Tag Archives: pharmacy

Saturday 27th May 2023 – WE ARE NOW BACK …

… in the position where we were a few months ago. The freezer is now full to bursting once more.

It was a good day round at the shops to-day and once again, Noz came up trumps as it does every so often.

But anyway, I didn’t beat the alarm this morning. I was somewhere down in Newcastle under Lyme at the PMT bus garage where I was to pick up a bus to work a local service around Newcastle. They’d given me the information and then given me a route map but the map was a kind-of abstract map. I couldn’t identify anything on this map compared to how it is in real life so I had to find someone to explain the route to me. I was wandering around this depot trying to find someone. I found one or two people but they were of no help whatsoever. I really needed an inspector or something but I just couldn’t find anyone at all. There were all these buses parked up. No-one had actually told me which one was mine. I thought to myself “I can see this being a disaster too if I don’t organise things quite quickly” and that’s something that is a recurring theme too.

It didn’t take too long to organise myself this morning, which is a surprise. and it’s just as well because Alison phoned. She needed to talk about things like kitchens and showers so we were there on the ‘phone for about an hour discussing various things.

As a result I was rather later than usual going out to the shops but who cares? I’d much rather talk to my friends than almost anything. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I don’t have many friends but those whom I have are the best in the World.

So at Noz, the first thing that I discovered was a pile of McVitie’s ginger biscuits, and the vegan version too. I know that I like to bake my own biscuits these days but I’m not going to miss out on several rolls of these.

And in the deep freezer they had carrot burgers from some Italian company and a pile of those breaded quorn fillets that I like, only a Findus variety with the labelling in Danish and Swedish.

My diet can be somewhat monotonous if I’m not feeling adventurous so I’m not going to miss out on the chance to add some extra stuff into it so I grabbed several boxes of each of those to shake things up a little.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, Noz is a chain of shops that buys bankrupt stock, surpluses, short lifespan products and the like and sells them off quite cheaply. I’ve had piles of stuff from there over the past 10 or 12 years since I first encountered one and there’s usually always something in there to add some excitement to my diet.

LeClerc came up with the goods too. Some of that sliced fondue vegan cheese in the clearance range so I liberated a pile of that too. I also bought some lasagne. It’s years since I made myself a lasagne and I had a sudden craving for one. I might have a go at that next week.

But there was something rather surprising in LeClerc today. They have a few assistants who roam around the store to help the elderly and infirm with their shopping, and one of them came over to me to ask if I needed help.

In the past I’ve been told, and on one or two occasions quite bluntly too, that I didn’t look as if I’m dying. But after my adventures last autumn everyone who saw me on my return told me how ill I was looking and how they were worried that I might not pull through – even my doctor. But I reckon that it’s becoming clearer by the minute now and if Regina is reading this, then “I told you so”.

It’s all very reminiscent of when I used to live in Brussels and one of my friends happened to see me
“Eric!” he exclaimed. “We thought that you were dead”
“Not at all. It just smells like it.”

Back here the first thing that I did was to clean and dice the 2kg of carrots that I’d bought and set them off a–blanching. I’m running low on carrots in the freezer so I need to stock up. And then I had breakfast – cheese on toast and some nice, strong coffee.

There was time to transcribe the rest of the dictaphone notes, because I’d been on my travels quite a lot during the night. I was in a group last night with a few other people. There was a keyboard player and a guitarist whom I remember. The guitarist was quite young. We took the stage and began to play. A girl came up and went over to the guy playing the guitar and singing and began to gyrate around him. It was clear that she was putting him completely off his stroke. When it came to the part where he was supposed to sing he turned to the keyboard player and said “you’ll have to sing this”. This led to an argument between the two of them. As soon as the concert finished and it was already undignified with a few spectators and someone was getting an awful amount of mileage out of this, teasing them both about their group, how disorganised and how bad it was.

And isn’t that a shame? I seem to have gone beyond the days when girls would come along and gyrate all around me – even when I’m off on another plane of existence. I’m losing count of the number of times that I’ve snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in this respect during the night, without counting the number of times members of my family have come along to queer my pitch in the middle of something exciting.

Later on I’d been staying in a cabin with a couple of old guys, the type of thing that you’d find on the frontier 150 years ago. Cabin fever was definitely striking and we were arguing about just about anything. One of the guys decided that he would let rip with a full-blown argument point out to me all my faults and defects. I had an answer for everything that he said but it was just one of those things that if you became involved in this argument you’d be there for ever and nothing would ever be resolved.

And that’s something else, isn’t it? Cabin fever is quite a well-known phenomenon in the High Arctic and there were several cases amongst some of us after several months on THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. My suggestion that we round up the more cantankerous members of our party and send them ashore on the first zodiac to see whether there were any polar bears about did not however meet with universal approval, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Immediately after that little episode I awoke with a terrible pain in my right knee as if I’d over-exerted it yesterday. However it eased off after a while and I went back to sleep.

Once the carrots were draining and drying off I headed into town in the beautiful sunshine. And do you know – it’s taken me about 6 months to realise that if there is a set of steps with the handrail on the right, I can go down much quicker and easier if I go down backwards?

The Aranesp was waiting for me so I picked it up and headed home. Having struggled with my shoulder bag falling off my shoulder and knocking me and my crutches out of balance, I’d found a backpack that I’d bought ages ago to use as a day pack when I go out walkies (not that I’ll be doing much of that these days) and that was much better.

On the way back I fell in with one of my neighbours, Pierre, the one who owned the Spirit of Conrad on which we sailed down the Brittany coast FOR A WEEK a few years ago. We had a good chat about this and that. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I seem to be the flavour of the Month since I now own a share of this building.

From there I came back in a regrettably, at that point I … errr … had a little relax, just as I thought that I might. It’s all becoming rather monotonous, but there’s nothing that I can buy in Noz to alleviate that.

While Alison and I had been chatting earlier I’d told her that I’d sort out a few photos of the kitchen that I’d had installed in Expo so I had a rummage around in various old directories (yes, they are still “directories” – I haven’t recovered after learning DOS 5.0) and sorted out a few to send to her.

The rest of the day has been spent resurrecting an old project. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when they opened the road over Eagle Plateau in 2010 so that you could drive all the way across from northern Québec to the Labrador coast, I was one of the first TO ATTEMPT IT

At that time I went as a tourist and I had no idea what to expect so after I returned I did a pile of research and went again in 2014 and then in 2015 by which time I’d bought Strider who was a much-more suitable vehicle for going off-roading. The aim on those occasions was write a sequel but from a historical and social point of view.

Unfortunately that project ground to a halt because a few months after returning in 2015 I was swept up in all of this.

And as well as that, I went again in 2017 when I went out in a couple of small boats to visit some of the abandoned settlements that were cleared out under Joey Smallwood’s “bigger is better” policy of the 1950s and for which even 70 years later the people of the Labrador coast are still paying the price.

However, I digress … “yet again” – ed.

The task therefore, if I choose to accept it, is to resurrect what I was doing in 2015 and to add in the stuff from 2017 and start again. So this afternoon I’ve been trying to find all the notes that I made back in those days.

Tea tonight was a couple of small breaded quorn fillets that I’d bought ages ago and were festering in the freezer. Wo while I pulled them out, I stuck the carrots in. I had the fillets along with a salad and some fried potato cubes done in the air fryer. That was really nice.

Tomorrow is a Sunday of course so I’ll be having a lie-in. But I have some radio notes that I’ve written and I’ll dictate them tonight once the street outside is quiet. That’ll give me something to do tomorrow and on Monday, and then I can crack on with this and that.

But before I go, yesterday I was talking about South Pass. There’s one song that I always associate with South Pass and THAT CAME ROUND on the playlist.
“We rolled across the high plains
Deep into the mountains
Felt so good to me
Finally, feelin’ free
Somewhere along a high road
The air began to turn cold
She said she missed her home
I headed on alone, oh, oh”

(and who do those last two lines bring to mind?)

The song is all about “The High Plains” of Wyoming, which WE VISITED IN 2002 when I was on my course at the Solar Energy Institute but the photo in the posted extract is a long, long way from the High Plains of Wyoming. Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its earlier guises will recall having seen that image BEFORE.

“Next time
We’ll get it right”

Friday 26th May 2023 – MY LUNCH TODAY …

… was delicious.

Down at the supermarket in town this morning they had some fresh broccoli on special offer so I bought a chunk, trimmed off the florets, blanched them and then stuck them in the freezer for a later date, now that I have room.

There was a nice, thick, chunky stalk left over so I made a soup. I fried an onion and garlic in olive oil with some cumin and coriander, diced a couple of small potatoes and diced the stalk, added it to the mixture to fry and when it was all soft, added some of the water in which I’d blanched the broccoli.

After about 20 minutes’ worth of simmering, I whizzed it with the whizzer and ate it with some crusty bread.

And I’ll do that again!

But here I am, waxing lyrical about going to the shops and buying some broccoli as if it’s the highlight of my life. One of those memory things popped up on my social network, reminding me that 11 years ago today I was out on an icebreaker as we smashed our way through the pack-ice on our way back to Natashquan after taking relief supplies out to THAT ISOLATED ISLAND off the “forgotten coast” of Québec.

The moral of this story is “whenever an opportunity comes your way, grab it with both hands and go right to the end. You’ll never know if you’ll have another chance, and you never know what the future has in store for you”.

While we’re on the subject of the High Arctic … “well, one of us is” – ed … the first track to come round on the playlist this morning, after what I had said yesterday, was THE VANILLA QUEEN.

It’s been a long time since that “fascinating lady” has been to “haunt me in my dreams” after “the bright, nocturnal Vanilla Queen” and I stood together on the bow of THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR watching the midnight sun in the Davis Strait. I was never the same again.

And while we’re on the subject of the High Arctic … “well, one of us is” – ed … the lovely Dyan Birch, whose voice is up there with Kate Bush, Julianne Regan and Annie Haslam, put in an appearance shortly afterwards.

She was well-know of course for her stint in Kokomo but before that she sang in an obscure Liverpool group called Arrival and their first album was one of the very first albums that I ever bought all those years ago.

The song that featured on the playlist was HEY THAT’S NO WAY TO SAY GOODBYE and I picked that as one of the ones to be broadcast in one of my radio programmes in due course.

It’s the song that came into my head up in the High Arctic as I watched “someone” walk from out on this desolate windswept and icebound airstrip to her aeroplane without waving or looking back and I thought to myself “hey, that’s no way to say goodbye!” but a few years later when I was saying goodbye to someone else on another airport, I suddenly realised the reason why some goodbyes have to be said in that way.

Samuel Gurney Cresswell, the artist and Arctic explorer, was once asked to explain Robert McClure’s loss of nerve after their dreadful experience in the moving pack-ice not too far from the first airport that I first mentioned. He replied that a voyage to the High Arctic “ought to make anyone a wiser and better man”.

However it didn’t work for me. One day I’ll write up the story of those three missing days.

But that’s enough maudlin nostalgia for the moment. We all know that nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

Let’s turn our attention instead to this morning, and the fact that one more I was up and about (in principle because I was far from awake) before the alarm went off.

But a shower slowly brought me round and I put the washing on the go. Oh! The excitement! It’s almost as riveting as the day that I had when the highlight was taking out the rubbish.

There was plenty of time before I had to go anywhere so I transcribed the dictaphone notes from the night. This was another one of these work dreams again, and I’m having plenty of those. I was working in an office but I wasn’t very productive and I wasn’t doing very much at all. Mostly wasting time. The Germans invaded the country and occupied the town where our office was situated. They ordered most people to leave. Those people gathered their things together and started to set off. At that moment I came back into the building having missed everything that was going on, saw them going, and said something like “goodbye, my colleagues. I don’t know how many of us will meet again after this thing has happened. Wishing everyone the best”. I’d heard some stories that some farmers had been far too friendly with the invaders and denounced a couple of people already. So we sat and started on what was going to be a very long ordeal.

But invaders again? We had them the other night, didn’t we?

Then there was something else on these lines. Someone ended up sending something or other to the office where we were working, as a kind-of sign of discontent but I can’t remember anything about it.

I also spent much of the night in company with a young girl and I wish that I knew who she was. We were talking about the area up at the back of Barrow, places like that. I mentioned a fishing port that was formerly very busy. When the fishing died out they came and moved some of the railway lines that connect the port network to the main line but left a diesel shunter behind that was now stranded on the dock and can’t be moved. We were chatting about all kinds of interesting things. Right at the end there was some kind of problem about her having to pay her rent on her little apartment so I suggested that she comes to live in mine. This was another one of those really nice, warm comfortable dreams that I wished would go on for ever and I don’t have too many of those.

But seriously, who would want a relationship with me?

It was a slow stagger down to the doctor’s and I didn’t have long to wait to see him. But as I thought the other day, he confirmed that with this series of injections, there’s nowhere else to go. He wrote out everything that I needed, wrote out the prescriptions, and that was that.

And that got me thinking.

It’s not the first time that I’ve mentioned it but a few years ago I was standing ON THE CREST OF SOUTH PASS, the gap that the “trails west” emigrants used when crossing the Continental Divide where to the east the waters drain into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, and to the west they drain into the Pacific.

It’s the most peaceful place on earth and I want to go back. I’m getting itchy feet again.

At the Carrefour round the corner I bought the broccoli, some mushrooms, some potatoes and a couple more of the small peppers. Now I know that I can freeze them, i might as well put a stock in the freezer now that there’s room.

Have you any idea how much a month’s supply of Aranesp costs? You really don’t want to know. And because it’s not on the list of GP-prescribed medication I have to pay for it up front and claim it back from my health insurance. That will hurt for a while.

So loaded up with a ton of medication (I’m singlehandedly keeping the French pharmaceutical industry afloat and they won’t ‘arf miss me when nature takes its toll) and having to go back tomorrow for some more, I crawled back up the hill onto my rock where I made my soup, had lunch and then … errr … relaxed. This stagger back takes its toll of me.

This afternoon I finished off choosing the music for the next batch of radio programmes but I’ve run aground at the moment. There’s a French musician called Miquette Giraudy who collaborated with Steve Hillside-Village and she wrote and played on several tracks. But you try to find them. None of my usual sources came up with the goods. The best example of her work that I can find so far is the album on which she collaborated with Hillage after he left “Gong”.

Both Alison and Liz were on line later so I ended up chatting to both of them. Alison was telling me more detail relating to our chat yesterday and Liz was showing me photos of her little week away in the Marches.

Tea was chips (now that I have some potatoes) done in the air fryer, with salad and some of the veggie balls. So you might say that part of my meal was a load of balls this evening. But then again, you might not.

Shopping tomorrow, not that I need very much at all but I have to go through the motions. I’ll go to LeClerc of course to see what they have to say for themselves, and I’lll also go for a prowl around at Noz. There’s usually a few surprises there and it’s nice to buy something different. It helps to shake up the diet.

And then after lunch a walk into town to pick up the Aranesp, which means that in the afternoon I’ll be crashing out. Terrible, isn’t it?

Thursday 13th April 2023 – THE VISITING NURSE …

… came round this morning to take my blood sample, and I was surprised. After all, he’d tried one of my biscuits when he was here on Monday, and he’s still alive. They must be quite good so I’ll have to make some more of them.

Mind you, he wasn’t so good at taking the blood sample from me. I ended up looking and feeling like a dart board. And to add insult to injury, he said that he hadn’t managed to fill all of the three tubes that were required but he hoped that there would be enough for the analysis.

When he turned up, at 08:40 this morning, I was really pleased because I was starving. And so would you have been too had you been up since 04:45 this morning. I’d awoken a long time before that too but just couldn’t go back to sleep.

And so with an early start like that I took full advantage of the peace and quiet by dictating some of the backlog of notes that i’d been accumulating.

While I was on my travels around the internet checking up on a few things that I’d written I happened to notice that the first Hawkfest – Space-rock festivals promoted by Hawkwind to try to recapture the spirit of the early rock festivals of the late 60s and 70s – started on a 19th July some time 20-odd years ago.

By pure coincidence that’s a Friday next year.

One thing that I’ve wanted to do is to dedicate a whole programme to just one group and while that’s not really feasible, I have quite a collection of music from obscure space-rock bands who came to whatever prominence they had thanks to an appearance at a Hawkfest, so I think that I’ll have my own Hawkfest on 19th July next year, if I’m still here

A couple of hours of spacerock would be really nice, but I’ll have to find out who has the recording rights to Nik Turner’s performances with his old group “Children Of The Sun” after he died last year.

Once the nurse had gone, I had a bowl of cornflakes and then set out for town in the rain to pick up my Aranesp. It didn’t take me long to go there and come back, although I was quite exhausted when I arrived back home.

One thing that I didn’t have to do though was to go to the post office. NIkon got back to me this morning to tell me that the old NIKON D5000 can’t be repaired. It’s not been made for years and parts are no longer available.

Considering that I bought it in June 2010 I’m not really surprised, but it would have been nice to have kept it going for longer.

So what do I do now? Mirrorless seems to be all the rage but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we don’t seem to have much luck with the NIKON 1 J5. It’s not strong enough to withstand shocks and being smaller than a conventional camera, the moving parts are smaller, lighter and much more delicate.

Having said that, I do persevere with the Nikon 1 because it fits quite nicely in a pocket and being lightweight, I can carry it around quite easily when I’m doing something else. The quality is surprisingly good but only within its limits and I’m expecting it to do much more than it’s capable of doing.

Armed with my cheese on toast and a coffee I came back in here to carry on working but I just couldn’t keep going and by 13:00 I was back in bed asleep. And that’s no surprise either.

Not that I was there for long, though. The laboratory rang me to say that they needed more blood. Caliburn came to the rescue and we went off there.

Surprisingly, the nurse there found my blood straight away with no drama and it didn’t take long to sort out.

The laboratory is just over the road from But, the electrical houseware supplier, so I went over there. I need a built-in microwave oven to go in the units that I bought in Germany last summer that I’ll be installing in the new apartment.

Another thing that I want is a big fridge-freezer seeing as there’s a nice space there in the kitchen, and so I reckoned that I’d go there for a good look around.

Back here I had my hot chocolate and finished off the last of my home-made biscuits while I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I was dictating out the music (do I mean the text?) last night and had it all arranged. The speech had been edited and I was intending to snip it into sections ready to assemble but for some unknown reason I forgot how to do it. I was sitting there for ages looking at the database that I keep, wondering about what I was supposed to be doing to assemble it all to make a proper radio programme. The way it was laid out on the database it just didn’t look right to me at all.

Later on, our mother was keeping us prisoner in our house. We couldn’t go out. We worked out where she’d hidden the key. While we were doing that someone else had worked out a way by which he could open the door but it was long and complicated. he waited until our mother had got up, left her bed and gone out and he began to creep downstairs. Of course we knew that mother would have left her key in her bedroom so we said “you want the third door”. He made a gesture, one, two, three, and started to go downstairs again. We said “no, Clive, the third door” but he carried on downstairs. He didn’t understand that we wanted him to go to the third door on this floor which was my mother’s room where he could find the key just sitting there.

At another point I had plenty of things to do but it was lunchtime and I was being friendly to my colleagues. We were standing around talking and I could see my lunch hour fading away rapidly. But then she invited us up to the 1st floor to have a look at the furniture that she was making in this warehouse. We said that we’d go. Before we reached the stairs she took us to a wall. She pressed a button and a panel rose up. There was an old fireplace that had been bricked up. She asked us to smell by it. We couldn’t smell anything at first but as she closed it there was a smell of varnish. I told her about it. We went upstairs. She had tons of furniture up there including a gorgeous collection of kitchens. We had a good look around here. I thought that there was some lovely stuff. The quality was undeniable but it wasn’t exactly my taste. I ended up spending a lot of time looking at everything to see if there was anything there that really caught my eye.

Tea tonight was beautiful – yet again. That vegan Cheshire cheese that I found in LeClerc a few weeks ago melts really well and with the new dairy thickener that I found there the other day, my cheese sauce was the best that I’ve ever made.

Consequently, steamed vegetables and falafel balls in a vegan cheese sauce it was. I’ll certainly have more of that some other time too. I’m really pleased that the supply of vegan food in mainstream French shops seems to be growing all the time. And not before time either.

So tomorrow I have the physiotherapist coming round in the morning to put me through my paces. I need to be at my best because I have some working-out to do ready to go off to the hospital next week for treatment.

So an early night it is. Here’s hoping that it’s not an early morning.

Wednesday 12th April 2023 – MY HOME-MADE …

… garlic naan was delicious. And what’s even better is that there are two more balls of dough in the freezer for further use for the next batch of leftover curries. And shock! Horror! I didn’t use the air fryer but stuck the naan in the wok to cook when I’d finished cooking the curry.

The leftover curry tonight was even better than usual too. The naan bread recipe called for just half a pot of soya yoghurt so instead of soya cream, I added the remains of the pot to my curry and that definitely gave it a certain je ne sais quoi that it didn’t have before.

The fact is that gradually I’m working on my diet and my meals and I’m having some really good stuff. My diet is improving in leaps and bounds and that can only be good news.

It’s better news that what happened during the night. That’s certainly true. I was late going to bed and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I was already sitting down here working. I’d been up since 06:00 and awake for more than an hour before that. It was quite a dreadful night.

Anyway I went for a shower and then set off to walk to the doctor’s, with both my crutches. I almost had a fall going down the steps to the Place Pelley but I managed to hang on and made it the rest of the way.

The doctor was extremely pleased to see me and he said so. He also said that when he saw me for the first time after I came back from Canada via the hospital he was extremely worried and wasn’t sure at all that I would pull through.

Not the first time that I’ve heard that either. I had a friend once who told me that he had been at death’s door but the hospital pulled him through.

After the doctor threw me out, armed with a pile of prescriptions, I went first to the little Carrefour and then round to the pharmacy. Outside, I met the friendly neighbourhood itinerant street dweller and we had quite a chat.

The chemist has to order in my Aranesp so that’s another trip down into town tomorrow. And I’m slowly warming to the idea of going to Leuven next by train regardless of the struggle through Paris because right now I seem to be managing to walk fairly well, all things considered, on my crutches and I’m hoping for an improvement after my week next week at the hospital.

What underlined that was the walk back home afterwards. I made it all the way back here without having to stop to catch my breath and it’s been an age since I’ve been able to do that. Things are looking up.

While i’d been in town I’d bought a crusty baguette so I made some cheese on toast for a late breakfast, especially now that I can actually buy vegan cheese in the big supermarkets. It’s not just my cooking that’s looking up but the supply of ingredients too.

Tons of stuff on the dictaphone too from during the night despite how short it was. I was driving a taxi last night. I had my little company going but all kinds of issues were going on. I ended up with just one car doing a few bits and pieces here and there. I was fed up with trying to organise everything and do everything. It ended up in Court for some reason or other. It was all very depressing last night.

And then I was in a house with someone. She was going to have a bath. She had left me alone in the living room. I’d seen all of her plants. She had some books on plants.

There was also a dream about a big female cat like Chloe (the cervil). She’d had kittens and one of them wasn’t very well. It had a respiratory issue. She brought the kitten to me to presumably take to the vet. I took the kitten and her too at the same time.

Later on I stepped back into one of these dreams again about a girl whom I’d been dating. Her parents began to accept me as some kind of fixture. She told me that Robert had rung up to talk to me. She thought that this was my father. I explained that this was Percy Penguin’s father. I couldn’t understand why he would want to get in touch with me. Her mother didn’t say very much and wandered away so I talked to this girl who by now had become Percy Penguin. She was saying that she’s being treated much better at home now because she’s been spending more time with them and more time looking after the pets and animals which has made har parents quite grateful. Maybe my new favoured position has something to do with all of that.

When I awoke later on (whatever that’s supposed to mean) I was with this girl again. I don’t know what’s happening here now.

That’s not everything that happened during the night by the way, but you really don’t want to know about the rest of it.

The cleaner came round this afternoon and we had a good chat while I wrote out some notes for one of my radio programmes. But then I crashed out – good and proper too – for at least an hour so I didn’t do as much as I would have liked. But I still managed to find the time to make some dough for the delicious naan bread.

having talked about my curry earlier, I’m just going to do a little more work and then I’ll head for bed. No lie-in tomorrow of course because I’m having a blood test and I have to have had nothing to eat. So right now I’m finishing off the last of the special chocolate that I bought for myself for Easter and then I’ll be going to bed.

But after crashing out like I did today I probably won’t have much of a sleep tonight either. Still, a good walk into town should wear me out enough and I’ll be fit for nothing when the physio comes round on Friday morning.

It’s all go around here, isn’t it?

Thursday 9th March 2023 – MY LITTLE WALK …

… into town today seemed to go even better and I felt much more like my old self.

That’s not to say that I was feeling cured and that I no longer had the issue with my legs because that’s a feeling that’s not going away, but I was feeling a lot more enthusiastic and I was moving about rather easier.

During the night I was moving about too – a lot more than I would normally have liked and as a result it was another one of these bad nights, of which I’ve been having far too many just recently.

To my dismay, there was nothing on the dictaphone either from during the night. Dismay for two reasons – firstly it means that I didn’t sleep all that well and secondly that nothing – or no-one of any interest – occurred and as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … what usually happens during the night is much more exciting than whatever happens to me during the day.

After I’d organised myself I had to sort out all of the medication that I’d bought yesterday. That’s not as easy as it might be because, as I said yesterday, some of the trade names are different and it involves some detective work in order to figure out which is which.

Following that, I set off down the hill into town and I bowled along rather somewhat, at least, considering how I’ve been in the recent past, and it was quite a pleasant walk despite the crutches.

At the chemist’s I picked up the medication that they had had to order for me and then I went down the road to the Post Office. I’m running out of prepaid envelopes so I needed another supply. I don’t use them all that often but when I do, I never seem to be able to find any.

The walk back was somewhat breathtaking, and for obvious reasons too. I’m still having breathing issues but for the last few months I’ve never been in a position to notice, not being able to move around as I did before. So the fact that today I was feeling out of breath is a small improvement all on its own

Back here I had breakfast – some coffee with another one of my delicious fruit buns. I’d been out all told for 75 minutes which is rather disappointing because in the old days I could be in town and back in 20 minutes. But the fact that I actually made it out and back again is something of an achievement.

The rest of the day has been spent writing up the notes for the music that I chose yesterday, and then choosing some more music for a subsequent radio programme. And when that particular programme will be broadcast it will contain a song that I know for definite has never been broadcast anywhere else on any other radio programme.

Liz was on line later on so we had a lengthy chat. She showed me a video of the snowfall in her back garden and it looked quite impressive.

For tea tonight I had a meal that I haven’t made for an absolute age – steamed vegetables and a large vegan sausage all smothered in a beautiful vegan cheese sauce. It really was nice.

But now I’ve run out of frozen cauliflower so I’ll have to buy another batch, unless I can find some fresh cauliflower to blanch and freeze.

But one thing is certain – and that is that when I do finally move house, I’m going to buy a bigger fridge with a freezer so that I’ll have much more room to store stuff.

Tomorrow the physiotherapist will be coming round but that’s all that I have planned. They are talking about a storm and hurricane tomorrow but if it doesn’t arrive I might go out for a walk.

Now that I’m feeling a little more human I need to push on. It looks as if walking around is making me feel a little better so I need to keep it up.

Wednesday 8th March 2023 – MY LITTLE WALK …

… into town this morning was quite a success, all things considered.

In fact, despite walking much farther than I have ever walked in one go, I managed to do it without any complications or difficulties and I was quite impressed.

Much more impressed than I was with my night of trying to go off to sleep. That was something of a disaster because it took me hours to drop off and I was wide awake again at 04:45. That’s the kind of thing that fills me with dismay.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too so I must have had a deep sleep at some point. I was with Zero’s father (but not Zero unfortunately) last night walking around this industrial estate somewhere. We’d actually been in our office and had seen something on a TV programme from the USA about chaos in an Australian chat room on the internet. The Americans were going on about how there were all these wonderful innovations coming from Australia that had yet to hit the USA such as video conferencing etc. Of course, as we were walking around we were talking about how we’ve been saying that we’ve been having all of this for 20 years in the UK. There were vehicles parked everywhere on this industrial estate on the grass verges and all over the place. We’d heard a story of someone who had been taken seriously ill there. There were some paramedics tending to him. We were wandering vaguely that way to see what we could do. There were some women lorry drivers parked on a car park doing something on the internet and having a blazing row about someone doing something or other. We just kept on walking and talking.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then had a few things to do here and there before setting out for town, like doing some photocopying and writing an important letter.

It was cold, windy and threatening rain but all the same it was quite a nice walk. Despite the crutches it took me less time than the time before to make it to the chemists where I picked up the product that I need for my hospital visit next week.

They agreed to dispense the prescription that I’d received at Leuven, but only insofar as they could because the trade names are different for the products and while some are easy to translate, others are not and they don’t want to make a mistake.

Some of the stuff wasn’t in stock so they had to order it. And that means another trip into town tomorrow. That should be exciting.

After that, I staggered on to the bank. When the final Act of Purchase is signed for this apartment that I’m buying, I’ll need to have an insurance policy in force to cover my liability. The bank deals with my insurance policies and the more that I have, the greater a discount I receive so I may as well get them to do it.

All in all I was there for an hour and a half. Actually signing the forms for the insurance took about 10 minutes but the rest of the time was spent having the hard sell worked upon me for more stuff that I don’t need. I couldn’t help but bring to my mind the lyrics of PRETTY BOY FLOYD and
“As through this life you travel
You’ll meet some funny men.
Some rob you with a six-gun
And some with a fountain pen.”

It was too late to do anything much by the time that the interview finished so I posted the letter and then headed for home. There’s a new spices shop opened in town and I wanted to go for a look around but not during lunch break. As Maréchal Foch once said when he was appointed to command a French Army during World War I “I only require two things. A free hand to deal with the Army as I think fit, and two hours for lunch” and nothing in France has changed.

It was 13:00 by the time that I returned here – a three-hour round trip. The first thing that I did was to have lunch. I ‘d been given a coffee down at the Bank but that’s not enough for a growing boy like me. And I do have to say that my fruit buns are delicious.

The second thing that I did was to make the place a little more presentable so that the cleaner wouldn’t have a heart attack. And I’d locked the door to the apartment on coming back through force of habit so she had to phone me up to get me to open the door.

While she was here I wrote out the notes for the radio programme that I’d been preparing and they are mostly complete. I just want to rewrite the final one so that it makes a nice lead-in to the end of the programme.

Another thing that I did today was to make the final payment for the apartment that I’ll be purchasing. That involved sorting out a few things in Belgium. I had hoped to do that over the counter when I was in Belgium last week but what with not being kicked out of the hospital until it was far too late, that was that.

But it’s all paid for now and I’m just waiting for the solicitor to extricate his digit and bring the papers up to date. But I do have to say that I’m glad that I hung on to the balance of the sale price of my old apartment in Belgium and didn’t fritter it away.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap with a salad. And for a change, seeing as I had some vegan sliced cheese, I made my burger into a cheeseburger and that was delicious with a baked potato done in the air fryer.

So tomorrow I’m heading back into town to pick up the rest of the medication. I have noticed that the muscles on my legs are thickening out again so all of this moving about is doing me good. I shall have to do more of it, if only I could summon up the energy.

So let’s see what the hospital at Avranches can come up with next week. I don’t think that I’ll actually pick up my bed and walk, but almost anything will be an improvement to how things are right now.

Saturday 11th February 2023 – I’M ABSOLUTELY WHACKED!

Yes – not only did I walk (well, hobble) down into town this morning on my crutches, I walked (well, hobbled) back as well. How about that?

Last night I said that I would give it a try anyway and that was on my mind when I went to bed last night.

And I must have spent a lot of time thinking about it because it took me an age to drop off to sleep, lying there tossing and turning for much of the night. Having that stabbing pain in my foot again didn’t help.

Nevertheless there was time for me to go off for a little voyage here and there during the night. At one point I was having a discussion with my brother. We were 2 small children. We ended up talking about religion and a few things came up. A short while later our father came into the room. He said that he’d heard that we had been talking and come out with some fancy long words. Could we write them down for him? He said something like “covent” which of course immediately reminded us of the Covenanters from the south of Scotland etc. We said that we’d do that.

And then I’d gone on a coach tour around the USA last night, one of these Coach America things. It was our first night and we stopped at this hotel. It was a really expensive hotel but was all included in our price. We registered and I was given a room. Next morning we were being picked up at 09:30 so at 08:30 I left my room and suitcase to go to find where to check out and where to go for breakfast etc. They were talking about the optional extras. They asked me which ones I was doing. I replied that I wasn’t doing any. They looked surprised and asked why. I replied “firstly I’ve seen the USA before and secondly I’m on the economy budget package”. I wandered off to find the checkout. It was miles away but mys suitcase was doing really well rolling and pushing it was no problem. I didn’t have much in my backpack. I found the reception desk and checked out. There were no extras to pay, which pleased me greatly. I started to wander back. I suddenly realised that I didn’t know where to leave my suitcase and didn’t know where the bus was going to pick us up – whether it was here at the main part of the hotel or over in the part where we had our rooms and where I had to go for breakfast etc. I thought to myself that I’m not being very well prepared for this holiday anyway.

When the alarm went off I was out of bed quickly enough, and after I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, I prepared myself to set out on my walk.

It wasn’t easy going all that way on crutches but it was downhill all the way. I went carefully and took my time and made it to the chemist’s slowly but surely.

Surprisingly, I didn’t actually feel in much discomfort and with at least half an hour before the next bus was due, I decided that I’d give it a try and walk back up the hill towards home. It was very slow, very agonising and very painful. There were plenty of stops and pauses on the way back up the hill but I made it all the same.

Mind you, I was glad to be back home. I made myself some toast and coffee and checked the time. What would normally be a 20-minute walk had taken me an hour and a quarter . That told me everything that I needed to know about my efforts.

But what I’m going to try to do is to walk down into town carrying a backpack with stuff in it. It’s annoying that the bus that stops outside the door doesn’t go to the railway station. Those buses run from the centre of the town so if I need to go to the station I need to take the bus from down there. if I go to Leuven again I’ll have to take stuff with me so I need to know that I can carry it.

Having had my breakfast I made myself comfortable on my chair and it’s no surprise to anyone to learn that I dozed off to sleep.

Mind you, I awoke in time to watch the football on the Internet, Cardiff Metro against TNS.

And while there’s no denying that the money that has been sunk into TNS by the owner has done a great deal to improve the standards of the club and the chasing pack who are obliged to invest heavily in their teams and facilities in order to keep pace with what goes on down in the Marches, it’s still quite boring to watch an endless procession of TNS victories and Championships.

So when they roared into a 0-2 lead after just 15 minutes everyone could be excused for thinking “here we go again”. But then the unexpected happened. The Met pulled one back just before half-time. And just after half time they scored again.

Even more surprisingly, they scored a third after an hour and despite a lengthy period of injury time and mystery time that would have made Alex Ferguson jealous, TNS couldn’t pull a goal back.

That’s the first time that TNS have been defeated this season in the league and I did have to work hard to conceal my delight.

After the game I finished off the radio notes and then did some more work on preparation for my 200th programme later in the year. I didn’t ever think that I would get that far before I would keel over and peg out, but it is coming closer and closer and I have to crack on and do something about it.

Tea tonight was another delicious meal of baked potato, salad and one of these breadcrumbed soya fillets. And I’m definitely pleased with how the salads are panning out. However at some point I’m going to start to run out of vegan mayonnaise and I need to give some thought about how I’m going to make some more if I don’t go to Leuven to buy it.

So before I go to bed tonight I’ll dictate my radio notes so that I really can have a day off tomorrow. I have some pizza dough to make so I’m thinking that I might have a go at making some bread and baking it in the air fryer to see what happens.

It should be interesting, to say the least.

Friday 10th February 2023 – WHAT A WONDERFUL …

… tea that was tonight. Burger on a bap with salad and a pile of chips cooked to perfection in the air fryer. I’m really pleased with my air fryer, that’s for sure, and I ought to explore a few more of its capabilities if it’s going to cook stuff as well as it did my chips and, when I added it to the pot, my burger.

And the salad was delicious too. That’s an excellent plan and makes my meals much more exciting.

But I wasn’t very pleased though with last night. I went to bed at a reasonable time but didn’t go off to sleep for ages. I’ve no idea how long I spent tossing and turning because I was afraid to tempt fate by looking. But it seemed like an age.

There was plenty of time though nevertheless to go off on my travels. And I clocked up some distance too. A former friend of mine had bought a Hillman Hunter and wanted it delivering to his house so I said that I would go to do it. I went into Stoke on Trent to find this car and started to push it towards his house. It was comparatively easy to do that, much easier than I thought it would be, especially up the hill. I had to push it on the kerb, the pavement, not on the road which was fine in some places but in others the grass was extremely long. There was that much dirt on the pavement that at some times I had to dig out the pavement and the side of the road so I could keep on pushing the car up the hill. This went on for ages and ages. It was dark and going into the small hours of the following morning. There were one or two people around, someone in an old MkI Cortina with no headlights driving down the hill practising his rallying. Eventually I got to where he was living, in a motel. Pushing the car down the corridor became quite easy. There was a girl there whom at first I thought was Zero but it wasn’t – she was a couple of years older than her. I said “hello” to her anyway. Just as I reached his front door which was of course where I might have expected to find Zero, I suddenly awoke bolt-upright.

And then we were living next door to him. We had an electric car. The gap between our houses was fitted up with a charging cable. It was a split charging cable with different wires coming out of it so if you had a car there to charge up you had to connect up these 8 wires separately. We were out there and a young schoolgirl went past, I don’t know why. Back inside we could hear him and his wife arguing about something or other. I thought “here I am, wide awake in various places and this is another occasion where I’m close to getting to see Zero again but I haven’t actually seen her”. It’s strange that I thought that in my dream because there have been a few times (including a little earlier this evening) where I’ve been on the point of meeting her in a dream and I’ve awoken suddenly. My subconscious is clearly trying to tell me something, and I wish that I knew what it was.

Did I dictate the story about the car rally that we organised? … “No you didn’t” – ed. Once everyone from the office had taken off, we headed off back home to pick up a few things. We encountered a couple of cars on the way back just as we were pulling into our drive. They were looking for something or other in the vicinity. We had a chat with them and gave them a little clue about one of the clues which was going to be difficult if they didn’t stop and think clearly. The guy who always seemed to run the office seemed to be the bossy type even went to the police station to try to persuade them to let him speak to a prisoner in there who had been involved in a car accident earlier that day. He was of the opinion that the clue involving this ironing board was something to do with him and his accident.

Finally, we’d gone skiing to this mountain. When we reached the top, instead of skiing down there was like an escalator covered in snow that took you back down to the bottom of the hill again. Although I was not able physically to ski, I was still bewildered by everyone else going down the hill on this escalator and not actually skiing down. There was someone in a wheelchair whom I thought was brave to reach the top of the mountain anyway and come back down again but I still couldn’t understand why there would be this escalator when all you had to do was to ski down to the bottom. And it’s interesting to see that my mobility issues are now featuring in my nocturnal rambles.

Much of the day has been spent in some kind of desultory fashion writing the notes for my next couple of radio shows. I’ve not been in much of a rush to do it and there have been plenty of distractions along the way. Consequently there are still some to write out before I can dictate them.

But I’ve been having a little think about my radio programmes and how I can change them to make them better (or, at any rate, different) and I have a cunning plan about that on which I’m working in my spare time, whenever that might be.

This afternoon I went into town on the bus. I had some medication to collect from the pharmacy and then there was a little bit of shopping to pick up.

Not all of the medication was there so they had to order it for me and I have to go to pick it up tomorrow. That should be interesting with a bus strike so I’ve been thinking that I might actually try to walk down there on my crutches and hope that one of the few buses running tomorrow might bring me back.

It should be an interesting trip, especially if there are no buses back, and one thing is for sure, and that is that I won’t be trying it with just one crutch. I’ll persevere with two for now and see how I feel after a few more weeks.

What made me think about it was that I actually managed to stride out something like rapidly (or what passes for “rapidly” these days) and I covered a lot of ground at a reasonable turn of speed. I need to keep on pushing myself forward.

When I came back I bumped into yet another neighbour and we had yet another chat. I seem to be quite popular for the moment and I don’t know why.

After my delicious tea I came back in here and promptly fell asleep for half an hour. All of this walking is wearing me out and I imagine that if I do go into town tomorrow on foot, I’ll live to regret that as well.

And so I’d better go and try to have a decent sleep. I certainly need it. And who knows? I might even finally get to meet Zero.

Tuesday 20th December 2022 – THERE I WAS …

… deep in the arms of Morpheus observing some kind of exciting spaghetti western and someone rings the front doorbell.

Still, serves me right for deciding to have a lie-in this morning instead of springing to my feet with alacrity.

Last night, I’d even gone to bed reasonably early as well and was looking forward to a decnt 8 hours sleep but it never quite worked out like that. There was the usual tossing and turning that seems to have become a regular feature of the way things are these days.

So having kept my doorbell-ringer hanging on the door for several minutes while I threw on some clothes, I staggered (and I DO mean “staggered”) down the stairs to find the pharmacist who had brought me my medication. The doctor had dropped off the prescription at the pharmacy yesterday.

My injections haven’t come yet. They need to be ordered specially and will arrive when they arrive. But I’ll make sure that I’m up early tomorrow.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I had plenty of things that I needed to do but it didn’t quite work out like that today. There’s a project, quite a serious one, that I have on the go and about which I’ve alluded in the recent past and that has occupied much of my day today.

It’s something that if it comes off it will change my life dramatically for the better and so I’m keen to push things along as quickly as I can. So when people want to talk to me about it, I’m not going to be obstructive.

One thing that I promised to do was to try to go into town and the Carrefour supermarket at the port. So despite the heavy rain, I made an attempt.

Getting to the bus stop itself just 10 metres from the front door was enough to convince me that this was not one of my better ideas, but I pushed on all the same.

Hauling myself up onto the pavement by clinging onto the wall, I managed to board the bus. I even managed to alight but the walk to the supermarket, all 50 metres of it, was a nightmare.

Luckily I managed to find almost everything that I needed, except the vegan mushroom pâté. And then the walk back to the bus stop, even though it was only half the distance, was dreadful. When the bus came to pick me up and take me home, he stopped well away from the kerb and his wheelchair ramp wasn’t working. And so you can imagine how much of a problem it was to board the bus to come home.

That finished me off. The walk back from the bus to home even more difficult and I was glad to return home in the end. I had to have an energy drink to recover but at least I had my frozen peas and beans, tomatoes, taco rolls and a couple of other things too. There were a few carrots and sprouts too so when I’d recovered somewhat I peeled, diced and blanched them. They are now in the freezer freezing.

Rosemary and I had a chat too and the question of on-line shopping came up. And to my surprise Amazon came up with my mushroom pâté as well as a few other interesting things so I assembled an order. I even ordered one of those wheeled shopping bag things, thinking that I might be able to move a little better if I didn’t have things to carry and I had something on which I can lean.

There was plenty of stuff on the dictaphone too from the night. This was something of a nightmare. I was in a kind-of swamp and there were all these primeval small creatures in there that were trying to eat all of the human beings who were trying to wade their way through it. Eventually we managed to extricate ourselves from it and sit in trees etc while these small creatures prowled around underneath. Then these other animals started to appear out of the shrubbery when it was dark and we watched the animals start to attack those and carry them off into a quiet corner where they could eat them. In the end we were finally called to where we were supposed to be. We had to make a run for it and eventually reached some kind of safety. But this was a nightmare and horrible while we were sitting in these trees watching all of this going on.

And then we had a dream where I’d lost the use of my legs but had to go into town. I’d somehow got on the bus and bought some stuff and was on my way back. The bus did an emergency stop. A few of us went flying up the bus but held onto our possessions etc. When the bus finally stopped we were greeted with a round of applause for having been so good at doing that. Interestingly, that felt as if it was 03:00 in the middle of the night when I was trying to go to sleep rather than in the morning when it was supposed to have been and I was up and about going shopping with the bus and my things.

Later on we were back at Nantwich Grammar School again. Me, my German friend and a group of others. The whole system had changed. There wasn’t the assembly followed by the lesson – I don’t know what they were doing but we could see that everything had changed since our day. Even the school uniform was a kind-of pale green blazer. We decided that we weren’t going to take any interest in this. We would go and play cricket on the tarmac at the back of the gym. A group of us, 3 or 4 of us, set off and walked down the boys’ corridor past all the boys sitting in the changing rooms and out of the back. Suddenly this golf club came whizzing past. it was my brother playing golf. My German friend was going on about how it was obvious that all these changes about sport – no-one was playing any sport or games any more. It’s obvious that the school playing fields are going to be the next to go and the kids won’t have anywhere to play, never mind whether they wanted to or not. My German friend took up a position at some invisible stumps, my brother kept wicket and I took a nice long run up. I suddenly set off on my run down to what was the other wicket and my legs just gave way underneath me. I fell flat on my face.

When I awoke a little later I had an enormous pain in my knee. That was strange.

later still I was back on the taxis last night. For some unknown reason I awoke really early and Nerina was organising one or two things. There were a couple of jobs in so I said that I would go and do them. First of all I had to go round to see the girl who drove for us in the daytime, if she was still ill. She lived in High Street, n°3. I drove round there in this beautiful sunny morning really early. There were 2 surnames on the door that were the same. I didn’t know which one so I pressed one of them but she answered. I could see that her issues, a lot of it was physical, some of it was psyschological. I had the impression that she just had a great depression so I started to talk to her to see if I could be of any help

Finally I was in the middle of a spaghetti western with the goodies shooting up the baddies and the baddies slowly disappearing into this old wooden shack like in any good Clint Eastwood film. There were a couple of women one of whom was holding a stash of jewels for one of the baddies but another woman found it and managed to hide it under her clothing. When it wame to the time for them all to leave she made sure that she had the fastest and best horse and began to out-ride the other one and make good her getaway. Just as we were getting to the climax when the front doorbell rang. It was the pharmacist.

But as you can see, my walking difficulties are now working their way into my dreams. That’s rather a worrying thought.

Tea was a stuffed pepper, and there’s enough stuffing left over for a taco roll, now that I have some. And now I’m off to bed. I want to be early because I might have the pharmacist coming round in the morning and I need to be ready. Things had all the potential of being rather embarrassing this morning if I’m in a state of only semi-awareness.

Thursday 25th August 2022 – I HAVE BEEN …

… out and about this afternoon, just for a change. And the days when my whole existence can be uplifted into headline news because I’ve actually been into the town centre shows you what’s going on in my life right now.

With a cheque to pay in, some magnesium tablets to buy and a load of ships in port, it seemed like a good plan.

Yesterday’s highlight, which I didn’t mention for fear of overwhelming you all with excitement, was going to the bins to take out the rubbish. It needed something really riveting to surpass that, didn’t it?

Only a few minutes late going to bed, and for a change I had a reasonable night. Mind you, once again it was a struggle to my feet this morning.

After the meds I attacked the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. A bill came through for £170 and I wanted to pay it so I took my credit card and rang up the people concerned ready to pay it over the phone. After being shunted around half a dozen departments I was told that there was another procedure to follow. They explained the procedure to me which I didn’t quite understand but I had a go and the payment failed. I rang them back to explain to them. They explained another procedure which again failed. I was there for about three days trying to speak to all kinds of different people. Eventually they said that they had taken the payment with the credit card over the phone. I asked for confirmation so they put me through to the accounts department to make sure. When I spoke to her and told her about this she replied “you have to pay it”. I retorted “I’ve just paid it”. She asked “have you?” in an air of totally disbelieving tone. I replied “yes” so she said that I’d have to speak to someone in Accounts. I said “I just have done. It was they who just passed me through to you”. I had a feeling that with this money we were just going to be going round and round in a circle and end up nowhere at all. This was taking place while I was in the hospital. I had people in the ward with me so it was really extremely uncomfortable as well.

Afterwards I was in bed but awoke to hear some laughing. The ‘phone went and I couldn’t hear one side of the conversation but the other one was something like “yes, we’re all up and preparing to leave but Eric is still in bed”. I stood up quickly, grabbed my clothes, all my money fell out of my jeans, put on my clothes, kept on having my feet stuck in the legs of my trousers, generally trying to organise myself quickly because they’ll be taking down this tent in a minute. It seemed to me that the quicker I tried to do things, the longer it was actually taking me. I thought that I’d never have enough time to do this and collect my things together before they wanted to pull down this tent.

There was an interruption though in mid-transcribe, and an embarrassing interruption at that.

Yesterday with not feeling so bright and being rather tired, I hadn’t tidied anything up and the place was looking like a total tip. And, of course, I’d completely forgotten about the nurse. She turned up to find me in total chaos and not as clean as I would otherwise have liked the place to have been.

She struggled to find a clean and clear place to put the paper while she wrote out her notes and while she’s a cheerful sort, she clearly wasn’t happy.

All in all, it was rather an shameful situation.

It’s not going to improve very much either because the next time that she’ll be coming to inject me is in 10 days time on a Sunday morning and you all know what I’m like early on a Sunday morning.

After she left I carried on transcribing the notes and almost as soon as I’d finished, Rosemary called me. I’m convinced that when she was here she must have concealed a camera somewhere because she seems to know the precise moment to phone me.

When Rosemary and I finished our chat I started on what was left of the dictaphone notes from my trip around Central Europe and in a mad fit of enthusiasm and energy (don’t ask me where that came from)I completed them all. So that’s another good job completed.

In fact, it took me longer than I was expecting the pause for my lunchtime fruit notwithstanding.

fish processing plant festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Because of the position of the tide, I wanted to go out for my walk earlier than usual this afternoon.

As usual when I’m heading into town my point of reference for checking the camera is the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

There wasn’t anyone down there at the Fish Processing Plant this afternoon. Gerlean who sometimes ties up there was in the inner harbour and I couldn’t see L’Omerta, the other boat that loiters around there usually.

Plenty of boxes on the quayside though so they must be expecting a load of traffic.

sailing boats rowing boat festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022In fact you can see Gerlean down there right now tied up to a pontoon.

What you can’t see though is Victor Hugo. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Believe it or not, I can tell you exactly where she ought to be right now without even looking at the radar. She should be back at her berth. She left home at 09:30 for Jersey and left there at 18:30 to return home.

It reminds me of Frankie Howerd when during one of his TV programmes he turned to the audience and asked “how do I know? Well, I have read the script”

While I was over there I picked up a timetable from the ferry terminal so I now know her agenda. It’s all bad news as far as I can see because the season of sailings is so intermittent that there’s no possibility of my going over there for a convenient three-or four-day break as I was hoping.

Going down all of the steps to the Rue du Port was mush more difficult than I imagined. I’m definitely losing my mobility. I then crossed the road and went over along the side of the Fish Processing Plant towards the harbour gates.

la granvillaise marie fernand grain de sail le loup rouge festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022The boat that we haven’t seen before on the extreme right is called Le Loup Rouge. She was built in 1962 and has a very interesting history as she was designed by John Illingworth and Angus Primrose as a racing yacht.

She actually won the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s championship that year. Now though, she lives a more sedate life in Cherbourg just going to regattas and exhibitions.

Of course, over there we have on the extreme left La Granvillaise and next to her is Marie Fernand. We are, for the moment anyway, much more interested in the other boat, Grain de Sail

grain de sail festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travailport de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Her claim to fame is that she’s a commercial sailing boat that is powered (almost) exclusively by wind. There’s a small diesel engine on board but that’s just for manoeuvring, so we are told.

But while a uniquely wind-powered boat is nothing unusual, what is unusual about her is that she has a carrying capacity of 50 tonnes and twice a year goes over on a triangular voyage from Europe to New York with local French produce for the American market, and then down to the Caribbean and finally back to Europe.

Not that two voyages per year of 50 tonnes is going to contribute much to the environment, but it’s all to prove a point. And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, when I lived in the Auvergne I did much more than that and for a much longer period to prove a point.

le roc a la mauve 3 festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022My was timed to perfection as the harbour gates were closed so I could walk over the top to the other side.

As I did so, the first of the shell-fishing boats came in to unload at the fish processing plant. This one is Le Roc à la Mauve whom we saw for a lengthy period in the chantier naval.

Towing her little lighter behind her, she chugged into port with a respectable load of shellfish on board. The guy back there at the HIAB was repositioning the boxes, presumably for ease of unloading.

That’s not the kind of thing that you would do out in the open sea. There have been maritime disasters too numerous to mention where the load in a boat has suddenly shifted or been shifted and caused the boat to capsize with all hands. There was one like that in North Wales not so long ago.

grain de sail festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Once I was on the other side of the harbour I went down to Grain de Sail.

There was a member of the crew on board so I button-holed him. His ship is only a four-berth and as it needs four hands to sail it, it doesn’t take passengers on its transatlantic jaunts.
“What about if you only have three crew members and are in need of a fourth?”
“Do you have a “Marine Marchand” – a Merchant Navy certificate?”
“Regrettably not”
“Then I’m afraid that you wouldn’t be considered.”

And so that was that. At least I tried

Instead I admired the arrays of solar panels and the two wind turbines. They also have some hydro-generators too but I bet that they slow down the boat.

Next stop was the ferry terminal where I picked up a brochure for Victor Hugo. And my enquiries told me that Ukrainian refugees going for a day out to Jersey need a UK visa all the same.

kiddies pirate ship festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022With things to do in the town I headed that way along the side of the quay.

One thing that I like about France is that they are much more child-friendly than the UK and so I was expecting to see much more for the kids than you would see at a festival across the channel.

And I wasn’t wrong either. You can’t have a Festival of sailing ships without having a pirate ship, complete with pirates and buccaneers to chase the kids and press-gang them into service on board.

Even STRAWBERRY MOOSE has experienced life as an active buccaneer, as regular readers of this rubbish WILL RECALL

In fact, looking for that photo made me all nostalgic. That was an excellent road trip, one of the very best, when I started off in the far north of Labrador and three weeks later I was at Rhys’s in South Carolina.

Housman summed it up completely with his
” That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

kiddies pirate ship festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Meanwhile, retournons à nos moutons as they say around here.

The buccaneers have now rounded up a crowd of apprentice pirates and one of them is giving them all a lecture on what is expected of them when they serve aboard the Good Ship Glug Glug.

Actually she should have been called The Jolly Roger but the pirate captain’s wife fell off the quayside as she swung the bottle of champers

Anyway, everyone was having a whale of a time (seeing as we are discussing nautical terms) and I left them to it, crossing the ad-hoc bridge over the artificial beach.

film screen festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022Yesterday I thought that I saw a puss .. errr … a TV screen down on the harbour so I went for a closer look seeing as I was here.

It was in fact a screen showing a series of cartoons for children explaining in simple terms all about life at sea. It’s nice to see the kids having a fair whack at the festival.

From there I wandered into town to pay my quarterly pension cheque into my bank account. Now where can I go with €142:60? Spend! Spend! Spend! Hey?

At the chemist’s I bought the magnesium tablets. Extra-strong. According to my friend the pharmacist these will give me a donner un coup de fouet – liven me up.

She might actually have a point there. Thinking about it, I started going downhill when I finished the last lot, went without for a week or 10 days and then had that big box of German ones.

marité festival of working sailing ships fete des voiliers du travail port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022That was it. I could go home now.

The walk back up the hill wasn’t as difficult as I was expecting. I still had to stop a couple of times for breath, at one point where I could overlook the port and see what was happening.

Marité was there of course, one of the centres of attention. But you can see just how busy the Festival is. And it will be like that until Sunday now, I reckon. It’s a good way to finish the summer season I suppose, even if the roads and the car parks will be crowded.

So having gathered my wits, I pushed on further up the hill towards home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo August 2022As usual, I wanted to see what was happening on the beach, although I don’t know why because I checked the camera on the way out.

The weather was much nicer today although maybe a little cooler. But the absence of people on the beach can probably be explained by the crowds of people down in the town and at the Festival.

Back here I had a surprise. There’s an undercurrent of dissent about the way the building is managed and two or three people are trying to stir up a revolution. They had pushed a letter into my letterbox

As I’m a tenant and not an owner, it doesn’t really concern me so I wrote a quick note on the back of the letter and put it in the letter box of the building’s President.

During this argument I’m taking no sides but I’m keeping in with the President. She’s the one who has my best chance of coming up the quickest with news of an apartment here to sell that I could buy.

The idea behind renting this place was because it would give me chance to look around and see what else was available. But there is no place on earth better than here so I’m staying here and renting rather than buying somewhere less good.

One day an apartment will come up here.

The walk was such that an iced chocolate drink went down well and then I began to update one or two of the blog entries with the dictaphone notes and images.

After a chat on the ‘phone with the President about my note

Tea tonight (at the usual, correct time) was pie with potatoes, veg and gravy. It’s one of my favourite meals and this one was just as nice as ever. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … my meals are simple but they aren’t half tasty.

It’s been a surprising day today – I’ve walked quite a way, not crashed out, done a lot of work. I wonder if I can keep this up. It’s not like me to have a day like this so I’m glad that I made the most of it.

Ready for the (af)fray tomorrow, I hope.

Thursday 12th May 2022 – HAVING HAD A FEW …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday 9th May 2022 – HERE’S A SIGHT …

victor hugo belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022…. that I am more than happy to see.

Over there moored at the quayside is Victor Hugo, one of the two ferries that run out to the Channel Islands. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the service from Granville restarted on the 5th of May after a break of over two years (with the exception of one very short week).

There was this worrying feeling that with the end of the gravel boats and the cancellation of the Big Wheel, the ferry to the Channel Islands would be the next thing that this mayor would cancel in his valiant attempt to turn the town into some kind of haven for luxury retirees rather than a working, bustling seaport.

And so I for one am more than pleased to see the service restart.

place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022But what comes with one hand goes with the other.

On Saturday I made the remark that the kiddies’ roundabout was back in the Place Charles de Gaulle during the outdoor market. But today, there it was! Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Never mind “musical chairs”. That roundabout is certainly doing the rounds a darn sight quicker than I can keep up with it.

Anyway, last night despite going to bed rather later than I intended, I still managed to be up and about “fairly shortly” after 06:00, beating the second alarm rather comfortably even if I didn’t feel much like it.

After the medication I had two radio programmes to prepare. I’d written the notes while I was in Leuven last week so that saved me some time but even so, it still took an age to complete everything. It wasn’t until 12:35 that both programmes were finished.

There had been a few pauses during the proceedings of course. I felt that I had the kind of thirst that you could photograph so I had several mugs of coffee during the morning, as well as stopping for breakfast.

And then the nurse came round to give me my injection for today.

When it was finished I made myself a big bowl of leek and potato soup. There was a big frozen mass of leeks in the freezer that weren’t doing much and having been brought several packs of hot cross buns last weekend seeing as I had run out, I needed to make some space in the freezer

While that was cooking I went and had a shower and a clean-up. And then filled the washing machine ready for when I go out later. I’m running out of clothes again.

The soup was delicious. Nice and thick and creamy and there’s enough for three days in total. And I’ll have to make some more some other time. The cumin and tarragon in it gave it an additional bite.

l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Having set the washing machine off on a cycle (a very clever washing machine, mine) I went out for my physiotherapy appointment.

First thing though was to stop at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where I can look down on what’s going on at the fish processing plant.

And as you might expect, L’Omerta is still tied up there. It looks as if she’s moved in there permanently now. Mind you, the other boat that was there yesterday, Petite Laura, she has moved away. There’s another boat tucked away around the corner but I can’t see who she is.

There were plenty of seagulls floating around down there too, waiting for some shellfish to drop off the quayside.

la granvillaise trawler l'ecume 2 j158 fishing boat valesque le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022There was plenty of other excitement going on out there this afternoon.

My attention had been caught by the boat that was over there out at sea. Even though we can’t see her registration number at this distance, my money is on her being G90 – La Granvillaise. The shape of the lasts and the sails, even if they aren’t all unfurled, would seem to indicate that

And there’s still plenty of activity in the chantier naval. From left to right we have an unidentified boat, then L’Ecume II, Valesque, and then another unidentified boat. By the looks of things Le Roc A La Mauve III has finally gone back into the water after all this time.

boules petanque place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022My route into town took me down past the Place Pelley and the Bar Ephemere.

When we came past here on Saturday there wasn’t anyone down there playing boules, which took me by surprise because it seems to be an unstoppable national sport. But they are making up for it today. There are plenty of boulonauts down there right now.

The walk up the hill was strangely difficult today, and I don’t know why that might be. It might have been quite warm outside but nothing else had changed.

And starting today I have a new physiotherapist. She took my X-rays and MRI Scans and then put me through several tests before giving me a few exercises.

At least having all of these different people means that I’m having all kinds of different tests and that can only be a good thing.

ambulance rue couraye rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022On the way home, down at the bottom of the hill there was yet more excitement.

There was an emergency ambulance parked at the corner of the Rue Couraye and the Rue Paul Poirier, complete with blue flashing light. There wasn’t anyone in attendance though and I couldn’t see where they had gone.

On the corner of the Rue Lecampion I had to go to the pharmacy. The nurse this morning asked me to ask them for a container to deposit my discarded needles. He usually takes them away but I imagine that he’s being overloaded right now. I’ve “had the summons” to have my fourth Covid injection (which he’ll be doing next time he passes) and if I’ve been summoned, so has everyone else.

building work rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022If the walk up the hill to the physiotherapist was tough, the walk up the Rue des Juifs back home was even tougher.

There were several occasions where I had to stop to catch my breath, one of which was just by where there was some building work going on. We had a skip lorry with crane and another small lorry in attendance.

It’s one thing that I’ve noticed, that there seems to be more and more renovation work taking place about the town, either rebuilding or renovating existing apartments or building new ones.

It’s quite a boom business now, but I bet that it’s not going to result in many more permanent homes. Holiday accommodation and Air B&B lets seem to be the way that things are going, pricing permanent residents out of the market.

classe decouvert rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Another thing that I’ve mentioned … “quite often” – ed … on these pages is what is called the classe decouverte.

This involves school kids being taken out of their normal environment to experience life elsewhere. And here is one such class, all congregating underneath the tree by the drawbridge into the walled city while someone was telling them all about the French Revolution.

The walled city is quite important because revolutionary forces defended it against counter-revolutionaries in a famous battle during the Revolution.

The conversation sounded quite interesting and I was in half a mind to hang around and hear the end of it but I was gripped by a raging thirst and wanted to go home.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022First though, I had to go down to the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down on the beach to see what is happening down there.

Plenty of people down there sunning themselves on the sand and a couple of people out there on a zodiac. But no-one brave enough to go in the water, which was a surprise because it’s a lovely afternoon right now.

Back here I had a coffee and then listened to the dictaphone to find out where I’ve been during the night. I was starting to shave myself with an electric razor last night but no matter how hard I tried, it hardly made any impact at all. I was there for hours trying to shave my face but there was very little hair coming off. I thought that I was going to be here for hours but I had to do it. Now that I’d started, it would look a mess if I only were to do a bit of it. After about an hour I had a feel of my face. There was still plenty on it in places. There was a knock at the door and a girl came in carrying my breakfast. I was lying on the floor trying to do my face so she didn’t see me at first. Eventually she put down the tray and we had a chat. I offered her some of my breakfast but I was still concerned about this shaving and getting my face done so I could hurry up and go out.

Having listened to the radio programmes that I prepared today, I went for tea. Pie with veg and gravy.

And now that I’ve written my notes I’m off to bed. I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow so I need to be on form. But there’s not much danger of that.

Wednesday 27th April 2021 – RULE NUMBER 14 …

… of “when you live by the seaside near a fish-processing plant” is “never go out without wearing a hat”.

So guess who forgot to do that today when he took the rubbish out?

And before you ask the obvious question, the answer is “yes, and from a great height too”. The seagulls around here have an accuracy that puts RAF’s Bomber Command to shame

They say that this kind of thing is supposed to bring one good luck, and I certainly could do with some after the last few days.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Today wasn’t any better, so while you admire a few photos of Thora, one of the little Channel Island freighters and her cargo, I’ll tell you haw it did (or didn’t) transpire.

Despite saying that I was going to have an early night last night, it didn’t end up like that at all as for one reason or another, I was rather side-tracked. It was well after midnight by the time that I finally fell into bed.

There was no hope whatsoever of me leaving the bed at 07:30 when the alarm went off. In fact I slept through all three alarms and it was 08:40 when I finally arose from the dead.

Actually, when I finally did leave the bed I felt much better than I had done for quite a while. But it wasn’t to last.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In fact the morning was rather like yesterday when I crashed out once I’d taken my medicine – because I did the same again today.

And no surprise either that I was right out of it for about an hour and when I came round again, it took yet another while to get going again.

All of this is boding ill for probably the most significant weekend that I will have had in 30 years.

But anyway, I digress … “again” – ed. Once I’d pulled myself together I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

thora leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Last night I started off at my Aunt Mary’s. She was living in Central London right at the top of a huge skyscraper that was 194 metres tall and had 194x194m² of glass in the outside of it, the facade. We were right on top. I’d been to fetch a coffee and was walking back to my desk which was on the top floor. I was having to do it very slowly, very carefully because I was on the verge of having a panic attack about being so high and that’s not like me at all, is it? up there. I was glad that it was foggy and I couldn’t see the ground. She was telling me that she would only go up there id it was misty when she couldn’t see the ground either.

And then I was in Scotland last night watching a football match. The match had ended and there was a crowd of us milling around. I had to use the bathroom. It was New Year’s Eve so I was going to buy a meat pie and chips for a carry-out. The place at the football ground was exceptionally good as I seemed to remember so that was where I was going. I was talking to a few people. We were all discussing different kinds of food, where we could buy it etc. I had my heart set on this pie and chips. It was late at night when this match finished. I said that I wasn’t in any rush because my next train down to the south was at 04:25. I’d have to loiter around Glasgow station until then anyway no matter what time I arrived there. The discussion went on about the trains and the speeds at which they travelled non-stop down to London from Glasgow. Sometimes there would be the police waiting at Euston to catch them for speeding on the road. It was full of all kinds of nostalgia like that. But me looking forward to having a meat pie – can you imagine? A Scottish “bridie”!

Having dealt with all of that I’ve spent most of the rest of the day on the photos from the Canadian High Arctic in 2019. Right now we’ve sailed back up the Rae Strait and are currently in the Barrow Strait waiting for a coastguard to come and rescue one of our passengers who was disabled after an accident on board.

It wasn’t as straightforward as it might have been either. Not the editing, but the merging. I had three cameras on the go at once – the NIKON D500, the NIKON 1 J5 and the one on the telephone.

Well, not all at once, but I was swapping between them all during the course of the journey and with editing and renumbering the photos, the aim was to run all of the photos in consecutive numbers in date and time order regardless of the camera on which I took them.

And then I discovered 5 that I’d forgotten on the NIKON 1 J5, so I had to go back and renumber a huge pile of photos and move the explanatory text around to correspond with the new numbering.

With going out to the doctor’s this afternoon I also had a shower. And cut my hair too. Next time that I have a close encounter with a seagull I won’t have quite so many problems

There were the usual pauses throughout the day for breakfast, coffee, lunch and (very regrettably) another crash-out this afternoon as well. Another good one too and I’m pretty much fed up of all of this. I’ve been in this state for pretty much the last few years, apart from a few months here and there.

Anyway, eventually I set out for the doctor’s to see what he could tell me about my MRI scan.

fishing boats l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As usual, on my way out I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne where I could look down into the port and see what was happening.

The tide is on its way in right now and the fishing boats are coming home to roost. There’s a whole gaggle of them congregating at the wharf by the Fish Processing Plant, jostling for position around L’Omerta who looks as if she’s still there since yesterday.

Unfortunately, at this distance with the NIKON 1 J5 with its standard lens I’m not able to identify any of the other fishing boats down there.

There’s something parked on the lower level underneath the fish processing plant too. I can just about make out something down there but I can’t see what it is.

la grande ancre trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There is a pile of other fishing boats on their way into the harbour too.

By the looks of things the gates into the inner harbour aren’t open so they are having to wait around. And in the background, we have La Grande Ancre moored over by the ferry terminal.

And while we’re on the subject of the ferry terminal … “well, one of us is” – ed … I’ve heard on the grapevine that the two Channel Island ferries are in Jersey having a trial run docking at the newt ferry terminal there.

That seems to indicate that it’s definitely “on” then, and they’ll be on their way.

cherry picker rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From there I wandered off down the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards town.

The cherry-picker is still there today, but its operating arm is folded up so I was keen to see what was happening about that.

In actual fact, there was one of the operators collecting together a huge bundle of wood, presumably to lift back up onto the roof, although they seemed to have finished the roof on the one that was so badly damaged in the fire.

A wooden framework and then a large tarpaulin of some description thrown over the top to keep out the weather.

roofing burnt out houses rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022This is what they have been doing.

They’ve done two of the properties and are now working on the third. That wooden framework on the house on the extreme right looks quite substantial, which it will need to be to withstand some of the storms that we have around here.

The windows are blocked off too, to keep out the weather and also (and much more likely) to keep out the seagulls.

But they won’t be leaving it like that for long, I reckon. It won’t take much of a wind to tear that covering and that won’t be any good.

scrap on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022We saw just now the little freighter Thora all loaded up and on the point of leaving the harbour.

It looks as if she’s brought in a good load with her too. I imagine that she’s dropped off all of this stuff onto the quayside ready for someone to take away.

But you can tell that I’m getting old. 20 years ago I would have been down on the quayside late at night removing the number plates off that van ready to reuse on something else. Foreign plates are like gold-dust in my armoury.

One of these days I’ll write a book about my early life and include a few details about my mis-spent youth but I need to swot up carefully on any Statutes of Limitations and check up a few Extradition Treaties first.

Not for nothing did I go hiding in the mountains of Central France

removing scrap port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that there was a pile of junk lying around on the quayside that had been there for several weeks.

There was someone here today moving that lot away too. But it sounded quite metallic to me so maybe it isn’t the remains of the bouchot stakes that they pulled up on teh Ile de Chausey. I was in half a mind to go for a closer look but I noticed the time and had to run for my appointment.

At the doctors, he didn’t say too much about my knee. What he has done is to give me a letter to take to a Sports Therapist whom he knows who might well be able to help. He doesn’t think that surgery is going to be much good.

He reckons that it might be due to age but I told him that he was talking nonsense. My other knee is exactly the same age as this one and there’s nothing wrong with that.

While he was at it, he gave me a prescription for my Aranesp and another for a blood test tomorrow.

There’s a new assistant in the chemist’s who didn’t understand the procedure about my Aranesp. It’s rather complicated because it doesn’t follow the usual French medical procedure so another assistant and I had to explain it to him.

And while I was there I bought some magnesium tablets. The doctor had noticed that I had a deficiency and thinks that one or two symptoms from which I might be suffering may have something to do with that.

There weren’t any neighbours prowling the streets this afternoon so I had an uneventful walk home

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022as usual, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

The weather wasn’t as warm as it has been just recently but there were still a few people down there making the most of it, including someone who looks as if he has just come out of the water.

Back here I had a coffee and then backed up this month (so far)’s work onto the little memory stick that I take with me to Leuven. I’ll add the rest of the files in due course before I leave on Friday morning (if I ever get going) and update the portable computer as usual on the train.

Tea tonight was a kind of mixture of the leftover stuffing with kidney beans and tomato sauce with pasta and veg. It wasn’t anything special but I have to finish off the odds and ends of food hanging around before I leave. There’s a sweet potato that needs eating so I’m going to try to make some chips with it in the air fryer and see how they come out.

So now I’m off to bed shortly. I have to find some strength and energy from somewhere ready for the weekend otherwise it will be something of a disappointment. In more ways than one

Wednesday 2nd March 2022 – IN WHAT MUST SURELY …

repairing bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… be a new world record even for these days, the new bike shed didn’t last very long.

Not even 15 hours, because when I came home from the doctor’s this morning, the guy who was there yesterday installing it had returned and was now busy dismantling … “disPERSONing” – ed … it again.

Whatever he had done yesterday was clearly not good enough.

It’s not as if building a bike shed is rocket science so there’s no reason why he would need to take it apart again. But all that I can say is that I’m glad that I didn’t take my bike out of the back of Caliburn last night and park it in there.

There has been other news too today, and this news is equally depressing. At 12:00 midday all over France they tested the nuclear alert sirens, not that there’s anywhere these days to hide if there’s a nuclear attack.

We are living in interesting times.

fete foraine place herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So while you admire some photos of the fête foraine, the funfair, let me tell you about where I went during the night.

I was out on the Wirral peninsula last night. I’d been there before and I’d seen all of these kids coming out of school. There was a bus stop by three different schools, judging by the uniforms. I’d seen some kinds in another street, a residential suburban street and I wondered where on earth it might have been. I was looking for the house of a girl I know and her brother. I was wandering around and I only had the street name but I didn’t have the number or the ‘phone number and I didn’t even know exactly where it was so I had to find it on the map on my phone or something. I was walking around and suddenly came across a place in a street that went from north-east to south-west where I might have seen these children congregating but on a closer look it wasn’t actually the same place but pretty similar. Then I bumped into a little boy and a little girl. They were extremely talkative. They asked me what I was doing so I said that I was looking for this street that might have been called Allison Avenue, something like that, She said “oh, that lot of streets” as if she knew where it was. She said “why don’t you go to the end of the street here and look left? You can see all the way down the road to Liverpool from here”. I thought “maybe if I had time, I might but I don’t know where I have to go yet”. I started to quiz this girl but just then 2 other people came past and started to ask her something and she was talking to them. I was holding this girl’s arm by this time and I started to stroke it basically to keep her attention focused on me while she was talking to these 2 people.

fete foraine place herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And later I was at a football match last night, watching a game sitting in the stand quite quietly. The ground was pretty full and these 2 boys were sitting next to me and started to crowd over onto my seat. They asked me if I was enjoying the game etc. The one in the middle asked “who was the hardest? me or his friend?”. I eplied that I don’t know his friend so I can’t really say. Then a fight erupted between the three of us and it was all extremely depressing kind of thing.

And then I was in my Opel Senator last night, using it as a taxi. I was parked up somewhere in Brussels and some guy who had at one time been a regular passenger in my taxi turned up. He said “we want to borrow your taxi for a moment to have” and about 10 of his friends stormed into it. They wouldn’t leave when I told them to so I went to ‘phone the police but my ‘phone kept on playing up – I couldn’t remember the password or the password was wrong or the ‘phone screen wasn’t working, all kinds of things like this. No matter what I tried I couldn’t make these people leave my car.

fete foraine place herel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Finally, I’d been out with some of my family again. I’d been out on a motorbike but I had my beige Cortina YLO with me. I was in an awful hurry to leave but they were loitering around. I was sitting there drumming my fingers on the table but my motorbike by now I’d actually coupled it up to the Cortina with a A-frame and so I set off on the motorbike pulling the car from Shavington. When I looked behind, the family was following me so I went quite quickly through the S-bends in Gresty, putting the motorbike well down to go round these bends towing the Cortina. I could hear tham say that I must be crazy or something. I arrived in Crewe and ended up in a subway somewhere. I had to cycle (because it was now a bike, that of Marianne’s that I was on) up the hill to the street-level but the gearing was all wrong on this bike. I couldn’t make it up the slope. No matter how fast I pedalled, it wasn’t advancing any. I had to roll back to the bottom of the slope on this bike pulling this car and then play with the gear arrangements on this bike in order to find the correct gear that would see me, the bike and the car back up the hill again and onto the street level so that we could continue.

But as you can see, it wasn’t a very pleasant night last night and in some respects I was glad when I awoke. That was actually quite early and I was out of bed as soon as the alarm went off at 07:30.

After the medication I went off to have a shower and a good clean-up ready to go to the doctor’s.

loading joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I reached the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury, I stopped to check the NIKON 1 J5.

Over at the ferry terminal was one of the Joly France boats, the older one of the two. And they were loading her up with stuff, judging my the crane with its hook dangling down into the forward hold of the boat.

It’s not exactly the best day of the year for a run out to the Ile de Chausey. It’s quite cool and windy and I’m well-wrapped up for a change.

lysandre les bouchots de chausey la grande ancre fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While I was there at the viewpoint I noticed that there was plenty of activity going on down at the fish processing plant.

No prizes for spotting La Grande Ancre. Her silhouette is quite unique and you’ll be able to spot her anywhere.

Whoever is behind her I don’t know, but in front of her is Les Bouchots de Chausey unloading its catch onto the tractor and trailer that takes it away.

And just puling away from the quayside is Lysandre, the St Malo-registered shell-fishing boat that comes into port here every now and again.

marite thora belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There’s quite a lot of activity going on at the quayside in the inner harbour too.

Marité is there of course, but in front of her is Thora, one of the little Jersey freighters that run a regular service over here. Before she came to Jersey, she was a car ferry out in the Shetland Islands.

The other Joly France boat is down there in the foreground, tied up to Belle France. And if I’m not mistaken, Chausiaise is moored up on the other side of her. They can’t have much on today.

At the doctors he gave me my prescription for the Aranesp that pumps me up ready for when I go to Leuven, and also a prescription for an X-Ray on my knee. I’m not sure if I mentioned that the physiotherapist is of the opinion that there has been no improvement to my knee despite 6 months of effort.

“That’s not normal” she had told me, and that’s no surprise because neither am I.

Ther does however seem to have been some kind of communication between him and the hospital, because he also mentioned that counselling is a good idea for me. So God help the person who draws the short straw and has to probe the depths of my subconscious mind.

He has however given me some tablets to take before I go to bed. I’ll try them to see how they go but if it interrupts my nocturnal rambles I shall stop. Quite frankly, what goes on with me during the night is about the only excitement that I have these days.

Plenty of excitement at the chemists though when I took the prescription there. Some French woman was complaining about this that wasn’t right in France and that wasn’t right in France, so I asked her if she would like to swap her French nationality for my British nationality.

Some people don’t realise how lucky they are.

tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back up the hill I noticed to my surprise that Tiberiade was not out of the chantier naval.

It doesn’t look though as if she’s had a complete repaint. There are still plenty of patches of wear on her hull. She doesn’t have her nets on board though either, so she’s not completely ready to go back out to sea.

As for me, I was more than completely ready for my morning coffee and slice of coffee cake. I’d made it all the way up the hill without stopping for breath and I was pretty exhausted. None of these health issues are doing me any good, but you knew that anyway.

repairing bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Goinf past the bike shed I noticed that the guy had gone and taken all of the innards with him.

All I can say is that that didn’t last very long, did it?

Back here I had a coffee and my cake and then attacked the dictaphone notes. As I said earlier, it wasn’t a very happy night by all accounts

After lunch, I was back out again. This time to the physiotherapist. She’s back from her holiday and it’s her birthday today too.

peche a pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Once more, I stopped at the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury to check the camera again.

Right out at the entrance to the harbour there were some people out there wandering around as if they were engaged in the peche à pied.

And as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … with all of the stuff that is probably dropped and churned up by the boats that come in and out of the harbour, that’s the last place that I would look for shellfish.

By the time that I arrived at the physiotherapist’s, I was melting. It had warmed up dramatically and I was in my winter coat. But anyway she used a machine to massage my knee and then to finish off she had me doing a few exercises.

vegan cheese vegan dessert lidl Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After I left the physio I went round to LIDL to pick up a few bits and pieces. With going to Leuven next week I’m not shopping on Saturday.

And here’s an astonishing thing that I haven’t noticed before. Vegan cheese slices – and “English” (presumably Red Leicester) too.

Of course I’ve no idea what they might be like but the vegan deserts aren’t as good as they might be so I’m not too optimistic. However, if no-one buys the stuff they won’t stock any more vegan food so they need some kind of encouragement.

If it melts, it might be good for cheese on toast and there’s only one way to find that out, isn’t there?

new building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back I had a look again at the new building that was going on at the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul.

They don’t seem to have made a great deal of progress since we saw them last, but the road must be closed for some good purpose that isn’t easily apparent.

At the bottom of the hill is the funfair – the fête foraine – so I went for a wander around there for 10 minutes. It’s not as good as it might be when it’s all lit up but I’m already on 105% of my daily activity and I’m not going out again in the dark.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Back here at the building I can’t go inside until I’ve seen what’s happening down on the beach.

By the time that I came back I was rather later than usual but there was still some beach to be on and there were a few people down there actually on it. They were probably enjoying the warm weather.

Back in here I had a coffee and then I had some work to do. We’re doing a series of programmes on the Ukraine and I spent an hour or so tracking down some Ukrainian rock groups. One of them burst into the limelight thanks to an appearance that they made at a concert in Lviv and I actually managed to track down the concert too

Now I shall have to brush up my Russian because this concert was in pre-independence days and it’s 30 years since my last trip to Eastern Europe.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that years ago I used to work for a coach company that won a contract to take tourists behind the Iron Curtain. As I fancied the job as driver, I found a local woman who spoke Russian and she taught me the basics, most of which I have forgotten.

While I was at it I also came across a friend of a friend of a friend who has a daughter in the Ukraine and I’ve been trying to set up an interview for the radio. But that’s not easy, as you can imagine.

Another thing that I did was to bash out a few more photos from my trip to the High Arctic in 2019. Where has this energy come from?

Tea tonight was a potato and mushroom curry, and then I came back in here to write up my notes – and to make a long ‘phone call to Florida. My network of contacts stretches throughout the world and it’s just as well, with all of this going on.

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.