Tag Archives: Percy Penguin

Monday 5th September 2022 – YOU WON’T FIND …

victor hugo baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Victor Hugo in port this afternoon.

While I was out taking my little (and I DO mean “little”) walk outside this afternoon I noticed her out in the bay going “Full Speed Ahead”.

She’s not on a scheduled sailing to Jersey today – I’m sure of that. And so I checked on the radar later on this evening. She’s actually moored in Cherbourg even as we speak so and as her next trip out isn’t for another week or so, I imagine that she’ll be staying there until then.

Having been keeping an eye on her for the last year or so, I reckon that she’s travelled further “light” to Cherbourg and back than she has travelled with fare-paying passengers.

And last night I travelled quite some distance too. Not as far as one or two just recently but certainly a lot farther than on many other nights.

When the alarm went off at 06:00 I didn’t feel anything at all like leaving my bed but needs must when the devil drives and I did beat the second alarm although I don’t know how.

After the medication I came back in here to make a start with the radio programme.

It took me until almost 11:30 to complete it today and that’s a really long time. But then there are several good reasons for that.

  1. There was an early break for a coffee
  2. As predicted, the nurse came around to give me the injection that I should have had yesterday
  3. Liz told me that a couple of her grandchildren had started school today and she sent me some photos, so we had a little chat
  4. There was a hole that I had missed in one of the tracks that I’d chosen so I had to hunt down another copy, only to find that that had a hole in exactly the same place

There were probably a couple of other reasons too that I can’t now remember. All in all, I don’t suppose that it was too bad.

But as you might expect, the nurse turned up right at an “inappropriate” moment and I had to make him wait for a couple of minutes until I’d finished … errr … whatever it was that I was doing.

While I was listening to the one that I’d prepared and the one that I’ll be sending off, I was making a late breakfast. The last of the baguette that I bought on Saturday and the last of the vegan cheese that I found in the fridge the other day, washed down with hot, strong coffee.

This afternoon I’ve had plenty to do such as organising the directories that are still out of order and then dealing with a query relating to a Ukrainian refugee living in Paris. I don’t know how I manage to involve myself in things like this.

Eventually I managed to set off outside for my afternoon walk but at the front door I was buttonholed by a neighbour (yes again) where I had a conversation for about 15 minutes.

Not that I’m complaining too much though because it’s just because I was held up that I saw Victor Hugo head out into the bay. Had I gone out at the normal time I would have missed it.

fisherman people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022And so I staggered over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was going on down on the beach.

There weren’t all that many people down on the beach this afternoon. Almost every holidaymaker has now returned home, even the British ones, and so it’s really only the locals and the pensioners in their mobile homes who are out there now.

But to my surprise, there was someone down there fishing from the rocks on the beach. I can’t recall having seen anyone fishing from there before.

But he wont be there long, given the speed at which the tide comes in.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022As usual, while I was up here looking around, I was looking around out at sea as well.

As well as seeing Victor Hugo out there heading away towards Cherbourg, there were also plenty of yachts out and about in the bay.

They were quite a long way out as well, right by the marker light that signals the rocks at the extreme end of the Ile de Chausey and the chain of rocks.

There were no fishing boats in sight this afternoon though. And it was such a clear day that had they been there, i’m sure that I would have seen them

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022With the weather being so nice, the views out to sea were quite clear.

The Ile de Chausey was looking quite nice too. We could see it quite clearly this afternoon although the weather wasn’t quite bright enough to see the whites of the cottages. Only the surfaces facing the afternoon sun were able to pick up the sunlight.

There was a yacht out there too, out there round about where a couple of years ago we had that famous incident of the rubber boat ramming the one that had stopped at his mooring place.

It’s a shame that we don’t have any more incidents like that where I can see them

joly france ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022There was something else out there moving around just offshore from the Ile de Chausey.

At this kind of distance I couldn’t see what it was so I took a photo and, back here at the apartment I enlarged and enhanced it in order to see if I could identify it.

And as it happens, I can see that it’s one of the ferries that run between here and the island. It doesn’t look like Belle France, the new one, though. It is therefore one of the Joly France boats but I cant even begin to tell you which one it might be.

le loup yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022From here I wandered off at a snail’s pace back across the car park and down to the viewpoint overlooking the harbour.

We’d seen a few yachts out on the other side but over here there were even more of them. A couple of the sailing schools were out in the bay this afternoon and I caught one of the schools going out and doing a lap around Le Loup, the marker light on the rocks at the entrance to the harbour.

They had a couple of zodiacs swarming around them too making sure that they stay in a straight line and don’t stray too far off course.

And here I was a week or two ago saying how I’d be out there with them one day, but not much channce of that right now.

arranging fishing nets port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2022Victor Hugo wasn’t in the inner harbour, but there was plenty of other activity going on.

Over there on the quayside there’s someone who has stretched out what looks like a new fishing net and there’s plenty of other activity going on with fishing equipment in the background too.

Back here I had a drink of ginger beer that I’d bought on Saturday. It reminded me of the story of the time that a couple of Scotsmen stepped off a ‘plane at Toronto airport.
“What is the purpose of your visit?” asked the immigration officer.
“We saw that advert ‘Drink Canada Dry’ and here we are” they replied.

later on I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. There was an invasion planned for the Ile de Chausey by environmentalists who were opposed to the rearing and eating of turkeys on the island. This was investigated and it turned out that there were 4 different groups of people with 4 different aims in view who were going to have some part of what was going on. The interesting part about it was that the newspapers responded in a very aggressive way, telling people that if they don’t like it, to go and live somewhere else, generally being quite aggressive to the demonstrators even though they hadn’t actually started the invasion yet.

I was there in my apartment with Percy Penguin. We were living together. My friends from the Wirral came round and I was going to cook them a meal. We started to chat and I asked the woman how she was. She replied “ask my husband first” so I asked him. He said that he was feeling a little under the weather suffering from this and that, usual age ailments. I then asked the wife how she was. There were some tree roots that I’d noticed growing across my lawn so I was there pulling these roots up, like this willow that we used to have in the Auvergne. These roots would go for miles so I was busy pulling them up. I asked the wife how she was. She began to come out with a long complicated story while I was pulling on this stuff. Halfway through she broke off and went to do something that she’d forgotten which left just me and Percy Penguin. Her husband had gone as well. I wondered how they would finish it. What would happen next?

Yes, with all of the boats that I’ve had from my palodeon years and they were entitled to stay. If the couple from the Wirral were becoming annoyed with me about the food it was they who were going, not the bikes. We walked through the town. It was a sunny day towards the beach that afternoon. All of a sudden I lost them. I caught up with them later again outside this working shop. They had stupidly allowed something to be performed and had come to a rest in full view of me. I wasn’t sure how this shock was going to help everyone particularly those in the bushes who were hiding. I realise that this makes no sense at all and I’m sure that I haven’t transcribed it correctly, but nevertheless it’s a really confusing story.

Later on I was with Nerina and that Les whom we knew. We were in Gresty. Something had happened and we’d changed some of the wiring on the Cortina, the red Cortina estate with some wires off his car. I’d wired it up and had it running. he had loads of problems doing his and we were running hours late. he seemed to be taking all day to do a simple job which was very frustrating. In the end he finished it. Both cars started. He looked at mine and said that I had the wiring wrong (as if I’d have the wiring wrong on a Cortina). Eventually I had to correct it and it ran OK. From there I started to push a wheelbarrow down Gresty Lane. I had Nerina and Roxanne with me. Roxanne kept on saying that this was her motorbike transport but it was just so heavy and awkward to push, this wheelbarrow. I’d never had a wheelbarrow quite like this. Every step became agony after a while. I was glad when we stopped somewhere half-way. We went in and this was where Roxanne and Nerina had tea. The place was really untidy. There were plates and half-eaten sandwiches everywhere. I really fancied a coffee at this moment but no-one seemed to be thinking about making one for me.

Finally I was queueing to enter the USA. I’d arrived on my ‘plane, joined the queue at Passport Control. The last time that I’d been here it was quite chaotic at Passport Control with queues everywhere all over the place but this time they seemed to be much more efficient. They had it organised much better. I was sitting at the front of the queue only to find that i’ve forgotten to fill in my form. The young guy there chuntered a little but I filled it in. We had a little chat and I told him to have a nice day. He looked at me and said thank you so I thought “thanks to all them at immigration control.
“So here I am
With my immigration form
Big enough to keep me warm
When the cold wind’s blowing.”

Tea was one of the best stuffed peppers that I’ve ever made. I enjoyed eating that one very much and the leftover stuffing for the taco roll tomorrow will be wicked after marinading for 24 hours.

But that’s tomorrow. I’m off to bed right now hoping for a good sleep and some pleasant travels with charming companions.

It’s nice to see Percy Penguin again anyway. She doesn’t figure in my voyages half as much as she deserves.

Wednesday 10th August 2022 – YOU CAN’T MAKE …

bad parking place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022… it up, can you?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I did promise not to keep on moaning about the examples of pathetic parking that I’m seeing on a daily basis, but there are some times when you can’t really avoid making some kind of comment about what you see.

This is in our own car park – a private car park for this building where there are barely enough parking spaces for all of the inhabitants.

Two inhabitants don’t own cars which means that there are a couple of empty spaces but if ever they were to have guests there would be some kind of punch-up on the pavement, a grapple in the garden or a laying-out on the lawn.

It really is shameful.

Meanwhile, in other news, to my complete surprise, I haven’t crashed out at all today.

What I put it down to is that I’ve been quite busy today (although not with anything of any relevance) and as a result, time has simply flown by.

It was rather exciting when the alarm went off at 07:30 though. I was in the middle of a dream,in the High Arctic last night of all places in a small town. There was like a granite railway station there, like a port with an arcade and café and one or two shops. There was a Boots chemist that had closed down with a note saying “I’m not like some people around here with a grandfather who owns a chemist on a hill”. There was indeed a chemist on a hill that the people in town used, not the one down in this centre. There were a couple of other shops there closed as well. I’d gone to meet my youngest sister and we’d had a coffee and chat. Eventually I’d managed to find a plug so I could plug in my telephone and laptop as well so that they would charge up. The telephone went OK but I found that the laptop was still working, not switched off so I had to switch it off before it would charge up. There was a photo of some old Inuit guys on there. The funny thing about this was that when the alarm went off at that point while I was doing this. I thought to myself immediately that I’d better lie in bed for 10 minutes or so to give my phone and computer a chance to charge up before I got out of bed.

It’s amazing what goes through my head at times when I’m in that place somewhere in between asleep and awake.

Anyway I had the medication and so on, and forgot to check the mails and messages, and then organised the music playlist for the next series of programmes. I have 6 different playlists, numbered AA to FF with about 50 artistes in each and I rotate through them in a kind of order. I use about 11 tracks every week so it means that a complete cycle of artistes will take me between 4 and 5 programmes multiplied by the 6 playlists (that I work through in order) or about 28 weeks.

Of course, it’s not so simple because there are piles of “various artistes” too from samplers and so on from a previous existence in the 70s and they are dropped here and there into the mix every now and again.

Anyway, this week’s playlist consists of 14 artistes from list CC. Such exciting people and groups as Rory Gallagher, Eloy, Mountain and Atomic Rooster are amongst this week’s artistes.

That took longer than I thought as I hadn’t done it for several months, but once it was up and running I had a listen to the dictaphone to hear where else I’d been during the night. Percy Penguin (again! She’s becoming a regular!) was round at my house last night. We were going to have tea so I suggested that we have a stuffed chicken. So between the two of us we worked out the basic rudimentary properties of a good stuffing that was vegan and Percy Penguin would be bound to be about when we’re talking about a good stuffing. We went into the main kitchen of the house, not my little lean-to type of place but the main kitchen where everyone else was in order to cook this half-chicken that I had. Once we’d gone in there I had to go and fetch everything that I needed like saucepans, herbs, spices, quinoa, stuff like that. I began to collect everything but it became obvious pretty soon that I couldn’t remember half the stuff I need. I was going to be overloaded with stuff anyway. I wouldn’t be able to carry it and what would happen then? In the meantime there were people coming in and out of my place like the chemist and his wife in the middle of this rainstorm. They were doing something in my living room. There was a cat there that was soaking wet and the whole of the area by the door was wet through with this rainstorm as well. I had to go back out with what I’d managed to find to go across to the main house with what I had. Again I was sure that it was nothing like enough. I didn’t have the correct saucepans or anything. I could see that this was going to turn out to be a total tragedy because already if you are talking about 20 minutes per pound to cook a chicken it’s already going to take a couple of hours to do and it’s already about 20:00. I can’t see this chicken being ready for hours before we can eat it. Of course she’d have to go home as well. It was just going to be total confusion.

But I liked the idea of the vegan stuffing to eat with the chicken.

The story of half a chicken is not as far-fetched as it might seem. One Christmas (it might have been 1977) I wanted a small turkey but I couldn’t find one anywhere. I must have been in a dozen butchers. At the last one, in Willaston, there was a woman in front of me who was also searching for a small turkey, to no avail.

So I looked at her, she looked at me, and we both bought the last one remaining, quite a large one, and told the butcher to cut it in half. And each of us clutching our respective half, rather like the KINIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE we went our separate ways.

Meanwhile Retournons à nos moutons there was something else to do with baking where a girl, a young teenager, and there was some kind of cake that needed making. The girl didn’t want to become involved but the father did it all on his own on the quiet and it turned out to be quite a reasonable job. It looked really nice. When his family found out they were quite pleased about him having done it. That’s all that I can remember.

And then of course there was the trip by boat to the High Arctic. Yes, I’m becoming broody again.

Something else that I’ve done today was to transcribe a few more notes from the dictaphone, and then I’ve been doing a few rather unproductive things of my own.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022One of the more productive things that I’ve done today was to go for a walk around the headland as usual, and that always starts with a look at the beach.

And so dodging the poorly-parked cars I wandered off to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down there to see what was happening.

It was another beautiful summer day so I was expecting the crowds again and while there wasn’t much beach to be on, given the state of the tide, there were plenty of people down there upon it.

Quite a few of them had taken to the water as well which was no surprise given the weather that we were having, and I was feeling quite envious.

zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And as you can imagine, I was feeling quite envious of these guys.

While I was looking around I noticed this zodiac out to sea in the bay. I couldn’t see what the guys were doing on board but at the speed at which they were travelling it wouldn’t have been fishing.

Even though there was a seagull giving them a fly-past, they didn’t seem to have any fishing equipment on board.

Anyway, I fought my way through the crowds towards the end of the headland to see what was happening there.

boats heading for port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022You can tell that it won’t be long before they close the gates at the entrance to the port de plaisance.

As I was standing on the roof of the bunker looking out to see, I could see stream after stream of pleasure boat heading back from the Ile de Chausey, being led home by a yacht, although I had a feeling that that wouldn’t last long.

At the end of the headland I went across the car park to the end of the headland. But today there were no fisherman and no-one sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban either.

And so I didn’t hang around. I headed off down the path towards the port.

l'omerta la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Over at the fish processing plant we’ve had a change of occupancy.

L’Omerta is still there as you might expect, but Gerlean and Le Styx are no longer there. Their places have been taken by La Grande Ancre and one of the little port lighters.

There was no change in the chantier naval today either. There were the same boats there that were there yesterday, and Chausiaise was still moored up at the ferry terminal. But not with Victor Hugo who was still sitting forlornly in the inner harbour.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While we’re on the subject of ferries … “well, one of us is” – edThora is in port again.

She used to be a car ferry in the past and worked between a couple of the islands in the Shetlands but was retired when new, larger ships were bought.

In her retirement she first went off to be a diving support vessel, presumably out at the oil rigs, but later she was bought and came down here where she’s used as a little freighter that runs a shuttle between Granville and St Helier.

And that’s a route that’s becoming busier and busier. We had two little freighters on the route but a third, Normandy Warrior, came to join them.

And we’ve seen the big freighter Southern Liner that came in to try out the port.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022We haven’t finished with ferries yet either.

While I was having a good look around out to sea I noticed something moving deep down at the head of the Baie de Mont St Michel.

That prompted me to take a photo of it and back in the apartment I could enhance and enlarge it to see if I could recognise who was down there

By the looks of things it’s one of the Joly France ferries taking a ship-load of tourists out for a lap around the bay this afternoon while they have the tide in their favour.

joly france entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022After much deliberation I reckoned that it was the newer one of the two with its windows in portrait format.

And I can confirm that because just at that moment, around the headland from the Ile de Chausey and into port came another one of the Joly France boats.

We can tell by her windows in landscape format that she’s the older one of the two, hence my guess for the other one. She doesn’t seem to be Belle France anyway.

But that was the cue for me to wander off home. I haven’t had my fruit yet. I must have been busy.

yachts baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Before I do go home though, I’ll just take a photo of one of the yacht schools.

There were three or four of them out there this afternoon but this one caught my eye with the zodiacs of the monitors being used as tenders behind the yachts.

Back here I had my fruit and then came in here to carry on with what I was doing. And so engrossed was I that I had a late tea. Curry of bits and pieces out of the fridge and it certainly was delicious. And rather light the yacht school, a tender behind will be appropriate for me too.

So bedtime now, and then a day tomorrow where I hae an important letter to write and a few ‘phone calls to make. Everything will be back to normal next week. Except me of course. That’s too much to ask.

Sunday 7th August 2022 – IT WAS JUST AS WELL …

marité entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022… that I decided not to go out today on this trip to see the high tides.

While you admire a few photos of Marité coming into port this afternoon after a trip around the bay, I was still awake at 03:00 this morning not even in the least bit tired. Nowhere near going to bed at all, despite all of the efforts that I expended in coming home yesterday.

That is what comes of crashing out like I did late yesterday afternoon. It was about 03:30 when I finally crawled into bed last night – or rather, this morning – and I still wasn’t all that tired.

Mind you, I must have gone to sleep quite quickly because there was plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from last night and it started quite early.

marité entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022There was something rather indecent written on a wall about something that I’d been up to in the days of my youth with a young lady. Someone had appended some notes to it that attracted a lot of attention. When I went to see it, none of these allegations were actually true (which they aren’t of course – they related to a friend of mine in real life) but that didn’t alter the fact that these allegations are there so I just simply left them there and ignored them but they seemed to be gathering rather a lot of momentum and people were asking me what I was going to do about it. It was very difficult for me to give an answer because I didn’t know how I was going to silence these rumours even though there was no truth whatever in them because you can’t really counteract an anonymous posting in this respect. I’d actually gone there to do something else involving a bucket of water and I had my hands full with this bucket of water at the time as well which meant that I was even less able to do anything about it.

marité port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Later on I was dismantling equipment. I had a little workshop set up that was slowly getting itself organised. My brother had one the same but there had been a load of trouble at his workshop and needed some people to go in to refit it. The floors needed re-doing, everything like that. I went in and there was a group of us there. We did what we could but there were a few things that didn’t work. One was some kind of machine where the carburettor needed dismantling so I was working out how to dismantle this carburettor. I wasn’t easy – it wasn’t like a normal one. It was more like one of these Victorian tube ignition things. I was dismantling it and I had a pile of screws and nuts in my hand. There was a little girl helping me so I asked her to fetch a drawer out of one of these little tiny drawer unit things that you use for keeping nuts and screws. She did but it had stuff in it so I tipped them into something else and put these screws and everything into this drawer and told her to find a little piece of paper and write “carb” on it so we know that it’s where the carburettor goes. Someone said “you like working in this workshop, don’t you?”. I replied “I like working in mine much better”. Then someone came by and tried to hold everyone up, wielding a hammer around. He wanted money. I leapt of the top of this workbench at him but I missed. He had some kind of foam spray that he sprayed on me. He added water and it expanded but the aerosol can was still stuck to my jacket so I was able to beat him to death with this can attached to my jacket just by flailing my jacket around and that was that.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a violent dream like this.

man diving from diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022So while you admire the folk on the diving platform, I was back at home, talking to my Scottish friend. She rang me back later and said that due to a change of plan she’d actually finish work Friday evening. I said that if she could grab a bus, to come down for the weekend. “I can find you a bed” but I added quite quickly something like “don’t worry, your principles won’t be compromised” because of course she’s extremely religious. There was something about a really idle young boy who wouldn’t do anything. We’d installed an air vent with a metal grille in a wall somewhere. The grille was just vertical slats. They were before a judge somewhere trying to talk about him over things that he’d done or not done. I asked the judge if he could paint these metal slats in this ventilation grille for me. They all couldn’t see why not but it was up to him whether he wanted to do the job

people jumping from diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Then another dispute arose about the arrival of camp beds. We wanted 4 camp beds for something but it took us a while to convince some distant member of the family that that was what we needed. In the end they agreed to bring them so I went to change into winter clothes including a pair of winter tights so that I could work outside in the winter when they turned up. They had only brought these beds and not a few other bits and pieces that had been asked, and no car batteries. With no car batteries we couldn’t finish the cupboard that we were building inside the corner of one of the rooms. We found out that it was someone else who was supposed to be bringing the batteries but they had gone out so I had to lift these 4 bunk beds with all the noise and everything in the cold. The only one who would help me was some woman, 50, who had driven this car round who looked as if she was dressed like a scout patrol leader or something

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022And while you admire a couple of photos of the crowds on the beach, I’d also had a chat with some kind of accommodation director at an army barracks about some double flats. His basic response was that if I don’t like the way that things are run I can jump into the fire alongside the flats which I thought wasn’t very polite.

Going back to this military dream again there was some issue about a couple of yachts that were in a basin but then in the middle of dictating this I fell into a deep sleep and I was then treated to 18 minutes of snoring and I’m sorry, Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in these pages as often as she deserves) for doubting your word when you told me that I snored in my sleep.

Despite not having gone to bed until 03:30 I was awake by 09:30.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That’s not the same thing as saying that I was out of bed though.

You’ll have to wait until 10:40 or thereabouts before I finally saw the light of day and then I went off for my medication.

That was followed by working on the music for the radio programme on which I’ll be working on Monday. It’s another good batch of music and the joins have turned out really well.

There’s even a good speech that I managed to track down for my guest and that should bring a smile to the face of everyone who understands it.

After lunch I went and had a wade through all of the … GULP! … 42 photos that I took when I was on my travels. I’ll have to transcribe all of the dictaphone notes at some point and then update the blog entries, along with the entries for when I was in Central Europe that I still haven’t updated yet.

Yes, I’ve let things slide rather a lot just recently and I need to pull myself together.

cap pilar baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Anyway, I trotted out for my afternoon walk around the medieval walls, but I was detained by having seen Marité coming into port on the tide.

Other things were coming into port as well from out in the bay, including the trawler Cap Pilar.

But what caught my eye about her was her rather strange “bow down” position as she came around the headland, almost as if her for’rard hold was flooded. There can’t be that much fish in her to make her trim like that.

So having seem Marité come safely into port, I wandered off for my walk around the walls.

tent on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022You’ve already seen several photos of the crowded beaches and the sea this afternoon.

No surprise there because it really was a nice if somewhat windy day today. But I’m not sure why you would need to bring a tent down to the beach today.

For all of the people around there wondering what was going on after the owners had erected it, they must have thought that the excitement was … errr … intense.

Far too intense for me of course, in my state of health. I wandered off down the Rue du Nord on top of the medieval city walls.

repointing medieval city wall rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last God-knows how long, the wall around here has been sheathed in scaffolding.

But today, I noticed that it had all gone. So much for the workman telling me a few months ago that they will be here for a year.

What with the way that my health is right now, I wasn’t up to going down to the foot of the steps to see the finished results so instead I pointed the camera over the top and had a play with the exposure time.

And I do have to say that I am really quite impressed with the job that they have done. It really does look well and I hope that they can do the rest of the wall to make it look like this.

repointing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that here a little further along in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux they completely dismantled … “disPERSONtled” – ed … it all the way down almost to ground level.

They rebuilt it right up afterwards and you really can’t tell that it was completely taken apart.

There was a flying scaffolding here too weighed down with 5 tonnes of water in those pallet tanks. The scaffolding turned up overnight last Summer and it did really well to survive all of the storms that we had in the meantime.

There’s an arch a little further on where I can pass outside the walls and walk along the path underneath the walls. In the days of my youth I used to run down there but these days it’s more of an undignified totter.

street musicians place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The path goes past the viewpoints overlooking the diving platform and the beach at the Plat Gousset where I took a few photos, and then I pushed off further along the path.

There’s quite a lot of entertainment going on in the town today and I’d been hearing music. And what caught my eye as I peered down the Rue Paul Poirier was a group of musicians marching up and down the Rue Lecampion into the Place Charles de Gaulle and back again.

Some of the streets are blocked off too for pedestrians only so it looks as if it’s the braderie today, when the shops have a sale to dispose of all of their surplus stock to make more room for the new fashions.

They’ll be setting their stalls out, both literally and figuratively, outside their shops in the street and on the pavements.

seagull chick rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022While I was at it I wandered off down through the Square Maurice Marland.

All of the roofs in the Rue Des Juifs have been covered with seagull nests and many proud mothers have been rearing their chicks through the early summer. Many of them are now pretty autonomous and are hanging around on their own, just like this one.

But as for the Square itself, it’s looking like a very sad and sorry shadow of itself with the burnt grass and dust-bowl conditions. But you can tell which are the native plants and which are the cultivated ones because it’s the former who seem to be doing better in these drought conditions.

fete des soudeurs port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022This weekend it has been the Fête des Soudeurs, a festival where all of the local blacksmiths set up their smithies around the town perform in public, with a few musical performances here and there as accompaniment.

It’s all quietening down now but there is still some music and according to one of my neighbours they are auctioning off some of the artefacts.

These days I seems to be having quite a few interactions with my neighbours. This afternoon I was walking around on top of the cliffs looking down into the sea when I fell in with the young guy from the top floor and we had quite a chat.

Back here I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night and then rolled out the pizza dough that I’d taken out of the freezer a few hours earlier and put on one side to thaw.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The pizza dough was put into the pizza tray to proof and then when it was ready I assembled the pizza and put it on the oven to bake.

It was another delicious one but I reckon that I need a new sharp knife to cut the base because the one that I’m using is struggling to fight its way through the base. Maybe I ought to slice it in future and then eat it with my fingers.

So having now finished my notes, I’m ready for bed. It’s a 06:00 start in the morning to make a start on the radio programme that I’ll be preparing and the way that things are right now, it’s not going to be easy.

So here’s hoping for a better night than those that I’ve been having just recently.

Thursday 28th July 2022 – THIS WAS ANOTHER …

hang gliders place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022… candidate for one of the worst days that I’ve had for quite a while.

Most of it has been spent asleep on my chair in the bedroom and that is extremely depressing.

So while you admire a few photos of the aerial activity that was taking place this afternoon while I was out and about on my travels I’ll tell you all about it, not that you want to hear it.

Anyway, last night I went to bed rather later than I intended, although not as late as it might have been.

55qj aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022But it was quite a lively night yet again and I was travelling about for quite a distance.

There was something happening last night. Someone had copy/pasted his signature into a document but the copy/paste had included a lot of inappropriate stuff. This had caused all kinds of problems for him with him copy/pasting instead of cropping what he had copy/pasted

And I was asking my self if I had I dictated about one daughter of my niece being upset about something? I dunno … “no you hadn’t” – ed. I was trying to talk to her and she went off to sit somewhere on a bench so I went over there to sit not too close to her to give her some room but not too far away. She said something but I can’t remember what it was, an ambiguous comment that could have meant “move up closer” or “move further away” and I couldn’t work out which was the meaning of this comment that she had said to me. I was at a loss to understand it.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022A little later I was in a Welsh class. We’d come back after the holidays. We were a full class and I was sitting next to the boy next to whom I usually sit. We talked about what we’d done. The guy behind us talked about what he had done too so I rang up one or two other people who were in the class and was talking to them about their holidays. The teacher started to walk down the aisle handing out papers so I cut off the conversations. Some boy sitting in the aisle next to me started to play some Santana and put his music player on my desk. He asked “how do you fancy a bit of Santana?”. Much as I would have a bit of Santana any time, that wasn’t the time or place so I told him “not now” but he wouldn’t listen. He kept turning this Santana music. He was clearly irritating the prof, it was irritating me and irritating most of the other people around us too. We didn’t want that at that particular moment.

We’d been on the office outing somewhere. We’d been to a town somewhere in Europe. We’d arrived and we were all on board the bus. It was raining quite heavily so they decided that they would abandon the walking tour. Some woman was there with a young daughter and I was quite interested in the daughter. Everyone was asking what they were going to do etc so I said to this woman “when they drop us off we can go for a coffee” as an excuse to talk to the daughter. That seemed to be like a very good idea. She seemed to like that idea. We had to fetch our things and meet back on the bus in a couple of minutes. I wandered off back to my room to get my things together and walk back to where I thought that we’d pick up the bus but it wasn’t there. I was wondering what on earth had happened to it so I had a wander around. I overheard these 2 people talking, talking about the group. One of them had been on “Eric’s group and I’m sure that we’d had more goes than we were supposed to”. That rang a bell with me about something that we’d done. I walked round the corner and it was 2 people from our party. I asked them if they knew where we were meeting the bus. They thought that it was here but I thought that it was somewhere else. I thought that it might be a good idea to go down to this other place to have a look as it wasn’t far away but they didn’t seem to be interested in leaving so I thought that maybe I’d go on my own and leave them there because if they were there they would hold the bus for me if it were to come for me and I wasn’t there and give me chance to return to catch it.

A little later Percy Penguin made a brief appearance in a German class that I was teaching. I was trying to have my students say the diphthong “HK” correctly. She was there in this class having a practice and not getting it right.

Once more it was a struggle to leave the bed before the second alarm went off but I managed it nevertheless (only just) and then I came in here to transcribe my dictaphone notes.

Round about 10:00 I fell asleep and apart from a few moments of wakefulness here and there, that was that until about 15:30. Somehow I’d managed to fit in my breakfast and my lunchtime fruit but I’m not sure how.

Before going out for my afternoon walk I had a shower to clean myself up. I weighmed myself too and the weight that I’d been slowly losing over the last couple of weeks has gone back on. That has probably depressed me more than falling asleep.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Anyway, after the shower I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

And dodging the Nazguls that were flying by overhead I went over to the wall at the end of the headland to look down on the beach to see what was happening.

There ween’t all that many people down there this afternoon but of those who were there, there were quite a few of them in the water.

Further on down the coast a little way there were plenty of people in the water down there, but access to the beach down there at the Plat Gousset is so much easier.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022As well as the aeroplanes and so on, there were one or two boats out at sea this afternoon.

There was one of the shell-fishing boats on its way back to port from out at the Ile de Chausey. It’s far too far away for me to identify it from here but her colours and the dinghy that she is towing reminds me very much of Les Bouchots de Chausey.

With the wind that was blowing there was quite a bit of dust about this afternoon. This drought is starting to become serious. It’ s making the place look like 1930s Oklahoma right now and it’s not going to improve until we have some rain.

Although when that might be I have no idea.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Down at the end of the headland I crossed the car park and went down to see what was happening on the rocks.

We had a couple of fishermen out there with rod and line this afternoon. They seemed to be enjoyng themselves except, of course, that they weren’t actually catching anything.

Not that I expected that they would.

No-one sitting on the bench down by the cabanon vauban either. They seem to be having a day off today. So I wandered off around the corner and down the path on the other side of the headland.

fishing boat la confiance 2 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Down at the port we have a change in occupancy in the chantier naval.

La Confiance II is still in there, and there was someone doing some arc-welding on it as I went past this afternoon. And she’s now been joined by one of the little shell-fishing boats.

Unfortunately I can’t see her registration number so I’m not able to tell you who she might be.

No-one over at the ferry terminal either. They must all be out at work today as well. There was even La Cancalaise, the sister ship to La Granvillaise, out at the Ile de Chausey with a party from Cancale.

ch922344 le roc a la mauve 3 ch640361 nais fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022We didn’t have any ships at the Fish Processing Plant playing “Musical Ships” but we did have some fishing boats over there unloading.

Two of them are regulars of ours and we have seen them many times. At the front of the queue is CH922344 who is of course Le Roc A La Mauve III who we saw in the chantier naval for quite a while earlier in the year, and behind her is CH640361 who is Nais.

The third one is a mystery though. Her registration number begins with “M” and that’s the registration code for Milford Haven in Wales, so I’m not likely to find her in my database of French fishing vessels. Nevertheless it’s quite a puzzle as to what she’s doing coming all the way here.

chausiaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo July 2022Just now I mentioned that there was no-one at the ferry terminal.

As I walked back to the apartment, around the corner behind me came Chausiaise. She’s rather early and I don’t think that there’s enough water for her to moor at the ferry terminal quite yet.

Back here I had a coffee and then spent a while having a play on the acoustic guitar. I’m enjoying myself much more on the acoustic than I have done for a while and I can actually play an F chord that sounds like an F chord.

In fact, I’m tending much more to play songs in the original key regardless of the chords rather than playing them in keys in which the chords are easier to play. Gone are the days were I’m stuck in A C D E and G and their derivatives.

Tea was steamed veg with veggie balls with vegan cheese sauce and it really was delicious.

So bedtime now. if I’m lucky I’ll be in bed early and have a good night’s sleep. Here’s hoping for a better day tomorrow. I can’t go on like this.

Thursday 16th June 2022 – GONE!

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And never called me “Mother”!

Yes, when I went for a wander out on my way to the physiotherapist’s this afternoon, I noticed that Victor Hugo, the Channel Island ferry, is no longer in port.

In actual fact, I saw a photo of her in the harbour of St Helier to where she set off this morning with a ferry-load of passengers, and I was unlucky enough to have missed her

But it just goes to show that she is actually out there working, despite what her prolonged sojourns in the harbour here might suggest.

While we’re on the subject of prolonged sojourns … “well, one of us us” – ed … I could have done with a prolonged sojourn today because while today was an improvement on what was going on last week, it wasn’t as good as the last day or so. It’s a case of one step forward, two steps back unfortunately.

The night was what would be called a very mobile night with a lot going on and I must have travelled miles. And at one point I fell asleep in mid-dictate and there’s a sound file of one hour and 41 minutes, most of which is of me snoring.

And my heart-felt apologies to Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in these pages half as often as she deserves) who used to complain that I snored in bed and I always denied it. Well, the evidence is there for everyone to hear.

By 06:45 I was wide awake again and leaving the bed at 07:30 was fairly easy for a change. After the medication and checking my e-mails I sat down and transcribed the dictaphone notes.

All of them.

I started off last night in the Canadian High Arctic working as a radio presenter for some outpost out there in the High Arctic but that’s all that I remember. I can’t remember any details at all about what was happening while I was out there doing it

I was back in this dream about this little girl again. They were doing up her house ready to exhibit it as a museum. They had loads of photos that they were exhibiting, they were doing quizzes about her life etc. I can’t think of her name but it was in the USA cotton belt in the 1920s and 30s, a small child. She was very well-known and very wealthy, from that kind of background, like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. We were going through some paperwork and finding when we got these kids helping us to sort it out. Everyone wanted to be her and be like her even though the period was very depressing and they were living in some very depressing circumstances. All of their family stuff we were finding in this house we were going to exhibit as a museum to her and probably to Disney too. It was taking up a lot of our time and progressing quite slowly. We even found stuff of when she had to capture her cat so that they could take her cat with them on holiday. There were newspaper articles about the cat from Minnesota that was visiting everywhere right now that were going in this girl’s dream, highlights and that sort of thing.

We were back on an island where there was some kind of celebrity living here so we decided that we’d tidy up the island and make it look nice, collect all the rubbish in then go through and find out what she wanted to keep then we could either throw away the rest or sell it. Selling it would bring in some money to the commune because it isn’t really making very much at all. Lots of important things are being missed off due to lack of money. This conversation went on for quite some considerable time with this discussion about all of this tidying up of the island somewhere in the northern hemisphere in the artic before someone pointed out that it is in fact a German citizen, she’ll be real fell asleep here

And when I awoke again I don’t know if I mentioned this actress who lived on this island who was the Queen Bee etc, rules didn’t apply to her. She had a kind-of Jeep and one day she was going somewhere and she cut the corner of the traffic at a road junction and something coming the other way hit her. Although she wasn’t particularly damaged it caused a lot of damage to her car and to the other car and blocked the road for quite some time. Everyone was going around saying how it served her right that it should happen to her, that she received something that she deserved at last and it might teach her to behave with a little more humility even though she’s someone rich and famous

Later on I was in Crewe. I’d been away somewhere and had come back. I had to go into work next morning so I set my alarm. Before I went to bed I’d spoken to Percy Penguin on the phone. For some unknown reason my alarm hadn’t gone off and it was past 09:00 when I awoke and I had to be in work by 10:00 at the latest. I had to run around to wash and change then nip to the grocer’s for some food as I didn’t have any. It was 10:30 before I was ready. I had to walk to work and it was cold and snowing and a long weary trudge through the streets of Crewe, some streets that I didn’t recognise. I couldn’t remember where the office was and I kept on taking wrong turnings. I thought “how on earth am I going to face everyone that I’m turning up for work at this time of day when the working day starts so much earlier than this?”. I was annoyed with Percy Penguin for not having rung me to remind me. I was annoyed with quite a few people who knew that I was back. They could have placed a towel or something under the door and made sure that I was ready for work that next morning. Instead no-one had done that and I was hours late wandering around the streets in a panic.

Then we were all in a car. We’d gone off somewhere and were driving around these streets, a big group of us. The idea was that we had gone to look for some pea soup. We reached a place where we stopped and a few people alighted. Gradually more and more people alighted just leaving me and a girl. We were having a really good chat about something or other and it was quite entertaining. It’s not like me at all to have such a good chat with someone. In fact I ended up being more interested chatting with this girl than in the pea soup. She told me all about pea soup, telling me that the most exciting thing about pea soup was how they got it in. Everyone came back into the car and moved it onto the pavement to park it out of everyone’s way then they all alighted to wander off to find some stuff. This girl and I were still in there chatting. I thought to myself that I’d never had a chat quite like this with a girl before, let alone an interesting chat. It was quite obvious that she was really interested in chatting with me. That’s something I’m not used to at all, people chatting to me in this kind of extremely friendly fashion. I thought that I might be onto something here.

That bit about working on the radio in the Canadian High Arctic was interesting though. A week or so ago CBC (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) was advertising a vacancy for a radio presenter in their outstation at Rankin Inlet in Nunavut in the Canadian High Arctic.

As you might expect I applied for the job and when I checked my e-mails this morning I had a mail from them saying that as the work is in Inuktitut (which I can’t speak very well and which the advert didn’t mention) I couldn’t be considered.

But they have plenty of other vacancies in the High Arctic where English and French are spoken and would I like to send them my CV? I’ll get to the High Arctic yet!

The rest of the day has been spent revising my Welsh, with a couple of moments of falling asleep. Once for about 15 minutes in the morning and also about 25 minutes in the afternoon.

Mind you, I wasn’t able to concentrate very much. I might not be falling asleep as much as I was last week but I’m still pretty much wiped out.

Before lunch I had a good shower and then after lunch I carried on with the revision until it was time for me to go out.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And as usual, the first place where I went was to the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to make sure that the NIKON 1 J5 was still working.

And the port was quite deserted today. The tide was well out as I was going past and by the looks of things it had taken all of the boats with it.

There was no-one playing Musical Ships today. No Gerlean and no L’Omerta either. They must both be out there somewhere in the bay working today.

But there are plenty of vans and lorries at the Fish Processing Plant today. It looks as if they are expecting a busy day today.

No-one over at the ferry terminal either. They must all be having a busy day running out to the Ile de Chausey today

emptying burnt out houses rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022On the way down the hill I noticed that there was some activity going on at the burnt-out houses.

By the looks of things they are emptying the houses of furniture and possessions and the like, tipping the stuff into the skip. They may well be starting pretty soon on rebuilding the houses.

And that’s not going to be the work of five minutes either.

Down in the town I stopped at the Post Office to post a letter and then carried on to the physiotherapist. It was more difficult than the walk on Monday and I had to stop a few times for breath.

The exercises were a little easier though although I’m totally dismayed about my loss of balance. Just a few years ago I was running up and down along beams on the roof and along the floor of my house. I can’t even stand on one leg these days.

After 10 minutes on the exercise bike (that wasn’t easy in this heat) to finish off she threw me out and I staggered down the hill into town.

The climb back up the hill towards home was much more difficult than it was the last time that I did it too. I seem to be having a relapse.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Before I went back in I walked over to the wall to have a look down onto the beach to see what was happening.

Plenty of beach and plenty of people on it too. Not that I’m surprised because it really was a gorgeous day today.

Back here I made myself a smoothie and tried to concentrate on my Welsh revision but it really was hard to do so, tired as I was. and I drifted away for my second bout of sleep s well at one point.

No tea tonight. There was the last of the revision sessions, three hours from 19:00 to 22:00. I grabbed a packet of crackers and during the pause I had a bowl of porridge.

But at least I seem to have got the hang of these discussion points and was able to have a few good conversations about some of them. These gap-filling questions are another thing entirely and if I’m going to fall down anywhere, that will be where it is.

Having written my notes I’m off to bed. Revision in the morning and my exam is at 15:00. And then the next part of the adventure depends on how I feel.

Whatever I do, I must remember to set an alarm for my exam. I don’t want to miss it after all of this effort.

Thursday 21st April 2022 – GLOBAL WARMING ANYONE?

When John Ross, the leader of the first European expedition credited with exploring the north coast of Lancaster Sound, came by here in 1818 and when William Parry examined it in 1819-20, they noticed what might have been the entrance to a bay, which Parry called Croker Bay after the then-Secretary to the Admiralty.

dry valley croker bay devon island canada adventure canada into the north west passage 2019 photo august 2019 eric hallThey weren’t actually sure about whether it was a bay or not because the whole coastline was covered in impenetrable ice so they couldn’t sail in to make sure.

And there I was 200 years later, 25 kms deep into what is quite clearly a fjord rather than a bay, at the mouth of a dry valley where a glacier once flowed and where there isn’t a single trace of ice.

If you want to look for the “Croker Bay Glacier” you need to travel another 5kms up the fjord and eventually you’ll reach it. Over the last 200 years or so, a belt of ice 30kms deep and heaven alone knows how thick has melted.

Anyway I digress … “yet again” – ed.

aeroplane 54aay baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Outside this afternoon we’ve been having an aerial day but while you admire the light aeroplane 54AAY that flew past overhead making its debut on these pages, I’ll start at the very beginning … “a very good place to start” – ed.

And once more, it was a struggle for me to crawl out of bed again. I didn’t beat the second alarm, having gone back to sleep after the first one, but I was still up before the 3rd, even though it was “only just”.

And after the medication and checking my mails and messages, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And to my surprise I found that I’d stepped back into a dream not once but twice.

It’s becoming something of a habit.

yellow powered hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One of my former work colleagues starred in this one. It was something to do with his retirement. He’d been called out for overstaying his retirement by some kind of sea creature so he went down to attack this sea creature and had a fight with it. He was stopped and they arranged a proper bour of either boxing or wrestling between the two of them. it was rather unfair because this sea creature had 4 arms instead of just 2 and it had to have its gills reinforced. The fight took place and eventually the sea creature won it. The person commentating said that it was a really good fight but he reckoned that every non-human and probably one or two humans as well really enjoyed the result and how it panned out

And then I started dictating the next dream in French. I was at home and had invited some friends round. They were actually grown-ups and I was only quite young. We ended up playing cards which I thought was a good game. They were 3 middle-aged men and one had a wife but she didn’t want to come. We dealt, and dealt for partners etc. They asked what I had to drink. I had a bottle of beer on the side from yesterday that I could drink. I looked in the drinks cupboard and they had one of these boxes of wine and there was some whisky etc so I started to put everything out ready for people to help themselves to alcohol

helicopter pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That dream continued afterwards and I’d actually met the wife. They were living in a big detached house very much like UK 1930s but it was in France. She was dreading the start of the French school year because her kids were going to school. I asked her if her move to France was permanent. She told me 20 good reasons why it was. We were having quite a chat when her husband came up and said that when he had the house tidied up and the kitchen arranged I would have to come over for a cup of tea by the fire

Later on I was talking to Percy Penguin, and it’s been a while since she’s put in an appearance. She was being very cagey on the telephone about something. I could tell that there was something going on but she didn’t seem to want to expand on it very much. I couldn’t seem to chisel it out of her. At the same time I was talking to a footballer who lived on the continent. We were planning some kind of event together. My family came on the phone and I started to chat to them and happened to mention something about my youngest sister. They replied “haven’t you heard?”. I said “no” and they answered that she’d died. I was appalled. I asked how. It seemed that she and her husband had gone for a breakfast brunch somewhere. Some security guard had knocked her husband’s cup or something onto the floor so they had “had words”. A fight started and my sister had tried to join in but the security guard pulled out his revolver and shot her 4 times in the groin. At that moment he had been arrested.

Airbus A350-941 F-HTRE pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022We haven’t quite finished yet, but we’ll have an interruption to watch F-HTRE go past overhead.

She’s an Airbus A350-941 owned by Air Caraibes and first took to the air in July 2019. She’s flying TX514/FWI14J from Orly to Fort de France in the Caribbean and went past me at 38,000 feet and 498 knots at vector 272°

But in the meantime I was stepping back into the dream involving my youngest sister. Everyone was now round at my house collecting her stuff to take away. I was busy writing a note to my brother expressing my condolences etc.

Once again it took me a couple of hours to come to my senses, which is a surprise seeing how few I have these days, but when I’d come round I made a start on the photos from the High Arctic of 2019. By the time that I’d finished this evening I was up the end of Croker Bay pinned against a glacier.

There’s a huge batch of photos that I’ve dealt with over the last couple of days. But I’m not out of the woods yet. I have simply moved into different woods.

We had a whole variety of interruptions today, coffee and breakfast being not the least of them.

But on the subject of fruit bread, I had the last slice today.

home made fruit buns place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That’s the cue for another load – this time it was fruit buns because there was nothing else to bake in the oven so I had the room.

And here’s the results. Enough to keep me going until I clear off next Friday, with a few in the freezer for when I come back too.

It’s basically a bread mix of 250 grammes with a pile of brazil nuts ground into a coarse flour, some dessicated coconut, raisins, sunflower seeds, chopped banana chips, some of those mixed dried fruits and a fresh banana all mixed in. And probably a few other things too that happen to be lying around.

And then when it’s all proofed, cooked for 40 minutes on a medium-high oven.

For lunch I took the remaining half-loaf out of the freezer this morning and it had been defrosting. And there’s nothing like fresh bread like that. I’ll have to make another loaf on Sunday, I reckon, while I’m doing my pizza and I’ll freeze half of that too.

taped off front of building place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was of course the usual afternoon walk around the headland.

However today I didn’t go very far before I came to a stop. Just outside the front door in fact.

There’s something afoot here just outside the building, and I’ve no idea what because I haven’t heard anything at all. But whatever it is, they have most of the front of the building taped off, presumably to prevent access.

The plot thickens, that’s for sure.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But anyway, we can leave that for a while. Let’s go and have a look down on the beach.

It was another quite nice day today and the crowds were out enjoying it. Down on the beach too there were plenty of people taking the air including a group of young women playing with a frisbee.

There were other folk down there too, poking around in rock pools, scavenging amongst the rocks and the like. We can tell that the tide is on its way out this afternoon.

And they had beautiful weather for it too.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was up here looking down onto the beach I also had my roving eye wandering around looking at what was going on offshore.

There was quite a haze today so I couldn’t see all that far but I did notice a couple of fishing boats out there. One that we can see here but there was another one further out as well.

And presumably they were working too because they were pointing away from the harbour and following the coast.

Of course, they are far too far out to sea for me to be able to identify them, especially in these weather conditions when I had to peer through a sea mist to see anything at all.

marker buoys baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That wasn’t everything either.

Just down there offshore is a collection of marker buoys. It looks as if someone has dropped a few lobster pots into the water just there.

Mind you, that’s not all that far out and I suppose that they will just come along later this afternoon walking across the sand to collect them and their catch because I’m pretty certain that where they have dropped them is out of the water when the tide is right out.

That speedboat roaring past didn’t have anything to do with them anyway

However that’s not my problem. Armes with my face mask, I went to fight the good fight amongst the crowds of people on the path.

people taking photograph pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a recurring theme that runs through these pages as that oe me taking photos of people taking photos.

But here’s quite a new twist on the subject. Down at the end of the headland I looked back and saw a guy setting up a tripod with his camera perched thereupon.

And having done that, he took up station with his beloved and the self-timer did the rest, much to the chagrin of one of the workers at the coastguard post who wanted to drive past there in his car and who was obliged to wait.

But they did make a handsome couple.

fisherman pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022It wasn’t just with lobster pots and trawlers that people were out fishing this afternoon.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen someone perched on the rocks with rod and line at the end of the headland but today we had one of the aforementioned.

And it still bewilders me that these fishermen don’t have a basket or anything in which to put their catch. However, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that in all the years that we’ve been watching them, we’ve yet to see a fishermen pull a fish out of the water with rod and line.

There were no spectators on the bench at the cabanon vauban either today. They must have known that I was coming.

le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From the end of the headland I walked down towards the port to see what was happening there today.

And there has been another change in occupancy at the chantier naval today. Le Roc A La Mauve III is still there showing little signs of moving but Anakena seems to have finished her overhaul and she’s now gone back into the water, ready for her summer voyages to the frozen north.

And how I wish that I was going with her too, but I suppose that you are fed up of me moaning about that. It’s high time that I went out and got myself a life. I need to do something to start moving again but with these heart issues and knee issues it’s not so easy.

But I have the doctor to see next week and the heart specialist at the hospital to see on the 5th of May so who knows? Something might start happening soon, but I’m not holding my breath.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Over at the fist processing plant it looks as if there’s a very long and complicated game of “Musical Ships” taking place.

Briscard was there but she went and L’Omerta came in her place. And then they swapped places, and today they have swapped back again. The excitement here is terrific and I might have to go and lie down in a darkened room.

Instead, I came home for a coffee, a session on the guitar and then (regrettably) I crashed out for a good while. I don’t know what’s the matter with me these days.

Tea was a curry made with leftovers, and delicious it was too. Tomorrow I fancy sausage, beans and chips, especially now that I have my air fryer. I’ve no excuse now for rubbishy chips

But that’s tomorrow. Tonight I’ll have a strum on the guitar and then go to bed. I could do with a much better night and then maybe I’ll have a much better day to follow.

Wednesday 5th January 2022 – REGULAR READERS …

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022… of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a lorry taking away the material that had been used in resurfacing the Rue St Michel.

At the time I said that if I remembered, I would go that way down to the doctor’s to have a look at what kind of job they have done of it.

Anyway, this will teach me to post vituperative comments about things like the quality of the road surfacing that they do, because while I’ve seen better surfaces finished than this, it’s not actually too bad.

They seem tp have been somewhat confused with the curves in a few places, but considering that this is the 21st and not the 15th Century, I don’t suppose that they have the skill that they used to have.

rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Mind you, I don’t think that they have quite finished.

A little lower down in the Rue Cambernon they are still in something of a temporary situation as they carry on laying the electric cables in the street.

When they finish the cable-laying, they might relay the pavé to the same standard as in the Rue St Michel, but what is actually making me wonder right now is what kind of electric cables they are laying, and for what purpose?

The hope is that we might finally be having fibree-optic cable, some 25 years after we had it in Belgium and 4 years since they started to install it here, but I’m not that optimistic about that. This is the kind of work that can go on for ever.

lorry trailer minidigger porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But they obviously have some kind of plans for something, because the lorry, its trailer and the mini-digger were back this morning.

Not unloaded though, so I’ve no idea what was happening. But they haven’t apparently finished quite yet.

But never mind the pavé. After today, I’m pretty much finished. I’ve had another really bad day where I seem to have fallen deep into the pit and been paralysed by inaction. That’s not doing me any good at all.

It’s a shame really, because although I didn’t end up going to bed as early as I would have liked, I was optimistic that I would have as good a sleep as I had last night. But it wasn’t to be. Nothing like, in fact.

There were a few travels during the night and once more, I was blessed with pleasant company. I started off with a girl last night, a young girl. It could have been Percy Penguin, it could have been Castor, one of those two. But I was in the Navy when I met this girl and I was going to take her home so we set out and drove and ended up behind a convoy of farm carts pulled by a tractor. We couldn’t go past it because the roads were narrow and it was too slow. The rear cart was just bumping around hitting just about everything so I couldn’t get too close to that. Then it disappeared somewhere so we could carry on. Then we had to climb over loads and loads of brambles and rocks down this well overgrown path to reach my house. In the end I had to go first and trample down as much as I could and help her over. She was standing on my clothes so I couldn’t move and that was where we ended up. And I wish that I knew which one of my female companions it was.

Some time later, Zero and I went off together in a car to Blackpool. She did a few things on her own and so did I, and then we did a few things together before coming home. It was quite late now as we drove home, which was my old family home in Vine Tree Avenue. When we went into the house I hoped that the two of us would have some time to be alone together but her parents were still up, which was surprising. It was Christmas morning so they had started to celebrate rather early. Surprisingly they said nothing whatever about anything.

Later still I was at the hospital last night and I’d had a booster injection, then I had an appointment with someone. But the booster injection didn’t show up on my passport so I went to see someone at reception. There was already one person being served, then there was me, then a girl came up behind. Thea someone came and started to talk to this third girl so I shouted “hello” quite loudly making it clear that it was me next. I explained the situation to this receptionist and she replied in English that it takes a day or two to come through. That’s why when someone comes to the hospital asking for a pill for the temporary effects they always take a note of their name and number

There was more to it than this but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you any inconvenience. But nevertheless, Zero and either Percy Penguin or Castor all on the same night. My luck really was in for a change.

But talking of people who I met on my travels a long way from home, we haven’t seen anything of The Vanilla Queen for a couple of years. I wonder how she’s doing.

Leaving the bed was agony this morning, and I didn’t have long to hang around before I had to nip off to the doctor’s.

christmas lights place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It came to my mind while I was on my way out that I hadn’t seen the Christmas decorations in the Place Cambernon yet this year.

On my way to the Rue St Michel I went that way for a look as it was still just about dark enough to appreciate them. But they were nothing special. Just the same old stuff that they have every year.

So I took my photograph to add to my collection that one day when I’m feeling better (whenever that might be) and pushed on down the road towards the Rue St Michel, chatting with one of my neighbours whom I encountered on my way down.

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022We have a visitor in the harbout too today.

We can tell that this is Normandy Trader by the little raised deck behind the bridge. She’s come in on the morning tide for what I believe to be the first trip of the year, and is busy loading up.

And that might explain the lorry with the building materials that was doing a U-turn in the chantier naval yesterday.

At the doctor’s, he renewed my physiotherapy and my Aranesp prescriptions, and delighted on showing his student doctor a photo of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and telling her all about my voyages.

He mentioned the radio too. I hadn’t realised that I was such a celebrity!

But he also mentioned something else. Apparently he’s had some kind of sneak preview of the report that the cardiologist will present to me next week. There’s something somewhere in my body that I’m supposed to have 50 units of, but which some people might have as many as 250. I have 2246.

No idea what it is though. Craig thinks that it’s the size of my spirit, but I reckon that it’s the number or people whom I p*ss*d off last year. anyway, I’ll find out soon enough.

Next stop was the bank. I’d had my cheque for the last 3 months of my Belgian pension so I needed to pay it in. It also had my Christmas bonus too, so aren’t I the lucky one? And now I can go off and paint the town red with that extra €32:00.

moving apartment post office place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022But I didn’t let it lie fallow for long.

There are bills that need to be paid so I headed off to the Post Office to post off a cheque. And there was an interesting removal job going on from the apartment up above.

They could do with a couple of these lifts that are quite common in Belgium. That will be a much more convenient machine that the pallet truck that they are using.

Next stop was the chemist’s to give them my prescription. She’ll have to order them of course, and I can pick them up again later in the afternoon.

normandy trader leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way home we had even more excitement.

Having seen Normandy Trader loading up on our way down into town, we were lucky enough to catch her stern as she sailed off out of the harbour back to St Helier. That’s what I call a quick turn-round.

Back here, the first job was to book my trip to Leuven next week. And that’s not as easy as it might be either.

Covid (would you believe more than 330,000 new cases of infection today?) has decimated the railway network and the trains are not running as they usually would

With the choice of either sitting at Paris Gare du Nord for almost 3 hours or making an early start, I’ve gone for the early start option and I’m on the … gulp … 06:55 to Caen and then to St Lazare in Paris, the reverse of the trip that I took a couple of months ago.

This means that I actually arrive in Brussels at 13:00 but I need to visit my bank there at some point, so this seems like the perfect opportunity. Do it on Wednesday early afternoon while I can.

That took longer than it ought to have done, but nevertheless there was time to start to edit a sound file of an interview before lunch.

After lunch I sat down to carry on with this editing but this is where I ran aground. And seriously too. I need to snap out of this. And it’s not even anything to do with the news that I had at the doctor’s either.

And with the travelling companions that I had during the night, I ought to have a smile on my face and a spriing in my step for the rest of the day

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022However not even the thought that Percy Penguin, Castor and Zero might be waiting outside for me made going out at 16:00 to pick up my Aranest any easier.

But once I was out, I was out, and first port of call was the beach to see what was happening down there. And there were a couple of people down there this afternoon.

One person was walking around along the water’s edge, but I have no idea whatever what the other person was supposed to be doing. It looked quite unhealthy to me.

There were a few other people walking around in the distance too but they were too far away for me to see what they were doing.

trawler jersey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The air was extremely clear this afternoon – one of the clearest days that we have had for a while.

As usual I had a good look around to see what was happening out in the bay, and in the distance right out towards Jersey I could see a couple of fishing boats.

And they looked as if they were heading for home too. The tide might be well out right now but by the time that they arrive in the vicinity it will be quite a way in and they’ll be able to come into harbour without too long of a wait.

There were several other boats further out towards Jersey but I couldn’t tell from this photo which way they were heading.

baie de Granville st helier jersey Eric Hall photo January 2022But you probably noticed how clear the air was in the previous photos.

The buildings at St Helier were quite visible with the naked eye even though they are 58 kilometres away.

And that reminds me that I must go over there one of these days to have a look to see which buildings are which. I’ve had a virtual drive-round with an internet program but that’s no substitute for going for a real walk around the town itself.

Talking about going for a walk around the town, I ended up at the chemist’s to pick up my Aranesp and then walked back up the hill towards home, with no drama whatsoever.

It’s still not as easy as it used to be but a lot better than it was in the summer. I’m not sure whether it’s the physiotherapy, the Aranesp or the heart medication that’s doing it.

peche à pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022On the way back, I did stop for a moment.

But not for a question of breath, but for a photo opportunity. There were some people out there having a go at the peche à pied. But if I were going to be having a go at it, I wouldn’t be at it at the entrance to the harbour where several dozen boats pass right over the top four times a day.

Back here I had a coffee, but that was that. I’d really run aground by now. So much so that I couldn’t even think of what to have for my evening meal. In a total state of indecision and confusion I ended up with a curry from out of the freezer.

It beats me where this depression has sprung from, but I know that regardless I need to pull myself together and drag myself out of it. I have far too much to do than to waste my time sitting around feeling sorry for myself.

Part of it is the inactivity, with all of this time slipping away without going anywhere or doing anything. But then, I’m not fit enough to go anywhere anyway and even if I could travel, I’d be far too tired and exhausted to do it satisfactorily and to profit from it.

So i’ve no idea what the answer might be. But whatever it is, an endless circuit of physiotherapy and shopping broken by a trip every month to Leuven isn’t it. And with Covid running rampant at the moment almost everywhere, it won’t be anything else.

332,252 cases of Covid in one day is a disgrace.

Saturday 25th December 2021 – MY CHRISTMAS DINNER …

christmas dinner place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… was delicious this evening.

Seitan slices cooked in the oven in an onion and garlic gravy with boiled and roat potatoes, peas, carrots, runner beans, chicory, leek and sprouts. Washed down with this alcohol-free beer from Belgium.

Only one thing was missing. I wanted stuffing but I’ve no idea how to make that and I forgot to look it up over the last couple of days.

Breakfast – or rather, brunch – was quite nice too. My home-made potato fritters with baked beans and vegan sausage, and toast with mushroom paté.

That’s really all of the excitement today. I was awake at 06:20 but no danger whatever of me leaving the bed at that silly time of a Bank Holiday. 10:00 is much more like it.

This morning I lazed around doing next-to-nothing – except going through some more duplicate photos. And of this 4TB hard-drive that I’m sorting, there’s now about a third of it that’s free. And still plenty to go at too.

Stuff on the dictaphone from last night’s travels. There we three of us, me, someone else and someone who might have been Percy Penguin who were travelling somewhere. We ended up in some hotel, a cheap hotel. The person with us decided that that was where we were going to stay. But he was concerned whether the hotel was of the right standard etc. I had a look round and I could see that the computer screen had a telephone socket and a computer socket in its foot. I remembered seeing that in several other hotels where we’d stayed which were of reasonable quality so I reckoned that this was it. I called the proprietor and eventually he turned up. He wasn’t sure which room it was and had to look round the hotel to find us. Eventually he found us. There had been a woman with us as well who was the cleaner of the hotel so he signed the form for this other person. My plan was to wait until he’d gone downstairs then to follow him down and book another room, just one room between me and this girl but we never actually got that far as we were still booking this room for this guy when I awoke.

I was with a young girl last night, an American girl from a very wealthy family. This family was being blackmailed and the girl couldn’t understand why it had led to all kinds of problems. Her older brother had been thrown out of home because there was a difficulty between her and her brother. There was a younger child as well. It turns out that her father was not actually her father. I was the father, having had a one-night stand with the mother. I said to the girl that it was all down to what your mother did one night 9 months before you were born. She asked “how is it possible to blackmail a family like this?”. I replied “it’s all a question of shame and disgrace and everything like that touching a nerve”. She said “it’s certainly touched a nerve with my father because the way he’s treated my brother etc”. We had quite a lengthy discussion if he should be saying “don’t you ever get pregnant otherwise you’ll end up in all kinds of mess as well

In the afternoon Laurent came round and we rattled off another pile of questions for these radio programmes. There’s still plenty to go at but I haven’t edited those as yet. One of them is going to be rather difficult but we shall see how it goes. At least, that ad-hoc talk on Erasmus went quite well.

One thing though – that’s now two people who have asked me “why don’t you have someone in to help you with the housework?”. It seems that my increasing inability to cope with everyday tasks is becoming apparent to more and more people.

However I did manage to make my tea. And it was delicious too. And while it was cooking I phoned Ingrid to wish her a Merry Christmas.

That’s everything, really. Nothing much else has happened. It’s been a nice quiet day so here’s hoping for more of the same tomorrow.

And while I’m at it, I hope that you have had a good day today too.

Saturday 6th November 2021 – I DIDN’T HAVE …

… such a productive day today as I did yesterday. I found it very hard to make a start yet again.

It should actually have been a much better day today because for once I was actually wide awake a 07:15 – 15 minutes before the alarm went off – and I should have taken full advantage of it but once again, being awake is one thing – actually leaving the bed is something else completely.

Anyway I eventually crawled out of bed and went off for my medication.

Back here I ended up deep in conversation with someone on the internet.

In my possession is a very limited-edition copy of David Hill’s AN ATLAS OF ANGLO-SAXON ENGLAND but unfortunately there are several pages missing.

The person with whom I was chatting had been a student of David Hill at Manchester University and had a copy of the Atlas himself so he copied the pages for me and sent them to me, along with several maps showing the distribution of Royal lands in South Cheshire, North Shropshire and the Maelor, my old stamping ground of course, and a copy of his thesis on the Domesday Book entries for that area.

That really was a wonderful gesture and I was very grateful for all of that. It’s restored a little of my faith in human nature.

boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021After breakfast I headed off out to do some shopping. No Caliburn so I went on foot to the local shops in town.

And by the looks of things I wasn’t the only one going out and about this morning. There was a relentless stream of boats heading out to the Ile de Chausey this morning.

That suggests that the gate at the entry to the port de plaisance opened a short while ago and everyone is taking full advnatage.

boat yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Of course, some boats are quicker away than others.

This one was right out in the bay going past the Ile de Chausey and by the size of the wake that he’s creating compared to the size of his boat he must have le feu dans ses fesses as they say around here.

On the other hand I don’t believe that the yacht to the right has gone out at that kind of speed. Either she’s been out all night or else she’s come from a non-tidal harbour, if there is such a thing around here

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021My route today was to go around the headland and down into town that way.

And I hadn’t gone too far along the path before one of the Joly France came around the corner.

One look at the stern is enough to tell us that she’s the older boat of the two. The newer one has a step cut into the stern.

There’s quite a crowd of people on board the boat as well. It’s not the best day to be going out to the Ile de Chausey but at least it’s not raining.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2111/21110044.html”>boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As I walked down the path and across the car park I could hear this dreadful racket coming from the water and I wondered what it might be.

At the end of the headland I found out that it wasn’t just one boat making a noise but a whole collection of them.

It looks to me as if the whole world is heading out to the ile de Chausey this morning and I’ve no idea why it should be so popular. I haven’t seen anything in the local newspaper.

And while we are on the subject of the local newspaper, the helicopter was scrambled yesterday to rescue two people stuck in a tidal swimming pool but a pleasure boat beat the helicopter to it.

fishermen boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And that’s not all of the water craft either.

As I went down the steps to the bottom I noticed that there were three fishermen setting themselves up on the rocks down there.

And they were having a grandstand view of everything going sailing past them this morning.

And they can consider themselves lucky too. Many people would pay good money to see a spectacle like this and we are all having it for free.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021I walked along the path at the foot of the cliffs and that brought me down to by the chantier naval.

We can have a closer look at the portable boat lift and see how sorry it’s looking without her wheels. It must be some kind of serious repair that’s had her holed up like this in the middle of the yard.

But we can do with getting her back on her feet – or her wheels, at any rate. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … a proper functioning boat repair yard is vital to the success of the port.

fishing boat with tender leaving fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Tanking of the success of the port … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was a small fishing boat unloading as I was walking along the quayside.

It didn’t take her long and, hauling her tender alongside her, she was soon off on her way again.

Her name was clearly visible on the wind deflector over the cabin but it was written in some crazy Gothic script that I couldn’t decipher. And as she doesn’t have an AIS beacon, I can’t check her registration number against my records.

crab left behind by the tide port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was something else of interest in the tidal harbour this morning.

What he’s actually doing here I really don’t know. Whether he’s fallen out of a basket from a boat that’s unloading or whether he simply fancies going for a walk is something of a mystery.

But one thing is certain and that it’s very rare for a crab to be left behind by a receding tide. If he doesn’t get a move on, he’ll be on someone’s dinner plate this evening.

st gaud port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Yesterday from up above at the viewpoint overlooking the port I noticed that there was a trawler moored where Marité is usually tied up.

As I was down this way I went for a look to see who she was.

She’s the Saint Gaud, named after a former Bishop of Evreux. There’s a shrine dedicated to him at St Pair sur Mer that used to be a centre of pilgrimage where mothers would bring their babies to receive a blessing.

After his retirement as Bishop he came to live in the Forest of Scissy part of which is today the town of St Pair sur Mer.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Next to her at the quayside is the little Chausey freighter Chausiaise.

She has a sliding top that covers the hold, as you can see. It’s similar to a design that we did in the 1980s for an outdoor swimming pool where the sides and roof slide back underneath one another to make it an open-air one in good weather.

There’s no photo of her in the shipping database and as I maintain the AIS beacon for the port I feel that I’m in some way responsible for the local boats. This photo has come out quite well so it’s now been uploaded to the database.

By the way, up on the city walls just to the left of the French flag is the viewpoint that overlooks the inner port. And that’s the hill that I have to stagger up to go home.

Around the corner I bumped into the itinerant, still going strong. I’ve not seen him for a while so we had a chat and then I went off to buy the lettuce, a baguette, some mushrooms and a couple of peppers. And a can of drink for the journey back.

barbecue marché de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I passed round by the market.

All of the smoke that you can see is from the legendary barbecue about which there was so much trouble two years or so ago. He uses charcoal to grill his sausages and the mayor at the time didn’t like the smell or the smoke so she tried to make him convert to gas.

He took her all the way up the heirarchical ladder of appeals and in the end he won his case, so he still used the charcoal. The Carnaval that year was … errr … rather cruel.

marché de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But as you can see, the market here on a Saturday morning is quite popular. It certainly pulls in the crowds.

For the first few weeks that I lived here I would come back this way from the shops on a Saturday morning but the first weekend that I tried it after the summer holidays started, I found an alternative route very quickly.

On the way back home I stopped halfway up the hill. Not because I was exhausted but rather because I wasn’t and I had my can of drink to drink before I returned home. It was nice sitting on the wall overlooking the port with a can of drink in my hand.

As I approached my buildiing I bumped into yet another neighbour and she held me captive for 20 minutes chatting about this and that. I reallt do seem to be popular right now and i’ve no idea what I’ve done to deserve that.

As a result it was almost lunchtime by the time that I came back inside.

This afternoon I’ve been working on the arears of the journal, adding in the photos and the dreams from when I was in Leuven last month. Now they are all up-to-date.

And after I’d done that I transcribed some dreams for a couple more days and I’ll be adding them in as I go along over the next while – just in time (presumably) to go into arrears again when I go to Leuven in 10 days time. It’s a vicious circle in which I find myself at the moment.

In the meantime, last night I was with my mother somewhere. I was in one room of the house. There was music on the radio so I was playing along on the bass but on one particular song the bass actually switched on and was really loud. When I looked, one of the potentiometers was glowing red-hot with sparks. I couldn’t get down there to turn off or turn down the sound

There had been a whole new road network opened from after Whitchurch to Shrewsbury and Market Drayton. It was quite late at night and I decided that even though I had things to do I would go to see if after someone had told me something about it. I set off and just as I was coming onto the new bit there was a telephone box so I thought that I’d stop and put all my papers in order because I’d thrown them into the car. I wanted to check on the ferry at 02:30 which was the one that I should have been on but then I couldn’t find my papers. The 2 people sitting in the back, I don’t know where they came from were having a rummage around in the car. Eventually they found something and I found the rest. I was sitting on it. Percy Penguin in the passenger seat read out the ferry booking number to me so I wrote it down. I found that I’d already written it once in my notebook. That meant that I could phone up about the ferry that I should have been on.

I’d been doing a coach tour. I’d had to go out, drive over 300 miles, pick up some passengers and bring them back to the depot and be back by lunchtime. I had loads of things that I’d brought with me, tools and everything and I had to get them into my red Cortina estate. That took me an age to do that. Then I had to set off and drive back home but I had a phone call to make, to ring up my niece in Canada. I parked my car at the side of the road and went to the phone box. The number wasn’t actually the number that I thought it was but it was there written down so I thought that I’d go to dial it. Then I noticed that my bike was missing. The car outside had changed into a bike. I went out to look for it and there were 2 girls there. One was Zero. She had my bike but she had hit something with it. I asked her why she’d taken it. She relied that 2 boys had taken it and had a ride on it but it was some stupid bike without a computer so they’d dumped it so she’d gone on it and gone for a ride. I had to go back and find a phone box and telephone Canada again. She came with me in the phone box. I started looking for my notebook which I eventually found. There was the number written down in it but it was the wrong number. I remembered that the last time the number had changed. I thought that I’m not going to be able to phone up because I only have one 10p. If I dial the wrong number I’m going to lose it and I won’t be able to call her again.

But here I am, stuck in a tiny, confined space like a telephone box with Zero who can’t possibly escape from my evil clutches and I choose that moment to awaken. You couldn’t make up something like that.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual I nepped out at 16:00 to go and see the beach.

At the moment the tide is well out as you can see so there was plenty of beach this afternoon. There were quite a few people down there as well this afternoon going for a good walk around .

The weather is quite cool and there’s a little wind, but it’s been windier and colder than this already so it’s not too bad for November. But I imagine that over the next few weeks winter will be starting to get a grip on everything and that will be the last that we shall see of the idlers.

hermitage promenade donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A few weeks ago I posted a photo or two to show that the beach cabins on the Plat Gousset have been taken away for the wonter to protect them from the storms.

Down on the promenade at Donville-les-Bains they don’t seem to be too concerned by that. The cabins are still there.

To the left is that big building that used to be a hotel but is now a block of apartments and flats. I had a look at a room that was to let there not long after I came to live here but it really was in bad condition and I didn’t like it all that much at all.

Back here I carried on work until tea time. Breaded burgers and veg with baked potatoes and it really was delicious. I must admit that I’m eating really well since I’ve been living here.

Now my journal entry is written I’m going to have a little relax and then go to bed. I can’t describe how much I’ve been looking forward to the lie-in tomorrow but the problem will be that having spent all weel working myself up to it, somethign will happen to put a spanner in the works.

We shall see.

Monday 1st November 2021 – WHAT A DAY!

You might think that when I tell you that I finished my radio programme by 10:35 this morning, that I had set a new record. But unfortunately it wasn’t quite like that.

After yet another miserable night I sat bolt upright at 06:11 wondering why my alarm hadn’t gone off at 06:00. I fell out of bed, had my medication and dashed back to make a start with the radio programme.

And then, 40 minutes later when the alarm finally did go off, I was wondering what on earth was happening until I suddenly twigged. I hadn’t had a shower yesterday so I hadn’t plugged my fitbit into the computer to upload the data and synchronise itself.

Consequently it hadn’t adjusted to the change of the hour and I’d actually left my bed at 05:11

Making a start at such a time like that, I might even have finished a lot earlier too but today I decided that instead of using the ZOOM H1, I used the new ZOOM H8.

It is, as you might expect, much more complicated to set up and takes much longer to regulate but the quality is undoubtedly better. It was a really good experience to use it because it made sure that I understood how it worked and that I could produce some results from it.

However I won’t be using it again for my radio programmes – for the simple reason that to record in stereo I need to use two mikes and two channels otherwise it simply records in mono. The little Zoom records automatically in stereo.

Having done that, I had breakfast and then I had a few other things to do that took me right up to lunchtime – and my bread is absolutely delicious, just as I thought that it would be.

My bad day hasn’t quite finished yet either.

After lunch I put the heater on in the bathroom to warm it up ready for my shower and my general clean-up before going out for my physiotherapy session – and then I realised that today in France is a Bank Holiday and there is no physiotherapy today.

And with it being a Bank Holiday, I could have legitimately had a nice long lie-in instead of being up and about at that ridiculous time this morning.

Instead, I carried on with writing up Saturday’s journal entry, and listening to where I’d been during the night. Percy Penguin, who doesn’t figure in these notes half as often as she deserves, had paid me a flying visit. Instead of seeing her at the usual time I was having to see her at a different time. I came back from work, went to the canteen, had some lunch and went round to dump some stuff in her house. There were some people in there and she came and had cut her hair. It was just down to her shoulder blades and I felt very disappointed with that.

Later on I wanted to buy some shares so I had a cunning plan. To go to the Post Office, open a bank account and buy the shares at the Post Office and start to pay the dividends into that account. In the meantime that would enable me to close down one of my two accounts here in France. I arrived at the Post Office rather late and there was a queue right outside the door but I was seen quite quickly. I had to reduce my documentation which was a bit of a fumble. The guy found out that I already had an account there so the first part was quite easy and straightforward. Then he told me that they didn’t actually purchase shares – the office was somewhere else. It wasn’t in the locality where I had to go for them which was something of a disappointment. I should really have done this at the bank. I was preparing to leave but suddenly realised that he hadn’t asked me for the money to pay into this account, presumably because it was open already. I wondered what I was going to do about that.

Finally, there had been an airship that had crashed in north-west France. We’d gone out to investigate it. As we were investigating it we didn’t think that it looked quite right. We heard that somewhere along the route a pile of bodies and debris and everything had been found on top of a mountain along this airship’s route. Our immediate thought was that it had grounded out on some high point and ripped off the rear cabin. This was soon changed after a while when it seemed that the rear cabin had been in an explosion. A bomb had been planted aboard that had blown the rear cabin out and killed everyone in there whose bodies had fallen onto this mountain-top. Of course this had altered the handling capabilities of the airship and that was what had caused it to crash around where we were. We set off in a car to try to locate the spot where these bodies had been found. We were driving somewhere around the Chester way heading into North Wales. There was an old Ford Zodiac with a pile of aerials on it looking as if it was some kind of radio car that was in the hunt. We were heading into North Wales to carry on our quest for this first lot of human remains and so on into North Wales. There was something about someone had bought the site to erect a monument and the site had changed hands again and the new owner was trying to raise money for a monument.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was the break this afternoon for my walk, somewhat later than usual.

There wasn’t anyone down on the beach this afternoon, for the rather prosaic reason that there isn’t any beach for anyone to be on. The tide is right in now, up to the foot of the cliffs.

You can see what I meant yesterday about those people down there. It’s easy to be cut off from the steps that bring people up to the Rue du Nord.

There were very few people around on the path this afternoon so I had this part of my circuit at least pretty much to myself.

people pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Along the path and across the car park I came to the end of the headland.

There were a couple of people down there looking as if they were taking a photograph of themselves standing on the end of the headland.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, photographs of people taking photographs is something that features quite often on these pages.

There weren’t any fishermen out there this afternoon on the rocks, and no boats in the bay either. It was all quite quiet as everyone begins to go into hibernation for the winter, which won’t be long a-coming.

le styx unloading fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was no change at all in the chantier naval this afternoon – the portable boat lift was still parked up in the middle of the yard.

Over at the fish processing plant, we had one of the port’s trawlers, Le Styx, unloading over there onto the wharf. You can see one of the many electric cranes that they use to winch the loads up onto the top.

When she finished unloading, she cast off and pulled away from the plant, but I didn’t see where she went because I was moving off down the path towards home.

workmen's compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I walked past the place where I could look down on the workmen’s compound in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

That job that they are undertaking in the Rue Cambernon is taking its time. They must be doing a thorough job on it, whatever it is. I shall have to go down that way on Wednesday on my way to the physiotherapist in order to have a closer look.

Back here I made myself a coffee and carried on with my journal entry from Saturday and now that’s on line. There are just a huge pile of photos now to edit, and I’ll make a start on that tomorrow.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice, and it was delicious as usual. And now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a long day and I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be at my best. But no matter what I do, there’s little hope of that.

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 Zero 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.