Tag Archives: no food

Monday 19th December 2022 – APART FROM A …

… fruit bun thing at about 10:30 I’ve had nothing to eat all day until about 22:00 – and then it was a packet of crackers.

When it was teatime I was chatting to Liz on the internet but never mind, I can wait for half an hour. That’s what friends are for.

And the moment that we finished, Rosemary rang me (I’m convinced that she has a camera installed in this apartment, God help her!) and we had another one of our marathon ‘phone calls. By the time we finished, I was too tired to cook anything. I’ll be off to bed very shortly.

It’s actually been quite a busy day today, not the least activity of which was during the night. I was later going to bed than I had anticipated but even so I was awake a couple of times during the night and by 04:45 I’d given up completely.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I surprised myself by actually leaping out of bed (well, maybe not exactly but you understand what I mean) which considering just how difficult it has been just recently to raise myself from the dead at a normal time, is pretty astonishing.

After having had the medication and checked my mails and messages, I sat down to deal with the radio programme today.

No records were broken today – in fact, far from it. I had a break for about half an hour when I went for a shower as I’m having visitors later, and then the events that I mentioned towards the end of last week are starting to unwind and it won’t be long before my active involvement will be requested. I need to be prepared.

Once the radio programme was completed I actuallly fell asleep for a short while and then had to wait around for the doctor to arrive.

Trailing his student around with him, he came to examine me and to give me some advice about how things might unfold. e had quite a chat about a few other things too, more of which anon.

Later on, the Social Services department telephoned me. The woman to whom I spoke gave me a couple of phone numbers whom I need to contact so that I can have some assistance about the place. That’s a job for tomorrow as it was rather late in the afternoon.

A short while later, the physiotherapist came round. The doctor had contacted him too. He thinks that the problem lies in my thighs and hips and he gave me some exercises. He’ll be back in a week to see how I’m doing.

Once everyone had finished with me I could turn my attention to the dictaphone. There wasn’t an awful lot on there from last night. There was something about a block of flats where there was a place to sunbathe. Someone was pointing this out from quite a height, looking down onto it. We could see that a large glass carafe of water or something had fallen obviously from a great height and smashed to smithereens right in this place. If anyone had been sunbathing there they would have had the full weight of all of that right on their head.

Having spoken to Liz and Rosemary I’m now ready for bed. No Welsh lesson because we’re on holiday but if I remember, I’m going to do some revision.

What else I’m going to try to do is to catch the bus into town and try to find some frozen food to tide me over. It would have been a good day to take Caliburn out for a run with the temperatures having warmed up dramatically to 10°C today but there just wasn’t the time available and I’ll have to try that some other time.

Not right now though because I’m off to bed. Anyone would think that I’ve had an exhausting day but it’s just the way that things are going right now when I’m becoming tired out for no good reason. Let’s see how things unfold tomorrow.

Saturday 9th July 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

kids jumping into sea port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… a couple of photos of the local kids taking the Leap of Death off the harbour wall into the sea, I’ll tell you about my day today, such as it was.

It started off as I mean to go on, by ignoring the alarms when they went off at 07:30, 07:45 and 08:00. In fact it was at 09:30 or thereabouts when I finally crawled into the Land of the Living. That’s much more like it.

And so after the medication I sat down and began to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night. And if you are wondering why it took me all of the morning to deal with them, then read on. I haven’t crashed out yet today and that’s a surprise given the distance that I must have travelled during the night.

kids jumping into sea port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022I’d been with someone shopping and we’d picked some stuff out and we had a tub of ice cream. We couldn’t carry that so we put it on the floor by the freezer and took the stuff over. We came back and I put that tub back in the freezer and picked one from right down at the bottom that would be nice and cold and hard because it was a hot day. Then we bumped into this girl called Marie or Maria. In real life she was someone whom I knew from Woolworth’s in Crewe in the 70s. We were chatting and then I said I’d take this ice cream over to where there was a desk. She gave some kind of vague indication. When I arrived there I realised that I didn’t know her family name so I was looking for some French-sounding family names because I was sure that her husband was French. In the end I found 2 desks with 2 people the same family name, a foreign-sounding name. There was a girl working at a desk nearby so I asked her which was Marie’s desk. She said “if you had been here yesterday …” “which I wasn’t”. “No, but if you had been here yesterday …” and was on the point of giving me some really long lecture.

The guy in this dream lives with his mother, not in a flat, and is dating Marie. They don’t live together because she had something weird in her separation agreement with her husband about having guys staying over so they are a couple. We were out somewhere in Scotland in the Central Belt with baked beans and sausage on toast talking but I can’t remember what we were talking about now. It’s all gone out of my head.

belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022So while you admire a photo of Belle France doing a trip around the Bay, there was an unexploded mine that had drifted into a harbour where they were loading these ships with soldiers. I’d been detailed to take it to a disposal centre in my Cortina. A woman called Carol and I went to pick it up. We had to fight our way onto the quayside in this car. We eventually arrived at the end where we could hoist this mine up. In the meantime thousands of people were fighting to get into the Cortina to get away. We had to explain to them that if they got into the Cortina they would be travelling with an unexploded mine so they all left. We put this mine in the back of the car. A woman came over and asked if we’d seen a child’s coat. I said no, I hadn’t so she had a look in the back where we’d put this mine and there were two kids’ coats in there. She thought that one of them might have been the coat for which she was looking but could she order an extra coat from the stores just in case? I told Carol to make a note but she pulled a face. We had this mine safely aboard our car and had to turn round through these crowds of soldiers and leave for this mine disposal place

Somewhere in this I was at Marianne’s and she told me that I could make some tea. I switched on the oven and put a small mushroom pie in it. I had potatoes on the stove and some peas cooking in gravy. Later on she came to check and saw that I was doing OK so she went back to her book again and carried on working. She seemed to think that I was doing everything correctly and asked me if I wanted some Brussels sprouts. I replied “no” because she would overcook them terribly.

la granvillaise notre dame de cap lihou baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022And while La Granvillaise and the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou do a lap around the Bay I was back with this little girl and her father … “which little girl and her father?” – ed … again. They’d been round an amusement park and looked at the gardens and now gone to look for their plants. He couldn’t find his radishes but his wife and daughter found their plants. In the end he found his radishes in the wrong place so he went to dig them up. Just then there was some kind of commotion and he and his daughter fled. They scrambled aboard a spaceship that was one of the exhibits at this park and set off down this waterway. After a few hours they stopped. The girl was really nervous. She didn’t want to stop as they could easily be caught if they stopped so when he lowered the machine down onto the water she pressed the lever and it took off again and they went somewhere else. Eventually they came to another place. When they landed there and went out for some fresh air there was another young girl watching them. They took this young girl and put her on the spaceship as well. There were now 3 of them fleeing from whatever authority it was that pursuing them over these radishes.

Then I was in my bedroom and there was another girl here (and I wish that I knew who she was). We were talking about going somewhere. She moved her suitcase over to the wardrobe ready to pack it and my suitcase still had those hot cross buns in it so I had to go and make some room in the freezer to store them in there. When I came back in here she had gone. That awoke me with a start and for the first minute or two I was looking around the bedroom trying to find her, it was somehow so realistic that I thought it was real.

That was absolutely weird

kayak buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Later on, while this kayak rows past this strange buoy that has appeared just here in the bay, there was some kind of geography field trip. Half a dozen or so of us had gone to the site of some shale deposits and were searching through for all kinds of stuff. I lost interest after a while. I had these things and I had 3 foam-rubber cushions on which I’d been kneeling. I knew later on that afternoon that we were going to go home so I was simply piling them up in a corner ready to post them off but putting them so they looked tidy and I was just stirring stuff around to pass the time more than anything else. There was only really one person working, running out into the shale to pick up fossils etc. There was someone there with 3 vehicles, a black saloon, a red double-decker bus and a green double decker Bristol Lodekka bus. While I was walking around I suddenly had the thought that I’d never driven a service-bus double-decker so I went over to him but he didn’t stop. He kept on driving. I had to run round after him. I thought that this was pretty pointless. I was determined to have a go at this bus for about 5 minutes. It was like a farm track or something so it wasn’t going to be dangerous but the guy wouldn’t stop to talk to me. I had to run after him. I thought that this is going to be a pretty futile exercise, I could see this, but it was going to be my only chance to have a go behind the wheel of a bus like this.

I had some endives and a pile of Brussels sprouts that needed preparing, blanching and freezing. I prepared the endives but I didn’t like the look of the sprouts because they were all old and brown. Trying to find something nice in those would take me an age. There won’t be very much left to freeze if I do it properly so I was really not looking forward at all to doing that.

All of that and not a single TOTGA, Castor or Zero. I hope that they put in an appearance while I was away otherwise it’s going to be a pretty poor do. It’s been an age since I remember them coming to see me.

Once more, I’ve had no lunch. I’m trying my best to keep on top of my weight. There’s still plenty that I could do with losing to bring me down to what I consider to be my optimum weight. While I was in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2019 I actually made it too and I kept it off for a while until I was obliged to stop running.

This afternoon I made a desultory start on the photos from June and my trip around Europe. There are plenty to go at and I didn’t feel like pushing myself too hard.

And in case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been out to the shops today.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Instead I went out for my usual walk around the headland.

The first thing that I did was to go over to the wall at the end of the headland and look down on the crowds on the beach.

And crowds there were too. Plenty of people taking advantage of the nice warm weather and beautiful sunshine, even if there wasn’t all that much beach for them to be on this afternoon. The tide is well in right now.

Quite a few people actually brave enough to take to the water too. They were all having a whale of a time this afternoon, and who can blame them?

sparrowhawk pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022There were plenty of people wandering around on the path up here on top of the cliffs too.

And that’s not all because we had one of the sparrowhawks too this afternoon. There’s a colony of rabbits down there in the cliffs and I imagine that the bird is on the lookout for a juvenile to take home for tea.

From what I’ve seen, I think that there are at least two of them working the cliffs around here. Usually there’s just one of them but I have seen two on a couple of occasions flying around there.

While I haven’t actually seen one of these here manage to catch something, I’ve seen plenty of them in the Auvergne when I lived in Virlet that were clutching some kind of rodent in their claws.

yellow gyrocopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022That wasn’t all of the aerial activity that was happening either.

As I wandered along the path I was overflown by our old friend the yellow autogyro.

It was heading towards the airfield when it overflew me but immediately afterwards did a rather dramatic U-turn and headed back down the coast towards Mont St Michel.

Apart from that we had a few full-size jets flying by overhead at 35,000 feet but I haven’t seen a light aeroplane for a while. With it being summer, I would have expected to have seen them out and about more-or-less permanently.

fishermen pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022However, there were plenty of fishermen out this afternoon.

Every rock seemed to have its own fisherman today. There were seven just in my field of view here at the end of the headland, although only three made it into this photo.

And with all of the activity going on out at sea today, because there was much, much more than that which you have seen in the earlier photos, there was no-one at all sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban enjoying the spectacle.

Having taken several photos here and there of the various water craft I wandered off along the path on the other side of the headland.

The kids were there on the sea wall leaping off into the sea so I watched them for a while and took a few photos. Apart from that, there was nothing else going on in the harbour that we didn’t see yesterday.

people on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022What we did see yesterday were a couple of marquees that hed been erected down at the far end of the harbour.

There was some music going on from down there this afternoon and quite a crowd of people around there watching whatever was going on. They all seemed to ba having a good time.

Back here I had a strawberry smoothie and then true to form, bang on cue, Rosemary rang me. I’m sure that she’s hidden a camera in here somewhere.

We had a good chat about all kinds of things including her adventures with her Ukrainian guests at the local Prefecture when they went to register.

And little Miss Ukrainian is ill, so I heard. That’s really sad because I quite like her. I hope that she gets better soon.

Tea was a baked potato with veg and one of these breaded quorn fillets that I like so much. I’m running quite low on those now and that’s a shame. I don’t think that Noz will have any more of those.

So I’m going to have a relax before I go to bed. Tomorrow is Sunday so I’m having a good lie-in. It’s been several weeks since I’ve had a really good interrupted sleep and I am quite looking forward to it.

Thursday 12th May 2022 – HAVING HAD A FEW …

… extremely quiet days just recently, that all changed today. I’ve been rushed off my feet and haven’t stopped all day. I haven’t even had any time for tea.

There’s even some stuff on the dictaphone too but I haven’t had time to transcribe it yet.

It all went wrong earlier this morning when for some reason that I didn’t understand, the alarm went off at 06:15. I was actually up and about by the time that I realised and it didn’t take much for me to crawl back into bed.

When the alarm went off again at 07:30 I did manage to leave the bed something-like on time and after I’d had my medication I went to have a shower and clean myself up

Then I nipped out to go and see this sports therapist at Saint-Pair sur Mer.

My appointment was for 09:30 but he was running horribly late and it was gone 10:00 when he finally saw me. He asked me a few questions and poked and prodded me around, and it didn’t take him long to find out where the bone in my kneecap is broken.

There is a series of special injections that he is proposing for me so he gave me a prescription and an appointment to go back on 1st June.

This weekend I have a Welsh weekend school so I called at LIDL on the way home and stocked up with a big pile of stuff to see me through the next 10 days. It cost a fortune too. But I’ll still nip out for a few things late on Saturday that I couldn’t buy at LIDL.

By the time that I returned home it was almost lunchtime, never mind breakfast, but I had one of my fruit buns all the same with some coffee. And I was right. It really was delicious.

After lunch I was back out again. It was the turn of the physiotherapist to have the pleasure of my company.

trawlers fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022First stop though was the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where you can look down upon the fish processing plant.

It’s quite busy down there this afternoon. This is the moment when all the boats are coming in to unload and they are having to fight their way around L’Omerta who is still tied up to the quayside.

It shows you what a busy little port it is, with all of the boats down there and the people on top of the quayside helping to unload the catch into the fish processing plant. There will be cars and vans on the lower level underneath too, there to take away the load from some of the boats.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There was plenty of activity out in the bay too.

And not just trawlers coming into harbour either. One of the yachting schools was out there this afternoon with the pupils having a sail around the bay, with someone in a zodiac shepherding them around. And I haven’t forgotten that one of these days in the near future I’ll be out there with them.

There were plenty of pleasure craft too like the large yacht in the foreground that has just come out of the port de plaisance. And there were a couple of speedboats loitering around out there too.

chaisiase l'ecume 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022That wasn’t all either.

While I was here I had a look over towards the chantier naval to see how they were getting on with L’Ecume II. They are still bashing away at her but as I watched, something else came around the corner into my field of view.

It’s the little freighter Chausiaise, on her way back from, presumably, a run out to the Ile de Chausey with a load of freight. Someone mentioned to me that if she’s out there with no return load, she’ll bring back a pile of shellfish for the fishermen over there.

marite normandy warrior port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022From the corner here I walked on down the hill towards the town.

As I was on my way I noticed in the distance that there was a shrink-wrapped speedboat on the quayside and as I approached I could see that Normandy Warrior was in port.

At least, I think that it’s she, because the bridge is slightly different and her skipper has moored her differently than her sister Normany Trader is usually moored.

There were also crowds queueing up to board Marité too. It looks as if she’s going off out for an afternoon’s sailing around the bay. The first time this year that we will have seen her.

The walk through town was rather agonising today and I don’t know why. I’ve noticed for the last few days that I’ not moving around as well as I have been.

And the physiotherapist put me through my paces todays. This new one works me a lot harder than any of the others whom I’ve had so far. I think that she’s on a “kill or cure” mission.

On the way home I called at the pharmacy for the prescription that the sports doctor gave me. If I pick it up while I remember, it saves all kinds of unfortunate complications for later.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The walk back up the hill was a struggle today. I really am becoming worse and worse these days.

There were several occasions where I was obliged to stop, including at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour. And “Gone! And never called me ‘Mother’!”. Both Marité and Normandy Warrior have cleared off.

But the shrink-wrapped speedboat is still on the quayside. Normandy Warrior hasn’t taken that away this afternoon. And so it looks as if either she or her sister will be back in port quite quickly to do the necessary. They won’t be leaving that on the quayside for too long.

notre dame de cap lihou port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Something else that was wandering around in the harbour was the local lifeboat, Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

Strange as it may seem, they have been using her to tow the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie around the harbour while she’s been doing her dredging. So by the looks of things, she’s just knocked off for the day and it going home to have a rest.

In actual fact, not that I saw it, but apparently she was back out later. The dredging is finished so she towed the dredger over to the chantier naval where the portable boat lift could winch her out of the water.

marite baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022A little further on along the path we finally caught up with Marité again.

It’s a shame that I only had the NIKON 1 J5 with me. That just has the standard lens and so distance photography is pretty useless and I can’t really pick out anything.

But at least, by the looks of things she’s having a good sail around, even if it is with her diesel engines and not with her sails. I don’t suppose that many people still have the skills for this kind of thing.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Instead of going into my building I went for a look out to see what was happening.

What I was hoping to see was Normandy Warrior disappearing off into the sunset but wherever she was, she was well out of range of any equipment that I had with me.

All that there were that I could see were a couple of local inshore boats with a couple of fishermen therein so I had to content myself with them.

In any case, there was quite a haze out at sea and even the Ile de Chausey was difficult to see in these conditions this afternoon.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But it was actually a nice day so it was no surprise to see a few people down there on the beach this afternoon.

They were enjoying themselves, especially the few people who were brave enough to go into the water.

Having photographed them I came in here and had a strawberry smoothie and (regrettably) crashed out completely for a good half hour or so. This physiotherapist works me really hard.

And then I had to get everything together for my Welsh conversation class this evening. That passed quickly and it could have been much, much worse. But I’ve ended up with no tea and I don’t care either because I’m tired and I’m going to bed.

Tomorrow there are no plans but something will come along to disturb me, I’m sure of that.

But anyway, that’s for another time. Let me finally post up the details of my little nocturnal voyages from last night now that i’ve transcribed them We were in Wales, Hans, Jackie, Alison and me. We had to go to somewhere which meant going south on the train and then heading east and then back north again in the direction towards Shrewsbury. That was basically what we did and that was how we set off to do whatever it was that we were supposed to be doing.

And then there was something happening at the bar in the Rue des Juifs as well. We’d all taken musical instruments there and set them up in the alcove as if we were going to have some kind of performance but that was as far as I went with that.

Saturday 18th September 2021 – JUST A FEW LINES …

… because I’m really not feeling like sitting down and writing War and Peace after the day that I’ve had.

As seems to be usual these days, I had a pretty disturbed night last night, not being able to sleep very much. It always seems to be the case when I have to arise early in the morning.

But arise early I did and I had plenty of time for my train. I was on the station at 06:15 in the freezing cold – winter is coming quicker than you might think

My train was the 06:33 to Brussels that arrived at about 07:05 so there was plenty of time for me to go to the supermarket and pick up a little something for lunch before my train left at 07:43.

Yes, half an hour later than usual, simply because my usual one had no seats left. But even though this train costs €30:00 more, I don’t have to change trains at Lille and stagger halfway across town.

We were 10 minutes late arriving in Paris Gare du Nord but there was still plenty of time to cross the city on the metro to Gare Montparnasse.

The train that was awaiting me was a two-trainset one of 16 carriages, and was pretty much empty. It looks as if they were just using one trainset pulling the second one as a positioning voyage. I’d slept for much of the way between Brussels and Paris, and repeated the exercise on the train between Paris and Granville.

In fact I was asleep when the train pulled into the railway station at Granville.

The walk downhill into town was quite easy but to be on the safe side I’d bought a can of go-juice at the Carrefour in the Rue Couraye.

The climb back up the hill in the Rue des Juifs was a nightmare as you might expect and I can’t go on much longer like this. It took me about four or five stops to make it up to the top, one of which was a nice long one while I drank the drink that I’d just brought.

Back here I sat in my chair and vegetated for quite a while. It’s good to be back home, as Barry Hay once famously said.

Later on I made a coffee and without moving from my chair I watched the football on the internet. TNS v Barry Town.

With the demise of Connah’s Quay Nomads and the strengthening of TNS over the summer, TNS are pretty unstoppable and this is how it proved to be.

Their 3-1 victory tonight was really a foregone conclusion but Barry’s defence was appalling. Their second goal came about because the Barry keeper didn’t dive to cut out a ball doing across inside his goal area at about knee-height.

For the third goal, Declan McManus was standing in an onside position on the goal line right in the centre of goal with not a defender anywhere near him for about 15 seconds before he was presented with a simple tap-in.

Round about 23:00 I finally summoned up the energy to leave my chair. I’ve had no tea tonight because I was too tired to make it and I’m just going to dash off a few notes before I go to bed. I’ll add the photos into the notes in due course when I’m feeling better.

Sunday 6th June 2021 – JUST IN CASE …

food place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… you are wondering why it’s taken so long for this post to come on line, the fact is that I’ve had rather a busy day as you can see.

All of this here is the contents of the shelf unit that is in the kitchen area. That has been totally emptied later on in the afternoon and it isn’t going to go back on the shelves until it’s all had a really good sort-out and I’ve decided what is what. There has been so much confusion and so much has been misplaced and lost at the back of the unit.

Quite frankly, I never really realised that there was so much on there. The pile of stuff goes right around to the left in front of the sofa and has filled the living room area completely.

lino in kitchen place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut this is the real reason why I’ve done this.

Ever since I’ve started cooking and baking seriously I’ve been dropping bits of dough and pastry all over the floor and with it being a nice wooden floor, I don’t want to spoil it and mark it with what I drop. Back at the end of last year when I was at Brico Cash I bought some linoleum and it was living in the back of Caliburn.

Today Liz and Terry came round and they asked if they could do anything while they were there. So we stripped out the kitchen completely and laid it on the floor. And with what was left, Terry cut it to make covers for the shelves.

You have to admit that it looks really good and I’m very pleased with all of this.

But with Liz and Terry coming round to visit me today, I had done something that I rarely, if ever, do on a Sunday and that was to set an alarm. But that was something of a wasted effort because at 05:20 this morning all of the church bells in the town started to ring – presumably celebrating the D-Day landings.

Although I went back to sleep it wasn’t for long and by 08:30 I was up and about having my medication.

There was a little bit of tidying up that I could carry on doing so that by the time that they arrived the place was looking something rather respectable, which makes a change.

We had a coffee and they sampled some of my fruit bread. Liz made a few suggestions as to how it can be improved. And so my next batch of fruit bread will hopefully be better – not that it is actually bad of course, but I’m always open to suggestions. In the past many people have made all kinds of suggestions, but most of them were physically impossible.

Later on we went out for a walk in the sun.

commodore clipper ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I noticed was that out there in the distance there was something moving behind the Ile de Chausey and so I took a photograph of it for later examination.

Back at the apartment later on, I cropped and enlarged the photograph to see what it might have been. It has all of the silhouette of one of the Channel Islands ferries that sail out of St Malo and so I went and had a look at today’s departures from the port of St Malo.

My photo is timed at 11:07 which is actually 12:07 right now and at 10:30 or thereabouts Commodore Goodwill, one of the two ferries that run out of St Malo and around the Channel Islands, set out from St Malo.

But what we had really come to see was what was going on at the bunker that I’d noticed yesterday. It cost €2:00 to go in so we had to have a scavenge around for a handful of cash so that we could go in.

german doctors equipment bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd this was the star attraction in the bunker this year. A complete wartime medical kit belonging to a German doctor.

It seems that a couple of years ago an old woman left her home and was placed in an old people’s home. Her house began to be emptied and when they searched her cellar they discovered this complete kit down there, where it had been since 1944. It’s been donated to the people running the bunker as an exhibit for the proposed museum that they intend to set up here.

The other room of the bunker was empty because of water infiltration through the roof. And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO I was given a guided tour of the bunkers so I didn’t take any more photographs of it.

zodiac fishermen baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back to the apartment we walked along they clifftop so we could watch the sea.

And while we were admiring the view and watching the people relaxing on board the little cabin cruiser down there, a large zodiac or some other kind of rapid boat roared past them. And I bet that the people in there wouldn’t be very popular when the wake of the zodiac hits the little cabin cruiser.

We went back to the apartment and Liz made a big salad out of all of the stuff that I had in the apartment, with my home-made bread and home-made hummus and it was delicious.

Once we’d digested our meal we attacked the kitchen. Terry reckoned that it would take 30 seconds to empty the shelves but his estimate was somewhat optimistic. It took much longer than that. And then I had to go and fetch the lino up from Caliburn.

By the time that we had finished it was quite late but nevertheless I took Liz and Terry down to La Rafale to treat them to a drink. I do have to say that they had earned it.

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back we were overflown by one of our regular aerial pals who we haven’t seen for quite a while.

It’s the yellow autogyro that we first saw several years ago AT THE CABANON VAUBAN when I was here with Hans. I’d seen it quite regularly at one time but for the last few months there hasn’t been a sight of it, despite all of the other aircraft that we’ve seen just recently.

Liz and Terry didn’t come back to the apartment. It was time for them to go home. I went with them to their car and sent them off on their way with my grateful thanks for all of their help.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter Liz and Terry had gone off home I went across the car park to look over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach.

Today there were crowds of people down there lounging around on the rocks. By the looks of things there were even a few people who had been in the water.

That’s hardly any surprise for when I awoke this morning and looked at the thermometer, the temperature outside was already 23°C. If that’s not enough to being out the crowds today then I really don’t know what is.

But there were crowds of people around everywhere today, not just on the beach either. The hordes were swarming around the car park and the paths as well.

35ma aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not just on dery land or out at sea either. The air was pretty busy too as we have already seen with the yellow autogyro.

And here, overflying me as I was watching to goings-on down on the beach is another one of the aeroplanes that fly around here. Its registration number is 35MA and she is definitely one that we’ve seen before, and on several occasions too.

It’s a shame that I don’t have access to the database where this number is referenced, and so unfortunately I can’t tell you vert much about it. One of these days I’ll have to go out to the airport to have a good look around and see if I can find more about this aeroplane and the other one, 55-OJ for which I can’t find any information either.

paragliding pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow over the last few days I’ve been lamenting the fact that we haven’t been seeing any Birdmen of Alcatraz for quite a while.

And so not content with seeing crowds of people on the beach and low-flying aeroplanes, I’m overflown by one of the birdmen who take off from the field by the cemetery so that they don’t have far to go if they make a mistake.

But I left the birdman alone and went inside to see how things were looking. And it’s going to be a long job to sort out all of this mess. And as I was contemplating it, Rosemary rang me and we had a really good chat for half an hour before, emulating the old news reporters from the old News of the Screws I “made my excuses and left”.

According to the guys who had talked to us at the bunker, there was to be a fly-past of an American bomber between 18:30 and 18:45 this evening and I was determined not to miss it so I arranged to clear off outside to watch.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing that I had noticed was a yacht sailing right out there in the Baie de Granville so I wandered over to have a better look and to take a photograph.

It’s not one of the big charter boats that we see sailing around here every so often, unfortunately. It’s quite a small yacht, presumably out of the pleasure harbour or even brought here on a trailer from elsewhere.

There are three or four people sitting down there so it’s probably a small family or a group of close friends out for a breath of wind on a pleasant afternoon. But I wasn’t going to hang around and watch them for I had things to do down at the end of the headland.

people fishing from boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I noticed out there in the Baie de Granville.

There was a strange little boat out here that I hadn’t seen before. There were four guys on board and while one of them was at the controls of the boat two of the others were busy fishing while the fourth guy was busy watching the proceeding. I wonder if he had any more luck that me in seeing one of the fishermen pull a fish out of the water.

But I left them to it and wandered off down to the end of the headland to find a good position to watch the American bomber fly past.

f-bvmc Robin Apex DR-400/140 B aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t long before I heard the sound of an aeroplane approaching so I prepared the camera.

But it didn’t sound like a four-engined Pratt and Whitley to me, and as it came over the headland behind me, I saw that I was right. It’s F-BVMC, which is a Robin Apex DR-400/140 B that had just taken off from the airport here. She was on her way back to somewhere in the Paris area from where she had set off earlier.

And I can tell you that because I had a look at the radar when I eventually returned home. She disappeared off the radar somewhere to the south of Paris so I imagine that she must have come down to land somewhere in the vicinity. And how I wish that these aircraft would file flight plans.

canoe baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallStill no sign of the aeroplane but I was quite comfortable sitting on my nice, big and comfortable rock so I could have a good look around.

Underneath me a canoeist was paddling past in the water down there, heading towards the harbour at the end of the day. He had a good pair of oars with him down there, and we know all about that. When I mentioned to STRAWBERRY MOOSE when I was on board a boat that I needed a pair of oars, he completely misunderstood the situation and brought a couple of ladies, heavily made-up and wearing fishnet tights.

But I had to admire him being out there and shirtless in his canoe at this time of the evening. The evening was coming on and the weather was starting to cool down.

trawler speedboat men in fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut suddenly, things started to liven up down there in the water. The harbour gates must have just opened because a load of traffic suddenly started to swarm out into the bay.

This was developing into an exciting scenario, because the smallest boat that we’d just seen with the four men in it was heading back to port. And a speedboat was speeding around out there too heading into port. The trawler had to do something of a dodging manoeuvre that brought him rather closer to the little boat than I thought was prudent.

For a while I watched them and their activities, but there was no collision and no “shipwreck and nobody drownding – in fact nothing to laugh at at all” which was rather disappointing.

thais leo st brieuc trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis trawler was followed out of port by another trawler, the Thais Leo

And what caught my interest about this trawler was its registration number, which begins with SB. That indicates that it’s a boat that’s registered at the port of Saint Brieuc down the Brittany coast and so I was wondering what on earth it was doing here.

But by now it was about 19:15 and still no aeroplane so I went back up to the bunker to check the time of the aeroplane. But they had all packed up and gone home so I decided to do the same. I must have missed the aeroplane somehow.

Not long after I returned home there was a knock on my door. One of my neighbours who owns a red car who has parked next to Caliburn once or twice told me that she’d inspected her car closely and found no trace of any damage on it. We had a little chat and then she left.

Once she’d gone, I rang Rosemary back and we had a good chat that went on for about three hours, by which time it was far too late for me to think about food and even to think about writing my notes. I was totally exhausted after my long day so I went to bed and I’ll write up my notes in the morning.

Saturday 22nd May 2021 – AND NOW I KNOW …

… why I’m here in the hospital right now.

They gave me a blood test he other day and the count was 7.6. That’s well below the critical limit of 8.0 and represents quite a dramatic drop from the last test that I had 4 weeks ago.

This will explain a lot about my behaviour over the last couple of weeks and also explains why I’m here. The drop has been so dramatic that they are quite concerned.

As an aside – that’s why I write so much about my health and how am feeling – so that I can look back and compare my results with how I’m feeling and it gives me some kind of guide to how I’m doing.

This morning I was allowed something of a lie-in, and I found out why, and that was because I needed an ecograph and a stomach x-ray and for that I needed an empty stomach. And so no breakfast for me. Tomorrow we’ll have a 06:30 start, despite it being a Sunday.

And another thing too, in that the girl who gave me the ecograph can run her apparatus all over my thorax any time she likes too. Not for nothing have I chosen to be in a University Teaching Hospital with loads of students examining my credentials.

Meanwhile, where had I been during the night? I had started off in London, trying to get back to Aunt Mary’s. I didn’t know which way to go. I was going to get on any train and work my way around because the metro stations were just so packed with people and even I was having to wait on the stairs until the platform was cleared. Finalltya train pulled in but I couldn’t get on that one. The next one pulled and it was a Northern Line train. It didn’t go into the City at all. It went around the top of the town and I was trying to work out where I could change. I noticed that it crossed the line that I wanted, cross the Northern Line so I had to alight at one station and walk to another one. I didn’t think that they would be far away even if they didn’t connect so I thought that I’d ask someone. There was this girl standing next to me and I asked her. She looked at me and said “why did you ask me? Why didn’t you ask someone else?”. She said that she didn’t know. I think she thought that I was trying to chat her up, which I probably was, but anyway … I asked someone else, a couple of others on the train but they didn’t know. The girl said that she knew a woman and the woman explained roughly how to get there. It was only a 5-minute walk so it didn’t make any problem of mine. The girl asked where I was going so I told her. I said that my aunt lived near there. She said “ohhh la la, plenty of money there!”. I had a laugh and a smile. She said “I hope that you’ll be OK there” and “watch out when you are out on your bike” everything like that, teasing, because people who live near my aunt have piles of money – it was well-known as an area that was well-off so she was having a good tease at me about it. I wondered what was going through her mind. It was a shame that I had to get off when I did and walk through a couple of streets to find this other metro station to take me to the one near my aunt’s

Later on there was something about playing tennis with an old woman. She said that she was 70 but she looked much older than that. She was hitch-hiking to a tennis court so I picked her up. She said she was off to Ellesmere Port so I left her at my friend’s at Neston but she didn’t have the red card that you needed so I don’t know how she was going to manage with that. She had some kind of illness too. I went on with this guy who I’d also picked up hitch-hiking. We parked and we walked somewhere around North London again and ended up at the supermarket. We didn’t go in, we just looked at all of the kids playing all around. I walked over to the river where there used to be a bridge that had fallen down. There were crowds of people hanging around and there were people jumping off the bridge onto the sand about 60 feet below. They were braver then me. They would jump It was a hilly outcrop, one or two of them would get on the hilly outcrop and then spring forward again. others would go straight down in a variety of gymnastic positions until they hit the ground. But there wasn’t much room as there were lots of rocks that had fallen there. They had to land on the sand between the rocks and from 60 feet up, doing that wasn’t easy. This guy came over to me and said goodbye. he explained that the thing with boring people is that they don’t really make life interesting etc but “you were very interesting” he said “even though I wasn’t very keen on what you were saying or doing, you made it sound quite interesting so that made it an enjoyable time”. I thanked him and he disappeared.

Some time later they came along with a pouch of blood and I was given a blood transfusion. We’ll see what good that does me.

But there are many more tests planned for me during the next couple of days so I dunno about that. By the time that they finish their tests and give me a report, I’ll probably need another blood transfusion.

This afternoon in between the interruptions I brought the blog up to date and then later I settled down to watch the football. Barry Town were entertaining Caernarfon Town in the first of the playoff matches for the vacant Welsh place in the European Cup next season.

Barry is a team that is technically so much better but the players of Caernarfon have an extraordinary team spirit and actually play like a team.

And that was how things went in the game. Barry pressed forward relentlessly in the earlier part of the game but Caernarfon looked quite dangerous on the break. And they took advantage when Mike Lewis in the Barry goal got his foot to stop a dangerous shot on goal but could could only divert it into the path of Mike Hayes who buried it in the back of the net.

Their lead didn’t last long though. From a corner a Barry Town header hit a Caernarfon defender and the ricochet completely flat-footed Tyler French in he Caernarfon goal.

In the second half Barry Town pushed forward but were caught by a beautiful ball by Jack Kenny into space over the top of the Barry defence was pounced upon by Mike Hayes who was quickest to the ball and he put a beautiful lob over the head of Mike Lewis into the net for the second goal.

Barry Town threw everything at Caernarfon but the Caernarfon defence stood firm and deep in stoppage time with everyone up in the Caernarfon penalty area looking for the equaliser, Caernarfon caught them again and Jake Bickerstaff ran almost the full length of the field to score a third.

Later on I had a video chat with Alison but now I’m off to bed. It might be early but tomorrow is Sunday and a Day of Rest when I usually have a lie-in. But with a 06:30 start, I need to totter off now.

Tuesday 11th May 2021 – LE STYX …

trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… didn’t stay long in the chantier navale then.

When we walked past there yesterday we saw her still suspended in the cradle of the portable boat lift despite the fact that the tide must have gone out a good while earlier, so I wondered if she was actually destined to be finding a berth up here, but apparently not.

When I walked past this afternoon, there she was, gone! And never called me mother! Her stay up there must have been remarkably rapid – just quick enough for them to repair whatever it was that might have been the issue, and then back to sea she went.

My stay in bed was rather rapid last night too. I ended up having yet another late night, late nights that I can well do without, but nevertheless I managed to haul myself out of bed at the first alarm.

After the medication I came back in here to start revising my Welsh but I had a great deal of difficulty keeping awake. Not even a coffee could revive me so in the end, I went and had a nice hot shower in the hope that it would liven me up. And afterwards, I came back in here and promptly crashed out.

So much for that idea.

The Welsh that we are learning is now coming thick and fast. We’ve made a start on the subjunctive and conditional tenses which should be exciting seeing as I am still finding it hard to come to terms with the present tense of “to be”.

My brain, such as it is, has gone to pieces … “you’ve only just noticed?” – ed … and my memory has disappeared completely.

We actually finished on time today, the first time for about forever, but I nipped off into the office to attend to one or two matters, one of which involved the Welsh Parliament, and I was so engrossed that I missed lunch. No-one was more surprised than me when I glanced at my watch and saw that it was 15:30.

Grabbing a handful of crackers, I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed for the door.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown to the end of the car park went I as usual these days, to look over the wall and down onto the beach to see what was happening there.

The tide is now quite far out so there was plenty of beach for people to be on, but there were very few people out there this afternoon. It’s fairly warm out here (although I have known it warmer at this time of the year) and nice, bright and sunny, but the wind is back and it was blowing quite strongly.

As far as I can tell, we only seem to have had a handful of days so far this year when there has been very little wind. I’ve never known a year like it from that point of view. I know that we are living in one of the windiest corners of Europe but even so, there are limits and what we have experienced so far this year has gone beyond them in my opinion.

trawler english channel baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou can tell just how windy it is by looking at the whitecaps on the waves out there in the English Channel.

This is one of the trawlers that is currently working the English Channel between the Pointe du Roc and the Ile de Chausey and it really was working it too because I watched it turn round at the end of its run and go back the way it had come.

There were several out there again today having a go at seeing what they could find. They seem to be putting a lot of effort into working that stretch of indisputably-French water over there and not heading for a confrontation with the Jersey authorities right now.

But like most people, I’m taking rather a vicarious pleasure in thinking about what they might do next.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not just in the Baie de Granville where the fishing boats are working right now.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last few weeks we’ve seen them hard at work in the Baie de Mont St Michel too. There are two fishing boats that we can see quite clearly in this photo but if we peer into the gloom and haze in the background we can see several more out there over by the Brittany coast.

Having watched them for a few minutes I pushed off along the path on the other side of the headland to go and have a look at what was happening in the chantier navale and we have seen that it’s pretty quiet in there this afternoon, so I carried on home for my hot coffee

spirit of conrad charles marie aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back I paused for a moment to have a look to see if Aztec Lady was still in here at her berth.

Sure enough, she’s over there dead ahead doubled up to Anakena who also spend a considerable amount of time in the chantier navale just now. Immediately to their left draped in some kind of canvas is Charles Marie and to her left, sideways on is the other big yacht that was in there for a while.

To her left is Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which I went down the coast of Brittany last summer. I wonder where she will be going this year, if she will be going anywhere at all with all of this virus going around.

Back here I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. The Welsh Parliament was under attack last night from some kind of aerial creature. We formed some kind of group, me and a few other people too to form it and we defended our corner of the coastline and sank a few of these missile things and so on, and we had a party to celebrate what we were doing but someone pointed that there was another one on its way. It seemed that we hadn’t got to the root of the problem at all and killing something of course means that a few others will arise in its place. I was thinking that this was pretty strange, something like a South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive bus to be involved in a fight like this here in North Wales on the coast

Later on there was some kind of war game going on involving ships but I don’t remember too much of it. Later on I was talking to one of the guys, someone whom I knew in Stoke on Trent. he was telling me about a car he had for sale and I was trying to bu it from him but he wouldn’t tell me how much. It was a MkV Cortina. We had this back-and-to for about half an hour and he even brought his old man to have a play at this game “well he wants to buy my car but I don’t know if I want to sell it yet. What’s he asking for it? What’s he offering?” and so on. Then we came to the headlines “the car had run for the 1st time in 30 years” so I thought “it’s not going to be a road-going car but I’ll go and see it”. The car was kept in a fridge and I looked inside. It was a Vauxhall Carlton, the old type, B-registered 1984. I tried to fight my way in to the fridge to get to it but found that all the doors had been locked and the key had been left inside, and the parking light was on. It was an estate. I thought “how the hell am I going to get in here? I could scramble through and it won’t have been the first time that that I’d done that but for some reason I was feeling all claustrophobic and didn’t really fancy the idea of getting inside the fridge and crawling all over everything like that in order to get this car to start.

There were other things that I needed to do but regrettably, I crashed out yet again and ended up missing my guitar practice as a result and no-one was more dismayed than me.

falafel chips salad place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I went for tea. falafel, chips and salad. All of it was made with my own fair hands.

The falafel was some of the stuff that came from LIDL and I do have to say that it was the nicest that I’ve ever had in France. The chips were cut from potatoes and “fried” in the microwave fryer that my niece Rachel let me have when I was in Canada in 2019.

The microwave fryer isn’t as efficient as it was in her microwave. Mine is less powerful so it takes much longer to work. And in any case it’s too small so I have to take out the rotating plate and put an upturned ramekin dish over the top of the rotator and drop the fryer on that.

It’s not ideal, but at least it works on the odd occasion when I need it.

chocolate sponge chocolate sauce place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut as for the pudding, what can I say?

It was absolutely delicious, to such an extent that I was amazed. The chocolate sponge is the lightest that I have ever tasted and the chocolate sauce worked out really well. I shall be making much more of this, and on a regular basis too if only I could prevent the sponge from being so crumbly. I wish that I knew what the secret was.

So having done all that, and reasonably early too, I think that I’m going to go to bed. An early night will do me good after all of my efforts just now. Anyone would think that after the weekend I would have had more than enough sleep just recently, but it doesn’t seem like it.

Monday 5th April 2021 – IT’S A BANK HOLIDAY …

… today so I celebrated by spending the morning in bed.

That’s right – an entire morning. Well, almost, because while I didn’t manage midday, it wasn’t until about 11:00 that my feet saw the light of day. And I deserved it too after all of my recent exertions.

It goes without saying that it was “somewhat later than usual” when I started on the radio programme. And as I write these notes it’s still not finished. It actually was at one point but when I listened to it afterwards I found a mistake in the editing and I will have to put that right before it’s ready for broadcast.

There were the usual interruptions of course. At lunchtime I had porridge, hot cross buns (the last of this present batch) and a mug of nice piping hot chocolate, followed by a couple of clementines.

And then I had my afternoon walk around the headland.

car park place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd having seen the hordes and multitudes of people thronging the car park outside here yesterday, I was taken completely by surprise by the fact that there wasn’t a single person (and not a married person either) wandering around there this afternoon.

In fact, the whole place looked like a ghost town this afternoon. On the path around the headland today I could have counted on one hand the number of people whom I saw on the path this afternoon.

So much so that as soon as I can find a spare moment I’m going to be checking the new quarantine regulations to find out what they are. I don’t want to leave it until I see a policemen to find out that I’m in breach of any new temporary law.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were some people out and about though, especially down here on the beach at the bottom of the Place d’Armes.

The tide might be well in right now but a little kid doesn’t need a great deal of beach in order to have a great deal of fun, but it does make me wonder if they are aware of how quickly the tide comes in here, because they risk being cut off from the steps at the Rue du Nord and won’t be able to escape from the water.

Bit I needed to escape from the car park here so I headed off along the path on the top of the cliffs. We had a wicked wind and it was really cold although when I was in a wind shadow it was actually quite warm. But we’re not likely to see very much of that as long as this wind keeps up.

With absolutely nothing at all going on out at sea today and nothing to see at the end of the headland I pushed off along the path on top of the cliffs on the other side of the headland.

anakena hermes 1 lys noir chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the viewpoint overlooking the port, I could see down into the chantier navale to see what was going on down there.

There wasn’t any change in occupant today – still the same four boats, but I was more interested in what was going on with Anakena, Lys Noir and Hermes I. There’s a van down there and a few workmen doing a few things despite it being a Bank Holiday, but what is different today is that all of the masking tape and paper has now been removed from Hermes I.

She’s looking quite beautiful and resplendent in her new coat of paint, all bright and shiny. Ordinarily I would say that it won’t be long before she’s going back into the water, but I’ve not had very much luck in predicting the arrival and departure of boats from the chantier navale, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

fishing boat refrigerated lorry fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther down along the footpath I could see over into the outer harbour by the Fish Processing Plant.

Whilst most of the fishing boats are still tied up in the inner harbour, there’s a refrigerated lorry parked up by the loading bay at the Fish Processing Plant. They must be expecting a few fishing boats to be arriving soon with a pile of shellfish to take away. I don’t think that there will be an awful lot of shellfish on board the small boat that is tied up at the quayside just there.

But with no other boat down there just now and not having seen any while I was looking out to sea earlier, I think that the driver of the lorry is going to be in for a long wait.

Airbus A330-302 N826NW english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was out there looking over the harbour I was once more overflown by a rather large aeroplane and I wondered what she was doing up there.

She’s actually an Airbus A330-302 owned by Delta Airlines, registration number N826NW and she took off from Paris Charles de Gaulle about 37 or so minutes ago. She’s Delta Airlines flight DL85 and she’s on her way across the Atlantic to Atlanta in Georgia.

She flew over my head at a height of 36,000 feet and a ground speed of 423 knots on a heading 270°.

At least it proves that despite all of the Covid regulations there are still plenty of long-distance flights going across the Atlantic. They aren’t ever going to prevent this virus from spreading, are they?

triumph tr3a boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving gone for weeks without seeing a single old or interesting vehicle we’ve now had two in three days.

As I was in the Boulevard Vaufleury on my way back to the apartment I was passed by a rather elderly Triumph TR3A passing in the other direction. And you can tell that it’s a TR3A and not a TR3 in that it has the full-width radiator grill and several other small modifications

The TR3As were built from 1957 to 1962 and were the cars to which I aspired when I was a young teenager, being a much more realistic choice than a Jaguar XK140.

That was really the last interruption of my walk and I was able to make it back home without any further ado.

Due to my late awakening this morning, I missed my hour on the guitar and also my evening meal which was a shame, but it can’t be helped I’ve done all that I intend to do and what I haven’t done I’ll do tomorrow, including the dictaphone, for there’s a pile of stuff on there.

And now that I’ve attended to that, I can finally post the details of where I went during the night. We had an occasion where Mick Matthews was driving a lorry. He wasn’t very happy so he told me a few things about this company and made it pretty clear that he wanted someone to take the matter further. He had to drive this lorry and they wanted a couple of repairs doing on it and he didn’t want to do them at all. They were cajoling him and pushing him into getting this lorry fixed so he told me about it and I told a few people about it. As a result another lorry was raided. I was somehow attached to this investigation. We came across a whole pile of faults with this vehicle, the operation of it. Basically an illegal compartment had been manufactured to go inside one of the trailers for contraband to be smuggled. The police had a big file on this. They had the owner and the manager, the company that had made the panel and a few other people and were preparing a case to bring to Court. I asked them about Mick Matthews. They said that once the matter had been dealt with the others, he would be unfortunately brought into Court but they would make it pretty clear to the Judge that there had been as much co-operation as possible from him. I ended up in an office with a couple of other police inspectors. I was holding a file which I offered to one of the others and asked “is this anything to do with you”? He just snarled and took it off me anyway so I just wandered back to the entrance door of the office where I’d come in.

Later on, one of the serving wenches in THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR was talking to me. I was sitting at a table waiting for all my friends to come down. One or two other people came down and sat at my table which was a bit disappointing. It was a hell of a mess and I had my elbows in all of the grease spilt on the table. The waitress cleared the table and looked at me and sighed when she saw my elbows and I tried to clean them as best as I could. Then everyone else came down so I nipped over to another table and we all sat there. There was a rumpus coming up from the far side and it was the fat woman Vera who was making a scene again. She had done this at every single meal so far. She was always going to create a scene. We were having our meal and one of the girls said that she had to fetch a bottle of water so I said that i’d go with her as it was going dark. We dashed off outside and she was showing me the torch that she had received as a gift, a little thing that clipped onto the keyring with a button-cell battery and I said “I have mine as well and they are great”. We walked down to pick up her bottle of water and they weren’t as good as the bottles that we had on the first trip because they were coconut water and they were so much better. She said that she needed something from her room, and could I go and fetch it for her? It was on the top floor so I set off up this spiral staircase. There were all kinds of overhanging bits and you had to be careful with your head. She was following me and asked me if I was OK. I said “yes, but I’d be better if you could hold these 2 things for me”. I gave her the 2 things that I was holding and carried on up. When I reached the top to go into her room you had to do some scramble through this really tiny aperture. It was a really difficult thing to do. I thought “I’m not going to get through this aperture”. I had a look and there was an opening a little bigger above my head. That meant climbing up this wooden framework that didn’t look particularly safe to me. I thought “how do people on the top floor manage to do this”? She said “don’t worry. I can go there because I need to get my accounts as well”. I said “I’m here now so I might as well work this out and have a go getting up through there”. She asked “you have a passport, don’t you”? I replied “yes”. She said “yes, a passport”. It was the way that she was saying it that was so strange that I couldn’t understand the implications of what she was trying to say about this passport.

Monday 8th March 2021- A NOT-SO-UNEXPECTED …

… Brexit dividend reared its ugly head this afternoon.

Amongst my friends is a woman in the UK who had a daughter who is a keen and accomplished junior ballerina (she’s danced at the Royal Ballet) and is hoping to come to France for an audition in the summer. And when I was in NOZ at the weekend I found a kids’ novel about a girl who was a ballerina.

It’s full of all of the technical-speak in French for a ballerina as well as all of the current kids’ slang and as it cost only €1:99 I bought it for Evie to give her something interesting and useful to read before she comes over.

This afternoon I took it down to the post office to send it off to the UK.

For a product that weighed just about 300 grammes and cost €1:99 and being sent non-commercially as a gift between friends, it took me half an hour to do all of the paperwork, involving the completion of four forms, and the postage came to €15:90.

And I’m still recovering from the shock.

And as well as that, I’m still also recovering from the shock of being up and about once more long before the third alarm went off. I wonder how long I can keep this up.

After the medication I made a start on the radio programme, this time doing the programme that I should have done last week. With having done all of the music already, it was all up and running properly by 11:30, all hours-worth of it. And I found a really belting final track to finish it.

The rest of the morning was spent working on the Greenland photos and by the time that lunchtime arrived, I’d done just over 40 of them and we are now in Arsuk Fjord in a zodiac cruising around looking for THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR which had moved off from where we had left it and then been lost in the fog.

After lunch I started off by listening to the dictaphone. I had been in France during the night. I’d gone there from Dunkirk and I’d met up with two people while I was there. I had to escort them back to the port of Calais in order to catch the ferry back to the UK. I was able to retrace my steps in reverse on most occasions although we did lost the way once or twice particularly when we were in buildings having o work our way through buildings. There was one particular part where someone was rather nasty to me so I was rather nasty to them. One of these girls was shocked. She didn’t really want to walk the way that I went – she wanted to find another way. I said “yes I understand your predicament but really there was a war on”. She was the one who found the lift down in one of these buildings. It had some luggage in it but we squeezed in anyway. The weight was such that the lift cable broke and it hit the ground with quite a thud. We eventually made our way into Calais to find out that our boat hadn’t arrived yet so we had to wait around for a couple of days. We were there when there was a huge ship that crushed a small one as it came into port and one or two other little things.

Later on I was living in some kind of digs and right outside them I was talking to some Pakistani girl. We’d started off talking in a café somewhere. I’d been in to order a glass of kefir. I’d had one of one type and later on I’d gone in and ordered another one. We were chatting inside this cafe place. She was serving and telling me all about how she’s graduated from University and how she’d done this and done that and it hadn’t really worked out for her. She was going to get a gang together and go off and do some work. We were discussing different places in France where this worked and I told her about all of the British people in the Combrailles who worked as a team when necessary. We finished off by talking outside a house in a run-down area, a terraced house at the end of a cul-de-sac. While we were talking a guy pulled up on a motor scooter and drove it right up against the wall, almost crushed me. After she went I had a speedway motor cycle type of thing, an old Jawa and I pushed it towards Caliburn – I was going to put it in the back of Caliburn. I realised that I needed a ramp so I went round to fetch my tools. They were all underneath a van, a trolley jack and a box of tools. I thought “how come I’ve left these there and they haven’t gone?”. I picked up a plank of wood. These kids were watching me wondering what I was going to be doing. I knew what I was doing because the plank of wood was going to be the ramp to put this speedway bike into the back of Caliburn. I pushed it towards Caliburn but then the alarm went off.

For the rest of the afternoon I’ve been working my way through the duplicate files that I’ve been backing up onto the back-up disk on which I’d uploaded all of the external drives and memory sticks and so on. Another 83GB of memory space has now been created and there will be much more to come.

In fact I was so engrossed in this project that I missed my evening meal completely and it was 21:30 when I finally noticed the time.

Having spent some time wrapping up the present for Evie and writing out a little note for her, I went out for my afternoon walk.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe didn’t have the sea fog that we have been having for the last few days, but instead there was quite a haze out there.

And we had some traffic sailing around outside as well. Out in the distance heading into port was one of the larger trawlers, presumably with today’s catch. At first I thought that it might have been Le Coelacanthe or else her sister ship Le Tiberiade, the big green and white trawlers with the gold stripes.

But back here at the apartment afterwards when I examined the photograph I noticed that she was actually pale blue and white and I didn’t recognise which trawler she would be.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was another trawler out there too, only this one was heading out to sea, rather later than the rest of the fleet.

By what is presumably a total coincidence, whereas the homeward-bound trawler is white with a blue stripe, the outward-bound trawler is blue with a white stripe.

While I was admiring the two trawlers and hoping to catch a photo of them both crossing each other out in the English Channel, one of my neighbours put in an appearance and we ended up having a good chat instead of concentrating on the local shipping.

She needed some advice about booking her vaccinationcara

appointment. Apparently I must be the local expert or something.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor the last few days we’ve been looking at the crowds of people wandering around on the beach at the foot of the steps in the Rue du Nord.

Today we didn’t have so many people down there, and certainly no-one going out for a swim. There was however someone sitting comfortably on a rock reading a book – the very epitome of deep and intense relaxation. Mind you, she didn’t look as if she was very warm.

Clutching my parcel for the post I wandered off around the footpath, across the lawn and the car park. There wasn’t a great deal of activity out there of course. After all, the kids are now all back at school starting today so there were just the old fogeys wandering around.

pipes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallNothing new down in the chantier navale, just the same four boats that we’ve seen for the last few days.

But on the edge of the quayside down in the inner port there’s a whole pile of plastic pipes. They are far too long to be transported by one of the little Jersey freighters, so I’m wondering what they are doing here and how they’ll be moved onwards to wherever they might be going. I’ll have to watch this space.

Down in the town I went to the Post Office to post off my parcel to the UK, and then round to the Carrefour to but a lettuce that I had forgotten on Saturday. And there I bumped into yet another one of my neighbours and we had another lengthy chat. I seem to be in demand right now.

pasquier sweet caravan place godal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was down in the town I had a little wander around to see what might be happening down there.

And it looks as if we are preparing for the summer season already because the sweet and candy floss caravan has now turned up and parked in its usual spot ready to snare the holidaymakers and day trippers. That’s definitely a sign of the times. I wonder if the Big Wheel will be back in the town too this year.

From there, I went back to the steps at the Rampe de Monte à Regret and climbed back up to the Rue des Juifs ready to head for home and my coffee.

gangway down to marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving a look down into the port to see what was going on, something that I hadn’t seen before caught my eye.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, they spent a lot of time installing new pontoons, ladders and walkways in the port 12 months or so ago. But it seems that there’s a new pedestrian ramp of the same style of the rest of the equipment of the port that now leads down onto the deck of Marité.

That’s certainly quite new, as far as I can tell. I don’t recall having seen it before. But what interests me even more is how the deal with it when Marité is ready to sail away from the quayside. That should be a complicated manoeuvre.

harbour gates closed port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne final thing caught my eye while I was out there.

Just as I started back up the hill I heard the bells to indicate that the harbour gates were closing. By the time that I had the camera ready they were almost closed. You can see the red traffic light indicating that the passage is now closed, and a couple of pedestrians on the walkway waiting to be able to complete their passage to the other side.

Back here I had my coffee and my slice of chocolate cake and then carried on with the editing of the back-up hard drive.

At 18:00 I remembered to stop for my guitar practice but I missed just about everything else.

Tomorrow I have my Welsh lesson and then I need to make some more enquiries about updating my big computer. I need to make more extra space and while I’m at it, make it work faster too.

Saturday 8th August 2020 – IT’S FAR TOO HOT …

… to do anything right now. This afternoon, the temperature on the thermometer on the van showed 41°C at one point and that was confirmed by one of these roadside thermometers so I’m sure that it was correct.

hotel senica slovakia eric hallLast night was a really good sleep, and I slept right up to 05:47 when something awoke me – but I’m not sure what.

Nevertheless, I didn’t actually leave the bed at that time but … errr … somewhat later.

According to the dictaphone, I’d been on my travels too during the night. I had been going somewhere, driving and I was in Caliburn, I think. I was being followed by an old Morgan 3-wheeler with a couple in it, driven by a guy with a red handlebar moustache. They were piled up with luggage and seemed to be following me throughout all of my route across Central Europe and it was very interesting although I didn’t exchange a single word with them or anything like that and it was very intriguing to try to work out exactly what they were doing

And later on it was Welsh Cup day and there were 12 matches being played. 2 were postponed and some were being played later. We were going to go to Aberystwyth to watch the game. They were talking about this on the TV and radio which was nice. I was in Nantwich somewhere so I set off to walk. I got to round about Gresty, somewhere like that and there was a football stadium and there was quite a big queue outside. I climbed over the fence to get in, about 12′ high and I’m not quite sure why I would do that. I was hoping to meet the others, including my father apparently and we’d all go into the ground together. For some unknown reason it was half an hour to kick-off and I couldn’t find them at all. I wondered what had happened to them.

Having organised myself and packed my stuff, I said goodbye to my nice hotel and set off.

First port of call was the Billa Supermarket down the road where i bought some food for the journey – including some grapes. And bread was cheap too here in Slovakia, as I discovered.

Another thing was that I was impressed with the range of vegan food on offer – much better than anything that France could come up with in a mainstream village supermarket.

It’s a shame that I’m leaving the country today. I’ve always liked Slovakia. I spent several weeks here in the North-East of the country on the Polish border when I worked with Shearings and one of these days I’ll try to find the time to spend much more time here.

Having done the shopping for the next couple of days (I can’t buy too much and expect it to survive long in this heat) I set off and drove all the way south-eastwards through the mountains.

Driving through the town of Boleraz I had to do a U-turn and go back to check on something that I’d seen in someone’s garden here.

One thing that’s disappointed me is the absence of real Eastern European cars around here. No Gaz or ZIL vehicles, only one Skoda and not even any Moskvitches either come to that. I can’t believe that a whole lifetime of interesting vehicles has been wiped out of existence.

skoda 1203 van boleraz slovakia eric hallAnd so when I saw this old Skoda 1203 I breathed a sigh of relief.

This was Eastern Europe’s equivalent of the Ford Transit. Every businessman or tradesman owned one and they were the local ambulances and police vans too. You used to find them everywhere 30 years ago, but so far on my travels I’ve only seen one of them prior to this and that was on the road heading the other way.

Not that I would swap Caliburn of course, but I would love to take something like this back home with me to have some fun. It’s a real relic of the past, that’s for sure, and quite a curio too.

odos FOR 742 525 9 velky meder slovakia eric hallBy-passing Bratislava, I ended up in the town of Velky Meder on the border with Hungary.

A railway like runs through the town and there’s a railway station here so I reckoned that I would go along and see what was happening her. And my luck was in because there was a goods train here in the siding.

The locomotive pulling it is an FOR type 742 – a heavy shunter built for Czech Railways and now used all over the Czech Republic and Slovakia for hauling small freight trains and on occasion even passenger trains. It’s painted in the livery of the Ostravská Dopravní Spolecnost – a freight logisitics company from Ostrava in the Czech Republic.

The railway station and the surrounding area have a very sinister reputation, something that is quite ironic seeing as currently back at home I’m reading a book about the Serbian nation in World War I.

After the collapse of the Serbian Army in 1915 the Serbian soldiers, as well as a great many civilians, who didn’t manage to escape to Greece were arrested and subjected to a most appalling savagery by the Austrian troops. A Prisoner-of-War camp or, to be more precise, a death camp was set up here and there are mass graves all over the area that contain the remains of the Dead.

No-one knows how many Serbians and Montenegrin troops lost their lives here but a monument nearby records the names of over 5,000e known to have died here. I wasn’t able to find the monument or any of the graves while I was here. My Slovak isn’t up to anything much – certainly not for asking about this.

But on another note, if you come this way, don’t go looking for a town called Velky Meder because you probably won’t see a sign for it. You’re more likely to see a sign for Nagymegyer.

That’s because although we are north of the Danube, the frontier between Slovakia and Hungary, this whole area for a considerable number of miles around is ethnically Hungarian but was occupied by Czech Nationalist forces at the end of World War I.

During the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia it was awarded to Hungary but recovered in 1945. Even despite the forced relocation of many ethnic minorities in the late 1940s the population is almost entirely ethnically Hungarian and almost everything is written in Hungarian.

So even had I been able to ask for the monument or the graves in Slovak, it probably wouldn’t have done me any good.

There was a LIDL in the vicinity so I stopped for a look around, and then crossed over into Hungary near the town at Gyor

Unfortunately there was nowhere suitable to park to take a photo of the border crossing so in due course I’ll pinch a still from the dashcam and post it. Even so, it’s more new territory for Caliburn and Strawberry Moose to visit.

Gyor was a nice place to drive around but there was nowhere to park and take a photo of the town. And in any case it was far too hot to go for a walk. I was melting.

Caliburn lunch stop Mákosdulo utca Gyor 9025 Hungary eric hall. In the end I found a nice sheltered spot by a small lake on the edge of town.

Here, wedged up in the shade between Caliburn and a hedge I ate my butty and afterwards did a little tidying up. And while I was here, I had a little snooze in the sun. I was at one point thinking about going for a walk in the sun but not in this temperature.

As an aside, I didn’t find out anything about this lake except that it’s one of about three or four in the immediate vicinity. And they all look very artificial to me although of course I wouldn’t know about that.

austin maestro Autós Motoros Oktatópálya gyor hungary eric hallOn the way to my parking place I’d seen a dirt road that crossed a railway line and then seemed to follow the river so I decided to go for a drive.

But I ended up stopping at the side of the road by an area that looked as if it might be a car park or something like that. For in there, parked and partially dismantled with no engine by the looks of things is an old Austin Maestro.

There are many vehicles that I would never expect to see in Eastern Europe, for sure, but the possibility of finding an Austin Maestro is something that I wouldn’t have ever considered. It’s certainly living up to its model name as a “Special” and I notice that it comes with factory-standard body rot.

caliburn dirt road river raba rabapatona hungary eric hallFurther along the road I turned off, crossed the railway line and drove down as far as I could go until I reached the river, when I turned right to follow it for a while.

The river is the River Raba, a 300 kilometre long tributary of the Danube, and the part that I am following seems to be a canalised deviation of it. Where I’m driving looks as if it might be a service track on top of a levee and the amount of dust and gravel that I’m kicking up reminds me all too much of driving along THE TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY.

The road went for miles and I was reaching the stage where I was wondering whether I would have to turn around and go back the way that I came. However eventually I came to a house at the side of the track and wheeltracks of a couple of vehicles heading my way convinced me to carry on.

war memorial rabapatona hungary eric hallEventually, having passed underneath a couple of other main roads that crossed the river on bridges, I came to an exit that brought me into the little town of Rabapatona.

The road into the centre of the village brought me past the church and there, in the churchyard, was a war memorial so I went to have a look at it.

It lists the dead of the village for the two World Wars, so there’s nothing special about that. It might have been interesting to see the dead from other conflicts too.

But what really caught my eye was what wasn’t on the memorial. If you look closely at the base of the memorial there’s a patch of a different colour. It made me wonder if there had been something affixed there that is deemed today to be inappropriate. All kinds of shenanigans occurred with Hungary and its political partners between 1848 and 1990.

moskvitch 2141 aleko pickup rabapatona hungary eric hallHaving moaned on earlier in the day about the lack of old Eastern Bloc cars to be found these days, I struck it lucky in Rabapatona.

This exciting looking vehicle is a Moskvitch 2141 Aleko, built during the period 1986-1997. Based somewhat on the old French Simca 1307, the early models were said to have been some of the best cars ever to have come out of the Soviet Union although after the end of Communism, anarchy at the car plant led to a rapid deterioration of quality of the later ones.

Although the saloon cars were quite popular, I can say without fear of contradiction that this is the first ever Aleko pick-up that I’ve ever seen. I didn’t even realise that they were made.

Fighting off the heat (in mid-afternoon it reached 41°C according to two different thermometers) I found my way out of the town and into the countryside, disturbing a wedding as I drove through another small town.

And eventually I managed to track down a hotel – the Hotel Minerva in Mosonmagyarovar. Another lovely 3-star hotel at a bargain price and the first time that I’ve spent a night in Hungary since 1988.

First thing was to have a shower and wash of my clothes, and then I crashed out on the bed for a couple of hours. Rosemary awoke me with a phone call so we had a chat for a while, but I was too late to make any tea.

If the heat lets me, I’ll have a good sleep and then I’ll be ready to move on tomorrow.

Time to think about going home, I reckon.

Thursday 6th August 2020 – I TOOK IT …

… easy today. I didn’t leave my room until midday, despite the chambermaid’s insistence.

Last night I was in bed fairly early but it was a restless night and I didn’t really have a deep sleep. And despite the three alarms going off on time, I didn’t leave my bed until about 08:00.

Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone too. For part of the night I was at work and just across from there was a school. It got to the type where I was well over 65 and thought that I was going to retire. After all, I should after all that time. I was really worried because Castor was there (I wondered when she would put in an appearance) and how was she going to cope without seeing me there but how was I going to cope without seeing her and I was trying to sleep for 10 minutes thinking about that.

Later on we were prisoners of war and were all in a hut. The drain had blocked and there was a really foul smell coming from the middle. We all had to go back in but somehow keep clear of this central drain that was overflowing and smelling. Someone else had taken hold of my seat and wouldn’t move. That became an extremely complicated situation. There was a situation in Ireland where they weren’t used to handling prisoners and there for example you couls see where the hut had actually been on the ground because the ground was marked. There was like a string vest type of thing – I’ve no idea what it was about – but it had a huge wine stain in it from where some wine had been spilt by the prisoners.

Even later I was a passenger in a bus last night and we were driving somewhere. It was from Bluestones traffic lights towards Nantwich down the old by-pass. From the traffic lights a boy of about 10 or 11 on a pushbike tried to race us away. We soon overtook hime but going over the canal bridge something happened and we had to stop. There were two or three lorries behind us. They had to swerve out into the middle of the road to try to pass us and almost collided with vehicles coming the other way. It was all very dangerous, that sort of thing as they were out there in the middle of the road trying to go past us just over this blind hill. Eventually we got under way again and set off. There was loads of traffic coming the other way and I’m not surprised with it being so busy that it had been so dangerous like that.

There was also something else that stuck in my mind – a breakdown of the lorry of one of the contractors at my father’s old factory – one of the old 8-wheeler S36 Fodens.

But there was a lot more too but seeing as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Having finally awoken, I headed off unsteadily to breakfast. You’ve no idea just how much that walk yesterday took out of me. I wasn’t all that hungry so I didn’t have much and I was soon back in my room.

Much of the time was spent sorting out my things and tidying up my affairs, as well as having a little relax. The chambermaid was quite insistent so I let her in to empty the bins and do a few little things.

Round about midday I reckoned that despite everything I ought to make a move and head into town. And even though most of the way was downhill I still regretted having set out because I wasn’t feeling at all like it.

quotes plaques on wall Goethova stezka Karlovy Vary Czech republic eric hallWhen I arrived in town I took a different route into the centre – down the footpath, the Goethova Stezka, on the left-hand side of the river.

My Czech isn’t up to very much at all so i’m not able to tell you too much about what is happening down here but it seels that the walk is lined by plaques carrying quotes of various famous authors and philosophers and the like who may have visited the town.

The reference to the Arhimandrit Mitrofor may refer to a senior religious official of the Eastern Orthodox Church who has earned respect or performed service for which the Church is grateful. There is a Monastery in the town of Sinaia but it’s led by aHegumen, a Grade or two below that of Arhimandrit.

Jungmann could be anyone really, but is more than likely to refer to Josef Jungmann, the man considered to be responsible for the revival of the modern Czech language, although he was long-dead by 1895.

Kaiserbad Spa karlovy vary czech republic eric hallWhen I came into town yesterday I’d taken a photo of this building but it wasn’t much good so one of the reasons that I came down this way was to take a photo from a better perspective.

As I said yesterday, it’s the Kaiserbad Spa built in the late 19th Century on the site of a brewery to cater for the increasing flow of people who “came to take the waters”.

But its glorious heyday is long passed. Closed in 1994 it was allowed to become derelict but was ceded to the city in 2008 sice when it’s ben undergoing a programme of major restoration. And not before time, I have to say

river tepla Zahradní Karlovy Vary Czech republic eric hallHaving passed everywhere that I photographed yesterday, I headed straight for the more modern part of town.

This took me along the banks of the River Tepla and by the delightful Zahradni Terrace. This was really the elite end of town for most of the visitors who came here back at the end of the 19th Century and even today there are plenty of hotels and upmarket shops here.

As we’ve said quite often as we’ve admired buildings here, it goes to show just how glorious this city must have been at the end of the 19th Century

In the town centre my Czech pronunciation brought out a few smiles and laughs as I tried to order some chips for lunch. And I did have another Italian chat with the guy with the Italian food stall in the centre. But actually I didn’t do much. I just had a little walk around and then spent a lot of time sitting around in the sun.

It made me wish that I’d brought a book with me to pass the time, although at one stage I did manage to have a little doze.

Thermal Velky Sal conference centre thermal spa hotel Ivana Petrovice Pavlova Karlovy Vary Czech republic eric hallThis is one building that didn’t impress me very much. I mean – for a modern concrete Brutalist building I suppose that it’s quite attractive but it’s totally out of place here.

It’s the Thermal Velky Sal (“Great Hall”) Conference Centre and Spa Hotel, designed by architects Vera and Vladimír Machonin. Construction began in 1968 and took 9 years, basically because they had difficulty with the infiltration of groundwater into the foundations and basement area which led to the cash running out and a need to refinance the project.

The sad thing about this though is that in order to build the place, they had to demolish about 30 houses, mostly from the 19th Century, and so imagine how this place would have looked back then prior to the demolition

After my good rest I set off back for home. It took quite a while too a I didn’t push on too much. Just a little 30-minutes of walk followed by a 15-minute rest. And at one of my stops I actually found someone selling vegan strawberry sorbet. It wasn’t cheap but it really was delicious and I enjoyed it.

hoonigan microcar MC Brezová Czech republic eric hallThere’s a petrol station at the roadside halfway home from the town centre, and as I walked byn this little car pulled in to fuel up.

Not seeing a badge on it, I couldn’t see what kind of car it was and of course my Czech isn’t good enough to ask. But the “MC” that I noticed on the back might seem to suggest that it’s a Microcar MC from France, so it’s a long way from home over here.

Back here at my hotel I had a look at how far I’d gone today. And what a disappointment it was. I’ve only done a mere 169% of my daily activity today – almost 14kms.

Finally making it up to my room, I lay on the bed and crashed out until 19:00. Out like a light and that was no surprise. I had a shower but had a little “incident” with the washing. I took down the nice clean and dry undies that I’d washed yesterday – and washed them again. I’m not doing too well am I?

Too late to make any tea, I decided to pass on that and make up for it with a good breakfast in the morning. I’m hitting the road tomorrow so I need to be on form. That means a nice early night and hopefully a decent sleep.

But we’ll see all about that in the morning.

Thursday 11th June 2020 -I WAS TREATED …

normandy trader thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… to a delightful little nautical danse macabre this morning down in the port.

Normandy Trader had come in on the morning tide – in fact she was waiting outside the harbour for the gates to open earlier – and was tied up at the unloading point while the workers on the crane were busy unloading her.

And into the harbour, full steam ahead, came Thora. She almost came to a dead stop when she saw Normandy Trader moored just there. Being too far over to moor up at the side, she had to go into a delightful 360° outside turn in order to get herself into position to moor in a temporary unloading place.

Mind you, while we’re on the subject of a berth being occupied, mine was occupied for rather longer than intended this morning.

Never mind the third alarm – it was 06:30 when I finally crawled out of bed again.

No breakfast once more so I came back here to listen to the dictaphone. We were on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour again and we reached the Far North of Iceland although it was much more bleak and much more cold and much more icy than the Far North of Iceland – it could easily have been the far North of Greenland. There was some kind of settlement there which was pretty much abandoned – there weren’t many people living there. There was one building made of wood and the whole front had been washed away by a high tide in a storm. We typed something into a search engine about this place and it came up with a couple of shots of the boat that we were using to ferry ourselves back and to to the ship and also the World War II 4-engined bomber that had crashed somewhere in the vicinity. Of course I was really keen to go ahead and find out where this plane was but that was when I awoke, with a massive attack of cramp that knocked me right for 6.

So how did this end? I’ve no idea because after I’d eased the cramp off and went back to sleep I missed the restart and that was that.

Looking back on things, I’ve spent so much time during the night on The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour that I shudder to think what the bill would be if ever Adventure Canada find out and decide to send me a bill for my stays.

Next job was to finish off the Tax Return and type a letter to the Tax people to explain my particular circumstances. A shower, and a weigh-in, and then off to LIDL

traffic lights porte st jean granville manche normandy france eric hallNot that I got very far.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the roadworks that we saw yesterday in the rue Notre Dame. All of the traffic is having to travel down the rue St Jean and as we have seen on many occasions, it’s pretty narrow.

As a consequence they have installed temporary traffic lights now at the Porte St Jean. I shall have to go for a wander and see how far they stretch down the street.

normandy trader baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOff I continued on my travels, but I didn’t get very far.

Around the headland came our friend Normandy Trader. As she approached the port entrance I prepared myself ready to take a photo of her entering port, but she came to a shuddering halt just outside the harbour.

Of course, what has happened is that the tide isn’t quite in far enough and the gates are closed. She’ll have to wait until they open but for some reason she’s decided to wait outside.

kiddies play area open air bar place godal granville manche normandy france eric hallAt last I could push on down the road and down the Rampe du Monte Regret.

And there seem to have been a few changes there too. Everyone is preparing for the summer and as there’s no Nuit des Soudeurs this year, it looks as if they are installing a kiddies’ open air play area of some description with a little casual café.

People won’t be travelling on holiday this year of course so we’ve seen all kinds of preparations being undertaken to make sure that people enjoy their holidays at home.

delivering beach cabins place general de gaulle granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd on that subject, I’ve no idea what’s going on here.

These look pretty much to me like the beach cabins that we’ve seen them installing on the Plat Gousset just now, but I’m wondering what on earth they are doing unloading in the middle of the town centre here in the Place General de Gaulle.

All will be revealed in due course, I imagine. I see that the route of my Sunday perambulation is already panning itself out without me having to sit and think about it.

Up at LIDL I spent a lot of money but without anything substantial to show for it. A pile of bin liners was one thing, but the principal expenditure was on olive oil. I always cook with olive oil and I’m getting rather low, and today they had two-litre bottles at a ludicrous price. So one of them found its way into my shopping bag.

On the way back I went to the Tax Office to deliver my letter. It’s closed one day a week and regular readers of this rubbish will recall, having followed my exploits around the world often enough, which day of the week it’s going to be.

So I slipped it into the letterbox and headed back towards home.

Thursday is the day for a little treat. Calling at La Mie Caline, I picked up my dejeunette for lunch. I know that I bake my own bread these days but it’s still nice to have something different.

roofing place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallPushing on I went via the Rue Paul Poirier to see if I could see the roofing works in thr Place Marechal Foch from a different angle.

And from here, there’s a completely different perspective on what they are doing up there. It’s quite a big roof, that much is evident, and it must have been something of an effort to put the scaffolding up in the gap between the two wings.

But on the fork-lift trucks they have a hod of slates so they are clearly pressing on with the job and it won’t be long before they will finish it.

normandy trader unloading port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallUp the hill in the rue des Juifs, I could see Normandy Trader at her berth.

They are cracking on with the unloading and with Thora awaiting her turn they aren’t going to be long in turning her round ready to leave port.

So I pushed on back home to sort out the shopping. There wasn’t any more excitement on the way back which was a shame.

Having gathered up my strength I went to have a look at Week 3 of my Accountancy course. There are actually 38 modules in this week’s session which makes this “four hours of study per week” look a bit ridiculous.

But by the time that 15:30 came round, I’d done 21 of them, and that was despite a stop for lunch.

At 15:30 though, just as I was planning to leave for my afternoon walk, Rosemary called me up. We ended up having a lengthy chat – to such an extent that it was after 17:00 when I was ready to go for my afternoon perambulation.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd just for a change, it was pouring down outside. and I can’t say that we didn’t need it. All of the grass here is scorched dark brown and needs a really good soaking.

Dressed in my raincoat I was fine and I could watch in comfort yet another nautical danse macabre as a fishing boat sailed into the bay just here, performed an exquisite U-turn and sailed back out again.

If you look at the photo, you can see its wake quite clearly. But the point of it quite clearly beats me.

fisherman peche à pied pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThe weather might be bad for some people but others are taking full advantage of it right now.

Here’s someone down there dressed in the right gear and fishing off the rocks. I’m not quite sure what he might catch down there, apart from pleurisy, but it did remind me of the old guy who once told me that having sex these days was very much like fishing.
“Why is that?” I asked
“Well” he replied, “these days you get your rod out and you never know what you are going to catch”

fishing boats trawler chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn that note I strolled off around the headland and down along the path on the other side of the promontory.

That route takes me above the chantier navale where I can look down and see what’s going on down there. And today we have another occupant. A large fishing boat has come in to join the others.

And only just come in too by the looks of things. The crew are still down there with her giving her a good hose down. Not that she’ll need much in this weather.

repairing roof rue du port granville manche normandy france eric hallA rhythmic tapping from further down the Boulevard Vaufleury told me that the roofing work down below in the rue du Port was still going on.

Not that I would want to be working on a roof in weather like this, but the answer to that is that with no roof on the building in a rainstorm you are going to get wet anyway so it doesn’t make much difference.

Talking of getting wet, standing here watching the workers on the roof was having that effect on me so I came on back home. There was my hour on the guitars to occupy my time.

After the session on the guitar I would normally go for tea but I wasn’t feeling hungry at all so I caught up with a few little bits and pieces, only to develop a raging hunger round about 20:30.

What’s going on here?

Anyway it was far too late to worry about food now with so much to do – like going for a run.

A few biscuits filled a little hole and then I set off into the rain again. Up the hill a little easier than it has been just now, which reminded me that my climb up the hill to LIDL had passed without the slightest hint of drama.

Having recovered my breath I ran on down to the clifftop past the itinerant who was sheltering under a plastic sheet. And that’s what I don’t understand. All of the World War II bunkers of the Atlantic Wall and the couple of stone buildings from the 18th Century fortress in which he could be sheltering, all of which are out of the rain and all a mere cockstride from here, and he’s sheltering under a plastic sheet under a hedge.

trawler baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was nothing much happening out to sea so I carried on walking around the headland to the other side of the promontory.

It must be getting close to gate-opening time, I reckon, because the fishing boats were starting to head for the port. 105 minutes before High Tide, so I’ve been told, that the gates open and it’s not so very far off that right now.

But no seagulls hanging around the boats tonight. Probably the rainstorm is proving to be too much for them too and they’ve gone off to seek shelter elsewhere.

baie de mont st michel fishing boats queueing outside port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe next stage of my run takes me down past the chantier navale and down to the end of the path where I always stop for breath.

And I was right about the harbour gates being on the point of opening because just look at all of the fishing boats here. And that’s not by any means all of them either. There were another three or four out of shot behind the harbour wall, not to mention those still out at sea.

But the gate didn’t open while I was there so I carried on with my run.

boats new pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAll the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury, around the corner and up to the second pedestrian crossing. But once more I ended up a good 20 oe so metres beyond it.

Back down at the harbour I had a look at to see what was going, accompanied by someone else who was taking a few photos of the place. What caught my eye were the couple of little boats that were moored against the new pontoons in the shadow of the larger boats.

But what I was trying to understand was why they would want a ladder at the end of the pontoon going down into the water. That’s another mystery to me.

young boy fishing peche à pied plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe fifth stage of my run takes me now all the way to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord where we usually see the sunset. But not this evening of course. Not in this weather.

No picnickers out there either tonight which is no surprise either, but we did have some more fishermen doing their stuff. One of them was a young boy whom I watched scrambling over the rocks until he foud a good position to cast his line.

Once he’s put his hook in the water I ran on back home to write up my notes.

So later than I anticipated I’m off to bed now. No idea who I’ll be meeting during the night but I hope that it’s someone interesting and exciting. After all, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

Tomorrow I’m going to finally get to grips with my music course and spend the day learning blues piano. It’s free so I may as well make the most of it.

Friday 5th June 2020 – I HAD A …

joly france baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… better day today (not that it could have been much worse of course).

So while you admire the photos of Joly France fighting her way out of harbour into the howling gale and the seagull that photobombed me while I was doing it, I’ll tell you all about it.

First of all, it goes without saying that when I crashed out yesterday evening, I switched off the alarms with the intention of sleeping until I awoke.

And that was until all of about 00:30

seagull photobomb joly france baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france eric hallThe first task when I awoke was to deal with the notes and the photos from yesterday.

That took me up until about 03:00 because there was other stuff to deal with too, like the notes of a voyage or two that I’d travelled. And then I went back to bed.

While I was in bed I was off on a couple of mega-voyages, and I dunno why I always seem to have the most interesting trips when I’m not feeling too well.

And some of the stuff I can’t recount because I bet that you are having your tea right now and you certainly wouldn’t thank me for spoiling it for you.

joly france baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour granville manche normandy france eric hallWe were at the radio last night working and I was asking about something or other to be done. They said that they had this new reporter in, which annoyed me rather. We were talking about a live concert that he had done of some singer, which I had dismissed as being nothing. But it turned out that it had had over a million listeners to the podcast and even I was impressed with that. It gave the whole place a new impetus. Everyone seemed to be much more excited and much more energetic. They had started working with a couple of new programs and we had been given some accounts so that we could use these new programs even if we didn’t know what they were all about. I started to think to myself “why the hell did I want to leave when I’m having such a good time with it now?” Even though we were swamped with work it was all going really well. I’d had this habit of getting stuff that I didn’t want to deal with, just putting it away and not even thinking about it. It was the pressure of that that had been getting to me. But I was actually working on a file and a couple of old pieces of post from January fell out. I looked at them and thought “why the hell did I file these anyway? What needs to be done is just so simple” so I sat down and made a start on dealing with these pieces which was only going to take me 5 minutes anyway.

joly france english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was also the question of the MoT servicing book – a big book, narrow and quite long and we wrote in all the details of the cars, what was being done on them and so on. I’d just finished one batch and I wondered if there was another book so I had to go outside to find the guy who was responsible. He told me “there’s plenty of room in there – you just aren’t looking properly”. I had a good look through and found that there was another batch of stuff in there, another batch of forms that I’d managed to miss

I must have awoken to dictate the notes of the above, and when I went back to sleep I went straight back into the dream in more or less the same place, walking to Nantwich past the Cedars and down Millstone (actually Birchin) Lane and ended up back at the place again. It seemed that I’d gone off last night and left all the drawers empty and all the spares open and I couldn’t find half the stuff. I realised that I had left them out lying everywhere. By this time we were very busy with people coming in and someone else was demonstrating a technique that he had used. He’d been looking for something in some other stores and they were going through a pile of this stuff and he’d actually found a modern-day use for a pile of stuff like on one occasion he’d made a stand for the vacuum cleaner using bits that were lying around and he showed us how he’d done it but he couldn’t undo it though because no-one had the correct screwdriver. It was strange just stepping back into that dream where I’d left off
One thing though was that I was smoking at some particular time and I don’t know why I’d started smoking. I’d burnt myself with a cigarette that I was holding so I went to stub it out thinking that this is a crazy thing to be doing anyway.
Later still We were on board a ship and there had been some kind of incident going on between a woman and a man and the man being given a big bill for his services. As a result the girl who ran the accounting office was not very pleased about it and she came to talk to me about it. Just after she finished there was a knock on my door and it was from one of my cabin friends from a nearby cabin wanting to know if I was ready to come down for breakfast. I had to search for my keys as usual then we set off out. He said what about the third guy who usually came with us that i didn’t particularly like. But there was a ribbon pinned to his door which said “lie in”. Obviously he was wanting a lie-in so we went downstairs. We were on about the 8th floor and the breakfast was on the 2nd or something. We got down to the 6th and there was a small breakfast being set out there and the woman seemed to think that we were from the party that was having the breakfast there. She told us to help ourselves. One of the girls with us went over and grabbed a glass of orange juice. I thought “I could always drink orange juice” so I went over to grab one but it turned out to be apple juice and there was only a mouthful in the beaker and there wasn’t any more in any of the jugs.

After all of that, what surprised me was the fact that with not having gone to bed until 03:00 and done all of that, I was wide awake again at 07:30. That was rather astonishing.

Mind you, that isn’t to say that I was out of bed by then. 08:30 was a much more realistic time to be out of bed.

It took a good while to type out all of my notes, as you can imagine. And I wasn’t feeling in the best of form either so it took even longer than it might have done.

No breakfast either – I still wasn’t feeling like eating anything.

For lunch though, I did try some food. While I had been searching around in the freezer the other day I had come across a pot of carrot and coconut soup. Today I defrosted that, warmed it up and ate it with the last of my home-made bread.

And to my surprise, it stayed down too.

What I’ve been doing for most of the day has been to finish off the radio project that i started. I’d dictated the text a couple of days ago but hadn’t edited it so that was the first job.

When that was finished, and the speech for my invited guest was included, I then had to edit into sections, find the pairs of tracks that I had coupled together, join everything up by using the sections of text to make a bridge between the different pairs.

That left some time over, so knock 30 seconds off that for the outro speech and then find a track of the right length that sounds like an outro track.

That track needs to be remixed to match the volume level of the rest of the programme, the speech needs to be written, recorded and edited, and then everything joined together.

It overran the hour by 5 seconds so I had to edit out 5 seconds from somewhere and then it could be saved.

fishing boat storm english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was a break of course, while I went out for my afternoon walk. Just because I’m feeling ill doesn’t mean that things have to stop.

It was a horrible day out there today. It had been raining quite heavily by the looks of things and there was a howling gale blowing too. This poor little fishing boat pulling its dinghy behind it was really struggling to fight its way back through the waves into port.

As I have said before … “and you’ll say again” – ed … my hat goes off to all of them out there in weather like this

donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me down to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord.

Nothing happening on the beach s you might expect. The wind had driven almost everyone back inside. And there was some kind of miserable grey sky down the coast that was causing a peculiar kind of light down at Donville-les-Bains.

And it hasn’t escaped my notice that they have put out all of the beach cabins down at Donville-les-Bains. They are really getting ready for summer down there.

marker buoys plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallMy attention had been drawn in the previous photo to a series of yellow buoys strectched out across the end of the beach so i went for a closer look.

No clear evidence what they are there for though. The only thing that I can think of is that they are a mark to indicate to people the limit beyond which they are not allowed to swim.

Mind you, I think that it will take more than that to stop anyone swimming further out. Barbed wire and machine guns would probably be more effective.

roofing place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk carried me on around the walls to the viewpoint that overlooks the Place Marechal Foch.

The roofing job down there has been going on for a while so I had another look to see where they were. And they seem to have finished what they were doing and the scaffolding has come down.

But there are still a few piles of slates and it looks as if the scaffolding is going up around the back of the building. So there’s more roofing to come, I reckon.

seagull chick egg rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk continued around the walls and into the Square Maurice Marland.

There was a young family there leaning on the walls admiring my favourite mummy seagull and I was talking about the babies when mummy suddenly stood up and went for a walk.

We could then see quite clearly that she seems to have one chick and there’s one egg there that has yet to hatch. So whether it will or not, that remains to be seen.

seagull chick rue des juifs granville manche normandy france eric hallHowever my particular mummy seems to be a little behind with her offspring.

On the next roof we had a mummy perched there watching her babies already stagger around taking their first steps.

She had two babies, but one of them had disappeared behind the chimney breast before I could prepare the camera. But the other one put on a little dance for me before flopping down exhausted on the nest, with a very proud mummy looking on.

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving watched the seagulls for long enough I wandered off an continued my little walk along the walls.

Down in the harbour I’d noticed a little funnel sticking up from the loading bay in the bocks and it didn’t look like Chausiais so I went to see who it was. And sure enough, Thora has braved the storms and gales to come into port.

And she didn’t hang about long either. Another quick turnround for when I went out later, she had gone off back to Jersey.

fishing boats on tow port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallA little earlier we’d seen a little fishing boat fighing its way through the waves as it pulled its dinghy in towards the port.

By the time that I had completed my circuit I was treated to some kind of exhibition of I’m not really sure what it was. I reckon that that’s the boat down there the front one, that we saw struggling through the storm and it seems to have two dinghies behind it.

But as to what the other boat is doing down there with it, I really don’t know.

Back here at the apartment I carried on with my work. It took until 20:00 to complete it, with no pause for the guitars and no food either. I wasn’t hungry and in any case I wanted to finish this exercise before the weekend and I’m glad that I did.

storm jersey english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallMy evening walk and runs was something of a disaster this evening.

One look at this photo will tell you why. There was a howling headwind blowing all the way down the Rue du Roc and it was difficult enough to walk, never mind run up there. And down on the clifftop I could see that Jersey, the ile de Chausey and the Brittany coast were taking a right pasting.

The storm was heading my way, and pretty quickly too. I didn’t think that this was the moment to be hanging about.

trawler pleasure boat chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFinally, I managed to break out into a run, the one along the top of the cliffs past the chantier navale.

And there’s been a change of occupant in there yet again. This time, one of the long-term resident trawler-type of fishing boats has gone back into the water, and its place taken by a little pleasure cruiser.

That’s a nice piece of kit, that boat, and I could see myself cruising around in a white cap in one of those. But I haven’t a clue where I could rustle up the dosh for it.

It reminds me of the guy in Crewe who sent his wife to Boots Corner in Crewe to earn some money for a new car. At the end of the first night she came back with £50 and 50p
“Who gave you the 50p?”he asked
“Why, all of them” she replied.
Yes, Crewe was a right dismal place to live and I’ve no idea how I stuck it for all that time.

My run down the Boulevard Vaufleury was interesting as a dog decided to try to have a little bit of fun.

After he limped off with a pain in his rear left leg, I turned on the owner and told him precisely what I thought of him. In good old colloquial French too, and left him in no two minds of what I thought. I didn’t spend 12 years working with a bunch of French-speaking drivers for nothing.

fishing boats pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving stopped for breath at my usual stop, I walked down to the viewpoint over the harbour to see what was happening.

Nothing very much except that the new pontoon is being put to very good use by the fishing boats that are congregating all around it.

From there I ran on back to the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord.

There was nothing happening out at sea this evening, apart from the storm, and as the tide was right in there were no picnickers. So I ran back home instead.

Later than I hoped, I’m off to bed. I’ll set an alarm, hope I’ll beat it, and then go to the shops. Not that I need much because I haven’t eaten anything for a few days.

At least, with keeping a note of how I feel, I know that I seem to be on the upward slope again and in a few days I’ll be back to normal – as if I ever was normal.

Last time this happened, in the USA in July, I lost 10kgs in weight. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could lose another 10kgs?

Tuesday 2nd June 2020 – I’VE NOT BEEN …

… feeling myself today.

“And quite right too” I hear you say.

But never mind that for a moment, I’m definitely sickening for something and I know that for definite because I’m off my food. Which, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is not something that happens every day.

The day didn’t really get off to a very good start today , as seems to be usual these days, I missed the third alarm. Only b a couple of minutes, but nevertheless …

The notes on the dictaphone from my night’s voyage were interesting too. There were two new people who had started work on the radio – a girl and an older guy. I’d had a listen to a piece of music on the girl’s site and I wasn’t very impressed with it but everyone’s taste is personal. Anyway I was in the queue to ge tmyself organised when these two came over the hill. They were talking and the guy was saying something about “there’s only one song on your web site and it’s the same one that i’ve got”. She was saying things like “well I’m very new” but she’s only just started, all this kind of thing. I said “I’m quite happy to help anyone with any kind of help that they need” but they just drifted past as if I hadn’t said a word. They ended up in the queue in front of me to have their work dealt with and they were going on about this being new and all of this kind of thing. Then it was my turn so I gave me name and asked if there were any special instructions for me. he was looking down the list to see whether there was anything. I was going to say that if anyone like these two people needed a hand to get themselves started I would be quite happy to do it but instead I ended up dictating the notes of the journey.

But looking back, how long is it … ” that’s a rather personal question” – ed … since I’ve had some pleasant company with me on a nocturnal voyage? It must be an age – or, at least, it feels like it.

After breakfast I made a start on updating the journal entry for Sunday – the one that I had left hanging in the air. And by the time I knocked off for the evening I’d actually finished it.

However, there was a whole variety of interruptions today – tidying up being not the least of them. If I go video-conferencing, I need to have the place looking quite nice.

Terry came round too. he had an appointment in town and so came for the hat that Liz had left here the other day. And, furthermore, and even more importantly, he brought me a fresh supply of home-made cake from Liz.

So that’s one crisis solved.

At 11:00 I had my Welsh lesson on the internet. That meant doing quite a bit of preparation too, which was not easy because I don’t have the course book. In the end the tutor sent me a *.pdf version which was very nice of her

A few important things had come up during the lesson that needed attention so I had to organise those, and that meant once more a very late lunch.

emptying recycling point place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was another really gorgeous afternoon and so I decided once more to take my sandwiches outside and sit on my wall overlooking the harbour.

Not that I managed to go very far at first. In fact I came to a shuddering halt at the front door of the building. Regular readers of this rubbish will know about the underground refuse system here in the town and we’ve seen one or two lorries emptying them

But we’ve never seen a lorry this close with this much detail. Just look at how big these subterranean containers are.

fishing boat zodiac port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallDown at the wall, I was there all on ly own today. Everyone is either back at school or back at work and I was late as well.

But there was an awful lot going on in the harbour today. I’m not sure at all what was happening here but we had one of the smaller fishing boats tied up at the fish processing plant and there were a couple of people in a zodiac-type of boat inspecting it.

Mind you, in that depth of water they didn’t need a zodiac to go out there. They could quite easily have walked.

fishing boats zodiac port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMind you it didn’t stay there long.

Into the port came another one of the shell-fishing boats, a rather larger version. Our zodiac was clearly in the way so it set off and piddled off out of there

What that was all about, I really didn’t know because I couldn’t see at all what was going on.

normandy trader chausiais port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt was pretty busy in the inner harbour too, and there was a queue of boats waiting at the crane for unloading.

In pole position for loading and unloading is our old friend Chausiais, looking as if she’s making ready to set off with a cargo for the Ile de Chausey. And behind her awaiting her turn – or maybe having already had hers and waiting for the harbour gates to open, is Normandy Trader

She must have sneaked in on the morning tide when I wasn’t looking.

joly france baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallSomething else caught me rather by surprise too.

There I was, sitting there quietly eating my butties when suddenly a horn went off around the corner, that almost made me drop my book.

Of course, the tides are almost half an hour later every day, so it’s round about now that Joly France would be coming back from the morning ferry out to the Ile de Chausey.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd you can tell that the tide has only just started coming in.

The smaller boats with a shallow draught can pass over the sandbar at the entrance quite easily but boats like Joly France have much more trouble and have to go all the way over to the eastern side of the harbour entrance.

The water that drains out of the inner harbour has scoured a deeper channel on that side and that gives the larger boats more depth to play with.

Even so, when we went out there A WHILE AGO we grounded out on the way back in.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBut Joly France didn’t hang around long. She dropped off one load of passengers, picked up another and headed back out to sea.

And as I watched her disappear, one of the medium-sized fishing boats came around the corner heading for port, presumably with a full load of shellfish ready to be unloaded at the fish processing plant.

She was travelling at a fair rate of knots too. At first I thought that she was a large speedboat of some description, making waves like that.

But better late than never – I came back inside and carried on with the work that I had to do. Choosing the music for a radio project was on the agenda this afternoon.

chausais fishing boats ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd I didn’t really have all that long to spend working because, with being rather late, it was time soon enough to go back out for my afternoon walk.

By now I reckoned that the harbour gates were well and truly opened because I have never ever seen so much nautical traffic just offshore as I have today

There were boats heading in all directions, and not just to and from the port either. This speedboat in the foreground was putting quite a spurt on heading along the coast towards Bréhal-Plage.

chausiais fishing boat english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd those ships and boats in the previous photo – I thought that I recognised one of them.

And I was right too. It’s Chausiais. The harbour gates are definitely open now, because she’s been able to leave the port and head off on her little trip to the Ile de Chausey.

One of these days I’d love to be able to see what she’s carrying but her holds are closed in and with covered hatches so it’s not that easy at all. But I suppose that it takes all sorts of cargo out there.

normandy trader yacht zodiac english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallOf course, if the harbour gates are open to let one boat out, they will be open to let everyone else out too.

And sure enough, out of the port right behind Chausias comes Normandy Trader off on her way back to the Channel Islands with another load of freight.

She’s an open freighter of course – a former car ferry by the looks of things, so it’s easy to see what she carries. But of course you can’t see anything at this distance.

normandy trader english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAs a small car ferry, she’s not really equipped to deal with the seas in the same way that a ship with a pointed bow would be.

And, for that matter, neither is Chausiais.

There’s quite a wind blowing out there and I had to take off my cap as I was walking around the headland. And the ships, with their less-than-conventional design were making rather heavy weather of the journey out to sea.

There was some beautiful spray flying around as Normandy Trader smashed her way through the waves. This photo has come out rather well, I reckon.

tai chi pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallSo that’s enough ships for the moment.

In the beautiful sunny sunshine I carried on with my afternoon walk around the headland and it was my turn to surprise some people. It looked as if they were practising Tai Chi, although I don’t think that you need yoga mats for that.

Anyway they must have seen me coming because as soon as I pointed the camera they folded up their mats and they too piddled off into the sunset as well.

It wasn’t my day, was it?

thora port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd what was quite amusing about this afternoon was that we seem to have had a tactical substitution of freighters in the harbour.

Chausiais and Normandy Trader may well have sailed out of the port on the afternoon tide, but the tide has also brought in with it another one of our old friends, Thora, also from the Channel islands.

And how I would have loved to have been at the harbour and watched her come in. There would have been an extremely interesting nautical danse macabre as all three boats were jostling for position in there.

yacht baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThe high winds have brought out a whole load of people and nautical craft as we have seen.

And you can tell just how windy it is out there, simply by looking at the sail on that yacht as it comes round the headland.

Look how much it’s billowing out. I bet that it’s pulling the boat along at a ferocious rate despite the load that it’s carrying. I can count at least 10 people on board and that’s quite a load for a boat like that.

But I bet that it’s exciting on there.

fork lift truck refrigerated lorries port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith all of the fishing boats out there, it’s no surprise that they are expecting a bumper load of fish and shellfish coming into the port today.

As a result there are three large artics, a smaller 17-tonne lorry and several other smaller refrigerated vehicles waiting at the fish-processing plant this afternoon

And the fork-lift truck – that has quite a load on it that’s goign to be deposited into the artic trailer over there. That’s a never-ending chain of product that will be stuck in there and the other vehicles.

There’s a really high turnover of product down there these days

home made apple pear purée cordial granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd talking of high turnover of product, I used the last of my apple purée this morning. Time to make some more.

Six apples, one and a half pears, some desiccated coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg all put on the boil and then left to simmer. And when it was ready, the liquid was drained off and bottled, the solids were put in the whizzer and whizzed into a purée.

Then a handful of raisins was added, and all of that was bottled too. Of course the bottles were sterilised by giving them a minute in the microwave with some warm water in there to spread the heat.

But it wasn’t all as easy as that. Our Welsh group has set up a communication group on the internet. A couple of us set it up and were testing it – to such an extent that I completely forgot about the fruit on the stove and instead of 45 minutes simmering, it had just about two hours.

That’s not a good idea.

By this time I wasn’t feeling too good, and I don’t know why. I hadn’t been able to concentrate all day and I’ve done none of my Accountancy or Music studies because of it.

And not only that, I’ve lost my appetite, and that’s the sign of a major relapse heading my way – no surprise seeing how many months (over 4 months in fact) since I’ve had my four-weekly cancer treatment.

harbour marker light kairon plage baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallSo no tea tonight, but I was determined to carry on with my running despite everything. So off I went, with all of my aches and pains and grouches.

Despite the wind, it was a beautiful evening and the colours were splendid. The big marker light on the rock just outside the harbour entrance, the sea, and the resort of Kairon-Plage in the background all came out really well

Surprisingly, after all of the excitement today, there wasn’t a boat to be seen anywhere at all in the baie de Mont St Michel. I wonder where they all went.

crowds picnicking beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAs fr me, i went off on my run all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury where one of my colleagues from the radio drove past and waved to me.

My run ended up at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord and I had a look over the wall to see how we were doing for picnickers tonight. And do you know what? After all of the excitement here over the last week or two there wasn’t even a one.

But not to worry. Because as I was musing over the situation, down the steps came a few young people carrying blankets and bags, and they began to settle themselves down in the evening sun.

beautiful sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd evening sun there was plenty of tonight.

We’ve had some good ones just recently but tonight was one of the best. But I didn’t hang around too long. I just stayed for a minute or two and then ran on back home.

Tonight I made a determmined effort to finish my notes even though I didn’t feel like it. And now I’m off to bed, rather later than I had hoped.

Here’s hoping that I feel a little better tomorrow because otherwise we’ll be heading for a tragedy again.

Monday 13th January 2020 – I’M NOT SURE …

… exactly what I’ve done, but whatever it is, I’ve done it good and proper!

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that US Granvillais, the local football team, have drawn Olympique de Marseille, one of the biggest clubs in French football, in the French Cup on Friday night.

There’s a Press Conference at the ground tomorrow at 12:15 and all of the giants of the Press will be there – TF1, Eurosport, all of these, and … errr … Yours Truly. Following my efforts on the bus to Versailles the other day, I’ve been issued with a Press Pass for the club and I’ve been invited along to cover the Press Conference on behalf of OUR LITTLE RADIO STATION

All that I hope for is that I can walk the walk as well as I can talk the talk.

And talking of talking the talk, my radio programme covering the coach trip and the supporters will be BROADCAST TOMORROW 17:00 CET, OR 16:00 UK TIME OR 11:00 TORONTO TIME. Don’t miss it!

Just for a change these days I was up and about prior to the third alarm going off. An attack on the medication and then a look at the dictaphone, which once again is bearing a remarkable resemblance to my bank account or Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.

After breakfast I carried on with another whack at this translation and that’s another while done and out of the way. There’s still well over half left though but that will have to wait as it’s now time for a shower.

marite normandy trader la grande ancre port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter the shower I went and headed off up town.

As usual, I had a butcher’s over the wall down into the harbour to see what was going on and, as usual, it was quite busy down there. We have Marité of course – she wont be going anywhere until the summer – but she’s been joined by La Grande Ancre and Normandy Trader.

The latter must have crept in on the morning tide and even as we speak they are busy unloading her.

road works place semard granville manche normandy france eric hallUp at the roundabout at Place Semard the Christmas Tree has gone, but there are also these signs here talling us that the rue Paul Poirier is undergoing work.

That’s not a street that I used this morning to come this way so I don’t know why or what’s going on but I’ll have a look when I go back.

And I did, and they were taking down the Christmas lights

cement conveyor av aristide briand granville manche normandy france eric hallNow this is something extremely interesting and I don’t know why the photo hasn’t come out very well.

It’s actually a cement conveyor and the guy who was attending it was mixing cement in a cement mixer and tipping it into the conveyor, which was then taking it off and over the top of those steps there.

Obviously it’s cheaper than employing a labourer to carry it in buckets.

cable laying av aristide briand granville manche normandy france eric hallMore good news from the avenue Aristide Briand.

This looks like loads and loads of black cable, and that can only be one kind of cable as far as I can see. Maybe now they are finally laying the fibre-optic cables.

And I like the cable roller too at the edge of the manhole. That’s a superb little thing.

So I made it to the radio meeting at the Centre Agora where they enthused over our VISIT TO DONVILLE-LES-BAINS. I’m glad that they liked it.

And it was here that I learned of my good fortune.

We discussed several other projects too and they may well be seeing the light of day in due course. We’ll have to see.

Another thing that I did was to hand over the present that I had picked up last week

moulin a cafe electrique lidl granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I went off to LIDL to do some shopping.

And here’s a thing. Now if only anyone around here were to sell any electric coffee I would be set up for life. But I’m surprised that they are selling a “grinder for electric coffee” rather than an “electric grinder for coffee”. I suppose that it’s something to do with poor translation into Chinese.

Having remembered the present I found that I had forgotten my shopping bag. The paper one that they gave me didn’t last a second so I had to buy another one to add to the several that are lying around here.

Having picked up my dejeunette at La Mie Caline I came home. It was already lunchtime by now so I had lunch straight away.

This afternoon, what with this Press Conference tomorrow, I had plenty of things to do that kept me really busy. Nevertheless, I found some time to do some more on this translation and now I’m almost at half-way.

And it’s not going to be finished for a while either because there’s this football thing to do. It’s pretty “current” so I’ll have to get cracking with that pretty smartly.

pecheurs à pied pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWe had the afternoon walk around the headland of course in the sunshine.

There were plenty of us out there today, including some very intrepid pecheurs à pied down there on the rocks at the Cap Lihou But they had better be careful. I’ve read somewhere that some of the shellfish is contaminated again right now.

But whatever they catch, I hope that they share them out with their friends. After all, one mustn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

dredging out ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd as I rounded the headland I found out why Chausiais and Joly France have gone back into the inner harbour.

There’s a digger on the extreme left of the image and a couple of huge dumper lorries down there. They are dredging out the bed of the harbour round at the ferry terminal – presumably to increase the operating times of the ferries

And there’s a guy in a high-visibility jacket down there further into the harbour. I wonder what he’s after.

ripping up abandoned railway port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe view from on top of the cliffs is pretty good.

From here I can see all the way down the rue du Port and have a good idea of how they are progressing with these improvements to the car parking which, unfortunately, means ripping up the railway lines

They are making good progress (which is a change) so I don’t imagine that they will be long in doing it.

But what you can’t see in that photo is Normandy Trader. In probably the quickest turn-round that I’ve seen, she’s cleared off home already. I’ve not seen anything that quick before.

Back here I went to carry on with stuff but I ended up … errr … having a relax, something that is annoying me intently.

With pushing on though, I had no tea tonight. I grabbed a few biscuits and worked on

trawler english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was still time to fit in my evening walk though, even if the wind outside was thoroughly wicked.

There was a trawler out there battling its way through the heavy seas and as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … my hat comes off to all of those out there in this kind of weather.

It was totally impossible to have my usual run as the headwind was pushing me backwards. However, not to be outdone, I had noticed that the north side of the walls was sheltered from the wind so I went round there.

Even though it was pitch-black and I couldn’t see where I was going, I managed a good few hundred metres down there just to keep up the pressure.

It’s now almost 01:30 and I’m just about to finish my notes. There’s still plenty of preparation to do for tomorrow but that will have to be done tomorrow too.

4:30 sleep tonight if I’m lucky. Just like old times, isn’t it?