Tag Archives: neighbour

Saturday 3rd September 2022 – I MADE IT …

… to the supermarket this morning.

Not that I felt much like it but nevertheless there I was. And here I am back again so something went right today.

Not that it looked much like it earlier though.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While you admire a couple of photos of some of the water craft that was out and about this afternoon, I was having a pretty miserable night.

The computer didn’t start up again during the night but that was about the only thing that didn’t. I had that weird problem with my ankle strapping and I reckon that as there’s a French saying of jamais deux sans trois I’ll take it off before I go to bed tonight if I remember.

Apart from that there were loads of voyages and by the looks (or the listening) of things there was about an hour and a half where there must have been all kinds of turmoil going on, judging by what was there on the dictaphone. I started off at school. The back way out of school was to go out of a window and down a ladder that was usually propped there. I went that way and found that the ladder had been extended to its full extent and put across the pavement to the window. Because it was at its fullest extent it was at something like I dunno less than 40° for an angle of the ladder. I thought that that was positively lethal. The ladder needs to be brought up closer to the wall and made much shorter so that it’s much safer and you aren’t actually on it for as long. I pulled it in from where I was standing. I had to untangle a few nets that were around it then drop the ladder down to the right kind of height. Somehow it all went down and didn’t reach up to the window. One of the teachers went past and saw my manoeuvres. I thought that she was about to say something but she didn’t. eventually I managed to make my own way down to the floor underneath. There was an Afro-Caribbean family living there. They were going on about this ladder. I explained that the ladder had been set up all wrong. One of the little girls there, I told her to go and fetch something but she refused so I told her that if she were to go and fetch it I would show her how to set up the ladder so I could actually go down to the ground floor and the street at the back.

kayaker baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022At the end of the exhibition thing (which exhibition thing?) the crowd started to thin out until there was just about half a dozen of us left. I saw that the person there was someone whom I knew. He’d been kept captive there and the ladder out to the back garden was at an angle of much more than 45° so it was completely unsafe to be on it. Despite being told off by his teacher he made it down to where the ladder was. He pulled it in but ended up dropping it so he was stranded on the rock where he was. Eventually he was met by a West Indian family who started to show him crutches and things but he showed them a few tricks himself with the card that frightened one of the girls. He then asked about using the phone otherwise he’d end up here making them alone for Christmas, carrying out work about that when he went over to sign them in at the council’s local papers and he had to give a name and date of birth. That completely stumped him.

When I dictated this bit about going out when the ladder was not steep enough and causing problems sliding so I picked it up to try to adjust the length and put it at a better angle. Instead, the whole lot of the ladder folded up. The teacher who saw me didn’t actually say anything which surprised me so I went somehow down to the floor underneath. There was a West Indian family there. I explained to them what had happened and asked their little girl to go and fetch something but she refused even though I promised to let her see what was going on.

He (who?) played for the local village football team, a group of shopkeepers and he embarrassed a few senior professional sides on more than one occasion while he was playing for them. I can’t remember what else I had to say about this

We had a few of these where the prosecution had a buoy that was much bigger than the normal standard size so it creates all kinds of confusion on shore when you take it ashore but I can’t remember why it was a subject of conversation now. And what this is about I really don’t have a clue

There was something weird happening in a space laboratory that made TV tubes last night. There weren’t all that many workers and the process is automated. In the rest room there were all kinds of problems going on and the camp was split pretty much into 2 groups of people, the humans and the not-quite-so-humans. They were creating some kind of nasty atmosphere towards each other. There was a definite split down the workforce such as it was with the humans ganging up on the non-humans. They created an aggressive situation. There was one newish workman who had come there from earth to work. He tried to resolve the conflicts but his manager made the announcement that this guy’s funeral will be on Wednesday next week, which is to the effect that they were going to push him right out of the organisation. They asked what would become of him. he said that there’s another factory here in Space and he can go to work there. He said that they had a lot of trouble with door knobs but they can only go in occasionally and can’t come out at all.

We were all in Canada later on last night. There was a problem with the insurance on the Ranger. We could have the vehicle MoT’d but he wouldn’t pass it until I produced the insurance. Of course this was going to be extremely complicated for me being a non-resident. In the end after a great deal of argument and discussion I managed to have him agree that I’d produce the letter from the insurance company offering renewal and submit that and he’d issue the certificate. He had to go to check with his boss and quite a few people first. After that we were all ushered away. We ended up going to someone’s house. All of my friends etc had gone upstairs but there were one or two people milling around on the ground floor. I asked “do I have to go upstairs too or am I being stuck down here?”. They replied that I could go upstairs so I went to go but there were all people sitting on the stairs talking and wouldn’t move out of the way for me to go past. One of the women made some kind of remark that was intended to make these people move but they took no notice at all and carried on talking. I was effectively being prevented from going upstairs.

And finally there was some time for me to go and meet some kind of Middle-Eastern family who had come to live in the West. They had ever so many people living here. I somehow ended up being with 2 children. I was talking to them. The little bit of the apartment that I could see was untidy, littered with all kinds of dust etc. I asked the little boy how many people lived here. He replied “21”. I said “that must be difficult when you go to sleep, isn’t it?. He started to tell me a story but his sister who was perhaps a little older began to speak to him in a foreign language and he didn’t tell me any more after that. I didn’t press the issue on the grounds that if they wanted me to know they would tell me but if they didn’t, they wouldn’t.

As well as all of this, that blasted steam engine or whatever it is went past this morning again at about 06:00. I haven’t a clue what that is.

Anyway when the alarm went off I fell out of bed, had my medication and then went for a shower. And how embarrassing is it when I can’t climb into the bath to take a shower? I had to invent something in order to take a shower this morning.

And then I set off for LeClerc. Climbing into Caliburn was difficult but at least this posh new barrier looks good, complete with its LED lighting. I don’t have to climb out to move any bollards.

When I pulled into the supermarket car park a delivery of fuel had just taken place and there were only a few cars on the pumps so I pulled in and fuelled up with 30 litres just so I’d have some. The car next to me was well over the cente line while the driver was fuelling up, and Caliburn is rather wide so the driver had to wait for me to clear off before he could get back into his car.

And serve him right.

This week’s shopping bill was much more than it ought to be. But then they had that orange juice that I like on a special offer for a multiple buy and the coffee that I like was reduced to €6:50 for a pack of 4 and I’m not going to pass that up. One or two other little “extras” made it into something of an expensive shop but what I buy today I won’t need to bother any other time.

It was 10:25 when I returned from the shops, nearly squidging a couple of pedestrians who were passing through our private car park, A coffee and some toast then saw me attack the dictaphone, the results of which you have already seen.

Other things that I have done today were pairing off the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday, and then also dicing, blanching and freezing a kilo of carrots.

people swimming beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Apart from the usual pauses I went out yet again to try my luck with a little walk.

As usual I wandered over to the wall to the end of rhe car park to see what was happening down on the beach. And sure enough, there were quite a few people down there today.

Some of them had even gone into the sea and that was quite brave of them. But then again the weather had improved dramatically. This morning it was all grey and overcast but right now there was plenty of sun, even if there was quite a bit of wind about

But have you noticed that a couple of the people down there in the water look as if they are fully clothed?

people on beach donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022As usual, I had a good look around to see what else was going on round there.

You’ve seen already all that there was to see out at sea. And there wasn’t all that much of that. But along the coast beyond Donville les Bains there seemed to be plenty going on.

There were a couple of tractors along the waterline there but on the boat launching ramp there was a van looking as if it has just launched a boat into the water.

Dozens of people milling around on the beach too. There must still be plenty of people at the holiday camp down there

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Nevertheless it seems that I was unlucky this afternoon because I missed one of the Joly France ferries coming back from the island.

When I staggered over to the other wall at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, the boat was busy discharging its load of passengers.

Jusging by the windows in “landscape” format, this is the older one of the two boats. And by the looks of things she had brought back quite a crowd too. All of the passengers were queued up on the boat waiting to leave.

The service is now winding down for the winter. All of the seasonal staff were laid off on Friday so it’ll be just a skeleton service for the winter.

dog in bicycle trailer boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022While I was there, there was a lot of other stuff going on too.

And what do you make of this? While I was standing at the viewpoint overlooking the Fish processing Plant (you have some really scenic views here), this strange contraption went rolling past.

We’ve seen DOGS PUSHED AROUND IN TROLLEYS before now, but I don’t think that I’ve seen anything quite like this before. Dogs being moved around in trailers pulled by pushbikes is certainly a novel idea.

But shouldn’t the dog be wearing a seatbelt and crash helmet?

unloading joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Meanwhile, as all of the passengers swarm away from Joly France on their way home, the real work begins.

For the last couple of years there has been a little freighter, Chausiaise, that runs back and to to the island with the freight that is required. Today though it looks as if there wasn’t all that much demand for freight.

Instead of sending Chausiaise they are bringing back the freight in the hold of Jolly France and they are now unloading it with the aid of the quayside crane.

It’s a good job that I’m not operating the crane. Seeing all of the tourists milling around there, I’d be sorely tempted to have a go at a life-size version of pub skittles

As well as Chausiaise and Victor Hugo moored up in the inner harbour today there was plenty of other stuff too.

le styx spirit of conrad capo di fora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022On the left is the trawler Le Styx and on the right is the yacht Capo di Fora that we have seen in port A COUPLE OF TIMES

But the boat in the middle is the one in which I’m interested. She is of course Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went down the Brittany coast a couple of years ago.

She’s been off on a mega-sail around Scotland and the coast of Norway and at one time I was optimistic about having a moment spare to go for part of the trip. However health issues soon put a stop to that idea.

In fact I knew that she was back in port because on my way out of the building this afternoon I met Pierre her skipper on his way in and we had quite a lengthy chat. I seem to be “flavour of the month” right now with the neighbours.

Back in here I finished off what needed finishing and with all of my work done for the weekend, except for the pizza bases tomorrow, I relaxed.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap, which was quite delicious.

But now I’m off to bed. There’s an alarm for the morning because the nurse is coming round. And I won’t feel all that much like it but it has to be done.

And then I’ll probably go back to bed. After all, it IS Sunday.

Thursday 1st September 2022 – THE DECISION …

hermitage donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022… about whether or not I ought to go for a walk this afternoon was taken out of my hands today.

For the first time since I don’t know how long (several months, probably) it was pouring with rain outside this afternoon. You can tell that by simply looking at the photos of “The Hermitage” – the old seafront hotel that is now converted into apartments. You can hardly see it through the drizzle

In the past though, I’ve been out for a walk or two in weather much wetter than this but I had a feeling that today this was nature’s way of telling me to go back inside and rest.

And rest I did. No alarm this morning so I stayed in bed until 09:30 and I needed it too.

Moving about was a little easier. Only a little though. I was still aching in my knee, my hip and now my groin. I know that yesterday I’d performed 180% of my daily activity according to the fitbit but I’ve done far more than that in the past without feeling as bad as I did.

There was no rush to start work today. I had a nice, leisurely morning and in the end I didn’t even sort out any music to which to listen this week. I ended up instead listening to the old-time radio and my favourite radio programmes from the 40s, 50s and 60s.

Eventually though I started on transcribing all of the notes on the dictaphone. There were two days’ worth – yesterday and today, and all told there were tons of them. Having dealt with all of yesterday’s, I made a start on today’s. I was doing something with the taxis again last night. Someone phoned up – it might have been my brother probably, I dunno – and was shouting at the girl who was answering the phone and doing the radio. In the end I took over. It took me a whole while to chisel out the information from him bit by bit. It was basically “Friday 12:50 or earlier if possible, pickup from Glasgow and take him to Northampton”. It took an age to chisel all of that out of him bit by bit. Everyone was short-tempered by the time that I finished this call.

And then I can’t remember much of this bit. There was Nerina and I, once again having our marriage difficulties. She and her friend had once ganged up on me once playing cards, even going as far as to look up the rules about borrowing cards from the pack which I thought was totally unnecessary. anyway they were there working on some other stuff again about that. There was much more to this but I can’t remember it now.

And Zero was back last night. After all this time and how nice it was to see her smiling face, even if it was only for a fleeting second. We were tidying up in her school classroom and she was one of the last to be there. She went home and we said that we’d be round later. There was me and another girl but I can’t remember who she was. We were getting close to finishing. The guy in charge said that he was leaving. We said that the place wasn’t tidied up yet so he replied “you stay and finish it but don’t take too long”. There was just the 2 of us there and we were tidying it up. The girl with me thought that she’d telephoned to Zero to say that we’d be round in a few minutes. I could tell that the conversation was going quite badly. It finished off by her saying “well, we’ll see you tomorrow”. I wondered what was going on. It turned out, so she said, that Zero’s father who was the last person to leave was probably not feeling too well so they’d be spending a lot of time dealing with him. I said “I’m having to go tomorrow so we could I suppose always turn up unexpectedly tomorrow to say goodbye. We did that once before and it went quite well but I’d much rather have gone round on a day when we’d been invited and when people were expecting us. That way there’s no question of having any kind of conflicting interest etc”. I forgot to mention that after the girl with me had hung up on Zero she went and sat down somewhere and put her feet up. I was still wrestling with these 3 enormous boxes. I had to insist that she got back on her feet and came to help me otherwise I would never finish this lot either and I’d be here all night.

Once again I could see that all my best-laid plans here were coming to nought even before we’d gone very far at all, and that’s just typical whenever any of my interests seemed to coincide with those of anyone else back in the old days. No wonder I prefer to live alone. It’s far less complicated.

There I was with a date with Zero and everyone else was deliberately pushing spokes into the wheels. Just as always.

All that remained (for the moment at least) was the blog entry for yesterday. That took a total age to write but at least it’s all nicely on line now. Without the photos though. I couldn’t stomach working my way through 97 of those this afternoon. I wasn’t in the mood.

The proceedings were interrupted by me finally deciding to risk my knee on an adventure outside.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And despite the poor weather I went off for a stroll across the car park to the wall.

With the weather being as it was, I wasn’t expecting to see anyone down there on the beach so the half-a-dozen or so people down there took me somewhat by surprise. I don’t know what they were doing down there but at least whatever it was, they had plenty of beach to do it on.

It was a waste of time looking out to sea because the mist was pretty thick out there and you couldn’t see anything.

Going to to St Helier yesterday was a good plan because I had the last of the decent weather. It would have been miserable out there today.

But this took me completely by surprise.

bus place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022This photo isn’t about Caliburn. You can see the bus stop over there on the left-hand edge of the photograph so why is the bus parking there? And for not the least of the reasons being that any passengers would have to go into the street in order to board the bus.

You can see the rain too. It was pretty miserable but I can’t say that I’m sorry that we’ve finally had some rain.

Before I went back in I was buttonholed by one of my neighbours who attracted my attention from her second-floor window. We had quite an impromptu chat at distance, with me being slowly and inevitable soaked to the skin.

Back in the flat I had a nice strong coffee and then carried on with the blog until it was finished (for now) and then I breathed a sigh of relief.

Tea tonight was a left-over curry with mushrooms, potatoes and the left-over stuffing along with a big handful of peanuts. And I do have to say that it was the best one that I’ve ever made.

A quiet evening now and I’ll probably end up with an early night. It’s still raining and my legs are still hurting and who knows how all of this will pan out.

We’ll all find out tomorrow

Monday 29th August 2022 – BEFORE I START …

… crowing about another day where I haven’t crashed out at all (and how many consecutive days is this now?) just let me mention two things –

  1. I didn’t go to bed until 22:25 and I was up at 06:00
  2. There were no fewer than TWELVE entries on the dictaphone during the night. And if that isn’t a recode I don’t know what is

In fact, the longest period during which I wasn’t disturbed was one hour and 22 minutes.

So given the foregoing, I expected to be crashed out on my chair a long time before tea never mind still going strong at this time of evening.

Something else I’ve noticed is that my walking seems to be a little easier and so is my breathing. Only a little, but it’s noticeable. I know that they told me a week or two ago to stop taking one particular medication, but I was feeling quite ill a good while before I started taking it. So it can’t be that.

Nevertheless, it was a struggle to tear myself out of bed when the alarm went off at 06:00 and I really didn’t feel much like doing the radio programme today.

However, despite a couple of interruptions, for coffee and for breakfast, it was all up and running and sounding quite well by 11:10. Mind you, with two tracks less about which to write, it ought to have been finished a while before then.

However I made a total mess of dictating the speech and had to restart not once but twice. And you try saying “The Victor Brox Blues Band” when you’re half asleep

Yes, 2 tracks short today, but when you open with a track that is 21:42 long, it doesn’t leave much time for many others when you only have an hour to do.

There are plenty of short tracks that aren’t being used because with 11 tracks in about 52 minutes, it’s not that easy to fit so many in. One of these days I’ll have to start doing programmes with 13 tracks. That’ll move them on.

While I was listening to that one and the one that I’m sending off for broadcast (I’m several months ahead) I was … errrr … tidying up.

Lazy me hasn’t filed away the post since last October and there’s paperwork and letters all over the bedroom. Having made a start yesterday on tidying the desk, I went through the paperwork that was lying around, sorted it into date order, perforated it all and filed it away in a binder.

There are binders for each year with papers filed in date order, but since everything seems to be digitalised these days I’m doing two years to a binder.

After lunch I had something important to do.

On Friday I ate the last of the fruit buns and so I had to make some more. It took quite a while to make the dough with all of the extras that went into it, and then I divided it up into 10 and made buns, leaving them to proof

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While the buns were busy proofing I went out for my afternoon walk.

And you can tell that the holiday season is now over. The car park was comparatively empty and down on the beach there weren’t all that many people down there at all.

It’s true to say that the weather was quite windy but that wouldn’t be enough to keep the crowds back at home if there were crowds of people and a beach to be on. It certainly kept them out of the sea anyway today.

But I’ve never seen the beach as empty as this on a sunny August day.

people on rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022A little further on along the path I noticed these people scrambling over the rocks.

From up here I had no idea what they were doing, not even with a 300mm telescopic lens. They didn’t look as if they were engaged in the peche à pied because they didn’t seem to have any equipment.

My neighbour couldn’t understand what was happening either. She was slowly ambling along the path so I stopped and we had a good chat for 10 minutes

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m not the sociable type at all, but I have to be friendly with the neighbours. It makes the world go round and makes life here much easier.

scuba divers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Further along the path I noticed some unusual activity just offshore in the bay.

And I’m not talking about the lobster pot buoy either, but the other objects down there in the water.

It didn’t take me long to work out what they were, particularly once they broke surface, because we’ve seen them before. It seems to be where they practice their SCUBA-diving techniques although I couldn’t see a boat anywhere in the vicinity.

So would you call them SCUBA-divers or frogmen? If the latter, I suppose that we’ll have to call them “frogpersons” these days.

And SCUBA? Why, its “Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus” of course.

unidentified aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was walking along the path in comparative solitude I noticed an aeroplane out at sea.

Just in case I could identify it, I took a photo to check when I returned home, but it was far too far out at sea for me to read its registration number.

As you might expect, I checked the registers of the local airfields and there were no arrivals or departures that corresponded with the time that the aeroplane flew past

On the path there can’t have been more than a dozen people walking past. It seems that the holiday season has ended here too.

cabanon vauban person pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Not so many people on the car park either. It was almost as if I had the place to myself.

So I pushed on down to the end of the headland to see what was happening here. There was a young woman out by the cabanon vauban who was taking a photograph of themselves but as soon as I arrived she put her ‘phone away.

However I’m not sure why she would want to be down there this afternoon. It wasn’t as if there was anything going on out at sea. There wasn’t a single boat out in the bay that I noticed, and the weather wasn’t all that bad either.

breakdown rue du cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Fromthe end of the headland I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland.

It may well have been that there would have been an extra vehicle on the car park but whoever it was didn’t quite make it to the top of the hill. a depanneuse had been sent for and he was busy dragging a car onto the load bed.

And depanneuse is a lovely word. It’s a feminine word and means here in a France a “breakdown truck”. But if you see the word depanneur on a notice in Québec, it doesn’t mean the driver or the male version of a breakdown truck, but it’s actually Québecois for a “corner shop”.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The tide was well out this afternoon so the port was quite dry.

But once again you can tell that the summer season is over. We’ve been used to seeing all of the Ile de Chausey ferries out and about in the afternoon doing all kinds of things to keep themselves busy with the crowds of tourists looking for things to do.

But today, Belle France, the newest one of the three, was parked up at the ferry terminal waiting for the tide. There wasn’t anyone loitering around there with her so it looks as if she’s going to be there for a while.

unloading shellfish drags port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Here was something interesting that I noticed while I was here.

Those down there are the drags for the shellfish trawlers. The are marked, usually with electric welding writing, with the name of the ship to which they belong and they are stored down there.

A lorry-load has just turned up and there’s a forklift truck dropping them off.

The grillage is made to a certain size so that when the drag is dragged along the sea bed, anything undersize slips through the grillage and back onto the sea bed.

Mind you, they still manage to pull up all kinds of interesting things, unexploded World War II munitions included. There are plenty of those about out there.

la soupape trafalgar peccavi trafalgar chant de sirenes hermes I charlevy chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile there is much excitement in the chantier naval this afternoon.

Cap Lihou has gone back into the water, what with her brand-new paint job. But La Soupape Trafalgar Peccavi Trafalgar and Chant De Sirenes are still in there too.

However we have a couple of new occupiers in there over at the back. We can see Hermes I quite clearly but hidden behind the portable boat lift is Charlevy.

So things are looking up in the chantier naval and that is good news for all of us.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Not so much though over in the inner harbour.

Almost all of the fixtures and fittings of the Festival of Working Sailing Ships have now gone. It didn’t take them long to remove all of that. The only thing that I can see that still remains is the artificial beach over on the right-hand side.

Something else that has also gone is Marité. And never called me “mother”! She was glued to the harbour for most of the Festival when all of the crowds were about but once the visitors departed she cast off her chains and cleared off.

She left at 09:10 and didn’t return until 20:36 having spent the day having a run-around in the bay.

chausiaise victor hugo arc en ciel massabielle port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Someone else who is back in port after being away for a while is Victor Hugo.

She’s been running around in the Channel Islands and came back into port yesterday evening at 20:57 and tied up next to Chausiaise. She won’t be back out now until Wednesday morning at 09:30.

Meanwhile, several of the trawlers haven’t gone out to sea this morning. We can see Arc en Ciel and Massabielle down there and there are a few more too.

But I didn’t stay around to see them. I came back home for my iced ginger beer.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And having drunk my drink, I brushed the fruit buns with vegan milk and brown sugar and put them in to bake.

And I’m not sure what happened by the bottom of the buns are slightly burnt as if they are overcooked. And I cooked them as I would usually do. So what’s happening there? With my pizza being overcooked too, I wonder if my oven has finally started to do what it is supposed to do.

While they were baking I was transcribing the dictaphone notes. And I’m not convinced that you’ll want to know about them. I was with Rosemary in Canada. We’d been for a walk in this city then she had to go off somewhere so I kept on wandering around. We met up again and ended up right out of town at this park somewhere wandering around the park. I said that I had things to do so I needed to be back in town so I’d leave her there and come back for her at 19:00. I walked back into the city centre and was sitting on a bench catching my breath when another tourist from our group came past – a South-Asian guy. He sat down and was complaining about the distance that he’d walked and how he was going to find someone with a Honda moped. I said that I had one of those back at home (and I do back in Virlet – a Honda Melody actually) which of course was no use here. he was saying that so far he’d walked 12 kilometres. I had a look at my fitbit and found that i’d only done 7 which really surprised me as I thought that I’d done three times that. We carried on talking and a 3rd member of our party, David from my building, turned up and joined in our chat. I said that I was going to go back to pick up Rosemary because I was going to cook a meal. This Indian guy’s eyes lit up. “A meal?” he asked. “I’d have to come to help you do something” but I didn’t like the idea of someone inviting themselves in for one of my meals like this.

I was getting married but at the very last moment the bride pulled out. She didn’t tell me until the very final minute. I had to go round to tell all the guests that the wedding had been cancelled. That’s all that I remember of this. There was an awful lot more to it.

Back at my wedding again and this time I’d married. I was standing on a page about to give a speech when my mother in law turned up with a bunch of flowers and began to chat me up in the middle of all of this crowd of people. I thought that regardless of anything else this was extremely inappropriate, certainly not the time and place to do something like this.

This was another one where I found myself dictating into my hand again. There was some kind of issue with the parking and one of the guys at the wedding stood up and was making a speech about the issue but I can’t remember now what he said because the dream evaporated when I was halfway through it.

This was my parents again at this wedding talking to some other people who were there including some girl who they happened to like and wanted me to marry at one point. I had to hurry up and change ready to go on my holiday. I was chatting to a girl of 12, something like that, and realised that I had to prepare to go on my honeymoon

There was a girl there notoriously flirting around, getting on everyone else’s nerves so she was arrested and found guilty of water-walking, whatever that is, I dunno.

Dick Whittington had been elected in 1066 for each year and protested in favour of more-normal relationships between London and Exeter, Bristol and Manchester.

I’d been out to somewhere near Audlem, some stately home to do something or other. It was early in the morning. When I arrived there was no-one around so I had to wait for someone but they didn’t show up so I was sitting in their library reading books. Then I had to go to work. They told me that it was 07:40 so I’d have to leave. I went down to my car but I wasn’t sure that it would start so I coupled up one of these battery packs to it. That didn’t do anything, the whole car was dead so I disconnected it. There was enough charge in the battery just to turn the engine over sufficiently for it to fire up. I drove off down the long drive. There was a small lorry heading my way something like a Mercedes 508 with a tipper back. The path was extremely narrow so trying to pass was quite difficult. I had to use a paper in front of the car to press down the weeds to find out where the edge of the road was so that I didn’t slip into the ditch at the side. On the way down the drive before that lorry a woman and her friend had been talking. I mentioned something about DVDs. They said that they had plenty ond they would lend me one for the journey back. As I set off to drive they came running out of the barn with these buckets of DVDs. So I tried to stop. There were no brakes so the vehicle rolled on about 10 metres and they had to catch me up. I had a quick glance. There was nothing there that I needed so I set off down the farm track. Turning onto the main road was on a really bad bend. I wished that I had some extra-powerful rear lights so that people coming from a distance away could actually see me coming onto the road. For some unknown reason the Polish guy who worked there hadn’t fitted any. I drove on down there and came to a road junction. There was a guy who pulled up with his car on a piece of wasteland at this road junction and then went running back to the main road waving as if he was trying to flag down a car behind. I asked him if he needed any help but he just ignored me and carried on trying to wave down whatever it was that was coming behind him.

I’d booked a hotel, an expensive hotel but it was at a bucket price at an on-line website place for e47:00. When I had the bill next morning it was for €163:00. I had a look and there were all kinds of optional things that he’d added in to this bill that I hadn’t the remotest interest in paying. There was €43:00 for the privilege of booking a room at Christmas and New Year which I didn’t want. There was £25:00 for the manual finding of the records, all kinds of this. I was flatly refusing to pay this. He told me that it was too late to take them off my credit card but I told him that I wanted it put back on my credit card because I’m not paying it. I went through the bill item by item, crossed off what I didn’t agree with until it came back down to this €47:00 that I’d been promised. He wasn’t going to move an inch and I could see that we were heading for some kind of enormous confrontation.

I was back working for Shearings again, doing a feeder out from the tour interchange to places all round the East Midlands. I set out with a coach and started to climb up through the Pennines. It was a brand new coach full of all mod cons, everything, really nice. We were doing OK. Then I had to come down a hill. While I was driving I was sewing my trousers because I had a tear in them. I was doing that but as we went down this hill I stopped sewing and concentrated. I suddenly found myself in a series of bends that I didn’t recognise at all. An ancient Ford Anglia came the other way that virtually brought me to a stop on one set of bends. When I came round these bends I came to a road sign that said “Windermere”. I thought “where am I going here? I don’t recognise any of this and I shouldn’t be anywhere near Windermere”. I pulled up at the side of the road in a lay-by. All the passengers alighted to stretch their legs. I went to fetch my SatNav. I thought that I’d plug it in and plug in the address of the first drop-off. That way I’ll have the coach take me back to where I want to go. There were all discussions about this coach and all of the luxuries that were fitted to it that we never had when we were driving the old Fords etc. Even so there was still only room for one official passenger which was bound to make life complicated when you had 2 drivers bringing their wives on a Christmas tour.

There were some people in a medival tower being taken to their rooms . Although this was a modern period these people might have been prisoners or something like that being led through the tower. One said to the other “at least it’s not bad. We know that there are people in the adjoining rooms”. One of the people in one of the adjoining rooms was a young girl. They said “goodnight” as they walked past but there was no reply from her room so they were wondering what was going on in there, it was so quiet and she didn’t seem to be about.

And there was more to that than this as well but if you’re eating your tea you really don’t want to hear about it.

Tea was a stuffed pepper as usual and it was one of the best that I’ve ever made. Plenty of stuffing left too so I’ll have a good taco roll tomorrow.

But I have no idea what was going on between 00:30 and 02:01 when I dictated no fewer than SEVEN soundfiles and stepped back into the same dream a total of four times one after the other.

It’s probably the strangest night that I’ve ever had and it’s a shame that none of my regulars were there to share it..

Thursday 25th August 2022 – I HAVE BEEN …

… out and about this afternoon, just for a change. And the days when my whole existence can be uplifted into headline news because I’ve actually been into the town centre shows you what’s going on in my life right now.

With a cheque to pay in, some magnesium tablets to buy and a load of ships in port, it seemed like a good plan.

Yesterday’s highlight, which I didn’t mention for fear of overwhelming you all with excitement, was going to the bins to take out the rubbish. It needed something really riveting to surpass that, didn’t it?

Only a few minutes late going to bed, and for a change I had a reasonable night. Mind you, once again it was a struggle to my feet this morning.

After the meds I attacked the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. A bill came through for £170 and I wanted to pay it so I took my credit card and rang up the people concerned ready to pay it over the phone. After being shunted around half a dozen departments I was told that there was another procedure to follow. They explained the procedure to me which I didn’t quite understand but I had a go and the payment failed. I rang them back to explain to them. They explained another procedure which again failed. I was there for about three days trying to speak to all kinds of different people. Eventually they said that they had taken the payment with the credit card over the phone. I asked for confirmation so they put me through to the accounts department to make sure. When I spoke to her and told her about this she replied “you have to pay it”. I retorted “I’ve just paid it”. She asked “have you?” in an air of totally disbelieving tone. I replied “yes” so she said that I’d have to speak to someone in Accounts. I said “I just have done. It was they who just passed me through to you”. I had a feeling that with this money we were just going to be going round and round in a circle and end up nowhere at all. This was taking place while I was in the hospital. I had people in the ward with me so it was really extremely uncomfortable as well.

Afterwards I was in bed but awoke to hear some laughing. The ‘phone went and I couldn’t hear one side of the conversation but the other one was something like “yes, we’re all up and preparing to leave but Eric is still in bed”. I stood up quickly, grabbed my clothes, all my money fell out of my jeans, put on my clothes, kept on having my feet stuck in the legs of my trousers, generally trying to organise myself quickly because they’ll be taking down this tent in a minute. It seemed to me that the quicker I tried to do things, the longer it was actually taking me. I thought that I’d never have enough time to do this and collect my things together before they wanted to pull down this tent.

There was an interruption though in mid-transcribe, and an embarrassing interruption at that.

Yesterday with not feeling so bright and being rather tired, I hadn’t tidied anything up and the place was looking like a total tip. And, of course, I’d completely forgotten about the nurse. She turned up to find me in total chaos and not as clean as I would otherwise have liked the place to have been.

She struggled to find a clean and clear place to put the paper while she wrote out her notes and while she’s a cheerful sort, she clearly wasn’t happy.

All in all, it was rather an shameful situation.

It’s not going to improve very much either because the next time that she’ll be coming to inject me is in 10 days time on a Sunday morning and you all know what I’m like early on a Sunday morning.

After she left I carried on transcribing the notes and almost as soon as I’d finished, Rosemary called me. I’m convinced that when she was here she must have concealed a camera somewhere because she seems to know the precise moment to phone me.

When Rosemary and I finished our chat I started on what was left of the dictaphone notes from my trip around Central Europe and in a mad fit of enthusiasm and energy (don’t ask me where that came from)I completed them all. So that’s another good job completed.

In fact, it took me longer than I was expecting the pause for my lunchtime fruit notwithstanding.

fish processing plant festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Because of the position of the tide, I wanted to go out for my walk earlier than usual this afternoon.

As usual when I’m heading into town my point of reference for checking the camera is the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

There wasn’t anyone down there at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon. Gerlean who sometimes ties up there was in the inner harbour and I couldn’t see L’Omerta, the other boat that loiters around there usually.

Plenty of boxes on the quayside though so they must be expecting a load of traffic.

sailing boats rowing boat festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022In fact you can see Gerlean down there right now tied up to a pontoon.

What you can’t see though is Victor Hugo. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Believe it or not, I can tell you exactly where she ought to be right now without even looking at the radar. She should be back at her berth. She left home at 09:30 for Jersey and left there at 18:30 to return home.

It reminds me of Frankie Howerd when during one of his TV programmes he turned to the audience and asked “how do I know? Well, I have read the script”

While I was over there I picked up a timetable from the ferry terminal so I now know her agenda. It’s all bad news as far as I can see because the season of sailings is so intermittent that there’s no possibility of my going over there for a convenient three-or four-day break as I was hoping.

Going down all of the steps to the Rue du Port was mush more difficult than I imagined. I’m definitely losing my mobility. I then crossed the road and went over along the side of the Fish Processing Plant towards the harbour gates.

la granvillaise marie fernand grain de sail le loup rouge festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The boat that we haven’t seen before on the extreme right is called Le Loup Rouge. She was built in 1962 and has a very interesting history as she was designed by John Illingworth and Angus Primrose as a racing yacht.

She actually won the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s championship that year. Now though, she lives a more sedate life in Cherbourg just going to regattas and exhibitions.

Of course, over there we have on the extreme left La Granvillaise and next to her is Marie Fernand. We are, for the moment anyway, much more interested in the other boat, Grain de Sail

grain de sail festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travailport de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Her claim to fame is that she’s a commercial sailing boat that is powered (almost) exclusively by wind. There’s a small diesel engine on board but that’s just for manoeuvring, so we are told.

But while a uniquely wind-powered boat is nothing unusual, what is unusual about her is that she has a carrying capacity of 50 tonnes and twice a year goes over on a triangular voyage from Europe to New York with local French produce for the American market, and then down to the Caribbean and finally back to Europe.

Not that two voyages per year of 50 tonnes is going to contribute much to the environment, but it’s all to prove a point. And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, when I lived in the Auvergne I did much more than that and for a much longer period to prove a point.

le roc a la mauve 3 festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022My was timed to perfection as the harbour gates were closed so I could walk over the top to the other side.

As I did so, the first of the shell-fishing boats came in to unload at the fish processing plant. This one is Le Roc à la Mauve whom we saw for a lengthy period in the chantier naval.

Towing her little lighter behind her, she chugged into port with a respectable load of shellfish on board. The guy back there at the HIAB was repositioning the boxes, presumably for ease of unloading.

That’s not the kind of thing that you would do out in the open sea. There have been maritime disasters too numerous to mention where the load in a boat has suddenly shifted or been shifted and caused the boat to capsize with all hands. There was one like that in North Wales not so long ago.

grain de sail festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Once I was on the other side of the harbour I went down to Grain de Sail.

There was a member of the crew on board so I button-holed him. His ship is only a four-berth and as it needs four hands to sail it, it doesn’t take passengers on its transatlantic jaunts.
“What about if you only have three crew members and are in need of a fourth?”
“Do you have a “Marine Marchand” – a Merchant Navy certificate?”
“Regrettably not”
“Then I’m afraid that you wouldn’t be considered.”

And so that was that. At least I tried

Instead I admired the arrays of solar panels and the two wind turbines. They also have some hydro-generators too but I bet that they slow down the boat.

Next stop was the ferry terminal where I picked up a brochure for Victor Hugo. And my enquiries told me that Ukrainian refugees going for a day out to Jersey need a UK visa all the same.

kiddies pirate ship festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With things to do in the town I headed that way along the side of the quay.

One thing that I like about France is that they are much more child-friendly than the UK and so I was expecting to see much more for the kids than you would see at a festival across the channel.

And I wasn’t wrong either. You can’t have a Festival of sailing ships without having a pirate ship, complete with pirates and buccaneers to chase the kids and press-gang them into service on board.

Even STRAWBERRY MOOSE has experienced life as an active buccaneer, as regular readers of this rubbish WILL RECALL

In fact, looking for that photo made me all nostalgic. That was an excellent road trip, one of the very best, when I started off in the far north of Labrador and three weeks later I was at Rhys’s in South Carolina.

Housman summed it up completely with his
” That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

kiddies pirate ship festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here.

The buccaneers have now rounded up a crowd of apprentice pirates and one of them is giving them all a lecture on what is expected of them when they serve aboard the Good Ship Glug Glug.

Actually she should have been called The Jolly Roger but the pirate captain’s wife fell off the quayside as she swung the bottle of champers

Anyway, everyone was having a whale of a time (seeing as we are discussing nautical terms) and I left them to it, crossing the ad-hoc bridge over the artificial beach.

film screen festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Yesterday I thought that I saw a puss .. errr … a TV screen down on the harbour so I went for a closer look seeing as I was here.

It was in fact a screen showing a series of cartoons for children explaining in simple terms all about life at sea. It’s nice to see the kids having a fair whack at the festival.

From there I wandered into town to pay my quarterly pension cheque into my bank account. Now where can I go with €142:60? Spend! Spend! Spend! Hey?

At the chemist’s I bought the magnesium tablets. Extra-strong. According to my friend the pharmacist these will give me a donner un coup de fouet – liven me up.

She might actually have a point there. Thinking about it, I started going downhill when I finished the last lot, went without for a week or 10 days and then had that big box of German ones.

marité festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That was it. I could go home now.

The walk back up the hill wasn’t as difficult as I was expecting. I still had to stop a couple of times for breath, at one point where I could overlook the port and see what was happening.

Marité was there of course, one of the centres of attention. But you can see just how busy the Festival is. And it will be like that until Sunday now, I reckon. It’s a good way to finish the summer season I suppose, even if the roads and the car parks will be crowded.

So having gathered my wits, I pushed on further up the hill towards home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, I wanted to see what was happening on the beach, although I don’t know why because I checked the camera on the way out.

The weather was much nicer today although maybe a little cooler. But the absence of people on the beach can probably be explained by the crowds of people down in the town and at the Festival.

Back here I had a surprise. There’s an undercurrent of dissent about the way the building is managed and two or three people are trying to stir up a revolution. They had pushed a letter into my letterbox

As I’m a tenant and not an owner, it doesn’t really concern me so I wrote a quick note on the back of the letter and put it in the letter box of the building’s President.

During this argument I’m taking no sides but I’m keeping in with the President. She’s the one who has my best chance of coming up the quickest with news of an apartment here to sell that I could buy.

The idea behind renting this place was because it would give me chance to look around and see what else was available. But there is no place on earth better than here so I’m staying here and renting rather than buying somewhere less good.

One day an apartment will come up here.

The walk was such that an iced chocolate drink went down well and then I began to update one or two of the blog entries with the dictaphone notes and images.

After a chat on the ‘phone with the President about my note

Tea tonight (at the usual, correct time) was pie with potatoes, veg and gravy. It’s one of my favourite meals and this one was just as nice as ever. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … my meals are simple but they aren’t half tasty.

It’s been a surprising day today – I’ve walked quite a way, not crashed out, done a lot of work. I wonder if I can keep this up. It’s not like me to have a day like this so I’m glad that I made the most of it.

Ready for the (af)fray tomorrow, I hope.

Tuesday 16th August 2022 – SUMMER IS BACK!

After the couple of days that we had of grey overcast weather conditions, Summer came back with a bang today.

Not quite the record-breaking temperatures that we had, but blue skies all the same.

dry footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And while we’re on the subject of the hot weather … “well, one of us is” – ed … I thought that you might like to see how things are doing around here.

This is the footpath on top of the cliffs at the back of the Sports Ground. It’s the route that I take down to the end of the headland and you can see how it is (or isn’t) holding up.

The path itself is a layer about an inch thick of dust. On the edges of the path the grass has dried out completely and has died off in places. The rest of it, what’s left, is a burnt shrivelled mass and it’ll take a while to regenerate.

Those little showers of rain that we have had just recently haven’t done anything towards improving the situation.

What else took a while to regenerate this morning was me, unfortunately.

It wasn’t until 09:00 that the alarm went off for me to awaken but there was a good reason for that. Late last night a Paul Temple adventure came up on the old-time radio feed just as I was thinking of going to bed. A programme that is timed at 3:25:00

These old radio programmes are really excellent and so I was planning on listening for an hour or so before going to bed. But instead I ended up listening to the whole programme and it was long after 01:00 when I fell into the stinking pit.

Not that I’m bothered about that because life is for enjoying too as well as working and let’s face it – I’m not getting much pleasure in anything else right now

So after I’d finally staggered into the kitchen for my medication I came back in here to find out where I’d been during the night.

And it’s no surprise that I wasn’t feeling like much today when you look at where I went during the night. Having stayed awake until all hours listening to a Paul Temple episode, when I was asleep I had a Paul Temple episode going on in my head. It went on for hours and hours and hours. It involved some saucepans and saucepan lids but everything was just so confusing that I can’t remember any of it. It rambled on and on and on about these guys who I think might have been sportsmen on small boats or something. That’s all that I can really say about this that went on for hours.

And then we were still in Istanbul (had we been there before? I dunno). We’d been talking to some people about meeting up with someone and performing an interview. They to whom we were talking was a taxi driver had something to do and he produced a girl. She exited his cab and walked away. The person with me said that that would have been a good interview. He explained that she was rather too far in in this organisation and would likely cause a lot of problems. She spent most of her time being institutionalised and the rest of the time going round with this gang. So we agreed and he said that he’d see who else he could find for us. He drove away. The person with me said “God, I have to go” and dashed through the door in this stone terraced house and disappeared. I went through this door. There was a set of really steep steps that went down to the river. I went down there as best as I could. I had no idea where he went. There were 2 or 3 cafés at the bottom. He didn’t appear to be in either so I wondered whether he’d gone to the toilet so I’d wait around. There was a girl painter there with a boy whom she was painting. He was carrying this brown and black cat. She was drawing the cat so I went over to talk to her and to stroke the cat. It wasn’t all that friendly but it didn’t fight or anything. We chatted about the cat for quite some time.

Later on we were on a train heading north towards Doncaster somewhere like that. We were on board and it was an express. There were a few seats taken, not all that many. We walked along the train trying to find our places to sit. I can’t remember any more than that

At some point or other a girl with me announced that she was pregnant but it was sort-of announced by accident. It wasn’t a planned announcement, it came out in the conversation. I asked her what she was going to do but she didn’t give a reply so we went back home and went in. The house was totally filthy and really awful. Everyone was just sitting around in a complete state of untidiness. Someone said “you’ll never guess what the baby (for there was another baby in there) had been playing with. He went on to say that it was a half-dead mouse. “I just threw it i ntothe middle of the room” he said which made everyone shudder. I had to start to look for this thing. I thought that if any girlfriend of mine was going to be pregnant this place is going to have to be cleaned up because she shouldn’t bring up a child in this no matter how someone else was bringing up another one. It clearly wasn’t any good at all and we needed to do something about it.

And finally I was walking along the shore on the edge of a beach. There was some people and a dog down there playing about in somewhere where there had been a great big fire. I could hear them discussing it. They seemed to think that it was some form of spontaneous combustion of whatever was underneath the sand. They were busy digging away at it and walking in for a closer look. I carried on walking past and ended up in the mountains in the snow looking at the maps about the ski resort and the various tracks to descend into the valley again. I was looking for either a blue or a red run. Eventually I found what I thought might be a good place to go down but there was a lot of fog around. It came swirling around cutting off the view of the valley and then the view of the sign with the routes on it. I thought to myself that this is going to be extremely difficult for me to go

That skiing excursion actually reminded me of a skiing adventure in which I took part in Cervinia in Italy in the days of my youth. I was with my Italo-Russian friend and we were up in the mountains of Italy near the Matterhorn. We were with a few other people but we were actually in front and when we returned to the village we found that we were on our own.

There had been hanging clouds in the mountains and they had missed the left-turning in the mist and carried straight on downhill into a different valley and ended up in Switzerland. In the days of border controls with no passports or anything, and the 38-mile taxi ride to return to the hotel was the least of their problems.

But something else that was interesting was the dream about the untidy house. We all know only too much about that these days and so for the rest of the day (because there wasn’t much of the rest of it after typing out all of that) I’ve been tidying up in here.

A huge pile of rubbish, papers and the like, bit the dust today. It’s all in the bin and a lot more would have followed it except that each time that I went out I bumped into a neighbour and we had a lengthy chat. Not that I’m one for chatting to the neighbours but I do have to try to be sociable occasionally.

And I now know why the barrier to the car park isn’t working. I wondered where the car of one of my neighbours had gone

As well as taking out the papers I’ve actually put some stuff away too, I have cunning plans for more stuff and later on tonight I’m going to go outside with my old non-working printer and … errr … forget where I left it. This is going to be quite a long job.

In fact I was so carried away that I forgot to go for breakfast. That’s not like me, is it? Although I am eating less these days than I have done in the past.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022It was a surprise that I actually managed to make it out for my afternoon walk.

As usual I went across to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach. With the weather being a lot warmer and sunnier than it has been this last couple of days I was expecting to see the crowds.

And as usual, I’m not disappointed. This was just a few of them, with many people having taken to the water to cool off. There were crowds of people elsewhere disporting themselves on beach towels catching the sun all the way down the coast.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was at it, I had a look out to sea to see what was happening there.

When I’d been walking down to the end of the car park I’d seen something white out at sea. It’s actually a yacht with a white sail with green stripe that’s cavorting around out there and it has a friend way over there towards the northern Normandy shore.

Over to the right of the yacht in the foreground is a marker buoy, presumably indicating another lobster pot, and then we have one of the many bouchot farms of the area in the background with its stakes rearing up like a medieval cheval de frise

st helier jersey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As you can tell from the previous photo, the view was so much better today with the air being much cleaner.

That meant that I had high hopes for a photo of Jersey and St Helier so I went and found a piece of high ground where there might be a really good view.

And once again I wasn’t disappointed. It’s not the clearest view that we have had of St Helier but it’s still pretty good all the same.

One of these days I’ll really have to get myself out there somehow so that I can identify all of the buildings that I can see from here. The way that things are right now, I’ll have to hitch a ride on a freighter.

kayak cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Or else flag down a friendly cabin cruiser.

As I walked through the sandy wastes towards the end of the headland I noticed this cabin cruiser pull up. At first I thought that it might be a group of fishermen but as I watched they lowered something down at the stern.

A couple of minutes later someone climbed in and kayaked away. And it’s a good job that it’s summer because you don’t need to keep warm. After all, we all know that you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

And on that not, I wandered off further down the path.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The car park was crowded again with cars so I was expecting to see a lot of people here too.

Plenty of folk down on the lower path and there was a couple of people sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

Not that they had very much to see because there were no boats out there this afternoon and no-one fishing on the rocks.

However, the buoy that we saw yesterday marking what I assume to be a lobster pot was still there so they can keep their eye on that.

ch638749 pescadore ch918297 trafalgar ch764626 chant des sirenes ch449345 peccavi ch 730708 la soupape I ch898472 cap lihou chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what’s happening in the port.

And there are yet more changes in the chantier naval as another trawler has come in to join the fray today. The black and blue trawler in the middle of all of that is Pescadore.

She always confuses me because when I first came here she was actually blue and white but had a repaint a while back.

Meanwhile over at the ferry terminal out of shot is Chausiaise, the little freighter. She’s not going anywhere at the moment.

marie fernand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was here I went to check to see if anyone was playing “Musical Ships” at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon but I was side-tracked.

Over there in the inner harbour is a yacht. At first I thought that it might be Charles Marie because it seems to be the same style, but the colours are different. This one here is dark brown rather than dark blue.

So I shall have to go for a closer look to see if I can pick up a name.

But there’s another lorry in the port this afternoon, presumably dropping off some more freight for the Channel Islands. Things are certainly hotting up here as far as freight goes. We’re starting to be over-run and that’s good news.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Heading off towards the inner harbour (forgetting all about the Fish Processing Plant) I noticed that Victor Hugo is back in port.

The last that I heard of her she was running a shuttle around the outlying islands of the Channel Islands but now she’s back in the inner harbour and moored up at the quayside. It looks as if her mad dashes out and about over the last couple of days have come to a halt.

However I hope that it’s only a temporary pause. I mentioned earlier that I want to get out to the Channel Islands at some point in the near future and I had some high hopes that the ferry might become a regular thing. It’s no part of my plan for her to be laid up for long.

marie fernand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So back at the inner harbour and the yacht that’s in here.

It was not easy to read her name but a check of the fleet radar later revealed that she’s called Marie Fernand. She was built in 1894 as one of the harbour pilots for Le Havre and the northern Frenc coast, duties that she carried out until motorisation of the pilot service after World War I.

She was sold to someone in the UK in 1922 and for a long time disappeared from view.

Someone told me a delightful anecdote about her though. They planned to build a reconstruction of her in time for her centenary so they cast around for the plans. However someone had the rather brilliant idea “why don’t we just copy the original?”.

That was the first that the organisers knew that she still existed so they convinced the British owners to sell her back to the port and since then she’s been restored and was present at her own centenary.

There’s the Festival of Working Sailboats taking place soon so I imagine that she’s come here to be part of it.

Back here I had my iced coconut drink and did a little more tidying up. It’s going to take me an age to do what I want to do.

Tea was the second half of that rather wicked curry. and it was wicked as well. I’ll have to put the toilet paper in the fridge later.

But I didn’t go out to put the printer out. Even as I write we’re having a thunderstorm and a rainstorm. The printer doesn’t really work but I want to give someone a sporting chance and soaking it in water won’t help.

No radio tonight – I’m listening to music so I doubt if I’ll have a late night. I must remember to reset the alarm and then tomorrow carry on with my cleaning plan, otherwise known as “throwing out surplus items”.

A good night’s sleep would be nice too. We can live in hope.

Friday 12th August 2022 – GONE!

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And never called me “mother”!

When I went out this afternoon for my walk, I noticed that Victor Hugo, the Channel Islands ferry boat, has disappeared again. Gone on its travels, probably.

According to the fleet radar, she left at 08:12 and arrived in St Helier at 10:20, which is pretty quick going. And there she sits even as we speak. She doesn’t seem to be in any rush to come back home again.

Here’s hoping that the ferry service starts up again soon.

Something else that is gone! And never called me “mother” either is a certain letter.

This afternoon I have just heaved a rather large shark into the swimming pool by sending a letter of 1573 words to the Hospital’s Director of Medical Services.

Both Liz and Alison, to whom I showed it before I sent it, told me that they reckoned that it was too long. But you know me – never write 100 words when 1000 will do the job just as well.

If the past is anything to go by, which it usually is, the net result of my letter will be “nothing at all” but one can live in hope, even if I end up dying in despair. Some things need to be said, some points need to be underlined and (more importantly) the hospital needs to know in precise detail exactly how I feel.

What they do then is their own affair of course, but at least I’ve done all that I can and I can’t really do any more, much as I would like to. We’ll just sit back and see what happens now. It’s in the lap of the Gods.

But it goes to show the value of keeping a blog, and an indexable, searchable one too because although it took up a lot of time, I could come up with dates, places and resumés of conversations. And it’s that kind of thing that can kill any argument stone-dead before it even starts.

So retournons à nos moutons as they say around here, the alarm going off found me dictating into the dictaphone. So yes, I must have gone off on some travels at some point. And that’s despite a night that was later than it ought to have been.

After the medication I went and had a shower and, because I’m feeling under par due no doubt to having had the ‘flu for Christmas, I cut my hair.

Having dealt wit that I came back in here and, managing to avoid falling asleep, I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night. I’d gone to the library to look at a book. The Reference Library was extremely untidy. I was searching through the shelves looking for this particular book and laying down one or two others that I might need when one of the workers came past. It was one of the bad-tempered ones and she was saying that the place looked so untidy. She said “get it tidied” to me and presumably one or two other people, members of the public, so I said a few words to her and she said a few words to me and wandered off. In the end what we did was to start to pick up the loose books lying around and stuffing them in the shelves any old how. Of course in libraries there’s a certain order and a certain position to respect, particularly with reference books so we thought that that would give then ten times more work to do when they come to sort it out. A group of us began to talk about this and said how bad it was here. One of them asked me if I’d like to go to the library at Rennes, a young girl, quite nice. I wasn’t sure at first. One of the other people there had been to the library at Rennes with her. She said that she had some spare tickets still so in the end I agreed that I’d go with her. I don’t know why I needed too much persuading to do something with a young girl. The subject came round to religion. I said that I didn’t have a religion which scandalised them so I told them the joke about me walking by a church and God sending down a thunderbolt which they thought was extremely funny.

Telling jokes again in a dream again?

Later on I’d been for a weekend away. I was already in the middle of a holiday. I was in New York somewhere and something had happened and I had to change hotel and had to change the style of the way that I look and the clothes that I was wearing so that I had a completely different look about me. For a couple of days I had to go away to Southport. I found myself standing outside the station and I had all mu luggage – my huge suitcase and my little suitcase, my 2 sacks with all my bedding. I thought “why on earth do I need all of this just for a weekend?” but it was too late. I was there now. I had to be careful about the trains and was wondering how I was going to manage to manhandle all this luggage. I’d gone over there to the station and borrowed a trolley. I put my bags on it and found that it would go up the steps quite comfortably and quite easily. That looked fine. As I reached the top I came to the steps to go down to the other side. These steps were totally different and I thought that this would be totally agonising going down here with all of this. I reached the bottom and found that the 2 bags with my bedding had gone. I don’t remember seeing them fall off. I wondered if someone had taken them. I couldn’t hang around because the train was coming so I took my 2 suitcases and boarded the train. It was crowded and people were moving my suitcases around as they came in and went out. Someone in the end squeezed them in a corner that upset a guy with a musical instrument. His musical instrument was there. The train gradually thinned out so I could rescue my suitcases. He made some kind of gesture to me which I thought might have been friendly but I didn’t know and this train continued rattling on its way to Southend.

Later on it was the graduation of my little girlfriend who worked on Saturdays in the library about whom I’ve talked quite often and I’d been invited which was a surprise. She obviously thought highly of me. Because of the Covid restrictions she could only invite 3 different households and then only 2 people from each household so I felt extremely honoured. We were at the University making all kinds of arrangements. Someone was asking for details about the graduation so I told them basically that there were only 3 households and 2 people from each one. They had a hard time trying to understand it which I didn’t understand. It seemed straightforward to me but I had to tell them probably a dozen times and they still hadn’t understood what was happening. They wanted to know why but it was quite obvious with Covid. We were back in the hall talking about things, talking about computing. Someone asked me if I’d ever used Flash. I replied “God yes I’ve used Flash on games and everything 15 years ago. I’ve certainly used it but I’ve never actually been inside it to see how it works or programmed anything with it”. Then we were talking about 15 years ago and how that was the heyday of the internet when all kinds of private people were making the internet work and it was a really exciting place to be before Corporate took over the internet.

It’s actually quite amazing that I could come out with something like that in a dream. Back 15 years ago the internet was a fun and exciting place to be. In those days small groups of talented individuals were leading the tech revolution. But now they’ve all either sold out, been suckered in or submerged into the Corporate internet world and these days the onlu small groups of individuals remaining are down in the depths of the dark web spending their time waging war on Corporate tech. There doesn’t seem to be the same “Internet Warriors” that we had back then and it’s made the internet a dreary place.

At least I’m still shining the torch for the lost generation of 15-20 years ago of blogs and personal websites and newsgroups. But I won’t be around for long. We need to turn the clock back and reclaim the internet.

Having had a lengthy pause to gather up my thoughts, I sat down and composed my masterpiece. And rather unlike Beethoven who spent 44 years composing and then the next 195 years decomposing, I spent just several hours on writing out my pièce de résistance.

As a result I ended up with a considerably late lunchtime fruit session while Alison and Liz were reviewing “War and Peace”.

Having fixed the typos I printed it out and put it in an envelope, putting the bill from May in an envelope to send back too, and eventually, later than usual, headed out for the town.

fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, I stopped at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check the camera.

There’s a good view down onto the Fish Processing Plant from here and strangely, there were no boats tied up playing “musical ships” today. They must all be out and about somewhere offshore earning a living.

But they are certainly expected back sometime soon. If you look down onto the lover level down the ramp underneath the car park you’ll see the tractor and presumably the trailer that it pulls.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen that wandering through the town quite often loaded to the gunwhales with boxes of bouchots.

fire st pair sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Yesterday we saw the signs of a fire over the back of the church here in Granville.

Here, it’s the turn of St Pair sur Mer to catch fire. Even though it’s quite a distance away we can see the smoke billowing up from somewhere across the bay there at the back of the town.

And that reminds me. I did have a quick look through the local newspaper this morning but there was nothing at all in it about the fire yesterday. So that’s quite a mystery to me. It’s the kind of thing that you would expect to be reported.

Anyway, I wandered off down towards town.

burnt houses rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While we’re on the subject of fire … “well, one of us” – ed … we mustn’t forget what happened here in the old town one Saturday evening a few months ago.

That was when the house in the middle here caught fire and went up like a Roman candle, taking the houses on either side with it.

We saw them weatherproof the houses (not that they needed to have bothered given the weather that we have been having) shortly afterwards and that’s how I found them today on my first trip to town after so many weeks.

It looks as if any talk about repairing them has been put on the … errr … back burner for a while, presumably while the insurance details are finalised.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while Victor Hugo has sailed off into the sunset – or, rather, sunrise – Marité is back in town.

She’s been absent for the last couple of days having a sail around the bay, usually coming back at the end of the evening long after I’ve been tucked up in bed with my glass of hot Wincarnis.

When I was younger I would go for the Phyllosan that fortifies the over-forties but they haven’t invented anything yet that will sixtify the over-sixties. But never mind. Sony has a product launch in mind for my generation. Soon they’ll be bringing out the Sony Walkframe.

That is something I could use as well as I staggered into town. I made it to the Post Office and posted my letters, having to remind someone in front of me who clearly has more problems then I do that when you’ve bought your price label for your letter, you need to take your letter off the scales, stick the label onto it and stick it in the post box instead of simply walking out of the building.

And you thought that I had problems.

So I dealt with the necessary, exchanging a few pleasantries with the woman in the queue behind me, and then headed for home.

kiddies roundabout place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022One of the things that I wanted to do was to check the kiddies roundabout.

With that article having been in the paper a couple of weeks ago even though the roundabout has been here for several weeks longer than that, I wanted to make sure that we were talking about the same machine.

So yes, by comparing photos this is indeed the one that came here a while back so I’m at a loss to explain why the local newspaper has only recently picked this up.

It must have been a quiet news day.

bar ephemere chez maguie place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The climb up the hill was better than I was expecting – in that I actually did manage to make it home.

It was necessary for me to pause a couple of times to catch my breath and at one of those places I was overlooking Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère on the Place Pelley.

It’s still here, despite the best efforts of the residents in the new block of flats in the background to drive out of town everything that disturbs their peace regardless of how popular it might be with the people who were living in the town a long time before they moved in.

It’s quite popular too, with loads of people enjoying a drink. No-one on the boulodrome though. It was far too hot for that.

Round about here I fell in with a neighbour and we had a good chat. Then I pushed on for my final leg.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before going in for my nice cold chocolate drink I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

Being later than usual, the tide was well out so there weren’t too many people down there this afternoon. They must have called it a day. A few people here and there in the water which sounded like a good idea.

Back here I had an ice-cold glass of chocolate drink and then had a play around with some photos for a while.

Tea was pie and veg with gravy, in the hope of making yet more room in the freezer. I need beans and peas tomorrow and I’ve no idea where I’m going to put them

Right now, having had a mammoth diet all day of “Eloy” and “Ten Years After”, I’m going to bed ready for shopping tomorrow. And then a nice restful day followed by football on the internet later. The Welsh Premier League starts back up tomorrow afternoon.

And what will my letter to the hospital bring me? I imagine that it will be several weeks before I hear anything, if I hear anything at all. And I don’t think that anything will change. But there’s not much else that I can do. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I can’t keep going on like this.

Saturday 6th August 2022 – AS BARRY HAY ONCE …

… famously said, IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK HOME.

And, shame as it is to admit it, it was good to have Caliburn at the railway station too because the train can be 15 minutes late arriving in Granville, I can go to do a pile of shopping in Lidl, and still be back home before the usual time that I would have been had I walked, and without any of the stress and fatigue.

Just as well too because apart from the fact that it was a scorching afternoon that would have burnt me to a frazzle had I tried to walk, I’d had another bad night. In fact, when the alarm went off at 05:30 I was already up and about tidying the room.

martelarenplein gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022Never mind the 06:33 to Oostende, I was well in advance for the 06:09 to Knokke via the airport

For a change, I was out of the building quite rapidly and soon at the Martelarenplein. That’s been under renovation for years too so it’s really nice to see it almost clear of the evidence. Just a portaloo and a little compound to go.

But by the looks of things, Birnam Wood is now on its way to Dunsinane, and presumably intending to travel there by taxi too because it’s just behind where they are that the taxis line up to take away the passengers.

And you can see the time on the station clock just above the trees.

glad road sign martelarenplein Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022It goes without saying that I’m quite happy too. Especially as I’m on my way home.

Seriously … “just for once” – edGlad is Flemish for “slippery”. What this sign is referring to is that there’s a spiral cycle ramp just here and when it rains and the water comes cascading down it’s quite treacherous.

It beats me why someone would want to bring a horse up there, but I was going to go for a closer look but there were no little girls around to come with me, presumably something compulsory, judging by the accompanying sign.

sncb 535 am96 multiple unit gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022Bang on time the 06:06 pulled in so I clambered aboard that and headed into Brussels via the airport.

It’s one of the class of AM96 multiple units with the rubber bellows end and the driver’s cab that tilts away when two or more trainsets are coupled together. These are quite comfortable, compared to some of the trains that work this line.

Not much luggage space though which is rather sad for a train that goes back and to via the airport. When the train is full we’re all somewhat overwhelmed with suitcases, although it was quite empty today.

ukrainian refugee centre gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022At Brussels I had a few things to do there so I was glad that I was on the earlier train.

First thing to do was to check the Ukrainian Refugee Centre to make sure that it was still operating. It was all closed up when I went by but that’s presumably due to the early hour. It looks as if it’s still operating in normal times.

Second thing was to draw more cash from the one-armed bandit. I don’t use very much cash at all these days, preferring to pay by card for everything but nevertheless it’s still handy to have some floating about.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that as a result of years of bitter experience, I keep €50 tucked away in my phone case and another €50 tucked away in Caliburn just in case I forget my bank cards when I’m on my travels, and I’ve had to rely on them more than once.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4537 PBA gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022There was only a short wait after that because much to my surprise, and everyone else’s too they posted the train to Paris half an hour before the next one so we all swarmed up to the platform.

Today’s train consists of two trainsets, each of 8 carriages. Mine is a “PBA” trainset, one of the Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam Reseau 38000 tri-volt units. Quite elderly now but still quite capable of cruising for hours effortlessly non-stop at speeds of over 300kph.

Despite their age, it’s still by far the most comfortable and quickest way to travel to Paris. Many people think that an aeroplane might be quicker but it takes an age to travel from Brussels to the airport at Zaventam and then from Charles de Gaulle to the centre of Paris.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4533 PBA gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric Hall photo August 2022The other trainset is also a “PBA” and that’s a surprise. We’re quite used to having hybrid trains consisting of different types of trainsets.

Everyone suged aboard and I could understand why they posted the train earlier too. There were 16 carriages on this train, all of which except the two buffet cars have 108 seats, and there wasn’t an empty seat on the whole train.

Getting that lot on board would take much longer than 15 minutes.

My seat was squashed in a corner out of the way so I passed the time of the journey choosing more music for my radio shows and keeping myself to myself.

Paris was heaving too. I was lucky enough to grab a seat on the Metro and we whizzed through the drains quite rapidly.

At the exit at the Gare Montparnasse Metro station a couple of people offered to carry my suitcase up the stairs for me, which was very nice of them. I didn’t take up their offer as I have to do all that I can to maintain my autonomy.

Nevertheless I am glad that I found that easier walk down the street instead of struggling through the labyrinth.

Gare Montparnasse was heaving with people this morning but then the first Saturday in August, that’s hardly a surprise. And I was lucky to find a seat next to an electric socket that actually worked so I could charge up the phone and listen to a live concert of Steve Harley and Nick Pynn which has one of the best versions of “Riding The Waves” that I’ve ever heard.

84558 gec alstom regiolis gare montparnasse paris france Eric Hall photo August 2022The train back home was as usual a Gec Alstom Regiolis

Once again we were called early to the train which was once more just as well, and for the same reason as before. 2×6-car units and not a spare seat anywhere.

Lucky me! I had a lovely travelling companion but she didn’t say much and I carried on choosing music, reading a couple of books and … errr … falling asleep as we all went West.

The car park at the station was heaving too and leaving took quite a while. But I’m glad that I took the opportunity to go to Lidl because I could stock up with stuff for the next few days.

You’ve no idea how glad I was to be back at my apartment. I struggled up the stairs not once but twice with my stuff and ended up having quite a long chat with my neighbour from upstairs and we put the world to rights for a while.

Once I’d installed myself inside I made a nice strong coffee and a couple of rounds of toast – the first stuff that I’d eaten today and it was 15:30.

While I was drinking the coffee (two cups) I backed up the big computer in here and even before I’d finished the coffee I’d fallen asleep again. This time it was a good one and I was gone for about an hour and a half.

Tea was what I should have had last night. Alison coming by yesterday was a surprise so we had eaten out and I brought the stuff back with me today. It’s a shame to waste it.

There was the dictaphone to deal with at some point too. I was cooking some food in the oven. There was some stuff in there that I’d bought and there was a pie in there, something like that. I put the pie in what was really the vegetable container in the fridge but that was in the oven. When I went to turn the pie over to do the other side I noticed what i’d done and had to take it out. I went to pull the vegetable tray out but it was made of glass and really hot. I dropped it on the floor. Luckily it didn’t break and didn’t damage my pie. I had to look around for a pyrex bowl in which to put my pie so it would heat up properly in the oven while everything else in there was cooking

Later I was in charge of a gaol last night in Alabama or Georgia somewhere in the USA. There was turmoil because the State declared itself independent from the USA and everything changed. The townspeople wanted to take control of the gaol because there was an Afro-Caribbean prisoner in there who they wanted to summarily execute. I’d arranged for my men to be in the prison so that there would be no violent takeover. Anyway the people came in. I was standing there with a loaded shotgun. They considered that to be provocation. One man sidled up towards me supposedly out of my vision to try to overpower me but I stepped back and drove the butt of the shotgun into his stomach. I’d sharpened the butt of the shotgun into a point so it was like a spear. It pierced his skin and that took him by surprise. We ended up in a back room where I stabbed him several more times with this shotgun. He ended up unconscious on the floor. I walked back into the room with the shotgun in one hand and an automatic pistol in the other and asked “what happens now?”. That took them completely by surprise that I’d managed to overpower this guy so easily.

Finally Zero’s dad had given me a small red FIAT car that was in really good condition. I’d brought it in through my front door and into the house to give to Nerina, the idea of the house being that he couldn’t claim it back just in case there was a problem because I wasn’t sure about how reliable this gift was going to be. Then I had to go and do some work on the computer so I went upstairs to my office . I’d arranged all the furniture at one time that meant that I couldn’t see the computer screen from where my desk was so I had to rearrange it all back again. While the computer was warming up there was a programme on the internet about some kind of race through these fields by the people of this village. They had become so bogged down in the mud etc that they’d had to bring dogs in to tow them out. One of the competitors had to stay behind because they had a pair of chains to use to attach these dogs to all the teams. Instead of being clear favourites they were way down the field by the end. The judges had to mark their lateness as being compulsory rather than voluntary and that was controversial. The judges had to stay there really late to mark this particular leg so they weren’t happy either. It was all rather chaotic

It’s been an age since Zero has come for a wander with me during the night but every now and again her father pops up uninvited. He’s obviously “The Banquo at my banquet, a cuckoo in my nest”. Why can’t he send Zero instead?

So now I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted and a good sleep will really do me good, I reckon. I’ve been invited out tomorrow but I don’t know if I shall go. I’m not feeling up to it right now so we’ll have to see if I’m feeling any better in the morning.

Wednesday 18th May 2022 – IT DIDN’T TAKE LONG …

crane shrink wrapped speedboat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… to solve the mystery of the clean-looking crane on the dockside.

As it happens, I mentioned yesterday that the name of the manufacturer had been painted out . But today, it’s been painted back in again. Therefore the conclusion that we can draw from this is that it is the old crane that was there, currently undergoing a renovation programme.

We’ll probably see a bit more of the signage painted back in over the nexr few days

But there has been a big change at the quayside today as well. One of the shrink-wrapped speedboats and a pile of freight has disappeared. Presumably one of the little Jersey freighters came in on the morning tide to whisk it away.

But while we’re on the subject of the morning … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’m not going to talk about this morning as you don’t want to hear about it. In fact I didn’t even make any effort to beat any of the alarms this morning.

It took quite a while to make a start as well today and that was extremely depressing. It seems to me that I’m drifting back into how I was in 2003/2004 and I really can’t go through this again.

Somehow I managed to find some enthusiasm to have a play on the guitar. Not very much but it was the first time since I’ve been back from Leuven.

And talking of Leuven, I ‘m beginning to come round to the feeling that my weekend in Paris was the wrong decision. Sleeping dogs are best left to lie and as I remember saying a good few weeks ago when we were talking about snowstorms in Ottawa, it’s wrong to go raking around in the embers of fires that were extinguished a long time ago.

Rosemary was on the phone again this afternoon. It seems that her refugees from Ukraine are now no longer coming. She’s now pondering over how best to proceed now.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022That took me up to the time to go for my afternoon walk.

And if you are thinking that this afternoon’s photo of people down there on the beach is taken from a different perspective or viewpoint, the fact is that this afternoon I went for a walk around the walls instead of around the headland.

It was another lovely day this afternoon so it was rather a surprise to see so few people down there this afternoon. I was in a tee-shirt again this afternoon and I’d left the window in the living room open last night.

Sumer is acumen in. Lhude sing cucu.

repointing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022One of the things that I wanted to do was to look at the repairs to the medieval city wall and see how they were progressing.

They have erected the scaffolding all around the medieval water closet and it looks as if they are having a good go at that right now.

They have also raked out all of the decaying mortar from the joints in between the stones in the wall so it looks as if they are going to be repointing all of that as well.

It doesn’t look though as if they are using any ballast to weigh down the scaffolding while it’s in position there. I have to say that I admire their confidence in this respect.

repointing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022While I was here I nipped down the steps to have a look to see what was happening on the outside of the wall just here.

As I was looking at the wall I fell in with one of the workmen here. We had a good chat about the work. I told him about the work that I’d done on the stone wall of my house in the Auvergne and he told me that he reckoned they will still be here this time next year doing this.

So having exchanged pleasantries, I climbed back up to the path (which wasn’t easy) and then carried on my way along the path underneath the walls towards the Plat Gousset.

open air swimming pool diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we noticed that the changing cabins had arrived on the Plat Gousset.

That usually means that the town is preparing for the summer season so I was expecting to see the diving platform installed on top of the concrete pillar. But that’s not here yet. They are taking their time with that.

But as far as the outdoor tidal swimming pool goes, I’m told that that they have been working on that today and they will finish of off tomorrow morning ready for the weekend.

You can also see the yellow buoys that mark the area of the beach that is patrolled by lifeguards.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022From the viewpoint overlooking the beach I walked around the corner to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

Once again, despite the nice weather, there weren’t all that many people down there either. It’s a Wednesday afternoon with schools on a half-day closing too so there should be many more people down there than that.

From there I walked off across the Square Maurice Marland that’s looking rather sad these days, especially when you consider all of the money they spent on it a couple of years ago.

On the way past I had a good look at the crane, a photo of which you all saw earlier.

seagull on nest rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Something else that caught my eye was all of the nests on the roofs in the Rue des Juifs.

The seagulls are settling down on top of their eggs waiting for them to hatch and I don’t imagine that it it will be too long before we have our fist sight of a few little chicks.

From here I went straight home. I was in no mood to go for a wander around. I bumped into one of my neighbours again and we had a chat for a couple of minutes and then I came home where there was a nice hot coffee waiting for me.

Later on I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There had been some refugee children come from Central Scotland. I’d been organising things, fetching them over, finding them accommodation, sending them there etc. There was one girl who was really nice. Everyone fell in love with her and that was no surprise because she was lovely. I don’t kow how this happened but one morning she was staying in bed at a home where there was another girl and someone else. I had to go and awaken the three of them. They were all being a bit cheeky so in the end I picked up all 3 of them at once and carried them downstairs all in my arms, the three of them. One of them, the English girl, had a driving lesson so I had to organise the car for her. There was much more to it than this of course but I can’t remember any more than that

There were 3 of us in north London in the early 60s. 2 were local boys and one was the son of West Indian immigrants who used to hang around together. This is the story of growing up and dating etc, students and driving down to cafés on the North Circular Road and the A1. In the end I was parked up on an old abandoned section of the A1 reading a book. Crowds of people were going past on their way for a Saturday night somewhere in the town. I was reading my book not really interested in what the others were doing at all. I was quite happy about that. There were some statistics about costs of house repair etc between prices of what you’d pay corporations to do work and what you’d pay the little people to do work. The little people’s prices were surprisingly significant whereas if it was a multi-million pound company to do the work you were probably paying twice as much for the same job. This cut-off was strange because it was all full of cut-down trees and I’d backed my car in among them so people walking past didn’t really see me until the last minute and it took them by surprise that I was there.

Later on I was in Crewe again taxiing. It was Christmas Eve and we were really busy. We had 2 cars working, me and someone else. There was a job from Crewe that we had to go to MacDonalds in Wrexham and if they didn’t have what we wanted we had to go to MacDonalds in Stockport and then come back. I reckoned that it would take about 2 hours to do that round trip. The driver didn’t think so but I was sure that that was what it would take. Anyway we packed him off and I carried on working. I ended up in Earle Street on a bicycle. There were crowds of motor bikers and cyclists around. The police had a barrage across the road and were checking people’s motorbikes for something or other. Some of them were glowing blue as if it was an explosives detector or something like that. I tried to find a policeman to ask but they were all far too busy to talk to me. Some passer-by pointed out a derailleur gear. He asked me about derailleur gears and I thought that it was Swiss but I’d be surprised if it was that that was the problem but he thought that it was. These bikers had huge piles of rocks at their disposal and it looked as if they were going to launch a hail of rocks on someone or something at some particular time and that’s why the police were there

There was more to it than this but you really don’t want to know about it, especially if you’re eating your meal right now

Tea tonight was a curry made with the leftovers in the fridge. And it was delicious too. Quite a good one. And now I’m off to bed, especially as I have a headache right now. Here’s hoping that I have a better day tomorrow for a change.

Monday 16th May 2022 – THAT WAS ANOTHER …

… totally messed-up day today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From there I headed off down the hill towards town.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 28th March 2022 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what it is with me but having had the news a few weeks ago that Kaatje, my “support worker” (really, my psychiatrist) at Castle Anthrax, is leaving her post at the end of the month, I had the news that Sonia my physiotherapist has decided to leave her post too

It seems to me that they are all sussing me out sooner or later.

Whoever is going to replace Kaatje remains to be seen but I bet that at the physiotherapist’s, they have some retired Bulgarian weightlifter lined up to take over. That is usually about par for the course, isn’t it?

repointing wall rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, in other news, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been keeping an eye on the repairs to the medieval walls, of which there are several miles thereof about the town.

One of the things that they did was to replace the brick capping on top of part of the walls and then leave it unpointed for all of the damp, humidity and frost, whatever else you like to infiltrate.

Anyway, today, they had a bricklaying class out there and to my surprise, they have made a start on repointing the brickwork that they did ever so long ago.

Not that they made much progress this afternoon, so I imagine that they’ll be back over the course of the next few days to complete the task.

scaffolding rampe du monte a regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that I mentioned the other day was the scaffolding that they have built over the Rampe du Monte à Regret.

As I was going down the hill I noticed that it was still there so I took a photo of it just for the record. It looks as if it’s going to be there for a few more days yet as they were busy moving the scaffolding around to different parts of the wall.

But anyway, be that as it may, I actually managed to haul myself out of bed just after the alarm went off at 06:00, which surprised me more than it surprised anyone else.

And after the medication, I made a start on the radio programme that I wanted to prepare today.

No records today though, because I was actually working on two at once. Having written the notes for the programme over the last week, I wrote them for the next one this morning and then dictated both one after the other.

There were several interruptions too – for the coffee and for breakfast, and also for the nurse who came round to inject me with my Aranesp ready to go off on my travels.

That prompted me to telephone the doctor for an appointment as I now have run out. That’s for Wednesday morning at 09:30.

Nevertheless, I’ve only prepared the one though. I’ll nibble away at the other here and there over the course of the forthcoming week and see where I end up.

When I finished the programme, I had a listen to it and also to the two that I’m sending off today. Yes. That’s right. I’m not here next week so I need to make sure that my programme will run next week without me.

During the three hours that it took for me to listen to the three programmes I attacked the photos from the High Arctic in 2019. I shifted a good pile of them too and now I’m just arriving at the abandoned RCMP post at Dundas Harbour on Devon island in the Canadian high Arctic.

During a pause here and there, I went and had a shower to clean myself up. I have to look my best for my physiotherapy.

After lunch I carried on with my photos while I listened to the radio programmes and then headed off out.

classe decouverte calean, spartiate, trafalgar, chant de sirenes, black pearl, charlevy fishing boats fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was going on.

There was plenty of excitement there too this afternoon. All of the trawlers are coming in to unload and I can identify Calean, with Spartiate behind her. Then a couple of unidentified fishing boats with the blue, white and pink Trafalgar behind her.

Just coming in alongside the others is Chant de Sirenes with Black Pearl behind her, and then Charlevy just entering the harbour to the right.

Also on the quayside are several groups of school children.

One of the things that is quite common here in France is what they call the Classe Découverte – the “Discovery Class”.

They take groups of kids away from their natural environment and put them in another one for a week or so in order that they can experience life elsewhere. So what we probably have here is a bunch or two of kids from some inner city schools somewhere who are staying in the Youth Hostel in the town to find out about life in a fishing port.

And with all of the work going on down there with the seafood being unloaded into the vans, they will be learning a lot today.

And I learnt a lot on the way down into the town today. There is a series of steps that I use to test the force in my right knee and I found to my surprise that I could actually haul myself up them today. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that.

la grande ancre swimming pool freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the harbour it looks as if we are going to be having one of the Jersey freighters in port very soon.

One of them has the contract for transporting the swimming pools out to the Channel Islands and with them being expensive items, they won’t want them to be lying around on the quayside for too long.

At least it won’t be going off on board la Grande Ancre. She won’t be taking them but the fact that she’s there in the loading bay means that they will be loading something onto her.

Down into the town I went and then up the hill on my way to the physiotherapists. And the walk wasn’t all that difficult today. Over the last week or so, things seem to have improved from that point of view and I don’t know why.

roofing rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Halfway up the hill I did come to a halt. But not for a breather.

They have been ripping the roof off this building here and they are currently in the process of replacing the woodwork. They certainly seem to have picked the right weather for it at the moment.

At the physiotherapist’s she had me on the couch with her electro-massage thing, followed by five minutes on the cross trainer and then a few exercises. And she showed me an exercise that I can do at home.

After she threw me out I staggered (and it was a stagger too) up the hill and round the corner to Lidl for a few supplies. But to my surprise, they don’t sell baked beans at Lidl and I fancied sausage, beans and chips for tea.

scaffolding on crane new building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back I went past the building work that’s going on at the corner of the Rue St Paul and the Rue Victor Hugo.

They had the Rue Victor Hugo closed off and they were unloading some scaffolding into the bucket that’s attached to the hook of the crane so I loitered around planning to watch them hoist it up.

When they had finished, they lifted it about a foot off the ground and then they all knocked off for a tea break, which seemed to be a rather strange thing to do.

Dodging yet another classe découverte I ended up in the town centre and picked up a few tins of baked beans from Carrefour. Can’t do without my baked beans.

On the way up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down, so we had a good chat for a while. I’m not usually the sociable type, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I have to make an effort seeing as I live amongst them.

person in sea beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back into the apartment I went to see what was happening down on the beach.

Not too many people down there today with it being a school day, but even so one of our intrepid adventurers had taken to the water. So hats off to him today.

Back in here I had a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone. I started off in Russia. I’d been collecting photos of steam trains and I had a couple of books to identify them. There were hundreds abandoned all over the place that I had photographed. But then the Russian authorities – something had happened and they didn’t want me to take any more photos. They made me sit on a bench in a station to wait for a train back home. The train was going to be in ever so many hours and hours’ time. all I had to do to thumb through were these photos and the couple of books that I had. Somehow something had happened and I ended up in some kind of industrial town in Northern England with terraced houses. The kids there were playing a game in the street. Even then, this was being gradually subsumed into this Russia thing where the kids were having to hang around in the street for hours and hours and amuse themselves which is difficult when you are bored, until something happens. It was very much the same scenario as me being in Russia

And then I was at work again. I’d set out to go to work fairly early but I’d gone off to do something else on the way. I arrived just before 10:00 and put my things on my desk and went into the assembly. When we all came out and went to sit at our desks there was a discussion going on about food and bread. Someone had been overcharged for his lunch sandwich etc. I already had my lunch sandwich for today but I had one for Friday which I was going to have for my breakfast because I hadn’t had breakfast yet. A girl with whom I used to work came over and said that someone saw me out at Peruwelz this morning on my way into work and wanted to know why I didn’t arrive until 10:00. We had a chat but I didn’t actually tell her the reason and I was intrigued to know who it was who had seen me. I was in a car a little later. I was driving and she was with me. We were going down this road that I don’t recognise and through a couple of speed limits. We wee chatting about nothing in particular.

I forgot to mention that somewhere in all of this I’d bought a black Rolls-Royce for £3500, a runner apparently. I had to go to pick it up at some point but I had nowhere to leave it. If it was a runner I could park it in the street or even park it in the place outside my building but I don’t know.

Regrettably, but not unexpectedly, I crashed out later. And for an hour too. Having made 90% of my daily activity today with having had a good session on the cross trainer, that’s enough to finish me off for today.

For tea, I fancied sausage beans and chips but one look at the sausages in the fridge told me that it wouldn’t be sausages that I’d be eating today. Instead, I had a burger with my beans and chips and, as I suspected, the beans from Carrefour were appalling. Not even pepper, grated cheese and rosemary could improve the taste.

So now that I’ve written my notes I’ll have half an hour on the guitar and then go to bed. I’ve had a busy day today and I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. I need to be on form

Wednesday 23rd March 2022 – A FUNNY THING …

workman suspended on rope rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022 … happened on the way to the for … errr … Physiotherapist’s this afternoon.

There I was walking quietly along the Rue Couraye and suddenly a man dropped down out of the sky right in front of me.

At least, that’s what I thought, but on a closer inspection after he had picked up the paintbrush or whatever it was that he had dropped and was hoisted back up, I could see that he was on a rope.

Cleaning or painting the facade of the building here, I reckon, or doing something of a similar nature.

But fancy a safety harness. When I retiled my roof in the Auvergne I was perched about 50 feet up on a roof holding on with my feet as I nailed down the slates.

And another funny thing that happened was that I walked all the way up the hill in the Rue Couraye to the physiotherapist’s without feeling any agony and it’s been months and months since that’s happened. So what’s going on here?

There was a lot going on last night though. I was in bed early and, for a change, out like a light. Another struggle to raise myself from the dead, and after I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, I could listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been.

At first, I was at an interview with STRAWBERRY MOOSE on the radio. The presenter was an extremely dominant and aggressive type of personality who basically shouted at the crowd to make everyone settle down and listen to his story. It was certainly a new departure in radio to hear the way that this programme was being presented. I thought that maybe I could take a lesson from this when I’m presenting some other radio programme some time in the future. It was certainly different, telling everyone to “shut up and listen” and “he’s come all this way to give you this story and the least you can do is pay attention”. it was all quite aggressive

Later, I was at work in the office and the ‘phone rang. I had to bring the Escort estate into Brussels. They were selling it so I had to hunt through my drawers for all of the paperwork for it but I couldn’t find anything. There was nothing at all. The boss had said “make sure that you bring the paperwork because we don’t want to have to come up to your place to look for it”. There I was, looking for ages through my drawers and I couldn’t find it anywhere but then 2 people came in and heard that I was going into Brussels so could they come with me? They hopped in and I thought that i’d better go anyway otherwise I’ll be here all day and I still won’t have the paperwork. Off I set to drive. After I’d gone a few miles I found that I actually had the paperwork in my hand. Of course someone must have had the paperwork to have taken the Escort to be valued. I had that as I was driving. I ended up coming in from the direction of Oostende. I radioed in that I was there and asked where I had to go. They said “the Garage de France”. I asked where that was and they replied that it was near the Gare de Ouest. I didn’t have a clue where the Gare de Ouest was. As I came closer to the office I dropped off these 2 people and stuck my head inside a café. She knew where the place was and she told me but the directions that she gave me didn’t make any sense. Then she said the name of a square where it was. I thought to myself “I wish that I’d brought my GPS in out of my own car and stuck it in the Escort to take it there. I could have solved this problem in 5 minutes had I done that”.

And then I was back in work again. I don’t know if I’d dictated the story of the Ford Escort estate being sold but later I was back in the office. I had a pile of paperwork that I’d picked up on the way in that needed to be sorted. I took it into the office and one of the chauffeurs came up to me and said in one of these high-pitched little baby voices “what’s little Eric got there?”. So I replied “some paperwork”. He asked “what’s little Eric going to be doing with it?” and I replied “nothing whatsoever”. This conversation was on the verge of getting out of hand. In the end the boss came along so as I was in earshot I said to Jef (it’s here, it has a date-stamp on it, it’s been received, it’s been registered, so why don’t you clear off?” or something like that. The boss came over, looked at the papers, took them off me and put them out for sorting. There was no chair at my desk but there were several other chairs dotted around with files on them so I went to take the files off one so I could have a chair to sit. Someone else said “there’s a spare chair up here” but I replied “this one down here will do me”.

At another point I was with one of these American folk singers, someone like Gene Clark, and we were being chased in a car down some kind of road. We turned off up the side down some kind of farm track and were being chased down there but I swerved off the road into a farm gateway and the other car went roaring past. We prepared to drive back where we’d come but another car came the other way. We’d been talking about these huge plants that were growing all over the placen one-eyed I-can’t-remember-the phrase-now but it was in a song by the Byrds, “My Back Pages”. This car came the other way and I asked “is that one of these?” and I said the name. He replied “probably” so we waited until it went. We thought that if he could go all the way through then so could we so I set out to follow it. He said “let’s forget about these plants for now and head off”, something that made me feel rather disappointed

Finally, we’d gone to a big village hall-kind of dance, the whole family, tribe. Our mother had taken us. She was, surprisingly, a big Afro-Caribbean woman. When the dancing took place she danced in a most uninhibited way. It had absolutely no interest for me whatsoever so I was just moping around at the back of the hall. eventually I went over to my mother and said that we really must have to go very soon. She asked the time and I replied “20:20”. For some reason we were due to go at 20:30 anyway. She started to collect everything together. She said that she first came to one of these dances when she was 15 and everyone was shocked and scandalised but even people like James Brown had stuck their head in to see what was happening. I hadn’t really any idea of what to say because I knew how my mother was with her imagination.

Yes, my mother had a very fertile imagination, as we came to realise as we grew older. She lived in her own little world that only rarely had any connection with the rest of the world in which everyone else lived.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I mentioned that I’d had a problem with a three-column website on which I was working. It didn’t take me long to discover the missing tag (or, should I say, the tag that was in the wrong place) and once I’d done that, I finished it off.

You can see it ON-LINE now. The content isn’t inspiring but it was only a test run for a few other purposes that will become clearer over the course of time.

It’s been checked in C-Cleaner, Waterfox and Tor but if someone has access to an Apple-based machine, if you could check it to see that it does what it’s supposed to, I’d be grateful.

Having dealt with that task, the next task was one about which I’d forgotten. At the end of October last year I’d been to see a rock group called “Reload”. I took … gulp … 184 photos and I’d made a start on editing them but as usual, I’d been side-tracked.

This morning though, I sat down and worked my way right through the lot and they are all now edited. I’m now onto mounting them (I’m kinky like that) and they will be on-line in die course.

That will be the acid test of my three-column photo layout – trying to make it work with all of these.

There were several breaks of course – breakfast being one of them with my lovely fruit bread, and then a shower and a good clean-up.

And while I was at it, I did my Dave Crosby impression. In fact I went one better and actually did cut my hair. Probably because I didn’t have the ‘flu for Christmas.

After lunch I headed out for the physiotherapist.

van car porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And we’ve had a change here at the Porte St Jean.

The large lorry and trailer with the digger perched thereupon are not there this afternoon. Instead the place has been taken by a glazier’s van.

In fact that has been there or thereabouts in one of the parking spaces for the past couple of days but today it seems that the driver has taken advantage of the absence of the lorry to move even closer.

In fact, I would have thought that he could have passed underneath the arch. There looks to be enough room.

On the left-hand edge you can see some advertising boards that have been erected. It’s soon to be election time here and they put up these boards for the candidates to attach their posters.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne, I stopped to check the camera – even though I’d checked it just a minute before.

There’s no-one about in the outer harbour and most of the fishing boats in the inner harbour seem to be out at sea. The only one that seems to be in there today is Jade III and I wonder why she hasn’t gone out.

Also absent, as they have been for quite a while, are Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel Island ferries. If service is indeed starting up in April, they need to finish their overhauls quickly and make their way back here to be ready to go.

freight on quayside bouchot stakes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down on the quayside, all of the freight that was there has now gone.

Normandy Trader, one of the little Jersey freighters, came in the other day and whisked it all off to the Channel Islands but there’s another pile that is slowly appearing down there ready for the next voyage.

And you can see all of the old stakes from the bouchot farms on the Ile de Chausey down there to the left of the right-hand crane. That was a good weekend’s work to pull up all of those and replace them.

Whoever is going to take those away will have some work on his hands too.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, down in the bottom corner, there’s been quite a lot happening by the looks of things.

There’s only one boat down there today, and that’s the newer of the two Joly France boats, the one with the smaller superstructure on the upper deck.

We saw Chausiaise out at the ferry terminal yesterday, but Belle France is also missing today. She and the older of the two Joly France boats must be keeping busy running out to the islands today.

And the mystery of why they all had their cranes out the other day is as yet unresolved. I’ve not seen anything at all about it.

reroofing rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A week or so ago I posted a photo of a cherry-picker that looked as if it had lifted some scaffolding up onto a flat roof in the Rue Lecampion.

Over the past few days I’d been keeping a quiet eye on it but today there has been some rapid progress since I last saw it. They’ve removed the tiles from an adjacent pitched roof and replaced all of the woodwork

That was quite quick. It’s not like the typical worker whom we’ve encountered these days.

Carefully dodging workmen dropping out of the sky, I sailed up the Rue Couraye rather more rapidly than just recently for my appointment with the physiotherapist.

She had a good look at my x-rays but told me that there was nothing evident that she could see about why I’m having this trouble with my knee. And that’s bad news as far as I’m concerned because how can anyone fix the problem if they can’t see t?

It’s just like my heart issue, where there’s no obvious problem that anyone can see. I’m not making it all up, I know that.

Anyway she gave me an electromassage, put me on the bike thing for 5 minutes and gave me a few exercises.

After she threw me out, I went to Lidl. I’m out of tomatoes and cucumber as well as a couple of other things. And there’s no big shop at the weekend because I’m on a course and anyway, I’m off on my travels on Thursday next week.

new building rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way home I went past the new house that is being built on the corner of the Rue St Paul and Rue Victor Hugo.

When I arrived the builders were busy chasing away a couple of kids who were pleying in the building, but apart from that there doesn’t seem to have been a great deal going on. I suppose that they will finish it one day.

My route led me through the town and up the hill towards home but I hadn’t gone far up the hill when a neighbour came past in his car. He offered me a lift, which was nice of him I did have a fair bit of stuff to carry.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Back in here I put some coffee on to brew and then picked up the big NIKON D500 to go outside.

Across the car park went I towards the beach to see what was happening there. The tide was well out and with the weather being so nice, there were plenty of people down there making the most of it. Of course, here in France, there’s no school on Wednesday afternoon.

While I was here, I had a look out to sea to see if there were any fishing boats working out here today. There was something right out beyond the Ile de Chausey that I couldn’t see, but that was really my lot. There wasn’t anything else happening out at sea that I could see.

55-qj aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Ther emight have been nothing going on out at sea but there was something having a go at the Thunderclap Newman impression of “Something In The Air”.

And don’t ask me what it is because its number, 55-QJ, is one of those that isn’t in the series of numbers to which I have access. And it goes without saying that she hasn’t filed a flight plan and wasn’t picked up on radar either.

Back here I had my coffee and then had half an hour or so on the guitar before I carried on with mounting the photos of the concert that I attended.

Tea was a curry with the left-over stuff in the fridge. I’ve not forgotten that I have some stuffing left from Monday, but I fancied a curry tonight. I’ll have the stuffing in a taco roll tomorrow.

So as well as that, I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. In the afternoon too, not the evening as I thought. I wonder what kind of catastrophe this will be.

Friday 18th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

filming at civic rooms place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… the excitement of yesterday, there’s been even more today.

Unfortunately not quite of the same calibre, but nevertheless it beats the monotony. Especially when they lay down a red carpet at the Communal Rooms at the back of my apartment and set up a film camera to film whatever was going to make use of it.

Whatever or whoever it was, though, I’m not able to say. I had to go out to the Post Office before it closed and so I missed it.

If we’re lucky, there will be something in the newspapers tomorrow, but I’m not all that hopeful. There wasn’t a word about what the Dassault Falcon was doing yesterday.

fire brigade rue des juifs burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022At that wasn’t everything either.

This afternoon it looked as if it was the local Fire Brigade’s annual outing. There they were, complete with vehicles, standing around and chatting, looking up at the ruins of the houses that were devastated in the fire.

While we’re on the subject of “devastated” … “well, one of us is” – ed … I was pretty devastated this morning.

It ended up being a much later night than I was expecting or hoping, and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I switched it off and … err .. went back to sleep. But it wasn’t as bad as yesterday. I managed to make it out of bed a good few minutes before the second alarm.

Not all that much on the dictaphone through the night either. I must have had something of a decent sleep. I was out somewhere last night on the road that runs between Newcastle and Shrewsbury. I don’t know where I’d been but I ended up down some kind of side road somewhere. I stopped and I’d had a piece of cake and a coffee, standing in the middle of this farm track drinking it and eating the cake while the farmer was driving around in his tractor somewhere. Something had gone wrong but I can’t remember what it was. I looked at the time and I thought “God! I only have 20 minutes to get to work!”. I thought that I’d never reach work on time at all from here because I’m on foot. I put down my mug and plate down in the middle of this track and walked down to the main road thinking that I’d hitch a lift. I walked back towards the road junction that would take me to Crewe which was 4 miles away. First of all a bunch of school kids went past, then an old Austin A40 Somerset followed by an old BMC lorry. I then found myself in this village As I walked through this village I thought that I’d never seen such a village. I didn’t know that there was a village like this on this road and I know it so well. By now I was in Caliburn and. There was some road work in the town centre. Everything was being dug up. There were rocks being cut up with a disc cutter. They were even dynamiting small small rocks. I was just driving over everything, machinery, the lot in Caliburn. Some guy was even putting his feet against the glass windows to stop them vibrating when the dynamite went off.. There was this really sharp U-bend by an expensive estate agent’s. I thought that things were becoming really bad. Some woman went past and said “you’re going to be terribly late for work. It’s 2 days running for me that I’ve had to call in with car problems”. I was back in Caliburn again and came across an auto-electrician. I drove into his workshop. I had to straighten a carpet. A guy came over so I asked him to go to listen to the starter while I turned the engine so he could see if there was a problem with the starter.

Later on I was out near Tarporley in a small village … “Tiverton;” – ed. I bumped into a girl whom I knew but I can’t remember who she was. She had curly ginger hair and I don’t know a girl like that in real life. She was telling me about a family whom I knew who lived by the traffic lights at the Rising Sun. She was saying that they’d all cashed in their chips, sold up and moved on. I asked if she knew where they had gone. She told me of a couple of them but there was one whom she didn’t know. She mentioned his name and I knew the name. He’d gone to Toronto. She said “yes, I remember now. He’s bought a racehorse”. I looked surprised and asked “what’s he doing with a racehorse?”. She didn’t actually know. In the end she said something like “if you’re going to take a chance on buying an unknown racehorse for £1:00 or something you’d buy it from a member of your own family rather than from a complete stranger” but she couldn’t see the purpose of this racehorse. I asked her if it was identical to any others that he owned because there’s always the old “run a slower identical horse in a few races to build up a bad reputation then switch the real one in for an important race once the other one has a bad name”. She said “no, it’s not at all like (she mentioned the name of another horse)” so I thought that perhaps it might be an identical horse or something where in this case this one might be slower. I was about to ask her the question when the alarm went off.

After the medication and transcribing the dictaphone notes, I spent most of the rest of the morning working on the photos from the High Arctic in August 2019. We’re now back on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR after our little walk around Qikiqtarjuaq.

That was where Dennis Minty and I bumped into a local Royal Canadian Mounted Police “Mountie” who gave us a lift in his pickup up to the top of a mountain on the island where we took some superb photos which you will see in due course.

After lunch I had a letter to write. It’s the reply to one that’s been hanging around here for quite a few months and someone somewhere is probably wondering if I’ve died.

“Snail mail” has all but died out for personal purposes but I still have the odd (and I use the term advisedly) technophobe friend who writes letters. Unfortunately, just like me, she has had a hand injury and so I have a great deal of difficulty reading her writing just like people have difficulty in reading mine, and it’s not easy to decipher it.

But anyway, it was eventually ready and in a mad fit of enthusiasm which has sprung up from heaven alone knows where, I actually set off to post it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check the camera and see what was happening down below.

As you can see, the tide is right out at the moment. It’ll be a while before it’s back in today. But there doesn’t seem to be anyone taking advantage of it and going for a bit of the peche à pied.

And if there’s anything going on at the Ile de Chausey this afternoon, they aren’t doing it aboard the Joly France ferries.

There’s one moored up over there at the ferry terminal in the NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position, and the other two are moored up in the inner harbour along with Chausiaise

charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As well as the Ile de Chausey boats in the inner harbour, there’s plenty of other stuff too.

One of the boats here is Charles Marie. We’ve been keeping an eye on her over the last couple of weeks while she was being serviced in the chantier naval but now she must be ready for the sea.

There was a trawler parked in the chantier naval where she was, but I couldn’t see who she was. I’ll go for a wander out that way tomorrow and find out more about her.

And by the looks of things, La Granvillaise wasn’t there either. She must have gone back into the water but she isn’t around in the harbour so I wonder where she’s gone.

There are tons of the containers in which they stack the sacks of shellfish over there on the quayside. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Dodging the pompiers who were having their meeting on the pavement, I carried on down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

The freight was still there but what caught my eye was the lorry and the digger over there on the track of the old abandoned railway.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw them working on the far end of that track in the town centre. They seem to have made rapid progress.

Down in the town I made rapid progress to the Post Office to post my letter. And then I went off to the Credit Agricole. I’ve received a cheque in respect of my Belgian State Pension but I dont now why. Anyway it has to be paid in to my account.

Now what can I do with €60:45? Spend! Spend! Spend! I suppose.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Walking back into the town centre on my way home I had a quick peek down where the old abandoned railway ran to see how they were doing.

And by the looks of things, they don’t seem to be doing a great deal. They have a compactor down there (which was more than they had on the 1800 miles of the TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY IN 2010 but the road surface doesn’t look much different than it did before they started.

And I’m half-expecting one of those boys to end up like an Austin Powers henchman if he isn’t careful. I suppose that the other boy there would refer to his friend as his “flatmate”.

I’ll get my coat.

So having dome my tasks for the day I set off up the hill for home, feeling rather pleased that I’d actually finished a couple of tasks.

Maybe it is these pills that are giving me energy, I dunno, but sometimes I really think that they could give you absolutely anything, tell you what the imaginary effects will be, and then you psyche yourself up to believe them.

kite surfers people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back inside I went to see what was happening down on the beach outside my building.

Today was a really glorious May day today, really warm, but with a strong wind. And so while there were no Nazguls about, there were a couple of people down there kitesurfing. And having a really good time doing it by the looks of things.

Plenty of people walking around on the beach too having a good time. I don’t know where they have all come from.

One of my neighbours was outside the building too, soaking up the rays. he and I had a good chat before I came in for a coffee.

Later on, I had another session on the guitar. I seem to have rekindled my enthusiasm, having done very little since I fell into this depression several months ago. I quite enjoyed it too, although i’m dismayed at how much of my technique I’ve lost.

Tea was a quick falafel from out of the freezer with pasta and veg because there was football on the internet. Y Bala v Penybont in the first of the Welsh Cup Semi-finals.

And for a match then ended 0-0, this was probably one of the best and most exciting that I’ve seen in a long while. Both teams have star players but they managed to checkmate each other at every turn as the game roared from end to end for the whole 90 minutes. It’s a shame that there aren’t more games like this.

So bedtime now. I’m shopping tomorrow and then I’m going to try to do some exciting stuff. What, I’m not quite sure yet.

Who knows? I might do something wild, like take more rubbish out to the bins.

Wednesday 9th March 2022 – I HAD A STROKE …

… of luck this morning.

There I was going down the stairs towards the front door when out of the lift came one of my neighbours.

“Are you off to Belgium?” she asked
“Yes I am” I replied
“Come with me” she said.

She was on her way to work so she took me and threw me out about 200 metres from the station and you’ve no idea how much I appreciated it.

That’s because I’d had a really bad night. I hadn’t taken one of those pills before I went to bed and I don’t know whether that’s anything to do with it, but it took an age to go off to sleep and then I awoke again at 04:30 and that was that.

Despite trying my best, I couldn’t go back to sleep and so when the alarm went off at 06:00 I was up and about quite easily.

By 07:30 I was ready to leave so I loitered around until 08:00 and then went off out where I bumped into my neighbour.

concrete pad gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Just or a change, I was at the station at 08:10.

That gave me plenty of time to have a look around to see what has been going on here. And this concrete pad is certainly new

It’s taken over two or three spaces of the railway station car park and unless I’m mistaken, it’s the area where electric cars could be charged too. So if they have been removed, where will the electric cars be charged now?

That’s something that is causing me a little concern. There’s a commitment to phase out new fossil-fuelled cars over the next 15 years or so and so they need to think long and hard about the necessary infrastructure and to have it in place long before the cut-off date – not leave it until the last minute.

And to install a whole new system of wind and tidal power generation. The wind doesn’t stop blowing and the tides don’t stop changing at night when everyone is asleep in bed and not using power. There will be tons of energy available to charge up vehicles if they organise themselves.

mural gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when we were here last at the railway station they had a pile of scaffolding up inside the building.

Now that they have removed it, we can see what they were doing. We now have a lovely mural of Granville as it was in the days when we had wind-powered “Newfoundlanders” sailing out of the port to the Grand banks of Newfoundland for the cod.

“The cod were in largeness and quantitie … that they stayed our ships” wrote Richard Hakluyt in the 16th Century when he was discussing voyages to “The New World” that went via Newfoundland.

But that was a long time ago.

84567 gec alstom regiolis gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022For even more of a change, the train was already in the platform so I took my seat quite quickly.

You might be thinking that that means that the train started off bang on time, but in actual fact we were 5 minutes late leaving.

The train was packed and I had a rather irritable neighbour so while I was able to update the laptop, I wasn’t able to do any work. I read a few theses about medieval castles in Cheshire instead.

By the time that we arrived in Paris we had made up a couple of minutes so I had time to pop into the ticket office at the Metro to buy another set of 10 tickets. I’m running rather low right now

225 TGV Reseau Duplex Gare du Nord Paris France Eric Hall photo March 2022Travelling to the Gare du Nord on the Metro was quite painless – especially since I’ve found my short-cut in the open air.

My train to Lille – Flandres was already in. It is, as you might expect, one of the TGV “Reseau Duplex” double-deckers. Old and showing its age but quick and reasonably comfortable.

As usual we weren’t allowed to board it. There’s an 8-car trainset that comes in later and couples up to the rear of this trainset and then all 16 cars go back to Lille. We have to wait until it’s all coupled up and ready to go before we can board it.

210 TGV Reseau Duplex gare de lille flandres lille France Eric Hall photo March 2022This is the power car of the second trainset, photographed at Lille Flandres as I was leaving the station.

Our train was a few minutes late leaving, like the one from Granville, but that didn’t matter so much as there was plenty of time to walk across the city from Lille-Flandres to the Lille-Europe railway station.

There was even time to find a quiet corner at Lille-Europe and eat my lunchtime sandwiches before boarding my train. But I had to keep an eye out for the railway police who were cautioning people for not wearing a mask. And it’s difficult to eat your butties whilst wearing a mask.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4525 PBA gare du midi bruxelles belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022When I descended to the platform, the train was already in. It’s one of the PBA – Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam trainsets on which we travel quite frequently.

For reasons that I don’t quite understand, it waits here for about 20 minutes before departing. It’s more-than-likely due to the timing of the various connections that it makes with trains along its route.

And it was packed too and someone had taken my seat which was a shame, for I had rather looked forward to being out of my brain on the 5/15. I ended up sitting elsewhere, hemmed in and once more unable to do any work. I listened to “Colosseum Live” on the phone instead.

2730 class 27 electric locomotive gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022At Brussels-Midi there was a train to Leuven already so I didn’t have to hang around waiting.

Running (as best as I could) down the concourse I leapt aboard with no problems and settled down for the journey to Leuven.

When we arrived, I nipped down to the head of the train to see what was pulling us along. It’s one of the old Class 27 electric locomotives and we’ve had a few of these just recently.

Considering that they must be getting on for 40 years old, they are still clocking up the miles on mainline services with little sign of slowing down.

At the back of the station is the little supermarket so I went there and bought the bread, vegan margarine and stuff to drink. It saves on the weight that I have to carry back from the big supermarket later this evening.

martelarenplein Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022Now here’s a thing!

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last however-many years we’ve seen (or not seen, as they case may be) the Martelarenplein, the Square of the Martyrs, all fenced off and covered while they have been renovating it.

Today though, apart from just one small area, all of the fencing has been removed and we can actually walk across the square if we choose to do so.

Not for me right now though. I’m tired and exhausted and and I can’t wait to find my way to my little room.

And once more I’m up a couple of flights of stairs and that’s killing me. Luckily the manager saw me struggling up the stairs so that might hopefully mean a change of room in the future.

Despite a nice hot coffee, I crashed out definitively, and for a good half-hour too.

electric three wheeled vehicle Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve no idea just how much difficulty I had trying to rouse myself to go to the shops for food.

Nevertheless, I’m glad that I did because I encountered this strange machine. It’s a three-wheeler and it’s probably electric because it was quite silent. But whatever it is, it was quite interesting to say the least.

At the supermarket I don’t know what happened there but the shopping bill was much less than it usually is. I don’t reckon that I bought any less than I usually do.

At some point I managed to find the time to transcribe the dictaphone notes. Last night started with a family thing again with my sister and her first husband. It was probably 01:00 and they were thinking about going to bed and I had all of my paperwork to do which involved those two. I had to set the time on Big Ben and a few other things too but I kept on having trouble seeing because the lights on this big tower clock were so dim that I couldn’t actually see how I was setting it. Occasionally it would all light up bright and I’d see that I’d done in incorrectly and had to go back but to be very careful not to wipe off everything that I had done so far – just go back 1 or 2 steps and start on. By now of course it was daylight. I could easily see what was happening and there were all kinds of things going on on this clock face – people laughing and cheering at it. In the end I had to set it by some kind of analogue means moving the hands because I couldn’t make it go correctly by doing it digitally. In the end I managed it but by now it was 06:40 and broad daylight. I had to be up at 10:00 and they had to be up earlier than that. In the end I said that I was going to bed. My sister’s husband said that he was going to lie in in the morning because he was exhausted. I thought “how does he think that I feel?”. On the way back they were rationing out some things for issue and showing me some kind of drink made by a well-known pop manufacturer in a very distinctive bottle. They said that last tie they had issued this it was 17 shillings and so many pence but now it’s just 4.5 pence and they can’t understand what has happened. I asked if it was generic stuff. They replied that it was so I replied that maybe the patent has expired so now it’s being cloned or something but they couldn’t seem to understand. Neither could I but I didn’t really want to because I was so tired

Later, I was in backwoods Canada or backwoods USA sometime in the 50s or 60s judging by the cars that were driving around. I was writing up someone’s memoirs from a set of old war letters, something like that. I’d gone to this house ad he’d let me have all of this communication and I was going through it making notes etc. Gradually one of two other people had let me have their stuff as well. The first guy was concerned that this was going to slow me down doing other people’s stuff as well but I explained that it was all part of the same thing. They gave me a time and said that I had to be finished by something like 18:15. He thought that time was dragging on but I said that I’d be back tomorrow and that seemed to be OK. Various people came to see me and talk to me about everything while I was there making all of these notes and what had happened in the past. It gradually worked out that I was writing stuff about current events as well for a more immediate publication. This was something that concerned all of the people in this area. But all of the cars were fantastic. Someone was driving a pickup where instead of having the pickup bed behind him it was something like an enormous American saloon convertible thing with just 1 seat for the person driving it and the pickup bed was at the side where the passenger would sit. There were all these kind of weird machines that looked like something out of the 50s and 60s

And then I was with Claude and Françoise last night in the Auvergne. They owed me some money and I had a few IOUs and we were settling up. While I was there I showed them how many US dollars I had. I explained about the time that I had to use the toilet in a cafe and I didn’t have any money to go in so I had to write out an IOU. I told them about a trip that I’d made to the USA with 2 girls. We’d roamed around the Midwest in a big American car which was a small Opel saloon from the late 60s, a type 1. On one occasion I’m not quite sure what had happened but these girls must have been in their night clothes in this diner. They had gone to the toilet to have a wash and brush-up but they came out in their night clothes as well. I asked what was going on so they said that they were going back to the car to change. I asked why they hadn’t taken their clothes into the ladies toilets and changed in there instead of doing it on the car park of this diner

Now that I’ve had tea I’m off to bed. I know that it’s early but I’m exhausted and I’ve almost fallen asleep twice. Hospital tomorrow so I’m lying in with no alarm.

After last night’s disaster, I need all the beauty sleep that I can get.

Wednesday 2nd February 2022 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… one of the lowest tides so far this winter, and so as we might expect, the crowds are out at the pèche à pied this afternoon.

That is, of course “fishing on foot”, not “fishing for feet”, although there was probably a little of that going on too after the events of several weeks ago when someone did fish up a human foot – or, at least, the remains of one.

And that reminds me – I wonder whatever was the outcome of that. Nothing more ever appeared in the local Press and I’m intrigued to find out some more about it.

I shall have to put my best foot forward and go to enquire of the local bobbies sometime. Maybe they have one foot in the grave already.

trawlers ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And it wasn’t just on the beach that people were fishing either.

Right out at sea at the top end of the Ile de Chausey there were a couple of fishing boats wandering around. Far too far out for me to be able to tell exactly what they were doing, unfortunately.

For a change, I knew what I was doing today – and that was “making some progress”. Being unable to eliminate all of the background noise from my radio interview, I cheated and made my own background noise, and then overdubbed it onto the supplementary questions.

Surprisingly, after a considerable amount of tweaking, it didn’t sound too bad at all and it’s difficult to hear the joints.

Yes, a better day today and I was able to make progress. And not just that either. I have a much better idea of what I’m going to do with it all.

It took a good while though to work myself up to it. It was rather later than usual when I went to bed and despite dropping off to sleep quite quickly, I was awake just as quickly too and had another hour or so of wishing I was dead or something before dropping off into the Land of Nod.

And not tossing and turning too much during the night either, for the first time since I really can’t remember when.

Leaving the bed was another struggle, which was a surprise seeing as I’d been awake since 06:10 and starting work after the medication was even more so and it took me quite a while to start up.

First task was to listen to the dictaphone. I started out with Nerina last night. We were driving somewhere, the two of us, in our separate cars, looking for a place to park. For some unknown reason I missed a turning and carried straight on down this road. When I looked behind me she had gone. I stopped and someone, I’ve no idea who or how, said that he’d nip down this side road after her. I parked up Caliburn, walked a little further down and turned left where there was a road junction that went left back on itself and another road that went left and forward on itself like a “K” on its back. I followed the road that was going back on itself thinking that I’d reach the road where Nerina had turned off. I’d left my van so that if she turned up she’d see it, know that I’m around and wait. I walked down this road. There was a canal on the right and buildings on the left. It narrowed into a footpath and then came out onto the road that Nerina must have taken. There were people around, like a park etc, and the canal. I couldn’t see Nerina, I couldn’t see June, I couldn’t see anything of that so I walked a little way back along this road heading towards the main road again. I couldn’t see her, I couldn’t see anyone so I thought that I’d walk back to where my van is and see what happens next. Of course there’s no point ringing her because she had a mobile ‘phone but she never ever brought it with her so ringing her wouldn’t be any use.

We never had that trouble in real life though. We could wander off in different directions even in major cities but we’d soon find each other again, like a pair of homing pigeons. Except once many years ago in Budapest when I nipped out of the car, told her to “drive round the block and come back” because there was nowhere to park while I had things to do, and then having to wait three quarters of an hour in a tee shirt in a snow storm because I’d sent her off round the only 5-sided block in the whole of Hungary and she had, unsurprisingly, become disorientated.

And I remember that car very well. OCC883S, a Cortina estate that I bought for £50 to break for spares 35 years ago and ended up driving it, and the two of us, all the way from Crewe to the border of the USSR via Italy and Yugoslavia, and they wouldn’t let us in because Nerina didn’t have a visa.

Some local reversed into us as well outside the railway station in Budapest and was shocked to the core when I told him to forget it and drive on. As if another dent on that car was going to make any difference.

And then it cracked the head in Ulm on the way back so when you left the car overnight, water would drain into a cylinder and stop the car from starting. We had to drain out the water every night, start the car up empty next morning and then fill it up with water once it was running.

Later on I was with Nerina and TOTGA of all people in Gainsborough Road doing some tidying up (as if that would ever be likely). We discovered a huge damp patch on the floor that was wringing wet and were having a big discussion about whta we were going to do about it. I was busy working through my music playing different tapes here and there. It was starting to become quite late and TOTGA decided that she would have to go home. Before she went I put on an album, THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by Audience, I don’t know why, but that was playing. Anyway she eventually decided that she would have to go so i went to the front door to see her off. “There’s no need to see me off” she said but she added that this time would be the best time to ‘phone her because everything was quiet just before she goes to bed and she wasn’t ever really doing anything else. The she said something like “there’s no need to take me to the door”. I thought “of course there is, if I can get a hug out of it” and I gave her a big hug. She was rather wary about what was going to happen next, something that will come as no surprise, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I could sense that things were not maybe as I would like them to be.

So no surprise there either. Over the years she had several lucky escapes from my evil clutches so no reason why that shouldn’t continue in the virtual world.

After a shower, I went for lunch where I finished off the last of the bread. Must make some more tomorrow.

In the meantime I made a start on the radio programme and made quite good progress. I might even have finished off the final part but Rosemary rang up for another one of our mega-chats that go on for hours and hours.

There was of course a break for my trip to the physiotherapist.

coelacanthe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And on the way down into town I stopped to have a look at chat was going on in the port this afternoon.

And what is Coelacanthe doing? She’s moored stern-on to the quayside right by the fish-processing plant so they won’t be untangling her nets there in that small space and the ice chute that pumps the ice into the holds of the ships that are setting out is the grey tube in the foreground so she’s not taking on ice.

Meantime, in the background, after her perambulations of yesterday afternoon, Belle France is back tied up at the quayside near the port office. She can’t have gone far yesterday afternoon.

cutting down trees place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Further on down the hill I could hear the noise of machinery coming from down below in the street.

The council has parked a load of vans and lorries and so on down on the boulodrome on the Place Pelley. And even so, the presence of several vehicles isn’t going to put the boulonauts off their stride.

They will still be carrying on regardless. A game of boules is quite serious stuff around here. Nevertheless, I decided to go that way into town to see what was going on down there.

cutting down trees place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022So this is what they are up to this afternoon.

Pollards!

What they are doing is pollarding the trees around here, namely trimming them down so that there is less weight on the trunks and to increase the density of the foliage, all of which is supposed to make the trees last longer.

The wood isn’t going to waste by the way, because there was someone picking up the bits that had been cut off and was busy stuffing them into the back of his car. I suppose that they will be the right kind of thing for basket-weaving and the like.

kiddies roundabout place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The last time that we were down here in town they were beginning to set up the kiddies’ roundabout.

They’ve finished doing that now and it’s up and running, with fare-paying passengers by the looks of it.

And if you look closely at it, it seems to be smaller than in previous years. Perhaps that’s just an optical illusion or else this is how the stand-off with the town council has been resolved.

Whatever it is, there seems little doubt that pedestrians can walk all the way around it without stepping into the street, which was one of the objections that the council had.

At the physiotherapist’s, she had me doing exercises, including standing on one leg, throwing a ball behind me and then catching it as it rebounded from the wall. I’m still trying to work out why.

Around the corner to Lidl next. I’ve run out of frozen peas and quinoa and they are a vital part of my cuisine. I bought a few other bits and pieces too but I forgot the tarragon.

house building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022ON the way home I came past the new house that they have been trying to build for a lifetime on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul.

We’ve not had a photo of it from this angle, as far as I can remember, so I took one while I was organising my shopping which, for some reason, felt as heavy as lead today.

A few hundred yards further on, my neighbour who had been at the physiotherapist’s came by and offered me a lift which was quite nice of him. We had quite a good chat on the way home. And I can’t say that I was sorry to have a lift. I wasn’t doing too well on the way home.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I’d been getting out of the car I’d heard the noise of a powerful power tool coming from within the walled town so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and went back outside while the coffee was brewing.

My first thought was that they might have been doing something in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux where they are repairing the medieval city walls, but it wasn’t clear from this photo.

But we can see how they are progressing with the repair work. Where the scaffolding is, they’ve done almost all the way up to the very top, and are working their way along at the foot of the walls.

But those two very large vertical cracks are looking quite ominous and they will need quite a large amount of attention.

Back in the old days, when they would finish the repointing, they would drill two holes in a piece of glass and screw it with one screw either side of where the crack was. They would check the glass regularly and if it became cracked, they would know that there was still movement in the walls.

You see that kind of thing in plenty of medieval churches and the like even today.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was at it, I went for a butcher’s down on the beach.

Plenty of beach, even though it’s later than usual, but no-one down there on it. The weather might have been miserable but it wasn’t raining and it wasn’t that cold. It doesn’t seem like midwinter at all right now.

Back in the apartment I carried on with the radio programme until Rosemary rang up for one of her chats.

Tea tonight was falafel with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce. And the potatoes weren’t steamed enough. I must give them a few minutes on their own before I add in all of the other vegetables, I reckon. Everything will be so much better.

So while I’ve been writing out my notes I’ve had a hot chocolate and now I’m on the hot blackcurrant, lemon and honey drink. I’m having plenty to drink and it’s all healthy. It might make me want to go for a ride on the porcelain horse later but I’ll worry about that at the appropriate moment.

Right now I’m off to bed, hoping for a more exciting and productive day tomorrow if I can find this momentum again. I need to finish this off and move it out of the way and get on with other things.

In the meantime, if you want to see the highlights of yesterday evening’s football, THEY ARE HERE.

Wednesday 26th January 2022 – I HAD A …

… lovely tea tonight, I really did.

Steamed vegetables with vegan veggie balls all tossed in a really nice thick vegan cheese sauce. And for a change the vegetables were cooked to perfection and it really was delicious. I loved every mouthful of it.

fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Breakfast was pretty wonderful too.

Yesterday I forgot to mention that I’d finished the last of the Christmas cake, and what a success that was! Even the icing hardened off after a week or so.

Unfortunately the banana and molasses cake had gone the Way of the West over the last four weeks that it had been standing idle, and so I made another batch of fruit buns first thing this morning after the medication and these have worked really well yet again

It’s just a simple 250-gramme bread recipe but with only 2/3rd water and a very ripe banana mixed in, along with sunflower seeds, dried fruit of all kinds and varieties, desiccated coconut and about 100 grammes of brazil nuts ground into rather a coarse flour.

Of coarse … “he means “of course”” – ed … there will have to be some coarseness involved if I’m doing something, won’t there?

Not much last night though. After the heady and turbulent nights that I’ve had in the recent past with Zero, Castor, TOTGA and a few other of my favourite young ladies coming to join me in my nocturnal rambles for hours and hours on end, last night brought me down to earth with a bump. A guy a know from way back when and I were rewiring a car somewhere using bits of wire but there was a whole wiring harness from another scrap car and I was cutting a whole length of wire out of it (and the times that I’ve done that too in real life!). Someone asked me what I was doing so I explained. They were a bit upset thinking that I’d been doing it in a different way but it seemed pretty reasonable to me. Then I could remember that my father could get hold of wire as well so I told my friend that we were using wire with a blue and grey trace but we could get from my father some yellow and grey trace for it and maybe we should go down there. He asked what time my father was working so I could explained. he said that if I get down there to Church Lawton I could take the car because there’s a misfire that needs sorting out and we can pick up some wire while we’re there. Of course I wondered if he was actually going to be out there and be the one to bring me back. We had a discussion about that but I can’t really remember where we went to after that.

Added to this was that some girl was involved in this but I can’t remember why. There was also something about why were we using this black wire with different-coloured tracing in it when we could have had any-coloured wire from anywhere to do the job and the more wire with higher contrast in it the better.

And what was he doing putting in an appearance in my nocturnal rambles? He was one of these people who had a very volatile character and while we had something of a working relationship back in the 70s and early 80s it fell apart dramatically on 2 occasions, the second time for good.

And if you think that that’s interesting, you ain’t seen nuffink yet. I was taxi-driving last night, going down Market Street and then up the bank in Middlewich Street. There was some excitement when a couple of boys on bikes were blocking my path. I got rid of them. Just then I heard a voice cry “Eric!”. I turned round and it was someone on a moped. The name “Frank” came into my head so I said “hello Frank”. Then I realised that it wasn’t so I said “it’s not Frank, it’s Pete”. He used to be the landlord of a couple of pubs in Crewe but had had some severe mental health issues. I asked him what he was doing now and he replied that he was working as a family counsellor. He was off the drink and had himself properly organised, all this kind of thing. We had quite a chat. I asked where he was living. He said he was living with his aunt, or his mother, or someone else who had a motorbike but they were constantly rowing about things but staying together. Then he said “you’ll remember (a girl’s name) “. I looked and there was a girl there. “Last time you saw her, she was a tiny baby” so I looked and asked “how old are you now?”. “11” she replied but she was quite big for 11 so we had a chat and I had a hug which was very nice and we all started to chat about the old days.

And why did he become involved in my travels too? He was someone who lost his town-centre pub due to a redevelopment project and they transferred him to a different kind of pub on a decaying housing estate and his character didn’t suit the locals at all. The last I heard of him, 40 years ago, he was having some really serious and tragic problems and I haven’t heard a word or even thought about him since.

The reason why there wasn’t as much going on during the night as there has been just recently is probably because I didn’t go to bed until almost 02:00. After crashing out so dramatically yesterday I wasn’t in the least bit tired. But when you have an 07:30 start in the morning, there isn’t much time for voyaging.

There had also been my first nocturnal challenge too – and that was changing the batteries in the ZOOM H1 while I’m asleep and the net result of my experiences is that I’m going to replace my ancient Sony with like-for-like. I can change those batteries in my sleep with no problem.

After the meds I made my fruit buns and then after breakfast I carried on going backwards through the journal to update it to include the missing journeys and photos.

At 12:30 I ground to a halt and went for a shower, followed by lunch. And the pain in my jaw has eased considerably over the last couple of days so I tried some sandwiches instead of soup. And that worked fine today.

Later on I went off and parked Caliburn on the street outside Lidl and walked down for my physiotherapy session. And the exercises that she’s had me doing, I can feel the difference between my left knee and the bad right one. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve broken both my knees once and the right one a second time in motorcycle accidents in my teenage years.

And then the right one a third time in a skiing accident in the 1970s – and next day drove my old BMC HALF-TON VAN all the way back to Winsford from Inverness and it’s not an automatic.

That van, known as “Bill Badger”, could tell a few stories, and you’ve heard a few of them, Alison.

It’s a good job that I went in Caliburn to the physiotherapist because I had a funny turn in Lidl – a week of inactivity hasn’t been kind to me by the looks of things.

The bill in Lidl was enormous, but seeing as I haven’t been shopping for almost 3 weeks it’s not a surprise. But they did have these tactile glove on offer again and they are great for photography in the winter, if I ever get back to the High Arctic, which these days is looking more and more unlikely until I learn to sail.

On the steps I bumped into my neighbour from up above and we had a chat, then I came in here to put away the frozen food, make a coffee and collapse into a chair. That was hard work.

Now that tea is over and the washing up done, I’m off to bed. Despite my bad night I’ve kept going all day which is good news but I still can’t motivate myself. maybe a good sleep might recharge the batteries, but I dunno.

And in any case, as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … what goes on during the night is much more exciting than anything that happens to me during the day and I wouldn’t exchange any of that for anything else – except if it were to happen in real life.

But fat chance of that.