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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 23rd February 2021 – I’VE BEEN BACKING …

… up my computer all afternoon – and a major back-up too, seeing as I haven’t done a proper back-up since August.

It’s not as bad as it sounds because I have a travel laptop that comes to Belgium with me, so that’s only at the most, 3.5 weeks behind. And then there’s a 128GB memory stick in a USB port and every night before I go to bed I copy all of the day’s data files onto it.

What I did do at one stage though was that at the end of the month I’d take a mirror of the data drive in this machine (it has 3 hard drives in it) and store it on an external hard drive. But I’ve not done that for a while, so I set about doing it this afternoon.

It’s also given me an opportunity to merge in some of the stuff off some of the more ancient back-up drives that I’ve had lying around here since as far back as 1999. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a year or so ago I went through all of them and uploaded them to one of the drives in this computer and little by little, I’ve been merging them all in.

That’s a job that’s destined to go on for ever too, but a fair-sized proportion was dealt with today.

We had another day of actually being up before the third alarm, and if I had actually put my mind to it, I could have beaten the first one. But with my Welsh lesson looming, I thought it important to at least have some semblance of a repose.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see if I’d been anywhere during the night. A few of us had been out walking last night and we came to a canal. It was the middle of winter and we were walking along the canal. Everything was frozen and it was really cold, and we were taking a few photos but I went just over a bridge and there we had the most glorious effect of the sun in the clouds and everywhere you could see, there was proper pack ice out in the sea. This was really the most incredible winter scene. I had never seen pack-ice like this. I ran back and fetched the others. There was a girl about 5 or 6 so I put her on my shoulders and we ran back. One was a woman from my Welsh course. We reached a place where we could see it but the sun had gone so the scene wasn’t half as gorgeous as it could have been. We climbed up the towpath on this bridge and had a look. We couldn’t see the really good view that I had seen 2 minutes earlier. Walking back, you could see some of it and I took a photo. It was just so disappointing because it had been so beautiful. I was disappointed for this little girl who I was going to show it too as well. The other 2 people with us, my course-mate and another girl, they were saying that the couldn’t see the photos on their camera after they had taken them because that was a function reserved for men, not for women. They had to upload them to their computer in order to see the finished effect. I said “pass your camera to me and I’ll try to do that for you to enable it to be seen by them.

It took me a while to summon up the energy to start my Welsh preparation. Not even a strong, hot coffee could get me to start up and so I was very unprepared for the lesson and it didn’t go all that well. But there’s an exam in June to test us on the work that we will have done by Easter and I’ve enrolled in it all the same.

And the laptop that I fixed over the weekend worked perfectly with a Zoom program for a whole 150 minutes.

This afternoon after lunch I started on the back-up of the computer and that’s absorbed most of my efforts today.

There was a break for my afternoon walk though.

picnic on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallToday has been a really beautiful day today. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

The tide was pretty far in and there wasn’t all that much room left on the beach. But there was still enough room for some people to have a picnic and a little play around among the rocks.

With the schools being on half-term this week, there were quite a few kids running around, all told. The car park just outside the apartment was swarming with them this afternoon. It was like playing rugby trying to dodge and weave between them on my way out

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe sea was quite rough too this afternoon, as you can see in this photo. There was quite a gale blowing yet again, as if we haven’t had enough wind right now.

With the tide being well in right now there were plenty of trawlers and other fishing boats either in or near to the harbour. I was lucky enough to see this trawler sailing in towards the port. No hordes of seagulls swarming around the hold but I bet that she has quite a good load on board this afternoon.

She’s not a boat that I recognise and I can’t read her name but she has a CH (Cherbourg) registration so she’s a local boat.

moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I mentioned earlier, it was a beautiful afternoon, a bright blue sky with not a cloud in the sky.

And there was a nice moon too this afternoon so I took a photograph. I’d much rather photograph the moon in the dark but of course these days we aren’t allowed out after 18:00 and it looks as if that’s a state of play that’s going to continue for the foreseeable future. No matter what they do here, there’s no sign of the Virus abating.

With the sky being as clear as it was today, I wasn’t expecting anything at all of a light show in the Baie de Mont St Michel this afternoon, so I wasn’t disappointed. No ships or any other activity out there eitier so I carried on around the headland.

yacht lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd there’s a change of occupancy in the chantier navale.

We’ve seen the same four occupants in there for several weeks now but as I walked along the path at the top of the headland I could see a new arrival. Nothing particularly exciting like a large trawler or one of the charter boats that hang aronnd the harbour but a small pleasure yacht having a little work done upon it.

And despite the hive of activity going on around the big yacht yesterday, it’s still there and there doesn’t seem to be much change in its condition. There were a couple of people working on there this afternoon though so you never know.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s also another new arrival down there today – in the port.

Normandy Trader has been in once or twice recently but I’ve missed her, but this afternoon I was lucky enough to catch Thora who has come in from the Channel Islands. There’s still plenty of work for the two little freighters even if some of their freight has to be dropped off at St Malo due to the new Customs regulations.

Back here I had a hot coffee and carried on with the back-up and then had my hour on the guitar. I’ve been trying to work out the chords to Al Stewart’s “Swiss Cottage Manoeuvres”, a song that reminds me of a night that I spent not too long ago and about which, one of these days, I actually might write something when I can think of how to express it.

Tea was the rest of last night’s stuffing inserted into taco rolls followed by an apple turnover. And while it was cooking I fed the sourdough and the ginger.

But now I’ve stopped the back-up and I’m off to bed. I’m off to Leuven in the morning and I don’t feel at all like it.

Friday 15th January 2021 – LET’S NOT TALK …

… about this morning. It wasn’t 05:45 when I left my stinking pit – and neither was it 06:45, or 07:45, or 08:45, and while I might have been awake at 09:45, it wasn’t then that I left my bed either.

So that was the whole morning ruined.

It’s my own fault though. It was already a late night when I was planning on going to bed, but just as I was about to retire, onto the playlist came LA GAZZA LADRA, and if I ever have to make a list of the 10 best live rock albums of all time, this one would be well in there.

And so I need not continue.

Much to my surprise I’d been off on my travels during the night – or rather, the morning. We had a French exchange student staying with us – it was actually one of my little nieces – who was very uncomfortable as she had a different approach to life than some of the other kids so she didn’t socialise easily but she fitted in well where I was living with my friends from on the Wirral as the mum and dad. I don’t know what i was doing there but anyway it was now time for me to leave. The father, who has now turned into my niece’s husband was working on the car that would take me back into town to pick up my bus and he had to get the car out and give me time to be washed and ready but the time went so quickly that the mother had to call me. As I was going downstairs she said “do you want to go back upstairs? There’s some suntan oil in my bathroom cupboard. I replied “there’s no need for any of that”. She explained to our exchange student, who really WAS our exchange student from Summer 2019 by now, that in between living in the Wirral and where we were living today she’d lived in the USA for a while. Then we started to get the car ready for me and I thought “well, I’m being rushed a bit here and they are running me out of the house a bit”. This was making me a bit wary about what was happening and I don’t know why.

And at some point in all of this, Castor appeared in this dream – playing cards or doing a jigsaw with someone in a room upstairs, something that filled me with dismay and has more of a significance than any casual reader might realise.

So another exciting night and having had a shortage of pleasant nocturnal companions for quite some considerable time, I end up with a plethora thereof, all at once. I wish that my real life was this exciting.

What was exciting was that I actually managed to finish the magnum opus that is my account of the history of Chateau Gaillard. Well, it’s not finished – it’s merely the rough first draft and although it’s on line it’s going to be edited quite considerably before I publish it.

tractor trailer fish processing plant trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was of course the afternoon walk around the headland. And in the beautiful weather too because although it was cold, the wind had dropped and we actually had a bright sunshine.

What surprised me about that was that many of the fishing boats were tied up in port this afternoon. Having seen the weather through which many of them had struggled over the past few days, I would have expected them to have made the most of the good weather today and been out there in droves.

But there must be someone out at sea because the tractor and trailer that hauls the shellfish around the local area is parked on the ramp, implying that they are waiting for someone to arrive.

chausiais joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no change in the chantier navale either – the same four boats.

And over at the ferry terminal, there was nothing happening either. Chausiais and one of the Joly France boats that provide the ferry service over to the Ile de Chausey are still there, moored up and aground with the low tide.

But no Channel Islands ferries. They are moored in the inner harbour where they have been since services were suspended with the virus. And it’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing them up and running, because I’ve heard a story that unless the Channel Islanders dip their hands in their pockets to subsidise the service, something that they have so far failed to do, then the ferry service won’t be restarting.

Back here I had a hot coffee and, fighting off the waves of sleep that were somehow overwhelming me despite the long lie-in that I had had, I finished off the Chateau Gaillard and then had a very depressing hour on the guitars. I wasn’t there with it at all.

crescent moon rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was then the evening run of course after I’d finished the guitars.

Here’s a view that we’ve seen on several occasions, but not quite like this. This is the Rue du Nord looking back towards the Place d’Armes in the background over to the right. But tonight we had a beautiful sliver of crescent moon to light up our path a little.

From there I disappeared down through the gate and along the path underneath the walls, part running and part walking. There was no storm tonight whipping up the waves down at the Plat Gousset so I pushed on … “pushed off, he means” – ed.

replacing gas main rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me at a run across the Square Maurice Marland on the way home.

having seen everything that was going on with the machinery yesterday I reckoned that I would go and investigate the Rue St Michel to see how they were doing. And they haven’t been hanging around either. They’ve dug quite a trench already so they won’t be long in doing this.

Unfortunately the alleyway was closed off at the other end so in order to make it to the walls I had to turn round and go the long way around.

la grande ancre fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was all quiet at the fish processing plant this evening. But I was lucky enough to catch La Grande Ancre (for it is indeed she) moving away as if she has just unloaded her catch.

Once she’d moved away I moved away and ran for home and for tea.

Tonight I took a frozen aubergine and kidney bean whatsit from the freezer and ate that with pasta and frozen vegetables, followed by more of my jam pie. That was a really good invention, that was. I’m pleased with how that turned out.

Although it’s not early, it’s earlier than it has been just recently so I’m off to bed. I really must try to do better than I have because this is all beginning (well, not beginning – well-advanced, actually) to bring me down and the last thing that I need to do is to bog myself down in a depression with all of this going on.

Look for the positives! And who knows? I might even find one one day.

Wednesday 23d December 2020 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

storm high winds sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the storm and the high winds that were blasting us here on the Pointe du Roc all through the day, let me tell you about my miserable day today.

And it isn’t as you might think, because although I didn’t beat the third alarm to my feet, I managed to only … “only, he says” – ed … miss it by 45 minutes and that’s an improvement on yesterday, for sure.

After the medication, I came back here to start on transcribing the notes off the dictaphone. And there were plenty of them today. It’s hardly surprising that I overslept with the distance that I had travelled during the night.

storm high winds sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere had been something to do with my house in Virlet only it wasn’t my house in Virlet at all. It was about all the brickwork in it, something like that and how untidy the place was. Some people whom I knew had been into it to fetch a couple of things and I hoped that they weren’t too put off by the untidy state of it. It made me wish that the place had burnt down or something or destroyed or demolished and I could start again and build something else on the site. So I walked off and it was a case of I climbed down this cliff and reached the bottom and had to walk off. I suddenly realised that this guy was fetching something so I had to go back and stand at the foot of this cliff while he threw it down to me. I noticed that he had 3 or 4 big packages but he threw 1 down and that seemed to be all that he was going to throw down. I couldn’t work out what this little thing was that he had thrown, what it was and how it worked. I couldn’t remember what he was going to throw me anyway. I was scratching my head all about this.

I’d been out on my usual evening walk and it had been terrible, really wet weather. I was walking around the edge of Espinasse and I had to go to the bathroom so I went to the little village hut place and went in there to the bathroom but found that the bowl of the WC had been broken and was all sellotaped off. In the end I couldn’t go so I gathered up my stuff. I’d heard someone come in in the meantime so I gathered up my stuff and walked out. There were a couple of girls in there so I walked on out and carried on with my walk. I ended up right on the far side of St Gervais down where you drop down towards the Sioule. I started thinking about going home but suddenly realised that I didn’t have my camera. I must have forgotten to pick it up when I was using the bathroom. I had to go from where I was to the other side of St Gervais all across the town and the countryside to return to Espinasse to where the toilet was in the hope that in the meantime no-one like these 2 girls had seen it, taken a fancy to it and disappeared with it. I had to set off and I knew that there was a short-cut through St Gervais right up this path. It was starting to become steeper and steeper and I was having breath problems but I was getting to the top. Then the path petered out and I ended up being right by the armco barrier of a garage selling Minis. A guy had come up the path and was following me up it. We had to inch our way along the brick work up this path. When it stopped I could see that the only solution was to climb over this armco and go into the area of this garage and walk through that way. This guy was as awkward as I was so when I worked out what I was going to do I asked him if he would like a hand. He looked at me totally puzzled as if “what would anyone need a hand for?” so I thought that I’d leave him to it.

storm high winds sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomewhere in this we were discussing recipes and a programme was being recorded for broadcasting on TV. Someone was having difficulty understanding the issue about small weights so I offered to give them a demonstration to show them. But there was much more to this dream that I’ve forgotten that I wish that I had remembered that I was going to be doing it when I dictated it but it all disappeared.

There were other types of bread available to use but I chose that particular one for some unknown reason using this oat and flour yeast thing and I couldn’t get them to go very much at all. (it looks as if I’ve missed something out here).

There was something a little bit about someone driving a car down the Freeway and they had to pull over to the side and stop as a police car with its lights flashing went past. All the vehicles that had pulled over and made room for the police car and stopped were then allowed to proceed but the police were interested in an old pickup with old Ohio number plates towing a trailer. When they looked at the trailer they told the guy that when he got to his destination he had to have it inspected and send the inspection to them which they did. When they received a copy of the inspection they found that it had failed on several things and issued him with a ticket. Someone was telling me that in Illinois they had the most trailers and hence the most oppressive police when it comes to inspecting them.

All of these travels and all of this distance, and no-one I know coming with me either.

And if you think that it took me a long time to type out all of that, it took me longer than you think because I had a computer issue after about 2/3 of it. Everything went “bang” and the computer locked up. At least, that’s what I thought at the time.

It was still there, switched on and apparently working but not doing anything, so after trying just about everything I shrugged my shoulders and hunted around at the back for the power switch, and switched it off.

Leaving it to cool down for about 15 minutes I switched it back on, and there we had a “no keyboard detected” error message, and no mouse either. So at least, the computer was doing something. I unplugged the keyboard and mouse and tried various USB ports and eventually it managed to work. There’s one bank of USB ports on the front and two banks at the back, and it seems that one bank at the back has burnt out.

Getting to it where it is is not an easy proposition so I’ve rigged something up temporarily and hope that it holds out until the New Year. And then I had to start the dictation again, seeing as I’d lost what I’d already typed out when I’d switched off the machine.

So limping along for the rest of the morning, I did some work on some of the arrears from the summer. I don’t think that I’ll ever finish this. But it was far too late to go to the shops for the Christmas veg. I’ll go tomorrow just to LIDL and what they don’t have, I’ll have to do without.

After lunch I’ve been a very busy bee – to such an extent that I even missed guitar practice (although I did find the time to do my Welsh homework).

Yes, although it’s not Pancake Tuesday, Eric’s busy baking.

First task was to take out a roll of flaky pastry from the fridge (I haven’t tried to make it yet) and then spread it out on my baking sheet.

I have one of these silicone 6-hole mini tart moulds so using that, I cut out 6 rings of pastry to fit in. And with my last jar of mincemeat, I filled them”. I then had to re-roll the remainder of the pastry to make 6 smaller rings to go on top. I moistened the edges of the pastry already in the mould with soya milk, put the new pastry rings on top and pressed them down with a fork to seal them.

Finally, brushed the top with milk and sprinkled brown sugar on top. And forgetting to prick them to let out the steam I put them in the oven for 40 minutes.

Then I mixed 10 spoons of icing sugar with 3 spoons of vegan margarine and several squirts of lemon juice and whipped it all up into a nice frothy mix and then spent a rather long, delicate time icing the cake that regular readers of this rubbish will recall me marzipanning at the weekend.

Finally, there was the kefir. some of the kiwis were nicely ripe so they were peeled and whizzed for ages into a very liquidy pulp which was then passed through the filter stack with the juice straining through into the large jug.

And then the kefir that had been brewing for a few days followed it through the stack into the jug too, leaving the obligatory inch or so at the bottom. Into what was left went 40 grammes of sugar, half a lemon sliced, a dried fig cut in 2 and then filled to within about an inch of the top.

kiwi kefir marzipan iced cake home made mince pies place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe kefir and kiwi in the jug was all stirred in together and then passed through the filer stack into the various bottles which were then sealed. And I mustn’t forget to vent them regularly.

And here’s the finished product. The kefir looks OK, but then I’ve had plenty of practice with that. The mince pies are somewhat “artisanal”, as you might possibly expect, and as for the icing – well, it’s only the second time that I’ve ever done it and I don’t have the correct tools to do it anyway.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say, so we’ll find out about the mince pies on Christmas Eve and the ad-hoc Christmas cake on Christmas Day. What I can say right now is that I did my best

storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMustn’t forget the afternoon walk, which I fitted in in the middle of everything.

And I rather wished that I hadn’t bothered because the wind was thoroughly wicked this afternoon. I’d heard reports of wind gusting at 40mph (65kph) out in the English Channel and they mustn’t have been joking either because it really was wild out there. Even though the tide was well out, we were having nice crested whitecaps out there.

The bruit du couloir had told me that wile I was wrestling with the computer, Normandy Trader had done a quick aller-retour this morning. I’ll bet that they will know all about the storm out there in that little boat.

storm high winds pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe few people who were out there would know all about it too because while it was pretty strong out here in the car park, the wind increased in velocity the further along towards the headland I went.

It’s a real sou-wester that’s blowing today so here on the north side of the headland we are in some comparative shade, but even so, the waves are still coming in with quite some force onto the rocks down here by the Coastguard Station on the north side of the headland.

You can see how much of the water that sprays up from the rocks here is being whipped away by the wind. I’m glad that I’m downwind of it all.

sunset brittany coast baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAcross the lawn I went, and across the car park and down to the very end of the headland.

It was almost impossible to stand here with the strength of the wind that was coming in with full force. There was, once more, a beautiful sunset so I took a photo of it while I was here. And that wasn’t easy at all in all of this wind and I almost ended up having to go running off after my hat but I grabbed at it just in time.

Out of the corner of my eye I’d seen the spray from the waves hitting the harbour wall round in the port, even though we’re a good couple of hours from high tide so I wandered off around there for a look – and you’ve seen the results.

cb-303-te citroen u23 old cars father christmas boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s something that I didn’t expect to see while I was on my travels around this afternoon.

It’s quite true that we are almost at Christmas but who would have expected Santa to have come riding past on the back of an old lorry? Down the Boulevard Vaufleury there are only a handful of houses and I haven’t noticed any young kids around there, so it’s something of a wasted journey.

And as for the lorry? It’s not one that I recognise offhand and there was no insignia or anything on it to help me. At first I thought that it might have been an old Willeme LD but having given the matter further thought, I’m now pretty sure that it is in fact a Citroen U23 minus its Citroen logo.

My excuse is that it’s a lot more modern than THE LAST CITROEN U23 THAT WE HAVE SEEN

berliet GBC lorry old cars father christmas boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd Santa wasn’t alone either. he had some of his friends riding along behind him.

They are travelling in an old Berliet GBC lorry, a model first launched in 1956 during the Good Old Days before Renault became involved and badge-engineered everything. Yes, it wasn’t just Leyland who got up to tricks like that in Europe. It was great fun being in France in the early 1970s and seeing real lorries like Berliets, Willemes and Saviems driving around.

So I waved goodbye to Santa and his helpers and wandered off down the road out of the wind as much as I could.

moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust at that moment, as I rounded the corner, the moon peeped out from behind a cloud.

It didn’t stay very long at all but I was ready for it and as soon as I could see it through the wisps I took a photo of it for the record. It’s just over half-way round so another 10 days might just see us getting to a full moon.

But I came home for a really hot coffee to warm me up and to do my Welsh homework. And having done that, I went and carried on with my baking activities. I was really enjoying myself with all of that this afternoon and I can’t wait to do some more.

st martin de brehal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut by the time that I’d done everything and done the washing-up it was already time to clear off out for my evening run.

And if you thought that the wind was strong, you should have been out in it just now with me. I ran on down to the Rue du Nord and took a photo of St Martin de Brehal just to say that I’d been out, and then carried on.

Going out was fine but coming back was not so. Both my homeward-bound runs ended up being aborted because it’s not possible to run into a headwind blowing at about 80kph. It was difficult enough to walk in it. I did what I could whenever I could do it, and then made my way home for tea.

There was a falafel burger left over from Belgium years ago so I had that with some veg and a potato followed by apple crumble and custard. And then the notes to write up.

Once more, with all of the distractions, I’m running rather late so heaven alone knows whether I’ll beat the third alarm. But no matter what, I have to make the shops tomorrow. How can anyone miss brussels sprouts, leeks, endives and seitan slices for Christmas dinner?

Saturday 19th December 2020 – JUST IN CASE …

… you were wondering (which I’m sure you aren’t) I missed the 3rd alarm this morning too.

Nothing like as dramatically as yesterday, it has to be said. Only by about 20 minutes as it happened but still, a miss is as good as a mile as they say. And after something of a rather late night, I’m not really all that surprised.

So after the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. And it’s no surprise that I was late getting up with everything going on that went on during the night.

I’m not quite sure what I was doing during part of the night but I had a cat. I was cooking a bone and the bone had obviously been there for a very long time because it had all dried out and the meat was dry and the skin made a kind of sub-cutaneous fat crackling that all broke away from the bone. It was like eating a packet of crisps. I was Eating this and the recipe had been sent to me by my friend in Galashiels so I asked her if her meat had turned out like this, whether it was simply a cheap cut, something like that, but I never really got an answer. That was when I awoke.

Later on there was a bunch of us in a school yard. We’d been on a trip by coach or a cruise or something like that and it was the final day. We had a big debriefing session and a little snack but that was before the evening meal which was the last on that we’d be taking together. I wanted to say goodbye to these girls with whom I’d been friendly. They might have been Castor and Pollux or they might not, I dunno. I knew which table they usually sat at so as soon as the meeting was open I made a beeline for that table and I was the first basically there. I sat down and other people came to join me. But at the evening meal there was only about a quarter of the people there, just 4 tables and the rest of the people, including the two people whom I was hoping to see, hadn’t come down. I imagined that the snack that they’d had in the afternoon was enough for them. That was extremely disappointing to me as you could imagine. Anyway I started to pass the cups and plates around – they were actually underneath the table on a shelf thing that pulled out so I was passing them around. I started out by pouring out tea and I asked if anyone else wanted one. Someone did, and I got into such a confusion about his mug that in the end he took the mug off me and held it while I poured it. The conversation descended into telling bawdy jokes and everyone was having a really good laugh. The annoying thing was that I couldn’t think of a joke to tell and that’s not like me. I couldn’t think of a single 1 and everyone else was telling these jokes and we were laughing, having a really good time about this but I felt terrible because I couldn’t think of a single joke and feeling even worse because these 2 girls hadn’t shown up. This put a real damper on my trip in the end.

Having had a shower, I put the washing machine en route (I’m having clean sheets tonight) and then headed out to the shops. Caliburn started straight away with his nice, new battery so there was no problem there.

NOZ came up with a couple of CDs and not really much of anything else important. On the other hand I spent a lot of money in LeClerc on all kinds of exciting things, mostly food-related. I didn’t buy much in the way of fresh vegetables for Christmas – I’m leaving that until Thursday when I’ll also be hoping, if I’m lucky, to find some Seitan slices.

firemen breaking into a house rue paul legibon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut on the way back from the shops we had some excitement.

In the Rue Paul Legibon in the Quartier St Nicolas we had a police van and a fire engine in attendance at a house. And as I watched (firstly from stuck in a queue behind the fire engine and then in the church car park across the road) two firemen shinned up a ladder onto the terrace and proceeded to break into the house.

So whatever was going on there must have been quite important, if not serious, and doubtless we’ll be hearing more about this in due course.

Back here I put the frozen food (there wasn’t all that much) into the freezer, hung up the washing and then made myself a hot chocolate. And with a slice of my delicious fruit bread I attacked some arrears.

That took me up to lunchtime, and then after lunch I started to put some of the purchases away. Not all of them of course, I’m not feeling that much better. And when I felt up to it, I had a few things to do here that needed doing.

wassmer 54 f-bukk light aircraft Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat took me up to walkies-time so I set off out of the apartment.

And almost straight away, as soon as I had set foot out of the door I was buzzed by a light aircraft that had obviously been hovering around, waiting for me to come outside.

It’s none other than our old friend F-BUKK, the rather elderly Lycoming-engined Wassmer W54 that seems to have moved into the vicinity these days. And strangely enough, she’s not on the list of arrivals and departures for Granville Airport today although she was briefly picked up on their radar at 15:57 (roughly when I saw her) and disappeared as quickly as she appeared.

And I can’t find her anywhere else.

high winds pointe du roc baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut it’s a surprise really that there was anything very much going on outside today.

The howling, bitter wind that has plagued us these last few days, or weeks, or months, is still here. It’s churning up the sea quite considerably as you can tell from this photograph. All across the bay this afternoon we cansee the whitecaps that have been whipped up by the wicked wind.

It might be difficult to work out where it’s coming from, but I can tell you with extreme confidence exactly where it’s going. And I’m glad at times like this that I’m not a Scotsman.

For that reason I’m not going to hang about and I wandered off across the lawn and car park to the end of the headland.

trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing much happening around there today either so I wandered off down the path on the other side of the cliffs.

And here in the chantier navale at long last, we have a new arrival. We seem to have acquired one of the little trawlers that has come in here to have some work done on her. I’ve seen her about the port here and there in the past and she does have a local (Cherbourg) registration so she’s one of ours.

Is this the start of another rush of work, or are we just going to be having work in dribs and drabs until people start preparing for next summer. After all being alone on a small boat is probably about the safest place you can be in a pandemic, and we’re certain to be having a few more waves of this virus.

dry land map of United Kingdom port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks or so ago we saw a phenomenon in the harbour that seemed to represent the outline of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

As I wandered along the clifftop, lonely as a cloud etc etc, I noticed that we had the same phenomenon again today. And just as before, we had a sock of fleagulls reposing upon it. It’s not quite as accurately drawn as the time before but you can still make out the eastern and northern parts of the country, with the County of Kent just disappearing underneath the harbour wall.

That’s something else about which I would like to find out more. There’s a story that there’s a previous harbour wall somewhere prior to the building of the present one and this may be where the foundations are, the shallow depth of silt on top causing the water to dry out quicker.

Back here I grabbed a coffee and organised one or two things quickly because there was more football on the internet today. A bottom-of-the-table match between Y Fflint and Aberystwyth. I was impressed with Flint when I first saw them but they slid down the table at an alarming rate after that really heavy defeat and have recently changed their manager to no-nonsense Neil Gibson who a few years ago kicked Prestatyn Town three divisions up the pyramid in a very short space of time.

On the other hand, Aberystwyth are a good side with some good players but for some reason have simply failed to fire up and are in desperate danger of being sucked down into a relegation scrap. A win for both sides was vital today.

And the match went pretty much as expected. Aberystwyth throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Flint who had to sit back and hope to absorb it, and hit Aberystwyth on the break.

And I do have to say that Flint’s defence was magnificent today. They fought like lions with what at times was desperate defending and were unlucky with a break after 35 minutes when a header was pushed over the bar by Connor Roberts in the Aber goal.

But Roberts could do nothing in the 40th minute when one of the most beautiful, inch-perfect long balls out of defence that you have ever seen fell to Mark Cadwallader who shrugged off a desperate challenge TO TOE-POKE THE BALL PAST ROBERTS.

In the second half Aberystwyth had even more of the game and were pounding the Flint goal at will but were undone late in the game by not one but two breakaways for probably the most surprising victory that I’ve seen for a while and a result that just goes to underline Aberystwyth’s season to date.

They were unlucky to lose at all, and certainly not by a score of 3-0. Now both clubs are stuck right in a pack of four at the bottom with Y Drenewydd and Cefn Druids and this can all go in any direction.

But it’s easy to see why our two teams tonight are deep in the mire. Too many wayward passes, not marking close enough and, in Aber’s case especially, not having the killer instinct when they need it.

rue du nord place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow it was time for me to go out for my evening walk and runs. And the first two legs of my evening adventures brought me to the gate where I would disappear down to the footpath underneath the walls

Looking back behind me from this particular spot the view back down the Rue du Nord to the Place d’Armes over to the right was really impressive this evening. And the beam of the lighthouse down at the Pointe du Roc was making a nice hazy fog of light, as you can see over on the right behind the College Malraux.

Having taken the photo I disappeared down the path and along underneath the walls.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith no rain for at least 24 hours, which is strange just recently, that path under the walls wasn’t all that wet so my runs down there were reasonably comfortable tonight.

But where I stopped, halfway around to catch my breath, the view over the Plat Gousset was looking quite nice and special so I decided to have a little fun. I’d take three or four photos of the same view on different settings and see how they worked out.

The photo up above was one of them, and the one below is another of them. All of the rest were filed under “CS”.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis particular one has had a little post-work done on it but the first one is just as it came out of the camera and all in all, they aren’t too bad really.

The discarded ones were over-exposed. You’ve no idea (well, some of you have, of course) how difficult it is to set the camera for the right amount of light for artificial light when the surroundings are in pitch-black.

From there I did the next leg of my run down to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch. And, as usual thse days, there was nothing whatever going on down there, interesting or not so I turned and headed for home.

crescent moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd tonight the crescent moon was back.

A little higher in the sky tonight so I could see it before I crossed the Square Maurice Marland, and I spent a couple of minutes trying to take a good photo of it.

From there I ran on down to the walls, walked along the walls and then ran on home for tea. I can’t get used to this “early” lark.

Tea tonight was pasta and nice fresh (and I do mean fresh because broccoli was the special offer today and I had bought sprouts on Thursday) steamed vegetables with vegan pesto (I’d bought some of that too) and an old falafel burger followed by rice pudding.

Rosemary had called me while I was out so I phoned her back and we were chatting for a couple of hours, which is why I’m still writing my notes long after 02:00. But now I’ve finished, I’m off to bed.

But I’ll leave you tonight with a special treat. For those of you who worry about me, I put it all down to the kind of company that I keep. This is ONE OF MY FRIENDS FROM OTTAWA in Canada. I hope that you enjoy it.

Thursday 17th December 2020 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… day I’ve had today.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile you admire a couple of photos of Thora leaving port under cover of darkness, let me tell you all about it.

And it all went wrong rght at the start when I missed the third alarm. And missed it by a good 35 minutes too which is extremely disappointed. It wasn’t as if I had had a late night last night either. I was actually in bed at about 23:30 which is early for me these days.

And so there I was, late again. I hauled myself off (eventually) into the kitchen for my medication and morning kefir. Kiwi kefir, which was my favourite until I discovered that clementines work well in it too (note to self – “buy more clementines”.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd then back to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been.

We were out somewhere driving last night and we got to Liège on the motorway – we’d been driving on the left as in the UK down a steep bank and everyone was going past me but I thought that when we reach the hill back up on the other side I’ll catch up with them because I had the cruise control set which will carry me on as they slow down – but we had to come off at Liège for some reason at the exit, down the slip road and turn left because the central reservation was closed off and it took us up to the Liège by-pass and we expected to be able to double back and return to the motorway again there. But apparently not. There were riot police and barbed wire all over the place. It turned out that there was a football match taking place in Liège that night between Standard Liège and some European opponent. I thought “this is some extreme to go to because of this football match” we had to inch our way along the ring road until we could arrive at the next junction. Someone else in the queue at the traffic lights to whom I was chatting counted that there were 7 sets of traffic lights between where we were and that next junction. While we were inching our way along, someone in a red Cortina S registered estate drove out of a side alley. Admittedly he was going slowly and it was impossible to see but it took me completely by surprise and nearly hit it. Then I ended up back at the EU and they were proposing a judo class so I went along to the opening lesson. There was a guy there interviewing all of the people there who wanted to join, asking about their experience. Of course with being the last to arrive they kept me until last. Then they came over to me, asked my name and what I did. I replied “as little as possible, like everyone else”. He gave me one of these tired, worn-out looks and went over to the computer screen to look up my details. I thought “if he wanted my details he should have asked for that instead of asking a silly question”. He started to scroll through but couldn’t see my name. I asked “why don’t you type me name on the screen and it will scroll right through to my name”. He replied “it won’t do that”. I said that it had been doing that for 20 years that I know of. He replied that there had been problems with the computer and it doesn’t do that. I had a look at the screen. It was all burnt and mangled, and looked a bit like a relief map of a railway line and a railway station. I was surprised that it was working at all looking like a mess like this

Having transcribed that, which took longer than it might have done, I had half an hour or so on the arrears of work from the summer before going for a shower and getting ready to go out to the shops.

normandy trader thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt looks very much as if we have a full house today down in the port right now.

Thora is still here after her adventures last night, and it’s been pretty common knowledge that Normandy Trader is really busy, so it’s no surprise to see her in port this morning.

She set out at about 03:00 so I’m told, so she’s come in on the morning tide and so Thora has had to move off into the gravel-loading bay in order to allow Normandy Trader to moor underneath the crane in order to be unloaded

I struggled up to LIDL though – not quite as bad as the last tie I went, but near enough. And I didn’t buy much today because I didn’t really need anything special. They had those nice multi-coloured AAA batteries on offer so I bought 2 packs to use for the high-quality equipment. And the clementines of course.

citroen saxo tyres marked rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe way home usually brings me down the Ru St Paul and for the past however many months there’s been a Citroen Saxo parked here. One of its windows is broken and it looks pretty much abandoned to me.

And it seems that the local council has noticed too, because since the last time that I was down here they have tagged the tyres and the road where she’s parked. The intention would seem to be to come back in after a reasonable period of time to check whether or not she has moved at all.

And if not, she’ll be taken away for disposal, I imagine.

But this tagging is interesting. In the old days the officials would note in their notebooks the position of the tyre valves in order to determine if a vehicle had or hadn’t moved. I suppose that there’s only me these days who still goes around with a notebook

Back here after a slow, weary crawl up the hill (noticing that Normandy Trader has already cleared off and that was a rapid turn-round, wasn’t it) I made myself a hot chocolate and cut myself a slice of fruit bread. And this is when I started to have problems because after about half an hour or so, no matter how many things I had to do, I crashed out completely.

And I DO mean “completely” too. It was 14:09 when I next glanced at the time – about 2.5 hours after I’d sat down. And it took me another half-hour to summon up the strength to leave the chair in search of food. You’ve no idea just how depressing that was today on top of the really bad start to the day.

But at least after lunch I managed to fit Caliburn’s new battery and he starts perfectly now too. He’s in need of a good run-out though so we might go for a little trip out on Saturday if I’m feeling up to it.

buoy people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite how I was feeling, I wasn’t going to go and miss my afternoon walk.

And neither did anyone else by the looks of things, that’s all I can say because it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the paths as crowded as they were today. Even down on the beach there were hordes of people moving around in the beautiful sunshine enjoying what may well be the last of the good weather.

And at the top of the photo towards the right you’ll notice a bright yellow buoy of some description. I’d be surprised if it were a lobster pot, so close into the shore at low tide, but who knows what it might be?

Threading my way through the throngs, I walked on along the footpath. Nothing else happening here so I walked across the lawn and the car park to the headland.

yacht cabin cruiser chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing doing there either so I walked along the path at the top of the cliffs to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale.

And it seems that we have a new tenant in there today. But it’s nothing to get excited about unfortunately. It’s only a very small cabin cruiser-type of boat and I don’t imagine that it’s going to be in there for very long, or that it will need all that much attention either.

We could do with a return to the heady days of late summer when we had as many as 9 of the largest types of boat in there receiving attention and there wasn’t room in there to swing a cat.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut down in the harbour, Thora is still there. She ended up not going out on the tail of the morning tide.

But interestingly, we saw in this morning’s photo that there was an articulated lorry pulling a trailer on which were two old shabby sea containers. The lorry and trailer have gone, but the sea containers are now on the quayside right by Thora. I wonder if she’s going to be taking them with her when she goes.

As for me, I must be going too. A nice hot coffee awaits me and I can’t say that I don’t need it. I need something to bring me to my senses, such as they are.

Back here, I did week 2 of my Welsh homework and then carried on with the arrears of work, making very little progress unfortunately. I just can’t seem to fire up the energy.

There was the hour on the guitars of course, which was quite enjoyable, except that I forgot my bass line to “Street Fighting Man” and that was disappointing. too. It’s not a very good day

In accordance with new procedures, it was time for me to go for my evening run about.

fishing boats english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou might have seen in the previous photos for earlier today that the tidal port was quite empty. There was hardly a fishing boat to be seen. And in case you are wondering where they all went, they are here.

In this photo I counted 12 fishing boats on their way back home now that the tide is a-cumen in. And there were probably just as many that didn’t make it into the frame as well.

What’s happening, I reckon, is that they are all out there catching what they can before the curtain comes down on fishing in the Bay on 31st December.

And while we’re on this subject, I heard the report of the meeting that took place the other day between the local fishermen. Basically, they have agreed that if they are restricted from the fishing grounds that were agreed under the Treaty of the Bay of Granville in 1836, then no British fishing boat will be allowed to land its catch in France.

This will complicate matters for our two coastal freighters, particularly Normandy Trader which is chartered by the Co-operative of Jersey Fishermen to bring their catch into Granville.

But I’m just surprised that they didn’t propose to cut the underwater cable that provides the Channel Islands with electricity. All of their electricity comes from here, and my way of thinking is that if they want to cut themselves off from Europe and from their obligations, then they can do, but that’s the kind of thing that works both ways.

donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord I ran off down the road until my next rest point. And I’m slowly pushing it a little further up the steep hill that’s there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that very occasionally we have seen some very bright lights at the back of Donville les Bains, and we’ve been wondering what they might be. They were there again tonight so I took a photo o that I might have a closer look when I returned home, but nothing evident showed itself

The football ground is in that general direction, but when I was there, I don’t recall it having floodlights

christmas lights rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe next two legs of my run have changed a little. In view of the floods on the footpath I now go along the road and down the steps half-way along near the Place de l’Isthme

There wasn’t anything going on around here so I wandered over to the side. The Christmas lights in the Rue Paul Poirier were looking really good tonight. Both of the big green crosses for the chemists in the street were flashing away but as my first photo of it didn’t work too well I deleted it and went to take another.

And just as I clicked the shutter, not one but BOTH of the lights were switched off. 19:30 bang on the button. Closing time, I reckon.

crescent moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I ran off across the Square Maurice Marland, straight intothe teeth of a roaring gale. I don’t know what had happened but the wind has suddenly picked up.

But as I walked up the ramp at the far end, this was far too good an opportunity to miss. the winds had blown away all of the clouds and this beautiful little sliver of a crescent moon appeared through the trees. It’s not really worked out unfortunately but never mind.

And if you look tothe left of the photograph, you’ll see the ramp that leads up to the viewpoint here that overlooks the port.

chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I walked up the ramp to the viewpoint to see what was going on there in the port.

And I was treated to another beautiful display of nautical danse macabres as a little freighter steamed … “dieseled” – ed … into port with all of its lights ablaze. At first I thought that it was Normandy Trader either forgotten something or else she’s dome a most amazingly rapid turnround back in St Helier.

But not even Normandy Trader can turn round that quickly. It is in fact Chausiais who now wants a go at the loading crane, but she’s not going to be having that for a while.

thora marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the reason for this is that, surprisingly, Thora is still in port next to Marité. She seems to be taking her time getting in and out these days.

So I watched the procedure for a few minutes and then headed home.

As you saw at the beginning, just after I moved away Marité slipped her moorings and headed off out into the open sea on her way home again and Chausiais slid into the vacant berth.

having put my tea in the oven before I set out, I came back home to hot pie and baled potatoes with veg and gravy followed by rice pudding. Fresh sprouts were on the menu today, and with some steamed frozen broccoli it was all totally delicious.

Now that I’ve written up my notes, I’m off to bed. later than I intended, but that’s how things are these days.

There’s plenty of work to do tomorrow, a few ‘phone calls to make and that sort of thing, and then of course the arrears to attend to. So here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow than I did today. It was all quite depressing what with one thig and another.

But I am noticing little deteriorations in my health here and there. People with this illness have already died during the length of time that I have had it, and while I’m being very careful about what I do, who I meet and what I eat, and about keeping fit, I can’t go on for ever.

We’ll see what the future brings to me.

Thursday 22 October 2020 – I WAS FEELING LIKE …

… the Man From Westphalia this morning. In fact, it really was a failure.

When the third alarm went off I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed. I was rather like the two merchant seamen swimming in the sea with an overturned lifeboat.
“Did you manage to drag yourselves up on the boat?” asked a rescuer
“Honestly” replied one of them. “We never even had the time to do our hair”

It was 08:20 when I finally left the bed and that’s way beyond depressing.

It wasn’t as if I’d gone far during the night either. I’d been in the office to work and we’d been in the basement. To climb back out was hundreds of steps and I was exhausted by the time that I got to the top. There were crowds of people milling past me so when I went down again and coming back, I came back up the wider part of the stairs so all these crowds of people came swarming up the narrow part, which was quite strange. They all started to go home. Someone had an Austin A90 Atlantic with a very large boot on the back and I’d never seen that before, much bigger than a standard type. I got to the counter and asked if they had some papers for me. I knew that they had because I’d dropped them off there when I arrived. They asked “what name?” so I told them and they gave them back to me with a smile. I said “I’m going to take a shower before I go”. They asked were and I replied “in my room”. Someone had noticed on my paper the name of my car. They asked “do you have a Vanden Plas?” (which ACTUALLY, I DO). I went to show them on the paper. But there was somewhere something about a situation in the shower where I’m going to take a shower at someone’s house at one point and there was a rubbish bin full to the brim of all kinds of rubbish, mostly lightweight, these polystyrene balls, bits of plastic, whatever. I’d switched on the fan in the bathroom and all these papers and this polystyrene balls had blown absolutely everywhere and made a complete and utter horrible mess of untidiness inside this bathroom. I thought “it’s going to take me ages to clean this up, and it’s in someone else’s house as well”.

Writing out all of that didn’t leave me too much time to do anything else. I had a quick shower and then hit the streets.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOff to the shops now, albeit rather later than usual.

This morning though, i managed to catch the roofers on the roof at the College Malraux. They seem to be hard at it today as well, ripping the slates off the building. And their cherry-picker will make light work of hauling up the material to the roof.

It’s a bit tough on the young kids. No apprentices and labouring jobs these days where the youth of today can watch and learn how it’s done.

fishing boats leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hallhaving got that out of the way I continued on with my walk to the shops.

It looks as if I’d just that very minute missed the opening of the harbour gates. There was an endless stream of fishing boats, both large and small, engaged in a stampede out to sea . There were probably about 20 all told, I reckon.

The fishing season must now be in full swing again, I reckon, with all of this activity going on. It will be interesting to see the quayside at the Fish Processing Plant at high tide tonight.

repairing sails marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just the fishing boats that were undergoing some activity this morning. Marité was having her fair share of attention too.

There were a couple of guys in a sky jack or a cherry picker or something of that ilk checking and repairing one of her sails this morning.

You can see the heaps of gravel piling up in the background too. It’s not going to be long, I reckon, before a gravel boat comes in to pick it all up. It’s been 6 months since we saw the last one so it’s about time.

Everyone was in facemasks in the town what with these new regulations and it looked quite bizarre. But obviously necessary with 40,000 new infections today.

At LIDL there was nothing exciting. Just the usual stuff. I wasn’t out there long. Heavily loaded (not as heavy as last week though) I headed back for town and home.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I walked back up the Rue des Juifs I noticed an interesting spectacle.

It was something that puzzled me at first – two trawlers lashed together and sailing out og harbour. But just after there where I photographed them they did a hard left turn and the right-hand one came up against a pontoon. There, it was lashed to a support and the other trawler cut itself free.

Maybe it might have been an engine problem on the right-hand one that it couldn’t move under its own steam … “diesel” – ed … or something like that, I suppose

Back at the apartment I made myself a hot chocolate and then attacked the laptop. It has finished its reloading and all of the data files had now been copied back. What remained now was to add my suite of programs, something that took the rest of the morning.

More of my really delicious bread for lunch, and then this afternoon I started on the photos again. And this was extremely complicated because there were several photos that I took that, because of this failure of the DashCam to pick up my voice, I didn’t know where the photos were taken.

In the end I had to resort to watching the dashcam recordings to pick up any hints and with German road signs being so miserable, that wasn’t early and I ended up at one stage plotting my route by virtue of wayside advertisements.

However, I’ve now arrived at the Luxembourg border so from here on in, it should (hopefully) be pretty plain sailing for the remaining 46. Yes, I only managed to do 9 this afternoon, so complicated was it all.

roofing rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter I’d done some of the photos it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

First stop was to see just how they were getting on with the roofing job in the Rue St Jean. And, by the looks of things, there has been plenty of progress. Most of the laths are now on and they have almost covered one of the pitches of the roof with tiles. It’ll be fun watching them do the edging on the left.

And there was an ambulance in the area early this afternoon too. It made me wonder if someone had fallen off that flying scaffolding.

zodiac english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy walk continued on down and round the corner to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord.

Actually, I was rather hoping to see a gravel boat so I had a good scan out to sea. But there was nothing doing. Only this zodiac racing past across the bay, with no indication of where it had come from and to where it was going.

However it was all loaded up with fishing gear so I imagine that they were going to have another go at the sea bass. And who knows? Some day someone might even manage to catch one too.

building sandcastles beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was plenty of activity going on down on the beach and that caught my attention for a while.

Over the least couple of days we’ve had the beach artists down there doing there stuff but today it looks as if they have abandoned the place to the Civil Engineers. There are a couple of young guys building something substantial – a dyke with protective walls and sand castles. Good for them

The adults seem to be be preoccupied with something going on out to sea, but I couldn’t see what it was from up here.

people in sea plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy walk continued on along the Rue du Nord, mixing in with the hordes of people who were milling about.

You probably saw in the photo of the roofing that it was a beautiful, cloudless afternoon. Nice as it may have been, it wasn’t that nice. You wouldn’t get me into that water down there right now.

So instead I continued with my walk. No opportunity to break into a run unfortunately. There were far too many people about for that and I don’t want to show myself off.

When it reached 18:00 I called a halt and had my hour on the guitar. but I’ll need to find some enthusiasm from somewhere because I have lost it all right now and that’s not like me. Or maybe it is these days. I dunno. I can’t seem to summon up any enthusiasm for anything right now.

Tea was taco rolls with the left-over stuffing from the other night, followed by my delicious apple pie with chocolate sauce.

Moon baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd then I went for my evening walk.

During one of my many pauses I’d read up on how to use the delayed timer, and it was a beautiful, clear night with no wind, so I took the tripod for a walk.

Many of the photos didn’t come out and were summarily deleted, and had I had the f1.8 50mm lens on the camera instead of the BIG NIKON ZOOM LENS I might have been able to salvage more. I have a lot to learn about photography in the pitch black

Trawlers english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe tripod isn’t up to all that much either. Even on a level flat piece of concrete there’s still plenty of shaking in the joints. I didn’t have a weight with me to hold it down.

That’s pretty apparent in this photo of the street lights of Jersey. A 5-second exposure shows it up well enough. But had I had my night lens on I could have taken the same shot with just a one-second exposure and it would have been better.

And believe me – there were plenty more much worse than this that bit the dust.

Trawlers brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut you’ll remember from earlier today when I photographed the stream of fishing boats heading out to sea on the tide, and I mentioned that i’d like to be there when they would all be coming back.

And sure enough, I was too. while I was setting up my tripod at the end of the headland to take some photos of the reflection of the moon in the sea, two of the blighters went chugging past me on their way back home.

They are the lights of Kairon Plage and Jullouville in the background by the way.

Moon baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut this was what I was trying to photograph.

Over there in the background we have the Brittany coast round by Cancale. There’s the moon too, and some stars and planets, and the reflection of the moonlight in the sea. And there’s the traditional dilemma too – street lights just about right but the moon was far too bright.

Closing the aperture might reduce the light of the moon down to a proper proportion, but then you can’t see the stars or the street lights, and the reflection of the moon in the sea isn’t anything like impressive.

trawler baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve seen quite often the reflection of the street lights of St Malo bouncing around off the clouds in the distance.

One of the things that I wanted to do this evening was to take a better photograph of that, particularly as the clouds are now starting to close in. This was done with a 10-second delay, just long enough for a fishing boat to come into the shot, and a three-second exposure time, just long enough for the boat to become a nice blurred streak.

But at least the stars and the street lights aren’t blurred. I must have been out of the wind here, I suppose, and that prevented the tripod from being shaken about.

Moon baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis one was taken looking further up the Bay to the Brittany coast round by St Benoit des Ondes.

And taking this photograph was not without its difficulties either. There were a couple of other people walking about around here this evening and they had the habit of walking in front of the camera just after I’d pressed the shutter and while the time delay was running

Someone else though saw what was happening and he stopped. We ended up having a good chat about the area. He was from the Paris region and was on holiday here. It was his first visit and he was enjoying it so far.

moon trawler baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallhaving stood here for a good half-hour taking loads of useless photos I ran on (because I was still running despite the equipment) round the headland to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

By now, the clouds had thickened up and the moon was being obscured. Nevertheless I tried for a 2-second exposure here and that seemed to come out reasonably well. At least the trawler that drifted into the image wasn’t quite as blurred as the previous one was.

And strangely enough, there were even more stars visible in this photo despite the shorter exposure time

moon trawler baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot being sure of how the previous photo would come out, because the tripod was far from level and the photo was askew (I straightened it in post-production) I rejigged the tripod and took another one.

This one has come out quite nicely too although there’s plenty of room for improvement.

What didn’t come out nicely though was the photo of the chantier navale. Only one boat in there tonight – the yacht that we have seen. The other two have cleared off.

fishing boats unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the record, I took several shots of the yacht in there but for some reason, not one of them came out as it should have done.

So instead I turned my attention to the Fish Processing Plant. We’d seen all of the fishing boats heading out to sea this morning and earlier this evening we’d seen them all come sailing back. It was now like a rugby scrimmage out there as all of the boats jostled for position at the quayside to unload.

All of the lights in the Fish Processing plant are ablaze, there’s plenty of movement with the fork-lift trucks and there’s a refrigerated lorry ready to take away the catch.

fishing boats unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat photo was taken at 1/3rd of a second so I went to take the same one at a faster speed.

This one was taken at 1/5th second and it’s not come out anything like as well as the previous one. So I gave up and ran on home.

All in all, I’m pretty disappointed with all of this. Had I had the correct lens on the camera I might have done so much better, quite simply because of the shorter exposure times that would have compensated for a rather wobbly tripod.

Tomorrow morning I’ll have to check that and do some adjustment, I reckon. My technique might not be very good but it’s not going to be helped by relying on faulty equipment.

So now I’m off to bed. I can’t do with another night like last night. I have to put more of an effort into things. But only another week before I’m off to Leuven so there’s tons to do and I can’t hang around brooding.

Interestingly, my horoscope for this week reads “I’m missing my true love. I need to do everything that I can to meet up with her, see her, or simply show her the proof of all my love”.

Anyone remember Tuesday’s notes?

Wednesday 21st October 2020 – THE ONE THING …

… that I can say about Social Media is that it’s amazing, the things that come crawling out of there.

When I was an adolescent I went to school in Nantwich and had a few friends and contacts there, but lost touch with most people over the years.

The town has its own page on Social Media and I am a member. Occasionally I see the odd name here and there that I remember, so I have a little reminisce. But the other day, seeing the name of a company reminded me of someone I once knew with the same family name. So I asked the question on there – “is anyone in touch with … ?”.

The power of Social media is stunning because within half an hour I had three positive responses and three hours later I was chatting to the person concerned. And as a result, anyone who listens to one of my “live concerts” ON THE RADIO in a couple of months’ time will be treated to the rarest of rare.

There was a rock group from Nantwich that soared to fame for five minutes in the early 70s and then disappeared just as dramatically – totally forgotten by everyone. But I can still remember the names of the three musicians. And I work on the theory that “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”.

And if you don’t make an effort you don’t get either so today I certainly did. I beat the third alarm by a good 30 seconds, I reckon, and that’s good enough for me these days.

So despite only having 5.5 hours sleep last night (I was reformatting the laptop after I’d finished my notes, a task that is still continuing by the way) I still managed to go walkabout.

I was playing football last night, would you believe? I’d gone to Gresty Road to see Crewe Alex play in the FA Cup but frankly it was a boring 0-0 spectacle and wasn’t really exciting me at all. On the next pitch a local Sunday afternoon side with a couple of players whom I knew, really only a scratch side, were playing against Hulll City on the Cup. They were hanging on for a 0-0 draw but of course as you might expect, it was all Hull City and very much a last-ditch defence kind of thing. So I went over to watch them. For some unknown reason I ended up as a substitute for them with about 30 minutes to go. I didn’t really do much but the team which by now had become Man City were attacking and attacking and attacking. On one occasion they worked their way down the left wing, cut back inside and a cross went to one of their players who hit this enormous volley straight at the goal. Of course with me being a goalkeeper my immediate reaction was to stick my hands up and divert it over the crossbar. An obvious penalty and an obvious sending off so I didn’t even wait for the referee to pull his card out. I just walked off the field. The referee took out his card and went to show it to another player. The other player was saying that it was him but of course I wasn’t any good so I might as well leave the field anyway. I said “no, no, it’s me, it’s me”. The referee, seeing that I’d already left the field and was walking up the field just showed me the red card. he didn’t even ask me for my name which was just as well because I didn’t even know which name I was playing under. I went back to Gresty Road and by now there was a torrential downpour, half the crowd had gone and there was no football. People were sitting around in the stands so I asked this woman and her little daughter who were sitting next to me “what’s happening now with the football?” She replied “I don’t know” but pointed to another guy and said “he’ll know. Why don’t you ask him?”. So I went over to ask him.

Later on, I was at a concert. It was something like The Grateful Dead taking place in Crewe market with all of the market stalls. It wasn’t particularly enjoyable because quite simply their music wasn’t loud enough, very very quiet and I was listening. I went over to the group’s mixing desk which was on a market stall in Crewe to tell them to turn it up. They basically shrugged it off and carried on. A little later they announced that tickets would be on sale for another concert, for $5:00 each with a reduction of $0:50 for everyone who had a Grateful Dead club membership, which cost $1:00. I thought “well I wouldn’t mind seeing them again. The sound might be better so I queued up. when it was my turn to get my tickets I said to the woman “I’m going to make myself very unpopular now with you”. She said “what note do you have? A $20?”. I replied “no, $100”. She sighed but I got the money out and handed it over. It was dated February this year. Anyway she took it and started to count out the money from the money that she had just been taking in from everyone else.

One of these days I’m going to review my journeys and review the amount of time I’ve lived in various places, and compare notes. I only lived in Crewe 1970-72, 1975, 1981-1992 yet it features the most by a country mile in my night-time travels whereas Brussels, where I lived the longest, rarely features at all. How bizarre is that?

After I’d been working for a good hour or so I suddenly realised that I had things to do. Thank heavens for my journal in which I write down what I need to do.

First thing was to peel and dice very finely a lump of ginger and put it into some cold water and bring it to the boil very gently.

Next was to prepare the dough for the bread. 500 grammes of cereal flour and rwo big handfuls of sunflower seeds with a couple of dessertspoons of salt. Some sugar was dissolved in 250 grammes of lukewarm water and then a sachet of yeast was added and shaken well in, and left until a nice foamy froth had formed.

Then it was all kneaded together and then left in the mixing bowl under a damp teatowel so that it might rise.

four lemons were next peeled and I took the pith off as well. This was all whizzed around in the whizzer so that the juice might separate. This was put in a cold sterilised bottle, and the rest was whizzed up further into a pulp and then added to the ginger in its water.

Having done the washing up, I then prepared the hummus
For any given quantity of hummus you need

  • 50% of that quantity in chick peas
  • 25% of that quantity in sesame seed paste
  • olive oil (this amount can vary depending on how you like the texture of your hummus)
  • chick pea juice (ditto)
  • Lots of garlic
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • sea salt

You should end up with something like 95% of your given quantity.
All of this should be then put into the whizzer and whizzed around and around into a nice smooth purée. It takes quite a while.

And now you need your filling. I made two loads

  • one with olives
  • one with dried tomatoes

but really you can use what you like.

Dice up your filling into tiny bits and then add it to your hummus. Then GENTLY whizz it in. Too much will purée it and that’s not what you want. Not enough and it won’t be mixed in thoroughly.

And there’s your hummus.

By now the bread had risen sufficiently so I gave it its second kneading, shaped it, and put it in the mould that I use these says – a silicon cake mould. better than nothing. And then the damp teatowel put over the top.

The lemon and ginger was ready after having simmered gently for an hour or so. I took that off the heat, added two tablespoons of honey and then whizzed it around and around in the whizzer until it resemebled a nice syrup. That was then added to the lemon juice in the bottle, mixed well up, sealed and put in the fridge.

Home Made Bread Home Made Lemon and Ginger Cordial Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now, after about half an hour or so, the bread was ready. So that went in a hot oven for 75 minutes. I fed the sourdough and then came in to edit a few photos and to hunt down some places where I’d taken them. And that wasn’t easy either.

And here’s one I made earlier. Yes, we have a loaf of bread here all nicely cooked and fresh out of the oven. Lemon and Ginger Cordial too, but not the hummus. Most of that is in the freezer and there’s only a small amount in the fridge right now.

And I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that the fresh bread from the oven is delicious and my hummus is thoroughly wicked. I shall enjoy eating all of this and no mistake.

Home Made Pear Kefir Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter lunch there was the kefir to see to.

There were two rather over-ripe pears so they were whizzed into oblivion. The resultant purée was pressed through a sieve to extract the juice into a big measuring jug, and the kefir that was brewing was filtered through my filter stack into the big jug. It was all then whizzed around and bottled.

This is something that I’ve never tried before so I’ve no idea how it works. I’ve seen a recipe for apple kefir but not for pear kefir, so I’m hoping that it’s going to work out fine.

Cherry Picker salles Communales Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been messing about I’d noticed some activity in the car park at the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs.

There’s a cherry-picker in there and I wondered what it was doing, so when I went out for my afternoon walk I went to have a peek. And it looks as if they are going some pointing work to the building that is used as the Communal Rooms, where you can hire a room for an exhibition or a wedding reception or something like that.

It’s high time that they did something about it. The upper floors are empty and abandoned and need some repair work so that they can be occupied. I hope that this will be the start of the renovation.

Roofing Rue St Jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw them working on the roof of one of the houses in the Rue St Jean.

They seem to have made some very good progress since we last saw them. It looks as if all of the laths are now on the roof and they have started to trim off the overhang.

But I remain totally unconvinced by the flying scaffolding that they are using on the left-hand side of the house. I’ve worked in precarious positions in the past – in fact on my own house the rear was done with me working without scaffoding although I was wearing a safety harness.

And I’d feel much safer with that set-up rather that the set-up that they have.

Beach Art Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing yesterday was a group of people performing some beach art.

At the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord overlooking the beach I had a look down and I could seem them all again out there today having another go at some art. It looks quite pretty too today.

It’s a shame that the tide has to come in and wash away their hard work. Still, it gives them a clean canvas tomorrow for them to come up with another beautiful design. But it must be very said to see your previous gros oeuvre wiped out by the waves.

Kids Playing In Sea On Beach Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were plenty of people about on the cliffs today too. Far too many for me to go for a run along the path, so I had a nice pleasant walk instead.

Threre were plenty of squeals coming from the beach that distracted me as I was walking. And at the viewpoint I could see the reason for that. Despite it being late October and quite cool outside, a group of kids has decided that it would be fun to run into the sea.

There are certainly some hardy people around, but I’m not one of them. I left them to it and carried on with my walk.

Gravel Piles Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no-one around in the Square Maurice Marland so I took the opportunity to have a quick, impromptu run. And this was the view that I saw at the end of my run.

And this can only mean one thing. Lorries bringing in tonnes of gravel and diggers piling it up in heaps on the quayside. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there’s a quarry not too far away where a really had and durable rock is found. It’s excellent when used with tarmac as roadstone and it’s bought by many people, including two road-making companies in the UK.

And we haven’t seen a gravel boat in here for probably 6 months – a big 2,500-tonne bulk carrier – but it looks as if one of them is on its way to part for another load to take to Whitstable or Shoreham.

That’s good news as far as I’m concerned.

Workmen repairing electric light Porte St Jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way out for my afternoon perambulation I’d seen an Electricity Board van parked up at the side of the road.

So this is what they are doing. One of the floodlights that illuminates the Porte St Jean hasn’t been working, but today it’s receiving some care and attention. Presumably the silicone in the tube is to make a waterproof seal afterwards to prevent more water ingress.

While the workmen were occupied I took a quick photo and then came on home at a leisurely walk to carry on editing photos.

That’s another pile done, including the most difficult ones where I had to track down a road accident. Just 55 left now.

Another task that I had to do was to convert a pile of files into *.mp3 ready for a radio programme, and to carry on working with the laptop organising that too.

Then I could have my guitar practice. And that went much better today and I actually enjoyed it. I was playing a few Neil Young tracks on the bass – tracks like LIKE A HURRICANE – and I find to my surprise that I can actually sing them while playing bass too and that cheered me up no end.

As for the 6-string, I spent my half-hour working out the chords to MODERN TIMES by Al Stewart. And again, to my surprise, by the time that I’d finished my session, I’d even worked out half of the lead guitar solo at the end, and made a reasonable attempt at playing it.

Moon over Baie de Mont St Michel Brittany Coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis evening I had the streets to myself when I went out for my evening promenade.

My first run up the Rue du Roc and my second one down to the clifftop were quite comfortable. And when I got down to the clifftop I could see in the distance the new moon shining brightly over the Brittany coast, so I walked round to the end of the headland to take a photograph of it shining over the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Actually, in view of the clear skies and good views I’d been tempted at first to take the tripod with me. But there was far too much wind for that tonight, which was a shame.

Trawlers Unloading Fish Processing Plant Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead, I ran on along the path on the clifftop past the Chantier Navale. No change there, and the yacht in there isn’t the Spirit of Conrad.

It’s all go though at the fish processing plant. When I’d been running around the headland I’d seen probably a dozen fishing boats making their way in with their catch tonight. By the time I’d reached my breathing point they were all steaming … “dieseling” – ed … into harbour ready to unload.

There were a few of the kids on the car park again tonight so I didn’t stay long there. I carried on with my run down the Boulevard Vaufleury.

Victor Hugo Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving reached the end-point of this particular leg of my run, I walked back down to the viewpoint over the inner harbour.

That was because on my live fleet monitor this morning, I noticed that Victor Hugo was on her way back from Cherbourg, via the Channel Islands. And sure enough, there she is obscured by Granville who has also returned to the fold from her sojourn at Cherbourg.

It looks as if they had gone, just like Marité, because the harbour was to be drained. And they are back now. Although there isn’t much chance of them resuming their ferry runs for the rest of the year.

Trawlers Unloading Fish Processing Plant Port de Granville Harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s an even better view of the boats unloading at the fish processing plant from here.

We haven’t taken a photo in the dark of the view from here for quite some time so I reckoned that tonight would be as goos a night as any. I was rather late for watching them unload Les Bouchots de Chausey. There she is in the foreground, quite empty, and the tractor and trailer that takes away her load is rattling off down the streets.

So seeing as I was here I put in another run all the way to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord.

Porte St Jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd on the way back I actually encountered some people.

You will have noticed the electricians earlier fixing the light underneath the Porte St Jean that lights up the stonework and I wanted to take a photo of it. And sure enough, bang on cue, a couple of little kids ran into the shot to animate the scene. That adds a bit of colour to the scenery.

And from there I ran on home. I’d had a really good and athletic night out there again. I must be improving

While I was writing my notes, I tried my lemon and ginger cordial. And that reaches the parts that other cordials can’t reach. So now I’m off to bed, confident in the knowledge that A MAJOR INJUSTICE HAS BEEN PUT RIGHT. 90 minutes too late of course, and will probably be a very expensive 90 minutes at the end of the season. I’m still shaking my head in bewilderment and disbelief.

Friday 2nd October 2020 – I KNEW THAT …

Repairing Roof Guttering College Malraux Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… it was a mistake for me to have those baked beans the other night.

The storm that was brewing last night was actually Hurricane Alex or whatever it was called and it finally arrived round about 02:00. By 05:00 is was in its full fury and round about 05:20 the weather station just down the road here recorded a gust of wind at 142Km/H – that’s 85MpH for those of you still working in real money.

This afternoon when I went out for my walk, they were out repairing all the damage – because damage, there was plenty. There was a cherry-picker just across the car park putting part of the roof and the guttering back on the College Malraux. And that’s the leeward side of the building too. I wonder what it must have been like on the windward side.

But imagine being up there on that with the wind gusting like it did. Luckily the wind had died down considerably by the time that I went out and everywhere was slowly getting back to normal – until the next storm.

It’s not surprising therefore that I had a bad night. It was difficult to sleep with all of this going on – that is, unless I was in mid-dictate because in the middle of recounting one episode I did fall asleep. And my apologies to the much-maligned Percy Penguin, who doesn’t appear in these pages anything like as often as she deserves. Yes, so I do sometimes snore when I’m asleep. Et Alors?

For a change I beat the third alarm to my feet this morning. But it didn’t make much difference because there was that much on the dictaphone that I still didn’t have the early night for which I was hoping.

We started off with people all dying off in this country house – a typical Agatha Christie murder thing and there was an investigation going on. Hercule Poirot came to carry out the investigation but he mysteriously died as well. That left everything in the clear so I thought that it was best that I made my getaway at the moent while everyone else was preoccupied. I nipped out. There were all these people at the seaside at tables having a communal meal down the coast. I ran past them. What I hadn’t realised was that Poirot had come to life again. He’d tried a trick. He chased after me and actually caught me. A proper detective led me away. I tried to argue my way out of it but to no avail. He took me to his car which was a long way away by foot. His car had some kind of publicity thing like upturned cows’ udders on the roof for milk.
Rather surprisingly, a while later I had exactly the same dream but it finished differently. It was 2 other people who cornered me, not Poirot. They managed to stop me and the police came up and took me away. But it was the same, identical dream except that it finished in a different way.
Somewhat later, there was a note on my dictaphone about which I don’t have a clue, because it appears that I might have missed the start. There was in fact an entry prior to this, but it was a blank one so I must not have recorded it. However – “This was done (what was?) first in film then it was done the second time also in film, glorious technicolour. Then I walked back to the town at Granville again past a group of (I fell asleep here) said they would kill me. I went to drag them away. (I fell asleep again here for a good few minutes). So I ran but in the end they caught me and that happened twice in both particular dreams. Later still it all came into a hospital, not a country house party, and all this started to happen but I was arrested before I actually poisoned too many of those”.
At least it looks as if it has something to do with the events of the previous dream, but I’ve no idea what it’s about really.
Later on last night I was joined by someone who fluttered briefly into my life 12 or so years ago and who has recently reappeared quite dramatically. I was planning on moving house out of my parents’ home into the one I’d bought at Winsford. She was moving house as well so we were all discussing our plans and so on. I already had a lot of furniture in my house but the dining room table in my parents house belonged to me and what was I going to do about that? Would I take it? Leave it? Sell it or something? It ended up being quite a lengthy discussion. We had had a bit of a lie-in that morning but had things to do. Suddenly it announced on the radio that it was nearly 12:00. Someone said that they’d better get on with this tin of beans while they still can before the contents go off. It was a huge tin of baked beans and someone had tried to open it and made a right mess of butchering the top so someone else had to open it. I had some things to take round to my house, which had now become my house in the Auvergne. I got there and went to quickly look at things and put things away because this girl might come round. Sure enough she suddenly presented herself. She asked if she could use the bathroom. I explained to her that the toilet was a dry one. She replied “ohh no, I can’t use that!”

There was far more to it than this but some of my readers have delicate sensibilities and they are probably eating their meals right now.

So what have I done today?

For a start-off, I’ve done some rearranging of things in my office. I’m fed up of cables that go absolutely everywhere except where they are supposed to go. So I’ve moved a few things around and tidied up the wiring to some degree. That means that as well as the place looking neater, I can actually now get into the two drawers that are in one of the bookcases. I can now start to put things away.

There was still 1kg of carrots that needed freezing. They have been washed, peeled, diced, blanched with bayleaves, drained and they are now in the freezer taking care of themselves.

But I spent all day working on the photos of July this year. All of the ones from the trip on the Spirit of Conrad have been dealt with and I’m now well into the ones for my Great Trek around Central Europe.

What was disappointing though was that I could have done much more except that I crashed out no fewer than three times during the course of the day. An early start is no good if I end up being asleep for all of this time during the day.

Le Loup Baie de Mont St Michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe had the afternoon walk as usual, and although the wind had dropped somewhat, I still didn’t want to spend too much time out there.

No boats of course, as you might expect, and not much else going on. I took a photo of the Baie de Mont St Michel and Le Loup – the light that’s on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, more out of the fact that there was nothing much else going on anywhere. At least you can see how grey and miserable everything looked today.

But when I said that there were no boats out there, that’s not strictly true. Somewhere out there on the rocks is a yacht. The gusts of winds snatched one from its moorings over at Cancale on the Brittany coast and drove it across the bay onto the rocks neat the Pointe de Carolles. There was no-one in it, but a lifeboat did go out. They managed to rescue it and tow it into the harbour during the afternoon.

debris Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne there is yet more devastation.

It’s effectively an alleyway between the high walls of the medieval city on one side and the high walls of one of the old barracks buildings. It’s like a wind tunnel up there at the best of times and so earlier this morning it must have been horrific. It’s brought down mortar and even small stones out of the walls of the barracks. That lot certainly wasn’t there yesterday.

Back here I carried on with my work and then had my hour on the guitar. And strangely, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I couldn’t seem to be able to do anything properly and it really annoyed and frustrated me. I’m not supposed to have days like this.

Tea was taco rolls, using up the rest of the stuffing left over from my stuffed peppers with a small tin of kidney beans chucked in for good measure. That was followed by yet more strawberry flan with coconut soya dessert.

Calm Seas Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor my evening walk tonight, the wind was behaving itself a little more. Now, it could just be classed as “strong”. Nevertheless there were still some brave folks sitting outside at La Rafale.

There wasn’t anyone else wandering around so I had the old town to myself. I ran on down the path to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset and if you want any confirmation about how dramatically the weather has changed, then one view of the sea should tell you all that you need to know.

The tempest that was raging last night even before the storm reached anything like its peak has subsided as dramatically as you can get. Tonight, it was like a millpond out there and as long as I looked I didn’t see a single wave of any significance.

Moonlight Behind Clouds Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe sky was beautifully bright tonight and you could see for miles in all directions, including upwards.

That is, until you reached where the moon was. Here, there was some cloud cover and the moon was obscured. Not enough though to stop the bright moonlight seeping out around the edges and that was just beckoning for a photograph. And all in all, given the limitations under which I’m working, it came out rather well.

No sign of life in the harbour tonight, which is no surprise seeing as there were no boats out today in view of the weather. I know that they go out on most occasions in adverse weather, but today it really was adverse. With nothing to see, I ran on home to my apartment.

Tomorrow is shopping day so now that I’ve finished my notes, I’m having an early night. In fact, I don’t need much from the shops as I’m not going to be here for a few days next week. It’s Castle Anthrax time, but whether or not I go is another thing. Lille is a hotbd of the virus and there’s talk of a severe lockdown. And that’s where I change trains for Brussels.

That’s going to be exciting.

Sunday 27th September 2020 – IT’S SUNDAY …

… and a day of rest is called for today. Which is just as well after my late finish last night.

moonlight granville baie de mont st michel manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire tonight’s moon over the bay, I lay in until just after 10:00. That’s a good idea as far as I’m concerned, especially when you’ve travelled as far as I had during the night.

This was a big, long dream last night but I can only remember a little of it. It was in a fish and chip shop and I was waiting for my meal. Someone in front of my had ordered a chinese cabbage and a girl very similar to Marie Warke (what’s she doing making a dramatic appearance in my nocturnal voyages after 35 years?) was serving behind the counter. She prepared this Chinese cabbage absolutely, really nice. I thought that it was an absolute work … “or warke” – ed … of art how she prepared all of this. Beforehand we were talking about football. The question of women’s football came up. In the Puy de Dome they had 5 or 6 womens football teams. That had me remembering the time a few years ago when I tried to start up a women’s football league. The first one, I went to Gouttières to the football club there (which there isn’t) and asked them if anyone think that it’s a possibility to start a women’s football league and does anyone want to join? The guy there drew on a blackboard the addresses of the mairie at Pionsat, St Gervais, Teilhet, somewhere in the Allier and then somewhere else in the Puy de Dome but a long way away – no, not Pionsat, somewhere else fairly local. Pionsat were quite strong in this women’s league so I was surprised that he hadn’t actually thought of Pionsat when he made out this little list for me.
A short while later there we were back in the Auvergne. There was a big group of us and we’d set out on foot walking from Gouttières (Gouttières again?). The guy in charge was leading this big party. We were all to do with the football team on tour, like the Ireland under-21s. I’d just seen them playing at Gouttières. There was one boy, dubbed “the new Pélé” who quite impressed me. Off we set and we walked into the mountains. This guy leading, something like Thierry, was very dynamic and determined ane eventually we found what he was looking for, a whole series of names that had been carved into the ground. If we stood on a certain viewpoint we could look below us and see all of these names carved out. He was told that his name, Meaux, had been carved on there so we had a look at all these names carved into the ground but couldn’t see it. There were hundreds of names in these rolling hills but there was nothing. Only half had been uncovered so maybe it was in the half that was still covered. he was bitterly disappointed after coming all this way that he couldn’t find his name. Then we ended up talking about the team and the Ireland under-21s. This boy came up and I said “Oh I’ve seen him. I thought that he was pretty good”. They asked when I had seen him so I mentioned some ordinary match in which he might have appeared. I didn’t want to say that I had seen him at Gouttières because that was supposed to have been behind closed doors. Again there was still a lot more to it than this

A little later on I was with Nerina at a family party (and knowing my family, this was probably a fête worse than death). It started at 19:30 and we all had to be at this hall by then but we were all still messing around at home. A huge group of us, all different members of the family. It wasn’t until about 09:15 or something that we decided that we had all better go. They were handing out all of the parcels to take and put a lot of stuff in my mitt and I couldn’t manage it all. In the end I just had to take the ones that had handles. I staggered with those and there was my vehicle which was a pickup, something like a Morris 1000 pickup. I put everything in the back of it, but it was looking strange. I knew that I had some trouble with the suspension on it so I thought that the suspension had collapsed. Meanwhile someone else had put some more stuff in the back of my pickup. He had a look and said something “you can’t get this type of S engine any more, can you? It’s getting to be as rare as a big Morris”. I didn’t want to tell him that it was just an ordinary standard engine in here but that got me thinking “why don’t I fit a big Morris engine in it, one of the 1622cc engines?”. Nerina got into the vehicle with me and I let the cluthch out. There was a mighty crash and bang and the vehicle swayed around. I suddenly realised why the vehicle was looking so peculiar. I’d had it up on a set of wooden ramps and I hadn’t realised. I’d just driven right off the end of the ramps. There the ramps were, and chains that held it, all bent and sprawled out in the street. I had to get out and pick them up. There was traffic behind that couldn’t get past me while I was doing it.
Somewhat later still we’d all been to a party. There were dozens of people around here and there were all kinds of things going on. While I was there the bathroom was in a hell of a state so I decided that I would tidy it up and throw away a load of stuff that was in there in this person’s house. I had an ulterior motive in that there was a washing machine there and I had a bag of dirty clothes so I stuck all of my washing into their machine while I was doing it. everyone else was doing something. Then I heard a couple coming back up, absolutely fuming and furious. “That’s the last time I ever come to this house and the last time I ever speak to this guy again. I was looking closely at the die he was using with this card game and it had ‘left hand’ on it. You don’t normally have dice with right and left hand written on it unless there’s something crooked going on with them”. So they were watching and he’d been cheating. Slowly the party broke up and my washing was still going and I still had this bathroom in a terrible state, even worse than it was before I’d started tidying it. I had to get this organised and the washing was still going and they were saying “why do people do this kind of thing?” I said “it’s the power, isn’t it? It all comes from having a repressed childhood, all of this kind of thing”. Some guy was standing there saying “oh, absolutely. Totally! I agree with every word you say”. Of course it didn’t dawn on me until later that he was the guy they were talking about. Someone else came in, a nice woman, and I wanted to go and have a chat to her, but someone else was chatting to her saying “so this is Claire’s mother” pointing to a young girl I’d met before. There were all kinds of other people chatting to me saying “let’s go and find a quiet corner for a chat”. In the end my washing was ready so I got it out of the machine and stuck it in a bag and just put the toilet back, stuck it in its socket. Then we were all ready to go. But the topic of this conversation was this guy’s cheating when he was playing.

Is it any wonder that I needed a lie-in after all of that?

First task this morning was to write up my notes and that took me almost until lunchtime. I’d had quite a lively day yesterday.

After lunch I made the dough for my pizza bases and while I was at it, I also made a pie base. There was some pastry left over from that so I made a strawberry turnover with a couple of my frozen strawberries.

While the pizza dough was proofing I came in here and attacked the dictaphone notes – and that was a labour of love too.

diving platform removed plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the break in the afternoon’s activities such as they were, so that I can go on my afternoon walk.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I mentioned that the diving platform at the Plat Gousset has been removed. As I walked around the path underneath the walls I could see what they have done.

The post is still there – it would need some decent equiment to move that – but the crown, where all the kids congregate, has been taken away for the winter. They won’t have too many people swimming out there now until the late Spring, especially if the weather is as cold and windy as it is today.

crowds on plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallWe’re used to seeing crowds of people promenading up and down the Plat Gousset regardless of the weather.

However, today there were very few people taking the air down there. the little vertical-axis wind turbine was going round like the clappers this afternoon in the gale that was blowing. It’s not as windy as it was yesterday but it’s still pretty impressive.

The wind turbine was apparently installed to provide the electricity for the street lighting on the Plat Gousset but I’ve not heard if it’s actually in working order and performing its task.

yachts in gale st pair sur mer granville manche normandy france eric hallAcross the Square Maurice Marland I went, where I was hit by the full blast of the wind and had to struggle to reach the other side.

There were a couple of brave souls out there in yachts this afternoon and they were canting over impressively in the onslaught. They were the only ones out there and that is hardly any surprise.

As a result I didn’t hang around there very long. I headed off back to the apartment and the warmth and to carry on with my culinary activities for the rest of the afternoon.

By now the pizza dough had risen nicely so I divided it into three, greased two of them and put them in the freezer.

The third one I rolled out and put in the greased pizza tray, folding the edges back over again to make a nice compact edge. That I put on one side.

While I was making the pastry, I noticed that a football match was starting on the internet. A JD Cymru Ladies Premier match between Swansea and Cardiff.

The last ladies’ football game that I saw, leaving aside the kids’ game in Granville a few years ago, wasIN BURLINGTON, VERMONT in 2015 and I was quite impressed by that.

This game was even better than that. Swansea were excellent value for their 3-0 victory and some of their players, especially the two attackers, would fit in with a couple of the mens’ teams. Granville could certainly do with forwards like that.

If SGORIO decides to continue to broadcast the ladies’ matches, I’ll probably make the time to watch them.

vegan pizza place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallBack in the kitchen I quickly made the pastry for my pie case and bunged it in the oven to cook, along with a strawberry turnover that I’d made with the left-over pastry.

My attention then turned to the pizza base. I made my pizza with what was to hand (I’d forgotten to buy any peppers at the weekend) and when the pie base was cooked I put the pizza in the oven.

30 minutes later, it was cooked to perfection and it tasted absolutely delicious. Quite filling too, and I didn’t need any pudding after that. The rice pudding can wait until tomorrow.

Next was the kefir.

The fig had risen to the top – the sign that fermentation had worked correctly. I decanted the liquid off and filtered it and put it into a stoppered bottle that I’d disinfected, making sure that the kefir grains went back into the mother solution.

The frozen strawberries that I’d bought on Thursday, they had been defrosting all day so I drained off the juice and added it to my kefir along with three or four strawberries. That’s now having its second fermentation

moonlight granville baie de mont st michel manche normandy france eric hallBack outside for my evening walk and , having forgotten that I’d been around the walls this afternoon, I went that way again.

The wind was still quite strong but not as strong as it was earlier, so I was able to fit in all of my runs. I was quite on my own too because there was no-one else out there.

That meant that I had the moonlight all to myself. The clouds were scudding across the sky quite quickly in the wind and when the moon was clear the reflection off the sea was even more impressive than it had been yesterday.

night square maurice marland granville manche normandy france eric hallBy the time I’d finished running into the headwind across the Square Maurice Marland I was pretty exhausted so I stopped to catch my breath.

The leaves are falling rapidly from the trees already and so the lighting effect on the trees was even more beautiful that it has been in the past.

On the way home I bumped into the itinerant. he’s still wandering around the town so I told him that really he ought to be talking to someone in the Mairie. He reckons that he’ll be fine, but I’m not convinced.

But it’s his decision, not mine.

strawberry flan agar agar place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallBack at the apartment I took the pie case and filled it with the strawberries.

Then I mixed some agar-agar – quite strong because strawberries are quite acidic – and poured it over the top to make a kind of gelatine.

Being a strong solution, it set quite rapidly and now it’s in the fridge where I’ll be eating lumps off it for the next week or so, along with some of the coconut soya dessert.

But now it’s quite late – I’ve done a lot of work today and hardly stopped. It’s not like me to be working like this, especially on a day of rest like this.

Now I’m going off to bed, later than I was hoping. And I’ll be back at work tomorrow where I’ll be hoping to have a rest from the relaxing Sunday that I’ve just had.

Saturday 26th September 2020 – I WAS WRONG …

… about the weather last night. We didn’t have the rainstorm today. Or the plague of locusts either. But we had just about everything else.

The high winds are still here and still wreaking devastation about the town. I blame the baked beans that I had for tea the other night.

We also had one of the coldest days that I can remember for a good while too.

That’s probably why I didn’t feel like springing into action this morning and leaping joyously out of bed. Consequently I missed the third alarm. Only by 10 minutes or so, but missed it all the same.

And that’s hardly surprising as I must have been exhausted after my travels last night. I was with my aunt and we were doing a lot of stuff on the computer quite happliy working away. There was another guy with us as well. Suddenly my computer hard drive caught fire. This boy was all for dashing off for phoning up the fire brigade. Of coure I wouldn’t let him do that – I put it out myself. The fire brigade would just smother it in foam and ruin everything. In the end I managed to put out the fire. Of course the hard drive was ruined. My aunt and this boy were going into the City – Bishopsgate, although I don’t know why I thought Bishopsgate because it wasn’t there that I meant. There was a huge computer shop there. I felt really annoyed because I’d been to a computer fair that day and I could have bought a new hard drive there for peanuts had I known but it’s too late now. I asked this boy if he knew about this computer shop. Oh yes, he knew it very well. I asked “while you’re up in London with my aunt can you nip in there and pick me up a hard drive?”. I told him the one I wanted. He said “wouldn’t it be better to pick up a differet type for a MAC or something like that?”. He only ever uses MACs. I said that I use PCs and I’ve used them for years and I know them pretty well so I’m going to stick with them. He had a little bit of a chunter about that. Then I thought that I would have to get him some money as well and I probably don’t have enough cash on me so how am I going to do that? Then it came to booking the tickets so I went to look on the railway site. It turned out instead that I was looking at the bus site. It took endless goes for me to log in on it because everyone was meithering me and I kept on typing the wrong word. Eventually I got in to find that it was buses that we were looking at because we were now actually living in Bath. The first thing my aunt said was that they don’t have a direct bus service from Bath to London any more. We have to go on the train. We had to start looking for things like that. In the meantime we managed to find the times of the buses which would at least get them some of the way. Then the phone rang. My aunt talked to whoever it was and so on. When she hung up she said “that was George and that’s strange. He’s after his wages for the taxis. He’s on holiday and he wants it posted to him in York by cheque”. She couldn’t understand why he wanted it. I said “he’s probably going to buy something special while he’s in York”. “Yes but it’s early. he doesn’t get paid until Thursday but anyway …”. She had a chunter about that. Then I had to go and get her ready for this bus so they could get on it and this other guy too and head off into London
A little later on there was a girl and she was a lot older than she ought to be and she still had a dolly that she cuddled. People used to make remarks about it (Wiske and Schanulleke, anyone?). They decided that they would pass a Law about it. Somewhere inside there they inserted a clause that people who cuddled a pet or other object or person for the purpose of comfort would be exempt, which of course wiped out the whole purpose of this Law anyway. So we all had a debate about it.
Just then this other girl turned up. She was in a purple and gold kind of trouser suit kind of thing that looked more at home in a Middle-Eastern harem. She had long dark-brown hair that was cut in the style of an Egpytian, really precise cuts and edges and so on.
There was much more to it too but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you any discomfort.
And once again I was dictating without the dictaphone in my hand. Either this is starting to become a habit or else it already is and a whole load of stuff has slipped quite literally through my hands.

After a shower, Caliburn and I hit the streets and headed to the shops.

NOZ is always on my shopping list. That’s a shop that buys job-lots of bankrupt stock, overstocks, that kind of thing from all over Europe.

In the past I’ve found plenty of useful things in there and also a whole variety of different foods to vary my diet somewhat. Today they had stocks of Sharwoods products on offer so I now have some vindaloo and madras sauces as well as some mango chutney. Stocks of curry in the freezer are getting low, an I’m also going to learn to make poppadoms, I reckon.

At LeClerc I didn’t spend very much, and most of what I did went on fruit. The place is now looking like a greengrocer’s, which is good for my health (and that reminds me – my kiwi, lemon and ginger cordial is delicious and I’ll be doing that again – hence more kiwis today).

One good thing is that, after much searching, I finally found the fresh figs. So back here, I finally set my kefir en route. How that will pan out remains to be seen.

This afternoon I had a whizz through some more photos of my adventures with Spirit of Conrad in July and we are now in our anchorage for the final night aboard. I reckon that there are about 50 more to edit before I finish.

Then, there are the 400 or so from my voyage into Eastern Europe and once they are completed I can turn my attention to the 3000 that remain from the High Arctic in 2019 and the 2000-odd from the High Arctic in 2018.

And then, finally, I can write up the notes for all of this.

The burning question of the day is not Rafferty’s motor car but whether I’ll finish all of this before all of this finishes me.

A few more albums bit the dust too, some more work was done on revising the web pages, Rosemary rang me and we had a chat for just over an hour, and I even found time to crash out for 15 minutes.

And as for that latter, with everything else that I’ve been doing today, it’s hardly a surprise. I must have been exhausted by then so I’m not too disappointed, even if for the last couple of days I’ve managed to keep going.

chez maguie bar itinerante closed granville manche normandy france eric hallThe day is far from finished too. There’s football this evening so I headed off into town.

And here’s another sure sign that the summer season has ended. The beach cabins have gone and they’ve taken down the diving platform at the Plat Gousset already, but now the itinerant bar Chez Maguie has folded up its tent and crept silently away in the night.

It’s a very significant sign for some of us, but for others it means that the locals can have their boulodrome back until next summer.

football stade louis dior fc flerien flers us granville manche normandy france eric hallProfessional football started back up a few weeks ago, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. But this weekend amateur football has had the green light.

Consequently I headed off up to the Stade Louis Dior to watch Granville’s 2nd XI play FC Flerien, the team from Flers, in Normandy Regional 1.

For the first 15 minutes Granville’s control of the ball and their passing and movement was extremely fluent, but by the end of this little period they were already 2-0 down – a corner that the goalkeeper dropped into the path of an onrushing forward (he seemed to have a good pair of teflon gloves) and a misplaced header under pressure back to the goalkeeper that went to another onrushing forward.

After that, a couple of heads dropped, and the Fleriens got into their stride. We had to wait 55 minutes for Granville’s first shot on target (and about 10 minutes before the end for their other one) and 65 minutes for their first corner.

It was literally men against boys because Granville’s team was quite youthful whereas Flers had three or four old hands who had clearly been around the block far more times than the Granville players could handle.

The match ended 2-0 but really Flers could have had half a dozen and no-one in Granville would have complained.

And I’m glad that the match finished when it did because I was absolutely frozen to the marrow. It’s a long time since I’ve been this cold. I’ve been much warmer than this in the Arctic and next time I go to the football I’ll put on the thermal undies that I bought on Thursday.

blue light pedestrian crossing ave matignon granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back, here’s something that I haven’t noticed before – mainly because it’s been an age since I went into town in the dark at night.

But now there seems to be blue lights shining down on all of the pedestrian crossings on the main roads. Presumably to give motorists a better chance of spotting civilians trying to cross the road.

It brought back many happy memories of a press release that we wonce received from the Parisian authorities when I worked at Shearings – “The policeman who directs the traffic at the roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe will from now on be floodlit to make sure that motorists don’t miss him in the dark”.

marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy route home had to be extended tonight for the simple reason that “if I’m out, I’m well out” and there’s no point in going home with just 90% on my fitbit. I may as well push it up to 100%.

For that reason I wandered on down into the port to see what was going on.

“Nothing much” was the answer to that. Marité was there of course, tucked up in her little corner and so were the two Channel Island ferries, Granville and the older Victor Hugo.

As an aside, we haven’t seen a gravel boat in here for almost 6 months. I was hoping that this new mayor would do something about stimulating the freight trade to the port.

restaurants rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy route continued along the rue du Port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen several photos taken of this street in the dark, all of which have been taken from the cliffs up above.

And so tonight, in an effort to do something different, here’s the reverse-angle shot taken from the street looking back towards the cliffs.

Not that you can actually see the cliffs in this (lack of) light. You’ll just have to use your imagination.

moonlight baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the climb back up the Boulevard des Terreneuviers I stopped (for breath) to look at the tidal port.

There was a beautiful bright moon tonight, even though it’s only half-full, and there was a wonderful reflection of light down in the Baie de Mont St Michel looking across to Jullouville and the Pointe de Carolles.

Actually, considering that this photo was hand-held and taken with the little NIKON 1 J5 with the standard lens, it’s not come out too badly, even if I did have to stop it down by 8 (in fact by 10 because normally the camera has to be opened up by 2 since the lens was repaired).

Back at the flabberblok there was yet more football so I grabbed a bowl of rice pudding and settled down in a ringside seat in front of the internet.

Y Fflint, newly promoted to the JD Cymru League this season after a 20-year absence were entertaining Barry Town. Barry, usually a strong competitive side but who misfired so spectacularly in European Competition earlier and then against TNS on the opening day of the season, have yet to grace my screen this season and I’ve only ever seen Y Fflint play once, in a cup match a few years ago.

The match was quite entertaining because while Barry were much more powerful and street-wise (which you have to expect), Flint matched them blow for blow and I was quietly impressed.

There were three significant items in this match

  1. Alex Titchiner, Flint’s ace striker, was carried off injured after just 2 minutes.
  2. Mike Lewis, in the Barry goal, played the game of his life and made a couple of stunning reflex saves (and that’s not to say that our old favourite, Jon Danby, formerly of Connah’s Quay Nomads, now next-door in the Flint goal didn’t have his moments too)
  3. and had a Flint defender kept his head when Matt Jarvis burst into the area and not conceded a penalty

then the new boys would have had something from this game. They are no mugs, and certainly not cannon-fodder like some promotees have been.

And if TNS managed to sweep away this Barry side so convincingly, then just HOW good are TNS?

There is also some exciting news from Deeside too. It seems that the idea to build a new football stadium on Deeside to be UEFA-compliant for junior international matches, and European club competition and to be shared by next-door neighbours Connahs Quay Nomads and Y Fflint has taken a giant step forward.

Who knows? It might even become a reality if the two clubs can keep up the momentum they they have established over the last couple of years. The announcement that “certain funds have been made available” is major news but, as expected, BBC Wales, with its hands so deep in the pockets of the Welsh Rugby Union to an indecent depth that it imposes a news blackout on Welsh football, has totally passed it by.

But by now, it’s late. Long after midnight, so I’m off to bed. I’ll write up my notes in the morning – if I’m here. It’s Sunday and a day of rest and I might sleep in long past midday.

Monday 21st September 2020 – I DUNNO …

… what happened today but this was one of the best days that I’ve has for some considerable time. And that has surprised me as much as it’s probably surprised you.

It started off with me being out of bed before the third alarm went off and it’s been a while since that has happened.

Plenty of time though to go off on a few travels. I was with a group of policewomen last night and they were doing a house-to-house visit down this road enquiring about bicycles for some reason, asking if the bicycles present belonged to the people there. They worked their way down this road and came to the final house, a fine stone 3-storey house built of granite blocks, a bit run-down, unkempt and so on. She said “right, this is the house here”. She went up and knocked on the door and spoke to someone – another guy – about it. he was in fact Derek Nimmo. I went for a wander round to look at the side of this house while she was talking. When I came back, my partner had transformed into Marianne, she and someone else arguing with this Derek Nimmo type and he was being extremely difficult. It turned out that there had been some kind of collision between Marianne and him in a car. She’d gone to have a form signed, one of these constats. He was of extremely bad grace, doing all kinds of lecturing, all of that. They wrote out this form but in the end he just picked it up and tore it up and gave it back to her, then hit her. That got me extremely angry. I stormed over there and even though he was a good foot taller than me I gave him an absolute lecture “no-one ever hits a woman in my presence”, all of this kind of thing. If he wanted to hit someone he could start by hitting me. I awoke quite feverish again.
Later in the night I found myself busy dictating again to my hand and not my dictaphone. This is becoming rather too much of a habit as well. But it seems that last night there were concerns that German commercial and public television was not being prosecuted over its failure to examine footage of demonstrations that it had filmed in 2009 involving I think Martin Luther King which could have resulted in criminal prosecutions being brought against people who were mishandling the demonstrators. This in turn led to all kinds of demonstrations. There were people everywhere chanting and so on and the forces of law and order moved in. For some reason I was with them and we were gradually pushing these demonstrators back. We had them crowded up on some kind of top row of steps but no-one seemed to be doing anything to move them any further so I gave them a big push. 4 or 5 people at rhe far end fell off the steps down to the next level. That was basically when the demonstrators abandoned the protest and we could move freely up. I went to have a look at the other end of these steps. It was quite a drop over the end, about 10 or 12 feet, but 1 or 2 people were thinking that this is the best way to get away from the police so they dropped over the edge at the back. I thought “how was I going to get away from here?”. My only solution was to drop over the edge at the back as well so I had a look. It seemed to be very high to me. I didn’t really want to jump over that. I thought that I could dangle down from my hands from the top and let go, slide down but that still looked an overwhelming drop for me. It was steeper in some places than others. Perhaps I could find a lower place I’d be more comfortable doing it.

Once I’d transcribed all of that I had another back at the arrears and after a good session on that, I’ve whittled it down to just 13 remaining. With a bit of luck (not that I have too much of that these days) I’ll finish it on Friday or something like that.

That took more time than it ought to have done, and the rest of the day has been spent working on the next radio programme, not having overlooked to post this week’s off.

By the time that I knocked off for my guitar sessions, I’d chosen all the music except the last one, combined them in pairs as usual, written the text, dictated it, started to edit it and even prepared the speech for my invited guest.

diving platform fog english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe afternoon walk was a bit depressing today. Gribouille the big ginger cat was there for his afternoon stroke and one of my neighbours was out there, so we had a good chat together.

But that was basically all that was interesting. There was nothing much happening out in the English Channel today – or, at least – if there was, I couldn’t see it.

That’s because even though we had that thunder and lightning storm last night, today was shrouded in fog and we couldn’t see very much at all out to sea.

It reminded me of that British newspaper headline in the 1920s – “fog in the Channel – Continent cut off!” which just about sums up the insularity of the xenophobic Brits.

fishing boats le loup fog baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallnevertheless, the fog didn’t prevent everyone from doing their own thing this afternoon.

My walk took me around the headland and there by the seafarers’ memorial there were a couple of zodiacs down there in the Baie de Mont St Michel with a group of fishermen in each one.

You can see just how foggy it is. Le Loup, the marker light for the entrance to the harbour is just about visible but you can’t see very much at all beyond there.

And so I continued on around the path but there was nothing at all of interest to see so I wandered on home.

After the guitars, I had tea. A stuffed pepper tonight followed by apple crumble – at least, the part of the apple crumble that I didn’t drop on the floor.

port st jean rue granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was a little wave of fatigue (the first of the day but not actually a crashing-out) but I fought it off by going for my evening walk.

And outside on my travels I didn’t see a soul. It was just like one of these North American ghost towns and I was expecting any minute to see a tumbleweed blowing through the Porte St Jean and off down the street.

But it looked so photogenic tonight that I had to take a photo of it yet again. Only this time there are no traffic lights or road signs to obscure the view.

Down along the Rue du Nord I walked, in splendid isolation, and then ran on down the footpath.

new moon green light granville manche normandy france eric hallNo-one around in the Square Maurice Marland either so I could run all the way down there too.

But my eye was caught by a very slender new moon up in the sky tonight so I had a little fun trying to photograph it. But I was intrigued by the green light to the left of the moon. I couldn’t see it with the naked eye.

But in a couple of the other photos that I took, it wasn’t there either. The only thing that I can think of was that although I couldn’t hear anything, a low-flying aeroplane travelling from left to right was going past at that moment and I was lucky enough to press the button just as the plane’s flashing navigation light was illuminated.

So how do we know that the plane was going from left to right and not right to left? The answer is that there are five letters in green, and five letters in right.

Port is red, and there are four letters in “port”, just as there are in “left”. So if the aeroplane was travelling from right to left, we would see the red light.

heavy duty digger parvis notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we are constantly seeing all kinds of building repairs, roadworks and the like going on in the old medieval walled city quite regularly.

It looks as if we are in for another batch of work starting quite soon. Some time during the day this large piece of mobile plant has appeared and is parked up in the Parvis Notre Dame.

It’s going to be interesting to see where they will be working and what they will be doing. It’s a good job that I don’t have to drive through the old town on my way around.

rue notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallBut while I was there looking at the machinery I had a look behind me.

Not that there was anything of any interest going on there but the Rue Notre Dame but the view made a very good photo this evening.

From here I walked on around the walls and then ran on home. Three runs again today and I’m hoping that I can keep this going. It’s not as athletic as I was in the Spring and early Summer before I was ill but if I can keep this up I’ll be happy.

Welsh class tomorrow so I need to be on good form. An early night will do me a world of good.

Thursday 27th August 2020 – YOU ARE ALL PROBABLY …

… fed up of me going on about all of the bad days that i’m having. But it’s important that I note them because with this illness, which is terminal and a slow decline, it’s important to me to keep track of where I am and how I’m feeling.

And so it goes without saying that despite a reasonably early night, I still missed the alarms this morning and it was about 07:30 when I finally left the bed.

There had been planty of time to go off on my travels of course. Last night I was doing something with a ticket agency. We had to print some extra tickets for a show somewhere so I started work on it. It became very complicated because the person who had ordered the extra tickets – someone else had bought tickets after them so I had to go through and do all of the renumbering of the new tickets by hand. I did 10 then I had to find out who it was who had ordered them. That was a more complicated procedure than it ought to have been. In the end I managed to extract the information. It was the Queens Head Hotel in Wistaston Road so I had to put all those details on. Then I started to think of a way of doing E-tickets involving photos of purchasers, that kind of thing. Then I was asked if I would go into the stands to watch Manchester United v Liverpool. I asked if this was to commentate and they said “no, just to be up there in case any of the fans ring up”. So I went up there to watch the game. On the way down afterwards I was asked if we had a recipient because one of the wine vats was becoming full and overflowing. I didn’t have anything to hand so I had to organise and arrange something. I came across a dustbin that if it had been cleaned that would have done but for some unknown reason the woman I was with decided that it wasn’t appropriate. In the end we found something else. She made a remark about me being very unhappy to do this and to move this container but I said “no, it’s heavy” but she wouldn’t have it. She insisted that I had some bad grace or something. She was going on and on about it. I wished that she would shut up and let’s get this thing outside and decant this wine out of the vat.

There was some paperwork to do this morning and then I had a shower to make myself all neat and tidy.

lorry trans-shipping rue st jean granville manche normandy france eric hallRather later than usual, I headed out of the apartment for the shops for the midweek shopping.

One thing about living in a medieval walled city is that transport is extremely difficult. Deliveries in large lorries are quite impossible.

The solution is that if your products do come in a large vehicle they need to be trans-shipped into a smaller vehicle that can pass through the gateways and into the old town.

Still, it’s a small price to pay.

town council working on sculptures square potel granville manche normandy france eric hallFurther on down the rue des Juifs there was something else exciting going on.

In the Square Potel there are all kinds of interesting and weird sculptures around and about. But today, the local council have sent a cherry-picker to do something with the metal crocodile or whatever it is.

Into town and up the hill to LIDL I went. But I was interrupted on the way by a telephone call. The guy who manages the radio station telephoned me to ask me how I was and to update me with the latest news.

We were on the phone for about half an hour all told.

At LIDL I didn’t buy anything out of the ordinary today. Just the usual stuff that is running low, and a big bunch of grapes of course. I really want a nail brush but I couldn’t find one there. I shall have to look elsewhere.

On the way back I stopped off at La Mie Caline for my dejeunette today and then walked – or rather, staggered – on back up the hill.

chausiais leaving port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was some movement in the port today too.

Chausiais was manoeuvring her way into the ferry terminal today. It looks as if she has another load of freight to deliver to the Ile de Chausey.

I had to have a pause for breath half-way up the hill too. That’s not like me at all but it’s an indication of how I’m feeling and how my health is degenerating these days.

It’s rather sad, isn’t it?

Back here I organised myself a little and then, shame as it is to say it, I crashed out on the chair. About 90 minutes or so, I reckon. That is really depressing.

Lunch was therefore rather late and then I cracked on with the radio programme. I missed my afternoon walk which is a shame, but I wanted to make progress. And when I knocked off I’d finished the entire show except for the final track and the closing speech.

That I can do tomorrow but it’s depressing me, what I usually do in about a day and a half taking a whole week.

Tea was steamed vegetables with vegetable balls and vegan cheese sauce, followed by apple crumble and soya dessert.

red sunset coastguard station pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThis evening I went out for a walk.

There was a really high wind tonight but apart from that it was a really nice evening. There was a really nice red sky out to sea in the general direction of the UK.

Still, you know what they say –
“Red sky at night means Portsmouth is on fire”.

And they are probably correct as well. All kinds of things are going on over there right now.

moon granville manche normandy france eric hallYesterday I mentioned that the moon would probably be really nice in the next few days.

It certainly was bright and clear tonight – one of the nicest that i’ve seen it. So even without a tripod, I took a photo of it with the BIG ZOOM LENS.

Back here, I wrote up my notes and now I’m off to bed. I’m going to have an early night seeing as I’m feeling really tired right now.

A good sleep will probably do me the world of good and one of these days I might start to feel better. I hope that it won’t be long.

Wednesday 26th August 2020 – I WAS RIGHT …

… about last night.

What a waste of time that was. I was still wide awake at 04:00 with no sign whatever of going off to sleep. I’ve really no idea what happened there.

Mind you, I did eventually get off to sleep, having switched off the alarms first. There would be no danger of my ever being out of bed at 06:00 so it was a waste of time disturbing my sleep.

My eyes first saw the light of day at 08:45 but that was being rather optimistic. 11:30 was a much more reasonable time to rise up.

At some point in the night I’d been on my travels again. We were back in the Underground last night, somewhere else where I go quite often and it was to do with a girl whom I knew in Brussels. We’d arranged to meet somehow but we had kept on missing each other. Eventually we arranged to meet at a station on the Northern Line somewhere round by the North Circular Road. I had to make my sandwiches so I cut up a lettuce and got everything ready. There was some kind of confusion and I can’t remember what it was now about these sandwiches, making them, then having to leave and getting on this Underground – I can’t remember too much about it.

The most unusual think about missing half of a day’s work is that in fact I’ve done more work today than I did over the last two days. And that’s totally surprising. I’ve finished the notes for the radio programme on which I’ve been working. Tomorrow I’ll dictate them and edit them.

It’s just as well because there’s a new internet course starting on Monday next week on which I’m enrolled. Another one about *.css and javascript. High time that I brushed up on my technique.

peche a pied plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on in the afternoon I went out for my walk.

For a change I was out earlier than I have been and the tide had only just turned. Not too many people out there on the beach right now, although one intrepid young girl was out there with her bucket and her gratter having a go at the peche à pied in the rock pools.

With nothing better to do, I watched her for a while but I couldn’t see what she was harvesting

hang gliders crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallFurther on along my path, there was something of a different scene from the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

The crowds were starting to come down onto the beach. The shelter underneath the wall was already packed with people seeking shade, and there were several people down there in the water enjoying the waves.

There were the Birdmen of Alcatraz out there today. One of them was already up in the air – a tandem machine with two people on board. There was certainly enough wind to lift them both into the air this afternoon.

Back here I finished off the radio programme and even managed 20 minutes on the acoustic guitar. I’ll have to hurry up and get back into my rhythm.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap with potatoes and vegetables followed by apple crumble and coconut soya dessert

bird of prey pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric halllater on this evening I went out for my walk in the dusk.

No-one was out there except for a couple walking their dog and a family on the car park. But the bird of prey that we saw a couple of months ago, that was out there again hovering around above the edge of the cliffs.

There are a few rabbits that run around on the clifftop so I’m wondering whether the bird might be after some of the younger babies in the family.

moon reflecting in rock pool pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued along the clifftop and then across the car park to the other side.

There was a nice moon up there tonight – about half-full. What was interesting about it was that while it didn’t look to be so bright, it was making a glorious reflection in a rock pool down there at the top of the beach.

It was really well worth a photo and it’s come out quite well too. It won’t be long before we have a full moon and then it’s all going to be quite impressive. It’ll be a lot darker by then too.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallJust further along the path is the viewpoint over the chantier navale

And i’m not quite sure what is happening down there these days but the boats seem to be multiplying rapidly. We now have a seventh boat down there in the yard and I don’t recall ever having seen that many before.

As I have said before … “on many occasions” – ed … a full yard is a very good sign for the town. It encourages people to moor their boats here if they know that they can be serviced and repaired in the vicinity.

Anyway, after all of that, I’m off to bed. I’ve already drifted away once or twice, despite having had such a very short day. if I’m ever going to recover, which is doubtful, I need to be taking more care of myself.

And that reminds me – i’ve had a letter from Castle Anthrax. They want me back on 7th October and as the appointment is for early in the morning it may well be that they intend to restart my treatment.

And seeing as I haven’t had my four-weekly treatment since January I can’t say that it’s before time. It’s not really any surprise that i’m feeling so unwell when I’ve not had my cancer treatment for such a long time.

Roll on October.

Sunday 31st May 2020 – HANDY HINT N° 12345

Before sewing up the hole in your pocket, make sure that you’ve left nothing down inside the lining, because once it’s in, it’s in for good.

Yes, pride always comes before a fall, doesn’t it? Well, actually, that’s a misquote from Proverbs 16:18 which states “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall”. But even that’s correct as well.

seagull divebombing fire breville sur mer donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallBut never mind that. here’s an exciting photograph.

It’s not every day by any means that the local wildlife co-operates with the photographer. In fact, wildlife, children and females are notorious for never doing what you want them to do when you want them to do it. Like my friend who once proudly told me “one word from me, and my wife does exactly as she likes!”

But here, we have a seagull doing a very passing resemblance of a dive bomber pulling out of a dive having dropped a bomb on something onshore.

And you’ve no idea just how long I had to wait to take this photo.

seagull yacht baie de mont st michel joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd that’s not the only piece of wildlife that appeared in my photos today.

This seagull bottom left appeared by accident, making a really good photobomb as I tried to take a photo of Joly France pulling out of the harbour and heading off with passengers this afternoon for the Ile de Chausey.

A good 10 minutes I was waiting there too for there to be a calamity with Joly France having to negotiate a flotilla of yachts just outside the harbour.

But she made a clean getaway without colliding with a yacht or sinking a speedboat, much to my dismay.

However, there is some good news about clean getaways, and that is that even though today is a Sunday and a lie-in with no alarm, I made a clean getaway from my bed by 08:10 this morning.

So don’t ask me what happened there because I’ve no idea. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there have been days when I can’t even manage that when I’m supposed to be getting up early.

During the night I’d been on my travels, right enough.

I’m not too sure about what was happening for the first part of the night but it certainly involved a cricket match on the beach and the limit of the field was like a hexagon and there were people standind at each angle of the hexagon to field the ball.
Later on there had been a new EU ruling for the removal of trees. We’d planted a double row of cypress leylandii down the edge of a field next to a main road so the decision was taken to pull up one of the rows. I had to be there with a tractor and my father was there with someone else – a girl. She was in charge of this operation so I had been given instructions as to where I was to drive this tractor and go down and pull these trees. There was also at about every foot or something like that, chicken in rosemary with potatoes in rosemary fried in oil and she wss taking away the meals as well, except for one every so many when she was just taking out the hot potatoes. I was intrigued by what was going on so I asked her about this. She replied “ohh yes we’ll be making many friends with this job.” The whole point and purpose of this job totally bemused me and I didn’t have a clue what was happening. Anyway it wasn’t my father, it was a friend of mine who was there with this girl and that reminded me of something that had happened a little earlier. He was due to come round to visit me the previous day at 10:30. I’d been doing something, I can’t remember what, but it involved tidying up this hotel. I was with another guy and we were tidying this up. He suddenly said “do you have any beds in this hotel?” I asked “why, are you tired?” and it turned out that he was. he’d been on work since 04:00 and he wanted to go off and have a sleep somewhere. She – the owner of the hotel – found him a bed and I carried on. I noticed a stain on my jumper and had to go and wash this stain out. I had to find two or three different bathrooms before I could find it. So I was there taking off my jumper, washing out this stain. I was hearing all of this noise in this hotel and I’d been interested in staying here because it was near to where I used to go quite often but when I heard all the noise coming from the guests in there I thought that I’m glad that I didn’t. The we were walking through the streets of Manchester, the back streets round near where that hotel was where I used to go to when I had the coaches and I suddenly realised that my friend was to have come round at 10:30. but actually I had been at home at 10:30. Then I realised that we had actually finished that hotel job and we had been home, and it was 10:40 when we had set out again.So yes, we had been there at 10:30 and he hadn’t turned up. When he turned up with this girl about these trees and removing these potatoes and meals he didn’t say anything about us not being there the previous day so I imagined that for some unknown reason he just hadn’t come.

But don’t ask me what I’ve done today because I don’t really remember doing anything. I had a really lazy day, to which I’m entitled every now and again of course.

cat place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallBut it was such a beautiful day today that I had to go out, of course.

And it goes without saying that I wasn’t the only one out there enjoying the sun at lunchtime. El Moggo was up there sitting on his thrid floor windowsill taking in the rays, looking as if he owned the place, which he probably did.

It looks as if he had seen something down below, so here’s hoping that he didn’t decide to pounce.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith it being such a beautiful day I took my butties to go and sit on the wall above the harbour and see what was going on down there.

And just as I arrived, so did one of the Joly France boats coming back from the Ile de Chausey. It’s the older one with the smaller window and doesn’t have the step in the stern, as you probably noticed in one of the photos above as it was pulling out.

And have I noticed the crane in the bows before? I’m sure that i might haven but I don’t recall it being extended like that while she’s been sailing.

joly france chaisiais ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMuch to my surprise she didn’t pull up at the ferry terminal as she would normally do, but at the harbour wall.

In all the time that I’ve lived here I’ve never seen the ferries moor there. And it’s interesting that she’s there next to Chausiais who hasn’t moved from that impromptu berth fora few days now.

That makes me wonder if they are still working on something over at the ferry terminal that is stopping the boats mooring there. But anyway, she did pull over tothe ferry terminal to load up and then she cleared off.

old cars morgan boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd that was far from being all of the excitement for today.

With living in civilisation as I do these days, old cars are few and far between. It’s not every day that you see them, but when you do, they certainly are interesting, like this car, which I believe might be a Morgan.

Not the old Morgan three-wheeler with the JAP V-twin engine in front, for one of which I would give all that I own and more besides quite happily, but something much more modern.

Always assuming that it is a Morgan of course, because these days there are so many kit cars around that are clones of something famous. So you can never be sure.

old cars jaguar boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallIt went off down the road, closely followed by this machine.

Once more, this could be anything, although the prancing animal on top of the radiator suggests “Jaguar”. In which case it might be one of the old “Swallow Sidecars” SS jaguars from the 1930s, although the front wings don’t look very Jaguar to me at all.

So I shall have to make further enquiries about this one too and report back.

speedboat port de granville harbour normandy france eric hallBut this is much more like the kind of scenery that I should be expecting.

He came roaring into the harbour as if the Hounds of Hell were clutching at his coat tails – avec le feu dans ses fesses as they say around here.

The people who had been picnicking next to me and now playing beach skittles on the grass were quite alarmed by it all.

After my butties I went back to my apartment and had a look (just a look!) at the next web page to be edited.

There was an unknown lorry on there that needed identifying so I posted it in a newsgroup that I follow that concerns itself wit abandoned lorries. And that I think was the sum total of my work today

yachts english channel islands jersey granville manche normandy france eric hallThe beautiful weather at lunchtime had made me feel like another ice cream so seeign as it really was a beautiful day, I decided to walk into town – the long way round – to go and pick one up.

And if you thought that the sea was busy earlier, then you should see it now. We’re quite used to long lines of vehicles towing trailers with boats thereupon queueing up down the street awaiting their turn to discharge their cargoes into the sea

The whole town become littered with cars and trailers parked up just about everywhere while their owners take to the waters.

pleasure boats pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallYachts are fine because they are beautiful and graceful – and silent.

That’s more than can be said for the speedboats and the other powered marine craft that are in the water and go round shattering the peace. And it can’t be much fun to be in a small yacht and hit the wake of a fast-moving boat like that.

But at least there’s no kayak out there right now. There have been one or two incidents just recently of kayaks being swamped for one reason or another, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

microlight ulm granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd it isn’t just on the roads or in the se or on the beaches and the lawns that we have the crowds of people.

It’s becoming pretty densely populated in the air too around here. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing the flocks of the Birdmen of Alcatraz hovering above us like Nazgul, but there are one or two people who are fitting motors to their contraptions and roaring past overhead.

There’s no peace for the wicked, is there?

autogyro granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen this machine on a few previous occasions too.

We first encountered it A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO during our visit to the Cabanon Vauban and we’ve seen it sporadically since then flying around and about. It’s certainly an interesting machine.

And reading what I’ve just been typing, anyone would think that I’m turning into a right grumpy old do-and-so in my old age.

But that’s far from being the truth. I’m the first to realise that all of these people coming here like this are actually bringing money into the town and the reason why we have so many facilities here is because we have so many visitors spending their money in the town.

We should all be grateful for that.

crowds beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallNot much chance of any peace and quiet anyway with the crowds on the beach.

This is one of the more inaccessible parts of the beach here. There’s a very long series of steep winding steps that come down the cliff to just there and you can see that the hordes have even swarmed onto here. And finding the gap in the wall that leads to the steps isn’t the easiest thing to do either

I shudder to think of what it must be like round at the Plat Gousset this afternoon

frogmen pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThese persons here have found an ideal way to get themselves far from the madding crowd.

Nothing like an aqualung or snorkel and a pair of flippers and a spot of deep-sea diving for some peace and quiet.

But what’s interesting about this is what they are supposed to be doing. That area just there is uncovered during low tide and there’s nothing of any particular interest at that spot.

It’s not as if there’s a shipwreck or buried treasure or anything like that might attract the attention of a frogman – or frogperson as I suppose we have to call them these days and even if there had been, it could be accessed at low tide without even getting your feet wet.

At least there aren’t four skin divers down there

water port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd so I continued on my way around the headland and down the old track into the port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been noticing just how clear the water in the sea has been just recently. I’ve seen much worse than this in the past in the harbour as well.

It’s a very rare event indeed to be able to see the bottom of the harbour when the tide is this far in. Nevertheless, it’s still not clean enough to entice me in.

trawlers fishing boats rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe new pontoons that they have installed are proving to be quite popular.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw all of the seagulls enjoying them, and today with very few of the fishing boats being out, they are clustered around too.

But right on the extremem left of the photo the pontoons come to an abrupt stop. I wonder if they are going to continue along to the harbour wall.

Another mystery was solved here today as well.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw what looked like a vacuum cleaner nozzle down into the hold of one of the fishing boats and I speculated that it might be for sucking up the shellfish.

However, that’s not the case at all. I went to have a closer look and it is in fact an ice chute – for pumping ice into the hold of the boats presumably to keep the shellfish fresh

Picking up my ice cream (which was one of the reasons why I came down here in the first place) I went for a wander around on the other side of the harbour.

But while there were plenty of people milling around over there, there wasn’t anything that particularly caught my attention so I headed back for home.

It wasn’t easy though. The fine weather had brought everyone out and the streets were crowded with no thought whatever about social distancing. I really do hope that we don’t have a second wave of the pandemic because with people thronging around like this, it’ll spread liKe wild fire.

Back home, I was going to attempt something exciting.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on Thursday I’d bought a pack of frozen strawberries. During the course of the day I’d had them out of the freezer to defrost.

Now that i was back, I made some pastry – and I do have to say that it came out perfectly because I could roll the ball around in my hands without any of the pastry sticking to my fingers.

With the rolling pin I flattened it out, put it in a pie dish, trimmed it off and stuck it in a hot oven. And with the excess pastry I made an apple turnover.

Meantime, being very brave, I burnt my bridges and made the Sunday pizza on the last of the shop-bought pastry rolls. It’s goign to be my own dough from now on.

When the pie base was cooked, that and the turnover came out and the pizza went in.

With the strawberries, I filled the pie and then prepared some agar-agar to pour over it so that it would set like a vegan gelatine, and stuck it in the fridge to set.

After I’d eaten my pizza, I looked at the strawberry tart and unfortunately, the agar-agar hadn’t set. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but this was not one of my triumphs. However, when I’ve finished the apple pie, I’ll attack that and see how it tastes.

photographer pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallOn that note I went out for my evening run. Another struggle up the hill and down to the cifftop. It doesn’t seem to be getting any easier these days.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one little peccadillo that I have is to stick my nose into other people’s photo shoots. Not photo-bombing them bu to take photos of people taking photos.

And up on the lawn at the Pointe du Roc, which seems to be a very popular place for photo shoots these days, there was another one going on. So i couldn’t resist the temptation to join in with my own three ha’porth.

crowds pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut you can tell what the weather was like this evening simply by looking at the crowds of people here.

There were parties of picnickers all over the place and more coming along to swell the numbers even as we speak. Not very good or the social distancing but who can blame them in weather like this?

Around the corner by the coastguard point I even bumped into one of my neighbours taking the air and we had a good chat for quite a while – and that was mainly for an opportunity to soak up the sun as well

moon granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I ran on all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury and with my usual two resting places, ended up at the viewpoint at the rue du Nord.

But on one of my rests I happened to notice that the moon had already risen. And it really did look beautiful in the evening sky tonight.

Considering that I didn’t have the tripod with me – or even the monopod, the photo has come out really well. But I suppose that I ought to be making more of an effort to go out with the tripod one of these days and take some decent photos.

And I’ll have to work on the time-delay functions too. I’ve not used it yet on the NIKON D500

crowds picnicking plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAt the viewpoint at the rue du nord I stopped to catch my breath and then to have a good look around.

And as seems to be usual these days, we have the crowds on the beach enjoying the evening sunshine, and having a picnic too in the pleasant weather. They’ve certainly chosen a nice evening for it.

But one thing that I have noticed about the evening picnickers is that it always seems to be a different crowd in that spot. I don’t think that i’ve ever noticed the same group of people there consecutively. I think that if I had a group of people with whom I enjoyed picnicking, then in weather like this I’d be down there every night.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd the setting sun this evening was splendid. I recall a gasp of admiration from a couple of people who had followed me down to the viewpoint when they noticed it.

Still half an hour or so before it sets, and unfortunately I don’t have the time to spare to wait. I don’t know where all of my time goes these days.

Instead, I ran on back to my apartment to write up my notes.

While I was writing up the day’s activities, a piece of music came onto the playlist.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my computer is awash with music – a couple of thousand albums almost all digitalised these days after our ptoject of the winter – and there is music going on in this apartment from the moment I awaken until the moment that I go to sleep.

Some music though I have to be very careful about playing, and for various reasons too. Some songs I can’t hear at all, even if I happen to like them, and others I can only listen to when i’m in the right kind of mood.

A couple of songs in that latter group always seem to appear on the playlist when I’m in the wrong kind of mood to hear them and sure enough tonight, while I was “hiding in a room in my mind” as Kate Bush used to say, onto the playlist came THIS SONG.

Magnificent song though it is, it’s the kind of song that I have a great difficulty hearing, much as I want to. I’ll always end up playing it two or three times one after the other even though I know exactly what’s going to happen.

And on that note (well, we are talking music here), with my notes not even half-finished, I went to bed. I’ll finish these tomorrow.