Tag Archives: paula_alan

Sunday 12th June 2022 – I CAN’T EVEN HAVE …

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022… have a Day of Rest on my Day of Rest, can I?

Sunday is a day when I’m supposed to be having a decent lie-in to catch up with whatever I’ve missed during the week and to tell the truth I would probably still be in bed right now except that I had a rather urgent need to go for a ride on the porcelain horse round about 09:20.

And that killed my lie-in stone-dead, regrettably.

So while you admire a few photos of the various forms of aerial activity that took place around the town this afternoon, I’ll tell you about my rather depressing day today.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022After I’d had my medication this morning I came back here and made a start on work.

What I had to do was to pair off the music for the next radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. Not that I’ll be doing very much tomorrow, I reckon. If the last few days is anything to go by, I’ll be lucky if I’ll be able to haul myself out of bed at any kind of reasonable time tomorrow.

And then, regrettably, I fell asleep again and that was that. I was still stark out when Ingrid telephoned me and you’ve no idea how difficult it is to hold a conversation with anyone when all you want to do is to sleep.

As a result of the foregoing I had a rather late lunch again.

red powered hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022After lunch I had a kilo of carrots to peel and blanch ready to freeze and then I had a listen to what had happened during the night on the dictaphone.

I’d been out somewhere and my elder sister had come with me. She was dressed in a pair of thigh-high black leather boots, black trousers and a black jacket. We went to wherever it was and came back. She started to undress in the middle of the room which I thought was a strange thing to do. She told me “you’ve seen all this before” which of course I probably had but not from my sister. It wasn’t the kind of stuff that I was particularly wanting to see. She just peeled herself out of her clothes like peeling a banana. I thought that this was a strange thing to do.

yacht speedboat la grande ancre baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And then we were talking about Jeeps and things. Someone was asked to describe a Jeep. They said that it was like a Land Rover where all the bodywork had been bent backwards and warped because they’ve just been driving through a housing estate somewhere that was being built and had hit a raised manhole. The Land Rover had stuck on it but of course the momentum had caused all the bodywork to twist and warp on it. It had made a real mess of everything.

There was also a teacher bringing a party of schoolchildren over on a catamaran. As he was bringing them in close to port he was going round reminding them not to ask anyone any stupid questions when they docked. I can’t remember how this developed.

yachts cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022and finally there was a story about how a village in Russia had been hit by Bubonic Plague. People had heard all kinds of mysteries going on about this place. They had been issuing jigsaws to people to piece together to try to work out what was the answer. Someone finally completed one and left it in the street completed and cleared off quickly. The village was closed and no-one was allowed in or out and everyone was dying, even the medical staff. The leader of the medical staff there was dead and had the place at the top of the roll of honour of those who had died

There was time for half an hour on the acoustic guitar too before I was ready for going out for my afternoon walk. I don’t want to forget what I’ve spent all this time learning. And while I was at it, I worked out a simple chord structure to CITY OF LIGHTS by RUNRIG.

Strangely enough, I seem to recall a while ago someone saying that he wasn’t going to learn any more new songs but just go with what he’d got at that point. I wonder who that was.

But since that date 26 songs have somehow been added to it, all of which I play at some point or other and of which 15 are on the playlist

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022But anyway that was the cue for me to go off for my walk around the city walls this afternoon.

First stop is, as usual, a look down onto the beach to see what was happening there today. And with it being a really nice afternoon (I ended up in shirt sleeves at some point) there were quite a few people down there today.

Even a few taking to the water too. In fact this had me trying to think of when I was last swimming in the sea and apart from when I fell in when I was up in the High Arctic in 2018, it was when I was in Greece in 2013

Hans and I were actually talking about Greece a while ago and I happened to mention “the last time I was in Athens was with your sister!” That’s the kind of remark that kills a conversation stone-dead, especially when it’s the truth.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And while I’m here I thought that I’d have a good look at the repairs to the medieval city wall.

They have been doing some more dismantling. Quite a lot more has been demolished compared to the last time that we were here. It looks as if they are making a thorough job of it all, and quite right too.

Much as I would have liked to, I didn’t go down the steps to look at what was happening at the outside of the wall. And for obvious reasons too. Going down the steps is one thing. Coming back up is something else completely, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

lobster pot buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Instead I wandered off through the arch and along the path outside the walls towards the Plat Gousset.

Offshore in the bay, as well as all of the boats that we have already seen, there were a few more of these buoys with flags on top.

We’ve had this discussion on several occasions, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I reckon that they indicate where the local fishermen have dropped their lobster pots so they know where to go to pick them up again.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wonder how they manage to train a lobster to actually go on one.

kite surfer baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022It wasn’t just lobster pots, yachts, cabin cruisers and La Grande Ancre who were out there in the bay either.

The number of hang gliders in the air will give you some kind of indication of how windy it was this afternoon, and there was a kite surfer out there making the most of it too.

We saw a couple of them in the bay on the other side of the headland a couple of days ago but we haven’t see one on this side of the headland for a while. It’s a sure sign that “Sumer is a–cumen in. Lhude sing cucu”, hey?

tidal swimming pool diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022There were quite a few people wandering around on the path this afternoon so I had to fight my way through the masses down to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

And they still haven’t fitted the diving platform onto the concrete pillar down there. Summer is going to be here and gone before they get round to doing it at this rate

Plenty of people in the water here though, but then access from the promenade to the beach is much easier than scrambling down the steps in the Rue du Nord.

Despite the renovations to the tidal swimming pool, it’s still not holding water between high tides. I thought that was rather the point of it

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022You can see what I mean by the access to the beach from the promenade.

There are a couple of ramps and a set of steps that are by no means as challenging as those at the Rue du Nord. And that’s why there are crowds of people down there sitting in the sand.

They are out of the wind too thanks to the headland.

The red machine that we saw down there working with a pile of dislodged rocks is still there too. That’s going to be quite an interesting job of work. I wonder what the purpose of it all is. I suppose that I shall find out in due course.

baby seagulls with mother seagull rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Having finished my inspection of the Plat Gousset I wandered off down the Square Maurice Marland to see how the seagulls were doing.

The two chicks that I have been observing were huddled up in some shade this afternoon and I couldn’t take a good photograph so in the end I had to settle with another bunch of chicks, with a very proud mummy standing guard over them

Plenty of sea-going activity in the bay this afternoon but there wasn’t anything exciting going on in the inner harbour this afternoon that we haven’t seen before so I left them to it and wandered off towards home and my strawberry smoothie.

artists fair rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022In the old town this afternoon it’s the Artists’ Fair.

There are plenty of artists in the old town with all kinds of galleries and today was when they were having a sale of unsold work. And frankly I could see why it was unsold because it was either far too overpriced or the quality wasn’t up to all that much.

This modern art, surrealism and impressionism with huge swirls of colours, seems to be all the rage but it’s not something that I like at all. I prefer art to be like a photograph, a faithful representation of a view, with skill and talent.

Something that actually looks like what it’s supposed to be, painted by someone who knows how to paint. But these days I’d be embarrassed to put most of what I see on my wall. I know what I want for my apartment, and I know how much I’m going to pay for it too.

Back here, I crashed out yet again for an hour or so and then I did a pile of Welsh revision, going through some of the stuff that I’d written over the last two weeks.

In between all of this, I had some bread to make. I used the last of the loaf on Friday so I made another pile of dough which I left on one side to proof for a while.

After lunch I’d taken out a lump of pizza dough from the freezer and that had been defrosting. By now that was ready so I kneaded it and rolled it out, putting it on the pizza tray so that that could proof too.

home made bread vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022While the bread was baking I assembled my pizza and when the bread was baked I put it in the oven to bake as well.

The bread looks absolutely perfect and the pizza didn’t look too bad either. It tasted quite delicious too and I’ll tell you about the bread tomorrow after I’ve sampled it for lunch.

And talking about tomorrow I took out the next batch of fruit buns from the freezer ready to defrost, and put the carrots in there to freeze for the next couple of weeks.

When I finished tea I washed up a pile of stuff in the kitchen and came in here to write up my notes.

Now I’m off to bed. I have an early start in the morning to prepare a radio programme and I’m not looking forward at all to doing it. I’m really not feeling much like anything at all right now.

Friday 27th May 2022 – IT’S NOT BEEN A …

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022 … very good day at all today, which has been rather disappointing.

So while you admire a few photos of all of the various types of water craft that were out and about this afternoon while I was out on my afternoon walk, I’ll tell you all about what went wrong.

And it was in fact when I came back from my afternoon walk, poured myself out a coffee and then came in here to sit down and drink it.

Instead, I crashed out. And crashed out completely too into one of the deepest sleeps that I’ve had for quite some considerable time.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022And it wasn’t just for five or ten minutes either.

It was for a whole two hours that I was away with the fairies. So much so that I couldn’t move at all. And this is pretty bad news because if I’m thinking of going off on my travels for a little while at the end of next month, I can’t do with falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon.

That was what put me off going anywhere last year. Imagine me farh’n fahr’n fahr’n up the autobahn in Calburn at 120kph and then suddenly dropping off to sleep without any warning.

It wouldn’t be too bad if I knew that I was going and had time to pull over and stop but how things are at the moment, it’s just as if someone flicks a switch and I go out like a light.

sailing boat ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But anyway, I knew it was going to be a difficult day when I had such a struggle to leave my bed this morning.

I actually made it quite comfortably straight after the first alarm but it took an enormous amount of willpower and I would have given everything I owned to have been able to have crawled back underneath the covers

Mind you, after what I’d said yesterday, Zero put in an appearance last night – the first one of my three female friends to do so for quite some considerable time. So who would actually want to leave the bed when she is wandering around somewhere in the ether? Certainly not me.

boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022So after the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out what had been happening during the night.

We were all round at my eldest sister’s last night. There were a few people there, Her daughter was there, and so was Zero. The conversation was becoming rather risqué and I noticed that my sister was keeping a tight rein on things making sure that it didn’t get out of hand. While we were clearing up the mess because they had all made quite a mess eating their tea I said to my sister “you were letting it go a bit beyond the pale just now weren’t you?” rather ironically. She asked me about Zero, what was she like. I replied that she’s no shrinking violet to which my sister’s ears pricked up. I said “I don’t mean it quite like that but you know what I mean. Kids are all a lot older than their years these days”. I was putting all this food in the fridge, all half-eaten stuff, a real mess and I can’t think why my sister was wanting to keep it all. It should all have been in the bin but it was all going in this fridge to be kept which I thought was really strange.

Today I’ve been working on “Neighbours” and “Celebrations”, two of these 28 topics that might appear during the exam. We have 28 subjects and our interviewer chooses 5. We have to speak for at least a minute on each of the 5 subjects and he asks a few questions.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds because things like , for example “Celebrations” and “Your Last Holiday” I can talk pretty much about the same thing – that trip I did in 2018 to CLEBERATE THE 200th ANNIVERSARY OF THE VOYAGE OF JAMES ROSS which one day I’ll finish off.

There are quite a few where there is a considerable overlap of subjects.

But then we have to pick a subject and spend a minute asking the interviewer questions about it. And that’s not as easy as it sounds either.

Rosemary rang me up as well. There was something that she forgot to tell me so that led to another long conversation that went on for ages and ages.

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022This afternoon, as usual I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

But I’d hardly put my sooty foot outside the building before I felt the cold hand of doom fall upon me.

In actual fact it was a pair of bird-men of Alcatraz going fluttering by on their Nazguls, making the most of the windy weather. In fact, there must have been at least half a dozen or so of them up in the air here and there dotted along the coastline.

A couple of them were two-seaters, and that reminded me that one of these days I’m intending to go for a run around with one of them, just for the hell of it.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022With the amount of wind that we were having this afternoon I wasn’t expecting to see all that many people down there on the beach this afternoon.

Consequently when I stuck my head over the wall to see what was happening down there, I was surprised to see the crowds. They were certainly out there in numbers this afternoon, although I did notice that no-one was brave enough to go into the water.

And while we are on the subject of crowds, there were crowds on the path up here this afternoon. Whenever there’s a Bank Holiday on a Thursday, many French people also take the Friday off too – faire le pont and they were certainly doing that in spades today.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022The car park at the end of the headland was packed with cars so I had to fight my way through the cars to go down to the end.

No caterpillars today again, but there were plenty of people down there, with several of them loitering around by the bench.

Those of them sitting on the bench were certainly enthralled with all of the maritime displays that were taking place just offshore, and they had plenty to choose from too.

With no fishermen to attract our attention this afternoon I wandered off down the path on the other side of the headland.

sm734551 hermine bastien steeven baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Just out there in the bay is a visitor to the port whom we have seen once or twice in the past.

She’s a trawler called Hermine Bastien Steeven and despite her Dutch or Flemish name she’s actually registered across the bay in St Malo as you can tell from her registration number, which begins with “SM”.

It was actually back in April when we first saw her come into port. Things must be rather quiet right now at St Malo.

Meanwhile at the chantier naval there was no change at all in occupancy there today. Still just L’Ecume II and the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie.

petite laura la grande ancre yann frederic port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Lots of activity at the Fish Processing Plant as I went past this afternoon.

Quite a few of the smaller boats were there this afternoon and while I didn’t recognise them all, the ones that I could identify are, from left to right, Petite Laura, La Grande Ancre and Yann Frederic.

Back here I brought my coffee in here and sat down to drink it, and the next thing that I knew, it was 18:30. that was enough to put the damper on just about everything as far as today went

Tea tonight was an aubergine whatsit with pasta – at least, it should have been, but it turned out to be a curry that had somehow found its way into the wrong bag. Still, it’s all eaten one way or another.

After tea I came back here to listen to my live radio programme only to find that we have had yet another technical issue and the streaming service programme has crashed.

Actually, what I think has happened is that the power cut that we had the other day has interrupted the timer and whoever does the scheduling is on holiday so it hasn’t been reset.

But that’s convinced me that I’m not going to do another live concert. It’s a lot of work, you have no idea how much, but I enjoy it so much and the finished product (when it works) is a real work of art so I don’t mind at all.

And so I want it to reach the widest possible audience and that results in having to do a lot of publicity. And then finishing with egg on my face when it all goes tits-up.

The game is, quite simply, not worth the candle. I can’t deal with the anguish

Monday 18th April 2022 – THERE WAS MUCH …

yacht trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… more activity out on the water this afternoon.

Still not as much as I would have expected to see, given that it’s a bank holiday and we’re having nice weather, but still much more than there has been just recently.

But be that as it may, let’s retourner à nos moutons and while you all admire the photos of the water craft out there today, I’ll tell you about the morning that I had.

at least, insofar as I remember it because until about 11:00 or so I was deep in the arms of Morpheus. It’s a bank Holiday today so there was no alarm.

cancale brittany trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It’s no wonder that I was exhausted this morning because I must have travelled miles during my sleep, as I discovered when I listened to the dictaphone.

Some girl had fallen foul of a gangster boss for some reason. She’d been taking photos and dictating things into her dictaphone about this and that, dictating her dreams. This gangland boss insisted that she hand over her memory card and dictaphone which of course she flatly refused to do. This led to some kind of argument or stand-off. In the end one of his minions managed to produce some kind pf portable machine that would copy everything off the memory card and off the dictaphone so that she could have copies of everything that she had done. She could possibly have her memory card and dictaphone back. This was again a completely realistic kind of dream and made me worry about my dictaphone.

And then it was the birthday of TOTGA’s daughter so she was dancing around, reciting words in a form of poetry about presents that she would like to have for her birthday. Then TOTGA was talking about going to China … JUST LIKE SWEET REGINA” – ed … so I asked if the whole family was going. She replied “yes” or at least to the China museum which is free for everyone who visits China. She went over to a ticket machine to try to sort out everything from the machine that was there. I’m missing a few bits off this. I can’t remember all of it.

There were a couple of cowboys, taxi drivers, but one of them was an Indian. There had been some talk about disabled passengers. There was a notice on the door that said “if you’re phoning up for an elderly disabled person make sure that the taxi has a wheelchair lift fitted”. Anyway these 2 guys were on horses. One of them had a horse blanket over his horse because he was an Indian. When you took the blanket off you could see the saddle underneath all ready for war. One of his comrades came into town, also sitting on a blanket ready for war. The other cowboy went out to confront him.

people in zodiac baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022I was in a pub waiting for someone to bring round a settee to make it more comfortable. When the pub closed for the afternoon I was cleaning it up and doing some tidying up. There was something like an indoor pool in this pub, a water feature. I thought that I’d put a spade in and get down to the bottom here and see what was happening. Then 2 people turned up, a girl who worked here and her boyfriend, and they were in the middle of having an argument so I left them to it. I put my spade into the water and dug down into the mud and pulled up a huge pile of LPs and single, an Alquin double album, a pile of stuff by Alquin, loads of stuff like that. Everyone came to give me a hand to help me pull all of these out. I realised of course that they would all be ruined but I wondered what on earth they were all doing in there. I recognised one or two of them from stuff that I’d upgraded to CD but I don’t remember throwing away. There I was, picking out all these LPs from this dirty, muddy, filthy water inside this pub.

Robert Fripp was having a party to celebrate the release of his new blues album. A whole pile of us went. There was a young girl there, a bass guitarist, who played bass on his album but when she came to listen to his album you couldn’t hear the bass on it at all. She asked Robert Fripp what had happened to the bass and he told her that basically her playing was rubbish. That had of course reduced her to tears. I went to see him and asked if he would play the album with the bass on it. He replied that with the bass being rubbish he didn’t want to feature it. I told him that he didn’t really understand music because music isn’t just one performer, that sort of thing, music is everyone together, the whole ensemble. We had this argument. I told him that there had been other cases like Richie Blackmore who for example had sacked Mark Clark in the middle of a recording session and played the bass himself because he didn’t like Clark’s bass playing and I’m impressed that I could remember that when I was asleep. I said that it was dishonest in a way to have this girl play and then wipe out her playing. I insisted that he play the album version with her bass on it. He said that it would take some time so I asked him if he would send me a copy of the album with her bass playing on it. He had to fiddle around in the corner of the room to try to find the master tapes.

Finally I’d been at work. Everyone was slowly leaving. In the end there was just me and a girl, the girl whom I knew from Stoke whose name I can’t remember, the pretty one who had cancer. We were chatting away and the conversation became more and more about our intimate selves. In the end I ended up kissing her. We spent a good few minutes like that. Then I had to leave. On the way out I bumped into my elder sister. She noticed that I was late so I said that I’d been seeing some guy whose sister she knew who lived in Shavington. Then I walked down to my parents’ house in Davenport Avenue. It had changed quite considerably from when I remembered it, the outside. I knocked on the door and one of my younger sister’s children let me in. It told me to make sure that I wiped my feet but there wasn’t really any need because the lawn inside the house was all churned up like a ploughed field, a real horrible mess. My sister said that one of her children was dropping out of school. I told her that she better hadn’t because she only has one chance at education and this is it. She didn’t seem to think that she was, it was my sister’s idea that she would.

There was an interruption in the middle of this for a rather late brunch. Porridge, coffee and the last of the hot cross buns. I shall have to hope that someone I know is going back to the UK soon to bring me back another couple of batches. They aren’t very easy to make correctly and I do like them very much.

When I’d finished the dictaphone notes I had a good session on the guitar and then made a start on the radio programme that I’ll be completing tomorrow if all goes according to plan.

And while we’re on the subject of tomorrow … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ll have to tidy up the apartment tomorrow as I have someone coming round at 14:00 to see me and the place is something of a mess. How I’m going to manage raising myself from the dead with an alarm after several days of lying in remains to be seen.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But that all relates to tomorrow. Today, it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual I wandered off across the car park to the wall at the end to see what was happening down on the beach.

The tide is of course well out, as we have seen over the last few days. But there weren’t as many people down there today as there have been.

The difference today is the amount of wind that we are having. It’s a lot windier than it has been and I suppose that that is keeping people off the sand. No-one really wants to be out in a cossy in this wind.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But it’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good.

And so consequently we had the birdmen of Alcatraz out in numbers this afternoon. I counted a good half dozen and maybe more out and about in the air.

This one is carrying a passenger too, and I haven’t forgotten that it’s on my bucket list to go up for a flight one of these days if I can find an intrepid birdman intrepid enough to take me up, and a Nazgul strong enough to support the two of us. I really could do with losing another 8 or so kilos to bring me down to what I consider to be my optimal weight.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The birdmen of Alcatraz weren’t the only people up in the air today.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last couple of days we’ve seen the red powered hang glider flying around and I mentioned yesterday that I wondered what had happened to the yellow one.

Sure enough, around the corner she came this afternoon, pilot and passenger, on their way back to the airfield after a lap around the bay.

All we need now is to see the yellow autogyro and we’ll have had the full set but she’s been conspicuous by her absence for quite a while now.

There was also a small aeroplane flying around the bay but she was too far out for me to be able to take a decent photograph.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Not so many people out on the path either this afternoon.

That’s much more like how it ought to be these days when there’s a pandemic raging.c Not that I’m all that bothered during normal circumstances but if people won’t wear a mask when I’m a person at high risk, I would rather the path be empty.

Only another 87,000 cases yesterday and 35 deaths. Mind you, it hasn’t escaped my notice that the UK hasn’t declared its figures for the last few days. I wonder what’s going on there right now.

people by cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022With all of the excitement going on out at sea this afternoon I was expecting to see crowds of people down by the cabanon vauban.

Well, at least there were a couple of people gazing out to sea at the trawlers and the zodiac in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

And also at the pecheurs à pied too because there were plenty of those down there on the rocks this afternoon too. I wondered why there were so many cars on the car park and so few people about.

So I left them to it and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland.

ch798530 briscard ch638749 pescadore sm517594 rocalamauve port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It looks as if there were several boats that missed the tide and the open harbour gates this morning

Settling down in the silt over there at the quayside next to the Fish Processing Plant from front to back are Briscard, Pescadore and Roc A La Mauve. It’s not like any of those to be moored there deliberately.

Back at the apartment I made myself a coffee and settled down in front of the computer for this evening’s football match – a basement match between Barry Town, second bottom, and Aberystwyth Town, third from bottom, in a game that Barry Town must win.

Considering the positions of the teams in the League, this was one of the most exciting games that I’ve seen for quite a while, ranging from end to end like a tide. Aberystwyth took the lead quite early on and managed to hang on for the victory despite Barry throwing the kitchen sink at them in the final 15 minutes.

Whether Barry Town remains in the league now depends on whether Llanilltud Fadre or Pontypridd Town’s grounds are up to the required standard. I wasn’t impressed at all by the ground at LLanilltud when I’ve seen it.

It was too late for food by the time that the football finished so I had a few rounds of toast instead. It won’t do me any harm to go without a full meal here and there. But now I’m off to relax before going to bed.

Tomorrow I’ve an alarm to set, a radio programme to complete, a meeting to attend and a session with a new physiotherapist as well as an apartment to tidy. My few days off passed rather quicker than I was expecting.

Saturday 7th August 2021 – IVE HAD ANOTHER …

… really, really bad day today just like I did a couple of days ago.

Despite me having something of an early night for a change last night, I’ve been like death for most of the day and it’s really beginning to get on my nerves.

The night didn’t go as well as I had hoped either – a terrible pain in my foot meant that I was up at something like 00:30 rubbing some cream into it and that was the last thing that I needed.

Nevertheless I did manage – but only just – to beat the alarm to my feet and then after the meds I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone because there was some stuff on there. We were supposed to be going somewhere today so I got up early and made all the necessary arrangements. The others – there was my brother there and Percy Penguin, one of her friends and a fzw others kept fooling around making no effort whatever to get ready and I was starting to become annoyed. I’d made myself breakfast and by now I was organising dinner – it was 10:30. I had one of these old steak and kidney puddings that you used to have years ago out of a tin. I had one of those on my plate and I’d taken it out of the tin. I hadn’t realised that the others weren’t ready and the pudding was just flopping all over the place making a right mess. I went to put the tin in the kitchen. There was someone in there an I can’t remember who it was. He was asking me about the milk and if my sister had said anything about her headache. I replied “no, she said nothing to me”. All the while there was all of this messing around going on. It was 10:30 and everyone else had been in for breakfast and lunch was starting to be prepared but they were just wasting all amounts of time and we had to be gone by midday and we’ll never be gone at this rate. I was trying to speak to them as well but they were paying no attention whatever.

Later on there were people out near a boating lake in London and had these North American canoes, the type that you kneel in, practising launching them by the four of them running full-tilt into the water, launching the boat and leaping in after it. It was causing all kinds of hilarity amongst the general population watching them but they were getting it down to a fine art and getting off really quickly except that occasionally one of them would forget to leap into the boat or something like that.

Having done that I stripped the bed and now I have nice clean clothes in which to sleep and, having had a good shower and scrub up too, there’s a nice clean me to sleep in them. I put the washing machine on (it was a good fit too) and then Caliburn and I headed for the shops.

LIDL was interesting today, they had more of these flip-top mechanical bottles with drink in them, on special offer, two of them for less than the cost of one empty one at IKEA. i’m going to have to start making drinks again like I said that I would.

Surprisingly, Noz had nothing whatever of any interest and I came away empty-handed so I went to LeClerc where I almost collided with someone coming the wrong way out of the petrol station. I forgot to note the model of my printer so I didn’t buy any ink, and apart from that there wasn’t really anything else of any interest.

back here I put away the frozen food, made myself breakfast and sat down to eat it and drink the hot chocolate.

At some point after that I fell asleep and it was another one of those where I was vaguely awake but totally unable to move or to pull myself around. There was some stuff on the dictaphone too when I looked later. Despite not being up to it, I must have travelled far. I’d been out with a really tiny miniature set of cameras probably no bigger than a couple of grains of gold. The idea was that I was going to leave them dotted around LeClerc so that I could keep my eye on the people who were doing their shopping, see who they were and what they were buying and so on. But while I was doing that one of them fell into a waste paper bin and I thought “it’s not going to be much good in there, is it?”. On my way back I went to go to the toilet and there was a young girl standing outside so I said “hello” to her. I went in and while I was washing my hands she came in behind me and started to ask me question about a game, about the rules, for her family played it in a certain way. I replied “you can play it like that if you like” then a couple of minutes later her little brother came in followed by her mother and father. They were talking about this game and it seemed that the 6 of them, mother, father, 2 kids and another couple would go off down to a caravan every so often. They would stay there for a weekend or something and play this game. She was at the age where she was starting to question all of the rules. Father said “anything to keep the kids quiet” so I made some kind of gesture to say “why don’t you just palm them off on the other couple and clear off?” to which he burst out laughing. This girl knew me by the way from some reason or other because she kept on referring to me by my given name rather than “mister” or “sir” or something. She must have known who I was. And I wish that I knew who she and her family were.

It took me an age to pull myself together and come back into the land of the living and as a result I ended up with a rather late lunch. Back in here again afterwards, I was in almost as bad a way as I had been before lunch. I’m not getting any better.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually I plucked up the courage to go outside and see what was happening down on the beach.

Rather more beach than yesterday of course, but not as many people and as before, no-one brave enough to dip their toe in the briny.

And with a storm raging like this right now, it’s hardly a surprise. Not that I’ve been here for too many Augusts, but I can safely say that this is the worst summer that I can ever remember experiencing.

storm at sea baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere’s a better look at the Baie de Granville and the coast down past Donville les Bains and the old hotel where there are those gruesome flats.

The whitecaps on the waves tell you everything that you need to know. There’s a really bitter wind that’s blowing out there – not exactly in the epic proportions of the other day but pretty near enough.

And it was freezing too. It was cold enough when I went out to the shops this morning but as the day has drawn on, it’s just getting worse and I can’t get myself warm at all.

Some of it is down to my health issues of course, but some of it is also down to the temperature.

yacht storm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual, I had one of my eyes roving around out to sea while the other one was looking down the coast.

And I had to look long and hard before I was able to pick up some kind of water craft – the sail of a yacht out near the Ile de Chausey.

And that’s your lot today. I couldn’t see anything else in the water. But you can see the rain squall out there with the rain bouncing off the surface of the sea, with the yacht swathed in the thick of it. I don’t want to hang around and wait for that to arrive. I need to be pushing on.

storm brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s not the only rainstorm that’s threatening the Normandy coast either. There’s a nice one brewing over there of the coast of Brittany.

Having decided to head away from the one coming my way from the Ile de Chausey I went down the path and across the car park at the end of the headland where I could see the Brittany coast across the Baie de Mont St Michel.

This one will be in her ein an hour or so so there’s time to take a photo. But not of any boats or ships. There’s nothign whatever doing out on the water except that yacht.

belle france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s not the day to be going over to the Ile de Chausey unless you absolutely have to.

And so moored at the ferry terminal this afternoon is Belle France. She’s not even proposing to undertake a trip around the bay this afternoon. And if you look at all of the walkways over there and around the harbour, there isn’t a soul out there anywhere.

There were a few people around where I was but they weren’t going anywhere – just loitering around waiting for the weather to make up its mind.

baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou can’t actually see the rainstorms from this side of the headland where I am now, but instead we can see the area where the sailing schools assemble.

And, of course, there isn’t a boat out there this afternoon. Despite the shelter afforded by the headland, you cans ee the whitecaps on the waves. It’s pretty rough out there and I don’t suppose that they wan’t to give any of their pupils an impromptu ducking.

While I was at it, I had another look into the chantier naval to see what was happening, in view of the rather rapid turn-round just recently, but everything remained the same as it was yesterday afternoon.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I headed back towards my apartment, but not before I’d stuck my head into the port to see who was about in there.

The two Channel Island ferries Victor Hugo i, the foreground and Granville behind her are still there. Apart from two or three days last summer, they haven’t been out of port at all since March last year other than to go for their annual service and when the harbour was drained.

The ferry service from here to Jersey has been runiing for almost a couple of centuries and I can see it coming to a shuddering halt, not that it isn’t halted already, if nothing is done to reinstate the service pretty soon.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomeone else in port this afternoon is Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs out to the Ile de Chausey.

She’s moved from the harbour wall by the ferry terminal where she’s been moored for the last couple of days. That tells me that she doesn’t have anything to do for the next while so it’s unlikely that there are any holidaymakers who will need their luggage conveying over to the island.

Back here, I vegetated some more before going for tea. I’m clearly not well right now. Even tea didn’t cheer me up. A baked potato wot veg and a breadcrumbed vegan burger, followed by a baked apple in lieu of anything else.

Now that that’s done, I ‘m going to go to bed – curled up in my nice clean bedding. I don’t feel like doing anything else right now and even if I did, I couldn’t keep my eyes open to do it and I’d be too cold anyway.

There’s a lot of baking tomorrow so an early night and a good sleep will do me good. So who’s going to party under my bedroom window tonight?.

Sunday 13th June 2021 – SUNDAY IS …

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… pizza day as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and so for the first time for several weeks, having been stranded in Leuven a couple of weeks ago and then having had visitors last weekend, I’ve been having pizza withdrawal symptoms.

And so I made myself a nice pizza today, and put on it a bit of everything that I had. And it was delicious too. A really good way to end a weekend in my opinion.

But no dessert tonight though. The pizza was quite filling and there was no more room left. And that’s just as well, for I didn’t fancy the rice pudding that was left anyway. That’s destined for the bin and for the remaining 2 nights that I’m here before I go off to Leuven I’ll drag some apple pie out of the freezer. There’s a ton of that in there.

This morning, the lie-in wasn’t as long as I would have liked. Or maybe it was because I’ve complained about some of these mega-lie-ins in the past. Being up and about by 09:25 is probably realistic.

Mind you there are some who disagree. I remember once when I was staying with a friend that I always liked a lie-in on Sunday. She replied “you can stay in bed until 09:00 if you like”. I remembered that I thought that round about 09:01 some sharp words would be spoken.

After the mountain of medication I came in here and had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. We started off with something going on last night about Liz’s chocolate cake and something or other involving music but I can’t remember what it was. It was another one of those things that when I awoke it disappeared completely from m mind, not that there’s much to hold it in these days.

At another time I was in a pub in Crewe – it might have been the Cheese Hall – talking to the barmaid, someone I knew. It might have been some girl with whom I worked at one time even. A guy (someone who was once a friend of mine and with whom she’d once gone out) came in and said to her “don’t think I’m prying or anything but have you seen anything of do-and-so?” and he mentioned a guy’s name. It turned out to be a guy who I got on well with fairly reasonably. She asked why and he replied “I didn’t want to say anything but he and I became champions of the George’s pools team on Monday night so of course we were all giving him our congratulations and there were the usual “how many people entered? Just two?” that kind of thing. We got talking and he was working on boats. He said how he would love to be working on cruises one day. That gave me an idea and I immediately, well, not signed him up but got him to be interested in a project that I was doing involving cruises and I was thinking of hiring the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. I can’t remember where I’d go with it but I’d get all of my friends as stewards and stewardesses and we’d go off and have a really good time like we did at the time of the institution.

I was at my sister’s in Canada. I’ve no idea what I was doing there. She was talking about changing jobs or she had a new job, something like that. As I was tidying things up, on the settee I came across a folder that was talking about her new job. I forgot myself and started to read it. I’s read about 2 pages before I realised that everyone else was in the room so I shut it and moved it. There was a black cat actually sitting in the fire and it was smoking so I had to move it away otherwise it would catch fire. My sister said something about le being on the settee so I had this pair of pliers in my hand so I showed her this pair of pliers that I said I’d pinched my hand with. I was thinking while I was there about getting a MIG-welding set so that I could start to weld up all of the vehicles that I had to repair. Then we were back again hunting for the vehicles that I’d dumped all round Crewe somewhere and wondering where they were and whether I should go and collect a few back.

That bit about having Ford Cortinas dumped all over Crewe was at one time a recurring dream but it’s one that I’ve not had for a little while.

The first mission for today, if I chose to accept it, was to defrost the fridge. The pizza dough is in the freezer compartment and that has all iced up and I can’t even open the little door, never mind get anything out. So I took most things out, put a towel at the bottom, switched it off and let nature do its bit.

Second task was one that I had been putting off for quite a while. as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’ve been digitalising my record collection for the last 18 months or so. There are a good few cassettes that need recording digitally and I’ve yet to find a successful means to do it.

One thing that I tried was to couple up an old tape deck and run a line out into the Zoom H1 but that didn’t work all that well.

This morning I resurrected an old amp, connected all of that up (which involved no little amount of manipulation and even some tidying up). The net result of that was a set of pierced eardrums from the headphones that I was using.

So having ruled that out, I’m now back to the only other remaining idea that I have, of using one of the old laptops with a lead from the hifi in the other room.

I wish that I’d remembered to bring the old cassette player back from the Auvergne last year. I had such success with that years ago.

Giving the stack of ice in the fridge a prod every now and then, I next split up a few more LPs that I’d recorded a long time ago. Just a few more to go now and that task will be finished. Then there will only be the cassettes to deal with.

That took me up to lunch. And as usual these days I had porridge and a couple of slices of toast, followed by coffee.

Having spent the morning shuffling the music around and dealing with the fridge (all done with and finished now) this afternoon I’ve been attacking photos from August 2019.

And by the time I knocked off, I was actually standing with my feet in between some real waggon ruts from the 1840s and 50s right in the middle of South Pass – the “real” bit of South Pass where I was actually supposed to be.

From here, it’s all downhill to Winnipeg and then to Toronto where my Voyage of Destiny begins.

Right now, though, I’m going on my Voyage of Destiny outside the building.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course, we have to go out and have a look at how things are doing on the beach this afternoon.

And sure enough, there were crowds of people down there too because today was the hottest day of the year so far and there was hardly any wind to speak of, which will come as a big surprise to most of you. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, this has been the windiest year that I can ever remember.

And in case you are wondering about the change in perspective of the photo today, I’m not at my usual spec down at he end of the car park. I’ve gone the other way round and I’m in the Rue du Nord heading off around the walls.

people swimming in medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow here’s a thing that will take many people by surprise.

Where those kids and other folk are swimming is actually in the old medieval fish trap. And that shows you that it’s still reasonably effective at what it does compared to more modern techniques because the concrete tidal swimming pool has drained itself of all of its water. Modern isn’t always best.

All that we can hope for is that some old medieval fishwife with a home-made trident doesn’t actually spear a small boy instead of a fish by mistake, or else another small boy doesn’t have his toe bitten by a crab that is bent on making good its escape before a fishwife can grab it.

people playing football sunbathing on beach plat gouseet Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route continued around the walls until I came to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset, where I could see what was going on down there.

That spec down there really is protected from the wind and so if the crowds were going to be anywhere today, that was where they would be. And I’m not wrong as we? We have some kind of informal football match going on on an impromptu pitch down by the diving platform (which has now been reinstated for the summer) and a few other private kick-abouts among the dozens of people sunning themselves.

But I have no time to stand and watch them. I’m pushing off around the corner and across the Square Maurice Marland to see what’s happening there.

seagull with chicks rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing that I do is to have a look to see how the various families of seagulls and their chicks are going.

This little family was quite interesting and I spent quite an amount of time watching them. One seagull chick was being quite well-behaved but the other one was having quite a dispute or something with its mother and I wasn’t sure why. But when I saw them, the mother and chick were taking it in turns to chase each other around the roof here in the Rue Des Juifs.

The baby chick was giving its mother some nasty pecks in what I can only describe as some kind of teenage seagull angst. And I really ought to have stayed around to see how the situation developed.

seagull chicks rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallDown at the other end of the Place Maurice Marland were a few more seagull chicks. And here, there seemed to be no parent in sight. It’s not like a seagull parent to fly off and leave the chicks unattended so this is rather an unusual situation.

What, however, seems to be a usual situation is the state of the place. There was some kind of campaigner campaigning about the previous mayor and how she had let the place become run-down.

But I wonder what our anonymous blogger has to say about the new mayor who not only has let the place deteriorate even more, but many of te kiddies’ amusements are blocked off and many of those that aren’t have been removed.

And at summer time too when the tourists are here.

crafts stalls rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallInto the Rue Notre Dame I went, but I didn’t get very far before I was brought to a standstill by the crowds.

On my way into the old city I noticed that there were diversions everywhere and there were signs telling us that “an event” was taking place. And so there was too. It’s another one of these craft fair things where people sell the the most overpriced in-bad-taste articles at the kind of prices that would make even a Bond Street salesman blush.

For quie a while now I’ve been trying to find a nice seascape original to hang in my living room, but not at the kind of prices that they are asking here, even if I were to find anything half-decent, which is most unlikely.

craft stalls rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Place Cambernon and Rue Cambernon were lined with stalls too, but I wasn’t going to push my way down there with all of those people thronging around carrying God-alone-knows-what kind of virus with them.

And that was what appalled me, quite frankly. The Préfet of the département has decreed that face masks are compulsory until 30th June but you only have to look at this photo and the previous one to see that half of the people aren’t wearing them and of the other half, half of those aren’t wearing them properly.

Where are the authorities who are supposed to be enforcing this measure? I headed for home rapidly and my nice cold strawberry smoothie with ginger cake. And I’ve timed this hospital trip quite nicely because I’m right down on cake.

What else can I persuade the hospital to chop off so that Liz will feel sorry for me and bake another cake?

Anyway, having had tea and written my notes, I’m off to bed. I have the radio stuff to do tomorrow, followed by a visit to have a Covid test. It’s non-stop, isn’t it?

Saturday 24th April 2021 – THERE ARE MANY …

… things in this life that I don’t understand. And the older that I become, the more I realise that the less and less I actually do understand.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago I was going through a phase of not being able to haul myself out of bed at any price regardless of however many alarms that I set and how loud and for how long I set them.

On Thursday I switched off the alarms so that I could have a lie-in and then on Thursday night before going to bed, I switched them back on.

The chattering birds outside my window, helped by the rattling fridge downstairs, awoke me at about 05:20. And not being able to go back to sleep, I lay awake waiting for the 06:00 alarm.

When I checked the time again, it was actually 06:10 and the alarms hadn’t gone off. It seems that last night I’d set them for 08:00 in error. And had I not been awake and instead slept right through to when the alarms would have actually gone off, I’d have missed my train home.

So what would have been the odds on that in similar circumstances a couple of weeks ago?

And this is what I just don’t understand – that I can actually do it when I have to so why can’t I do it when I don’t have to?

But anyway, there I was, up and about on time so I tidied everything up, made my sandwiches, packed up and headed off for the railway station.

martelarenplein leuven belgium Eric HallHere’s something that is extremely interesting.

Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall that not long after I came to live in Leuven in 2016 they closed off the Martelarenplein outside the railway station in order to completely refurbish it. And since then, it’s been all fenced off and the fences covered with tarpaulins so it’s impossible to see through it.

This morning though, some of the tarpaulin covering has been taken away and it’s now actually possible to see what they have been doing for all of this time.

And to be quite honest, it really doesn’t look all that different than it did before, although I do have to say that judging by how the place appears right now, there is still a great deal of work to be done. Another project around the town that has gone on far longer than it ought to have done.

So on the station, I didn’t have to wait too long for my train to come in.

automotrice am96 multiple unit 543 gare de leuven railway station belgium Eric HallThe train that I’m catching this morning is the 08:19 to the Belgian coast, calling at the Airport, and then the city centre before it clears off coastwards.

Just for a change, it’s not one of the depressing and dirty AM80 units but a much more modern AM96, the type with the rubber bellows and the swivelling drivers’ cabs. Bang on time it was when it pulled in and it pulled out on time too.

When we arrived in Brussels I still had 90 minutes to wait before my train came in so I went and sat in the main concourse for a while.

Once I’d worked out where my train would be arriving (there’s only a choice of 2 platforms for the Thalys and the train to Amsterdam pulled into one of them) I went up there to wait.

A few minutes later I was joined by a young lady. “This platform is quite big and lonely and there aren’t many people about” she said. “Would you mind if I waited near you? I’d feel safer”? She clearly didn’t know me very well.

Thalys PBKA 4331 gare de brussels midi railway station belgium  Eric HallSoon enough, a train pulled into the station at my platform.

It’s one of the PBKA (Paris – Brussels – Cologne – Amsterdam) units, number 4331, a nice clean and shiny one just out of the carriage wash. But it only had 8 carriages, numbered 1-8 which didn’t really suit me because I had a seat in carriage number 18.

My lady-friend had a seat in carriage 8 so she cleared off to board the train and take her seat. I had a few enquiries to make, such as to go and find an arrivals board to find out what trains were due to arrive in the very near future. That should tell me everything that I need to know.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4536 coupling up to Thalys PBKA 4331 gare de brussels midi railway station belgium Eric HallAnd I was quite right too. 5 minutes before my train was due to depart, a TGV was coming into the station from Amsterdam. And sure enough it pulled up at this platform and I had the pleasure of watching them couple up two trainsets together.

This one is one of the PBA (Paris – Brussels – Amsterdam) Reseau 38000 tri-volt trainsets, number 4536, and once it was all coupled up I could take my seat in carriage 18. It was really busy too which is no surprise seeing as it’s the only train to Paris this morning and I’m not sure whether there will be one in the afternoon either.

We set out bang on time and arrived bang on time in Paris too, and there the passengers had to run the gauntlet of a police barrage, checking papers.

Although I don’t have a valid Covid test result, I’ve been out of the country for less than 72 hours and have a Carte de Séjour to prove my address and residence status, so I didn’t have a problem. A really good plan, that, to apply for my Carte de Séjour when I did.

And I’ll tell you something else as well, and that is that the gendarmette who questioned me at the station can detain me for further questioning any time she likes. Actually, I should be being paid by the police force, judging by the number of times that I’ve had to help them with their enquiries.

The metro was quite rapid and when I arrived at Montparnasse I even managed to find a seat, which was just as well because I had a wait of about 90 minutes for my train. I could eat my butties in comfort.

82694 Bombardier B82500 84559 GEC Alstom Regiolis gare de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was a 6-carriage train (the one on the right, not the Bombardier B82500 on the left) to Granville and it was packed.

Even worse, there were no reserved seats. But I was one of the lucky ones in that I didn’t have a neighbour so I could fall asleep and drop my laptop on the floor in comfort.

We were held up somewhere in the countryside by electrical current issues but we made up the missing minutes as we hurtled down the line towards the coast.

And when we arrived, actually a couple of minutes early, we’d somehow managed to throw out most of the passengers and there weren’t all that many of us left.

When I’d left Leuven this morning it was pretty cold but here in Granville we were having a heatwave and I had to strip off to walk home, down the steps and through the park.

citroen ami electric car parc de val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn the past we’ve seen some pretty awful and horrible-looking cars but this is one that really takes the biscuit.

It’s a Citroen Ami all-electric car and I do have to say that it’s one of the most hideous that I’ve ever seen.

The climb up the Rue des Juifs was rather painful in the heat and seeing as I’m not feeling myself right now, I had to stop for a breather half-way up the hill and that’s not like me at all. And I can’t blame the shopping that I was carrying because I’ve come up the hill with much more than this.

Having put the cold stuff away I came in here to watch this evening’s football.

And this was the match of the season – TNS, top of the table, against Connah’s Quay Nomads in second place. The Nomads do have some quality but they aren’t consistent enough to do it every week, whereas TNS are like a well-oiled machine and tick over quite smoothly.

Ordinarily we might be expecting a tight game but Nomads have been known to crumble at the most inappropriate times so I don’t think that too many neutral supporters would have had their money on the Nomads.

But while you always find the odd player here and there who has a bad game, it’s very rare to find half a dozen who are having a poor performance all at the same time. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the TNS centre-half pairing of Blaine Hudson and Ryan Astles were having a nightmare match.

Despite having 60% of the ball TNS never really did much with it and Connah’s Quay simply swept them aside. Michael Wilde, a player released by TNS a few seasons ago, scored a hat-trick and Jamie Insall scored a fourth while Astles and Hudson stood around watching them.

In the end TNS had 5 strikers on the field and while they did manage to score one early in the game, they never ever looked likely to trouble the Nomads back line and when they were awarded a penalty towards the end of the game, Oliver Byrne in the Nomads goal saved it quite comfortably.

It’s been about 20 years since I’ve been watching the Welsh Premier League and I have never ever seen TNS play so badly as they did today, although a lot of the credit should go to the Nomads back 4 and Callum Morris just in front of them who stopped almost everything that TNS tried to do.

One thing that I forgot to do until later was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I’d started out with a former friend of mine and we were in Nantwich, Crewe Road end, going to visit some people. There were two girls there talking away and the guy was some kind of electronics guy and his house was a total tip worse than mine and there was stuff everywhere – all bits and pieces for making radios and so on. These 2 girls were young teenage girls busy talking away and at a certain moment I said to one of them “what language are you speaking? Is it Welsh”? They replied “no, it’s Slovensko”. So I asked “Slovene”? and they replied “no” so I asked “Slovak”? and they said “no” so we agreed that they were talking Czech. I was intrigued to know what they were doing while they were looking at all these bits and pieces. At the end of the road I looked out and there was an old guy on a walkframe, delivering the newspapers. It looked as if he had a paper round. I thought “it’s one way of keeping busy when you are old”. I went off into my shed, rooting around for something. There were all these old people standing around, not saying or doing anything, just standing there and it was making me feel uncomfortable. I of these 2 girls came in and she asked me for something. I couldn’t remember what it was she asked me but she saw it while I was searching through stuff so I let her have one. The other one came in and asked “where’s mine”? So I had to find one for her as well. I told her to make sure that she used it otherwise I’d be wanting it back.

Later on I was in Winsford with my father and a few other people, and Denise was there (as if that was ever likely to happen). One of my sisters was talking to Denise about operations, telling her about how she should have had a breast cancer operation a long time ago. Paul Ross rang up but my father was on the other phone so he couldn’t speak to him. Paul Ross came round and said that yesterday evening Dave Clark had died. We worked out that since Christmas we’d had 4 deaths in the immediate close circle and it was enough to make you wonder who was going to be next. Everyone looked at me but I said “as far as I’m concerned, it’s the creaky gate that hangs the longest, isn’t it”?

Anyway, now I’m off to make some sourdough mix and then I’m going to bed. No alarm in the morning and quite right too as I deserve a lie-in after my efforts today.

Monday 1st February 2021 – THERE’S ONE GOOD …

… thing about being in bed by 21:40. And that is that I can, if I play my cards right, be wide awake, standing up and looking for my clothes at 06:00 when the first alarm goes off.

Yes, never mind beating the third alarm, I actually managed to beat the first one today and that’s something of a red-letter day, isn’t it?

So there I was, wide awake, fighting fit and ready to go and by the time the third alarm went off I had had my medication and was sitting at the computer working.

By the time lunchtime came round, I had completed an entire radio programme from scratch – up and running, a whole hour of it. And I’d had my break for breakfast (the last of my Christmas cake) and drink of hot chocolate too. That was quite impressive too.

This afternoon I sat down and carried on with the siege of Chateau Chalus but later on in the afternoon I had the misfortune to crash out for half an hour and that was disappointed. I might have finished it otherwise.

crowds on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was probably due to the fact that I went out this afternoon for my usual walk around the headland.

There were a few other people around out there too, walking around, but the surprise was actually down on the beach. There were about 20 people down there playing some kind of sport and even though I watched them for a good few minutes, I couldn’t work out what it was they were actually doing.

There were a few other people around down there too but they were just doing normal things like walking around at the water’s edge.

fog in baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd when I say that I was surprised to see them, that was for two reasons too.

Not just because it was strange to see so many people, but also due to the fact that there were some incredible rolling banks of fog moving in off the sea and it was at times quite difficult to see very far.

Despite all of the wind that we have had just recently, there was hardly a breath of it today so while it might have been rolling in off the sea, it was just banking up at the head of the bay and becoming thicker and thicker down there. That’s not the kind of day to be out at sea.

le loup jullouville baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, was barely visible and you couldn’t see very much beyond there along the coast.

But one thing that you will notice is that it really is a sea mist or fog and not driving rain. And it’s not very thick either. You can see the blue sky overhead above the mist here at the edge of the fog.

At the end of the headland, I looked out to sea to see what was happening but as you might expect, I couldn’t see anything going on there at all. But most of that was down to the fog. I couldn’t even see the Brittany coast so I gave it up as a bad job and carried on with my walk along the headland.

aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s another change of occupier at the chantier navale.

We still have a total of four boats, but one of the fishing boats that was there seems to have gone back into the water and instead, we seem to have acquired Aztec Lady, one of the tourist charter boats. It makes me wonder what’s the matter with her, but seeing where she’s been positioned, it can’t be anything that’s likely to detain her for long.

Talking of being detained for long, I cleared off home for my hot afternoon coffee but when I went to drink it, it was freezing cold. That’s what happens when you crash out for half an hour.

The hour on the guitar passed really well and I quite enjoyed it, and then I went for tea. Taco rolls with the remains of the stuffing but, most unlike me, half of it went in the bin. For some reason, I wasn’t at all hungry tonight.

You are all probably wondering where I got to (and, more importantly, who came with me) during the night. But just as I was about to start to transcribe my dictaphone notes, Rosemary rang up for a chat – a chat that went on for just over one hour and forty minutes.

It took me a couple of days before I could find the time to transcribe them, but I was playing bass with The Doors or The Grateful Dead or someone last night. We were on our way to a gig, the first that they had done for 25 years. I’d bought some new equipment. While we had stopped for a coffee and an afternoon break I started to wire up the PA but noticed that the microphones had on/off switches that had to be held down. I thought “this is wrong. We have the wrong equipment here. What are we going to do about this because you can’t hold down a mike switch in the middle of a concert when you have both hands on a guitar”. I carried on wiring them up anyway. A couple of boys appeared and spoke to Jerry Garcia or whoever it was. He had them play a little song, all very countrified rock, arpeggio chord-playing guitar, that sort of thing. The guy playing a really weird guitar with the tuning pegs in the body of the guitar and nothing on the neck, which was a very small neck anyway. I went back over to the pile of equipment and sat there suddenly scratching my head. Someone else came along and said “what are you doing?”. I replied “I don’t know. I just walked over here for something and I can’t remember what it was that I came back for”. He asked “was it your guitar strap?”. I said “no but I need to check that anyway so while I’m here I’ll do that”.

Later on I was with a couple and I’m not sure who they were. They may well have been one of my sisters and her husband. Also with me was Zero, who at one time was a very, very regular companion of mine on my voyages who hasn’t been around much of late, so a big “hello” to you in Stoke on Trent. The 4 of us had been to British Salt having my Cortina fixed. It had been a question of having it serviced of course and one of the bolts on the bottom pulley which was held on by two bolts needed replacing. Rather than buy one, they turned one on the lathe. There were all kinds of things going on there with old lorry cabs, an old Dodge lorry cab lying around. Someone had been sent home from work not once but twice. The garage there was absolutely spotless and I’d never seen it looking like that in al my life. They went in to get the paperwork ready. I went in with them but was told that I couldn’t stay. I had to go back into the waiting room. Then they all came out and the four of us walked down the drive. The woman was very slow and her partner was very fast and I was there with Zero. When we went round a bend the guy was suddenly no longer in front of us so we had to wait until the woman caught us up to find out where he had gone. There was something going on in Northwich and it was a lovely afternoon so Zero and I were wondering whether we were going to walk to Northwich or whether we were to go on the bus. We didn’t mind walking and we were sure that the guy would want to walk but she said that her mother (who was this woman) wouldn’t want to as she wasn’t very good at walking. So we waited, and the guy turned up. He’d been reading a notice and that’s why we missed him, a notice about a football competition. Then off we set on foot. We still hadn’t decided whether we would go on the bus or walk but there were loads of things to carry. One of them was a pack of margarine and I ended up with traces of margarine all down the front of my jumper. As we set off the woman said to Zero “you’d better come and sit next to us 2 adults so that you can have a better view” and I wasn’t quite sure what she meant by that.

But interestingly, as seems to be a regular feature in my nocturnal voyages, the moment that I find a pleasant and interesting character to come along with me, someone from my family always pops up to intervene. That really was the story of my life when I lived back in Crewe all those years ago.

Having written my notes now I’m off to bed. Welsh lesson tomorrow so I have to be on form for that, and then I have the rest of the week to do plenty of things that have been building up. Far too many of them just now and there seems to be more and more.

Friday 22nd January 2021 – JUST TO PROVE …

… that Ireland doesn’t have a monopoly on this sort of thing, I thought that you might be interested in a telephone conversation that I had this morning

“Hello Mr Hall. This is the hospital at Leuven”
“Hello”
“You have your appointment with us on Wednesday afternoon”
“That’s correct”
“Well there has been an important change. Before you come to the hospital on Wednesday you need to have a Covid test on Monday or Tuesday”
“No problem. Where can I go for that?”
“Well I don’t know. I don’t know how the system works in France”.
“But I’ll be in Belgium from Monday afternoon”
“Then you need to be tested in Belgium”
“Where can I go for a test in Belgium?”
“Wait a moment”
lengthy pause
“You can have an appointment here on Tuesday afternoon at 14:30”
“At the hospital?”
“Yes”
“So if I can have an appointment at the hospital on Tuesday afternoon, why can’t I have one on Wednesday prior to my appointment?”
“Because you can’t come to the hospital without having had a test”
“But the test is at the hospital?”
“Yes”
“So I can come to the hospital without a test in order to have the test?”
“Yes”
“So why can’t I do that on Wednesday?”
“Because you can’t come to the hospital without having a test”.

And I promise you – I am not making this up.

Mind you it’s a good thing that the hospital did ring me because that was what awoke me. I’d slept through all of the alarms and it was now 09:45. So that was another morning wasted and I’m becoming quite fed up of this. It serves me right for not going to bed until late.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone.

There had been some kind of issue with the Ranger in Canada. I was working on it but I was making no progress at all and no-one seemed to be giving me very much of a hand. I was pretty much resigned to being without the Ranger for quite some time. I’d been given a rail warrant to go off on the train to fetch some parts but I was in no way ready to do that so I didn’t use the warrant. One of the daughters of my niece came back with a big fire extinguisher thing. Apparently it used to be full of old tar but she had gone and bought some paint for my Ranger. She said that her dad was unhappy about it being put in that container but she’d done it all the same. I was in pyjamas – I’d been in pyjamas all week and it was time for me to go home so I said to my niece “I’ll let you have these pyjamas back”. She replied “no, no, keep wearing them”. I said “I’ll let you have them back on Sunday when I return home” so that was fine. Then her husband turned up. “That railway warrant that you didn’t use – you’ll have to see your sister’s husband about that. It came from him”. I replied “I’ll sort it all out. It’s not a problem”. I noticed in his work bag – he had a huge work bag/holdall kind of thing that there was all kinds of food in it and there was food in other places. I thought that this place was becoming untidy now. I wouldn’t leave food lying around like that, not even me. Things need to be tidied up around here because it’s really in a mess. I asked about the paint – what paint they had bought. He said that it was a dark green but it should have been red. I replied “no, it should have been yellow like Caliburn if it was going to be anything”. He said that he had to go somewhere to see someone about the Sky cards so I asked “may I come with you for the drive?”. So we agreed on that. he took the Sky cards out of the machine to read the passwords and off we set. At a certain point someone came haring down the driveway towards the road in an old green and white Consul Mk II. For some unknown reason I had it in my mind that it was a Cortina. They came down there and just got to the end and stopped so I had a smile. He asked what was the matter. I replied “nothing really. I was just having a smile at that car”.

As well as the phone call from the hospital, I made several other ‘phone calls today, all of which were to do with my potential Covid vaccination.

Having been given a prescription by the doctor and also at the same time a letter of introduction listing my illness and other health issues, I rang up the Covid centre at St-Lô. I explained that with being a foreigner with a private health insurance I’m not registered with the Sécurité Sociale and as it’s they who are dealing with the Covid injections, I’m afraid that I’ll slip through the cracks and be missed.

She replied, after presumably consulting a few colleagues, that if I have a prescription and a doctor’s letter I would be added to the list but at the moment there aren’t too many vaccines here in the département. We aren’t a high-risk area.

The next batch of vaccines is due to arrive on 8th February so if I ring back then, they will add me onto the list.

While I was speaking to them I also had the idea that maybe it might just be a good idea to be registered with the Sécurité Sociale here even if I’m not liable to be covered by anything that they can offer me.

Having made a few false calls (because it’s not clear to whom you need to contact) I eventually managed to speak to someone who seemed to know what he was talking about. And the net result of this that if I send them a pile of information INCLUDING proof of my own private health insurance, they will register me into the system.

So that’s some good news anyway, although I’m not expecting it to be a speedy solution. The straightforward appointment at St-Lô seems to be the best. But I’m not going to the shops tomorrow seeing as I’m off on my travels on Monday, so I’ll deal with this form them and there.

Apart from that, the rest of the day, such as it was, has been spent dealing with the siege of the Chateau de Chalus and the death of Richard the Lionheart. And I’m not making very much progress.

Although there was no pause for breakfast, there was still a pause for lunch and more of my nice bread.

bernie sanders mittens rubble from gas pipe laying Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd there was the pause of course for the afternoon walk around the cliffs.

First stop was just outside the door to see how they were getting on with the relaying of the gas pipes in the Rue St Michel. But I don’t have to worry about that any more these days as there is an eminently qualified inspector on the job as you can see if you enlarge the photo.

So leaving him to carry on with his good work, I cleared off down the path which was now starting to dry out somewhat.

storm at sea english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut it’s not going to remain like that for long, I reckon.

As you can see out there in the distance over the sea there’s a storm cloud and a pile of heavy rainfall and the wind is blowing it in our direction. It won’t be long before we have that lot dropping on our heads.

So not wishing to hang about any and wait for it, I headed off across the lawn and the car park to see what was going on across the bay. And today, there was nothing to see. A few clouds but the sun was quite bright and we weren’t having any special effects on the water.

rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe huge puddle in the path on the southern side of the headland had receded somewhat so it wasn’t as awkward as it was to pass by there yesterday. And as there was nothing going on at the chantier navale I turned my attention to the port.

There hadn’t been any fishing boats out at sea this afternoon as far as I could see, so I imagined that they were all in harbour. There were certainly plenty of them in there. It seems that they haven’t resolved this dispute with the Channel Islands yet.

Nothing else of note so I turned my attention to the mug of hot coffee that was waiting for me back at home.

The hour on the guitar passed quickly enough and after all of this time I’ve suddenly found myself able to play the bass again with 2 fingers like I used to back in the early and mid-70s. Having struggled along playing with just one finger (I never ever used a plectrum on the bass) since I started to play again a couple of years ago, it came back just like that.

I need to work on the timing because my synchronisation seems to be out on one or two tracks, but I’m sure that it will come. But I can’t sing and play with two fingers – well, not yet anyway. I’m working on that.

Tea was taco rolls with the rest of the stuffing, and then a ‘phone call from Rosemary to finish off the evening.

Now that my notes are written up, I’m off to bed. Last night was a disaster and I need to do much better than this, especially as as I have a 04:30 alarm call on Monday morning.

What a way to start the week, hey?

Wednesday 18th November 2020 – EEUURRGGHH!

Yes, I’m not quite sure what happened here but once more I slept right through the three alarms and I would probably still be asleep right now if the telephone hadn’t rung and awoken me from my slumber.

baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo while you admire a couple of photos of the brittany coast taken this evening , it was 09:25 it was when I left the bed and that’s something of a tragedy. It’s not as if I had a particularly late night last night, and although I was off on my travels during the night I didn’t go very far.

I wasn’t very well last night and I’d been at home. I was sitting quietly in the kitchen when someone knocked on the door. One of my sisters or someone went to see who it was. It turned out to be some one about whom I don’t care that much and can’t understand why he would be invading my nocturnal rambles when there are many more pleasant companions from whom I could choose were I able to. I didn’t realise who is was at first – I didn’t know – and my sister said “can he come in and see Eric?” I replied “yes, come in”. He came in with his wife, who is in the same category as he is and was clutching a workshop manual. He came over to me with it and said “I have this Jag and it has 3 airfoil fins underneath”. He pointed to them on the diagram, and said “I don’t think they are working properly while I travel because it(s a pig to handle at all and these airfoil fins should work a lot better”. They were underneath the car somewhere in between the wheels. He wanted me to help him or tell him which one it would be but it was something totally new that I had never come across before, this kind of wing on a motor vehicle and wasn’t sure whether I wanted to become involved in it. I know how these stories end. If it goes wrong it’s always your fault but it’s never to your credit when you fix it (and that’s the voice of bitter experience, isn’t it?).

baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on there was something about a football match with Pionsat playing and in a dispute the goalkeeper was sent off. Strangely, he was wearing n°3 on his shirt. Then there was a guy in a clothes shop and another guy came along but it was too late to go and look for him. And I’ve no idea at all about any of that.

By the time the room had stopped revolving and I’d been able to stand up and have my medicine it was already quite late. And with a pile of personal stuff that needed attention it was soon lunchtime and it didn’t feel as if I’d done a thing.

After lunch I rang up about Caliburn. “Ring back Friday morning” was the response. “I’m snowed under here”. So that was that. Then, as I mentioned yesterday there was some important stuff that needed attention. And not just one but two issues in fact. So I occupied myself with those and neither reached a very satisfactory conclusion. In fact, I’m rather disappointed by one and extremely disappointed (to say the least) by the other.

scaffolding roofing rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis was the moment to wander off for my afternoon walk.

For the last couple of nights I’d been seeing a dim orange light flashing away in the distance and I’d wondered what it was. For that reason this afternoon I headed into the old walled city to see what it might be. There’s plenty of roofing work going on in the town as we have seen over the last few months and it seems that there’s some more going on here now.

And I bet that it’s exciting watching some of the vehicles trying to negotiate their way past there, when we remember how they (didn’t) cope with the one further up the street.

fishing boats english channel ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day I was complaining about the absence of fishing boats out at sea.

Well, I’m not complaining today. Round at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord overlooking the English Channel and the Ile de Chausey I could see probably about a dozen or so of them out in mid-channel. There are five or six that I managed to capture in this photo alone.

What we’ll probably find, were we to look, is that the sea is zoned and they work their way around from patch to patch. Of course, for seafood of the swimming variety that’s not usually possible, but most of the catch here is of the crustacean variety and doesn’t move around so much.

medieval fish trap mussel beds beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallTalking of seafood of the crustacean variety, there’s a good view today of the mussel beds out offshore by Donville le Bains.

Incidentally, while we are on the subject of the mussel beds … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve seen reference to a paper of 1819 that mentions that the concessions for harvesting crustaceans goes back to an edict of 1816 to regulate the trade and prevent over-exploitation.

This paper is apparently freely available and I’ve an idea where I might find a copy. So one of these days when I have more time, whenever that might be, I’ll track down a copy and have a read. It should be interesting.

birds medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn that photo just now you also saw a photo of the medieval (at least I assume that it’s medieval) fish trap.

Even though the human population of the area seems to have forsaken it, it seems that the animal kingdom has not. it was teeming with seabirds this afternoon, presumably helping themselves to a late lunch of all of the small fish that have been trapped the wrong side of the wall by the receding tide

But you can see how this all works. For centuries up to about 100 years or so the local peasant women would have been up to their knees in that water grabbing the fish with their bare hands or rudimentary nets to make sure that there was something for tea

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe weather was quite nice today, all things considering and there were one or two people walking about (usually just where I didn’t want to meet them).

No-one about on the beach though, which was surprising. The beach was looking absolutely beautiful, really pristine this afternoon in the cloudy sunshine and it was just the kind of weather that folk should have been taking advantage of it, particularly as it’s Wednesday afternoon and the brats are out of school.

Not for me though. It’s all very well going down the steps but I have to come back up them afterwards so I eschewed the opportunity. Instead I ran off along the Square Maurice Marland for part of the way until I bumped into a couple out for a walk so I slowed down to a more sedate and less embarrassing walk and made my way home again.

There was time to amend a page of the arrears from Germany before my guitar practice. And tonight I felt much more like it. And I ended up playing a lead guitar solo to “One Tree Hill” by U2. I’ve a long way to go before I’m Duane Allman but as Confucious says, the longest journey in the world begins with one step.

Tea tonight was a delicious burger on a bun with microwaved potato and veg followed by an apple crumble. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I really am eating well these days.

My runs out tonight were something of a disappointment and I think that if the weather doesn’t improve I’m going to abandon my evening run around the headland in the evening.

There was a howling gale that brought me to a sudden halt on four of my 6 legs tonight as I ran full-tilt into the teeth of a gale. There’s no shelter out there and with the wind gusting as wickedly as it is right now I catch the full force of it. At least underneath the walls there’s shelter of some sort.

You’ve seen the two photos of the Brittany coast that I took earlier. It was a gorgeous clear night and you could see for miles. Just the right kind of weather for taking out the tripod, except for the wind of course. This really is the windiest period that I’ve ever known. It’s been almost non-stop for 6 months.

ceres 2 chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Brittany photos were blown about in the wind – it’s impossible to do a hand-held long exposure in these conditions, but at least the photo of the chantier navale didn’t turn out too badly.

Ceres II and the yacht are still in there. It looks as if they have put down roots there and are making themselves comfortable for the duration. I decided to run on home and make myself comfortable there, so I ran off home as best as I could given the conditions.

Back here I was having a laugh with a friend of mine from Northern Ireland. We were discussing Brexit and he said “Chickens, voting for Christmas. Their goose is cooked!” And I couldn’t resist it. I retorted “and now they can get stuffed”.

So that’s me finished. It was a bad day today, so here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow. Getting up early might help. But it’s shopping day too so that’s the morning wasted. Still, I have to eat and I can’t eat if I don’t have food. Although I have far too many things to be doing right now.

Sunday 23rd August 2020 – SUNDAY IS …

… a Day of Rest.

Even so, you might think that 11:00 is something of an exaggeration, especially as I had an early night. But you might change your opinion when I tell you that about 5 or 6 times during the night I was awoken by some really bad attacks of cramps.

Bad to such an extent that I had to leave the bed and walk around to ease off the pain.

And so it’s hardly surprising that once I finally went off to sleep I slept all the way through to about 11:00 or thereabouts.

Plenty of time for me to go off on a few nocturnal rambles – and it’s just as well as I must have travelled miles during the night.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallSo while you admire some photos of people on the beach in the sun, a welcome return last night for Zero, who at one time was a regular companion of mine on my nocturnal voyages. I’d been out somewhere and gone round to her father’s house. It started off with me being offered a cup of tea and for some reason i’d only half-stirred it with the spoon and put the spoon down and went to get another one. As people were watching I couldn’t use my own spoon to finish it off, I had to use a second one of theirs to do it. Then someone thanked me for the slide that I had given them. It turned out to have been one of these kids’ prefabricated garden amusement type of thing, a great big slide. Someone had given it to me and I’d given it to Zero’s dad. They had finally erected it and it had matched the one that she had had. She’d had a great time this past year or so playing on this. They all thanked me so I went in to see it and she was sitting there. Then they all came back with the tea, all kinds of chips. For some unknown reason there weren’t any for me so we were going through all the piles. I asked “which one is mine?”. Her brother said “hang on – I’ll make you yours now”. I asked “didn’t they get any for me from the chip shop?” We went through and calculated again. The father said “ohh no. What’s happened is that two of you must have gone and asked for chips without bread at the same time and they’ve only done one of them. My boy will make you another helping”.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallLater on I’d been out with a general of the European Army who wasn’t in fact the general but one of the directors and I’ll tell you his name in a minute. I’d applied for another job and I’d practically got it but his secretary said that he wanted to see my ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels and I couldn’t understand why. She said “he thinks quite highly of you and he wants to keep you” so I had to go and get my education sub-folder out as all my certificates were in there. I went to see him and said “here’s my degree to start with. We may as well start at the top”. We got chatting about everything and then he started talking to me about Official Secrets, what I had to do and what needs signing. I told him that when I was in the UK the guy for whom I drove actually did his job for the Uk so I know all about secrets. Someone said “you can’t be much good if you’ve had to go through this procedure twice” which surprised me. So then we went out for a drive and he went through all of my paperwork then he asked “I need that form back”. I thought “which one?” so I gave him the folder again to look for it and it wasn’t in there. I said “if it’s the security form you left it back in the office” to which he said “OK”. We went back and got out of the car and there was some of my paperwork that had fallen on the floor and was all damp. I had to pick all of that up. A couple of my cats were there and he started to stroke Sid. he said “ohh yes, Sid is definitely my favourite”. Nerina was there too and that was when I had yet another bad attack of cramp. How many attacks of cramp is this that I’ve had this morning?

I was talking to one of my sisters of all people last night about my father who had died. I asked if he had any papers or newspaper cuttings or anything like that. She said that he had died and left nothing, and his place was in a total mess. I asked about these press cuttings. She said “yes he had a pile of those”. I said that I would like to see them. She replied “I thought you might”. I told her the story about the chat that I’d had on Facebook with those people who lived on Wardle camp. One of them had mentioned that my grandmother had a great many gentlemen callers, which my sister doubted, which I found rather strange as I didn’t think so either. We had this conversation about it. This guy Clive – his name was mentioned and I couldn’t think of his family name. He had a market stall in his name and it will come back to me one of these days. We were talking about all of that. We were at school and she said “you’d better keep an eye on the time, you know, because it’s 13:15 and lunch break is nearly over” so we wandered off to sit in a corner to continue our talk. Just for a change I awoke with just a small attack of cramp.

To finish off, we had a right Boys Own adventure, of people who were in cars of the 1920s who were chasing each other about the countryside. There were a couple of married couples and one married couple had fallen foul of a single man who was a bit of an evil type and who had kidnapped the wife and their kids and was taking them somewhere. The other guy was busy trying to hunt them down. There was another married couple or something involved as well. There was all this confusion going on. In the end they all met up at the docks in Dover. They just parked up at the side and I had to go and persuade them to park up in the queue for the actual ferry crossing which eventually I managed to do. There was a couple of people who wanted to know if they should be going there, mainly kids, that kind of thing but it was one of these things like someone called Harold. he was the hero and it was one of these Enid Blyton Famous Five types of thing only starring this boy called Harold who was there trying to lead everyone, all that kind of thing. I might have been him but I don’t really know now.

With it being a Sunday it’s been a very quiet day today and I haven’t done very much at all.

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hall There was the afternoon walk of course.

We’ve seen the crowds on the beach already, and there were crowds on the footpaths too, but it wasn’t just on land that we had the hordes. The Bird-men of Alcatraz were out in force today too . They fly perilously close to the buildings some times and one of these days we’re going to have a disaster.

However, as long as there is enoguh wind to gove them scope for manoeuvre, we’ll see plenty more them up and about in the air.

roofing place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallToday’s route took me around the city walls and along the footpath at the clifftop.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the roofing job that has been going on down in he Place Marechal Foch for the last few months. As you cans ee, they are still at it. All this time and they haven’t finished yet. They still have some scaffolding up there.

Mind you, the seagulls look as if they have been busy, don’t they? They appear to have well-and-truly christened parts of the roof that have already been completed, and I bet one or two of the scaffolders have received Blessings from above too.

crowds braderie rue paul poirier granville manche normandy france eric hallOne of the things that I found out this afternoon, and maybe I should have gone down to investigate, was the braderie taking place in the town this afternoon.

The Summer Sales have been going on for the last few weeks and it’s the custom at the end of the month for the streets to be closed and for the retailers to have a public exposition of everything that they wish to be sold off.

All at bargain prices too, and while some of the reductions mean that the products just cost an arm instead of an arm and a leg, sometimes some goods might be sold at real bargain prices. But by this time of day, near the end of the afternoon, most of the bargains will be long-gone.

ulm microlight pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWe spoke about the Bird-men of Alcatraz just now, but we haven’t finished with the air just quite yet.

As I was walking back across the Square Maurice Marland I was overflown by a couple of the ULM, or microlights that I believe come from the airport at Donville les Bains.

There are all kinds of exciting aerial machines that loiter about there. We’ve already seen plenty of examples. One of these days, as I keep on saying, I’ll have to go out for myself and see what’s happening and maybe even blag my way on board one of the machines for a lap around the bay.

home made apple crumble vegan pizza granville manche normandy france eric hallMeanwhile, back at the apartment I was having something of a bake-in.

We started off as usual with the pizza this evening. Sunday evening has been pizza night for as long as I can remember and there are no good reasons that I can recall to change my habits right now.

While the pizza was cooking, I made a couple of apple crumbles. It should have been just one but there was too much crumble and of course, that won’t keep. As for what it tastes like, I’ve no idea. The pizza filled me up pretty much and there wasn’t enough room for any pudding.

flagpole flags resistance memorial pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallWhen I went out in the evening it was almost dark. The nights are definitely drawing in. And I was glad that I wore a jacket because there was a vicious wind tonight too.

Having been around the city walls this afternoon my walk took me around the headland tonight. Past the Monument to the Resistance Fighters from the area who continued the fight against the Axis powers after the debacle of June 1940.

And if you compare the photo here WITH THIS ONE FROM JUNE you’ll notice a little difference. The German flag has now gone and the European flag has been raised in its place. i wonder what might be the significance of that.

night port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallNot only has the German flag gone, but the light has gone too – as quickly as that and we are now well into dusk.

My route continued along the headland at the top of the cliff until I came to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour. The harbour gates are closed and the red traffic lights that the boats in the outer harbour see is casting a nice reflection onto whatever is left of the water there.

It looks to me as if the tide is receding quite rapidly now.

joly france baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith it being a summer weekend, the ferries over to the Ile de Chausey are quite busy.

They are running quite late too, but as long as there is water enough to get into the Ferry terminal they willl be still be out there. It may well be gone 21:30 and fairly dark, but here’s one of them coming into harbour right now.

This one seems to be Joly France I, the newer one of the two. Yu can tell that by the shorter upper deck superstructure and the longer depth of the windows on the deck underneath.

joly france baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallRight behind her into the harbour came her sister Joly France. She was quite busy too.

You can see her navigation lights quite clearly. There are five letters in “Green” just as much as there are in “Right” so it’s obvious that the green light will be on the right, or starboard side. The opposite side to starboard is port, and port is red, so it’s obvious that the port, or left side light will be red.

There’s the white central navigation light too, and it’s the juxtaposition of these lights on a ship at night that mariners at sea are able to tell in which direction a ship is sailing and whether it’s going ahead (forwards) or astern (backwards).

big wheel place albert godal granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that as we were setting out on our big adventure at the end of June we saw a lorry bringing in the bits to make the big wheel that sits every summer in the Place Godal.

Ever since I came back at the beginning of July I’ve been trying to take a decent photo of it in the dark so I thought that I would have another go tonight. It’s important because at the end of August when the tourists go back the wheel will be dismantled.

In previous years, I’ve almost always been away in Canada during the period when it’s been operating and I’ve never had a decent picture of it in the dark before.

trawlers heading out to sea baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBy now, the light has gone completely and it’s getting to be very much like pitch-black.

That’s not anything to stop the fishermen going out to work though. My hat comes off to all of them who face a peril out at sea, working day and night like this in all weathers. There are plenty of easier ways to be earning a living.

So watching them disappear out to sea, off around the headland, I turned round and continued my walk back towards home.

gate porte st jean granville manche normandy france eric hallNot all the way home though.

Now that it’s going dark earlier and the tourists are still here, the town has switched on the lights to illuminate the medieval city walls. This is the Porte St Jean at the back of my building, and it does look nice with the lights switched on. I’m glad that someone in the Mairie has found a shilling at last.

Anyway, back at home now. Tomorrow I’m starting back to work so I’m going to have an early night. And a decent sleep, I hope, without any cramp.

And, for a change, some pleasant dreams. Over the last couple of days they haven’t been quite so healthy. It must be my confused state of mind.

Thursday 2nd January 2020 – LAST NIGHT …

… was not as early as I hoped it would be.

By the time I’d finished out stripping the applause from that live concert and filing it away, it was long after midnight.

There were still a couple of other things to do too and by the time I made it to bed, it was … errr … 02:40 or thereabouts.

My fitbit tells me that I had 4.20 hours of sleep last night, of which just 3.26 was restful sleep. It’s no real surprise then that although I heard the alarms go off, it was more like 07:00, not 06:00 when I finally struggled out of bed.

After the medication and before breakfast, I attacked the dictaphone notes from last night. Always time to go off on a little ramble.

There are some people whose company I positively welcome to accompany me on my little voyages, and regular readers of this rubbish won’t be unaware of who these people might be.

There are others about whom I have well, I suppose, ambivalent sentiments. I can take them or leave them.

But there’s a third group in respect of whom I would cross over to the other side and turn my back rather than to go anywhere voluntarily with them, even if they were proposing going towards Kate Bush and Jenny Agutter. And it was one of those who I encountered last night.

He was there last night and for a change he was being quite friendly, which was quite a surprise considering how things were before I left the UK and on one legendary subsequent encounter. He was going through all of his diary notes from years and years and years ago, all like little blue paper sheets put in folders. We were talking about a Crewe Alex match and the name of a player came up. I can’t remember who he was playing for when we discussed it but he neded up playing for Bury and we did say his name but I can’t remember it. He got his sheets out and said “yes, I went to see that match. The Alex played them on such and such a date and there was a crowd of 3,000-odd there (… in those days 2,000 would have been a really good gate …) only 35 different from the crowd today (… they are now getting over 4,000 …)” he said. “Things haven’t changed much, have they?”. I talked about the prices, all that sort of thing, that it costs a lot more to go in than it did in those days. Then there was something about going to see a house that we were thinking of buying, in a cul-de-sac somewhere like Franklin Avenue. The house had been empty for years and we really didn’t want people to know that we had bought it but we had to go. He had arranged an appointment with an expert to be there, so we had to be there at about 10:00 which meant that Nerina would be late for work that day. We had to wait around for him to come to pick us up. I was doing stuff in one room of the barn and she was doing stuff on her Wolseley in another back in Virlet. It was the first time that we had been back in Virlet for quite some time. There was a strong wind blowing so I went to see what the wind turbine was doing because there was a little ventilator thing on the desk in the room where I was working and that was going round like the clappers with the current. I went outside to have a look and the wind turbine was actually broken. A couple of the blades were shattered in pieces and the through-rod thing had dismantled and it was looking really really sad. I remember thinking that I should have spent the money on more solar instead. I didn’t want to say anything to Nerina to point out about the wond turbine having failed but anyway I was surprised to see her working on her car so I just said some kind of non-commital thing and didn’t say very much.

After breakfast I made a start on Project 009 but I didn’t get far before I broke off for a shower and a general clean-up.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAfter all, it is Thursday and that is shopping day at LIDL.

So off I set but I didn’t get very far before I was waylaid. Out there in the bay there was something moving about, and I only had the Nikon 1 with the standard zoom lens. But I took a photo of it to see what it might be, with the aim of blowing it up (the photo, not the object of course) back at home.

And here you are. It’s one of the small fishing boats that goes out for the shellfish, heading off into the English Channel.

fishing boat trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallTalking of fishing boats, there was more action in the inner harbour.

The harbour gates had now opened and so the larger fishing boats were slowly stirring themselves into life. This one here, with a crew of two on the deck and presumably a third at the wheel, was now heading off out to sea.

In the background we have Granville, the newer of the two Channel Island ferry boats. behind it, pretty much obscured, is Victor Hugo, the older one and quite probably the more reliable of the two.

The walk up to LIDL was a little more painful than it has been recently and I’m not sure why. But I reached there without a great deal of effort and did a little shop.

For a change, there was nothing in the weekly sale that interested me so it was a relatively light shop. More than usual because I’m not going to be here on Saturday for my weekly shopping so I need to make sure that I have enough food on hand until I can visit the shops again.

Back here, I unpacked the shopping and put it away and then resumed my work on the project.

There was a break for lunch (I’d remembered to pick up my dejeunette) and then back to the grind. And by the time that I’d finished, it was time for my afternoon walk.

crowds pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallIt wasn’t really cold out there, and it wasn’t as windy as it has been either.

Consequently there were hordes of people milling around outside making the most of what is really unseasonable weather. These were just a few of the people out there today.

No dogs in this shot, which is surprising because there were quite a few round about and at one point we were treated to a little scrap between a couple of them. It certainly livened up the proceedings.

hermitage caravan park donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallWay out across the bay I’d noticed something unusual on the beach way past Donville les Bains so I took a photo of it to blow up back home.

My initial impression was that it might have been some oyster beds or something similar, but a closer examination of the photo reveals that it’s a large heap of rocks being used as a reinforcement or storm-breaker in front of the little holiday camp out there near the airfield.

With the winds and the storms that we’ve been having, I reckon that they are going to need it too.

storm at sea english channel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallTalking of storms and the like, you can’t see it clearly on this photo unfortunately but there was quite a storm brewing out over there off the Brittany coast.

There was a patch of sea about 2kms square that was receiving a right pasting from a torrential downpour. I took a photo of it with the hope of being able to digitally enhance it back in the apartment but it didn’t work out.

You’ll just have to take my word for it if you can’t see it.

monument to the resistance pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallSomething else that has appeared at the Pointe du Roc just recently is this stele that resembles the headstone of a grave.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the past year they’ve gradually been trasforming the Pointe du Roc into a pilgimage site for the French Resistance and they’ve erected all kinds of monuments and flagpoles and the like.

This seems to have sprung up overnight too – I don’t recall having seen it before. It’s another memorial to the Resistants and I don’t know why they feel the need for another one without explaining why it differs from the big one just around the corner.

spirit of conrad trawler joly france chausiais chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere seems to be signs of movement at the chantier navale too.

Spirit of Conrad is still there and there are a couple of people, one of whom may well be my neighbour, working on it. The smaller fishing boat is also still there.

Conspicuous by its absence though is the larger trawler-type of fishing boat. It looks as if that may have gone back into the water on the early morning tide.

And in the background Joly France and Chausiais are still over at the ferry terminal. They don’t seem to have moved for a good few days.

Back here, I had a little think. There’s a life-changing event taking place in Europe in four weeks time and it’s something that I ought to be commemorating, even if I’m not allowed under the terms of my contract to discuss it.

But Pete Seeger once famously said “Songs Are Weapons” and I have plenty of weapons, and even a launch pad to fire them off. Consequently I spent some time searching for suitable weapons and after about an hour or so I’d ended up with more than enough.

If I put my mind to it, I can come up with something quite formidable and that will be impressive.

For tea tonight I had the other half of the curry from the other night and then went for my walk.

There were a few people, mostly young kids, loitering around but I still managed my run. However I ended up just 10 feet from the top of the ramp before I ran out of steam.

So back here to write up my notes, and then off to bed.

But the good news relates once again to the fitbit. In December I walked 264.95 kms – almost 9 kms per day, and ran for 1 hour 48 minutes – about 3.5 minutes per day. There were only 9 days when I didn’t make the magical 100% and there was one day where I made 179%.

That’s not bad for an Old-Age Pensioner and I’ll go with that any day of the week. But I’m not going to rest on my laurels. I’m going to push on (or push off as the case may be) and see if I can do even better than that.

It’s never too late to try to achieve a satisfactory level of fitness and I do have to say that it seems to be working because I’m feeling better now than I have done over the last few years.

Onwards and upwards, hey?

Monday 5th March 2018 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… I managed to wake up bang on the first alarm – and be well out of bed by the time the second one went off. That’s not happened too often just recently, has it?

And it’s astonishing considering the voyage that I was on during the night. That’s enough to tire out almost anyone, never mind me.

I was in my old beige Cortina (UOB, not YLO) driving over Chester Bridge and up to the turning in Delamere Street when I slid on some ice, overshot the turning and collided with a vehicle on the opposite side of the road coming round the bend. The police were called and statements taken, and the policeman told me that it wasn’t really my fault because of the weather conditions and the ice. So back in the car and up Delamere Street and turned into Queensway, where I collided with some cyclists coming the other way. And I wondered how I was going to explain to my insurance company these two accidents in a matter of five minutes, especially as my dash cam will show that although the cyclists were totally in the wrong, I could have done more to avoid them.
From here we were back in the London Underground (a fairly regular destination for our nocturnal rambles as regular readers of this rubbish will recall). I was buying a ticket for a long-distance flight (like you do in the Underground of course) and the flight wasn’t for 90 minutes so I would have plenty of time to go home and pack (of course). But one woman said that I had dropped my insurance card so when I had completed the transaction I bent down to pick it up, but it was only the stub. I had to prove to the person in the booking office that it really was mine by comparing the serial number of the stub with that on the card. And so I went back home again (to Gainsborough Road) to pack for my trip, pulling up in my car (by now a Mark 2 Cortina) on the opposite side of the street a way down, leaving me with a lengthy walk back). As I arrived, my sister’s husband came round the side of the house ad came in with me. He said that he was hungry so I offered him some rice and a tin of something, which he accepted. And I had to show him how to use and induction hob – a strange parallel with something that had happened in the LeClerc on Saturday.

After the usual start to the day, and a little relax, I attacked a pile of photographs that needed things doing to them – and that took longer that I reckoned. And the photos are coming out far too blurred with this new camera, as I have said before. I’m not all that happy with it now, which is a shame.

Having done that, I attacked my travel arrangements for next week.

The rail journey isn’t as cheap as it might have been, due to the fact that I’m coming home on a Saturday rather than a Sunday. If I’m having some kind of transfusion, I’ll be staying the Friday in my room without doing too much.

But the increased rail fare is offset by the room. I can see now why the manager told me to book directly with him rather than with the booking agent that I usually use. They have smaller, cheap rooms for working men that aren’t offered via the booking agent and they are at something of a reasonable discount. I wish that I had known this a couple of years ago.

So at the end of the day, it still works out cheaper.

This afternoon I designed and furnished a room. Yes, I’ve managed to get into the depths of this 3D site that I mentioned the other day and had a play around with furniture, accessories and poses . And once you solve the key, which is not very easy to do, it’s pretty straightforward and I can see some kind of opportunity here.

We had the usual walk this afternoon at 15:30, and I was joined by the heaving multitudes today, including a family looking for a playground for their children.

mobile crane boulevard des terreneuviers granville manche normandy franceBut my attention was distracted by what ws going on in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have discussed … "on numerous occasions" – ed … the crane in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers and how once or twice there has been another crane present too.

I was lucky enough to see what it was doing today, and it wa winching some heavy stuff into the building site underneath.

And that puzzled me, because that is three times to my certain knowledge that the crane has been there. And it must cost them a fortune to pay for these regular visits. Why didn’t they just hire in a bigger crane in the first place?

Back here I almost managed to stave off the falling asleep bit – succumbing for a mere 10 minutes.

Tortilla wraps for tea, and then my walk, and now my early night. High time I had one. It’ll set me up for an early start.

That is – is I don’t have phone issues. I noticed that this morning the phone was on 78% charge, and tonight, a mere 9% even though I haven’t used it.

Something’s clearly not right.

Sunday 8th May 2016 – I WAS A BIT PREMATURE …

… in my thoughts that I could turn of the air-conditioning in my room. By the time that I went back there at the end of the day, the thing had started up again and that was that. The night-nurse had a play with it later but he could only manage to slow it down rather than switch it off and so that was that.

It didn’t make a blind bit of difference though because firstly, the one right outside the door started off full-tilt a little later and secondly, we had an “incident” during the night. I’m not sure what it was but a group of family members which had stayed well-past the end of official visiting hours until the small hours of the morning suddenly upped sticks and went outside the room and two nurses came down, who promptly closed the security curtains around everyone else’s room entrances. One can only speculate.

I was awake until long after 01:00, again at 04:00, again at 05:30, again at 06:00 and I gave it up for good at about 07:00. By 07:45 I was encamped in the window seat in the day-room although with much less sun than before and with a nice pleasant breeze blowing in through the open door. But judging by the grief-stricken faces of the German-speaking family in there this morning, my speculation about the events of last night can only be correct. And later on, a nurse confirmed it when I asked her, although she was clearly unhappy to tell me.

I’d been on my travels too for quite a while during the night (so it can’t be the antibiotics that’s causing those then, can it?). I started off at home with my mother and my elder sister and we were as usual having a dispute. I needed everyone’s co-operation (and the chances of that every happening in our family were about zero, as anyone who has ever read any of this rubbish will realise) to be somewhere at 14:00. It was now 12:45 and nothing had happened and everyone seemed to be enjoying my discomfort. In the end I stormed out of the house, went off to a group of people – long-haired motorcyclists whom I knew – and we promptly all came back to my family’s garage-cum-service station (because last night that’s what we owned and that’s where we lived) and smashed the place and everything in it to smithereens and then burnt it down to the ground in an orgy of anger and destruction. It didn’t solve the problem of course but you’ve absolutely no idea how much better it felt.
Later, a friend and I were actually involved in the running of some kind of informal garage service. We’d taken over a derelict site that was still in working order (not the family one of course) and set ourselves up in business. I was dishing out the fuel from these dilapidated petrol pumps but I couldn’t let the cars go (there were only three of them anyway) because my colleague hadn’t come back with the paperwork that I needed (as you all know, I have a “thing” about recording fuel consumption, mileages and so on). When he did finally put in his appearance he had forgotten to bring the stuff with him so my plans were all of a waste of time. But then a car (a black Capri) appeared and asked for fuel, and an air line because the front offside (a RHD car) tyre was flat. My colleague said that the wheel bearing on that side had gone and needed to change it. The driver stuck his head over the wing of the car and asked if we needed to take the wheel off so I replied in the affirmative. He said “to blow the tyre up?” to which I answered that I thought that he was talking about the wheel bearing – you don’t need to remove the wheel to blow up the tyre.
A short while later, I was off a-wandering on the bank up to the railway station at the top end of Winsford. I don’t remember who was with me but one person might well have been Nerina (although I can’t be sure now) and the other was someone who was something of a long-term unemployed man who had to scratch around to make a living (reminding me very much of someone whom I used to know in Crewe in the early 1970s). We were walking up the bank and an aeroplane – a huge Guppy-type thing – passed right over our heads and descended even lower, passing over a village in the valley at less-than-rooftop height as it went into land at Manchester Airport (this is a good flight-path, I can tell you). The plane itself was painted white and belonged to the parcels carrier whose livery is white with dark red stripes and a kind of script writing (and whose name I will remember as soon as I press “Publish”). I asked our companion whether the planes flying as low as this overhead bothered him, to which he replied that these don’t, but the two that come over at 10:30 and 16:00 are devastating. We ended up back in his house and Nerina (or whoever) went into the kitchen to make food or something. The guy had been out for a while and came back, counting a sum of money which I reckoned to be about £120:00. This seemed to be his share of his “dole” money after his rent and other stuff had been paid. He told me that if I were to look in my jacket pocket I would find “a couple of quid”. This was intended to be for whoever was in the kitchen, for everything that she was doing for him, and he would be grateful if I could pass it on to her at a convenient moment.

Alison said that she would come to see me so I wandered back to my room to get prettied up ready for her visit – after all, I have to look my best, don’t I? And in my room I found a banana and a bottle of lemonade too. It’s like a hotel here and I’m so lucky.

When Alison turned up, she brought a few surprises with her. Such as, a pot of almond-based ice-cream, two cans of fiery ginger beer, two packets of dry toasts, one pack of rice cakes, two soya vanilla desserts, some strawberries, one partridge and one pear tree. The ice cream disappeared without trace right in front of her eyes and after she had gone, one of the vanilla desserts, the strawberries and some rice cakes went as well. And after she went, I went and made myself another cheese butty. My appetite is back and raging, isn’t it?

It was lovely to see Alison, though. A bright, cheerful, smiling face to match the sunshine outside. She stayed for almost two hours too which, at the price of parking here at the hospital, shows a major sacrifice. We had plenty of time to discuss my latest plans which, as you know, change with the weather (or, more likely, my state of health).

And if you think that that food was enough to be going on, that really isn’t all. My favourite little nursey, hearing that I couldn’t eat the bread on offer, went off and toasted a couple of rounds for me which was really nice of her. She even brought me an ice-cold bottle of lemonade afterwards so I must be clearly in her good books.

But apart from all of that, what else have I been up to today?

The answer is “loads and loads”.

I’ve finally been in the right frame of mind to have a huge attack at updating my blog.

You might remember that when I brought my blog in-house in 2013 all of the tags and links were missing, and the photos didn’t set right. I started a little plan of attack to correct it, which I have continued in a desultory kind of fashion but today I crashed right on, did the whole of April 2012 and some of July 2012 too (May and June need “special consideration” for which I need to concentrate). I just hope that I can maintain the momentum for the rest of the site.

So now I’m going to prepare for an early night. If I am being ejected tomorrow, I need to be on form. And furthermore, I need to know where I’m going to be living too because the girl at the Social Services was absent last week.

Good job that I have the fold-up bed and single quilt in the back of Caliburn, isn’t it?

Saturday 26th March 2016 – I’VE NOT GONE OUT …

… for any tea tonight. I’m not feeling like it.

I had a good breakfast this morning and then went for a walk to the supermarket to buy the stuff for lunch. After a lunch (which was rather late as I wasn’t all that hungry) I went for a long walk along the prom southwards towards Vlissingen. That tired me out and so that was that.

I’d been on a good wander around during the night too and travelled miles. I started off being involved with a young English girl (and I know who she is but I just can’t think for the moment) who owned a jet aeroplane like a flight trainer that had been built in 1962. She had bought it at an Air Force liquidation sale with the aim of restoring it but she had fallen into the clutches of some evil English guy. Her aeroplane was stored in his hangar and the body had been taken off the chassis (it really is an astonishing aeroplane!) ready for restoration. He was annoyed intently with her because of the fact that she was now seeking her independence, but seeking her independence she was. We all thus dashed off to this hangar at this small airfield and managed to recover the chassis from the hangar and were pushing it onto the airstrip. As an aside, I was amazed at how corroded it was, especially around the body mounting points and I remember thinking that I wouldn’t want to go very far off the ground on that. But we had to – we had to bolt the body onto it and all clamber inside so that we could fly away. As we were moving the chassis, the man turned up. I was all for cracking on, doing everything for ourselves but he wanted to help us by holding open the gate while we pushed the chassis out. However the girl started to talk to the guy and began to discuss all of her future projects with him so he was there giving her all kinds of advice which was based on his own self-interest and not on anyone else’s. I could see that this girl was starting to waver again and I reckoned that we would never ever get away at this rate. The discussion then turned to stories about other planes that were lying abandoned on other airfields all over France and throughout the world and it soon became clear that this was how she had acquired this aeroplane. But we needed to hurry up before she swayed completely, but no matter what I said and how I encouraged her, I couldn’t get her to hurry. And I couldn’t get her to slip out of the clutches of this other guy. I could see her ending up by putting this chassis back into the hangar before much longer and going back off with him. How I wished that she would get a move on.
In this little bit we featured three girls, one of whom was my elder sister and another was my youngest sister. I was running some kind of Health-visiting team in Northern Austria and they had come to join it, working as Health visitors. It was very difficult work so I couldn’t understand why they had come, and my youngest sister had the worst round of them all. And then we had the 06:30 alarm of my neighbour in the next room and that, I’m afraid, was that.

But really, I’d had a bad night. it was like being back just after my operation and the severe compression in my chest that prevented me from settling down. I suppose that I should be worried about this but I’m not really. I’m not going to spend the rest of my life, no matter how long it might be, wrapped up in cotton wool.

I was about to go for an early breakfast when a friend of mine appeared on line for a chat. Consequently it was gone 09:00 when I made it down to breakfast and that may account in part for my lack of hunger this evening. As usual, we had an excellent breakfast with plenty of juice and coffee as well as some lovely Dutch bread and strawberry jam.

commonwealth war grave cemetery zoutelande nethrlandsOn the way to the supermarket (where the coffee machine is still “defekt”) I went past the cemetery and there is a Commonwealth War Grave in there.

I meant to go in to have a look at it on the way back, but what with the savage, biting wind that we were having, it slipped my mind.

It could be a victim of the Battle of the Schelde that liberated the area in November 1944, or a body washed up from the sea from maybe a naval operation or a downed aeroplane – or maybe even someone from the First World War – a victim of the sea or an internment victim (hundreds of British soldiers were interned in the Netherlands from 1914 to 1918, having fled there from the Germans after the Fall of Antwerp)

In fact, a search on the Commonwealth War Graves site discloses that it is the grave of a Flying Officer, a navigator of 239 Squadron RAFVR who was killed in January 1944.

239 Squadron was equipped with Mosquitos and flew night-time operations within the bomber stream to hunt down and attack German night-fighters that were targeting the bombe

valkenhof hotel zoutelande netherlandsIt occurs to me that I haven’t yet posted a photo of my hotel, the Valkenhof. It’s a bit pricey as I’ve said before, but it is Easter weekend and the place is crowded.

My little room is one of the three in the annex to the side and it’s that window just there underneath the pointy roof. No, I have no real complaints about the place and as I have said before, you definitely win with the breakfasts.

strandcafé beachside pie hut zoutelande netherlandsYesterday, I’d seen a strandcafé away in the distance to the south and so this afternoon I braved the savage wind to go for a good walk in that direction to see what the possibilities were.

It took me ages too because I wasn’t really up to much. This is definitely proving to be too much for me but I’ll gamely struggle on as the sea air will only do me good, and this is why I’m here.

bunker two atlantic wall zoutelande netherlandsOne thing that I shouldn’t have done, I suppose, was to walk right up to the top of a huge sand-dune.

That certainly ook a lot out of me but it was well-worth the effort because the view from up here was absolutely stunning and I regretted not having the Nikon D5000 in working order. Away in the distance is the town of Zoutelande, so you can see how far I’ve walked, and you can also see the storm clouds gathering out there in the North Sea.

bunker two atlantic wall zoutelande netherlandsBut there was a good reason for coming all the way up here and I’m glad that I did, because there are a couple of bunkers that relate to World War II, relics of the Atlantic Wall.

The big Commando raid on Dieppe in August 1942 was, from the British point of view, a huge fiasco but it had one very important side-effect in that it frightened the Germans to death. As a result, millions of Reichsmarks and tens of thousands of men and tens of thousands of tons of vital war materials were diverted from the German war effort in order to build huge concrete fortifications all along the Occupied coast from Norway to the Bay of Biscay between 1942 and 1944, and weren’t properly finished when the invasion took place.

Here, these two huge bunkers guard the entrance to the Wester-Schelde and the port of Antwerp and are now a museum, although it goes without saying that it was closed today.

beach huts zoutelande netherlandsI had my coffee, taking my time in case a ship came past (but I was out of luck) and then walked slowly back along the beach to my hotel.

One thing that caught my eye was this row of beach huts. From what I can tell, people rent (or own) them and store their beach material in them. Then they sit around their beach hut on deck chairs (even on a devastatingly-windy day like today) surrounded by windbreaks and sit and absorb whatever sunlight lught be about.

So now that’s all I’m doing. I’ll have another early night and try to have an early breakfasT

I hope that I feel better tomorrow.