Tag Archives: Percy Penguin

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

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

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

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

But it’s bizarre all the same.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 16th August 2021 – WE HAD TO WAIT …

yellow autogyro ponte du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… for a good few days longer than I expected but nevertheless we got there in the end.

Sure enough, while I was out walking around the headland this afternoon, out of the clouds in the distance with its old familiar rattling came the old yellow autogyro from the direction of Avranches and the Pointe de Carolles.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I had anticipated her arrival a few days ago and as if to make up for her rather late arrival, she did a couple of laps around my head before disappearing off into the sunset and that was that.

grandstand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that we have been eagerly anticipating for the last few days is to find out whatever is going to be happening down at the loading bay on the quayside.

The information still hasn’t filtered through but all of the equipment, including the grandstand is still down there.

As well as that, where that kind of rectangle was that we saw yesterday, we now have a couple of tents that have sprung up like little mushrooms. And we have even grown a couple of potted palms over the course of the day, as well a couple of bizarre objects, red and yellow.

tents quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it isn’t just there that things are happening.

All along the quayside down there and out into the car park at the side, there are yet more tents, marquees and other different things, and a few noticeboards indicating whatever might be going on.

As I’m off to Leuven tomorrow, I’ll probably miss whatever it is, but I shall go that way towards the railway station for a closer look and see what I can discover.

The plot sickens.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Let us return to our moutons as they say around here, and start at the very beginning.

Once more, going to bed early doesn’t seem to make all that much difference because I still had a very tormented sleep and it didn’t seem to make all that much difference as to how tired I am.

After the medication I checked my mails and then made a start on the radio programme. And by 11:20 I was finished as well, despite having stopped for breakfast – a slice of fruit bread (I’ve given up the hot chocolate as it’s starting to show).

And had I not had to redo some of it and choose another track in the middle to replace one that didn’t work as I would have liked, I could have been finished a long time before that too.

Having dealt with that, I listened to the programme to make sure that it was correct, and while I was doing that I booked the rail ticket for tomorrow from Brussels to Leuven and back again. By the time that it was all finished it was almost time for lunch.

After lunch I had the tidying up to do because the nurse is coming round to give me my injection and the place needs to look as if someone actually lives here.

The rest of the afternoon was spent transcribing the dictaphone notes, and there were tons and tons of them too, and it took me ages.

The stuff for Sunday took ages and ages, but it was all done and it went on-line to update yesterday’s journal entry.

There had been a couple of interruptions while I’d been doing it. Firstly the nurse came round and injected me. I hope that it will propel me up the hill tomorrow to the railway station.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSecondly, there was the afternoon walk around the headland, which of course always starts with a look down to the beach to see what is happening.

Off across the car park I went and over to the wall at the end of the car park where I could look over the wall. Not many people down there this afternoon but then again there wasn’t all that much beach to be on.

Nobody was quite brave enough to take to the water to any great degree this afternoon which wasn’t a surprise because there was a biting wind this afternoon that was quite really quite cold

Here I met one of my neighbours and we had a good chat, interrupted by a frantic chase back across the car park to rescue my cap that had Gone With The Wind

f-gbai ROBIN DR 400-140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallwhile we were chatting we were overflown a couple of times by various aircraft, but I only managed to detach myself long enough to catch one of them.

She’s our old favourite F-GBAI, one of the Robin DR 400-140B aircraft that belong to the Granville Aero Club. We’ve seen more of her just recently than we have of all of the other aircraft in total.

She took off from the airfield at 14:12 and flew several laps up and down the coast and even inland for some distance before coming back to land at 16:33. My photo was timed at (adjusted) 16:15 so she still had some time to remain in the air before landing.

sparrowhawk bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallF-GBAI wasn’t the only flying object that we were able to photograph this afternoon.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there are some birds of prey that loiter around the edge of the cliffs looking for animals, baby rabbits and anything else that might do for an appetising lunch.

We started off with one but it seems to be a happy hunting ground down there because there are now three or four of them.

Incidentally, I am informed that they are sparrowhawks. Not that I would know, of course. While I am a very keen birdwatcher, it’s not this kind of bird that usually attracts my attention.

fishermen in zodiac pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was plenty of activity going on out of the wind in the Baie de Mont St Michel so I wandered off in that direction.

There was a zodiac with fishermen aboard coming around the headland and I knew what was likely to happen once they came out of the lee of the headland so I waited.

Sure enough, the wind and the waves that hit them gave them a very nasty moment.

It reminds me of the story of the zodiacs aboard THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. They all carry names, but prior to that they had numbers.
One day, the captain was bellowing down the loud-hailer “Zodiac number 61 – come back to the ship”.
No response, so he called again. Still no response, so he called a third time.
Suddenly realising that there were only 20 zodiacs aboard, he changed his tune and shouted “zodiac number 19 – do you have a problem?”

cabin cruiser yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut as I said earlier, there was plenty of activity going on in the bay out of the wind.

The first things that caught my eye were the yachts of one of the sailing school. There were a couple of schools out there this afternoon, taking advantage of the tide and the shelter that was afforded by the headland.

As well as that, there were all kinds of other boats out there – a cabin cruiser goign along at quite a rate and a small motor boat that might be something to do with the yachts of the sailing school – maybe the instrructor with a loud-hailer.

trawler charlevy trafalgar chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlong the path on the southern side of the headland, I took myself down to the viewpoint overlooking the port and in particular the chantier naval.

And we’ve had another change of occupant down there this afternoon. We’re now back up to our seven boats again and I really ought one of these days go down and enquire about their names. But that won’t be this week as I’m off to Leuven tomorrow as I mentioned earlier.

But I can’t keep up with the speed at which they are coming and going these days. They are wearing me out and I don’t have the energy to keep on nipping down there to check before they clear off back into the water and another lot take their place.

tents car park port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBefore I go back to the apartment and carry on with the dictaphone notes, we can see the final shot that I took of what’s going on down at the end of the port.

As you can see, the tents and whatever it is that they have erected have continued out into the car park, the area where the fishermen keep their shellfish drags and where the fresh shellfish are sold. It’s clearly going to be something quite important to take up all of that space.

With all of the lorries being there, it looks as if they are only just setting up their equipment. That means that they probably won’t be doing whatever they will be doing until the weekend.

Eventually, I finished off the notes from yesterday and then pounced upon the pile that related to last night. And if anything, there were even more of them.

Last night I started off on a ship, the THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR or something last night in the Antarctic. We were involved with icebergs and so on and there was a very famous poem that had been written about ships and icebergs and somehow I was trying to make the poem match up with those on board the ship but I awoke before I’d gone very far with this.

And later we were discussing the ferries and in particular the ones out to the Ile de Chausey and the trips that they do around the bay and the Ile de Chausey but I can’t remember now how the story went

Later still I was around at the farm of a friend of mine from school and was talking to one of the young girls who worked there – it might even have been Percy Penguin. I’d just been into the farmhouse to use the bathroom and as I was leaving someone came to the door. Whoever I was with asked if I knew who it was and I said “no”. She replied “what a shame. You could have found out and they could have babysat while we went out”. After a couple of minutes I thought that i’d go back and find out and pretend that I needed the bathroom again. Just as I arrived these people were disappearing down the drive. One of them just looked from the rear like the sister of my friend except maybe a little younger. In the house I talked to their mother and she showed me her new Avon purchase which was something for putting tea into for dropping into a cup like a reusable tea bag. We had quite a talk about that. When I returned I explained things to the girl I was with. She asked “didn’t you ask if she would babysit for us anyway?”

But here’s a thing. After making those notes I stepped right back into where I had left off before dictating the previous notes, back on the farm. My friend and his little sister, on whom actually I had quite a crush back 50-odd years ago, were there. They were laughing and joking and she was sitting on him and generally being a pest. He said “why don’t you go and sit somewhere else?”. So me, ever the opportunist, said “come and sit on me instead” and much to my surprise she did. I thought “God, I’m popular”. We sat there, the three of us, talking and I had my arm round her at one point. Then she had to go and clear off and fetch the dinner as there was a big party taking place. She was serving everyone around and still coming over to talk and chat to me occasionally here and there. I couldn’t believe my luck. I thought “how on earth is this going to end?” but it ended up by me sitting bolt upright wide awake with probably the greatest feeling of disappointment I have ever had in my life and I would have given all that I had to have gone back into that dream again at that point and see how it finished. It was just as if 50 years had suddenly vanished from my life.

That was probably the most powerful, realistic and optimistic dream that I have ever had since the famous WORLESTON INCIDENT all those years ago and the fact that I cans till remember that particular voyage so well after all these years shows you just how much of an impression that made on me. And this one will probably be the same. It’s another one of these that has left quite a disturbing effect.

Having dealt with all of that I went and made tea. A fry-up of everything that was left in the kitchen that wouldn’t keep until I return.

And now I’m off to bed. It’s not early but still earlier than it has been here and there. There’s a lot to do in the morning before I head off for the train.

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?.

Tuesday 27th July 2021 – THERE’S A TIME …

people sleeping on verge place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… and a place for relaxing, as everyone must surely agree.

But wherever and whenever it is, it isn’t at 17:15 on a Tuesday afternoon on the grass verge on a car park when you have a whole beach not 200 yards away down some steps where you can recline to your heart’s content.

However, I’m rather disappointed that these were two guys. Had it been a guy and a gal I would have come out with some kind of witty remark like “just look at that young couple on the verge …” but you can’t win a coconut every time, which is a shame.

Another time when it isn’t is at 07:30 on your chair in your office when you’ve made a special effort to leave your stinking pit at 06:00. I was hoping to have a good day to crack on with a pile of work seeing as there were no distractions, but 90 minutes flat out in the early morning is no way to start the day, particularly with the amount of time that it takes me to recover.

All in all, today was something of a failure and I’ll have to do better tomorrow.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I did find time to look at the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night.

I was with 2 girls again and then these2 girls split up and left me with one of them but it wasn’t really the one that I wanted as you might expect but nevertheless I put a brave face on it. We went to Gregory’s nightclub in Nantwich and went on a few attractions, things like the Sliding Settee and all that, the invisible barman, whatever. There was a game-thing where you sat on it and it shot you off across this board, took a right-handed turn and shot off somewhere else and so on. I was really worried about my camera banging everywhere but I managed to make it across all the way without causing any damage. I said to this girl that after than I needed a drink and we’d go for coffee but I think she wanted a tea so we fixed on the bar where the disappearing barman was. By this time, I had a dog, an old Irish dog something like Jessie that we used to have and that was with me so the 4 of us (… who was the 4th? …) went upstairs wearing captain hats or something like that. Somewhere in this Liz (which Liz? There are several who appear in my nocturnal rambles) turned up as well and she was saying that if only she had a decent bicycle she’d get rid of her bike and buy a …I fell asleep here ….. Did I say that Liz appeared somewhere in this saying that if she lived somewhere instead of where we were living she’d have a decent bike because it’s very hard for her and her sons and everyone not to be able to drive so I told her about electric bikes and asked whether electric bikes might get her up the hills around here.

Strangely enough, or maybe not, depending on how you look at things, while I was flat out on the chair I’d been on a ramble or two or three as well, but these were a confused hotch-potch of nonsense. I was with my brother in Crewe and we’ were on our way home from something. We called into a Penny Arcade place There was a young girl in there and another man. My brother and I separately and without knowing what the other was doing whispered some kind of warning into this man’s ear. Eventually the man left so we followed him and when we caught up with him he was busily committing a serious offence. We took hold of him and had him on the floor and the police came and took all of us. The man was taken away and the three of us were left to wait. After an age someone came and asked if we were the drunken brawl people too which we said no so he left. We waited again for ages end eventually decided to look in the rooms to see if we could see the guy who had seen us just now and find out what was going on. But we kept on interrupting people in the middle of meetings, stuff like that, and there was no-one there to help our enquiry
Later on there was something with Miss Stoke on Trent too and something else with another young girl who ended up living in the total chaos that was my house. I invited some of the kids including this girl back to my bedroom but it was in such a state that I went to clean it. Lifting stuff off the bed I was finding all sorts, half-eaten bananas, piles of dust, a plumbing kit, a box with some leaky bottles, pile of polystyrene balls and the sheets were so dirty and stained it was unbelievable. When I had everything on the floor I went to fetch the vacuum cleaner but from downstairs someone shouted “food” so I went down. The girl was eating some hot chick peas and there were three other bowls of similar food, two of them boiling away. None were for me though. I usually make my own lunch. But I wanted to talk to this girl. At some point I’d seen her walking in the street. I had been on a racing bicycle and going quite fast when I passed her, and again on the way back
At some point Percy Penguin put in an appearance too.

There was lots more to it than this but seeing as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details. But there we were complaining the other day about the lack of regulars in our most recent nocturnal voyages and lo! And behold! A couple more turn up unexpectedly during a most impromptu repose.

You can’t beat it.

So once I recovered I made a coffee and then filled a little more (but not much) of the shelf unit in the kitchen.

Back in here I started to work on my photos from my adventures on board Spirit of Conrad but I needed to find a piece of paper. This led to stripping out the bookcase in here, sorting out a pile of stuff, binning loads of it, putting some for filing and generally making the bookcase much more accessible.

And just in case you are wondering, I didn’t find the piece of paper for which I was looking.

After lunch I had a session on the acoustic guitar (I’m changing my hours around a little), answered the phone from my hospital in Leuven, sent them a message and took out some of the rubbish. Yes, the highlight of the day, that was!

Just as I was about to go out for my afternoon walk we had the most tremendous downpour and I wasn’t going anywhere in that. I hung around and waited for it to pass and so it ended up with being a rather late walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course, it goes without saying that I’m going to go and have a look at the beach.

Plenty of beach again of course, but not so many people down there. At least those who were down there were having plenty of fun.

And I was surprised not to see many more. It’s only the beaches on the south side of the headland that are closed to the public. Here on the north they are open so I was expecting to see half of Paris down there.

But anyway, ignoring the people lying about on the verge, I cleared off along the path.

people on footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallJoining the madding crowds of people massing on the path around the headland.

Even one or two of them wearing masks today too. Just one or two. I think that there must be more than just me concerned by the rapid rise in the number of infections just now

There was something else quite surprising too, and that is that there was nothing – absolutely nothing – going on out at sea today. Not even anyone fishing from a rowing boat. Where has everyone gone?

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt last I actually find some kind of sea craft out at sea.

As soon as I saw it I was off down the path and across the car park like a ferret up a trouser leg to see what it might be. But at this range, it wasn’t easy to pick it out wit the naked eye.

Back hone though, it didn’t take much of an effort to see that it was a trawler out there just off the Phare de la Pierre-de-Herpin and the Pointe de Grouin.

Usually at this point I would say something about exploring different fishing grounds, but being the only water craft out there – never mind the only fishing boat – then anything could be happening.

trawler charlevy yacht rebelle chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallInstead, I wandered off along the path on top of the cliffs to look at what was going on down in the port.

The chantier naval is always a good place to start. The yacht Rebelle and the trawler Charlevy are there of course, as are the other two trawlers whose names I don’t know.

But we can see that the one that we saw in primer yesterday now has its first top coat on the wind deflector. It won’t be long before they paint her name on it and then hopefully we can find out who she is before she goes back into the water.

And find out about the fourth one too while we are at it.

tractor trailer port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBefore I go back home, and before I comment on the fact that I haven’t been overflown by anything today, which is a surprise in itself, I must comment that at least a couple of the smaller fishing boats must be out at sea.

The tractor and trailer that collects the shellfish from a couple of the boats is parked in position at the ready so it must be waiting for one of its clients to come in with some supplies.

It was at this point that I had a phone call from Rosemary so I dashed home quickly to call her back. However I was detained on the steps by a neighbour so by the time that I’d grabbed my coffee it was later than I thought.

As is usual, Rosemary and I chatted for ages putting the world to rights, to such an extent that I missed my bass guitar practice completely which is a shame. I’ll have to move that too.

Tea was taco rolls (that didn’t fall apart like the stuffed pepper) and the last of the jam roly poly. Tomorrow I suppose I’ll have to resuscitate some apple pie from out of the fridge.

Now I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh chat tomorrow evening so I need to be on form for that. So here’s hoping for a better day.

Sunday 25th July 2021 – BANE OF BRITAIN …

trawler yacht rebelle chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall.. strikes again! And in spades too, so it seems.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there is a new trawler that arrived in the chantier naval and from my handy little spec up on the clifftop I couldn’t see a name on her superstructure.

Most of the trawlers around here have their names written on the wind deflector above the windscreen and so I mentioned earlier this week that I’d go down there at some point and have a look.

So here I am – and guess what? Yes, of course, they are repainting her and the wind deflector has been painted over in thick grey primer and I couldn’t see a thing. It’s just as you would expect, really, isn’t it?

What else you might expect as well is that seeing as I had promised my self a nice lie-in this morning I was awake at 07:20. But if anyone really thinks that I’ll be putting my sooty foot on the bedroom floor at that time of the morning then they are mistaken, especially seeing that I didn’t go to bed until something like 03:15 this morning after my mega-crash-out during the day yesterday.

Even putting my feet on the floor at 10:20 and making the effort to move was some tough going but I managed it.

After the meds I made a new mix of dough for another loaf, and this one might actually work because the yeast foamed up like bottled Bass when I activated it. Fresh yeast from a different batch.

Back in here, I went to have a listen to the dictaphone but I couldn’t find it. Eventually I came across it, on the floor still working with 4:45:00 of silence on it.

Well, not silence, actually quite a lot of my snoring and my apologies to Percy Penguin, who doesn’t appear on these pages as often as she deserves, for not believing her. Although what I was doing sleeping with Percy Penguin there is something that I don’t understand.

There was however something of interest on the dictaphone. And I didn’t track it down by listening to it – 4:45:00 of my snoring is far too much even for me – but by looking for my speech waveform pattern with my sound-engineering program, although the sound that I make when I’m dictating in my sleep is nothing like the sound that I make when I’m awake.

Anyway, I digress … “and not for the first time either” – ed.

I was in a Welsh lesson last night with a variety of different people. The first part went well but in the second part the Welsh presenter had a flood so we had to do it ourselves. We talked about where we had come from, what we’d been doing, what we were doing now and what we were going to do, to keep it very simply for the beginners in our lesson to catch up. I can’t remember any more of this. I fell asleep instead.

So having dealt with that I paired up all of the music for the radio broadcast that I’ll be preparing next week and sorted out a speech for my regular guest. That took me up to lunchtime.

This afternoon I started to work again on my trip down the Brittany coast on Spirit of Conrad and wrote out some noted for about 10 photos. I would have done far more than that but I … errr … (fill in your own answer)).

Before I went out for my afternoon walk I kneaded the bread dough a second time, which had by now gone up like a lift, and mixed in the sunflower seeds. Then I shaped it and put it in a bread mould and left it to proof.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course the first port of call was the beach so I headed off across the car park to the far end to have a look over the wall

And what a change from a week ago when there was hardly enough beach to swing a cat. Today there was beach for miles, as much as anyone would want. But it was windy and overcast again, and that might explain why there weren’t too many people about down there.

But surprisingly, there wasn’t all that much going on out at sea either. A Sunday in midsummer and a darn sight better weather than yesterday, and I expected to see everyone out there today making up for lost time.

But not a soul

harvesting bouchots donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever, one place where there was no shortage of activity today was down the coast at Donville les Bains.

The tide is well out, as you have seen, and the bouchot beds are uncovered today. The harvesters are out in force this afternoon with all of their equipment giving it a really good go.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall what happens there but for the benefit of new readers, of which there appears to be more than just a few just recently, the bouchots were a comparatively recent and quite serendipitous discovery.

Someone planted some stakes with ropes attached into the ground for some purpose and when he returned he found that although his original purpose was a failure, the strings were covered in mussels.

Mussels are usually harvested from the sand and thus are quite grainy and gritty, but with growing on strings, there’s no sand in them and so they are said to be quite smooth and delicious, not that I would know of course.

This area is now quite famous for its bouchots

crowds of people on path near lighthouse semaphore station pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnyway, now that the biology lesson is over for the time being, I can clear off along the path on the clifftop.

Not exactly far from the madding crowd. There were loads of people walking around there today on the path as you can see in this photo. And there were plenty more than these too.

And I could count on the fingers of one hand the number who were wearing masks, which is rather disappointing seeing how the infection numbers here are now going through the roof. I really don’t know what the answer to this one is, except that I hope that Darwin catches up with them pretty quickly.

Anyway, high time that I stopped moaning and pushed on along the path. I have things to be doing.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six - F-GVJC baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was round about here that I was overflown yet again by an aeroplane taking off from the airfield at Granville.

This time I can tell you who she is because she has a pretty distinctive shape, even if she is quite far out over the bay. She is in fact F-GVJC, a Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six serial number 7140066 and she took off at 15:59 to perform a series of concentric circles around between here and Avranches.

It’s the same one that w saw the other week and the reason why I wasn’t able to correctly identify her then when we saw her much more distinctly than this is because there’s a coachline that goes right through the middle of her registration number.

For a change, instead of crossing the path and the car park, I took the low road down the steps and along the path lower down.

And it was down there that my right knee gave way again. That’s three times now and for a while I had to hobble, if not limp along on my way. Sometime during the week I have to see the doctor about my injections and I’m going to try to blag my way onto some physiotherapy sessions or something like that. I can’t go on like this. Bits are dropping off me now at an alarming rate and I’m fed up.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way round, I noticed that there were people out there at the peche à pied.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall what goes on here, but again for the benefit of the new readers, the beach between average high tide and average low tide is let off in a series of concessions to commercial harvesters, as we saw with the bouchot farm.

But whether or not they are actually being exploited, no-one else can harvest seafood from there. It’s like gold claims – once it’s claimed, it’s claimed.

However a few times a year the low tides are so low that the water goes below the level of the commercial beds, and that area that’s uncovered is now available as a free-for all for just about anyone who cares to go raking in the sand or prising oysters off the rocks.

But they have to share their catch with their friends. After all, no-one should be selfish with their shellfish.

fishing dredges port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving been forestalled (I’ve gone all Peary-ish again) at the chantier naval, I thought that I’d take a photo of these objects and tell you what they are.

These are actually shellfish dredges. The trawler or fishing boat will drag these out behind it and it basically ploughs up the sea bed.

The shells and other obstructions like bicycle wheels, scuba divers and World War II munitions go in through the mouth and whatever is too small to be of any interest goes out through the grating.

The rest is kept inside the dredge and has given more than one fishing boat crew an unexpected surprise when they have hauled in the dredge. Sometimes, the phrase “shell-fish” is more appropriate than they realise.

Of course, this type of fishing is only appropriate in fairly shallow water where there are no rocks.

fishing dredges port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou’ll notice that they all have a serial number welded onto them in MiG-weld and in some cases the name of the boat to which they belong.

Every boat has a registration number painted on her hull somewhere and the the registration numbers of the boats around here, being registered in Cherbourg, begin with CH, although there are still one or two older boats, such as La Granvillaise for example, who still like to display the old “G for Granville” number.

So having organised that, I hobble off up the hill on my way home cursing my luck about the trawler. I’ve no idea when they will have painted her name back on.

A strawberry smoothie was my treat when I returned, and then I bunged the bread into the oven to bake

While it was going that I peeled diced and blanched 1.5kg of carrots and I would have done the rest too but the saucepan was full by now.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallwhen the bread was baked (and what a good loaf that is) the pizza went in.

And here’s the finished product. Really nice although I still can’t make the base any more crispy than it is.

No pudding, you will note. There is plenty of jam roly-poly left, and I have a cunning plan for the rest of the week, more of which anon.

And tomorrow I’ll tell you about the bread. If it tastes as good as it looks it will be a belter, that’s for sure.

But that’s enough for today. For a Day of Rest I’ve done a great deal and I’ll need a day off to recover.

No chance of that, though. I have far too much to do and I’ve no idea how I’m going to fit it all in with my busy schedule of arrears that are piling up.

Sunday 18th July 2021 – YOU CAN TELL …

boats heading to harbour baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… what kind of weather we’ve had today by looking at this photo.

Piles of boats out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel heading back towards the Port de Plaisance before the gates close with the turn of the tide. It seems that everyone has been out to sea this afternoon.

And that’s really not a surprise at all because the temperature reached the upper 20s this afternoon and there was almost no wind and it’s a long time since I’ve been able to sat that

But I missed a lot of the day today because of course I was going to have a lie-in this morning to recover from my journey to Leuven.

And with the intention of having a lie-in, 07:20 is far too early for me to be thinking of leaving my stinking pit. Even 09:30 was far too early but because couldn’t go back to sleep I was up and about shortly afterwards.

My push for fewer medications seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Instead of there being 7 pills and tablets to take every morning, there are now 9. So that didn’t work.

And what else didn’t work was relieving this fatigue either. I’ve spent most of the day trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, not to fall asleep.

First thing that I did after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I was at the Grammar School last night and there was a meeting taking place of the School Committee – some teachers, some pupils. The door was in a position where from the top of the stairs I could take photos of people coming and going so that was what I was doing. I’d been talking to a few people whom I knew. Then a girl appeared. I know who she is but I just can’t put a name and I wish that I could remember her name, and she was wearing some kind of ridiculous plunging neckline top. From where I was on the top of the stairs I had a really good view. There was a lavatory block in the middle of the hall with the Gents on one side and the Ladies on the other and on one of the ends. For some unknown reason none of these were suitable so this girl asked me where else do the ladies go. So I told her about the loos next to the 5th form common room. She looked bewildered and I thought “well, I’ve not been in this school for so long. The 5th form common room is bound to have changed from where it was in my day” and I had to try to explain to her where it all was. They said “okay” they’ll go off and find it. So off they went in a kind-of completely different way to the way that I had told them to go so I’d no idea what was happening there.

Some time later I was round at a friend’s and he was in a couple with a girl who is in real life the wife of someone else. He was talking about going on holiday and he had a trailer coupled up to his car but he had just a piece of paper as the rear numberplate with a number written on it put over the top of the number of the trailer. I told him that he would be far better off getting a real numberplate and putting it on. He was convinced that he was doing things the right way so I left him to it. I told him that in Europe trailers were registered themselves with their own numbers, all that kind of thing. So the girl and I were there after he had gone and we were doing some things. There was something important that needed doing for which I needed her help but I can’t remember what it was now but she said “we’ll see how it goes” but then as time drew on she said “we’re going to have to do this scene with some vehicles on it” so reluctantly I agreed and anyway so something was getting on and there were a couple of lively cats and a small dog playing around and then she made a decision about having a cup of tea so I got up to make one. I put the tea bags in the pot and I was about to fill the pot and she said “no, don’t make a pot of tea because I won’t be drinking it” so I said “I won’t bring you tea in the morning then in that case” so I went off to I don’t know where.

But there was somewhere along the line that I’d been out in a car and we were going to somewhere near Aberystwyth. I was with Percy Penguin and we drove all the way out there to do something but in the end came across an auction where they were selling old motorbikes. There was one old British one in a terrible state but looked complete but there were no bids on it so the guy said “does anyone want it?”. I was feeling really bad because had we gone in Caliburn I could have brought that back without any trouble at all but instead we’d gone in an ordinary saloon car and there was no room in it for a thing like a motor bike. I was really upset by that, and not just when I was asleep either.

Before lunch I went and mixed three loads of dough – one for the pizza bases for the next three weeks, the second for the jam roly-poly and the third with wholemeal flour for the fruit bread. That was all mixed up and then I could go for my lunch.

This afternoon, in between bouts of sleep I tried to bring up to date Friday’s journal entry, but I have to say that I didn’t get very far with it and nothing has changed with the entry already so far on line.

Another thing was to give all of the dough a second kneading. The roly poly was flattened out square and spread with jam, and then rolled up rather like a swiss roll. I had to cut it in two to make it fit the baking tray.

The pizza dough was kneaded, divided into 3 and two of the lumps were rolled in oil, wrapped in greaseproof paper and put in the freezer. The third was rolled out and put in the pizza tray to proof.

To the wholemeal dough, I added a ripe banana, some desiccated coconut, dried fruit, sultanas and various assorted nuts ground into powder. That was all mixed up, kneaded, shaped and put in the smaller bread mould.

As well as all of that, I’ve been pairing off the music for the next radio programme bur I won’t be working on that this week because I have a full-time Welsh course stating at 11:00 on Monday

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn between that I went off for my afternoon walk, not forgetting that I have to go to the beach to see what was happening there.

Across the car park I went and looked over the wall to see what was happening, and I was amazed by the crowds of people down there. And although there wasn’t very much beach to be on right now, the sea was pretty much full of people this afternoon.

It seems that every man and his dog has gone down to the beach to frolic about in the sea this afternoon. It would surprise me if there was enough room for everyone to find a little spot to sit down

man and woman on inflatable boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it wasn’t just down on the beach that there were crowds of people either.

The sea was quite full as well with all kinds of craft out there this afternoon. There were several interesting boats but my vote for pride of place has to go to this inflatable zodiac thing that was paddling around offshore with a man and a woman on board doing the paddling.

And I particularly liked their version of a lifeboat that they were towing behind them. An inflatable rubber ring in the form of a car tyre that will be a great help if ever it were to be called upon to perform the task for which it was intended.

flags pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that there are four flagpoles by the Monument to the French Resistance, but one of them was taken away a few weeks ago.

While i was away it seems that they have done whatever it was that needed to be done to the flagpole and it’s resumed its place down by the lighthouse. So the German flag was once more flying quite happily by the American, French and British flags.

There were crowds of people out there this afternoon, most of whom weren’t wearing masks despite the rising infection totals here in France. I still wear mine and in any case I did my best to keep my distance as I walked around the path.

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been walking around the path I noticed something moving out at sea. I took a photo of it with the aim of enlarging it whe I returned home.

Actually, I had a really good idea of what it might be and as I enlarged the image I could see that I was right too. It’s one of the Joly France boats that runs the ferry service between here and the Ile de Chausey.

She’s pretty much loaded up with passengers, either day trippers or holidaymakers coming back and presumably catching the evening train to Paris.

But back to our story, and I carried on down the path and across the car park to the end of the headland. There wasn’t much going on there so I continued on down the path and round the other side.

f-bslf Robin DR-315 Petit Prince pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was round about here that I was overflown by a light aircraft that had apparently just taken off from the airport.

She’s one whom we haven’t seen before – F-BSLF, a Robin DR-315 “Petit Prince”. She’s not one of the Aero Club aeroplanes who we see on regular occasions.

In fact she only arrived this morning at the airport. Although she didn’t file a flight plan, she was picked up by radar at 08:51 somewhere near St Seglin heading towards the airport and disappeared off the radar near Mont St Michel, presumably to have a closer view as she came in to land.

And then she took off again at 16:13, when was when I saw her, and she flew south before disappearing off the radar again at Baulin near St Seglin. So it’s reasonable to suppose that she comes from somewhere around there.

l'alize 3 galapagos chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving disposed of the aeroplane I could continue on my way along the path towards the harbour and see what’s going on down there.

And there have been changes at the chantier naval while I’ve been away. We are down to just two trawlers, L’Alize 3 and Galapagos. The other two trawlers that were there, Black Pearl and Charles Marie II have gone back into the water. The latter boat wasn’t in the chantier naval.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there. They told me last time I was down there that she would be back in the water “shortly”, but they were clearly talking in Geological terms.

marite big wheel port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the wall I could see down into the inner harbour.

There wasn’t a great deal of activity down there this afternoon. But our old friend Marité is still in there. It looks as if that trip that she was planning yesterday when all of those people were going aboard can’t have been going very far – probably just into the bay and back.

The big wheel is there of course, and it was actually working as well. There must have been plenty of people wanting to go for a ride. It’s not the thing for me though – I’m sure that I have a much better view from up here on top of the cliffs than I would on top of the wheel.

joly france leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was admiring the inner harbour a siren from the ferry terminal brought me back to reality.

When I looked round I could see that Joly France was reversing out of the terminal – hence the siren – and heading back out to sea. There must be plenty more people out there on the island waiting to come back to the mainland, more than the other Joly France boat can handle.

But I couldn’t wait for the two boats to come back. I came on back home to carry on work and trying hard not to fall asleep.

Round about 18:00 I put on the oven and bunged in the fruit loaf followed a few minutes later by the jam roly poly. And when they were cooked I bunged in the pizza which I had been preparing.

vegan pizza jam roly poly fruit bread Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the pizza was cooked I took that out of the oven. And here it is with the jam roly poly and the fruit bread.

The pizza looks absolutely delicious and it tasted delicious too. As for the jam roly poly and the fruit bread, you’ll have to wait for a day or two before I can tell you what they are like.

Back in here, fighting off the fatigue yet again, I wrote up my notes for the day and posted them on line. And that’s all that I’m doing today. I’m completely exhausted and I have so much to do tomorrow, so I’m off for an early night in bed tonight.

And I can’t wait for that either. A good night’s sleep will do me the world of good – I hope.

Wednesday 9th June 2021 – IN NEWS THAT WILL …

french flag, usa flag, german flag pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… infuriate every gammon for miles around, we can now see which of the four flagpoles was taken away earlier in the week.

The interesting thing about this is that the three nations whose flags are represented there have long-since given up fighting World Wat II and for the past 70 or so years have been working together to make the world a far better place in which we all can live (except when, of course, the Septics elect a Republican president).

There’s only one nation that is still fighting World War II and that’s the Brits. Still unable to live down the humiliation of throwing away their weapons and running away from the Germans and ever since then, clinging to the coat-tails of the Americans.

This inferiority complex was never better shown than on a few islands just in sight here on the horizon. The one part of the British Isles occupied by the Germans in 1940, the liberation passed by the Channel Islands in July 1944 but because the Americans refused to let the British have the resources, the British were too afraid to confront the Germans on their own and left their own people to starve, cut off from supplies, until after the Armistice in May 1945.

The people in the Channel Islands have never forgotten this of course, although the British have, a long time ago. Humility and remorse is not something in the character of the average gammon.

What’s not in the average character of me right now is this getting-up-at-06:00 lark, although I’ve been doing it for long enough these days. Still, to my surprise, I hauled myself out of bed as the alarm sounded (well, maybe a minute or two later) and went off to sort out the medication, which takes far longer than it ought these days.

Back here, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I went during the night. I was with a boy from school last night last night and somehow we had ended up being chased out of our accommodation. We had to walk and travel one stop on the train and we found another place where they were building some kind of armed camp to defend themselves against the authorities. We went to squat there. I asked him how he felt about seasick and he said that he wasn’t very good. We were in this room and I asked “what about your trip to Shearings? Are you still interested in going?”. He replied “yes” … (indistinct) … but instead he dressed and with about 12 minutes to spare I took him out and thought what was the matter with him … (I fell asleep here for a good few minutes) … I don’t know where I got to with that when I fell asleep dictating but we found some refuge in this place and then we got to the time when his pickup was ready so I asked him if he was still interested in going with Shearings, going on something that I had organised. He wanted to go with Shearings so I told him to get his things ready and I’ll see him on the bus somewhere. And the moral of this story is “never give up no matter how tempting the other alternatives are because you never know how good the profits of what you are planning are going to be” and what those last few words have to do with anything that has occurred I really have no idea.

And once more, apologies to Percy Penguin (who doesn’t appear in these pages anything like as often as she deserves) for doubting her when she complained that I snored when I was asleep.

Most of the day has been spent revising my Welsh, with plenty of comfort breaks, coffee and hot chocolate breaks, lunch breaks and even a couple of work breaks when I updated a couple of the Leuven pages (but don’t ask me which they were – you’ll have to go back and find out for yourself). And I made an appointment to visit the doctor tomorrow too.

My Welsh exam took place at 16:00 and by 16:15 it was all over. Although I made a couple of basic errors, I think that overall I might have done OK.

Luckily I’d found tucked away in the revision section of the course book 50 standard questions that might go with one part and 50 keywords that would go with another part so I spent a couple of hours working over different answers to the standard questions, and then inventing questions to fit the 50 keywords.

And I’m glad that I did that because while not many of the actual questions or keywords came up in the test, question patterns were pretty much the same. That will make up for me saying ‘sgynno fo on a couple of occasions when I should have said ‘sgynny hi. And that’s an important distinction. If only I’d stuck to “mae gan Caroline …”.

Anyway, about half an hour late, I went out for my afternoon walk.

volvo skip lorry collecting skip place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd right outside the front door we have yet more activity. And had I come out at my normal time I would have missed all of it.

The other day we saw a skip lorry drop off a skip and drive away empty. Today we’ve seen the reverse of the operation. An empty skip lorry has pulled up and he’s now reversing into position where he can lift up a skip onto the back of his lorry and drive away with it.

They were out working until quite late last night, judging by the times that the dumper came past here while I was writing up my notes. It’s not like French workmen to do overtime. There must be a penalty clause somewhere about to come into operation, hence the rush.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs is my custom, my next stop is to go and look at the beach to see what activity there is going on there right now.

Off I strolled across the car park over to the wall at the end where I can stick my head over the top to see what gives down there. And the answer is “not all that much”. There’s more beach than yesterday because the tide isn’t as far in, and it’s also a nice day considering what we have had just recently.

And so I was surprised to see only one couple down there on the beach, as far as I could see. And they are either preparing to go into the water or else they have just come out. It’s not all that clear. But it is a Wednesday afternoon and the schools are off this afternoon. So why aren’t there crowds of kids swarming about down there this afternoon?

Maybe they are all in the swimming baths at the Cité des Sports – it’s opened this afternoon for the first time since a long time ago.

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall And I hadn’t moved all that far away from where the people were down on the beach before there was yet more excitement this afternoon – this time, there’s Something In The Air as Thunderclap Newman would have said.

The other day I pontificated on the fact that we hadn’t seen the Bird-men of Alcatraz for quite a while, and so immediately there was one who took to the air. He must have been out there for a trial run and to report back to the other boys in the band, because this afternoon there were at least four of them out there enjoying themselves and probably a few more than that besides.

But for some reason they didn’t bother me all that much. I was able to walk faster than they could fly and so they never caught me up as I walked off along the path.

trawlers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the things that we have been doing recently, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, is to look at what’s going on in the Baie de Mont St Michel to see if the fishermen from Granville are exploiting it.

And so I walked past the flags, that you saw earlier, across the car park and down to the end of the headland to see if there were any trawlers out there this afternoon. And sure enough, there were quite a few of them out there today.

Right down at the bottom of the bay right up against the Brittany coast are three of them working hard. And they were just three of a dozen that I could have photographed. But they will do because they were quite close together rather than spread out across the bay.

And look how clear the Brittany coast is this afternoon. That’s somewhere near Cherrueix which is about 20 miles away as the crow flies.

trawler hera rebelle chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the viewpoint overlooking the port I could see quite a lot of activity going on there and in the chantier navale today, which makes a nice change.

The yacht Rebelle is still in there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw her still in the portable boat lift yesterday. But now, they have put her up on blocks, so it would seem to be more than a five-minute job that they will be doing on her.

The trawler Hera is still in there of course, but the question to which I’m more interested in knowing the answer is “what happened to that hulk that was in there for a few days?”. To my untrained eye that looked as if it needed much more work to make her seaworthy than the time that they spent on her.

fishing boats unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut you can tell that it’s coming up to that time of day when the tide will be well in.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall a few years ago that they dug out a deep channel a couple of years ago at the quayside under the Fish Processing Plant so that it would fill very quickly when the tide started to come in.

There’s already some water in that channel and there are a few of the inshore shellfish boats with a very low draught that have been able to come in and unload. The larger boats will have to wait until there is more water.

And doesn’t that yellow one resemble the one that was out in the Baie de Granville yesterday?

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOooh! Look who’s moored up in the inner harbour underneath the loading crane?

It’s one of our old friends from the Channel Islands. This is Thora, one of the little coastal freighters that plies her trade between here and Jersey. At one time, a long time ago, she used to be a car ferry working between the island of Bressay and the “Mainland” of Shetland. That’s a comparatively sheltered water so I bet she and her crew know all about conditions in the English Channel between Jersey and here when the going gets tough.

She still occasionally doubles as a car ferry. At the time that the lockdown was at its height and the big ferries weren’t running, people being repatriated had to come over on Thora and regular readers of this rubbish saw more than one or two cars lifted out of her by the big crane.

f-gorn Robin DR400/120 Dauphin pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo we’ve seen a bit of almost everything today. So what remains to be seen that we haven’t seen as yet? I know! How about an aeroplane?

Sure enough. Almost as soon as I’d said it one of the little light aircraft came flying by. I must have made a pact with the devil, I reckon.

This one is F-GORN, a machine that we have seen on many occasions. She’s a Robin DR400/120 Dauphin and she seems to have spent a lot of her time today flying around in circles not too far from the airport. Not that that should come as any surprise to anyone because she is actually owned by the Aero Club de Granville and is used either for instructing or solo flying by club members.

autobianchi stellina place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey say that you should always leave the best until last and so how about this one? It’s this kind of thing that made it all worthwhile going out late for my walk.

And so I’ll tell you that you have undoubtedly never ever seen one of these before, and you undoubtedly will never ever see one again, and that’s because there were only ever 502 of these made, and that was 55 or so years ago.

The first ever Italian car to have a fibreglass body and powered by FIAT’s water-cooled 767cc engine, it’s an Autobianchi Stellina and just what it’s doing here I really don’t know. These would be as rare as hen’s teeth in Italy, never mind here.

Back here I cut myself a big slice of Liz’s ginger cake as a reward for my efforts and made myself a nice hot coffee. And then I came back into my little office where I promptly fell asleep. About 2 hours I was away with the fairies and so the guitar practice, when I finally came round, was short and horrible.

Tea was a burger in a bap, and then seeing that I had no pudding I made something that I haven’t made for ages – viz. a baked apple with hot custard. And wasn’t that delicious too?

But now I’m off to make some bread dough, and then I’m goig to bed. I’ve had enough of today. it was only seeing that Autobianchi that cheered me up.

Friday 30th April 2021 – I’VE HAD A …

… slightly better day today. Not very much, but something of an improvement. Mind you, not that things could have been much worse than they were.

And they probably would have been even better had I not had several attacks of cramp during the night, a couple of which dragged me out of bed.

But anyway, I made it up and out of bed just after the first alarm again. And after the medication I listened to the dictaphone. There was some kind of TV programme during the night featuring me. It was like a festival of all my old vehicles. They had managed to collect a whole pile of old vehicles that I used to own and they were all being filmed arriving at this venue where we were supposed to be having this party. The thing that surprised me was that out of all of these old vehicles turning up, they hadn’t managed to go and get Caliburn. I was really surprised by it. I mentioned something like “it’s a shame that I don’t have a boat, isn’t it?”. They said “you do have a boat and it’s on the canal over there” and they were pointing to the canal on Henhull Bridge. I said “God, do I have a boat as well?”. There was something about me getting a boat for going over the sea. And that was one of the times when I awoke with an attack of cramp.

In between all of the wicked attacks of cramp I was visiting a girl, someone like my friend Sue, and I ended up spending the night there, separate beds. I was really tired so by the time that I got up it was quite late in the morning. I went to ‘phone my boss to tell him that I was not going to be in work that day but first of all she had to move an animal out of the bedroom with its pet snail so that I could use the ‘phone in there. But every time I tried to dial I kept on getting a wrong number. In the end I went to dial up on my mobile ‘phone. There was something about the animals she had, a cat and a mouse and a dog and I was training them to eat bits of chocolate that I used to do with my cats, giving them a bit equal and having them sit and wait until I gave the word and this was surprisingly successful. This girl had never seen anything quite like it at all. I went to ‘phone him and ask for Friday off as well and make a few days of it out here with this girl but every time I went to phone I couldn’t get through. This auto-dialler was dialling the first number that I put in that was wrong.

At that point, I went off back to sleep again, leaving the dictaphone running. And my apologies to Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in these pages as often as she deserves) for doubting her word when she complained that I snored in bed when I was asleep (not that I ever did too much sleeping if I was with Percy Penguin).

Transcribing that was about all that I managed to do this morning. Not even a mug of coffee was sufficient to galvanise me into action and after I’d had my hot chocolate and sourdough fruit bread, I actually crashed out again.

Not for as long as on the two previous days, but it may as well have been, for all the good that it did me from a working point of view.

After lunch I made something of a desultory start on editing my photos from August 2019. Doing anything is better than doing nothing, of course.

Not that I did too many but right now I’m emulating thousands of pioneers on the Trails West to Oregon and California during the Gold Rush years of the late 1840s and 1850s by “nooning” at Cottonwood Creek near modern-day Guernsey in Wyoming. It was an eerie feeling sitting there eating my sandwiches on the same spot where the Donner party had once eaten their lunch just four months before they began to eat each other.

There was the usual pause for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach near fish trap rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs usual I went over to the end of the car park to look over the wall down onto the beach to see who was about down there.

Just a few people walking around down there today and I’ve no idea why because the weather wasn’t unpleasant at all. There are a couple of people walking around on the beach who caught my eye. Not because of their white jackets, but because they were walking past the medieval fish trap.

You can see that it’s doing its job retaining the water that’s come in with the tide. When it was working correctly back in the olden days the water would slowly filter out leaving the fish behind. And then the fishwives would wade in and pull out the fish with their hands.

And they would probably have much more luck than the modern-day fisherman with his rod and line. Who says that modern methods are more efficient?

le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLe Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance to the port, was looking very nice today.

It was the first thing that I noticed when I walked around the corner and onto the path that leads down to the car park. The tide was not yet right out so there was still plenty of water in the bay. We’ve seen HOW EMPTY THE BAY CAN BE when we are at very low tide.

For a change there weren’t too many cars on the car park. Just three, in fact, this afternoon, and none of them were of any interest. It wasn’t very busy at all so I walked off quietly down to the end of the car park and the end of the headland.

people on lower footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere may not have been anyone about on the cliffs where I’d just been walking or on the car park, but the lower footpath today was heaving with people. There was even someone making an attempt to cycle around it on a mountain bike.

Even more surprisingly, there were no fishermen today on the rocks. It’s too much to suppose that they have given it up as a bad job and gone to the fishmonger’s.

And that reminds me of the story about the mermaid who appeared on the rocks down there. Someone asked what her vital statistics were and the reply was “36 – 24 – €3:60 per kilo”.

On that note, I walked off along the path on top of the cliffs on top of the other side of the headland. I forgot to notice if there were any fishing boats out there working this afternoon.

digger with tractors and trailers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom the viewpoint I could see the digger and the tractors and trailers working away at the end of the harbour wall down in the tidal harbour.

It looks as if they have finished digging away at the mountain of sand that had built up at the harbour entrance and were now digging away at a kind of trench further inside the harbour. It’s going to be interesting in a couple of days time to see what they are doing right now.

Incidentally, digging away at the mountain of sand apparently isn’t anything new. It’s a regular task that they undertake every five or so years to keep the passage free.

You can see that the tide is still a fair way up. The waste pipe that they are laying from the pleasure port is still part-submerged in water and the two white diggers haven’t made it out there as yet.

fishing boat out of water chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom this viewpoint I can see down into the chantier navale

There is no change in occupancy there today – Aztec Lady and the smaller trawler are still parked up on blocks down there and that’s your lot. But there’s something else in there too that looks as if it’s just been hauled out of the water. We can tell that by the amount of water down there behind that little fishing boat.

She’s been dropped onto the trailer by the portable boat lift and is about to be whisked away by the pick-up. That’s presumably the driver inside the cabin making the boat secure before they leave. And I was ready to leave too, and have another mug of coffee.

fishing boat grounded out port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBefore I did, I walked past the quay at the fish processing plant.

And there today we have another fishing boat left to go around on the mud as the tide goes out. That’s becoming quite a habit right now.

Back here I made myself a coffee and then carried on with my photographs, such as I was able, and despite another little relaxation for half an hour, and then I had a play on the guitars. And despite how I was feeling, I enjoyed every minute of it too. And I wished that I felt better than I do.

Tea tonight was nothing special. A burger with rice and vegetables with onion gravy followed by apple crumble with the left-over custard from yesterday.

But now I have the opportunity for an early night. After last night, I’m going to have another one of those pills that they prescribe me to have a good night’s sleep. We’ll see how this one works in the hope that I can have a better night’s sleep than I did.

Wednesday 3rd February 2021 – I REALLY AM …

… eating quite well these days. I really am.

This afternoon I have had one of the nicest lunches that I have ever had.

For a start, I fried two rather large onions in a very large saucepan. To that, I added several cloves of garlic and an assortment of herbs. When they were browning nicely I added the four leeks that I had bought and which I had peeled and sliced, and stirred them in, along with a variety of herbs and ground black pepper.

home made cream of leek and potato soup place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFour small potatoes followed them into the pan, washed and cubed. They were stirred into the mix too.

Once everything was all mixed in, I added a couple of stock cubes, just enough water to cover the contents, and then a box of soya cooking cream. When it was all in the pot, I stirred it well in and left it to simmer for 45 minutes.

Once it was all well-cooked, it was all whizzed up and I ended with probably the finest vegan cream of leek and potato soup that I have ever eaten. I was really pleased with this.

sourdough fruit loaf home made wholemeal bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that wasn’t all of it either, not by a long way. I have made this morning the most perfect loaf that I have ever made after all of these attempts and with my leek and potato soup it was absolutely delicious.

It goes without saying that I was pleased about all of this because my day didn’t start off like that.

Never mind the first alarm, or the third alarm for that matter, it was 08:30 when I finally found the strength to leave the bed and that filled me full of dismay because it made me run so late for everything that I had to do during the day.

First task was to give the sourdough dough a second kneading, and then I shaped it and put it in the smaller of the two silicone moulds and left it for its second proofing.

Second task was to make a 500-gramme wholemeal loaf using traditional years. And I do have to say that for some unknown reason for which I really have no answer, the dough turned out to be absolutely perfect – exactly as it ought to have been – nice and rubbery and elastic and smooth.

It was then left for an hour or so to proof in a mixing bowl and I came in here to make a start on transcribing the dictaphone notes that have been building up over the last few days.

After a break for my hot chocolate and cake for breakfast I gave the dough its second kneading, shaped it and put it into the larger silicone mould and while it was proofing again, carried on with the dictaphone notes.

When the bread went into the oven I made my soup so that it was all ready for eating. It was a rather later lunch than usual but it was well-worth waiting for because everything was exactly as it would have been – especially as I finally seem to have managed to have made a loaf that came out exactly as it should have done after all these attempts.

Once lunch was over, I attacked the form for my registration with the Securité Sociale. Filling in the form was reasonably straightforward but finding the accompanying documents took rather more time than it ought to have done. And when the scanner function on the printer didn’t work and I had to photocopy some of them instead, that took longer still.

By the time that I’d completed everything I was ready for my afternoon walk.

It was quite cloudy outside and windy too and things hadn’t dried up that much. But I pushed on around my little circuit.

chausiais joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was nothing whatever happening out there this afternoon. The only thing of any interest whatever was the fact that Chausiais and Joly France were moored up in the mud over by the ferry terminal and don’t look anything like moving within the foreseeable future.

And the only reason that I took the photos, I suppose, was for the sake of having taken a photo while I was out.

Back here, just as I sat down with my coffee, the telephone rang. Ingrid phoned me and we had another one of these very long chats that took me right up to guitar-playing time.

Tea was pie and veg with gravy followed by apple pie. Like I said right at the very beginning, I am really eating rather well these days. I have never in my life had such good food as I’ve been having since I’ve been living here.

The net result of all of this is that the blog entries for SUNDAY, MONDAY and TUESDAY have been amended to include the dictaphone notes, if you have the patience to read them because during those three nights I travelled miles, as well as taking a couple of old and welcome regulars with me.

Last night though I was with one of the Welsh rock bands and the story gradually evolved as we were trying to work our way between several concerts last night – I hadn’t actually got up on stage but I’d been jamming away in the background while they were there and one of the Man offshoots picked me up and we went off to perform a few gigs. There was a photo that they had passed around of Strawberry Moose playing the drums at some resort in North West England. They’d made some kind of remarks about the Vikings who had come along to conquer that country and were busy beating it up with rock and roll songs because Strawberry Moose still had on his helmet from our voyage with Adventure Canada on board The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour. One of the couples had a daughter who was about 4. She was a very precocious kid and was actually playing and singing on one of the numbers on stage. Surprisingly she wasn’t doing a bad job at all and everyone seemed to be enjoying it. When we got off the stage at the end she stayed on the stage to do something and her mother had to go and fetch her back. Everyone was making a joke about her being 4 and doing all of this, and I thought that that was most unfair because what she was doing was nothing to laugh at at all. It was quite serious stuff and quite good and enjoyable. I thought that she was getting the rough end of this.

A little later on our coach pulled in to Audlem although it was nothing like Audlem. As we climbed up the hill which doesn’t exist of course we had to stop to let some people out. I asked about the toilets and they replied that they were in the Market Hall. They showed me where it was and I ran off. It was miles, absolutely miles, and on the way back running past this guy I came to a set of stairs and there was an archway over the top every 4th or 5th stair or something. rather than running through the archway I ended up on top of it running from one top of an arch to another down these stairs. I eventually reached the bottom and went outside, and the coach was there. One of the guys who had a toilet cistern said “it’s ok, there’s no hurry. This toilet cistern is no use to me – I’ve just found out that it’s made in Spain, not the UK. We’re just making 1 or 2 phone calls about how to deal with a certain thing” and the coach doesn’t seem much like moving at the moment so I just loitered around outside. This was a hot sweaty dream again.

Later still, we were coming into Shavington via Dodd’s Bank, Nerina and me. I asked if it was OK if we go to a pub – I mentioned the name of a pub – it was one in Crewe somewhere to go and see Jon Dean because he had my bank credit card and one or two other things that I needed for my journey. I could see as she answered back that she wasn’t very happy. As we got into Shavington there was someone (I couldn’t decipher who) who could see the 2 of us together and he smiled a bit because he probably heard that our relationship was just a little rocky but we were still together I suppose which cheered him up.

Somewhat later Jackie and Alison were round at my house revising. I’d been out the previous day to go to Manchester to fetch some car parts and had to go again today because some were missing. I went round to the wholesaler’s first to check and he said it wasn’t there and i’d have to go myself to Manchester to fetch it. I think that I’ve dictated (which I apparently haven’t, so I wonder what it is that I’ve missed out) a lot of this about going with Percy Penguin and having to go and pick her up from her home where she was living. There were loads of other people living in this home as well which which was overrun with cats. I had to find her – she was busy doing something and I couldn’t work my way back downstairs again. A woman told me where to go and I had to climb down a load of pipework which was very awkward as there were no stairs. She was at the bottom and was pleased to see me so I had to get ready to go. I wanted to go to the toilet but a cat kept on getting in the way. And then I realised that I wasn’t going to the toilet in the right place so I found that. Percy Penguin took so long messing around that it was now about 11:30 znd we’d never get to Manchester before the place closed for lunch. I wanted to be back for lunch as I was going to take Jackie and Alison somewhere. We got in the car ready to go and she was talking about driving lessons and how she’d taken a few but Covid had closed it down and when they reopened they had forgotten all about her. I wanted to put “Traffic” on the car radio but for some unknown reason their live album wasn’t on my playlist and I had to select some tracks which was pretty awkward while I was trying to drive. It turned out that they were tracks from some kind of play or something. There was an advert of some kind or other and the music of “Traffic” was used as the background so while I had that on there was some other music coming from somewhere and I couldn’t hear it properly. That was starting to annoy me and all in all I was becoming quite annoyed about everything that was going on.

And so the obvious question is “where am I going to be travelling tonight”.

Sunday 17th January 2021 – HERE ARE …

home made bread vegan pizza jam roly poly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… today’s culinary offerings, all fresh out of the oven.

Yes, I’ve been a very busy boy today, even though I didn’t feel very much like it.

What we have is a loaf of bread of course, a vegan pizza ditto, and as an extra special treat a rather overdone (unfortunately) jam roly-poly for pudding next week.

Firstly, as for the pizza, I forgot the tomato sauce so I had to make my own. Three tomatoes were whizzed around in the whizzer and strained to remove the worst of the liquid. The mush was then put back into the whizzer with some concentrate from a tube, some oregano, basil and tarragon and all whizzed up into a purée.

The jam roly-poly is rather different. A mug and a half of flour, half a sachet of yeast some salt, a little sugar and a dab of oil, and make a dough like you would for a pizza.

Leave it to proof for a while and then knead it and roll it out with the rolling pin into a large square. Spread with jam, sprinkle with desiccated coconut and roll it up. And then leave it for an hour or so.

Finally, dust with cinnamon, brush with milk, sprinkle with brown sugar and then cook. I had to cut mine in half to fit in my oven, but here we are – pudding for next week.

That’s not the best of it though.

It’s Sunday with no alarm but even so I was up and about by 09:00 and by 11:15 I’d steam-cleaned the apartment, taken a load of rubbish outside and had the place looking nice and respectable – something that I never thought I would be able to manage.

Liz and Terry promptly turned up, bang on cue, and now I have a major problem because the frozen hot-cross buns that they brought have caused my freezer to have a major overflow and now the rather inefficient icebox in the fridge has had to be pressed into service

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had a coffee we went for a walk around the walls in the gale-force winds.

And this is one of the reasons why I don’t like coming around the walls in the afternoon – you see the sun shining off the roof of the Casino and yet the Plat Gousset is in deep shadow from the cliffs. Trying to balance this lighting is what one might describe as “extremely challenging”.

Still, once we were out of the wind we had a pleasant walk in the sun across the Square Maurice Marland, watching the picnickers enjoying their food. And I don’t blame them at all.

pipe markings rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve mentioned a couple of times just recently the weird hieroglyphics painted on the street, presumably something to do with all of the pipework that they will be doing.

The alleyway that cuts through the Rue St Michel where they are currently working terminates in the Rue du Midi and here’s a good example of what I mean. It’s all quite graphic, isn’t it?

So having noted that, we pushed on home because it was lunchtime. Liz had made some leek and potato soup the other day and had plenty left over so she had brought it round. We had soup and bread (she brought some bread too) followed by fruit and mint tea.

After they left, I started on my cooking and while it was all a-doing I had a listen to the dictaphone.

Even though I didn’t have a great deal of sleep I had been on my travels and gone for miles during the night. A whole group of us was together and we were listening to a programme on the radio – a live broadcast of a court case in New York due to start at 07:45 so we had everything all ready and settled down and turned on the radio and it was Kenneth Horne on “Round the Horne”. We were all extremely disappointed because we had been looking forward to this. It was on a Friday and we didn’t have the paper any more with all of the times on it from the previous weekend so we carried on doing some kind of ordinary stuff and the chat came round to something about times and I suddenly realised that if I was saying 07:45 in New York it wouldn’t be 07:45 UK time but USA time and that would explain the difference. We ended up waiting for a bus in the West Midlands somewhere, watching all these buses go past, including a weird single-decker towing a refreshment trailer with people inside having coffee. This went past about 3 or 4 times. Our bus turned up and we clambered aboard and went upstairs. One of the people with us was Liz Ayers or someone resembling her. There were a load of kids all messing around at the front so she went up to them and gave them a lecture, like any teacher would have done to a pile of children. Of course everyone was astonished by this including some of the kids who were sitting somewhere else but she bawled them out. In the end they all settled down quietly and we carried on. Back in the house there was a large number of us getting ready for tea. I was a bit late – everyone had started. Something came on the radio and I remembered that 1 of the girls had wanted to hear something so when I went down to get my tea I said to the girl “such and such a programme is on the radio now”. She asked “why are you telling me?”. I replied “I thought you asked them to tell you”. “No, that’s Helen” she replied, pointing to a girl whom I didn’t know sitting at the table. I told her and then I had to sit down and had to find my meal because there were dozens of meals on this table and none of them particularly corresponded with any seating position. I tried to work out which meal was mine but it was extremely difficult.

Later on I was on holiday with Castor. We’d been driving around Europe in the car. We’d been out for 3 or 4 days and been to a couple of places and seen a few things. Suddenly, she asked me “Eric, do you know how to have fun? Do you know how to party?”. I had to admit – I said ‘no I don’t” which is perfectly true (and it is too – I have no idea how to do these in real life). We had along discussion about the holiday and so on. “Maybe it’s my fault” I said. I pointed to an ruined old church, an Eastern European type church. “See that?” I asked. “We’re in Brasov in Romania at the moment. Perhaps it’s me – maybe I don’t explain things properly. If you want to go to see something like that somewhere we’ve passed through you have to say ‘let’s go and have a look at that’ – you don’t just have to sit there and come with me. You can make suggestions, all this. You can say anything, like ‘how far are we from Bucharest’ and ‘why don’t we go here?’ “. “Yes” she replied ” but no-one knows all the old stories about these places like you do”. Our chat carried on and I tried to make some sense of what was happening.

Later still, I was in Crewe and I had to catch the bus back to Shavington. I had my suitcase and I’d taken so long over this meal, and that was an event too. The café was small, crowded and the seats were jammed up against each other and difficult to find a place to sit. In the end I found a place and a woman sat with me. We had a quick meal and something, and when she got up to go she began to berate the staff about the untidy place and all this, the lack of room. I thought that this was most unfair considering the conditions under which they were working. Then I thought “God, I’d better get a move on or I’ll miss my bus”. I had to go up to the counter and pay. It was £2:50 for a plate of beans on toast and a couple of drinks which I thought was really good value. I only had my card so they gave me the machine. I had to be careful because this was the kind of place where you hide your PIN while you were tapping it in. When I left I thought “I have 5 minutes to go and fetch my suitcase and go and catch my bus. Should I stay at the hotel an extra night, or catch the next bus or should I go on this bus and come back in a car to fetch my luggage?”. I thought that the taxis would be busy because it’s Saturday so coming back might be difficult. In the end I went on the bus and got to Shavington and walked down the street. Of course, all the cars were out. I thought then that I’d better go back on the bus and get my luggage. Then I saw a couple of young girls moving around the house so I thought that I’d go in. So I went in and everyone was pleased to see me. Someone said “I’m sorry about your luggage stuck in New York. We heard the story”. I didn’t understand that at all. One of my sister’s children started to talk that everyone had been up Big Ben. I spoke to her about it and we had a chat. There was my youngest sister there also so we had a bit of a chat as well.

There was much more to it than this too – a whole voyage as well but as you are having your tea right now probably I’ll spare you the gory details.

So now that tea is finished, I’m off to bed. Despite the short sleep and the full, busy day I’ve managed to keep going. But I don’t want to push my luck. There’s still plenty to do.

Friday 2nd October 2020 – I KNEW THAT …

Repairing Roof Guttering College Malraux Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… it was a mistake for me to have those baked beans the other night.

The storm that was brewing last night was actually Hurricane Alex or whatever it was called and it finally arrived round about 02:00. By 05:00 is was in its full fury and round about 05:20 the weather station just down the road here recorded a gust of wind at 142Km/H – that’s 85MpH for those of you still working in real money.

This afternoon when I went out for my walk, they were out repairing all the damage – because damage, there was plenty. There was a cherry-picker just across the car park putting part of the roof and the guttering back on the College Malraux. And that’s the leeward side of the building too. I wonder what it must have been like on the windward side.

But imagine being up there on that with the wind gusting like it did. Luckily the wind had died down considerably by the time that I went out and everywhere was slowly getting back to normal – until the next storm.

It’s not surprising therefore that I had a bad night. It was difficult to sleep with all of this going on – that is, unless I was in mid-dictate because in the middle of recounting one episode I did fall asleep. And my apologies to the much-maligned Percy Penguin, who doesn’t appear in these pages anything like as often as she deserves. Yes, so I do sometimes snore when I’m asleep. Et Alors?

For a change I beat the third alarm to my feet this morning. But it didn’t make much difference because there was that much on the dictaphone that I still didn’t have the early night for which I was hoping.

We started off with people all dying off in this country house – a typical Agatha Christie murder thing and there was an investigation going on. Hercule Poirot came to carry out the investigation but he mysteriously died as well. That left everything in the clear so I thought that it was best that I made my getaway at the moent while everyone else was preoccupied. I nipped out. There were all these people at the seaside at tables having a communal meal down the coast. I ran past them. What I hadn’t realised was that Poirot had come to life again. He’d tried a trick. He chased after me and actually caught me. A proper detective led me away. I tried to argue my way out of it but to no avail. He took me to his car which was a long way away by foot. His car had some kind of publicity thing like upturned cows’ udders on the roof for milk.
Rather surprisingly, a while later I had exactly the same dream but it finished differently. It was 2 other people who cornered me, not Poirot. They managed to stop me and the police came up and took me away. But it was the same, identical dream except that it finished in a different way.
Somewhat later, there was a note on my dictaphone about which I don’t have a clue, because it appears that I might have missed the start. There was in fact an entry prior to this, but it was a blank one so I must not have recorded it. However – “This was done (what was?) first in film then it was done the second time also in film, glorious technicolour. Then I walked back to the town at Granville again past a group of (I fell asleep here) said they would kill me. I went to drag them away. (I fell asleep again here for a good few minutes). So I ran but in the end they caught me and that happened twice in both particular dreams. Later still it all came into a hospital, not a country house party, and all this started to happen but I was arrested before I actually poisoned too many of those”.
At least it looks as if it has something to do with the events of the previous dream, but I’ve no idea what it’s about really.
Later on last night I was joined by someone who fluttered briefly into my life 12 or so years ago and who has recently reappeared quite dramatically. I was planning on moving house out of my parents’ home into the one I’d bought at Winsford. She was moving house as well so we were all discussing our plans and so on. I already had a lot of furniture in my house but the dining room table in my parents house belonged to me and what was I going to do about that? Would I take it? Leave it? Sell it or something? It ended up being quite a lengthy discussion. We had had a bit of a lie-in that morning but had things to do. Suddenly it announced on the radio that it was nearly 12:00. Someone said that they’d better get on with this tin of beans while they still can before the contents go off. It was a huge tin of baked beans and someone had tried to open it and made a right mess of butchering the top so someone else had to open it. I had some things to take round to my house, which had now become my house in the Auvergne. I got there and went to quickly look at things and put things away because this girl might come round. Sure enough she suddenly presented herself. She asked if she could use the bathroom. I explained to her that the toilet was a dry one. She replied “ohh no, I can’t use that!”

There was far more to it than this but some of my readers have delicate sensibilities and they are probably eating their meals right now.

So what have I done today?

For a start-off, I’ve done some rearranging of things in my office. I’m fed up of cables that go absolutely everywhere except where they are supposed to go. So I’ve moved a few things around and tidied up the wiring to some degree. That means that as well as the place looking neater, I can actually now get into the two drawers that are in one of the bookcases. I can now start to put things away.

There was still 1kg of carrots that needed freezing. They have been washed, peeled, diced, blanched with bayleaves, drained and they are now in the freezer taking care of themselves.

But I spent all day working on the photos of July this year. All of the ones from the trip on the Spirit of Conrad have been dealt with and I’m now well into the ones for my Great Trek around Central Europe.

What was disappointing though was that I could have done much more except that I crashed out no fewer than three times during the course of the day. An early start is no good if I end up being asleep for all of this time during the day.

Le Loup Baie de Mont St Michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe had the afternoon walk as usual, and although the wind had dropped somewhat, I still didn’t want to spend too much time out there.

No boats of course, as you might expect, and not much else going on. I took a photo of the Baie de Mont St Michel and Le Loup – the light that’s on the rock at the entrance to the harbour, more out of the fact that there was nothing much else going on anywhere. At least you can see how grey and miserable everything looked today.

But when I said that there were no boats out there, that’s not strictly true. Somewhere out there on the rocks is a yacht. The gusts of winds snatched one from its moorings over at Cancale on the Brittany coast and drove it across the bay onto the rocks neat the Pointe de Carolles. There was no-one in it, but a lifeboat did go out. They managed to rescue it and tow it into the harbour during the afternoon.

debris Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne there is yet more devastation.

It’s effectively an alleyway between the high walls of the medieval city on one side and the high walls of one of the old barracks buildings. It’s like a wind tunnel up there at the best of times and so earlier this morning it must have been horrific. It’s brought down mortar and even small stones out of the walls of the barracks. That lot certainly wasn’t there yesterday.

Back here I carried on with my work and then had my hour on the guitar. And strangely, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I couldn’t seem to be able to do anything properly and it really annoyed and frustrated me. I’m not supposed to have days like this.

Tea was taco rolls, using up the rest of the stuffing left over from my stuffed peppers with a small tin of kidney beans chucked in for good measure. That was followed by yet more strawberry flan with coconut soya dessert.

Calm Seas Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFor my evening walk tonight, the wind was behaving itself a little more. Now, it could just be classed as “strong”. Nevertheless there were still some brave folks sitting outside at La Rafale.

There wasn’t anyone else wandering around so I had the old town to myself. I ran on down the path to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset and if you want any confirmation about how dramatically the weather has changed, then one view of the sea should tell you all that you need to know.

The tempest that was raging last night even before the storm reached anything like its peak has subsided as dramatically as you can get. Tonight, it was like a millpond out there and as long as I looked I didn’t see a single wave of any significance.

Moonlight Behind Clouds Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe sky was beautifully bright tonight and you could see for miles in all directions, including upwards.

That is, until you reached where the moon was. Here, there was some cloud cover and the moon was obscured. Not enough though to stop the bright moonlight seeping out around the edges and that was just beckoning for a photograph. And all in all, given the limitations under which I’m working, it came out rather well.

No sign of life in the harbour tonight, which is no surprise seeing as there were no boats out today in view of the weather. I know that they go out on most occasions in adverse weather, but today it really was adverse. With nothing to see, I ran on home to my apartment.

Tomorrow is shopping day so now that I’ve finished my notes, I’m having an early night. In fact, I don’t need much from the shops as I’m not going to be here for a few days next week. It’s Castle Anthrax time, but whether or not I go is another thing. Lille is a hotbd of the virus and there’s talk of a severe lockdown. And that’s where I change trains for Brussels.

That’s going to be exciting.

Wednesday 23rd September 2020 – NOW HERE’S A THING .

For much of the morning, ever since I awoke, I had a song – the title track from the album ZOOROPA – going round and round in my head.

When I’d finished doing what I had to do I switched on the music here. There are somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000 tracks on my computer and the playlist is set to “automatic random”. And the first track that came up on the playlist was, of course, the title track from the album ZOOROPA.

That was uncanny – if not eerie.

Doing what I had to do didn’t take all that long this morning because there wasn’t all that much to do. When I listened to the dictaphone, I discovered that it was rather like my bank account right now – nothing in it.

That means that I can’t have gone anywhere last night – something that surprised me completely, and for two reasons.

  1. I had an early night last night
  2. I treated myself to a lie-in this morning – to wit – I didn’t leave my stinking pit until about 08:30

You would have thought that with an early night like that I would have gone off for miles.

With nothing to download, I did take full advantage and transcribed another pile of the arrears. Now there’s just a handful left and hopefully I can deal with them tomorrow.

“Hopefully” is the correct word too because I’m going to be busy. I have to make some bread quite early on and leave it to proof while I’m out at the shops. Then, of course, I have to come back and bake it.

Something else that I did this morning was to attack a pile of the photos from my trip up the Brittany coast in Spirit of Conrad. We’re now just pulling into the harbour at St Cast le Guildo where we spent out third night on board

After lunch I set about doing some tidying up in the bedroom. Much of the time was spent sorting through a large pile of post that I’d brought back from the Auvergne.

Mixed up in there was all kinds of stuff that I’d wished that I’d found two years ago and which would have saved me a lot of effort.

But at least you can walk around the bedroom without walking on anything and you don’t have to move anything to go anywhere else. It’ll be even better tomorrow after I’ve had another go at it and put some more stuff away.

reroofing house parvis notre dame granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other evening we saw another heavy machine parked up in the Place du Parvis Notre Dame and I mentioned that I would look out for where it’s working.

Here at the side of the church there’s another roofing job going on. They have ripped off the slates and the old laths and are currently fitting new laths.

And helping them in the task is the big machine that we saw the other evening. So now we know.

Mind you, I don’t envy the men up there on that scaffolding. It’s freezing cold this afternoon, quite a dramatic drop over the last couple of days and there’s quite a gale blowing. Definitely not the weather to be up there.

And so it’s hardly surprising that there was no-one about having an afternoon walk.

people sitting on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt had it all to myself – to such an extent that seeing as the footpath under the walls was in the shelter out of the wind I ran all the way down the path.

But this is what I call courage. As I said, the weather has turned and it’s just like winter outside this afternoon. But these brave souls have brought their fold-up chairs and are sitting there on the beach evidently enjoying the weather.

And so are the seagulls too by the looks of things. They are evidently waiting for exciting things to happen but I think that they might well be in for a long wait.

No-one in the Square Maurice Marland either so I had a good run all the way across there too.

crane removing fishing nets coelacanthe tiberiade trawler port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut there was plenty of activity in the port this afternoon. I noticed that the big crane was in operation so i wondered if one of the Channel island freighters, Thora or Normandy Trader, was in port.

But it was nothing to do with them at all. Two of the town’s trawlers, Coelacanthe and her little sister Tiberiade were moored up in the unloading bay this afternoon and the crane was busy relieving them of their trawl nets.

Whether they are to be repaired (because we’ve seen plenty of sailors sewing up trawl nets in the harbour) or to be replaced remains to be seen.

But it looks as if Normandy Trader will be in port some time soon. I’ve heard that the company that owns her has bought a lorry to do its own transporting, and the the one that I saw in a photo looks pretty much like that one down there.

big wheel moved place godal granville manche normandy france eric hallThere’s still more excitement down there as well.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing throughout the summer the Big Wheel in the car park down in the Place Godal. But there it is – gone! A sure sign that the summer season is finished.

My walk around the walls continued and as there was still no-one about I ran the final few hundred metres back home.

After I came back I recorded another album with the USB turntable. But I must remember not to go banging about while I do it. I’d completely forgotten about the effect that knocking the turntable has on the LP that’s playing, and I had to re-record one of the sides to eliminate the jumping about.

Thinking about it (which I do quite often these days) it’s been 20 years or so since I’ve played an LP. I didn’t have it set up in Expo, I’m sure of that.

After the guitar, I had tea. Taco rolls and rice, using the left-over stuffing with some kidney beans in it. And the rest of my apple crumble with some vegan chocolate ice cream. While I’m baking the bread tomorrow I’ll make a rice pudding too.

I can also cook a sheep’s head, and if I leave the eyes in it, that’ll see me through the week.

joly france ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOutside tonight, I didn’t hang around. If I thought that the wind was bad outside this afternoon, it was totally wicked this evening.

The people on board Joly France, the ferry that goes out to the Ile de Chausey who were returning from the island will have known all about the crossing, that’s for sure. They were being tossed around like corks.

And that reminds me of the time that I was on board a cross-Channel ferry with Percy Penguin once, bringing back a coach from France. This was 1992 and there was a hurricane in the Channel and the crossing took 19 hours as we couldn’t get into port.

One guy was leaning over the rails “feeding the fishes” quite dramatically.
“The trouble with you” I said “is that you have a weak stomach!”
“Weak stomach rubbish!” he retorted. “I’m throwing it as far as everyone else!”

Despite everything, I’ve managed three runs this evening too, so what with 6 altogether today I’m feeling quite impressed with myself.

But tomorrow should be a better day. Cooking the rice pudding, baking the bread, making some more cordial and going shopping too. I suppose that I ought to have a look at making this kefir and kombucha too, seeing as I have had the book for two years, the container for 12 months and the powder for 6 months

Friday 18th September 2020 – I’VE MANAGED …

… to make my computer record albums in stereo from the USB turntable. As I suspected, it was a question of configuring the input on the sound card.

But it’s rather disappointing because the album that I wanted to record is in fact two mono tracks superimposed side-by-side and the result is exactly the same as I managed to do with the computer the other day.

And I know that it’s an issue with the album because I went and recorded another one to check, and that has perfect (given the limitations of what I’m doing) stereo sound.

Unfortunately, the issue about the tapes is not so simple.

Recording from the hi-fi to a laptop doesn’t work via the headphone output and the multi-jack input, and neither does recording from one of my old hi-fi separates (stacked on top of the shelves with, evidently, the one that I wanted on the bottom of the pile) to the big computer, whether by the headphone output to the mike input or the RCA sockets to the mike input.

Playing about with the soundcard settings or switching the input setting from microphone to line in and vice versa didn’t make the slightest different – the program that I use won’t pick up any sound.

It seems that I shall be having to spend much more time on this to get it to work but I still have confidence – I think.

This morning I couldn’t quite manage to beat the third alarm but there wasn’t very much in it. It’s still disappointing that I couldn’t manage it.

As for the night’s events, I was doing something with some people and it involved getting some bits to repair a car or something but they were at Percy Penguin’s and I had to go round to their house. I didn’t really want to confront her parents so I would wait until everyone had gone to bed and I would slip into her house, get them and slip out again. This happened a couple of times but then I nearly stumbled uponhem on one occasion to I started to get cold feet. Next time I went I could hear them moving around so I hid round the corner but round there I bumped into Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in these pages half as often as she deserves) herself who was making a cup of tea. She said she hadn’t seen me for ages and wondered how I was. She had contacted the hairdresser in Shavington because she used to work in the chemist right by it and she asked to be disconnected from something. Anyway she was making a cup of tea so she invited me in. They were having a kids birthday party. Even though she had invited me in she didn’t stay with me. She was wandering around talking to all kinds of different people. The subject of of another name from that era came up. She said “what’s he been doing in our house?” Someone said “he’s fixed so-and-so’s car now” and something else he said that I can’t remember. I said that I have to go and get back to these people with these bits who were waiting for me. But I wanted to spend some time alone with her but this wasn’t going to happen the way things were working out at the moment with all this kids party thing going on. They pulled a great big wooden bench from against the wall and sat in the middle of the room for all of us to sit on. It was quite clear that we were going to be there for a long time and that wasn’t my plan at all.

There was time to spend working on some of the arrears as well. That lot is going down slowly, rather too slowly than I like.

The rest of the morning – right up to a rather late lunch, was spent dealing with the outstanding week’s course work. It involved plenty of work but I knew most of the stuff.

Nevertheless I did learn a few new things and SHOCK! HORROR! I have been awarded a Certificate, something that I find rather amusing because it’s a rather juvenile thing. It’s not going to change my lifestyle all that much.

The afternoon was spent trying to experiment with the recording issues, about which I explained earlier. I used the background time profitably too by editing a few more photos from my trip down the Brittany coast on board Spirit of Conrad in early July.

microlight ulm pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was the break in mid-afternoon for me to go for my usual afternoon walk.

And either I was early or the microlight was late because it wasn’t there this afternoon when I went outside the door. But it wasn’t long in coming. As I walked across the car park outside it came along behind me from the direction of Donville les Bains.

It’s becoming something of a regular thing to encounter the microlight and I wonder how long it’s going to be going on that I’ll be meeting it.

crowds on beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallThe weather today has changed. The wind is back and the clouds have come along. The day was quite overcast.

It was still warm though. Warm enough for there to be more people out there on the beach again having fun. No-one in swimwear and no-one in the water either. It’s not as warm as that.

And no boats out at sea. I suppose that the tide being right out will have something to do about that, but it is rather strange given the last few weeks when we’ve not been able to move without tripping over a boat of some description.

old cars usa wartime ambulance pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThe kids are out there again today orienteering. This looks as if it’s becoming a regular occurrence too.

But there was activity at the old Atlantic Wall bunker that they finally opened up last year – regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we had a guided tour of it at the time. I’m not sure what they were doing there today but I admired the vehicle in which they arrived.

Maybe I should have gone to find out more about it but having offered my help to them last year and then let them down (I broke my hand and damaged my knee about 2 days later) it’s not the moment, especially as I don’t have the time these days to become involved.

seafarers monument low tide baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallInstead I went on across the lawn and around the headland.

Regular readers of this rubbish will have seen plenty of photos from this point of view. In the foreground down there is the memorial to the crews of the lifeboats that were lost during attempted rescues.

But in the background we have the Baie de Mont St Michel with the tide right out as far as it can go. The rock on which Le Loup, the warning light at the entrance to the harbour, sits is clearly visible today.

We’ve seen it almost totally submerged when the tide is right in.

chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd it’s all change once more in the chantier navale today.

My walk took me along the path on top of the headland over to the viewpoint where there’s a good view of the work going on. We had eight boats in there the last time that we looked, but today there’s only seven again.

And some of those are different too. It looks as if there has been considerably more than just a shuffling of the pack. The pink one in the mobile crane is new, and the blue and yellow one that has been here for a while is missing too.

Back here I had my hour on the guitars and then went for tea. Steamed vegetables and vegan cheese sauce followed by apple crumble.

place marechal foch granville manche normandy france eric hallOutside on my walk this evening I had to direct someone to the railway station. I’ve no idea why he thought it was up at this end of town. It smelt rather fishy to me but being just a couple of hundred yards from the fish-processing plant, everything smells rather fishy around here.

He was the only person who I saw while I was out. It was pretty quiet, and not only as far as people went, but as far as everything else went too. The only thing that I photographed was the Place Marechal Foch and that was more out of desperation than anything .

The wind was really strong again and brought me to a dead halt on one of my runs but for the other two, I had the wind behind me and that helped me home.

Saturday tomorrow, and so it’s shopping day. I don’t need too much but it’s still going to be an early start – I hope, if I can manage to beat the third alarm.

Monday 8th June 2020 – IT DOESN’T SEEM …

… to matter these days how busy I am, or how busy I’m not, I can never seem to finish anything like I intend to.

Missing the third alarm doesn’t seem to make much difference either – when it went off this morning I was having a guided tour of an apartment that was for sale and it took me a couple of minutes to rouse myself from my slumbers.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where else I’d been during the night.

To start off, I was doing a quiz in the USA somewhere about some Miami gangster who had gone north for the good of his health and had taken over the running of operations in New York and New Jersey, that area. The newspaper clipping was about 20 facts associated with him and giving his membership of secret societies and his donations of public works which were immense and his treatment of arresting people who weren’t wearing trousers or still in a nappy or something like that as well I dunno. Yes I was here with these 20 questions. There were some words as well – to guess the meaning of these words like gangster English – yes when i awoke just now I was busy doing the work as well.
And having complained the other day about none of my regular companions featuring these days in my travels, Percy Penguin and I had had an argument last night and she wasn’t speaking to me. I’d retired but I’d been working for them and he had slowly started to pay me back the money that ha owed me, her father, and I’d been doing work for him as well. But even after we’d had an argument I was still working there. Instead of me going to the farm on Thursday night to get paid he came down to see me. he had someone else in the car – I can’t remember who now and he paid me the money. My parents were watching out of a window while this was going on – it was at Little Heath at Audlem. I knew from Caroline that they were going out this evening so I said to him “what time are you going out?” He didn’t know and was prevaricating a bit about this so I asked him again and he didn’t really give a clear answer so I said “tell Percy Penguin that I’ll ring her tonight” thinking that I’ll ring her round about 17:00 after she gets out of college and before they have tea. It was all very iffy.

But well done to Percy Penguin for making an appearance, although she actually didn’t even make an appearance herself. She was just there in spirit

No breakfast again this morning. Instead, I went to finish off the notes from yesterday. And I hadn’t realised that there were so many because it took hours to do. I really excelled myself yesterday, so it seemed.

Once I’d finished that, whenever it was, I had a go at the Welsh homework. That took longer than anticipated too due to unforeseen format challenges. I fixed it in the end but for some reason the *TAB* key ended up working backwards.

The rest of the day has been spent on working on another radio project and forgetting almost everything else that I had to do, I finally finished it at something like 19:15. That was an effort and a half.

There were however a few interruptions.

Lunch was one of them, and the loaf of bread that I made was just like a loaf of bread should be. The crust was rather armour-plated and I’m not sure about what to do about that but the bread inside was delicious

There was a ‘phone call from the people at the radio too, wondering how I was doing. We ended up having quite a chat and I ended up missing the time when I usually go for my walk.

low tide plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallEventually though I made it outside where I could see what was going on.

We were in the grip of a gale-force wind again so there was almost no-one down on the beach. And that was a surprise because they would have had all of this beach to play with

The tide is about as far out as it might go right now and the yellow buoys that mark the end of the swimming zone (if that is indeed what they are ) are looking quite silly having settled down on the sand.

trawlers english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere might be almost no-one on the beach but there is plenty going on out to sea today.

There are a couple of the trawler-type of fishing boats out there right now in the English Channel heading towards each other looking as if they are going to have a chat. Seeing as they are surrounded by seagulls, it looks as if they may well have their fishing gear out.

There are a couple of other boats out there on the horizon but they are too far away for me to be able to say what they are.

trawlers english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallIt’s not just over there that it’s busy either.

Over by the Ile de Chausey there’s a lot going on too right now. A couple more of the trawler-type boats are out there too but I can’t see whether or not they are working or merely passing through on their way elsewhere.

Mind you, they must have been out for quite a while as the harbour gates will have been closed for several hours and it only takes about 15 or 20 minutes to reach that spot.

roofing rue du port granville manche normandy france eric hallMy walk took me around the headland and down along the clifftop on the south side of the headland.

A rhythmic tapping told me that someone was doing some work somewhere, so I set out to track it down. And it seems to me that we have another roofing job being undertaken in the vicinity.

These guys down there on that house roof in the rue du Port look as if they are going at that job hammer and tongs. It wasn’t like that yesterday, that I’m pretty certain, but I’m not sure about the wisdom of taking outs some of the roofing structure so that they can climb through it

lifebelt new pontoon port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHere’s something else that i didn’t notice yesterday.

It looks as if they have fitted some lifesaving equipment on the pontoons this morning. I’m sure that I would have remembered seeing that red lifebelt housing and the light down there on the pontoons.

But anyway, I came back here, had a slice of cake and carried on with my work.

No tea either tonight – a packet of bombay mix that needed eating will keep me going until the morning, I reckon.

Surprisingly, or maybe it isn’t, I was sitting here doing not very much when I … errr … closed my eyes. I’m not sure why but it was, I suppose, better than falling asleep in mid-afternoon.

Nevertheless I almost missed my evening run so I had to leg it outside quickly.

The run up the hill was a little better than it has been of late so I was pretty pleased for once, despite the offensive comments hurled by a young girl out of a car window. But there’s still a long way to go before I’m satisfied.

having recovered my breath I ran on down to the clifftop past the itinerant who is still there.

fishing boats trawler baie de mont st michel sunset reflecting off terrelabouet brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was nothing going on out in the English Channel so I carried on around the headland.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall yesterday the sunlight flashing off the objects over across the Baie de Mont St Michel round by Terreboulet.

There was the same effect this evening too, and if anything it was even better.

We also had several fishing boats out there this evening. Some of them were clearly working but one or two were heading back to port, presumably to unload.

woman taking photograph man pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall that I have a thing about people taking photographs.

Down by the old sentry cabin right at the end of the Pointe du Roc we had a woman taking aim with a telephone camera, presumably at the guy who was standing perched on the rock right down at the end.

It’s not entirely certain how he’s managed to make his way down there, but I reckon that it’s going to be interesting to watch him as he tries to scramble back up again.

st pair sur mer baie de mont st michel fishing port de granville harbour wall manche normandy france eric hallMy run continued around the corner and along the clifftop on the south side of the headland.

However before I set off I took a photo of the harbour wall down there. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen people standing on that harbour wall before and while they aren’t jumping in, the only other thing that I can think that they are doing is fishing.

And the evenig sun has caught St Pair Sur Mer beautifully this evening.

le loup marker light port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhile I stopped further down to catch my breath I noticed Le Loup – “the Wolf”. That’s the name that’s written on the marker light just outside the harbour entrance.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing is the marker light standing well clear of the water, perched upon its rock at low tide. This evening, we’re not too far off high tide and if you compare the photo WITH THIS ONE you can see just how high the tide rises – and there’s still time at either end yet.

It’s said that here at Granville we have some of the highest tides in Europe and I can readily believe that.

seagull fishing boat unloading fish processing plant port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I ran all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury and even pushed on 20 metres or so beyond my marker, which pleased me somewhat.

While I was recovering my breath I wandered down to the viewpoint over the harbour to see what was happening. A little earlier we had seen a couple of fishing boats heading into harbour to unload. Here’s one of them with its catch being winched up on one of the little cranes.

You will have noticed the socks of fleagulls in attendance in case the loas happens to slip.

beautiful sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I ran on up the hill and round to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord to have a look at the sunset.

The tide was in of course but that didn’t stop the picnickers. I exchanged pleasantries with a couple of women carrying bowls of food and glasses of wine who were going to sit on one of the benches in the communal garden to have their evenign meal.

And who can blame them?

As for me, I ran on home where I bumped (literally) into a neighbour.

So an early night tonight. Tomorrow I have my Welsh class and there’s a lot of preparation to do. There’s another radio project that needs doing too, a couple more courses to attend to, and then a pile of arrears to catch up with.

It’s all go round here, isn’t it?

Sunday 7th June 2020 – IT’S SUNDAY TODAY …

hang glider pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hall.. and so I have followed the example set by my namesake the mathematician, and done
three fifths if five-eights of … errr … nothing.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I believe that everyone should have one day a week where they do nothing at all without feeling guilty about it, and that for me is a Sunday.

Mind you, there was an extra reason today because I considered that I had done more than enough during the night.

crowds pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallI was with someone called Bob last night and we ere wandering around doing something with regard to a zoo. It involved drinks and the subject came up about a certain type of animal and I can’t remember which one it was. It led to some discussion about drinks – whether we could only have had half a pint or a pint. Because we had a pie we both had hung on to our pints really tightly so that no-one could take them away
A bit later I was supposed to be going off somewhere and this involved going with one of my sister’s daughters. She hadn’t come in and I was concerned that I had to go into work but I had to get this organised but the girl wasn’t there. So I went round to see my sister and my mother and “ohh she went out on a ramble last night and she went to so-and-so’s and spent the night”. I said “what time is she expected to come in?” but they didn’t know. No-one knew what time she was coming in and I was getting a bit agitated about this. I went back a little later on and all my family was around there. Nevertheless I got hold of this girl, my sister, and asked her again. She gave me far more precise details “she went off with X and then they went here and there and then somewhere else”. But there was still no word of when they were coming so I said to my sister’s other child “make sure that I’m told straight away as soon as she appears” and they promised that they would. But I was still pretty wound up about having to wait and miss out on a day’s work and a day’s money, all this kind of thing.

hang glider crowds pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThere was a group of us and we had gone off onto Ellesmere Island last night and trudging on northwards through the freezing weather. Trying to peel an orange was horrible. We stopped for the night and someone had brought with them a prefabricated wooden chalet to sleep in and I thought that by the time that they have gone very far with this, they’ll regret it. They put it up and I was invited to shelter in it. There were deer all around and female cows and we were noted the fact that there were no males. We ended up waiting for the bus. I was with Rosemary by this time and we had to check the bus to make sure that it was going to the right place – the Savannah College. Rosemary and I got on it with all of our equipment. It pulled into Hull and this was where we had to get out as we had to changed buses here to go to the hospital. I got off but Rosemary was taking an awful lot of time getting off. You could hear the struggle she was having with this equipment. I shouted up to her to see what she was doing and that was when I awoke – bang on 06:00.

But no danger of my getting up at that point. I went back to sleep again and ended up with a former friend of mine and we were cycling through Chester but for some unknown reason he put on a really fast spurt. I had to go like hell to catch hime up otherwise I would have shown him where I lived when I first came to Chester, because we were right by that area. He didn’t realise that I had lived in Chester when I told him, and I told him about my little room in Lightfoot Street as well. They we cycled off and came to this little building site and it turned out that the reason why he was having to go there was because his father was having a week off work and with a shortage of labour he was having to help out. At the same time he was fielding phone calls from Shearings about driving coaches and saying that he wasn’t available that weekend. Somewhere in the proceedings was a story about a cup with Inuit patterns on it but I don’t remember much about that but I do remember that when we reached the work compound in there were a load of old Standard forward-control vans like the Standard Atlas only different. He was saying to one of the guys there that if ever they get rid of it to let me know

My apologies too to Percy Penguin, who doesn’t appear these days in these pages anything like as often as she deserves.

She used to accuse me of snoring when we were asleep together – not that I ever did much sleeping when we were together as there were plenty of other things to be doing, but that’s another long story.

I used to deny it strenuously but having once more fallen back into unconsciousness in mid-dictation and left the dictaphone running, all I can say is … well … errr … quite.

But when I did take up the dictaphone again, I said that I don’t know if that registered so I’ll dictate it again about putting my house on the market – the house in Shavington where I was living at the time although it was how the Yoxalls had it organised with the garage, all that kind of thing. As I was passing an estate agent’s he had some houses in the area so I put it on sale with him. But I put it in a few newspapers as well including an American one. My father had seen it in an American one and was going around telling everyone that I was moving to the USA. Of course he was quite upset about that, i’ve no idea why. The discussion came round to a neighbour of my niece who had advertised his Mercedes coupé in the newspaper. I explained that he had had a lot of use out of it when he had first bought it but over the last few years he had been working away and had never used it except the odd weekend when he was home. She said “well that’s a waste then, isn’t it?” I said ‘that’s probably why he’s selling it”. I told her the story about how I had bumped into it (not literally of course) when I was down in the USA one time and he was down there on his holidays too

So it looks to me that not only did I dream it but I must have dreamt that I dictated it – and that’s when all of this becomes interesting.

09:30 when I finally saw the light of day, a reasonable time for a Sunday morning, I reckon.

There was no breakfast this morning, but instead I mixed some dough to make bread. As well as a sachet of “old” yeast, I used half a sachet of new yeast to see what kind of difference.

And having decided that if I’m going to be hungry at lunchtime I’ll have breakfast, I simply mixed it (and even though I say it myself, it was a perfect mix) and left it alone.

While I was at it, I rolled out the (now unfrozen) pizza dough, greased a pizza tray, put the dough thereupon, and left that too.

Back here I made a start on finding the documents to complete my Tax Return but I gave up after a while. It’s a Sunday and I didn’t feel like working.

In the end, I didn’t really do anything at all except just lounge about.

After lunch I went and checked on my bread dough. It had stood for about two and a half hours and had certainly risen – but by 100% I couldn’t really say. Anyway, I folded it over again, shaped it and dropped it into the greased dish that I use as a bread mould, covered it with the damp cloth again and left it.

jersey english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallBeing Sunday, it’s my day to go for a long afternoon walk if the weather is nice.

And if the weather is even nicer, to go for my weekly ice cream too.

And there was no doubt that the weather was nice today. There was some wind but the view was one of the clearest that I have seen for quite some considerable time.

And the crowds – which we have already seen, were certainly out there making the most of it.

close up seagull jersey english channel islands granville manche normandy france eric hallAs we saw in the previous photo, the view across to Jersey, 54 kilometres away, was ideal.

There’s some kind of lighthouse or beacon that stands prominently off the entrance to the harbour at St Helier and as you can see in this cropped and enlarged image, that came out clearly in this photo.

There’s even a seagull, heaven alone knows how many miles out to sea, that features clearly in the photo too, in the top right.

ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallPivoting round slightly to our right we have the Ile de Chausey.

Not really an island but an archipelago, where there are 365 islands at low ide and 52 at high tide – or is it the other way round? I can never remember.

But today, it was standing out there beautifully and even the colours had come out somewhat through the sea haze, just for a change.

close up ile de chausey granville manche normandy france eric hallOut of interest, I cropped out a section from the centre of the previous image to see if I could see anything special.

And “not very much” is the reply. The main island, or “Grand Ile” is the only one that is inhabited these days. We can make out plenty of the houses on there and, of course, the lighthouse to the left of centre.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we went there once and TOOK DOZENS OF PHOTOS. One day I’ll get round to writing out the notes for the place.

sunlight Plage de Port Mer brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallFurther on along on my walk I noticed an interesting phenomenon right across the Baie de Mont St Michel on the Brittany coast.

There’s a beach over there, the Plage de Port Mer, in between Cancale and the Pointe du Grouin, and the sunlight today was catching it at the absolutely perfect angle.

It was illuminated as if someone had pointed a floodlight onto it and the bright orangey pink colour could be seen for miles. Remember that that is probably 20 or so miles away.

yacht brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallFurther on around the coast and out at the mouth to the harbour at St Malo, there was something that looked as if it was moving on the horizon.

Not being sure what it was, because there’s quite a lot of stuff that moves in and out of the harbour over there, I took a photo to crop and enlarge when I returned to the apartment.

And it seems to be a yacht with a very dark blue or even black sail. And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen one of those around the Baie de Mont St Michel a few times just recently.

cap frehel brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallWhile I was at it, I noticed that the Brittany coast all the way down to the Cap Fréhel was pretty clear today too.

That’s not something that happens every day either, so I took a photo to manipulate when I returned to the apartment.

If you look closely you can see the Cape – slightly to the right of centre in this photo. As I said the other day when we talked about it, it’s about 70 or so kilometres away from here, so the cameera is doing well to pick it out.

close up Phare Du Cap Frehel brittany coast unidentified object granville manche normandy france eric hallBut my intention was drawn to something that I noticed on the photo when I enlarged it for a closer look. Hence I croppd a section out to enlarge and examine in greater detail.

It’s really difficult to see anything in any detail. But on the Cap Fréhel is a lighthouse and a fort with a tower, and when they are viewed from this particular point, they might give the cross-reference that e can see on the extreme right of the image.

It’s also true that Marité, our three-masted schooner left port this morning for Lorient and she would be somewhere in that direction right now, although that doesn’t look like the kind of silhouette she might make.

So that’s another mystery to unravel.

kairon plage baie de mont st michel harbour entrance port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMusing on the aforementioned I wandered on down the steps, round the path at the headland and sown the old track into the port.

On the way around the Point, the view into the Baie de Mont St Michel was absolutely splendid today. The tide was far out so there were people down there performing the peche à pied for the shellfish (which they must share with their friends – after all, you mustn’t be selfish with your shellfish). and our beacon was sitting ther eilluminating its rock at the entrance to the harbour.

The beach in front of Jullouville and Kairon-Plage was looking magnificent too today.

digger rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallDown in the harbour there’s another piece of heavy machinery here.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw a couple of diggers and a hydraulic breaker parked here a couple of weeks ago, and I never did find out what they had come to do.

And so I don’t suppose that I’ll have any luck finding out about this digger either. It’s a mystery to me why they come here when they don’t seem to be doing very much

no marite port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy perambulations took me round the back of the fish-processing plant. As the tide was well out, the harbour gates were closed so I could cross over on the path on top.

One of my neighbours had mentioned that Marite had gone off on her travels, and so her berth was empty today. I’m not sure how long she’ll be away but she’s not due to dock in Lorient until 9th of June.

But you can see on the extreme right of the photo a few more Birdmen of Alcatraz hovering about on the thermals as they try to advance along the cliff-edge

portable offices port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere’s something new on the docks today – at least – I don’t recall having seen it before today.

There’s a series of portacabins stacked here to make some kind of office complex, witn an old shipping container at the side which is presumably to be used as a storage facility.

There were loads of posters plastered on the front giving various warnings about the Virus and so on, but I don’t think that it has any connection with the medical profession.

It could of course be something to do with the digger across the harbour, but whether that’s the case remains to be seen.

chausiais joly france ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn eof this things that I wanted to do was to see how they had got on with installing the new pontoons at the ferry terminal.

They now seem to have them down both sides of the terminal, which is quite useful, I suppose, for when both of the Joly France boats come in together and when Chausiais is moored here too.

There’s a length that seems to be missing on the nearest row of pontoons, and none of this looks particularly level to me – not that I suppose that it matters because passengers probably wont be boarding when the tide it out.

When the tide is in, the pontoons will of course be floating.

ramp up to new walkway ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will have seen the concrete block that appeared on the quayside here when we last came by.

Now, there’s a ramp up to the top, complete with handrails, and there’s a really impressive-looking ramp that goes down to the pontoons. But no artisanal wooden steps as we saw over where the fishing boats are moored.

It goes without saying that this has all cost a fortune (much of it needlessly – see many of my earlier postings) and so it will come as no surprise that there has been an “adjustment” of the tariffs for passengers.

The net ticket price remains the same, we are told, but the taxes and port taxes have increased. Someone has to pay for the expenditure.

chausiais ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallChausias that prevent us from seeing what cargo it is that she takes out to the Ile de Chausey.

There’s a drop-down ramp at the front and also a small crane, which I imagine would be for the ease of taking large bulky objects out to the island. I don’t recall seeing any unloading facilities out there on the island.

joly france ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallParked up behind Chausiais is one of the Joly France boats that provide the passenger ferry services out to the Ile de Chausey.

This one is Joly France I which, I suspect, is the newer of the two. It’s difficult to tell them apart from the front but from the side the newer one has deeper windows and a smaller upper deck, and from the rear the newer one has a cut-out in the stern

But the pontoons look impressive from here, especially with the handrails to stop eager tourists pushing each other into the water in their rush to board the ferries.

It’s a tidal harbour here, and the inner one is a “wet” harbour due to a pair of lock gates that close as the tide goes out, leaving water trapped behind to keep the boats afloat.

Some of the water has to be drained out however to allow the level to sink slightly so that the water pressure equalises and there’s a constant level between the inner harbour and the outer tide for when they can reopen the gates, which is 105 minutes before the high tide.

water evacuation point port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallIt’s also said (and how true this is I don’t know) that there’s a stream that runs into the inner harbour from inland.

So the surplus water need to have a drain out somehow and over there we can see the drainage channel for the water to run out.

To the left we can see one of the boat ramps underneath the fish processing plant and on the extreme right we can see part of the security fencing.

International passenger ferries dock here, coming from Jersey and they don’t want people to nip over the other side into the country without going through passport control and immigration checks

Having exhausted myself over here this afternoon I had a leisurely walk in the sunshine through the port de plaisance and into town, stopping off for one of my vegan ice-creams and a chat to the café owner.

He told me that business was not picking up as he had hoped, but it’s true to say that the last week or so has not seen very good tourist weather.

From here I had a slow walk back up the hill enjoying my ice-cream. And back at the apartment I checked on the bread dough to see how it was doing.

It had gone up like a lift – exactly how people said that it should. And so i switched on the oven, waited until it was hot, and then stuck the bread in it.

This time I remembered to reduce the heat after 10 minutes or so, and set the timer for 90 minutes. That’s longer than recommended but my oven is pretty much hit-and-miss and I’m sure that the thermostat isn’t correct anyway.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter an hour or so I went and prepared my pizza for tea and when the oven clicked off, I took the bread out and stuck it on a wire rack to cool, then bunged the pizza in.

The pizza was excellent, using my own dough of course, and as you can see, the loaf of bread actually looked like a loaf of bread today. It’s certainly the best that it has been to date.

The proof of the pudding though is in the eating and I’ll tell you al tomorrow about how it tastes.

No pudding tonight – it was a struggle to finish the pizza – so I went for my run.

And I’m not sure about what was going on, but while I’m not going to say that it was easy tonight, there certainly wasn’t the suffering of the last few occasions. It seems as if the illness that I had was brewing for a while.

sunset reflecting off terrelabouet brittany granville manche normandy france eric hallThe itinerant was still there, I noticed, as I ran down to the cliff top, but there was nothing else happening down that end so I walked round to the other side of the headland.

And it’s true to say that the excellent visibility that we had had this afternoon was continuing. The buildings across the Baie de Mont St Michel on the Brittany coast were all quite clear this evening with something clearly visible on the range of hills in the background slightly to the right of centre, about 20-25 miles away.

And the evening sun had caught a few things over on the coast at Terrelaboulet and we were having some more heliograph reflections from them

pointe de carolles cabanon vauban baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallWith the sky being so clear tonight, the view down at the head of the baie de Mont St Michel was also probably the best that we have ever seen.

The white hotels down at Mont St Michel are standing out really clearly tonight. All of the buildings down at Carolles-Plage were looking quite nice too, and we could even see waves breaking on the rocks down at the Pointe de Carolles

It won’t be like this for long, I reckon, so make the most of it while we can.

joly france ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallFrom here I ran on all the way down across the top of the cliffs past the chantier navale where there is still no change in occupant.

Over at the ferry terminal both of the Joly France boats are now moored there and we can compare them to see the differences. The smaller upper deck cabin and deeper windows on Joly France I – to the right – can be clearly seen

There’s another row of yellow marker buoys over there, like those that we saw the other day at the Plat Gousset. The Plage de Hérel – the beach that we saw a few weeks ago – is over there so I’m more convinced now that they must be the limits beyond which one is not supposed to go swimming.

aztec lady port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving recovered my breath I ran on down the Boulevard Vaufleury to the bottom and my resting place at the second zebra crossing – well, actually about 5 metres further on seeing as I was in good form.

As I had gone past the harbour I had noticed some activity down there so I went for a look to see what was going on. Aztec Lady is now back home from her little sojourn in Scandinavia where, I believe, she was detained in quarantine in the Lofoten islands on her way back from Svalbard.

That must have been a very exciting voyage, I reckon. I’m sorry that I missed it

loading dredges into trawler rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was also something going on much closer to home too.

One of the fishermen had one of the electric cranes working and they were lowering one of the dredging plates down into the back of a fishing boat.

These plough up the sea bed and release the shellfish out of the mud, which are then scooped un in a kind of metal dredging basket that we have seen on a few occasions before which allow the silt and the smaller examples to pass through the slots and back out to sea.

ile de chausey english channel beautiful sunset rue du nord granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were a few people round at the viewpoint at the rue du Nord as I discovered when I ran around there.

Still a good while before sunset but the sun sinking slowly into the clouds really was a nice effect so along with a few other people I stayed and watched it for a while, and then ran back to the apartment.

Tonight there’s a lot to do and I probably won’t finish off all of my notes but that’s the first task for tomorrow.

Then there’s the Welsh homework to do – we’re almost half-way through this course – followed by the two other courses that i’m doing, and then two radio projects this week.

Sometime too I must push on with the photos from the Transatlantic adventure from last year, and then there are the website-updating projects to continue.

And I’m supposed to be retired and taking it easy too.