Tag Archives: mushroom potato curry

Wednesday 2nd March 2022 – IN WHAT MUST SURELY …

repairing bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… be a new world record even for these days, the new bike shed didn’t last very long.

Not even 15 hours, because when I came home from the doctor’s this morning, the guy who was there yesterday installing it had returned and was now busy dismantling … “disPERSONing” – ed … it again.

Whatever he had done yesterday was clearly not good enough.

It’s not as if building a bike shed is rocket science so there’s no reason why he would need to take it apart again. But all that I can say is that I’m glad that I didn’t take my bike out of the back of Caliburn last night and park it in there.

There has been other news too today, and this news is equally depressing. At 12:00 midday all over France they tested the nuclear alert sirens, not that there’s anywhere these days to hide if there’s a nuclear attack.

We are living in interesting times.

fete foraine place herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So while you admire some photos of the fête foraine, the funfair, let me tell you about where I went during the night.

I was out on the Wirral peninsula last night. I’d been there before and I’d seen all of these kids coming out of school. There was a bus stop by three different schools, judging by the uniforms. I’d seen some kinds in another street, a residential suburban street and I wondered where on earth it might have been. I was looking for the house of a girl I know and her brother. I was wandering around and I only had the street name but I didn’t have the number or the ‘phone number and I didn’t even know exactly where it was so I had to find it on the map on my phone or something. I was walking around and suddenly came across a place in a street that went from north-east to south-west where I might have seen these children congregating but on a closer look it wasn’t actually the same place but pretty similar. Then I bumped into a little boy and a little girl. They were extremely talkative. They asked me what I was doing so I said that I was looking for this street that might have been called Allison Avenue, something like that, She said “oh, that lot of streets” as if she knew where it was. She said “why don’t you go to the end of the street here and look left? You can see all the way down the road to Liverpool from here”. I thought “maybe if I had time, I might but I don’t know where I have to go yet”. I started to quiz this girl but just then 2 other people came past and started to ask her something and she was talking to them. I was holding this girl’s arm by this time and I started to stroke it basically to keep her attention focused on me while she was talking to these 2 people.

fete foraine place herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And later I was at a football match last night, watching a game sitting in the stand quite quietly. The ground was pretty full and these 2 boys were sitting next to me and started to crowd over onto my seat. They asked me if I was enjoying the game etc. The one in the middle asked “who was the hardest? me or his friend?”. I eplied that I don’t know his friend so I can’t really say. Then a fight erupted between the three of us and it was all extremely depressing kind of thing.

And then I was in my Opel Senator last night, using it as a taxi. I was parked up somewhere in Brussels and some guy who had at one time been a regular passenger in my taxi turned up. He said “we want to borrow your taxi for a moment to have” and about 10 of his friends stormed into it. They wouldn’t leave when I told them to so I went to ‘phone the police but my ‘phone kept on playing up – I couldn’t remember the password or the password was wrong or the ‘phone screen wasn’t working, all kinds of things like this. No matter what I tried I couldn’t make these people leave my car.

fete foraine place herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Finally, I’d been out with some of my family again. I’d been out on a motorbike but I had my beige Cortina YLO with me. I was in an awful hurry to leave but they were loitering around. I was sitting there drumming my fingers on the table but my motorbike by now I’d actually coupled it up to the Cortina with a A-frame and so I set off on the motorbike pulling the car from Shavington. When I looked behind, the family was following me so I went quite quickly through the S-bends in Gresty, putting the motorbike well down to go round these bends towing the Cortina. I could hear tham say that I must be crazy or something. I arrived in Crewe and ended up in a subway somewhere. I had to cycle (because it was now a bike, that of Marianne’s that I was on) up the hill to the street-level but the gearing was all wrong on this bike. I couldn’t make it up the slope. No matter how fast I pedalled, it wasn’t advancing any. I had to roll back to the bottom of the slope on this bike pulling this car and then play with the gear arrangements on this bike in order to find the correct gear that would see me, the bike and the car back up the hill again and onto the street level so that we could continue.

But as you can see, it wasn’t a very pleasant night last night and in some respects I was glad when I awoke. That was actually quite early and I was out of bed as soon as the alarm went off at 07:30.

After the medication I went off to have a shower and a good clean-up ready to go to the doctor’s.

loading joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I reached the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury, I stopped to check the NIKON 1 J5.

Over at the ferry terminal was one of the Joly France boats, the older one of the two. And they were loading her up with stuff, judging my the crane with its hook dangling down into the forward hold of the boat.

It’s not exactly the best day of the year for a run out to the Ile de Chausey. It’s quite cool and windy and I’m well-wrapped up for a change.

lysandre les bouchots de chausey la grande ancre fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While I was there at the viewpoint I noticed that there was plenty of activity going on down at the fish processing plant.

No prizes for spotting La Grande Ancre. Her silhouette is quite unique and you’ll be able to spot her anywhere.

Whoever is behind her I don’t know, but in front of her is Les Bouchots de Chausey unloading its catch onto the tractor and trailer that takes it away.

And just puling away from the quayside is Lysandre, the St Malo-registered shell-fishing boat that comes into port here every now and again.

marite thora belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There’s quite a lot of activity going on at the quayside in the inner harbour too.

Marité is there of course, but in front of her is Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters that run a regular service over here. Before she came to Jersey, she was a car ferry out in the Shetland Islands.

The other Joly France boat is down there in the foreground, tied up to Belle France. And if I’m not mistaken, Chausiaise is moored up on the other side of her. They can’t have much on today.

At the doctors he gave me my prescription for the Aranesp that pumps me up ready for when I go to Leuven, and also a prescription for an X-Ray on my knee. I’m not sure if I mentioned that the physiotherapist is of the opinion that there has been no improvement to my knee despite 6 months of effort.

“That’s not normal” she had told me, and that’s no surprise because neither am I.

Ther does however seem to have been some kind of communication between him and the hospital, because he also mentioned that counselling is a good idea for me. So God help the person who draws the short straw and has to probe the depths of my subconscious mind.

He has however given me some tablets to take before I go to bed. I’ll try them to see how they go but if it interrupts my nocturnal rambles I shall stop. Quite frankly, what goes on with me during the night is about the only excitement that I have these days.

Plenty of excitement at the chemists though when I took the prescription there. Some French woman was complaining about this that wasn’t right in France and that wasn’t right in France, so I asked her if she would like to swap her French nationality for my British nationality.

Some people don’t realise how lucky they are.

tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back up the hill I noticed to my surprise that Tiberiade was not out of the chantier naval.

It doesn’t look though as if she’s had a complete repaint. There are still plenty of patches of wear on her hull. She doesn’t have her nets on board though either, so she’s not completely ready to go back out to sea.

As for me, I was more than completely ready for my morning coffee and slice of coffee cake. I’d made it all the way up the hill without stopping for breath and I was pretty exhausted. None of these health issues are doing me any good, but you knew that anyway.

repairing bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Goinf past the bike shed I noticed that the guy had gone and taken all of the innards with him.

All I can say is that that didn’t last very long, did it?

Back here I had a coffee and my cake and then attacked the dictaphone notes. As I said earlier, it wasn’t a very happy night by all accounts

After lunch, I was back out again. This time to the physiotherapist. She’s back from her holiday and it’s her birthday today too.

peche a pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Once more, I stopped at the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury to check the camera again.

Right out at the entrance to the harbour there were some people out there wandering around as if they were engaged in the peche à pied.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … with all of the stuff that is probably dropped and churned up by the boats that come in and out of the harbour, that’s the last place that I would look for shellfish.

By the time that I arrived at the physiotherapist’s, I was melting. It had warmed up dramatically and I was in my winter coat. But anyway she used a machine to massage my knee and then to finish off she had me doing a few exercises.

vegan cheese vegan dessert lidl Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After I left the physio I went round to LIDL to pick up a few bits and pieces. With going to Leuven next week I’m not shopping on Saturday.

And here’s an astonishing thing that I haven’t noticed before. Vegan cheese slices – and “English” (presumably Red Leicester) too.

Of course I’ve no idea what they might be like but the vegan deserts aren’t as good as they might be so I’m not too optimistic. However, if no-one buys the stuff they won’t stock any more vegan food so they need some kind of encouragement.

If it melts, it might be good for cheese on toast and there’s only one way to find that out, isn’t there?

new building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back I had a look again at the new building that was going on at the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul.

They don’t seem to have made a great deal of progress since we saw them last, but the road must be closed for some good purpose that isn’t easily apparent.

At the bottom of the hill is the funfair – the fête foraine – so I went for a wander around there for 10 minutes. It’s not as good as it might be when it’s all lit up but I’m already on 105% of my daily activity and I’m not going out again in the dark.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Back here at the building I can’t go inside until I’ve seen what’s happening down on the beach.

By the time that I came back I was rather later than usual but there was still some beach to be on and there were a few people down there actually on it. They were probably enjoying the warm weather.

Back in here I had a coffee and then I had some work to do. We’re doing a series of programmes on the Ukraine and I spent an hour or so tracking down some Ukrainian rock groups. One of them burst into the limelight thanks to an appearance that they made at a concert in Lviv and I actually managed to track down the concert too

Now I shall have to brush up my Russian because this concert was in pre-independence days and it’s 30 years since my last trip to Eastern Europe.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that years ago I used to work for a coach company that won a contract to take tourists behind the Iron Curtain. As I fancied the job as driver, I found a local woman who spoke Russian and she taught me the basics, most of which I have forgotten.

While I was at it I also came across a friend of a friend of a friend who has a daughter in the Ukraine and I’ve been trying to set up an interview for the radio. But that’s not easy, as you can imagine.

Another thing that I did was to bash out a few more photos from my trip to the High Arctic in 2019. Where has this energy come from?

Tea tonight was a potato and mushroom curry, and then I came back in here to write up my notes – and to make a long ‘phone call to Florida. My network of contacts stretches throughout the world and it’s just as well, with all of this going on.

Wednesday 16th February 2022 – THERE’S A TIME …

repairing fishing nets port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… for fishing, and a time for repairing the nets.

And right now, it looks as if the time has come to do some repairing.

With no trawler in attendance it’s not possible to say with any conviction whose nets they might be, but with Tiberiade still out of the water up on the blocks in the chantier naval, it would be a fair assumption to suggest that the nets might belong to her.

There is also a time for working and a time for falling asleep and regrettably, I have done rather more of the latter than the former today. So much for my “… hoping for a better day tomorrow” of yesterday.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I said “One of these days I’ll have the kind of day where everything goes well and I manage to do plenty of work” but that certainly wasn’t today.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 I’m afraid to say that I turned over and went back to sleep. And i’m even more afraid to say that when the second went of at 08:00 it was ditto. It was 08:35 when I finally surfaced. And had I not needed to go for a ride on the porcelain horse I would probably still be in bed now.

That meant that there was plenty of time for me to go off on a few rambles during the night. I was out with a girl last night but I can’t remember who it was unfortunately. We’d been out somewhere and come back to my house before I was due to take her home. The question of food came up and I knew that there were some beefburgers in the freezer so I suggested that we had those. Whoever it was who was there went into the kitchen to find them but all that she could produce was an empty box. Someone had had the beefburgers. Of course I knew instinctively who this was so there was some kind of shouting and everything like that with my brother. He seemed to think that it was very very funny. I grabbed hold of him by the collar of his tee shirt, punched him in the stomach, pulled his head towards me and told him exactly what I thought of him. I let go of his tee shirt so that his head sprung back with a resounding “thump” as it hit the wall. Of course I was embarrassed by this and ashamed about the confrontation in front of this girl. She was pretty fed up as I could tell. In the end she decided that she didn’t want anything to eat so I thought that I’d better take her home.

But then again, with a family member coming between me and a nice young lady of the opposite sex is a reasonably regular occurrence on my voyages.

And resorting to violence against my family even in a dream. If violence is the answer it must have been a pretty stupid question and there were plenty of stupid questions about my family right enough back in the olden days.

On the subject of my family, my father and I had gone to watch Crewe Alex play – not that anyone would want to given the results of their last half-dozen matches. We left my place in Jette and went all the way across the top of Brussels and ended up somewhere down towards Woluwe, that area. We went into the stadium and the teams were there being presented to whoever it was. We watched the match but in the room where we were sitting there was one of these old pot-bellied wrought-iron stoves. There was a woman like one of the three witches burning paper so I was adding piles of paper to it as well. I was adding the paper and taping it to the side of the stove with masking tape until it burned. Then I would tape another piece on. It was far more interesting than the football. When the match finished my father was ready to go home but I was still burning this paper. I was getting down to the end of the roll of masking tape so I told him that I’d be ready in a minute. These women then came along doing something else. I put a metal damper of some kind on this stove that made it roar. These women were ever so alarmed when it roared but it burnt a lot of the ashes. Then I took it off and said to my father that we can go. One of these women pointed to three chairs that turned up in this room and asked if we could take them back and put them where they had come from to help them tidy up.

At a later time I’d been out with Liz and we’d been to a strange town where there was a pedestrian centre, but it was something like somewhere out or rural Spain. We walked through this pedestrian area and down through the fields at the end to end up on a cliff path. We were walking around there looking at the sea. Somehow I ended up back at another house where there was someone with a big pile of cars. I was gradually going through them looking at things that needed doing, changing and replacing what I could. There was a place across the road that had a big pile of old cars and every now and again he would tell me to take a piece off one of those. One vehicle that he had was a D-reg CF van that needed a new rear light. I told him that so he told me to go to a different scrapyard somewhere. I had a strange four-wheeled bicycle thing and set off but I took the wrong turning somewhere and ended up in this pedestrian precinct again. This time there were crowds of people around so I had to weave my way through the crowds. At some point there was someone making some kind of sand design that was going right across the path on which I needed to be. I did a bunny-hop over it. I ended up at the start of these fields again. A woman was there calling her child and two boys came running out of the field. I was stopped on the edge of this field sitting there thinking. It looked so familiar because I’d been here with Liz but I really don’t know how I’m going to find this scrapyard from here. I’d never been this way to it and I can’t remember now whether I’d be able to find my way back to where I’d taken the wrong turn and whether I’d recognise which was the correct one again.

After the medication I made a start on the radio programme that I wanted to do but I am nowhere ever near finishing it. There was an interruption for breakfast of course and then Rosemary rang me up for one of our marathon chats.

And we would probably still be chatting now except that there are certain things that, never mind how rich, powerful and famous you might be, it’s not possible to have anyone else do for you.

gully emptier place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was organising breakfast I had a look out of the window to see what was going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday afternoon we saw the gully emptier just finishing emptying a gully in the street. Today it’s back, in the courtyard between the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs and the Council Offices, emptying the gully just there.

And here’s an idea. I ought to start a lottery, guessing where we’ll find the gully-emptier tomorrow.

Later on I went for a shower so that I’d smell nice and clean for my physiotherapy session. And I’ve lost 800 grammes since Monday lunchtime, which just goes to show that there’s a problem with my bathroom scales.

As a result of everything so far, it was a rather late lunch. And that reminded me that I have some baking to do tomorrow. I’ve no bread and no fruit buns left either

outer harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Eventually I wandered off outside for my walk to the physiotherapist.

As usual I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to test the NIKON 1 J5. Not that there was anything particular to photograph because the tide was well out.

On the way down the hill are the four steps that I use to test how my knee is feeling. They are quite high and there is no handrail so I have to pull myself up with whatever strength I have in the knee.

On Monday I couldn’t manage anything at all but today was rather better. It’s still a long way from anything reasonable though and it’s depressing me.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The other day I mentioned that we might be expecting the arrival of one of the little Jersey freighters.

Because of the swimming pool on the quayside I was expecting to see Normandy Trader but in actual fact today it’s Thora who has come into town. We haven’t seen her for a while.

The walk through the town and up the hill was quite uneventful. And at the physiotherapist’s she spent the first 20 minutes massaging my patella, which she can do any time she likes.

She seems to think that it’s ligament trouble that’s causing my problem and suggests that I need to speak to my doctor. I have to see him soon to load up with more Aranesp so I’ll talk to him then

And having to have injections to stimulate the blood cells sufficiently to enable me to have the strength to go to Leuven – what kind of state is that to be in?

After the physiotherapist’s I went to LIDL to do some shopping. Supplies are rather low right now with not having been to the shops for a couple of weeks. There was chocolate-flavoured soya drink on spcial offer so it was a shame that I was on foot. I could only carry away one of those.

building apartments rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On the way back from the shops I passed by the building site on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul where they are building that block of apartments.

They seem to have advanced quite rapidly over the last couple of weeks. However they have been at it long enough. I seem to recall that the crane arrived here just before the summer holidays last year

Down the hill I went and then back up the hill struggling under the load of shopping that I had. And to think that a year ago I would quite happily walk back from LIDL with three times the weight of the stuff that I had today.

Halfway up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours and we had a chat for five minutes or so about nothing particular. I have to be sociable, even if I don’t feel much like it.

la grande ancre l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Down in the harbour the fishing boats were coming in to unload after their day out at sea.

A couple of them we can identify quite easily. The one in the foreground busily unloading is of course La Grande Ancre and behind her in her usual place is L’Omerta.

Also down there are a few of the larger ones clustered around the harbour gates waiting for them to open with the tide. And one of the Joly France ferries is over there at the ferry terminal too

By now it was raining and so I didn’t want to hang around. A nice hot mug of coffee would do me good

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However, of course I can’t go into the apartment without looking to see what’s happening down on the beach.

Not much beach, and no-one down there on it. Everyone has much more sense than I have abviously.

Back in the apartment I made myself a coffee and came into the office to sit down while I waited for it to percolate. When I awoke later the coffee machine had timed out and the coffee was cold. I must have been out for quite some time.

So one of these days I might actually finish my radio programme.

For tea tonight I nearly made another mess. There were some mushrooms that needed eating so I resolved to make a curry with the leftovers in the fridge and heave them in.

So I set about making the curry and I was halfway through before I realised that I’d forgotten the mushrooms. It’s a good job that I remembered just in time.

It’s bedtime now and I can’t say that I’m sorry. I’m exhausted. I just can’t seem to make any progress right now and i’ve no idea why. I’m seriously wondering if there’s something in the medication that i’m taking that’s slowing me down like this.

But I dunno and I don’t know if I’ll ever get to find out.

Wednesday 20th October 2021 – I WAS LUCKY …

trawlers entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021 … this afternoon, finally managing to take the photo that I’d been trying to take for the last I don’t know how long.

As I was walking back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards home after my physiotherapy appointment, the gates to the inner harbour opened quite dramatically.

That was the cue for all of the fishing boats that were lined up outside in the outer harbour to surge forward and fight their way in to be first to tie up at the fish processing plant.

trawlers entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As you can see, there are dozens of them that go out from here almost every day.

And what goes out has to come back, of course, unless it’s called Bugaled Breizh, but that’s another, much sadder story for another time and place.

We can recognise a couple of the trawlers in this photo. On the extreme right looking as if she’s trying to leave is Cap Pilar and at the back of the queue is Coelacanthe, one of the biggest fishing boats in the port.

And one of these days I’m going to have to go through my notes and make an illustrated database of the boats in here so that I can identify them more easily.

marite chausiaise thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And it wasn’t just Cap Pilar that looked as if she was leaving port.

Chausiaise had been tied up in the loading bay underneath the crane and as I watched, the crew cast off the ropes and reversed away from the quayside.

She’s not going to be heading out for a while because there was quite a queue of traffic waiting to come in, as we have already seen. And it’s not really a good time of day to be going anywhere because by the time that she reaches the Ile de Chausey it’ll be almost dark and the tide will be turning.

Talking of turning … “well, one of us is” – ed … I was doing a lot of that in bed last night. It wasn’t particularly early when I went to bed but nevertheless by 03:20 I was wide awake and from then until 07:30 there was only a few minutes sleep here and there.

When the alarm finally did go off, it was all that I could do to raise myself from the dead.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I knuckled down to attend to the work on the list that I had created yesterday. And to my surprise (and to yours as well, no doubt) I breezed my way through it, and a few other things that I had forgotten to add onto the list as well.

That was what I call a productive day, and it’s high time that I had one of those.

There was the usual pause for breakfast and for lunch, and after lunch I had a shower before carrying on with the work.

Listening to the dictaphone some time later, there was plenty of stuff to transcribe. I must have had an exciting night. I was working for the radio and trying to find people to interview for this radio programme. I was in an old Plaxton Elite coach parked up somewhere in the Wirral. All these people were getting on and off it as we were near one of these burger van things. People asked me what I was doing so I explained that I was looking for people who had experience of Brexit good and bad and wanted to talk about it. They asked in which direction I was going so I said “north”, so quite a few stayed on. I was going north and came to a road junction. Someone said that if you go left here there’s a centre down there where there will be plenty of people and I’ll be bound to find someone there. I went to the left and came across a low bridge. There was nowhere for me to turn round, the road was so narrow and so built up on either side that I couldn’t get a swing round to turn the coach round at all under any circumstances.

Later on I’d forgotten to fill the water container for the house at Virlet. It was late at night and dark and I had to set out and do it. Nerina wasn’t very happy. When I went out I remembered that I hadn’t fought my way into the room where the water tap is. She was annoyed about that. In the end I fought my way round to the top of the barn and went in. The fridge in there was working really hard and making a lot of noise. I went downstairs and out, and found that I could in fact get into the water room. I’d left the light on in there from the last time I’d been there. I went in and there was a bat that was flying around, diving into my hair and everything. There were thousands of little flies. I fetched the water container out of there and managed to struggle my way outside. The bat came out with me and flew off. So did all these insects.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021When it was time to leave the apartment for my physiotherapy I went down to look at the beach.

Peering over the wall I could see that there was quite a bit of beach this afternoon – after all, it is my more usual time of going out compared to yesterday.

This time though there wasn’t anyone on it at all and that’s no surprise because it was blowing a howling gale and it was trying its best to rain. Not the right kind of day to be out at all unless one had to.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further on down the hill on my way into town I could see that there was a boat moored up in the loading bay underneath the crane.

As I drew closer (but it wasn’t a good likeness of closer because I’m useless at drawing) I could see that it was Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters, who was in there. She must have come in on the morning tide

Another thing that took me by surprise was that I made it all the way up the hill to the physiotherapist without stopping for breath. That’s something that I haven’t done for months and I was so impressed with that.

Today she had me doing movements and exercises and they seemed to be better for me than the tilting platform. I was certainly aching more than I did before and, getting ahead of myself here, I was up the 25 steps to my apartment much easier than I have been of late.

old sfr shop rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021But on the way home, I could see the first casualty of the mobile phone wars that are going on throughout the world right now.

That shop over there used to be, until the weekend, the SFR shop and I’m not surprised that that has bitten the dust. Regular readers of this rubbish going back 7 or 8 years or so ago will remember the dispute that I had with them.

By now it was raining fairly heavily so I didn’t want to hang around too long. I came back a different way home yet again but there was nothing of any interest to see or to photograph.

bouchots de chausey avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Well, that’s not actually true.

Quite by accident as I was crossing over the Avenue de la Liberation, I saw a tractor heading my way and I recognised it immediately so I prepared the NIKON D500.

Sure enough, it’s the tracor and trailer that unload the Bouchots de Chausey and we saw them yesterday hard at it. Had I been able to run, I would have followed it to find out where it is going, but I’m long past that kind of thing these days.

joly france entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021A little earlier I showed you a couple of photos of the fishing boats coming back into harbour.

After they had all passed by, one of the Joly France ferries reversed out of her berth at the ferry terminal and followed the fishing boats into the inner harbour.

What I liked about this photo was that I also captured two blue and white fishing boats racing neck and neck towards the harbour. I had to wait a couple of minutes to have all three boats in exactly the right position but it was worth it.

trawler cap pilar meaving port de Granville harbour in a storm Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Another photo that you saw earlier was the one with Cap Pilar waiting for the traffic to subside as if she intended to go out to sea.

Sure enough, once there was a gap in the traffic, off she went and was immediately engulfed in the storm that was now raging out at sea. She disappeared into several waves that swept over her bows and my hat goes off to everyone who puts to sea in this kind of weather.

Back here I had a much needed coffee and that warmed me up somewhat. And there wasn’t time to do very much because it was quite late when I returned.

There were some mushrooms that were on the verge of looking quite dubious so I made a potato and mushroom curry with them and wasn’t that delicious.

And just as I put down my fork, Rosemary rang me – perfect time again – and we had another one of our endless, rambling conversations, hence I’m running quite late.

But now, later than I was hoping, I’m off to bed and after my dreadful night last night I hope that this one is better. I’m interviewing tomorrow so I need to be on form.

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.

Monday 13th September 2021 – IT’S A PITY …

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… that my 70-300mm LENS is the longest lens that I have.

Had it been of any greater length it might have picked up some really exciting activity out at the Ile de Chausey over the weekend.

Someone in a zodiac pulled up at a landing stage on the island to drop off some passengers and a speedboat, taking a great deal of exception to someone beating him to the pitch, rammed him – not once, not twice but continually over a period of seven or eight minutes.

They say that the police and the harbour authorities are “very interested” in the affair, and i’m not surprised.

If you are interested, you can see A VIDEO OF SOME OF THE ACTION

There was plenty of action during the night in here as well. I’d borrowed a van to do some removals. I had everything in the van and gone to do this but the place wasn’t ready so I had had to hang on to the van. I was going to do it next morning. The guys whose van it was wanted their van back by 11:00. After much discussion we agreed that someone from their place would come with me early in the morning, we’d unload the van and then he’d drive back the van so that I could go on to work. There were two pints of milk on the table so I said that i’d take one with me as my breakfast but my mother refused and said “no”.

A little later there was something going on about an old Transit van that i’d had for years, like that Sykes Pumps one. The diesel engine had been no good in it. I took the diesel engine out of my old white Transit and put it in. Then I tried to start it and to my surprise it fired up. I remember saying to someone that I’ve had this van for 18 years and it’s the first time that I’ve ever heard it run

Later on again I was working in Manchester. There was a huge office car park and we were parked on there. They were talking to an old manager of Rangers FC about what was going to happen to some buildings just below. He said that they were going to turn them into shops so the discussion went on to parking. Were they going to be parked in our area or not? he said not – they would probably have parking of their own. I went outside the compound and looked back. One of the buildings here was a huge 37-storey building like a space rocket thing. I was working in another one. I was lying down on my back looking at this building and these two girls came past. I said that that was where I worked . They looked at it and asked “what floor?”. I said “the ground floor. They won’t get me working on the 37th floor for any love or money. Just then I heard a load of clanking and it sounded as if the car park was being locked. I had to run back to the car park but I couldn’t get in because the gates were closed. There was a security guard there and he opened the gate for me and let me in. He said “I’ll let you in this time but don’t do it again because you won’t be let in otherwise.

There was some other stuff as well but as you are probably eating your meal right now, I’ll spare you the gory details.

After the medication I made a start on the next radio programme. And despite having to stop for a coffee and for breakfast it was all done and dusted by 11:20. And it’s a pretty good one too. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

While I was listening to it afterwards I was busy sorting through a pile of old photographs and weeding out the duplicates. There’s a couple of GB in there right now and I imagine that as I progress there will be plenty more to go with them.

After lunch I had a shower and then did a pile of tidying up because the nurse was coming around to give me my fortnightly injection.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a week or so ago I had a very lengthy talk with the skipper of Normandy Trader. Amongst other things, he told me some news but asked me no to say anything quite yet.

Anyway, now I’m able to spread the news about. Several weeks ago he saw a sister boat to his own and discovered that it was for sale. He made several enquiries and as a result, this morning the boat passed into his fleet.

At the moment she’s called Brecqhou Warrior but she’s likely to have a name change before she starts work.

lotus place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

Once again I was held up before I’d gone too far, because on the car park is one of the little Lotus Sevens.

At least, it says that it’s a Lotus and while I have no reason to doubt that it is, one has to be very careful about accepting cars like this at face value. There are plenty of kit cars out there that resemble the real thing, and some of them are very good indeed.

There are several cases of people having been “taken in” by faithful replicas. It’s very hard to tell some of them apart.

red autogyro place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021esterday, I couldn’t even get out of the door without being overflown by the red autogyro.

This afternoon I should have delayed my walk by about 30 seconds because then exactly the same thing happened. As I was looking at the Lotus, the autogyro came out from behind the College Malraux.

It rattled past overhead, the pilot and his passenger, and disappeared off towards the airfield where presumably it went in to land.

There were several other aeroplanes that went past, light aircraft or full-size commercial aircrat but they were all too far out in the bay or too high up for me to photograph them with any clarity.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Having dealt with all of that, I went over to the wall to look down at the beack to see who was about.

The tide is now well in so there isn’t much beach down there right now but there were still quite a few people down there.

And who can blame them? It was a really nice afternoon with plenty of sun and not a lot of wind. An ideal time to be down there.

There wasn’t anything going on out at sea this afternoon which was quite a surprise, so I headed off along the path on top of the cliffs.

One of the sparrowhawks was there looking for food but he wouldn’t keep still long enough for me to take a photo of it, so carried on through the crowds of people.

man on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Across the lawn and across the car park, I went down to see what was going on there.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single boat of any description that I could see out there this afternoon. The only sign of any life was this guy down there sitting on the bench in front of the Cabanon Vauban.

And wherever he has come from, it’s been a hot and difficult walk judging by the sweat stain on his back.

So with nothing to see out at sea, I cleared off along the path towards the port.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There was no change of occupant today at the chantier naval so I looked over towards the ferry terminal to see what was going on there.

Moored up there at the walkway was one of the Joly France ferries that run over to the Ile de Chausey.

This one has the larger upper deck superstructure, no step at the stern and windows in “landscape” format, so she’s the older of the two near-identical boats.

The red crane on the quayside was working although I couldn’t see what it was going to lift, but there was certainly something going on over there with the boat.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021In front of her was the other one of the Joly France boats.

We can see by the smaller upper-deck superstructure and the windows in “portrait” format that she’s the newer one of the two.

And if we could see her stern clearly, we would see a step in it as well.

All that remains to be found now is the brand new Belle France. She must be over at the Ile de Chausey hoping to catch a bit more of the aquatic demolition derby. They could sell tickets for an event like that.

refrigerated lorries fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Not many fishing boats in port this afternoon and I’ve no idea where they all are because I couldn’t see them out at sea.

But they are obvously out there working somewhere because there’s one refrigerated lorry already at the fish processing plant and another one reversing into position.

And this is what makes a mockery of the UK Government’s plans to simplify the HGV driving tests and eliminate the reversing requirement. There’s only one way for an articulated lorry to park in a loading bay, and that’s backwards.

It’ll be extremely interesting when I newly-qualified driver has to reverse up to a loading bay between several other lorries.

Back here I had my banana smoothie and then made a start on my Welsh homework but at 17:00 I had to go upstairs to speak to a neighbour. I have several cunning plans going on around in my head right now, and one of them has something to do with this building.

Tea was another one of these curries made with everything that was lingering in the fridge – well, almost everything because having forgotten the diced peppers yesterday, I forgot them today as well.

Tomorrow I have my lung examination early on, and then my Welsh lesson. There’s my homework to finish too. And then Wednesday i’m off to Leuven. It’s all go here, and I can’t keep up with it.

Monday 19th April 2021 – I HAVE SEEN …

1st butterfly pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… my first butterfly of the year this afternoon while I was out on my afternoon walk today.

Despite how I was feeling – cold and miserable in the wind, the wildlife seems to waking up after the long, cold winter that we have had. We have already seen the buds out and the flowers blooming on the lawns and on the verges, but now the butterflies are out doing their business.

As for what type of butterfly it is, I really don’t know. I can identify a cabbage white, but that’s about everything. Flora and fauna isn’t really my cup of tea.

But I suppose that having seen the first butterfly of the year, I don’t imagine that it will be long before we’ll be seeing the first wasp and first mosquito of the year.

buoy mooring chains port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that we are seeing the first of are the mooring chains in the harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been keeping an eye on the work that’s been going on in the harbour where, with this new Government grant, they’ve been planning on adding another few mooring chains in the harbour for casual visitors. We’ve seen diggers and all kinds of equipment working out there at low tide, and today it looks as if their work is coming to fruition.

It was the red buoy that caught my eye. That wasn’t there yesterday so I had a closer look. And sure enough, there are three chains down there that weren’t there yesterday either. The buoys are attached to the chains and float to the surface when the tide is in, to give boatmen an idea of where the chains are.

The boatman will fish for the chain with his boat hook in the vicinity of the buoy, haul the chain onto the deck, attach his mooring rope to it and drop it back over the side into the sea.

This morning I felt like being dropped over the side into the sea because it was the only way that I would have awoken, I reckon. Despite my early night I felt totally out of it when the alarm went off.

Nevertheless I did manage to haul myself out of bed after the first alarm and just before the second alarm went off. And after the medication, with nothing on the dictaphone I set to work on the radio programme for today.

Having paired off and joined the music during a spare moment over the weekend, some of the work had been done so it was pretty straightforward. Round about 11:50 it was finished too, a whole hour of it, music, speech and special guest included.

There was the usual break for breakfast too with the hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread. Just one more slice of that left, unfortunately. But I’ll make some more when I come back from Leuven.

Having done the radio programme I spent some time scanning and photocopying various documents and then I printed out the paperwork that I need to take with me to Leuven.

After lunch I sat down to edit a few photos from Wyoming in August 2019 but I crashed out instead. And I do mean “crashed out” too because it was 16:20 when I awoke. I’d been out of everything for almost 2 hours.

That was plenty of time for me to go off on a little nocturnal ramble while I was at it. There was a caravan – my brother had bought it. It had ended up somehow without its wheel on and it was sitting on the ground on one of its jacking legs and on something else. My brother was saying “we need 3 bricks to get it off the ground”. I replied “first of all we are going to have to jack it up, aren’t we, to get the bricks underneath it?”. I wasn’t a big fan of bricks anyway so I had to go and find a big trolley jack – although looking at it, I was thinking “where am I going to get the trolley jack underneath?” because with the caravan sitting on the ground like that you couldn’t get the trolley jack underneath. I went off into my father’s workshop and had a rummage around and came back with a load of other tools like spanners and pliers and so on. They guy who was supervising me asked what I had there, so I explained. “Does your father let you use his tools?”. I thought to myself “it’s a strange family that he comes from where that kind of thing doesn’t happen (in fact my family was just like like, but that’s another story). He was giving the most ridiculous orders and I was at this point somehow flying in the air carrying these things. I was trying to drop them onto his head but for some reason whenever I got into a position above him I couldn’t let go of the things that I was carrying. He was going on and on about ridiculous kinds and ways of behaviour. In the end I said that if he had been my father I’d have given him a smack in the mouth a long time ago. There was a family there and two little children, toddler type of people, one of whom was very friendly with me. We were playing a kind of hide-and-seek – she would drop down behind the back of the sofa with her teddy, hiding and saying that the 2 of us should go off on a boat. I said “yes but we’d have to bring teddy”. There was another toddler there who was not too happy at all and I thought that things are getting most unhealthy around here.

There was much more to it than that but I’ll spare you the gory details seeing as you are probably eating your tea right now.

So, about an hour later than usual, I headed off for my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe place was swarming with people again, as you can tell from this photo of the beach.

As usual, I wandered over to the end of the car park and looked down over the wall to the bottom of the cliff. The madding crowds were spreading out all over the beach this afternoon and I can’t say that I’m surprised because out of the wind, it was really quite nice and pleasant. Unfortunately there weren’t all that many places where you could go up here to get out of the wind.

A couple of my neighbours were out here on the car park so I stopped for a chat and pass the time of day for a little while. After all I have to be sociable, whether I like it or not.

f-gbai Robin DR400 140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs I walked along the path on top of the cliff one of our old friends came by to see me and say “hello”.

This is F-GBAI, a Robin DR400 140B that’s actually owned by the Granville Aero Club. With her 160-horsepower engine and four seats, she has a range of 500 miles without refuelling, and is equipped for night-flying (all of which interested me greatly). She’s used for advanced flying training and also for local flights

According to the flight radar, she’s been out a couple of flights today just around the local area and back home again. Presumably that’s just pilots who are having to keep up their licences by flying the necessary hours per year, and that kind of thing gives me ideas too.

trawler military vessel baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the headland I went down to look out over the sea at the mouth of the Baie de Mont St Michel to see if there was any shipping in the Bay de Mont St Michel this afternoon, and I was in luck again.

It’s been busy out there for the last couple of days with the fishing boats exploiting the Bay so I was hoping to see a few of them out there again. There was a fishing boat out there right enough, away in the distance over on the right-hand side of the photo close to the Brittany coast and that had been hanging around for a while.

But the trawler in the foreground was steaming … “dieseling” – ed … into port at a rather rapid rate of knots from out at sea. I’m not quite sure why because the port was still dry and they wouldn’t be opening the harbour gates for quite a while.

trawler military vessel baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut what had caught my eye was the other boat out there in the bay over to the left of this image in the distance.

As to what it is, I have no idea but from its outline I can tell that it’s not a fishing boat or even a freighter. That boat has all the outlines of a military craft – possibly a fisheries patrol vessel. We’ve seen a few of them every now and again in the bay although I’m not quite sure why because there isn’t likely to be much in the way of infractions.

It does make me wonder if it’s anything to do with all of the fishing boats that were in there last week and the fact that there aren’t any in there right now.

So having taken a couple of photographs and having observed the butterfly, I moved of along the path on top of the headland.

anakena aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually I arrived at the viewpoint on top of the cliffs overlooking the harbour and the chantier navale, and I could see that we have had a change of occupant.

Anakena and Aztec Lady are still in there up on their blocks, but Cherie d’Amour, the little yellow fishing boat was conspicuous by her absence.

Her stay in the chantier navale was particularly short so there can’t have been much wrong with her. Apart from the ladder that was propped up against her hull and one or two people loitering around her, there didn’t seem to be much going on with her. But there seems to be a lot going on with the other two boats right now with all of the people around them.

man pegging out on ground fishing boat aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’ve already seen the new chains that have been installed in the harbour today, but there’s more work going on as well, as we can see with this guy here.

He seems to be pegging something out in there, presumably relating to the addition of another chain or two. I had a closer look at what he was carrying and he has another one of the red buoys in the bucket that’s in his right hand.

And he has quite a crowd taking an interest in his work too, with those young people sitting on the quayside observing him from a distance.

And incidentally, one of the fishing boats that has been tied up at the fish processing plant and left to go aground when the tide was out for the last few days is still there too. They can’t be in a hurry to go back to work in her.

joly france chausias ferry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, over at the ferry terminal, there’s been some activity just recently.

One of the Joly France ferry boats that runs out to the Ile de Chausey is moored in the inner harbour but the other one, the newer one, is moored out there at the terminal.

At the pier formerly used by the Jersey Ferries, Chausiais, the little freighter that takes the goods over to the island, is also moored there. It’s been mentioned that occasionally when she’s run out there with goods, she’s also taken a few passengers too. I suppose that with all of the second-home owners being out there escaping the lockdown in Paris, there’s more of a demand for transport, but not enough to run one of the full-sized ferries.

crumbling wall Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back home I stopped for a closer look at the crumbling wall that’s dropping bits of stone into the highway

And that is starting to look pretty serious to me. There’s quite a bit that’s crumbling away but that part there is the worst. They need to give that their attention quite rapidly if they are to keep the building standing upright.

Back here I had my coffee and edited a couple more photos before going for my guitar practice. And that seemed to go okay today although the bass line in the Doobie Brothers’ “China Grove” is defeating me at the moment. I need to put in much more effort if I’m to make any serious progress.

As for the acoustic guitar, I’m finding that I’m not satisfied with what I’m doing. And that’s a sign that I’m improving rapidly because the dissatisfaction is the sort of thing that will push me on to do more.

For tea tonight I had a curry. There was a sweet potato, a pile of mushrooms and plenty of other potatoes so I made a big bowl of curry. I’ll have more tomorrow and freeze the rest for when I come back from Leuven.

Now I’m off to bed. It’s been a really bad day and it isn’t going to get much better because I have my Welsh class tomorrow and then I have my … gulp … 04:30 start on Wednesday. And with feeling as ill as I do right now, I’m not filled with much optimism about how I’m going to cope with all of this.

Friday 16th April 2021 – I WAS LATE …

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… going out for my afternoon walk this afternoon.

That’s the reason why there was so much beach about this afternoon. Had I gone out at my usual time of 16:00 instead of the 17:15 that it was today, there would have been much less beach than this. And probably many more people on it too because I do have to say that, once more, the number of people out and about this afternoon was quite small.

Anyway, despite being late for my afternoon walk, I was very much on time for leaving my bed this morning – right after the first alarm yet again despite having had a night that was rather later than I intended – in fact rather later than anyone intended.

After the medication, first thing that I did was to pack up the carrots that I’d peeled, diced and blanched yesterday evening and forgotten to mention. They are now in the freezer busily freezing away now.

Next task was to launch an attack on the photos from August 2019 and had a good session on there.

It wasn’t as easy as I thought or as it sounds either because my notes were … errr .. indistinct. At one point I had to use one of these mapping programs to drive my route for about 60 or 70 miles so I could identify a couple of the locations.

But by the time that I’d knocked off I’d made good progress, left my coal mine, visited the site of the Battle of the Rosebud – a battle that effectively sealed the fate of Custer and his Army – and was in the Cheyenne Reservation well on my way to rejoin the Bozeman Trail at the site of Fort CF Smith.

There were a few things that I needed to do and then went off for lunch and my home-made bread. It was just as delicious as it was from Day One.

This afternoon I sat down to continue with the photos from last Summer’s excursion around Central Europe. Unfortunately though, I crashed out. I hadn’t done all that many either.

What awoke me was Rosemary giving me a ring on the phone. She wanted a good chat and so good was it that it went on until 17:10 – one of the longest chats yet. She’s had her first anti-virus and her new fitted kitchen is no complete but she couldn’t make her new dishwasher work.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually I managed to take myself out so I went to have a look over the wall at the end of the car park and down onto the beach to see what was going on out there.

As I said earlier, there weren’t too many people around down there walking about this afternoon. I did however find a small family group settling down to a late afternoon picnic and being joined by other people coming down the steps from the Rue du Nord. And they have plenty of time to make the most of it.

The weather wasn’t very pleasant though this afternoon. There was plenty of sunlight and it was actually quite warm if you could find some shade from the wind. But the rate it which it was swirling around here meant that finding wind-shade wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

Off along the headland I wandered, in the company of just one or two other people. maybe it’s because I’m so late that there were so few people about this afternoon.

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the past few days we’ve been seeing fishing boats working away in the Baie de Mont St Michel. There was another one out there today.

Walking past the Monument to the Resistance, down the path and across the empty car park, I went down to the end of the headland to have a look at her. She was out there working on her own without another boat in the vicinity as far as I can see.

There were a couple of military-types over by the lighthouse and the Coastguard Station too but just recently a notice “no photography” has appeared by the gate of the aforementioned so I desisted. Instead I wandered off along the path on the top of the headland.

fishing boats tied up at fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall has been the number of fishing boats tied up at the wharves in the outer tidal harbour and left there to go aground when the tide goes out.

There are a couple more of them today tied up over there at the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant. These twin-hulled catamaran-types don’t have too much of an issue with that because they will always remain upright when the tide goes out without careening over to one side.

There is no activity going on at the wharf – no vans or anything else waiting there to be loaded up with seafood or to unload supplies or provisions, so all that I can assume is that the boats have quite simply been left there until required again, and that’s a strange way round of working.

fishing boat anakena aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was there at my viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I turned my attention to the chantier navale.

And we have yet another change in occupier down there this afternoon. The pleasure craft Nyx III has now disappeared, back into the water and her place has now been taken by another fishing boat.

Unfortunately I’m not able to read her name completely due to a ladder having been placed in the way, obscuring it. It’s something like Perle d’Amour although that’s not correct. We’ll have to wait until some other time for me to be able to see it properly. I’m not going to walk down there right now for a closer look at it. I’m going to head home for my afternoon coffee.

aeroplane f-gorn pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut not before I’m overflown by another light aircraft on its way to the airport at Donville les Bains.

This one is F-GORN, a Robin DR 400-120 that’s owned by the Aero Club de Granville and is the machine that they use for solo flying hours if one of the other planes is being used for something else. That’s probably what it’s going right now, because she hasn’t registered a flight plan.

Back home I made myself a coffee and came back in here to carry on with what I was trying to do earlier – to wit, to deal with the photos from my Central Europe trip. And now, they are all done and dusted and are on line now. So that’s that project is now all finished at long, long last.

There was the hour on the guitars which was very agreeable for a change just recently and just before I went for tea Rosemary rang me again to say that she now had her dishwasher working.

Tea was the rest of the curry that I had made yesterday with rice and veg followed by one of the desserts that I’d made yesterday. The curry tasted even better today than it did yesterday, as marinated curries always do, and the dessert was nice too.

My notes are finished early tonight so I might even have an early night for a change. And I can’t say that I don’t need it.

With going to Leuven on Wednesday I’m not going shopping tomorrow. Instead I’m going to have another day in here working, leading up to a nice lie-in on Sunday morning. And when it comes round, I’ll consider that I’ve earned it.

Monday 15th February 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

lighthouse semaphore people on lawn and path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… about the heavy rain last night washing away the rest of the snow and ice that was still hanging around after our famous snowfall last week, more’s the pity.

If you compare this photo with the one THAT I TOOK THE OTHER DAY you can see immediately the difference between the weather conditions in the two photographs. I wonder when, or if, we might see snow again. It was a long time coming.

Beating the third alarm was another thing that was a long time coming, but once again I managed to be up and about before it went off.

There’s some stuff on the dictaphone so later on I had a listen. I was at work, working long past my retirement date which I was doing yet again. It seems to have become something of a regular occurrence. Suddenly a memo came down to say that Friday 8th February was to be my very last day. It was the Friday before that at the moment and the next week I was working away so I worked late until everyone had gone and I just took a bag and put some stuff in it, so much that it was really difficult to carry, and then I set off, thinking that I’d come back the Monday after I’d retired and bring a box to put the rest of the stuff in it. I walked all the way through town and ended up at the hospital. I was going there in the hope that I could have my 1st Covid injection before I set off on my business trip

Today I’ve spent all morning working on another radio programme. After the medication I sat down and started work and by the time that I was ready to knock off for lunch it was all done and dusted, the whole hour of it, and I was listening to it to make sure that it was okay.

It’s come out quite well too, and I’ve even managed to squeeze into it a track that has been on my playlist ever since the moment that I first heard it in 1970.

There was of course the morning break for hot chocolate and sourdough fruit-bread. There’s only one helping left of that so tomorrow afternoon I’ll have to make a start on preparing some new stuff.

And talking of the sourdough, after I fed it yesterday it’s gone berserk, erupted, and made a mess all over the worktop. It’s quite active now by the looks of things. I reckon that the ginger bug is ready too so while I’m at it I’m going to have a go at making my first batch of ginger beer.

Having listened to the radio programme and also the one that will be broadcast this weekend, I sent off the latter and for the next while I carried on with tidying up the hard drive with all of the back-up files on it, going through the duplicates.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAll of that took me up to my afternoon walk outside.

As we can see, the workmen are now back up on the roof of the College Malraux carrying on with the tiling after their enforced break at the end of last week. And I don’t envy them one bit whatsoever about their job, because there was another gale-force wind blowing and there was rain threatening too.

It’s hardly surprising, given the weather conditions that we experience around here, that the wind blew one of the workmen off the roof a couple of months ago while I was away in Leuven and they had to send the air ambulance out to pick him up and rush him to hospital.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was at it, I went over to the edge of the car park to look down upon the beach to see if there was anything exciting going on.

There wasn’t anything special that I could see down there, except for the fact that there seemed to a rather extraordinary number of people down there amusing themselves. This wasn’t really the weather for crowds of people relaxing at the water’s edge.

Despite the torrential rain last night, the paths were fairly dry for a change. I was expecting to be up to my knees in the mud and slush. It was quite easy to move around out there, although there wasn’t anything particular to see out there, and the heavy clouds prevented any sun from seeping through.

people working on aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing particular going on out to se, I had a walk along the path to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale and the port.

And there was some excitement going on down there today. Whilst the occupants of the chantier navale are still the same, the area around Aztec Lady seems to be a hive of activity today. There were quite a few people wandering around there looking as if they might be about to start work on her.

They may even be thinking about putting her back into the water some time very soon, although I seem to recall having had a similar fit of optimism a long, long time ago when she was first hauled ashore.

rue du port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a good view from here too all down the Rue du Port as far as the Place Pleville.

We can see that most of the fishing boats have all gone out to sea today. They must have had Sunday off. Of course, the tide is well out so we won’t be seeing them coming back for a while, especially as we have the curfew at 18:00. There’s no sign of that being lifted right now either given the fact that the casualty figures for the virus don’t seem to be decreasing by very much.

By now the rain was falling as I had expected, so I made my way back to my apartment. My hot coffee would just the job to warm me up after my exertions.

The postman had been today which was good news. He’d brought me a couple of little presents for which I was grateful.

The first thing was the SATA caddy for 2.5 inch drives. I need that to download the BIOS files for the new SSD drives that are on their way. The BIOS needs to be loaded onto the drives before I fit them into the machines so that the machines will fire up properly and I can download the operating system etc. These SSD drives are completely blank. I’ll plug them into the caddies which will then be plugged into a USB port on another machine and I can download the BIOS files like that from the laptop manufacturers.

But it’s also enabled me to carry out another task. I had an ancient laptop 10 years ago that gradually gave up the ghost and died after the charging pin broke off inside the casing. Soldering a flying lead onto the motherboard provided only a temporary repair.

At the time I salvaged the hard drive from it and put it on one side with the view of looking at it and salvaging the files at some time. Now that I have the caddy I can actually access the files and even as we speak I’m uploading the contents from the hard drive via the caddy onto the hard drive in this computer. And it’s going to be a long job.

The second thing that came in the post was the new battery for the little Acer that will be the recipient of one of the SSD drives. The battery had died in it completely and while I was surfing the net I came across a stock of spare batteries for it.

Surprisingly, the difference between a standard battery and a battery of twice the capacity was a mere €4:00 and so for a mere €23:99 including, this will be ready to go when it has its new 1TO SSD.

Even though it’s an old machine running Windows 7, the fact is that everything important is easily accessible in it and I remember when I bought it that I enquired about the memory and ended up ramming into it as much RAM as it could take. The processor is pretty slow but it did everything that I wanted of it quickly enough, and it’ll go even quicker with a Solid-State Drive.

It’s much smaller than a standard laptop, with an 11.6″ screen and very light so it was great for travelling. I need to cut down on the amount and weight of stuff that I have to take with me when I travel.

This took me up to guitar practice time, which went off okay although I wasn’t really in the mood very much..

At the shops on Saturday there were no loose mushrooms so I was obliged to buy a punnet of 500 grammes. They won’t keep for long so I made myself I great big potato and mushroom curry with vegetables and coconut cream. It was absolutely delicious and, even better, There’s enough for another four or five meals so I’ll be stocking the freezer when it’s cooled down.

So now I’m off to bed. No Welsh course tomorrow as it’s half-term but I do have my little 15-minute chat with my tutor. And then I need to nip to the shops. I need to buy a couple of things that I forgot on Saturday.

Friday 17th April 2020 – WE DIDN’T HAVE …

storm english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hall… a beautiful sunset tonight.

Instead, we had the distant, ominous rumblings of a major thunderstorm of the type that we are most used to having on a hot summer evening, but some really intense, heavy grey clouds.

It was impossible to even see the Ile de Chausey this evening beacuse of the rainstorm that, judging by the direction of the wind, was heading my way. And so i didn’t hang about too long tonight just in case I got the lot of it.

Mind you, I did hang about rather longer than I intended this morning. I heard all of the alarms go off but instead I told myself that I deserved an extra half-hour in bed. I’m not sure why, but anyway, I did.

The dictaphone was interesting this morning. I’d had an attack of conscience and released 11 hostages that were being held prisoner. There was one in particular who caused me a great amount of grief and when it was filmed they said that they would continue with the story of this particular relief next week. Bit it was all something like a Hobbitesque-Lord Of The Rings-type of situation with mysterious people in it and I know that this one – a lot had gone on prior to this and this guy was something of a late entrant into this scenario.

And if you can make any sense out of that, you’re perfectly welcome to it.

After breakfast I had a go at some more digital file-hunting. And I’m really getting down to the dregs now because I’m right in the middle of more obscure stuff which I can’t find anywhere at all.

There’s so much that I’m going to have to digitalise myself, and the music industry will owe be a big favour when I’m finished because I’ll upload them onto the databases. All kinds of obscure stuff.

And it took an age too. Hunting stuff down, trying to make it load up (which wasn’t easy), waiting ages for some really painful uploads. In the end it took me up to lunchtime to do it all.

And the sad part about it all was that there were only two or three tracks out of all of this that are suitable for playing on the radio.

But at least I managed to deal with a pile of photos from July 2019 in Iceland. I’m now back on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour heading out of Akureyri on our way to our next stop.

After lunch I unpacked the hard drive that had come in the post the other day. I’ve now uploaded all of the files from the laptop that I use as a DVD player in the dining room and I’m currently uploading the files from the laptop with the broken screen.

While all of this has been going on, I’ve tidied up all of the post that hasn’t been filed away for a while and, having stumbled across a power block and extension cord that I’d forgotten, I changed things around in the apartment so that all of the amps and guitars are now in the bedroom. That means that I can play properly and hear myself properly while I have stuff going on on the computer.

This actually meant SHOCK! HORROR! I had the vacuum cleaner out on the bedroom. And it needed it too.

After the hour on the guitars, working out a couple of Lindisfarne numbers, I went for tea.

It was another Anything Curry seeing as there were some mushrooms left over that I had forgotten to use yesterday. A potato and a pile of spinach with all of that, and some rice and veg and there we go.

Apple pie and banana sorbet for pudding. Delicious.

storm english channel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd then off for my evening’s exercise.

A rather dramatic run up the hill as I struggled for most of the way. but it was worth it because the storm was raging away in the distance. The Brittany coast round by St Malo was taking a real bashing and you won’t see very many storms like this in this part of the world.

And I saw just four other people this evening, with just one guy admiring the storm in the distance with his field glasses. So we exchanged pleasantries for a minute or so – at an appropriate social distance of course.

support pillar for floating pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving recovered my breath, I ran on back home again.

When I stopped for breath halfway along, I went to look to see what, if anything, had been going on down at the harbour with the new supports for the pontoon.

although it was lighter this evening, I couldn’t really tell if there had been any change in the work. I hadn’t heard any suspicious noise today.

And so I have it up as a bad job and ran on home

Having had a good run tonight, I was glad that I was back early because there was football on the internet.

Yes, someone had found a video of the final match at farrar Road on 27 December 2011 before Bangor City moved to their new stadium and so we had a watch party to see them beat Prestatyn Town.

But I don’t think that anyone realised the vast improvement in standards of play, of pitches, of grounds and of facilities until you watch a match like this. It really was antediluvian.

So an early-ish night tonight, sort-of. Shopping tomorrow, fighting my way through the queues of course and then a relaxing weekend. There’s nothing on the agenda so i’m hoping for a decent weekend for once.

We shall see.

Wednesday 5th March 2020 – YOU’RE PROBABLY SITTING …

night time long exposure granville manche normandy france eric hall… there wondering why on earth I’m posting a dreadful photo like this in my journal tonight – and giving it pride of place as well.

The fact is that I’m totally surprised by this too.

This evening I went out with just the NIKON 1 J5 to see what damage I could do with it in the dark.

Adn dark it was too – about one-third moon and you could hardly see anything at all out there. Mind you the howling gale was telling us a story all of its own with the sound of the waves pounding down into the surf.

So, I tried to focus. Nothing whatever enough light for it to find a focal point so I set it to “automatic exposure”, focused on a street light an equivalent distance away, swivelled round in the direction that I wanted to face, and pressed the shutter more in hope than expectation.

And frankly I wasn’t expecting anything at all, so no-one was more surprised than me to produce an image as bright as this one.

The automatic settings were f1.74, ISO6400 at 3 seconds exposure, and it’s produced an image as bright as this. That’s impressive.

Of course, I’m going to need a tripod if ever I do it again, and then I’ll have the issue of focusing on a dummy point and then swivelling the camera around.

But I could use the exposure compensation mechanism to darken the image somewhat and speed up the exposure time. But it isn’t half interesting nevertheless.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile you admire the storm that has been raging all day and the waves that it’s been producing, let me tell you something about my day, because it’s been another disappointment.

Once more, I failed to beat the alarms and it was 06:30 when I finally pulled myself together and left the bed.

After the medication, I had a look on the dictaphone to see where I’d been. As well as the notes from yesterday afternoon, which I’ll add in in early course, there were a couple of files from during the night that needed attention.

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was something going on in the street like a gardening club meeting. A couple of people were turning up and going again. I was there with a young girl who might have been Percy Penguin, I dunno but she didn’t hang around long. I was waiting for something and there was another guy there. A girl came up and she got out of a car and started to kick this medicine ball around. I ended up playing football with her and this medicine ball. She was kicking it up the hill towards me and of course the ball was rolling back down the hill again. I was running after it to kick it back to her but I couldn’t get a kick on it at all because it was rolling back down the hill quicker than I could catch up with it. This went on for a while and then gradually people started to turn up. There was a young girl there who was with another man. apparently she’d been someone’s servant or maid before she’d settled down with this guy. They were handing out these old clothes that had been really tatty but someone had sewn up so they weren’t as tatty as they were before. They were passing these around to whoever they belonged to but I always seemed to be in the way, standing in the wrong place when someone was passing round an item of clothing

storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter breakfast I had a look at some more digital sound files.

Just for a change they were quite straightforward and, more to the point, quite long. One of them ended up with no fewer than 17 tracks, several of which I had no idea existed.

Such it was that I had to break off near the end and go for my shower..

cement mixer hopper rue st jean medieval city walls granville manche normandy france eric hallOnce I’d had a good clean-up, I braved the hurricane and went out to do the shopping.

Not that I managed to go very far though before I came to a grinding halt. One of the issues about living in a medieval walled city with really narrow streets is that heavy vehicles like this cement mixer can’t go in.

You have to invent a work-around, or Système D as they say in France, like a little fork-lift truck type of thing and a cement hopper.

And you’ll notice the plastic sheet on the floor to prevent cement or concrete sticking to the road surface.

digger moving gravel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallYesterday, we noticed the pile of gravel that had appeared in the port near the conveyors.

This morning, the big digger was out there and he seemed to be moving more gravel across from the bins to the centre of the port apron. The pile is certainly growing.

This can surely mean that we are at long last about to have a gravel boat coming in some time in the near future – the first one that I will have seen in 9 months.

Here’s hoping that i’m not going to be disappointed.

pontoon in new position in port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut here’s a surprise. The big floating pontoon is in a different position.

Does this mean that they will be installing a new walkway pontoon there as well? That’s going to restrict the movement of the boats like Marité that congregate down there in that corner.

For a change I went to the new Bio shop, La Vie Claire, near the Stade Louis Dior in the avenue des Matignon. Josée had bought me a book on making drinks from a product called Kefir so I went there to see if they had any.

They had both lots, the fruit Kefir for making soft drinks and also a pseudo-dairy Kefir for making yoghurt from vegetable milk like soya milk or almond milk. I bought one of each and I’ll be having a play with them in early course.

At LIDL I didn’t spent all that much, except that I did buy a pair of wellingtons. I don’t have a pair and there have been a couple of occasions when I wished that I had.

Not only that, in a week or so I’ll be scampering about in a pile of rock pools so a pair of wellingtons will come in handy.

helicopter granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back I was interrupted by a noise coming from above.

Someone has had his chopper out again and I was wondering if it is the same red and yellow and one that we see wandering around. But it’s a different one that I haven’t noticed previously.

By the way, if you are wondering about the images, the fact is that Brain of Britain forgot to change the lens over this morning and on the little NIKON 1 J5 there’s still the f1.8 50mm lens that I’ve been using at night. It doesn’t “do” distance of course.

Having picked up my dejeunette at La Mie Caline, I headed for home. But we’d had a moment’s amusement in there. Some young woman in front of me was complaining that her colleagues had left her alone in her office for the day. Boththe guy behind the counter and I said at the same moment that we’d go round and give her a hand, to which she laughed.

Ohh yes, I can still chase after the women at my age. I just can’t remember why.

Back here, I had a major disappointment to deal with. I have a project in mind, an important one, and I have set my heart on doing it. I’ve already set steps in motion in this respect but the disappointing news is that due to this stupid virus thing going around, it’s been put on hold and may be cancelled.

That will be devastating news for me.

After lunch (some more of that delicious soup) I started off another batch of purée and then made a start on finishing off the notes that I’d begun to write yesterday.

crack in concrete path to war memorial pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the usual break for my afternoon walk of course.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I mentioned yesterday about the path that they spent a couple of weeks laying and then dug up to replace with a different path. Today I had another closer look at the new patch and you can see that they’ll be having to dig this one up and replacing it very soon.

As you can see, it’s cracking already, due to insufficient foundations, I reckon. I don’t suppose that, given the record of this Council, that they expected it to be down this long before there was a change of plan.

trawler baie de mont st michel storm high winds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut the winds were thoroughly and totally wicked. I was being blown about all over the place and even had to chase after my hat on one occasion.

The fishing boat out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel was making really heavy weather of trying to get into port and I’m not at all surprised.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve been buffeted about so much in a wind like this. At times it was impossible to advance and I really was being blown backwards as I tried to advance.

moving pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd I’m sure that you have been wondering, just as I have been, how the big floating pontoon has been moving across the harbour.

This afternoon I was lucky enough to catch it in motion. And it’s being pushed, so it seems, by that boat with the outboard motor.

It’s certainly one of the strangest sights that I’ve ever seen – and, believe me, I’ve seen quite a few strange sights in my lifetime. There’s not as much friction in water as there is on land, but it still must take a lot of effort to move the pontoon.

Back at the apartment I organised the purée.

8 small apples and four small pears, peeled, cored and diced into small cubes. Put into a large pan with some desiccated coconut and cinnamon, with a very small amount of water and lemon juice. All stirred up and stirred well in.

It had been brought to the boil and left to simmer on a very low heat. All in all it had been on there for an hour or so.

apple pear puree place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallThe liquid was drained off and put in a glass jar to drink at breakfast, diluted as necessary. The solids were put into the whizzer and whizzed around until they made a purée.

Two large glass jars were steamed in the microwave (a little water put in them and they were heated for a minute) and the tops boiled in water. The purée was then ladled into them, the lids put on and they were left to cool.

Once they have cooled and created a vacuum they can go in the fridge. I’ll start on the first jar tomorrow and see how it is. But the sampling was delicious.

At long last I could dictate the notes that I’d written – but first I had to fight off a wave of sleep, not very successfully I’m afraid. But at least it’s all dictated and I’ve even started to edit it and clean it up.

For tea tonight there was a pile of mushrooms to be finished off that hadn’t found their way into the soup the other day. And so I cut a potato into squares and cooked it with spiced in the microwave while I organised some onion, garlic and the mushrooms with half a stock cube and more spices in the frying pan.

It ended up all being mixed together and stuck in the microwave on a low heat while I cooked some rice and veg. And wasn’t it all delicious, especially when chased down by apple crumble and soya coconut dessert stuff

night plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallOut for my walk tonight, and I’ve already shown you the astonishing photo of the waves.

The wind was wicked and at my favourite running spot it was totally impossible to move. I ended up having to run on another stretch that was well sheltered.

That took me to the cliffs overlooking the Place Marechal Foch and the Plat Gousset where I decided to have a little fun with the settings with the camera.

night plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t easy to work out what I was supposed to be doing, but I did notice that I hadn’t set the exposure compensation correctly.

Back here I had to edit out some red and blue colour and darken the image three stops, but even so, they haven’t come out too badly. Of course, now that the tide’s not in, they’ve left the lights on along the promenade. They couldn’t do that when it’s needed, when the tide is in and the waves are crashing down along the prom.

Anyway, I carried on with my walk and managed my second run too.

So now it’s bedtime. I’m having (I hope) an uninterrupted day tomorrow – except that the blasted bank has phoned me and I have to go to pick up my document after lunch

One thing that I want to do is to finish off this radio project. I should have done it by Wednesday night but I’m just falling behind.

I must organise myself better.

Monday 6th January 2020 – ONE OF THESE DAYS …

… I really will have myself an early night.

Last night was some time around 02:00 when I finally went to bed. I stayed up to finish off this radio programme in a case of “ship or bust” so that it would be ready for our meeting, and that was that.

No peace for the wicked. I cracked on and on and on, and now it’s finished. It could be better, I suppose, had I taken more time, but there is a vacant broadcasting space tomorrow at 17:00 CET and it was there for the taking.

And when I finally went off to bed, I found that I couldn’t sleep and ended up having a dreadful night. And although I heard the two earlier alarms, I was still debating whether to get out of bed when the third one went off.

Something of a failure there.

After the medication, I attacked the dictaphone notes from the night. And yes we had been on our way home yet again from the High Arctic. However, instead of an aeroplane, we were all standing around waiting for a pile of buses. Our particular bus was a single decker and there were a lot of people waiting for it so they sent for another bus which turned out to be a double-decker. We were being strictly controlled about entering – only being allowed 20 at once or something like that so the driver could check our tickets (… doesn’t this sound familiar? …) but then the double-decker appeared so everyone wandered off there and there didn’t seem to be any control on that. There was one girl most upset about not being allowed on the single-decker coach with the driver there. She was pleading with him trying to make her some room so that she could travel with him rather than the double-decker.

After breakfast I did some more work on my own radio project, and then went for my shower. My weight is going up again and I don’t like this one bit. I have noticed that my raging thirst has dried up, that I’m not as sprightly as I was a couple of weeks ago and that I’m more tired than before (I crashed out again for 15 minutes today).

Maybe all of this is related.

Anyway, I hit the streets and headed off for our weekly meeting at the Centre Agora. We weren’t all that many today. Three of our usual suspects were missing. And that reminds me – one of those missing had a parcel waiting for him at Carrefour that he couldn’t collect, so he had e-mailed me a copy of his identity card and I went to pick it up.

At the radio meeting I’ve long-since come to the conclusion that the only way that I’m ever going to get anything done is simply to do it and present it as a fait accompli, so I’ll be working on my notes from the trip to Versailles next.

While we’re on the subject, the affair of this musician rumbles on and on. The guy who thinks he runs the place has had the notes for over two weeks and done nothing at all with them. Today he gave them to me and asked me if I could translate them into French so that he could dictate them as an overdub.

Talk about making work for yourself and everyone else. If it’s beyond his capabilities, why did he take it on in the first place? Mind you, regular readers of this rubbish will recall me saying something about how possessive these people are of their ideas.

Regular readers of this rubbish will also recall exactly how I suggested that it should be done in the first place. And had it been done like this, the programme would have been completed, broadcast and filed away a long time before this

It’s hardly any surprise that nothing seems to get done when they work like this. I’ve always considered myself in the past to be totally disorganised, but I’m rapidly changing my opinion.

They way it’s going, I can see it ending up as a rambling, hopeless monologue. At least with Laurent, he was quite amenable to my ideas and quite malleable and we made a decent outside- broadcast radio programme “on the fly” in a matter of 8 hours and it’ll be on the air on Tuesday.

On the way home I called in at LIDL and I spent a larger-than-usual sum of money. Mind you, one of the purchases was a pile of new undies to go with the new socks that I bought 10 days or so ago. My undergarments are starting to look quite threadbare and it’s high time that I thought about some new stuff. The older stuff can go in the pile to go to Canada.

There was some more of that delicious sorbet there too. Strawberry this time too so I bagged a tub. I seem to be overflowing with sorbets just now but it’s a case of getting them while the getting is good.

Carrots too. I’ve run right out so I need more. There were 2kg-bags on offer again so tomorrow I’ll have a mega-carrot-preparing session ready for the freezer.

emptying recycling bins rue herel rue st paul granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back home, at the corner of the rue Herel and the rue St Paul I encountered the recycled rubbish-emptier.

In haste, I managed to grab a quick photo of him, but while I might have been too slow to actually photograph the rubbish being emptied, I was too quick to press the shutter and the image didn’t have time to settle down so it’s come out blurred.

But then that’s life.

At La Mie Caline I picked up my dejeunette and headed for home.

For the rest of the day I’ve been working on my radio project and that’s taken longer than it ought to have done too. One of the reasons was that I had to redesign the web page for the playlist. And to make it more interesting, I’m just going to do one for the whole of the year 2020 – if I manage to keep on going for that long.

As usual, there were several interruptions during the day. Lunch was one of them of course (and my new hummus is delicious) and … errr … having a little relax was another.

bad parking place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallGoing out for a walk was a third interruption too.

And I didn’t get far before I was waylaid as usual. Yes, I’m still on this “pathetic parking” lark, aren’t I? And here’s another example for the record.

It’s usually brand-new Mercedes and BMWs that do this kind of thing, but how about a little Peugeot that is almost 11 years old at least?

Some people have no shame.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallOnce again, I noticed some movement way out in the English Channel so in order to identify it, I took a speculative shot with the aim of blowing it up (the image, not the object) back in the apartment.

And it’s not a gravel boat. It really does look as if they have stopped coming. Instead it’s one of the trawler-type of fishing boats that operate from out of the port.

Loads of gulls around it, so it looks as if she has a full hold today which is good news.

trawler joker fishing boat chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallTalking of fishing boats … “well, one of us is” – ed … I had a look in at the chantier navale this afternoon

Spirit of Conrad is still there – she looks as if she has taken root down there – and so is the small shellfish boat. But there’s also another fishing boat in there now and people are working on her like 13 to the dozen.

And I’m not at all sure what is coming out of the air vent. Steam or water, but it could really be anything.

joly france chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOver at the ferry terminal there has been some movement of the shipping too.

Chausiais and Joly France have been parked up over there for quite a few days now, but they seem to have changed places. That quite possibly means that there’s going to be some movement very soon, although I’m not quite sure what.

And I stil haven’t worked out what it is that Chausiais will be doing.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMovement too in the inner wet harbour.

We haven’t seen a gravel bot for an age now, but the smaller freighters are coming in quite regularly still. Thora has now turned up in the harbour and although you can’t see them in this photo, there are a large pile of these builders’ bags, the kind of stuff they put sand and gravel in, lined up on the dockside.

But Thora is starting to look a little run-down now compared to how she was when she first arrived. She could do with a coat of paint.

Back at the apartment there was yet another interruption. The lemon and ginger drink that I made a couple of weeks ago is now on its last legs. And with a pile of juice-oranges (or, rather, clementines) lying around here, I set a clementine-and-ginger drink off to start. We’ll see what that turns out like.

Once the radio project had been completed and I’d had a little relax, I made tea. I’m away from Thursday morning for a few days so it was another “leftover curry”. It was absolutely delicious and, even better, there’s enough for another two days

On my evening walk, I wa all alone again. The run wasn’t a success either as I struggled to even make the foot of the ramp and in the end just managed four paces up it.

But now I’m back and totally exhausted. I have a feeling that tonight I’ll be asleep long before I finish writing this …

ZZZZZZZZZZZ

Thursday 8th November 2018 – I’VE FINISHED …

… the second day of my mega-voyage to the High Arctic and it’s now on line.

All you need to do is to go to this page and follow the link to Day Two. There are five pages in total and they should give you hours of endless fun.

Even more exciting is the fact that I’ve made a start on adding some photos to Day Three of the blog. That might even be finished if I have a good day, and then I can start on the web page that goes with it.

Or pages, probably, if it’s anything like Day Two.

In case you are wondering, I’ve had a good day today and done quite a few things. That early night that I had must have done me a world of good.

There was even time for me to go off on a ramble during the night. I was heading towards a boat, travelling down a valley, and we were to collect a group of kids to take skiing with us. They came running down the sides of the valley down to the bottom, screaming and squealing like young kids do. And what was surprising about all of this was that there was plenty of snow on the sides of the valley so it was difficult to understand, even during a nocturnal ramble, why they would need to go off somewhere else to ski.

After breakfast, I finished off the form that I’d been completing, but at this moment the printer decided to pack up yet again. It always seems to do this at a crucial moment, and it’s getting on my nerves.

But then again, I did pick it up in the Spring of 2013 and it was second-hand so I can’t complain too much. But I’ll be buying another one on Saturday. I hope that I’ll have more luck with this, but it never seems to work out between me and printers.

A shower and setting the washing machine going, and then into town, with Yves and Lily whom I encountered at the foot of the stairs. We had a good chat until we went our separate ways in the town centre. Me to the magasin de presse for the photocopying and then to the Post Office to send it all off.

cherry picker christmas decorations gare de granville railway station manche normandy franceOn the way up to LIDL there was a cherry-picker working on one of the lamp-posts by the station.

It looks as if they might be starting to put up the Christmas decorations. It’s getting closer to that time of year already. And of course, I’m not going to be here to celebrate it, am I?

LIDL didn’t come up with anything special – in fact, the cupboard was pretty bare. But I did remember to buy 2kgs of carrots for freezing.

On the way back to town, I went past the private car park of the local Tax Office, and saw a sight that made me laugh.

national demonstration hotel des impots granville tax office manche normandy franceThere’s a demonstration due to take place soon against inter alia the amount of tax being charged on fuel.

People are expected to show their solidarity by putting their reflective chasubles on top of their dashboards.

I found it extremely ironic that a couple of people who apparently work in the Tax Office are demonstrating against the amount of taxes being charged.

armistice cenotaph children monument granville war memorial manche normandy franceIn the town centre there was a big crowd around the War Memorial.

The local schoolkids had been learning about the Armistice as part of the school curriculum and so they were holding a commemoration service there for them.

There was a considerable number of adults who were passing by and were swept up in the emotion.

tv cameraman armistice cenotaph children monument granville war memorial manche normandy franceThere was an enormous number of kids there listening to the service.

And there was also a film cameraman recording the event, presumably for the local television channel.

He was quite interested in filming the kids listening to the service, and so I couldn’t resist the opportunity of filming him doing it.

I have quite a few photos of this kind of thing, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

On the way back here, I had a strange encounter in the rue des Juifs.

In one of the art galleries there was a really nice painting of a tramp steamer. It looked quite nice so I was interested in having a closer look at it.

Just as I was about to go inside, the owner came out
“I’m just closing up because I’m going to an exhibition” he said. “I’ll be back in a week”
And he locked up the shop right in front of me.

The next person who complains that there’s a recession going on will get a smack in the mouth. People throwing customers out of their shop like this.

Up the hill again where I fell in once more with Yves and Lily who were on the way back home.

Lunch was inside again – far too windy to go outside and sit on my wall. And then I finished off the web pages that I mentioned earlier.

A cookery session followed next. I peeled, sliced and blanched the carrots and then prepared them for freezing. And 2kgs is too much to freeze at one go. 1kg at a time will do in future. But I should really have bought a bigger freezer.

There was a pile of mushrooms left over too so I prepared a mushroom and potato curry with the left-over potatoes from the previous batch, and added a giant tin of macedoine vegetables and a dollop of soya cream.

And now there’s no room in the freezer for it so I don’t know what I’m going to do.

high winds baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceWhat with all of that, I was rather late going out for my afternoon walk around the Pointe du Roc.

And that wasn’t as easy as it might have been either, due to the high winds that were still blowing a gale around in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

But the winds were making quite an impression on the waves, as well as blowing the seabirds around somewhat.

they couldn’t have found it very easy to move around, and neither did the pedestrians down there either.

high winds baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceA little further around the bend we came to a position where we could see the wind full-on with the waves, pushing them forward towards the port de plaisance.

They were making some really pretty patterns too and it looked quite impressive.

You can see what kind of a beautiful day that we were having too. It was rather a shame that the wind was cooling everything down.

With the time that was left before tea I started on Day Three of the blog, and sometime during the proceedings I had a little repose.

At tea time I went to try a helping of the curry with boiled rice and veg. Not my best, I have to say, but then I only made it to use up some of the food that was left and in danger of going off.

It was at that moment that I remembered that I had left the washing in the machine.

high winds waves play gousset granville manche normandy franceThe high winds didn’t prevent me from going for my evening walk around the walls.

Even though the tide was well on its way out, the high winds were still catching the waves and smashing them down on the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

What was even more impressive was that the new f1.8 lens was working well enough to pick up the motion, and the crop of the image was sharp enough to bring it out.

pizza van bar place cambernon granville manche normandy franceSo I carried on with my walk around the walls and back into the old medieval town.

And here at the Place Cambernon there was a hive of activity. Dozens of people at the bar, and the pizza van that comes here on a Thursday evening was doing a roaring trade.

One day I’ll take some of my cheese down to the van and try out one of their pizzas

Back home in the hallway I met Brigitte who was back from her holidays. We had a good chat for over an hour down there.

It’s definitely my day for being sociable with the neighbours.

However, it’s made me later than I intended to be and I won’t have a night as early as I would like.

But I’ll do my best.

armistice cenotaph children monument granville war memorial manche normandy france
Children’s Armistice Day commemoration

armistice cenotaph children monument granville war memorial manche normandy france
Children’s Armistice Day commemoration

armistice cenotaph children monument granville war memorial manche normandy france
Children’s Armistice Day Commemoration

storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france
Storm, high winds and waves, Plat Gousset

storm high winds plat gousset granville manche normandy france
Storm, high winds and waves, Plat Gousset

pizza van place cambernon granville manche normandy france
The Pizza Van in the Place Cambernon, Granville

pizza van place cambernon granville manche normandy france
The Pizza Van in the Place Cambernon, Granville

pizza van place cambernon granville manche normandy france
The Pizza Van in the Place Cambernon, Granville

Thursday 9th August 2018 – I’M NOT SURE …

… what to say about last night.

As I mentioned yesterday, I settled down to watch a film hoping that it would send me off to sleep, but it was only a short one and was still awake when it ended.

But not for long because I was soon well away with the fairies.

But not for long because despite having been in a deep sleep I awoke at about 01:35 with a uncontrollable itch. And I know full well that if I start to scratch it I would do myself a mischief because these days I bleed more easily.

So after about 20 minutes of agony I had to leave the comfort and safety of my stinking pit and head to the bathroom where I have some Aloe Vera cream. And I smothered myself in it.

It took a while for the pain to ease off but eventually I was out like a light again, right out until the alarm went off.

After the usual morning ritual the first thing that I did was to have a good shower and clean myself up a little. I’ve not had a shower for a couple of days and in this heat, even I was starting to notice it.

And it was around about here that I looked out of the window and saw the rainstorm. “That’s put paid to my walk to LIDL” I mused.

While I was musing, Ingrid came on line and we had a good chat. We spent some time working out a cunning plan because I have a few things simmering away in the background.

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy franceWhen we had finished chatting, I noticed that the rain had eased off slightly. So I found my raincoat and headed off out.

Another vessel in the harbour right now is Normandy Trader.. She must have sneaked into harbour under cover of darkness from St Helier.

And she didn’t hang about too long either. When I went out for my afternoon walk she had gone and as I write up my notes this evening, she’s well on her way back to Jersey.

Despite the rain, I felt on quite good form striding up the hill to LIDL – it’s been a while since I’ve felt quite like this. And at LIDL it was rentrée, or “Back to School”, so there was quite a pile of papers and pens and the like. I bought a few notebooks.

And not only that, earlier in the week they had a special offer on bathroom scales and I was sorry to have missed it. But they still had a few left so I’ve organised that. Grapes at €1:99 per kilo rounded off my shopping.

And striding out, back in the rain, it didn’t take me too long to return home.

At lunchtime it was still raining so I had my butties inside at the dining room table – now that I have one. My lizards will have to do without their pear leavings today.

There were a few other things that needed my attention this afternoon, and as a result my walk was rather late. There was some kind of event going on in the old town, and there were crowds of people. But whatever it was hadn’t started yet and I didn’t intend to stay out there and wait for it.

Tea tonight was different. There were a lot of odds and ends hanging around so with a couple of potatoes I made a curry and added some soya cream with it. Along with some rice and vegetables, it was beautiful and there’s enough left over for tomorrow.

It was a windswept walk this evening and there were just three or four people out there. I didn’t loiter out there long and came back, chatting to Liz on the way.

And in a week or two I shall be receiving (I hope) something exciting in the post.

So I’ll have an early nice and tomorrow morning I’ll tidy up. I’m expecting visitors.

Tuesday 17th January 2017 – THIS REALLY WAS …

vegan potato mushroom curry leuven belgium january janvier 2017… delicious tonight – and if the improvement overnight is anything to go by, it’s going to be magnificent by the time that I get to the last portion.

On a plate too – not out of a saucepan either. And because it looked so nice and the presentation was so good, I took a photo of it. Just imagine it with some fennel and coriander leaves sprinkled over the top.

And I wasn’t alone in the kitchen either. I have been invaded by a pile of Eastern European workmen. There are at least five of them and they were eating away in the kitchen when I went up there. They seem friendly enough inasmuch as we could understand each other, but I wonder how noisy they are going to be.

That’s quite a good point on which to ponder too, because for once, last night, I had my best sleep for ages. In bed early, crashed out quickly enough, awoke to switch off the laptop and then I remember nothing at all until the alarm clock went off.

Well, that’s not quite correct either because I’d been on a mega-ramble during the night. And a mega-ramble it was too. I was with the girl who has been described in these pages as “The One That Got Away”. We’d gone to buy a caravan from some kind of second-hand car sales place. We’d turned up as soon as the place opened, explained what we wanted, and were told to wait. And wait we did, for five hours at least until we lost patience. We then went off in search of a salesman but ended up with the female secretary again, the one whom we had seen as we arrived. She wouldn’t put us in touch with a salesman instead but came out with a variety of reasons why we couldn’t see one – all kinds of silly statements such as “if we moved he caravan what is going to happen about the bare, worn patch where the caravan is sitting?”. Despite the silliness of the questions and the ease with which we could answer the questions and solve the problem, she just came up with even more silly problems and we weren’t getting anywhere with this.

A little later I was with the father of Zero, a girl who sometimes accompanies me on my travels although she wasn’t out there tonight. We were driving somewhere in Canada at the back of Montreal.The road that we were taking was a road that I didn’t know but at a T-junction where we hit a main road, I suddenly recognised the road and where we were – we had just come a different way round. We were very low on fuel but it didn’t really matter because I knew that along this road was a big “Shell” service station where we could stop.

We haven’t finished yet either. I was back at school, and it was here that I had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. It was just a case of getting on as best as I could – the same for a few other people who were having similar problems. One boy in particular was having a hard time coming to terms with his illness and I had to keep on telling him to pull himself together. But then he put in another appearance, moping around, and although I could only see him from behind I was convinced that it was him, so I snapped at him to “pull himself together”. He turned round and it wasn’t him but a good friend of mine whose wife was ill, and I immediately regretted having said what I had said. We ended up having a chat about our various problems but it wasn’t doing anyone any good.

Yes, with a night like that, I can do with another half-dozen

I was alone at breakfast, and then came back down here to carry on with my work. I’m still on the notes of that Finnish expedition and we are discussing vegetation right now. I’m up to page 424 and that’s about half-way. I can’t wait to get onto the history and anthropology bits, but whenever that might be, I really have no idea.

What is interesting though is that they haven’t actually gone into the interior – I suppose that in 1937-39 the interior of Labrador is pretty much unexplored. They are making interpretations of the interior based on other people’s published voyages and I note that the works of Mina Hubbard and Dillon Wallace are referred to quite often, as well as the notes of an explorer by the name of AP Low who went into the interior in the late 19th century in a canoe.

As an aside, it was Low’s badly-drawn maps that led Leonidas Hubbard up a creek without a paddle on his ill-fated voyage of 1903. Low only recorded one river at the end of Grand Lake when there are in fact three, the Beaver, the Susan and the Naskaupi, and Hubbard could only find one – but the wrong one.

I’ve had a play around with my 3D program too, as well as a good crash-out after lunch. So soon after lunch that I hadn’t even drunk my lunchtime coffee.

And I made it to the supermarket for my baguette today. There were also a couple of black plastic storage boxes in the rubbish, so I’ve liberated those too. I really do need to take some down to Caliburn as my room is filling up. At the last count there’s 11 of them in here.

photographer photograph new BMW kruisstraat belgium january janvier 2017Now here’s a thing.

Parked in the Kruisstraat this morning was an almost-new BMW saloon. And a short while after it pulled up and the owner disappeared, another car pulled up.

The driver was extremely interested in the vehicle and stopped, took out a camera, and snapped it about a dozen times from all angles, including a close-up of the rear number-plate and of the wheels.

photographer photograph new BMW kruisstraat belgium january janvier 2017And then he got back into his car and drove off.

Of course, I’m making no suggestion or allegation whatever. In fact, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m quite often pulling up at the side of the road to take photos of vehicles parked in the street or in people’s driveway.

But not of brand-new BMWs though, and it did look rather weird to me. But without any doubt he had a good reason for doing it.

So now, I’m going to try to have an early night again. Despite all of the new arrivals, I hope that my sleep will be as good as last night’s!

Monday 16th January 2017 – WHAT A BEAUTIFUL …

… tea that was!

First of all, I sliced up a large carrot and potato and put them on to boil. And while they were doing, I sliced up an onion and some garlic and fried them in vegan margarine with some cumin and turmeric.

Once they were fried to perfection, I added a tin of mushrooms and a small tin of macedoine vegetables, and then tipped in the potato and carrot. Once they were simmering away, I cooked a pan of rice in turmeric.

There’s enough curry for four days, so three helpings went in the fridge and I had the fourth with the rice. And just for a change, I had it on a plate instead of eating out of my saucepan. Completely delicious. And there’s more to come over the next three days, when the spices have had more of an opportunity to percolate into the food.

A job well done, my curry!

I slept right through until the alarm went off, with only one distraction and no nocturnal rambling either. Alone again at breakfast and I might well be alone in the building too, because I’ve not heard a thing from anyone else for a good few hours.

That gave me plenty of opportunity to crack on with some other stuff today. I did some stuff on the 3D program that I use, using the design function and I actually managed to create something. Or, rather, modify an existing prop. It wasn’t difficult but it’s a step forward all the same.

As well as that, I’ve been doing some more research with my Labrador project and the Finnish espeditions. Interestingly, they make reference to a Priest, the Reverend Paul Hettasch, who was a Moravian priest from Germany who ran one of the Moravian missions on the coast, at Makkovik. The author of the report, Vaino Tanner, talks at length about all of the weather reports that Hettasch was keeping – how precise, complete and thorough they were. And a further search about Hettasch on the internet revealed that according to the Canadian Police, Hettasch was a Nazi sympathiser who sent all of his weather notes back to Germany and these formed the basis of the weather predictions that aided the German bombers of the Luftwaffe in their attacks over the UK in the early days of World War II.

It’s amazing what you can uncover these days in all of these research projects.

But while I was looking over the Labrador censuses during the inter-war period I came across some interesting notes taken by the census-recorder at Davis Inlet while he was asking about the Innu settlement at Voisey’s Bay in 1935. His notes were extremely brief, with just the most basic details recorded, and he explained that the “… information was furnished by a Davis Inlet Indian and it was impossible to get further details. Their life is a nomadic one and it would be futile to go look for them.”

But it was difficult this afternoon. I kept on dozing off here and there, and when I was awake, it was difficult to concentrate. I need to do what I can to recover my fighting spirit and get back to work properly.

I can’t go on like this!

And you may well have noticed – I’ve not set a single foot outside the building today.