Tag Archives: Nerina Hall

Friday 13th May 2022 – THIS WAS PROBABLY …

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… the worst day that I have had for quite a while.

And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve had a few of those just recently.

So while you admire a few photos of everything that was going on out at sea this afternoon, when the alarm went off at 07:30 I couldn’t move an inch and it was just the same at 07:45 and again at 08:00. In fact it was, would you believe, 10:20 when I finally put my feet on the floor this morning

speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022It wasn’t that that was the worrying part about it. What worried me more than anything was that I was feeling as if I had a hangover. I don’t know what there are in these pills but they are certainly kicking in with a vengeance

But seriously, if this is how I’m going to end up, I’m going to try to work out which one of these new medications it is that’s causing this and simply stop taking them.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the only excitement that I seem to have these days is what goes on during the night. The last thing that I want to do is to cut all of that out of my life.

In fact I can understand why (although that’s not the same as saying that I agree with) the taking of hallucinatory drugs is so habit-forming. There is certainly something to be said for being taken out of yourself and going off on a series of voyages into the ether.

yacht ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022So while we’re on the subject of my nocturnal voyages … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve actually managed to pull myself together at some point during the day and dealt with the stuff on the dictaphone.

I was going to do a coach job which meant taking a coach to a race track by a big army camp in Yorkshire. I set off in Nerina’s Ford Escort to go to find the coach. When I reached the army camp I parked the Escort and got out but I must have knocked the gear lever by mistake for all of a sudden it revved up and roared off across the car park on its own with no-one at the wheel. It was late at night and there weren’t all that many vehicles on the car park but I had a feeling that this was going to be a recipe for disaster. I had to run after it but I didn’t have a hope of catching it. I could see it driving erratically around this car park. There was no way that I would catch it. Gradually the car park filled up, ordinary people, whole families of Gypsies hauling scrap and rags, soldiers etc. Of course I lost sight of the car and had to climb up onto a bank in the middle of the race course and that wore me out so I had to climb up a smaller one but I couldn’t see as far. Then they came in with the coach. I thought to myself that if I’d made such a mess of driving this Escort what am I going to be like driving this coach? This is going to be an absolute nightmare to me and how am I going to explain to Nerina what’s happened about her car? She’s not going to believe this story for a minute.

yachts speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And then there was a big group of us on an aeroplane. I somehow ended up with a girl whom I’d sat newt to on numerous occasions. We were discussing an aeroplane incident in the Atlantic similar to the Titanic and we were looking for the location of the yellow parachute of the plane. We were poring over maps documentation etc but we couldn’t actually see it. As well as that we were having a big lengthy chat. This girl was married but was in bad company and they spent a lot of money gambling. I’d been trying to tell her to cut down on it. She told me that last weekend she’d refused to go out even though everyone else in her family had wanted to. They’d wanted to go out on a big gambling spree but she’d dug her heels in and ended uo not going out at all. I was immediately pleased with her. Our hunt went on with quite a few documents but we couldn’t relate anything in them to anything on the ground. In the end she asked me quite pointedly what I was going to do now. I interpreted this as being that she wanted me to go. I gave her a great big kiss but she fought me off saying that people were looking so I prepared to leave on my own

That actually took me until rather late in the afternoon to type all of that out. For the first part of the day I couldn’t actually bring myself to do anything. It was all far too reminiscent of 2003/2004/2005 when I was going through another phase like this and I remember how difficult it was to climb out of the pit back then.

It was only Rhys’s wedding that rekindled my spirit of adventure back then. I’ll have to persuade him to marry again.

A lot of the morning was spent trying to recover and then the rest of the day was spent tidying up in the kitchen. There were piles of stuff everywhere and all of the washing-up that I hadn’t done yesterday after my rather busy day.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There is of course the afternoon walk around the headland so I had to drag myself out of the apartment and off on my way.

First port of call was the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down on the beach to see what’s happening down there today.

It was a really nice day and there were plenty of people down there making the most of it. No-one brave enough though to take to the water which was a surprise. I’d have expected to have seen the crowds in there today with the nice weather that we are having but they semmed to have all chickened out.

f-pdyt Turquetil DYT-01 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022While I was looking around out at sea at all of the maritime traffic, I was overflown by a light aeroplane on its way to the airfield.

It’s a new one on us. We’ve not seen her before. She’s F-PDYT, a Turquetil DYT-01 and that’s a machine about which I can tell you nothing at all.

Firstly, she hasn’t filed a flight plan and secondly, she wasn’t picked up on any radar anywhere so I can’t tell you anything about where she’s been and where she’s going.

And then I can’t even tell you anything about the manufacturer either because I can’t find any information about that either. It’s really not my day, is it?

As I walked down the path I came across a large group of people trying to take a selfie so I took their phones and duly obliged them. We had a little chat and then I carried on my way.

fishermen in speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Nown at the end of the path I walked across the car park and down to the end of the headland.

For a change there wasn’t anyone sitting down on the bench by the cabanon vauban, which was a surprise because there was enough going on out there this afternoon to keep everyone entertained for hours.

We’ve already seen plenty of marine traffic going by this afternoon, but this speedboat was stationary out in the bay. There were several fishermen on board but in all the time that I was watching, no-one actually pulled anything out of the water.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in all the time that we’ve been here, we’ve never ever seen anyone catch anything with a rod and line.

l'ecume 2 valeque sagone d'angawelys chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022From there I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was happening in the port.

There was quite a racket coming from the chantier naval this afternoon. It looked as if they had the air sander working full tilt on L’Ecume II grinding off the old paintwork.

In actual fact they are making quite rapid progress on her, which you can see when you compare her to how she was ON SUNDAY.

It’s not like them at all to be this rapid, is it?

St-Gilles Croix-de Vie chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Yesterday I mentioned that the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie had finished its work in the harbour and had been towed across the harbour to the portable boat lift and had been lifted out of the water.

She’s now out there on a couple of blocks while they start to dismantle her ready to be taken away.

She doesn’t actually sail into port, as you might expect. She comes into port in a dismantled form on the back of a low loader and they assemble her on the hard-standing before they drop her into the water.

And then they dismantle her ready for her to be taken away again on the lorry that will come to pick her up in due course and take her off somewhere else.

fishing boats unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022This afternoon there was quite a crowd over at the fish processing plant.

All of the boats are coming in to unload, swarming around L’Omerta that is still there after all this time. And there are a couple of large refrigerated lorries over there ready to whisk away the catch.

Back here I carried on tidying the kitchen and putting away the shopping from Thursday. The place looks a little more respectable now which makes a change. It had got into quite amess over the last few days.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper now that I have some and it tasted quite delicious. But I’m using a different rice right now and it’s not as nice as the usual stuff.

So later tha usual, I’m off to bed. I have a weekend school for my Welsh course so I’m hoping for a better start to the day tomorrow that today’s start. That was appalling and I don’t want to do that again.

Saturday 23rd April 2022 – THIS GAME OF …

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… musical ships moved into a new dimension this afternoon.

Neither L’Omerta nor Briscard were there when I went past on my afternoon walk. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I speculated that either Titanic or Mary Celeste would be there in their place but instead, we have two anonymous inshore shell-fishing boats.

Unfortunately I’m too far away to read their registrations so I can’t tell you who they are but they are new players in the game so we’ll have to watch this space much more closely to see how things develop in the near future.

However in the immediate past, I had a better day and actually managed to go through a day without falling asleep, although it was touch-and-go at one point this afternoon.

And when I saw how far I’d travelled during the night, I’m amazed that I could keep on going. But we’ll leave that for a moment.

Once again I managed to beat the second alarm so that’s progress of sorts, and after the medication and a quick shower (and washing a couple of pairs of trousers because I seem to have run our) I was off early for the shops.

Noz still had some of those mini-burger things, although I noticed this evening that they aren’t the same, but anyway I bought another packet to add to those in the freezer.

LeClerc didn’t come up with al that much either except that coffee was on special offer so I bought a four-pack of the variety that I like. I use a lot of coffee.

They also had carrots at €0:99 a kilo so I bought a packet of those, and actually peeled, diced and blanched them as soon as I came home. Even as we speak, they are freezing up ready for the next couple of weeks.

Finally I could turn my attention to the dictaphone. I was on that … “which?” – ed … space rocket last night. I had my own comfortable room and my bass guitar with me. I seemed to be in there for months as I kept orbiting the earth.

And then I was supposed to be going to Paris. I was staying in a hotel. It was going to be a quick train into Paris and back on the TGV for the evening because I was playing bass in a rock group. There was some kind of commotion in the station at the front of the hotel. It turned out that all the TGVs were cancelled. I’d have to go on a standard train which would take hours and it wasn’t until 20:00, the next one. I asked whether there would be one back later at night or whether I ought to stay over. He said “we’ll find out later” but it was gone 18:00 already so there wasn’t much later to find out. If I couldn’t have a train back I would have to book a hotel etc. I went back to my hotel room. I was in and out a couple of times and suddenly realised that I’d locked myself out of my hotel room. I had to go down to rception. They gave me a duplicate key. Some woman must have overheard me speaking English because she came up to me and invited me to a party “when the war is over” she said. “You’ll have to come round to the party” and she gave me a card. I went to give her a card. She said “yes, I’ll cook you a really good meal”. There was another woman standing nearby. We both said at the same time “oh we’re vegans”. This woman smiled and wandered off leaving the 2 of us so we started to talk. I invited this woman into my room now that I had the duplicate key. I asked her if she wanted a coffee. She said “no”. We started to talk, bearing in mind that I had to be gone in an hour or something like that and I had a lot of things to arrange in the meantime.

I was also in Eastern Europe last night. I had a filing cabinet with me in the back of the coach and there was a load of files in it, including ones on Putin and things like that. While I was doing something a girl came up and took a file from the cabinet. I took the file back from her but she had a piece of paper on her hand. I went to take that too but she didn’t want to give it to me. In the end I had to wrestle it from her hand. She went to ‘phone the police. When I looked at the paper I saw that it was one of hers so I apologised and gave it back to her. I got into my coach to drive away, fearing that any moment now I was going to be swept up in a police patrol and taken off somewhere

It was becoming close to Brexit. Boris Johnson had some kind of notice prepared with the date on it. He was out there in no-man’s land standing by this notice. We could all see him dithering. He went to unhook the date so people started cheering that he was going to call it off. Instead he suddenly and decisively put the date back on and said “right, let’s go”. This immediately started a riot. People began to set fire to everything, piles of paper, coal, buildings, etc. Rees-Mogg went to collect his things together but he found that someone had been into his jewellery box and stolen every single item of his jewellery. This led to a lot of discussion. We were talking to someone about that. They mentioned his jewellery box so I asked “where’s his father?”. The penny dropped with them as well. Everyone immediately understood what I meant and what had probably happened to his jewels. Someone who was rather pro-Brexit asked me where mine was. I replied that he was near Betley, Wrinehill, the last time that I had any news of him.

We were then back on Brexit again. First of all though I had a dog that I was trying to lose. I arrived at Crewe Station and there was a bus coming in going to Chester. It was packed so I led the dog on I was hoping to disappear but at the last moment I had a pang of conscience and couldn’t let it go. In the end I climbed aboard – there was just about room. I went to pay my 50p to the driver but I dropped it. The bus was so crowded that I couldn’t pick it up so someone whom I knew paid my bus fare and picked up my 50p from the floor. We left the bus at the Hurleston reservoir. Rees-Mogg was there, he’d just turned back since … I fell asleep … he was going on about how he’d me this nice lovable clown who had promised him all kinds of riches and wealth and so on. Of course that was Johnson and his proposals for Brexit.

Of course, when I say that “I fell asleep”, I don’t mean that because I am actually asleep while I’m dictating, in some kind of subconscious state. What I mean is that I slip out of this subconscious state into a much deeper state where I don’t function.

Finally I was with Nerina last night. Somehow we’d encountered my father’s sister somewhere along the road. We were all out somewhere. We had a huge, lengthy chat. We’d set out to go shopping actually and somehow encountered them. Then we drove a little way together out of Crewe and Nantwich. It was a really cold, icy winter. First of all I’d been off somewhere and had to walk back. Nerina had been out working when i’d gone but she’d obviously gone in because the weather was too cold. There we were and I suggested to her seeing as it’s a nice cold day and we aren’t doing anything and it’s rather boring why don’t we go to do our shopping in Whitchurch which is where my aunt lived. She thought that that was a good idea. We took my aunt back and dropped her in the centre of Whitchurch. Then we were talking. I was qaying “look at me becoming all family-orientated again. Not like me, is it?”. She made some comment and said “no, particularly as we have to go through your father in order to contact your aunt”. She led me off down these alleyways, down these steps. We had to step through these tables and restaurants where these people were playing chess. It suddenly dawned on me that fancy me having to be shown around a town by Nerina when I knew everywhere but of course she worked in Whitchurch (at least, she did last night anyway) so it was only natural.

But over the last couple of weeks my dreams are becoming quite political and I don’t understand why. I could understand it when there was all of the uncertainty about our position a couple of years ago but these days we are all regularised and our lives haven’t changed so considerably that there is any great cause for concern.

So what’s happening?

After lunch there was football. The final day of the regular season with four clubs – Aberystwyth v Connah’s Quay and Hwlffordd v Cardiff Metro chasing the one spot to play off for wild card in the Irn-Bru Cup or whatever it’s called these days. There was just two points separating the four clubs so it was effectively “winner takes all”.

We were watching Hwlffordd v Cardiff Metro with the other game in the corner of the screen. And the producers made the right call because while the game at Aberystwyth was a drab midfield battle that ended 1-1, we had a game full of excitement that ranged from end to end and back again, one of the best that I have ever seen.

The Met won 2-1 in the end with a winning goal that was worthy of any championship, but how different might things have been if Henry Jones’s diving header in injury time had been half an inch lower and crept in underneath the bar.

And having watched closely a few of the incidents that took place in the various penalty areas, I’m convinced that at times Dean John the referee was refereeing a different match to the one that the rest of us were watching.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022By now it was the usual time for me to go off for my afternoon walk around the headland.

And the first stop was as usual the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach.

Not that I was expecting to see anyone down there this afternoon because the weather had turned cold and overcast. I was even wearing a jacket when I went out.

One saying that I like to use quite often is “your level of success is measured by your level of expectation” and so seeing no-one down below on the beach was no surprise and no disappointment, even if it was a Saturday.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was however something going on out at sea, as I noticed while I was looking round.

Not too far offshore was a yacht swanning around in the bay having a whale of a time.

No fishing boats out there though, at least, as far as I could see, because visibility was quite poor this afternoon. It wasn’t even possible to see the Ile de Chausey this afternoon.

And nothing in the air either. In fact it was quite a quiet day all things considered.

fishermen zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There were a few more boats out there around the corner in the Baie de Mont St Michel though, I noticed

There was this rather large zodiac floating around just off the end of the headland, with three men in it. I thought that they might have been fishermen but I couldn’t see any equipment and they certainly didn’t have any rods out in the water.

But even so, I can’t think of anything else that they might be because the boat wasn’t actually moving when I saw it. It was just sitting there about a mile offshore waiting for something to happen.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There were some yachts from one of the sailing schools having a run around in the bay as well.

These two were having something of a race across the bay, with the rearmost one slightly in the lead. Somewhere out of shot there was a zodiac keeping an eye on the proceedings.

And while we’re on the subject of the sailing school … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve been carrying out a few rather desultory enquiries and discovered that there’s a “boat permit” that licenses you to operate a powered craft of a certain maximum size within a certain distance of shore.

Apart from wanting to sail, of course, that permit is something that I might find to be of use as well. But at the moment everything is on hold until the hospital and the doctor can sort me out.

cabanon vauban person sitting on bench Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022With all of the activity going on out in the bay, I was half-expecting to see it all having something of an audience this afternoon.

And here I wasn’t disappointed either. This woman sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban seemed to be taking rather a keen interest in what was happening with the zodiac.

The way things were, I had half a mind to go down and join her but it wasn’t the kind of day for loitering around. Instead I pushed on down the path on the other side of the headland to see what was going on in the harbour this afternoon.

ch922398, sm735890 lysandre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There wasn’t all that much going on in the harbour either. All in all, it was extremely disappointing for a Saturday.

There were a couple of inshore shellfishing boats out there in the outer harbour. The blue one is of course Lysandre on a visit from across the bay at St Malo but although I can read the registration number of the other one, she’s not in the fleet list that I have.

Still the same boats as yesterday in the chantier naval but no-one over at the ferry terminal either.

You’ve seen the photo of the two boats over at the fish processing plant, and that was really that. I came back for my coffee and to finish off the dictaphone notes.

There was time for another good session on the guitar too this afternoon before tea. A couple of these new mini burger things with potatoes and veg. And even though these burgers aren’t the breaded quorn fillets that I thought they were, they are still just as delicious.

A lie-in tomorrow, at long last. And I can’t say that I don’t need it. It’s been a tough week and it’s going to be even tougher next week as I have physiotherapy twice, a Welsh lesson for which I’m not prepared, an injection, a visit to the dcotors, a trip out and a weekend away.

By the time that I come back I’ll be ready for another break to recover.

But I wonder what I’ll be doing this time next week.

Tuesday 19th April 2022 – THINGS ARE MOVING …

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… at the site of the huge fire in the Rue du Midi the other week

On my way down into town for my physiotherapy appointment this afternoon I came across a rather large cherry picker parked in the Rue des Juifs.

With some men up there with a load of building material it looks as if they are starting the repairs to at least one of the houses that was badly damaged in the fire.

Of course, they can’t leave them open to the elements for too long. If the rain sets in there will be more than just the roof than needs replacing.

What else was moving this morning was me – a good few minutes before the first alarm went off as well. Never mind being able to do it when I have to, this just goes to prove that I can do it when I don’t have to as well.

So why can’t I do it all the time? That’s what beats me.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I settled down to deal with the slowest radio programme on record – at least since I have been properly organised. It wasn’t finished until after I returned from the physiotherapist and I still haven’t heard it yet to make sure that it’s OK.

And that’s despite the fact that I’d written some of the notes over the weekend as well.

What happened today was that I was plagued by a whole series of interruptions. I was actually making good time, regardless of coffee and breakfast breaks, and then Rosemary rang me. It goes without saying that that threw all of my plans into a cocked hat because we are quite capable of chatting about nothing at all for several hours.

As it happens, Rosemary has a real problem right now, a problem relating to her health, and she needed a shoulder to lean on.

After we had finished I had to dash around and steam-clean the apartment. It’s been a good few weeks since I’ve done that and I have visitors this afternoon so it needs to be something like.

After lunch my visitor arrived. He has plans to set up a ratline bringing Ukrainian refugees from the Polish border to Normandy on the train and we wanted to pick my brains, such as they are

He’s not actually going to find it as easy as it might be because there are a lot of variables in all of this and even knowing the ropes, doing research, having the contacts and the accommodation (because you aren’t going to do it in an 18-hour railway day) I still ended up having to wait around for hours

Moving small groups around is reasonably straightforward, especially if I’m going that way anyway, but he’s talking about doing it with large numbers and that’s completely impractical, especially on the Paris Underground.

My advice was to go to Moldova and hire a coach and a couple of drivers.

No problem with finding accommodation there. Everyone can sleep on the coach as it’s travelling. Two drivers can do a 28-hour shift between them and that’s all you need to come up from Chisinau. I’ve done that a couple of times in the past when the roads and the coaches were nothing like as good as they are now..

After he’d gone I had a shower and cleaned myself up, and then set out for the physiotherapist.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As my appointment is later than usual today, it was round about the right time for me to go and look down onto the beach so I headed off in that direction.

Of course, it’s no longer Bank Holiday so quite a few people are now back at work. Consequently I wasn’t expecting to see all that many people down there on the beach this afternoon.

And I was right too. There couldn’t have been more than a dozen people down there. Mind you, it was extremely windy again, but that’s not usually enough to keep people off the beach when it’s nice and sunny.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Next stop, as usual, is the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to see what was happening down at the port.

The three boats that we saw moored up at the quayside down there yesterday have moved on but there is another, different boat moored down there this afternoon.

And no prizes for guessing who she is either because we’ve seen her down there on dozens of occasions in the past. It is of course L’Omerta, one of the big shell-fishing boats.

The tide is well out so she’s going to be there a few hours yet at least until she can float off elsewhere.

reroofing rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having taken my photograph I headed off down the hill towards the cherry picker in the Rue des Juifs.

From here, we can see what is going on and why they have the cherry picker. There are a couple of people up there in the nacelle taking roofing material up there onto the roof. The repair work to that house seems to be beginning in earnest.

As for the ruins of the burnt-out one next door, there isn’t really all that much that anyone can do to it. I imagine that they will have to pull it down in the end. The stench of burnt wood would be enough to put off anyone from living in there again.

bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And on that note I carried on down the hill into town.

The last time that we were this way we saw them beginning to set up Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère or “temporary bar” that is set up on the corner of the boulodrome for the summer.

It’s pretty much all set up now and I imagine that it will be opening up before too long, although I would have expected it to have been open in time to catch the Easter trade, especially as Easter is so late this year.

Nevertheless, the presence of the Bar Ephemère isn’t putting off the boulonauts. They are still carrying on around all of the other activity down there. It takes more than this to put them off their stride.

road closed rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill towards the physiotherapist I noticed that the Rue Roger Maris was still closed.

What I’ll do will be to go that way home and find out why. There didn’t seem to be too much going on to cause it to be closed for so long the last time I was there.

Today I had a new physiotherapist. She explained the results of my MRI scan and it doesn’t sound as particularly serious as I thought it might have been. Still, we’ll see what the doctor has to say next week.

As for my treatment, she gave my knee a massage with the electric machine and then had me doing a few exercises.

rue roger maris rue du boscq place des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Having been thrown out until next Monday, I headed off to find out what was happening in the Rue Roger Maris.

And what I could see was “nothing at all”. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why the road should be closed.

However what I could see was that they had been putting sets of studs in the road, presumably to mark out a pedestrian crossing of some description. But that’s all completed now anyway so the road ought to be open.

There wasn’t anything of any interest going on in the town centre so I pushed on up the hill.

marité belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On the way up the hill towards home I stopped for a look down into the harbour.

Marité is down there, back from her overhaul. But I’m surprised to see that she’s not out working this afternoon. There are plenty of people around and so there’s a marketing opportunity that’s being missed here.

Not that it surprises me. I’ve made several remarks in the past about the staff who run the operation who seem to be much more interested in chatting amongst themselves rather than dealing with customer enquiries.

Belle France, the new Ile de Chausey ferry, is down there too. The other two boats are missing though, presumably running out to the Ile de Chausey.

government boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was something else that caught my eye while I was looking around the port.

Over there on the right is a boat that I haven’t seen before. She’s in the colours of the French Government so she’s presumably an official boat but I’ve no idea what she’s doing in the harbour.

And in the background there’s a mechanical digger doing some work. That’s something that has escaped my notice until this afternoon. I’ve not seen anything about that anywhere either.

But while we’re on the subject of the port and the redevelopment, the story that I mentioned yesterday of the Big Wheel not coming to the town is creating all kinds of controversy and I expect that there will be much more to say about that in the near future.

trawlers fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another thing that I noticed was what I thought was some kind of strange phenomenon on one of the trawlers just down there.

At first I thought that it was a trick of the light, some kind of prismatic effect creating all kinds of arrays of colour, but a closer examination revealed that it’s just a collection of plastic boxes.

The chute and pipework at the side of the trawler by the way is an ice chute. The trawlers fill their holds with ice before they leave and that helps keep the catch fresh until they return to port.

Back here I had a coffee and listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

it started off with something about Ukrainian people coming to Shavington for shelter, all loaded up with all kinds of fishing equipment but I can’t remember any more about it than this

And then there was a prison break organised for a town in Mexico with some young boy in soldier’s uniform who had gone to see a bandit chief about smuggling 3 revolvers into the local prison so that they could escape. 3 American women came into town and ended up working at some kind of job in town where they could watch everything and keep an eye on the prison break. They set up the town so that there were all kinds of weapons like machetes and daggers deposited in certain strategic places so that if these guys escaped but lost their guns could grab hold of some kind of weapon to defend themselves as they tried to make their way out of town.

Later on I was browsing through a newspaper and came across an advert for a Suzuki GS550 4-cylinder for sale for £1000. It said “ex-Shearings” on it so I was rather tempted by that. My brother rang up the garage in London and yes, they still had one. He said that it was a 1987 model so I took over the phone and had a talk to them about it. It had had new shock absorbers all round and a few other bits and pieces so I said that if I paid £100 deposit could they keep it for the weekend and I could come down and listen to it. If it was making any strange noises I could have my money back otherwise I’d pay the balance. They agreed to that so I gave them my details where they could send their details. Then I spoke to my friend from the Wirral and asked if he fancied a trip down to London on Saturday. He said that he had something to do but he could do it early in the morning then we could go down to pick it up. One of the young girls there said that we had to take 2 cars because she didn’t want to see a motorbike so I had to sit by her and ask her what was the matter with motorbikes, why she didn’t want to see one and what problems she had etc.

Finally I was in Virlet last night. There were quite a few of us round at my house including my brother. He was spending all his time tormenting the next-door neighbour’s dog. In the end I told him off and told him to leave the dog alone. The next-door neighbour came out with his dog and a couple of people who were there and we all started to go for a walk. They came round to where we were standing and had a little discussion. Then we went off for this walk having something of a chat. We ended up back at my house. A little girl who was with us and one with them went and sat next to each other and started to play. The guy asked questions about my tomato plants that I had growing. A girl with me borrrowed my pen and wrote out a note for him. It all started to become reasonably friendly. I thought that this doesn’t sound like my normal neighbours to me. I wonder what’s the matter with them.

And I wish that my brother would clear off. It’s rather annoying having my family hanging around like this. I ran away from home 50 years ago this summer in order to put as much distance as possible between me and the rest of them and I really can’t do with them keeping on coming back like this to haunt me during the night when there are many more people, like Castor, zero and TOTGA for example whom I would much rather see.

As I have said before … “and on several occasions too” – ed … I don’t mind Nerina putting in an appearance every now and again. After all, I did quite happily invite her to share my life, for better or for worse, and I would much rather have her about than quite a few people I could name.

Tea was the stuffed pepper that I should have had last night – well, in actual fact it was one that I found from the previous week that I had forgotten but found when I was vacuuming out the vegetable trays. Still, it was just as delicious. I put a bit more chili powder in it and that gave it something more of a kick.

Tomorrow I have my travel arrangements to make. I’m going a few days earlier, for reasons that will become clear in due course.

But if fortune smiles upon me which I hope that it will, something for which I have been hoping for the last 30 years will surely come to pass, and there might even need to be a name-change somewhere along the line.

Thursday 10th March 2022 – THAT WAS THE …

… quickest “in and out” that I’ve ever had from a doctor at Castle Anthrax.

She asked me how I was, If I’d been ill, if I had any pains and if I had any tingling in my fingers

She then poked and prodded me about , asked me for my medication requirements and that was that. She cleared off.

And I made a mental note never to drink any strong ginger beer just before I’m due to be poked and prodded about.

Last night I was in bed early and with no alarm I was hoping to have a really good sleep but it didn’t quite work out like that. One look at the list if files on the dictaphone will confirm that.

There was some kind of competition going on with these Chinese girls. We had to pick 5 of them so I picked my 5 and they should have been packed in a cardboard box wrapped in tissue. But one of them burst into tears so I asked her why she was so upset. She said that it was because I knew nothing about her life prior to this competition and it was dreadful. I asked why she doesn’t simply tell me about it. The quicker she tells me, the quicker we can solve the problem. But she was extremely reluctant to do so and we had fits of tears and hysterics and all kinds of things but she still wouldn’t explain the issue. In the meantime there were other people choosing one of their 5 girls to marry and I was desperately wanting to marry this particular one but with all of this going on she wouldn’t let me get close enough to her to take hold of her.

Later on I was back here again. By now all of the prizes had been given. One of my friends of 19 had carried off loads of prizes but he still wasn’t given this ideal couple or this female couple or exciting couple. It seems that most of his girlfriends …. (fell asleep) … give half a chance I’d go back but she had to be willing to … (fell asleep) …

Meanwhile, it was all about this girl being sent off. One of the others had been sent off too. They had been disguised as something or other and positioned in between the window and the attackers to prevent the attackers from becoming too close. That’s all there was to this mystery and it was ever such a disappointment when I found out that it was simply that.

Nerina and I had this huge pile of money. I’ve no idea where it came from – I can’t remember. We were driving around Crewe (although it wasn’t Crewe and it wasn’t Brussels either although it might have been) trying to find a bank that was open. We ended up down all kinds of back streets looking for all kinds of obscure and offbeat banks. In the end we couldn’t find anything at all. We decided instead that we would go to Bonn because there would be bound to be something there. We ended up sitting at a table with a couple of people whom I knew from the EU (although I didn’t). One of them had a horribly disfigured face. We were talking. One of the people was quite a senior person and the subject of finance came up so I told them the French stein joke which of course made everyone laugh but I had to explain it to the guy with the disfigured face. They thought that Bonn was an excellent idea so we were planning on setting off. At one point we found a side street where I knew there was a bank and I tried to park with 2 feet on the kerb and 2 on the road to let cars go past although there wouldn’t be many cars going this way. There were bollards in the way and of course some car came down and couldn’t go past so I had to drive round again but that was through Brussels or wherever it was before we’d gone to this bar to meet these people

I’m not sure if I’ve dictated this I haven’t) but I was with someone called Allota Fagina, the Austin Powers character. We were going somewhere (that I couldn’t identify from the dictaphone) … old house that was derelict and part of it was falling down. In front of it was a new house. There were several old cars parked there including tow old early Austin A45s that had identical number plates ONA432. She asked whose it was so I said that the one that had fallen down was the one where Austin Powers’ grandparents lived, the one that is standing still is where his parents live and the new one at the front is where he lives. We carried on and all met up at the end of the street for a chat. In the meantime there had been a TV crew so there were lots of people and lots of reporters. They had actually filmed part of this trip and they’d filmed the arrival at his parents’ house where someone had been there and wanted the film crew to record his children because they weren’t going on any further to the end. There were several reporters dotted along the street to ask the questions and the TV crew picked up one of them and it was someone whom we knew. They asked her some questions to which she gave some very nebulous answers

I forgot to mention that at one point Austin Powers’ grandfather had disappeared. When they asked where he was, he’d actually gone off – he fancied a chicken to eat so he’d actually gone off hunting a chicken. Someone was saying that this was his current mode of life and interest hunting his food for his tea

Then we had a dispute between two neighbours. One neighbour had moved in and the one who had been there the longer tried to lay the law down to him but that hadn’t worked and there had been some kind of confrontation between them that had left the long-living neighbour in a bad light. He’d found out a few things about the new arrival that he was repairing a boat down at the bottom of his garden so he called the Council’s Enforcement Officer over to make a formal complaint. The new neighbour had caught them both discussing it and it was quite obvious that this was going to lead to a major confrontation between the two

And when someone (the nurse, in fact) telephoned me at 08:30 to ask if he could come round and inject me, that was that. Of course, there’s no danger of the nurse coming to see me here in Leuven. He’ll be back round to see me on Monday morning.

After breakfast I washed my clothes and had a shower, and then spent the rest of the morning working on choosing the music for the next series of radio programmes.

Having made my sandwiches I set off for the hospital, stopping off at Origin’O on the way. Alison had forgotten that I was coming so I had to buy some vegan food for tea.

And it’s not Origin’O now anyway – it’s changed hands. It’s now called something else whose name I have forgotten. But there’s only half the range of products and the prices have increased somewhat dramatically too.

If this is how it’s going to be, I can see yet another vegan food shop being crossed off my list.

cleaning balcony with cherry picker mural brusselsestraat Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way to the hospital this mural on the end of a café in the Brusselsestraat caught my eye – “Progress in your own fashion”.

Normally, I don’t feature any advertising on my pages unless I’m having a share of the profits but I thought that I’d include it because first of all it really is new and secondly, it really is an eye-catching piece of art that must have taken a great deal of effort to complete.

There was also a cherry-picker there too and at first I thought that it was something to do with the mural but it looks as if those men on there are cleaning the windows of that building next door. Although why they need a cherry-picker and why the can’t do it from the inside by tilting the windows over is beyond me.

building facade kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022One building in the Kapucijnenvoer on which we have been keeping an eye is this one that backs onto the Zongang.

Last time we went past they were fitting the windows but over the last four weeks they seem to have made some dramatic progress. They are now busy building up the facade with some kind of machined stone blocks and it doesn’t look as it it will be long before they have finished.

We can no longer see the really nice building that is behind it and I bet that with the height of this building in front, it will be quite dark there. It’s a shame that a building as beautiful as that one has been consigned to the shadows.

new building kapucijnenvoer Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022The other building in the Kapucijnenvoer on which we have been keeping an eye is the huge one that is slowly going up further down the street.

Last time we were here we saw them beginning to fit the walls to the ground floor. And today, we’ve having to step back across the street to take a photo of it because it’s now mushrooming up quite quickly.

It’ll be interesting to see where it will be up to when I come back next month.

The climb up the hill was the usual exhausting agony but I made it right the way to the top without actually stopping for breath which is something, I suppose.

digging up pavement monseigneur van waeyenberghlaan Leuven Belgium Eric Hall photo March 2022When I reached the roundabout near the top I did actually stop, but not to draw breath.

Something else on which we’ve been keeping an eye is the work, whatever it is, that’s going on in the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan.

They have dug this up, laid electric cable, filled it in and then dug it up again more often than I care to mention. And look at the state of the paving at the side. I wonder how long it will be before someone trips over an uneven paving slab and does themselves a mischief.

At the hospital, my transfusion didn’t take long to complete, and I wonder why that was. Usually it takes hours but I was ready to leave at 16:30.

However I had to wait for a while for Alison to finish work and then we went round to her house for tea. She thought that my coffee cake was delicious and she was certainly right there.

Now, back here, I’m ready for bed. No alarm in the morning though because I’m having a lie-in to compensate for what I didn’t have today.

And so I wonder what will come along to disturb me.

Sunday 6th March 2022 – REGULAR READERS OF …

… this rubbish will recall that over the last God-knows-how-many months, they have been repairing the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022It’s been a while since I’ve been round that way to see how they have been doing and so I reckoned that I’d go that way this afternoon for a closer look

The big hole that was there in the wall has now been filled and it’s been quite an effort to do it. Mid you, I can’t say that I’m impressed with the lintel made of old stone blocks that they have fitted. It’s not really in keeping with the rest of the wall.

And there’s still plenty to do just there as well. There are plenty of gaps where either stone or mortar has fallen out as you can see and it all needs to be replaced. That will take them quite some time to do it properly.

parvis notre dame de cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022What is interesting in this photo of the Parvis Notre Dame is what ISN’T there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last two and a half years there has been a small American car with American number-plates parked just there.

But it’s not there now. The ground’s all flat. It looks as if the Council has lost patience and has towed it away.

It was an interesting curiosity though. There must have been a good story behind the car being parked there and I would have loved to have known what it was.

Talking of good stories … “well, one of us is” – ed … there were plenty of good stories on the dictaphone from last night, as I found out when I listened to them this afternoon.

When I awoke the first time in the morning I was having some kind of wrestling match with that Jacqueline “cuddly doll” thing that I have on my friends list whatever, you know what I mean. And if you really do know what I mean, please tell me for I don’t have a faintest idea.

And then there was something about a Siamese cat but I can’t remember what that was.

There was also something about being in Shavington. There was the parish newspaper advertising things. The latest thing was about two new businesses in Wistaston and two in Shavington wo we decided that we’d go to Wistaston to see them. When we reached Wistaston there was something going on about a poacher on someone’s land. This led to the owner of the petrol station literally dragging in a boy about 9 or 10 and accusing him of poaching. Of course the young lad denied it but the garage proprietor took a sawn-off shotgun and stuck the barrels under his chin and told him to confess or else he’d regret it. This led to a struggle just as a girl of a similar age was walking in. She got both barrels in the face and of course she was dead. The garage proprietor was trying to argue that the shotgun was nothing to do with him and that the others had brought it. This was extremely distressing.

There was a King of England in medieval times who had 2 daughters. One was a healthy, normal child and the other one was weak and sickly. They had tried several things to build up this weak, sickly child into a normal one but nothing had worked. In the end they marginalised her at court. she was somehow involved in a torture chamber. She wasn’t the one being tortured but was kept there. They had to think of things to do with her that could bring about her death without actually bringing it about. Suddenly she had this idea that maybe she ought to eat butter. Of course she pretended that she didn’t like it and that it was going to kill her so they brought it to her but it actually built up her strength. The other daughter and one of her friends were playing around and the other had somehow come to join them in the garden and was playing around too, running around and looking quite healthy etc. When the Queen came out she knighted or whatever the girl and her friend and seeing the other girl who had been sick she knighted her as well because she was so pleased to see her running around. When she became 14 they found her a husband in France and packed her off over there. everyone knew including the girl herself that because of her illness, her body was riddled with illness she wouldn’t live very long but she put a brave face on it and went to live away from her family for the rest of her life, which would be very short.

There was a King and Queen. The King reminded me very much of my niece’s husband. They had had a huge, blazing row and the Queen was leaving. My Opel Senator was in the garage and she insisted that we leave on that. The King had wandered off somewhere so I had to put the car back together again. I could only find one of the spark plugs and I knew that not only did I have another handful of new ones there was a load of old ones in the boot. I emptied the boot out to try to find these missing spark plugs but I couldn’t find them anywhere. Someone wondered whether the king had taken them away to stop his wife leaving. I carried on searching in all kinds of nooks and crannies. Just then an old merceded van pulled up. It was someone from down the road and he asked what was going on. I explained that I wanted to have this car runnign but I’d lost a load of parts. he was someone who actually worked for the RAC or AA on call-out. He said that he was bound to have all of the bits so he would call back after he’d finished this breakdown he was on and come and do the job for us. That seemed like the best alternative but in the meantime I carried on searching. Someone said something about the King had filed away the threads on a couple of plug holes so you had to put the plugs in anti-clockwise. Another car pulled up. i was a couple of people who lived in the neighbourhood who asked if we had a problem so I explained. I forgot to say that the guy had looked in the car at the luggage and said “you’re going a long way, aren’t you?”. Anyway these people in the other car stopped and were chatting away, all of them, and someone called me over so I went to see. She asked “do we have such-and-such a track?”. I replied “no” so she said “you ought to listen to it because it’s all about cars”.

I was also with Nerina last night, and Roxanne who was our daughter. We’d gone to Montréal but it wasn’t any particular Montréal that I knew. We were wandering around and were due to come home so we’d hired a car to go for a drive around and to collect all of our luggage etc. We’d stopped off at this little street café to have breakfast and we went inside. The woman was very friendly and kept on plying us with different foods to try. In the end she gave us a huge bag of Québecaois hot-cross buns. She asked Roxanne a few questions and she replied in Flemish which confused the woman so I told Roxanne that the woman doesn’t speak Flemish but French. The woman was surprised at all of the languages we were speaking. While I was finishing my breakfast Nerina had to go to buy something to do with putting air in the tyres. She asked the lady and again there was some confusion about the language so Nerina turned to me and asked me to translate. She was speaking Welsh so I translated into English and Nerina was able to have some directions about where to go while I finished my coffee and hot cross buns. We’d planned our final meal. Nerina was wondering where we’d go to eat so I suggested that little Indian restaurant at the Côtes des Neige … “he means “Côte Vertu” – ed …, that tiny place. She said “that would be a wonderful idea”. I’d told her that it was a tiny place and how good it was and I’d been there before in Montréal.

Finally I was at home and wanted to go out for some lunch so my brother asked why not go round to his place for some satsumas but not tell anyone. Round I went but he was serving a customer so he introduced me. I picked up a few things and went outside. I had BILL BADGERr, my old A60 van there so I got into him and started to drive home. At one point I had to turn round but the road was very busy so I had to go down into a side street, turn round at the bottom and come back up. I was reflecting about although Bill Badger was driving slowly which he always did it was a very good reliable van and how I ought to think about using it more as a regular runabout seeing as I’d owned it for over 30 years (actually, if I’d still had it today I would have owned it for 45 years and the only reason that I sold it when I did was that a rear spring broke and they were no longer available). I was talking about it must be kept MoT’d and insured otherwise the police would repossess it etc.

It was 11:10 when I awoke this morning and once I’d finished with my medication I attacked the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow, pairing it off. And some of the joins are excellent. My technique seems to be improving.

After lunch I transcribed the dictaphone notes and as you can tell, it took quite a while for me to do that. And several voyages last night were extremely realistic and very hard to distinguish from a real life adventure, not that I have too many of them these days.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

As I intimated earlier, just for a change I went for a walk around the medieval city walls to see what was going on. That’s why the view of the beach at the Rue du Nord is from a different perspective today.

Despite the high wind, it was a really nice day so it was no surprise that there were crowds of people wandering around there on the sand. Not quite sunbathing, but not far off.

And that reminds me that several years ago when I was living in the Auvergne it was actually snowing quite heavily on this day.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A little earlier we also saw some of the repair work being undertaken on the medieval city walls.

Dodging the crowds that were coming up and down the steps between the Rue du Nord and the beach I went half-way down to the little garden place to have a closer look at what was happening.

The covering to the scaffolding means that we can’t actually see what they have been up to but one thing is sure and that is that they have plenty of work still to do before they have finished.

Back up the steps, I carried on along the path underneath the walls

people on plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I reached the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset I took a photo of all of the people down there.

It’s relatively sheltered from the wind down there and in the sunlight it must have been quite an agreeable walk.

It would be nice for me one of these days to go down there for a walk, but the way that I am these days I would struggle to come back. Especially today. I was having a rather bad time this afternoon.

In the upper left of the photo is what looks like a gate with a stone wall around it. It is actually the entrance to the garden of the Museum Christian Dior and there is a set of steps that lead up to there from the Plat Gousset.

roadworks rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing was the lorry with its trailer parked up a few days ago at the Porte st Jean.

I had a good wander around the old town but I couldn’t find out where the crew might have been working. However, the electricity installations that we have seen them doing in the Rue Cambernon are STILL going on – and on – and on.

And I suppose that one day when they have finally finished the work, someone else will come along and dig them up again.

Walking around the walls back towards home, I passed the spot where the American car used to be parked, and I couldn’t find the energy to climb up over the top of the walls to the viewpoint there.

Instead I staggered home for a coffee and then edited a few photos of my trip to the High Arctic in 2019.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After lunch I took out a lump of dough from the freezer and left it to defrost.

Later on I kneaded it and rolled it out and then put it on the pizza tray to proof. And then later on when it had risen I assembled it and bunged it into the oven.

When it was cooked I sat down and ate it and it was one of the most delicious that I have made. Slightly overcooked, otherwise it would have been perfect.

So now I’m off to bed. I have a 06:00 alarm tomorrow seeing as I have a radio programme to prepare so I need to be on form. I have the physiotherapist too, the nurse coming to inject me with the Aranesp to kickstart me for my trip to Leuven, and I also must ring up to book an X-ray on my knee. I can’t leave that too long.

It’s going to be a long day.

Friday 4th March 2022 – I’M NOT CONVINCED …

… about these pills that I’m supposed to be taking before I go to bed.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While you admire a photo of the crowds of people on the beach this afternoon, what with going to bed early last night I took one of them. And I fell asleep quite quickly.

It didn’t stop me from going off on a few nocturnal travels though, some of which were quite incomprehensible. At the very beginning there was something very amazing about 3 little shopping bags that were like boats floating on the water. People were using them to take things to places but it was really confused I can’t remember anything about it apart from that.

Later on we were with Nerina round at the home of someone from the Welsh group. We were just talking around etc and we suddenly had to leave. She had made this big pile of sandwiches and so she gave us some of them, salad and hummus sandwiches. We ended up taking them and left. Just as we were going she said something like “don’t forget to bring back some of that gorgeous cake when you come back”. Nerina and I bumped into someone else and told them the story of the sandwiches and cake which they thought was funny. Nerina asked “what time should we go back?”. I didn’t know so she said ‘how about 14:45 and we can have a siesta before we go back in the afternoon?”. On the was back was a very narrow lane which was very difficult for 2 vehicles to negotiate. I was driving down and someone came round the corner in an old C15 van. He saw me coming but pushed on regardless. We had to do some incredible negotiation so that he could go past but in the end he dropped into a ditch and couldn’t extricate himself. I couldn’t stay where I was – I had to go on further but in the meantime someone else came and instead of waiting where it was safe he pushed on as well. I said to the second guy “what a stupid thing to do, trying to pass here with these ditches. It was much safer to pass back there where you’ve just come from.

And later on, I was in a gym. There was a set of weights , the bar and weights, that were in a ramp. I was underneath it ad I was having to lift up this ramp with this set of weights, hold it above my head and then lower it down. As far as I knew I went off and I was doing that

At some other point I was in hospital having my treatment but they weren’t giving me my infusion, they were examining me all over and they pushed this huge, enormous needle like a knitting needle into my arm and I had a panic attack. Everyone else started to laugh. I thought that that was most unprofessional and most unpleasant and I was really annoyed and angry by this. They didn’t seem to take my worries seriously – it was all a big joke and I was so annoyed. The woman came round with the trolley with sandwiches on it but there were no sandwiches on it for me and that made me even more annoyed. I disconnected myself, went outside to my motorbike and went for a ride. I ended up on the A51 that leads out of Nantwich towards Chester. As I was going up the hill towards the canal this absolutely enormous monster aeroplane flew overhead. I couldn’t find my camera so I stopped to rummage through my affairs by which time this aeroplane had flown away by the time that I found my camera. I was having a friendly chat with a little kid who was having some grief from his parents for something or other. As I was putting away my stuff a woman came up to me and said “if you need your washing doing let me know”. I couldn’t work out what she meant. I had to ask her 3 or 4 times for an explanation. It turned out that I was parked in the entrance to a hotel and she thought that I was staying there. I explained what was happening and the doorkeeper for the hotel came over to talk to me. he told me that I was lucky that I wasn’t dragged in and had to pay for a meal or something. I said that he probably noticed that I was polite and courteous to this woman. He replied “yes, that’s why you didn’t have any trouble. We were also impressed about how you were talking to that child”. I had to wait for someone to finish their ‘phone call before I could go into the ‘phone box to make myself ready. I put my things in the top box of the motorbike but it wouldn’t close. I had to spend some time on it to make it close. I then went to kickstart to motorcycle but the piston stuck in the barrel so that it wouldn’t kickstart. I thought “this is another one of those days that really isn’t my day, isn’t it?”.

Finally there were 3 young girls and I’ve no idea who they were, wandering around somewhere in this town. They had a bottle of spirits with them. They were having a crafty drink of these spirits as they were going around but something went wrong, one of them disappeared and the other 2 made a quick getaway. They carried on walking away from this town drinking these spirits. They caught up with the third girl. Then this scene drifted to the 3rd girl waking up. She could remember what happened up to that point where they’d met up but the rest was a complete blank. She couldn’t understand it. She’d never had a lot of drink before. One of her friends who had awoken came to join her and they were trying to dress. It looked extremely funny watching them having to swap socks, swap shoes because they couldn’t remember whose was whose and they were in a completely intoxicated state and well out of everything. They finally were ready and I had to take them somewhere. I had to fiddle with my camera to find out where I was and get my camera at the end of the reel, I suppose. My sister was with me. She suggested “that’s where you are isn’t it?”. I replied “no, I’m roling the film round the other way”. Eventually I could reach the starting place so that we could all prepare to leave.

When the alarm went off it was a real struggle for me to leave my bed. I finally managed to struggle out just before the second alarm but it didn’t do me too good because after my medication I came back in here to start work but instead I crashed right out.

10:10 when I finally awoke – for the first time – and I fell asleep a second time early in the afternoon too. I’m not quite sure what these pills are supposed to do but I don’t think that they are supposed to do that.

After transcribing the dictaphone notes, I performed the back-up on the computer that I should have done a couple of days ago on the First of the month. And then copied onto the portable USB drive that’s on my door key the files that need backing up onto the portable computer that I take with me to Leuven

All of that took me up to lunchtime. And with having finished the half of loaf that wasn’t in the freezer, I made lunch with some taco rolls. No sense in defrosting half a loaf for today that will then stand idle until Monday.

This afternoon the first thing that I had to do was to bring up-do-date the database that I keep for my radio programmes. The events of the last week or so have meant that some of the radio shows have had to be shuffled around, a few new ones inserted, all that kind of thing, that have led to several changes.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I went outside for my afternoon walk around the headland.

We’ve already seen a photo of the crowds of people down on the beach, and here’s a few more. And one or two of them look as if they might be brave souls who have actually been for a walk into the sea.

It’s not exactly the kind of weather for the sea today. It was overcast and quite windy but, as seems to be the thing these days, it’s not as cold as it might be for this time of year. We haven’t had a winter at all this year. Just two days of frost and that’s all.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And, as usual, I was also looking out at sea to see what was going on there.

In the distance was something or other so I walked all the way down to the end of the headland to take a photo that I could enhance when I returned home and have a look at what it might be.

It’s actually a trawler out there in the bay. The tide is too far out right now for the gates to the inner harbour to be opened in the very near future so it’s probably working out there. They are popping up in all kinds of strange places these days.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Whether the pople down on the beach at the Rue du Nord were engaged in the peche à pied I couldn’t really say.

But this lot down here on the rocks at the end of the headland are certainly having a go. These people here are just a few of the hordes who were down there this afternoon, armed with all of the equipment necessary.

There wasn’t anyone at the cabanon vauban this afternoon – presumably the lure of the peche à pied was too much for them – so I carried on around the path towards the port on the other side of the headland.

courrier des iles, le roc a la mauve 3 la granvillaise charles marie spirit of conrad les bouchots de chausey chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And at the chantier naval there’s even more excitement this afternoon.

We now have a couple more boats in there – boats that we all know quite well because we’ve seen them quite often during the summer.

G90 is of course easy to identify. She’s La Granvillaise. And then the blue and white boat next to Spirit of Conrad is Charles Marie. Both of these boats do charter trips around the bay during the season.

The ferry terminal is empty this afternoon. Both the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and the Ile de Chausey ferry Joly France have cleared off.

belle france joly france chausiaise marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As for where Joly France might be, she isn’t moored in the inner harbour.

Her younger sister is down there on the left with Belle France and Chausiaise. Joly France is probably out somewhere running a trip to the Ile de Chausey.

Marité is down there too. She hasn’t moved for a while but I imagine that she’ll be off on her travels quite soon. She’ll need her certificate to carry passengers and as the portable boat lift isn’t strong enough to lift her ut of the water she has to go off elsewhere where she can be lifted out of the water.

removing vegetation medieval city walls rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A little further on along the path I could see in the distance that there was some work going on on the medieval city walls in the Rue des Juifs.

When I was on my way to town the other day I noticed that there were “no parking” signs down there. And what they are doing is attacking the vegetation that’s been growing up the walls.

If the roots penetrate the mortar they will chisel it out and make the walls unstable, which is why they have to keep on removing it.

Back here I had a coffee and then pushed on with another pile of photos from my trip to the High Arctic in 2019. I’m now at Qikiqtarjuaq – Broughton Island – off the coast of Canada in he Davis Strait.

And I’m not sure why we called there when there was an abandoned whaling station just 50 miles up the coast from here that would have been far more interesting for me.

There was a quick tea tonight because there was football on the internet later – YNS v Y Fflint. TNS won 2-1 as you might expect but it might have been a different story had Y Fflint’s goalkeeper and their attackers been on better form. They certainly had the chances.

While I was watching the game I was talking to Rosemary. She had rung me up on the telephone and there was a lot of things to discuss, given the state of the world right now.

And now I’m off to bed. It’s late but nevertheless I’ll take a pill tonight and see what happens. I hope that I have a better morning tomorrow than I did today.

Friday 25th February 2022 – REGULAR READERS OF …

girl taking photos hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… of this rubbish will recall that one of the recurring themes that run though these pages is photos of people taking photos.

And sure enough, we had a couple of those today. We also had the first Bird-Man of Alcatraz this year too today but his Nazgul came to grief on the car park at the back of the lighthouse at the Pointe du Roc.

There was a young girl taking a photo of our bird-man packing up his troubles in his old kit bag and so I joined in the fun by taking a photograph of the girl taking a photograph.

And then, like the KNIGHTS OF KING ARTHUR we went our separate ways.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022My journey didn’t take me very far before I came once more to a stop.

This afternoon there were some people down there by the bench at the cabanon vauban and one of them was taking a couple of photos.

Even at this distance I could take a photo of what she was doing so that I could add it to my collection of photographs of people taking photographs.

However, as usual, I’m running ahead of myself here. Let’s go back and start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While you admire a few photos of the huge rollers coming in and colliding with the sea wall, I’m going to start today’s story even before the very beginning.

In fact, last night, I couldn’t go to sleep. In the end I ended up watching a film on the internet while I was waiting for sleep to come and it was at about 01:30 when I finally staggered into bed.

That doesn’t bode well for a 07:30 start but if we turn the clock back a year or two, I was going to bed at that time and arising at 06:00 without the least problem. And then going out for a run around the town.

Ohhh! How things have changed!

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There wasn’t a great deal of time to go off on much of a nocturnal ramble, but I did my best.

Compared to the events of the last few nights; what happened last night was rather tame. Nevertheless, there was a very enigmatic entry on the dictaphone.

It went “I wish that I knew more about that dark-haired girl who came to visit me last night but that’s all there was on the dictaphone so I’ve no idea at all about anything relating to this”.

And I was dead right too. I wish that I did know more about it as well because it’s the kind of thing that must have been extremely interesting. I seem to be meeting an awful lot of unidentified young ladies just recently and it’s extremely frustrating to say the least when I can’t recall who they are or what we did.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Later on I was with Nerina again last night. We were doing something at a bungalow on the Poets Estate near Coleridge Way around there. I’d been working on a car. I’d put my things away but when I went back there were still some bits and pieces lying around so I picked them up and put them in my pocket. Then I went to look at the car. The seat adjuster had broken – the circlip that holds it in place had come off. I made a mental note to do something about that when I was in a place where I could fix it. Then we drove to Nerina’s – it was about 21:45. Nerina’s mother said “oh, you’re early. She had tea ready which, for me, was vegan sausages. We had our meal then I was going to show Nerina this seat attachment thing because if she will be going out in the car in the morning she’ll need to know about this so she’ll know what to expect and she’ll know how to fix it. I couldn’t find a circlip to hold it in position. I was singing RIDING THE WAVES by Steve Harley all the time and I don’t know why and even Nerina made a mention of it during the dream.

And how I wish that I could sing it as well as I could 30 years ago

What I’ve been doing all day today is dealing with the arrears on the dictaphone that hadn’t been transcribed. I’ve no idea where I found all of the energy to do it but I did it all the same and now it’s finished.

Surprisingly, of the 40-odd sound-files that I had to transcribe, TOTGA and Zero only put in a very minimal appearance or two but we haven’t seen anything of Castor for a while and that is depressing me.

But anyway, all I need to do now is to find an hour or two over the weekend and update the relevant journal entries.

We had the usual breaks during the course of the day, a coffee or a hot blackcurrant here and there, a slice of my wonderful, delicious coffee cake and then lunch of course.

Another couple of things that I needed to do was to telephone the doctor about another appointment. I need more Aranesp for my fortnightly injections.

And then I had to write out a recipe. A while ago I’d promised my friend in Munich a copy of my vegan pie recipe but I had kept on forgetting. But the photo of my pie the other day reminded me.

low loader place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There was a lot of noise going on outside during the afternoon, heavy machinery and so on, so I wondered what I was going to see when I went outside.

Right outside my front door was an articulated tractor unit with a low-loader trailer attached thereto. And running around the area was a large tractor-type JCB thing with a pair of fork loaders on the front.

What was strange about this, and I didn’t notice until afterwards otherwise I would have taken a photo of it, was that the driver of the JCB thing was a young woman.

That is surely the first time that I have ever seen someone of the female sex driving a machine like that.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And so as usual I wandered off down to the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

The tide was well in now so there wasn’t much beach to be on. But nevertheless there were plenty of people down there wandering around or sitting on the rocks as you can see at the bottom of the photo.

There was even a young girl down there in pink wellingtons actually going out into the water and that was rather courageous of her. I can’t see what she and, presumably, her father were doing down there. They had no equipment for the pèche à pied and in any case the tide is too far up for that.

buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Every now and again we notice a certain type of yellow buoy out there in the bay in between Granville and St Martin.

Today we have another one of them, and I wish that I knew what it was doing and what was its significance. It’s not a mooring buoy and it doesn’t look like a typical lobster pot marker buoy to me.

There were several seagulls flying around it and so I was wondering whether we might be in for a romantic love story. After all, the ocean is the place where buoy meets gull.

Yes, I’ll get my coat.

sea pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual I also had a good look around out at sea to see what was happening there.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the different layers of water that coexist side-by-side in the bay and the mystery that it causes.

What we have here today is a kind-of ripple effect in the water. The last time that I saw something like this was POINT PELÉE, the southernmost point of mainland Canada when I was there with Katherine in 2010.

What was happening there was that we had a river flow heading to the east and a wind-blown flow heading west. However here today, just for a change there wasn’t anything like enough wind for a similar phenomenon today.

There were crowds of people milling around this afternoon as you might have seen in some of the previous photos. It was a nice day and it had certainly brought out the crowds.

The storm and the waves had subsided considerably since yesterday but coming into the Baie de Mont St Michel every now and again were some very heavy rollers. You saw a couple of them breaking on the harbour wall in the photos right at the beginning.

courrier des iles chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022In the chantier naval we have a new occupier over at the back of the yard. She’s Courrier des Iles, one of the charter hire boats that operate out of the port.

Not that I know too much about the operation of the smaller boats that ply for hire but the larger ones certainly have to have an annual inspection before they can carry fare-paying passengers and so if that’s the case with her, she’s probably having an overhaul to prepare her for the forthcoming season.

Meanwhile, over on the other side of the yard, Tiberiade, Le Roc à le Mauve III and the two yachts are still in there receiving attention.

cable laying rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022At the rear of the apartment I found out what was going on with all of this machinery.

They are laying some cable in the underground conduit and although you can’t see it in this photo, the cable reel is whizzing around. It’s on a stand of course, and there is someone somewhere else in the neighbourhood pulling on the end of the cable to whizz it through the conduit.

Back here I had a coffee and came back in here to carry on with the dictaphone notes and eventually I finished them

Tea tonight was a vegan burger with pasta and veg in tomato sauce and it was quite a delicious, if quick tea.

So now I’m off to bed. I’m going shopping tomorrow so I need to be fit. I don’t need much but we shall see what the shops come up with.

Sunday 20th February 2022 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… today has been one of those days when I have done nothing at all whatever of any importance.

In fact, it’s been so relaxing that I’ve even forgotten to transcribe the dictaphone notes, as I have just found out. That’s something that I have to do tomorrow after my radio programme is finished.

And when I did, I hadn’t realised just how much there was. I started off with my youngest sister last night but first of all we were in a huge house or something like a castle that was built on a rock. I’d seen a vehicle pull up and I knew whose it was and I knew whom he might have been to see down somewhere else in the building. Later on I climbed down the outside of the building and right the way down the rocks at the bottom where there was a courtyard and there were quite a few people in there having a party, including the woman concerned. It was the mother of a girl whom I know from the Auvergne and who had accompanied me on a few nocturnal rambles in the distant past. I could see that with this party she had obviously known that this guy had been here so I just briefly mentioned it in passing. Then we were chatting away. I thought that I might have been invited to this party but no I wasn’t. I went somewhere else from there and ended up inside and had my sister sitting on my knee. We were chatting about this and that and having quite a bit of fun because she was quite young and I like children of that age so it was all very pleasant. I asked if by any chance my niece and one of her daughters were coming over from Canada. She replied “no they aren’t coming over this year. They came over three times last year and and your brother (who she meant to me) had bean teasing that girl (she meant the one from the Auvergne) about she was having to go into boarding school”. There was a lot more to it than this that I can’t remember.

Something else bizarre happened last night. I don’t know what it was but these two people picked me up, dragged me off and started to interrogate me about something that had happened. I knew nothing about it but they were quite insistent that I did. In the end I had to sign all of these affidavits etc to say that I hadn’t done anything and they were going to give me some money. But they deducted some money for this and some money for that and some money for something else and I ended up with only about 60% of it. But then thinking on it was 60% more than I would have received anyway so maybe it was a good deal although it was something of anguish at the time and rather nerve-wracking as they were quite insistent. In the end I walked away with some cash so I don’t suppose that it could have been too bad and I’m still trying to work out exactly what it was that happened.

There was something else at some point too about a load of new people coming to work in our office so I’d been trying to wrangle a transfer. I was wandering, talking to a few people saying that I hope that they’ll give me a transfer but it won’t be to somewhere exciting like Caithness or Skipton or somewhere like that but to another one of our offices in Stoke on Trent somewhere and that won’t be any good at all.

Laurence and I had been out around Nantwich somewhere wandering around and we came to some kind of museum so we went in for 5 minutes for a quick look around. It was quite nice and I thought that this would be a good place to bring Roxanne. She said “but it would be snowing tomorrow”. I replied “I don’t necessarily mean tomorrow and in any case it’s indoors so she would probably enjoy it anyway”. So we went back out but there was a problem with the trams so we would have to catch a bus. It turned out that there was one in 4 minutes’ time, probably because there was something going on at the cathedral and they had the road up. She set off while I sorted out the tickets and then ran after the tram, which sometimes was a tram, sometimes a bus, and leapt aboard. There was a severely handicapped girl manoeuvring around but I was fighting my way in trying to find Nerina because I was with her now but she wasn’t there. Someone said something like she had just alighted but by this time the bus had started moving. I stayed on but people started to talk about Nerina. Then this vehicle ended up in the wilds somewhere because the normal way home through Wistaston, there was a fight going on between a big group of people and so we must take another way. All the people were running down the street trying to catch up with this bus or something. The driver told me that he was rather confused about where to go so I replied “if you turn right here you’ll end up in Ganshoren and go back over to Jette”. He turned right but it was a road that I didn’t know at all but I saw a sign for Woluwe so I assumed that we were somewhere along the correct road somewhere. All the time this nonsense was going on. We then came to a new part in this road that was even more confusing than what we had come to before and it was a case of guesswork as to which road to take when we reached a certain road junction.

And even later still I was on yet another bus in Belgium. There were a lot of people talking. The subject came round to petrol stations. Someone was saying that there are far fewer petrol stations in Belgium than there ever used to be. She pointed to a Delhaize supermarket that we drove past on the corner of the street and said that in the old days that used to be 2 petrol stations. The talk continued and I noticed one of the people looking at me so I said “excuse me but I’m a foreigner and I’m really interested in what you’re saying”. The carried on talking and in the end we arrived at the terminus and we all had to alight. Someone said to one of the girls “why don’t you take him (meaning me) and show him (something or other)”. She replied “OK” and took me off. It was a shop and she took me down into the basement. I had a wander round in there. Suddenly she started to bake a cake. I wasn’t taking a great deal of notice but when she finished I asked “how did you bake a cake without any eggs in it?”. She replied “I’ve just made this one without any eggs”. I suddenly realised that she had as well and I wished that I had taken more notice of what it was that she was doing. Meanwhile the server from down there came up and said “thank you for being so disorganised. You’ve made me miss my break and you’ve made me have problems serving one of the customers” to which we replied “maybe we’ll offer the customer a piece of cake and it might make them feel better.

After all of that it’s no surprise that I stayed in bed until 10:30 this morning, even though I was wide-awake a long time earlier than that. But Sunday is a day for mending the nets.

After the medication I sat down and paired up the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. And a couple of the joints that I made are totally perfect and I’m well-impressed.

After lunch, I had a football match to watch. While I was in Aachen last Saturday I missed Caernarfon Town v Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League and I have deliberately refrained subsequently from watching any highlights.

This atfernoon I managed to track down the complete game on the internet and so I watched it. I shan’t say anything about the game because, quite frankly, it was one of the most exciting games that I have ever seen. Maybe some of my readers are football fans and if so, you’ll really enjoy this game. It’s at THIS LINK with, rarely, a commentary in English but, unfortunately, with a couple of holes in the recording.

One thing that I will say is that I found the comments of the commentators concerning the Caernarfon Town’s goalkeeper most inappropriate.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in my youth I was a goalkeeper, although nothing whatever like at this standard, and I’ll promise you that an 18 year-old kid keeping goal in a howling gale against grown men, some of whom have been capped for Wales, is always going to be advised to punch instead of catch when he’s surrounded by other players in a crowded penalty area, whatever the commentators might think.

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

As usual, the first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down below. And to my surprise, there were dozens of people down there going for a walk around.

In this photo are just a few of them, but why this particular view is that there is something on the sand on the extreme left. It seems to be something with a handle but no matter how I enlarged and enhanced it, I can’t make out what it was.

It’s interesting to conjecture that it might be some kind of flotsam and jetsam tossed onto the beach by the storm but I’m not quite sure how likely that would be.

lighthouse semaphore people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As well as crowds on the beach, there were also crowds wandering around on the path on top of the cliffs

And strangely enough, despite the storm warning of the other day, I will bet that the winds this afternoon when I was out were stronger than those during the storm when I was out that afternoon.

There wasn’t anyone out at the headland though and that was no surprise. The wind certainly took away my breath and would have taken away the breath of anyone else sitting down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban.

There was a couple struggling along in the distance on the lower path, and “struggling” was certainly the word in this wind.

people on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Once I’d gone round the corner to the other side of the headland we were in a wind shadow so it was much easier to move around.

There were quite a few people walking around on the harbour wall too, and with the tide being right out it was probably as safe as it can be. But in a few hours’ time when the tide is right in it might be a different proposition entirely. The seagull was enjoying itself anyway.

One thing that I noticed was the hold hand-powered crane down at the end of the harbour wall. I must have seen it before because I’ve often walked down there in the olden days when I could walk places, but I don’t remember it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, over at the ferry terminal we now have two ferry boats. The newer Joly France boat has come along to join her older sister.

They must have been quite busy this weekend despite the bad weather, so hats off to those who have gone down to the sea in ships.

Back in the apartment I had a hot coffee waiting for me and I couldn’t wait to drink it. Although it’s not cold, according to the temperature, I’m freezing.

And I’ve been freezing for several weeks and I don’t know why. I keep on thinking that I’m sickening for something but it’s certainly taking its time arriving.

After lunch I took out a lump of dough from the freezer and left it to defrost.

Later on this afternoon when it had defrosted I gave it a kneading and then rolled it out onto the tray where it proofed to its heart’s content.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When it was ready I assembled it and stuck it in the oven to bake.

And I do have to say that today’s effort was the best pizza that I have ever made. Cooked to perfection (unlike my previous effort) and tasted totally delicious.

So now that I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I’m up early in the morning and I have a radio programme to prepare. And then there’s a letter to write, and I need to nip into town to post it.

No physiotherapy for 10 days though. She’s on holiday so I can have a few days off. And I need it too.

Thursday 17th February 2022 – TODAY WAS SOMEWHAT …

… better today than yesterday and at least I manahed to accomplish a couple of things.

Actually it started last night when after I finished writing my notes; I finished off the notes for the radio programme and then in a mad fit of energy I actually dictated them. It can’t be any better than that.

There was something that resembled a reasonable sleep last night. Judging by the times that I dictated the notes of my travels during the night, I must have had a good four hours of uninterrupted sleep.

After that I was off on my travels and I spent a lot of time wandering around. I started off with someone from the Wemsh group, and I wondered when one of them would appear. We’d been doing something or other and a third person whom I know but can’t remember came up to me saying “I saw your note just now back there” but I couldn’t think which note it was at all. I hadn’t written one. We went back into the lounge room and my Welsh friend said something like “right, it’s TV time. There was a programme on there that we usually watch. I had to use the ruler to switch on the TV because it was so high up on the wall. Apparently it was already on – it just needed touching to reactivate it. It tunred out that it was the Wimbledon singles tennis final between Maria Scharapova and someone. He’d written a note or a poem or doggerel about her. The other match that was taking place was the men’s singles final between Boris Johnson and someone else and if that isn’t a nightmare, I don’t know what is. I was surprised about how good Boris Johnson was. he was really making this young guy work his position and for a big man he was a lot quicker on the court than I expected him to be. He had this enormous smash that ended up with him hurtling backwards and hitting the wall at the back. Then he began to pull all kinds of bits and pieces from under his shirt. We realised then that he was wearing some kind of kevlar body armour that had shattered under the impact of him hitting this wall. he was pulling it out bit by bit. When there was a lull in the noise in the stadium I shouted “it’s not a very good advert for kevlar, is it?” and everyone burst into laughter.

Later on I was on my way into work and was at the back end of Tunstall when I saw a motorbike at the side of the road, a Royal Enfield single. I had a good look at it and decided that it was quite nice and carried on to work. Later that day I had to go back out again. 2 girls from the office came with me. One was a girl whom I quite liked. The other one was quite nice but this one was something special. I had my red Cortina and we piled into it. We ended up back in Tunstall again. This bike now had a sign or something on it saying “Series BSA for sale” but it was quite clearly a Royal Enfield. I mentioned that and they said “why don’t you go to see the person and find out?”. I replied “probably because I would be very tempted to buy it”. We found the address so we set off. Soon the houses finished and we were in the open countryside. The second girl said “we’ve been this way before haven’t we?”. The first girl replied “yes. It was that office outing when you went wine-tasting”. I said “yes, and we had a good time at that”. As we drove down this road we were on top of the moors. The wind was really strong, rattling a caravan out in a field. All of a sudden we came to some barbed wire right across the road. We couldn’t go any further, we had to turn round in a farm drive and go back but the bank out of this drive was so steep that the Cortina struggled to make any headway and it was difficult to try to go back out onto the main road again so that we could drive off.

As well as that I was at a school last night with some pupils, actually at a railway station in the underground passage beneath the lines. Someone came down carrying what looked like a solar-powered satellite. They reached the bottom, stopped, had a think, turned round and went back again. I wondered what that was all about. There’s more to it than this but I can’t remember

Finally, someone came out of the library at work bringing something to me. First of all we were having a discussion about some meeting and playing the ‘cello where we had to sit, where we had to stand, how we had to behave. I didn’t understand any of this and I’d never played a ‘cello in my life. I wondered whether I’d misheard or mistranslated. I couldn’t get any of this at all. While I was trying to talk to someone about it, someone came out of the library at work and handed me a kind-of press cutting wrapped in sticky-backed plastic and said that it was very important not to lose it because it means that she can join me. I had a look and it was about Nerina. She’d been awarded either a Doctorate or a Master’s for a dissertation that she had submitted to the University of Québec. Of course I was quite envious because of the Québec connection. I wondered what it was about all of these little privileges she could have so I thought that I’d better go to see the guy who’s in charge of “privileges and immunities” and talk to him aboit it before I posted it on to her wherever she was. At that point I set off to walk home. There were crowds of people on the pavement and a very strong wind and was making very little headway at all. Everone else seemed to be walking okay but it was so strong that it was stopping me going forward. I went over this long railway bridge and had to work out my way home. My way home was going to take me back towards my apartment in Jette but it seemed rather strange because I couldn’t understand anything of what was happening at all with any of this. Nothing seemed to make sense.

When the alarm went off it was something of a struggle to leave the bed but I managed to beat the second alarm all the same.

After the medication, the first job to do was to make the bread as I’d run out.

home made bread fruit bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022In fact I’d run out of all kinds of bread, normal as well as fruit bread. And realising that there isn’t a lot of room in my oven, I couldn’t make fruit buns so it had to be a fruit loaf instead.

The bread dough was one of the best that I’ve made so far, and for some reason that I don’t understand, the fruit loaf went together really nicely. I’ve not had one quite like this at all.

While they were baking I took out the glass and plastic rubbish to the bins outside, such is the exciting life that I live these days that I feel the need to write about it.

The ordinary bread was very delicious, exactly how it ought to be. As for the fruit bread, I’ll tell you about that tomorrow. But what I can tell you that half of the normal bread and half of the fruit bread have gone into the freezer. I can’t seem to get them to last more than three or four days and I suppose that that shows how fresh and natural the ingredients are.

Most of the rest of the day has been spent in some kind of desultory fashion finishing off the radio programme. And it took much longer that it ought to have done for the simple reason that I forgot to dictate some of the text.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As well as lunch, there was also a break for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As usual I went off down to the end of the car park to have a look at what was happening on the beach.

There were actually a few people walking around on the beach this afternoon – one in the middle of the beach and a family over at the foot of the steps.

And they had a nice day for it too. It was warm again for the time of year and it was quite sunny too. Just the right kind of day to go for a look at the sea.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022usually I go and look out to the sea as well but today I was rather distracted.

We’ve seen them working on the medieval city walls over at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux for the last few months and now they seem to have moved around the corner of the wall.

We can see that the protective netting has extended round to there so that would seem to indicate that the workmen have reached as far as there now.

There were several large and deep cracks in the wall just there so they will be quite a while working on that part.

And that reminds me of the time that a nasty crack appeared on the wall of 10 Downing Street, but workmen painted over it before Boris Johnson could read it.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Despite the nice weather there weren’t too many people out and about on the path so I had it pretty much to my self.

Out at sea though, when I finally managed to focus myself on what was going on out there I could see that there were whole fleets of fishing boats out there heading back into the harbour.

The tide was still a fair way out so I don’t imagine that the harbour gates will be open yet so they will be all queueing up outside.

At the end of the headland there was a family peering into the old bunker and another one looking at the monument to the missing sailors, but that was about the lot so I carried on towards the harbour.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Down at the chantier naval there’s been a change of occupancy yet again.

Le Roc A La Mauve III is still down there of course, with her paintwork a long way from being completed, and as for Tiberiade, her sanding down is still going on and her paintwork is a long way from even starting.

And we now have another boat in there too – a yacht without a mast. And the yellow prop on which she is sitting, I haven’t seen that one before.

While I was there I took the opportunity to have a good look at the stern of Tiberiade and sure enough, there are no fishing nets on board her that I can see.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022From the chantier naval I carried on down the path towards the inner harbour.

Yesterday we saw Thora moored at the loading bay and today she is still moored up there. I don’t think that she’s been out and back again in the time available.

While I was writing out these notes I had a look on the shipping radar. Thora doesn’t have an AIS detector so I can’t see where she is, but I did notice that Normandy Trader has now come into port.

That means that tomorrow when we go out for our walk we’ll probably find that the swimming pool that is on the quayside will have gone too.

ch932880 Calean sm735890 lysandre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022A little earlier I mentioned that the tide was quite well out and so the fishing boats will be queueing up to come into port.

The little channel that they dredged out at the side of the fish processing plant a couple of years ago is filling rapidly and some of the smaller boats with a lighter draught are already there.

There are two that I can identify. CH932880 is called Calean and SM735890 is called Lysandre– The SM tells us that she is registered in St Malo.

As for the other two, I can’t tell who they are.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Over the past weekor two we’ve seen Joly France, Belle France and Chausiaise moored together down at the bottom end of the harbour.

Today though we can see that Chausiaise has now moved and she’s tied up where the two Channel Island ferries usually tie up. Those two are still in Cherbourg, presumably being overhauled ready to go back into service.

On the subject of going back, I went back home for my hot coffee, half of which I forgot (I didn’t fall asleep, by the way) and finished off listening to the radio programme that I’d prepared during the day. And after all that, it’s come out quite well.

Tea was something of a disaster. I really fancied some chips seeing as I didn’t have any in Belgium, and as the microwave fryer doesn’t work so well, I tried doing them in the oven. And they took about an hour and a half to do.

What I’ll have to do next time is to see if cooking them for five minutes in the microwave first will make any difference, or else buy some proper oven chips.

So today was a little better, for which I am grateful. If I show the same daily improvement over the next few days then by this time next year I might actually finish something off.

Perhaps a good night’s sleep will do me good.

Tuesday 15th February 2022 – WHILST YOU ADMIRE …

storm waves baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… several photos of the storm that is slowly brewing up ready for later in the week, I shall acquaint you all with my activities for today.

In fact there were plenty of activities going on through the night – it’s always good to get off to a good start. Nerina and I were being transferred to work somewhere else. We were living up in the North-East at the time. For some unknown reason we had to take two vehicles . I took the BMC1300GT that I had and she took one of the Cortinas. We arranged to meet up somewhere which we did but she wasn’t quite ready. She was still sorting through everything. We were on the slip road of a motorway interchange so I gave her some directions such as get on the motorway here but carry straight across the other side, drive a few miles and take the road that goes diagonally north-east to south-west. Basically it was M1, M62, M6. I said that I’d set off as there were a lot of people around and drive slowly so that she can catch me up. She never did. We both finally met up. On the way down I was thinking “which particular car do we have insured?”. I realised that it was a car that I hadn’t used for ages. There was another one there where the MoT had run out etc (and we’ve been here several times before, haven’t we?). I ought to put the insurance on this one but I wondered if there was an MoT on it as well. When we met she told me all kinds of stories like Margaret had fuelled up the car for her but she’d taken a different car, EBF. I congratulated her on getting down here without any mishap.

storm waves baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022I stepped back into this dream with Nerina again. We were driving somewhere and we went to stop at a pub – a pub where a friend of mine used to work in the summer once. We stopped and made to go in but there was an old Hillman Minx, the rounded type of the early 1950s parked up in the garage and it had Greek number-plates on it. I went to fetch my camera but the lens was filthy so I had to clean it. I went to take a photo of it but the photo wouldn’t take. It didn’t matter which button I pressed or which selections I made etc. I couldn’t take this photo and we’ve been here more than a few times too). Nerina came out and saw me struggling with this so I told her to go and fetch the little one out of my bag. When she got there she found that the little one wasn’t there. I thought that it might be in my jacket pocket on the back seat. I could see that she was extremely unhappy about me spending all my time while we were here trying to get this camera to work and not doing anything else like having something to eat, I suppose

Later on we were with TOTGA in an office somewhere and tidying up one of the rooms. We’d been out somewhere with one of the bosses there. We were taking down all kinds of out-of-date notices etc. She said that she would go and have a look at the food in the cupboard and look for out-of-date products. There were all kinds of stuff in there, soy sauces, vingars, jams and everything – tons of the stuff. She made the remark that the largest producer of soy sauce was in this area and we didn’t have a single bottle of theirs. Then she started to look at expiry dates for stuff that was well out-of-date. I discreetly hid my vinegar bottle from view because I noticed that the expiry date on it was something like 1999 and I was still using it whenever I had chips. I thought that that would be the kind of thing that would give her a heart attack if she saw that. There was always the undercurrent that I wished that the boss would go and leave the two of us alone for a while.

storm waves baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When the alarm went off at 07:30 I had something of a struggle to leave the bed and it was more like 08:00 when I finally showed a leg.

After the medication and checking my emails I sat down to revise my Welsh but my brain today was like a teflon saucepan – nothing would stick to it. We had a kind-of test in the lesson today and I failed miserably. My heart really wasn’t in it.

It’s quite true that under normal circumstances it always takes me a couple of days for me to gather my wits (such as they are) after my return from Leuven, but what went on on Sunday was nothing like normal.

Even so, I still have a feeling that like most other things that I seem to be (or not to be) doing right now, events are slipping away from me quite rapidly.

After lunch I didn’t really do all that much. I’d already almost drifted away a couple of times during the morning and I wasn’t all that energetic.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022However I was energetic enough to go out for my afternoon walk.

First stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I could look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there. And as far as I could see, there wasn’t anyone down there at all.

And that’s no surprise because it was raining when I went out, as you can tell by looking closely at this photograph. Not particularly heavy and there wasn’t a great deal of wind but enough to keep everyone except me indoors.

marker light rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual I was having a good look around out to sea, and that was rather a waste of time because the rain out there was such that there was nothing to see.

No yachts, ferries or fishing boats anywhere, and the Ile de Chausey was well-hidden in the mist. I had to content myself with the marker light just there that marks the rocks that you can see, just sinking slowly beneath the rising tide.

Around at the end of the headland there wasn’t anything much going on there either. And even if there had been, I wouldn’t have been able to see it because by now the wind had increased in force and was blowing the rain into my face.

The waves were running rough as you saw in the earlier photos so I wandered off down the path to have a closer look and to take a few photos.

tiberiade fishing boat chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It’s been a week or so since we’ve had a look at what’s happening in the chantier naval.

Tiberiade is having a new coat of paint by the looks of things. You can see that they have made a really good start on sanding her down.

But if she’s having a new paint job, I wonder if her sister Coelacanthe will be in next for her turn.

The other boat down there might be Le Roc A La Mauve III. The colour scheme looks the same and she wasn’t in the place where we left her when we went away.

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While we’re on the subject of fishing boats … “well, one of us is” – ed … we had quite a gaggle of them round by the fish processing plant.

While the tide isn’t deep enough for them to open the harbour gates, they dredged a deeper channel at the side of the fish processing plant so that the smaller boats can come in and moor just there and unload.

It spreads out the working hours of the unloading crews and means that they can handle more boats. The tonnage of seafood landed here increased quite considerably last year compared to the previous year, and that’s good news for the port.

refrigerated lorries fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And while we’re on the subject of the fish processing plant … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was something rather interesting going on there this afternoon.

We have two of the large refrigerated lorries over there parked back-to-back and their tailgates are down as if they are passing goods from one lorry to the other. That looks extremely complicated.

And what is the tanker doing there too? I haven’t seen a tanker here before so I’ve no idea why it’s come. Because the large van is in the way, I can’t see the equipment that the tanker is carrying so I’m not able to tell what kind of tanker it is.

gully emptier place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And while we’re on the subject of tankers … “well, one of us is” – ed … I know what this tanker was doing before it drove away.

As I walked up round the corner from the Boulevard Vaufleury I would see the queue of traffic waiting for something to happen further on. And as I rounded the next corner I could see the tanker driver closing up the manhole in the street and coupling up his hoses.

“Emptying the drains” I said to myself.

Back here I had my coffee and continued on with doing not very much at all until teatime. With the stuffing that was left from yesterday, lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans,

And having written my notes, I’m now off to bed, hoping for a better day tomorrow. One of these days I’ll have the kind of day where everything goes well and I manage to do plenty of work.

And then what will I find to moan about?

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.

Monday 31st January 2022 – WHAT THE H*LL …

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… happened to me this morning?

While you admire a few photos that I took of the sunset this afternoon that illuminated the Baie de Mont St Michel, I’ll surprise you all by telling you that not only was my radio programme finished by 09:15, I was actually listening to it running through.

and that includes having to rewrite and redictate about a third of it because I wasn’t satisfied with what I’d done. And then it needed some further editing too because after I’d re-edited the speech parts that i’d redone, I’d forgotten to shunt the rest of it down the line.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And if you are wondering how come I managed to do it so quickly and so comprehensively, you’ll be even more surprised when I tell you that at 04:34 I was sitting at my desk in here starting work.

Whatever happened during the night I really don’t know but I had something like a reasonable sleep for a few hours and that was that. And it was absolutely impossible for me to go back to sleep.

There wasn’t any point in lying in bed trying and failing to sleep and waiting for the alarm to go off at 06:00 so I arose from the dead and started work.

The earlier I start, the earlier I finish.

But as far as the radio programme went, today was the first time that I’ve actually felt that a series of speeches and introductions went well. I must be improving, which I suppose that I ought to seeing as this was programme 148 that I was preparing.

If I’ve not learnt anything in all this time then there’s something seriously wrong.

After breakfast and after having listened to the programme I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been and, more importantly, who had come with me. There was a whole pile of stuff going on last night about someone who walked out of my life last summer, about how someone was trying to make her husband reduce the price of the house that he had for sale and if necessary sell it to them yard by yard so that they could keep under their budget. She asked them to quite honestly prepare some kind of statement about how their personal wealth had increased and so on over the last 12 months. She was walking home with Phil Lynott and saying how much he contributed towards her childhood. There was tonnes of other stuff as well and she finished by saying that as of the end of the month or the end of the week their address would be “The Turfs” but she didn’t actually say where, “presumably for a very good reason” said the cynic inside me. I dunno about this but there was tons of stuff and I missed most of it

And later Nerina was back again last night after our row on Thursday (was it on Thursday? At least, that’s what I said during the night). We were having a chat about things trying to organise ourselves. We came to the conclusion that we’d been using the car far too much. We thought about the idea of trying to do things differently. We were becoming more organised in the kitchen etc but again the question of the car turned up. I said “how about going somewhere on the bikes?”. Nerina had a bike and I had the bike of Marianne’s. They both needed som adjustment but I said that we could do that and spend some days out on our bikes and see where we went from there. She was coming up with a few reasons why we couldn’t do that but none of those seemed to relate to the point that we would try to see what we could do about the bikes. We could have a go at it. I had the impression that she wasn’t all that keen on the idea of cycling but it seemed to me that if we were to stop using the car to go to work or something it was the obvious answer. Spending half a day trying to organise it to see if it would work would be a good plan. Anyway she was off making something with 3 apples and I was washing up in the kitchen and this conversation was going on and on. I was trying to persuade her to at least have a try about doing it.

Following that I went and had a really good shower and clean-up to prepare for my trip to the physiotherapist, and then I … errr … fell asleep.

It was therefore a rather late lunch and then I headed out for my appointment.

le loup baie de mont st michel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022At the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury I stopped to make sure that the NIKON 1 J5 was working.

The weather today was grey and windy – very windy in fact – and there was more than just a hint of rain in the air as you can tell from the rainstorm that’s out there just offshore from the Pointe de Carolles. We can’t see very much out there in the distance this afternoon.

The tide was well out as you can see. The inner harbour is pretty much dry and Le Loup was slowly rising up out of the waves, just about to be buzzed by a long-distance seagull.

spirit of conrad black mamba charles marie anakena belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, there is quite a full house down there in the harbour.

From left to right insofar as I can identify them, we have Spirit of Conrad with an unidentified yacht next to her. Then the yacht with “154” on her hull is, I think, Black Mamba moored alongside Charles Marie.

to their right is Anakena, then a couple of unidentified fishing boats and finally the new Belle France. But no Aztec Lady. It looks as if she’s headed off to the Arctic already.

As for Anakena, her owners were talking about Greenland not so long ago so I sent them a message to ask about their trips. However, as you might expect, they never replied.

The next person who complains about a recession with get a smack in the mouth.

loading building material chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was walking down the hill towards the port, I could see that the big crane in the loading bay was busy working.

My first thought was that one of the Jersey freighters was in port this afternoon, but in fact it’s Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey, that’s receiving attention.

It looks as if she’s preparing for a run out to the island, but I can’t think what they will be doing with all of that building equipment on the island.

But that was enough excitement for now. I have an appointment and I’ll be late if I’m not careful. I need to get a move on.

installing kiddies roundabout Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s coming up to school half-term, as this photo will tell us.

Carnaval is cancelled yet again this year but we are having the kiddies’ roundabout at least, to keep the brats entertained.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was some dispute about the roundabout that usually comes here – it was oversize and obstructing the pavement so there was some talk of revoking its licence or making it go somewhere else.

The owner intended to lodge an appeal against any decision that the council might make, but it looks as if some kind of compromise has been reached because he’s setting up in his usual place, just across the road from the Mairie.

The walk up the hill was agony. I made it up without stopping but I knew all about every inch of the way. And I spent most of my session doing kinetic exercises

My neighbour was there too and he offered me a lift home, but I decided to walk.

street lights trees rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way home I went via the back of the town centre to see what was happening at the Rue du Boscq.

If you look closely, you’ll see that we now have some trees planted all the way down on the right-hand side of the concrete walkway. But it still doesn’t look like it does on the artist’s impression, but then again these things never do. They only produce these drawings to hoodwink the gullible public.

As for the grey columns, they look as if they might be streetlights. And I’ll probably get to find out next week when I wander off to Leuven – unless it’s light at that time of the morning. They days are lengthening rapidly.

new brickwork rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A few weeks ago I posted a photo of the new bricks that they had put on top of the wall on the Rue des Juifs after they had finished pointing it.

At the time I remember remarking that they’ll be back quite soon to point the brickwork and I’d forgotten all about them until this afternoon.

Well, anyway, they have been back and they have actually repointed one of the gaps. But they haven’t bothered with the rest. It’s true that we don’t have any really cold weather like they might elsewhere, but if they don’t point the bricks quite soon and the frost gets in, then it would have been a waste of time sticking the brickwork on top.

les bouchots de chausey tiberiade coelacanthe marite skyjack port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022In a few weeks time Marité will be going for her annual inspection prior to the start of the tourist season at Easter.

It looks like they are carrying out a few repairs to her masts and rigging, and they’ve even involved a skyjack in the repair procedure.

Over in the background to the left, the boat that I couldn’t identify yesterday is Les Bouchots de Chausey and to the right we have the two big trawlers Coelacanthe and Tiberiade.

In the background on the quayside there are a couple of people working on some fishing nets. As they say, “there’s a time for fishing, and a time for mending the nets”.

chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On our way out to the physiotherapist’s, we saw the big crane loading up Chausiaise with a pile of building material.

The harbour gates are still closed so she won’t be going anywhere right now, but she’s moved away from the loading bay and she’s now moored up alongside one of the Joly France ferries that go to the Ile de Chausey.

She’s the newer one of the two sisters, as we can tell by the fact that she had a much smaller upper-deck superstructure. The older one is presumably moored out at the ferry terminal, where she has been for several days now.

lifeboat helicopter baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Excuse the blurred photo here but I had to take it in rather a hurry and the NIKON 1 J5 isn’t as reactive as the bigger Nikons.

Out there in the bay I’d noticed the lifeboat, the Notre Dame de Cap Lihou, out there in the bay heading off out to sea. And as I watched, the air-sea rescue helicopter flew by overhead, went out to the lifeboat and did a couple of laps around.

Once they had co-ordinated themselves, off they set out to sea, followed by a couple of seagulls. Whatever is going on out there, doubtless there will be some kind of report in the local paper if it’s anything important.

It’s a shame that the photo didn’t turn out very well.

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was busy dealing with the helicopter and the lifeboat, another boat roared into life down in the harbour.

It looks as if it’s the turn of Belle France to go for a little wander around. But she can’t be going far because right now the harbour gates are closed so the best that she could do is a quick lap around the inner harbour.

However, I had a quick lap of my own to make so I didn’t want to hang around to see what she was up to. I was tired, cold and fed up and needed a hot coffee to warm me up so I headed on up the hill towards home sweet home.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But not before I’d seen what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

It wasn’t easy to take this shot either because there was a howling gale blowing out here and I was having trouble trying to keep my feet. So whether or not there was any beach for anyone to be on, I didn’t actually expect to see anyone on it so I wasn’t disappointed.

Back here I made myself a coffee and came in here to carry on with my work. And when I awoke, the coffee was still there, untouched, and stone-cold. It doesn’t stay warm if it’s left for almost two hours.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, and having had a hot chocolate and written my notes I’m off to bed.

Writing my notes was not easy because despite all of the sleep that I’ve had today I’m still quite exhausted. I’ve been struggling to keep awake.

It’s my Welsh lesson tomorrow and I want to be on form, and so I need to have a better night’s sleep tonight than I did last night. I must admit that I’m ready for it, but then again, so I was yesterday and look how that turned out.

Friday 28th January 2022 – I FOUND OUT …

inside bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… something about the gun whose mount they uncovered when they cleaned out the abandoned bunker the other day.

Thanks to a friendly neighbourhood press release, the gun that was mounted on the mounting that you can see in the foreground just behind the wire grill was a naval-type 105mm gun.

That will probably mean that it’s the SKC/32 rather than a derivative of the 88mm flakartillerie gun, and was the secondary armament on several of the larger German ships and also the primary artillery on many of the earlier generations of World-War II U-boats (but not, surprisingly, the Class VII which still used the 75mm gun).

chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022What I didn’t find out though was the name of the boat that was in the chantier naval at the side of Gerlean.

That’s because when I looked this afternoon, there she was! Gone! And never called me “mother”!.

Surprisingly, Gerlean had gone too. She’s been in there for quite a while but it looks as if she’s gone back into the water.

And what wouldn’t I have given to have gone back to bed this morning? I know that 07:30 isn’t as early as I used to get up in the good old days when I was feeling better, but it’s still far too flaming early for me these days.

After the medication I came back in here and sat on the chair. And while it would be wrong to say that I fell asleep again, I may well have done for all the work that I was doing.

A strong mug of coffee and a fruit bun at breakfast time did something to revive me and so I tackled the dictaphone notes. I was playing football last night with a couple of teams of girls. There was some confusion going on about the score because one team had had to play either with a woman short or out of position etc. No allowance had been made for that and they thought that that was rather unfair. On my way home I said goodbye. One of the girls who looked like my niece’s youngest daughter – it might have been her – had a tiny long-necked dragon-type of insect thing that she was training. She was training it by either giving it or withholding food. We all thought that it was pretty amazing but thinking on it was the kind of thing that you can do if you are using food as a tuition method. I said goodbye to them all and went outside. I was sleeping in a hedge like in Vine Tree Avenue in Shavington but it was freezing and I thought that I’m not looking forward to sleeping outside tonight in this.

Later on there was something about vehicles in the rush hour, someone driving some kind of I dunno maybe a stolen car but the authorities were already there and there were two vehicles of theirs being in plain clothes that were following this vehicle with these outlaws in it to try to find out what they were doing and where they were going and what their plan was.

And yet in the Magistrates’ Court (whatever this is all about I really don’t know) there was someone being dragged around by his collar lying on his back along the floor. I’ve no idea why and I’ve no idea what it relates to

There was also something about a car and caravan, one of these big North American caravan things. There was traffic stopped or slowing down to let a pedestrian walk across the road. This car and trailer didn’t see it until very late and swerved off the road having to drive in through all of the trees and smashed up while this pedestrian was slowly making its way across to the other side of the road

Finally, Nerina and I were working on VBH, one of my old yellow Cortinas. She was getting together all of the bits and pieces and I was busy adding them on etc. She was becoming very frustrated saying “you’ve no idea how long it’s taking me to get all of this stuff together”. I replied “yes, I can imagine, but it’s not taking me any less time to do all of the work. While we were doing that we were talking about the invasion of Normandy, how there were still one or two hold-out towns of Germans on the coast. We were discussing how quickly it would take them to close the gap. We didn’t think that it would take them long – a bus would do that trip in 3 or 4 minutes. We were talking about that. Just then a couple appeared in a white Ford Transit, people whom we knew who worked on the radio. They stopped and said “hello” and said that they were going off somewhere but they would come back to give us a hand. Off they went. Nerina brought me a dish of pea soup and I spilt most of it down me, on the carpet, on the rug and made quite a mess. I said “not to worry. I’ll change my clothes and put everything in the wash, including the rug etc. Then this couple came back. It hadn’t taken them long. They stopped a little further down the road, got out and went to talk to a couple of other people whome they must have known who were about 100 yards away from us, found some chairs and sat down and made themselves comfortable. We thought “they aren’t going to be coming along helping us, are they?”. Nerina said something like “it’s not surprising that his nickname is “the King” is it?”. I went off to find some clean clothes but in my bedroom all of my furniture had been moved around. I asked my brother what was going on. He wouldn’t give me a straight answer. I finally found my chest of drawers and went to take a clean tee-shirt. he said “you have bed bugs in there” so I opened it and had a sniff and thought “no, there are no bed bugs in here. What’s he talking about?”. We had this really ferocious argument about him changing everything around in the room without talking to me about it.

And I do wish that my family would clear of and leave me alone when I’m in the middle of a nocturnal ramble. It really is quite depressing when they keep on butting in. I don’t mind Nerina – after all, I chose her to come into my life for better or for worse and after a few of the women whom I subsequently encountered, I came to the conclusion that she wasn’t the person that I imagined her to be – but the others I can do without.

For lunch I finished off the half-loaf that I had out. The other half still in the freezer can wait until Monday before I take it out. It went in almost as soon as it was cooked so I hope that it will be nice and fresh.

After lunch I attacked the files for the radio project. One lot went fine with no issues but the second on, that it quite long and the third one, they are presenting me with quite a problem. There was a lot of background noise and I forgot to record some ambience so I had to invent some, and that wasn’t easy.

And then, there’s a difference in tone between what we recorded on the day and what we recorded here in my apartment. There’s much more resonance in the original one because it was recorded in a public hall with different acoustics so I’ve spent most of the afternoon experimenting with echo settings and changing the tone.

That’s a long, hard job and it’s going to take me a while to have it how I want it, if I can manage it at all. If not, I’ll have to “invent” something else.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

First port of call was at the wall at the end of the car park overlooking the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

Not that there was very much beach for anyone to be on, because the tide is quite well in.There’s still some room for some people to go for a walk if they so choose, but there was no-one down there.

It wasn’t a bad day, actually. There was very little wind compared to what we usually have and it was fairly warm for the time of year too. Not the kind of weather to keep me indoors anyway.

strange lighting effects baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022We were however having some strange lighting effects out at sea.

Somewhere over there is the Brittany coast, although you would never guess if I hadn’t told you. There’s some sun shining through a gap in the clouds higer up, but we have some kind of sea mist just offshore and fairly low down.

You can even see some kind of demarcation line in the bay which the mist reaches, and it all looks particularly weird.

What the horizontal lines represent between the mist and the sunlight represent is something else that I can’t understand either. I wish that I’d paid more attention to Miss Coxon’s Meteorology lessons 50-odd years ago.

The guy from the council has finished his work with the concrete pad for the new flagpole so I pushed on to check the bunker before continuing my walk around the headland.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Gerlean and the other boat next to her may well have cleared off, but the third boat is there so I concentrated on trying to identify her.

Her registration number is pretty much out of sight and I can’t decipher it, and we have her name written in some of this stupid illegible font on the wind deflector above the cabin.

Doing the best that I can, I think that she’s called Le Roc A La Mauve III, and that’s not impossible because according to the Companies Register there’s a company based down the road in Donville les Bains called “Le Roc A La Mauve” and which is described as “sea farmers”.

gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022and as for where Gerlean is, look no further.

It sounded to me as if there was a lot of noise coming from the chantier naval and what was happening was that the portable boat lift was busy lowering Gerlean back into the water.

And once in there, she cleared off across the harbour and out to sea. Probably for sea trials, I reckon, after her repairs. It’s not very likely that she’ll make straight for the fishing grounds after having been dropped back into the water after all of this time.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, at the ferry terminal, we have one of the Joly France boats moored up.

It’s the older one, by the looks of things, without the step in the stern. They do still run out to the Ile de Chausey in winter but nothing like as regularly as in the summer.

And hang onto your hats, because we might be seeing some other boats over there. My understanding is that the Channel Island ferries have been sold to a new owner and service is due to restart in late April.

Mind you, we’ve all heard that before. Let’s hope that for this time, it really is true.

la grande ancre mobile crane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home for my coffee I had a look in the inner harbour to see what was going on.

The big mobile crane has now been folded up and the machinery that came on the lorry that it unloaded has also gone. Apparently one of the Jersey freighter, either Normandy Trader or Normandy Warrior, came in earlier today to pick it up and take it away.

Back here I had my coffee and then carried on with this sound file editing which is going to take me quite a while and then nipped into the kitchen for a quick tea. More veg and baked potatoes with an ancient breaded soya fillet that I found, simply to make more space so that I could file away the rest of the carrots.

And thzn football. Y Bala v Y Drenewydd. Much more skilful than earlier in the week and Bala won by the only goal. But it was something of a midfield battle and the strikers didn’t have much of a look-in. And of course Drenewydd’s defeat gave TNS an opportunity to go even farther ahead.

They are well out on top, Cefn Druids are well adrift in the basement, but the other 10 places are really up for grabs with no-one stamping their authority on the League.

But now it’s bed-time. And I wonder who’ll be coming walkies with me during the night. After the delightful company that I had a few days ago, Castor, TOTGA and Zero, I shudder to think who’ll be out there waiting for me to appear tonight.

Thursday 20th January 2022 – DAY THREE …

… of my enforced confinement was very much like Day Two; with very little of any kind of note happening at all.

And seeing as I’m not going anywhere, doing anything or seeing anyone is hardly any surprise.

Although I just about beat the alarm to my feet this morning, it was a dreadfully slow start. But there was a reason for that. I’m suffering from a lack of football and my thirst was satiated last night instead of going to bed early.

It’s the Scottish Cup at the weekend and Greenock Morton, a team in which I have an interest since I wrote a newspaper article about the club and its controversial chairman 20 years ago, have drawn Premier League opposition.

In the past, Morton have had four major acts of giant-killing and last night someone strung together a video of the highlights of those four matches and broadcast them on the internet. So I stayed up to watch them – videocam recordings of old 405-line transmissions in the good old days of steam-driven television.

And worth is just to watch ANDY RITCHIE’S MARVELLOUS GOAL that dumped Aberdeen, Alex Ferguson and all, out of the Scottish Cup.

Anyway, having struggled out of bed and having taken my medicine, I came back in here to see how things were with the dictaphone. There was something on there from last night – and about 20 things from the previous few nights. And you can tell how lightly I’m sleeping these days with the volume of stuff that’s on there. This is no deep, profound sleep that I’m having.

But never mind the dictaphone for the moment. I had other things that needed my attention.

As it happens, I’m a member of an organisation that is fighting to defend the SNCF from the onslaught of privatisation that the right wing of the political spectrum is fighting to impose on the rest of the country. And I happened to post a couple of messages relating to a couple of things that related directly to me.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … the organiser of the campaign asked me for dates and times. And that meant going through about 18 months’ worth of blog entries. They were relatively unimportant, minor things so I hadn’t tagged them and that explains the time that it took.

Perhaps I ought to mention in passing that my journal is tagged and indexed. I keep it as a diary and as a reminder because my memory is hopeless, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. I can sing any number of lyrics of songs from the 1960s and 70s totally word-perfect, but ask me what I was wanting when I walked into the kitchen 5 minutes ago …

It also serves other purposes too, as I have probably mentioned in the past.

Then I could turn my attention to where I’d been during the night. As it happened, Nerina and I had another one of our arguments. This time she had a friend with her and it was pretty permanent so she stormed off, leaving me with the business and the dry-cleaner’s to run. All the people wanted assurance that I’d still be open at 09:00 on a Wednesday. I replied “of course”. Then I realised that it was going to be difficult because there was going to be a bus run that I normally did but I didn’t return until 10:00 so I could see that I had about 2 days to organise a pile of changes to make sure that everyone else was happy and that they could have their dry-cleaning when they wanted but it wasn’t going to be easy.

After lunch (I remembered today) I carried on with the entries from yesterday and was actually planning on doing a lot more but I rather sadly fell asleep. And to my surprise, I was off on my travels there too. I was with my brother and someone else. I can’t remember why now but I had some work to do so I set myself up in a room in some kid of village hall place to do it and they wandered off. However I couldn’t settle and when someone came in – a big ugly-looking man rather like Jack Elam, I lost my concentration completely. I went out for a walk to settle myself down. There, I bumped into my brother and the other person. They were angry that I wasn’t working so I invented a story that I was looking for a torch. The third person said that he had one and went to fetch it and they accompanied me back to where I was working while I tried to invent a story as to why I needed the torch. When we arrived back where I was, my brother bumped into this strange man and let out a gasp of surprise and shock which awoke me.

Later on I went for tea. I’m not feeling very hungry right now but I have to go through the motions. There was some stuffing left over from Monday’s pepper so I had a taco roll with some rice.

Rosemary rang me up while I was eating so I called her back and we had a chat. But not for long because my throat gave out.

But the question of food was rather interesting. Last time that I was ill like this was when I was in Minnesota in July 2019 (in the days when we could travel) and I lost 10kg in weight. If I can lose even half of that during this bout of illness I’ll be happy with that and I’ll have gained something.

So now I’m off to bed – at … errr … 02:05. Just as I was thinking of going to bed earlier, Help Yourself came onto the playlist, followed by Quicksilver Messenger Service with the magnificent John Cipollina, Roxy Blue (a vastly underrated band who could have been another Aerosmith or Bon Jovi and whose lead guitarist is now a dentist), followed by Kate Bush. And that’s enough to keep anyone awake, for all kind sof different reasons.

But now that Kansas has come round, I’ll clear off to bed because we’ll end up next with Lone Star (another vastly underrated band featuring Paul “Tonka” Chapman, later of UFO and Jon Sloman, later of Uriah Heep) and I’ll be here all night.

See you in the morning.

Wednesday 19th January 2022 – DAY TWO …

… of my enforced isolation passed quite uneventfully today.

And I’m glad that I decided to stay in because the news in the local rag was quite discouraging. 60 pupils of “a local High School” (and they didn’t say which one, but there is one just across the car park from here) who went on a ski trip last week have all come back testing positive for Covid.

Consequently, when I do decide to go back out to reconnect with the real world, it will be in the evening after everyone else has gone to bed, as I did 2 years ago at the start of the pandemic.

And going back out might be sooner than I imagine because I’ve felt much better today and if I can keep up the improvement, I might even return to normal by the end of next week, but that’s some long hope, isn’t it?

After going to bed last night just after 20:30, I was awake again at 04:40 and spend the next few hours drifting in and out of sleep until the alarm went off at 07:30.

After the medication I came back in here to gather my wits a little and make a start of some work, but I’ve no idea why, after all of the sleep that I had during the night, I dozed off to sleep again.

By breakfast-time I was awake again, and after my coffee and cake (and if I’m not careful I’ll run out of Christmas cake by the weekend) I slowly tried to wind myself up to do some work. And as it happened I made a start on the sencond run-through of some of the radio interviews.

But only a start. I’d rather not dwell too much on all of that. I was definitely not feeling myself today.

One thing that surprised me was that I remembered to ring up the physiotherapist to say that I won’t be coming today. I’ve no idea what it is that I’ve caught but I’m sure that they don’t want it.

As the afternoon wore on, I gradually pulled myself round, and I’m feeling better than I was this time yesterday – although that’s not saying very much at all. Mind you, I did realise round about 16:00 that I hadn’t had any lunch. I must be ill if I’m off my food.

Mustn’t forget the dictaphone either. Tons of stuff on there. It really must have been a disturbed night last night. We started off by me being given custody of a baby that a girl had had and of which I was the father so I had to collect her from school. We knew that this girl was unstable so we set a kind of trap in this hotel room where I was staying, me and three other people because we were sure that she’d try to come in. Sure enough a man appeared at the hotel at about 02:00. He hid inside a cardboard box and gradually inched it across forward into the hotel lift, went up to the 11th floor, left the lift and came back downstairs to the 10th floor. He burst into my room, but it was in fact the girl. She found one of the people sleeping on the floor but the other one stayed hidden under the bed and didn’t move out. She started to become violent so we were violent back so she just stood there and let us be violent to her. It didn’t seem to affect her in the slightest. We were hitting her with chains but she was just standing there. We were wondering how on earth we were going to get this girl organised. We couldn’t set fire to her clothes because the hotel smoke alarm would go off etc. The more we hit her, the more she just stood there and took it so in the end we were very close to giving it up as a bad job

There was a hot air balloon called “The Olga” that was to take off. There were people around there taking photos. I was taking some. Someone asked of there had been any other photos taken in the past. I didn’t have any. The balloon inflated and set off. Suddenly I remembered that I did have a photo of a balloon called “Olga” so I went to have a look. Sure enough, there it was but it was a different balloon in a totally different situation so it was clearly not the correct balloon which was disappointing.

I was also with someone last night but I can’t remember who. We ended up back in Gainsborough Road. I went in with this other person whose father came from Crewe but she came from Abergele. We went in, and my mother was there with some other woman. Se was doing her bes salesman role explaining about my house, everything. It really did look nice the way that it had all been finished off. In the end she said to me “why don’t you take this woman upstairs and so her around?”. I had to point out that first of all I had no idea what we were doing there anyway when there were tenants in there, to show this woman around upstairs, but I went upstairs. There was a kid asleep in the small bedroom and stuff all over the floor. There was another kid sitting on a bed in another room. I noticed that my fitted wardrobes had been demolished. There was a man in the bathroom so I explained the bathroom to the lady and told her about the central heating, so on. We went downstairs and Joanie and Malcolm turned up with their new baby. She’d brought lots of jars of coffee, stuff like that and I wondered what the hell was going on in my house, people just walking in like this even though there were tenants living in there who obviously can’t have been very impressed.

There was some kind of dispute in Portsmouth about rerouting a bus route. It had taken up 2 parking spaces and led to a confrontation. They were saying that there was no other way to reroute these buses but there was in fact a road but where the bus would end up stopping was by a place frequented by a couple of gangs so the bus company didn’t want to stop there. I happened to be down in Portsmouth at the time, in a vehicle with a trailer on it. When we came to the bank that the buses would have to drive up – it was a dirt track – we couldn’t get the vehicle with its trailer up there. We uncoupled the trailer and drove the vehicle up, then we pushed the trailer up. But one of the guys was standing there looking at me while I was pushing this trailer and not lending a hand at all. We coupled up the vehicle and drove off down this dirt track. At the end was a fuel station so we stopped for fuel. I was with Nerina by this time. She was pointing out some beautiful parts of the town that she could see. I said “it’s not like that at all, really. There are a few nice bits but the rest of it is just mundane”. She replied “you could come here and have your hospital treatment if you like”. I told her that I was happy with Leuven. She saw some other buildings that looked nice but I said that they were industrial ones. We had to go to see someone. We were on our way to him. It seemed to me that she was doing everything she could to slow down our arrival there. he had a couple of daughters who were also concerned in what we were doing. She said “we can see them after 20:00, can’t we, on our way home? And these other people we have to see, we can see them later too”. I had a feeling that the rate we were going on meant that we would never ever get to see anyone. It was just dragging on and on and on, this journey.

Finally, I’d been in Spain. I had been in France and I was flying down to Spain but somehow I’d ended up with a car to hire. A black Alfa Romeo saloon. In it I had all my affairs, everything. When I parked it in this street I was busy doing something and when I looked round, the car had gone. I had a look around but couldn’t see it anywhere. eventually I found a public telephone box by a Formula 1 hotel so I phoned the police. I dialled 11 (as in 112) but someone immediately answered. It was a private person and she couldn’t help me at all. A guy standing nearby who had heard what I waid told me that the number for the police was 22 so I dialled them and explained as best as I could what had happened. They left me hanging on the line for ages and ages and ages. A policeman at his desk nearby wondered what I was doing so I explained it to him. He said there’s nothing much we can do, is there? If the car’s gone, it’s gone”. I said “yes, but no-one has even taken the registration number, the details, my details, all this kind of thing. I thought that at least someone would have come down and taken the information”.

Tea tonight was pasta and veg in a vegan cheese sauce. I fancied something light that would fill me and would be easy to digest. And now I’m preparing myself to go to bed.

But before I do, I saw a video about the snowfall that they have just had in Ottawa, so I sent a message to my family and friends who live there.

But of course there is one person there to whom I would like to send a message to see if she’s OK but it’s probably not good idea to go raking around in the ashes of a fire that was extinguished rather dramatically all that time ago. But as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m a big believer in the sixth sense and so if I send the message via the power of thought backed by sufficient force of character. I’m convinced that she’ll receive it.

Keep the faith!