Tag Archives: Paul_H

Sunday 20th March 2022 – WHILE I’VE BEEN …

people on footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… basking in glorious sunshine out on my rock this afternoon, other people have been suffering.

Alison sent me a lovely video to show me that the region of Leuven in Belgium was hit by a snowstorm this morning. It didn’t last long apparently, but a snowstorm it was nevertheless.

And back here, while I turned off the heating and even had the windows in the living room opened this afternoon, everything is closed and the heating is back on again. It looks as if the brief glimpse of an early summer that we have been having has now ended.

But I bet that we won’t be seeing snow though.

Last night I saw quite a lot of my bed. 00:30 when I finally retired for the night, and it was 10:30 when I finally crawled out of bed.

But I didn’t have much sleep though. There are tons of stuff on the dictaphone and to my dismay I could only decipher less than half of it. Much less in fact. apparently the settings on this new machine are different from the old one that I had.

That’ll teach me to check the manual … “PERSONual” – ed … next time .

After the medication I came back in here to do my best to find out where I’d been during the night. I was with a former friend of mine last night out somewhere in the countryside and there were these two Harley Davidson motorbikes being chased down the road by a bulldozer. When they went past, when they came to a tight corner one of them fell off on the bend

There was also a big meeting taking place of a group of people. It might have been the students’ union, I dunno. It was taking place in a big sports centre somewhere outside a town. It might have been in the Netherlands or Flemish Belgium. At the town where Iw as, I was on a bus that was going to where the Sports Centre was. There was a couple of people on there and we were all speaking to the driver. She was telling us that she was shortly leaving her job and going off touring around New Zealand. I was talking about Canada and the pick-up that I had out there. In the end I was the only one left on the bus and we came to the Sports Centre but she told me that she couldn’t drop me off there because it was on a bad bend so she took me on to the terminus and I had to walk back. I had Strawberry Moose with me. I walked into the hall and saw all kinds of people whom I knew but they didn’t want to talk to me and all moved away. I saw the group from Northern Europe who were all sitting there. One of my sisters was there too and I thought “what is she doing?”. I had to use the bathroom but it was filthy and disgusting and there wasn’t much toilet paper there but I had to go all the same. Someone else came in and shouted “I have a tape for you”. I replied “you’ll have to hang on to it for a minute”. He replied “no, it’s here”. I replied “I can’t come out and do anything right now”. he said that he would have to leave it. I asked him where he was leaving it and he replied “underneath your Bible” and that took me by surprise because I didn’t have a Bible.

With the tons of stuff that I have yet to decipher, nevertheless a connection of Zero put in an appearance. If he was there, it probably means that she wasn’t far behind and so I’m picturing a night of unbridled passion with Zero, TOTGA, Castor and several other young ladies from the dim and distant past putting in all kinds of appearances during the night and I will never ever find out anything about it.

Just my luck.

There was enough time before brunch to sort out the music for one of the radio programmes that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. The joins didn’t work out as well as they have been doing just recently but that’s due to the fact that the tracks are all completely different from each other and there’s no natural flow.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After lunch I went out for a very early afternoon walk, for reasons which will become apparent in due course.

First stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I could look down onto the beach.

And see the crowds of people who were milling around down there. As you saw in the photo of the path along the clifftop, people were out in droves today taking advantage of the really nice weather.

No-one out at sea, as far as I could see. The haze that we had yesterday had lifted somewhat – only somewhat. The Ile de Chausey was quite clearly visible but there wasn’t much to see beyond that kind of range.

diagonal window in house rue du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Having strolled down the path to the lighthouse and having looked back down the path to see the crowds, this house in the Rue du Roc caught my eye.

We have seen this house before and I’ve probably photographed it too but it’s still quite interesting. Most builders and designers seem to lack any imagination but whoever designed this house had plenty to spare

If people are going to put windows in gable ends, they usually make them perpendicular in either the vertical or the horizontal plane, but to see a window in the diagonal to match the pitch of the roof and the pitch of the roof of the neighbouring house is certainly different.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Being out for my afternoon walk so early, the tide was well out, as you saw earlier.

And that means that the practitioners of the pèche à pied are finding that the water level is now below the parts of the beach and rocks that are leased commercially. Consequently it’s a free-for-all for everyone down there this afternoon.

And there were the crowds too out there on the rocks looking for the oysters, lobsters, eels and other delicacies. And I hope that they share them with their friends and neighbours because as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … one mustn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

people cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As well as the pècheurs à pied, we also had interested spectators too.

Down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban we had a couple of people sitting down and watching the fishermen and women at their work. But they had obviously heard all about me because as soon as I pointed the camera down there, they stood up to leave.

And so I left them to it too and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there this afternoon.

pecheur de lys chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And the short answer was “nothing”. There had been no change whatever of any importance or significance in the outer harbour since yesterday.

Everything was exactly as it had been, including the old wooden Pecheur de Lys, who hasn’t moved for a considerable period of time.

We saw her in the water for a short while a couple of years ago after a brief overhaul on the blocks in the chantier naval, but that was about it. She was only afloat for a couple of days and then she was hauled back in and that was that.

With nothing else changed in the inner harbour I hurried on back home because there was something important going on that I didn’t want to miss – hence my early afternoon walk.

On Friday evening we saw the first Welsh Cup semi-final between Y Bala and Penybont. This afternoon it was the second semi-final between TNS and Colwyn Bay.

TNS are runaway leaders of the Welsh Premier League, having already won the Championship, and Colwyn Bay are in fourth place in the second tier so the result was pretty much a foregone conclusion.

However TNS were made to work hard for their victory and the goal that they scored to win the tie was the type that you only ever score when lady luck is shining on you. A corner swerved in, hit the post, bounced out about a foot, hit a TNS attacker in the face and rebounded into the net. And he knew nothing at all about it.

It might have been a different story too if the referee had awarded Colwyn Bay a penalty when Connor Roberts in the TNS goal wrestled an attacking Colwyn Bay attacker to the ground after the ball had been played.

During the football match I found to my surprise that I was drifting off to sleep and when the game finished, rather depressingly I dropped off to sleep more-or-less straight away. And for a good half-hour too

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Having taken out a lump of dough out of the freezer immediately after lunch, it was now defrosted so I kneaded it and rolled it out.

After it had proofed I assembled the pizza. I remembered the olives this evening too. and then it went into the oven to bake.

It turned out to be one of the best pizzas that I have ever made as well. This last few that I have made seem to have worked out quite well and I wish that my technique for the rest of my baking activities would develop like this.

Anyway now that tea and the washing up is over and I’ve had a spell on the guitar too today, I’m going to bed. It’s an early start tomorrow as I have a radio show to prepare and I hope that now that I’ve set up the new dictaphone in accordance with the instructions, I’ll be able to listen to where I go during the night.

Fancy going on all of those voyages last night and hardly understanding anything at all of what I was up to.

Monday 14th March 2022 – THERE HAS BEEN …

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… some rather bad news about the fire in the house in the Rue du Midi on Saturday evening.

Yesterday evening, the firemen finally worked their way through the rubble to the ground floor where they found the missing person. And as you might expect, they found him far too late to be of any use.

It’s a rather sombre note on which to start today’s journal entry, but I suppose that there are times when sombre notes will creep in to everything at some time or other. There but for the grace of God go we.

Wherever I went on my travels last night is something else completely. For the first time since I don’t know when, one of my young ladies put in an appearance – Zero, as it happens.

And do you know what? I can’t remember why she was there or what we did.

How disappointing is that?

Anyway, I’m sure that you are all dying to know about where I went last night

I started off at a well-known square in Paris – I can’t remember which one – and it had some kind of weird fence and turnstile arrangements to control the flow of pedestrians but that’s all that I remember about this.

And later I was with Zero , for the first time for years, and her father last night and I can’t remember very much of what it actually involved (and isn’t that a disaster?) with them, but it led to me thinking about going to buy a motorbike so maybe I could take Zero around on the back of it. I went into a shop in Hungerford Road Crewe that used to be an old Co-op but was now selling motorbikes. They had a couple of Kawasaki 414 bikes in there for sale but they were more expensive than I was planning to pay although they looked quite nice. I thought that maybe something like that would be quite interesting. I had a good look around their shop but they didn’t really have very much at all. They had a few cars outside of course but it was the motorbikes that were interesting me more because I could go into Stoke on Trent on a motorbike, leave it to be serviced, overhauled and MoT’d while I was at work during the day, that kind of thing and probably Zero would enjoy going for a ride around on the back of a motorbike every now and again but there was nothing there that I liked.

There was something else as well. I was leaving work so I wandered off down the maze of corridors following the yellow arrows and yellow tape as I usually did. At one point I took a turn and found that the yellow arrow didn’t actually go that way which surprised me because I was pretty sure that it was the route that I took all the time I went back and followed the yellow arrow and suddenly found myself in a completely different security room. There was no way out. There were all kinds of security guys in there doing things. In the end I turned round and found another door that took me out. I could see that I was in a completely different place outside than where I would normally be when I was leaving the building. There were a few other people whom I knew around there as well so I went over for a chat and told them about the changes. They couldn’t understand what was happening either. Some girl came along and joined in. She was saying that she was now one of those people whose salary was a secret but she didn’t agree with that because it creates distrust amongst all the other employees. Someone else turned up with 3 daughters. She was talking to 2 daughters about giving their names to someone else and preparing for Christmas but for one daughter it was too late that they didn’t have any of what it was they didn’t have. They didn’t say. Then a couple of others turned up. One of them had had a dramatic cut in the salary that he was receiving as a Life Insurance broker so he was trying to chivvy up all of his friends and contacts to do something about increasing their insurance cover so he could receive a higher commission to offset his decrease in salary.

In fact, all told it was rather a bad night, and for many reasons too. I was tossing and turning around in bed for much of it and that’s guaranteed to set me off on the wrong foot.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 it was a struggle to leave the bed but I did manage – only just – to leave the bed before the second alarm.

The radio programme was the task for this morning and despite a couple of breaks for coffee, breakfast and so on, by 10:45 it was finished. And in a major departure from usual procedure, I’ve reused a song that I first used 18 months ago, simply for the reason that it seemed to fit so well with what I was doing.

“I have been around the world looking for that woman-girl who knows love can endure. And it always will”. And in my case, it endured for all of three days, didn’t it?

There were several phone calls – some of them long-distance – that I had to make and that took me all the way up to lunchtime. And the net result of all of those phone calls was … errr … nothing.

After lunch I had a shower, set the washing machine off on its cycle (a clever washing machine, mine) and then went out for my physiotherapy session.

chant de sirenes joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Of course, the first port of call when I’m on my way to town is to check the camera at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where the viewpoint overlooks the Fish Processing Plant.

The tide is on its way in right now – not far enough for the gates to open to let the larger boats into the inner harbour, but far enough for the boats with a lighter draught to pull up at the quay here to unload.

The Chante des Sirènes is easily identifiable with its mermaid painted on the side in a kind of green stripe.

Moored up at the ferry terminal in the background are Belle France and one of the Joly France boats.

repairing roof rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down in the town I walked along the Rue Lecampion towards the centre.

There’s something going on with the roof of one of the houses here. There’s a cherry-picker and a couple of guys doing something with the roof and a scaffolding.

Leaving them to it, I wandered off up the road and to the physiotherapist. And I don’t know why, but I haven’t climbed up the Rue Couraye as easily as I did this afternoon for quite a long time.

The physiotherapist had me on the couch and massaged my knee with her machine, and then had me doing some exercises.

And to my surprise, it was my left knee, not my right knee, that was hurting by the time that I had finished.

On my way home I called in at the Carrefour to buy something to drink. I had a thirst that you could photograph.

cable laying rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the town centre we had some more excitement.

There were some guys laying a cable in the duct under the street. The had the manhole cover up and had surrounded the hole with cones. And so an elderly woman in a black car drove over the cover and almost ended up in the hole.

And then she had the nerve to bawl out the crew. Some people really are unbelievable. I shan’t repeat on here what the crew replied to the woman. My journal is intended for all of the family, not just the over-18s.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Another thing that noticed was that the kiddies’ roundabout has now gone.

The carnival season is now over here and all of the fairground rides have packed up and gone off to their next engagement wherever that might be and we’ll be back with peace and quiet again until Easter when there will be more crowds descending on the town.

Bringing more cases of the virus with them, no doubt. This kind of thing really depresses me, especially as I don’t have the means to fight it.

fire engines rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I was up in the Rue des Juifs on my way into town the fire brigade was still there clearing up.

While I was in the town centre, they came through presumably on their way back to base. And it was extremely interesting watching them trying their best to negotiate the hole in the road.

And once they had gone, it was the turn of the school buses and that was even more interesting. The manhole covers and several cones took a right battering and there was what can best be described as “a frank exchange of views” between the drivers and the cabling crew.

repair facade rue georges clemenceau Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While all of that was going on, I left them to it and wandered off down the Rue Paul Poirier.

The other day we saw them with a scaffolding outside one of the buildings in the Rue Georges Clemenceau and it had been intriguing me as to what they might be doing.

When I’d seen the carpenter’s van outside, I imagined that it might have been a roofing job but it actually looks as if they are working on the facade of the building. It could do with a good rendering and a new coat of paint.

ch933900 carteret port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In the earlier photo of the boats in the harbour, I don’t know if you noticed a fishing boat that we haven’t seen before.

She was moored in the inner harbour with her crew working on the nets when I came back, and I could see her registration number from here.

It’s CH933900 – a number from this coast – and it’s so new that it’s not in the register that I have. But I was able to track her down from “other sources” and she’s called Carteret. She sails out of … errr … Barneville-Carteret.

She’s only 9 months old apparently and was built to replace a previous boat that was destroyed in a fire.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back, I could have a closer look at the burnt-out house now that the fire engines and the crowds have gone.

It’s not just the house and the one to the right of it that have been affected, the one to the left has been badly-affected too. You can see that much of the roof there has been burnt away too.

This is an appalling thing to have happened. Apart from the loss of life which is a tragedy, the loss and damage is considerable and there are many people in these three houses who have been badly affected.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went home, I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

The tide is now well in and there’s not much beach down there to be on. It’s no surprise that I couldn’t see anyone wandering about.

As I was looking down there, one of my neighbours pulled up in her car. She’s had some bad news from her doctor about her health and she told me all about it. Of course I sympathised, but there isn’t much that I could do.

Back here I made a coffee, hung out the washing and then came here to spend an hour on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019.

Talking about that, it made me all nostalgic and it reminded me of a poem about which Alison and I had chatted the other day

“Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?


That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again. “

Poetry at school was mainly awful with all of these depressing war poets and all of that. The only bright spark amongst all of that which we learnt was A E Housman and “A Shropshire Lad” is one of my favourite works.

Had I been born 5 miles away from my actual place of birth, I would have been a Shropshire Lad myself.

But seriously, when Housman said “The happy highways where I went and cannot come again. “, I don’t think that he had Covid and World War in mind. We won’t be going anywhere for a while yet.

In another mad fit of excitement I took out about half a ton of paper to the waste bin and then spent half an hour playing guitar. The first time that I enjoyed myself with the guitar since the summer. These pills must be working somehow.

Tea was a curry of leftovers and then I had to fight the good fight on the Internet. A discussion group of which I’m a member has become a very contentious place since War broke out and the Moderator was overwhelmed. She called for another volunteer and so I responded.

And tonight I’ve been dealing with a flame war – just like the “Good Old Days” on “First Class” – pulling warring factions apart, sending a couple of people to the naughty corner and … errr … “saying goodbye” to a couple of them. I’m surprised that I had time to write up my notes.

But now that they are done, much later than usual, I’m off to bed. I’ve a Welsh lesson tomorrow and I need to be on form.

Sunday 16th January 2022 – NO WONDER …

… that I’m exhausted. I must have travelled miles during the night.

One of these days they’ll invent an ethereal fitbit that will track my travels when I’m off on my nocturnal voyages and I bet that the distances that I travel will be interesting.

Anyway, last night I had a very disturbed night (as you will discover as you read on) and despite being awake on several occasions at some kind of ridiculous hour, there was no danger whatever of my leaving my stinking pit until I was good and ready – which was about 10:15 this morning.

After the medication I had to download a few files off the portable computer that I take with me to Leuven, and then I could pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. They went together quite well too, but not as well as they did a couple of weeks ago.

For a few hours afterwards I had a little laze about not doing too much, except for having my brunch. Porridge and thick slices of toast with strong black coffee.

Round about 15:00 I wandered into the kitchen and made a big load of pizza dough, seeing as I’d run out. And I do have to say that for some reason that I can’t understand, it turned out to be one of the nicest doughs that I have made.

Nice and soft and smooth and silky.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022having put the dough on the side in order to rise, I went off for my post-prandial perambulation around the promontory.

First port of call quite obviously was the beach to see what was happening down there today. It’s been a good few days since I stuck my head over the parapet.

Plenty of beach this afternoon but there wasn’t anyone down there on it, although I did notice a couple of people walking down the steps from the Rue du Nord going off for an afternoon ramble.

And while I was at it, I was being photo-bombed by a seagull on its way out to sea.

rainstorm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While I was there, I was having a good look around out to sea to see if there was anything happening there.

There wasn’t a single boat that I could see out there this afternoon which was a surprise because it was actually quite a nice afternoon, for a change. And after the last few days of winter, it’s warmed up somewhat and now much more like March again.

But there was a rainstorm brewing out at sea in the bay. You can see it out there just offshore, obscuring the Ile de Chausey. Luckily there wasn’t very much wind to speak of this afternoon so there wasn’t very much danger of me being caught in it.

rainstorm sun on sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022This afternoon we were having yet more beautiful lighting effects. It’s one of the things that I like about this time of the year.

We were having another one of these really nice TORA TORA TORA light displays where the sun comes streaming through the gaps in the clouds.

And with the rainstorm that was going on out at sea it was producing some quite interesting effects. It was a shame that there were so few people out there watching it. There can’t have been more than a dozen or so people out there on the path up to the lighthouse this afternoon.

sun baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And out in the Baie de Mont St Michel things were even nicer.

As well as the TORA TORA TORA effect we had a spotlight or two illuminating the water as the sun shone brightly through a gap in the clouds.

The rainstorm in the distance was obscuring the Brittany coast but the sea was nice and bright there.

Wouldn’t it have been nice to have caught a yacht or a fishing boat sailing through the beams of light? But you can’t have everything of course.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022There actually were some people down there admiring the view as well.

Sitting down there by the cabanon vauban was someone on the bench watching the sunset. And someone further out sitting on the rocks at the end of the headland. It’s a shame that there weren’t any boats out there for us to see this afternoon.

But on another more depressing note, the way things are these days, we have to keep a lose eye on people sitting like that on the rocks. The events of mid-November are still etched quite firmly in my mind.

container pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But never mind that for the moment. There were things that were much more interesting going on that require some investigation.

The skip that’s down here on the headland gives us a clue, and my hat goes off to the driver who dropped it off here.

What is going on right now is concerning the group of people who are planning on opening a museum in one of the abandoned World War II bunkers. They have been given permission to go into another one of the closed-up bumkers and clear it out of 75 years-worth of debris and see what they can find.

pivot for cannon bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022and almost straight away, they uncovered something interesting.

This is the pivot of a field gun – either a 105mm or a 128mm quite likely, that would be used as coastal defence to protect the area from either an invasion landing or a commando raid.

Mind you, when the Germans launched a commando raid on Granville on 9th March 1945, whatever artillery was here in the bunker didn’t do much good to repel the attack.

And, I suppose, as they go further into the bunker, the more and more artefacts will be discovered.

interior of bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But at least they have cleaned the walls of the bunker we can actually see the markings that the Germans painted on the walls.

These are presumably unit identification marks, although I don’t know which units are being indicated.

What I’ll have to do is to have a wander around the area during working hours and hope that I can lay my hands on one of the people clearing out the bunker. The fact that the skip is still here seems to indicate that they will be back here using it at the beginning of next week at least.

And so I’ll make a mental note.

storm waves on sea wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022although I said that there was very little wind today, there must be something going on somewhere out at sea.

As I walked around the headland I could hear the sound of the waves smacking into the harbour wall so I was keen to see exactly what was going on. Consequently I pushed on along the path towards the post.

It wasn’t much of a show, unfortunately. The waves were more powerful that I was expecting in view of the weather conditions, but they weren’t producing anything spectacular when they crashed into the wall. There was plenty of noise but none of it to any great effect.

les bouchots de chausey unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, over at the fish-processing plant, there was plenty of activity going on.

Les Bouchots de Chausey, one of the little inshore shell-fishing boats, was in port this afternoon, working on a Sunday. And she must have had quite a good catch today.

She’s busy unloading her boxes of shellfish onto the trailer at the back of the tractor over there and you can tell from the amount on there that she’s had a profitable day.

A few weeks ago I encountered the tractor hauling the loaded trailer off through the town and out towards Donville les Bains. And one of these days I’ll follow her to find out where she goes.

gerlean chausiaise joly france chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022When I came back from Paris yesterday I could see that there was little change in the chantier naval.

As we can see, Gerlean is still in there. All on her own, too. No-one else has come in to join her while I was away.

Over at the ferry terminal however, we have the usual suspects over there. Chausiaise, the little freighter, is at the head of the queue and behind her is the older of the two Joly France boats – the one without the step in the stern.

ch638749 pescadore ch907879 l'arc en ciel ch898472 cap lihou l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back home I went to look at the boats moored in the inner harbour, not the least of the reasons being that L’Omerta was actually tied up for once at the pier.

We also had Pescadore, L’Arc-en-Ciel, Cap Lihou and a couple of other boats that I didn’t recognise tied up down there too.

And of course there were the two Channel Island Ferries, Victor Hugo and Granville, moored up in the background looking as if they aren’t ever going to move again.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then sat down to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night.

In the middle if the night I awoke as I was counting something and trying to write down these numbers with a pen but I couldn’t find a pen that worked. But I can’t remember now what it was that I was counting and I have no idea. It was like a table of numbers or something and this was just one particular row of these numbers but I can’t remember what they were for.

Later on there was a pile of girls, probably about 6 or 7 years of age having to stand in a line and talk about where they came from etc. One girl came from Africa but was a white girl said “Africa, yes, that’s me. That’s where I come from. That’s my home town” etc but I couldn’t help the feeling that this was being transferred over to me as well. I had ti edit the view of this concert because the ratio was wrong – something like 1.5:1 instead of 1.1. If I were to do that I would lose a lot of everything. I had to have the focusing right and the general screen capture size right in order to do it. And I’m impressed with the technical details and terms that I can spout when I’m asleep .

After that there was a girl aged about 10 or 11 or so in a swimsuit and bonnet. Suddenly she was attacked and killed. That cheered me up because it meant that there would be a place for me to go and live on an island so I put myself in the queue but there was someone there in charge, some fellow or person, who said “there are still too many people so the queue needs to be cut down by half” which meant that I wasn’t going to go this time. I would have to wait for something equally dramatic next time before I could go. And isn’t that all a totally gruesome idea?

Last night we were also prisoners of war in something like COLDITZ CASTLE in a high security room with a few of us in it. We tried to escape once but the guy in charge was not very good and not only had we all been recaptured before we’d even done anything he’d had some confidential papers captured too and he’d been shot although not seriously. We were there again and we tried to have another go at escaping. The idea was to lull this commandant person into a false sense of security then when one of his guards would go out to do something, we could overpower the reduced numbers and escape from the castle like Colditz. So one of the guards had to leave. As he pulled up the zip on his ski suit it passed a certain point that someone had indicated with a blue “X”. This meant that the escape was on. He went and someone pulled on the commandant a gun that he had hidden and gathered up quickly everything that they needed. Then it was a case of making the commandant unconscious so someone hit him with the barrel of the gun. It didn’t work so I hit him about 3 or 4 times but that still didn’t knock him unconscious so in the end someone else took over. We then set the room alight. Someone wasn’t happy about leaving the commandant there with this room alight. I replied that every time he flew over Germany he dropped one bomb that killed far more people than just one without any scruples whatsoever

Interestingly, later on we were all in this Prisoner of War camp in this high-security room with the commandant and a couple of the guards. We’d already tried to escape once but had been overpowered by weight of numbers and the guy in charge had been shot, not seriously. They captured all of our confidential papers and I tried to drum it in to the idea thatwe should keep all of the papers like that together so that they could be thrown into the fire early etc. In the end we made ourselves ready. One of the German guards was called away as we hoped leaving the commandant behind. When this guy’s zip was drawn up to a certain spot it was as if a blue “X” appeared on his zip when the two sides were drawn together. That was our signal so we overpowered the commandant and captured his papers etc and prepared to leave. We set fire to the room with some accelerant. Someone was upset about that. We should rescue the captain but I said that each bomb that they had dropped over German territory would kill far more people than just one and that they’d dropped that bomb without any scruples whatsoever. In the end they prepared to scramble down out of this building and this railway cutting on their way off. So what was happening there that I had an almost-identical dream twice I have no idea.

And then I had my house up for sale. There was a group of us round at my other place tidying it up because it was really dirty, building rubble and brick dust everywhere that I was trying to vacuum, not very successfully. My friend from Belfast grabbed hold of me and asked me what was going on about Luxembourg. I replied that they were worried that the whole world was going to be flooded with cheap labour from the Arab states. He asked what I propsed to do about it and I replied “put a tax on foreign workers”. He said that that wouldn’t go down very well with some people. I replied “never mind. It can’t be helped”. We had to keep checking the door to make sure that a girl I know from Luxembourg wasn’t overhearing. We came round to what we were going to do about the apartment that was for sale. Someone told me to be careful and not to accept the first offer I received. I replied “I’m well aware of that” and told them a few stories about apartments that had been sold. “I’m prepared to wait for the right moment” even if it meant leaving it empty or putting it down in ten, but I’d sell it”. Then we were all called together and had to collect our security passes. Helen’s security pass and Steve’s security pass, I’d been involved in the preparation of those and I still had the boxes in which their cards came so I had to be very careful to give the right number to the guy taking the details that whoever he looked at had, he would write down the right number, mine and not one of the other two’s, and that he wouldn’t duplicate the numbers and leave one of the cards out.

Finally there was something about a Land Rover. I was with a friend last night. We’d gone to see a van that I’d just bought – that he’d bought on my behalf. An LDV. We didn’t actually get to see the LDv – we were sidetracked as usual by a Land Rover that he owned. It was a diesel and we were taking about this diesel Land Rover. I mentioned that I owned a Minerva that brought a few smiles from around various people. In the end we ended up back at his wife’s. She was talking about his cars, saying that he had far too many and it was high time that he did a few things with one. Something came up about another Land Rover that he owned, how something had to be done with that so that the Land Rover that we had seen at someone else’s house could be brought home. he said something about going to fetch the van that I’d bought but I asked him “where are you going to park it?”. There was no room in his drive at all. he saw the wisdom in that and said that we can do that another time. By then the wife and I were out somewhere. We had Zero with us. We’d been driving around but I thought that we’d not been going the right way to get back to her house. Instead she took another way. We were waiting to turn right at a road junction but were there for hours, even with people passing on the right to go straight on. Eventually we reached this other house which was in total chaos worse than mine. She was telling these guys about her husband’s new Land Rover. Zero was there with these other kids, all playing with a huge pile of toys and everything. It just seemed to peter out at that particular moment, this story, which was rather a shame.

It’s no surprise that I was exhausted after all of this travelling about. And what a shame that the final voyage petered out just as it was becoming interesting.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But there was so much of it that I had to break off in the middle to go and deal with the dough.

It had risen beautifully so I split it into three batches. Two of them went into the freezer and the third one was rolled out and put in the pizza tray to proof for an hour or so while I carried on with “War and Peace”.

After the dough had risen nicely I assembled the pizza and put it in the oven to bake.

And when it was finished, it looked totally beautiful. And I do have to say that it tasted even better, even if I had forgotten to use the remaining half-pepper that I had brought out of the fridge.

So having written my notes, I’m off to bed. It’s a 06:00 start tomorrow as I have a radio programme to prepare. There’s the physio tomorrow afternoon too, so I need to be at my best.

But we’ll see how tomorrow unfolds, especially if I travel as far during the night as I did last night.

Tuesday 14th December 2021 – LOOK AT THIS!

christmas cake with icing place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Here’s my Christmas cake, all finished and almost ready to eat. And doesn’t it look nice?

The icing is a bit hit-and-miss unfortunately as I don’t have a proper palette knife to spread it. And the icing is a little too runny so it’s slowly sliding down to the bottom so every hour or so I have to scrape it back up again.

Maybe overnight it might set in which case it will be fine but let’s hope so.

All that I can say is that considering my first go at icing a large cake like this, I haven’t done too badly although I’m the first to admit that I have a lot to learn about baking a cake.

But in bed last night I wouldn’t have learnt anything because I spent much of the time trying all I could to drop off to sleep.

It must have worked at some point because I was off on my travels at one or two points. I’ve no idea what was happening at first but according to the dictaphone but I was definitely off on my travels with all kinds of animals and horrific things going on there for 10 minutes while I was asleep.

Later on, Matthew was giving a speech on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR last night. Apparently when it comes to unloading a zodiac it’s always the infirm people who leave first and leave the fit people behind so that they can have a better control of the boat and everything that’s going on. But it seemed that someone concealed their illness, let everyone else leave the boat first until there was just him and the driver. Then this guy couldn’t leave the boat – he wasn’t able to. There was only the driver to help him. While the driver was concentrating on dealing with this guy the zodiac was out of control and they risked losing the zodiac as well as the two people on it while all this was happening. He was not impressed at all and gave the audience what amounted to a real dressing down about this kind of behaviour. He insisted that the infirm people should leave the zodiac first and people should accept their responsibilities and accept their limitations and not put the whole party at risk.

Later on a former friend of mine and I were down in the Auvergne last night. We needed some product of something or other so we had to drive back to Stoke on Trent to fetch it. We took some stuff back with us with the idea that we could do some work on his house while we were there. We hadn’t heard anything from his wife so we did it anyway. He drove back and I was a passenger in this sports car thing. The arrangement was that I’d drive back to the Auvergne and he’d be passenger. It was very tiring of course and we had to set a route, like 3 hours for this bit which would normally take 2, etc. It took ages to get back and we arrived in Stoke on Trent and the first thing that we did was to fall into a bed fully clothed and went to sleep. Shortly afterwards, Zero of all people came in. She saw us both and got into bed with us, being very little-girly. She came and snuggled up to me so I snuggled up to her as well.

Yes, not very often at all that I’m lucky enough to snuggle up to Zero during the night, is it? Add to that the events of the other night when I was back at school and things are looking up.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wish that my daylight hours would be as exciting as what goes on during the night.

There was much more going on during the night too but as you are probably eating your meal right now I won’t put you off your food by talking to you about it.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages I sat down to revise my Welsh from last week. Only to find that I’d forgotten most of what I’d learnt. This teflon brain that I have is really getting on my nerves.

There weren’t too many of us in the lesson this morning, considering that it’s the last of the year. And to my surprise, it passed well enough. Revising and preparing an hour or so before the lesson seems to be a good idea.

christmas cake with marzipan place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021After lunch, I decided to marzipan the Christmas cake.

With no apricot jam I had to use blackcurrant jam but that seemed to work just fine. I warmed the marzipan in my hands, coated the worktop with flour and then rolled out the marzipan.

It was rolled out rather thin so I built it up with a couple of layers and given half a chance and more marzipan I would have made it thicker. It’s rather thinner than you might expect in a Christmas cake but as I have said earlier, I have a lot to learn.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to go out and about on my post-prandial perambulations.

First stop was over to the end of the car park to look down onto the beach to see what was going on down there. And seeing as there wasn’t all that much beach on which anything could be going on, I wasn’t expecting very much to be going on at all.

And consequently I wasn’t disappointed. There wasn’t anyone at all down there that I could see this afternoon. There didn’t even seem to be anyone walking around on the promenade at the Plat Gousset either.

philcathane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Mind yuo, there was something going on right out in the Baie de Granville.

From my vantage point on the cliffs I could see something moving in the raincloud out at sea so I photographed it with the aim of enhancing it when I’m back at home to see if I could find out who it might be.

The colour scheme gave me some kind of clue though. If I had to guess at this range I would have said that it may well be Philcathane.

Anyway, whoever she might be, she was the only thing out there that I could see moving around out at sea.

cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021And it wasn’t just out at sea or on the beach at the Rue du Nord that there was next-to-no activity.

Down at the bench by the Cabanon Vauban there wasn’t a soul either. There were one or two people wandering around on the path down below, but no-one stopping for a rest.

But then there was nothing happening out at sea here, there wasn’t a sunset of any description to admire and the Brittany coast round by Cancale was obscured by clouds. And so I pushed off along the path around to the other side of the headland.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Yesterday I posted a photo of the portable boat lift because it looked as if there had been something going on with it during the day.

So when I arrived at the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval I could see that they have been doing yet more work on it.

Yesterday it was in grey rust-proof primer but today it’s been painted again and now has its top-coat of a nice off-white. And it really does look nice painted like that.

It can’t be long now until it’s finished and we’re back at work down there. It’s been very quiet over the last couple of months around here with no boats under repair down there.

chant de sirenes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The last time that I looked, L’Omerta was tied up at the fish processing plant.

She’s not there today though. Moored in her place was one of the smaller trawlers – Chant de Sirenes – “Song of the Mermaids”.

It looks to me as if she’s either unloading her catch right now or loading up a pile of catch boxes because there are some men working in the stern of the boat and there are some others up on the quayside with a pile of boxes that are identical to those in the stern.

Why they are doing it from above I really don’t know. It’s much easier to load up the boat from the level down below.

philcathane baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I was turning for home I looked round, just in time to see the trawler that we had seen earlier come into harbour.

And there’s no need to do anything to the photo back at the apartment because we can see quite clearly who she is from here.

She is in fact Philcathane, coming back in from a day’s fishing out at sea.

And so I headed for home, surprising a couple of kids aged about 11 or 12 having a crafty cigarette behind a hedge as I walked past.

After a coffee I started to ice my Christmas cake and while it ought to be done better, I’m still reasonably pleased with what I’ve done.

Tea was a curry out of the freezer and now, rather later than intended, I’m off to bed. I’ve a 06:00 start in the morning so I need to make to most of what remains of the night.

Tuesday 16th November 2021 – LAST NIGHT WAS A …

… much better night, in that I actually managed to go to sleep.

Mind you, it was rather late when I went to bed. I was downloading something off the internet that took far, far longer than I expected and I ended up having to loiter around until it finished. I didn’t want to abandon the proceedings half-way through as I’d probably forget what I was doing.

There was nevertheless plenty of time for me to go for a wander around during the night. I was round at someone’s house. Zero was there with her father. He had a Volvo but an indicator was out and he couldn’t buy a bulb for it. I had a look at the list of bulbs and it was a current bulb so there was no reason why he couldn’t. We tried a couple of places but couldn’t get one. In the end even though I was going to be late for my bus back from Wheelock I practised by trying to wedge some kind of bulb in somehow. To my surprise it actually worked. I had to get all of my things together and when I went to open the car to take my bag out this large dog in the back tried to come out. I had to lecture this dog firmly to stay put to prepare all my things. I had to go down to the end of the road to catch the bus but it was late now. I has hoping that he would offer to run me back to Crewe and if he did would he bring Zero with him? That’s a few times now just recently that she’s put in an appearance during the night and I wonder why.

Some time later I was with some guy in a block of flats near the airport watching planes take off, chatting about the aeroplanes. Someone was saying that the last flying Caravelle goes over late at night from here. Of course I knew it and had been out to see it a couple of times at night. Just at that moment a light aeroplane flew past, a tiny thing. He came in to land but his approach was so steep. The guy said “he clipped the top of my balcony the other week doing this”. As he came into tland on the runway he was miles short because of his steep approach and hit a red and white Austin 1100 and was turned upside-down on his top wing. I leant over the balcony to look. The driver of this car ran over and went to look at the aeroplane. I shouted down “is everything OK?”. He shouted “no, phone for an ambulance. I picked up the phone and went to dial 999. By this time there were crowds of people all around this. I couldn’t hear a thing. They were all crowding me, all trying to find out what was happening. I was dialling 999 and I couldn’t hear anyone on the phone because of the noise. I had to push people out of the way and have them keep quiet. It was like a nightmare.

Leaving the bed at 07:30 was something of a struggle after all of this. I’ve felt much better even after 4 hours sleep than I did last night after 6.5 hours sleep.

After the medication I Had a look at my mails and messages and then set about revising my Welsh from last week (once I found my paper with the notes on it) and preparing the lesson for today but regrettably, I … errr … dozed off for 10 minutes instead.

The lesson itself passed quite well and I even managed not to fall asleep either. But regrettably I finished my last fruit bun. I shall have to make some more on Sunday after I return.

After lunch I had a few things to do which resulted in uncovering yet another batch of image files that I had overlooked. Undoubtedly all duplicates because they had been on a portable disk drive so I must have done a back-up at some point a long time ago.

Well, not all that long ago because there was almost … errr … 450GB of them. But moving them over to where I can merge them in had created all that space on my back-up drive which probably means that i’ll be able to do another back-up one of these days.

And if I keep on uncovering files like this, I’ll soon end up with a new slimline version of my computer and all of its assorted drives.

boat offshore beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual there was the afternoon walk around the headland to clear out all of the cobwebs.

At the end of the car park I could look down onto the beach and see what was happening down below.

And the answer was “not a lot” because

  1. There was not an awful lot of beach to be on
  2. There was no-one down there on whatever little beach there was.


fishermen in speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021If you had a close look at the previous photo you would have seen a speedboat of some type or other over to the left.

But this isn’t it. There were three or four of them out there and this was one of the other ones that went roaring past where I was standing.

Judging by the looks of things, they were fishermen. They had all of their gear in the rear, including their fishing rods in the upright position.

Why they would need a boat like this and why they would want to move at this speed I really don’t know because this is the kind of thing that would drive away all of the fish for miles around.

boats offshore baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was a cabin cruiser out there too, anchored out by the marker buoy that se saw the other day.

One of the speedboats came along to join it, something that must have upset the fishermen, if that’s who they were, in the cabin cruiser, when the speedboat turned up at full speed.

There were several other boats in the distance too but I couldn’t see who they were or what they were doing. There was quite a sea-fog today rolling in with the wind that was obscuring almost everything that’s out there.

evening sky baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further on along the path towards the lighthouse I could see the sky doing some interesting things out towards the Brittany coast.

When I arrived at the end of the headland I could see that the mist and cloud had come right down to sea level and it was not possible to see anything at all out there.

But there was another nice gap in the clouds and although the setting sun wasn’t shining through it today, someone was having a lovely evening sunset out there on the other side of the clouds.

Of course, as we all know, “red sky at night means St Malo is on fire”.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Arounf the corner in the Baie de Mont St Michel the sky was rather clearer.

There was a queue of boats, one of which was this yacht, loitering around just offshore around by Le Loup, the light on the rock by the entrance to the harbour.

As to why they were waiting, I don’t know the answer to that because judging by how far in the tide was right now, the harbour gates would have been open for a while and anyone could have gone back in had they wished.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021One thing that I did say previously was that I wouldn’t feature the chantier naval and the portable boat lift unless there was a change in situation there.

While I was out yesterday I noticed that there was something going on over there but with only having theF1.8 18.5MM LENS on the NIKON 1 J5 I couldn’t take photo that was clear enough.

Today though while I was right over there I didn’t have the same issues. But as you can see, we now have a van, a trainer and a cherry picker down there next to the portable boat lift, so it looks as if repairs are now well under way.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There wasn’t really much else going on over there so I had a look over at the ferry terminal.

Moored over there this afternoon is one of the Joly France boats. There’s no step in the stern and the windows are in “landscape” format so by that we gather that it’s the older one of the two.

As for the other Joly France boat and the very new Belle France, they are moored up together in the inner harbour and don’t look as if they will be going out to sea any time soon

fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Also not going out to sea any time soon are some of the trawlers that hang around the port.

There’s a handful of them that came in to port a short while ago and are over there unloading at the fish processing plant.

L’Omerta is still over there looking as if she hasn’t moved for quite a while. And she seems to have acquired a tender – or, at least, there’s one tied up to her at this side.

light aeroplane 45AHB boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Seeing as it’s been a while since I’ve seen anything go flying by, I thought that I’d take a photo of this aeroplane as it went by overhead.

It’s another one of the light aircraft whose registration number isn’t in the series to which I have access so I can’t say very much about it.

Just as I was about to cross the road I was almost run down by one of my neighbours driving by so we had a chat, and then I came back for my coffee and to carry on where I left off with my work.

Tea tonight was the rest of the curry and it was just as nice as last night. Now I’m off to bed as I have an early start in the morning and a train to catch.

Leuven here I come.

Thursday 4th November 2021 – HOW LONG IS IT …

… since I’ve walked 110% of my daily total? It must be quite a while, I reckon.

This morning I took Caliburn for his annual service and controle technique and it’s a long way home – just over 6kms in fact. But apart from the final climb up the Rue des Juifs, what parts of it that aren’t on the level are slightly downhill so I thought “now or never”.

As it happens, just as I was walking past the bus stop about 400 metres from the garage, a bus came along and I could even have had a free ride home, but I persevered. And I’m glad that I did.

Mind you, I shan’t be walking back to pick him up when he’s ready. That’s not part of the plan at all.

Even more surprisingly, I’m surprised that I even thought about it after the night that I had. I promised yesterday that I won’t mention bad nights again so I’ll say nothing more.

It was however something of a very mobile and extremely surreal night. I don’t know why but I had just thrown a load of inflatable lifebuoy rings and toys and things into a swimming pool. Everyone had jumped in afterwards after them but thy were adults and even so they were making like whale things like squirting water out of a jet at the back of their helmets and that kind of thing, not being serious at all.

Later on there were 2 Viking ships doing a shuttle service between Norway and England. One of them was delayed for so long that by the time they prepared to leave the other Viking ship or Norse trading ship had come in to the harbour down the coast so they wanted to slip out to sea before the captain of that ship came to look for them to wonder why they had been so long. They slipped out on the tide at night and were caught in a fog. eventually they made a very rough landfall on some kind of island that might have been the Faroe Islands or something but was totally uninhabited. The ship was damaged so they couldn’t sail away so they had to sit and make the most of what it was that they were going to be doing on this island. There was plenty of driftwood for wood but that was really all about everything.

Some time later I was with a friend of mine in that old black MkV that I had and we were going into Crewe somewhere, just generally talking. This Cortina was running really poorly on about 3.5 cylinders and you had to work the gears pretty hard to get it to move. We went all the way down Mill Street where we nearly ran into the back of a car. I stopped by turning left and let some people cross the street, up past Oak Street into the town centre. The whole of the town centre had changed. There was still the pavement opposite the library but that was now a lawn but where the car park and the ring road used to be was now all buildings. I was having to find a place to park there but I couldn’t see anywhere to park. I was thinking that I would have to drive round for a bit in order to find somewhere.

There were plenty of other things going on too. We were on a coach tour going into Hungary. When it was meal-time the coach pulled up in Budapest, but it was no Budapest that I ever knew, something really modern. We all cascaded out and there was a restaurant there and it had absolutely nothing whatever vegan. We went to look at another couple in the vicinity and there wasn’t anything there either. By the time that we’d met up with a couple more off the coach who were looking for something to eat. We went back to the first place but to get there wasn’t easy. We had to scramble down this slope that looked very insecure. Down at this restaurant you had to make your own pizza, make your own sandwiches, take them to the till. There was nothing there that I could eat so we went into the restaurant to look for the tour guide. He wasn’t there. I was becoming extremely annoyed about this because I wanted something to eat but there was nothing there whatever that I could eat.

Finally there was an awfully interesting chat about camisole dresses and school sports days but I’m not quite sure what that was all about – something about rolling the camisole dress up like girls do when they go to school – roll the waist over to make the skirt shorter.

After the medication I went and assembled Caliburn’s door.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the door latch keeps sticking and sometimes I can’t open it from the outside. A few weeks ago I dismantled it and oiled all of the parts with WD40 and I left it half-dismantled to make sure that it works. Today I gave it another oiling and then put it back together.

Having dropped Caliburn off at the menders’, I set out for my marathon walk home. It was sunny but there was a cool breeze and I was very grateful for that.

calvary rue de la font jolie Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the corner of the street near the garage is a calvary – a shrine in honour of the Virgin Mary i reckon.

The plaque underneath it is very worn but the general message suggests that it’s to do with a pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1959

And this reminds me of a story that I have told before … “and on many occasions too” – ed.

In Québec many years ago they had some kind of competition for the design of a calvary. One designer sent in a drawing of John Wayne on his horse

Avoiding the temptation to take the bus, I carried on walking and I was glad that I did because we now have an Aldi open in the town. I popped in there for some energy drink to fuel me up and took advantage of the opportunity to have a good look around.

The place is bigger and has more choice than Lidl, so I can see myself calling in there every so often to stock up, especially as it’s not too far from Noz and LeClerc.

By the time I reached the bottom of the hill in the Rue Couraye I was beginning to feel the strain but I pushed on regardless.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021So much so that I actually made it half-way up the hill in the Rue des Juifs before I had to stop for breath.

Down there in the port, it was all quiet. The quayside was deserted – Normandy Trader and Thora had gone, taking the huge mound of freight with them.

Also gone from the harbour is Marité. Apparently she’s doing some filming somewhere, but I’ve no idea what or where it is.

When I returned home I made some coffee and toast and then came back in here to sink into my comfortable chair. And was I glad to do that! It’s a long time since I’ve been so exhausted and even so, I was really glad that I had accomplished it.

There’s life in the old dog yet!

But that wasn’t the end of my activity for the day either. There’s my appointment with the doctor at 13:30.

When I sat down on returning home I was feeling fine, but when I stood up to go on my way, I knew about it. I felt every inch of the journey down into town, and every bone and muscle in my body as well.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual I took the NIKON D3000 with me on my walk. and I put it to good use just round the corner.

The tide is well out right now so with it being the school holidays, the crowds are out on the exposed beach having a go at the pèche à pied.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the foreshore between high and low tides is leased to commercial fishermen who harvest the shellfish. But at the very low tides the water drops right down below the commercial zone and anything found in this exposed zone is fair game for anyone who cares to harvest it.

The doctor gave me a good going-over while I was there. My blood pressure is up which is a surprise because I didn’t think that I had enough even to make a normal reading.

The chemists have to order the injections of Aranesp for me so when I recovered from the shock of the price (you won’t believe how much they cost) I told them I’ll be down tomorrow to pick them up. It’ll be a nice walk into town in the afternoon, to do something different instead of my usual walk.

While I was at the chemist’s I remembered that I have a free voucher for a flu injection. I handed that over as well and I’ll pick that up tomorrow too.

Back here again I had a very late lunch with my delicious bread, musing on the fact that had suddenly hit me that I’d walked all the way from town and right up the hill to here without stopping for breath even once. And if that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But after all of this I was in no fit state to do very much in the afternoon.

I remembered to pop out (later than usual) too look at the beach. The tide is not quite full in but even so there wasn’t anyone down there, so I didn’t hang around much. I came back in to the apartment for another rest.

At some point I managed to go through all of the photos for yesterday and at some point when I have summoned up the energy I’ll write the text for them. But right now, I’m aching in places that I didn’t even know that I had.

Leaving my seat to go and make tea was exciting too. I can see me having a real struggle to leave my stinking pit in the morning if things carry on like this.

But tea was good tonight. There were some leftover bits and pieces lying around so I made a curry with them and that was quite delicious too.

Anyway, shortly I’ll be off to bed and try again for an uninterrupted night’s sleep, if I can. The pace is hotting up in here with the work building up so I’m hoping to have a really good day at it.

Just watch someone come along and spoil it.

Tuesday 2nd November 2021 – NO PHOTOS TONIGHT.

That’s because I didn’t go out for my afternoon walk today

Well, there are a few photos, but they aren’t for general publication because they were taken at a radio interview. But more of that anon.

This morning, after yet another turbulent night, I managed to awaken at the correct time, about 10 minutes before the alarm went off, which it did at the correct time.

What was disappointing was that I had made a special effort to be in bed by 22:30 with the aim of having a really good night’s sleep, so it was really disappointing that I wasn’t able to make the most of it.

After the medication this morning I went off to revise my Welsh from my last lesson and to prepare for this one, and then I went to class. For some reason or other, presumably because of the bad night, I found it hard to keep awake but I managed. I didn’t make any silly mistakes either, which makes a change.

When I’d finished lunch I went for a shower and a general clean-up, then while I waited for Laurent to come to fetch me I made a couple of phone calls and spent some time working on the arrears.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too. We were on a big aeroplane going on our holidays. It was all confusion and getting the luggage on board and everything like that. I had a few bits and pieces. I was with Nerina again. When it was time to go up into the cabin I had to stay behind for some reason. later on when I went up they asked me to help with the stewarding so I had to go up and down sliding on my side between these plates of food, salad and everything. But the girl who was doing it was on her first trip and she didn’t like doing it at all. She wasn’t very happy. Something then needed to be delivered back to the office or somewhere so I went down to take it. When I came back no sooner had I clambered on board the aeroplane than the door shut and I had to run up these stairs and try to find Nerina in the dark as the plane was preparing to take off.

Later on we’d been to Paris for the weekend. I’d already taken a load of stuff with me but somehow managed to acquire some more. I ended up with tons of baggage that I’d no idea how I was going to get home. Packing it was something of a nightmare. I was just stuffing stuff into suitcases, backpacks and everything indiscriminately as I wasn’t really sure how I was going to do it. In the end TOTGA (and how nice to see her again) came to see what I was doing and to help if she could. We ended up having a dance. I had her in a really close clinch in this hotel … “if only” – ed. We were having a waltz like that

Later on I was round at a couple whom I knew from the past only it wasn’t their house but somewhere else. We were planning to go off somewhere and ended up in 3 cars. We shot away from the house and the wife and Zero (her daughter) came behind, with someone else in the 3rd car. We left them way behind but were stopped at the traffic lights. By the time the lights changed they had all caught up with us. We drove on somewhere but ended up back at their house getting things ready to leave again. This time there was just the couple and me. He was telling me about all the stories that he had written about so many-prostitutes doing this and so many other prostitutes doing that, some stuff to keep him out of mischief. I said that he ought to speak to another friend of mine about that because that’s what he does. He was showing me the garden and saying about how one part of the garden they couldn’t do anything with because of a disease in the shrubs. Seeing the way that the sun was shining and the slope I thought that it would make a really good vinyard. They said that they had tried. At some point everyone was dancing together so I went to try to find Zero so that I could dance with her … “if only” – ed … because she was loitering somewhere in the background of the dream.

There was more stuff too but once again you won’t be wanting to read it if you are eating your meal.

Laurent and I then headed off into the wilds of the bocage to a small hamlet near Ger where we interviewed a subject for our radio project. She and one of her children had quite a good deal to say for themselves, which was very useful. Their interview will make very good radio.

After 90 minutes there we set off back for our long drive home and it’s strange that the journey home always seems to take less time than the journey out.

Tea tonight was stuffed taco rolls, using the rest of the stuffing left over from yesterday, and now that I’ve written up today’s notes, such as they are, I’m going to bed. Nice and early, with the hope that I’ll finally have a really good sleep. I have about 163 photos to edit tomorrow.

Sunday 26th September 2021 – NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL …

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… the perfect vegan pizza.

It really was too. I had to make a new batch of pizza dough this afternoon because I’d run out of the last batch. But I used wholemeal flour instead of bleached white flour and although the taste was rather unusual, it rose to perfection.

It’s a shame that I can’t make my bread dough rise quite like this batch of pizza dough did, and I don’t know why it won’t. I shall just have to keep on practising until I can find the key.

But it’s bizarre all the same.

And that’s what I call a lie-in too. Despite not going to bed until about 00:30 I was asleep until about 10:35 this morning. And it was … errr … some time later when I finally arose from the dead.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’ve forgotten very much about the first part of my travels but it was some kind of car journey with kids and we had to make up a bed inside the car for them because it was a long way travelling through the night but I can’t remember very much about this at all.

A short while later I was with a woman and we were wandering around the streets of a strange city somewhere in Eastern Europe. It was an aimless wandering around and I let her take charge but every time she seemed to take a decision to go somewhere it was always the wrong way. But it was still quite an adventure. It was hot and stuffy with quite a lot of traffic about, including one bus where the passengers were arguing with the driver about which way to go. Then we came to a complicated road junction where I misunderstood the lights and was nearly squidged. By this time I was with Nerina. We had been somewhere the night before after she had come in. She was telling me that a she came in my brother had invited her out for a drink. She said that she had this opinion that he’d known that she had been drinking although it was 16 minutes since her last one and she should have been clear so maybe she’d drink her drink in a different way next time to provoke a different reaction in her stomach.

I was wandering around Nantwich later and it was something to do with my German friend who was there – I’d arranged to meet him so I went to phone him up but I phoned Percy Penguin instead. I had a little chat with her and we tentatively arranged to meet. Then I was back in my house getting things ready for going. Another friend had said that someone had left me a message. I had a look and it was yet a third friend looking for the seed potatoes that he’s left. I had absolutely no idea where these were so I started to hunt my through for them and couldn’t fond anything. I came across my boots that I’d been wearing that I’d forgotten all about. I wondered if I should take those because the ones that I was wearing now were extremely comfortable although they were rather old and I still couldn’t find these potatoes. Liz Ayers turned up and said something like it was time to go. I told her that we hadn’t found these potatoes and she said that she wanted to go round to my house on the way back to see whether there was anything there that we needed. This was going to end in a load of confusion.

Later still, there were some more people round at my house. I had to go off somewhere and knew that I was going to miss these people by ages because I wouldn’t be back until late. When I returned there were 2 people walking up the stairs in front of me in the dark without the light on. I was wondering what they were doing. They went to my door and rang the bell. Whoever was in my house opened the door. This woman asked “have you received a message or a bill some time today?” to which whoever it was said “no”. Just then a girl came out of my apartment, a girl who had been in there earlier and was the one whom I was afraid that I was going to miss, carrying a box of stuff to put in her car. These 2 women saw her and asked “are you leaving? I hope that you are going to come back again”. She replied “yes, I’ll be coming back”. I added “yes, she better had be coming back”. We were having this kind of chat on the stairs at about 23:00 and this girl should have gone a long time ago. I was leafing through an old file and came across a sailor’s discharge book from the Navy, showing all the ships that he had been in, where he’d been torpedoed, where his ship had broken in 2 and sank, whatever. I was so fascinated by this book and deeply absorbed in it and wasn’t folling half of what was happening in this conversation which was strange because I was very keen to keep friendly and keep in touch with this other girl.

While I was at it, I transcribed the notes from yesterday and now they are on line as well.

After lunch, I had a little vegetate – after all, it IS Sunday. I was doing some research on something that I had read about a Communist sympathiser known as Hilaire Noulens, whose real name was Jakob Rudnik as I discovered, who was sent by Comintern to Shanghai to foment rebellion against the “International Forces” in 1931 but was arrested and exposed.

In the “International Zone” of Shanghai in the 1920s and early 1930s there were all kinds of strange and bewildering goings-on until 1932 when the Japanese invasion put a stop to most of it.

Following that I organised and paired off the music for the radio show that I’ll be preparing tomorrow and a little later I went off and prepared the dough for my next batch of pizza.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk so I headed off across the car park to the wall at the end to see what was going on down on the beach.

There were quite a few people down there this afternoon. Although we are at the last weekend of September it is unseasonably warm right now with very little wind so people were taking full advantage.

There were even a couple of people in the water right up to their knees. I know that it was a nice day, but it wasn’t that nice. But then the definition of “nice water” for me is “water that is at 37°C”

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further along down at the beach at the Plat Gousset there were even more people.

Of course, the access there is much easier but they are closer to some competing attractions such as the Fête des Coquillages St Jacques down at the port. A plate of shellfish surely has to be a better deal?

But then I suppose there are those people who have come here to take the waters. As you can see, there are even more people up to their knees in it over there. Sooner them than me.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There wasn’t anything happening this afternoon out at sea so I had a look over to the Ile de Chausey.

The view was quite good today – not as nice as it has been but better than most days – so the colours didn’t come out particularly too well.

There was one of the two Joly France ferries (Belle France is still moored at the Ferry Terminal as I found out later) moored out there and we could see it quite clearly from here.

While I was admiring the view I fell in with another one of my neighbours and we had a lengthy chat. I seem to be quite popular these days and it’s not like me to be so sociable, is it?

While I was chatting, I was overflown by just about everything that could possibly take to the air, as you might expect. But you can’t be so impolite to break off a good chat to take a couple of photos. There will be other times.

cap frehel brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From my viewpoint up on top of the old bunker at the back of the lighthouse I could just about make out the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel with my naked eye.

With the NIKON D500 and the 70-300mm LENS the photo came out quite clearly after I’d enhanced it somewhat and we coud see once more the land beyong the cape.

Surprisingly, apart from the Joly France boat that I mentioned earlier and something far to small to identify, I couldn’t see a single other boat out there at sea this afternoon.

yacht small boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The position in the Baie de Mont St Michel is rather different.

As I walked across the lawn and the car park, that was once more packed to the gunwhales, I could see a couple of things out there towards the Brittany coast.

I took a photo of what I saw with a view to having a closer look when I returned home. And I’ve managed to capture a yacht with its sails furled and also a smaller boat of some other type.

But what “other type” it was, I couldn’t say. I couldn’t see clearly enough.

cabanon vauban couple changing a baby pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By the looks of things, I wasn’t the only person admiring the view out across the bay this afternoon.

There was a couple sitting on the bench by the Cabanon Vauban and my first thought was that they were having a picnic. “A nice big helping of shellfish from the fête”, I mused.

Back here I had a closer look and I could see that in fact they were actually changing a baby. And I’m not sure why anyone would want to do that because any other baby is probably going to be just as noisy as the on that you already have.

F-GKAO - Piper PA-28-181 Archer 2 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Round about now I was overflown by another aeroplane and I was in a position to be able to take a photo of it.

It seems that this is one that we haven’t seen before so i’m glad that I was able to photograph her. She’s F-GKAO, a Piper PA-28-181 Archer II.

She’s spent much of the day flying around here. When I saw her, she had taken off at 16:24, flown down the coast as far as Avranches, and then along the coast to Cap Fréhel before coming back into land at 17:16.

At 18:07 she took off and, stopping at Dinard and then Dinan, disappeared off the radar near Rennes St Jacques at 19:30.

buvette fête des coqilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As you can see, the buvette at the fête is still going great guns.

There was no change at the chanter naval today, with just L’Omerta still in there, and there was only Belle France moored at the ferry terminal so I didn’t spend too long having a look around there.

It seemed to me too that there has been an expansion of the facilities there today. Yesterday, everything seemed to stop by the door into the Fish Processing plant, but today there are a few more marquees and stalls further on that seem to have attracted quite a crowd of people.

equipment on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But what had attracted me – or, at least, my attention, was the big pile of equipment in the background.

Full of curiosity I cropped it out and enlarged it to see if I might be able to work out what it all is.

It looks like another load of pipework, as far as I can tell. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a while ago they did dig up part of the quayside to lay a network of pipes.

Perhaps they are going to repeat the process once the crowds disappear and the harbour is pretty much empty. Whatever happens, I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

fête des coqilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned that the crowds were still flocking to the Festival.

There are probably even more today than there were yesterday. It’s a good turnout and I’m glad that I’m up here.

You are probably wondering how come I never went down to see what was going on down there. The truth is that I don’t feel up to it. Not even the downhill part, never mind the climb back up afterwards.

What i’m going to be doing is to wait for the doctor to see the x-ray photos of my lungs and see where I go from there.

electricians compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One final thiing to see is something that I haven’t noticed before, not having come this far down the hill on my previous walks.

There’s some kind of compound been created on the waste land at the side of the Boulevard des Terreneuviers. By the looks of things and the name on one of the containers, we’re going to be seeing some electrical work taking place down here pretty shortly.

Not right now though. I came back home for a cold drink and to check on the pizza dough – to find that it had risen by an extraordinary amount.

While I was waiting for the pizza to cook, I peeled and diced about 1.5kg of carrots and blanched them ready for freezing. I hadn’t planned to buying a pile of carrots, but when loose carrots worked out at €1:79 per kilo and yet a 2kg bag was €1:29, what would you do?

That 1.5kg filled the saucepan, so I’ll do the rest tomorrow afternoon.

Bedtime now that I’ve finished my notes. An early start because I have my radio show to do so I won’t be hanging around either. I hope that I’ll have a good night’s sleep, but we shall see.

Saturday 25th September 2021 – THIS SHELLFISH FESTIVAL …

marquees fete des coquilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021 … isn’t half bringing in the crowds. And it’s absolute chaosas well by the looks of things.

Several more marquees and stalls have been set up since we last looked and they are packed to the gunwhales with people who have apparently come from all parts of France in order to indulge in an orgy of shellfish.

Including the boat Anakena, the one that was stranded in port at the height of the pandemic. You can see her, the dark blue one moored in the background. She’s been working her way around the Brittany coast, having set sail from Lorient at the end of August.

marquee marité rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And the chicane in the Rue du Port was total chaos this morning as well.

Motorists not knowing where to go and what to do, stopping, and even parking, in the most inconvenient places, and then there were the hordes of pedestrians milling about in the way of all of the traffic.

The way out to the hypermarket was chaos enough at 09:15. I shuddered to think of what it would be like by the time that I come back, so I went the long way round to reach home. And I bet that despite being the long way round, it took me much less time.

bad parking leclerc hypermarket Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While we’re on the subject of bad parking … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was enough bad parking today to fill a photo album, so I’ve selected this example for you.

It’s a delivery van delivering products to one of the boutiques in the Hypermarket. Dozens of empty spaces at this time of morning, including this disabled space right by the front door, but reversing in there is far too complicated for this guy.

What he’s chosen to do is to abandon his van in one of the car park paths, blocking in several cars while he was at it, including one with a driver who was trying to leave. But as long as he’s okay, what does he care about anyone else?

Anyway, let’s return to our moutons as they say around here.

Once more, the blasted phone people sent me a text message that awoke me during the night and I had trouble going back to sleep again. Nevertheless I must have done because the alarm awoke me at 07:30

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too so I copied the audio files onto the computer, and as I type out these notes, I realise that Bane of Britain has forgotten to transcribe them.

Off I went to the shops once I’d awoken. at Noz I didn’t spent much but at LeClerc it was another large bill, due to my buying more coffee and a pile of syrups seeing as I’m running out. I’ve given up making my own drinks for now. I’m not feeling up to tasks like that at the moment.

Another thing that I bought was some of those soya desserts in small pots. I need to vary my diet rather more than I’m doing at the moment.

Back here, having taken the long way round, it was astruggle up the stairs with my heavy shopping. But the fact that I managed it, albeit rather precariously, tells me that the physiotherapy is working somewhat.

Having put down the shopping I made myself a coffee and cut a slice of my fruit bread, and then came in here to relax for a while. I was exhausted after my efforts at the shops.

After lunch, there was football. Trefelin against Connah’s Quay Nomads in the Welsh Cup.

The gul in class was pretty evident right from the kick-off and at one point well into the second hald, the stats showed 28% Trefelin possession and 72% Connah’s Quay possession.

Nevertheless, the score at half-time was just 1-0 to the Nomads thanks to a brilliand Jamie Insall goal. The Trefelin goal was having a charmed life with shots whistling narrowly over the bar or around the post, and when they were on target, they found the Trefelin keeper in exceptional form.

Nomads scored a second goal shortly after the interval as a result of a goalmouth scramble, a goal that should quite properly have been disallowed due to a foul on the keeper, but with the Nomads having been denied a stonewall penalty in the 1st half that everyone except the referee thought should have been given, I suppose it evened things up.

The introduction of Jamie Mullan injected some more spark into the Nomads. He had a point to prove, and set about proving it.

2 late goals for the Nomads sealed what was in the end a comfortable victory, but in all honesty they should have been down the road and out of sight a long time before the interval.

old car peugeot 203 wedding civic offices Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was getting ready to go out for my afternoon walk there was quite a racket going on outside.

My apartment looks out onto the Civic Offices where the marriages take place, and it looks as if this afternoon, judging by all of the people around there, this today must have been the marriage of the Century.

But my attention was drawn to the car down there. It’s been a long time since we’ve featured an old car on these pages, and today there’s a Peugeot 203 down there – the white and red car.

These are gorgeous machines and I would have one in a heartbeat, especially a plateau, or pickup. I found one once ON THE ILE D’YEU when Cecile and I went to visit her mother, but I had to decline.

ship relaying bouchot stakes donville les bains baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As usual I went across the car park to have a look down onto the beach, but my attention was immediately drawn to this.

Whatever is going on down there, I have no idea but there’s a small ship fitted with a crane of some description, and I’m sure that that row of bouchot stakes wasn’t there yesterday.

It looks as if the bouchot farmers are having an extension, and there are quite a few people on the beach down by the campsite having a good look

And had I been feeling much better, I would have been down there having a good look with them.

people on beach rue du nord plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But enough of that. Let’s go back to the beach.

Today was cloudy and overcast so I didn’t expect to see too many people down there, especially with all of the other attractions going on elsewhere.

And I was right in that respect, at least by the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord, because there was only a handful of people there.

Farther along by the Plat Gousset there were a few more people, but that’s always the case. Access to the beach is much easier along there

f-gorn Robin DR400/120 Dauphin 2+2 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there at the end of the car park, I noticed a light aeroplane taking off from the airfield.

She’s F-GORN, the Robin DR400/120 Dauphin 2+2 that belongs to the Aero Club de Granville, on her way out to sea

However I can’t tell you any more than that because she didn’t seem to file a flight plan, and she wasn’t picked up on radar. She’d been out for a couple of flights earlier in the day, flights that had been either recorded or picked up on radar, but for some reason or other, this one hasn’t.

trailer load of everything place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the wall at the end of the car park I set off for my walk, but as I crossed back across the car park I encountered this.

Everyone will know what some of these items are, and I’m surprised to see them on open display like this. But different countries have different attitudes of course.

But whatever the significance of it all is, it beats me. I was thinking that maybe it’s something to do with the wedding that’s going on at the Civic Offices. But it’s certainly strange behaviour and I’ll simply leave it at that.

zodiac men fishing baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From my usual vantage point at the highest point of the walk, I had another look out to sea.

There was a zodiac out there, stationary, with a couple of guys in there. “Fishermen” I mused to myself.

But as I watched and prepared to take a photo, another zodiac came around the headland into the bay travelling at some speed so I waited until they were both in the viewfinder before I pressed the shutter.

At least the moving zodiac gave the stationary one a wide berth. Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen many photos that showed speeding boats passing fishermen far too close for comfort

cabanon vauban person sitting on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Across the car park I went, down to the end of the headland.

There was someone this afternoon sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban having a good look out to sea. And I’m not sure why because with the mist and haze that was about this afternoon, you couldn’t see very far out across the bay this afternoon.

There weren’t any fishermen down on the rocks this afternoon, nor anyone at the peche à pied. They are all probaby at the shellfish festival having a whale of a time.

So leaving our visitor to it, I set off on the path down the far side of the headland.

cherie d'amour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I could see that there was no change in the chantier naval this afternoon. L’Omerta was still in there all on her own.

As for the boats that have been in there just recently, sitting in the silt in the tidal harbour is the yellow Cherie d’Amour. She was in the chantier naval for a short period of time a couple of days ago.

Over at the ferry terminal, Belle France was tied up, but you’ve seen plenty of photos of her just recently. The other two Joly France boats are very probably out at sea somewhere around the Ile de Chausey waiting for the tide to come back in.

marquee chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As for where Chausiaise might be, she’s over there underneath the crane in the loading bay, preulably waiting to load up for her next trip out to the island.

While I was busy looking at the mayhem down at the fish processing plant as everyone swarms around the stalls and marquees, I noticed her over there so I fitted her into this photo of the rest of the activity.

The pile of freight to the right of the crane seems to have increased since we saw it yesterday, and it’s a good job that neither of the two Jersey freighters are coming into port today. It would otherwise have been extremely exciting to watch them try to unload with all of those cars blocking the loading bay.

buffet fete des coquilles st jacques port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021As I mentioned yesterday, no fête anywhere in France is complete unless there’s a buvette.

THis one of course is no different than anywhere else in that respect. You can see what looks like a bar and row upon row of tables and benches where everyone can sit down and enjoy a quiet drink.

The doors into the Fish Processing Plant are open, and I understand that that is where the dressing of the shellfish is taking place.

There was apparently even a space for small children to try to dress a shellfish, although what you would do with the sleeves of your garment is something that would confuse me.

la granvillaise coelacanthe suzanga port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021No prozes for guessing who this is.

The angle of the sails and the number “G90” painted thereupon will tell you that this is of course La Granvillaise. Never one to miss out on a commercial opportunity, she’s giving tourists a lap around the harbour, presumably for a couple of bob a head.

You might have noticed Marité in an earlier photo. She’s down there too, although not sailing around right now. Also down there at the back on the left is the trawler Coelacanthe and in the foreground is the new pink Suzanga.

yellow autogyro place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Finally, and last but not least, on my way back to my apartment I was overflown by the yellow autogyro.

She came around the corner from behind my building at an altitude of several hundred feet just as I was crossing the road.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and then watched a couple of videos with highlights of a couple of other games from the Welsh Cup. I suppose that I should have been transcribing my dictaphone notes but I rather unfortunately forgot.

Tea tonight was the remainder of the curry from yesterday, lengthened with a small tin of lentils, and it was just as delicious. I had one of those soya dessert pots for afterwards to sweeten my palette.

Eventually, I did manage to deal with the dictaphone notes from today. I’d bumped into the captain of one of the little Jersey freighter in Granville and tried to interest him in taking part in our radio programme. But he didn’t have very much for himself to say and he asked about payment. I explained that there was no budget, that we were volunteers. He insisted that there must be some money somewhere. We went round in circles and in the end I thought that I had managed to persuade him that there was nothing. he didn’t speak French but one of his crew did so we arranged that next Sunday we would all meet in one of the bars here and he could let me know exactly what he thought and what he was able to tell me with the aid of his colleague

later, we were at a vehicle exhibition, wandering around looking at all the old lorries that were there, in the USA judging by the plates. A former friend of mine had one, an old Ford-type of lorry but there was no engine in it. We were wandering around and they lifted a flatbed back off a lorry and found that there was another flatbed underneath it, a FEMSA dated 1972. They wondered what this was doing because this was quite rare. They made a few enquiries but the owners knew nothing about it. They rang up FEMSA and quoted the body number. They replied that they sold it to that company in 1972 so this was a big mystery as what they’d bought it for and on what hat they were going to use it. There was an autojumble there as well. I was with some woman looking at all the bits and pieces. She was asking one particular guy loads of questions about stuff. All his stuff was American electrical stuff that was no good for the UK. Eventually we came back and there was a guy actually dismantling a lorry and rebuilding it while the show was going on. He was waiting for some bits but he was quite confident that he would rebuild it and have it on the road. He was planning on a drive from Northern France to South Africa in his lorry so I was interested in going along as a co-driver but he had a team. I still tried to see and ask my way around to see whether or not there might have been a place for me because it was something extremely interesting. But there were all kinds of strange people there, 3 babies, 2 of them very badly sunburnt. There was a woman dressed as a bride who was carrying a baby on her back. I thought “she’s left it rather late to be married, hasn’t she?”

So rather later than I was hoping, I’m off to bed. I’ll leave the phone in the living room where if someone messages me tonight, I wont hear it. It’s Sunday, and a lie-in tomorrow and I’m hoping to make the most of it.

But something will go wrong of course – it usually does.

Sunday 19th September 2021 – THIS WAS ONE …

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… of the nicest pizzas that I have ever made.

Surprisingly I can’t think what I did to it to make it any different from the usual. The diced peppers that were left over from several weeks went in the bin as being unfit for human consumption and as I had no fresh mushrooms I used tinned stuff, sticking them in the oven to dry them out.

That was about all that I did that was different but whatever it was, the results were all that counted. No complaints there.

Last night I didn’t go to bed until quite late because I couldn’t find the energy or the motivation to leave my chair. But once I did go to bed I went straight to sleep and stayed there until … errr … 07:30. 6 hours sleep on a Saturday night/Sunday morning is not very much but it shows just how much I slept during the day yesterday.

Even so, there was no danger of my leaving the bed at that time of morning. I went back to sleep and stayed there until 09:20. Even that was quite early for a Sunday but if you can’t sleep, you can’t sleep.

After the medication (when I forgot what medication that I’m supposed to be taking) I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone. I was looking at apartments last night, either to rent or to buy. During the furniture removal that we were doing we were stationary and someone backed into us. There were a whole kind of problems that didn’t involve me because I wasn’t the driver of our vehicle but we were talking about this to a few people and they were surprised that there was even a dispute about it. Anyway we were something going on and I went over to one of the other estate agents who was letting the apartment on behalf of Pozzo. They had the keys so I went to see it. It was strange, an open-plan apartment and had no walls. You looked over the balcony straight down into the hallway. I thought that this was the coldest apartment that there ever is going to be. It was nice but I couldn’t get over the idea of having no walls. In the end I came away. I was with a former friend. We wanted an Indian meal so we looked around. There was this really posh hotel-type place. Finding a place to park was the 1st thing. Then we had to walk to try to find a waiter. There were dozens of them, all done up in buttoned jackets looking like something out of a 18th Century novel. Just as we were about to ask, I awoke.

Later on I was with a group of people and we were at that hotel and left all out clothes there. We had the bill for 4 coffees and it came to something like £299:00. We wandered off into the streets of Glasgow. We had somehow become separated in some roadworks and I could see them disappearing away. I was trying to catch up but there was all kinds of obstructions and road works and people on bikes in my way and I couldn’t catch up. In the end I found myself on a demolition site with all old apartment blocks in the real back-end of Glasgow. I was having to scramble over scaffolding and everything. First of all I couldn’t remember the name of my hotel, and secondly I couldn’t even work out where I was. The map that I had wasn’t much help. I wasn’t even sure which side of the Clyde I was on. Eventually I came out and I was on top of a hill going through a small village. Down in the valley I could see a river and a railway line. I thought “if I can get down there I can probably work out where I am and maybe catch a train back. We were so high up that I couldn’t see how I was going to get down this slope to get into this valley where this river and railway line were.

Once I’d done that the next task was to pair up the music for the radio programme. That didn’t take me all that long and by the time that I was ready to stop for lunch it was all out of the way.

After lunch there were several tasks that needed my attention.

Firstly, the ice-box in the fridge had frozen up so I emptied the fridge and switched it off. A week or two ago Liz had given me some old towels and what with the lino that we laid a few weeks ago, I had everything that I needed and basically the job took care of itself.

When it had defrosted completely I washed and cleaned it, sorted out the food, washed and dried the shelves and then reassembled it. And there seems to be much more room in there than there used to be.

Earlier on, I’d transcribed the other dictaphone notes from when I was away and then turned my attention to FRIDAY’S JOURNAL ENTRY that I had missed.

hang gliders rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021There were several breaks in my afternoon routine, including, as usual, the walk around the headland.

But I had hardly set foot out of the building before a squadron of Nazgul took off from the field next to the cemetery and started to head my way.

“Almost perfect timing” you might think, and having read Lord of the Rings as many times as I had when I was nought but a pup, it was somehow rather unnerving watching them head my way.

Probably the same feeling that Frodo and the others had as they were on their way to dispose of the Ring and the Nazgul appeared.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So having managed to escape the wicked clutches of the Nazgul, first stop was at the wall at the end of the car park to check on the beach to see what was happening down there.

With it being a warm but cloudy day, I was expecting to see the crowds down there making the most of it but, surprisingly, it was quite empty. There can’t have been more than a dozen people down there, and there wasn’t anyone that I could see in the water.

With it being one of the last weekends of the summer, I should have thought that the madding crowds would have been down there this afternoon

joly france yachts baie de Granville ile de chausey Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021They may not have been down there on the beach, or even on the path around the headland, but in the gap between the Ile de Chausey and the mainland there were plenty of people.

Here are just some of the yachts that were out there this afternoon. There were probably three times as many as this all told.

In the middle of all the yachts there was something fairly large moving quite quickly towards the mainland. When I returned to the apartment later I enhanced the photo and blew it up, and I could see that it was one of the Joly France ferried coming back from the island.

Unfortunately it was too far out for me to tell which one it was.

f-gsbv Robin DR400 180 pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was out there, I was overflown by a light aeroplane going by towards the airfield.

She’s F-GSBV, one of the Robin DR400-180 that is owned by the Aero Club de Granville.

She’s described in their literature as “a good aeroplane for travelling and is ideal for 4 passengers and their luggage to travel all around France and Europe”. And so today she took off from the airfield at 16:10, did a quick lap around just offshore and came back in to land at 16:24.

Not exactly the “all around France and Europe” as they advertised. Mind you, she did take off half an hour later and was airborne for almost 35 minutes.

cabin cruiser yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021With nothing going on whatever offshore at the end of the headland I carried on round to the path on the other side of the headland.

And out here in the Baie de Mont St Michel there were just as many pleasure boats as there were on the north side of the headland.

Here, we have a fine collection of yachts, a cabin cruiser and a small motor boat. And plenty more of them out of shot too.

There looked to br a rainstorm brewing up down at the foot of the bay near the Pointe de Carolles too, but luckily the wind was blowing from the north-west so it was pushing the rain farther to the south.

yacht chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Here is something that we haven’t seen for a couple of weeks.

There is this big yacht that’s been in the compound of the chantier naval for quite some considerable time and doesn’t seem to have moved at all.

It’s all been masked off and there has been some primer applied with a spray gun, but the work seems to have run aground because I can’t see that any progress has been made for several weeks.

The summer season is now almost over so I don’t suppose that they are in too much of a rush to complete the work.

catherine philippe l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021In the main area of the chantier naval, there has been quite a lot of activity while I was away in Belgium

The trawler Saint Andrews has gone back into the water leaving just the unknown black trawler, the trawler Catherine Philippe and L’Omerta, the shellfishing boat.

By the way things are looking, they aren’t going to be around there for long. The paintwork on all of them looks quite fresh and so they’ll be back in the water quite soon.

Although I do remember having said that sort of thing on several occasions in the past and been made to eat my words. I can see me doing the same with these three.

chausiaise belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Before I headed back for home I had a look out across to the ferry terminal.

Over there is the little freighter Chausiaise, tied up to the outside of the terminal. Behind her is the very new ferry Belle France. The other two Joly France are out at sea and we saw one of them just now.

Back in the apartment I finished off the cleaning of the fridge and filling it up, and then I kneaded out the pizza dough, rolled it out and put it in the pizza tray to proof for an hour or so.

When it was ready I assembled the pizza and baked it ready for tea.

Now that I’ve written out my notes I’m going to bed. I have the radio programme to prepare tomorrow and then go to the shops for some fruit and veg before lunch because there isn’t anything here to eat as far as fruit goes.

One or two other things too, so I’ll be going in Caliburn. I’m not really up to going on foot.

Thursday 9th September 2021 – HAVE A LOOK …

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… at this photo of Le Loup, the marker light at the entrance to the port here.

And then, have a look at THIS ONE that I took two days ago when I was out on my rounds.

Can you see the difference? It’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? Not for nothing do I say that right outside my front door are some of the highest tides in Europe –
“Here’s €5:00”
“Right outside my front door are some of the highest tides in Europe”.

It’s no surprise that we can have ships the size of the gravel boats coming into the harbour when they did, with that depth of water underneath them.

photo in doctors surgery Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And here’s another photo – one that has an interesting story behind it.

My social networking site is pretty much flooded with adverts these day – as if the owners don’t already have enough money. I only have to mention something, no matter how indirectly, and I’m immediately swamped with adverts about it.

Photography is one of the things that features quite a lot on my pages and so I’m swamped with photography adverts. One of them that features more than most is an advert for a piece of post-processing software, and I was convinced that I’d previously seen the photograph somewhere else.

Sure enough, there stuck up on the wall at the doctor’s surgery is exactly the same photo, only with text and graphics added. I was planning on doing a screenshot of the advert so that you could compare the two, but of course, today is the first day for about a Century when it hasn’t appeared.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself once more. Let’s start at the very beginning.

When the alarm went off, I fell out of bed again and staggered into the kitchen. Although the night hadn’t been all that late, it certainly felt like it.

Back in here after the medication, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d caught Covid last night, and so had a few people. I was somewhere in Stoke on Trent and somehow it had come amongst us. I wasn’t feeling particularly too bad so I was still working. A former friend of mine who features occasionally in some of my voyages featured in this one too and he was talking about getting a shop somewhere on one of these shopping estates on a council estate somewhere where they did wi-fi and something like that that he could do. He had spoken to a couple of people about doing different things with it but it was never going to be serious. He was wondering about what phones you sold, who you sell them to and what programs you put on them, all that kind of thing. It carried on from there but I awoke in a sweat and half the stuff that I had dreamt had disappeared.

Somewhere along the line I was on a bus trip with a group of young guys. I don’t remember very much about this at all.

Later on it was another one of these “I was leaving work” dreams. I’d had a pile of boxes delivered to me. My brother was there. He said “at least this one here we ought to be dealing with before I left. So we opened it and there were tins of food in to, small fish like anchovies and a few tins of picked onions, olives and whatever. I asked him to open the tins and we’ll set them out to make some kind of buffet. Every time ha opened a tin we has helping himself to some stuff so I smacked him on the hand and took the tins away from him and had a word with him about it. A couple of minutes later some army colonel or someone came past. He started to take a lump of pie crust so I slapped him on the hand and said something about people pinching all of this food before we’ve even set it out so he went to take an olive so I gave him a resounding smack across the hand even though he was a colonel. This smack echoed around just about everywhere it was so hard.

But as I mentioned the other day, I’m having a lot of night sweats just recently. It’s something about which they always ask me at the hospital and I keep a kind-of informal note to remind myself for when they ask.

There was also time to wade into the pile of arrears and now there are only two left. That’s tomorrow morning’s task, I reckon, in between making the bread for lunch as I have now run out.

joly france belle france fishing boat ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021When it was time, I headed off out to the doctor’s for my appointment.

Of course, I took the camera with me, which was just as well because over at the ferry terminal this morning we have a “full house” of Ile de Chausey ferries.

From left to right, we have the newer of the two Joly France boats, in the centre is the brand-new Belle France and to the right, we have the older Joly France boat. You can tell the difference between them when they are together like this.

It looks as if they are going to be having a very busy day if they are all over there like that.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021And it looks as if we have a full house too!

Here in the inner harbour tied up to the harbour pontoon is the little Ile de Chausey freighter Chausiaise. It seems that whatever plans that they have for today, the plans don’t include her.

My plans though are to go down to the doctor’s for my appointment. Whose silly idea was it foe me to have a doctor’s appointment for 08:30?

At the doctor’s I saw the photo that I mentioned earlier, and we had quite a lengthy chat about things.

He thinks that I have a heart issue, which accords with what the hospital has told me. But while the hospital is content to sit back and let things develop, he’s going to try to fit me in with a heart specialist as soon as he can.

He is also interested in my lungs too, and reckons that I ought to go for a pulmonary X-ray. He’s given me a prescription.

And then there’s a full and complete blood test (which should be interesting as the laboratory here always seems to come up with figures different to those of Leuven). The nurse is coming to do that tomorrow morning early.

The bad news though is that despite everything, he’s told me that this illness has some kind of cumulative effect. So once I start to struggle, the more tired I become and it makes me struggle to keep going so that wears me out even more and it’s a downward-spiralling effect.

This illness was diagnosed in November 2015 although I reckon that I had it for a while before then. People have died of this illness long before 6 or so years of suffering, so I suppose that I’m well ahead of the game. I’m just going to do my best to get further ahead.

It reminds me about the German Emperor, was it one of the Frederick Williams, who was complaining to his doctor about the treatment he was receiving.
“I can’t make you any younger” said the doctor.
“I don’t want you to” replied the Emperor, “as long as you succeed in making me older”.

Down at the chemist’s, I was staggered by the price of the injections. The next four cost e210:00 in total.

And we hit an unexpected snag too. This is a “special request” medication that can’t be prescribed by a GP – only by a specialist. I need my prescription from the hospital, which I didn’t have with me. And as it’s a foreign hospital in a foreign language, it wouldn’t be acceptable.

However, there is always a work-around. I’m a private patient with a private health insurance from my former employers, not from the State, so it doesn’t go through the State system. My prescription from the hospital will do and she’ll let the supplier worry about it.

On the way back home I bumped into a neighbour so we had a chat and then I came home for my coffee. I needed it.

Back here I set to work on the radio programme that I’m planning for the end of the year. Much as it is regrettable, I don’t want to do the interviews myself because it’ll end up as being perceived as “whining Brits” and that’s exactly what I want to avoid.

Someone else who works at the radio is quite amenable and I get on well with him so we had an internet chat throughout the morning about my plans and eventually we arranged to meet on Sunday afternoon.

What was this about “never working on a Sunday?”.

But to be serious, I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday and if I don’t set things in motion before I go, I’m going to be missing out on a whole week and maybe more, and I don’t have the time to waste.

While I was at it, I paid the motor insurance on Strider. I went a whole year last year without even seeing him, never mind driving him, because I couldn’t get to Canada. It’s probably going to be the same this year too but it can’t be helped.

After all that, I crashed out in my chair until lunchtime. It’s just amazing how tired you can become.

After lunch I had another go at some of the arrears and a journal entry from last week that was left unfinished is now on line. Not only that, I’m well on the way to catching up with another one too. I suppose that I’ll be up-to-date just in time to go off to Leuven and create yet more arrears.

Just wait until I have to add back about three weeks’ worth of nocturnal voyages.

chantier naval port de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021by now it was time for me to head off to the chemists to pick up my injections, taking the original prescription with me.

It struck me as I was going around the corner that we haven’t had a view of the chantier naval from this viewpoint for quite a while so seeing as I had the big NIKON D500 with me, I put that right.

Still the same seven boats in there from yesterday. There’s no change. Still, you can’t win a coconut every time, can you? Anyway, there’s no room now to fit in anyone extra.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour, I noticed that there’s more activity going on there.

Having seen Thora in port yesterday and take away all of the freight, they are busy now piling up some more. Maybe this means that Normandy Trader will be coming in very soon to take it all away.

Meanwhile, down at the berth usually occupied by Marité, there’s no activity there at all because she’s no longer there. Put to sea as soon as the gates opened earlier, I reckon.

She’s still finding things to do even though the tourists have gone home and people are at work or at school.

Down at the chemist’s they had my products so I picked them up and hurried back here to put them in the fridge. However I bumped into yet another neighbour and I had to spend a couple of minutes being sociable regardless.

trawler baie de mont st michel cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way up the hill in the Rue des Juifs I stopped at the viewpoint to have a little rest and look out at the sea.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a trawler operating deep in the Baie de Mont St Michel. Today, there’s another one working there, but lower down the bay nearer to the sea.

You can see the town of Cancale in the background. It’s looking quite nice this afternoon in the sun, although nowhere near as splendid as it did that morning a few weeks ago when it was all lit up by the sun.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Seeing as I’m out and it’s the right time of the afternoon, I went to have a look at the beach.

The tide is well out by now but there aren’t all that many people down there. I suppose that most people with any time to spare have gone off for a lap around the bay on board Marité.

So I came back inside, put my injections into the fridge and made myself a banana smoothie. Then I came back in here to carry on with the work that I’d been doing before I went out.

Tea tonight was a chick-pea and potato curry with rice. It was quite nice too, although not very spicy. I could have done with some more to liven it up a little.

Now that I’ve finished, I’m off for an early night. I have the nurse coming for my blood test, I have bread to bake, and then in the afternoon I have the physiotherapist.

But I’m impressed that my doctor is taking such an interest in me.

Sunday 5th September 2021 – WHAT I SAW …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… down on the beach this afternoon.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s my habit to go over to the wall at the end of the car park outside my door and look down to see the activity on the beach.

But today, you’ll need a darn sight more than a good telephoto lens to penetrate this sea-fog that is rolling in with the wind from off the bay and over the headland where I’m standing. There were definitely people down there because I could hear them, but there was no chance whatever of seeing them.

sea fog baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Round the other side of the headland, it’s easy to see whereabouts in the bay is in the wind-shadow of the headland.

The two harbours and the coast down as far as St Pair sur Mer are fairly clear but further on down the coast where there is no wind-shadow the coast is overwhelmed by the sea-fog.

But that’s enough of that for the moment. Let’s go back to the start of the day.

And Bane of Britain strikes again, by somehow having managed to arrange for the alarm to go off at 06:00 this morning. One very unhappy bunny here.

It was about 09:30 when I finally staggered from my stinking pit. After the medication this morning and checking my mails and messages I made a start on the notes for yesterday that I hadn’t done last night.

Strangely enough, it didn’t take me too long to do it and by the time that I stopped for lunch, they had long-been finished.

This afternoon I made a start on pairing up the tracks for the next radio programme – the one that I’ll be preparing on Monday.

That took much longer than it ought to have done because I’ve made a conscious decision that many of the songs that I’ve been choosing are no longer appropriate for the style of programme that I want to develop. Well – they are, but not in the amount that I’ve been using them just recently.

Later on I made another pile of dough for the pizzas for the next three weeks. This one seemed to work really well and I wish that the fruit bread had turned out like that the other day.

By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon grope around the headland.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This is a view that we have seen on many occasions.

It’s the path that leads along the top of the headland towards the lighthouse, the coastguard station and the semaphore post. But unfortunately today, you can’t see any one of those things with the fog.

Nevertheless, the fog didn’t deter people from being out and about. There were far more people out there this afternoon than you would realise, and you didn’t notice them until you fell over them.

cabanon vauban people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Not just on the path towards the lighthoue either.

My walk took me across the lawn and across the car park down to the end of the headland where there is a good view across the bay. But not today, unfortunately.

We couldn’t see a thing out to sea this afternoon, but there were some people who had made their way down the steps to the little bench in front of the Cabanon Vauban, the old Customs sentry-box. I’m not sure what it was at which they were looking, but I couldn’t see anything special.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021They weren’t the only people wandering around off the beaten track in the fog this afternoon.

It will take more than a sea-fog to stop the fishermen going out to practise their art, and sure enough, there is one of them down there.

It’s very difficult to see what he’s actually doing. He has his rod in his hand but I can’t tell whether he is packing up or setting out.

And so I left him to it and headed off along the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on down there.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Down at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour, I could see that there was no change in occupancy in the chantier naval. Still the same seven boats that have been there for a couple of weeks.

Over on the other side of the harbour, there was one of the Joly France ferry boats moored up at the ferry terminal. Judging by its small superstructure and rectangluar windows in “portrait” format, it’s the newer one of the two near-identical ones.

As for where her older sister and the brand-new Belle France might be, I really can’t say. But I bet that they won’t be doing any sightseeing trips around the bay or a lap around the Ile de Chausey. And Chausiaise, the little freighter, is in the inner harbour.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the viewpoint further along the path, I could see into the inner harbour where I noticed that Marité wasn’t there.

She must be out at sea with passengers, and I bet that they can’t be enjoying themselves too much in this weather, with not being able to see what is going on anywhere.

There was also an aeroplane flying around overhead, but of course I couldn’t see it in this weather.

Instead, I went back home and had a banana smoothie. Despite the fog, it was hot, clammy and oppressive out there this afternoon.

Having drunk my smoothie I sat down to check the dictaphone notes but ended up dozing off for about 20 minutes. That still left time for me to find out where I’d been last night.

The first thing that I noticed was that I remarked that I had had an attack of cramp – first time for about ever. I’d forgotten all about this.

But in the meantime, a former friend of mine was speaking to me and telling me what a surprising person I am with all this news that I have that I have never told anyone. he said that he had only found out by accident so I asked him what he was on about. He said that we’d have to go out and celebrate it, all this kind of thing, and I hadn’t really any idea. It turned out that he’d heard someone say “we’d still be up to 15 people if we replace Eric quickly or get a replacement for Eric quickly enough”. “Ohh that!” I said. “I’ve just had an internal transfer in the office and going somewhere else”.

There was somewhere else about a house in Wistaston in Crewe that I was trying to sell but no-one had been to see it for a while. People had asked me why I hadn’t reduced it to sell. I replied that I’ve had it almost 20 years and very very shortly the mortgage will be paid. It’s not in my interest to sell it once the mortgage is paid because it will be increasing in value.

What was that dream about a banana that suddenly awoke me and drained everything away from me immediately? And don’t ask me what that was all about because I don’t have a clue. It’s what I must have dictated but I can’t think why.

Later on during the night I was out with Nerina. There were 4 of us, me, her, another guy and another girl, something to do with me being at the hospital. Nerina had her Wolseley 1300 and the door on it didn’t fit quite properly. While we were walking towards it there was another group of people walking towards us. One of them was joking about how easy it was to steal these cars. he took out a key from his pocket, opened the door, got in and sat at the steering wheel. The guy and I dived in, dragged him out, bent him over the car and had his arms in an arm lock. We marched him into the hospital where someone called the police. The idea was basically to frighten the wits out of him. But this went on and on and in the end I was called forward for my surgery. The boy that had come out before me now had the most beautiful white teeth so I wondered if that was what they were going to do to me. I had to go to wait by this cubby hole where the guy searched through some papers. There were people coming and going and the surgeon was rooting through these papers as well looking for the names. Someone else out of the room where we were had come out and gone past me in a wheelchair and gone into a theatre. I thought that I was going to be here all night with this. I’d told one of the others who was with us that they were in charge about the affair with this boy. I wondered how long it was going to be before they become fed up?.

There was also time to deal with a couple more of the arrears too. I’m hoping that they will be finished quite soon too so that I can update the relevant journal entries.

When that was done I divided up the pizza dough into three, rolled two in oil, wrapped them in greaseproof paper, put them in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The other, I rolled out and put in the pizza tray and left it to proof for a while. And once it was ready I assmebled it and baked it.

Here’s the finished product. It was nice and crispy for a change, one of the best that I’ve made for ages. Quite delicious too.

Now the washing-up is done and the kitchen has been tidied up and it’s all looking quite nice. i’ve finished my journal entry early too so I have a couple of things to do and then i’m off to bed. I have a radio programme to prepare in the morning so I need to be on good form because I don’t want to waste too much time.

Wednesday 7th July 2021 – I’M FED UP …

… of this perishing weather.

rainstorm place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis afternoon I didn’t have the chance to go out for my afternoon walk because it was raining like it had never rained before.

Even in all my wet-weather gear I wasn’t going to set foot outside the building in all of this. Torrential rain had nothing whatever on what was coming down when I wanted to go for my walk.

The irony of it all was that there was a Welsh conversation on-line tonight and I was bent on joining it. And while we were chatting, the sun came out and there was some blue sky too. But the moment the chat finished, down came the rain, right on cue, and that was that.

Last night was another rather late night because something came up on the Old-Time Radio – an Agatha Christie play concerning Hercule Poirot – so I stayed up and listened to it. If it meant for a bad night and following morning, that’s rather a shame but for me I ought to be having some pleasure out of life somewhere.

As a result it was rather a struggle for me to raise myself from the bed when the first alarm went off, and some time after I’d taken my medication and come back in here I’d crashed out, sitting on my chair. And for about an hour and a half too. I must have been tired.

When I’d recovered I made myself a coffee and then had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d bought some item of clothing and it was going to be for me only and it was very special. I was living at Coleridge Way at Nerina’s. Somehow this thing was picked up in her washing and washed along with everything else and hung out on the airing trolley things. I was wondering how on earth I was going to get it back. I had to wait for a moment when everyone was out of the house. I waited for a period of over a couple of days until everyone had gone and I went downstairs and into the living room where all of these clothes were on airers. There had been a bed made up on the sofa. I crept over there to see and it was an empty bed. I thought that with the bed being on the sofa there was something strange going to happen and so I slowly made my way round to where this article was. Then I heard voices in the house so I waited thinking that the way to distract these people whose voice this was would be to leap out and startle them, and that way to forget what it was that was going on. That was what I did, and it turned out that it was my youngest sister and someone else, another female of our family. They’d both been involved in a car accident so I immediately went to console them both and tell them “it doesn’t matter – it’s only metal” and so on. Another guy was there. he was trying his best to console them as well. All the time this article that I wanted was still up on the clothes airers and I was in a very great danger of actually losing it again to someone else who wasn’t going to be careful about what they packed up and what they put away.

Tater on there was another long and rambling dream that went on and one and on. What I can remember was that some girl was having to have lessons. My brother had been giving her lessons but was unable to do so so I was now having to do it. We were living on the Wistaston Green estate and I had to find out where to go. They said that on Saturdays she lived at home but on Sundays she stayed at someone else’s house. On the Saturday it was somewhere on the Wistaston Green estate but no-one actually knew where. We knew where to go and where to park the car ans one of my sisters thought that she knew which house it was but every time I asked for the number it was “oh you just go there and park your car” and so on. The Sunday was a little clearer because I remember taking the phone call when she was changing it to her relative’s house. I could vaguely remember something about that. But there was tons to this and it just went on and on and I can’t rememner any of it.

While I was asleep on the chair though I was working in an office in Stoke on Trent. They had come along and cleared all of the files in the store room and sent them off to a central repository, which I thought was the strangest decision that I’d ever heard. Every time someone rang up or wrote in a letter you had to write to the central repository to get back the file before you could deal with their query. I’d had something to do with one particular case which I’d been working quite regularly but the file wasn’t there so in the end I went into the basement, couldn’t find this file there so a guy whom I used to know and I went off to the central repository which was in Stoke on Trent. He said that he knew his way around so off he went. I ended up just sitting there for a couple of hours and I was totally fed yp so I decided to go back home again. Back to the van was past a compound with all of these big Bentley 3-litres in it. Then there was a place wirh 4 or 5 Isetta bubble cars all mangled, it was that kind of place. Just as I was getting into Caliburn to go back, he appeared. He said that he couldn’t find the file but he’d found one of his big old buckets that he’d had before and went to empty it over the edge of this drop so that he could take it back but he almost ended up going over the drop with all of the rubbish that was in this bucket thing before he could stop himself.

It must have been a really deep sleep on the chair if I’d wandered off like that.

So having organised myself and grabbed my breakfast much of the morning up until lunchtime was spent dealing with the photos of Greenland in August 2019. I’m not about to go for a wander in a zodiac to look at the icebergs in the Davis Strait and Disco Bay just off Ilulissat. And this, I remember, is the day that I allowed my curiosity to get the better of me.

But one thing about editing these photos – it makes me want to go North again.

My work this morning was interrupted by a couple of things. Firstly, I crashed out yet again for half an hour or so, and secondly, I had a visit from the postie. The first of the deliveries from my mega-Amazon order. And so immediately after lunch I went into unpacking-mode.

A pair of batteries for each of the NIKON D500 and NIKON 1 J5 cameras. And I bet that I still end up down the street with flat batteries too at some point or another.

But interestingly, the new generation of chargers work off 5-volt USB connectors rather than the mains current. So that means less gadgets to haul around with me

The new Dashcam came too, and that took ages to work out how to initialise it, and the new multi-caddy that I’ll be using for back-up storage. The memory is here too, as is the new USB 3.0 multi-connector but that’s all a job for next weekend after I come back from Leuven when hopefully, the two new hard drives for the computer will be here.

rainstorm rue du roc foyer des jeunes travailleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time to go for a walk but the lousy weather put the brakes on that, as I told you earlier.

Going back upstairs I stuck the camera out of the rear window overlooking the Foyer des Jeunes Travailleurs to take a photo of the weather out there as well. I wasn’t going to end up being soaked just for the sake of a couple of photos.

Instead, I came back here and did some more work on my trip down the coast on board Spirit of Conrad last year. This is a pretty slow process because there’s about 400 photos and I don’t really know what to write about most of them – although that has never stopped me in the past of course.

There was a Welsh chat on Zoom this evening so I wanted to join, but the tutor had sent me the wrong link so it took a while for me to be connected. But a couple of things that I noticed, namely

  1. this particular tutor is a lot more disorganised than the two that we have had so far
  2. this was a mixture of people from several groups and the people from our group were much more confident than the people from the other groups

Tea tonight was chips with burger and baked beans followed by chocolate sponge and coconut soya stuff. I’ll be back to making chocolate sauce for the next few days now.

But not right now because I’m off to bed. It’s shopping tomorrow of course, if I don’t fall asleep, and there might even be more toys from Amazon. Won’t that be nice?

Sunday 30th May 2021 – MY LAST DAY …

… In Leuven – for about a fortnight. I’ve made up my mind that I’m going home tomorrow.

I’ve booked my train and for a change I’m going in luxury. There’s a TGV that leaves Brussels half an hour later than the one that I usually catch and goes directly to Paris without messing around in Lille. It costs an arm and a leg but I don’t have much choice as I can’t face the struggle around Lille. I just want to go home.

Last night I watched a film right through to the end and was half-way through watching another before I fell asleep. This insomnia thing isn’t working all that well, is it?

With it being Sunday I slept right the way through until the guy in the next room started bellowing on the ‘phone to whoever he was talking to. He made several phone calls during the day and each time he came and stuck his head out of the window to make them. I’ve no idea what’s the matter with some people.

Whatever he was up to didn’t stop me going off on a nocturnal wander-around during the night. I was out looking for a car and we were looking at all kinds of American cars that had been parked up somewhere. There were tow big saloons that I had my eye on. One wasn’t too bad but the other was a bit more grotty and the gearchange was notchy. That was at on the back of a Ford step-sided pickup truck and the steppy actually started and moved about under its own steam. So I was asking a friend what he thought about the 2. There was also a big pickup there that was a car-drived pickup based on one of these flamboyant Chevrolet type things from the 1950s. It has loads of logs in the back – 5 or 6 huge tree trunk things in the back that would come in handy for firewood. I was wondering about that one as well but I hadn’t at that moment got that one to move before I awoke

What I’ve done today is to book my trains. 07:47 from Brussels and 10:50-something from Paris. With no printer here I had to set up some apps on my mobile phone to do that. One for the SNCF of course, and one for the SNCB for my rail ticket from Leuven. There’s a train at 06:34 that arrives at Brussels at 07:04 and that’s the one for me. I won’t have long to wait in Brussels.

As well as that, I’ve done the notes for another radio programme. That’s three that I’ve done this last week – it’s taken me much longer than it would have done at home of course, but it’s the most difficult part. I’m going to see if one day later this week I can do what remains of all three programmes so that I’ll be right up to date.

When that is done I’ll be over 5 months ahead, which is the plan. I went to be as far ahead as I possibly can, firstly because I want at some point to go off on another mega-voyage to Canada whenever their borders open, and there is also a second reason that I will let you think about.

It wasn’t easy to do those notes for the simple reason that I kept falling asleep during the afternoon. And that’s why I want to be home as quickly as I can, because if I arrive back at 14:00 without too much effort, which seems to be the plan right now, I can go for the comfort and safety of my own bed when I hit the wall.

There’s shopping to be done as well, so I think that maybe Caliburn and I will go for a drive on Tuesday afternoon.

But one thing that was interesting about me crashing out during the afternoon was that I managed to go off on a ramble. There was a change-round in the sleeping arrangements in our house which meant that I had to sleep in the bath. That was right down at the end of the house in the coldest room in the house. When I got into there there was water in the bath that I had to drain out, which caused someone elsewhere in the house to make a remark. It was freezing in there too so I looked around and the heater was on so I didn’t understand that. Someone came to interrupt me to say that they needed to move a load of scrap across somewhere with this baby to film this for a film so I went along as this lorry with the scrap bumped across this old cobbled port area. We turned a corner and everyone was waiting there. The scrap and the baby were unloaded and the filming took place. I was half-expecting them to ask me to appear but they didn’t. They told me that because the baby had done so well I could take it to an acting school so I went off there with it and found it to be the same place where TOTGA’s daughter was attending.

Sunday is pizza day, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. But not today. I would have to buy it outside of course, but my argument is that if I eat out of the stocks on hand, it’s less stuff to carry home. And I’m not up to carrying stuff home right now

Alison came to see how I was, which was nice, and she brought me some vegan white chocolate from her trip to Aachen yesterday, which was even nicer. As I have said before, I don’t have many friends, but I go for quality, not quantity. My friends are the best in the world.

So having only set foot outside to accompany Alison to her car, I’m off to bed. The alarms are set for 05:00 and I’m not looking forward to that, so I need all the sleep that I can get.

Wednesday 19th May 2021 – YOU’RE PROBABLY WONDERING …

… about why it’s taken me so long to put my notes of today’s travel on line.

The truth is that last night with 164% of my daily total of effort recorded on my fitbit, I crashed out completely at about 21:15 and crashed out properly too – in bed under the bedclothes and out like a light. I vaguely remember waking up again at about 23:20 but that was my lot until 05:20 the following morning.

And that’s another mystery, isn’t it? Whenever I do go to to bed really early I can’t seem to make the most of it and end up waking early, except on a Saturday a couple of weeks ago.

But returning to our moutons, as they say around here, Wednesday is the day that I travel to Leuven. I was up and about at 06:00 as usual as the first alarm went off.

First task was to make myself a coffee, and then make a thermos flask of coffee for the journey. Those water bottles that we received for our expeditions on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR really are the business.

Making my sandwiches and so on for breakfast and lunch was next, the sourdough and the ginger beer needed feeding too so I attended to that. It will be interesting to see if there’s another eruption of the sourdough while I’m away. To be on the safe side, I’ve put the jar in a bowl to stop it going everywhere.

Having done a few more bits and pieces I headed off down the road towards the railway station, realising after about 200 yards that I’ve forgotten to pack any clean clothes. Too late now to do anything about it now.

people on terrace rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown in the town I noticed a few changes hat have taken place since I was last here. Cafés can now open their terraces to the general public.

Many of the city centre cafés don’t have terraces of course but the local council has given them authorisation to set up ad-hoc terraces on the street in front of their premises. And even though it’s a cold, damp 08:15 or thereabouts on a midweek morning, there are a few clients who couldn’t wait to sample the delights of which they have been deprived for so long.

Draymen too delivering beer barrels and crates too. That’s a welcome sign too.

But I still think that it’s far too early to be opening up like this with casualties the way that they are. I can’t help having the feeling that it’s as if the Government has given up the fight against containing the virus and relying on the vaccination programme. This is all going to end in tears.

beach cabins on lorry cours jonville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there are other more positive signs of summer too, as I noticed further along at the junction in the Cours Jonville.

As I waited to cross the street one of the Council lorries pulled up in front of my. It was pulling a trailer and was loaded up with the beach cabins off the Plat Gousset.

At the end of the season the cabins are taken off the promenade to keep them safe in a compound in the Council’s maintenance depot. They don’t leave them on the promenade through the winter

Regular readers of this rubbish who will recall having seen the winter storms smashing their way onto the promenade at high tide will not be surprised by this. Coming back at the start of the season and finding a pile of matchwood waiting for you isn’t the way to run a seaside resort.

gec alsthom regiolis 84555 gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the railway station my train was already in and waiting for me so I could go and find my seat and sit down. And that was just as well because with not feeling very well, the walk up there had thoroughly exhausted me.

It was only a 6-car unit too – just one of the GEC Alsthom Regiolis sets that we usually have – so it was pretty crowded this morning. I had a companion sitting next to me, but that didn’t stop me sleeping for the first part of the journey.

The rest of the journey was spent updating the laptop. This morning before setting out I copied onto a memory stick the files that had been updated on the big computer since my last trip to Leuven. I have one of these tiny 64GB memory sticks attached to my keyring which I use as I travel about to copy files from one computer to another.

The Gare de Montparnasse was still quite empty – full life hasn’t yet returned to Paris (and quite right too) – and it was easy to find a seat on the Metro train to the Gare du Nord. I always walk down to the end of the platform at railway stations because I’ve noticed that the crowds seem to congregate at the middle so the ends of the trains are usually much more empty.

At the Gare du Nord there were very few people around yet again so I took full advantage by buying another carnet of 10 tickets. I seem to be going through them quite quickly these days.

TGV Reseau Duplex 216 gare du nord paris France Eric HallAs I arrived upstairs at the terminus where I catch my train, a train from Lille pulled in and I reckoned that this will be mine going back out again.

We won’t be allowed on it for quite a while because they have to clean it thoroughly these days before we can get back on, so I spent the time looking around. I can tell you a little about my train while we are waiting.

It’s one of the old TGV “Reseau Duplex” double-deckers that they use on high-volume routes. The first time that I had travelled on one was a few years ago when I went from Lyon to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on my way to Montreal, and doesn’t that seem like a lifetime ago, the way things have been this last year or so?

sncf locomotive 522228 class bb 22200 gare du nord paris France Eric HallWhile I was looking around I came across this beautiful machine.

Anyone who has travelled on an express train in France before the days of high-speed high-capacity multiple-units will have been on a train pulled by one of these. It’s locomotive 522228, one of the class of BB22200 locomotives that flooded the SNCF network back in the old days and are the epitome of French long-distance travel.

The Nez Cassées or “Broken Noses” began to be introduced in 1975 and a total of 205 were introduced. Some of them have even been timed at travelling in excess of 200 kph. But in 2012 they began to be withdrawn for breaking and that marks the end of this era of traditional travel. And that’s a tragedy

TGV Reseau Duplex 215 gare du nord paris France Eric HallEventually the details of our train were posted up on the board so we could all swarm down to platform towards our seats.

As you might expect, mine is down at the far end of the train, which I suppose isn’t too bad because it means that I don’t have so far to walk at Lille Flandres. It’s a train of two-units coupled together and, surprisingly, we have two units of consecutive numbers.

This wasn’t quite as full as the rain on which I’d come from Granville so I had no neighbour. I could eat my lunch in comparative comfort and read my E-book.

It’s a book written in 1918 and talks about the early history of flight, AIRCRAFT AND SUBMARINES: THE STORY OF THE INVENTION, DEVELOPMENT, AND PRESENT-DAY USES OF WAR’S NEWEST WEAPONS by Willis J Abbot and makes several claims about powered flight taking place before the Wright Brothers but by people other than the usual suspects Gustave Whitehead and Richard Pearse.

It’s a fascinating read about submarines because there is little research that has been done into the German U-boat campaign of 1914-18 compared to what was done in the Second World War and the massive tomes of CLAY BLAIR

Interestingly, there’s an obscure reference in Abbot’s book to the fate of the Hunley – the world’s first killer submarine. He says that divers a couple of years after the end of the American Civil War found it still embedded in wreck of the Housatonic, although no mention of that was made when Itzé and I WENT TO VISIT THE HUNLEY after it had been recovered.

Our train pulled into Lille Flandres railway station bang on time and so I set off in the damp atmosphere down the road towards Lille Europe Railway Station.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4518 SNCF TGV POS 4403 gare du lille europe France Eric HallOur train was already in the station but there was 20 minutes before our train was due to depart so I had plenty of time to take a photo of it.

Once again it’s a train consisting of two train sets. Mine is 4518, one of the TGV Reseau 38000 tri-volt trains, the same type as the Thalys PBA trains that work between Paris, Brussels and occasionally Amsterdam. It’s coupled up to 4403, one of the POS units tat formerly worked the eastern TGV network.

its neighbour 4402 is the train that holds the world speed record for conventional train travel, having reached 574.8 kilometres per hour on 3rd April 2007.

push me pull you sncb locomotive gare du midi brussels belgium  Eric HallThe train that took me on to Leuven from Brussels Gare du Midi was one of the SNCB “push me pull you” units with the locomotive pushing it from the far end.

And I was lucky to catch it too because there was another barrage at the station with the police checking the travel papers of people getting off the train. I was paperless, as you might expect, so I had to bluff pretty hard to be allowed officially to enter the country.

But I know what to do for the next time that I arrive in the country, and I can see that I shall be having to change my travel habits.

But anyway, they let me in and I could head off for my train.

sncb series 55 locomotive 5503 haren brussels belgium Eric HallFor a change, our train took the older route that passes by the huge railway rolling stock depot at Haren, and alongside the area where they park the redundant locomotives prior to scrapping.

Amongst the locomotives in there today is 5503, one of the Class 55 diesels of the SNCB. This was a generic design used by many railway companies in Europe, and this particular model was built by BN, a Belgian company now part of Bombardier, and powered by General Motors EMD engines.

It’s a testament to the efficiency and reliability of the GM engines that 60 years after their introduction there are still plenty of them still in existence. The British version of these, powered by the unreliable and inefficient and, for all intents and purposes, irreparable North British engines that were cheap licensed copies of a MAN diesel engine, never even made 20 years.

To give you some idea, because of the narrow British loading gauge, the engines had to be mounted upside-down so that to even do a simple job like draining the oil and changing the filter, you had to take the engine out.

sncb automotrice am75 haren brussels belgium Eric HallAlso ready to go to the breaker’s yard were a few of the AM75 multiple units.

When I was working for that American company 15 years ago I would have been pleased if one of these had arrived at Jette railway station to take me off to work instead of one of the ancient units that usually took me, but these days they are long obsolete.

Introduced in 1975, there were 44 of these train sets introduced. There are one or two of them still circulating around on the network round by Antwerp and Charleroi and are the oldest multiple units left in action on the SNCB railway network, but I suspect that they won’t be around for much longer.

But I’m interested to see what the next generation of multiple units will be like.

sncb class 18 locomotive 1886 gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric HallAt Leuven I could see which locomotive had been pushing us towards Eupen.

It’s 1886, one of the Class 18 electric locomotives. There are 120 of these locomotives, built by Siemens between 2008 and 2011 and replaced a variety of different locomotives from previous generations built in the 1950s and early 1960s.

From the railway station I staggered off to my accommodation. And it really was a stagger too because I didn’t enjoy the walk at all. And I didn’t have an upgrade today. The place is busy so I’m in a single unit, although bigger and with a double bed, something that you don’t have in a basic single unit.

My trip to the shops was later than usual, and for 2 reasons too. Firstly we had a torrential rainstorm and I wasn’t going out in that. And secondly, I needed all of this time to gather my strength.

roadworks naamsestraat naamsevest Leuven Belgium Eric HallBecause I wasn’t feeling very energetic, I took the shorter route along the ring-road to the supermarket, and ended up at the junction of the Naamsestraat and the Naamsevest.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve seen the roadworks at this junction for the last couple of times that we’ve been here, and there still appears to be no change. They aren’t making much progress here, which seems typical these days with building work, and I wonder how they are progressing with the other work we’ve been watching.

Anyway, at the Carrefour I did my shopping. They had burgers on special offer and also some reduced vegan sausages so I bought them for the next few teas But I forgot the vegan mayonnaise for my sandwiches which was a shame.

roadworks naamsestraat naamsevest Leuven Belgium Eric HallOn the way back I passed by the roadworks again, which we can see now from a different angle, and then headed on for home

The walk back with the shopping exhausted me and the climb up the stairs to the 2nd floor finished me off. I made myself some food, a burger with pasta and veg, and that was that. I’d had enough for today and so I was going to go bed straight away. I can finish my notes tomorrow.

it’ll also give me a chance to listen to the dictaphone to see where I went during the night because there was a file on the dictaphone to indicate that something had happened during the night.

Nerina was actually involved in this although I didn’t have the chance to see her. I had to go to see someone who had built some kind of magnificent motorbike and was busy building – I dunno, circus or fairground attractions out of old cars and so on so I thought that I go and talk to him about perhaps getting a bike or doing some work or something. He lived on Stoneley Road – no, not Stoneley Road – near where the Hunters Lodge is. So I went down past Nerina’s but she wasn’t there, and I got to this house. I knocked on the door but no-one came. It was a bungalow and the front door was at the side of it. I put my head into the garage but there was nothing in there but I was tempted to go for a really good look around, which I did. When I came out I bumped into a couple who were most surprised to see me. I was most surprised to see them – it didn’t half look suspicious. I explained what I was doing. The guy started to be really aggressive in a light-hearted, funny way saying things like “when they said this kind of thing to Clement Freud on 20 Questions he became most upset, things like that. This went on for a couple of minutes. I ended up being cornered by this man and woman. She was telling me all about the stuff that he was building but e guy was being all aggresssive. Suddenly they ushered me into the house. There in the living room was a load of people all wearing black, motorbike types in black t-shirts, black leather waistcoats and so on and they had all kinds of things in there like cars that were turning into circus attractions, that kind of thing, all together. Someone I knew who was a friend of mine, either my former friend from Stoke on Trent or Rhys (yes, you have a mention, Rhys), said something about having to go and tax his motorbike. I made some kind of comment about my motorbike needing taxing as well, even though it wasn’t MoT’d. That’s where it ended.

The hospital tomorrow, and they are going to be checking my heart. At least I have one, which shows that I’m not a Tory. And I’m thankful for that.