Tag Archives: mini digger

Monday 16th May 2022 – THAT WAS ANOTHER …

… totally messed-up day today.

Not that that’s any surprise because after my totally messed-up weekend and a 06:00 start this morning, it was pretty much odds-on.

Not that I’m complaining of course, even though it might sound like it. I take my days as they come and take what’s given to me. I really wanted to do that Welsh weekend course and so I have to accept the baggage that comes with it.

No-one was more surprised than me to find me half-way out of bed when the alarm went off at 06:00. And I even managed to be up and about before the second alarm went off.

After the medication I came back in here to make a start on today’s work but rather regrettably I fell asleep almost immediately. In fact I was out like a light until almost 08:00. In fact, for all the good that I was doing I may as well have stayed in bed.

When I’d finally come round I grabbed a quick coffee and then attacked the radio programme and that took me all the way up until 12:30 this morning before it was finished. I really wasn’t doing very well

There was time for a shower and a good clean up and then I made my butties with some of that delicious bread that I’d baked yesterday.

It was a good job that I’d set the alarm for my physiotherapy session this afternoon because back in here after lunch I fell asleep. And fell asleep in spades too. It was a real struggle for me to pull myself together when the alarm went off and I was in no mood whatever to go out for my physiotherapy.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022As usual, the first place to go when I went outside was to the viewpoint on the corner onfthe Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

And for a change there was no-one parked up down by the fish processing plant. Not even L’Omerta. She’s forsaken her usual spot for a change and gone off to see what she can catch out at sea.

And have you noticed the weather? We had a torrential rainstorm for about 15 minutes yesterday afternoon and it looks as if we have had another one while I was asleep just now. The weather is all wet, grey and miserable.

Not that that’s any surprise, because so am I

diggers working in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022On thing that we see every now and again is something to do with the laying of a drain out of the port de plaisance into the open sea.

By the looks of things they are back there again today. They have a couple of diggers out there this afternoon working away. It’s not actually all that easy though to see what they are doing and the standard lens on the NIKON 1 J5 doesn’t help things any.

What I’ll have to do is to go by with the big NIKON D500 with the 70-300mm LENS tomorrow and see if that gives me a better clue.

From there I headed off down the hill towards town.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022At the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour I was lucky enough to catch sight of another hive of activity.

We’ve seen a shrink-wrapped speedboat down there for a couple of days, but today there’s a lorry delivering another one to add to the collection of stuff on the quayside to be taken over to Jersey by one of the little freighters.

My attention was also caught by the crane over there at the back of the loading bay by the old gravel bins. That looks quite new to me, unless they’ve overhauled one of the ones that was here before. If it has been overhauled they have done a good job because it’s much cleaner than it was before.

repairing electrical cables rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There have been notices all over town telling us of power cuts this afternoon.

On the corner of the Rue Paul Poirier and the Rue Couraye I caught up with them at one of their work sites. Apparently the work is due to go on into the evening.

The climb up the hill was awful. I wasn’t feeling in the least bit like it and it seems today as if I have gone backwards by about 6 months.

But when I was there she put me through my paces again. She’s certainly working me hard enough, much harder than the others did. Here’s hoping that it’s doing me some good.

After she threw me out I went to Lidl – eventually, because it was a nightmare going up the hill to the top. To think that there used to be times when I would sail up there like a galleon in the Spanish Armada.

At Lidl I spent a bit of money buying a few things and then headed for home.

digger working in rue de la houle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Myy route home from Lidl is a different way to the way that I came, so I hadn’t seen these roadworks until I left the shop.

They’ve been digging a trench with the digger and were now busy filling it in so I couldn’t see what they had been doing with the trench.

But I was more interested in watching the digger driver. Of course I can drive and operate a mini-digger – I used to own one until recently – but I couldn’t drive mine the way that this guy was driving this one.

It was something rather like a ballet and it was most impressive. I was in half a mind to give him a round of applause when he finished. I was quite jealous.

cycle path rue de la houle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Further on down the Rue de la Houle I noticed that they’ve been installing something of a cycle lane here.

They are spending a fortune on facilities for cyclists in the town and we have seen several examples thereof just recently, but I have a feeling that much of this is going to be money wasted.

The truth is that Granville is not a cyclists’ town. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s all “up-and-down” and that’s not the best terrain for cyclists. In fact there are parts of the town that are used as endurance trials during the Tour de Normandy cycle race.

That should give you some idea of what the streets are like around here.

new building rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we4ve been following the adventures of the new building on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul.

They have made a great deal of progress just recently. The roof is going on and the crane that has been there since July last year has now been taken away. It looks as if they might be finishing it some time soon if they aren’t careful.

From there I carried on down into town where I bumped into one of my neighbours and then staggered up the hill towards home, having to stop on several occasions to catch my breath and, on one occasion, to brink a can of energy drink.

That’s the kind of state in which I find myself today.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The weather had brightened up by now so I went to look down onto the beach to see what was happening.

There wasn’t a lot happening there right now though. Just one or two people. The bad weather earlier seems to have put the rest of them right off coming out today.

Back here I had a coffee and then collapsed into a chair, feeling absolutely awful. It’s a long time since I’ve felt as bad as this.

But I did manage to listen to what was on the dictaphone from last night. There was something about moving a squadron of lorries across the border in northern France. My friend from the Wirral was there at one point. I can’t remember very much about this particular dream at all. Then I was in Canada. I’d just hired a car and had an accident in it and that was before I’d picked up my temporary Canadian driving licence so they had to hurry up and issue my Canadian driving licence extremely quickly. In the meantime I had to go and wait over by the Sheriff’s office to tell them to come along and deal with it. It was in a terrible state, more untidy than mine. Some big, fat lady came over and asked me what I was doing. I explained so she went and rolled over onto a settee and lay down there and went to sleep leaving me amongst all these cameras and guns etc while they sorted out my driving permit.

Tea should have been a stuffed pepper but the pepper was no good so it ended up being a taco roll.

And now I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be at my best but that’s unlikely the way that I’m feeling right now.

Thursday 6th January 2022 – LOOK WHO’S BACK!

lorry trailer minidigger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And he’s brought a friend with him too.

It seems that I was exceedingly premature the other day when I said that they must have finished down at the roadworks by the Rue St Michel, because ever since then, the lorry with its trailer and machines has been back every day.

And in the past I’ve mentioned about the difficulties that large vehicles have of passing underneath the Porte St Jean into the old town. It’s usual therefore for there to be a means of trans-shipment using a smaller vehicle, and today there’s a pick-up by the side of the lorry unloading stuff that it’s brought from within the walls

This morning I needed a pick-up to move me from my bed into the living room because I certainly wasn’t capable of doing it under my own steam.

It had been another “nuit blanche” – a night without any sleep. At least, that’s what it felt like and the fact that there was nothing at all recorded on the dictaphone tends to give that idea some credence. I suppose that the awful afternoon that i’d had yesterday was preying on my mind.

After the medication and so on, I came back in here feeling sorry for myself and not doing anything at all. And that’s how it went for a couple of hours.

But a strong mug of coffee at breakfast time gradually seeped down all the way through my muscles and I began slowly to feel more like it. I even went out and did the “end of the month” back-up onto the memory stick that I take to Leuven with me that I use to update the travelling laptop.

And feeling a little more like it after that, I set myself a little task, to prove that I am worthy.

There’s been a persistent … well, not a fault, but something that I would like to change in my notes and I’d made a start back in November and all subsequent entries have reflected it.

It’s to do with a song by Al Stewart that I heard while I was preparing a radio programme and it reminded me of something going back to 2006-07 that I did that I had forgotten, inspired by the same song. The lyrics were … well … extremely appropriate at the time.

Anyway, being up-to-date with that from November, there were entries going back all the way to the start of this journal to amend and so I made a start. Not every day of course, maybe one every few weeks (although just recently they have been a lot more frequent than that) and I made it as far back as the end of October 2020.

And if I have time tonight I’ll do a few more too because it’s quite therapeutic. Al Stewart has a lot to answer for.

Another strong coffee brought me even more into the land of the living and I attacked the soundfile that I started the other day.

With a pause here and there and a pause for my afternoon walk, I was well-advanced. Over 10 minutes of this interview has already gone the way of the west leaving me with, at the moment, just about 15 minutes, of which there will be more following its friends into oblivion.

There is at the moment 8.5 minutes of how I want it to be, so I’m looking as if I’m going to end up with about 12 minutes in total.

It won’t be done tomorrow morning though because I have bread to make. and now that I have a new whizzer, I need to finish off making this large batch of hummus.

In fact there would have been much more of this sound file edited but Rosemary rang me up for a chat and we had another one of our marathon sessions.

As for the afternoon walk, well, it was like a March day outside – not cold, not wet, not particularly anything.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022First place to go to is the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what’s going on down there.

And there was plenty of beach for all kinds of things to be going on, but there weren’t many people down there going on with it. In fact, for the whole length of the beach, I could only see one person, although there was some movement down by the bouchot beds at Donville les Bains.

While I was there, I had a good look out to sea to see whether we might have any kind of maritime activity, but there wasn’t a sausage out there this afternoon that I could see, and it was quite clear this afternoon again.

light aeroplane 50sa pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There might have been nothing going on out at sea, but there was something going on up in the air this afternoon.

As I walked down the path I was overflown by an aeroplane that had taken off from the local airfield. No need to look for a flight plan because it’s our old friend 50SA and, being an ultra-light aircraft, she doesn’t file one which is a shame.

And it’s my intention to go out to the airfield when I come back from Leuven to make further enquiries about these planes and find out what I can about them. But I bet that there will be no-one there to ask when I arrive.

cap fréhel cap erquy brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Yesterday, I mentioned that the views out to sea were amongst the best that we have ever had.

That’s certainly the case today and the view of Cap Fréhel, 70 kms away, even with the naked eye, was quite impressive. Not only that, if you look carefully at this image you can see the headland beyond it.

If I’m correct, that headland in the background to the right of the lighthouse is Cap Erquy and that’s a further 10 or 12 kilometres further on.

Yes, the views were really impressive, but it was a shame that there was only me out there enjoying them. There wasn’t another soul about this afternoon, and that suits me, with another 261,000 infections. I’m dreading going to Paris next week with all of this.

gerlean trafalgar chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No-one down by the bench at the end of the headland so I carried on along the path towards the port.

And there’s been another change of occupant in the chantier naval as well since I was last here. Pescadore and La Bavolette II now seem to have gone back into the water and in their place is the trawler Trafalgar whom we have seen in there before.

On the othe rhand, Gerlean is still in there, having a lot of work carried out on her. But I’ll refrain from saying “it looks as if she’s in here for a long stay” for that’s the cue for her to be back in the water when I come by tomorrow.

joly france chausiase ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Joly France boats, the older one of the two unless I’m much mistaken, is still over there as she has been for the last while, but she’s been joined today by Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey occasionally.

But wouldn’t it be nice to see the Channel Island ferries back at the ferry terminal? It’s been almost 2 years since they last went out (apart from that little window in the early summer 2020) and with the infection rates being so appalling, that’s not likely to change any time soon.

On the way home, I passed by the lorry and its trailer and little friend, and came back here for a coffee and to carry on work, until Rosemary called.

Tea tonight was pasta and burger with vegetables. Very nice and it made me feel much better. In fact, I’ve not had too bad a day today despite how it started (and how yesterday finished).

Baking bread tomorrow, making hummus, and whatever else I can find to do.

Wednesday 5th January 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a lorry taking away the material that had been used in resurfacing the Rue St Michel.

At the time I said that if I remembered, I would go that way down to the doctor’s to have a look at what kind of job they have done of it.

Anyway, this will teach me to post vituperative comments about things like the quality of the road surfacing that they do, because while I’ve seen better surfaces finished than this, it’s not actually too bad.

They seem tp have been somewhat confused with the curves in a few places, but considering that this is the 21st and not the 15th Century, I don’t suppose that they have the skill that they used to have.

rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Mind you, I don’t think that they have quite finished.

A little lower down in the Rue Cambernon they are still in something of a temporary situation as they carry on laying the electric cables in the street.

When they finish the cable-laying, they might relay the pavé to the same standard as in the Rue St Michel, but what is actually making me wonder right now is what kind of electric cables they are laying, and for what purpose?

The hope is that we might finally be having fibree-optic cable, some 25 years after we had it in Belgium and 4 years since they started to install it here, but I’m not that optimistic about that. This is the kind of work that can go on for ever.

lorry trailer minidigger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But they obviously have some kind of plans for something, because the lorry, its trailer and the mini-digger were back this morning.

Not unloaded though, so I’ve no idea what was happening. But they haven’t apparently finished quite yet.

But never mind the pavé. After today, I’m pretty much finished. I’ve had another really bad day where I seem to have fallen deep into the pit and been paralysed by inaction. That’s not doing me any good at all.

It’s a shame really, because although I didn’t end up going to bed as early as I would have liked, I was optimistic that I would have as good a sleep as I had last night. But it wasn’t to be. Nothing like, in fact.

There were a few travels during the night and once more, I was blessed with pleasant company. I started off with a girl last night, a young girl. It could have been Percy Penguin, it could have been Castor, one of those two. But I was in the Navy when I met this girl and I was going to take her home so we set out and drove and ended up behind a convoy of farm carts pulled by a tractor. We couldn’t go past it because the roads were narrow and it was too slow. The rear cart was just bumping around hitting just about everything so I couldn’t get too close to that. Then it disappeared somewhere so we could carry on. Then we had to climb over loads and loads of brambles and rocks down this well overgrown path to reach my house. In the end I had to go first and trample down as much as I could and help her over. She was standing on my clothes so I couldn’t move and that was where we ended up. And I wish that I knew which one of my female companions it was.

Some time later, Zero and I went off together in a car to Blackpool. She did a few things on her own and so did I, and then we did a few things together before coming home. It was quite late now as we drove home, which was my old family home in Vine Tree Avenue. When we went into the house I hoped that the two of us would have some time to be alone together but her parents were still up, which was surprising. It was Christmas morning so they had started to celebrate rather early. Surprisingly they said nothing whatever about anything.

Later still I was at the hospital last night and I’d had a booster injection, then I had an appointment with someone. But the booster injection didn’t show up on my passport so I went to see someone at reception. There was already one person being served, then there was me, then a girl came up behind. Thea someone came and started to talk to this third girl so I shouted “hello” quite loudly making it clear that it was me next. I explained the situation to this receptionist and she replied in English that it takes a day or two to come through. That’s why when someone comes to the hospital asking for a pill for the temporary effects they always take a note of their name and number

There was more to it than this but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you any inconvenience. But nevertheless, Zero and either Percy Penguin or Castor all on the same night. My luck really was in for a change.

But talking of people who I met on my travels a long way from home, we haven’t seen anything of The Vanilla Queen for a couple of years. I wonder how she’s doing.

Leaving the bed was agony this morning, and I didn’t have long to hang around before I had to nip off to the doctor’s.

christmas lights place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It came to my mind while I was on my way out that I hadn’t seen the Christmas decorations in the Place Cambernon yet this year.

On my way to the Rue St Michel I went that way for a look as it was still just about dark enough to appreciate them. But they were nothing special. Just the same old stuff that they have every year.

So I took my photograph to add to my collection that one day when I’m feeling better (whenever that might be) and pushed on down the road towards the Rue St Michel, chatting with one of my neighbours whom I encountered on my way down.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022We have a visitor in the harbout too today.

We can tell that this is Normandy Trader by the little raised deck behind the bridge. She’s come in on the morning tide for what I believe to be the first trip of the year, and is busy loading up.

And that might explain the lorry with the building materials that was doing a U-turn in the chantier naval yesterday.

At the doctor’s, he renewed my physiotherapy and my Aranesp prescriptions, and delighted on showing his student doctor a photo of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and telling her all about my voyages.

He mentioned the radio too. I hadn’t realised that I was such a celebrity!

But he also mentioned something else. Apparently he’s had some kind of sneak preview of the report that the cardiologist will present to me next week. There’s something somewhere in my body that I’m supposed to have 50 units of, but which some people might have as many as 250. I have 2246.

No idea what it is though. Craig thinks that it’s the size of my spirit, but I reckon that it’s the number or people whom I p*ss*d off last year. anyway, I’ll find out soon enough.

Next stop was the bank. I’d had my cheque for the last 3 months of my Belgian pension so I needed to pay it in. It also had my Christmas bonus too, so aren’t I the lucky one? And now I can go off and paint the town red with that extra €32:00.

moving apartment post office place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But I didn’t let it lie fallow for long.

There are bills that need to be paid so I headed off to the Post Office to post off a cheque. And there was an interesting removal job going on from the apartment up above.

They could do with a couple of these lifts that are quite common in Belgium. That will be a much more convenient machine that the pallet truck that they are using.

Next stop was the chemist’s to give them my prescription. She’ll have to order them of course, and I can pick them up again later in the afternoon.

normandy trader leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way home we had even more excitement.

Having seen Normandy Trader loading up on our way down into town, we were lucky enough to catch her stern as she sailed off out of the harbour back to St Helier. That’s what I call a quick turn-round.

Back here, the first job was to book my trip to Leuven next week. And that’s not as easy as it might be either.

Covid (would you believe more than 330,000 new cases of infection today?) has decimated the railway network and the trains are not running as they usually would

With the choice of either sitting at Paris Gare du Nord for almost 3 hours or making an early start, I’ve gone for the early start option and I’m on the … gulp … 06:55 to Caen and then to St Lazare in Paris, the reverse of the trip that I took a couple of months ago.

This means that I actually arrive in Brussels at 13:00 but I need to visit my bank there at some point, so this seems like the perfect opportunity. Do it on Wednesday early afternoon while I can.

That took longer than it ought to have done, but nevertheless there was time to start to edit a sound file of an interview before lunch.

After lunch I sat down to carry on with this editing but this is where I ran aground. And seriously too. I need to snap out of this. And it’s not even anything to do with the news that I had at the doctor’s either.

And with the travelling companions that I had during the night, I ought to have a smile on my face and a spriing in my step for the rest of the day

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However not even the thought that Percy Penguin, Castor and Zero might be waiting outside for me made going out at 16:00 to pick up my Aranest any easier.

But once I was out, I was out, and first port of call was the beach to see what was happening down there. And there were a couple of people down there this afternoon.

One person was walking around along the water’s edge, but I have no idea whatever what the other person was supposed to be doing. It looked quite unhealthy to me.

There were a few other people walking around in the distance too but they were too far away for me to see what they were doing.

trawler jersey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The air was extremely clear this afternoon – one of the clearest days that we have had for a while.

As usual I had a good look around to see what was happening out in the bay, and in the distance right out towards Jersey I could see a couple of fishing boats.

And they looked as if they were heading for home too. The tide might be well out right now but by the time that they arrive in the vicinity it will be quite a way in and they’ll be able to come into harbour without too long of a wait.

There were several other boats further out towards Jersey but I couldn’t tell from this photo which way they were heading.

baie de Granville st helier jersey Eric Hall photo January 2022But you probably noticed how clear the air was in the previous photos.

The buildings at St Helier were quite visible with the naked eye even though they are 58 kilometres away.

And that reminds me that I must go over there one of these days to have a look to see which buildings are which. I’ve had a virtual drive-round with an internet program but that’s no substitute for going for a real walk around the town itself.

Talking about going for a walk around the town, I ended up at the chemist’s to pick up my Aranesp and then walked back up the hill towards home, with no drama whatsoever.

It’s still not as easy as it used to be but a lot better than it was in the summer. I’m not sure whether it’s the physiotherapy, the Aranesp or the heart medication that’s doing it.

peche à pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back, I did stop for a moment.

But not for a question of breath, but for a photo opportunity. There were some people out there having a go at the peche à pied. But if I were going to be having a go at it, I wouldn’t be at it at the entrance to the harbour where several dozen boats pass right over the top four times a day.

Back here I had a coffee, but that was that. I’d really run aground by now. So much so that I couldn’t even think of what to have for my evening meal. In a total state of indecision and confusion I ended up with a curry from out of the freezer.

It beats me where this depression has sprung from, but I know that regardless I need to pull myself together and drag myself out of it. I have far too much to do than to waste my time sitting around feeling sorry for myself.

Part of it is the inactivity, with all of this time slipping away without going anywhere or doing anything. But then, I’m not fit enough to go anywhere anyway and even if I could travel, I’d be far too tired and exhausted to do it satisfactorily and to profit from it.

So i’ve no idea what the answer might be. But whatever it is, an endless circuit of physiotherapy and shopping broken by a trip every month to Leuven isn’t it. And with Covid running rampant at the moment almost everywhere, it won’t be anything else.

332,252 cases of Covid in one day is a disgrace.

Wednesday 9th December 2020 – I DIDN’T …

… manage to beat the alarm to my feet this morning but it was only a matter of seconds. I had in fact gone back to sleep after the second but I soon sprang back to life again and was up in a twinkling.

First job after the medication was to look at the kefir. It was the last of the current lot this morning and I’d forgotten to prepare any yesterday so just before I went to bed I made a small bottle with some mint syrup. That’ll have 30-odd hours to ferment and I’ll be intrigued to see how it comes out.

But the fact is that it hasn’t fermented at all. It seems to e quite inert. Still the proof of the pudding will be in the drinking tomorrow morning.

Last night I was taking part in a rock opera about a bird at a boxing tournament between kids. They started off as kids of various ages, and then it became pairs and in one pair some young boy was really hurt in a fight with a gorgeous left hook. In the end it was 3 girls against 3 boys and all 6 were in the ring together. And this is what this rock opera was to do – the start of this boxing match. The people who had green paint had to sing one set of lines and the people who had the blue lines had to sing another set of lines. I was in the blue line team although my girlfriend/partner/whatever was in the other. We had to sit in a certain corner and they sat in another. They sang one line and we sang another and we alternated like that. It turned out to be a song to persuade people to back the cause to rejoin the EU rather than the prelude to a boxing match

The morning has been spent working on the arrears of my voyage to Central Europe but there have been interruptions all along the way.

mini digger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I nipped into the living room to do something (and I can’t remember what now) and I noticed movement up by the Porte St Jean.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last night we saw that something had been done to the pavement in the Rue St Jean and we’d been musing on what it might be. It looks today as if they have called up the heavy equipment to help them along with what they are doing.

That reminds me – I’ll have to go out that way on my afternoon walk and see if I can’t find out what was going on.

This afternoon I made a new batch of kefir.

orange mint kefir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were three juice oranges lying around from a long time ago so they were whizzed to a fine pulp and the juice filtered out onto the large jug, and the pulp thrown away. The Kefir liquid was then strained through my filter set-up and added to the jug and mixed well in.

A new lot of kefir was started off and the stuff in the big jug was then filtered back through the filter set up into some flip-top bottles.

Here’s the finished product. It’ll be good when it’s had a couple of days to ferment some more. The green stuff in the bottle is the mint-syrup one that I made. And still no fermentation as yet. But I’ll have that in the morning tomorrow and see how it goes.

The kitchen was in something of a mess after all this baking etc (well, it’s been in something of a mess for quite a while if I think about it) so I took out the rubbish to the bins and then cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed it and scrubbed the floor to within an inch of its life. I must be feeling better

replacing paving slabs rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was walkies time so I duly set out to see what was going on about the place.

As I said earlier, first stop was bound to be the roadworks to find out what was going on. There were loads of vnas and lorries and quite a few people. And one friendly workman whom I buttonholed told me that they were simply replacing paving slabs.

It beats me why because they weren’t in bad condition. And I’m disappointed that it’s nothing to do with the fibre-optic. I was hoping that we would have had that up and running a long time ago, but apparently not.

Talking of running, I walked off down the Rue du Nord and then paddled through the puddles along the footpath under the walls.

tidal swimming pool plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd once I was clear of the madding crowds I broke into a run along the path. I need to take advantage of every possibility that presents itself.

Although it was somewhat cold out there, it was a very pleasant afternoon to be out and there were quite a few people walking along the Plat Gousset and even one or two people on the beach too.

The tide looked as if it was on its way in judging by how dry the beach is, and the tidal swimming pool was filling up nicely. Not that there was anyone loitering around waiting to go in it, which doesn’t surprise me in the least. The weather wasn’t that nice.

Once I reached my goal – the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch I retraced my steps.

trench fortifications medieval city wall Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we saw what looked like a gate in the wall up on the Place de l’isthme which I speculated might be the entrance to this tunnel-like walkway that goes across the trench and blocks the view so that you can’t see right from one end to the other.

This is the trench here, in the daylight, and you can see what I mean by the tunnel.

And if you look very closely you can see that the tunnel doesn’t actually cover the framework of the door surround, almost as if the tunnel is some kind of afterthought. It’s certainly something quite peculiar and I wonder chat purpose it actually serves. I’ll have to wait until there’s an Open Day, whenever that might be.

There was someone walking towards me across the Square Maurice Marland so I had to wait until they had gone before I could break into a run. And for the first time ever I managed to climb all the way up the second, steeper ramp before coming to a halt.

My running is definitely improving.

le pearl port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the top I went to have a look over at the port from the viewpoint there to see if there was anything of note going on.

No freighter from Jersey (and, as an aside, I’ve heard that Chausiais has been called in to take a load across the Channel to Jersey) but it looks as if the new trawler Le Pearl is making ready to go off on her travels.

She’s moved over to another berth, this time on the far side, where she’s receiving attention from a couple of guys as well as someone with a van. Are they provisioning her ready to go to sea, maybe?

renovated house rue lecarpentier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall the house renovation that’s been taking place in the Rue Lecarpentier.

Today, the netting all around it seems to have been taken down and we can see what they’ve been doing. The pointwork around the stones on the ground floor seems to have been renewed for a start.

So I headed off home for a really hot coffee to warm me up and to carry on with my work. but I unfortunately crashed out for about 10 minutes. I’ve been drifting away all through the day on and off and here and there.

After the enjoyable hour on the guitars, I had tea. Taco rolls and rice followed by apple pie. And then time for my evening run.

And that was something that I didn’t enjoy.

Actually I’m rather glad that I ran when I could this afternoon because there was a wicked swirling wind that had sprung up from somewhere In fact I may not know where it came from but I can tell you exactly where it was going.

This evening I hadn’t even made 50 yards down the road before I was brought to a dramatic halt by the force of the wind. it was bad enough trying to walk in it, never mind run.

war memorial to the resistance Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the shelter of the hedge at the back of the Sports Ground I could run down to the the clifftop and then the wind hit me and slowed me up again.

Round by the War memorial to the French Resistance I took a photo of the view just to prove that I had been there. It was looking quite nice with the lights of St Pair sur Mer in the background

And then, fighting the wind every inch of the way, I made it back home without stopping for another photo. Not exactly, though. The wind contrived to stop me dead in my tracks on more than one occasion.

Thursday tomorrow so it’s shopping day. That means that i’m going to try to grab an early night tonight. I deserve a long sleep. I’m thoroughly exhausted.

Thursday 18th June 2020 – LOOK WHO’S BACK!

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall.She’s not been gone for five minutes either!

Well, she has, actually. But certainly not 24 hours, in one of the quickest turn-rounds that I have ever witnessed.

As I went out for my meeting this evening with the radio people, who should be tied up in the port but Thora, one of the two small freighters that plies between here and Jersey in the Channel islands.

Things must be heating up over there if they are now doing runs as frequently as this.

thora unloading car port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd as I watched, the crew put a pair of skids underneath the wheels of the car that was on deck and the crane driver lifted it off and onto the quayside.

There was quite a crowd watching it as well. It’s not every day that there’s a spectacle like this on the quayside. Free entertainment of any kind is well-worth having at the moment.

While all of this was going on, she was being refuelled too. I hope that none of the spectators was thinking about having a cigarette to pass the time.

But enough of this. Let’s return to our moutons. Just for a change I’m not going to mention anything about my early morning, except to say that it was another dismal failure – one of far too many right now.

And after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone. And no wonder that it had been a long night. I HAD BEEN walking around a headland somewhere similar to here. There was a race going on and we had a yacht that was entered in it – a big streamlined thing. It was all about this yacht and preparing it and getting it ready.
Later on I was out buying cars. I already had two red Ford Consul II things parked in my drive that I had recently bought, and I saw this absolutely beautiful Zodiac III something like that so I went out and bought it. I thought to myself “well where am I going to keep this without everyone getting upset because my father is really annoyed about me having these two”? I thought that I could move those two on and sell them if I want and keep the black one and in the meantime park the black one down the street and hope that no-one realises that it’s mine. This led to a discussion about the radio. We were having a radio meeting and I remember looking at the interior of the boot of this Zodiac during this time and the boot was absolutely spotless, really nice. It led in the end to me having to apologise to someone at the radio for doing something but I can’t remember what that was either.
A bit later on I needed my driving licence changing over to a new one. I had to have a medical but who should be there giving me a medical but my doctor friend from school which of course took me by surprise. he gave me a medical and told me that I was fit to go and gave me all of the forms so off I went. But I suddenly realised that I hadn’t thanked him or even offered to pay. So I went to retrace my steps around this building but I couldn’t find where it was where he was staying, which office he was in. I was wandering around this building for ages trying to find his office
Later I was off waling down the street trying to walk for miles. One of the places that I had been to was that old BP garage that has figured in my dreams before on the edge of London. This time it had been demolished only this time there was a huge pile of sand there. I was thinking that I had better get back.

There was even more to it than this but as you are probably eating your meal I’ll save it until later.

Having written my notes I then went and had a shower – and afterwards I remembered to put the clothes back in the washing machine with some perfumed fabric conditioner, for I was off to the shops.

roadworks drawbridge rue cambernon granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that there are roadworks or something going on somewhere in the vicinity.

So walking down the street I had a quick glance underneath the arch where the drawbridge is, and sure enough, they have a little mini-digger down there doing something and the road is closed off.

No time to go for a look now. I made a mental note to look again sometime today when I would be passing and see if I could find out exactly what is going on.

electric wiring rue lecampion granville manche normandy france eric hallDown into town I went, and along the Rue Lecampion.

There was a cherry-picker here from one of the local electricity companies. It looks as if they are restringing a cable between two of the buildings. Whether someone passing by underneath has snagged it, I couldn’t really say.

First stop for me was at the railway station. My old fogeys railcard has expired and I need to renew it.

But no I don’t. having waited for about half an hour in the queue behind some woman booking a load of railway journeys for all of her family, I was informed that all season tickets and cards are automatically extended by three months due to the virus.

Some good news at last and, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

At LIDL I just bought the basic essentials. There was nothing there that caught my eye particularly, especially as I’m not eating all that much these days. But on the way back I called at La Mie Caline for a dejeunette

bad parking rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd how long is it since I’ve featured some bad parking on these pages?

It used to be a regular feature but things seemed to have quietened down with the virus, but now they are kicking off again. This guy here is parked half on the pavement and half across a pedestrian crossing, making life difficult for all of the pedestrians.

This is a service bus route too and the road is already narrow enough as it is. The selfishness of some people beggars belief.

back home I remembered to tae out the washing from the machine. And now the place smells RATHER LIKE THAT TART’S BOUDOIR ON NEWFOUNDLAND where we stayed back in 2010.

For a good part of the rest of the day I’ve been dealing with my studies. At long last I’ve finished week three of my accountancy course and although I’m well aware of the principles it’s still quite taking.

As well as that, I’m deep into week 4 of my music course. We’re doing diminished scales and chords this week and I do have to say that the practical aspect of this course is now way beyond me.

However I never ever pretended that I could play the piano. I’m here for the theory and for whatever crumbs that I can pick up that have fallen off the table.

Lunch was taken, for a change, on the wall overlooking the harbour. It was a lovely day, even if there was a bit of a wind. And I wasn’t alone either. A lizard came to join me and he enjoyed the bits of my pear that fell to the ground

78 aqj aeroplane pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on I went for my afternoon walk around the headland.

And it wasn’t just on the sea or on land that there were crowds of people. As I walked along the footpath I was buzzed by a low-flying aircraft. I couldn’t really read its number and one of the problems that I have now that I’ve been working with 3-D images is that I kept on trying to rotate the image to see it clearer.

Anyway, I’ll do some research into this plane at some point and see what I can find out about it.

fishing boats heading for home baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallMy perabulation continued around the headland to the Point by the coastguard station.

And it looks to me as if the harbour gates are now opening and there’s enough water by the fish processing plant because the fishing boats, large and small, all now seem to be making their way back towards the harbour to unload.

At least, I assume that they are heading back to unload. There isn’t the usual crowd – or cloud – of seagulls accompanying them as we have seen in the past when a loaded fishing boat comes into port.

fishing boats fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut if those two aren’t loaded, then it seems that everyone else is.

By the time that I had arrived at the fish processing plant everyone else had arrived and there was quite a queue at the quayside waiting to unload.

Quite a large collection of vehicles on the car park too. They are obviously expecting a bumper harvest today. And that is always good news for the port of course. We could do with all of the business that we could get.

heavy equipment leaving on lorry rue du granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd here’s a thing.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last week we saw some more plant and machinery being delivered to the boat ramp down on the rue du Port.

It looks as if I shall never know now why they were there and what is going to become of them. A lorry has turned up and is now taking them away again.

That’s a mystery to me.

lorry tipping rubble place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallBack here I carried on with my work and then headed off to this meeting.

On the way out I met a small lorry that was tipping a pile of rubble into the area that has been reserved for the workmen. It looks as if they are cracking on with whatever they are doing.

At the Grand Café I met the guy who wants to see me.

On the radio we run a series “Evenements et rencontres” where they interview people who visit the town or where there’s an important event taking place. And I’ve done a few of those, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

As it’s getting near to summer they need to build up a bank of programmes and as there has been no-one interesting or any important event taking place just recently they are scratching round for likely candidates. And they’ve decided that they want to interview me.

No idea why. I can think of 1000 people who have many more exciting things to say that I ever have. It rather reminds me of the legendary “Desert island Discs” programme where Roy Plombley learnt that Alistair MacLean was in tow so he dashed off to interview him.
After 20 minutes of dismal interrogation, the producer shouted down to Plombley “for God’s sake ask him about his books” only to receive the reply
“he hasn’t written any”.
It seems that the Alistair MacLean whom they had in front of them was the Alistair MacLean, President of a Canadian Tourist office and not the famous author at all.

A classic case of Omelette sur le Visage and the programme was never broadcast.

The meeting that we had tonight at the Centre Agora didn’t really accomplish a great deal, but we made a few plans for the future. Nothing that particularly effects me very much.

excavating steps rue lecarpentier granville manche normandy france eric hallSome of us went back for a drink afterwards at la Rafake. I stayed for about an hour or so – I have to do my best to be sociable even if I don’t feel much like it.

And on the way back I went to check on the excavations at the rue Lecarpentier. I only had the small camera with me so the photo isn’t the best.

I shall have to go back tomorrow with one of the good ones and take a proper photo, and undertake a proper inspection of the works while I’m at it. Whatever it is that they are doing, it seems to be quite a serious undertaking.

trawler with nets out english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAs I passed the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I noticed some activity taking place out to sea.

With only the small camera, I couldn’t do a really good job, but it seems that not only do we have one of the larger fishing boats out there, he had all of his tackle out there too.

A good close-up of his net dragging behind him would have made a really good photo and it’s always the case that I seem to be in the right place at the right time with the wrong gear.

Back here I was a baked potato with baked beans for tea even though it was late. Something quick and easy.

Following that I started to write up my notes but being overwhelmed with fatigue I left off and went to bed.

Tomorrow is another day and I can finish my notes off tomorrow.

Monday 19th November 2018 – IT WAS RATHER …

… a late night last night.

Another 01:30 finish as I was pushing on with doing things, and this was reflected in the struggle that I had to leave my stinking pit this morning.

During the night I was off on my travels again and although I can remember almost nothing of what I was doing. But there was one thing that struck me, as it has on many other occasions during the night. And that is the impeccable timing that goes on. There I was and I heard, in my voyage, the ping telling me that the telephone was just about to ring, so I reached out my hand and right on cue, the alarm went off. Absolutely perfect timing, and it’s not the first time that I’ve noticed this.

As soon as I awoke I went to look at the thermometer. 3°C right now, and that’s the lowest that it has been so far this autumn. We’re definitely in Autumn.

Breakfast was quite early too and that left me plenty of time to push onwards with work.

And sure enough, by lunchtime I’d finished all SIX of the web pages for the third day of my voyage to the High Arctic. You can go to this page and then work your way forward, if you have a couple of hours to spare, and admire the photographs.

Dozens and dozens of them.

That took me up to lunchtime so I had my butties in the apartment. It’s definitely out of the question now, this idea of sitting on the wall outside.

This afternoon I had a letter to write. Someone whom I met on my travels had written to me and now that I have a functioning printer I can reply. I’ll have to take it down into town tomorrow morning and post it off.

It was really windy out this afternoon but there was a crowd of people gesticulating wildly out on the peak.

dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceThere had been a couple of dolphins playing around just offshore and they had been giving a really good performance.

At first, I thought that I had missed it all, but on enlarging one of the photos that I took, I found that I had indeed captured one of them on film.

It’s rather blurred because it was way out in the bay and I had to crop and enlarge it, but it’s a dolphin all the same.

marité thora port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWhile I had the camera handy, I wandered round to the harbour.

We have Marité in her usual berth, but also, alongside, at the commercial dock is Thora. She must have sailed in from Jersey on the morning tide.

One of these days I’ll go down there and have a closer look at her.

Back here, I found myself away with the fairies for a while, which is hardly surprising after the night that I had. But once I came back round again, I had a good go at the blog entry for Day Four of my Arctic trip.

It’s been rewritten slightly and I’ve added a couple of dozen photos as a taster, just to keep things going until I can do the web page, which I’ll start tomorrow some time. In the meantime, you can see the blog entry here, with all of the photos.

There was an interruption during the early evening though. Someone telephoned me about my digger. He’s interested in buying it. But I don’t think that he’ll be buying it though. He was talking about “a couple of thousand Euros”, which isn’t even in the same library, never mind on the same page.

He mentioned that he would chat with his partner, but if he couldn’t rustle up the cash that I want he would borrow a digger off his friend. So he can do that then. I might be keen to move on a lot of the stuff that I don’t need these days, but we aren’t having a fire sale.

Tea was steamed veg and vegan sausages with cheese sauce. And using three times as much cornflour as I would normally use, I did get the sauce to thicken.

Freezing cold outside again. 4.5°C outside and getting colder by the minute. I wound up the heating when I came back in.

But I’ve hit a problem right now.

About 6 months ago, Firefox went all commercial and hacked off a lot of add-on utility programs. Presumably the utility developers wouldn’t buy a development licence. One of the utilities that went was the *.ftp program that I used.

There is however a lightweight browser – Waterfox – than runs on the Mozilla platform and the *.ftp utility ran on that. It’s been nagging at me to upgrade it for a while, which I haven’t done. But I’ve had to download it onto this laptpp, and the latest version to boot. And it’s running the new Mozilla platform and all of the utilities have gone.

Now I’m having to upload via my webhost’s control panel, and that is just so painful. Fire.ftp was just like a Windows Explorer platform and so simple to use. In fact it’s the only reason why I ever used Waterfox.

So that’s a waste of time then.

And on this note I’ll go to bed.

dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
dolphin baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

fishing trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france
fishing trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Thursday 4th May 2017 – HAPPY STAR WARS DAY

My last day here at Roncey today. And I can’t say that I’m sorry.

Well, actually yes I can because I’m here in the best of company with Liz and Terry and with food that is second to none, but the last time that I had a home of my own was in mid-November 2015 – over 18 months ago. Ever since then I’ve been living out of a suitcase in all kinds of different accommodation of varying quality. Now that I’m within touching distance of having a place of my own, I’m in a hurry to go there.

Last night I went to bed early-ish and took ages to drop off yet again. But when I did I was Gone With The Wind until about 06:45.

I’d been on my travels too. I had a selection of vehicles, one of which was the Escort van that I still have somewhere. It was taxed but not MoT’d, and I had other vehicles which were MoT’d but not taxed, or there was no insurance on them. And it occurred to me that I was dissipating my energies and why didn’t I put everything into just one vehicle and keep it properly taxed, tested and insured? Instead, I went to catch the bus. One bus drove past me while I was crossing the road. This was the bus 31 – a green Crosville single-decker of the mid-late 1950s. I could have caught that if I had hurried but instead I went across to a house where an old lady (formerly a passenger of mine on the taxis) and a few other women too (regular readers of this rubbish will recall what I mean when the word “beguiled” springs to mind). When I arrived the woman let me in and I noticed that she had a suitcase already packed as if she was ready to go on holiday. I wondered if I was disturbing her but apparently not.

Breakfast was with Liz and after she had gone to work Terry and I filled the cracks in the plasterboard that we had fitted yesterday and then insulated the walls. And seeing how easy all of this went together with metal studding and sheets of Rockwool I really wish that I had done my house like this.

We had to put a waste pipe in this afternoon and this was where the fun began. The soil at the rear of the house is backed up against the wall so we had to dig out a hole where we were passing the waste pipe through. It’s a good job that my digger is here. And then the hole filled with water off the water table so we had to pump it out. And then the wall is 1 metre thick and we only had a 24mm drill that long – and we needed a hole of 40mm. So we had to drill through as a pilot with the 24mm drill and then go in from either side with a shorter 40mm drill – but the holes didn’t line up exactly so the first try with a length of waste pipe fouled up and broke.

That meant a trip to Coutances for another length (in fact I bought two, to be on the safe side) and that’s where we ended up.

Now I’m stiff, aching all over, thoroughly exhausted and worn out. I’m not as young as I used to be.

So when I wake up tomorrow I’m heading off back to my new chez moi in Granville and I hope that the electrickery will be there some time during the course of the afternoon.

And then I’m going to sleep for a week.

Sunday 30th October 2016 – IT GOES FROM BAD …

… to worse.

Luckily, it’s something that hasn’t happened to me (except only indirectly) but I’m involved in this as much as anyone else.

Terry needed to move the mini-digger and asked me ages ago if he could borrow my Indespension plant trailer to do the job, to which I agreed. Then a day or two ago he told me that he would be round at my place this morning, but the penny didn’t drop.

Later this afternoon, I had a phone call. There’s a puncture on the trailer. Well, I had no idea that he was planning to move it today. And where is the puncture? Why, it’s about 200 miles away from home. I had no idea that he was going to go that far.

Of course, there’s no spare wheel. That was one of the things that I had intended to resolve over the winter, as well as fitting all of the rear lights that I had bought for it so that I could bin the trailer-board on the back, but as you know, I was otherwise occupied with my serious health issues and I’ve never been home since.

If you have insurance on your trailer you can call for assistance, but that’s another thing that never entered my mind seeing as how I am in no position to move it anywhere right now.

And of course, it’s Sunday, so now Terry is stranded. But luckily there’s a hotel near to where he is.

Tomorrow he needs to take the wheel off the trailer and take it to be repaired or replaced, but to do that, he needs to take the digger off the trailer. But there’s no diesel in the digger so he’ll have to go off and organise that first thing tomorrow. Except that he doesn’t have a fuel can.

As you can see, it’s another thing that has come to try us just now. When is all of this going to end?

I was asleep really early last night but my neighbours awoke me when they came in and they had the television on – not loud, I hasten to add, but I could hear it vaguely in the background. And once I did drop off, I had to go off twice down the corridor.

I’d been on my travels too, but I don’t have a clue about where I went or what I did. It all evaporated the moment that I awoke.

And wasn’t I organised today? Breakfasted, down to the boulangerie for my baguette and back here, all befor 07:45. that’s something of a new world record. But I spent most of the day drifting in and out of sleep. I had a good chat with Liz and Rosemary today and I’ve also been attacking the website. You remember that I travelled along the Trans-Labrador Highway when it was completed in 2010 and my account of that journey has been on line for a few years.

But as you recall, if you are a regular reader of this rubbish, that I’ve done the journey twice since, once in 2014 and again in 2015 – both time is the opposite direction from east to west. There have been so many changes to the route that I’m going to write another book about it. And so I’ve started to merge all of the reports and photos into one.

That’s going to take me a good while, I reckon. Not the work of five minutes, that’s for sure, so don’t expect to see daily updates on line. .

It’s Sunday and so for tea tonight I had a pizza. Spinach and mushrooms and it was delicious. Best that I’ve had.

But now, I’m going to try for an early night. My body clock will be up the spout because of the change of hour, so I hope that I’m not disturbed.

Friday 30th October 2015 – ALL GOOD THINGS …

… come to an end. And today, the home-made 12-volt immersion heater that I use as a dump-load for the excess solar energy finally ground to a halt.

Mind you, I’m not surprised. What has surprised me is that it lasted as long as it has – about 4 years if I remember correctly. It’s a 500-watt industrial 12-volt water heater element that I can pick up by the dozen in the USA, fitted into the side of a 25-litre plastic storage box and sealed in with rubber gaskets, and a simple tap. The whole lot is stood on a thick sheet of polystyrene insulation, with some of this thick space-blanket insulation wrapped around it, and a plastic lid covered with an off-cut of a sheet of polystyrene-backed plaster-board. Down on the inside of the space-blanket insulation up against the plastic side is the sensor of a maximum-minimum thermometer.

It’s wired in (with a 70-amp fuse) to a 60-amp Solar charge controller that I have reverse-wired so that instead of being “on” and switching off when the batteries are fully-charged, it’s “off” and switches on when the batteries are fully charged – and so when the batteries are fully charged and the charge controllers on the batteries switch off, the current that would otherwise be lost is diverted down into the water heater element and so heats up the water in the immersion heater for washing up, washing, and all that kind of thing.

And so why did it all go wrong?

The answer is that it hasn’t really gone wrong. A year or so ago I noticed that the positive wire to the immersion heater was heating up dramatically, and so I rewired it. But the thread stripped in the connection on the element so I had to find a small nut and bolt. But I couldn’t really fit a spanner into it so that it wasn’t particularly tight.

Today, I went downstairs to the fridge to fetch something to drink, and I could smell the burning plastic. There was something or a record of 37 amps going down the cables and this was simply too much for the bad joint and the wire was so hot that it was melting the insulation.

I hadn’t designed it particularly well – I can do much better than this, and in any case I don’t have any rubber joints for the element which I’ll need to take out and remake the joint, and so that’s a task for next week if I remember to buy the things that I need tomorrow at the shops. However, I have plugged the fridge back in so that something is being done about the excess current.

And so what else have I done today?

Apart from work on the laptop, which you can take as read, I’ve been tracking down some wood. I went to rescue the wooden box that I used to use to keep my fruit and vegetables in, but I pinched it last year to store my potatoes. But that didn’t work as the potatoes all went off and the wooden box is ruined (but I did in passing cast an eye on last year’s compost and it’s brewing beautifully!) and so I need to make another one.

I found a 50cm pine plank and some 40mm aluminium angle and I’ll be using that on Monday to make my new fruit and veg box.

As well as that, I went to check over the Kubota mini-digger. The reason for that is that the battery in the Kubota tractor is finished and I need a new one, so if I’m ordering one it makes sense to order a second for the digger – after all, that hasn’t run since the end of November last year.

But much to my astonishment, the mini-digger fired up straight away with no difficulty. And so I checked it over and left it running for a good hour or so to warm everything up and top up the battery.

I spent some time downstairs tidying up the ground floor too. It’s now looking as if you might be able to see the floor if I keep up like this. But I need to make a great deal of room as pretty soon I’ll be starting work down there and I’ll need the space.

Last but not least, I had a shower. 33°C in the verandah and 59°C in the 12-volt immersion heater, and so I cleared a corner of the verandah, fetched a bucket of hot water with some cold mixed in, found the pouring jug, and hey presto! Now I smell like coconut. I finished it off with a shave too, so now I’m all ready for the weekend.

But I could have done with a shave and a shower last night, as I was on my travels again. It was Marianne who had the pleasure of my company, going to the airport for a flight to Portugal. At the last minute she asked why I didn’t come with her, so with three hours to go before take-off I nipped off to my apartment for some clothes and the like, and to run one or two errands.

Once I’d done all of that, I had to return to the airport so there I was, driving through North London (flitting in and out of another nocturnal ramble from ages ago) on my way to Brussels Airport. The road was certainly very familiar to me, but I wasn’t convinced that it was the road that I should have been taking. But I arrived at the airport and reached the security gate with just 15 minutes to take-off and I still had a long way to go, not to mention passing through the “security”. And here I was, panicking in case I missed the flight, which was looking more and more likely as time passed by.

Friday 14th November 2014 – 24mm OF RAIN …

… from about 10:00 until 21:00, and it’s still raining even as we speak. Summer has well and truly gone, and winter is just around the corner. As far as solar energy goes, you know that I have 4 banks of solar panels here with a total of 1260 watts, and I’ve received less than 2 amps of solar energy in total. And all of that came before 10:00.

I’ve been out today too, and I’ve come home with a new toy. Seems to be the story of my life just recently – I’ve never spent so much money.

kubota mini digger les guis virlet puy de dome franceAnd here it is – an old Kubota mini-digger.

The story behind this is that I was looking for a new heavy-duty trailer as you know, ever since the bottom fell out of the Sankey trailer. I’d heard about a big heavy-duty Indespension plant trailer for sale, and so I had gone to see it. And sitting upon it was this old digger.

The trailer is exactly what I want, without any doubt at all, but when the vendor mentioned the price for them both, which is what I would have paid forthe trailer had I gone to the UK and bought a new one, there wasn’t any question about it.

The digger works well enough for its age and it’ll do what I want.

Of course, I already have half a digger – you may remember that Terry and I bought one a few years ago between us. But that was quite modern and quite expensive and we don’t use it that much. There’s a lot of money tied up in that, and so the idea is that we sell that, split the money between us, and my share will more than cover what I paid for this.

So I brought it home and had a play outside, in the driving rain, and I was soaked to bits. I’ve spent the rest of the day curled up under the quilt to dry off and keep warm. I don’t want to catch anything.

But here’s a thing. I had to pay €2050 plus VAT for something today, and that meant a trip to the bank. And how long would it take you to work out what the VAT is on that? VAT is of course 20% here and so €2050 x10% is €205, and another €2050 x10% is another €205 and so the total VAT is €410. The bill thereforecomes to €2460. It took the bank clerk 15 minutes, and the help of a colleague, calculator and a computer to work it out.

That’s a bank clerk in the local branch of mybank. No wonder the banks are in such a mess if this is an example of the skilled and intelligent staff that they are employing.

I despair.

Wednesday 18th June 2014 – THE WEATHER BROKE TODAY …

… and we had the first serious rain today since I don’t know when. Round about 15:00 the heavens opened and that was that. No point in working outside in this weather so Terry called it a day – and I can’t say that I blamed him.

This morning though we cracked on and the pit is finished now. 6 rows of breeze blocks means that it’s about 1.30m high and that’s plenty for me to sit down comfortably and work underneath a car. And you’ve no idea how much I’m looking forward to not having to lie on my back on a cold concrete floor.I’ve been doing that for 45 years and I’m fed up.

We’ve cracked on with the shuttering too and that’s not far off being finished. We would have done that too had it not been for the rainstorm. I carried on doing a little bit of it during a break in the weather, and one thing that I forgot was how slippery plastic is when it’s wet. So slippery in fact that when I stepped back to check the level of the shuttering that I had just installed, I ended up half-in the pit. And I have the scratches to prove it.

Another thing that I learnt today was that after a heavy rainstorm there’s about 20 litres of water on the roof of the digger. And when you put the digger in forward motion, the water cascades down onto your lap.

Anyway, I’ve been in major discussion with the concrete company and they can fit me in on Friday afternoon at their convenience. Two loads of … gulp … 10 cubic metres of concrete in total. I didn’t realise that I had over 60M² to cover and I don’t have enough grillage for that. Consequently I need to nip into Montlucon early tomorrow morning for some more.

I saw the old woman, the mother of the Parisian who has a holiday home here. She parks her car sometimes where the cement mixer has to turn round so I warned her about his visit, and had the usual mouthful of abuse in exchange. All I can say is that it’s no wonder her two sons are so miserable if they’ve had to put up with her for 60 years. She gets right on my mammary glands as it is. Her husband died quite early, apparently, and I’m not surprised. Probably grateful for the peace and quiet. If I had been married to her, she would have had a smack in the mouth a long time ago.

Monday 9th June 2014 – I HAD TEA TONIGHT …

… sitting outside on a garden chair. Yes, at lunchtime, Tery and I moved the chairs and table onto the concrete, and doesn’t that make a nice little terrace? It’s very nice and comfortable.

I had a very disturbed night last night. It was far too hot in here so I left the inverter running all night so that I could have the fan going, but I had to turn it off after a while as I couldn’t get off to sleep.

And during the night I was in prison. And I was too, even down to being in a cell and choosing my bunk. That was frightening to such an extent that I was glad to wake up.

After breakfast I was out straight away and attacked the waste land next to the Subaru. I cleared as much as I could with the long-handled secateurs and then when Terry turned up we attacked it with the digger. The little Kubota did really well pullind the Sankey trailer with the soil and rubble in, up to where we tip it.

land rover minerva parking space les guis virlet puy de dome franceBy the time lunchtime came around we had dug out and flattened a parking space at the side of the Subaru and so we pulled the Minerva across the way into what will be its new home for a while.

That is necessary because where the Minerva was parked, that is where we will be laying the next load of concreting, so it had to be cleared.

takeuchi mini digger digging out earth bank les guis virlet puy de dome franceOnce we had done that, we moved the rest of the stuff and then dug out the rest of the earthern bank so that it’s now level with where we dug out the other day.

Terry went off home after that and I tidied up. And then I took advantage of the solar hot water. It was 38°C which is no surprise seeing as we had the hottest day of the year today – 38.4°C. I must have drunk 3 litres of liquid during the day.

While I was emptying the trailer on one of my trips, I met Nicolette who was taking the dog for a walk, and we had quite a chat. It’s been ages since I’ve had a good chat to her.

Up here in my room it was 31.8°C, and so it was no surprise that I ended up eating outside tonight.

Tomorrow I’m going early into St Eloy so that I can order all of the breeze blocks that I need to build the retaining wall and line the inspection pit, as there will be one of those here too, and I’ll also order the concrete cubes that I need to build up the columns that will support the roof

Friday 30th May 2014 – I’VE BEEN DIGGING AGAIN

Yes, and here’s a new development – I was actually outside working at 08:30 and I can’t remember if that has ever happened before.

Terry had a day off – he had another job to do and of course, paying jobs with folding stuff always take priority over anything else, and so I was on my own.

I started off by picking out all of the large stones from the pile of earth that I had excavated on Wednesday evening, And then I started to shovel up all of the earth into the trailer to empty at the precipice.

takeuchi mini digger les guis virlet puy de dome franceI’d dug out the soil a little too deep so it seemed, and so I ended up by having to backfill it and then driving up and down everywhere to flatten it all down.

Considering that it’s my first job with the digger, it’s not come out too badly but Terry says that he’ll smooth it off on Monday. Yes, we’re a long way from being finished.

clearing out parking place kubota B1220 mini tractor les guis virlet puy de dome franceThere was still plenty of time left and so I started to clear out all of the weeds from where I had parked the Sankey trailer.

By the time that I had finished , I’d cleared out quite an area and it looks quite good there now – quite an improvement. I’m going to park the Kubota there for now as I’ll be using the Sankey trailer for a while as long as the digger is here.

But with my early night last night, I had a good night’s sleep without any interruptions. Nerina wandered along too. I was in Crewe again at the Bus Station in the good old days when Crosville did the bus services there prior to the apocalypse of the mid-80s.

Each of the buses carried a notice of some kind and the notice had a glaring spelling mistake. I spoke to Nerina, who was working for Crosville, and it turned out that it was she who had written the notice. I told her that she should take more care about what she writes, but she had the air of not caring less about it.

Wednesday 28th May 2014 – I’VE BEEN DIGGING …

… today. But not, as you might be thinking, with a shovel or a spade.

Just for a change today we had a nice day and I was up with the cock (but enough of my personal habits). And a little later, Terry came round. With his van. And the big trailer. And with our mini-digger, because if you remember, we own a mini-digger between us.

While Terry was sorting himself out I was rescuing the very sad Sankey Trailer from out of the undergrowth and coupling ut up to Caliburn, and then we set to work.

A few years ago I had someone from the football club pay me w avisit with his digger and he dug out a couple of ruined houses so that I could make a car park. He hadn’t done it exactly as I had wanted but he had been and gone while I was at the shops and so I wasn’t going to stand in the way of anyone who can work at that speed.

takeuchi mini digger les guis virlet puy de dome franceAnyway, the upshot of all of this is that Terry brought the digger around and we carried on where the prevuous guy had left off.

It took much longer than I anticipated as firstly I wanted to save all of the big stones to build a nice stone wall, and secondly, we had to keep on taking Caliburn and the trailer up to the precipice and shovel the soil out by hand.

Terry left at about 16:30 and hopefully he’ll be back to help me carry on on Friday, and I had a play around with the digger as I had never used one before. And I had an enormous amount of fun and I can certainly see a pile of uses for this.

I was all hot and smelly afterwards and even though the water was only 32.4°C in the solar shower I had a shower as I certainly needed it.

I crashed out for a while afterwards and then had a long chat with Rosemary on the phone. She needed a little cheering up.

So tomorrow is a Bank Holiday and I’m having a Day of Rest.

But it was sad to see the state in which the Sankey Trailer finds itself. The floor is dropping out of it and the chassis is rotten. It’s not got long for this world.

Monday 17th September 2012 – IT ISNT HALF …

… going dark early these days.

collapsed lean to pointing stone wall les guis virlet puy de dome franceI was still out pointing the wall this evening when the first of the solar night-lights came on.

19:40 that was, and long after my knocking off time of 19:00 when I’m on Summer Hours working.

Mind you, it wasn’t as if I was unaware of the time either – I knew almost exactly how late it was, but I’m falling behind again with this wall and I need to press on.

And I’m not going to be here tomorrow either.

This morning I had to go to help Rosemary unload this van with all of this new furniture.

Quite modern it is, but made of oak and in a period style that perfectly matches the type of house that you find round here. I’m not much of a one for aesthetics as you know, but it really is beautiful stuff.

The guy who delivers it was quite a useful person to know. He runs a business having articles delivered to him which he then brings down to France for the purchaser. We had a lengthy chat and I’ll be having a few more chats with him in the future too.

Then I had to go with Terry to the quarry for a trailer-load sand.

All in all it was 16:20 when I started on the wall, so you see why I’m getting all behind.

I had a couple more stones drop out on me when I was raking out the old cement – that part of wall really was badly damaged. Anyway, a few oversized stones hammered deep into the gap and that should hold it up, I hope.

So why aren’t I going up the wall tomorrow then?

Simply that Terry and I own a mini digger that we hire out and it was out at the weekend. The guy offered us cash, or a huge load of wood instead. Wood being more valuable than the cash, Terry ended up with a huge trailer load.

So tomorrow I have to go to help Terry cut it into 30cm lengths and then I can load up Caliburn with my share. Wood is a vital part of life round here, especially when it’s -20°C here in February.

I’ve still not found my dictaphone and neither have I found the mobile phone, but 1O minutes searching threw up a few other things that I’ve been looking for.

And I almost forgot to mention that I did go to LIDL this morning and they had 3 packets of those lights left. Or, rather, they did. So now I have enough for the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, as well as for over the workbenches in the barn and the lean-to.

But I still need plenty more so I might go a little farther afield this weekend.

In other news, we were having a little chat about this affair in Annecy with this Iraqi family that was massacred. You know, the more I look at this and the more I think about it, the more it looks to me like something that MOSSAD might well have organised.

I smell a very large rat with all of this.