Tag Archives: memorial to the missing

Sunday 9th January 2022 – MY CUNNING PLAN …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll get my coat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 8th January 2022 – THE LEAST SAID …

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

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

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

Well, to Lidl anyway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, more of the same tomorrow.

Friday 19th March 2021 – AFTER ALL OF THE …

home made ginger beer orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… excitement last night, I rounded up the surviving bottles and put them in a plastic box on top of the fridge in the bathroom where they won’t cause too much damage in the future if a similar eventuality were to arise.

But making the orange ginger beer is back on again, I reckon, because I don’t think that it was that which caused the problems.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve been using an assortment of various bottles here, mostly recycled lemonade bottles and the like as well as a few rather dodgy cheap bottles.

But I also have three new, expensive bottles that I bought from IKEA. Two are used as water containers and the third was a spare. That was pressed into service to hold the ginger beer and, unbelievably, it was that one that blew up. The recycled ones and the dodgy cheap ones are keeping going.

That was something of a surprise.

What else which was a surprise was that despite tempting fate last night, I did manage to crawl out of bed just after the first alarm. And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

There was a huge murder mystery going on last night with about 20 suspects. There was a detective giving the final denouément right at the very end, going through each person in turn explaining why he would have done it and and finally saying that they didn’t because … and coming up with some reason. This went on for ever and I can’t remember it at all. At the end I was with a woman, someone whom I knew and I can’t think who it was now. We were discussing the radio system. We had half a dozen different aerials, half a dozen different things and we were all switching between the aerials automatically. We would expect a few problems with the automation and I was thinking about having the whole thing redone so that it would still be automatic but I could manually control the aerials so that I knew which aerial was transmitting what. And again this is another thing about which I remember very little.

After the dictaphone notes I made a start on the photos from Greenland. Another pile of those have bitten the dust now and I’m sitting on the deck of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR watching them unload the zodiacs that will take us to the shore where buses will take up to the airport at Kangerlussuaq. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had to break off my Transatlantic voyage here because the ship had been chartered by a bunch of North American schoolkids and being from Europe, I didn’t have a valid police check record. I had to come back 3 weeks later when the ship returned so that I could board her and continue my journey across the Atlantic to the Canadian mainland.

By now it was light so I prepared to do battle with the living room, making myself some hot chocolate and cutting myself a slice of fruit sourdough bread. But just at that moment Rosemary rang with a problem and we ended up having a brief chat. One hour and three minutes to be precise.

The damage in the living room is not as extensive as I thought. One of the windows in the nice unit in the living room has been peppered with shrapnel that has made its marks upon the glass, and the TV screen that I use as a computer monitor has taken a bashing too.

The carpet is in the bath. I’ve scrubbed it, used soap on it, scrubbed it again and rinsed it thoroughly. Now it’s in there drying off. And it’ll have another go tomorrow afternoon after my shower. All of the ginger beer that wasn’t in the tray as soaked into the carpet. There wasn’t much anywhere else.

Tons of broken glass about the place and I’ve brushed up as much as I could. But anyone who comes here now will have to be careful where they sit. We all know what happened to the captain of the Good Ship Venus.

The floor has been washed and it will have another washing tomorrow. And I’ll wash down the furniture etc as well tomorrow.

But some good did come out of all of this. The mechanical stopper of the broken bottle was intact and it had obviously proved its worth by resisting the explosion. So I swapped it over onto one of the cheap bottles and now that makes a really good seal. So all was not lost.

Another task that I had to perform was to speak to a certain young Canadian girl whom I know to acquaint her with the news that I’d received from Rachel yesterday because I imagined that in the confusion she would have been left out. We had quite a chat for 15-20 minutes about the events of yesterday and also about lots of other stuff too.

By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd for something of a change just recently, we were having a really nice day today.

The weather was cool and windy but there was a bright blue sky and for once there wasn’t any fog or haze. The tide was quite far out and there were several people down there on the beach and amongst the rocks making the most of the nice afternoon.

One thing that I have noticed – or, maybe, it’s more correct to say that I haven’t noticed, is that there haven’t been any bird-men around for quite a while. Where they leap off the cliffs is just over there to the right near the cemetery – something that probably means that if they make a mistake on take-off they don’t have far to go.

But to be serious … “for once” – ed … I wonder what’s happened that means that they haven’t been taking to the air just recently.

jersey channel islands english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith the weather being so much better today I had a good peer out to sea to see if I could seee Jersy on the horizon today.

And sure enough, with a GOOD LONG LENS and plenty of enhancement back at the apartment later, I was able just about to pick out the island. Not as clearly as I have done in the past, but the fact that we can see it at all today 58kms away shows you just what an improvement that we have had.

Not like in the Auvergne, apparently. Rosemary told me that she awoke this morning to a couple of inches of snow.

Just one or two people around today, so I had the place pretty much to myself. I pushed on along the path, across the lawn and across the car park down to the end of the headland.

seafarers memorial le loup jullouville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Memorial to the Missing Seafarers is still there – not that that’s any surprise – but you can actually see it today, which is something.

Yesterday we struggled to see much further beyond Le Loup, the light that sits on top of the rock just outside the harbour entrance, but today with it being clear, we can see the town of Jullouville quite easily across the bay, and right to the water tower on the ridge at the back of the town.

On top of the ridge just to the right of the right-hand flagpole is that mystery tower. I haven’t forgotten that one of these days I intend to go and see what it is

With nothing going on out in the bay across to the Brittany coast I pushed of along the footpath at the top of the cliff.

spirit of conrad hermes 1 lys noir freddy land chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown in the chantier navale we have yet more movement and change of occupancy.

Spirit of Conrad, Aztec Lady, Lys Noir, Hermes 1 and Freddy Land are still there, but the trawler Charlevy has gone back into the water. On the morning tide, apparently. So there’s now room for someone else to come in and join the (af)fray.

There might be room for more boats very soon too because the whole place was quite a hive of activity today. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many people down there working on the boats, from private owners in private cars to specialist companies with sign-written vans.

The racket that they were making was quite unbearable. It looks as if everyone is making ready quite rapidly in anticipation of an ease in the lockdown. That’s what I call optimism.

naabsa fishing boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile we haven’t seen to many hang-gliders just recently, we have been seeing a lot of fishing boats abandoned to the tide at the jetty by the Fish Processing Plant.

It beats me as to why. We went for months, if not years, without seeing a one except for special reasons but this last few weeks we see them on a regular basis. Clearly something is up.

My time was also up so I headed off home where I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had quite a chat. And then I came up for my hot coffee.

There was no guitar practice tonight. I can catch up with that another time. But when I returned I attacked that page of my notes from my trip around Central Europe on which I’ve made very little progress just recently, and found that I was advancing quite rapidly. I decided therefore to stick at it until I finished it because I was fed up of it hanging around.

Round about 20:00 I finally finished it and now IT’S ON LINE at long last. I hope that it won’t take me long to finish off this exercise, although there is a page on which I’ve been stuck for a while and I don’t know what I’m going to do about that one.

Tea was taco rolls and rice. I wasn’t very hungry and half of it finished in the bin. No pudding either.

So after the exertions of yesterday and today and having already crashed out for half an hour (and instead of fighting it, I allowed myself to be carried away) I’m off to bed for a good sleep.

No shopping tomorrow. Instead I’ll catch up with the guitar and practice that I missed and wash the living room again.

There’s football tomorrow afternoon and I mustn’t miss that either.

And then I need to slowly thing about going to Leuven. Wednesday, that is. I wonder what they will tell me this time.

Thursday 18th March 2021 – HERE’S CALIBURN …

caliburn rue des noyers st lo Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… sitting waiting patiently for me in a little car park in the Rue des Noyers at St-Lô this morning.

And he didn’t have to wait very long because I was in and back out again even before the time of my appointment, and it isn’t every day that that kind of thing happens when you are dealing with French administration.

What does seem to be happening every day though (so just watch it not happen tomorrow) is that I’m leaving my stinking pit pretty quickly these days – just after the first alarm. This morning I was actually sitting at the computer working, having already had my medication, when the third alarm went off.

First thing that I did was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. We started off with Doc Holliday, a third person and Yours Truly riding a freight train escaping from a crime that we’d committed. We were happily going on this train doing OK. There was a low branch across the railway lines. The locomotive somehow managed to avoid it but Doc Holliday who was standing up was hit by this branch and knocked off the train. We all had immediately to leap off the train. 2 guys on a horse had seen this incident and gave chase. They followed the train, found in the end that we weren’t on so they came back and found the 3 of us. They held us at gunpoint while we explained some of our story – not everything. The sheriff of the county agreed and told us that we could go. he told us the story of a couple of other outlaws who had been here. Someone showed us the house where they had lived which was now an old metal barn. All very interesting. Something happened that we were unmasked so we had to flee. As it was me and the other guy, not Doc Holliday, we had to scramble our way through this industrial estate climbing over fences, this kind of thing. One place where we had to climb over the fence had some bird netting on it and of course the more you climbed up it the more you pulled it off. It meant that the 2 of us had to climb this bird netting simultaneously moving our hands and legs at the same time so that the net would stay in place and we could scramble up it otherwise we would just pull it out of where it’s tied.

A little later TOTGA came to see me. She was telling me about a problem that she’d had. The people for whom she’d worked had gone bankrupt and they had found loads of drawings and missing assets and so on that had presumably been misappropriated by one of the previous directors. Now they were making enquiries about her and her wealth – an in-depth enquiry and what should she do about it? I made a couple of suggestions. At that moment Nerina shouted me – she was also around doing something in a different room, something like that or whether she came later. So I went to her and happened to mention this story about TOTGA. Nerina said “why don’t you talk to her and see what we can do?”. Just at that moment TOTGA shouted up something from downstairs so I replied, saying “come up here a minute”. She came up and I said “just sit there on the bed a minute”. She said “I’ll need a chaperone”. I replied “ohh no you won’t” to which Nerina and TOTGA burst out laughing. We explained the problem again to Nerina and she came up with a few suggestions that didn’t seem quite right to me but I don’t know what else to expect. Then I awoke with an attack of cramp.

Later still I was at Virlet busy tidying it up and decorating it. It wasn’t Virlet but one of these 2-up, 2-down terraced houses in Crewe. I was getting ready to do one of the living rooms. A friend of mine turned up with a kind-of interior designer. They had all kinds of ideas for everything on the inside so I left them to it as he was going to pay for this. There was a girl here as well and we were talking to her. She was wondering what to do, whether she was getting in the way so we told her to make the coffee. Luckily there was some running water at the place so she started on that. I went to empty the sink but the sink had been blocked and a whole pile of dirt and filth came into the sink before it all evacuated again. I said “thank God for that” then I had another attack of cramp.

This cramp thing is really getting on my wick now and I must remember to speak to my doctor at Castle Anthrax next week.

First job after the dictaphone notes was to attack the Greenland photos. Another pile of them are done and we are just about to get up steam ready to sail off down Kangerlussuatsiaq Fjord on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. And considering that we are on a diesel-powered ship, if we can get up steam and sail off, it will be something quite astonishing.

Later on I had a shower and then Caliburn and I hit the streets. And we were half-way to Liz and Terry’s before I remembered that I was actually going to St-Lô so we had something of a sight-seeing trip.

15 minutes early I was when I arrived in St-Lô and having found a parking space at the foot of the city walls underneath the Prefecture, I then found a set of steps up through a sally port – steps that I hadn’t noticed before.

Consequently I was there 10 minutes early. And with no-one in front of me, I was seen straight away and was standing on the steps outside the building, all done and dusted, when the town clock struck 11:00

And I would have been out even earlier had I not signed the form in the place reserved for the chef de service instead of the interessé so she had to start all over again.

One thing about which I wasn’t very happy was that she took my current carte de sejour. So what I did was to make her photocopy it and put on it the Prefecture’s official stamp. One thing that I have learnt with living in Europe is that people like to see lots of paperwork all covered in official stamps and the more you have, the better it is for the various officials whom you encounter on your travels. And I’ll be travelling a lot just now.

rue des noyers city walls st lo  Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack down the steps to Caliburn and at the sally port I took a photo along the walls.

One thing that you notice about St-Lô is that much of the construction is “modern austerity” because after D-Day in 1944 the Germans dug themselves in here and the city was repeatedly bombed, with the deaths of hundreds upon hundreds of French civilians. Not for nothing was it known as “The Capital of the Ruins”.

Because of the devastation, rebuilding had to be quick without any regard for aesthetics and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the cathedral here is half-built of breeze blocks, such was the state of things.

Caliburn and I drove to the railway station where we awoke a booking clerk who found my name in the database and was able to issue me with my rail tickets for next week as there is no automatic retrieval machine here. It’s important that I have my tickets in my hand before the day of my travel because the train leaves before the booking office in the station opens and if the ticket retrieval machine is out of order then I’ve had it.

Next stop was to the new LIDL on the edge of town and while the range of goods on offer was larger, there wasn’t all that much more in there that would have suited me and my diet.

LeClerc was pretty much the same. Bigger and more choice, but not for me. I did strike lucky in the sense that they had a special offer going on their litre-bottles of traditional lemonade – glass bottles with mechanical tops that I need for my brewing. Two bottles of that stuff worked out at €3:20, which is cheaper than buying two empty bottles from the housewares section.

While I was there I rang up Liz to see if Terry’s hard drive had arrived. No such luck, so I headed on home for a rather late lunch.

Having been rushing around like this all morning, it’s no surprise that I ended up crashing out for a while on the chair in the office. I can’t last the pace.

seagull on window ledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I picked myself up for my afternoon walk and went outside, where I said “hello” to the seagull that seems to have taken residence on the first floor window of the next block.

The weather this morning had not been too unpleasant but it seems to have deteriorated while I was indoors because the wind has increased, the temperature has dropped and while there’s not as much fog around as there has been just recently, there is still more than you would expect given the strength of the wind.

So gritting my teeth and hanging on to my hat I set off along the path around the headland. There were only a couple of other people out there, and that wasn’t a surprise given the way things are right now.

Looking out across the bay towards the Brittany coast there wasn’t all that much going on over there.

seafarers memorial le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd neither was there all that much more going on across towards St Pair and Jullouville.

Well, maybe there was, but if so, I couldn’t see it. We can see the seafarers’ memorial and then Le Loup, the light that sits on the rock at the entrance to the harbour. But the coast across there is nothing more than a misty haze.

From there I walked on down the path at the head of the cliffs. After all of the activity at the chantier navale just recently, it’s quietened down with just the same boats that were there yesterday. Plenty of people working on them, including my neighbour Pierre labouring away on Spirit of Conrad.

But I’ve given up predicting when they might be going back into the water. I’m not having much luck with that right now.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand, they seem to be racing away with the roof on the College Malraux right now.

Apart from having almost finished the part of the roof that they stripped off a couple of weeks ago, they have now stripped off a neighbouring bay and they are busy replacing the laths on that part. I wonder what has caused the acceleration.

Back here in the apartment I had my coffee and then made a start on the arrears of Central Europe. And that seemed to be somewhat productive because I managed to research and write some text for about seven or eight photos in the time that I was working. With a bit of luck, I might finish this before the end of the decade.

Guitar practice was enjoyable – on the bass I was messing around with a solo for “Jumping Jack Flash” again and also Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane”.

Tea was a burger on a bap with veg followed by apple pie again. And then a couple of things came up while I was trying to write up my notes. Firstly, Rachel rang me from Canada with some bad family news. Secondly, I won’t be making orange ginger beer again. I now know what a shrapnel attack looks like and I need another bottle with a mechanical stopper. At least I know that the stoppers on those bottles are stronger than the bottles themselves.

Tomorrow is going to be a day of cleaning up and washing down the walls of the living room and I’ll be doing the next lot of brewing in the bathroom.

Friday 5th March 2021 – I’VE HAD ONE …

… of those days where I seem to have been in great demand.

All of the afternoon has been spent talking to different people either on the telephone – first Terry, then Ingrid, then Rosemary and then Liz, one after the other from not long after lunch until all the way through to teatime and I even missed my guitar practice.

It all makes up for the night that I had last night where about 5 minutes after going to bed I had one of the worst attacks of cramp that I have ever had. I was out of bed four or five times trying to ease everything off, something that wasn’t easy for at one stage I had cramp in all four of my limbs at once.

Most of the night was spent not in sleep but in agony, although I must have gone off to sleep at one stage because I remember going on a voyage. We’d been to Dublin for a day out and we were on our way back on the train, a multiple-unit and there was a chance to get out and go to walk around a little village for an hour and then get back on the following train. Our train pulled into this station and we alighted, and I’m not sure what happened and I was ordering the configuration of it, but instead of ending up with 4 carriages I ended up with 45 so I went to delete some. I ended up back with 4 carriages but I’d lost the power car. We had to wait anyway for the next train to come and when that pulled up I explained to the driver what I’d done. He quite simply put his card into the slot and tapped out a couple of things and we ended up back with a power car so we could move off.

Despite everything I was up again quite smartly after the first alarm and after the medication I kneaded the two loads of dough that I had prepared before going to bed last night – one of the sourdough with fruit and the second with the wholemeal bread.

Most of the morning was spent going through the hard drive to remove another pile of duplicated files from the back-up drive. Another 19GB of rubbish bit the dust this morning. Of course, the further you go into this, the slower it becomes, but I’ll get there.

home made bread sourdough fruit loaf place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomewhere in the middle of all of this I broke off to put the bread in the oven and then again round about 10:30 when the oven had switched itself off

The wholemeal bread was cooked to perfection but the sourdough was another failure – a soggy mass of whatever without a trace of having risen at all. My sourdough doesn’t seem to be working at all.

But nevertheless, as a nice moist fruitcake it was something of a success from that point of view and with my hot chocolate it tasted quite nice and made a very good breakfast. But I really need to improve my sourdough technique if I’m to get anywhere with it.

Later on in the morning I crashed out for about an hour on the office chair. Not much of a surprise after the night that I’d had but it was still very annoying and I wasn’t very happy. Especially as it took much longer than usual to come round.

After lunch I fed the sourdough and the ginger beer mother solution and then I had my stream of phone conversations.

But one thing leads to another and these calls didn’t stop me working. While I’d been tidying up the other day I’d found a headset that must have come with a mobile telephone. While I was talking to Ingrid and Rosemary I plugged the headset into the telephone which meant that my hands were free and during the conversations I edited almost 60 photos and I wish that I’d thought about this before.

Now we’re on board a zodiac on our way back to THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR after having visited Brattahlid.

beach rue du nord Granville donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn between everything I went for my afternoon walk around the headland.

But first I went over to the sea wall to see what was going on. Later than usual but even so the tide was quite far in and there weren’t all that many people down there walking around. And that was something of a surprise because for once just recently there was very little wind and there was plenty of sun.

The view along the coast past Donville and into the area was extremely clear today but there was plenty of haze out at sea. The Ile de Chausey was clear enough today, but I couldn’t see as far as the island of Jersey.

There weren’t all that many people walking around today either so I had the path pretty much to myself today.

le loup baie de mont st michel kairon plage Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I walked round onto the lawn near the lighthouse I had a reall good view of Le Loup, the light that’s on top of the rocks just outside the harbour entrance.

You can see the usual high tide mark on the light – the line just below the lower of the two red rings. Of course at the Grande Marée the tide is higher than that.

In the background across the bay the town of Kairon-Plage is standing out quite nicely in the sunshine. And on the right-hand side of the photo just below the skyline is that mystery tower that we saw in a photo the other day and which one of these days I’ll take myself off out to see exactly what it is.

seafarers' monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw the workman painting the lettering on the seafarers’ memorial at the Pointe du Roc

While I was out there this afternoon I went to have a look to see what kind of job he’s done. And it’s not turned out quite too badly at all and we can actually read what’s written on the memorial now without straining ourselves.

From there I walked along the path down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour. There weren’t any more changed of inhabitant in the chantier navale. Still the four boats that were there yesterday and no others. No sign of spirit of Conrad as yet.

naabsa trawler refrigerated lorry fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a change of boat at the Fish Processing Plant.

The big trawler that was moored there in a NAABSA position has now gone back out to sea but there’s one of the smaller shellfish boats now settled down in the silt.

And they seem to be expecting a bumper load of shellfish and aquatic life today. As I watched, one refrigerated lorry pulled away and another one was manoeuvring around ready to reverse into position. A third lorry as already there in the course of being loaded up.

Back here I had my coffee and cake and then carried on with my series of phone calls.

When I finished I went to tea. With plenty of potatoes around here I made some chips in the microwave along with some beans and a burger, followed by more jam tart.

Now I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. Despite my long sleep at lunchtime I’m exhausted and can’t wait to go to sleep. I’m surprised that i’ve kept going this long.

But shopping tomorrow, more football and then a day of rest on Sunday. And I think that after this week, i’ve earned it too.

Thursday 4th March 2021 – YOU HAVE TO ADMIT …

high class graffiti rue saint sauveur Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall … that the standard of graffiti that we have around here is far superior to anything that you’ll find anywhere else.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day on our way to the railway station we saw some banners stuck in the windows of a few of the bars and restaurants, made by someone with some kind of skill in calligraphy. It seems that our phantom calligrapher has been out on his travels elsewhere too.

The town is now littered with more of the same kind of notices talking about all kinds of different subjects. I wonder where he’ll be going next.

As for me, I’ll probably be going back to bed next because once again, I’d been up very early. Just after the first alarm again this morning.

Plenty of time to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d killed some woman and I’m not sure how and I’m not sure why. I didn’t admit to it. This woman was a friend of someone who was something of a tough character and he was trying to find out who did it. I was quite confident that I would be particularly safe. He was talking to me one day and the subject of minivans came up in the conversation. He asked me if I knew what a minivan was. Seeing as we were in North America at the time I said that it was something like an F250 or an F350. He immediately said “it’s you, isn’t it? You’re the one who killed these people. I’m going to make you suffer as much as these other people suffered”, grabbed hold of me and went to put me in this car, to take me to pick up the rifle and the books I’d been reading at the time and 1 or 2 other things.

Later on some woman in a block of flats where I was living had had a row with everyone, I don’t know what about but she got into her car and drove it around the car park. She’d bumped into 1 or 2 cars while she was doing it and ended up rolling down the steep bank and ended up with her car in the pond. I’m not sure what else had happened but my yellow estate car MMB was in the pond as well and a couple of motorbikes and so on. I asked my father “what are we doing tomorrow? Do you think we could rescue my car from out of the pond?”. He said “yes, I suppose we could” so I asked “what time? Morning? Lunchtime? Afternoon?” and he didn’t really give me a definite answer. I was just chatting saying “I really hate working in water” which I do. I was loitering around because I was half-expecting someone to come along to call a breakdown truck and winch this woman’s car out of the pond. I was thinking that if they were going to do that I may as well slip them £50 or something and winch MMB out of the pond as well at the same time so I was loitering around waiting for something to happen.

There was plenty of time to have a shower and set the washing machine off on a cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) before I went off out to the shops.

la granvillaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that I had gone very far before I had to start to brandish the camera about.

Although the harbour gates were closed, there was a big yacht coming sailing into the port. With her sails not being up I didn’t recognise her at first as she was so far out but as she sailed in deeper to the port I could se the number – G90 – painted upon her bow.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recognise her as being La Granvillaise, another one of the charter yachts that plies for hire from the port. And with the harbour gates being closed, I couldn’t work out why she’d come round here right now from her berth in the yacht harbour, although I did have my suspicions.

marite normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was actually quite a lot of activity in the port this morning.

Marité is still in there tied up in her little corner, and while we don’t have a gravel boat (we haven’t seen one of those in here for a good few months) we have Normandy Trader coming to pay us a little visit. She always seems to be here on a Thursday morning.

Once more she’s fully loaded, and I’ve heard a little whisper here and there that her owners are contemplating buying a bigger ship as they are actually having to turn away freight. It’s one of the very few upsides of Brexit that rather than export their goods to the UK and then into mainland Europe, all of the difficulties that this is presenting means that it’s easier for them to send them direct to here first rather than last.

pointing rampe du monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the pointing of the wall on the Rampe du Monte à Regret ground to a halt a few weeks ago and nothing more was done to it since.

Today, the workmen are back and the work has recommenced. They aren’t working particularly fast of course, but the fact that they are here is something.

My walk up to LIDL was quite energetic and while I wasn’t quite at the “invading Poland” speed I made it all the way up the steep bank without stopping for breath and that’s rather better than it has been of late.

At LIDL I loaded up with tons of stuff and had I been able to carry it, I would have come away with more. But I wasn’t going to turn down 3kg of potatoes at just €1:69 even if I have to live on potato curry for the next couple of weeks.

So loaded up like a packhorse I staggered out into the fresh air (because I’ve never seen LIDL as crowded as it was today) and headed for home.

wall prepared for pointing rue des juifs rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier we’d seen them pointing the wall at the Rampe du Monte à Regret – the face that looks down onto the Place Pelley.

But it looks as if they are going to be doing this face too – the one that looks out onto the Rue des Juifs. That’s all been raked out and cleaned out They’ve left a few weeds growing in there, I have to say, but I imagine that they are hoping that the lime in the mortar will do for them.

That’s horrible, nasty caustic stuff as my hands will testify when I was pointing the wall of my house in the Auvergne.

Back here I had a hot chocolate and came in here to work – but fell asleep. It was a short night, an early start and an exhausting visit to the shops so what do you expect?

For most of the afternoon I’ve been clearing out the back-up drive on which I copied all of the data from every single hard drive or memory stick that wasn’t actually connected to the big machine. Little by little I’ve been eating away at it and now there are just 4 items to examine.

Even more interestingly, there is now 715GB free on it and I need for that to be over 1TB so I can start to back-up onto it from the big computer – although a lot of stuff on the big computer will over-write some of the older stuff.

And talking of older stuff, I’ve been finding files dated 1997 and 1998. It won’t be long before I find the stuff from 1992 when I first bought a PC. Stuff from the 80s when I had the Apple II – I think that Nerina might still have that.

sea fog people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was the usual break for lunch of course, and also the walk around the headland in the afternoon.

Mind you, I’m not too sure about the walk around the headland because it was another one of those days where had the fog been any thicker, I would have had to grope my way around the path.

It beats me what the matter might be the weather just now. We’re going from gale-force winds to this thick oppressive calm that’s letting the fog bank up against the cliffs here and we can’t se a thing. That might explain why there were so few people out and about on the beaches.

coastal path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe strange thing about this is that around the corner, the fog isn’t anything like as thick.

This is the lower footpath that goes right round the end of the headland and as you can see, that’s comparatively clear. Clear of fog, and clear of people too, which was surprising because up here on top in the car park it was heaving with all kinds of young families going walkabout. No-one braving the lower footpath though.

And nothing to see out to sea either. All of the fishing boats that were going out have gone out and they will be well out to sea by now.

workman painting seafarers' monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there’s a seafarers’ monument here on the path – in honour of two crews of lifeboatmen who lost their lives going out to sea to rescue distressed mariners.

All of the writing on the monument is very hard to read as it’s long-since faded away but today we had a guy from the local council with his fine paintbrush and pot of black enamel paint busily painting back into the monument all of the names and the details of the events in which they lost their lives.

It’s about time that they started doing things like this to make the place look as if people live here. Everything has become just a little run-down just recently.

joly france unloading building material port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if that’s not enough to be going on with, I’m not quite sure what all of that is over there.

Joly France is moored up at the ferry terminal. It doesn’t look as if she’ll be going anywhere anytime soon. There’s nothing doing over on the Ile de Chausey right now and while sometimes the ferries will do little trips with tourists all around the bay, there are no tourists particularly right now.

But I’m more interested in the rather large red builders’ bags that are being unloaded over there. They are dropping off a couple of dozen from that lorry and trailer so it looks as if there’s something really serious going to be happening there sometime soon and I wonder what it will be.

charles marie la granvillaise lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile we’re up here on the cliffs we can look down and see what’s going on in the chantier navale today.

And I was right about my little thought this morning. We’ve yet another change of occupancy down there today. As well as Aztec Lady, Lys Noir and Charles-Marie down there on blocks, La Granvillaise has now come in to join them. That was why she sailed into the outer harbour when the harbour gates were closed – she wasn’t going that way but coming over here for an overhaul.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … with no possibility of any yacht charters at the moment the owners may as well take their boats out of the water and have them overhauled ready for whenever the season might start. I shan’t be surprised to see Spirit of Conrad, the boat in which we went down the Brittany coast last summer, in there next for an overhaul.

naabsa trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust now we’d seen Joly France in a NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position over at the ferry terminal but here we have a trawler also in a NAABSA position by the firsh processing plant.

And being a catamaran, she is of course even more safely aground than the others.

Back here I had a coffee and some of my vegan coffee cake and then carried on with my work. I’ve done another 20 photos from Greenland 2019 and some more work on the arrears from Central Europe.

All of that took me up to guitar practice time, which passed quite enjoyably this evening.

Tea was a stuffed pepper followed by jam pie ad ice cream, all very nice and delicious.

But now I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to mix some sourdough before I go to bed. I have nothing to eat for my mid-morning breakfast so I reckon that it’s time to make a sourdough fruit loaf. I need some real bread too so if I make that in the morning they’ll both be ready to be baked in time.

No point in having the oven on just for one thing when there are two things to be made.

Tuesday 22nd December 2020 – IF ANYONE THINKS …

… that I’m feeling cocky, firstly I’m not in China and secondly it’s a disgusting habit anyway.

And thirdly, to put a complete dampener on everything, it was 09:40 when I finally arose from the dead, thanking my starts that I didn’t have a Welsh lesson today otherwise I would have been seriously incommoded. Yes, that’ll teach me to crow about how well I’m doing.

But I can’t understand it. I was in bed long before midnight and I should have leapt out of bed with alacrity, even if alacrity wasn’t anywhere near me at the time.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And to my surprise, there was some stuff on there from yesterday that I must have forgotten to transcribe. So first off I attended to that and put it all on line.

After that I turned my attention to the voyages of last night. And it is hardly any surprise that I was so exhausted after the distance that I must have travelled during the night

There was one of these tribal dance things going on in Europe. I can’t remember too much now but I’d had a lot of difficulty going off to sleep what with one thing or another and I remember saying “just wait until i do my tribal dance before I go off to sleep and I’ll be fine”. Of course there were so many different foreign words in the English language at that time but they were all to do with this tribal dance stemming from all kinds of different countries where every country had one to celebrate or commemorate going to sleep, something like that

Later on there was something happening about a bunch of girls who were travelling around in medieval times and fighting their way through to success or whatever. On one occasion they were being led to storm this citadel. When they got up the steps to what I suppose you might call a landing where there were windows that looked out of this building they were all there ready with their spears and arrows ready to repel whatever it was that was coming along behind them

Some time later I was back in this big Czech castle again and we were attending an auction of paintings. There was a painter I had my eye on – he had a painting exhibited at this auction that was coming up for sale and I really fancied it. I’d drawn out a couple of hundred Euros for it. The auctioneer was selling at a hell of a speed and I was running after him trying to keep up while he was auctioning everything. He eventually reached the painting that I wanted and the bidding he started at €900 and it went up and up and up. I thought that I was totally wasting my time here. No matter how much I liked these pictures I’m never going to be able to afford them. A few people were making disparaging comments about how the lights are going out in the Czech Republic now that all of the treasures are being sold off. It was a real gothic montrosity kind of night and I awoke in a cold sweat.

After that I’d been to see someone in mid-Wales – it might have been Nina or someone like that and to come back I’d got on the train. The line was old and in bad condition and unfit but the price of the ticket was peanuts. I saw that they were having an offer every Sunday that you could go on the Mid Wales line for almost nothing. So the next Sunday I went down to see Esi in Cardiff. We met and she took me back to the University. She was amazed that I’d come and even more amazed that I’d brought my Welsh stuff with me. She went through my bag and laughed at some of the food that I’d brought and wondered what I was doing with it. Then she started to engage is some Welsh dialogue with me and said later on that we’ll go through a student-teacher exchange and we can ask each other questions all that kind of thing based on the text and I could send my answers to her before Wednesday. It was Sunday afternoon now. All in all it sounded pretty good.

While I was in Cardiff Louise and I went for our driving tests. We both took them simultaneously and ended up back at the Driving Test Centre. She returned a little before me. I sat in the car and waited. I didn’t realise that you had to enter the building and queue. By the time that I realised this and went in the queue was enormous. It took hours and hours to get to the front, people pushing past me and fighting their way to the front. I was really unsure about what I was supposed to be doing but everyone else seemed to know. Eventually I reached the window and someone took my details and typed it into the computer. he told me about a roundabout. They had changed a roundabout and they hadn’t marked the street yet and I’d driven straight through it. I ought to know that it’s a roundabout. But I explained that I didn’t know the town at all. he said that I had all the temperament required so he gave me a kind-of green sticky thing like a shamrock. I asked him what I was supposed to do with it but I didn’t get an answer.

The alarm went off instead and I turned over and went back to sleep. But I didn’t get back in touch with where I had been.

Writing all of that out took up most of what was left of the morning and then I had another job to do. I’d been playing the three concerts that I’d done yesterday and there was a join in one of them that I didn’t like at all. And so before lunch I had a closer look

And in fact, I could see on closer examination that there were three or four that weren’t very good. This is one that I joined together but never used when we were working with Radio Anglais and while I suppose that I was really pleased with it back then it shows just how much I’ve learnt since then. Anyway, I did the broadcast again – at least, I overdubbed a couple of joins and rejoined the other couple, and it’s much better.

So this is basically telling me that the ones that I have on the back burner for later (there’s three more from that period, I reckon) are no good and need to be done again. But strangely enough, editing them together is the bit that I like the most.

This meant a rather late lunch (yet again) and I’d missed my morning break too.

After lunch there wasn’t much time to do very much so based on the theory that “it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something – anything” I spent an hour or so editing more photos of the trip in 2019 to Greenland. And there are some pretty good ones in there too and I’m impressed with a few of them.

juvenile seagull windowledge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere is the usual afternoon walk of course and despite the weather I set off on my route.

For the past I don’t know how many weeks there have been seagulls, either adults or juveniles, sitting on one of the window ledges and on more than one occasion seen them tapping on the window with their beaks. And today, with this juvenile here, I could see exactly why.

It seems that the owners have put on the inside of their window a model of a bird and it might possibly be that that has something to do with why the seagulls seem to like to visit that window ledge.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in the other building there was a window ledge that the seagulls liked to frequent. The owner cured them of the habit – by buying a cat.

seafarers' memorial rainstorm in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I pushed on along the path, dodging the puddles because once again it was a grey, miserable and depressing day.

Across the lawn, across the car park and down to the headland to see what was going on out in the Bay. And if there was anything going on in the Bay I wouldn’t have seen it anyway. That, dear reader, is not fog or a low cloud but a good and proper rainstorm.

It was raining where I was standing of course, but out there it was pelters and with the wind blowing my way, I reckoned that it wouldn’t be long before I got the lot. This was not the time to be hanging around admiring the view.

waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so I pushed off along the path on top of the cliffs, a path that in places was well under water and I had to scramble up the bank in a couple of places.

We’ve had rain, cloud, and all hat kind of miserable weather but one thing that we weren’t having very much of was wind. But there must have been plenty of it blowing around somewhere out in the Atlantic because we were having some really heavy rollers coming into the Bay and colliding with the sea wall right now.

Eventually I managed to struggle on as far as the viewpoint overlooking the port, and in the chantier navale I could see that the trawler that had moved to a position by the portable boat lift was still there. Obviously, my thinking yesterday that it would soon be back in the water was somewhat optimistic.

marité empty port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut one thing that I wasn’t over-optimistic about is the state of the fishing industry.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last few nights we’ve seen the fishing boats in their hordes out in the cruel sea of the bay of Granville having a swansong. I made sure that I had a good look around the port this afternoon and there is not one single fishing boat of any kind at all in the harbour.

There’s only Marité and Joly France and the commercial sailing boats in there now. As I said yesterday, anything at all connected with the town’s fishing fleet that will float is currently out at sea catching what it can.

The market is even more vibrant right now with the British being excluded from the Continent, their catch rotting away in the back of a lorry on a deserted and abandoned airfield somewhere in Kent, something about which I have no sympathy whatsoever.

Back here I had a coffee, had a long chat with Liz on the internet, did some more Welsh revision and then attended to a few tasks before having an enjoyable hour or so on the guitars. But if only I could ease some of the pressure by finishing off a few of the arrears I’d enjoy myself so much more.

rue du nord place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way out for my evening runs I bumped into a neighbour and we put the world to rights, and then I headed off into the wind and rain for my run.

The fishing fleet was too far out to photograph tonight and in any case there was too much cloud and rain about so I ran on and took a photo of the Rue du Nord and the Place d’Armes. And I’ve taken many better photographs of here too during my time.

With all of this rain I reckoned that there would be far too much water about down on the footpath underneath the walls
so I pushed on along the road at a run and then went down the steps to the bottom.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the things with which I’ve been experimenting is, with the delayed timer switch, taking few photos of the same object using different settings to see if there’s much of a difference in the output.

From down on the path underneath the walls, on a dry bit, I set up the camera on yet another handy stone to take a few photos of the Plat Gousset to see how they would come out. This one here came out quite well, I suppose and I was reasonably satisfied with that.

And so I fiddled around with a few settings and set the camera up again to take a few more photos.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis next one came out … errr … differently as you can see, slightly darker but the resolution and sharpness are slightly better.

The others that I took weren’t up to all that much and were thus filed under “CS”. But one day sometime soon when the wind dies down I’ll be out there with a tripod and the 70-300mm LENS and see what damage I can do with that.

From there I had a good run home ready to make tea. It was stuffed pepper last night so with the left-over stuffing it was taco rolls tonight. And delicious they were too, followed by apple crumble yet again. I’m getting to be quite good at that.

Having written out my notes, it’s now time for bed. And I’m hoping for a better day tomorrow. I can’t keep on losing hours like this. I won’t every accomplish anything at this rate.

Saturday 21st November 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change, I managed to beat the third alarm to my feet.

And not only is that a surprise in itself, it’s even more surprising when you consider that I didn’t go to bed until long after 01:30.

It goes without saying that I didn’t go anywhere during the night. There probably wasn’t enough time to do very much anyway so it was something of a restful sleep for what it was. And I do have to say that when the third alarm went off I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor, and that’s as good as it got for about half an hour.

This morning I finished going through my mailbox and a pile of stuff has bitten the dust – and quite right too. It’s down to a much-more manageable proportion now.

As well as that I was chatting to my friend with Covid (well, she doesn’t have it now of course) and doing some work on the arrears from my journey around Central Europe. And then, I … errr … fell asleep. And no surprise there after my early start.

After lunch I didn’t do the baking. After all if I’m baking tomorrow as well I may as well have a go at my cake then and use the oven for everything.

But there was football on quite early today too. Barry Town and Y Drenewydd played out an exciting, pulsating 0-0 draw. Yes, exciting, not like most 0-0 draws. The action flowed from one end to the other throughout, ably assisted by Cheryl Foster, the league’s female referee. We had several shots on goal, including one almighty whack from; Nat Jarvis that rattled the Newtown woodwork, but the defences were well on top in this game. Quite an enjoyable game all around.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was extremely late and going dark but nevertheless I went out for my afternoon walk.

Surprisingly there were a few people out there this afternoon and some of them were heading my way as I admired the lighthouse and the semaphore station out on the end of the Pointe du Roc. And of course, that would have to be my luck, wouldn’t it? Not many people around, but all of them right where I would ordinarily be running.

And so instead, dodging the dog, I had a sedate stroll up to the end of the track, across the car park and around the headland to see what was going on at the memorial to the lifeboatmen.

decorated seafarers monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day they sprinkled fresh gravel all around it to make it look pretty.

Today there seem to have been even more changes. The memorial has now grown a few huge bunches of flowers. It would be to commemorate something I imagine but what, I don’t know. I shall have to go tomorrow and check the dates of the sinkings that are recorded there.

What with nothing else whatever going on out there this afternoon, I headed for home and a hot coffee. And such are the way of things around here right now that I switched on the kettle, went for a gypsy’s and then headed for the office, completely forgetting to make the coffee.

Tea tonight was something of a fry-up of vegetables and vegetable balls, in the microwave fryer that Rachel gave me last year. It’s actually too big for the microwave but if I take out the round plate, put a support over the rotator and put the fryer on that so that it doesn’t turn round, it does actually fit.

It takes ages though, so there was plenty of time to make some cheese sauce too. And it was all followed down by the last of the apple crumble. Tomorrow I’m going to have yet another attempt at a fruit tart with agar-agar

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was the cue to go out for my evening runs. And it was just as well that I was all alone out there because for some reason I wasn’t on my best form and my running was rather bizarre.

Have I taken a photo of the Rue du Nord from this point before? I don’t think so, and so I’ll put that right. This is the resting point after the second leg of my runs, the first being right down at the end of that shot. There’s quite a steep bank behind me and I can’t run up there. It brings me to a shuddering halt.

From here I ran on down the path underneath the walls and all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch where we take our photos of the sea breaking onto the Plat Gousset.

place marechal foch Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was absolutely nothing of any excitement here either.

With nothing else to do, I took a photo of the end of the Place nearest the street and then headed for home, running across the Square Maurice Marland.

At one of the houses at the end I encountered a woman. She had let her dog out to take itself off for a walk but instead of coming back home it was simply sitting there by the side of the road and she was trying everything to make it move, but with no success.

After an exchange of pleasantries I continued my walk around the walls and then ran on the rest of the way home.

For a change I’m going to have an early night. And then a nice long lie-in to get myself together for what I have to do tomorrow – like bake a cake, bake a tart, start off the sourdough bread etc etc. And to book my voyage to Belgium, something that I forgot to do today. I really must organise myself.

Friday 26th June 2020 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… I was up before the third alarm went off this morning.

Not by much, it has to be said, but before is before and it’s all good.

Mind you I don’t know why because outside was a really miserable day. I didn’t know if it was raining because I couldn’t see. Wr had a huge sea mist rolling in and it was freezing cold – a far cry from the last few days.

After the medication it was the dictaphone. I had an appointment at the hospital last night and I went to go to the reception. I walked into the office and had to get a ticket to queue up. But the woman called me over as I waslked in. I shouted “in a minute” and went to get my ticket anyway, but I don’t know why. When I got to the desk and said that I had an appointment she asked “who with?”. I said that I didn’t know – it was on the card. She looked on the card and all it had was “Doctor C”. She said “what you’ll have to do is to ring up Doctor Carpentier and se if it’s him. If it’s not him, here are all the other doctors whose names begin with C. You’ll have to ring round all of them until you find the one who is supposed to be seeing you.

Today, with nothing really outstanding that needed doing, I exerted myself by sorting out the washing that had been hanging up on the clothes airer for the last 10 days or so.

Nice and dry of course, and because of the washing softener it actually smelled nice too. Far better than it did the last time that I washed it and forgot about it in the washing machine for a couple of days.

After that, I had some things of my awn to attend to and then I settled down to carry on with a few of the projects that I started a while ago.

Firstly, this involves completely rewriting one of my websites. And that’s not as easy as it might sound either because it seems to have been amended in several stages in the past and some of the early stuff seems to have stuck in a previous format and missed the subsequent amendments.

What I’ve had to do is to prepare a template for each version, work out which version of the site each page is and then amend it accordingly.

So far I did about 4 or 5 pages this morning once I’d sorted out the templates. But it’s not just that – I’m finding lots of stuff that shouldn’t be there as well as a few files that i’d lost here and there along the way.

This afternoon I carried on with editing a web page from another site. What I wrote 20 years ago is not the same as I would have written today, and it’s not easy either to change a style of writing but keeping the same emotion that I had when I first wrote it.

As well as that, it’s been about 12 years since I’ve done any serious third-party web design work so I’m quite rusty in that respect but looking at my site with different eyes, I’ve solved almost instinctively a couple of problems that stumped me whan I was in full flight. I’m not sure how I managed that at all.

As well as that, I had a good go at the photos from July 2019 in Iceland and now I’m back in Heimaey on the way out to Greenland.

Another thing that i’ve done is to make a few tentative enquiries about going off on my travels sometime whenever. I have a couple of plans but they are not for right away or even in the near future. Nevertheless there is no time like the present to get things under way.

rocks light pointe du rock granville manche normandy france eric hallAt the usual time this afternoon I went out for my walk.

Although, once again, I couldn’t see why. In fact i couldn’t see very much at all this afternoon because that sea mist was still hanging around out there.

it was cold too, as I said earlier. I had a sweater on, which is pretty much unthinkable for the latter days of June. Even Gribouille the big ginger cat wasn’t coming out in this weather. He stayed stuck on his windowsill indoors.

seafarers memorial pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWith nothing much to see I trudged on around my little circuit, mixing with the people who were out there. There were actually quite a few – more than I was expecting.

With not being able to see very much in the fog, there wasn’t an awful lot to photograph. But regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen a few photos of the seafarers’ memorial just recently in the bright sunlight, so I thought that I would reproduce the view in the fog.

If you look carefully you can juts about make out the coast on the other side of the bay near St Pair sur Mer and Jullouville

la grande ancre port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith nothing else going on I walked on down along the top of the cliff and then round towards home.

Not an awful lot going on in the harbour either. No Jersey freighter today, but La Grande Ancre is there in port tied up. She has no intention of going out in this, that’s for sure.

From there I headed off back home to carry on working. There was plenty to do. And I might have accomplished so much more had I not gone off with the fairies again for half an hour or so.

When I came round, I was feeling pretty miserable. I reckon that I’m sickening for something else right now and I don’t like that idea very much at all.

But I plodded on with my work and then had the usual hour on the guitar.

Tea tonight was exciting. There was a pepper left over so I sliced it up. A potato was diced and put in the microwave with a little water and some spices (turmeric, coriander and cumin) for a couple of minutes.

While that was doing I sliced up a couple of onions and fried them with spices and also some fennel and fenugreek. A pile of garlic went in next, and then the pepper.

The potatoes followed, with a tin of exotic vegetables that I had picked up from NOZ a while back. And then a handful of spinach.

More spices to taste, and then the pièce de résistance – not a French virgin but a little carton of soya cream (regular readers of this rubbish will recall that they had some on special offer at LeClerc a couple of weeks ago).

So there we are – an Instant Korma, and vegan to boot. With some rice and mixed veg it was delicious and, even better, there are four more helpings for the freezer.

Apple pie and ice cream for pudding with chocolate sauce.

My run was going to be late tonight because I wanted to hear the start of my radio programme. But badger me if the baskets have forgotten YET AGAIN to broadcast it.

Having been missed off the list of “presents” at the meeting last week, I am not very impressed at all by this. If they don’t want my programmes they should have the courage to tell me so that I don’t waste my time.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallEventually I made it outside for my evening run.

And I ran straight into the sunset again. Unfortunately, although the weather is 100 times better than it was earlier and you could actually see things, there was too much cloud about for it to be as spectacular as the last couple of nights.

Anyway, I made it all the way down to the clifftop past the itinerant, even though I didn’t feel much like it tonight.

fishing boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallNot a great deal of activity out there tonight.

There was a small yacht way out in the distance over by the Ile de Chausey but there were also some fishermen in their boat just off the cliffs fishing for something or other.

One of these days I’ll have to accost a fisherman and find out what the catch is in the waters off here. The waters aren’t all that deep so it’s not going to be anything super-exotic.

crowds pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was another evening with no-one picnicking in the old gun emplacement so I carried on walking across the lawn.

There were a few people about as well, getting in my way, but round by the Pointe du Roc all of the action seemed to be down at the viewpoint by the old watchman’s cabin.

W’ve seen quite a few groups of people congregating down there just recently and there was another bunch of people hanging out in the evening sun down there. It’s a lovely spot to hang out.

fisherman pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was no fisherman down there this evening though. The rocks around there were looking pretty bare.

It seemed to me as if they had all given up for the duration but, having a look around, I found one of them standing on a rock elsewhere in the vicinity casting his line into the void.

With nothing else exciting going on, I carried on with my run. Past the chantier navale where there were still the five fishing boats.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAt the end of the path i stopped for a breather, and from there i had a look around to see if there was anything exciting.

The two Joly France boats were down there near the ferry terminal but what caught my eye was the older boat of the two. She was moored in rather a dangerous position right by the harbour gate and I was sure that she shouldn’t be staying there.

But closer inspection revealed that her crane was extended and as I ran on down the road, she lifted something out of the forr’ard hold, dumped it on the quayside, and then cleared off elsewhere.

swimmers changing people on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAll the way down the Boulevard vaufleury I ran, round into the medieval city and round through the alleys to the viewpoint at the rue du Nord – a little easier tonight, I reckon.

There were a few people down on the beach this evening. Not picnicking but simply soaking up the sun. Not as many people as we have seen in the recent past.

But I was admiring a couple of people down there. They were drying themselves with towels and sorting out some clothes, so it looked to me as if they had actually been in the water for a swim.

Braver men than I am, Gungha Din.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I said earlier, the sunset tonight wasn’t all that spectacular.

Back at the apartment I showed it to Liz and she described it as a storm in a sunset sandwich, which I thought was very lyrical of her.

For a change it’s a little earlier than usual so I’ll probably go for an early night. I’m expecting a couple of visitors tomorrow so I might even do a little tidying up early tomorrow morning if I feel up to it.

Shopping tomorrow of course, but I don’t need much at all. But I want to go to the second-hand shop because I have a project in mind.

More of this anon

Tuesday 23rd June 2020 – REGULAR READERS …

… of this rubbish will recall yesterday that I mentioned something about the possibility of going out on a boat, but the owner never came back to me about it.

kids jumping off sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire the photos of the kids leaping off the sea wall into the sea this evening, let me tell you that it goes without saying that having vented my spleen (well, I would have done had I had one) yesterday, who should knock on my door today?

Right in the middle of my Welsh lesson too, which meant that I missed some of it. But then that’s always going to be par for the course too, isn’t it?

The upshot of all of this means that I have a little trip out organised for next week. And you’ve no idea just how much I’m looking forward to it either. I must get out to sea – and some time soon too.

kids jumping off sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall
Another thing that I have been looking forward to for quite a while is beating the third alarm call out of bed.

And this morning, much to my surprise, I actually managed it. No-one was more surprised than me.

Another thing that I have been eagerly anticipating, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is some convivial company accompanying me on my travels during the night. I had a good whinge about that yesterday too as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

kids jumping off sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut everything comes to he who waits . When I listened to the dictaphone after the medication this morning, who should I discover accompanying me during the night but TOTGA? I was wondering when one of my regulars would put in an appearance on a nocturnal ramble. Last night it was something to do with a holiday and I don’t remember very much. I’d been on holiday and I’d met her quite by accident. We ended up talking and walking off somewhere. I actually held her hand and she didn’t really discourage it – she just let herself be taken along. We carried on chatting and the question came round to “I’m having to go on Tuesday and that will be that I suppose”. She replied “I hope that we can make some time together – there will be some time together for us to meet one evening before you go” which of course cheered me up no end.

kids jumping off sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt’s nice to have some good news like that. It’s been a long time since I’ve had any, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall – late nights in the North-West Passage notwithstanding.

After organising the dictaphone notes I went and did the tidying up. Even vacuumed the place a little too. I brought up some stuff from Caliburn that has been in there for a couple of years and cleaned that too before rearranging it.

Next task was to prepare for my lesson and make sure that I knew everything. The lesson was going quite well until I was disturbed at the door. But as it was good news, I didn’t mind all that much.

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallLunch was taken on the wall overlooking the harbour in the beautiful warm weather.

And for a change I wasn’t alone either. There was a girl down at the other end of the wall eating a salad out of a bowl, and we had Normandy Trader, having presumably sneaked in on the morning tide, down there too.

While I was eating my butties I watched them unload her (the ship, not the girl of course). And I also watched a couple of fishermen (on the extreme right of the image) laying out a fishing net on the quayside in order to entangle it.

Back here I made a start on week 5 of my music course. And by the time that I knocked off at 18:00 I’d finished it too.

At least, I’d reached the end. It’s wrong to say that I’ve completed it because it’s way, way over my head. I’m supposed to be able to improvise using 5/10ths, 7/10ths, 7/13ths, 6/9ths, do inversions and play V-I, II-V-I and II-V-VI-I chord progressions.

And while I have to say that it’s way beyond my capabilities, what has surprised me more than anything is that now I actually know what they mean.

What else has surprised me was that I finished the week’s course despite the interruptions that I had during the day.

shellfish beds donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallOf course there was the afternoon walk as usual, in the beautiful afternoon sun.

And I reckon that this is the first time for ages that I’ve seen them working on the shellfish beds over by Donville les Bains.

There’s a type of mussel called a bouchot that has a liking for string or rope, as someone discovered by accident a good few years ago. And so they have those kind of attachments out there to help the things grow in massive numbers then when the tide is really low they drive out there with a tractor and pluck them off the ropes.

seafarers memorial baie de mont st michel le loup entrance light port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallYesterday, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I went round the Pointe du Roc and took a photo from behind the Seafarers’ Monument out across the bay.

So just for no particular reason, seeing as I was there, I’d take a photo of it again today so that you can compare the two.

In fact, you can compare it with THIS PHOTO as well. In the one here to the side, the tide isn’t yet all the way out and in the one in the link, the tide isn’t all the way in either.

But you can still have a really good idea of the height of the tides nevertheless. Probably the highest in Europe, as I have said before … “on many occasions” – ed.

microlight aeroplane pointe de roc granville manche normandy france eric hallLoads of people about on land and sea.

And also in the air. While I was taking the photo of Le Loup – the light in the previous photo, I was buzzed by a microlight aircraft or ULM that presumably had taken off from the airport at Donville les Bains.

At first I thought that it was my autogyro, the yellow one that we see quite regularly, but not with those wings. In those flimsy craft with their engines it must be just like back in the Golden Days of aviation between about 1907 and 1914 and I don’t think that it’s for me

trawlers fishing boats chantier navale granville manche normandy france eric hallIt’s all change in the chantier navale too.

We seem to have acquired a third fishing boat right now. There were a few people working on it sanding it down so it looks as if it’s going to be receiving a new coat of paint some time soon.

That’s something for me to observe over the course of the next few days, isn’t it? It’s always interesting to know what they are going to be doing with it.

Back here I carried on with the course but once more, depressingly, I was overwhelmed with fatigue and crashed out a couple of times. In the end I stuck my head under the cold tap and carried on work.

When it was finished there was still 45 minutes of my working day left before the guitar practice so I had another play at a web page that i’ve been amending for the last week or so. It’s almost finished, but then it needs to be split up into two because it’s rather unwieldy

For a change, the guitar practice went well, which is good news, and then I turned my attention to tea. One of the vegan beanburgers that I bought from LeClerc a few weeks ago, on a bun with baked potato and veg, followed by the last off the apple crumble.

Tomorrow I can start on the apple pie that I made. And for a change, it seems to be cooked properly, base and all.

speedboat yacht normandy trader english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThis evening it was another beautiful evening outside.

And for a change I had another good run too – all the way up the hill round the corner and down to the clifftop where I could see what was happening out to sea, like this yacht heading in one direction and a cabin cruiser thing heading in the other.

And out there in the distance, I suspect, is Normandy Trader. With the tide being well in now I imagined that she wouldn’t hang around long (and I was right too – she had indeed left port).

people picnicking pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThe picnicking spot in the old gun emplacement seems to be quite popular these days.

There was another family in there putting it to good use with their coolboxes and picnic hampers.

And who can blame them? it really was a wonderful evening to be out there soaking up the sun. I had even surprised the itinerant (who is still there) who has now moved to shelter under the tree and who was applying sun-tan oil to his limbs as I ran on past.

fishing from boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd of course, there would be crowds of people out to sea too.

With the tide being well in the local fishermen don’t have far to go out to make their catch, assuming that they catch anything, for I remain to be convinced. I’m not quite sure what his boat is either. A low profile like that suggests a kayak, but not with his feet on top of it.

That too is not the kind of thing that I would like to be out in if ever it comes to a swell on the water.

crowds man fishing pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were people absolutely everywhere tonight.

We’ve seen the crowds on the lawn, we’ve seen the big bunch of kids jumping into the water off the harbour wall, and there’s also a crowd down there at the viewpoint by the watchman’s cabin enjoying themselves in the sun.

And of course it goes without saying that we have the obligatory fisherman perched on his rock with his rod in his hand.

My run continued down along the clifftop where I could watch the kids leaping into the water, and then I carried on all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury.

crowds perched on rocks plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThese days of course I don’t stop for breath but carry on all the way down the rue St Jean almost to the Place Cambernon, cut through the alley and then back up the rue du Nord to the viewpoint on the corner.

No picnickers tonight again, seeing as the tide was in, but that rocky shelf that we saw yesterday seems to be very popular right now.

We have another, different group perched on there tonight making the most of the beautiful weather.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd they had every reason to be out there enjoying it tonight too because this was one of the better sunsets.

If you look very closely you’ll notice that the sun has its orange halo tonight. There’s a lot of discussion about what these halos represent but current thought seems to indicate that there would be very thin cirrus clouds up there laden with ice crystals.

The sun would be shining into the ice and this would create a prism effect .

But whatever it is, it’s certainly beautiful

fishing boat with net out english channel ile de chausey sunset granville manche normandy france eric hallJust as I was about to run for home I noticed the fishing boat in the distance out in the English Channel over by the Ile de Chausey. Wondering what it was doing, I took a photo of it to crop and enlarge back at the apartment

So I ran on back home to do the necessary, and if you look very carefully at the rear of the boat, you’ll see that the crew have their tackle out and are clearly going hard at it.

As for me, I edited the photos and then wrote up my journal.

An early night is called for tonight. Tomorrow I’m going out for a drive with Caliburn.

He became a teenager a few weeks ago as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, so he’s going to have a makeover. Tomorrow someone in a bodyshop is going to have a look at him and we’ll have a discussion about how to keep him going for the next 13 years.

He’ll probably outlive me at this rate.

Tuesday 19th November 2019 – WHAT A WASTE …

… of a morning that was!

On Sunday night I had just a couple of hours sleep. And while it’s true to say that I dozed off quite a few times on the way home, that is nothing like what I would call a deep, meaningful sleep.

And so I’m totally lost and unable to understand why it was that I was still up and about working (talking to Mike on the internet about my Uummannaq speech) at 03:30.

It’s true to say that I was not anticipating an early start today. I’d disconnected the series that starts at 06:00 and replaced it with the series that starts at 08:00. Nevertheless, although I had heard them, it was about 10:00 when I stuck my head up from under the quilt.

It was … errr … somewhat later when my feet finally hit the floor and that was the morning effectively finished before it had begun.

But I’d managed to go off a-wandering during the night and it was all a bizarre couple of journeys too. The first one was about one of my sisters. I’d been somewhere and she was in another room with a few people. She was getting changed. I went off to do something, review my post figures for the week so I did a couple of hours overtime, something like that in the night to do it. As I was leaving it, all these young girls were going to leave it too, off to the shops for something. They were all wearing these white sheets and black sheets like witches and druids, whatever, and I couldn’t see my sister there. I had to go to the back office to check in. A woman was there, and that was where I’d last seen my sister. We started to talk about things that I had done and things in the road, roadworks and everything. All of a sudden it came to be 04:00 now and everyone else was milling around, and I thought “where’s my sister?” and I couldn’t see her anywhere. I was getting a bit concerned because obviously I wanted to see her but I couldn’t find her at all. The thing is that it wasn’t really my sister at all that I was talking about but Zero, who has accompanied me on my travels on many occasions in the past (although this is her first time for quite a while). She was there and her father was there as well and he figured in it right at the very start for some reason

Some time later, there was a group of us gone camping somewhere supposed to be out in the cold but although it seemed cold it wasn’t that cold to me. We were staying in some kind of weird buildings with open fronts. We had pitched our bedding in there should I say, the whole group of us and I was hanging out with a couple of girls actually and I’m not sure who they were. Everyone else, they were very early to bed and very early risers. (… I can do the latter but not the former…) so they had to keep on going to fetch me to go to bed. On one occasion they came down and got me. We were walking back up past where the kids were sleeping and I made a remark because the courtyard was totally empty but it was to me quite early. “They must be all in bed, the kids”. We walked back to where we were sleeping. Our beds were there and I could see that everyone else was in bed but one or two of them were looking disapprovingly of me coming back. I was getting ready for bed, taking my trousers off, but decided that I had to do something so I started hopping around the room like a kangaroo with my trousers around my ankles and hopped off outside presumably to go to the toilet or something. But ti was totally strange seeing everyone sleeping in woolly hats fully clothed, all this kind of thing. And when I had returned to my room with these girls there was some money on one of the beds. I said to the girl “is it your money or mine?” She replied “it’s your money because my money is down in my car down below. It must be your money” so she gave it to me.

There was the usual medication and breakfast and the first part of what was left of the morning was spent in dealing with the dictaphone entries of the last few days and then catching up with three out of the backlog.

But then I noticed the time. A quick shower and clean up and setting the washing machine on the go, and I went into town. My lettuce was somewhat sad so I needed a new one as well as some bananas and potatoes. A visit to Super U was thus on the cards.

While I was down there I picked up another one of those dejeunettes from the boulangerie. 170gms – that’s about 2/3rds of a baguette and €0:50 a throw. That’s plenty for me for lunch and I may as well take advantage of the bakery while I’m down there.

Back at the apartment, I noticed the time. 13:25 already. So I had my lunch and then a play on the guitar for half an hour.

This afternoon’s projects were many and varied.

  • Find the receipts for the medication that I had been prescribed in Belgium and scan them into the computer. I’m trying to do this straight away rather than letting a pile build up.
  • Carry on with the hunt for digital tracks for the albums that I own
  • Hanging up the washing (which I had forgotten when I returned).
  • Backing up the stuff off the travelling laptop onto the main computer and merging the data. And that wasn’t a two-minute job as I can’t find a European power pack for it so I had to make up a converter out of some stuff in Caliburn.
  • Most importantly, starting work on Project 003.

All of the music for that project is now done and I’m halfway through preparing the notes. I want to finish that off for the weekend and maybe even finish Project 004 by then too.

And I don’t know quite what happened, but I fell asleep at some point too. Only 10 minutes or so, but asleep all the same.

In between all of this, I managed to take myself off out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

gravestone missing pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceBut here’s a surprise. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that ages ago we’d discovered something that looked like the headstone of a grave stuck in the ground close to one of the old bunkers of the Atlantic Wall

But when I got there this afternoon, I noticed that it seems to have been removed. There’s a hole in the ground where it used to be and that’s all closed off with bollards and tapes.

That’s a surprise because it’s something that seems to have been ignored for I don’t know quite how many years.

sailors memorial pointe du rock granville manche normandy franceAnd when I was out for my walk during the evening yesterday, I sensed that while I was round by the lifeboatmen’s memorial I was walking on something that didn’t feel quite right to me.

In the daylight today though, I could see what was the issue. It seems that they have planted flowers all around the memorial without telling me. And with not having seen them, I’d been trampling upon them.

Ahh well! Someone should have said something. I can hardly be blamed if they go cluttering up the footpath, can I?

aztec lady spirit of conrad chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAnd so my walk continued. Along the top of the cliff and past the chantier navale.

The two ships that were in there the other day – Aztec Lady and Spirit of Conrad – they are still in there today. Aztec Lady seems however to have grown a pair of masts since the last time that I looked.

There’s a new boat in there too. One of the little fishing boats is over there on ramps too, presumably having some work done upon her.

Back in the comfort, warmth and safety of my apartment I carried on with my work until tea time. There was a slice of vegan pasty left over from March so I heated it up in the oven with some potatoes and, seeing as I had the oven on, a large rice pudding for afters.

Peas and carrots and gravy with the pie and potatoes went down really well. And I’m running low on carrots too. I’ll have to make some more if there are any going cheap at LIDL on Thursday.

donville les bains granville manche normandy franceAfter tea I went for my evening walk around the walls.

There was some kind of searchlight shining over Donville-les-Bains so I went to take a photo of it. And just as I had finished setting up the equipment, they switched off the light.

That’s just typical, isn’t it? So I just took a photo of it normally in the dark instead.

avenue de la liberation granville manche normandy franceThere wasn’t a soul out there tonight, which was not a surprise because it was freezing cold out there and there was a high wind blowing.

For that reason I hadn’t taken the tripod with me, so I took a photo of the chicane in the Avenue de la Liberation by hand instead. It’s not come out too badly despite that.

And I was disappointed with my run. Very disappointed in fact. I could only manage about half of it and that’s no good if I intend to keep up this fitness regime. I have to take it seriously.

Just now I’ve had a mug of hot chocolate and now I intend to do a couple of web site amendments before going to bed. I must push on with this despite all of the other work and do a few each day just to whittle down the backlog.

No time like the present.

Friday 14th April 2017 – WELL, THAT’S ME …

… done in for the next few days, I reckon. I’ve really had a busy day today and I was in something of a little agony when I finally crawled myself off to bed.I couldn’t even stay awake long enough to watch a 25-minute film either!

Mind you, there’s a very good reason (or two) for this – not the least of which was that I was wide awake at some kind of silly time like 04:00 and didn’t have any idea about going back to sleep again.

However, I must have done, because I was wide awake yet again at about 06:30. And this time I managed to stay awake too, having breakfast when the alarms went off (and it’s not the first time just recently that this has happened either).

After a little bit of dillying and dallying this morning I went outside to wait for Alison who came to pick me up. She took me back to her house to see around the garden, and I took the opportunity to say “hello” to Brian, whom I hadn’t seen for a while.

Jennifer then climbed into the car with us and then we hit the highway, direction Ieper (or, for those of you with very long memories, Ypres). Neither Jenny nor Alison had been there before and it was on their list of places to visit, and so I had offered to accompany them. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that back in the dim and distant past that for the University course that I was studying at the time, I wrote a thesis comparing the rebuilding of Ieper with the rebuilding of Coventry.

Good Friday isn’t a Bank Holiday in Belgium, and so we had the usual chaotic drive around the Brussels ring road in the usual kind of traffic that makes driving the M25 look like a stroll down a country lane, but nevertheless we made it eventually to Ieper.

menin gate ieper ypres belgium april avril 2017As luck would have it, there was a parking space right by the side of the city walls near the Menin Gate and so Alison’s impressive driving soon had us neatly parked.

Three hours free parking outside the city walls, which is a good deal on any kind of basis and that gave us plenty of time to do a little sightseeing around the city before clearing off into the surrounding countryside.

menin gate ieper ypres belgium april avril 2017The Gate itself is fascinating. The original one had been demolished as it was considered to be a restriction to modern traffic, but a new one was built here after the war by the British as a memorial to the missing.

Of the quarter of a million or so British soldiers who died in the Battles around Ieper, probably half of them were never recovered or identified, and the idea was to write their names up on panels on the gate.

However, despite several expansions, the Gate was never ever large enough, and they abandoned the plan half-way through. Instead, they continued the work by installing panels on a wall at the cemetery.

basil blackwood ieper ypres belgium april avril 2017It’s interesting to look at the panels and see if there’s anyone there whom you can identify. One name leaps to mind out of that lot on there and that is Lord Basil Blackwood.

A big friend of Maurice Baring and featuring heavily in Baring’s semi-autobiographical Flying Corps Headquarters, he was a well-known illustrator of children’s books as well as being a competent barrister.

Ironically, he actually featured in one of my nocturnal rambles a year or so ago.

Another name on there is that of the Honourable Alan George Sholto Douglas-Pennant. His claim to fame is that he was the heir apparent to the title of the Earl of Penrhyn.

cloth hall cathedral ieper ypres belgium april avril 2017We headed off into the city centre to look at the Cloth hall and the Cathedral.

You can immediately see just how rich Ieper had been as a town simply by looking at the buildings here. The 15th and 16th Century was a time of great prosperity for the city, its fortunes being based on the woollen trade. However, by the time of the First World War, its fame and fortune had long-since passed it by.

if you had come here in 1919, all that you would have seen of the city would have been assorted piles of rubble. During the period from October 1914 until late 1917, the city was being systematically flattened by German artillery until nothing remained.

Many years ago I read the diary of the priest (or whatever ecclesiastic title he would have held) of the Cathedral in which he described day-by-day the destruction and devastation that was happening in his parish and the agonising deaths that many of his parishioners suffered.

But by chance, the original plans of the city were rediscovered after the war and this enabled much of the city, including the Cloth Hall and the Cathedral, to be rebuilt more-or-less exactly how it used to be, and it’s a testament to the skill and labour of the craftsmen that they managed it so successfully when compared to the absolutely dreadful attempts by the UK and the Donald Gibson School of Wanton Vandalism to “modernise” its cities after the Luftwaffe blitz

We found a little burger bar where not only did they have veggie burgers but gluten-free buns. We were all able to have a decent late-lunch/early-tea, and doesn’t that make a nice change?

Things are looking up!

menin gate ieper ypres belgium april avril 2017Jenny had some shopping to do so we wandered back up town towards the Menin gate and the car.

This gave us an opportunity to see the Gate from this viewpoint and to admire the facades of the houses that lined the street. It’s a magnificent rebuilding job that was carried out here after the First World War.

It’s just a shame that there is so much traffic in the street. But it IS Easter Holiday in the UK of course, and that’s why Jenny is here

museum trench mortar ieper ypres belgium april avril 2017There’s a museum out on the edge of the city where artefacts dating from the battles here had been taken to be put on display, and this was one place that Alison and Jenny wanted to visit.

Here’s Jenny just disappearing into a trench that was being protected by an old trench mortar of the type that the British used to lob projectiles from their trenches into the German trenches which, sometimes, were no more than 20 metres away across No-Man’s Land (or No Person’s Land as I really have heard it described).

trench museum ieper ypres belgium april avril 2017The people here had bought a section of what was, I believe, the British second-line trenches during the battles here, and had kept them in some kind of state of how they might have been during the fighting.

Of course, it’s very difficult for the trenches to remain intact after 100 years, but hats off to them for having a go. It’s the nearest that you will ever come to understanding the suffering that the soldiers of the various armies had to go through during the First World War

There were all kinds of relics recovered from the battlefield and stored here to give you an idea of the items that were being used on the battlefield.

barbed wire trench museum ieper ypres belgium april avril 2017Barbed wire was probably one of the most common items to be used out here, and they had recovered several rolls of the stuff over the years. Horrible nasty stuff that can tear you to shreds and which was used to impede movement in No-Mans Land.

The Germans had a very nasty habit of whenever there was about to be a British attack, they would sneak out and carefully cut the wire in strategic places so as to channel the attacking British and French troops down predictable pathways, which were then covered by a couple of heavy machine guns.

Ludovic Kennedy reckoned that of the hundreds of thousands of Allied troops who were killed on the Somme and at the Third Battle of Ypres, most were killed by no more than a few hundred German machine-gunners.

world war one radial engine hill 62 ieper ypres belgium april avril 2017I wanted to come here again because when I had been here before they had brought in a radial engine from a World War 1 aeroplane that had crashed on the battlefield.

I was hoping that they might have cleaned it up but apparently that’s not within the remit of the museum, so I couldn’t even tell if it was German or Allied, never mind what make it might have been.

They were usually either 7 or 9-cylinder engines (sometimes in two banks) and this one is a 9-cylinder.

The principle of the radial engine is that the engine rotates around the pistons, not the other way around. They produce a lot of lateral torque as you might expect and so required a great deal of concentration to fly.

However the torque could be an advantage because if you were being chased across the sky by an enemy machine, relaxing your grip would let the torque take over and the machine would shoot off at random unpredictably all over the sky and the aeroplane chasing you couldn’t follow you.

The British however generally insisted on stable machines that would fly predictably and easily, and hence they were shot down like flies.

hill 62 ieper ypres zonnebek passendaele passchendaele belgium april avril 2017Outside, we went up to Hill 62 to see if we could see the Hooge Crater – the hole that had been created by the massive mining, tunnelling and explosive works of the british to demolish the German defences.

It’s not clearly visible but the city of Ieper is, and you can see why it was imperative for the British to capture the hill from the Germans, for from here they could rain down shells and bullet on the city with impunity.

People often talk about the heavy losses that were sustained by capturing positions like these, but from the top of the hill it’s very easy to imagine the casualties that would have sustained from a battery of field guns had they been allowed to remain here unopposed.

tyne cot military cemetery ieper ypres zonnebeke passendale passchendaele belgium april avril 2017From here we went on through Zonnebeke on the road to Passendale – or Passchendaele – where we stopped at the Tyne Cot military cemetery half-way up the hill.

It’s by far and away the largest British military cemetery in the World and the even sadder thing about it is that more than half of the inmates are unidentified.

What is known about them is written on the tombstone – “an unidentified soldier of the First World War” means that they don’t even know his nationality. “A unidentified Second Lieutenant of the Black Watch” is more clear.

tyne cot military cemetery ieper ypres zonnebek passendaele passchendaele belgium april avril 2017I mentioned earlier that at the Menin Gate they had eventually given up the idea of expanding it to include the names of all of the missing.

It’s here at Tyne Cot that they carried on, and all along the back wall are the names of tens of thousands more soldiers who disappeared into the morass that was the Third Battle of Ypres, or Passchendaele.

And to think that there are still some people (mainly Brits of course) who are still fighting this war

tyne cot military cemetery ieper ypres zonnebek passendaele passchendaele belgium april avril 2017Douglas Haig came in for a lot of bitter criticism about his plan of attack – mainly from Captain Liddell-Hart and his acolytes in the 1950s and onwards.

But Liddell-Hart’s vitriol, due mainly to his having been passed over for promotion on many occasions evenwhen officers were also dying like flies, obscures a couple of vital points that history has (conveniently for Liddell-Hart) totally forgotten.

  1. Haig wanted to attack in the late Spring and Summer after the Vimy Ridge offensive, when the weather would have been kinder. It was the British politicians who insisted that Haig postpone his attack, and overruled him at every step. And, just like Brexit politicians, they all ran away and hid when it all went wrong.
  2. Haig had a dreadful fear, and although subsequent events were to prove him wrong, contemporary knowledge was certainly on his side and he cannot be blamed for thinking the way he did.

    After the dreadful carnage that was Verdun, the French Army was on the verge of mutiny and there was a strong call amongst left-wing politicians in France for an immediate end to hostilities.

    If the French left-wingers had had their way, and France had withdrawn, what would have become of the British Army?
    Being unable to fight in France, and being unable to resupply (as all of the ports used by the British Army were in France) the German Army would have simply waited until the British had run out of ammunition and then walked over and rounded them up.

    It was absolutely vital that the British reach the Belgian coast and capture a port at all costs if they were to continue the battle and not surrender to the Germans.

    As it happened, the left-wingers in the French Government were defeated and order was restored, but Haig wasn’t to know this at the time of the battle. And history has very unkindly erased this chapter of the story from Modern Thought.

menin gate ieper ypres belgium april avril 2017Back in town again later, we went for a coffee and encountered another Belgian businessman who preferred to shut up his shop and go home instead of catering for the hundreds of people who were milling around the Menin Gate – no wonder that there’s a recession.

At 20:00 every night the Belgian Fire Brigade have a parade here and blow the Last Post to commemorate the hundreds of thousands of British soldiers who died here to keep the city out of German hands (and as I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … things must have gone dramatically wrong for the UK over the past 50 years if the Belgians prefer the Germans here these days).

The proceedings were interrupted by a British motorcyclist on a big Harley Davidson who rode the wrong way up a one-way street and revved his engine to drown out the ceremony (which explains a lot of what I have just said) but anyway, we headed back to the car afterwards for our journey back.

And now I’m exhausted. I’ve had a heavy day and it’s just as well that I’ve organised a Day of Rest tomorrow. I’ll be in no state to hit the rails after all of this.