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Thursday 21st April 2022 – GLOBAL WARMING ANYONE?

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

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

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

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

Anyway I digress … “yet again” – ed.

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

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

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

It’s becoming something of a habit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The plot thickens, that’s for sure.

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

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

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

And they had beautiful weather for it too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But they did make a handsome couple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 7th April 2022 – MY BLOOD PRESSURE …

… is up. When it was checked at the hospital this morning, it was at 168 over 109 and that set all sorts of alarm bells ringing in there.

They have told me to double the dose of certain medication that I take, and to visit my GP for a blood test in 14 days time to see if this extra medication is causing any more problems.

Mind you, had I told them the real reason for the high blood pressure they wouldn’t have done anything at all and allowed it to pass. It’s all to do with the fact that I had a visitor during the night, someone who stayed with me all the way through.

Not Zero though, despite my comments yesterday. In actual fact TOTGA had the call-up last night, and a very young TOTGA it was too. There was a group of us on board a ship – maybe even THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR discussing all kinds of things. For some reason I lay down to sleep under a blanket. It was one of those sleeps where you were asleep but you could hear everything that was going on. They were talking away. I turned over and fell off the seat onto the floor. Everyone came round to see me and to see what I was doing and help me up. Gradually the conversation drifted off and it was just me and TOTGA. I started to become quite familiar with her. I happened to mention that I knew almost everyone on board to which she replied that so did she. She pointed out a few people whom she knew. There were persons who were friends of my mother so she said “let’s go downstairs and see who I know through my grandfather”. At this point I slapped her behind. We were halfway down the stairs when there was a bride and groom coming up. They had married and were travelling on their honeymoon, still in their wedding clothes. They were saying that they had just bought a pub in Alsager and had demolished it and were going to build houses on it. They were really surprised to see TOTGA here. The way that the two of us were fooling around, it was quite obvious to anyone that the two of us were a couple, which would have been quite strange because of the difference between our two ages during this dream but it was pretty clear to everyone. TOTGA knew the bride and that’s how we were talking but it was clear to everyone that the two of us were certainly a couple.

I forgot to mention that the group of us was doing things in music and the reason why the 2 of us were alone was that we had to persuade whoever was supposed to be looking after her that she could come on a tour abroad with the rest of us and play the music and that she’d be fine and well-looked after (clearly whoever writes the script and directs these nocturnal rambles doesn’t know me very well. Since when would TOTGA ever be safe alone with me?) etc but we didn’t reach that point in the dream

Later on I stepped back into this dream where the leader of the orchestra was trying to spit up TOTGA and me. He thought that our relationship was inappropriate but I was so unwilling to give her up and she was so unwilling to give me up. All around us things like Russian songs and Russian poems had been written on the walls of this ship and the 2 of us wrote something on there too but I can’t remember what.

And then I was back in this dream yet again but I missed a lot of the start that I can’t remember that I’d dictated into my hand without the dictaphone being there. The 2 of us were walking down a set of steps with some people whom she knew, her parents or guardians or something. I had my arm around her but considering her age that would be most unlikely. Again we were looking for these musicians, talking about playing in this music group. I’ve missed so much off the start of this with dictating into my hand.

Finally I was back in this dream again. We’d made it to Köln. I came out of the station and onto the square there and was thinking about where we were going to play. It looked very much as if we’d made up our minds so I went back to the station to find everyone else and that’s all that i can remember of this, coming out of the station, making up my mind and going back. But I’m sure that there was a lot more to it that I can’t remember now.

So having spent the whole night in the company of a very young TOTGA and on a very familiar basis too, it’s hardly surprising that my blood pressure was racing. Yours would have been racing too under these circumstances.

When the alarm went off I was already up and about and when the second one went off, I had actually already had a shower. It goes to show that I can do it when I really try.

rebuilding tiensestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022Having made my butties I staggered off outside into the rain and my walk up to the hospital.

At the start of the Tiensestraat where it leaves the Rector de Somerplein I walked past the building that they started to knock about a couple of months ago.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we were lucky enough to have had a peek inside back then but it’s not quite so easy right now with all of the goings-on.

But I’m intrigued to see what they are going to be doing with it. I hope that it’s not going to become another fast-food joint. There are already plenty of those in the town and it would be nice to see something rather more substantial.

photographer rector de somerplein leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that taking photos of people taking photos is a fairly regular theme that runs through these pages.

Today we have something slightly different, a photo of someone making a film.

Back there where they have the camera, there’s some kind of plaque set in the floor that doesn’t announce anything in particular yet it seems to be of a great interest to the guy with his camera and his assistant.

That prompted me to make a mental note to go for a closer look on the way home but regrettably, it seems that I forgot.

marquee stand demolition site brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022My route carried on through the rain down to the demolition site that was formerly Sint Pieter’s Hospital.

The site over there where there’s the concrete base is where they occasionally erect a marquee when there is something going on in the town but right now there isn’t anything happening anywhere.

But as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … if they are going to be building some kind of “model village” on this site with expensive apartments and all that kind of thing, they are going to have to do something about the view.

demolition site brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022This isn’t really what you want to see if you’ve shelled out a lot of money for somewhere reasonable to live, is it?

But then again, as we have often said about Belgium, they don’t seem to be in all that much of a hurry to do things around here so I’m not expecting these apartments to see the light of day for quite a while yet. It took them long enough to knock down the hospital.

But as we saw yesterday, the pile of soil on the extreme right seems to be slowly growing. Perhaps one of these days they’ll get round to landscaping part of the site with it. Just imagine the weeds that will be growing in it once the summer arrives.

new building kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022And while we’re on the subject of growing … “well, one of us is” – ed … the newt building in between the Kupicijnenvoer and the Zongang seems to have stopped.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last time that we are here we saw them caulking the joints where they had installed the windows. This month they have now gone along and installed the exterior cladding.

They have been quite quick doing that, which just goes to show that even Belgian builders can get a move on when they have to. It won’t be long before the tenants start moving in.

It’s not for me though. It’ll be quite dark in there, I reckon. I’ll need more light than they can offer otherwise I’ll wilt.

new building kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022Another new building that has attracted our interest over the last few months is the one that they are erecting further down the Kapucijnenvoer on the other side of the road.

They are making a start on the second floor now and in the normal course of events it shouldn’t take them too long to do that. But the depth of the foundations and the height of the cranes onsite seem to suggest that the building is going to be a lot higher that that.

The size of the underground car park is quite impressive too so I’m intrigued to see how tall the building will be and who is going to occupy it. In Leuven you would think that it would be something to do with the University, but why would they need such a car park?

And the final climb up the Monseigneur van Waeyenberghlaan finished me off. Despite the cooling effect of the rain I was defeated at the halfway mark and had to stop for breath

furniture lift monseigneur van waeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022And a couple of places further up the hill too, although one was for a photo opportunity too.

This is something that you don’t see too often, except in Belgium where you find them quite often. Moving house is sometimes complicated when apartment-dwelling is commonplace, and the easiest way to shift your furniture can often be “out of the window”.

That’s where these furniture lifts come in handy. They can do the job in a couple of minutes. When I moved into my apartment in Brussels in 2000 I hired one, but when I finally moved out in 2011 I went out in the hours of darkness via the interior lift.

And so I struggled on up the hill to the hospital. It was a bad day.

At the urology department they poked and prodded me around, took piles of copious notes and weighed me. Despite all of the exercise that I’ve had over the last week I’ve gained 2kg and I don’t know how. And they’ll “get back to me” in due course.

They had already been looking for me at the Haematology Day Clinic so when I arrived they were ready for me. As soon as I walked into the reception she had the paperwork and my ID bracelet all ready. The fact that they are beginning to know me in the hospital is a little disturbing.

With everything ready, I was coupled up quite quickly and I didn’t have to wait very long for the doctor to see me.

She was much more friendly than the one last time but she had no concrete suggestions about my struggles. Next month I have the appointment with the heart specialist and we’ll see what he can suggest.

Having picked up some extra medication I headed for home and halfway down the hill I had a ‘phone call from Urology. “Come back on 5th May”. So that’s now three appointments on that day. Things are obviously reaching a critical point.

bicycle rack kruisstraat leuven belgium Eric Hall photo April 2022Several months ago I noticed that they were installing some cycle racks at the side of the Sin Jakobuskerk.

At the time I speculated that they weren’t likely to see much business because they were rather off the beaten track as far as accommodation goes, and it looks as if I might have been right.

What caught my interest though was the electric bike in the foreground. I noticed that it was carrying some kind of registration plate. As well as that, instead of having a chain it has a synthetic drive belt.

Next time that I’m out and about I’ll have to keep an eye out for what’s happening with this situation. I’ve not encountered it before.

The banana-flavoured soya milk that I love and can only buy in Belgium has now run out so I called into Delhaize for more supplies on the way home. And back here I had a coffee and a chat with Liz before I rather unceremoniously crashed out.

This evening I’m not all that hungry so I’ve just had a couple of biscuits. This weight issue isn’t do to food but to water issues, but even so I should take every opportunity to cut down on my food intake.

So having written my notes I’m going to lounge around for a while before going to bed.

But a whole night with TOTGA! Whatever next?

Friday 25th February 2022 – REGULAR READERS OF …

girl taking photos hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… of this rubbish will recall that one of the recurring themes that run though these pages is photos of people taking photos.

And sure enough, we had a couple of those today. We also had the first Bird-Man of Alcatraz this year too today but his Nazgul came to grief on the car park at the back of the lighthouse at the Pointe du Roc.

There was a young girl taking a photo of our bird-man packing up his troubles in his old kit bag and so I joined in the fun by taking a photograph of the girl taking a photograph.

And then, like the KNIGHTS OF KING ARTHUR we went our separate ways.

cabanon vauban people on bench pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022My journey didn’t take me very far before I came once more to a stop.

This afternoon there were some people down there by the bench at the cabanon vauban and one of them was taking a couple of photos.

Even at this distance I could take a photo of what she was doing so that I could add it to my collection of photographs of people taking photographs.

However, as usual, I’m running ahead of myself here. Let’s go back and start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While you admire a few photos of the huge rollers coming in and colliding with the sea wall, I’m going to start today’s story even before the very beginning.

In fact, last night, I couldn’t go to sleep. In the end I ended up watching a film on the internet while I was waiting for sleep to come and it was at about 01:30 when I finally staggered into bed.

That doesn’t bode well for a 07:30 start but if we turn the clock back a year or two, I was going to bed at that time and arising at 06:00 without the least problem. And then going out for a run around the town.

Ohhh! How things have changed!

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There wasn’t a great deal of time to go off on much of a nocturnal ramble, but I did my best.

Compared to the events of the last few nights; what happened last night was rather tame. Nevertheless, there was a very enigmatic entry on the dictaphone.

It went “I wish that I knew more about that dark-haired girl who came to visit me last night but that’s all there was on the dictaphone so I’ve no idea at all about anything relating to this”.

And I was dead right too. I wish that I did know more about it as well because it’s the kind of thing that must have been extremely interesting. I seem to be meeting an awful lot of unidentified young ladies just recently and it’s extremely frustrating to say the least when I can’t recall who they are or what we did.

storm waves port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Later on I was with Nerina again last night. We were doing something at a bungalow on the Poets Estate near Coleridge Way around there. I’d been working on a car. I’d put my things away but when I went back there were still some bits and pieces lying around so I picked them up and put them in my pocket. Then I went to look at the car. The seat adjuster had broken – the circlip that holds it in place had come off. I made a mental note to do something about that when I was in a place where I could fix it. Then we drove to Nerina’s – it was about 21:45. Nerina’s mother said “oh, you’re early. She had tea ready which, for me, was vegan sausages. We had our meal then I was going to show Nerina this seat attachment thing because if she will be going out in the car in the morning she’ll need to know about this so she’ll know what to expect and she’ll know how to fix it. I couldn’t find a circlip to hold it in position. I was singing RIDING THE WAVES by Steve Harley all the time and I don’t know why and even Nerina made a mention of it during the dream.

And how I wish that I could sing it as well as I could 30 years ago

What I’ve been doing all day today is dealing with the arrears on the dictaphone that hadn’t been transcribed. I’ve no idea where I found all of the energy to do it but I did it all the same and now it’s finished.

Surprisingly, of the 40-odd sound-files that I had to transcribe, TOTGA and Zero only put in a very minimal appearance or two but we haven’t seen anything of Castor for a while and that is depressing me.

But anyway, all I need to do now is to find an hour or two over the weekend and update the relevant journal entries.

We had the usual breaks during the course of the day, a coffee or a hot blackcurrant here and there, a slice of my wonderful, delicious coffee cake and then lunch of course.

Another couple of things that I needed to do was to telephone the doctor about another appointment. I need more Aranesp for my fortnightly injections.

And then I had to write out a recipe. A while ago I’d promised my friend in Munich a copy of my vegan pie recipe but I had kept on forgetting. But the photo of my pie the other day reminded me.

low loader place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There was a lot of noise going on outside during the afternoon, heavy machinery and so on, so I wondered what I was going to see when I went outside.

Right outside my front door was an articulated tractor unit with a low-loader trailer attached thereto. And running around the area was a large tractor-type JCB thing with a pair of fork loaders on the front.

What was strange about this, and I didn’t notice until afterwards otherwise I would have taken a photo of it, was that the driver of the JCB thing was a young woman.

That is surely the first time that I have ever seen someone of the female sex driving a machine like that.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And so as usual I wandered off down to the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

The tide was well in now so there wasn’t much beach to be on. But nevertheless there were plenty of people down there wandering around or sitting on the rocks as you can see at the bottom of the photo.

There was even a young girl down there in pink wellingtons actually going out into the water and that was rather courageous of her. I can’t see what she and, presumably, her father were doing down there. They had no equipment for the pèche à pied and in any case the tide is too far up for that.

buoy baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Every now and again we notice a certain type of yellow buoy out there in the bay in between Granville and St Martin.

Today we have another one of them, and I wish that I knew what it was doing and what was its significance. It’s not a mooring buoy and it doesn’t look like a typical lobster pot marker buoy to me.

There were several seagulls flying around it and so I was wondering whether we might be in for a romantic love story. After all, the ocean is the place where buoy meets gull.

Yes, I’ll get my coat.

sea pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual I also had a good look around out at sea to see what was happening there.

Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is the different layers of water that coexist side-by-side in the bay and the mystery that it causes.

What we have here today is a kind-of ripple effect in the water. The last time that I saw something like this was POINT PELÉE, the southernmost point of mainland Canada when I was there with Katherine in 2010.

What was happening there was that we had a river flow heading to the east and a wind-blown flow heading west. However here today, just for a change there wasn’t anything like enough wind for a similar phenomenon today.

There were crowds of people milling around this afternoon as you might have seen in some of the previous photos. It was a nice day and it had certainly brought out the crowds.

The storm and the waves had subsided considerably since yesterday but coming into the Baie de Mont St Michel every now and again were some very heavy rollers. You saw a couple of them breaking on the harbour wall in the photos right at the beginning.

courrier des iles chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022In the chantier naval we have a new occupier over at the back of the yard. She’s Courrier des Iles, one of the charter hire boats that operate out of the port.

Not that I know too much about the operation of the smaller boats that ply for hire but the larger ones certainly have to have an annual inspection before they can carry fare-paying passengers and so if that’s the case with her, she’s probably having an overhaul to prepare her for the forthcoming season.

Meanwhile, over on the other side of the yard, Tiberiade, Le Roc à le Mauve III and the two yachts are still in there receiving attention.

cable laying rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022At the rear of the apartment I found out what was going on with all of this machinery.

They are laying some cable in the underground conduit and although you can’t see it in this photo, the cable reel is whizzing around. It’s on a stand of course, and there is someone somewhere else in the neighbourhood pulling on the end of the cable to whizz it through the conduit.

Back here I had a coffee and came back in here to carry on with the dictaphone notes and eventually I finished them

Tea tonight was a vegan burger with pasta and veg in tomato sauce and it was quite a delicious, if quick tea.

So now I’m off to bed. I’m going shopping tomorrow so I need to be fit. I don’t need much but we shall see what the shops come up with.

Tuesday 9th November 2021 – WE’VE HAD ANOTHER …

aeroplane f-hgsm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… aerial afternoon this afternoon, just for a change.

Not a nazgul or any bird-men of Alcatraz but actually an aeroplane flyng by overhead out in the bay on its way hame to the airfield just outside Donville Les Bains.

Its an aeroplane that we have seen before – F-HGSM, a Robin DR400/160 aeroplane that’s owned by the Aero Club of Greaves of Mont Saint Michel just down the road from here – coming out for a quick lap around towards the end of the afternoon.

aeroplane f-hgsm baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021We’ve seen her before, and a few minutes later we saw her again, this time flying the other way.

In fact she’s spent much of the afternoon flying up and down the coast between Avranches and Granville. The first this that she was picked up on radar today was at 14:41.

Unfortunately, many of her flights weren’t picked up on radar. Certainly, these two weren’t. The aeroplane doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan either so I can’t say much more about what she’s been up to.

65px light aeroplane place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Jamais deux sans trois – “never just two without a third” as they say around here.

Sure enough, no sooner had F-HGSM disappeared off down the coast then around the corner came another aeroplane from the direction of the airfield. But as this one approached me it did a dramatic U-turn and headed back the way from which he came.

Unfortunately I can only tell you even less about this particular one because it’s another one with one of these short registration numbers – 65PX -that isn’t on any database to which I have access. So I let it go off on its way.

This morning, I had a great deal of difficulty going off on my way. Despite a reasonably early night I had an extreme amount of difficulty leaving my bed. But as I promised no to talk about my bad nights I won’t say any more.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then knuckled down to revise my Welsh from last week and to prepare for my lesson this morning.

There was a slight interruption though because the NIKON 1 J5 came back. I shall have a play with that in due course.

The Welsh lesson passed quite quickly and quite well too. An I need to remember now is “Fish Fingers, Baked Beans, More Beans, MMMMM”

After lunch I updated a few more days of the journal from late October, transcribed a few more entries for due course and then set about dealing with last night’s issues. I’d been back at my old school last night but I didn’t recognise anything of it. All of the House names had been changed to reflect the current way of thinking. I couldn’t see a timetable or a room list, a teacher list or anything like that. I was just wandering around aimlessly checking rooms to see if there was anyone I recognised, which I ddn’t. The teachers all looked strange, young and modern to me. Each class had a Social Media page that was pretty open and even the teachers were writing down their innermost thoughts on this. I went to have a look at the roll-call for students who had started this year. There were some from Pontypool, some from Galashiels, even some from Centreville in Canada. This has all changed from how it used to be with just local recruitment. I wondered where they were all staying because there’s nowhere for groups of kids to stay in Nantwich

Then about 85 minutes later, the problem with the school was that they were recruiting from all over the place, Galashiels, down south, even Cetreville in Canada. There didn’t seem to be anyone local at all. All the classes had Social Media accounts. Even teachers were writing their innermost thoughts down there. It didn’t look anything like the school that I knew with local recruitment. It seemed to me that there was a year that was being missed for which they weren’t offering tuition which I thought was strange. I must have dictated the previous notes and then gone back to sleep right back into where I left off yet again.

Later still, I’d been leaving France for Belgium and gone a different way than usual. I was looking over the map and the road that I wanted was over the edge of a page so I was wondering where I was going to end up. At first I thought that it looked shorter but then with it going off the page it started to look longer. I was wondering whether I’d made the right decision. I noticed that it seemed to end up back on the road that I used to take when I went down to the Auvergne through the mountains of the Ardennes. I was trying to work out exactly where that was going to be.
There was also something about living on a farm and buying a car, but I wasn’t allowed to use the car on the road. I bought it and I was trying to smarten it up and getting it to be a kind-of custom hot-rod thing. I’d bought 2 exhaust pipes for it that go down the outside of the car. Then I found out that there was another type that improved performance even more than I ought to have bought and it was starting to get a little bit crazy.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021In the middle of all of this I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

First stop is at the end ot the car park where I can look down on the beach. And considering that we are now rapidly approaching mid-November there were still plenty of people down there this afternoon.

It was actually quite a nice, sunny day which was a surprise, and there wasn’t very much wind. And as you can see, there was plenty of beach down there for everyone to wak upon with the tide being well out this afternoon.

seagulls harvesting bouchots donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further on down the beach towards Donville les bains there were even more crowds down there.

Mainly crowds – or shoud I say flocks – of seagulls. They seem to be enjoying themselves having a feeding frenzy in the tidal pools with all of the fish that has been left behind, stranded by the tide.

Further on down the coast the harvesters of bouchots are also out there at work. You can see a couple of their tractors heading out towards the beds. No trailers though, so they aren’t ready to pull them in just yet.

trawlers yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual, when I’m out and about looking at what is going on down on the beach, I have one eye looking around out at sea to se what’s happening there.

Right now of course we are living in interesting times so I’m keeping a close watch on all of the activity. And there’s plenty og avtivity out there this afternoon.

Out there we have a couple of trawlers looking as if they are working rather than heading in for home. And the yacht that’s out there with them is going to have a long wait before the tide comes in far enough for it to make it back home.

patrol boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021I’m not the only one keeping a close eye on the activity either.

Unless I’m very much mistaken, that looks like a French Navy patrol boat out there having a little wander around in the bay.

Of course, with things starting to heat up around here in the bay, it’s not surprising that the French Government has sent someone in to watch what is going on.

It’s not just the British Navy that has warships, despite what the crooks in Westminster and the collaborationist press will tell the gullible public.

There were quite a few people walking around on the path this afternoon in the nice weather, although I don’t know where they have come from. The schoolkids were out ther eorienteering too but none of them came over for a chat this afternoon.

people taking self photograph cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the end of the path I crossed over the car park to go down to the end of the headland.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, a regular feature on these pages is photographs of people taking photographs of people. And here were a couple of people in action down by the cabanon vauban.

Whether or not “selfies” actually count as photographs of people taking photographs of people, I’ve included it all the same. There was another couple as well on the car park taking photos of each other but I wasn’t quick enough for that.

man fishing off rocks pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And our photoraphers weren’t the only ones down there at the end of the headland.

We had the fishermen out there on the rocks as well. Here is one of them almost up to his knees in the water casting his line into the deep. Not that he’ll be catching very much if past experience is anything to go by.

With plenty of things to do I couldn’t hang around very long to watch. I cleared off down the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Over at the ferry terminal there was one of the Joly France ferries sitting in the silt. It’s the older one of the two with the larger upper deck superstructure

On this side of the harbour at the chantier naval there wasn’t anything at all happening.

The portable boat lift is still standing there in the middle of the yard with its wheels off waiting for something to happen to it. And I hope that they won’t be taking too long to repair it. The town needs the business that the chantier naval can bring.

joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021One of the ways of telling the two Joly France boats apart is by the step in the stern of the newer one.

There’s a really good view of the stern of the new one down there in the inner harbour and you can see the step quite clearly.

To the left of her is the very new Belle France ferry that came into the town earlier in the year.

And if you want a full house, Chausiaise, the little Chausey freighter, is over on the right out of shot. There’s nothing whatever going on over at the Ile de Chausey today, not like the other day when we saw them streaming out from port.

roofing rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little further along the road there was quite a racket coming from somewhere in the Rue du Port.

Looking down there from up on top of the cliff I could see that there was someone down there doing a bit of roofing.

It’s certainly the right kind of weather to do it. It’s a nightmare being up on a roof in a torrential downpour and a howling gale, as I know from bitter experience. And I’m surprised that, just for once, there isn’t a howling gale blowing around.

Anyway, there’s plenty of time for him to be soaked to the skin or blown off the scaffolding. It looks as if he’s only just started and the weather can turn at any moment.

people taking photographs boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little earlier, I mentioned something about some people taking photographs of each other.

When I was down at the Pointe du Roc I wasn’t quick enough to catch them but I caught up with them in the Boulevard Vaufleury, standing in the middle of the road defying the oncoming traffic to take their photos.

She had a bunch of flowers earlier. I wonder where she has stuck them.

Back at the apartment I made a coffee and carried on with the dictaphone notes, and that took me right up to teatime.

It was a quick tea of taco rolls and rice with veg (not dropped into the sink tonight) because there was football on the internet. Hwlffordd v Barry Town.

Played in a driving rainstorm on a sodden pitch it wasn’t a very attractive game as the teams struggled to come to terms with the conditions. The match ended 1-1 which was probably a fair result in the circumstances although the goals were really messy goalmouth scrambles.

It wasn’t at all like the match LAST WEEKEND which had a couple of the finest goals you’ll see at this level of football.

Anyway now I’m off to bed for another night’s voyages. Listening to all of the stuff on the dictaphone I’ve been having some really vivid dreams just recently, and plenty of them too.

All of this corresponds with my dreadful nights and I’m wondering if there’s been a change in eithe rmy diet or my medication that has brought all of this on. I shall have to go back and review everything to see what it’s all about.

Sunday 15th August 2021 – THE OTHER DAY …

belle france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… when discussing all of the boats that were out there on the water, I believe that I mentioned how I would love to be out there when the harbour gates are near closing, in order to witness the stampede as the boats all headed back for port.

And sure enough, this afternoon I had my wish, and a lot sooner than I was expecting as well. The tide is advancing quite rapidly and even though this is my usual time to be out, you can see the mad dash for home already.

Belle France is well up there in second place to that cabin cruiser in front, but on the outside there’s a speedboat coming incredibly quickly, making quite a wave as he does so.

boats heading for harbour port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound on the pther side of the headland, things are much more advanced.

There are at least five and maybe even more small boats in the photo just here, all dashing for the port de plaisance while they still are able to do so.

Nobody would want to be stranded out in the bay during the night, especially if they have work to go to in the morning.

Not too many people out on the sea wall watching them though. I would have expected this to have been one of the best free entertainments going.

Last night I did without any kind of entertainment – free or otherwise – after the football. At the final whistle I staggered off to bed and that was that.

At 06:19 I was awake but if anyone thinks that I’ll be leaving my bed at that time of day on a Sunday they are mistaken. Even 09:10 is a bit optimistic. 10:40 is much more like it.

Ordinarily I would have said that that was a good sleep but there is tons of stuff on the dictaphone so I must have been quite disturbed (as if I’m not disturbed enough as it it).

I started off at the home of a couple of friends last night, doing a load of moving for them or something like that. I’d gone to her office room to talk to her but she was busy on the phone so I went into his office room kind of thing and he wasn’t there. I thought that I would wait for him to come back and I started listening to music and I thought “He has loads of LPs so I’m sure that he has loads of live cast-offs that would do for a live concert”. There was a box of strawberries and cream by the side of his computer and I was busy eating my way through those and scrolling through his Facebook screen. Suddenly I saw a message that he had sent me about Welsh Premier League football and I could see my reply under there. I thought that I’d better not be confused in this subject comes up again because I’ll be replying as someone else instead of me and reading my own replies. When they did come down they looked so young and it was very hard for me to believe that it was them. I couldn’t believe it. They were talking about everything, about how we don’t need to go out for a meal tonight but we can go for breakfast tomorrow somewhere. I said that my partner (and I couldn’t think of her name) was having to teach this afternoon but I’d been watching “Alfie” and this started off with some guys going to rob the home of a policewoman or something but the robbery had all gone wrong and several policemen in there and there had ended up being a gunfight and all these guys had gone to prison and been sent down for an enormous length of time. The Michael Caine character had to flee the country with his girlfriend and she was telling him all this bad news about everything else that was connected with this but still going wrong. He was pretty powerless where he was to actually do anything about it

This flat (and I wish that I knew which flat is was that I was discussing) is ideal for the kind of thing for a weekend retreat where you can come away from Paris on Friday and be here Friday night, and not have to go back until Sunday night and spend every weekend down by the sea.

A little later I was on my way to a football match and I arrived in Chester and was running late so I had to take a taxi. I went to the local rank but there were only little electric telephone box-type cars so I said to a guy standing near it “is that yours?”. Another guy immediately leapt out of a vehicle and asked “taxi?”. I replied “yes but just give me a minute to make a phone call. Is there a phone handy?”. I had a discount card that I needed to ring up to book. he showed me over to a phone but said “there’s still 12 minutes left on the meter. Where do you want to go? I said “Deva Road” so he replied “come on. We’ll get there before this runs out”. He ushered me into a red Rover V8 and drove me there. We had a bit of a laugh in the snow about how uneconomical his car was, everything. He said that it wasn’t that bad. As I got up the steps to the football ground, I did a bit of shopping and started to walk back. I didn’t go to the game at all if there had been one.

A group of travellers turned up in Palestine, amongst them a three year old boy that was donated by some parent in some emergency but when they got to Palestine they didn’t have a clue as to what they were going to do so they built some kind of meeting centre or something like that to show at least that they weren’t going to waste any time.

Somewhere as well there was a story of two 9-year-old girls who used to go around all these rock festivals and blues festivals filming the events. Their mother would form them into some kind or promotional video. I was there somewhere with a girl and I introduced her to people like John Hite and someone who wrote a lot of songs, Creedence Clearwater Revival (do I mean Bob Hite of Canned Heat?). I said “there you are, you have to meet John Hite and a few others and that’s something to tell your friends, isn’t it?”. She replied “most of my friends wouldn’t even know who people like that are”.

Later I woke up in a panic thinking that it was 16:00 and I had a flight back to Europe in an hour and I had so much to do. I grabbed all of my things and shot off to the airport and then spent quite a lot of time trying to find a place to sit down and sort myself out and pack everything. A couple of people came to join me and we were talking about the lack of seats in this place. The discussion drifted on to airports in North Carolina and the rudimentary facilities there, some experience that I could share with these two people as well.

As well as all of this, someone had asked me to do some tiling for him. I’m not very good at tiling but I went along to have a look. At my place I’d tiled on top of a piece of lino so I found a piece of lino and cut to size and cleaned up but instead of using soap I’d used fat and it made a right mess of everywhere so I had to take it out. There was fat all over the floor so I prepared to mop it up. Then he came in. He hadn’t really twigged on what was going on but he was inspecting it as much as he could and how I knew what was going to be done to the right size so that I’d cut off a piece of lino as a template. He went to look at it. I told him that it was wet so he said “we’d better open it out to dry” so he opened it out on his balcony. He asked me “your insurance liability is up to date, isn’t it?” Unfortunately I didn’t have any and I was beginning to regret having said that I would do this job for him the way that he was going on like this.

After the medication I came back in here to check my mail and then I went off to have a look at the view now that the tide is on its way out.

boats baie de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd that’s the view that greeted me looking out across the Baie de Granville and the English Channel this morning.

After the really wonderful few days that we have had, summer is now apparently over and we are back in winter again.

It’s pretty pointless trying to look for car ferries and sailing ships in that lot just there. It was raining too, the first time for about a week, and that didn’t help matters at all. We could have had Godzilla and the Loch Ness Monster out there this morning and I wouldn’t have seen them.

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe view down the coast was, if anything, even worse.

We can just about make out the white beach huts on the promenade at the Plat Gousset but our view doesn’t go very much beyond there right now. The Rue du Nord is swathed in raincloud too.

Hopefully the view will be better on the other side of the headland in the lee of the wind. The rain might not have reached there yet.

spirit of conrad aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we might not have any rain, the view isn’t all that much better, which is a shame.

However Aztec Lady is back in town. She’s the blue boat over there that goes on a few exciting voyages every so often, although the current travel regulations have curtailed much of the more interesting sailings.

To her left, bow-end on to the camera is Spirit of Conrad, the boat on which we went down the Brittany coast last year. The last time that I’d heard of her, she was over at the Ile de Chausey but I met her skipper yesterday so I assumed that she had come home.

suzanga baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother boat that was on her way home this morning in all of the bad weather is the trawler Suzanga.

She’s the new boat in town, having only recently arrived from the shipbuilders in Turkey, and she’s already out there earning her keep.

That’s several new trawlers that have joined the local fleet since I’ve been living here. It shows that contrary to all expectations, the local ship owners are rather optimistic about the future of the fishing industry here, and that’s always quite a good sign.

Positive thinking seems to be in rather short supply these days among some people.

zodiac port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallDespite the miserable weather, there’s plenty of activity in port this morning which is nice to see.

There were several zodiacs loitering aroind in the neighbourhood, almost as if there was a cruise ship like THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR anchored somewhere offshore.

But the girl who was driving this one came in, went up to the harbour wall, said something to a few people and then turned round and sailed back out again. So what was that all about then?

passengers boarding zodiac port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile I could see the heads of some other people down there and they looked as if they were sitting in a zodiac, but I couldn’t really see because the house roofs were in the way.

It took about 20 minutes for them to decide what they were going to do and I had to wait around all that time because there wasn’t anything else going on that I could see that would occupy my mind.

Eventually they threw a rope to someone on the quayside and they moved away, so that I could see what was going on.

people on board zodiac leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThey set off in the tracks of the one that had left earlier.

And I know that my expedition friends would be having heart failure seeing a moving zodiac with people standing up in it as it travels, even if they are hanging on to something.

The way that they pitch and roll and sway in the sea means that they aren’t as stable as they might be with a high centre of gravity when people are standing up. Everyone should be sitting down and luggage goes at their feet to keep the centre of gravity lower still.

By now I was becoming rather wet (as if I wasn’t wet enough before I started) so I headed for home and a nice hot coffee, and then start work on yesterday’s journal entry.

dropping off passengers blocking rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt some point or other during the day I was interrupted by noise from out at the back.

The streets around the old town are closed today as it’s the book fair, and there was a breakdown lorry trying to gain access . The driver had gone off to seek assistance but in the meantime, another car had come past him and then inexplicably stopped, rather selfishly, to let out his passengers while he goes to park the car.

Never mind that the road is narrow enough so that no-one else behind him could go past. That’s clearly unimportant as long as he’s OK.

The selfishness of some people never ceases to amaze me.

Writing my notes was a long and arduous task today, and took much longer than I expected. I even had a rather quick lunch to try to make more time but as you probably realise, something like that seldom seems to work.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis afternoon I went out to have a look at the beach to see what was happening down there.

No afternoon walk seems to be complete without that these days.

The tide has come in quite quickly but there are still plenty of brave souls down there trying out the beach, sitting around and sunbathing.

There didn’t seem to be anyone actually in the water this afternoon but that’s not to say that there weren’t any.

kayaker baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were other people in the water though, but in a different fashion entirely.

Like this kayaker for instance. He must have paddled his canoe quite a long way to end up here, and now he’s going to have to turn round and paddle himself all the way back, and pretty quickly too if he wants to find a slipway or launching pad still in the water.

And is that a fishing rod that he has poking up behind him? It can’t be all that comfortable fishing in a kayak. And where would be put his catch?

great cormorant baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that was out here like piffy on a rock was this strange creature.

It’s actually a Great Cormorant and he’s a long way from home. His breeding colony is probably the one across the bay on one of the small islands facing Cancale. Several of those islands – the uninhabited ones – are know to be breeding grounds.

They were much more widespread than that at one time but predators like foxes and rats have seen off several colonies. In fact there’s a plan for the Ile de Chausey for a mass eradication of non-indigenous predators.

hang glider cemetery Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd when you compare this photo of the one that I took down the coast earlier today, you’ll see a great difference.

Of course, the rain cloud has now passed on to better things and the weather is so much nicer. In addition to that, the Bird-Men of Alcatraz have awoken and they have come here with their Nazgul to have an afternoon’s adventuring.

One of them has just taken off from the field by the cemetery and at the moment he’s fighting to gain control of his Nazgul, after which he’ll be heading this way.

yacht ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere didn’t seem to be all that much going on farther out at sea this afternoon but I did scan the horizon.

At one point I picked up something large and dark out by the Ile de Chausey and although I couldn’t imagine it being anything else other than the sail of a yacht I took a photo to check when I returned home.

Sure enough, it is a yacht although it’s too far out to see if it’s anyone we know. Black Mamba isn’t in port right now but she’s apparently in Cherbourg right now so I doubt that it might be her.

belem english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHere is someone else who we might have seen over the last few days out there in the English Channel.

Unfortunately the weather is nothing like as clear as it was yesterday morning for us to give a positive identification but thinking that it might again be the training ship Belem, I made a note of her position.

Sure enough, when I returned, I could check on the historical radar plot and Belem was indeed at that spot round about that time of the afternoon.

hang glider pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was nothing else going on out there of any importance (apart from the mad stampede that you saw earlier) so I pushed on around the headland.

As I crossed over the road, one of the errant Nazgul went swooping by over the top of the old bunker so I stopped to take a photograph of it.

And then I ended up in a mad stampede of my own down the hill chasing after my camera’s lens cap that I had unfortunately dropped.

Luckily I managed to avoid being run down by a car coming up the hill towards me. We both would have had a surprise.

f-gbai ROBIN DR 400-140B pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this point I was overflown yet again, this time by a mechanical device and I wondered why it had taken them so long to find me.

This is one that we recognise, having seen her many times just recently. She’s the Granville Aero Club’s Robin DR 400-140B F-GBAI going out on an afternoon flight.

She was first picked up on radar at 16:01 (my photo is (adjusted) 16:14) and she did a few laps around the Ile de Chausey and then up and down the coast before disappearing off the radar again near the airfield at 17:50

chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no change in occupant at the chantier naval today so I turned my attention elsewhere.

The ferry that we saw coming over from the Ile de Chausey, I wasn’t sure who she was. But I can tell you who she wasn’t because the older one of the two Joly France boats is sitting there at the quayside already with a load of people on the path just above her as if they have just gone ashore.

And here on the other side is the little freighter Chausiaise. So it can’t be any one of those two. But we’ll find out in a couple of minutes.

belle france entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it didn’t even take that long before we were to find out.

Around the bend, alongside the sea wall and into the harbour came the brand-new Belle France, crammed to the gunwhales with people from the Ile de Chausey.

There were quite a few people on the sea wall by now admiring her as she appeared, and quite rightly too because not only is she a beautiful machine, she’s a sign of faith and optimism that there’s plenty of life left in the port.

And with the uncertain future surrounding the Channel Island ferries and the gravel boats, then this is good news.

man taking photograph car park boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I have to do before I finish.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my pages are littered with inter alia photos of people taking photos. Today we had a large family group with a photographer who was taking pictures of them, with tripod and all.

This was far too good an opportunity to miss and I had to add a discreet shot of the event to my little collection.

Back here at the apartment I finally finished my notes from yesterday and then I joined up the tracks for the radio programme for tomorrow.

When that was done I attacked my pizza which was delicious. I haven’t made anything else though because I’m off on Tuesday to Leuven.

And now seeing as I’m exhausted, I’m off for an early night ready to start work tomorrow. Radio first of course, and I also have the injection man coming as well. I wonder if that will kickstart me into life for my trip to Leuven.

Thursday 25th March 2021 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… night that was!

demolition st pieters hospital brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric Hall… while you admire the photos of the roadworks and demolitions that we have been following over the last few years, I’ll tell you all about it.

And if you want to know more about the photos as you pass by them, click on the image aside and a new window will open up with an enlarged photo and a caption.

But I spent most if not all of the night battling with cramp. I’ve had some bad nights just recently with cramp, and some worse nights too, but none were as bad as last night’s attacks.

demolition st pieters hospital brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallIn fact, even when it started to grow light I was still awake in agony having already hopped around the rom to free everything off at least half a dozen times

When the alarm went off I was in no condition to leave the bed and in fact i totally ignored all of the alarms. Instead, I stayed in bed until about 08:20 and it’s been a while since I’ve done that in the week.

But at least I managed to drift off to sleep at some point and I even managed to go off on my travels. And that reminds me – if you missed last night’s voyages they are on-line now too

sint Jacobsplein leuven belgium Eric HallGreenock Morton were playing in a football match last night and were attacking the opponents’ goal. The team that they were playing had a couple of old Morton players in it like Gregor Buchanan. They were attacking the goal and they should have scored three or four in this one particular movement. They were trying to force the ball over the line. One of the Morton players even managed to lift it over the bar from standing on the goal line, there were that many bodies in the way and he had to get the ball over them. Interesting though was that all of the players were just like wraiths, something that made me wonder if the opponents were not in fact Wraith Rovers, just a ghostly outline rather than actual real players whom I could see. I remember shouting encouragement from the terraces but funnily enough I was the only person doing it and it sounded terribly embarrassing

biezenstraat leuven belgium Eric HallLater on there was a roundabout that had been built by Crewe and on this roundabout heading towards the town was my former friend from Stoke on Trent on a motorbike carrying a 5-gallon container of diesel. I was going the other way on a motorbike. Behind him on my old Honda Melody was Zero. She was only about 10 but she was riding this Honda Melody. I pulled up alongside the guy and we started to have a bit of a chat. The girl said “look here!” and she went off on this motor bike, did a couple of sliding turns, came back and slid to a halt. The bike toppled over and she got off and came to sit in between the two of us, telling us all about riding her motor bike. I asked “have you been taking Strawberry Moose out for a ride?”. she replied “yes”. The guy was saying that she’d held him tight while driving. She replied “ohh no! He’s been for a ride with me properly on it”.

And that brought back many happy memories of when I was living with Laurence and 8 year-old Roxanne 20-odd years ago and I taught Roxanne to ride the Melody

Sint-Hubertusstraat Leuven belgium Eric HallComing downstairs was something of a stagger.

My knee was certainly better but it wasn’t that good and I still couldn’t put too much weight on it and I needed to grip onto something to haul myself up into a standing position.

But I did eventually reach the ground floor and I attacked the dictaphone to see where I’d been during last night and the night before. And to my surprise, I had travelled quite far as you have probably noticed if you’ve read all of my notes.

monseigneur vanwaeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric HallLater on, I took my courage in both hands and limped off down to the supermarket.

The Delhaize rather than the Carrefour because it was closer and I wasn’t up to going the extra distance. But I did what shopping I needed to do and staggered back.

Despite my injury and despite the load that I was carrying I made it back without too much of a problem, and then made myself some toast for a rather late breakfast.

There was time for a shower and some clothes washing, and then I headed off to the hospital.

It was a depressing walk down to the town because I really wasn’t feeling like it but I did it all the same.

photographer taking photos grote markt leuven belgique Eric HallAs I passed through the Grote Markt I stumbled upon a young photgrapher doing her stuff.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, another one of the regular features on these pages is photographers taking photos. There’s usually one or two appearing every now and again.

Having seen that, I carried on with my walk past all of the building work that has been going on over the last couple of years that is progressing rather too slowly for my liking.

new pipework near the herestraat leuven belgium Eric HallUp at the hospital there was yet more excitement.

It was not easy to see what they were doing but they had a digger out there digging a trench along by the lagoon over there and they have a great long length of large-diameter rubber pipe that I imagine that they will drop into the trench when they have done it.

But as to its purpose, I’ve no idea. And the guys were too far away to ask.

At the hospital I had a Covid-test and then they could treat me for my illness. The wired me up and plugged me in and gave me my intravenous drip.

The doctor came to see me and I told her about my “incident” yesterday and all of the cramps that I’ve been having.

As for the fall, there is no damage and all of the muscles and ligaments are working fine. As for the cramps, she doesn’t think that they are cramps but what her translation from the Flemish was “wandering leg” – she didn’t know its precise English translation and I didn’t understand the Flemish.

Anyway, she’s prescribed me a pill that will ease the cramps and help me have a decent sleep. It takes a while to work so I won’t see the results for a couple of weeks.

Kaatje came to see me too and we had quite a chat. She told me about her holiday plans for a cycling tour with her friends. When she came into my room I was listening to COLOSSEUM LIVE – one of the top five live albums ever and which always brings back memories of the High Arctic and THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR

She asked me about it and I told her that it dated from 1973. “I wasn’t even born then” she replied. I keep on forgetting how old I am, although the events of yesterday and today have aged me by 20 years.

The doctor came back with my test results – blood count down to 8.9 which is no great surprise is it? And then I cleared off to pick up my medication.

herestraat leuven belgium Eric HallOutside the hospital there was a bright blue sky but some really filthy dark black clouds.

This was creating some really strange lighting effects so I took a photo of it. Unfortunately the camera was not able to reproduce the effect which is rather a disappointment so you’ll just have to imagine it.

But at least, the photo from this angle gives you an idea of how far out of town the hospital is and how far I have to walk to come here. As an aside, having gone to the shops this morning as well I’m now on 191% of my daily total according to my fitbit and that’s impressive for someone with a damaged knee.

monseigneur vanwaeyenberghlaan leuven belgium Eric HallOver the last couple of years we’ve been watching the slow rebuilding of the Monseignur Van Waeyenberghlaan and you have already seen the work that they have been doing.

The upper end of the avenue is now complete and the traffic is now able to circulate around there too part of the way down.

People on foot are able to circulate down there too so I continued on my way down the avenue and back towards town. In an hour’s time I would be meeting Alison for a chat and a coffee.

demolition kapucijnenvoer leuven belgium Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen the demolition of St Pieter’s Hospital, and I posted two new photos earlier.

The demolition work has also been taking place around the back so I went to see how they were doing with that little lot.

Whatever it is that they were demolishing, they have now demolished it and the rebuilding has started. That looks as if it might be a subterranean car park down there and to the left there’s a piledriver that will be sinking the foundations of whatever will be going on top.

Alison and I had a good chat and a little wander around and then we went back to the car park underneath the Ladeuzeplein.

crowds monseigneur ladeuzeplein leuven belgium Eric HallBelgium temporarily relaxed its Covid restrictions a couple of days ago but now they are retightening them again.

There were plenty of people out and about making most of the warm weather and the end of the relaxed restrictions and they were having a little party on the Ladeuzeplein.

Just for a change, it seemed that social distancing was being respected. In fact we saw several stewards who were presumably enforcing them. And as we watched, a police car pulled onto the square and drove around to make its presence felt.

university library monseigneur ladeuzeplein leuven Eric HallThere was a really fine night tonight and I’m not surprised that so many people were out there.

The moon that was shining up above the University Library was particularly splendid. It was just the kind of thing that was crying out for a photograph so I obliged, even if the NIKON 1 J5 is not the most ideal camera for this kind of thing.

We picked up Alison’s car and she drove us back here to my little place. With not having had a coffee while we were out, I made one here and we had a nice long chat. And then I accompanied her to her car.

After she left I wrote up my notes of the day’s activities and now I’m off to bed. I’ll try one of these new pills to see where they gat me. No alarm in the morning – I’m going to have a nice lie-in. I always feel a little groggy after my treatment and the rest does me good.

Friday 26th February 2021 – IT SEEMS TO BE …

… quite the thing for me to feature on my pages photos of people taking photos, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

We’ve had people taking photos too many times to count, people taking photos of people taking photos of people and even, on one occasion if I remember correctly, people taking photos of people taking photoe of people taking photos of people. We’ve also had FILM CREWS while we’ve been out and about on our travels.

tv cameraman filming brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallToday, it’s the turn of a TV cameraman to feature on these pages. Here he was, quite happily setting up his camera to do some filming down the Brusselsestraat in Leuven.

There wasn’t a van about, or anyone waving a microphone around so I couldn’t see where he’d come from or what the purpose of his filming would be, but as the Belgian Government was about to make an important public announcement, I imagine that it’s going to be something to do about people’s reactions to whatever news there might be.

And I’m not sure what your reaction might be when I tell you that I was up and about, wandering around my digs before the alarm went off, but I bet that it would be worth filming too.

Mind you, it was something of a cheat because the alarm wasn’t actually set for … errr … 06:00 or thereabouts this morning. Having my medication takes a lot out of me so this morning it was set for 08:00.

Even so, wandering around the place at 07:33 is something that I can’t always do even when the alarm is set for 06:00. It reminds me of the time when I used to arive late at school and the teacher used to ask me why. I used to reply that there were eight people in our house but the alarm was only set for seven.

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been. I started off last night with a guy and girl, going round a back trail at the back end of Crewe. It was a muddy track, very steep and up and down with hairpin beds, everything like that. I was havng to coach them their way round. This woman was nervous. I was trying hard not to frighten her but make her aware of all of the dangers. At one point we had to ski up and down and back up a slope. I had to get my skis ready – this guy got his, the woman got hers. Mine were somewhere along the road. This incidentally evolved during this voyage into a place that we have visited several times on various nocturnal rambles, that high, narrow mountain pass where we’ve been skiing and walking a few times in the past.

And somewhere in this I was having some work do to. I wasn’t in the office and I was planning on doing it at home but everything was making me run late and my ‘phone was einging more often. At one stage it was a guy from the office asking me when I was intending to do this thing. I replied that I’d be back by 15:15 and I’ll get on with it then. He asked “what about … (and mentioned the name of another case I had to deal with)?”. I replied “don’t worry. That’s not quite so urgent. I’ll deal with that as well while I’m at it”.

Later on, we had an old Ford E83W van (actually when we were kids my father had two, KLG93 and XVT772 but that’s another story) in our drive and my father and brother were talking about breaking it for spares. I thought that it was far too good to break. We were all underneath it and getting all of the mud off from underneath but keeping it in shape as it came off so that it could be used as a profile to make repair panels for other vans. This involved picking these lumps of mud out from underneath and posting them off to him. In the meantime there was a very informal game of cricket taking place between some American kids so they didn’t really have a great idea about what they were doing and this was going on all around ths van. I’d been watching for a while and decided that I’d join in. I fielded somewhere and of course having played a lot of cricket I took up a rather professional stance. Someone said something and someone mentioned wicket-keeping. I said that I had my old wicket-keeper’s gloves somewhere (and I do too, but these days I couldn’t even begin to think where they might be) and then went on to say things like “I’m thnking of taking up cricket again and keeping wicket”. The girl who was in charge of this game told us to hush as we were disturbing everyone’s concentration. But the important thing was this van. I had a good look underneath it and thought that there was nothing much wrong with this yet they were all talking about breaking it for spares.

It took quite a while to type out all of that as you can imagine, and then I attacked last night’s notes. I’d fallen asleep in the middle of writing it and when I awoke I was too tired to finish them so I went straight to bed. Anyway, they are now all done and dusted. But I think that I’ll probably have to end up rewriting them at some point. They aren’t what I would actually call coherent.

From then on, it was the turn of the radio programme to receive my attention. Yesterday I’d chosen the music for the next three “studio” programmes in the sequence (the “live” ones are done separately). Today I combined them into pairs and added into the first pair for each programme the introductory notes. These are pre-recorded and I either fit them in over the top of a suitable quiet passage near the beginning or else prefix the music with it.

Combining the music in pairs isn’t as easy as it sounds either because you need to choose music that is roughly similar in beat and speed and merge then so that there seems to be a seamless joint. But sometimes it’s much more exciting and challenging, not to mention satisfying, to pair up two completely different tracks and try to make it sound good.

There was the usual pause for lunch, and round about 15:30 when I’d finished the music I went for a walk around the town.

This is the first time, by the way, for I don’t know how long, when I haven’t been seriously looking at computers in FNAC. With its 8GB of RAM and its new 1TB solid-state drive, at long last I have a travelling laptop fast enough to do the kind of work that I want when I’m out and about.

The processor isn’t very quick so it won’t do some things, but to replace it with anything much better, we’re looking at prices in the region of €1200. So that’s a non-starter.

At the Sports Shop I finally found a decent woolly hat to go on my woolly head. A proper insulated hat that will keep my head warm if ever I make it back to the High Arctic, which, at the rate that things are going, is highly unlikely.

queue outside shop diestestraat leuven belgium Eric HallIn the Dienstestraat I noticed a huge queue of people outside a shop. It reminded me very much of Poland and the Soviet Union in the late 70s and early 80s when I used to travel around there.

However what was happening was that it’s the last week of this particular shop. It’s closing down at the weekend and everything in there is on sale at just €1:00, so people were queueing up there in the hope of finding a bargain.

It wasn’t the kind of thing that would have tempted me to go over and see if there were any. I’m not standing in a queue for ages like that. I had one or two things that I needed to do, like go to Delhaize and buy something to eat for tea otherwise I’m going to be disappointed.

lust bistro wieringstraat leuven belgium Eric HallComing out of Delhaize, I noticed this bistro in the side street. We’ll have to go and visit it once everywhere reopens. It sounds to me like a pretty exciting place.

Back here I had an hour or so editing photos from Greenland 2019. We’re now at Hvalsey inspecting the remains of the Norse church that was the site of the last written record of the Norse in Greenland before the colony disappeared.

Now that I’ve had my tea, and done the washing-up, I listened to my live concert on THE RADIO.

Many years ago I had a sort-of girlfriend whose elder brother had a friend who was a drummer. His group had had a couple of albums but they weren’t ever really successful, but they were a phenomenal live act. I came across the drummer on the internet a few months ago and we started to chat. He sent me some tapes of his group playing live and I made up a live concert out of it.

Even though I say it myself, it came out really well and I was very proud of it. And you can hear it ON SATURDAY EVENING at 21:00 European time, 20:00 UK time, 15:00.

So I’m going to have a quick tidy up and then I’m off to bed. I have an early start tomorrow as I have to be in Brussels by 07:10

Sunday 27th December 2020 – WITH IT …

… being a Sunday, I had a nice long lie-in this morning.

There are lie-ins and there are lie-ins, but 12:30 is stretching something of a limit. My excuse is that I didn’t go to bed until about 02:30 this morning, and the time wasn’t wasted anyway because I’d ben choosing the music for the next radio programme and remixing them ready for use. Not as much as I would like to have done, but it’s progress of kinds all the same.

And then, when you see where I’ve been during the night, you’ll understand why I was in bed for so long. Last night there was a Russian industrialist who had a huge factory. He was very disillusioned about having to turn out stuff for the Russians during the Winter War against Finland in 1939-40. They had surveillance on him because of course he was a very important cog in the wheel and they couldn’t really work out at one time whether it was in fact him or a plant from another country but no-one knew the right kind of questions to ask him and when they did ask him something he came back with the correct answer anyway. Then the was ended and he got down to doing some more usual stuff and then the war erupted against Germany. They ended up with a triumvirate of 3 people who would control the Russian industrial production, at least through the plants in which he had a say about the Russian Army. But it was this lack of trust that was the thing and at 1 point in this dream we were wandering through the streets of Moscow just wondering what on earth was going on and who was doing what to whom and such

I was with someone last night, a cross between a certain girl of my former acquaintance and my Greek friend from Brussels. We were together somewhere and I had to go along and take the van but Caliburn started squeaking again from the wheel bearing so I asked someone at the local garage if they could have a listen to it to see what they thought. The girl there said “yes, fine”. She’d fetch someone and it turned out to be the mechanic from the building where I was living. I didn’t really want him to look at it because I didn’t really like very much of his work but he said that he’d look at it, and of course I’d need a spare vehicle, wouldn’t I? So we made some arrangements to look at it. This girl and I wandered off somewhere and I ended up having to stay in a temporary room in my hotel place where I was staying while Caliburn was being fixed so I asked this girl if she would like to stop with me but she didn’t give me a definite answer on that. From there a few things happened that I had forgotten and I had to head off and walk somewhere alongside a river but the river was probably 200 yards away from the edge of the road. So I walked and at a certain point on my right, down from the highest part of the land was this really steep railway line and this steam locomotive and coal train came down it. I looked over the other side of the road to see where it was but it was so steep that it went into an underground tunnel so you couldn’t see the train. But then this train emerged near the river and swung round to the right to follow the river in the same way that I was walking

But going back to that dream with my Greek friend again – I must have stepped right back into it when I went back to sleep – I was off, picked up to go back to the hotel and I’d had to drop off somewhere at my old place but I crashed out and went to sleep. It was about 17:15 when I awoke in a real panic and had to get dressed and get ready, and I wondered what she had been doing all of this time and whether she was still waiting for me. Of course I couldn’t find any clothes, the clothes were wrong, the oranges – I went to eat an orange but they were all bad. Every time I went to peel one it was bad, rotten. Later on I ended up at another hotel and they gave me the bill and I thought “God, this is half as much again as where I’m staying at the moment” but I had a look round at the hotel and all of the facilities they had and thought “€60 isn’t all that bad for this place”. I went to find myself my room but instead ended up in the dining room. I fetched a coffee and went to sit down at a table. There was all piles of EU stuff all over the place including the new chauffeurs’ arrangements. For some unknown reason I hadn’t had a copy of this but there was a copy on display so I rooted round in a cardboard box for one. When I went back to my table someone was sitting in a seat very close to it so I excused myself wanting to sit near to them and sat down at another chair at the same table. All this time I was wondering about this girl. What was she doing, would she still be waiting etc?

I’d been off to a jumble sale and I had the Minerva and a trailer and a whole pile of other stuff that I was going to sell at this car boot sale. I’d arranged to meet Nerina a little later on. I’d been to this sale and it wasn’t particularly successful and I had loads of stuff left over so I started to get ready to go round to Nerina’s house. Going down Middlewich Street with this trailer but there was loads of stuff on here that belonged to other people. A group of kids had put a pile of flip-top bottles on board. I was trying to tell them that they aren’t mine and I had to explain to them in detail that they’d paid a deposit on these bottles and they wouldn’t have the deposit back if they didn’t take the bottles back. Eventually I found the adults who were with them and told these adults. I stopped my Minerva and said “take them off the trailer”. I went for a stroll down to do something – I can’t remember now and that took me far longer than I thought it would take me. Again I was worried if Nerina would still be there. What was happening about her? When I went back I found that the Minerva had been completely stripped and there was just the bodyshell. Everything else had gone. The trailer had disappeared and all that I was left with was my handcart with a couple of really heavy objects on it. I thought “God, I have to push this all the way home. I can’t pull it with the Minerva”. I was trying to work out which would be the best way home. In the end I worked out to go back up Bradfield Road, past Leighton Hospital and down Middlewich Road and past Wistaston Green home. Then I thought “why don’t I ring up Nerina and get her to come and pick me up, or at least explain what’s happened”. But try as I might, I couldn’t get my phone to work then, switching it on and off, it was still not working when I switched it back on. It came up as if I had a new account and I had to register myself, all this. I was in this narrow lane and there were these 2 tractors coming. They had to drive over the fence and into a field in order to get round me. I was in all kinds of states here about this and I awoke in another cold sweat. But quite often in tis dream I was calling the Minerva a Marina. How strange that was. There’s obviously some kind of Freudian slip involved here.

And all of this missing appointments and anxiety too. There’s been too much of this going on just recently.

What with the late start, transcribing all of that took up most of the early afternoon, especially with a pause for hot chocolate and a mince pie for a break.

moon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on I was able to go off and about, armed with the little NIKON 1 J5, fitted with the NIKKOR 30-110mm LENS, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been out like that.

The first thing that I did was to take a photo of the moon with the zoom lens at its fullest extent, and then cropped it to see what it would do and how it compares with a photo taken with the NIKON D500. And while the quality is less than that of the big Nikon, it’s certainly good enough, all things considered.

And the moon isn’t all that far away from being full. I shall have to give consideration to shaving the palm of my hands in a day or two’s time.

rue du nord plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs you might expect, I wasn’t alone out there this afternoon either. You can see all of the people out there taking a stroll in the afternoon.

There are plenty walking around on the Plat Gousset away in the distance, but you can also see the Rue du Nord to the right, the little postern gate through which I run, and the path that goes long underneath the walls.

I can’t imagine why the people would be walking around on the path underneath the walls. I would reckon that they might need a snorkel and flippers to go around the path.

rainstorm english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd in case you are wondering why, just have a look out to sea from at the English Channel just now where I’m standing in the car park.

We are in the grip of a severe storm last night and for most of the day, even earlier in the morning when I was still working, it’s been pouring down and with really high winds for most of that time. I even had to postpone my walk this afternoon for half an hour.

We can’t see any ships or anything like that out there and that’s not a surprise at all, given everything that was going on out there.

rainstorm english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom my viewpoint on the car park I pushed on a little further along the track on the top of the cliffs.

And the further along the path that I walked, the more the weather deteriorated. You can see in this photo here just how much it has deteriorated too. In the background, that’s not land at all. There is no land out there at all. That’s the force of the spray of the rain off the surface of the sea.

This is not the moment to be hanging around right now. I need to push on and complete my circuit because if I don’t, I’ll catch the lot of it.

photographer photographing rainstorm pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd it seems that I wasn’t the only one out there taking advantage of the weather to take a few photographs.

This guy was enjoying himself out there taking a photo or two or three of the approaching storm. And I wasn’t convinced by the idea of doing it with a lightweight tripod without a ballast weight securing it. The wind was extremely strong here, blowing everything about and a camera and tripod would soon be gone with the wind in all of this.

And look at all of the puddles lying around here. You can see what I mean about the miserable weather that we have been having and why I wouldn’t be on the path under the walls right now.

sunset rainstorm baie de mont st michel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo instead, I walked across the lawn and then across the car park down to the point of the headland to have a look out across the Bay to see what is going on over there.

There is nothing whatever going on as far as boats and shipping were concerned but we were having another brilliant sunset evening out there. Not just the heavy clouds and the sunset streaming through the gaps, but also the effects of the rainstorm as it tumbles out of the clouds.

It’s certainly something special today as you can see. But I’m not going to be here admiring it for too long

joly france chausiais port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd I was right too, because the wind was quicker than I was.

By the time that I reached the viewpoint overlooking the cliffs on the south side (having dodged the flood on the footpath I was soaked to the skin. and whipped by the hailstones. And over there underneath the crane in the loading bay in the port, Joly France and Chausiais are moored there and I’ve no idea why they would be moored over there at all.

Particularly Joly France because she’s not able to carry the type of load for which they would need to use the big crane to load her up. If it were Chausiais moored under the crane, I could maybe undertsand it a little better.

le coelacanthe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou will have noticed that there were plenty of fishing boats moored in the harbour this afternoon.

But not for long. Despite the miserable weather, they were all preparing to go out to sea. One of them, our old friend Le Coelacanthe was making her way out of the harbour being photobombed by a seagull on her way out to sea, her crew all decked in rain and wet gear for what they are about to receive and will be receiving any minute now.

As for me, I’d already been receiving it and I was in a rush to return home to the warm and dry.

When I returned home, I rolled out the pizza dough and put it in the tray ready to rise for the next hour or so.

While I’d been away, Rosemary had telephoned me so I called her back and we had a chat for an hour or so, meaning that I had missed my Welsh homework. I’ll have to do two lots on the train to Leuven tomorrow and that wasn’t part of the plan.

home made vegan pizza place d'armes granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time to assemble my pizza – with tinned mushrooms unfortunately as I didn’t have fresh.

And when I put it in the oven I set out for my evening walk. But there was no possibility of going out anywhere in what was awaiting me outside. This was the kind of rain that I was hoping not to see and it will be disappointing if it’s like this when I go out tomorrow morning.

Instead I came back in and did the washing and tidying up while the pizza was cooking.

Delicious it was too, and no pudding either because it was quite filling.

And now, my notes are written so I’m off to bed. No matter what, I have to be up early tomorrow for my train. I can’t afford to hang about.

Saturday 31st October 2020 – I DID HAVE …

… my lie-in this morning.

Until all of about 10:00 too. Mind you, seeing as I was still up and about at 03;30 it wasn’t all that much of a lie-in today. Not at all. For some unknown reason, despite my exhausting day I just couldn’t go to sleep.

Anyway, when I listened to the dictaphone this morning- or what was left of this morning – there was some stuff on there from yesterday too. So first thing that I did was to add all of that into yesterday’s entry. Then I could concentrate on where I’d been last night and, more importantly, who came with me.

There was some kind of football match going on last night, a team of grown-up men if you like and they were playing in the Cup against another team. This other team sent out its juniors to face them for some unknown reason and Zero was there playing centre-forward. There were two matches that they had to play and this team of kids won them both, with Zero scoring a couple of important goals playing centre-forward. It’s nice to see her around on my travels.

Later on I was in a van or pickup, presumably Strider and I was waiting at some traffic lights. There were three or four people behind me. I was editing Strider’s signwriting while I was waiting at the lights. I could do that with the computer and it would change all over the van. I was busy doing that and the lights changed so I pulled off. There was a big pickup and another van behind me. We advanced up to another road junction and turned right I suddenly realised why this road had so much traffic on it. It was the main road from Ottawa to Québec and I’d just turned off the main road from Montreal to the east so it’s bound to be extremely busy here. It went through a beautiful pass, a big main road going through this beauiful pass and Québec City was just at the end of it. I thought “why didn’t I come this way before because it seems to be so much quicker. The I realised that going home from Adventure Canada the coach had gone this way; He went to the other side of Ottawa to drop off Castor and Pollux and then turned round and gone back to Ottawa to drop off their grandparents. That seemed to be such a sensible way of doing things and I wondered why I had never thought of doing that before either. And all the time I was wondering what these people in these vehicles were thinking with Caliburn’s signwriting changing just like that while I was either parked at those lights or starting to drive away.

There’s something else that spun into my mind as well, to do with a river. There was a girl doing something in this river, it might have been Zero or it might have been Castor. We were all alongside his river – there was something going on on it and I can”t remember very much now. Later on they drained the river and I started looking on this river bed for something that was concerning this girl. I was chatting to a few of the organisers and they were saying something like “yes well someone found something and we saw them using it”. I wondered whether it might have been this girl who had found it without actually telling me. That was a big disappointment for me because I was hoping to find it and give it to her as a way of drawing her attention to me. But I don’t remember very much about this – it was all very confusing.

And there was far more to this series of voyages too but seeing as you are probably eating a meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

After hat, I went and had a shower and washed my clothes. I need to look as pretty as I can s eeing as I’m staying here until at least Friday. I say “at least” because with more and more European states closing their borders to travel it might not be as easy as I think it might be to return home.

And while we’re on the subject of lockdowns … “well, one of us is” – ed … the Tory Party’s social media site had a post pinned to the top accusing Keir Starmer of “playing party politics with people’s lives” by demanding a second lockdown. It mysteriously disappeared earlier this morning and then later this evening the Tory Party announced the same measures that the Labour Party had demanded and which they had criticised.

You really couldn’t make this up.

After lunch I sat down here for a few minutes – and promptly crashed out. A really deep and depressing and disappointing sleep that lasted for almost an hour.

skip windmolenveldstraat leuven belgium Eric HallOnce I pulled myself together I went out for an afternoon walk around.

Not that I went very far before I came to a halt. There’s been a building site at the back here that has been abandoned for longer than I can remember and which had become a local rubbish dump.

A few months ago I noticed that it had been fenced off, and today I noticed that there was a skip there loaded up with much of the rubbish that had been abandoned. It might be that work is goign to restart there sometime soon and if do, that should be very interesting.

Maybe it’s going to be an extension of this place.

If you’re wondering about the photos by the way, the battery in the NIKON 1 J5 has gone flat on me yet again.

It’s a good job that I had my phone with me right now.

demolition and rebuilding tiensesteenweg leuven belgium Eric HallSo having dealt with that, I pushed onto the Tiensesteenweg where I was nearly squidged by a kid on a scooter.

In the street there’s more stuff of interest going on. There’s a building here that’s been knocked down. The site is fenced off and there’s some heavy machinery there. That presumably means that they are going to be rebuilding something else in its place.

In fact, there were several places up and down the Tiensesteenweg where there is redevelopment taking place. Despite the virus and the retraction of the economy, it still seems to be “full speed ahead” at the moment in this respect.

photographer cardinal ladeuzeplein leuven belgium Eric HallDown the Tiensesteenweg I went, into the Herbert Hooverplein and then into the Ladeuzeplein towards the main shops.

Down at the bottom end of the Square there was a couple having fun with a camera and tripod. One of the things that I seem to do is to spend a lot of my time taking photos of people taking photos.

And for a change, there weren’t too many people about here today. It seems that people here might be taking this health crisis seriously which can only be good news. It won’t disappear if people don’t treat t with respect and obey the rules.

market brusselsestraat leuven belgium Eric HallMind you, that wasn’t the case here. The maket in the Brusselsestraat is still open and there’s even more chaos than normal.

This is what I don’t understand. With a shelf-life of just 14 days, thus virus could be halted if they simply had three weeks of draconian restrictions. Half-hearted measures are not going to be good for anything.

And on the market there was a stall selling bratwurst – ed and that got me thinking. The idea of making sausages out of unruly children might be the answer to the post-Brexit food catastrophe in the UK. Perhaps they need to think about that to go along with hedgerow foraging and apple scrumping.

grote beguinhof leuven belgium Eric HallThere was some more shopping that I needed to so for a change I decided to go on to the Carrefour supermarket on the edge of town.

My route took me down through the Grote Beguinhof, the ancient area on the edge of the city which were formerly a kind of almshouses. Having been derelict for years they are now student accommodation for the University here and it really is a beautiful area.

It’s a pity that it didn’t become private accommodation because an apartment in here would be wonderful. I would be right at home here.

river dijle leuven belgium Eric HallThere’s a dual carriageway not too far away from here and a subway takes pedestrians and cyclists underneath.

But the River Dijle flows along right by here and it was looking really nice at this time of the year with the leaves almost all off the trees.

At the Carrefour there was plenty of vegan food, much of which was reduced so I stocked up with a few extra items for my diet. But looking at the selection, I decided that I would come here again the next time that i come to Leuven. There’s much more choice here.

stadion den dreef leuven belgium Eric HallOn the way back I went to have a look at the Stadion den Dreef.

Yes, I’m definitely missing my live football here. OH Leuven were promoted to the Premier Division for this season but with matches being played behind closed doors, there won’t be any chance of seeing them again for a while.

But there was football on the internet so I came home;

In the Welsh Premier League we were treated to Haverfordwest County against Bala Town. Haverforwest were promoted this year and I’ve seen them a couple of times this season.

Each time that I’ve seen them they have played quite well and deserve their mid-table position. They gave leaders TNS a fright the other week and this week we were entertained to an exciting 1-1 drawn. And had they been more clinical up front, they might have had more of it.

Tea was burgers and pasta with tomato sauce followed by tinned peaches and ice cream.

Bed-time now because I’m going out for the day tomorrow so I need to be on form. Let’s hope that it’s stopped raining.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There were however a few interruptions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And who can blame them?

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

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

It’s all go round here, isn’t it?

Sunday 31st May 2020 – HANDY HINT N° 12345

Before sewing up the hole in your pocket, make sure that you’ve left nothing down inside the lining, because once it’s in, it’s in for good.

Yes, pride always comes before a fall, doesn’t it? Well, actually, that’s a misquote from Proverbs 16:18 which states “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall”. But even that’s correct as well.

seagull divebombing fire breville sur mer donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallBut never mind that. here’s an exciting photograph.

It’s not every day by any means that the local wildlife co-operates with the photographer. In fact, wildlife, children and females are notorious for never doing what you want them to do when you want them to do it. Like my friend who once proudly told me “one word from me, and my wife does exactly as she likes!”

But here, we have a seagull doing a very passing resemblance of a dive bomber pulling out of a dive having dropped a bomb on something onshore.

And you’ve no idea just how long I had to wait to take this photo.

seagull yacht baie de mont st michel joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd that’s not the only piece of wildlife that appeared in my photos today.

This seagull bottom left appeared by accident, making a really good photobomb as I tried to take a photo of Joly France pulling out of the harbour and heading off with passengers this afternoon for the Ile de Chausey.

A good 10 minutes I was waiting there too for there to be a calamity with Joly France having to negotiate a flotilla of yachts just outside the harbour.

But she made a clean getaway without colliding with a yacht or sinking a speedboat, much to my dismay.

However, there is some good news about clean getaways, and that is that even though today is a Sunday and a lie-in with no alarm, I made a clean getaway from my bed by 08:10 this morning.

So don’t ask me what happened there because I’ve no idea. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, there have been days when I can’t even manage that when I’m supposed to be getting up early.

During the night I’d been on my travels, right enough.

I’m not too sure about what was happening for the first part of the night but it certainly involved a cricket match on the beach and the limit of the field was like a hexagon and there were people standind at each angle of the hexagon to field the ball.
Later on there had been a new EU ruling for the removal of trees. We’d planted a double row of cypress leylandii down the edge of a field next to a main road so the decision was taken to pull up one of the rows. I had to be there with a tractor and my father was there with someone else – a girl. She was in charge of this operation so I had been given instructions as to where I was to drive this tractor and go down and pull these trees. There was also at about every foot or something like that, chicken in rosemary with potatoes in rosemary fried in oil and she wss taking away the meals as well, except for one every so many when she was just taking out the hot potatoes. I was intrigued by what was going on so I asked her about this. She replied “ohh yes we’ll be making many friends with this job.” The whole point and purpose of this job totally bemused me and I didn’t have a clue what was happening. Anyway it wasn’t my father, it was a friend of mine who was there with this girl and that reminded me of something that had happened a little earlier. He was due to come round to visit me the previous day at 10:30. I’d been doing something, I can’t remember what, but it involved tidying up this hotel. I was with another guy and we were tidying this up. He suddenly said “do you have any beds in this hotel?” I asked “why, are you tired?” and it turned out that he was. he’d been on work since 04:00 and he wanted to go off and have a sleep somewhere. She – the owner of the hotel – found him a bed and I carried on. I noticed a stain on my jumper and had to go and wash this stain out. I had to find two or three different bathrooms before I could find it. So I was there taking off my jumper, washing out this stain. I was hearing all of this noise in this hotel and I’d been interested in staying here because it was near to where I used to go quite often but when I heard all the noise coming from the guests in there I thought that I’m glad that I didn’t. The we were walking through the streets of Manchester, the back streets round near where that hotel was where I used to go to when I had the coaches and I suddenly realised that my friend was to have come round at 10:30. but actually I had been at home at 10:30. Then I realised that we had actually finished that hotel job and we had been home, and it was 10:40 when we had set out again.So yes, we had been there at 10:30 and he hadn’t turned up. When he turned up with this girl about these trees and removing these potatoes and meals he didn’t say anything about us not being there the previous day so I imagined that for some unknown reason he just hadn’t come.

But don’t ask me what I’ve done today because I don’t really remember doing anything. I had a really lazy day, to which I’m entitled every now and again of course.

cat place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallBut it was such a beautiful day today that I had to go out, of course.

And it goes without saying that I wasn’t the only one out there enjoying the sun at lunchtime. El Moggo was up there sitting on his thrid floor windowsill taking in the rays, looking as if he owned the place, which he probably did.

It looks as if he had seen something down below, so here’s hoping that he didn’t decide to pounce.

joly france port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWith it being such a beautiful day I took my butties to go and sit on the wall above the harbour and see what was going on down there.

And just as I arrived, so did one of the Joly France boats coming back from the Ile de Chausey. It’s the older one with the smaller window and doesn’t have the step in the stern, as you probably noticed in one of the photos above as it was pulling out.

And have I noticed the crane in the bows before? I’m sure that i might haven but I don’t recall it being extended like that while she’s been sailing.

joly france chaisiais ferry terminal port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMuch to my surprise she didn’t pull up at the ferry terminal as she would normally do, but at the harbour wall.

In all the time that I’ve lived here I’ve never seen the ferries moor there. And it’s interesting that she’s there next to Chausiais who hasn’t moved from that impromptu berth fora few days now.

That makes me wonder if they are still working on something over at the ferry terminal that is stopping the boats mooring there. But anyway, she did pull over tothe ferry terminal to load up and then she cleared off.

old cars morgan boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd that was far from being all of the excitement for today.

With living in civilisation as I do these days, old cars are few and far between. It’s not every day that you see them, but when you do, they certainly are interesting, like this car, which I believe might be a Morgan.

Not the old Morgan three-wheeler with the JAP V-twin engine in front, for one of which I would give all that I own and more besides quite happily, but something much more modern.

Always assuming that it is a Morgan of course, because these days there are so many kit cars around that are clones of something famous. So you can never be sure.

old cars jaguar boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallIt went off down the road, closely followed by this machine.

Once more, this could be anything, although the prancing animal on top of the radiator suggests “Jaguar”. In which case it might be one of the old “Swallow Sidecars” SS jaguars from the 1930s, although the front wings don’t look very Jaguar to me at all.

So I shall have to make further enquiries about this one too and report back.

speedboat port de granville harbour normandy france eric hallBut this is much more like the kind of scenery that I should be expecting.

He came roaring into the harbour as if the Hounds of Hell were clutching at his coat tails – avec le feu dans ses fesses as they say around here.

The people who had been picnicking next to me and now playing beach skittles on the grass were quite alarmed by it all.

After my butties I went back to my apartment and had a look (just a look!) at the next web page to be edited.

There was an unknown lorry on there that needed identifying so I posted it in a newsgroup that I follow that concerns itself wit abandoned lorries. And that I think was the sum total of my work today

yachts english channel islands jersey granville manche normandy france eric hallThe beautiful weather at lunchtime had made me feel like another ice cream so seeign as it really was a beautiful day, I decided to walk into town – the long way round – to go and pick one up.

And if you thought that the sea was busy earlier, then you should see it now. We’re quite used to long lines of vehicles towing trailers with boats thereupon queueing up down the street awaiting their turn to discharge their cargoes into the sea

The whole town become littered with cars and trailers parked up just about everywhere while their owners take to the waters.

pleasure boats pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallYachts are fine because they are beautiful and graceful – and silent.

That’s more than can be said for the speedboats and the other powered marine craft that are in the water and go round shattering the peace. And it can’t be much fun to be in a small yacht and hit the wake of a fast-moving boat like that.

But at least there’s no kayak out there right now. There have been one or two incidents just recently of kayaks being swamped for one reason or another, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

microlight ulm granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd it isn’t just on the roads or in the se or on the beaches and the lawns that we have the crowds of people.

It’s becoming pretty densely populated in the air too around here. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing the flocks of the Birdmen of Alcatraz hovering above us like Nazgul, but there are one or two people who are fitting motors to their contraptions and roaring past overhead.

There’s no peace for the wicked, is there?

autogyro granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen this machine on a few previous occasions too.

We first encountered it A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO during our visit to the Cabanon Vauban and we’ve seen it sporadically since then flying around and about. It’s certainly an interesting machine.

And reading what I’ve just been typing, anyone would think that I’m turning into a right grumpy old do-and-so in my old age.

But that’s far from being the truth. I’m the first to realise that all of these people coming here like this are actually bringing money into the town and the reason why we have so many facilities here is because we have so many visitors spending their money in the town.

We should all be grateful for that.

crowds beach plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallNot much chance of any peace and quiet anyway with the crowds on the beach.

This is one of the more inaccessible parts of the beach here. There’s a very long series of steep winding steps that come down the cliff to just there and you can see that the hordes have even swarmed onto here. And finding the gap in the wall that leads to the steps isn’t the easiest thing to do either

I shudder to think of what it must be like round at the Plat Gousset this afternoon

frogmen pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallThese persons here have found an ideal way to get themselves far from the madding crowd.

Nothing like an aqualung or snorkel and a pair of flippers and a spot of deep-sea diving for some peace and quiet.

But what’s interesting about this is what they are supposed to be doing. That area just there is uncovered during low tide and there’s nothing of any particular interest at that spot.

It’s not as if there’s a shipwreck or buried treasure or anything like that might attract the attention of a frogman – or frogperson as I suppose we have to call them these days and even if there had been, it could be accessed at low tide without even getting your feet wet.

At least there aren’t four skin divers down there

water port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallAnd so I continued on my way around the headland and down the old track into the port.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we’ve been noticing just how clear the water in the sea has been just recently. I’ve seen much worse than this in the past in the harbour as well.

It’s a very rare event indeed to be able to see the bottom of the harbour when the tide is this far in. Nevertheless, it’s still not clean enough to entice me in.

trawlers fishing boats rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe new pontoons that they have installed are proving to be quite popular.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw all of the seagulls enjoying them, and today with very few of the fishing boats being out, they are clustered around too.

But right on the extremem left of the photo the pontoons come to an abrupt stop. I wonder if they are going to continue along to the harbour wall.

Another mystery was solved here today as well.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw what looked like a vacuum cleaner nozzle down into the hold of one of the fishing boats and I speculated that it might be for sucking up the shellfish.

However, that’s not the case at all. I went to have a closer look and it is in fact an ice chute – for pumping ice into the hold of the boats presumably to keep the shellfish fresh

Picking up my ice cream (which was one of the reasons why I came down here in the first place) I went for a wander around on the other side of the harbour.

But while there were plenty of people milling around over there, there wasn’t anything that particularly caught my attention so I headed back for home.

It wasn’t easy though. The fine weather had brought everyone out and the streets were crowded with no thought whatever about social distancing. I really do hope that we don’t have a second wave of the pandemic because with people thronging around like this, it’ll spread liKe wild fire.

Back home, I was going to attempt something exciting.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that on Thursday I’d bought a pack of frozen strawberries. During the course of the day I’d had them out of the freezer to defrost.

Now that i was back, I made some pastry – and I do have to say that it came out perfectly because I could roll the ball around in my hands without any of the pastry sticking to my fingers.

With the rolling pin I flattened it out, put it in a pie dish, trimmed it off and stuck it in a hot oven. And with the excess pastry I made an apple turnover.

Meantime, being very brave, I burnt my bridges and made the Sunday pizza on the last of the shop-bought pastry rolls. It’s goign to be my own dough from now on.

When the pie base was cooked, that and the turnover came out and the pizza went in.

With the strawberries, I filled the pie and then prepared some agar-agar to pour over it so that it would set like a vegan gelatine, and stuck it in the fridge to set.

After I’d eaten my pizza, I looked at the strawberry tart and unfortunately, the agar-agar hadn’t set. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but this was not one of my triumphs. However, when I’ve finished the apple pie, I’ll attack that and see how it tastes.

photographer pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallOn that note I went out for my evening run. Another struggle up the hill and down to the cifftop. It doesn’t seem to be getting any easier these days.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that one little peccadillo that I have is to stick my nose into other people’s photo shoots. Not photo-bombing them bu to take photos of people taking photos.

And up on the lawn at the Pointe du Roc, which seems to be a very popular place for photo shoots these days, there was another one going on. So i couldn’t resist the temptation to join in with my own three ha’porth.

crowds pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut you can tell what the weather was like this evening simply by looking at the crowds of people here.

There were parties of picnickers all over the place and more coming along to swell the numbers even as we speak. Not very good or the social distancing but who can blame them in weather like this?

Around the corner by the coastguard point I even bumped into one of my neighbours taking the air and we had a good chat for quite a while – and that was mainly for an opportunity to soak up the sun as well

moon granville manche normandy france eric hallFrom there I ran on all the way down the Boulevard Vaufleury and with my usual two resting places, ended up at the viewpoint at the rue du Nord.

But on one of my rests I happened to notice that the moon had already risen. And it really did look beautiful in the evening sky tonight.

Considering that I didn’t have the tripod with me – or even the monopod, the photo has come out really well. But I suppose that I ought to be making more of an effort to go out with the tripod one of these days and take some decent photos.

And I’ll have to work on the time-delay functions too. I’ve not used it yet on the NIKON D500

crowds picnicking plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallAt the viewpoint at the rue du nord I stopped to catch my breath and then to have a good look around.

And as seems to be usual these days, we have the crowds on the beach enjoying the evening sunshine, and having a picnic too in the pleasant weather. They’ve certainly chosen a nice evening for it.

But one thing that I have noticed about the evening picnickers is that it always seems to be a different crowd in that spot. I don’t think that i’ve ever noticed the same group of people there consecutively. I think that if I had a group of people with whom I enjoyed picnicking, then in weather like this I’d be down there every night.

beautiful sunset ile de chausey english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd the setting sun this evening was splendid. I recall a gasp of admiration from a couple of people who had followed me down to the viewpoint when they noticed it.

Still half an hour or so before it sets, and unfortunately I don’t have the time to spare to wait. I don’t know where all of my time goes these days.

Instead, I ran on back to my apartment to write up my notes.

While I was writing up the day’s activities, a piece of music came onto the playlist.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that my computer is awash with music – a couple of thousand albums almost all digitalised these days after our ptoject of the winter – and there is music going on in this apartment from the moment I awaken until the moment that I go to sleep.

Some music though I have to be very careful about playing, and for various reasons too. Some songs I can’t hear at all, even if I happen to like them, and others I can only listen to when i’m in the right kind of mood.

A couple of songs in that latter group always seem to appear on the playlist when I’m in the wrong kind of mood to hear them and sure enough tonight, while I was “hiding in a room in my mind” as Kate Bush used to say, onto the playlist came THIS SONG.

Magnificent song though it is, it’s the kind of song that I have a great difficulty hearing, much as I want to. I’ll always end up playing it two or three times one after the other even though I know exactly what’s going to happen.

And on that note (well, we are talking music here), with my notes not even half-finished, I went to bed. I’ll finish these tomorrow.

Friday 29th May 2020 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

fire la sphere recyclage tri de dechets donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hall… the photos of today’s calamity – and before you ask, NO, I haven’t been baking today – I can tell you about my day today.

It was another unsuccessful day in the “getting up before the third alarm” stakes and I’m as sick of doing it as you lot probably are of me telling you about it.

But then, it wasn’t actually an early night last night (although I have had much later nights than this and still been up before 06:20) so it’s my own fault right enough.

fire la sphere recyclage tri de dechets donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd according to my dictaphone, I’d been on my travels too.

There was a group of kids playing cricket in the street. There was on particular couple, a boy and a girl, they boy hit the ball and the young girl ran up the hill after it, got it and threw the ball back. It went over beyond the batsman and I caught it. I decided “right, I’ll bowl the ball back to her past the boy”. But the first one I got I dropped it short and it landed right in front of my feet and bounced up so I caught it. The next time my arm went over my head as I went to bowl and was caught up in some wires, telegraph wires or something like that. While this was going on there was some kind of news item going on about the cricket and about a big cricket score but I can’t remember what now.

fire la sphere recyclage tri de dechets donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallThat wasn’t all either.

Although there was nothing else on the dictaphone, I had an image going round in my mind of a situation where at some point during the night I was with a girl and i wish that I could remember who she was. We were in a relationship but she was having all kinds of personal problems which were causing her to want to put an end to our relationship, but I was equally determined not to let it end and I was having quite a discussion with her in my car – a British right-hand-drive car too.

so I don’t know about that one.

fire la sphere recyclage tri de dechets donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallWith not getting up until … errr … 07:35, which is no good at all, everything was running dreadfully late.

Breakfast wasn’t until about 09:00 which meant that I didn’t start work until about 09:35.

And at first glance, it doesn’t look as if I’ve done very much. I’ve amended one page off one website to bring it up to modern standards.

That took longer than it might have done because it needed a considerable amount of rewriting. Another one that was written in 2008 and which hasn’t been edited at all since.

fire la sphere recyclage tri de dechets donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd in connection with rewriting a page a day off the other site, I’m about three quarters of the way through doing that.

That’s a page from 2001 and which has had a little desultory editing over the years since then. However, it’s long been overtaken by all kinds of events of all natures and a total rewrite is long overdue.

Furthermore, it’s now grown to such a size that it’s practically unmanageable. I’m trying to keep my pages down to no more than 30kb (that’s about 18kb of text) but this one is already at 49kb and growing rapidly.

It’s going to have to be split, and that means resurrecting a project that I started in 2007 and stopped some time round about 2010 – a list of web pages and cross-references to other pages.

That’s because if I do split the page, some of the cross-references are going to be wrong.

There were a whole variety of interruptions too during the day.

Lunch was one of them, of course, and I do have to say that even though my bread looks strange, it was absolutely perfect – felt like bread, tasted like bread, everything. Even the correct number of airholes.

The truth though will be whether I can do a second one like it, or whether this one was just a flash in the pan.

fire la sphere recyclage tri de dechets donville les bains granville manche normandy france eric hallRound about 14:30 I went to fetch something from the living room.

And that was when I noticed, with a quick glance out of the window, that things aren’t what they were were supposed to be.

“What’s afoot?” I asked myself.
“About 30 centimetres” – ed

It seemed to me to be a good idea to go and make further enquiries

blue clear sea plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallIt was an absolutely, stunningly beautiful afternoon and I’m glad that I nipped out for a quick walk around.

And I can safely say without any fear of contradiction that I have never in my life seen the sea as clear and as transparent as this. It’s the kind of colour that you always associate with the Mediterranean, and reminds me of the week that I spent WITH TRIXI ON A GREEK ISLAND called Agistri.

We’ve seen a few photos just recently of the Baie de Mont St Michel and how the sand looked a lot more evident than it has been at low tide, but this is something altogether different.

jet skis english channel brehal plage granville manche normandy france eric hallThere weren’t all that many people around this afternoon which is hardly surprising, given the acrid nature of the smoke.

But these people out here on jetskis were enjoying themselves. There were three of them altogether – the third one put in an appearance just after I had clicked the shutter. They looked as if they had come from the beach at Bréhal-Plage, that neck of the woods, but it wasn’t clear where exactly they were going to.

But as long as they were enjoying it, that was all that counts. They had the right kind of weather and I bet that the sea bed looked really good where they were.

tidal swimming pool plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago we saw a digger digging out years of accumulated sand out of the old tidal swimming pool.

And this is the result just here. You can see that it’s holding water – and holding it quite well too. And although there was no-one actually in it, there were several people loitering with intent around it.

As for the column of smoke, it was becoming thicker and thicker and we were being treated to several loud bangs too. “Oxygen cylinders” was my immediate thought.

But it wasn’t possible to see what was causing the smoke or where it was coming from. Too many houses in the way. But the sound of sirens from fire engines dashing to the scene told me that it was something major.

fishing from rocks pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallDespite having had my little walk around to check on the inferno, I still went out for my afternoon walk.

The tide was still well in and the fire was clearly still raging because the plume of smoke was thicker and there were fewer people around. Down on the rocks, though, it wasn’t too bad and this person here was quite unperturbed by all of the commotion going on around him

It did make me wonder whether he was fishing for herring. If so, and the wind veered round a few points to this direction, he’d finish with a lovely batch of kippers.

fishing from rocks pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallHe wasn’t the only one out here getting his rod out.

My hat goes off to those two intrepid fishermen over there because there is no easy way of getting to that position. They must have scrambled over quite a few rocks and I hope that they will be able to scramble back.

And that reminds me. Yesterday’s emergency – nothing in the newspapers apart from a rescue of a couple of canoeists down near Carolles-Plage. I wonder if it was nothing but a training exercise.

But as for their canoeists -I wonder if they had been rescued because they lit a fire in their canoe. You have to know that you can’t have your kayak and heat it.

zodiac towing zodiac baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThere wasn’t as much maritime traffic today aswe have seen over the last few days and I’ve no idea why.

The fishing boats I can understand. They don’t want to end up with a hold full of kippers either. And it can’t have been much fun on that zodiac either, or the one being pulled along behind, if they’ve been round the corner in the smoke and fumes.

But we’ve not seen the yellow zodiac for a few days. It looks as if it’s departed as quickly and dramatically as it came here.

cabin cruiser baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallThis was interesting though.

The little baby cabin cruiser thing drifting around out there just offshore. And drifting too, because if you look very carefully, you’ll see that the propellor of the outboard motor as out of the water and one of the crew looks as if he’s calling on his mobile phone.

Normandy Trader was supposed to be coming over today too, with a pile of stuff that should have gone to St Malo. But I didn’t see her.

Subsequent information told me that she had actually been in, made a dramatically rapid turn-round and gone back out again.

photograph pointe du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall that one of the things that I enjoy doing is taking photos of people taking photos.

There have been a couple of occasions were photographers have brought models up here to pose for the camera and we’ve managed to snap them. And there was another one her today – a heavily-tattooed woman taking a few photos of a young woman.

They were clearly having a good time, although I hoped that the young woman had a good sense of balance. That’s a 100-foot drop to her left.

So back here to make a few enquiries and it turns out that it’s “la Sphère”, the recycling centre in Donville les Bains, that’s gone up like Joan of Arc. And the explosions that we heard were a couple of gas cyliners and several tons of vehicle batteries.

More news follows.

The music course lost me completely in week 2. We were working on major scales, minor scales, Ionian, Doric and Seventh scales. Basically, every note might played in a particular key except a flattened 2 and a flattened 6 which, apparently, are never played at all.

And it’s a tribute to the course that while I might not be technically able to keep up with the proceedings, at least I know what a flattened 2 and a flattened 6 is, which is something that I didn’t know before.

And when I translate it all onto the bass guitar as I did with my hour on the guitar between 18:00 and 19:00, with triads and minor 7ths or major 7ths, it all makes perfect sense. So for things like that, the course is fulfilling its purpose.

Tea was one of the bean burgers on a bap with a baked potato, followed by a slice of apple pie and the last of the soya coconut dessert. My pie really is excellent and I did well with that

buoys baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallBack out for my evening runs tonight. There was a headwind but I pushed on regardless and made it all the way up to my breathing stop at the end of the hedge, and then down to the clifftop.

Around the corner in the Baie de Mont St Michel there was a huge line of these marker buoys going round almost in a circle. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single fishing boat anywhere that I could see

There were probably no more than half a dozen people out here too. The smoke was probably keeping them all away from this end of town

yacht riding at anchor chateau de la crete granville manche normandy france eric hallThere wasn’t all that much pleasure traffic out there either.

This beautiful yacht caught my eye though. Just sitting there not doing all that much, out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel underneath the headland where the Chateau de la Crete is.

That’s what I call peaceful and relaxing and it made me quite envious. And I wonder if the person over there near the shore has anything to do with the yacht.

victor hugo port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallMy run took me all the way down the Boulevar Vaufleury and round the corner to my marker. And then i walked back to the harbour to see what was going on.

And the answer to that was “nothing”. There was nothing at all moving about. Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel island ferries, are still tied up over there. The local restauranteurs have been telling me that they are allowed to reopen on June 2nd, and so i was wondering if that means that the ferries to the Channel islands will resume on that date.

There was something to say that they had given all of their stocks of snacks and drinks to the local food bank.

cross eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy france eric hallBecause of my extra little walk this afternoon, my fitbit was showing 89% of my day’s activities.

Keen to push on to the 100% I ran round and up to the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou and did a lap around the church. There’s a square around the back of the church with this cross in it and I wondered if that square was where the medieval market took place.

Crosses in the market place were quite common. They were the local assembly point and where the news was read out and announcements made.

eroded statue eglise notre dame de cap lihou granville manche normandy france eric hallSo back round to the other side of the church.

And I hadn’t noticed this statue before. And you can see that it’s made of some material other than Chausey granite because there’s hardly a trace of erosion on the stone blocks, yet acid rain has really done for this statue.

When I was doing some research into an article that I was writing about CLEOPATRA’S NEEDLE, it was interesting to compare the different rates of erosion of the hieroglyphics on the different needles, due to the different levels of acid rain.

picnickers plat gousset granville manche normandy france eric hallSo I ran on down to the Rue du Nord and the viewpoint there.

Nothing at all happening out at sea, although my picnickers were there again having a good time – and who can blame tham?

Nothing for me to hang about for so I ran on back to the apartment where I had to close all of the windows because the wind had indeed turned and the acrid smoke was now blowing right into my living room.

So now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow and there’s a football match on the internet tomorrow after noon which I don’t want to miss

Mind you, if I don’t organise myself properly any time soon, I’ll probably still ba asleep at kick-off.

Friday 13th March 2020 – LOOK AT THIS …

seagull dropping shellfish on stone ramp port de granville harbout manche normandy france eric hall… seagull!

“So what’s exciting about a seagull?” I hear you ask. After all, there must be thousands of them loitering around here one way or another.

The answer is that it’s not necessarily the bird, but have a close look underneath it and you’ll see something dropping from it.

No, it’s not that, although it may well be, given the number of gulls around here. The bird has a shellfish and it’s flying over the concrete apron by the fish processing plant and the stone boat ramp, and it’s dropping the shellfish onto the hard surface in order to break the shell and eat the contents.

It’s had a few goes at it already and I imagine that it’ll keep on doing it until the shell breaks. But it’s just amazing to me how quickly the local wildlife adapts to the man-made environment. It’s much more convenient than dropping the shellfish on the rocks.

Just for a change these days, I beat the third alarm to my feet this morning. Not by much, but beat it I did and that was good news. Especially as it was gone 00:30 when I went to bed and so I’d had less than 6 hours sleep.

Following the medication and my nice new orange and ginger cordial, it was time to attack the dictaphone. There was a group of us doing something and it involved being out on a boat. The boat came to grief in some way or other – I can’t remember how – but the guy in charge said that it was due to our own fault, that we hadn’t taken any safety precautions like sending out a boat first to check on the crossing and check on the bit that we were having to cross over before we all leapt on board and sailed off. There would have been more to this as well but I actually had a shocking attack of cramp in my leg and awoke with a hell of a start.

After breakfast I attacked the digital sound-file splitting. Three of them went fine, according to plan, but the fourth – well …

It’s a very rare album so I doubt that I’ll get to find to what the master copy that I have relates. It doesn’t match anything at all that I have found so far. I’ve untangled it as best as I can and I’ll have to see about the rest.

But for some unknown reason, that knocked me right out of my stride and I just couldn’t get going at all today. As far as anything else goes, it’s been a very wasted day today and I’m rather disappointed with myself.

Mind you, I suppose that I have every reason to be disappointed. I’ve had some very disheartening news.

Not that I have said very much to very many people but I actually managed to find a freighter that would take me across the Atlantic from Ijmuiden in the Netherlands to Burns Harbor, one of the outports of Chicago, all the way down the St Lawrence and right through the Great Lakes, at the end of July.

It’s a trip that the ship does every month, so I had booked a passage on it as a way of getting to North America this autumn, and as it happens, on the return journey it refuels in Montreal so I’d made arrangements to be picked up in Montreal at the end of October to sail back to Europe.

But the long and the short of it is that I had a mail today telling me that the journey is cancelled. No surprise there – just a desperate disappointment. I was so looking forward to this.

chausiais fishing boats english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallOn that sad note, I went outside for my morning walk to pick up my dejeunette from La Mie Caline.

There were a few people out there enjoying the pleasant, if windy morning. And there was also quite a considerable amount of shipping out there today. It wasn’t easy to identify them from up here so I took a speculative photo.

When I get back home I can blow up the image and have a look to see who’s out there.

la grande ancre english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAt first glance, I had thought that one of the boats out there resembled La Grande Ancre.

But that’s not the case. It must be a fishing boat with a similar sikhouette. And how do I know that? Well, because right at that moment La Grande Ancre came sailing … “dieseling” – ed … around the headland on her way out to sea.

Right on cue, I reckon. She couldn’t have timed it any better.

But I do like this photo. Despite the distance at which it was taken, it’s come out rather well and I’m pleased with that.

yacht pointe du roc english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallThey weren’t the only boats out there either.

Close on the heels of La Grande Ancre came this really nice yacht enjoying the windy weather and having a good run out in the sun.

And how I envied him. My own little nautical jaunt having been cancelled, I need to find some other way to take to the water this year, and I’ve no idea how I’m going to do that.

But then, there’s always a plan somewhere

chausiais english channel granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd talking of the answer, here’s the answer – or, at least, part of the answer – to the question of which boats were out there in mid-Channel just now.

Out of the doom and gloom and mist and fog and haze comes Chausiais, heading into port. It looks very much as if she’s been out on the earlu morning tide to take a delivery to the Ile de Chausey and is now on her way home before the tide goes too far out.

It’s not very often that we are lucky enough to see her out at sea. She doesn’t seem to go out very much but I imagine that all of thzt will change pretty soon

la granvillaise port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe tide is out at the moment and the harbour gates are shut. That means that I can take the short cut across the path on top of the gates.

Over the last few days we’ve seen La Granvillaise up on blocks in the chantier navale but she was released the other day. She’s now here in the harbour, moored up in the space next to Spirit of Conrad in the space where Charles-Marie would be, were she not up on blocks in the chantier navale.

This harbour is going to become very congested in due course, with all of the pontoons that they are installing.

floating pontoon support pillar port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallAnd talking of the installation of the pontoons, regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday they started installing the second row of pontoon support pillars in the harbour.

This batch is going to be on the south side of the floating harbour, so one of the things that I wanted to do was to see how they are getting on with it.

The answer is that they don’t seem to have made all that much progress over the course of the morning. There’s still just the one pillar in position and there doesn’t seem to be anyone about doing anythign with anything else.

floating pontoon support pillar port de granville harbour  manche normandy france eric hallAnd with there being no-one about, I took the opportunity to have a peek in their compound to see how many more pillars there are to install. I mean – I imagine that all of those here are here to be used.

And what we have left are three large pillars, a smaller one that looks like it’s off the floating pontoon and is calibrated in some way, presumably for depth, and an offcut of about 10 or 12 feet.

What they are going to be doing with the offcut is a mystery that has drawn my attention for now. But basically, it looks as if we are going to be having one row of five pillars and another row of four, although in truth I’ve long-since given up trying to calculate the logic behind what these people are doing.

They were expecting me in La Mie Caline so I didn’t hang around long, and there was nothing to detain me on my climb back home.

After lunch, I had another attack at the sound files that we had recorded during our visit to the Grande Marée but my heart wasn’t in it and I found myself falling asleep – not once but twice – and in the same place in the recording both times too. I really must pull myself together.

low tide baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy france eric hallTo break up the monotony and try to find some enthusiasm and motivation from somewhere, I went for my afternoon walk.

There were crowds of people out there on the lawn by the lighthouse enjoying the view but my attention was elsewhere because the tide was quite out and the bay was pretty deserted. Hardly a drop of water anywhere.

Of course, this merits a photo. It doesn’t get like this every day. Probably half a dozen times each year the tide goes this low.

charles marie chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRoud by the chantier navale, I went to see what was happening down there.

Charles-Marie is still there and the guy working on it is still there on the skyjack hacking a few more lumps out of the side of her.

It looks as if it’s going to be a long job and she’ll be there for a while. But she’ll be a whole different ship when she comes out and I can’t wait for the moment when I’ll be able to have a close-up view of her – whenever that might be.

But I’m not holding my breath.

taking photographs boulevard vaufleury granville manche normandy france eric hallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen on many occasions photos of people taking photos and, on one or two occasions, photos of people taking photos of people taking photos.

Today, on the grassy lawn on the boulevard Vaufleury, overlooked by our old friend the Corsair Pleville le Pelley, is another group of people having their photo taken by someone armed with a tripod.

It would probably be a good idea for me to make more use of mine every now and again, if only the wind would subside.

Back here, I ordered a new memory card for the big NIKON D500. As well as taking SD cards, it also takes XQD cards in a different slot.

These are expensive but are much better quality so I’ve ordered one and it should be here in a couple of days. Then I can see whether it’s the SD card aperture that’s faulty or whether it’s something more crucial.

But I was still unable to find the motivation that I needed to do this project and rather than waste the day completely I edited a pile of photos from July 2019 when I was on my way to Iceland on board the The Good Ship Ve … errr … Ocean Endeavour.

Tea was another “anything curry” with the leftovers lengthened with some lentils. It was quite delicious too. Apple pie and vegan ice cream for afters, and I remembered the chocolate sauce too.

No-one about for the evening run tonight. I managed three lengths too, having to lengthen my walk due to not having done enough on the morning walk. And I wasn’t as out of breath as I might have been either

No photos either. I was being rather optimistic with my ambitions, and they didn’t work out well enough. But you live and learn.

Anyway, bed-time. And i’m hoping for a good sleep tonight. A nice long voyage too, in pleasant company. I need cheering up and I always seem to have much more fun and excitement in my life during the night than ever I do during the day.

Friday 14th February 2020 – IT’S ST VALENTINE’S DAY …

… and someone loves me evidently.

No-one tangible unfortunately, but someone “up there” … “down there, more like” – ed … must do, because I’ve had some good fortune. And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any.

Those of you who read my notes from yesterday will remember that I’d received this strange letter from some insurance company in Belgium. I rang them up this morning to enquire about it because it was puzzling me.

It turns out that, not that I remember, but when I worked for that strange American company in Belgium I’d been part of their occupational pension scheme which involves a “lump sum” payment on retirement.

As I officially retired, as far as Belgium is concerned, last year on reaching 65, I claimed my Belgian retirement pension to which I’m entitled having worked for this company and also my spell at General Electric.

This was awarded to me and as a result my identity number in the Belgian national records system has been reactivated and the Insurance company has thus been able to track me down and write to me telling me to claim it.

Usually I like to slip sideways off national registers because being on them brings the wrong kind of attention from the Authorities, but for once, as I said, it’s good news

Other good news – well, almost good news – is that I’m feeling a lot more like myself today. I must have had one of these 24-hour bug things, that’s all that I can think of, and of course I have no immune system to fight it off.

And I almost beat the third alarm today too. I had my head off the pillow and I was just about to sit up straight when it went off. Still never mind. Close enough!

After the medication I had a listen to the dictaphone. And another night of rambling away to myself. I started off with something to do with the dictaphone last night but as soon as I picked up the dictaphone whatever memory I had in my mind had gone completely and I’d completely forgotten what it was all about. But I did remember a bit of it. I was walking past an outdoor swimming pool. It was pouring down with rain and there was a big fat boy swimming in there. He climbe dout and got his clothes on and started to get dressed. He went inside the office and there was something happening inside the office with a couple of people and he was one of them but this is where my memory runs out. This certainly involved something to do with dancing and i was trying to work out a dance step with someone or other, a girl but I’ve no idea now.
Later last night I was emptying out Marianne’s apartment getting a pile of stuff in her living room and throwing away some of it, putting some of it in boxes and bags and getting it ready to be taken down to Caliburn. I was working quite well and was quite impressed wuth myself but when I had a look at the bedroom and kitchen there was still tons to do there and I started to get a bit despairing. But I thought well, it’s no good me standing here looking at it is it? I may as well press on regardless and get on with it, which was what I did. I was looking out of this window at Caliburn parked in the street, all that kind of thing.

So whatever all that was about, I really have no idea.

After breakfast I set about cutting up a few albums and this was an agonising task. The first one just wouldn’t cut as it was supposed to and after much binding in the marsh I realised that it was actually titled wrongly and not the track it was supposed to be.

The second one wouldn’t cut properly either but after a while (and I do mean a while) I realised that it was a studio acetate rather than a recording master and so the track order is quite different than the published and printed album.

The third one was one of the very few that had survived the Universal Studios fire so it was actually very high quality although it was “in bits” and needed reassembling.

But just a reminder – I’m only tracking down digital tracks for albums that I already own on vinyl or on tape.

trawler coelacanthe port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving resolved the issue of this pension thing, I had to go to the bank to have my payment details confirmed and stamped.

But on the way I was … errr … detained. We saw the trawler
Coelacanthe doing some kind of weird nautical danse macabre in the harbour the other day, but here she is again manoeuvring herself around.

Obviously the fishing is back on the agenda right now that Storm Ciara has passed.

Meanwhile, at the Bank, in the headlong plummet into the abyss of being The Worst Bank In The World, the Credit Agricole Normandie once again rises to the top, or maybe I should say “sinks to the bottom” to snatch the lead from the Royal Bank of Scotland once more.

“Ohh we can’t do that here” said the second cashier to whom I had spoken. “Our Head Office has to do that”.
“All I want is for you to confirm my bank account details and to apply your stamp”
“No, our Head Office has to do that”.

Totally pathetic, that is. Whatever happened to the excellent service and first-class customer consideration that I had at Pionsat? There was none of this nonsense.

trawler coelacanthe port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallOn the way back to the apartment I picked up my dejeunette from La Mie Caline and then went to see what was happening in the harbour.

And the gates were open now, so Coelacanthe was heading off out so sea. And at the same time there were fishing boats coming in so we had a kind of traffic jam at the port entrance as they jostled for position.

But as for me, I came back here to carry on work. There was plenty to do

This afternoon I started to attack the outstanding photos. And there are more than I thought because there were those few weeks when I had my broken hand and couldn’t type or do anything.

Not only that, there were piles missing so I had to fire up the failed laptop and see if they were still left on there, and also to fire up the travel laptop to see what was on there.

They’ve all been copied over, although I’m still not convinced that they are all here as they are supposed to be. And it took an age to do so.

By the time that I’d knocked off for tea I’d finished all of the photos for June. And I think that I was unnecessarily depressed about the quality – at least of the early ones – because they didn’t need much post-work at all. Well, not as much as I was expecting anyway.

But of course that’s without making any reference to the ones that were taken under the Arctic light which is a great deal different than any light that I’m used to.

samu pompiers emergency ambulance rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallMy afternoon was interrupted, as you might expect, by my afternoon walk. And, for a change and I’ve no idea why, there were hordes of people out there. A nice day, yes, but not that nice.

And I’d hardly set foot out of my apartment before I was shocked out of my usual reverie by the sirens of an emergency ambulance roaring past me.

So, as you might expect, I wandered off down the footpath at the top of the cliffs in order to catch up with it to find out what was going on that needed an ambulance.

samu pompiers emergency ambulance rue du roc granville manche normandy france eric hallBut when I finally caught up with it I was none-the-wiser. And not even better-informed either.

The ambulance was parked at the side of the road sure enough and there was an ambulance man talking to a family group on the grass verge. But as for why, I really have no idea.

And whatever was going on there didn’t look like anything particularly urgent to me, so I left them to it.

digger hydraulic drill concrete breaker port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBy now, the tide was well on its way out. Not quite right out yet though.

And so I was totally surprised to see the digger and the concrete-breaker already making their way out across the water to the ferry terminal. What was really quite amusing was that, as I watched, the digger bogged down a couple of times and he used his jib and bucket as a lever to pull himself out.

On eof the best free afternoon’s entertainments that I had had.

tractor trailer port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut the sight of the digger bogging down, even with its caterpillar tracks, had presumably convinced the tractor driver that the time wasn’t right for him to set out.

He was waiting patiently at the foot of the concrete ramp for the tide to subside some more and for the ground to dry out a little before he sets off.

And I can’t say that I blamed him. After all, he doesn’t have a bucket and jib to pull himself out if he becomes bogged down.

hydraulic concrete breaker port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallBut they had the order of proceeding all wrong anyway.

The tractor should have been the fourth, not the third machine to move. Because he’s not ready to set out quite yet he’s stopping the other concrete breaker from going across.

The other two by this time had actually made it across and had started work while they were still sitting there.

modeling mannequin rue st jean granville manche normandy france eric hallDesperate to bring the day’s total up to 100%, I went on another extended walk to clock up the miles.

My route back brought me along the rue St Jean towards home, and there at the dressmaker’s there was some excitement going on. Someone was all dressed up like something out of the 19th Century and there was someone else taking a photo of her using a tablet.

With nothing better to do, I stayed and watched them for a minute to see what they were up to but after the photo they just hung around chatting so I cleared off home.

cat place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAnd it looks as if I have a new neighbour too.

Whoever they are, they must be acclimatising their family pet to his new surroundings as they had a cat tethered to a lead that was tied in through their window on the ground floor.

A very friendly cat too, and we had a good ten minutes of chat and socialisation. I hope that he’ll be there again.

Back here, I carried on working despite having a little snooze here and there. But nothing like as complete as they have been just recently.

Tea was next and, having tidied the freezer once more, I came across a potato and lentil curry of 2018. That was totally delicious with rice and vegetables.

No more rice pudding so I had a banana and raspberry sorbet. And even though it was the cheap LIDL sorbet it was still delicious.

But one thing that I noticed was that there are only a couple of slices of pie left. Sunday’s task will therefore be to make another pie. If I can fit in two pies at once I might even make an apple pie.

night trawlers entering port de  granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThe evening walk was, as usual, all alone around the walls. That meant that I could fit in my two runs in relative comfort, regardless of the howling gale.

Being almost at 100% I extended my walk and went on the cliff by the fish processing plant where, from my lunchtime spec when the weather is good, I could see the fishing boats coming home now that the tide was coming back in.

Fishing is back on the agenda now that Storm Ciara has passed.

Back here, there was the football. Bala Town v TNS in the Welsh Premier League

TNS have swept all before them over the past 10 seasons although Connah’s Quay are catching them up. And with TNS losing at Newtown the other day the gap has narrowed.

Bala are, somewhat surprisingly considering that they have two of the best players in the league in their team, somewhat off the pace.

The match though, went according to expectations. TNS had about 80% of the possession and had Bala pegged back in their area for most of the match. But we were treated to something much more than a defensive masterclass – more like a desperate rearguard “thin red line” defence as bala did everything they possibly could.

Henry Jones and Chris Venables were surprisingly subdued today and so they offered little in attack. The big winger Lassana Mendes though had an excellent game and why he didn’t win the man of the match award I really don’t know.

Surprisingly, despite having nothing much up front, Bala took a surprise lead when a corner into the TNS penalty area was headed into his own net by Aeron Edwards. But TNS pulled one back with a penalty late in the game – a case of “blaa to hand” rather than “hand to ball” but a penalty none-the-less.

But no matter how much they threw at the Bala defence they couldn’t break through for a winner.

Meanwhile over on Deeside, Connah’s Quay put four past Caernarfon to go top of the table. Interesting times indeed.

But asI write up the notes I have a feeling that I’m not going to reach the end before I crash out at my desk so i’d better ….


Sunday 29th December 2019 – I’M NOT SURE …

… whether it was a good idea or not for me to set an alarm this morning. Because I might have needed it, and then again I might not.

Hoping around on my toes at 04:00 trying to ease out a bad attack of cramp (how come these attacks have started up again just recently), awake again at 07:00, and finally and definitely, about 2 minutes before the alarm at 08:30.

No medication this morning. I don’t have time to wait for it to work. Instead I had breakfast and then made a start on the dictaphone notes from during the night.

I was with a group of people last night – we were on board a ship (yet again). I’d gone out once already during the night to see what was happening and there wasn’t very much so I had to go out of my cabin again so I decided that what I would do was to go and have a look outside again to see what the weather was doing while I was on the point of doing this other job. There was a guy standing by the door outside – I thought he was smoking a cigarette or something so I went out to say hello and he said “have you thought about that thing that we can be doing, because if you aren’t going to do it straight away I can get down to start work on my car”. I had the impression that I was supposed to be helping him work on a motorcycle but I don’t remember much about it and of course there isn’t all that much we can do on board a ship in that respect. Anyway I thought “well, yes, I’m willing to help out anyone any time” and I awoke at that point
At another time during the night there was something going on about people having a party. They’d booked a table at a night club, a table for 8 but the table was at the back. They enquired why and were told “some of these big tables have a habit of being a bit rowdy and pushing their way to the front and it disrupts the other people so we like to keep them where they are”. But this guy whose party it was was organising something and the other people were to come and a lot of them were saying that she couldn’t stay very late and he was qute disappointed about this. He said “as long as you come for the first drink that’w what’s really important. Come and have the first drink with me”. Then he said he had to go and there was some issue too about the date. It was the 1st of January and the date ticket that was sat in the date holder think on the table or in the notebook was too long and protruded out of the holder so it needed to be trimmed. But he hadn’t thought about doing that so I asked him where he wanted it on the table. He said that it was upstairs so he’d better go upstairs and get it. And that was when I awoke.
And somewhere along the line there was something about fitting a pinch bolt in the gearbox drive of a vehicle that I owned so I’d gone down to the garage in Centreville to do that. Darren and I dunno maybe Jody were there. They got a pinch bolt out and got the tools and everything then they both climbed under the vehicle and I thought that I was going to do that but they climbed under there anyway. I had to move so that they could get under. They put the pinch bolt in but it was slightly too long and they could get it in with a real bit of difficulty but there was about an inch too much that wasn’t needed on the pinch bolt. So they looked at each other and said “well should we cut this inch off then?” And that’s all that I remember of that bit.
There had been another thing too but when I awoke I had the most awful cramp – so much so that I had to stand up to ease the leg. And by the time that the cramp had gone, so had any memory of the dream

After that I checked over my equipment and then Laurent appeared at the door so we shot off to Donville les Bains.

bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy franceToday is the Bain des Manchots, the “bathing of the Giant Penguins”.

Every village for miles around loses its fou for the day and they all assembles on the beach ready to take the plunge.

Our task today was to come to the Bain des Manchots in order to interview some of the bathers and the organisers.

There were plenty of manchots around on the beach too and we interviewed a couple of them to find out why they had come all this way for a swim when they could have stayed at home and gone for a swim back there.

bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy franceAs well as manchots there were dozens of Father Christmases out there too, all taking a break from delivering the presents and recharging their batteries ready for the start of the new year.

And it wouldn’t take much of an effort for them either if they are used to the weather at the North Pole. Although the air temperature is a mere 4°C, someone has measured the water temperature and it’s between 9°C and 10°C.

And that’s positively tropical.

bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy franceAnd for mainly that reason, the organisers reckoned that they had a record number of entries.

Certificates were awarded to those who “took the plunge” and they reckoned that as far as they could tell, they issued 300 or so certificates.

That’s a far cry from when they started 10 or so years ago and just 20 people made it into the water.

bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy franceThe secret of going into the water in this weather is really quite simple.

For people who are in any way timid or unsure of themselves, the key is to be at the front, first in line. Once the whistle blows, there’s no turning back and the force of the crowd behind you pushes you into the water.

Being last in, you see all of the others wincing as they enter the water, and that can dampen anyone’s ardour.

People didn’t stay in for long – 15 minutes was, I reckon, the longest.

We interviewed a few of them, including a girl aged about 6 who we reckon was the youngest participant, when they came out.

No-one was really suffering although one or two people were looking really uncomfortable. Each to his own though. Some people are more susceptible to the cold than others.

Laurent brought me home and he came up here for a coffee and a chat for a while. It’s a good job that I’d cleaned up and tidied up everywhere over the last couple of days

sea shells rue du port granville manche normandy franceAfter he had left, it was lunchtime so I walked back into town for my dejeunette.

Down on the rue du Port near to the fish processing plant, my eyes were drawn to this beautiful piece of street art. Someone had clearly taken some time to compose this oeuvre here on the pavement.

It’s far more representative of art than many of the works exhibited in many galleries these days.

victor hugo aztec lady charles marie port de granville harbour manche normandy franceThe tide was out so the harbour gates were closed so I could walk across the pathway on top, over to the other side of the harbour.

Victor Hugo is there this afternoon, as are Aztec Lady and Charles Marie.

But there’s no sign of Granville, the more modern of the two Channel Island ferries. I’m pretty certain that she was here last night, so it looks as if she’s had another early morning run out to St Helier.

market place general de gaulle granville manche normandy franceI picked up my dejeunette from la Mie Caline and then went for a look around the town.

The Christmas market, such as it is, is still going on in the place Générale de Gaulle and will be for another day or two.

Mind you, it’s not what I would call a Christmas market. I’m more used to the ones in Germany where it’s freezing cold and there are hundreds of stalls and thousands of people.

Here today, there were about half a dozen stalls and more stalls than people.

bad parking Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne granville manche normandy franceIt doesn’t seem to be possible these days to go for a day without my making some kind of remark about some of the pathetic parking that we see around the town.

Here’s today’s example. A huge space in the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne, big enough to park a bus in, and yet the driver (and I use the word loosely) has somehow managed to end up with two wheels on the pavement.

That’s bad enough in itself but what is worse is that he’s simply left the vehicle there and made no attempt whatever to park it correctly.

Back in the apartment I had a very late lunch and then something of a vegetation (after all, it IS Sunday) before going out for my afternoon walk.

taking photographs preteen girl pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceCrowds of people around but not much else going on.

However there was some guy wandering around with a couple of girls aged about 10 and 12 and he was posing them in all kinds of artistic settings on the clifftop and then taking photographs of them.

I enjoy taking photos of people taking photos, but this one hasn’t worked so well as I ended up with the low evening sun right in the camera lens and I didn’t have the time to change the camera settings.

Back here I had a listen to our dictaphone recordings of the morning’s adventures and then sent them off to Laurent. He’s going to listen to them and tel me where and what to cut out, and dictate some more “questions” that I can insert in, to break up some of the “monologues” that we recorded where our interviewees were carried away with themselves.

Tea was a vegan pizza as usual, and it was delicious, as was the Christmas cake that followed it down.

While I was eating it, I was watching a Saint episode on the DVD player. Loads of famous people had bit parts in these series before they became famous and it’s always interesting to see who I can pick out.

One voice stood out a mile and I recognised it as soon a I first heard it. I had to wait unti the end to confirm it, and I was right. None other than Lois Maxwell, who later went on to fame and fortune as Miss Moneypenny in the “James Bond” films.

trawlers port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAfter tea I went for my walk around the walls.

No-one around so I could have my run around my little track and I made it up to the top of the first ramp tonight. While I was pausing for breath I could see some fishing boats unloading at the fish processing plant.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy franceAs I came back to the apartment I noticed that I was on 93% of my daily activity.

And so i continued my walk and went to see what was out at sea. Sure enough, the lights were telling me that another long line of fishing boats were on their way back to the fish processing plant.

A quick rough head-count told me that there were about 7 of them at least. There may well have been more.

trawler english channel granville manche normandy franceAlthough these photos might seem blurred you need to remember that it’s pitch black out here so I’m on a very slow speed, the camera is hand-held in the wind, and the boat is about 5 miles offshore.

In the circumstances I’m not too disappointed.

Back here it’s late, I’ve just finished my journal and now it’s time for bed. I won’t have much sleep tonight but I’m looking forward to what I might have. It’s been a long day today.

And a Sunday too!

bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy france
bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy france

bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy france
bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy france

bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy france
bain des manchot or penguin or some such donville les bains granville manche normandy france