Tag Archives: NAABSA

Monday 14th February 2022 – HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY …

… to everyone who has not been wished a Happy Valentine’s Day by anyone else today. I didn’t even have a Valentine’s wish from any of my virtual travelling companions either which was rather depressing. You can rest assured that I wished all of them a Happy Valentine.

It’s the only available female company that I can find these days. Times are definitely hard.

What a state to be in, hey?

Last night although I was tired, I couldn’t go to sleep and it wasn’t until about midnight or thereabouts that I finally crawled into bed.

And there I stayed until about 09:30. I’d been awake for an hour or so before that and I couldn’t go back to sleep so in the end I crawled back out again. So much for my idea of staying in bed until I awoke.

Well, I suppose that I actually did really, but that wasn’t quite what I meant.

After the medication I spent much of the morning slowly working through the notes of where I’d been during the night. I was giving a language course last night on board a ship. One person was going to come along and join in. He hadn’t taken part in any of the others. I knew that someone had put a few notes about pronouns into the mailbox of the class so when the class assembled I rummaged through the mails, folders and files, everything that was there. I found this paper and gave it to him. I said that he needed to give it back to me after the class because I had to write it out properly, photocopy it and give it to everyone. Someone said “you are a one, aren’t you? Giving him a note that’s going to have to make him work down it sideways”. I rounded on them and said “I don’t really know if you understand how much I have to do for you and I’m busy co-ordinating all of this, busy writing a play for the office, busy with 4 or 5 other different things that I had on the go. And of course I have my normal work to do as well. If anyone would like to do any of this for me I’d be more than grateful for whatever assistance I could get”.

And later on we were in the USA heading north into Mexico, don’t ask me how, scrambling over the fields etc. We were saying that with the USA at war we would find the countryside so much emptier when we cross the border. We set off and scrambled through these rocks in these fields and when we came to a main road we had to hide behind a fence or wall until a car went past. Then another came past, travelling quite quickly through these bends but on its correct side of the road. Another car came the other way doing the same thing but this one was slightly over on the other side of the road. It hit the first car and spun it round. The driver of the second car tried to drive away but the one in the first car rammed him so that he couldn’t go. We ran over there to see what was happening and the driver of the car was someone we knew. I challenged him about trying to drive off. He said “you did the same thing once didn’t you?”. I replied that I hadn’t but what did that have to do with anything anyway. A big argument developed between the two of us. He finally calmed down so I went over to the Spanish guy in the other car to see what he was going to do now

There was a dance taking place in the town. A whole group of us went, mainly people like the friends of a girl whom I once knew in the Auvergne, dressed in a hippy-type of trendy clothes etc. I was just in my usual outfit but that brought a fit of derision from some people but I didn’t care – I was comfortable. Someone else turned up in a suit but he was mocked and told to go home and change. There was a big discussion about labels being worn on your clothes etc. Gradually the crowd built up and more and more strange people were coming. There was a girl tied to a post in the town centre. I asked her what was going on. She replied that it was some kind of joke. I asked if she saw the funny side of it and she replied “yes” so I left her to it. It was a really, really strange gathering, all kinds of old hippy-type vehicles, vans and so on around there. Whilst I didn’t mind everything like that and it’s a really good idea to go out once in a while it wasn’t my usual way of enjoying myself but I thought that I’d give it a go, see what happens and see who I met.

There was some French village and the Germans had been. They had set up a machine gun post and killed quite a few of the villagers. There was no doubt that they would come back again so we were busy making sure that there was nothing with which they could set up their post and generally disrupt what we could so that they wouldn’t have an easy time of it. Sure enough they came, engaged in a looting party keen to grab hold of what they could. Someone took a fancy to a kind-of desktop lathe. He was wrenching at it, trying to pull it off its stand, everything like that so in the end I went over there and showed him how to dismantle it, making sure that I drained out all of the oil so that it wouldn’t work. Then I gave him a huge mouthful about how incompetent he was, going to wreck everything and he had no idea. His commandant was standing by so I made a few remarks to the commandant about his methods as well. I just made life extremely unpleasant for this particular German soldier.

So none of my special visitors last night to wish me a Happy Valentine.

There was time for a shower and a weigh-in before lunch. My TRAVERSÉE DE PARIS, even without Bourvil to carry my suitcase, didn’t result in any loss of weight.

Now it seems that I have grounded out. 9 kilos over the weight that I was when I was swanning around the States of North-West USA and how I wish that I could be at that weight again. But I wouldn’t see that again even if someone were to lend me a telescope.

After lunch it was time to go tot he physiotherapist and see what she was going to do to me today.

trawler naabsa port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022

So as usual I stopped at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to test the camera, and there was an ideal subkect over there against the far wall.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen this trawler on several occasions but woe is me! Her name has slipped right off the tip of my tongue.

But there she is in a NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position – or, at least, she must have been earlier – by the steps where the crew can go up and come down again. I suppose that she was late in earlier and missed the opening time for the harbour gates.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Further on down the hill in the Rue des Juifs I stopped to see what was happening in the inner harbour.

Down there on the quayside is a pile of freight. There’s a load of freight that I can’t recognise, stacked up on racks over there, and there’s also a swimming pool.

That would seem to tell me that Normandy Trader is coming in quite soon to pick it up. I know that they have the contract for delivering the swimming pools.

It won’t be the Normandy Warrior, her sister ship, because she’s currently aground in the Channel Islands, having something of a refit.

chausiaise belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Not long before I went away I posted a photo of Chausiaise, Belle France and the newer of the two Joly France boats tied up together at the quayside.

By the looks of things, they haven’t moved since we saw them last. They are still down there. Presumably the older Joly France boat is out somewhere at sea because she wasn’t tied up at the ferry terminal as far as I could see.

Just by here is a ramp of four steps and that’s where I test my knee to see how it’s doing, trying to climb up these steps. And there’s been a deterioration over the last 12 days or so. Not enough power in my right knee to lift myself up even one of the steps.

Climbing up the hill to the physiotherapist’s by the railway station without my luggage was much easier and I did it in one go. And most of the time she spent massaging my patella and she found a spot that hurt when she touched it – something that I hadn’t felt before.

Well, when I say that, after I broke my knee as a teenager it hurt really badly whenever anyone touched it anywhere and that lasted for a couple of years and I had to give up playing football for a while. But it slowly eased off and after a few years it stopped hurting.

Anyway, she’s asked me to take in my medical reports on Wednesday so she can see. She can’t prescribe any medication or anything but she can make recommendations and I have to see my doctor in a week or two’s time to have some more Aranesp.

That’s another thing that gets on my wick as well. Having to have a booster injection so I have the strength to go to the hospital.

On the way home I called in at the Carrefour and picked up some mushrooms and a pepper. I fancy a stuffed pepper for tea and the rest of the mushrooms will come in handy for a curry in midweek.

kiddies roundabout Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022You can tell that it’s still half-term somewhere in France right now.

The kiddies’ roundabout is still in place in the town centre. having had a closer look at it, I’m sure that it’s a lot smaller than it used to be when the Mairie became so excited about it.

The argument was that it was blocking the pavement and forcing pedestrians to walk in the road around it where they were at risk of being squidged by a passing bus or something.

With the cancellation of Carnaval this year, this is really the only vestige of anything that can be called “entertainment” right now in the town and that’s depressing in itself.

chant de sirenes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And so I trudged my weary way up the hill towards home and a nice hot coffee.

The tide had come in a lot further than it had earlier when I was on my way out and the first of the fishing boats has now come in and is waiting for the harbour gates to open.

You can tell which one this is because of the mermaid painted on her bow. She’s Chante de Sirenes – “Song of the Mermaids”.

Over to the left is another one but I can’t tell which one she is from here. And the one that we saw earlier is still over there against the wall and is now well afloat.

There were one or two more further out but I wasn’t going to wait for them. I wanted to go home.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On the way back I went to have a look at the beach to see what was happening down there.

Not very much beach and I couldn’t see anyone down there making use of it. Hardly surprising because it was trying its best to rain while I was out there and I think that most people had more sense than being out there.

Back here I had a nice hot coffee and then regrettably I dozed off and that was that

Later on I went and made tea. Stuffed pepper with rice. And it was delicious as usual. I seem to have the knack pretty well these days about making those.

The plan was to go to bed early and have a decent sleep before my Welsh lesson tomorrow but I ended up repairing someone’s computer over the internet and that was certainly interesting.

But now that the “client” has entered into the BIOS and knows what to do, I’m going to bed. It always takes me a couple of days to recover from my journey and yesterday’s trip was more fraught than usual.

And then I have a radio programme to prepare. I can see it being really busy this week. So nothing new there then.

Friday 10th September 2021 – ON WEDNESDAY …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 29th July 2021 WHILE I WAS …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 26th June 2021 – THE BIGGEST SURPRISE …

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… today was the fact that when I went out for my afternoon walk today, there were actually a couple of people down there on the beach.

You only have to look at the photo to see what kind of afternoon it was. When I went out for my afternoon walk it was raining quite heavily and there was a rolling, wet, claggy mist everywhere that was engulfing everyone and everything in its path.

There wasn’t any point in asking me to look out to sea because I couldn’t see a thing. It was far worse than yesterday and I think that our brief encounter with Summer is finished.

This morning though, when I awoke, it wasn’t all that bad and it looked as if it might actually be quite a promising day. Certainly, me being out of bed as the first alarm was ringing is quite promising if nothing else is.

After breakfast I went and had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something strange about three of us having to go to some kind of meeting of the army, something like that. I know that I had these khaki battledress things with zips and everything so I had to hide them before I could go to this meeting. We were all meeting up for breakfast at the Chinese Coach Park café. Liz was coming as well but she was saying that she was going to sit somewhere else because she wasn’t into eating meals in polite company, all these affected mannerisms and everything. I told her “well that’s rather crazy because no-one is going to be watching anyway. We’re all going to be doing the same thing”. Something came around about buying a house. I was thinking of moving or buying a house somewhere. The suggestion came up with Terry that perhaps I ought to think about buying a house with them.

There was much more to this but I really can’t remember it now.

Having organised myself a little I went and bashed on with the photos from the USA in August 2019. And by the time that I’d finished, I’d crossed back over the border into Canada and the province of Saskatchewan.

And now I think that I only have British Columbia and the Yukon Territory to visit. It’s only 3,000 kilometres by road from Vancouver to Whitehorse. I can foresee an aeroplane journey in the near future.

After a shower and a change of clothes I headed off to the shops. NOZ came up with very little, except a long queue at the checkouts, and LeClerc had nothing really exciting, although they did have some nice vegan mini-burgers in breadcrumbs. It was expensive though because I needed coffee and also apples which are much more expensive than they have been.

Back here I put the frozen food away and made myself a hot chocolate (with real chocolate) which went down nicely.

The next thing that I remember was that it was 14:00 and I’d been asleep for a couple of hours. There was something on the dictaphone too. One little thing that I had when I would start out was that I was working in an office and I’d been on my lunch break. When it came towards the end of my lunch break I realised that I couldn’t find my fruit so I tried to remember where I had it last. That was down i the basement somewhere so I went all the way down in this basement down all these escalators with these people behind me talking about different things. I reached the bottom where the tunnel went under the road but there was no fruit there. I had to take the escalators back up and I suddenly remembered that i’d put them in the fridge at the back of my desk last night as I was going home. I wondered if they were still there. I came back up and headed off to my office thinking that I’d be horribly late and sure enough everyone was there. There was a girl sitting at my place doing some temporary work so I asked her if I could have my desk back. She said “yes” and “that was nice. We’ll have to do it again sometime” in a kind-of sarcastic manner. The girl who was sitting behind me said “we’ll have to work out hw much of my desk you’ve got so you can pay me some money and I can pay someone else”. I said “I think that there are about 4 things in it” but we opened the drawer and we counted about 8 or 9 so she started to laugh. There were some other things in there. I remembered that someone had given them to me to keep them safe because they related to someone who had just come to work in the office. I’m glad that they were still there but I wasn’t sure how I was going to explain that to this girl because I’d put them in her desk. When we were counting up this stuff I might have to know how to justify it and I thought “why should I have to pay for stuff that belongs to the office anyway?”

After lunch there was football on the internet. Rhyl 1879 were hosting Bangor 1876 in a friendly match and surprisingly, given the history between these two teams, it was quite friendly too. Both these teams have a very long and successful history but due to all kinds of difficulties, now find themselves languishing in Tier 4 of the Welsh pyramid.

Bangor won 1-0 and I’ll tell you something for nothing that if this was a Tier 4 match, then either Tier 1 is going to be fantastic this season or else quite a few Tier 1 clubs are going to be in for a shock.

By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland so remembering my mask and my cap I set off.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it comes as no surprise to anyone to know that I was all alone out there this afternoon.

There wasn’t another soul … “ahhh soul” – ed … out there on the path at the top of the headland facing the Baie de Granville. I had the path al to myself – just me, the lighthouse and the semaphore station in the distance.

Plenty of that white tape still there though and I think that I’ve found out to what it relates as well. As went out and about this morning I saw lots of signs about pedestrians in the streets tonight. There’s some kind of walk going on. Although if it carries on raining like this, it won’t be a walk, it will be a swim

frogman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is not actually a sneak preview of tonight’s walk, even if it will end up something like this tonight I reckon.

While I’d been on my way down the path and across the car park at the end on my way to the end of the headland, I’d seen something swimming about offshore and I was wondering if it might have been a dolphin or a porpoise or whatever they are. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in the past we have seen a few of those.

But as it broke surface, I could see that it was actually a diver, complete with rubber ring. And by the look on his face, he was just as surprised to see me as I was surprised to see him. He gave me a really good, long look as if I was doing something that I wasn’t supposed to dp.

frogman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd he wasn’t alone either, which was even more of a surprise.

There were a couple of other objects that were loitering just underneath the water and which had caught my eye. One of them floated up to the surface and it turned out to be yet another diver. So what’s going on just offshore here that requires the service of three divers, because I reckoned that the other object is probably a diver too

However, I’m not likely to receive very much of an answer from them because they were too far out to shout at and I wouldn’t have heard their reply. And I’m not expecting to see anything in the newspaper tomorrow either. And so I just turned round and cleared off.

mother and child waiting for father peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on I heard a little voice shouting “papa, papa from somewhere down at the back of the chantier navale so I tried to have a look for the source of the sound.

So down there sitting on a rock underneath a large umbrella was a mother and her little child – a daughter by the looks of things. Having a look farther out among the rocks I could see someone who looked very much like papa doing some prospecting down there in the fashion of the peche à pied.

The tide is still quite far out and the public areas are uncovered so he’d gone for a scavenge around. Howevern I imagine that his wife and daughter were not so keen and so had taken shelter under the umbrella. Not that I blame them. Given half a chance, I’d be under an umbrella myself.

flooded footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother one of my favourite moans, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is the state of the public footpaths around the headland.

Just there is the viewpoint that overlooks the harbour and you can see that it’s practically inaccessible today. As usual, whenever there is persistent rain, the footpath floods like that and everyone has to go for a very wet and slippery scramble around on the grass.

It’s not by any means the first time that it’s been like that. It was like that when I first came here over 4 years ago and it’s never ever become any better. In fact it’s deteriorating from one day to the next.

Much as it pains me to say it, this is a tourist resort and a great deal of income comes from tourism. And yet the facilities for the tourists are falling into disrepair as the local council, whoever it is who is running the show, is making little effort to improve or even maintain it.

They’ll soon by crying when the tourists stop coming, which they will do if things don’t improve..

yacht rebelle trawler philcathane chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually I did manage to find a place where I could look down at what was going on in the harbour.

Of course, the chantier navale is bound to be my first port of call, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. The yacht Rebelle from London is still in there, as I thought she might be, and so is the trawler who appeared in there yesterday.

And I can tell you her name now too. She’s one of our old favourites Philcathane. As I went off to the shops this morning in Caliburn I drove past the chantier navale and I could read the name on the side of her superstructure.

But nobody seems to be working on her today. Whether it’s because of the weather or because it’s weekend I don’t know. But neither is preventing someone from being aboard Rebelle.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, back around towards the Fish Processing Plant, another one of our old favourites is back.

That is L’Omerta which is Italian for silence and also the name of the oath that the Mafia take, so I’m interested to see how come a fishing boat here in Granville carries that name.

Another thing that interests me is to find out why there are quite a few fishing boats being tied up in a NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground. When I first came here it was a very rare thing to see one and when you did, it had been tied up so that maintenance could be carried out on it. But these days, it’s getting to the stage where it’s two or three every week.

But in the unpleasant, wet weather I pushed on towards home.

new fishing boat l'alize 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here in the inner harbour something else caught my eye.

The white fishing boat there is one that I don’t recall having seen before. Maybe I have, I don’t know, but it doesn’t look very familiar to me. I can see that I’m going to have to go for another wander around down at the quayside some time soon.

But not right now. I’m heading for home and a nice mug of hot coffee.

And then I have some searching to do on the internet. It’s high time I upgraded my big computer and I need quite a few things to do so. They aren’t going to be bought and the computer upgraded if I just sit here and do nothing about it, even if it is going to be expensive.

Guitar practice went well for a change and then I went for tea. A couple of those burger things that I bought, baked potato and veg followed by apple pie and the custard that was left over from yesterday.

Next task that I mustn’t forget is to soak some lentils in the slow cooker and marinade some tofu. I’ve run out of vegan meat pie and I want to make another one tomorrow. Everything needs soaking and marinading to absorb all of the herbs and spices. Left overnight, it will be wonderful tomorrow.

And then I could press on with the journal.

Bed time now and I can’t say that I’m SORRY. I’ve had a tough week all told, much of which is due to ill-health and I’m not going to get any better. But we’ll see how things develop if I can have a good night’s sleep for once.

Thursday 13th May 2021 – IT’S AN ILL WIND …

kite surfing beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… that doesn’t blow anyone any good.

And sure enough, as the weather deteriorated after lunch and we ended up with high gusting winds and a torrential rainstorm, there were people out here who were able to enjoy it, as I noticed when I went to look at the beach on my afternoon walk.

They seemed to be enjoying themselves out there, which was more than I was doing with the rain falling down the back of my neck.

And during the night, I didn’t enjoy it very much either. I had another miserable night of suffering continual attacks of cramp that made me have to get up on several occasions to walk around to ease everything off.

It goes without saying that I knew that I was going to suffer for this during the day, and I wasn’t wrong either.

Nevertheless I managed to be up at the sound of the first alarm and after the medication I came in here to sort myself out.

One thing that I’d planned to do was to to sort out the music on the computer. I have stuff all over the place that needed tidying up and I attended to that first. That led to the rather unfortunate circumstance of renaming 13 files that I didn’t want to rename and not the one that I was trying to do.

Later on I went for a shower and then set the washing machine off on a cycle prior to going out to the shops.

trawler entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I seemed to have picked the right time to go out too because there was quite a lot of activity in the outer harbour right now.

The weather was quite nice and I actually went out without a coat. It was cloudy to the east and looked pretty dismal but with a westerly blowing the good weather towards me, I wasn’t too bothered about the clouds.

There was quite a lot of wind out there too and the yachts in the Baie de Mont St Michel weren’t half being tossed around. The trawler that was coming in to the fish processing plant was rolling about rather wildly as well and I was glad that I wasn’t out there in all of that.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a lot calmer in the inner harbour of course. It’s well-protected from the wind and the waves.

I had the impression that the gates hadn’t been open all that long because there were one or two boats heading in, and a couple of trawlers moored at the Fish Processing Plant were now casting off ready to go out to sea.

But what’s interesting about this photograph is that Aztec Lady isn’t there at the moment. She seems to have slipped out on the tide overnight and headed off elsewhere out of the way. At the moment even as I write, according to my radar she’s just outside the harbour at St Cast le Guildo, one of the places where we slept when we were on board Spirit of Conrad.

swimming pool port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday I mentioned that the little freighters that come over from Jersey must be keeping a low profile as I haven’t hears of them coming over for a little while.

That looks as if it’s about to change. I know that Normandy Trader has the contract with a swimming pool manufacturer to take their swimming pools over to Jersey, and there are a couple down there on the quayside by the loading crane. That must mean that the arrival of Normandy Trader is expected some time fairly soon.

In town I bumped into Pierre, the owner of Spirit of Conrad, and we had a little chat. And then I headed off to the railway station to pick up my tickets for next week’s trip to Castle Anthrax. At the moment the trains are running normally so I don’t have to worry about an 04:30 start.

At LIDL I spent a little more than usual but they had no cocoa powder or frozen peas. And so I’m not going to get away with not going to LeClerc on Saturday. Mind you, it’s been several weeks since I’ve put my sooty foot in that direction so it won’t do any harm.

Coming back from LIDL was a struggle and it took me a lot longer than it normally would. I’m definitely not feeling myself right now which is just as well, because it’s a disgusting habit. It was so late when I returned that there was no point in having my fruit bread. I just made my hot chocolate and then emptied the washing machine and hung everything up to dry.

Unfortunately I also crashed out on the chair and was well away for quite a while – to such an extent that I ended up with rather a late lunch.

Fighting off another wave of sleep I carried on with sorting out the music. I’ve ended up with about 40 concerts that I can use for the radio shows without having to be inventive or imaginative. That’s quite a useful and will save me a considerable amount of work in the future, I hope.

If I can do three concerts on Monday I’ll be right up to date except for the concert that I’ll be doing for the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival and the “special” programme that I’ll be doing in respect of a CD that I found in a junk shop in Maine, USA a few years ago.

later on, despite the torrential rain, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSurprisingly there were quite a few other people out there too despite the weather.

There’s another very low tide this afternoon when the water level drops below the leased concessions so there were some folk out there with all of their equipment going for a scratch around in the sand and on the rocks to see what they can harvest.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we did an outside broadcast from the peche à pied last year, talking to the people out there scavenging and collecting recipes from them as to how to prepare their catch. There were even a couple of guys having a banquet among the rocks with fresh oysters and the like.

But despite what people say, oysters aren’t all they are cracked up to be. I had a dozen on my wedding night and only 9 of them worked.

jade 3 trawler chausiais ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe’re back on the subject of NAABSA – “Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground” – fishing boats again.

Over there is a trawler (who I later identified as Jade 3 tied up to the wharf by the terminal for the ferries to the Channel Islands and the Ile de Chausey and left to sink onto the silt now that the tide is out. It still bewilders me as to why there are so many boats left out in the outer harbour rather than being tied up properly in the inner harbour.

Behind her is moored Chausias, the little freighter that runs supplies out to the Ile de Chausey. She seems to be living there at the moment, which I suppose isn’t too much of an issue seeing as the Channel Islands ferries aren’t sailing right now.

Back here I had a coffee and then started on the photos from Wyoming in August 2019 but unfortunately I crashed out yet again and missed some of my guitar practice. I’m doing no good at all right now.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice and vegetables followed by more of my delicious chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. And fool that I am – I’d had the laptop on all day editing a rather large concert and after tea I forgot myself and switched off the laptop. I lost all of the work that I’d done and had to do it all over again which made me late for everything else.

Rosemary rang me too for a chat while I was doing it so I was rather distracted and it took me longer than it should to set it all up and prepare it ready to do again. But now that I’ve set it up, it can spend all of the night doing its stuff now though while I’m asleep (I hope).

So while that’s doing I’ve written up my notes and I’m off to bed. Much later than I wanted but it can’t be helped. There’s plenty of work to do tomorrow but at least I have all day to do it.

Part of the work was to listen to today’s dictaphone notes that somehow slipped through the net, and find out where I’d been during the night. I’d actually been to rescue Nerina. She’d been out somewhere in the beige Cortina and I finally caught up with her around Nantwich/Acton way. The lights had gone out, the headlights, so I pushed the connectors back in and they came back on but they weren’t very bright but she managed to get back going home. I mentioned to her about the time all the lights had gone out at such and such a time. She replied that she knew that she had gone out before then but “I knew that I could drive because I knew where I was. It wasn’t difficult” but I couldn’t imagine her driving all the way around Warmingham without any lights on. She was laughing about one of her friends saying “driving tests and driving regulations are all important because that’s how you pass your test” and yet her friend had followed all the rules and regulations and failed. We got near to a town that might have been Nantwich and we were talking about Hughie Green and Monica Rose, how Hughie Green used to give specific instructions to Monica so that she knew exactly what was happening, where it was happening and when it was happening and why it was happening so that everything went off really smoothly. We were confusing him with Wilfred Pickles. Just then she noticed that he was around somewhere so we thought that we’d go to see him. We walked down that way and came to one of these food caravans that we knew. I asked her if she wanted a drink. She said that she would have a pineapple, but she said it in French ananas. As she got there she went to a special machine where they had some kind of home-brewed hot drink of some description and she poured herself a big glass. I asked “get one for me as well” which she did and we could get some food in the inside and then go and have a chat with Wilfred Pickles

Monday 12th April 2021 – I WAS NOT …

… alone this afternoon when I went out for my afternoon walk.

bird of prey place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out this afternoon I was overflown yet again.

Whenever we’ve had clear days in the past it’s been aircraft, whether main-line stuff flying at impressive altitudes over my head or else it’s been light aircraft, autogyros and Birdmen of Alcatraz (who, incidentally, we haven’t seen for quite a while) going past at head height.

But none of that today. It was the local bird of prey, whatever species he (or she) might be, buzzing around over my head looking for food, and then swooping down to the ground to capture something, all of which takes place a darn sight quicker than I can follow it with my camera.

fishing boats brittany coast baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that was different this afternoon was the situation in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

For the last I-don’t-know-how-long I’ve been down there on the path to the end of the headland to look out across to the Brittany coast to see what was happening and, as Bob Dylan once famously sang on THE BASEMENT TAPES there was “too much of nothing”.

But today was rather different. We had the fleet of local inshore fishing boats out there in the bay doing what they are good at. There was probably about half a dozen of them all told presumably setting their traps and the like.

They rotate from one fishing area to another and it looks as if today is the turn of the inshore waters to receive their attention.

My attention this morning was focused hauling myself out of bed this morning. And seeing that I didn’t go to bed this morning until 01:30 that was rather a complicated matter. I’ve had worse mornings than this, but I can’t remember when.

First task after the medication was to deal with the radio programme on which I was going to work this morning. Having already chosen the music and paired it all off it was a simple matter of writing the text, recording it, editing it, cutting it into segments and using the segments to join together all of the pairs of songs.

Then I had to choose a closing song and write the text for it, edit that and then join it all together.

It ended up being 23 seconds over but in the speech that I write, there are all kinds of little bits that can be edited out and so weeding out 23 seconds of recorded superfluous speech is not as complicated as it might sound.

It was all done and dusted and up and running by 11:30.

That left me with plenty of time to book my transport and accommodation for my trip to Leuven next week. And while I can understand that there is only one train out of Granville per day when there’s a pandemic and movement is severely restricted, just WHY does it have to be at 05:55?

At least I’ll get into Leuven with plenty of spare time to recover from the voyage, but on the other hand it means that if there’s an issue with just one of the trains that I need to catch, I shall be well and truly up a gum tree.

After lunch (and my bread from yesterday is really delicious) I had a go at the photos from August 2019 and I’m now caught up with my plan of a minimum of 30 a day. I’m now patrolling the “south skirmish line” of last Stand Hill at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

But while some might think that it’s a “south skirmish line” it look to be very much like the route of a panic -stricken flight to me. You don’t dig yourself in at the bottom of a steep ravine when the place to dig yourself in would be at the top of the slope where your adversary would have to struggle up towards you slowly and you’ve have plenty of time to fire at them to push them back.

The fact that there are so very few memorials to the Native Americans on this side of the battlefield when the whole area is littered with memorials to American soldiers tells its own story. My opinion is that the natives were firing into the backs of the fleeing soldiers rather than face-to-face in a firefight.

All of this took me up to the time for my afternoon walk so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off out.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing to do today was to go to the wall at the end of the car park and look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there.

The tide is quite far out this afternoon so there was plenty of beach to go at. And there were quite a few people down there this afternoon making the most of it. Not as many people as we have seen on occasion – no schools playing rounders or anything like that – but I would have thought that with all of the holidaymakers around right now, they would have been there.

After all, it was a pleasant, sunny day if you could find some shelter out of the wind, because once more we seem to be having a bucket-full of wind and I’m rather fed up of that right now.

yacht jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut as we all know, it’s an ill-wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good.

There’s always going to be someone who would take advantage of it and we have one of those out here this afternoon – the yacht that’s out there somewhere between the Channel Islands and the French mainland.

At the distance that it was from here – probably about half-way across, I couldn’t make out whether it was coming or going and I know exactly how it feels after everything that I seem to be going through right now. And the whitecaps on top of some of the waves will indicate that it’s not having the best of it out there in this weather. The wind must be even stronger offshore.

unidentified ship st helier jersey english channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was looking out at the yacht that I saw just now, I noticed something just offshore outside the harbour at St Helier so I took a photo of it to enlarge when I came back so that I cn see what it might be.

Having done that, I have to say that unfortunately, I’m still none-the-wiser. It’s big and white and my first thought was that it might be a cruise ship anchored outside the harbour. But there’s no trace of any large ship of this size anywhere in the vicinity so I’ve no idea what it might be.

But I’m impressed with the weather this afternoon because I can see St Helier so clearly this afternoon. We can even see the medieval tower that guards the entrance to St Helier harbour, never mind all of the other buildings there.

bird of prey place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was round about now that the famous bird of prey flew past overhead.

It took up station, hovering around over the edge of the cliffs round about 50 yards from where I was standing. And then suddenly, as I looked it swopped off down to near the foot of the cliffs. Presumably it had seen something edible but it was so quick that I couldn’t see what it was.

At least it’s having more luck that the local fishermen.

So from there I set off along the path on top of the cliffs. The people were there on top of the bunker again clearing off the dirt and dust but I carried on past them. There weren’t too many people this afternoon to get in my way.

cap frehel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel once more

With the weather out to the Channel Islands being so good this afternoon, I was wondering how the view would be out along the Brittany coast. So I climbed up on top of one of the other bunkers where there’s a good view.

Once again, the lighthouse was clearly visible even with the naked eye and we could even see the headland behind the lighthouse today. It’s not every day that we can see that much of the coastline. I’ll really have to crack on and finish the notes of my trip around Central Europe so that I can get on and show you the photos of the Brittany coast that I took on board the Spirit of Conrad

Off along the path I went and then across the car park to the end of the headland.

fishing boat with nets out pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that just off the headland at the Pointe du Roc we’ve occasionally seen something that might be interpreted as a marker buoy for a lobster pot are something similar.

Seeing this boat here make me even more certain that it is a lobsterpot and its marker or something like that. If you look closely at this little boat you’ll see that it has its lines out on the starboard side so it’s possibly engaged in either lowering down or raising up a lobster pot.

However, as you can see, there are so many boats out here working away in the Baie de Mont St Michel, all over the place this afternoon.

From there I pushed off along the path towards the port.

panhard 24 2+2 rue du cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrossing over the pedestrian crossing in the Rue du Cap Lihou I was almost squidged by a passing motorist.

But if I’m going to be run down by a passing motor vehicle, I wouldn’t mind so much it being one of these. This is a Panhard 24 2+2, one of the very last of the vehicles built by the Panhard Motor company before they closed their doors in 1967.

The Panhard 24 was the car that was designed to replace the famous Panhard 17 and was built between 1963 and 1967. It contained many features that were considered to be “luxury items” at the time such as 3-way adjustable seats, adjustable steering wheel and the like

They must be beautiful to drive but unfortunately I have never ever had the chance to find out.

joly france ferry terminal port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, there was some kind of excitement going on over at the ferry terminal.

Both of the Joly France boats, the ones that provide the ferry service over to the Ile de Chausey, are over there this afternoon. The tide is well out so they are in a NAABSA – Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground – situation over there.

This would seem to indicate that at the next high tide, probably later on towards the evening, they’ll be going back out to rescue the perishing wo are stranded out there right now.

We also have another fishing boat tied up over there too. It’s bewildering me why so many of them are no longer going into the inner harbour to tie up in there.

material on quayside port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther on along the path there’s a good view down into the inner harbour and the loading bay where the little Jersey freighters Normandy Trader and Thora tie up.

And have you ever seen such a large pile of freight lined up on the quayside waiting to be taken away? It’s enormous. They must be expecting one of the freighters to come in pretty soon because they wouldn’t otherwise leave all this much stuff lying around.

It’s no surprise that they are talking about buying a larger ship to deal with all of the freight. It’s quite an unexpected Brexit dividend that rather than having freight sent to and from the UK for onward trans-shipment to and from Europe, it’s sent directly to the European mainland

men inspecting harbour bed port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s not the end of today’s excitement. either. We had some men rooting around in the outer harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve had diggers out there working in the harbour dealing with the issues of installing more mooring chains. They are a long way from finishing, so I imagine that these men are either inspecting the work that has been done or else surveying it for further work.

But I wasn’t all that interested in what they were doing. With nothing else going on, I headed on for home and my mug of hot coffee. And I certainly needed it today because I’m still feeling quite cold.

Armed with my coffee I listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was living with Nerina and we had the house at Gainsborough Road and all of the kids were living there as well. I kept on coming back from away and the place was an absolute mess so I started to tidy up the kitchen. I started to collect together all of the things for the microwave. There was a lot of stuff that I didn’t use regularly so I thought that I’d take them to France so I put it on one side ad carried on emptying these boxes to see what there was in there and stacking it up. When I reached the final box it was full of water as it had been left out in the rain. There was one of my electric drills in there. I drained it off but the sound of the running water awoke Nerina as it was 02:00. It also disturbed someone walking down the side of the house so Nerina asked what was going on. I told her. She asked if I was going to take all this lot to the Cheshire Cat. I asked her what she meant and she said “to put it all in a line”. I replied “I’m not selling anything, I want to keep it all. I can keep some of it in my garage but I’ll have to find a place for the rest”. This was another dream where I had these imaginary lock-ups that I had but I couldn’t remember where they were.

Having done that, I did some Welsh revision but unfortunately I crashed out in the middle of it.

The hour on the guitar passed quickly and then I went for tea – veggie balls with steamed vegetables with vegan cheese sauce followed by more of my really delicious jam roly-poly.

Now I’m off to bed. I have my Welsh lesson tomorrow and then I REALLY MUST deal with my Central Europe trip and finish it off. I’m fed up of it lying around like this. There’s plenty of other stuff that I need to be doing, even installing the kitchen that I bought before Christmas.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Thursday 1st April 2021 – THERE’S A TIME …

airing fishing nets rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… for fishing, and a time for mending the nets, as we are so often told.

It beats me what these guys have been doing but they have a net stretched out here in a V shape, all rolled up as if they are about to fold it back up. There’s quite a crowd of people around them watching, and also a pile of other nets in the big plastic boxes there.

Of course, with it being a big, busy fishing port, this is the kind of thing that you expect – fishing nets and other fishing accessories all over the place. And it’s a surprise to me that they can keep the place so tidy. Maybe I should ask a few fishermen to come round and help me tidy up this place as it’s rather a mess right now.

anakena hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that’s important in this port is the presence of charter yachts and also the chantier navale to keep everything in proper order.

Over the past few months we’ve been keeping an eye on what’s been going on in there and this morning on my way back to the shops I could see that there’s a new occupier in the blocks where Spirit of Conrad was laid up for a while.

That boat that’s there today is Anakena, the boat that’s been parked up for a year in the inner harbour.

But talking about this morning, I almost missed the first alarm this morning I don’t know why but I almost ended up going back to bed again. Nevertheless I pulled myself together and scrambled out of bed.

After the medication I came back in here and had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

There was a group of us playing after some kind of meeting. While we were playing we’d heard that a famous folk performer had died. I was waiting at the side of the stage waiting to go on to interrupt their act and announce the news to everyone but one of the musicians came over to me and asked me what I was doing. I explained and he replied “you’ll have to wait until 18:30 to say that. We’re booked until 18:30”. I replied “that’s OK as long as you announce it”. “I’m not announcing anything. You’ll have to wait until 18:30”. Later on as they were going off stage he came over to me and started to be a bit aggressive. I just grabbed him by the hands and waltzed around with him for a bit. It didn’t seem to have the desired effect to calm him down or anything like that. I thought to myself that there’s absolutely no reason why there should be this ungracious behaviour – none at all.

Having done that I had a go at the photos from August 2019 and another pile of those bit the dust. I’m now just coming up to the border between South Dakota and Wyoming on my way to the battlegrounds of the Powder River Country.

A shower was next on the agenda and then I headed out for town.

school of masonry ramparts rampe du monte à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me down the steps by the Rampe du Monte à Regret where they are repairing the walls.

This is the first time that I’ve taken a photo from this position. As you can see, they have put up a banner to announce that this is a school of masonry.

There were a couple of students on there working. One of them was wetting the wall and the joints by pouring water over them from a container. I explained that the best way to do it is with a big, thick paintbrush. That always worked for me when I was doing THE POINTING ON MY HOUS back all those years ago.

First stop was the Post Office. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, Rosemary accompanied me on the first part of my journey across the Atlantic and left when we reached Kangerlussuak. When I’d seen her last summer I’d given her the photos that I’d edited up to date but there were still a couple of thousand that I’ve done since.

The other day I burnt them onto a DVD and this morning I packed in into an envelope and posted it off to her. She should receive it in a couple of days and I hope that she likes it.

graffiti cinema select boulevard de hauteserve Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been seeing all of the weird graffiti that’s been appearing around the town over the last few months.

On the way from the Post Office to the shops I passed by the Select Cinema which is of course closed for the Duration. And on the windows is pasted more of the graffiti that we’ve been seeing around the town. One could actually say that the graffiti artist has gone to town with his work.

At LIDL I spent more than usual, because I’d run out of fruit. And there were also a few extra things – like some pots of grow-your-own herbs. The had quite a few varieties so I bought some Aneth and some Basil. I would have bought some coriander as well but they had run out.

Here’s hoping that they have some more next week.

On the way home I called at the Salle Herel and the vaccination centre, which was now open for business. I asked about having my second vaccine there instead of having to drive all the way to Valognes. In principle I could but they had no vacancy until 26th April and that would be too late, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

It’s important that I respect the manufacturer’s instructions because when the borders start to reopen, some countries, Canada for example, will only accept people who have been vaccinated according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Anyone else won’t be admitted.

Back in the apartment I made some hot chocolate and cut myself a slice of sourdough and then came into the office to do some work but unfortunately I crashed out yet again. It was 14:10 when I hauled myself out of my chair to go and have lunch. This is getting rather depressing.

After lunch I made a start on the page that I’m working on from my trip around Central Europe. I wrote the text for a few more photos but at this rate it’s going to be another month or so before I finish it. No chance of doing it by Friday as I wanted.

There was the break for me to go out for my afternoon walk. On time as well for a change.

kids playing games on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst port of call when I went out was to go to the wall at the end of the car park and look over to see if there was anything going on on the beach.

There were some people walking about, paddling in the sea but they were of little interest today. I had more interest in the group of kids playing rounders or whatever. That seems to be a strange thing to do – not the playing of the game but the fact that they were doing it on the beach when there are facilities at the Gymnase Jean Galfione where they can play games to their hearts’ content.

From the car park I wandered off down the path along the top of the cliffs. There were quite a few people out there this afternoon which was no surprise because it was really warm today. I’d even opened one of the windows in the apartment.

monument to the resistance le loup pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the path and on the lawn I came across the Monument to the Resistance.

There’s a noticeboard there to remind us of a group of about 20 local soldiers of the Resistance who sailed to the Channel Islands on various trawlers as the Germans swarmed into the area in June 1940. They fought for the Free French in Africa, the Middle East and Italy. Several of them lost their lives.

The path across the lawn too k me across the car park and down to the headland. There was nothing going on there or out at sea. I can’t think of where the fishing boats might be. Instead, I continued along the path down the south side.

trawler aground port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown the footpath I came to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour where we were treated to another unusual sight.

Well, it might have been unusual a few months ago but just recently we have been seeing rather a lot of fishing boats tied up in the outer tidal harbour and left to settle on the silt when the tide goes out. And here’s another one – and it’s one of the bigger fishing boats too.

It’s a catamaran hull so it’ll settle down comfortably without careening to one side. It’s what they call “NAABSA”, or Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground

It’s quite a surprise to see one of these moored up in the dry, and you can understand where the phrase “high and dry” comes from when you see something like this.

men working in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThese men down here in the harbour caught my eye as well.

Over the last couple of days we’ve seen the diggers in there digging the holes and laying the concrete slab s for the new mooring chains. The diggers weren’t actually out there on the silt this afternoon so I reckoned that they must have run out of work for the moment.

That would mean that the guys here today are surveying the harbour to work out the siting of the next row of mooring cables. if you look to the right-hand side of the photo you’ll see a marker of some description that they seem to have left in the silt. Presumable that’s where one of the concrete blocks will go for the next row of mooring chains.

anakena hermes 1 lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier, you will have seen a photo of the chantier Navale with the new arrival, Anakena up on the blocks there.

From my little viewpoint overlooking the harbour I can see down into the chantier navale and we can have a better view of the proceedings.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there’s a little story behind the Anakena. She came into port on her way to Scandinavia a year ago but was caught up when those countries closed up their borders to foreigners. The boat was stranded here with its family owners aboard and for the first few months at least the children were studying remotely via the internet.

Since then I’ve not seen any news of them and I’ve no idea what has become of them since then. But it looks as if they are preparing to move on elsewhere.

digger on lorry port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust now I mentioned that the diggers weren’t out there in the harbour this afternoon.

Both of them are over there on the concrete by the fish processing plant. One of them is having a friendly chat with the tractor that pulls the trailer that one of the fishing boats uses, but the second one is behind them on a low loader trainer. Does this mean that their work is over and that they are heading home?

Talking of heading home, I was going that way too. There wasn’t anything else going on out there.

Back here I made myself a coffee, watered the herbs that I’d bought earlier, and then came in here to carry on with the work that I’d been doing.

At 18:00 I knocked off and had a session on the guitar and then went for tea. Tonight it was stuffed peppers (I’d bought some peppers today) with rice, followed by apple crumble and the last of the soya stuff. Tomorrow I’ll be making some custard.

It’s bed time now and seeing as it’s a Bank Holiday tomorrow there is no alarm. and that suits me fine. I’m ready for a good break for a few days without an alarm. A couple of good lie-ins will do me some good.

Sunday 21st March 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

naabsa fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… about this fishing boats breeding or multiplying or whatever.

We started off with one moored at the Fish Processing Plant and abandoned to go aground as the tide went out and yesterday we ended up with four of them. That was when I mused that they must be multiplying and it looks as if I’m right because today there’s a fourth one down there that is going to be marooned by the tide in half an hour’s time.

The Fish Processing Plant seems to be all closed up so that fourth one hasn’t come along to unload and in any case it’s leaving it rather late to move.

So what’s all going on there then?

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo prizes for guessing what’s going on here, is there?

There probably isn’t anyone who, having seen the beautiful weather that we had yesterday, would believe that it would continue for the rest of the weekend so nobody should be in the last surprised by the fact that the weather has closed in again today. It’s gone cold and the fog and mist are closing in.

So much so that I’m glad that I missed almost half of today. I might have been awake at 08:30 but no danger whatever of me leaving my stinking pit at that time on a Sunday. 11:15 is a much more realistic time for me to show a leg.

After the medication I attacked the dictaphone. I always like to listen to where I’ve been during the night and, more importantly, who has come with me. Even though I’ve been starved of good, pleasant, charming and erudite company just recently, what goes on on my travels during the night is usually much more exciting than anything that happens during the day when I’m awake, sad as it is to say it.

But not last night. I would really like to have some financial stability and I had some money invested in a company called Global Marketing. I’d had a whole pile of information from them that I was busy going through when suddenly the Chancellor of the Exchequer, not Sunak but someone else turned up on my door. He was telling me of all his bullish plans for this and that and I said quite frankly “I don’t believe very much of this at all”. he sat down, plugged in a tape recorder and played a speech back. I said “that’s you speaking, isn’t it?”. He replied “yes it is”. I replied that I’d be much more convinced if it was the EU or someone like that speaking to me. He noticed the paperwork and he went through it. “Is this what you’re doing in your retirement? organising items for these?” I asked “don’t you know who these people are?”. He replied “no. I’ve never seen them until I saw these papers” so I was about to tell him who they were when I awoke.

After I’d gathered my wits (which takes an awful lot longer than it ought to bearing the reduced amount of wits that I possess these days – but then I suppose that they have more empty space in which to roam around) I attacked the photos from July 2019.

By the time that I knocked off I’d arrived in East Forks, Minnesota, USA where I spent a couple of very ill days. However, I had had a little drive around Winnipeg and been to see MY GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE – or, at least, the house where she lived during her very short marriage.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my great grandparents emigrated to Canada in 1906 and my grandmother, who was a music hall singer, married a musician from Winnipeg in July 1918. Their marriage lasted barely 4 months as he died in the influenza epidemic in November 1918.

When my great grandfather died in 1923 (we went to SEE HIS GRAVE 20 YEARS AGO) my great grandmother returned to the UK bringing the unmarried children (including my grandmother) back with her.

The married children remained behind and that’s how come I have family in Montréal and Ottawa (and probably elsewhere too).

Anyway, you haven’t come here to hear all of that nonsense. It’s time that I was clearing off outside to see what was happening.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the answer to all of that was that down on the beach there was nothing happening at all. Just one or two people walking around there.

And as I said earlier, I can’t say that I blame them either. You can see by how dark it is down there, just how depressing the weather was this afternoon.

Dark, depressing and gloomy. But that’s enough about me – the weather was just as bad. The mist is closing in yet again and it wasn’t very nice at all so I shrugged my shoulders and set off at a pace around the headland while the going was good and before the weather became any worse.

lighthouse coastguard station semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs you can see, I wasn’t alone out there this afternoon. There were quite a few people walking around on the footpath this afternoon braving the weather.

And they needed to be brave too. Just now I mentioned that I needed to push on before the weather deteriorated even more and if you look to the right of this image you can see a rainstorm approaching rather rapidly and I didn’t want to be caught out there in all of that.

So I pushed along the path, across the lawn at the end by the lighthouse and then across the car park to the end of the headland. There was nothing whatever happening out to sea as far as I could see (and I couldn’t see very far at that) so I wandered off along the path on top of the cliff.

microlight ulm pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we were having something of an aerial day seeing as the weather was something of a plane-spotter’s delight. But no such luck today. The thick clouds that we were having put a stop to that.

But we did have one of these microlight powered hang-glider things floating around over my head as I walked along the path so I took a photo of it as it went by overhead, but that was my lot. I wanted to be home before the rain arrived.

No change in occupancy in the chantier navale and we saw earlier the fishing boats at the Fish Processing Plant so with nothing else going on, I headed back home again for my coffee. There were plenty of things to do.

One of the things that needed doing was the baking for today.

There isn’t much bread left right now so I needed to make a loaf. But not a big one because I’m off on my travels on Wednesday and there’s no room in the freezer. So just a small one would have to do. Consequently, immediately after lunch I’d made up 250 grammes of flour into a dough – using the wrong flour as you might expect.

At the same time, I’d taken a lump of pizza dough out of the freezer and that had been thawing out during the afternoon.

When I returned from my walk I have the dough its second kneading and shaping and left it to proof again this time in its mould. Then I kneaded the pizza dough, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray and left everything to proof.

While I was doing all of that I carried on with the Central Europe stuff. There’s now another day finished and IS NOW ON LINE. Just 3 more days to do now, but one of those days is the one where I ran aground in the first place all those weeks ago so that isn’t going to be easy.

By now the dough was all ready so I bunged the loaf in the oven and assembled the pizza. When the bread was done I put the pizza in the oven to cook.

home made bread vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere are the finished products. The loaf is small but it looks and feels quite good. As for my pizza, it was delicious yet again.

No pudding this week as I’m not here to eat it. I’ll be taking stuff out of the freezer for the next couple of days. There are plenty of frozen pies and so on in there that need finishing. It’ll make more room in there for other stuff.

While I was writing up my notes I was listening to music as usual. There are certain tracks that I can only listen to when I’m in the right mood to hear them and that, unfortunately, isn’t right now, for a whole variety of reasons with which I won’t bore you.

So of course, it goes without saying that Al Stewart’s MODERN TIMES came round on the playlist, didn’t it? Hard to think that I was working out the chords for this earlier in the week and I could play it then. But not today.

That’s because the track that came up on the playlist immediately before it was GRASSHOPPER by Man. What was I doing the night of 1st/2nd September 2019 that I can’t even now, 18 months later, bring myself to write about and which I probably never will.

One thing about it though and that was that I was never the same afterwards. Mind you, I was never the same beforehand so it doesn’t make very much difference anyway.

Anyway, on that note (well, we are talking about music) I’m off to bed. I need my beauty sleep of course, but I need much more than this. I have a radio programme to do and I’ve nothing prepared for it. And it’s a programme of fairly new stuff and thse ones are always the most difficult to write.

It won’t be an 11:15 finish tomorrow, that’s for sure.

Saturday 20th March 2021 – I’VE HAD SOMETHING …

… of an aviation day today. There was a whole host of activity in the air this afternoon.

Boeing 777-328(ER) F-GSQL english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt seems that despite everything the long-haul transatlantic flights are back again and there were quite a few in the air over here. While I was out on my afternoon walk this one flew by over the English Channel at 18,000 feet slowly gaining height.

This is Air France flight AF54 flying from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Washington DC. The aeroplane is a Boeing 777-328(ER) registration F-GSQL. She’s quite an elderly machine by modern standards, having first flown in January 2006.

And her claim to fame is that she has two engines that were manufactured by my former employers, General Electric, although I don’t claim to have anything to do with them.

vans rv-4 f-paur point du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if that isn’t enough to be going on with, there was plenty more out there too.

This delightful multicoloured aeroplane is a Vans RV-4 registration number F-PAUR. These are kit-built aeroplanes supplied with Lycoming engines and you assemble them yourself. This one was assembled by someone called Joël Benete and took to the air on 9th March 1993, just one of about 1500 assembled since 1979.

She flew from Granville in a south-south-easterly direction and seems at this moment to be somewhere in the foothills of the Alps, not having moved for a couple of hours although there’s no airport around where she is.

When my alarm went off this morning I flew pretty quickly too, out of bed as the first alarm was still ringing. I have plenty to do today.

Not going to the shops though. I’m off to Leuven early Wednesday morning and so I’ll be eating what’s lying around here until I go. I have a hard enough time keeping food fresh here when I’m here to eat it.

I had the medication and then came back to have a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

There was something about a group of British soldiers who had been imprisoned and brutalised, I’m not sure what they were doing or what had been done to them but this involved going on a trip to northern Scotland so we were going to fit in a visit to an ex-friend of mine on our way up. This involved driving all the way over the Pennines to the far north and turning right at Richmond and all that way north. A question of a shopping trip came up while we were away. Someone said that the south of France was the place to go so after we had dealt with this problem to the north we would head to the south od France. I thought to myself “this is a long way to be going in a day from here to the north and then down to the south of France” but I wasn’t too keen. I thought that it would have been better to have gone to the south of France first but I didn’t say anything. I thought to myself that I didn’t really want to do this and the fact that we were running so late would make it impossible anyway so I’ll just do it like they are telling me to do”. The question of a car came up. We decided that it would have to have 4 seats and 4 doors. Someone suggested “if the 2 of you are going why don’t you tale so-and-so’s mother?” I thought “she’s really going to enjoy this long trip sitting for hours in a car while we dash from the far north of England to the south of France but never mind, we’ll do it if that’s what hey want”.

Later on I was with another ex-friend of mine in Stoke on Trent and he was telling me about how he had no money and how even his wife’s sister had stopped paying some of his bills and so on. He said that I could stay there but I have to fend for myself because they can’t provide any food. I said “that’s not a problem”. For lunch I just had some dry bread off a baguette and I’d go out and buy some bread in the afternoon because it was pouring down now and I wasn’t really going anywhere. Later on in the afternoon I went outside for a walk and he and his wife came outside and said “come on, we’re ready”. There were cars parked everywhere, it was a new house that they had but there were cars parked all over the place. We had to manoeuvre one around and drive it from off the kerb inside where another one had been parked and onto the street. Just then a yellow van went past. He was obviously afraid that my friend was going to hit him so he shouted out a pile of abuse. We took no notice and parked this car up. Then the 3 of us walked into town. One of the girls, I can’t remember who she was but she was a small woman, she said that she had to go and fetch something. I said “I’ll come with you if you like” so she replied “OK”. She, someone else and I went into the lift and went downstairs. It was like a street market with all street market vendors selling their stuff. They had cameras marked “Ferrari”, all this kind of thing, in a kind of camouflage design. Trying to drag the kids out of there would have been really difficult. We were going to the theatre apparently and we needed badges to get in but this girl and I, we didn’t have them. She was going on about how all of the others were going to get into the theatre and we’ll end up having to pay again because we don’t have our badges. There had been some talk earlier about badges and I had a badge, a Boy Scouts badge. My friend and his wife were surprised because they knew that I had qualified but they didn’t know that I’d had it yet. I showed them but it was only very small. Another thing that he and I had been discussing was retirement, how we didn’t miss our old job. I said “I still think about it all the time, the horrible people which whom we worked”. He replied that he could do better than that and drew back the curtains. From his living room window you could see the building where we had worked, right across the valley.

What was so disappointing about this was that having had him and his wife accompanying me on a nocturnal ramble, where was Zero who has accompanied me on many a nocturnal ramble over the years – probably my most regular companion even if she hasn’t featured as much in these voyages as she did at one time?

That’s the kind of thing that fills me with dismay.

After all of that I sat down and started on the photos from Greenland. And after a Herculean effort this morning, right the way up to lunchtime, I’m now in a hotel in Toronto. Yes, I’ve finished all of the Greenland photos, all …gulp … 2330 of them.

That was a marathon session and no mistake

All that remains now is for me to finish off the final week when I was in North Dakota and then I can attack the 5000-odd from August 2019. That’s going to be something of a labour of love and no mistake.

After lunch I went out for my afternoon walk. And there was a reason for being out there earier than usual, which you will find out if you read on.

beach rue du nord plat gousset donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, you’ve already seen the sky in those earlier aeroplane photos so you know the kind of day that we are having right now.

Despite the fact that it’s fairly cold and there’s something of a wind outside, we are having the best day of the year so far, at least, as far as sunshine goes. It’s gorgeous out here and it really is a surprise that there didn’t seem to be too many people about right now.

The beach is practically empty and that’s unusual in this kind of weather because even though there’s not much beach to be on, it’s a weekend and we are expecting a mass of Parisian second-home owners selfishly fleeing the new curfew in Paris and bringing the virus with them to infect all of us.

joly france english channel ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut that’s probably where all of the tourists and second-home owners are at the moment and why they aren’t on the beach.

While I was looking out to sea I noticed something moving way out in the English Channel on its way to the Ile de Chausey so I took a photo with the aim of cropping and enlarging it when I returned home.

Sure enough, when I did that later I could see that it’s one of the Joly France ferries that plies between the port here and the Ile de Chausey. They’ve been quite quiet of late and haven’t seemed to be doing much work, but the Parisians fleeing the lockdown has probably caused a rise in demand for the service.

There are plenty of holiday homes on the island and those who can afford to rent one will have done so to escape the effects of the virus and the lockdown.

Druine D-5 f-pvqn pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere have already been a few photos of aeroplanes that i’ve posted so far this afternoon, and I haven’t finished yet.

This aeroplane is F-PVQN and that tells me that she’s a Druine D-5. The rather elderly design tells us that she’s something special, and it turns out that it’s yet another kit-built aeroplane with a design from the 1950s. I don’t know how old she is but she’s construction number 09 and I’ve seen photos of her at the Paris Air Show in 1977 so she’s getting on a bit.

She hasn’t filed a flight plan so I can’t say where she’s going, and she doesn’t seem to have a radio beacon as she didn’t show up on my flight radar.

naabsa fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust recently we’ve been seeing the odd fishing boat or two left high and dry by the tide over at the Fish processing Plant.

There was one there yesterday but they seem to have multiplied overnight, naughty little beasts, because there are three of them there this afternoon and I really have no idea why.

After my little walk around the headland it was time to scurry back to my bolt-hole here and make myself a coffee, and then settle down in front of the computer because the football had an early kick-off this afternoon, and we were treated to Bala Town v Caernarfon.

Bala Town are quite an attractive team to watch and have plenty of skill but while Caernarfon have nothing like the same amount of skill, they are actually the only team that play in the Welsh Premier League that actually play like a team rather than a collection of 11 assorted players.

Today was no exception because while Bala have a couple of dangerous attackers in Chris Venables and Will Evans and had the lion’s share of the first half, Caernarfon’s centre-backs snuffed Venables and Evans right out of the game. At half-time Bala were 1-0 up and that was the result of a deflected shot that Tibbetts in the Caernarfon goal would otherwise have saved.

In the second half Caernarfon played with much more confidence going forward and equalised after 10 minutes or so. The game then swung either way until with about 15 minutes to go Mike Hayes broke through and fired low into the corner of Bala’s goal for the winner. How he must have enjoyed scoring a goal against the club that released him last summer.

So a surprise win for Caernarfon in what was a thoroughly enjoyable match played in what was a really good spirit. A fine example for the League

After that I did some more work on my Central Europe trip last summer and then went for tea. In an effort to deal with some of the backlog of food I made a quick potato and mushroom curry, followed by the last of the apple pie.

Now I’m off to bed because I’m pretty much exhausted after today and I still haven’t given the living room a second go. So i’m hoping that a decent sleep and a good lie-in will see me right. Although I have a suspicion that it will take much more than that to see me right.

Friday 19th March 2021 – AFTER ALL OF THE …

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

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

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

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

That was something of a surprise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 6th March 2021 – SOMETHING RATHER UNUSUAL …

… happened this morning. The alarms didn’t go off and I’ve no idea why.

Not that this is a surprise in itself, but the surprising thing was that despite something of a late night again, I was wide-awake at 06:08. And I don’t understand that at all.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was working the radio for someone last night. They couldn’t come. I was having my rock show but was doing it live. There was no power and everything was being generated by wind and solar. It was going OK but it was a shop at the same time and I was having to sell stuff and I didn’t know where half of the stuff was. Someone came in and asked for a certain brand of tobacco but I couldn’t see it and I couldn’t sell it to them. They were all lounging around the wrong side of the counter anyway. When the programme finished the Chinese Embassy just threw out a pile of cakes from their window into the ground. I sat down to do the cashing up but I couldn’t concentrate. There was a Peter Hammill album playing in the background, one that I hadn’t heard before. I just couldn’t get the maths and the additions right about the profits and loss of the day. In the end I decided that I’d unplug everything and go home and do the working out at home but I couldn’t get this record to stop. When I finally did manage to stop I couldn’t find the stuff that I’d set aside by the record turntable to bring home with me. This was all extremely frustrating.

Later I’d been in a pub in Crewe, the Duke of Bridgewater where I’d bumped into a well-known guitarist. We jammed together and and decided to do this again. For the next occasion I wanted to bring a drummer and I knew exactly who I wanted but try as I might I couldn’t get hold of him. The only drummer I could find was one who wasn’t as good and I was worried that if he came, the guitarist wouldn’t be interested in doing anything further but if I couldn’t find the one that I wanted, what else could I do?

This was the usual scenario of doubt that goes through my mind every so often during the night. We’re back here again, aren’t we?

Part of the day has been spent dealing with merging the old back-up disks and the like and at long last I have integrated everything into just one archives. Tons of stuff went into the bin although there wasn’t enough to free up the space that I need to move the back-up files from the main disk in the computer. But once I get to reviewing the directories and files in the archive, there will be much more room to be going on with.

There were several breaks in all of this.

Firstly there was a shower and a general clean-up, and then I went out to the shops. Nothing very special in Noz and nothing really special in LeClerc either. In fact I wasn’t really out there all that long

back here I carried on with what I was doing but unfortunately I crashed out yet again. Probably one of the longest spells that I’d had too – about 90 minutes or so. That was extremely depressing.

As a result, instead of having my lunch at 13:00 it was 14:30 or thereabouts when I finally went to make my butties.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was the afternoon walk around the headland as usual.

The weather was really nice out there. It was quite cold – very cold in fact – but bright sunshine. This kind of weather had brought the crowds out and we could see plenty of people wandering around and playing about on the beach, even if the tide wasn’t that far out.

Once again, there was plenty of haze about out to sea so I couldn’t see as far as Jersey or down the Brittany coast, but in the other direction down past Donville les Bains and inland towards Cerences and that way it was reasonably clear.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just down on the beach that there were crowds.

The path along the headland was swarming with people too. There were crowds of them out and about swarming around on the path and on the lawn round by the Pointe du Roc in the beautiful weather that we were having. Not a cloud in the sky this afternoon.

And as you notice, the wearing of facemasks was definitely optional. I really don’t understand what goes through the minds of some people. This last week or two has shown a plateau of between 20,000 and 25,000 people with no sign of reducing. And it won’t ever reduce to anything like reasonable numbers if people don’t take this pandemic seriously

naabsa trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no change in occupancy in the chantier navale today. Still the four boats that were there on Thursday.

But there’s yet another change in the boats that are grounded over by the Fish Processing Plant. The little old shellfish boat that was there yesterday is still there today, but she’s now been joined by another one that has been left to settle into the silt.

They aren’t quite aground just yet. When they overhauled the harbour a couple of years ago they dug out a channel alongside the wharf at the Fish Processing Plant in order to prolong the amount of thime that the Plant was accessible. It’s still holding water right now even though the surrounding harbour bed is drying out rapidly.

anakena la grande ancre le pearl port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA few of the fishing boats were out at sea but several others are still moored in the harbour.

Amongst others, we can see La Grande Ancre and, on the right, what looks like Le Pearl. Also down there is Anakena, the boat that was on its way to Northern Europe but which was caught in the Covid lockdown and hasn’t moved since.

Back here I had a coffee and a slice of my cake and then made a start on the arrears of my journey to Central Europe. I’m just pulling in to Lech right now, where I spent two or three happy days relaxing after my long drive from France and my efforts back at my old house in Virlet.

There was football tonight on the internet – top-of-the-table TNS against Bala Town. Despite it finishing 0-0, it was an extremely exciting match. Bala had the best of the play at the start although TNS gradually took control of the match. But right at the end it was TNS with their backs to the wall as Bala Town pushed forward to grab a winner.

Exciting it was, but it would have been even more exciting had the referee given Bala Town a penalty for a handball by a defender. It’s all very well if the referee hadn’t seen the action but in this case he indicated “shoulder” when it was quite clearly the lower arm, well extended from the body.

And had he sent off the TNS player who deliberately elbowed the Bala Town winger Will Evans in the face, right in front of the linesman, it would have been more exciting still.

What with the sending off of Disney a few months ago for Connah’s Quay, it’s no surprise that many people in Welsh football are of the opinion that there are more than God and the Angels looking after TNS.

Tea was taco rolls, made with the left-over stuffing from Thursday, with jam pie for pudding.

Now that my notes are finished, I’m going to make my kefir for the next batch and then I’m off to bed. A nice lie-in on Sunday and then I need to catch up with the photos that I hven’t had time to do today.

Thursday 4th March 2021 – YOU HAVE TO ADMIT …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 12th February 2021 – WE HAD VISITORS …

french military aircraft pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… this afternoon here in Granville.

And how I regret that they weren’t loaded with paratroopers because how I would have loved to have said that they just “dropped in for a chat”!

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that where I used to live in the Auvergne I was right underneath the flight path for the French Air Force’s training flights and we had all kinds of aircraft flying by overhead. We even had the Stealth Bombers fly overhead when they were bombing Belgrade, as some of the older readers of this rubbish in one of its many previous existences might recall, including that famous night when I counted 12 flying out out but only 11 flying back.

But since I’ve been living here, the sighting of a French military aeroplane has been a very rare event.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the French Military aeroplanes weren’t the only visitors today either.

When I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland I noticed down there in the harbour our old friend Normandy Trader. She’s come in to take away another load for transport back to the Channel Islands.

Stop me if you’ve heard this already but you might remember the other week that I told you that she’s been putting into St Malo to unload sometimes and then coming light over here to pick up her load to go back. I was intrigued by this, as you might remember, so I made “certain enquiries”.

It turns out that it’s to do with the shellfish that she brings in from the Jersey Fishermen’s Co-operative or whatever it’s called. Since Brexit, that can’t be landed just anywhere – it needs to be landed at a place where there’s a Health Inspector who can issue the correct certificates.

Be that as it may, I didn’t land just anywhere today. Or at any time either. I actually managed to beat the third alarm once again – that’s every day this week and isn’t it a long time since that has happened?

There was nothing on the dictaphone which was a shame because I do vaguely remember being out and about somewhere during the night, although I have no idea now where that might have been.

And so after the medication I had some time to spend to edit some more photos from July 2019 in order to ease myself into work. I’ve done about 100 this week – 20 a day which isn’t enough unfortunately. There’s still about 700 to do for July 2019 and then I have about 2800 to do for August, not to mention September and October.

This is going to be a long, looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong job.

Having woken myself up, I then dealt with the radio programme for which I had been asked to give some help. That involved searching through all of my music, choosing half a dozen or so tracks and then writing a report as to why those tracks are appropriate for this radio programme that someone is making.

After lunch, and more of my nice fresh bread, I found myself …. errr … drifting away, but I managed to stop myself before I’d gone too far. After I’d pulled myself together (which is more difficult than you might imagine because I’ve been falling apart at the seams for ages) I attacked my Oradour notes.

But for some reason that I don’t understand, I don’t seem to have made much headway. It’s possibly due to the fact that I managed to tease my way into a newspaper archive that had tons of information about more recent developments there, including a spat between Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande that seems to have slipped in under the radar. I spent an age wading my way through that lot.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was the usual afternoon walk out in the beautiful sunny weather, even if it was absolutely freezing cold.

There were crowds of people out there today, down on the beach enjoying themselves. And I didn’t realise it at the time but the person in blue centre-right in the image is the woman who lives in the apartment above mine.

On the way back into the building after my stroll, we collided in the entrance hall of the building. She’d been out “to take the air” with a friend of hers and had engaged, without a great deal of success, in the Peche à pied. It’s not really the right kind of tide for that at the moment.

french military aircraft plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEarlier on at the start of these notes I talked about the French military aircraft.

The first photo I had “shot from the hip” as they had taken me by surprise, flying low over the College Malraux. There was much more time to take a photo as they flew along the coast. For a moment I thought that they were going to put down at the airport here but instead they lumbered slowly on inland.

The general consensus of opinion is that they would be heading for Cherbourg, but I would have expected them to have continued along the coast and gone that way rather than heading off inland.

school children on beach pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith the aircraft now well out of the way, I could turn my attention to the noise coming from the beach.

Despite the lack of school transport even today (how would these people manage in the Auvergne) there are still plenty of school children about and this afternoon there was a pile of brats down there on the beach, paying no attention whatever to the teacher who was bellowing instructions to them.

The paths are much more clear of snow so I could carry on along the path in relative ease and go out across to the end of the headland and see what was going on. But with the tide well out, there were no trawlers cruising idly around just offshore right now.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was something right out at sea just heading out of the harbour at the Ile de Chausey and I wondered what it was. The NIKON 1 J5 doesn’t have the range of the big NIKON D500

But when I made it round to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour, I could see Joly France over there at the ferry terminal in its NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position, but there was no sign of the little freighter Chausiais. That may well be who it was who was heading for home.

It was about time that I was heading for home too and my hot coffee as I was quite cold by now. Two pairs of trousers is a good move but everything else is frozen in all of this.

After I finished work I had an hour on the guitars that wasn’t really all that impressive and then I went for tea. I ended up with past and veg with bulghour in a vegan cheese sauce. And there was nothing wrong with that. The last of the rice pudding has gone so I’m going to have to defrost some apple pie for tomorrow night’s pudding.

So off to bed now, nice and early. Shopping tomorrow and I have to book my journey to Leuven too. It’s surprising just how quickly the time comes round these days. I can’t keep up with it.

Tuesday 11th February 2020 – IN CASE YOU ARE WONDERING …

waves storm ciara plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hall… why the photos of the storm tonight aren’t anything as impressive as last night’s images, the answer is pretty clear.

When I was outside just now, it was still an hour or so before high tide. The sea was still coming in with an incredible amount of force though and I reckon that by the time it’s high tide, we’ll be having a belter again.

But I won’t be seeing it as I’m off to bed shortly.

Just for a change, I slept right though the night as far as I’m able to tell. There was certainly nothing on the dictaphone anyway

And furthermore, I even managed to beat the third alarm call so that’s progress of some kind or other.

With no dictaphone notes to deal with, I spent the early part of the morning cutting up digital tracks. Well, actually, repairing some really dire cutting before I could cut them properly (I don’t know who the heck they employed in some of these studios, I really don’t), as well as chase down a missing track which I eventually found stuck on the wrong soundtrack long after I’d downloaded a duplicate.

After breakfast I made a start on choosing the music for the next radio project and by the time that I knocked off for tea I’d even written most of the notes.

Had I applied myself to the task I could have had it finished, I reckon, but there were loads of interruptions

Much of the morning was spent trying to take a decent “selfie” (uuurrrggghhh) because I need a photograph that isn’t a standard size. Eventually I managed to seize up the memory card in the telephone and that has spent most of the day being recovered and repaired. Ancient laptops are really good for doing that because although they aren’t as quick as modern stuff, they are much more reliable and aren’t equipped with all of this modern fail-safe stuff that would stop a modern one.

heavy machinery dredging rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallDuring a break in the rainstorms – because we have been drenched today good and properly – I went down into town for my dejeunette from la Mie Caline.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the dredging that was taking place a few weeks ago over at the ferry terminal. Well, it looks as if the material that they were using – well some of it anyway – is back.

We saw one of the diggers heading out there yesterday afternoon, so they muct have turned up sometime after lunch yesterday

erecting pontoon supports rue du port de granville  harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been following the work that’s been going on at the quayside in the rue du Port.

This lunchtime I managed to catch them at it, fixing one of the pontoon supports to the side of the harbour wall. No sign of any pontoon yet, but I imagine that it won’t be too long before it’s here. There can’t be many more supports to fix.

And then we shall see just how this is going to work out

heavy crane port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe tide was well on its way out so the harbour gates were closed. That meant that I could cross on the path over the top of the gates to the other side.

And it’s all go here too since I was over here too. We’ve had quite a few deliveries of all kinds of stuff and a giant crane too. This has excited my curiosity and as there are some people over there with it, I shall go and enquire.

And you have probably noticed the clouds in the sky. It was quite bright early but now it’s turning ugly.

heavy crane pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd so I made my enquiries of the guys standing by the stuff and their response was “we’re going to erect a wind turbine – three wind turbines in fact – at the harbour mouth”.

Well, quite! I was sorely tempted to reply something like “pull the other one, it’s got bells on it” but instead I played along with them for a while and then wandered off as it had now started to rain.

But anyway, I worked out what it is and we’ll see if I’m right in early course I reckon.

Yesterday I mentioned that I’d go and see what was going on that had caused the road in the rue Roger Maris to be closed. But no chance of that today because we were being pelted with rain and it was dreadful. I came home instead.

After lunch I made some apple and pear puree seeing as I have run out. And I solved the problem of excess liquid by draining it off and drinking it. I didn’t think until later that I should have made a cordial out of it.

As it was, I ran the fruit through the whizzer once it was thoroughly cooked and it’s come out exactly as it was supposed to. I’ll see what it tastes like tomorrow.

Being on a roll I peeled some ginger and boiled it. While it was simmering away I added some honey and turmeric, and then peeled three lemons. The lemons went in the whizzer too and the juice was drained off and put in the fridge.

The lemon pulp was added to the ginger and all of that was left to simmer for a while.

low tide baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBy now it was walk-time so off I went.

By the looks of things it was low tide and a very low tide at that too. The sea was miles out. And while the rain might well have stopped … “for the moment” – ed … where I was standing but across the bay at Jullouville they were getting the lot.

And the wind was still there of course. That couldn’t clear off across the bay too, could it?

storm brittany coast baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd it didn’t look as if we were going to be spared the rain for very much longer … “I was right” – ed.

There was a wicked storm brewing up across the baie de Mont St Michel on the Brittany coast and whatever they were getting in Cancale, we would be getting it very shortly too give the speed of the wind.

This isn’t the time to be hanging around waiting for things to happen.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut neither the rainstorms nor the high winds were going to deter the fans of peche à pied.

They are out there regardless of the weather scavenging among the rocks for shellfish and the like. There are some kind of rules about the exploitation of the coastline and the part beyond the normal low tide limit is apparently fair game.

But of course you can only access it at an abnormally low tide and today seems to be one of those. And I hope that they share out the catch with their friends. After all, you mustn’t be selfish with your shellfish.

fishing boat trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith the tide being so far out and with the weather being so vile today, many fishing boats that we wouldn’t normally see in port were all still there today.

And the low tide meant that you can see all of them too. As I’ve said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … this is what is called a NAABSA harbour – Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground – when the tide is out.

It might look impressive to see boats like this but some NAABSA harbours are even more impressive. Take Ridham in kent for example, one of the destinations of our gravel boats. That’s a NAABSA harbour and ships of a couple of thousand tons can sit on the sea ed there at low tide.

dredger concrete breaker ferry port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd the mystery of what that digger was going to do yesterday is solved because it was doing it again today and I managed to catch him at it.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the concrete breaker working away on the rocks over by the ferry terminal. They’ve obviously reached the limit of their reach up there because they are now working away from down at the water level.

I makes me wonder if we are going to be having a bigger ferry boat in here sometime soon

heavy crane pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd I was right!

Earlier on we saw them with the crane and the equipment and we heard their “wind turbine” story. What we actually have is a floating pontoon or two out in the water now, which is what I thought it might have been.

That doesn’t answer the question as to why, and seeing as I doubt very much if I will get any sense out of the workforce, I’ll have to wait and see for myself.

By now the rain had eased off so I extended my walk a little and then came back to the apartment.

Having put some coffee into the microwave to heat up, I sat down to wait for it and promptly fell asleep for 20 minutes. How awful this is!

But then I finished off making my cordial and then cracked on with the work. But you can see why, with all of these interruptions, I didn’t manage to get as much done as I had hoped.

Tea was a stuffed pepper and it was the best that I had ever made. It really was good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The rice pudding was excellent too.

waves storm ciara plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThat took me up to my evening walk time.

The rain had stopped by now … “for the moment” – ed … but everywhere was thoroughly soaked. One of my running tracks was submerged so I had to do that run somewhere else.

Abd as I mentioned earlier, the tide is still quite far out right now. The waves were still crashing down on the Plat Gousset though but without the force that they’ll have a little later.

waves storm ciara plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallJust for a change I was the only one out there enjoying the spectacle so I stood and watched it for a while.

With no-one about I managed my second run too and then headed for home, exchanging pleasantries with a guy cleaning his window sill. Some people have some funny ideas.

Back here I’ve finished my notes so now I’m ready for bed. But the lemon and ginger cordial that I made was totally wicked. I mustn’t spill any or it will strip the varnish off the floor.

But being tired, I’m off to bed, hoping for another good night’s sleep. I need it.

Monday 30th December 2019 – I BET …

tesla electric vehicle charging station gare de granville railway station manche normandy france… that when you first saw the photo of this car in this parking place, you thought to yourself “he’s off on this pathetic parking lark yet again!”

But not a bit of it. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall my perambulations around Paris two weeks or so ago and I featured one of the new electric vehicle charging points that are springing up like mushrooms all over the developed world (except of course in the UK, for obvious reasons).

Well, here’s another one. Or two, to be precise, right outside the railway station in Granville. As I said a couple of weeks ago, the world is racing ahead.

And quite right too. The EU is to phase out the production of the internal combustion engine by 2040. The biggest obstacle to electric vehicles is the lack of charging points, but this is changing quite rapidly.

Other things that I wish would change quite rapidly are my sleeping habits. What with one thing and another (and once you start, you’ll be surprised how many other things there are) it was about 01:45 when I eventually went to bed last night. 4:33 of sleep last night, of which 3:42 were classed as “restful”.

This is getting beyond a joke.

Even so, there was still plenty of time for me to go off a-voyaging. I had to get up early next morning and there was a bit of an issue. There were two girls at my house. One of them was part of my family but I can’t remember who she was and the other one was her friend who was staying with us. Round about 11:00 they got up and about 11:15 or 11:45 something like that they went out. That was the last we’d seen of them. We knew that they were going to a dance. There we were, sitting there, a big group of us, drumming our fingers on the table wondering where they hall they had got to. I thought that this is no good – I need the car. I have to get up in the morning and everything like that. Round about 02:30 they suddenly appeared back again. They’d been on a dance, off to a night club all this kind of thing and we were all making disparaging remarks about “WHAT time was it you went out this morning?” All of that kind of thing. These girls weren’t giving a straight answer because they were a bit embarrassed something like that about it. But the situation concerned one of my Cortinas. I’d been driving around in it and the MoT had expired a while ago. I remember thinking to myself that I ought to have this vehicle on two number plates so I can get two different MoTs which would overlap so that if one expired I’d just put the plates on it for the other MoT and run that for another few months and so on. I can’t remember what on earth that was all about but that was when I awoke for the first time – round about 04:00.
But later on there was something going on to do with the radio. Some young boy had been at the radio who was doing his stuff with very primitive equipment (something like I’m doing at the moment I suppose) and tired of being pushed to the bottom of the pile because of that he went out and bought some decent stuff which improved his quality and improved his output and annoyed all of his colleagues because he’d now got some superior kind of stuff.

It was something of a struggle for me to leave my stinking pit this morning, which should not be a surprise after the night that I had, but I did make it up before the 3rd alarm.

Having taken the medication I transcribed the dictaphone notes and then went for breakfast once the medication had worked.

After breakfast I checked my communications and found that Alison had replied to me with her plans for the weekend when I’ll be at Castle Anthrax. And so I could go ahead with making my travel arrangements.

Thursday 9th January
09:00 – Granville to Paris Montparnasse, arriving 12:05 – and in the main arrivals hall too if my reading is correct.
13:15 – Paris Gare du Nord – Lille Flanders arriving 14:18
14:41 – Lille Europe – Bruxelles-Midi arriving 15:17
and then a local train to Leuven
Sunday 12th January
08:43 – Bruxelles-Midi – Paris Gare du Nord arriving 10:05
10:57 – Paris St Lazare – Caen arriving 12:58
14:10 – Caen – Granville arriving 15:44.

Of course, all of this is somewhat … errr … facultative. It’s all very dependent upon the availability of transport in the middle of a General Strike and I can see myself as having as many exciting adventures as did the Knights of King Arthur as they went to visit Castle Anthrax.

With booking my accommodation too, and my local train between Brussels and Leuven, it was quite late when I went for my shower.

And SHOCK! HORROR! – I’ve gained 2kgs since my last shower. That can’t possibly be right and seems to indicate that my bathroom scales are about as reliable as the blood count readings from Castle Anthrax.

Off I went into town and up to the railway station (and the electric vehicle charging point) to pick up my tickets. And there was quite a pantomime about getting them from the machine.

That’s why I always like to pick them up before I travel. There’s no-one in the ticket office at the time my train leaves so if the machine has a seizure on the morning of my travel then I really am cooked.

At LIDL I spent more money than I was expecting.

One thing that I said that I would do is to take more care of my living arrangements, and forgetting to change my bedding for weeks isn’t helping things. Today though at LIDL they had some flannelette sheets on offer so I bought a couple. A dark blue one to go with one bedding set and a light blue one to go with the other.

They weren’t very expensive for what they are and the quality isn’t brilliant but alternating them around more regularly means that they will last somewhat.

On the way back home I picked up my dejeunette from La Mie Caline and then headed for home.

lorry emptying waste paper recycling place d'armes granville manche normandy franceAt the recycling centre across the road from my building the lorry had come to empty one of the containers.

Not being in any particular rush, I watched it for a while as it emptied the plastics bin. And then watched for a couple more minutes while the crew of the lorry went scampering around trying to catch the pieces of plastic that where Blowing In The Wind.

The moral of this story is – don’t empty the lightweight plastics containers in a gale-force wind.

Back at the apartment I had a few things to do that took me up to lunch, and once lunch was out of the way I had a little project to attend to.

My “recording sessions” take place at the moment using an external microphone with the dictaphone, and then plugging the dictaphone into the computer to download the files and then to enhance them etc with my sound editing program.

But there’s no reason whatever why I can’t plug the mike into the computer and then record directly and edit “on the fly”, which will save me a couple of steps in the process.

And so I had the computer out of its cubby hole and plugged the mike in, and then had a play.

The result was awful. The sound level was abysmal, even on max input, and there was a persistent hissing on the recording. It needed so much “enhancing” to remove the hissing that it sounded as if i was speaking with my head in a bucket.

And so it’s back to the dictaphone while I think of Plan B. I hadn’t really realised just what good quality I was getting from the dictaphone with an external mike.

But all was not lost. It gave me an opportunity to reroute a few cables that needed rerouting, even if I did plug the HDMI cable into the incorrect socket and spent 10 minutes wandering why I wasn’t receiving a signal at the screen.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy franceThat was the signal for me to go for my afternoon walk.

And what a beautiful afternoon it was. We had glorious sunshine even if it was quite low down in the sky. There were plenty of people out, even walking along the beach today seeing as the tide was out.

And the wind had dropped dramatically from how it was earlier too. And that was very welcome news.

crowds pointe du roc boulevard vaufleury eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy franceIt wasn’t just around on the grassy field on the north side of the headland and on the beach that the crowds were massing.

Although they are the most popular places to be, they aren’t the only places. There were the hordes of people on the southern side by the big car park on the boulevard Vaufleury too.

They seemed to be admiring the harbour and the view across the Baie de Mont St Michel towards the Pointe de Carolles, as well as soaking up the best of the late afternoon sun.

joly france ferry port de granville harbour ile de chausey manche normandy franceWith the tide being right out, there wasn’t much action down in the outer tidal harbour. But there were a few things of interest though.

The other day we talked about NAABSA harbours – the “Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground” situation where ships are allowed to settle on the silt in tiday harbours where there isn’t enough water to keep them afloat.

Over there at the ferry terminal, Joly France is there, and as there is no water underneath her, she’s in a NAABSA state and it doesn’t seem to concern her owners at all.

chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy franceShe wasn’t the only one either.

In front of her, likewise in a NAABSA state, is Chausiais, the new freighter that the owners of the Ile de Chausey have bought, presumably to provide a freight service over to the island, even if I can’t see what would be going over that couldn’t be carried in the hold of one of the ferries.

Still, we shall see in due course, won’t we? I sense a Cunning Plan.

That was my cue to come home where, shame as it is to say it, I crashed out, leaving my coffee undrunk.

And if ever there was a moment where I really did feel like hauling myself off to bed to crash out definitively, then that was it. But I fought off the feeling, even if I did feel like death.

As a result, my plan to attack the dialogue for my next radio project fell flat without very much progress having been made. I need to finish that one off as well as do another one by the end of the week, although I’m not sure quite when I’ll fit it all in.

But whatever happens, I mustn’t fall behind otherwise I’ll never get back in front again.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with the stuffing left over from late last week. And I don’t know why, but it was the best one that I’ve ever made.

If anyone is interested in my stuffing mix, it’s as follows –
Start by boiling up some quinoa or bulghour with a little water and some really spicy chili powder, and leave it to simmer.
Meanwhile, dice up some onion, garlic (have to have garlic of course!), a tomato, mushrooms, olives and whatever else you might have lying around that is suitable, a handful or two of salted peanuts, and then some herbs. I use oregano, basil and tarragon, as well as ground black pepper.
Then, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a couple more of tomato sauce (not ketchup, of course!)
Mix it all up together and then add the bulghour or quinoa, which should by now be ready, and mix that well in too. You need your stuffing to be very moist, but not runny.
Cut round the stalk of the pepper and scoop out the core, the seeds and the pith. Then stuff it with your stuffing mix.
Into the microwave at medium-full (that’s 640 watts on mine) for 7 minutes 30 seconds while the rice and veg are cooking.
The when the rice is cooked and you’re rinsing it out with boiling water, give the pepper 90 seconds on max (that’s 800 watts on mine)

If you try it, let me know how it turns out, and let me know if you have any suggestions to make it differently. There’s a “contact me” link down at the bottom right corner of the screen.

channel islands ferries victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAfter that I went out for my evening walk in the freezing cold, because the temperature has dropped dramatically. I was the only one out there, which was no surprise.

But while I was out there, I checked and sure enough, Granville really is back in the harbour, tied up alongside Victor Hugo.

It looks like her a-roaming is over for a few days.

And so was mine. For tonight anyway, I headed for home. I managed to fit in my run, although I was dead by the time that I reached the ramp and only made four or five paces up it.

It’s really disappointing that I can’t seem to push on and run for longer. I remember when I went back running in the mid-90s, when after a few weeks I suddenly found my second wind and could run for miles. I can’t seem to break this barrier these days.

Mind you, I’m not sure what I’m expecting at my age. It’s not every OAP who goes out running late at night every night, especially one who is supposed to be on his death bed. I should be grateful for what I can do.

This evening I didn’t see Minette the old black cat but I saw her mum who was on the doorstep chatting to a couple of people. So I had a little chat, wished them the compliments of the season and came home.

Now I’ve written up my journal, I’m off to bed. 6.5 hours of sleep if I’m lucky. That’s a luxury these days so I need to make the most of it.

But not quite yet. I’ve been listening to No Smoke Without Fire by Wishbone Ash. It’s an album that I’ve owned for probably 30 years but I haven’t heard it for probably 29 years. And while it won’t ever be anything like as good as the first couple of albums, I’m astonished that I haven’t played it more often because some of it is really excellent.

And as that finished, onto the playlist came Fur by Jane Wiedlin. Not an album that you would normally associate with me but Janet Marsden played it to me late one night and there are a couple of tracks on it that are totally unexpected in their brilliance. They bring back a couple of memories of one particular night in Crewe, and how things could have been different had I been in a better place in my head back then.