, but that’s not necessarily the time that I left my comfortable clean bed. It took me about an hour or so to summon up the energy to leap from my stinking pit. Not a single attack of cramp during the night either.

After the medication I brought a mug of coffee in here with me and sat down to listen to the dictaphone. And I’m surprised that I had any time left for sleeping after everything that was going on while I was in my stinking pit.

Nerina had been working for a taxi company. It had been a Saturday night and everyone had been really busy. They were lining up to get their pay. When Nerina was called up they went through all of her bookings she’d taken and there was a booking there that had been written in someone else’s handwriting in a totally different style and it looked as if it was a booking for one of my taxis. The guy who was running County Cars said to her about this that we would knock off an hour for her wages. She could work for him for an hour doing a contract to make it up. He gave her the money. There were one or two other deductions that I thought were strange. Nerina said afterwards “do you have any plans for my future career”? He looked at her and said “well, I can continue to find you work on so many nights per week if that’s what you mean”. This led into another lengthy discussion. Then Nerina went off. One of the deductions that he had made was because of the screaming. So Nerina went off and I thought that when she comes back I’ll ask her about this screaming thing because if something had happened I’d want to know about it. But she never came back and I was sitting there waiting. I was in bed and I thought that she’d come and tell me what had happened but apparently not. No, she never said anything and never came back.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this the 2 of us were at some kind of town where the Germans had attacked in 1940 and destroyed the place beating it up quite badly. We were there and the place had caught fire and burning. Everyone was putting things out. I was thinking “if the Germans had done this here, what had then done to the rest of the country? There was going to be plenty of opportunity for people who can sew to make lots of money, sewing new curtains and so on”. I mentioned this to 1 of the people there who was a tourist as well walking around. He wa saying “It’s strange. I thought this town had 2 bridges” which it did but they weren’t close together. 1 of them was right up at the other end of town but I didn’t tell him that. I let him carry on with his rant. I walked back to where we had started and there were 2 huge queues there. It turned out that this was the vaccination queue. All the women had been called regardless of age. For the men it had been the older men and the younger men and the age bracket for me hadn’t been called so we had to wait around. I thought that this would take hours and I had an appointment somewhere and I was going to miss it because of all of this. But the line started moving quite rapidly and I thought that I might still make my appointment after all.

Later on I was in a café in a big hotel sitting at a table waiting for Nerina to come down. She came down and sat at a table on the inside of the café, not on the outside. I waited for a few minutes, then she stood up and picked up her mug, came and looked outside and walked straight past my table and went to sit on a table with someone else. I waved and made a few gestures and she came over to my table and put down her cup. I said to her “hey Nerina, there’s a pot of tea here” because I’d asked the waiter for a cup of tea earlier and he had brought me a large pot absolutely full. She poured herself a cup of tea but it was rather cold so she picked up my cup of tea and said “I’ll have this warmed for you” nd walked off leaving me alone with this woman. I explained to this woman that i was not used to being up at this time of the morning. I used to work peculiar hours. She said “this is a $10,000 hotel”. I asked what she meant. She said “it costs $10,000 to stay here”. We were paying in the region of $30 per night but then again we were in the attic in the servants quarters. I explained that we were on the poor menu and that we were pushed up in the eaves. She didn’t think that that was good. She thought that we should be given more consideration. My response was that the more consideration you had, the more you had to pay and we couldn’t pay $10,000 per night. Then the story turned round to Nerina again. I was wondering where Nerina had gone with my cup of tea and more importantly how she was going to warm it. All kinds of strange ideas about how she would warm it came into my head.

There was also somewhere in the middle of all of thiswhere I saw an old A35 van body. I’d been with Rosemary and she was living in London. On my way down I’d picked up a motor bike, a hybrid between a Triumph and a BSA but it was only half-finished and there were bits missing. I’d picked that up and it was in the back of Caliburn. I got down to where Rosemary was living in London and not too far away in a field was an old A35 van. I went over to photograph it. it was only the bodyshell and the front subframe but the number on it was one of the old type with 4 numbers and 2 letters. I was taking a photo of it and a woman came to see what I was doing. I explained to her and she said “it’s for sale if you like, £45:00, and I have all of the papers and the V5 for it”. I paid her the £45:00 and put it in the back of Caliburn. Then I couldn’t remember the house where this woman lived. I knew that it was right next door to Rosemary’s but it was so confusing because her place didn’t look anything like how it looked to me. it was just so confusing. It took me quite a while to find this woman’s house. And then when I knocked on her door she came and I asked her about the papers. She said “so and so has them” and she took me up this enormous flight of steps at Rosemary’s house. Then she climbed over a wall and went down the steps on the other side. A guy came out and climbed halfway up to meet her. She started to talk to hom so I asked “should I come down?”. She was carrying on this conversation with him – it was obvious that it was he who had the papers somewhere but we never seemed to get to the point about “could I have these papers”.

It’s interesting to see Nerina appearing so regularly on my travels these days. It’s getting on for 30 years since I last saw her. We don’t seem to see as many newer people featuring these days which is a disappointment. Whatever happened to Castor and Pollux? And TOTGA? And Percy Penguin and a certain young lady from Stoke on Trent who was such a regular at one time?

High time I had a clean-out in my head, but then if anything ever were to come clean, that would be goodbye to Percy Penguin for a start. And probably Miss Stoke on Trent too. Rather like Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski, I would have to come clean over those two at least, if not all of the others too.

In between all of this I went for breakfast. Well, lunch actually. Porridge and toast and another coffee. And afterwards I made another big pile of pizza dough ow that I’ve run out. We can’t have a Sunday without a pizza, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe mustn’t forget our afternoon walk. Not for the least reasons of which is that we have to go and look over the wall down onto the beach to see what’s going on down there this afternoon.

And not from our usual viewpoint either. I’m actually at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord this afternoon because I’m going the other way around, round the medieval city walls rather than around the headland.

Sure enough, there are quite a few people down there this afternoon taking a walk, and stopping to inspect the shellfish whenever they have a chance. The tide is quite a way out this afternoon so there’s plenty of room to be out and about down there.

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIf you want to know where I am, which I’m sure that you do, this is another one of the views that I have from the viewpoint.

That’s the Rue du Nord down there and I’ll be walking down there in a moment or two. This stone building, and the one further down set into the walls, are medieval lavatories with a chute down into the sea or onto the beach or the heads of whoever is walking by underneath.

The farthest one is still a public lavatory and receives a considerable amount of use from walkers but today there is modern plumbing so it’s safe to be in the immediate vicinity underneath it.

In the distance you can see the walls rising up on the cliffs and the little gateway that leads to a path underneath the city walls.

footpath under walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is a closer view of the gateway that leads down to the path underneath the walls. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen several photos that I’ve taken from the top of it.

We’ve had quite a lot of rain this morning and you can see what’s happened to the footpath underneath the walls. Sometimes it’s so bad that regular readers of this rubbish will also recall that it’s been impassable and I’ve had to go on the upper path.

Today though regardless of the flooding I’m going along the lower path and side-stepping the puddles. The view is so much better from down there and out to sea. But I do wish that they would improve the path.

tidal swimming pool plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall reading is that we have our own tidal swimming pool.

In the past it’s been left to abandon but last year they came and dug all of the sand out and sealed a few of the worst gaps and we had quite a nice summer season of people enjoying themselves in it. Over the winter the storms that we had filled it once again with sand but they were back with the diggers a few weeks ago apparently and dug all of the sand out.

And so when the crowds start to swarm over here as the summer develops in a couple of weeks’ time, we’ll see the tidal swimming pool having plenty of use with all of the grockles. As long as they keep out of my way and don’t bring the Covid with them, we’ll be fine.

people eating gaufres crepes and ice cream place marechal foch Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there are sure signs of summer here and there all around us.

With the easing of Covid restrictions places are slowly starting to open up. The kebab shop in the Place Marechal Foch might still be closed but the ice cream stall down there is open and there are quite a few people congregating around there with ice cream cornets and the like.

To be honest, I did check my pockets but to no avail. I’ve left my money behind in the apartment. There’s the €50 note that I keep tucked in behind my mobile phone but it seemed to be a waste to go down there and change it for a handful of notes, coins and an ice cream, always assuming that they have their vegan lines back in stock.

As an aside, there’s a €50 note hidden in my mobile phone and another one hidden in Caliburn. Years of sometimes bitter experience has taught me what it’s like to be out and about and forgetting to bring my money with me.

storm at sea square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I mentioned that we had had a pile of rain earlier this morning that had drenched just about everywhere and everything that was out in it.

As I walked across the Square Maurice Marland I could see that another storm was developing in the Baie de Mont St Michel. And the wind that we have, being a prevailing westerly wind, would be blowing it my way and I’ll be in for a drenching if I don’t get a move on.

But the condition of the Square is rather disappointing right now. The kiddies’ amusements are out of bounds right now and it’s all rather weedy. I hope that the local Council will do something about it before the summer.

It’s really ironic, if not hilarious. that the opponents of the previous mayor were so quick to hurl the abuse at her about the condition of the Square. Since there has been a new Mayor, the condition of the Square has worsened rapidly.

marite coelacanthe la grande ancre philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the Square is another viewpoint that overlooks the loading area od the port and regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen plenty of photos from there in the past.

Today of course, there is Marité tied up in her usual berth but in the loading bay underneath the crane is Le Coelacanthe, one of the largest trawlers that operate out of the port. The fact that she is moored there would seem to indicate that we won’t be having a Jersey freighter in any time soon.

Talking of Jersey freighters, when Normandy Trader came in here the other day, she didn’t bring any shellfish with her. The local fishermen would let her come in to take away the stuff on the quayside but they wouldn’t let her bring anything in.

To the right of Le Coelacanthe is la Grande Ancre, the boat that sometimes takes tractors and other items out to the Ile de Chausey. Behind her is Philcathane, one of the trawlers whose name has regularly cropped up on the radar as fishing in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

different colours of the sea pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was up here looking out to sea I couldn’t help but notice the difference in the colour of the sea out there at the Pointe du Roc.

It’s not the effects of the clouds that are causing that because we have 10/10ths cloud right now, so I wish that I knew for sure what it was. I know that there’s a freshwater spring that discharges into the sea around there but that doesn’t look as if it accounts for anything much.

So on that note I came home for a mug of hot coffee and to organise the pizza bases because two can do into the freezer for again and the third one needs rolling out. And while that was busy festering away afterwards I came in here and worked out one of the songs on this playlist. I’ve decided that I’ll do one per day, and there are about a dozen that I don’t know.

When the pizza base was ready I assembled it and when the oven was nice and hot I put it in.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s the finished product. Really nice and crispy and tasting delicious.

You’ll notice that there’s no pudding prepared tonight. That’s because there is still some chocolate sponge left and I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday. If by any bad luck I run out before next baking day, I can always invent something. I really fancy an apricot or pineapple upside-down cake and I wonder if this brownie sponge mix without the cocoa might work with it.

So now anyway I’ll be off to bed in a moment. But not quite yet. Onto the playlist has come a concert that I’ll be featuring as a live show on my radio programme sometime soon. A souvenir of Boston, Massachusetts and 1976 and the Marshall Tucker Band, one of the best live concerts ever.

I’ll wait until it’s finished and then I’ll go to bed

Wednesday 21st April 2021 – HERE I ALL AM …

… not stting in a rainbow but sitting in my little room in the back end of Leuven, comfortably installed as usual.

When the alarm went off at 04:25 I fell out of bed, fully-dressed because I was taking no chances last night and set about organising myself, making sandwiches, a flask of coffee, checking the packing and steam-cleaning the toilet which was in something of a deplorable condition (I’m letting the housework fall behind again unfortunately while I battle with other things).

Bang on 05:10 I it the streets and headed off to the station. In the pitch-black too as most of the street-lighting was out and I had one or two narrow scrapes, putting my feet on steps that weren’t there, that kind of thing.

82645 82790 Bombardier B82500 gare de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I arrived at the railway station, I was early and my train hadn’t yet arrived but there were some others in.

There were a couple of other trains there at the platform waiting for what I really don’t know. These are Bombardier B82500 multiple units and part of the huge modernisation plan of the SNCF over the last 10 or so years. From Granville they usually work the route between Caen and Rennes

When you hear people complaining about the filthy, unreliable trains of the SNCF you can tell that they haven’t set foot on a train in France for the last 15 years at least. There has been much more investment in French railways than in the UK for a start.

84565 GEC Alstom Regiolis gare de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAbout 5 minutes after I arrived, my train pulled into the station. It’s one of the usual GEC Alstom Regiolis trains introduced over the last 5 years or so, just in time for me.

This one is 84565 and it must be based here in Granville because I’ve travelled on it on several occasions. There was only 1 unit of 6 carriages and despite it being the only train of the day to Paris it was quite empty.

On the way into Paris I spent the time of the journey going through the computer and sorting out the music, and then going through and attacking a few of the duplicate files that have accumulated on various hard drives.

We arrived in Paris bang on time. The station wasn’t all that busy and I managed not to fall over today. I was quickly onto the Metro and reached the Gare du Nord with plenty of time to spare before my train left. So much so that they hadn’t even affixed the platform number and I had to wait for that.

213 TGV Reseau Duplex gare du nord paris France Eric HallOnce they posted up the platform details I could go off and look for my train.

Once again, it’s one of the “Reseau Duplex” trains that work the like from Paris to Lille Flandres. A double-decker, which shows just how far ahead Continental thinking is of British thinking, and I’m on the upstairs deck in corridor seat.

The train was pretty full this afternoon too. There’s a neighbour too in the adjacent seat but he had nothing to say for himself. And neither did I because, unsurprisingly, I fell asleep for part of the journey and the ticket collector had to awaken me.

The ticket collector gave me some good news too. The validity of my Senior Citizens’ Railcard has been extended by three months to make up for the disruption to travel.

But bang on time yet again we arrived at Lille Flandres railway station and I had to set off for my trek to Lille Europe and the TGV to Brussels.

sculpture place francois mitterand outside gare de lille europe France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen plenty of weird and wonderful things on our travels.

In front of the Lille Europe railway station is the Place Francois Mitterand, named after the Socialist politician who, despite anything that General de Gaulle’s partisan supporters will tell you, was the longest-serving President in French history.

It’s a dreary, desolate, windswept place with little to relieve the monotony. For that reason they sometimes decorate the Square with all kinds of weird and wonderful artefacts, and today it’s the turn of these rather interesting artificial flowers to relieve the monotony.

But I didn’t hang around long to admire them. I had other fish to fry.

4515 TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt gare de lille europe France Eric HallWhen I arrived at the railway station at Lille Europe, I found that my train was already in at the platform even though there was 25 minutes before it was due to leave.

There’s no time like the present, so I wandered down to the front of the train to take a photo. It’s a rather weather-beaten and weary TGV Reseau 38000, the same models as the Thalys PBA (Paris Brussels Amsterdam) trainsets on which we travel occasionally from Brussels back to Paris.

Having taken my photograph I went and found my seat. The train is again a “short” one, just one unit of 8 coaches instead of the usual 2-unit trains. And although it was busy, there was enough room for most people to sit by themselves.

Arriving once more on time, I went to look for my train to Leuven.

nederlandse spoorwegen class e186 locomotive 9184 1186 003 gare du midi brussels belgium Eric HallThere was a few minutes to wait so I could have a look around and see what was going on at the adjacent platforms. Just across the way was this Nederlandse Spoorwegen trainset doing the run from Brussels to Amsterdam.

These are some comparatively old-style carriages with a modern class E186 electric locomotive at each end in a kind of push-me pull you arrangement. The locomotives are built by Bombardier and are based on the TRAXX designs that were developed for the Deutsche Bahn 20 years ago.

Even though the Nederlandse Spoorwegen units are quite modern, they may not be around for much longer. Word on the streets suggests that the Dutch are working on some high-speed multiple-unit train sets. These will be sold back to the leasing company who will redistribute them around other railway networks that use this type.

320 am 80 multiple unit gare du midi brusseks belgium Eric HallThere was just enough time to photograph the Dutch train before my train to Leuven pulled in.

It’s another one of the rather disreputable AM80 multiple unit sets – 40 years old and covered in graffiti. Old vinyl seats and lino on the floor.

But considering their age and what appears to be their general lack of care and attention they still rack up the miles on a lot of long-distance work that would have seen off many a more modern unit

The train was pretty busy too but again I was lucky to to have a seat to myself. And we arrived in Leuven without any inconvenience at all.

To my delight, my key was already in the safe so by 13:30 I was sitting down in comfort on the sofa eating my butties. And then I dozed off for half an hour. And I didn’t regret it at all after my exertions today.

fire damaged house dekenstraat leuven belgium Eric Halllater on I nipped out to the shops, but I didn’t get too far – in fact a house next-door but one to the complex where I stay.

There’s been a fire here, as you can see, and the building is boarded up. Nevertheless you can see the scorching on the brickwork above the door and the windows. It must have been quite a serious blaze.

The sign affixed to the wall next to the door states “declared uninhabitable since 26th March 2021” an I wonder if that’s because of the fire, or whether the fire is as a result of the property being declared uninhabitable.

So musing on that, I carried on my way towards the shops.

house rebuilding dekenstraat leuven belgium Eric HallOf course I had to pause to take a look at the house at the end of the street here.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have passed a considerable amount of comment on the slow rate of the various projects that are being undertaken here and there around the city. And despite the time that this building has taken to be renovated, it’s still not finished.

It beats me what takes the time with all of this work. They used to build railway lines in far less time than this with just picks and shovels. I shudder to think of how they are proceeding with the demolition of Sint Pieters or the refurbishment of the Monseigneur Vanwaeyenberghlaan.

crowds st donatuspark leuven belgium Eric HallMy route took me past the St Donatus Park, one of my favourite places in the city.

One of the things that I like to do is to go in there for a wander around but this evening wasn’t quite so pleasant because I could hear the noise from a couple of streets away. I knew that it was going to be busy, and not just with inflatable figures either.

And sure enough, there were hordes of people making the most of the warn evening weather. Not much social distancing and even fewer masks too. It looks as if Belgium has suspended many of the health rules relating to the Corona virus. I wonder if they will end up regretting that.

medieval city walls crowds st donatuspark leuven belgium Eric HallWhile I was here, I took a photo of the crowds from this angle.

One of the things that I like about this park is the fact that there are several remains of the old city walls here. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen quite a few photos of them, but we haven’t ever seen a photo of them from this angle.

The gate at the far end was closed so I had to retrace my steps to leave the park. My route to the supermarket thus took me down the street and the short cut through the old Beguingage.

My luck was in when I was there. There were several vegan burgers and the like reduced by 50% for a quick sale so I bought a couple of packs to eat while I’m here. IN fact, I ended up spending rather a lot of money today.

road junction naamsestraat naamsevest under repair leuven belgium Eric HallOn the way back I went to look at the roadworks taking place at the junction of the Naamsestraat and the ring road.

When I was here last month they were already attacking it, and I suppose I was being rather optimistic to think that they might possibly have finished. The place is in quite a mess with all kinds of confusion with various side streets and pedestrian crossings closed off.

It took me a good while to find out where to cross. And then I had to fight my way through the hordes of pedestrians, cyclists and moped riders battling for the same amount of restricted space and I was nearly run down a couple of times. But lugging my heavy load on my shoulders I finally made it across.

ambulance Erasme Ruelensvest leuven belgium Eric HallWhile I was on my way home from the Carrefour I’d seen fleets of ambulances with their blue lights flashing, roaring down the road.

And a few minutes later they cam roaring back, still with their blue lights flashing. But where they are going on the return journey I really don’t know because the hospital is in the other direction.

Back here I made tea. Burger with pasta and veg in tomato sauce, followed by apricots (once I’d fought my way into the tin). And having written out my notes, I’m now off to bed. I’ve had a very long day and I’m exhausted. There’s plenty to do tomorrow before I go to the hospital too so I need my beauty sleep.

Need it more than most people in fact, and for the obvious reason too.

So much so in fact that it was a couple of days before I managed to listen to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night. Someone had died in a log cabin and I was investigating this with someone. We found a group of people and it was quite obvious that the story that they were telling us was false so we urged one of these guys, telling him that telling a false story was likely to be very dangerous because if we could prove that it was false it would discredit the rest of his story and he would end up being hanged. In the end he agreed that he had fired the shot as he had entered the room but fired into the darkness and gave a few other indications that admitted that he was perfectly correct in what he’d said, and whoever had killed him had been in there beforehand and they were making their escape when he and his party pulled up.

Tuesday 29th December 2020 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

river dijle groot begijnhof leuven belgium Eric Hall… the images of this afternoon’s walk through the Groot Begijnhof and along the River Dijle, let me tell you about where I went during the night.

I started off with a lady friend of mine from University last night but somehow I mixed her up with a girl with hom I once worked. She was separating from a black guy. He was still living in the family home in Dantzig Street and finding the payments difficult to keep up and was saying that he would have to sell it. That surprised me because I was wondering what she was going to receive from this because it’s bad enough being the mother of a couple of kids but being kicked out of your family home and living in a little dirty flat isn’t very good for the morale or anything like that. She should be doing much better than this. I can’t remember any more about this dream but interestingly I awoke at 06:00 as I would have done had the 1st alarm gone off even though I’d switched off the alarms this morning.

river dijle groot begijnhof leuven belgium Eric HallAnd the fun was only beginning.

Later on I was with a girl who was a real blast from the past from 45 years ago. We’d been on some kind of date kind of thing. One evening round at her house I suggested going for a walk but instead one of her friends (who was in fact keen on me all those years ago) came with me instead. I decided that it wasn’t a good idea for her to come along (back in those days there were a couple of reasons why I didn’t pursue this line) so in the end I let her go back home. I was wandering around Crewe on my own looking at how disgusting and dirty the place was, thinking that I should drive around videoing it and putting it on Social Media to show everyone what kind of dump the place is. Then the principal girl suggested that we go for a drive. We got into her car and she drove, and she wasn’t a bad driver at all, quite good in this little Mini that she had. We drove off out of town and came to a road junction where we had to turn. She said that we’d turn right so I asked where we were going. She said “you’ll find out”. We were heading in the direction of the hospital and I wondered what was going on in there, whether one of her friends was there, for I was hoping to get her up a dark alley and be much more friendly than I had been to date but if we were going to the hospital to see a friend, that ruled that out, didn’t it?

There was something else that I don’t remember very much, about me being in a bathroom somewhere. There were 2 guys who were the handymen for this building and 1 in particular spent some time in the area where I was. When I went out there was just the other guy there so I said that the light was out in the bathroom that I’d just used and perhaps he ought to tell his friend when he returned to do something about it but I can’t remember where this fitted in at all.

river dijle groot begijnhof leuven belgium Eric HallSomewhat later I’d done a big pile of cooking and I had all of these casserole dishes full of stuff all over the place, 2 big ones. I’d been ill and been in bed so they had been sitting in the kitchen for 2 or 3 days. I’d invited Barbara Windsor back, presumably for a right old carry-on. I’d been seeing her a couple of tiles and eventually I plucked up the courage to ask her out. She came back to my place and I started to parcel up these casserole things into individual portions The portions turned out to be a lot smaller than I was thinking and she was saying that maybe I should have done it into fives instead of sixes We were listening to the radio in the background and they announced ‘Top of the Pops” and I’m not going any further along this road because it’s going to spoil a surprise that I have lined up for a few weeks’ time.

But by the time that this voyage ended, it was no longer Barbara Windsor- she had transformed herself into the girl who starred in the previous voyage and this will explain a lot to at least two people who follow these adventures more closely than they like to admit.

river dijle groot begijnhof leuven belgium Eric HallWhat with all of that, that took me up to about 09:30, which isn’t too bad for a lie-in, I suppose.

And by the time that I had finished transcribing all of these and all of the adventures from yesterday, of which there is quite a considerable amount which you will find if you go back to yesterday’s page, it wasn’t all that far off lunch.

And with having no cucumber and no salad cream or equivalent, I set off out to the shops yet again.

house renovation dekenstraat brabanconnestraat leuven belgium Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that when we were here last time, we saw them busy working on a house on the corner of the Dekenstraat and the Brabanconnestraat.

It goes without saying of course that I was interested in seeing how they were doing with it so I took myself off that way for a closer loon. And they seem to be fitting an outer skin on it, with these new modern bricks that are quite thin and not unattractive.

It’s a long way from being finished, which is no surprise around here when you see just how the builders work, so we’ll get to see plenty more of this work.

school of engineering Pope Leo 13 seminary dekenstraat andreas vesaliusstraat leuven belgium Eric HallWe’ve seen the building across there – the Pope Leo XIII Seminary founded in 1889 and installed in a building that was built between 1889 and 1896.

It’s a magnificent neo-gothic pile designed by Joris Helleputte, one of the finest examples of its type and period in the city, and so whatever was going on in the minds of the city fathers when they granted planning permission for the modern monstrosity opposite it which is the School of Engineering?

It really does destroy the whole effect of the magnificence of the former building, which unfortunately now due to the decline in the number of trainee priests, is now a hostel for devout Catholic students.

It’s enough to make anyone gasp in amazement.

medieval city walls sint donatus park leuven belgium Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall is that there are still vestiges of the old medieval city walls dotted about here and there in the town.

When we were here last time I showed you a photograph of one of the old surviving towers in the Sint Donatus park, so while we’re passing through today, I reckoned that I would show you a remnant of the old city walls here in the park not too far away.

You may well have seen them before but I can’t remember. Anyway, here I am and here they are.

De Kangxi-Verbiest world globe naamsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallOne thing that you will have seen before is the Kangxi-Verbiest globe, although you won’t have seen it from this viewpoint.

Ferdinand Verbiest was a Jesuit priest who in 1659 went as a missionary to China. trying to impress the Chinese with the knowledge that was current in Europe at the time, he showed them a globe. This prompted the Chinese into an outburst of laughter because at the time the Chinese were well ahead of the Europeans in this manner of thinking.

This is not the original globe. That remains behind in China. This is a copy here in Leuven.

site of the proefsstraat gate naamsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallThe door to this yard opens up into the Naamsestraat and so I pushed on down the road.

Those two metal lines across the street – they indicate as far as they can the position of the Proefsstraat Gate which stood here from 1156 until 1755 and was part of the fortifications that we have just seen that encircled the city. It’s on the highest part of the street

Despite its age, it wasn’t the oldest of the gates around the city. It’s known that there were fortifications including a gate built somewhere around here in the 9th Century to protect the city from Norse raids.

And this gate here didn’t survive the defortification orders of the Austrian Empire either.

There’s a calvary built across the road from the stones of the gate, and that reminds me of the story about the time they wanted to built a calvary here in modern times and they sent out requests for a design. Due to a misunderstanding on the telephone, one architect sent in a drawing of John Wayne on his horse.

huis sint niklaas groot begijnhof leuven belgium Eric HallThrough now into the Groot Begijnhof which is a part of leuven that I love.

This is the Huis Sint Niklaas, gifted to the city in 1983. And I’ve probably taken a photo of that before too.

In Carrefour I bought what I needed, also plenty of stuff that I didn’t realise that I needed too. In fact I spent more on this second trip than I did on the first.

And then a long stagger home, where I made my sandwiches and then promptly crashed out for a really good hour.

What awoke me was a phone call from a friend in the UK. We’ve been in desultory touch here and there but she decided to ring me to see how I was. We chatted for well over an hour about all kinds of things.

condo gardens dekenstraat leuven belgium Eric HallLater on, I went out to buy some chips.

You’ve seen a photo of where I stay before but it looked so nice that I couldn’t resist photographing it again. But my favourite chip shop was now closed so I had to find another one. Beans and chips and burger for tea.

Now it’s late and I’m ready for bed. No watching a film like I did last night. It’s too late for that. Especially as I have an alarm set for the morning. I did 2 lots of Welsh homework today but I still need to push on when and where I can. And Thursday is D-Day at the hospital so I need to be on form.

Friday 25th May 2018 – AND SO HERE’S …

VITRO CERAMIC HALOGEN HOB granville manche normandy france… the new toy that I bought yesterday. It’s a vitro-ceramic twin-hob cooker, all plugged in and working.

Strictly speaking, you aren’t supposed to plug these in. They should be wired in to a dedicated cooking point, but as you can see, it has possibilities of being either a free-standing unit as well as a fitted unit in a worktop, and seeing as the max power output is 2960 watts, that’s well short of the 16 amps that they use in domestic circuits here.

So its utility as a free-standing plug-in unit is not to be sneezed at.

And I’m glad that I bought it because I’m fed up of only having one burner, which means that I have to shuffle things around when I’m cooking. An added advantage is that you can use any kind of flat-bottomed saucepan on it. So the ones that I stuck in a cupoboard that didn’t work on the induction hob, I can fetch them out again.

I spent an exciting afternoon stripping down, cleaning and reorganising the table that I use for cooking and eating. That’s all clean and tidy … "for the moment" – ed … and it actually looks as if someone is working on it now.

I’m amazed at just how dirty it was, especially when I’d done my best to keep it clean. It’s amazing when you discover when you take the oilcloth off to turn it around.

Just by way of a change, I didn’t crash out this afternoon. But as the Duke of Wellington said about the Battle of Waterloo, it was “the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.”

You can either attribute that to the fact that I was keeping quite busy this afternoon and didn’t have time to sit down and relax, or else you can attribute it to the fact that when the alarms went off this morning, I was in no hurry to leave my bed.

In fact, all in all, it was a rather leisurely morning while I sorted out a few things that needed doing. I wasn’t in any rush.

It was quiet at lunchtime. No-one really loitering around on the streets. But a workman had pinched my spec on the wall so I had to sit further down to eat my butties and read my book. And my friend the lizard eventually tracked me down for the pear leavings.

I mentioned the tidying up of the cooking area. And I was hoping to make a start on emptying out Caliburn. After all, there is tons of stuff in there that I no longer need or use, as well as hoping to find the missing spring clip. But I didn’t have time. Looks as if that might be next week’s task.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with spicy rice. And then I went for a walk.

medieval fortifications granville manche normandy franceThe evening walk is usually the one where I go around the footpath at the foot of the walls of the medieval town and it’s a very nice walk.

But not all of the walls are medieval. There have been some later additions to the fortifications and this covered passageway down there that leads out to the part that overlooks the Place Marechal Foch certainly looks much more recent.

The stairway and footbridge over the walls is of course even more recent.

As I walked further on around the walls I noticed something away across the Baie de Mont St Michel in the distance over near Cancale that might have been another ship lurking in the doom and gloom, like the one we saw a few weeks ago.

island church ship cancale baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceThe benefits of having some good equipment and a decent graphics program is that you can photograph it and manipulate it so that you can have a better view of what there is to see. Hard to believe that that’s about 18 miles away, isn’t it?

And it seems as if I have photographed a fishing boat, an island and part of another island with a church thereupon. And not a ship at all, which is something of a disappointment.

I shall have to go back with a compass and take a bearing so that I can work out exactly where it all might be situated.

An early night tonight too. Caliburn has his controle technique tomorrow morning so both of us need to be on form.