Tag Archives: newtown

Friday 15th April 2022 – WHAT I SAW …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… this afternoon on my wander around the headland.

As usual, the first port of call is the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach to see what’s happening there.

But I needn’t have bothered today. There could have been Godzilla and the Loch Ness Monster down there for all I knew, and I wouldn’t have seen them in this rolling sea mist that’s coming off the water.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have had sea mists before, but nothing quite like this one. It reminds me of the STRAIT OF BELLE ISLE between Labrador and Newfoundland.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Something else that I saw on my travels as I peered through the fog was one of the Birdmen of Alcatraz whose Nazgul seems to have come to grief here on the headland.

So while you admire a few photos of the pair of them wrestling with each other and the elements, I’ll tell you something about my day.

And with no alarm, I was expecting either an 06:00 start or another 12:30 rude awakening but to my surprise, and probably yours too, it was a much more sedate and realistic 09:40 when I finally crawled out of bed.

First stop after the medication this morning was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Again I think that I missed out a lot but I was in Brussels last night – although it wasn’t Brussels – living in an apartment building. Underneath where I was living was a casino. There was a group of us talking about the EU and one or two of the rackets that went on there in the 80s and 90s that were exposed. Someone was running a Social media page called “EU rackets” but it was titled in German where it listed everything that was happening. One of the girls there was a German girl whom I knew. She was saying that she took part in this page to help the guy to run it but he was just as much a racketeer as the rackets that he was exposing. He lived in the building and was into large-scale gambling. Although they weren’t allowed to do it in the building where he lived, he found another way. That was when I mentioned the subject of this casino at the foot of the hill where my apartment building was. We spent a lot of time chatting about gambling and that kind of thing.

And then it was Welsh Cup quarter-final day. I was talking to someone about the games. There were 4 of them of course and were being played two at the same time with one before and one after these two. I couldn’t remember who was playing where and kept on being confused. I was talking to someone but I couldn’t come out with the correct venues and correct teams. We ended up outside a stadium for a match Aberystwyth against Cardiff Metro. We looked in and saw that the game had already started so I said to the people with me that I was going to stay and watch the game. Then I could go to the second and then to the third instead of watching it on the TV. So I went in and said goodbye to the people as I’d be staying here. Someone inside the ground asked “what did you say?”. I replied “I’ll be staying here”. They asked if I had a ticket. I replied that I could walk round and pay for one. There was a cat walking around on the stands so I picked it up for a stroke and went over to talk to someone but they had a lion. The lion expressed a great deal of interest in this cat so I pulled the cat away thinking that the lion might eat it but someone said “no, put it back” so I put the cat back and the lion started to wash the cat.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022This was a continuation of a dream that I’ve had before a long time ago so I said to myself in my dream. Someone was running an office somewhere and a young guy turns up for an interview. Although there’s no vacancy they feel sorry for him and fit him in for a couple of hours because it fits in with his life as a single father and offer him some work. I don’t know where it went from there but tonight it turned out that this guy had been an actor and had played Jesus in some kind of film or play. There was some kind of stigma over him and a couple of other people knew about this and they were doing all they could to keep out of his way. he was pushing his trolley with his possessions on it heading right for these 2 people. They were wondering how on earth they were going to get out of meeting him when suddenly a girl exclaimed “oh, it’s Jesus” and ran over and started talking to him. He started to tell his hard luck story. Someone else who was around interrupted them saying “aren’t you going to deliver those objects that you have?”. He said to this girl that he had better push on and do his job. These 2 objects were destined for the room in which the other 2 people were hiding. They were now panicking about where they could go to keep out of the way of this guy while he stuck these 2 parcels in this room

The rest of the morning was spent working on the photos from my trip around the Canadian High Arctic of 2019. Despite having dealt with a few dozen, I’m still on my zodiac in Dundas Harbour on Devon Island where I look as if I may be until doomsday at this rate.

After a lunch of porridge and hot cross buns I had a few things to do, a session on the guitar and a chat on the internet with someone or other who shall be nameless but you all know who it is, and then, much earlier than usual, I went out for my afternoon walk.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022You’ve seen the weather conditions today so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of photographs.

And the Birdman of Alcatraz and his Nazgul weren’t expecting much of anything either because after having wrestled with each other for a while, he imitated one of Longfellow’s characters and “shall fold their tents, like the Arabs and as silently steal away”.

Frankly, I don’t know what he must have been thinking, having come out in this kind of weather. I would imagine that, being uniquely wind-powered, you would need a good few hundred yards of room to manoeuvre your Nazgul if you are to avoid catastrophe and the visibility wasn’t anything like that good.

Being out in a rolling sea mist is a recipe for disaster if ever I saw one.

cabanon vauban people bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It’s not a Bank Holiday here in France but nevertheless there are plenty of people on holiday, wandering around here and there.

And even a few down on the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban too. Although what they might be expecting to see down there is anyone’s guess because I couldn’t see anything.

Actually, I think they realised after a while that it was pretty pointless being down there because, as I watched, they slowly packed up their things and began to move away. Not that things are much better anywhere else, that is.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In the newspaper this morning it said that one of the highest tidal coefficients of the year would be this weekend.

That can only mean one thing – the pèche à pied. With the high coefficient, it means that the public area of the foreshore will be uncovered at low tide so it will be a free-for-all as everyone swarms down there to see what they can find.

There are already a few people down there making their way to the water’s edge. And if this blasted fog would lift we would probably find that there are a few more people further out as well. When we did a radio programme from down there a couple of years ago there were hundreds of people.

ch721430 le styx ch922344 le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022So leaving them to it, I headed off down the path towards the harbour to see what was happening there.

And there’s a change of occupant – or, rather, an additional occupant at the chantier naval this afternoon too. We’ve seen the trawler Le Styx on a few occasions just recently unloading at the fish processing plant but here she is today up on blocks undergoing servicing.

Le Roc A La Mauve III is still there too. At least, I think that it’s her. I can read her registration number from here now but strangely, it isn’t in the trawler database that I found. Perhaps she’s been brought in from elsewhere and is being reregistered.

ch642969 galapagos port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Another trawler that we’ve seen once or twice on our way around in the past is Galapagos.

She’s over there by the fish processing plant, settling down in the silt and waiting for the tide to come in. By the looks of things she must have missed the opening of the harbour gates because she’s not one that usually loiters around over there.

As for me, I’m not loitering around either. There’s a good reason why I’ve gone for an early walk this afternoon and I’d better get a move on and head for home otherwise I’ll be late.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But the way things are, I’m not going home quite yet.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw Chausiaise tied up at the pontoon where the trawlers usually tie up. That would be bound to lead to complications.

Anyway, she’s cleared off somewhere else now and the trawlers are tied up where they belong.

But still missing from our photo are the two Channel Island ferries Granville and Victor Hugo. The last I heard of them, they had been hauled out of the water at Cherbourg.

But that was a while ago. If the service to the Channel Islands is to restart, they ought to have started it now while the crowds are here for the Easter break.

weeding porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One final thing before I go back inside.

It’s the time of year when they send the gardening crew out. Today, they are pulling the weeds out of the rocks in the medieval walls by the Porte St Jean. If the roots penetrate between the rocks they’ll loosen the stonework and bring it down.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I had to repoint the whole back wall of my house in Virlet when I puled the ivy off.

Interestingly, you’ll notice that the van has the old-style number plates. That means that it last had a change of owner prior to 2009. So the local council has owned it for at least 13 years.

It’s not like the UK here where people change cars every couple of years. That’s why second-hand vehicles are comparatively more expensive.

Back at home I settled down in front of the computer to watch Y Bala v Y Drenewydd in the battle for second place. And just as the whistle went for the kick-off Rosemary rang. So that was the first half effectively out of the window.

That was a shame because the first half was the better of the two with both teams going for it. The match finished 1-0 for Bala which was about the right result. Apart from my favourite player Mwandwe, Y Drenewydd didn’t offer much up front today. Bala’s defence was quite effective.

But SPARE A THOUGHT FOR THE WOODWORK at the town end of the Oval Stadium at Caernarfon. I bet that it has a headache this evening after this afternoon’s match against Penybont.

For tea tonight I had the curry that I’ve been trying to have for a day or two. And of course it was delicious. It couldn’t be anything else.

So shopping tomorrow. I don’t need all that much, I suppose, but it’s been a while since I’ve been and I need a few supplies, as well as to see what’s on offer in Noz. I need to vary my diet again, I reckon.

Friday 19th November 2021 – JUST A FEW …

… more brief notes because I’m in the middle of watching a football match and when it’s finished I’m off to bed because I have to get up at 05:00.

And I do remember that I said that I was going to update the notes from yesterday but unfortunately things didn’t quite work out like that. Not the least reason being the fact that I had yet another bad night last night and I ended off drifting into sleep a couple of times this afternoon when I should have been working.

It felt as if I didn’t have any sleep at all last night but considering the amount of stuff that was on the dictaphone from last night I must have fallen asleep several times.

I was out in Caliburn last night, going from Winsford to Crewe and it was very late. I couldn’t think of what was wrong. I’d been driving for a few hundred yards and I suddenly realised thet I had no headlights. I looked around and there were no electrics of any kind working in the van. Just then I was going past a farm so I pulled into the farm yard to get off the road before someone ran into the back. Jerry and Mike were there, leading some camels with kids on them. They passed in through Caliburn and out the other side and then came back that way. They asked me what I was doing so I explained. They had a few suggestions but I suggested that it was the main fuse that had gone. Jerry said “hang on. We’ll have a look” and lifted up the bonnet but said “ohh it’s a new Transit and I don’t know these ones”. I had a look and saw that the battery had shifted position so I put it back. Sure enough, there was the main fuse underneath the battery and it had broken. Some woman came by now from the farm and asked what was going on. I explained to her but she replied “we don’t have one of those”. I said that I’d have to order one but in the meantime I was sure that I could rig up something so that I could carry on driving and do whatever I had to do.
Later on there was something about dressing up in fancy dress in the Welsh class. One guy had dressed as a canwyll yr ysbryd but I thought that he should have been more like a ghost with a sheet over him as well while he was doing it. There was quite a lot to this dream but I can’t remember any more than that
Some time later I’d been out with with my friend from Congleton. She lived somewhere out beyond Manchester but I was far too tired to take her home so she arranged for her mother to come and pick her up from my family home which was actually where she lived in Congleton. We stopped somewhere for a quick flirt about, something like that, and then I drove back. She said “don’t park where you normally park. Pull up across the road” because her aunt had parked there once and a policeman had come along and moved her on
Finally someone was making a film about the Great Train Robbery. Of course they were disguising all the names and the names of towns and so on but it was quite clear what it was. I had some kind of rôle to play in it. I was on my way to the garage where everyone was assembling. There was a policewoman directing traffic so I had a chat to her. She was saying how glad she was going to be to get off work at the end of her shift. I thought “you’re going to have a surprise later on in that case”. I arrived at the garage and everyone was trying to organise themselves but there were still a few things that weren’t working. There was this red MkV Cortina and they couldn’t make the flashers work on it. One guy was frustrated and put a great big dent in the boot. The I noticed that a few of the things were going wrong in this organisation. Some of the equipment wasn’t up to much. I immediately thought that this was going to be a catastrophe. Everyone would be caught quite quickly because of all this. I recommended not sharing out the money until much later when the hue and cry had died down a little. Someone there had guns and everything like that. I could see that several tragedies are going to arise in this affair if we weren’t careful.

When the alarm went off I staggered out of bed for my medication and then checked my mails and messages. Liz was on line too so we had a little chat for a while.

Today’s task was to choose the music for the next four radio programmes and that took far longer than it ought to have done as well. Mind you, had I been wide awake and in the mood to work I could have done it a lot quicker than I did

After breakfast I went out for a walk. I needed a bread knife because there isn’t one here,

outdoor market herbert hooverplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021Down at the end of the Tiensestraat I came once more into the Herbert Hooverplein.

Being earlier than usual, the outdoor market here was in full swing.

This is the kind of place like one of these Middle-Eastern or North African street markets – apart from the weather of course. You can buy absolutely everything imaginable here, including bulbs for planting in the garden

Surprisingly, there didn’t seem to be too many customers around right now. It’s not actually that late in the morning. I would have expected the place to be heaving with folk.

outdoor market monseigneur ladeuzeplein leuven Belgium photo November 2021The market stretches on around and into the Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein.

Standing underneath the arches to the entrance to the University Library I have a good view of all of the stalls and what they are selling.

The University Library is the same one that was burnt by the Germans during the Sack of Leuven in 1914 and all of the books, some as old as 1300 years, went up in flames.

Collections were made throughout the World to rebuild the building and to restock it, so the Germans came by in 1940 and burnt it again.

house building diestsestraat leuven Belgium photo November 2021Sown in the Diestsestraat are a couple of cheap shops that sell household equipment so I wen to try my luck there.

First though, I went to have a look at the house-building that’s been going on down there.

They are actually making reasonable progress which is quite a surprise considering that this is Belgium where they seem to be taking their time about most of these building projects.

And you’ve no idea how hard it was to actually find a bread-knife around Leuven. I tried several shops in the Diestsestraat but had no success.

While I was out I went to Delhaize to buy the salad stuff and fruit for lunch today and for my butties tomorrow on my way home. And in Hema, a more-upmarket kitchen shop near Delhaize, I finally found a bread knife at a reasonable price, so I can make my sandwiches in peace,

man filming grote markt leuven Belgium photo November 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that taking photos of people taking photos is a regular occurrence in these pages.

Today I was eben more lucky because there was someone actually filming here with a film-camera. However I couldn’t see what it was that he was actually filming, and he didn’t stay long.

Back at my little room, after lunch I carried on with the music, fighting off wave after wave of sleep, mostly very unsuccessfully. However, at least it was only 10 minutes here and there, not several hours as was the case a couple of months ago.

Tea was falafel and pasta followed by soya dessert, and now I’m settling down to watch the football. TNS v Newtown.

TNS won the match 2-0 but it would have been a totally different story had the referee awarded maybe even one of the stonewall penalties that I would have awarded to Newtown had I been refereeing it.

And this is, shame as it is to say it, the first time that i’ve ever seen TNS set out to kick an opposing player off the park. As I have said before, Lifumpa Mwandwe is far too good for this league but he’s not going to last long in it if in other matches he’s kicked about as much as he was tonight.

Friday 27th November 2020 – HAVING NOT GONE …

… to bed until 02:30 this morning, I totally surprised myself by actually being up and about at 06:30.

Mind you, I needn’t have bothered for all the good that I’ve done today. I’ve not been able to get started today and I’m getting rather fed up of this.

So having slowly recovered from my extremely lethargic start and taken my medication, I listened to last night’s adventures on the dictaphone. Despite only being asleep for less than 4 hours, I still managed to find time to wander off.

There needed to be a big marriage in this family in a house very much like my old Grammar School and for some unknown reason they chose me to impersonate the bride. I was OK doing that until the groom appeared along with a couple of wedding cars. Then it became a kind of Brian Rix farce scampering around with all of this. My brother threatened to tell this guy and was making all kinds of suggestions. In the end he said that he needed someone to comfort him and console him, and the groom volunteered. I thought “that’s great. It will get rid of him. I can grab my shoes and clear off”. But I couldn’t find my shoes – I could only find one. The place was an absolute tip with presents and wrapping paper and everything around. But I could only find one shoe, which meant that I was stuck there. This guy came back down again and started to make some story about we needed to get this place tidied up. That was not what was going on in my mind at all. I was hoping to find a way to distract his attention so I could go but I had to find my shoes first and possibly my money and computer and loads of other things but the place was in such a mess that I couldn’t find anything.

It sounds rather like my place right now where I don’t even seem to have the energy to take the rubbish out to the bin.

Most of the day has been spent working on the arrears of when I was in Central Europe back in the summer, although you wouldn’t actually notice. My excuse that “much of the time was spent researching” isn’t really valid. It’s a far cry from the days 15 years ago when I could sit down and dash off 10,0000 words in a session without really thinking about it and without losing concentration and it’s making me even more depressed. Thank heaven that there’s music.

It will be no surprise to anyone that I crashed out round about midday. Crashed out good ‘n’ proper too, for more than an hour or so, curled up on the chair.

And so deep was I in it that I actually went off on a voyage. I was living with a large family and it was a weekend. I was wondering if all of the shops in Crewe had now reopened as I was thinking about going to B&Q for an exterior light for my house at Gainsborough Road and finally getting round to sorting a few things out there, but it was only a half-hearted thing. I was picturing myself doing some wiring but using some green flexible trunking. We were talking about things to do around the house to entertain us and I suggested a party. Someone wondered if I was being serious but I asked them if we had any jelly and cakes in ready. Feeling hungry, I went to the fridge where I had a tin of sweets and took one out, but I didn’t have the time to eat it as I found a Mickey Mouse cut-out of mine so took it over to the settee, sat down and went to put it in a folder. That mad me think about work, how I didn’t really like it and how I was creating arrears but thought then that I could always leave as I’m over the Retirement Age (how many times have I had this dream?) but then the downside would be that I would be really bored and going round in circles like I am now. The little girl came to sit by me with her big black long-haired cat that she was stroking. After a couple of minutes she got up to go somewhere and put the cat on my knee. That awoke me with a start.

At least my butternut squash soup was delicious even though it was quite late. And that was another thing – when I awoke from my little reverie I had the strangest feeling that I’d actually already eaten my lunch.

Back at my insipid work after lunch, up until walkies time and then I forced myself to go out into the cold.

Granville donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd cold it really was too. Winter has definitely arrived now in Normandy.

The sea fog that we saw yesterday morning – or would have done had the camera worked properly, it was back again. Or maybe it hadn’t gone away. The whole of the coast was shrouded in it and visibility was only about 7 or 8 miles, as you can tell from this photo.

You can just about see the coast beyond Donville les Bains, but not much further. It’s certainly a foretaste of things to come and I think that it’s going to be a cold one this year. We haven’t actually had a really cold winter for a while

sun shining into water baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe brats were out orienteering on the lawn again and I helped a little one find a marker that she was looking for, and then I pushed on.

Round on the headland we had another one of these beautiful sunny effects where rays of sunshine shine through the gaps in the clouds and make pretty patterns on the water. It’s not as spectacular as the one a week or so ago but it’s pretty good all the same.

Nothing else going on out at sea so I continued on my way. Too many people around for a decent run so I had a nice sedate walk.

ceres 2 trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been round at the headland I’d heard the sound of an old diesel motor chugging away somewhere so I was wondering what was going on.

And it seems to be all excitement this afternoon at the chantier navale. The green fishing boat that we saw in there yesterday seems to have disappeared but nstead they’ve hauled out another one from the water and dropped her on blocks.

I’ve no idea who she is, so I suppose that I’ll have to make further enquiries. But whoever she is, she’ll be in good company there with the yacht and with Ceres II who seem to have settled in for the Duration.

trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSudenly the engine that I heard revved up. It’s the engine on the mobile boat lift and as I watched, it over-rode the new fishing vessel and they wrapped the lifting tackle around it.

Moving her off to a new more permanent location I imagine. I waited for a while to see but they didn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry.

But can you see the driver’s cab of the boat lift? he has a good view of what’s going on around him while he’s in motion. But it’s quite a beast, that. They need something like that here for lifting the boats in and out of the water. 100 tonnes is no lightweight.

Back at the apartment I made a coffee and then carried on with my paper-stirring until it was time to practise the guitar. At least all of that went well and I had an enjoyable time. Thank heaven there’s music.

Tea was taco rolls and rice followed by another slice of my pie with banana sorbet.

trench place du marche au ble Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter tea, I had to dash out pretty smartish-like for my runs as there would be football on the internet later.

It was another day where I really wasn’t feeling up to all that much but I persevered all the same and managed my 6 runs, to some kind of degree. One of the legs of my runs goes past the other end of the trench that we saw yesterday. There’s no light here at all so you can’t see very much of it but anyway …

On I pushed round to the viewpoint over looking the Place Marechal Foch.

christmas lights avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlthough there was nothing going on down in the Place, there was some excitement happening in the Avenue de la Liberation.

Here we are, the first Christmas lights of the year, shining away in the biscuit shop over there. A sure sign that Christmas is coming. Next it will be the public lighting that we’ve seen them installing throughout the town over the last couple of weeks.

So I cleared off again, running across the Square Maurice Marland and making my way home via the shorter route rather than going by the walls. I was in a hurry.

parking blocked off avenue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s been quite a while since we went up the Rue Notre Dame so I was wondering if we’d see any changes along there.

Not really, I have to say. After all, it was quite dark. But it looks as if there is going to be yet more digging up of the road here, as if there hasn’t already been enough, judging by the fact that some of the parking is now fenced off.

There was a public notice pinned to one of the hurdles but the weather had got to that before I did, so I couldn’t see what it said.

Back in the apartment, I just about made the kick-off. Bala Town were playing Newtown and, to be honest, Bala had far too much in the tank for Newtown. Nevertheless although Newtown’s defence stood up well, they were undone by a couple of moments of magic down the right wing. A score of 3-1 to Bala was probably about right, I reckon, and no-one can complain about this.

And, rather shamefully, I fell asleep for a couple of minutes in the middle of the game.

Not an early night tonight again, unfortunately. One of these days I’ll manage a good, decent sleep without oversleeping. I’ve no idea when that will be, though.

Saturday 21st November 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change, I managed to beat the third alarm to my feet.

And not only is that a surprise in itself, it’s even more surprising when you consider that I didn’t go to bed until long after 01:30.

It goes without saying that I didn’t go anywhere during the night. There probably wasn’t enough time to do very much anyway so it was something of a restful sleep for what it was. And I do have to say that when the third alarm went off I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor, and that’s as good as it got for about half an hour.

This morning I finished going through my mailbox and a pile of stuff has bitten the dust – and quite right too. It’s down to a much-more manageable proportion now.

As well as that I was chatting to my friend with Covid (well, she doesn’t have it now of course) and doing some work on the arrears from my journey around Central Europe. And then, I … errr … fell asleep. And no surprise there after my early start.

After lunch I didn’t do the baking. After all if I’m baking tomorrow as well I may as well have a go at my cake then and use the oven for everything.

But there was football on quite early today too. Barry Town and Y Drenewydd played out an exciting, pulsating 0-0 draw. Yes, exciting, not like most 0-0 draws. The action flowed from one end to the other throughout, ably assisted by Cheryl Foster, the league’s female referee. We had several shots on goal, including one almighty whack from; Nat Jarvis that rattled the Newtown woodwork, but the defences were well on top in this game. Quite an enjoyable game all around.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was extremely late and going dark but nevertheless I went out for my afternoon walk.

Surprisingly there were a few people out there this afternoon and some of them were heading my way as I admired the lighthouse and the semaphore station out on the end of the Pointe du Roc. And of course, that would have to be my luck, wouldn’t it? Not many people around, but all of them right where I would ordinarily be running.

And so instead, dodging the dog, I had a sedate stroll up to the end of the track, across the car park and around the headland to see what was going on at the memorial to the lifeboatmen.

decorated seafarers monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day they sprinkled fresh gravel all around it to make it look pretty.

Today there seem to have been even more changes. The memorial has now grown a few huge bunches of flowers. It would be to commemorate something I imagine but what, I don’t know. I shall have to go tomorrow and check the dates of the sinkings that are recorded there.

What with nothing else whatever going on out there this afternoon, I headed for home and a hot coffee. And such are the way of things around here right now that I switched on the kettle, went for a gypsy’s and then headed for the office, completely forgetting to make the coffee.

Tea tonight was something of a fry-up of vegetables and vegetable balls, in the microwave fryer that Rachel gave me last year. It’s actually too big for the microwave but if I take out the round plate, put a support over the rotator and put the fryer on that so that it doesn’t turn round, it does actually fit.

It takes ages though, so there was plenty of time to make some cheese sauce too. And it was all followed down by the last of the apple crumble. Tomorrow I’m going to have yet another attempt at a fruit tart with agar-agar

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was the cue to go out for my evening runs. And it was just as well that I was all alone out there because for some reason I wasn’t on my best form and my running was rather bizarre.

Have I taken a photo of the Rue du Nord from this point before? I don’t think so, and so I’ll put that right. This is the resting point after the second leg of my runs, the first being right down at the end of that shot. There’s quite a steep bank behind me and I can’t run up there. It brings me to a shuddering halt.

From here I ran on down the path underneath the walls and all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch where we take our photos of the sea breaking onto the Plat Gousset.

place marechal foch Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was absolutely nothing of any excitement here either.

With nothing else to do, I took a photo of the end of the Place nearest the street and then headed for home, running across the Square Maurice Marland.

At one of the houses at the end I encountered a woman. She had let her dog out to take itself off for a walk but instead of coming back home it was simply sitting there by the side of the road and she was trying everything to make it move, but with no success.

After an exchange of pleasantries I continued my walk around the walls and then ran on the rest of the way home.

For a change I’m going to have an early night. And then a nice long lie-in to get myself together for what I have to do tomorrow – like bake a cake, bake a tart, start off the sourdough bread etc etc. And to book my voyage to Belgium, something that I forgot to do today. I really must organise myself.

Saturday 19th September 2020 – BRAIN OF BRITAIN …

… strikes again!

Having spend some time today pondering upon the question of this little matter about recording my old cassette tapes, round about 15:00 this afternoon the light suddenly went on in my head.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have a ZOOM H1 that I use for recording outside broadcasts for the radio. So this afternoon I went plugged the audio cable out of the headphone socket in the big hi-fi and into the mike socket of the Zoom.

The settings are a bit all over the place and I’ll have to be doing some kind of further research to improve the sound balance, but it’s already a great improvement on not being able to produce any sound.

But sometimes I really wonder however I managed to get so far in my life as I have done when I spend days trying to solve a problem when there is a simple solution like this at my fingertips.

You might also think that getting out of bed is a simple solution too, but it wasn’t today. It was another 07:30 start.

Mind you, it’s no surprise that I had such a lie-in because I’d been off on quite a considerable and lengthy voyage or three or four during the night.
There was another one of these little flighty girl-types of people and we were all somewhere in Crewe – the Nantwich Road end. We were all flirting around and I had a quiet little word with her because there was someone in our group who was’t particularly appropriate for her to meet.
abandoned Opel estate place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallSo this larking about went on but then there was some kind of issue about tidying things up and putting them away and so on. There had been an old Vauxhall estate abandoned on wasteland on Mill Street, like the one that’s been dumped outside here for a year or so, and that needed to be tidied away. They asked me if I could arrange that. I asked what was the deal – they replied “you take the vehicle, you can have it”. I said “I’m sure that I can arrange something”. I contacted a friend of mine and he said that he would come down to join me. In the meantime this girl was flirting and she ended up with another young guy. I had a little whisper in her ear about one or two things and she asked “is this the guy you were warning me about?”. I replied no it’s not. It’s actually the one who’ll be here in a minute. Anyway he turned up and he wasn’t in a car but on foot. He asked “where’s this vehicle that you want us to go and have a look at?”. We had to walk down some stairs into the foyer and he got on his radio. He had a police radio and he was radioing back to the police station about some guy who’d been seen prowling around. They eventually managed to track him down to some kind of street somewhere, not hanging around somewhere dangerous – and I awoke all hot and sweaty in a fever again.

The call had gone out to Wales for everyone to rise up on behalf of the Welsh monarch against the English one. This is one of those things where I’ve completely forgotten absolutely everything
Later on we were at University. I was with a couple of girls and someone came along to say that they had left something. They described accurately what one of these girls was wearing and they said that she came and sat here after they left. After much discussion debate and argument she went off to have a look in the clothes that she was wearing that morning to see whether she had it. I was having a chat with one or two of these girls who had come over. The subject was about the University, my friends and so on. The girl who had gone off, she said that she had to tell everyone that she was 21 but she was actually 15, one of these child prodigies who had gone off to University early but she didn’t really want to draw attention to herself. We were having a chat and one of these girls was being a bit forward, talking about a few racy subjects and I wasn’t sure if she was trying to lead me on somewhere so I replied in a non-committal kind of way but I was very interested to see where this discussion was going and that rings a very familiar bell, doesn’t it? Again all hot and sweaty.
I was with Liz and Terry and there was something happening about a racing car. There was no-one to drive it and they asked me if I would. I said yes even though I didn’t know how and we went off to this racing circuit. I don’t know what happened about the race but on the way back we stayed at this really posh hotel. I had to go out for a walk or something and there I met a woman with two girls, Germans. They were discussing different things I suppose about patriotism, whatever. The elder of the two girls, a little thin blonde probably about 10 or so was saying how proud she was of her country, all this thing, how proud she was of her navy, whatever. I overtook them walking back to the hotel. I walked past a house that wasn’t there any more. It had been redeveloped and a new house was built there. I remember one of my school friends having a house on that site and I used to go there regularly but I couldn’t for the life of me remember who it was. All these names came ticking through my head only to be ruled out. I got back to the hotel and these people were coming in. I had to help them over the patio wall into the main room – it was quicker than going all the way round to the door at the main entrance. They summoned the receptionist and there was confusion about the car machines, which one they had to use. These people were booked in. This blonde girl came over to me and said that she had lost my phone number and could I give it to her.

It’s hardly any surprise that I was so late getting out of bed after all of that.

After a shower and a general clean-up I went off to the shops. At NOZ the prize was a beautiful olde-worlde porcelain mixing bowl to replace the smaller metal one that I’ve been using.

It’s becoming quite professional in here now.

cars parking at electric charging bay leclerc granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that pathetic parking is a regular feature of these pages.

Here’s some more from the car park of LeClerc and this is something that’s going to cause a big problem in the future. The supermarket was heaving today – I’ve never seen it so busy – and parking was at a premium.

The charging bays for the electric vehicles are close to the entrance so two motorists have taken it upon themselves to park in them rather than out in the wilderness.

Purists may argue that one of them (if not both) is an electric vehicle but neither of them is plugged in. And as there are only four charging points at the supermarket, that’s 50% of the potential capacity blocked off for no good reason.

It makes me wonder how long it will be before we start to see the warning notices like we see at disabled bays.

Despite the crowds in the supermarket and the fact that they had run out of my favourite traditional Saturday baguette, I was in and out in half an hour.

Mind you, I’d forgotten my bread flour and one or two other things too, but nothing that I can’t live without. And they had no frozen broccoli either.

Such an exciting life I lead when an absence of frozen broccoli in the supermarket makes headline news.

Back here I attacked a couple more of the arrears and that’s becoming even more manageable now. And then, shame as it is to say it, I crashed out on the chair. The excitement of finding no frozen broccoli in the supermarket is clearly proving too much for me.

After a late lunch I recorded a few more albums from the USB turntable and then had a session with the Zoom.

I was pleased that at last I’ve been able to digitalise probably the rarest record in my whole collection. I’ve seen the value (not that it means very much of course) of some of my records being in the thousands, when they are available, but what would be the price of the only rock LP (of the early 70s of course) being sung in the native Greenlandic Inuit language?

That’ll make my listeners sit up a little. They are still struggling to come to terms with rock music sung in Scots Gaelic. They can’t say that they aren’t having their money’s worth, considering that they are getting it all for free.

low tide out baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric halllater on I went out for the football.

By now, the tide is well out on one of the lowest-tide days of the year and you can see now how far it goes out when it has a mind to. When it’s right in, you can see the tide mark on the harbour wall to the right of centre.

On my way through town I bumped into Maryline from the radio – she who does the film and cinema programmes – and we had a chat for five minutes or so before, in the best traditions of the late lamented News of the World, “I made my excuses and left”.

football stade louis dior sm caen us granville manche normandy france eric hallSM Caen must have been kicking themselves tonight on the way back home from the Stade Louis Dior.

On several occasions they carved their way through the Granville defence like a hot knife through butter but their finishing was even worse than Granville’s, who never ever looked like scoring if they were still playing now.

Nevertheless it was an exciting match as you never knew who was going to be the next to kick the ball into the keeper’s arms when in a one-on-one situation or to completely miss connecting with the ball when presented with a free header on an open goal.

And it all turned up on its head with 4 minutes to go when a Granville player was brought down in the Caen penalty area. For once, Granville managed to find the back of the net.

But after all of the chances that Caen had, they must have been totally devastated to lose a game to Granville like this when they should have been out of sight and down the road a long time before half-time.

marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back home I noticed the crowds of people loitering around the harbour so I went to see what was going on.

Actually, I had an educated guess seeing as on the way out to the shops this morning I saw Marité heading out of the harbour and across the bay, and that her berth was empty when I went out earlier to the football.

And sure enough, into the harbour, full sail ahead, came Marité, heading for her berth again.

marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallShe had quite a crowd of people on board, and I’m not quite sure how she managed that, as regular readers of this rubbish will well recall the issues that I’ve had with the personnel who operate her.

A more unfriendly bunch of “customer service” people I have yet to meet. They actually make Belgian shop assistants sound friendly.

But nevertheless, it makes quite a magnificent impression when the old Newfoundland cod-fisher is out there with all of her sails out in a full gale.

Even manoeuvring into the harbour is quite an impressive sight, as the crowds out there watching it will testify.

yacht baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallShe wasn’t the only large boat out there heading for home on the evening tide.

This one that I vaguely saw in the gloom (in a heavily-lightened photo) was also heading into harbour. When I first noticed it I thought that it might have been la Granvillaise but even with having thrown plenty of light onto the subject, I stil can’t say.

Back here, it was tea out of a tin and then time for more football. In the Welsh Premier League, or the JD Cymru League as it’s now called, Newtown who have been misfiring during the season so far were away at newly-promoted Haverforwest County.

Haverfordwest have a beautiful, modern little ground thanks to a good deal with a local supermarket who bought their old ground from them, but the team has never had any particular success. They survived relegation from the WPL for several seasons due to lack of suitable promotion candidates or due to licensing issues of other clubs but they fell out of the league a few seasons ago – 2016 if I remember correctly – and have gradually clawed their way back.

They are another team who I haven’t seen so far so i was looking forward to this game.

And the match was particularly interesting. Newtown were the quickest out of the blocks and looked the better side, but Haverforwest, having signed the cream of the second tier, looked nothing like the patchwork team that they were said to be and in fact actually played more like a team than Newtown’s experienced regulars.

The final score, 2-2, was a fair reflection of the match and while Haverfordwest are not going to set the league alight this season, Newtown are going to have to be doing some rather serious looking over their shoulder. Even after three matches, they are adrift at the foot of the table and that’s not a very comfortable position for one of the only two teams who have been in the WPL for its entire existence.

But now it’s late and I’m tired. Far too tired to write up my notes so I’ll have to do that in the morning instead.

Tuesday 15th September 2020 – DESPITE NOT …

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall… doing everything that I wanted to do, I’ve still had an extremely busy and active day today. I’ve never stopped and, even more surprisingly, I didn’t crash out either. That’s not really a surprise – it’s a shock!

So while you admire some photos of this evening’s beautiful sunset, let me mention that while once more I missed the third alarm, it was only by a matter of seconds and I was immediately up and sitting on the edge of the bed.

Mind you, it did take me a few minutes to collect my thoughts and summon up the strength to move, but that’s par for the course these days.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hall During the night I was in my old office in Prince Albert Street. I’d had a shave and a wash but the hairs that I had shaved off my face weren’t flushing down the drain of the sink. There was a young guy sitting there by the side of the sink waiting for me to finish but I was just taking longer and longer and longer because of these hairs. In the end I told him that I was ready to get up but I can’t leave it like this because of the hairs. He said “let me have a look” and he tried to move it as well. He said “what you need is a new sink because the capacity on this isn’t enough. We need to go along and get another sink” which I thought was silly because they just don’t issue sinks like this but off we went, clambering over a few items into the main office and out again over another pile of stores. We were asked what we were looking for and we explained about the new sink. Someone said “you’ll be really lucky finding a new sink like this. You want to try a new plug hole”.

sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallA few more of the arrears from the dictaphone disappeared too which is good news as I slowly catch up.

After that, I tidied up in the kitchen and the dining area. We have our Welsh lesson this morning and that’s on line. I don’t really want people to see the chaos in which I live these days.

And having put all of that behind me I sat down and did some more revision of the previous course. I’ve forgotten almost everything that I learnt in the Spring.

At least, that’s what I thought because I found that once the lesson started I could actually remember some of the things that I had learned. More than I thought, more than was necessary for our opening session and more than some of my fellow-students.

Interestingly, we have a student from Romania living in Connah’s Quay who is learning Welsh. That’s certainly something quite extraordinary.

Instead of two hours, these lessons are 2.5 hours so we didn’t finish until 13:30. That meant a rather late lunch.

Having used the last of the bread, this afternoon I baked some bread. Some ordinary bread, into which I added a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds, and also a smaller loaf with a banana, some sultanas and a pile of ground almonds added to it, brushed with soya milk and sprinkled with brown sugar.

While all of that was rising in the corner, I attacked the carrots that I had bought the other day. They were peeled and diced, blanched in boiling water with some bay leaves and then drained and left to dry.

While they were drying, I peeled and diced a lump of ginger into some tiny fragments and then boiled them in some water.

While they were boiling, I peeled the lemons that I had, put them in a whizzer and whizzed them gently to separate the juice. That went onto a glass and then the remainder was thoroughly whizzed round into a pulp and then added to the ginger and water that was boiling. This was then set to simmer.

diving platform fishing boats pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile the lemon and ginger was simmering away, I went out for my afternoon walk.

It was a beautiful afternoon again, hot and sunny with very little wind. And plenty of people out there too enjoying it. The fishermen were out there as well.

At least, I reckon that they are fishermen because I can’t think of what else they might be doing in those boats down there so close inshore by the diving platform at the Pointe du Roc.

la grande ancre english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were quite a few other boats out there too. Not very many yachts today, with it not being weekend, but quite a few others.

Here’s one of our old friends again. She’s La Grande Ancre and she seems to spend much of her time engaged in fishing activity and the rest of the time transporting items out to the Ile de Chausey.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw her go out a year or two back with a tractor on her deck and she’s had many other things to transport as well, although she doesn’t seem to do as much in that line since Chausiais arrived.

driftwood part of cabinet washed ashore pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut here’s something interesting down there on the rocks.

One thing that I have noticed about the coastline here is that driftwood of any sort is very rare. We haven’t seen anything interesting, despite all the storms that we have. But this down here is the first substantial item that I’ve seen in all the time that I’ve been here.

The kids were out here again playing around on the grass. And I now know what they are doing, because I had a close look. They are having sessions in Orienteering – being given various sets of co-ordinates and running from point-to-point armed with a map and a compass.

Strangely enough, that’s the one thing that I know something about because in 1971 I came 15th in the North West England Schools’ Championship.

And no – there were not only 15 entrants.

But anyway, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the proceedings over the next few weeks to see how they are doing

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn that note I wandered off around the headland to the other side of the promontory.

And there’s some excitement today in the Chantier Navale. Over the last week or two there have been as many as seven boats in there and that’s been the most that I have ever seen – up until today, that is.

As I went past this afternoon, I noticed that they had just pulled another fishing boat out of the water with the mobile crane. That’s eight boats in there today and I’ve never ever seen that many at any one time.

hang gliders boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallSo we’ve seen crowds on the land and crowds in the sea. I’m sure that you are all wondering what is going on in the air.

The answer is that despite the apparent lack of wind this afternoon the Bird-Men of Alcatraz were flying around somehow. At one particular moment I counted three of them in the air all at once and I’m not sure how they are keeping aloft.

As an aside, I’ve not had any news about the bird-man who came to grief 10 days ago on the rocks by the tidal pool. I wonder how he’s getting on.

police on duty college malraux granville manche normandy france eric hallOne of the things that features quite regularly on these pages is the question of pathetic parking. The Rue St Pierre by the entrance to the College Malraux at school chucking-out time is notorious in this respect.

But not today.

Obviously the local constabulary is a keen reader of my pages because today we have one of Macron’s Finest on duty keeping an eye on things, including, one assumes, the wild parking.

If everyone can park properly in the free car park round the corner when there’s a copper on duty, why can’t they do it all the time?

normandy trader port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOnly one thing remained to be done before I could clear off home.

We have a visitor in the harbour this afternoon. One of the Jersey freighters, Normandy Trader, has come into port on the morning tide.

She’s been in a couple of times since we last saw her but the ship is very busy with plenty of work so there have been some really rapid turn-rounds just recently. She’s been in like Flynn and out again on the same tide which means that I’ve not been lucky enough to be present to snatch a photograph.

We’ve not seen Thora, the other Jersey freighter, for a while either. Things must be hotting up with the run-in to Brexit.

Back in the apartment I put the oven on to heat up and when it was warm enough, I bunged the bread inside.

home made bread banana bread blanched carrots lemon ginger honey cordial place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallTaking the ginger and lemon mix off the heat, I put it in the whizzer, added two tablespoons of honey and the lemon juice that I had decanted earlier and then whizzed it all around into a nice pulpy syrup. Then put it into a bottle with some turmeric.

When the bread was cooked I tipped the loaves out onto a wire rack to cool down.

And here are the finished product. The bread is cooling down on the rack, the carrots are now freezing nicely in the freezer and the bottle of lemon and ginger cordial is in the fridge.

And the cordial is delicious too. I tried a sample of it just now.

rue du nord place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallTea was a burger on a bap with baked potatoes (I did them in the oven while I was baking the bread) followed by apple crumble and soya coconut dessert.

That was the cue to nip out for my evening walk and runs. We’ve seen the beautiful sunset this evening, and I reckoned that while I was out there I would take a photograph of the Rue du Nord and the Place d’Armes.

You can’t see very much of my own building, but in the background to the right is the College Malraux, the local High School.

And, of course, you can see some of the decaying medieval wall that is fenced off to stop people putting themselves at risk by walking close to it.

It’s one of four parts of the wall that are fenced off right now and there seems to be no effort being made to fix them, which is a shame. The whole place is falling to bits.

flock of birds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom the rue du Nord I ran on along the footpath, walked a while to catch my breath and then ran on along the Square Maurice Marland.

While there was nothing particular going on as far as terrestrial objects go, there were huge flocks of birds taking off, flying around in a couple of circles and then landing again – only to take off again and repeating the process ad infinitum.

It’s difficult to make assumptions of course but it seems to me that they are practising their formation flying en masse with all of the young newly-born fledgelings ready for their flight south in a couple of weeks time.

flock of birds port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere were hundreds and hundreds circling around, so I stopped and watched them for a while and then ran on home.

But with it being quite light this evening you are probably wondering why I’m out and about so early. The truth is that there’s football on the internet kicking off at 20:45 – Newtown v Caernarfon Town in the JD Cymru (Welsh Premier) League and I wanted to be home in time for the kick-off.

It wasn’t a very exciting match and, to be quite frank, these two teams are not going to be up there challenging for the honours at the end of the season.

The fire has gone out in Caernarfon and their central defence was somewhat conspicuous by its absence. Newtown were probably slightly the better side but their attack was rather wayward and they failed to take full advantage.

However Caernarfon ended up winning 3-2, which surprised me considerably, but it was down to one moment of magic from Paulo Mendes, another from Noah Edwards (aided by some miserable Newtown defending out by the corner flag) and some excellent work from Mike Hayes, who Bala will end up regretting releasing.

It’s now long after 03:00 and I’m still not tired so I’m carrying on working and I’ll switch off the alarms for the morning. I’d written half of the speech for my radio programme this afternoon so I can finish that off and then get on with the internet web lesson that I missed.

Saturday 18th January 2020 – I’VE FINALLY MADE …

… it back home after my adventures of yesterday.

The last thing that I did before hitting the sack was to change the times of the alarms from 06:00 etc to 08:00 etc. And it worked because I awoke at 07:55.

Having a quick check, I found that there’s a file on the dictaphone but that’s going to be another job for again. I’ve not had time quite yet.

We had breakfast and then we decided to go for a walk.

The guy who runs the radio station where I work comes from Roncey and he had told me about a weird edifice on the edge of the town.

As it happens, Liz and Terry know about it. It’s not too far away from where they live as it happens and they know where it is so we agreed to go out there.

caveau auguste letenneur roncey manche normandy france eric hallTerry lent me some wellingtons which was just as well because we needed them in the mud and water but eventually after much binding in the … errr … marsh – and when I say “marsh” I really DO mean “marsh” – we arrived at the Caveau Auguste Letenneur

The aforementioned was someone from Roncey who had made his fortune in St Lo with several grocery shops, taking advantage of the benefits offered by the railway line and the products that it could bring in.

He decided that he wanted something really splendid as a mausoleum so he had one built.

caveau auguste letenneur roncey manche normandy france eric hallAs well as being really wealthy he was also clearly very eccentric because the statue outside is, well, rather … err … suggestive.

Apparently it’s supposed to be symbolic of man’s inferiority to women in the process of creation of life, but we’ll have to take his word for that. It’s certainly very … errr … individual.

And so we went over to have a closer look at the building itself. we tried to go up onto the roof where there is a really good vantage point but the gate to the stairs was locked.

caveau auguste letenneur roncey manche normandy france eric hallAs for the building itself, what I can tell you is that the first stone was laid in 1900 but I haven’t been able to find out when it was finished.

Surprisingly, it has a dining room and a couple of bedrooms. And at least two dead bodies in it. Letenneur intended it to be used for himself, his wife and his descendants. He was killed in a farming accident in 1916 and was placed inside, and there’s at least another one.

We continued on our way into the village and stopped for a coffee for a while. We deserved it.

And then we headed back to Liz and Terry’s. They went for lunch and I went to the shops.

The shops in Coutances as so much better than in Granville, that’s for sure. Bigger and better and more choice too.

At LIDL I bought a good deal of stuff including three bottles of artisanal bio lemonade at €1:69. The lemonade will be nice but I’m more interested in the glass flip-top bottles that they come in. The bottles alone would cost me €2:49 in LeClerc.

Action had nothing but LeClerc came up trumps.

As well as the usual stuff, they had plenty of porcelain on offer and I bought a few things including two porcelain bowls, microwave-proof so that I can dispose of the old plastic stuff.

They had sheets on offer at half price too so I bought another blue one for the other set of bedding

There was a lovely electric kettle there, a glass one, but they didn’t have one in stock and they wouldn’t do a good deal on the demo one. Instead I ended up with a smaller cordless kettle and – touch wood – it seems to work

And on that note I came home, nearly wiping out some stupid old woman who drove out of a parking space into the traffic without stopping or looking.

First task was to make some coffee. And shock! horror! I’d run out. I had to open the last packet, so I mustn’t forget to but some more some time.

After lunch I went to check the mail and some more stuff has arrived. All I need now are the keyboard stickers and the 67mm UV filter. But the bracket on the microphone stand is the wrong size so I need to contact the makers to obtain another one.

There was football on the internet too. Newtown v Airbus UK Broughton in the JD Cymru League.

It’s the first time that I’ve seen Airbus this season. They are adrift at the foot of the tale and had shipped quite a few goals so i was expecting something of an exciting match.

And an exciting match we had too. It actually finished 0-0 but Airbus gave the lie to their league position as they looked the better team. And they hit the bar with the keeper beaten too.

Tea was, as usual, out of a tin and then I went for a walk.

proken car park barrier place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back, I noticed that the car park barrier here was broken so I’d had to park in the publics. I’m not sure what happened to it.

There were one or two other people out there but nevertheless I managed two runs to make up for the one that I missed yesterday.

And I’m glad that people take the effort to read my notes. having had a search of my site from Granville, a menu has now miraculously appeared in the window of La Contremarche.

Ordinarily I would have photographed it but it was far too dark and I couldn’t read it.

It’s now hopelessly late and I’ve not crashed out today. So I’m off to bed and no alarm at all with it being Sunday. So who’s going to anger me by awakening me tomorrow?

Friday 10th January 2020 – HE WHO LAUGHS LAST …

… usually lasts longest and loudest too. And that’s certainly the case with me and my rail ticket.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall my adventures at the railway station at Granville yesterday and how they wouldn’t exchange the return ticket because the return train was running – regardless of the fact that as the outward train was cancelled, I couldn’t get out to catch the one back.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … I had an e-mail informing me that the return train has now been cancelled. So, off to the station tomorrow to have another go at sorting them out.

But talking of sorting out, I still haven’t sorted out this sleep thing. I heard the first two alarms go off and while I was trying to find the energy and courage to get out of bed, the third one rang too, so I missed that.

But anyway, that was the signal to leave the bed. I went and had my medication.

With a brief pause for breakfast I carried on with the radio project about the football. And by 09:45 it was all done and dusted. And even if I say it myself, it was pretty good and I’m pleased with it. It’s all been sent off now and it’s in the hands of the Admin who will decide whether or not to broadcast it.

And now to turn to important things. After their victory against FC Versailles 78, Granville have drawn none other than Olympique Marseille in the French Cup.

The Stade Louis Dior is deemed to be unsuitable so the match is to be played at Caen. And even so, I’m expecting a healthy demand for tickets. Terry wants to come too so I did some searching about on the internet, found the website of the stadium and Lo! And Behold! There are two tickets for the football now sitting on my desk.

No intention of missing this.

spirit of conrad trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThat was the cue for me to go off into town to La Mie Caline for my bread.

On the way down there I passed by the Chantier navale to look and see what was happening. Spirit of Conrad is still there of course – I think that she’s moved in for the duration – but there’s a new addition today. The trawler at the back.

She must have slipped in on the morning tide, I reckon.

joly france ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWe’ve mentioned just recently, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, the ships that are disappearing one by one from the port.

Granville went a few days ago, followed by Victor Hugo. Today though, it’s the turn of Chausiais to put in a disappearing act. Joly France is over there at the ferry terminal but she isn’t.

So I wonder where all of these ships are going. It’s a mystery to me.

old cars traction avant citroen light 15 rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut here’s a thing.

Walking along the rue du Port after my little inspection of the Chantier navale my perambulations were interrupted by this car going past. a Citroen traction avant of course and a later model one at that. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen one of those on the road.

They are usually all black but I’ve seen the odd grey one and a white one, but I don’t recall seeing a blue one before. The one in my barn is black, by the way.

abandoned railway network rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallPushing on (or pushing off, as the case may be) I eschewed the passage over the harbour gates and instead wandered on down to see what was going on at the old abandoned railway network.

We’d seen them yesterday digging up around the railway lines so I had promised myself a closer look. And sure enough, not only are they digging up around the lines, they seem to be pulling them up too.

It looks like the … errrr … end of the line for the railway network in the port

abandoned railway network rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd so it is too.

There was a workman wandering around the site so I buttonholed him and enquired about the project. It seems that they are going to be working on the car park and making it more attractive to visitors. This means that the rails have to go and they won’t be coming back.

Time for me to have to go too. I went off for my bread.

Back at the apartment I started to address the mountain of correspondence that had built up during my work-in. Pile of stuff needed answering and that is going to be today’s task, I reckon.

Mind you it might take longer than today, that’s for sure. Especially as I had another crash-out. This one a really good one too, just like the old days. Not a brief eye-closing affair but a proper deep disappearance into the void, curled up on my chair with no intention whatever of moving.

After lunch, there were the carrots. I’d bought 2 kilos the other day and they were lying about on the worktop so I attacked them too. They are all now peeled, diced, parboiled, drained, dried and and the freezer on the way to being frozen.

And how I wish that I had a bigger freezer because there is now absolutely no room for anything more and I need a bag of peas tomorrow.

la grande ancre english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallOut on my rounds this afternoon, there wasn’t a great deal of anything at all happening.

A few people out there taking the air of course, and the usual fishing boats heading towards the harbour. La Grande Ancre was out there looking as if she’s heading back from Chausey.

She had a tractor on her decks a few days ago and was loading the other day or two at the crane. So maybe she’s been doing deliveries.

Back at the apartment again I could finally get on with the correspondence and sent out about 6 long e-mails to wish people a Merry Christmas (I was that far behind!). Still tons to do and it will have to be done another time as I’m in a rush.

While I was putting away the stuff in the freezer I found a slice of vegan leek and tofu pie from 3rd February 2019. So in the oven went that and a couple of potatoes while I boiled up some veg and gravy on the stove.

And what a delicious tea that all made.

One thing that I would like to do is to make a couple more pies but there isn’t the room in the freezer to store them which is a pity.

Off on my walk around the walls tonight.

venelle st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe waves were quite impressive but it was too dark to see them properly so I went off for my run. I made 6 paces up the ramp before I ground to a halt – I’m not doing very well with this, am I?

No-one about at all so I carried on alone and passed this little street – the Venelle St Michel. I hadn’t really seen it before but it’s a good example of the streets here in the Old Town.

Three or four main streets, a couple of squares and the rest are all little alleys like these

By the time that I returned, it was the football. TNS v Newtown, and I don’t ever think that I have seen such a one-sided match as this ever before.

Newton were lucky, very lucky indeed to get NIL abut how on earth TNS only managed to score 2 goals with all of the dominance and possession that they had, we’ll never know.

Newton’s “attack” consisted of desperate long aimless punts upfield to no-one in particular and their two forwards hardly had a touch of the ball. They were substituted after about 70 minutes which was totally unfair in my opinion. It doesn’t matter how good you might be, you can’t play football if no-one gives you the ball.

And the man of the match? The commentators chose Ryan Brobbel but for me, it was Adrian Cieslewicz all night long. He had an astounding game down the right flank tonight.

On that note I’m off to bed. I’m so tired it’s unbelievable. I wanted to finish this before I went to bed but I’m afraid that there’s no chance of …


Friday 10th May 2019 – I’VE HAD A …

… better day today, much to my own surprise. Much better than the weather anyway, and that’s saying the least.

Last night wasn’t as early as I was hoping, and I needed to go for a stroll down the corridor in the middle of the night, and it’s been quite a long time since that’s happened.

And on top of all that, I didn’t manage to beat the third alarm. Not by much, it has to be said.

But there was still plenty of time to go off ona little voyage during the night. We had to go to the seaside, four or five of us. One guy with us was an old Italian. I remember him being something like the Italian football team manager and I couldn’t think of his name or put a finger on his career. I asked him how he had been doing since he left Italy – a vague question – and he replied “surely you knew. I won the league with (he mentioned a few clubs) and won promotion with Torquay United” – It all sounded amazing to me. And someone came along with this huge, enormous shopping trolley. I remembered having lent it to someone and was hoping to have it back, but he replied “no, we’re going to take it on to someone” but I ended up carrying it or pushing it. We got on a train and went down to Brighton and ended up in an apartment that was to let. One of us was thinking of taking it but I can’t remember who now. The girl asked about it and another guy said that it was up for let. But someone is going to take it but it needs work doing to it. The tap is leaking or something. IS there anything about it? So we had a rummage round and found a big manila envelope. We pulled it out and went to open it to read what it says. At that moment a young guy with us, very like him in Agatha Christie’s A Murder is Announced started to cook and was serving up pancakes with fruit or veg, giving one to this girl.
That wasn’t all of it either, but there were parts of this voyage that wouldn’t make good reading if you are eating your tea.

After breakfast I settled down to do some work, and I’ve been hard at it for most of the day.

I started off by finishing off last night’s entry and adding the photos. And that wasn’t as quick as it might have been too.

That was followed up by merging the photos and the dictaphone notes for August 2015 in Canada. And then, I went through the blog entries for that month and added in all of the text from then.

That took ages but it has produced quite a copious file, and it won’t take much to edit and expand it into a proper series of web pages.

Like I said, I do one job and the closer it gets to finishing, the more work it seems to spawn.

To finish off the day I started to do the same for September 2015, and I’ve done three days of that. This is going to be quite a lengthy work, so it’ll take me longer than a couple of days to finish it off.

During all of this, I stopped for lunch of course, indoors once more.

la grande ancre granville manche normandy franceAnd of course there was the afternoon walk. In the rain of course, so there wasn’t anyone out and about.

There weren’t all that many fishing boats out there this afternoon, as far as it was possible to see through the driving rain.

La Grande Ancre was out there however, and she had just performed a U-turn outthere ofshore. She won’t be towing a net behind her with a tight turn like that, I wouldn’t have thought.

resistance monument pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceThere wasn’t anyone about working on the Resistance Monument either. And by the looks of things, it doesn’t look as if anyone has been out there at all today

And that’s hardly surprising given the amount of rain that was teeming down right now.

I’m intrigued though to know why they have dug a big hole on the centre of the emplacement down there. It doesn’t look as if it has any purpose to serve, and it hasn’t been shuttered off.

fishing cap lihou granville manche normandy franceAs it happens, I wasn’t quite correct when I said that there was no-one about at all.

Yesterday we had someone with his chopper out and today we have someone with his rod out. Down on the edge of the rocks off the Cap Lihou is someone fishing.

I’m not sure that he ever caught anything, but it does remind me of the story about why sex has a lot in common. In both cases you take out your rod and you never know what you are going to catch.

chantier navale granville manche normandy franceDespite the rain, I walked on round the headland to where I could overlook the chantier navale.

Yet another change-round in there. Grand Beau Temps has now departed, which is hardly any surprise in this kind of weather.

But she’s not been replaced. The berth in which she was installed is now empty. But I don’t imagine that it will remain empty for long.

Tea was a burger with vegetables followed by apple pie and coconut sorbet – delicious.

enquete policiere grandeur nature rue notre dame granville manche normandy franceThe evening walk, I almost abandoned it due to the rain. But I pressed on none-the-less.

And here’s something interesting that seems to be happening in the rue Notre Dame.

I’ve absolutely no idea what an “enquete policiere grandeur nature” is, and even less of an idea why they need to ban parking in the street in order to carry it out.

I suppose that I’ll have to present myself sur place on 18th May in order to find out.

Fighting my way back through the rain, I made it back here just in time for the football.

Clubs in the Welsh Premier League are entitled to 4 places in European competition. The Champions play in the Champions League , and the Cup Winners (or runners up in the League, if the Cup winners are the Champions) and then the next-highest club in the league. So that’s TNS, Connah’s Quay Nomads and Barry Town.

The four next-lowest teams have a series of play-off matches to decide who has the remaining place, and tonight Newtown (5th) were playing Bala Town(5th).

In one of the most exciting matches that I’ve seen for a while, Bala won 2-1. And the difference between the teams was firstly Keighan Jones’s foot, and secondly Henry Jones.

Henry Jones, one of the most skilful players ever to have played in the WPL, has been off-form for a while but tonight he recovered all of his skill and more besides, and put in a match-winning performance.

And when Newtown broke through the Bala defence, and found themselves on a one-on-one situation with Keighan Jones in the Bala goal, his outstretched right foot saved them on both occasions. He’s only the second-choice goalkeeper too, but that was a superb performance tonight.

So tater later than intended, I’m off to bed.

Shopping tomorrow so I need to be fit.

Friday 26th April 2019 – I’VE HAD …

… another miserable day today.

Not because I’ve been tired – in fact I’ve managed to go the whole day without even the slightest hint of crashing out – but more to the fact that I couldn’t summon up the energy to do anything productive whatever.

I’d had another bad night too, tossing and turning for most of it. And yet I’d managed to go on a few mazy, amazing voyages.

We had been on a ship, a big one, in the South China Sea somewhere and it sank. Three of us were washed overboard and we swam in this sea for quite some time – days, it seemed, – until we were washed ashore on this populated island. We had to climb over a fence and found ourselves in someone’s back garden. The woman had a big sprawly house that had started off as a small cabin and had been enlarged with additional rooms haphazardly as time had gone on. She fed us and said we could stay the night. Next morning I went for a walk around. The guy had this beautiful large yacht and it was clear that he spent a lot of time looking after it. he was talking about going around the Arctic on it and I agreed that this would be the right kind of craft to go up there and he wasn’t the ordinary run-of-the-mill Indonesian or Filipino fisherman, he cares about his boat and done his research etc. We ended up walking through a typical suburban English housing estate but a huge weird animal like a rhinoceros but with a weird head with all kinds of appendages stuck on it. I grabbed my camera and took a photo but the flash didn’t work so it didn’t come out and the animal disappeared before I could try another shot. I went back to the house to ask about staying another night but she said “no, it’s full”. So I asked if there was anywhere else I could stay. She replied that there was bound to be somewhere else in the town. She then cooked me a meal and they asked me questions “do you eat ‘x’, do you eat ‘y’? How long is it since you’ve eaten ‘z’? Did you eat it when you were a kid?” all this kind of thing. But now it was becoming dark and I needed to find a place to stay and, more importantly, a way to get off this island and back to wherever it is that I’m supposed to be
A little later I was with a woman and I can’t remember what it was that I was doing but we’d been detained by someone, a young smallish guy with black hair and a black beard. He said that he had been working for the CIA and should have been an agent but they said that with his perfect memory he ought to be a salesman. He showed a photo of this woman coming out of a department store. This immediately filled her with horror. She looked around and there was this young lad behind her smiling away. He said “do you remember this story?” and produced a newspaper article showing that she had been arrested in it for something or other. By now she was in tears, making some kind of totally incoherent statement. he then produced some kind of small light-blue patterned cushion and said “you always leave your calling card behind in places like this, don’t you?”, waving the cushion around and that put her into even more tears.

I awoke several times during all of this going on, and eventually went back to sleep to step right back into, not the one where I was with that woman, but right back to being on the island again, in exactly where I had stepped out a while before. I don’t recall ever doing quite that before. But anyway I did end up stopping the night at that place on the island and I remember undressing to go to bed. I had my wet-weather overtrousers on so took them off, got into bed and went to sleep. Next morning I was up early and started to dress. Everyone else was getting up and this young girl came in to say hello, and a few other people. The house was busy pretty quickly. I ended up sitting ona bed with a huge collection of cats sitting on me, first a black one and a ginger one, then a white one and all different ones taking it in turns to sit on my knee for a stroke. I heard the buzzer on my phone so I looked and saw a message “your breakfast ready at 09:15”. I thought that I’d better finish dressing. These two women came in and went to a cupboard fetching out little phials of stuff. They game one to me and said “this will do for you”. I worked out that it was shampoo and it hit me that they were “suggesting” that I take a shower. I wanted to finish dressing but I couldn’t find my trousers. the plastic overtrousers were there but not the normal ones.

The alarms went off at 06:00 and so on but I couldn’t care less. 08:25 was when I awoke. But that’s not at all the same as saying that that was the time that I left my stinking pit. Not at all.

So a rather late start to the day, and once I’d composed myself, I attacked a few of the dictaphone notes from just recently that had built up on the dictaphone. And that took me most of the morning too and I don’t know why.

Lunch was inside again, with the start of the last batch of home-made hummus out of the freezer. It’s just as delicious as it was the day that I made it too.

After lunch I made a start on the outstanding mountain of photos that need to be dealt with. And the more I deal with, the more there seems to be to deal with.

foot forward bicycles trailer solar panels granville manche normandy franceThere was a brief stop of my walk around the Pointe du Roc in the wind. On the car park were a couple of people on those weird foot-first bicycles.

One of them was towing a trailer on which were two 110-watt solar panels, so I went to have a chat with the rider. It’s an electrically-assisted bike and the panels charge up the batteries while he’s cycling.

On a good day they can give about one and a half charges to the bank of batteries so that’s probably a range of about 30 miles.

But I don’t get the trailer idea though, unless it’s for the luggage. I would have been tempted to go for a roof over the bike and put the panels on that.

The Quebec flag on the front bike is of no significance. The people on board came from La Rochelle.

Back here I continued with the photos in a very desultory fashion until tea time. That was a really delicious steamed veg and falafel in a really tasty cheese sauce. One of the best that I’ve ever made.

land rover winch rue notre dame granville manche normandy franceMy evening walk was interrupted by a collision with a neighbour. We had a lengthy chat about this and that.

And as I continued on my way I was interrupted yet again. Parked in the rue Notre Dame was one of the commercial lorry-type of Land Rovers but what caught my eye about it was this beautiful 12-volt winch.

I have a 12-volt electric winch that I was going to fit onto the Kubota tractor to winch logs and things like that around the farm, but I never actually managed to get round to fitting it.

In fact, there were a lot of things down there that I never got around to doing.

As a result of all these delays I almost missed the start of tonight’s football.

It’s the final round of matches in the Welsh Premier League tonight and Bala Town were playing Caernarfon Town live on the internet. Caernarfon played for the first 15 minutes as if they were asleep, and during that time Bala had scored a goal and missed two or three total sitters.

It took 33 minutes for Caernarfon to threaten the Bala goal, and then the match livened up.

The second half was a wonderful advert for Welsh Premier football, and for the final 15 minutes Caernarfon were camped in the Bala Town half and although they didn’t manage to equalise, they hit the woodwork and and a couple of other good chances too.

Down south in the manth between Barry and Newtown, Newtown didn’t do enough to overhaul Caernarfon so that gives Caernarfon home advantage in the playoffs for the vacant place in the Europa League next season. That’s not bad for a team that was only promoted to the Welsh Premier League this season, and it’s all down to the fact that while they might not be the most skilful players in the league they have a magnificent team spirit.

It’ll also be interesting to see how Noah Edwards plays next season. I didn’t think of him as anything extra-ordinary at the start of the season, but as the season has gone on, the better he’s become. If he continues this progression next season he might become another Henry Jones or Callum Morris or kayne McLaggon.

It’s shopping tomorrow so I’m off to bed right now. It won’t be an early night so I’ll probably crash out in the afternoon but that’s par for the course these days.

sea on rocks baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
sea on rocks baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

waves sea wall baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france
waves sea wall baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france

yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france
yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france

mussel beds donville les bains manche normandy france
mussel beds donville les bains manche normandy france

Saturday 15th December 2018 – WE’VE HAD A BIT …

… of an issue here today.

Coming back from shopping this morning I put on the coffee machine to make a coffee and the whole electrical system in the apartment went “bang” and cut out. Everything had gone and even when I switched the main fuse back on, there was still no current.

Down to the cellar to check the master switch but the door to the electric room was closed with a special lock which I couldn’t undo. And so I called up the Estate Agents.

She came round, showed me the secret to opening the door to the electric room, and I could then power up the apartment. But we had a chat about the electrical system and she said that she would arrange for an electrician to pass by after the New Year.

Last night wasn’t quite so early and as a result it was a struggle to leave the bed this morning. I’d been on an exciting nocturnal ramble too but by the time I’d sat up in bed it had completely gone from my head. I’m not doing too well here either am I?

After breakfast I had a shower and a clean-up and then went off to the shops. It was freezing cold, howling with wind and teeming down with rain.

We did the usual round of LIDL, NOZ and LeClerc, and bought nothing special at all. And on the way back I stopped off to pick up something special for a friend, more of which anon. Back here we had the electrical issues, and then I crashed out for a while.

After lunch I tidied up and put away the shopping. It takes me longer to do things like that these days as I’m slowly slowing up. And that reinds me that one of these days I must go through and clean the apartment from top to bottom.

Later on this afternoon, I hit the streets again. US Granville were playing AS Poissy and I’d bought a ticket for the game in the hope that the weather would change.

christmas lights rue lecampion granville manche normandy franceAnd indeed it had changed – it had become worse and it was dreadful outside.

But me no daft, me no silly, I’d dressed in my Arctic wet-weather gear and it worked to perfection.

I was comparatively comfortable squelching my way through the Christmas lights of the town and by the time that I reached the Stade Louis Dior I was hot and sweating despite the freezing weather.

football us granvillaise as poissy stade louis dior granville manche normandy franceAfter about 20 minutes, the weather changed again. And I’ve never ever in my life been out in such a torrential downpour and felt so completely dry. The money that I had spent in Montreal three months ago was well-worth it.

For the second half of the game, the weather changed yet again. The rain stopped, the wind dropped and the sky cleared. The stars appeared and the temperature fell.

As for the football, it was a good match. Poissy were better than their league position suggested and Granville made heavy weather of a narrow 1-0 victory. They had bags of chances too, most of which were blazed over the bar.

We had a peculiar incident too. A Poissy player was badly-injured and rolled off the field. And so the game went on. But the Poissy trainer then dragged him back onto the pitch so that the referee would stop the game. A yellow card at last for the player and the trainer, the former for stopping the game and the latter for entering the field of play without the referee’s permission, but the referee simply stopped the game for the medical treatment and ignored the sanction.

The referee also got a throw-in wrong. A Granville player kicked the ball out of play, but then took the throw-in. I noticed it, and so did the linesman who waved his flag like a chef de gare. The referee took no notice but a minute or so later, ran past the linesman and said (and I heard him correctly) “I know – I know”.

christmas lights avenue des matignon granville manche normandy franceWalking back through the town in the cold but dry weather, I could take some time to admire the Christmas lights on the way home.

We saw this decoration here at the same spot last year at the roundabout at the start of the avenue des Matignon.

We seem to becoming quite festive all over the town now. it’s a shame that I won’t be here to enjoy it all but it can’t be helped.

Back here at home there was more football. On the internet this time.

Newtown v Llandudno in the Welsh Premier League. Newtown are a mid-table side and Llandudno are bottom of the league. And it’s easy to see why because Newtown swept them away 3-1 without too much difficulty.

Tea was out of a tin at half-time.

So I’ll be in bed in a minute. It’s late but it’s Sunday tomorrow so I’m having a lie-in. And about time too.

christmas lights avenue du marechal leclerc granville manche normandy france
christmas lights avenue du marechal leclerc granville manche normandy france

christmas lights place de la gare rue couraye granville manche normandy france
christmas lights place de la gare rue couraye granville manche normandy france

Saturday 1st December 2018 – THAT WAS A …

… beautiful pie.

I remembered to buy the leeks this morning so I fired a leek with some onions and garlic and then tipped into it the pie filling from last time. While it was all frying around I greased my pie dish and put the roll of pastry in it. And then added the mix once it had cooled.

One thing that I hadn’t noticed was that it was “thick pastry” and not the usual roll. And because it weighed the same as the usual roll, it meant that it was of a smaller circumference. And so it didn’t join in the middle.

But not to worry. I cheated and covered the gap with a couple of slices of cheese.

While the oven was warming and before I started the pie, I made a small rice pudding and put that in the oven. The pie followed it later.

When it was nearly done I made some potatoes with some frozen peas and carrots, and some gravy. The pie I cut into 4 slices. Three for the freezer and one for the meal. And it was absolutely delicious. I’ll do this again, that’s for sure. And how I wish that I had bought a bigger freezer.

Last night was quite a good night. I did awaken here and there but not so that I remembered it particularly. I do remember going on a little wander though.

There was a whole group of us, including the guy with whose family I stayed in 1970, wandering around somewhere. e were having to be lodged in a house somewhere in the town because of overcrowding (no surprise here) but we ate at home, in a house that wasn’t really much different to Davenport Avenue. We all turned up there one day, to find a rather pleasant, cheerful (for a change) father actually cooking the meal, and that in itself is a major surprise.
A little later on I was watching a football match where a group of players with features resembling those of Mongolia were playing the Polish team. The pitch was very rough and uneven and had a famous downhill slope. The Mongolians (for want of a better word) were attacking downhill and missed a couple of sitters, blazing them over the bar when clean through on goal. The half-time score was 0-0, thanks also to a dogged rearguard defence by the Mongolians, and I had a feeling that with the Poles ttacking downhill in the second half, the Mongolians would deeply regret these misses. But I went over to talk to one of their players standing on the fringe of things at half-time. he explained that his country was actually a breakaway republic from Poland and so this match had a deep and emotional significance for his players and his country. How the Poles thought themselves superior! I explained that the Poles always had had a reputaion for being a dour, battling side that doesn’t give in easily, but he winked and said that he didn’t mean just about football. I had the impression that he meant to say that the Poles looked on their opponents as some kind of untermenschen who deserved to be dominated and their rightful place was right at the bottom of the pile.

There was the usual breakfast and shower and so on, and then I hit the streets. And despite visiting LIDL, NOZ and LeClerc, I didn’t buy anything at all extraordinary. Just maybe the €1:99 for a pair of pliers.

But one thing that they seem to have started to sell in LeClerc is the big tub of soya dessert and the one that caught my eye was the natural soya dessert laced with coconut. I’ve had some pineapple slices hanging around here for ages and one day soon whenever I finish the rice pudding I’ll have them with the coconut soya. That will keep me going for a few days I reckon.

It took me ages to summon up the energy to unpack everything and put it away and then I had lunch.

There was plenty to do on the laptop but unfortunately I didn’t do much. And falling asleep was only part of it. Sorting through some of the files that I had downloaded from the desktop computer was another big part of it.

I’ve mentioned the pie of course, but I didn’t get my rice pudding because the football came up on the internet. Barry Town v Newtown in the Welsh Premier League.

Played in the driving rain, it was all Newtown in the first half but they couldn’t find a striker to put the ball in the back of the net.

Whatever it was that they put in the half-time tea in the Barry Town dressing room, I wouldn’t mind a pint of it myself. They scored almost straight from the kick-off an0d then went up a gear, finishing a comfortable 4-1 winners.

And when the referee looks at the game later, he’ll probably agree that he has had better games than he did today.

However, I didn’t pay full attention to the second half because Rosemary rang up. She was keen to find out how I did in the hospital and we ended up chatting for about an hour and a half. And that was very nice.

As a result though, I didn’t have any of my daily walks today. I’ll just have to do twice as much tomorrow.

Sunday 8th April 2018 – WHAT KIND OF …

… time is 06:35 on a Sunday morning to be waking up?

That’s almost as depressing as falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon, isn’t it? You would think that with me being so tired these days and with the one day per week when I have no alarm and can sleep for 24 hours without the slightest pang of guilt, that I would make the most of it.

Mind you, I’d been on my travels during the night. Back to an apartment that I owned (which I didn’t but don’t let that worry anyone) in Brussels which was tenanted by the girl who was my tenant at Reyers. We were talking about something or other that involved food and when it came to storing it, the guy who was with her said “but that’s alright if you have a fridge that works”. I was surprised, and said to the girl “what about the fridge here?” to which she commented that “it doesn’t work any more”. I asked her why she hadn’t told me and she replied that she hadn’t wanted to bother me. “It’s not a case of that” I replied and went off into the kitchen to measure the unit where the fridge was fitted. It was so complicated that I was convinced that I was doing it incorrectly but just then Terry turned up, so I left it all to him.

07:47 was when I finally stirred, and I needn’t have bothered because one look out of the window told me everything. We really ARE back in winter. Cold, wet, grey and miserable.

But that’s enough about me – let’s talk about the weather too.

We had the usual morning performances and then, seeing as it was Sunday, I did nothing at all for the rest of the morning except some stuff on the laptop for my own amusement. It’s good to have that one day per week when you can do nothing and not feel guilty about it.

This afternoon, I had a choice of entertainment. US Granville’s 3rd XI were at home at the Cité des Sports whereas at the same time Aberystwyth Town were playing Newtown in the other Welsh Cup semi-final. I looked out of the window, made my butties and settled down on the sofa in front of the television.

This was a much better match than last night. Aberystwyth Town were the better team and won 2-1 against a Newtown team that battled away competitively without much success. And Aberystwyth’s opening goal was a peach. A breakaway down the wing, a pinpoint cross into the penalty area and a bullet header from the centre-forward right into the corner of the net. A proper 1970s striker’s goal that will be viewed time and time again on the internet media.

Once the match was over I did go for a walk despite the weather. It’s the Ideal Home Exhibition in town and I wanted to see what was going on. But as I expected, it was a complete and utter waste of time. Full of these airy-fairy luxury items and nothing whatever that would fit my budget.

Even worse, there was nothing – nothing whatever that inspired me or gave me any ideas. And that in itself is a tragedy from my point of view. Most things that I see usually get me thinking about how I can either use it or improve on it, but not here.

There wasn’t even any hospitality coffee on offer. Not a thing. And so I gave it up as a bad job and came home.

And, ashamed as I am to admit it, I crashed out for an hour too. Things aren’t going too well for me right now, are they?

Tonight’s pizza was another excellent one, and then I braved the rain for yet another walk this evening – this time, around the headland. Cold wet and miserable, and the weather was even worse.

Now I’m trying to warm up before going to bed. I’m really fed up of this weather.

Friday 11th September 2015 – WHAT A NIGHTMARE!


There I was on my travels last night and who should come breezing in but Nerina. She’d left me two months ago but now she had discovered that she was pregnant and so wanted to come back. No wonder that I awoke all cold and sweating!

I’d been elsewhere on my travels too. I’d been quite friendly with a group of girls and every time I went around to see them their mother used to shout at me “and wipe your feet!” and this went on for ages. But then one day they announced that they were selling up and going to have to find somewhere else to live, and so I answered that there were some nice big houses by Pebble Brook School, in Buchan Grove in fact (which of course, is nowhere near Pebble Brook School but anything is possible when I’m voyaging during the night)

That latter bit does in fact have some significance for anyone who can remember events of 40 years ago, but if you weren’t around just then, then you missed out on events of earth-shattering importance.

All of the foregoing might lead you to suppose that I had a really good night’s sleep, but in fact nothing could be further from the truth. I just couldn’t drop off, for a start. I was awake for hours, and then I had another bad, uncomfortable night where I kept on waking up.

But eventually there I was, with a coffee. But not a shower. It’s another pay-shower and I don’t have any quarters. But it does go to show just what good value the Goose Point Campground at Alburgh was.

Talking of campgrounds, I can’t stay here two further nights either.It’s Homecoming Week here at the High School (hence all of the sports) and there’s quite a few inter-school competitions this weekend. The campground is therefore full but they’ve squeezed me in elsewhere for tonight and then I have to move on. Not that it’s a big deal because I could be quite comfortable here if I had decent accommodation.

north beach burlington vermont usaAnd talking of things being decent, after I’d bought my butty for this afternoon I went down to the beach to eat it.

First time that I’ve been down here and it certainly is a nice place to be. I’ve not seen a beach quite like this except when I was on my travels at the start of Spring last year when I went down to western France for a week.

north beach burlington vermont usaIn fact this whole area reminds me very much of western France, which is probably what attracted many of the early settlers here. Because this area was first settled by mainly French settlers from Nouvelle France.

In fact, if you look in the telephone directory, you’ll see loads and loads of French surnames. I was sitting behind someone called Gagnon and they announced the name “Tremblay” for one of the players on the hockey team last night.

north beach burlington vermont usaBut just a word of warning if you fancy coming down here visiting in a school bus or something – there’s a 9-foot height limit under the abandoned railway so you’ll need to leave the bus miles away and walk down.

As for me, no trouble with Strider. That’s another reason for having a Ford Ranger. he fits anywhere that a small family car will go. And so I was able to sit and eat my butties in peace and enjoy the nice weather. Summer was back today.

After lunch I went up to Home Depot and had a plank of cheap OSB cut for the floor of Strider. I’ve had it cut to 40″ by 6’and I’ve now encountered another problem. And that is that with his boot liner, he’s not even 6 feet long and that means that

  1. I have to cut down the wood further (good job that I have a saw
  2. My camp bed won’t fit in the back of it

And so I can see that I’m going to have to make a bed to fit it. But then, I was half-prepared for this anyway – hence the circular saw.

Back at the High School, I armed myself with a press permit (Radio Anglais has a lot to be said for it) and so I was authorised to take photos of tonight’s football matches

football refereeing girls soccer match burlington high school seahorses colchester vermont usaWe started off with the girls against Colchester High School, and the first thing that you’ll notice is the refereeing.They don’t have one referee and two linesman but two referees (possibly one from each school) and the pitch seems to be divided up by an invisible diagonal line, with each referee administrating on “his” side of the line.

This was how the hockey was refereed too last night but I just thought that that was usual. School hockey refereeing has probably come a long way since Joyce Grenfell refereed a hockey match at St Trinians.

The Seahorses scored just as I was entering the ground (I was late). Their n°10, whose play was very reminiscent of Les “the Truck” Davies at Bangor City in the Welsh Premier League, chased after a long ball forward (I would have given her offside by a foot, but never mind) despite being well-marked by her limpet-like defender.

And as the keeper came out for the loose ball, the n°10 kept bustling forward, shrugging off a few tough challenges, got her head to the ball and nodded it over the keeper’s outstretched arms into the net.

A proper “English Centre-Forward” of the type that followers of the English Premier League haven’t seen in years.

girls soccer match burlington high school seahorses colchester vermont usaBut the Seahorses couldn’t keep it up. They were, unfortunately, possessed of a “Pionsat” central defence, and anyone who has been a regular reader of this rubbish will know what I mean by that. They don’t seem to be able to clear the ball, dither about and are indecisive when the ball should be kicked upfield, into touch, or anywhere else for that matter, and this led to their downfall.

The central defence, from a fairly inocuous position, hang on to the ball too long instead of clearing it, and of course they eventually lose possession. And the result of that is, as we all were expecting the moment that the n°6 didn’t kick it upfield as soon as she had the ball, was inevitable.

It goes from bad to worse too. One lesson that I’ve always tried to drill into my young strikers in Pionsat’s 2nd XI is that no matter how hopeless a cause looks, you always follow the ball in. At this level, anything can happen, and young Florian has scored a few goals doing just that.

girls soccer match burlington high school seahorses colchester vermont usaHere, a superb shot is well-saved by the Seahorse keeper but she can only push it onto the bar.

The Colchester n°5, playing inside-right and who was easily the best player on the field (and I told her so after the match – her name is Rachel apparently) was following up the shot and with the Seahorse defence being slow to react, she got her head to the ball and that was the winner.

girls soccer match burlington high school seahorses colchester vermont usaIt nearly wasn’t though. The Seahorses kept on going forward, without much luck, but here one of the girls has a shot from the diagonal corner of the penalty area, beats the keeper but hits the post and rebounds back into play.

There’s not another Seahorse close enough to capitalise on the loose ball, and this just goes to show the benefits of following in rather than standing around watching.

girls soccer match burlington high school seahorses colchester vermont usaMost exciting moment of the match was after about 15 minutes of the second half.

The Seahorses won a free kick and it was a beautiful strike right around the end of the wall. But the Colchester keeper produced an equally beautiful diving save to push the ball out for a corner.

But you’ll notice the two Seahorses on the right – quick enough off the mark that time, but strangely, no-one running in on the left.

But the result was the right one – Colchester always looked more dangerous going forward and were more organised in defence, choosing the simple but much more effective option of clearing the ball at every opportunity.

And I’ll tell you something else for nothing too – I’ve seen a bigger bunch of girls playing football in the English Premier League too than I saw out here tonight. This kind of match is the kind that would send shivers down the spine of any woman’s football team in any other country.

As for the boys’ match against Middlebury, this really was a game of two halves. Or two keepers, in fact, as Middlebury changed keeper at half time. And this is something that is amazing me – the substitutions.

We had rolling substitutions, which you expect at this level, but not at the speed that they were doing it. Every couple of minutes there was a substitution, and at one stage they made a substitution just 20 seconds after having made a previous one. Not only does it break up the game, how on earth do you build a balanced, confident and cohesive team with all of this going on?

middlebury tigers goalkeeper dives bravely at the feet of burlington high school seahorses attacker vermont usaThis was just like last night’s match – pretty much one-way traffic, but this time all flowing towards the Middlebury goal and the keeper had to show some real heroics to keep the ball out of the net.

This here is not the only example of him bravely diving at the feet of a Seahorse attacker. He did it a couple of times, and it’s just as well because his defence was just a little shaky and were rather short on skill compared to the Seahorses

burlington high school seahorses hit bar middlebury high school tigers vermont usaHere’s one that the keeper didn’t get to, but no matter. The ball, played in by the Seahorses n°14, who was the best player on the field in this match, hits the top of the bar and goes out of play.

But the Tigers (as the Middlebury team is called) defenders need to be much closer in on the attackers to stop them having these shots on goal. Giving them half a yard of space is inviting trouble.

And so as you might expect, with all of this dominance and one-way traffic, Middlebury break away upfield, the first time that they have kept possession in the opponents’ half, and take the lead.

A goal out of absolutely nothing and so unexpected that I wasn’t ready, but a 40-yard hooker right over the diving keeper’s despairing wave (he might have got his fingers to it) and dropping neatly in the top right-hand corner of the net. Absolutely inch-perfect.

Of course, I have no photo of it, but by pure coincidence, there was a goal scored in the Welsh Premier League a few weeks ago that was a stunning carbon-copy of this goal. Check out Neil Mitchell’s goal for Newtown (Y Drenewydd) in this clip.

burlington high school seahorses equalise middlebury high school tigers football match vermont usaBut with just 6 seconds to go (nice big digital displays here) Burlington finally find their way past the keeper.

A diagonal ball in from the right wing finds a player totally unmarked in the centre of the goalmouth – absolutely shocking defending, this – and he doesn’t have any problems whatever finding the back of the net. Nothing the keeper could do about this.

And so at half time, we have the goalkeeping change. And this is where the roof falls in on Middlebury because up to now, the keeper has been a one-man show on his team.

burlington high school seahorses take the lead middlebury high school tigers vermont usaAfter just 55 minutes of the match there’s another diagonal ball out across the penalty area to the right-hand corner and the keeper rushes off his line, even though there are two defenders out there.

Now I know that he’s not going to reach it in time, but anyway he’s out there, and it’s an easy matter for the attacker to sidestep him and slot the ball into the empty net.

But never mind that – just look at the two Seahorse attackers there. Where’s the defence?

And it goes from bad to worse. From the kick-off the Tigers lose possession and a punt upfield from the Seahorses, again to thet right-hand corner of the are produces a weak shot to the keeper, who has stayed on his line correctly this time, and the ball goes right through his hands into the net.

burlington high school seahorses attacker middlebury high school tigers goalkeeper brilliant save vermont usaBut let’s not criticise the keeper. Here he is, in a one-on-one with a Seahorse attacker, doing the right thing by coming out just far enough to block the sight of the goal, forcing the Seahorse attacker into a shot, and then spreading himself wide enough to get something on the shot and push it wide.

That was an excellent save, and credit where credit is due.

So the Seahorses made hard work of what should have been a comfortable win, because the Tigers defence was dreadful and had it not been for the heroics by the Tigers keeper in the first half, this could have been an embarrassing result. You can’t play with a central defence of Lord Lucan and Martin Bormann and get away with it.

Thursday 9th July 2015 – EVEN THOUGH …

… it was something of a late night last night, I was still up and about long before the alarm went off. Well, in theory anyway, because I wasn’t in a rush to leave my cosy bed.

Mind you, I forget how many times I had had to leave it during the night. It certainly wasn’t just once or twice, that’s for sure. But that’s a sign of old age.

And here’s another thing too – after breakfast I sat down and sorted out the images and text for no less than 24 days of my voyage across Canada’s Maritime Provinces – without even stopping for breath. Out of 40, with a few previously done, it doesn’t leave too many to do now.

But that’s only just the start of it. I have to retype all of the notes from the dictaphone (and it’s a good job that I saved the dictations to a memory stick on my way around last year) and merge them in, and then research and expand them. So that’s not something that is likely to be finished in a short while.

After lunch, and a big pot of coffee (which I richly deserved), first job was to empty the beichstuhl. And it needed it too. But I’ve gone back to the bigger tub, because the liners are a much tighter fit and that works much better. The smaller one is a better fit in the container, but with the liners being too large, they are just pulled into the tub.

For the rest of the day, I’ve been carving out the cable trunking in the lower shelf of the flying shelf unit that I’m building. That needs to be done precisely and it takes ages, with measuring, drilling, chiselling and filing. But it’s done now and had the first coat of varnish at 19:15 and the second at – would you believe – 23:15. Yes, me working at that time is unheard-of. It’ll have the third and final coat tomorrow early morning too.

But there’s also been a subtle change in the design. While I was lying in bed this morning, I thought of another way by which I could improve the design, and so some of what I had done yesterday ended up in the woodpile. But it’s always like that around here. Design evolves continually, especially during the actual work, and I’ve lost count of the number of amendments that I’ve made to the original plan.

And in other news, a big “well-done” to the three Welsh clubs in Europe tonight. Airbus drew 2-2 in Croatia to lose 5-3 on aggregate to much superior opposition. Bala beat Differdange 2-1, but that wasn’t enough to overturn the away score last week – a match that they should have won at a canter, never mind lost. But pride of place must go to Newtown, who beat Valletta 2-1 away from home to progress through to the next round against FC Copenhagen. So with TNS going through to meet Videoton of Hungary after demolishing Torshavn on Tuesday, that’s a 50% success rate for Welsh clubs in Europe – a percentage that matches what Scottish football could manage in Europe this week.

A few heavy defeats tonight in Europe, including an 8-0, but no Welsh team lost this week. What with 10th place in the National rankings, things are looking up for Welsh football.

And not before time. Maybe people will start taking it seriously now.