Tag Archives: place du marche aux chevaux

Sunday 5th June 2022 – EVEN THOUGH I …

… had a nice lie-in this morning, I still couldn’t manage to go for a whole day without crashing out at some point.

Only for 20 minutes or something like that but it was still enough for me to feel quite miserable about the whole affair.

Anyway, you don’t come here to hear me moaning – at least, I hope that you don’t. I ought to be out here bringing joy and gaiety into everyone’s life instead of sitting here feeling miserable.

This morning I didn’t awaken until about 10:00 and it was about 10:45 when I finally fell out of bed. There’s a pile of stuff on the dictaphone from during the night but as I type out my notes this evening it seems that I’ve forgotten to transcribe them.

Yes, it’s not been a very good day today.

So after the medication it took me a while to come round into the Land of the Living and then I paired up the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. I forgot to do that last week and that delayed me somewhat.

Mind you, I don’t think that I’ll need any excuse to be delayed tomorrow. I’m really not feeling anything like it at all. I did however manage to find some kind of motivation to run through my acoustic set again. It seems to be working OK for the moment.

After lunch I came back in here where I fell asleep. And later on I made a batch of dough for the pizzas, seeing as I seem to have run out again. 500 grammes makes a nice load for 3 pizzas. It was all mixed up quite nicely and left on the side in order to proof.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The other day I mentioned that I hadn’t been for a wander around the medieval city walls for a while.

What surprised me was that I actually remembered today, and that’s the reason why this afternoon’s photo of the beach is taken from a different viewpoint.

There were quite a few people down there this afternoon on the beach, but no-one brave enough to go into the water. This couple were busy drying themselves off so I was wondering whether they had taken the plunge before I arrived.

And once more, no boats out there in the bay today, as far as I could see.

repairs to medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Another thing that I wanted to check on was the work that was going on on the medieval city walls just recently.

They’ve been making quite a racket with power tools and the like over the last few days so I imagined that they were pushing on. And I wasn’t wrong either.

They have dismantled completely a small part of the wall here in the Rue du Nord and have removied the rotten mortar from the joints of another long length of wall.

The other day one of the workmen told me that they expected to be here for another year and I’m beginning to see that he might not have been joking.

repairs to medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022One of the things that I wanted to do was to go down the steps to look and see how they were progressing with the outside of the wall.

That wasn’t possible this afternoon because there were crowds of people hanging around just there and I’d have to wait for ages before they cleared off.

Instead, I went to have a look at the outside from farther round in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux but they have now covered it completely in security netting so it’s not possible to see anything at all.

What I ought to do, I suppose, is to go out later in the evening when there is no-one around. In fact I used to go out twice a day but I’ve not been up for that for quite a while.

35ma aeroplane Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022From the Place du Marché aux Chevaux I wandered off along the path underneath the walls towards the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

But here I was overflown by another aeroplane. This one is another one of the light aircraft that hang around the airfield and which we see every now and again. We saw 50SA yesterday – today it’s the turn of 35MA.

And as I said yesterday, their registration numbers aren’t in the database to which I have access, they don’t file flight plans and they don’t fly high enough to be picked up on civilian radar so I can’t tell you anything at all about them.

building work plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022When I got to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset I could see that there’s something exciting going on.

At first I thought that it might have been something to do with the phenomenal rainstorm that we had overnight but the cement mixer there seems to indicate that this is a project that’s been going on for a little longer.

By the looks of things they are digging out some rocks from the cliff at the back. I wonder if this is a security issue or whether it means that we are going to be having some more facilities on the Plat Gousset to attract more visitors.

Mind you, the fact that the Big Wheel has been banned from the town seems to indicate that encouraging tourism isn’t all that high on the list of priorities of the current town council.

They seem to be much more interested in turning the town into a genteel retirement home for the fortunate few at the expense of the younger, fitter, healthier population of the town.

tidal swimming pool plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022At least though they have managed to give the tidal swimming pool something of a recondition this last couple of weeks.

And at long last it seems to be retaining its water. It’s not been very successful at that in the past and even so, it’s draining out of the drain rather too quickly than I would have expected to see.

And although you can’t see it in this photo, they still haven’t put the diving platform on top of the concrete pillar. That is usually installed at some point shortly after Easter and I can’t understand why they are leaving it so late this year.

Another 4 weeks and the main summer holiday season will be starting.

airbus A400-M baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022With nothing much else going on down there on the Plat Gousset, I headed off towards the Square Maurice Marland

And from around the corner out in the bay came this big Air Force aeroplane flying southwards.

From this angle it’s very difficult to see what it is. I was tempted to suggest that it’s another one of the Airbus A400-M aeroplanes like we saw a couple of weeks ago, but it wasn’t making anything like the racket that one of those would make..

We saw one once at 34,000 feet and the noise was indescribable. At a tenth of that the noise ought to be considerably worse but this was nothing like as loud as I was expecting.

baby seagulls rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Our seagull chicks seem to be doing fine.

There are two of them, so it seems, and they are able to stand on their own two feet in a manner of speaking, and seem to be managing quite fine without mummy keeping an eye on them, for she is nowhere to be seen.

It was quite amusing watching them trying to leap up over the ridges in the roofing sheets. They couldn’t quite manage it and I felt for them because I understand exactly how they feel right now

p692 maroni gendarme maritime port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022We have a new visitor in port this afternoon.

This is a ship called Maroni and she belongs to the French maritime police. I wonder what’s going on around here that brings her into port today. There’s nothing going on around here that I can think of.

She’s not the one that came to check our papers when we were on board the Spirit of Conrad. She was called Geranium I and she was accompanying a survey boat that was checking the sea bed for likely spots to position some offshore wind turbines.

marquee port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The other day I mentioned the marquee that had appeared on the quayside away across on the other side of the port.

With the 70-300mm LENS on the NIKON D500 I could see that there were stalls set up around the outside of the marquee and there were crowds of people milling around.

There will probably be something about it in the newspaper tomorrow that will tell me what was going on.

Back here I had a coffee and then wrote notes on “School Days” and “Technology” for my Welsh revision. I have to keep on going even though it’s a Sunday.

Later on I divided the dough into three and put two lumps in the freezer.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022The third one I rolled out and put on the pizza tray. And when it had had its second proofing I assembled this evening’s pizza.

When it was made I bunged it into the oven to bake and 35 minutes later it was ready to eat.

And I do have to say that it was one of the best pizzas that I’ve made. I don’t like using bleached industrial flour but I wasn’t having much success with any other kind.

Eventually I managed to catch up with the notes from my travels during the night. We’d been to Mexico. There had been some kind of scene about a song that we were supposed to know. I didn’t know particularly well so I didn’t join in. When everyone was cleared away I went over to the front and there on the screen were the words. They had song sheets and lyric sheets and batons for timing etc, a huge pile of mess at the side of the runway. I thought to myself that obviously this song wasn’t as well-known as people were pretending with everything to persuade these people to sing and all these people from the EU to join in as well.

And then there was quite a bit of currency manipulation going on with the German mark. People were coming up with all kinds of things that were going to drive the German mark down including blackmail. I had to do some research into it and found several things so I wrote various notes. I had to write them small because there wasn’t all that much room. In the end what I wrote made a great deal of sense even though there was something like 2,000 words crammed into a space of about 3″x3″. I managed to fit in something about blackmail and showed a little evidence as well. I was pleased with what I’d done and was about to present it to a meeting.

And finally there was something that I was doing for a photographic assignment, having to photograph all these people. There was something about having to get them all onto the photo at once which was going to be extremely difficult. I was trying to work out a way to do it when we had an enormous thunderstorm and everyone scattered. It made it virtually impossible for me to do it. I had to remind everyone that they were quite happy to do it before this thunderstorm. There was still the same photograph to do and still the same amount of space and same amount of land. We needed to push on and do this photograph because of the weather.

So now I’m off to bed. I’m up at 06:00 in the morning to start my radio programme so I need to be on form. But not much chance of that happening these days. I’m going to have to do better than this.

Friday 3rd June 2022 – GONE!

cabin cruiser catamaran joly france belle france chantier naval ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022And never called me “mother”!

Yes, as I wandered around the headland this afternoon and reached the chantier naval I noticed that the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie has now disappeared.

They were there the other day with a large portable crane busily dismantling it and at some point subsequently they have been with a lorry to whisk it away.

We’ll have to content ourselves today with the cabin cruiser and the catamaran, and with Belle France and one of the Joly France ferries over there at the ferry terminal.

After saying yesterday that I’d managed to go a whole day yesterday without crashing out at all, how those words came back to bite me today. And bite me in spades too.

After I’d had my medication I came back in here to sit down ready to start work and the next thing that I remember was that it was 10:40. I’d been out like a light for over 2.5 hours and that was pretty dismal.

But it seems to be par for the course these days.

What might account for much of this is the fact, as I alluded yesterday, that it was something of a highly mobile night as far as my voyages went. I started off talking to someone about how ill I was feeling. I’d been down in the south of France in a dark blue car and a couple of people from my family. I’d been feeling ill again. I was explaining that it was just like 2018 when I’d been feeling really ill and I was right down there on the Mediterranean coast. I was talking about the journey that I was in the middle of doing. They came out with the idea that maybe I could find a couple of passengers who would want to come along on that particular trip. They could pay me a lot of money for having some kind of bespoke travel arrangement around France like that but then of course a Cortina would be the wrong car. You would need something like a Volkswagen minibus or something in which to do that kind of thing.

There was also a big football match being played in Crewe at 08:00 on a Sunday. I was up at 06:30 going for a walk around. There were hundreds of football supporters asleep all over the town in doorways etc who had been unable to find rooms or anything. They had crashed out in the first available shelter out of the open air where they could be some kind of reasonably comfortable and reasonably protected from the elements.

We had a girl who came to see me with her father. He was waving around a receipt because he’d bought a car that was named after him. I couldn’t see why that was any concern of mine but apparently they all thought that it was something to do with me and wanted me to deal with the matter. I didn’t have a clue what was happening about this. It was a definitely a garage from where he’d bought the car, not from me.

And then there was a really heavy snowstorm around Crewe so I’d been out in the night spreading salt around the pavements to make access to the office earlier although I didn’t bother around areas where people were actually having to walk through paks and grass etc. There was one area of grass that was extremely overgrown. It was impossible to walk through there although someone was running a little circus through a corner of it. On the way back I went by there to have a look. It was one of these Wild West circuses with the guy I knew from Eddie and the Hot Rods in charge and Laurent and a few others dressed up in Wild West clothes marshalling the entertainment etc. They all seemed to be having a tremendous amount of fun down there.

Finally there was something strange about people having bodyguards outside their rooms while they were sleeping. Someone had this young girl who was guarding a room by standing on her hands upside down. There was a discussion about how they were going to overcome her. Someone suggested cutting off her feet. They thought “yes, but how far up the legs would you want to go to actually cut off her feet”. This became something of a strange discussion amongst a couple of people.

After all of that it’s hardly a surprise that I was quite exhausted.

Once I’d organised myself and had a late breakfast I had a strum through my acoustic guitar set just to make sure that I don’t forget it.

It will be a shame to put it on the back burner after I’ve gone to all of this trouble to learn it, even if I probably won’t ever have the chance to play it again. Certainly not at Nicorps

After lunch I spent an hour writing about “The Future”. One of the things that I was happy to say – well, not happy to say but you know what I mean – was that I don’t think that I have a future. What with war and Covid and my illness that is slowly deteriorating day after day I don’t have much of a future

And that’s not an idle statement either. When I went out last night I took my acoustic guitar, my bass and my little Roland bass cube with me. I’d brought the acoustic back last night and this afternoon I brought the bass cube and the bass back.

Or, at least, I tried to. I didn’t have the strength to bring them both upstairs at once. I had to make two trips. And you’ve no idea how that made me feel.

There are some kitchen units in the back of Caliburn that I need to bring up here and assemble, but I’ve no idea how I’m going to find the strength to do that

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022As usual, I went out for my afternoon walk.

And as usual, I went across the car park to see what was happening down on the beach this afternoon.

There was plenty of beach to be on, but there were only these two people down there as far as I could see. They had the whole of the beach to themselves.

It was quite a nice day today but there weren’t all that many people at all out there enjoying it. Even up on the path on top of the cliffs it was quite quiet today. I had the place pretty much to myself this afternoon.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022What was probably keeping them all indoors was the racket that was coming from the repointing of the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

Someone was up there working with a power tool and you could hear the whining from up here. It must have been deafening down on the beach.

And that reminded me that I forgot to go and have a wander around the walls during the week to check on the repairs and to see how the baby seagulls were doing. If I remember, I’ll wander around that way this weekend.

hauteville sur mer Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022Although the view out to sea wasn’t as clear as it has been just recently, the sun shining along the coast and reflecting off the sand was producing some nice effects.

Over there is the town of Hauteville sur Mer where the River Sienne flows into the sea. With the white houses and the golden sand over there it looked really nice in the afternoon sun.

Strangely enough, there wasn’t anything at all happening out at sea this afternoon. I couldn’t see a single water craft of any description out there in the bay or further out in the English Channel. I’ve given up hope of ever seeing one of the Channel Island ferries out there.

f-gbai Robin DR 400-140B baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022On the other hand, things were different as far as aerial activity went.

As I was wandering along the path towards the end of the headland I was overflown by a light aeroplane on its way to the airfield. It’s one of the regular ones that we see, F-GBAI, a Robin DR 400-140B that belongs to the local aero club.

She took off at 15:24 and flew out to do a lap around the Ile de Chausey before going down to Mont St Michel and then back up where she came in to land at 16:00.

And seeing that my photo was taken at 15:51 (adjusted) that’s about right, I reckon.

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone else filed a flight plan or flew high enough to be picked up on radar?

speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022As I went around the corner of the headland, coming the other way was a speedboat.

This is the first water craft that we’ve seen today. I’ve no idea where everyone else might be today.

They certainly weren’t down on the bench at the cabanon vauban today. That was quite deserted too this afternoon. It’s a shame that the town isn’t like this all the time

And so instead I wandered off around the headland and down the path on the other side in order to check on what what was happening in the chantier naval, as we have seen earlier.

l'omerta ch589986 la bavolette 2 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo June 2022When we were out yesterday we took a photo of the port by the fish processing plant because, for a change, it was strangely deserted.

Today though; L’Omerta is back where she seems to spend most of her time. And she has company too. Behind her moored up against the quayside is the little trawler La Bavolette II. Presumably she arrived too late and the gates to the inner harbour were closed.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had an important e-mail to write. It concerns the live rock concerts that I do for the radio programmes. Basically, I’m not going to produce any more if they can’t guarantee to broadcast them. I’m still pretty upset about last weekend’s concert not being broadcast after all of the effort that I put into making it.

It’s not as if it’s the only one that’s been missed either. There have been several and it totally defeats the purpose of spending all this time preparing them if they are going to be missed.

The rest of the day was spent writing notes about “I don’t like” for my Welsh exam, and then playing some stuff off this playlist that I was sent. I need to work on that now for the next few weeks.

Tea was steamed veg with falafel and vegan cheese sauce which was delicious. And now I’m off to bed. I’m shopping tomorrow (if I can stay awake) and I mustn’t forget the olive oil because I’m running very low.

In fact I’ll probably remember everything else except that. I’m not doing all that well right now

Wednesday 25th May 2022 – EVERYONE SAY “AHHH” …

seagull with chicks rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022… as a very proud mummy seagull shows off her brood of baby chicks to the assembled multitudes this afternoon.

Over the last two or three weeks i4ve been keeping a little desultory eye on her and finally today, I noticed that her eggs have hatched and she has her little babies all around her.

If I can count correctly, I reckon that there are three of them and that’s pretty good going for a brood of seagulls. She’s going to have her work cut out for the next couple of months while they learn to fly and to fend for themselves.

Not all that many of them actually survive to maturity and I remember a couple of years ago when we were keeping an eye on one particular nest where all of the offspring died.

This morning I must admit that I was feeling something like death after yet another good sleep. It seems that the deeper I sleep, the harder it is to awaken even if I do have a decent 8 hours-worth.

What I mean is that once more I was awake before the alarm went off but I had a struggle to leave the bed. It’s all something like Jethro Tull and
“Remembering mornings, shillings spent.
Made no sense to leave the bed.
The bad old days, they came and went,
Giving way to fruitful years.”

except that I’m a long way yet from THOSE FRUITFUL YEARS. I’m still at the “Fears of dying, getting old” stage.

Anyway I eventually staggered out of bed and went for my medication, and then I spent much of the day working on a table (the first of many) for my Welsh revision.

Welsh is a strange language. The “5 Ws”, or interrogative questioning words ‘When, where, why, what, who (and how)” take different verbs depending on how they are being used in a sentence.

Part of our exam is to ask questions based on missing words in adverts, for example the time might be missing and we are expected to ask the examiner “what time is the …” so a good working knowledge of these words and when they take either “mae”, “sy” or “ydy” is pretty important.

Tomorrow’s table is going to be verbs. There are four verbs that are used all the time – to go, to go, to have and to come so I’m going to make a table up for all of that as well.

And then there are 28 subjects that we have to revise and we’ll be expected to speak for a minute on five of thm that the examiner will choose. So every day I’m going to pick two and write out 6 sentences for each one.

That will be my revision.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022As usual, I wandered off outside for my afternoon walk at some point during the day.

And for a change I decided that I would go for a walk around the city walls, hence the change in perspective of the photo of the people on the beach.

As fas as I could tell, they were the only people down there this afternoon which wasn’t all that much of a surprise because first of all there wasn’t much beach to be on right now, and secondly, the weather had changed and it was rather cool, grey and overcast.

Certainly not the right kind of weather for being at the peche à pied today.

people in zodiac baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022While I was here I had a good look out to sea to see what was happening.

Unfortunately, the good weather that we had yesterday has disappeared. It’s fairly hazy and misty out there today so I can’t see all that much this afternoon.

All that I could see were a couple of small boats like this zodiac offshore with a couple of fishermen on board. But they didn’t have the same luck as the guy yesterday whom we saw pulling a tiddler out of the water.

That was something that was really quite surprising. I hope that we don’t have to wait another five years to see someone else catch a fish out there.

repointing medieval city wall rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022A little further along the Rue du Nord I went to have a look at the work that they are doing on the medieval city walls.

They are making some progress on the medieval latrine which is now a public convenience for those out walking around the walls, and they are also having a good rake-out of the walls to clear out all of the old mortar from between the stones.

They are going to have their work cut out to repoint all of that. It’s not the easiest job in the world as I remember from when I repointed the walls of my house in the Auvergne, but it really does look beautiful when it’s completed.

repairing medieval city wall place dy marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Here’s the part of the wall that they have completed already, or, to coin a phrase, “here is one I made earlier”.

Despite all of the complications, including being obliged to erect a “flying scaffolding”, a scaffolding that’s held up from the top and not from the bottom, they have done a really good job of this.

Mind you, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and we’ll see how it’s holding in in 20 years time. Or, at least, you lot will because I won’t be here by then unless a miracle happens.

It always reminds me of the time that a solicitor was looking for me in Brussels.
“Mr Hall! We thought that you had died!”
“Not at all” I replied. “I just smell like it”.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022From the Place du Marche Aux Chevaux I walked off along the path underneath the walls towards the viewpoint overlooking the beach at the Plat Gousset.

Last week I mentioned that that were preparing the tidal swimming pool ready for the summer season, but with the tide being right in of course, we can’t actually see how it looks today.

But whatever they have been doing, they haven’t fitted the diving platform onto the top of the concrete pillar down there. They are usually quite rapid at sorting everything out ready for the tourists. It’s not like them to be dragging their feet.

But the sea is quite wild this afternoon so there wouldn’t have been anyone down ther eusing it anyway.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022A little further on I stopped at the viewpoint overlooking the beach.

You can tell how miserable and depressing the weather is today by the fact that there are so few people down there. And not just on the beach, but also on the promenade. Considering that it’s school half-day, there would normally be quite a few more people down there.

The vertical axis wind turbine was going round quite quickly too. The story is that it was installed to power the lights on the Plat Gousset but I’m not sure whether it’s still working. It’s certainly in the ideal place to catch the wind that goes roaring through that gap.

That’s actually a man-made gap, dug out by the English during the Hundred Years War as part of the defences of the walled city.

bollards rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Yesterday I took a photo of them installing bollards in the Rue Paul Poirier to stop motorists parking on the pavement.

And in the newspaper this morning there were all kinds of people, mainly tradesmen, expressing their discontent with the work that the Council had done.

Apparently they are worried about losing trade if motorists are unable to plough down pedestrians on the pavement and prevent pushchairs and wheelchairs from going by.

So I carried on along the path to see how the seagulls were going, and then headed for home and a hor coffee. It wasn’t smoothie weather this afternoon, not at all.

crane loading thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022After yesterday’s vitis to the port of Normandy Warrior yesterday, we have another visitor in there today.

This time it’s Thora who has come into port on the afternoon tide. They have already unloaded her and now they are busy loading her up ready for her return trip this afternoon. They don’t hang around long these days.

As you can see, she has quite a cargo to take back this afternoon. Things are looking up for business by the looks of things.

On the way home I had a chat with the newspaper shop owner and then came here for my coffee and, regrettably, to fall asleep again. I’m not doing too well right now but even so, it’s better than it was a week ago.

And it won’t be long before I have the Sports therapist person to see. I wonder what damage he can do to me.

There was the dictaphone to listen to too. There was a young girl who I was actively pursuing, for obvious reasons of course. Her story was that she was in an occupied country and there was someone, a soldier or a civilian, who had gone to ground on her. She had fallen in love with him But he was doing no good there. Sooner or later he was bound to be captured and that would lead to problems for everyone. The easiest way for them to deal with the issues would be for him to escape or evade and reach the UK where he could continue the fight, then come back when the war was over. But it was very hard to try to tell this girl about what was right and proper when she had her heart set on being with him all the time regardless of whatever risks they were running about being together and being caught etc. He would be much better off making a break for the UK and freedom

Tea tonight was a curry made of bits and pieces loitering around in the fridge. And it was quite delicious too. I seem to have the knack of making good curries these days.

So tomorrow I have the physiotherapist, some revision and then there’s plenty of paperwork that needs to be done. I can’t let that slip.

Sunday 24th April 2022 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… my walk this afternoon took me around the medieval city walls to see what was happening around there.

And so while you admire the progress that they have been making with the repointing of the medieval city walls in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and the Rue du Nord, I’ll tell you all about my rather quiet day today.

“Quiet” was definitely the word to use because it didn’t actually start until 11:40 when I finally fell, not without a great deal of difficulty, out of bed.

And even then I wasn’t really in all that much of a mood to do very much for a while.

repairing medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022After brunch I eventually buckled down to work and the first task was to pair up the music of the next radio programme.

That didn’t take too long and then I turned my attention to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night.

There was a war on. The whole system of supply chains and everything was totally disrupted and nothing was being produced anywhere. One person organised something that churned out tonnes of stuff much quicker than anything else had ever been churned out and was rescuing people from cars (including a girl in a wheelchair whom I know), all kinds of things. It became some kind of by-word on the TV what he was doing but someone actually went behind the scenes afterwards and showed loads of collateral damage that had been done. This was really something that could only be done once because they couldn’t afford the damage that was being committed to the infrastructure and everything in doing it. There was litter and junk abandoned all over the place that couldn’t ever be used again. Barges were just emptied and dumped and didn’t go back for return loads etc.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was also something about a delivery service something like ours … “whose?” – ed … that had all kinds of weird and strange rules about delivery. They were catching people out because of the volume of stuff that they were sending. There was one case where they were sending stuff to be collected by a young family on behalf of a relative but were totally overwhelmed with packets. They had to bring in someone from the company to try to deal with all of these deliveries and deal with all of these children as well in this family who were being disturbed by the continual flow of parcels etc. Again there were parcels dumped all over the place. It was like a runaway juggernaut type of situation with these kids in a pram or pushchair and this guy from the parcel company trying to control them and the parcels, trying to obtain all of the address details changed etc. These two dreams were extremely stressful.

Finally there was a group of soldiers, an informal group who rode into a fort in order to help defend it. They eventually found where the colonel’s office was. He was totally intoxicated rather like the colonel in THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY. He told them to take their place wherever they thought fit. Having had a tour of the walls with the colonel, the guy in charge took a huge lump of bread and some cheese, pickels etc and went back to his men. He started to talk to them about the defence of the city and the battle and shared out the food amongst them.

When I listened to what was on the dictaphone, I was quite surprised. I was convinced that there was much more than this too. I had the feeling that I was awake for much of the night dictating into the dictaphone. I know that in the past I’ve caught myself dictating into my hand instead of the dictaphone and I wonder if I’ve been doing that again.

All of this took me up to the time when I would usually go for walkies around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But as I had made up my mind to go around the walls this afternoon I made a little diversion to have a look over the wall at the end of the car park to see who was down on the bach this afternoon.

Although there was quite a strong wind it was really bright and sunny this afternoon and so there wre quite a few people down there, not that there was an awful lot of beach to be on right now.

No-one actually brave enough to put their feet in the water though. It wasn’t actually that warm. That will probably be for another time later on. There are a couple more Bank Holidays coming up imminently

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was out there looking down at the beach I had my roving eye looking around out at sea.

Although there was quite a haze out there and not even the Ile de Chausey was visible, there was plenty of activity just offshore. There was a cabin cruiser and a couple of speedboats for a start, and probably a few other things that I couldn’t make out.

No fishing boats though – they must all be having a day off today.

So I pushed on … “pushed off” – ed … along the path down past where they were repairing the medieval city walls, dodging the English family with the dog who were trying to negotiate the scaffolding.

But the repairs are continuing along the Rue du Nord right now, even though the big crack in the walls where they have been repairing is filling me with some kind of concern.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From the Place du Marché aux Chevaux I passed through the arch and along the path underneath the walls where I used to go running all that time ago.

Down at the viewpoint overlooking the beach at the Plat Gousset I stopped to have a look down there to see what was happening.

The summer season hasn’t officially started yet. The promenade cabins haven’t arrived on the Plat Gosset yet and the diving platform on the pillar hasn’t been put back. I imagine that that’s for some other time later on.

The tidal swimming pool is looking nice though, although no-one is taking advantage of that right now either.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022From there I continued on to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Maréchal Foch.

As well as the vertical-axis wind turbine spinning around in the foreground, we had lots of people milling around on the beach and on the Plat Gousset. The fine weather has certainly brought them out in their droves.

Even the seagull that bombed the photograph on the extreme left-hand edge seemed to be enjoying itself too as it prepares to alight on the roof of the casino down there.

seagull nesting rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While we’re on the subject of seagulls … “well, one of us is” – ed … it’s that time of year again.

The town’s gardeners have been out cutting the grass and the seagulls have been collecting it. They’ve built all of their nests on the roofs of the houses and they are now settling down to lay their eggs.

In a couple of weeks we might catch sight of the eggs and then we can watch the seagull chicks slowly growing up. I shall have to make a note to come by this way more often in order to watch the events as they unfold until the chicks are ready to fly away.

planters square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Here in the Square Maurice Marland there have been a few more developments too.

A few years ago they spent a lot of money renovating the square and then the let it run to seed somewhat. At one time just recently it was looking quite shabby.

However, while I’ve not been paying attantion, they have been slowly bringing it back into condition.

These planters are quite new. They certainly weren’t here before. I wonder what we’re going to see planted in them.

marité belle france ch711273 hermes 1 ch651332 hera ch639451 philcathane ch642969 Galapagos sm734551 hermine Bastien Steeven pl626645 Le P'tit Caprice port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back into town there wasn’t anything happening so I went to have a look at the port.

With having seen no fishing boats out at sea this afternoon I was expecting to see them all in the harbour. And they certainly were there too.

Quite a few whom we have seen before, like Hermes I, Hera, Philcathane and Galapagos but there are a couple there who are strangers. SM734551 is called Hermine Bastien Steeven, the SM telling us that despite her Dutch name, is from Saint Malo, and PL626645 is called Le P’tit Caprice, registered down the coast at Paimpol in Brittany.

Marité and Belle France are in there today too which is a surprise. They ought to be out at sea earning their keep with a couple of loads of tourists.

Back here I had a coffee and then sat down with the guitar. On the playlist earlier, the song ROLL ME AWAY had come round. When I listened closely to it, I reckoned that it was a fairly simple chord progression so I sat down to work it out.

And it works too. So for my next trick I’ll work out a bass line to it.

Regular readers will recall that I said in the past that I won’t add any more songs to my own acoustic playlist set until I can master the ones there, but this particular one has always been a favourite of mine and it has a certain significance.

“Stood alone on a mountain top
Starin’ out at the Great Divide
I could go East, I could go West
It was all up to me to decide”

Doesn’t that remind me of when I was standing up there on the HIGH PLAINS OF WYOMING in 2002?

And what about
“12 hours out of Mackinaw City
Stopped in a bar to have a brew
Met a girl and we had a few drinks
And I told her what I’d decided to do
She looked out the window a long long moment
Then she looked into my eyes
She didn’t have to say a thing
I knew what she was thinkin’
Roll, roll me away
Won’t you roll me away tonight
I too am lost, I feel double-crossed
And I’m sick of what’s wrong and what’s right
We never even said a word
We just walked out and got on that bike
And we rolled
And we rolled clean out of sight
We rolled across the high plains
Deep into the mountains
Felt so good to me
Finally feelin’ free
Somewhere along a high road
The air began to turn cold
She said she missed her home
I headed on alone”
?

And the air certainly was cold where we were at the time that all of this was going on. Yes, one day I really will, I promise you, write about those three missing days on my blog.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Tea tonight was, as usual, a vegan pizza.

After lunch I’d taken out a lump of frozen dough from the freezer and it had been happily defrosting during the afternoon. When I’d finished what I’d needed to do I rolled it out and when it had proofed I assembled it.

After last week’s unsatisfactory attempt when it was overcooked, I turned the oven down slightly today and that produced a much better effort. I didn’t break any teeth this evening.

But I’m off to bed in a minute. An early start and a radio programme to complete. And two to send off – I mustn’t forget that, as I’m not here next week.

Well, in fact I’m not all here at any time but let’s not bog ourselves down in semantics.

Friday 22nd April 2022 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… miserable, depressing day today when nothing seemed to go according to plan and I’ve no idea why not either.

Nothing to do with the fact that I was rather later than intended going to bed last night. I ought to ba able to cope with 7.5 hours of sleep. And even so, I managed to haul myself out of bed before the second alarm went off, so that’s progress of some sort, I suppose.

Not that you might think so because it still took me a good while to bring myself into the land of the living and start work today.

First job was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And I had actually been with TOTGA for part of it, somewhere in the UK. I was as usual trying to get my hands on her … “no surprise there” – ed. We were having a discussion about a few different things and the topic of acting came up. She said that I’d appeared in a play somewhere but I couldn’t remember where it was. She mentioned something about somewhere in the East Midlands. I remembered then that there had been a play but I had a walk-on minor role in it. I was sure that that wasn’t what she had in mind but it was the only thing that I could recall at the time when I’d actually been in a play.

Later on I was going to be doing some building work or woodwork and I needed some tools. I made out a list of what I wanted and asked Terry about it. Of course he’s not here so the list was passed on to someone else but I didn’t hear anything. Nothing ever changed. Someone else turned up who also knew Terry. We were chatting about the job. I was talking about the mix-up and it turned out that this wasn’t the chap to whom Terry had given the information. Of course we had to start all over again as he was there on the spot but I couldn’t remember what it was that I had ordered. I didn’t have a copy of the list. I was really stranded about ordering the stuff that I needed for this job and not knowing what I wanted.

Somewhere in the middle of this was a girl who was a football referee. We’d all had new facilities on board this ship. There were several ships that were fishing boats but they were quite small. However they all had had new facilities and with this woman being our skipper as well we asked her whether she had private facilities or whether she had to kick the crew out of this one and use the communal ones. She said that because she was an official referee she had her own private facilities. That made us wonder about what happened about the other women skippers in this fleet who weren’t football referees. While we were talking she said that she wanted me and would I be free the next afternoon.? I had one or two things to do but I told her that I could fit her in for what it was that she wanted if she would let me know.

And then we were back in the Middle Ages. There was some old man who was living his life quite rough, impolite, rude, and had incurred the King’s displeasure. The King had sent someone down to arrest him and bring him back. It turned out to be this guy’s son. Theyw ere having some kind of emotional struggle – the son had to take him before the king but he wanted his son to let him go. This went on for quite some time with all kinds of recriminations etc

There was also something about my tax return. I had to complete it but I didn’t have all the papers. I had to find the papers but there was a time limit. I had to apply for nationality but I’d been there 11 years so I had to take 11 steps on this stepping-stone footpath but even then I couldn’t apply because the downward path from there was so steep and there was nowhere to hold on to. It was something that was getting out of hand. And that reminds me that I have my own tax return to do sometime when I come back from my travels.

Actually, part of me is looking forward to my next journey at the end of next week, but part of me isn’t. That’s because there is going to be something of a showdown where something on which I’ve been working for 30 years might come to fruition, if I’m extremely lucky.

On the other hand, it could lead to a major disappointment. And knowing how things usually pan out when I’m involved, that’s more likely the case.

Most of the day I’ve been working on the photos from the High Arctic again and I’ve finally made it, after a couple of years of attempts, to land on Beechey Island.

Just now I’ve been to visit THE THREE GRAVES of members of Sir John Franklin’s doomed expedition to discover the North-West Passage and having had an encounter with a gyrfalcon, I’m now picking my way through some mid-19th Century “Goldners” tin cans towards the remains of “Northumberland House”, the wooden shack that Pullen’s expedition erected in 1852-53 in case any of Franklin’s men should struggle back to Lancaster Sound.

It’s probably all of this that’s making me so depressed at the moment.

A few years ago I had an interesting discussion with a couple of Polar explorers about the Arctic, and I recalled a quote from someone called Judge Malone who had gone to search for the last resting place of his friend Leonidas Hubbard “I never had that feeling before on leaving the wilderness, but this country has exerted a peculiar fascination upon me. I understand what it was now that drew you … on and would not let you turn back”.

Yes, I have the bougeotte again, as they say around here, haven’t I? But there’s little prospect of that happening right now, the way everything is.

At the moment, the only way to deal with the bougeotte is to go for a walk around the headland and after the heady excitement of the last couple of days, even that was a disappointment today with nothing whatever out of the ordinary going on.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The tape that was tied across the front of the building had gone today so I headed straight for the wall at the end of the car park to have a look down onto the beach.

And with the weather being so nice today, there were crowds of people down there this afternoon making the most of it. But that was no surprise really because the car park was packed with cars this afternoon.

Everyone was hemmed in pretty much close to the cliffs today because the tide hadn’t gone all that far out when I was out having a prowl around. They’ll have a couple of hours now to spread out before it comes back in.

repointing medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But here’s a big surprise!

By the looks of things they have finished all that they intend to do with repairing the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux and they have now moved the scaffolding further along the wall.

But I don’t like the look of that one little bit. There were a couple of mega-cracks in the wall and they don’t look as if they have done that much towards repairing them. I know when I was repointing my house back 10 years ago I wouldn’t have been very happy leaving any cracks like that in the wall.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was there I was also having a good look around out at sea.

Yesterday we saw a couple of fishing boats out on the Baie de Granville and as you can see, there’s one out there this afternoon. And you can tell by his wake that he’s just done a “U-turn” out there in the ocean.

The marker buoys for the lobster pots are still out there too but he’s a long way away from where they are.

And so dodging the crowds this afternoon I headed off down the path towards the lighthouse.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe ru roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022The car park by the lighthouse was full to so I was expecting there to be crowds down there as well.

And this afternoon we had a couple more people on the bench by the cabanon vauban enjoying the sun. And that’s all that they were doing because there were no boats out there, and no fishermen on the rocks either.

Plenty of people on the lower path too having a stroll around but I wasn’t intending to join them. I’m having issues with the steps, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Instead, I headed off towards the port.

people on sea wall joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there was quite a crowd over at the ferry terminal as well.

At first I was wondering whether they might have been queuing up to go for a sail on the Joly France ferry that’s over there. But in actual fact I noticed that the crane is working, with a few heavy bags dangling from its hook.

It’s probably a reasonable form of entertainment for the people over there watching the action.

And there will be more action going on over there as of the 5th May (when I am of course away on my travels) because I have it on good authority that the sailings to the Channel Islands are to resume on that date.

We shall see.

cleaning pontoon chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And there’s yet another change of occupant over at the chantier naval.

Le Roc A la Mauve III is still there in what must surely be one of the longest-ever stays that I have ever seen, but she’s now been joined by one of the little harbour pontoons that float around in there.

She’s having a good pressure-washing right now and the guy in charge loos as if he’s having an enormous amount of fun doing it too.

It’s the kind of thing that will keep him out of mischief for a while.

ch714399 l'iris de suse port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And the game of musical ships over at the Fish Processing Plant has taken a new twist today.

Neither Briscard nor L’Omerta is there today. The place is occupied by another inshore shell-fishing boat.

And thanks to her registration number being visible and the index of fishing boats that I found a while ago, I can tell you that she’s called L’Iris de Suse, whatever that is supposed to mean.

So what’s the betting for who will be moored there tomorrow? It’s a toss-up, I reckon, between Titanic and the Mary Celeste.

spirit of conrad charles marie anakena la grande ancre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022But at the moment there are croowds of boats over there in the inner harbour.

There are a few that I don’t recognise but those that I do include Spirit of Conrad, Charles Marie, Anakena and la Grande Ancre.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had a few things to do. It had been a miserable day today with having fought off sleep for much of the morning only to have crashed out completely and definitively for an hour or so before going for a walk..

Nothing is ever going to be done if I don’t get a move on.

Tea was my sausage, beans and chips. And the chips were rather hit-and-miss. I think that I’m not shaking them up enough to move them around in the air fryer half-way through so a few are overcooked and a few others are undercooked. But I’ll keep on persevering.

However, generic French baked Beans are awful. I tried a different lot today and they were just as bad as the last lot. I’ll have to buy the bullet and buy full-price branded stuff.

But that’s tomorrow when I go shopping I reckon. Not that I need much because I’m off on my travels next weekend. Judgement Day is approaching rather rapidly.

Tuesday 12th April 2022 – IT’S BEEN SOMETHING …

jade 3 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022… of a nautical day this afternoon when I was out on my rounds.

So while you admire several photos of the Trawler Jade III out there fishing just offshore in the Baie de Granville (and you can tell that she has a good haul on board from the crowds of seagulls that are flocking around her) I’ll tell you about my less-than-exciting day today.

When the alarm went off at 07:30 it goes without saying that I didn’t actually leave the bed at that moment. Mind you, I did beat the second alarm to my feet, although there wasn’t much in it.

In fact I actually felt like death this morning.

philcathane jade 3 baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022So while Jade III and Philcathane cross each other in the bay, I had my medication and then sat down to deal with today’s radio programme that I should have done yesterday.

And although I’d already done half of it previously, it took me much longer than it ought to have done.

At about 09:20 I had a ‘phone call. “You told us on your questionnaire (for my MRI scan tomorrow) that you worked in metal.”
“That’s correct. But I’ve not done any welding since 1997 (when I welded up the exhaust on my old Passat) and only some very rare moments of grinding ever since”
“Nevertheless you need to come here for a brain scan. And bring your prescription with you”

jade 3 trawler speedboat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And so I had to rummage through a pile of paperwork to find the prescription and then Caliburn and I set out for the Radiology Centre.

For a change, I didn’t have to wait too long to have my skull x-rayed but I had to wait for an hour for the results. Consequently I went down the hill to the Leclerc to do a little shopping – like sunflower seed, peppers, mushrooms and some flour.

Back at the Radiology centre they gave me my photos. “We gave you a brain scan” she said “but we found nothing” and that’s the most depressing thing that I’ve heard for quite some considerable time.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Back here I cracked on with the radio programme and it took me almost until lunchtime to finish it off. It really wasn’t a good day.

At least the bread that I had taken out of the freezer was nice and fresh, and that soft Greek vegan cheese that Alison found for me is absolutely delicious. It’s amazingly like fresh mozzarella. I’ll be buying more of that in due course.

Once I’d finished lunch I spent a short while organising some more photos from August 2019 and my trip to the High Arctic. Right now I’m in a zodiac roaring up Dundas Harbour at Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic, trying to out-manoeuvre a polar bear that was there to keep a close eye on a family of seals.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022When I’d gone out earlier this morning it was quite a reasonable day. But this afternoon it had gone really cold and it was raining.

Not the kind of day that I would have expected to have seen anyone down on the beach, but nevertheless there were some people down there this afternoon, and there were some more people coming down the steps from the Rue du Nord to join them.

No-one in the water though, and that wasn’t a surprise at all.

While I was down there I had a look out to sea to see what was happening, and you’ve already seen Jade III and Philcathane out there in the bay having a good trawl around.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022There was quite a racket going on this afternoon from the work that’s being undertaken on the medieval wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

They are pushing on with the pointing over there and they seem to have made it as far as the huge vertical crack and that’s going to take some filling.

But it’s not going to be done right now, with one of the workmen sitting on top of the wall eating his butties or something.

Having dealt with all of that I headed off down the path towards the end of the headland. Despite the rain and the cold weather there were quite a few people walking around on the path this afternoon. I suppose that they have come here for a holiday and don’t have anything else to do.

cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022A little earlier I mentioned that it was something of a nautical day today.

You have seen trawlers and yachts and speedboats out there at sea but right now we have a cabin cruiser going past as I walked around the end of the headland. It was moving rather quickly too as if it was on a Mission from God.

As for me, I was on a mission too, which was to find some shelter from this rain. There was no-one sitting on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon, and that was no surprise, and so I headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port.

le roc a la mauve 3 anakena chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022First stop was to see what was going on at the chantier naval this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw it in a long-distance shot from a different viewpoint yesterday so I wanted to see it from this point of view.

Of course, Spirit of Conrad has now gone back into the water but Le Roc à la Mauve III is still there where she has been for quite a while although her paint job is well advanced.

Anakena is there too. We saw her lifted out of the water a couple of weeks ago. There are a couple of people working on her this afternoon despite the rain and with the tourist season about to start, I bet that they are in a hurry.

jade 3 chausiaise joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022In the meantime, Jade III has finished her fishing session is on her way into the harbour, minus the flock of seagulls that accompanied her out in the bay.

Also in the port today, over at the ferry terminal, are Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes over to the Ile de Chausey, and one of the Joly France passenger ferries.

In the background in the port de plaisance we can just about make out the lifeboat Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

There were also several people with nothing better to do in the miserable weather lounging about looking over the sea wall at nothing particular.

le styx lysandre charlevy chant de sirenes catherine philippe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022That’s because all of the activity is taking place on this side, over at the fish processing plant.

From front to back we have Le Styx, Lysandre, Charlevy, an unknown boat, Chant de Sirenes and Catherine Philippe just coming in to tie up.

And there’s quite a crowd over there on the quayside watching the activity. There’s plenty of it going on.

Back here I had a coffee and then, rather regrettably, I fell asleep. So there was half a mug of cold coffee and some in the percolator when I awoke.

and it was freezing cold too. Not even an extra jacket helped so I switched on the portable electric heater for a while.

That was the cue to make a start on listening to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And I’d been quite far, as it happens.

Last night I met some Russian apologists who were excusing the violence and everything that was taking place but before I didn’t go very far into this before it petered out.

Then there was going to be the World Cup and there the organisers of the Welsh FA were on stage and with a crowd inside. They were drawing out of a glass bowl the names of players who were going to represent Wales. They started off with 30 but were choosing 23. They were pulling out these names of players and they were all players about whom i’ve never heard and I didn’t have a clue who they were or where they played. I had no idea exactly what was going on and why they had even thought about selecting some of these names to be in this pool.

And next I was on a station in Germany watching a Trans-Europe Express pulled by one of the NEZ CASSÉ French locomotives of the 1970s. I don’t know anything about this other than that I was on the station.

We were also going on a coach holiday. A girl whom I knew was coming with me – a really big girl (and I do mean “big”). It wasn’t until we were assembled ready to go that I realised just how big because the two of us sitting in a coach seat would be rather problematic. They were discussing all of the holiday but I wasn’t listening very much because I was too busy making a list of things that I had forgotten, including my raincoat so I was going to have to do some shopping when the coach stopped. They we had to board the coach so I took my suitcase but no-one else was bringing their suitcase. I imagined that there was someone collecting them in the office so I had to walk back to the office with mine, against the flow of traffic to leave my suitcase there and then come back. That probably meant that we wouldn’t get a good seat together on the coach. That really suited me because otherwise I would have had to sit next to her and there wouldn’t have been any room on the seat. But I can’t believe that I was coming away on a holiday and i’d left half of my important stuff behind like I had.
Actually, I can because it wouldn’t be the first time. Most people usually make a list of what they need and pack accordingly. I normally just pack and then when I’m away I make a list of what I’ve forgotten
So we all walked back to the coach. I was one of the last to board. Luckily the girl was sitting right at the front next to someone else which was great for me so I walked a few seats back. There was an empty seat next to a young girl who turned out to be Castor. so “hello Castor after all this time. Isn’t it nice to see you?”. I sat next to her. She was busy trying to pass her headphones to the girl in the seat behind her so that she could listen to the sound for the film that was being shown on the coach. Castor wasn’t talking to me yet. She was telling the girl behind her that she used to get up very early and go for a wander around and then go back to sleep for an hour. That was basically how I existed at that time so I thought to myself that with sitting next to her on this trip I might be able to strike up a good relationship with her, and isn’t that some wishful thinking?

We were in Crewe somewhere on the Wistaston Road estate although it was supposed to be somewhere round Pym’s Lane – Minshull New Road area. There were people preparing to go to school. There was a young girl there busy adjusting her cardigan, tying it in a knot at the bottom because it was a warm summer day. There were other people getting into a car to be taken to school because their school was actually on the Middlewich Road. I was walking past all of these people heading down the bacnk but I’m not sure why

Did I dictate the story about the girl who was preparing to go to school adjusting her cardigan as I was walking down the hill where I thought was the Wistaston Green Estate but was somewhere round by Pym’s Lane – Minshull New Road and there were all these people there preparing to go to school as I was walking past them … “yes you did” – ed. What I meant to say was we were now heading back towards the coach. I was one of the last on. Luckily this girl had found someone else by whom to sit, right at the very front seat wedging this person in. That was fine by me. I went back a couple of rows and found an empty seat. It turned out that I was sitting next to Castor so “welcome back Castor”. She was busy passing her headphones to the person in the seat behind her so that person could listen to the sound on the film that was playing on the coach. She was saying that she was a very early riser, awoke in the morning, did a few things and then went back to bed for an hour. That was the kind of thing that suited me because that’s how I behaved. I was hoping that I could have a really good rapport with her during the course of this voyage on this bus.

And I’m surprised that I dreamt the same dream twice a good distance apart and it all sounded almost the same even with the sidelong remarks.

Finally it was the school holidays again so we were back there and I was working on the railway station at Koln or Aachen. A train pulled in and the people started to alight. It turned out that one of the people was a girl whom I knew so I said “hello”. She wondered what I was doing here because she knew me from Brussels. I said that i’d come here to change trains. I asked where her train was going so she told me but that wasn’t really anywhere near the one that I wanted …indistinct…. but there was some detail on it that I could keep.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with rice and veg. And it was delicious as usual.

And now that I’ve finished my notes, I’m off to bed for a decent sleep.

So Castor came back last night for the first time for ages. She’s been missed while she’s been away. But even so, it it didn’t look as if she was taking much notice of me. I hope that she’ll be back tonight and I can see more of her.

Tuesday 29th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

peccavi carteret trawlers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… various photos of various sea-going craft that were out and about on the water this afternoon, I’ll tell you about my somewhat depressing day today.

It couldn’t have got off to a worse start this morning. When the alarm went off at 07:30 I leant out of bed and switched it off. And the next thing that I remember was when it went off again at 08:00.

Although I didn’t go back to sleep at that point, it was … errr … somewhat later when I finally arose from the dead.

After I had taken my medication I came back in here to sit on my chair where I … errr … fell asleep again for 20 minutes.

cabin cruisers baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nevertheless, I awoke in time to prepare for my Welsh lesson today but there was actually no need because we didn’t finish the first lesson last week and we only just about reached the end of it today.

That’s because we spent much more time talking in this lesson and after my weekend course I was feeling much more confident about things. As a result the lesson passed quite well, to my surprise.

There was lunch as well and it seems that I might have miscalculated the bread issue. Even if there’s enough bread left for tomorrow, there won’t be enough for sandwiches on my journey tomorrow and I don’t want to take the bread out of the freezer just for a couple of slices.

What I’ll have to do is to make other plans for lunch on my travels.

ch933900 carteret jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After lunch, having fought off yet more sleep, I had a listen to where I’d been during the night.

I was a famous footballer in the days before I was famous and I’d fixed a car for one of my clubmates, a white 2000E with a black vinyl roof. I had it running really well and everyone came to see it. They stood there and listened to it. Someone noticed the ice in the radiator. I explained that it had only just gone in and it would melt but they all started making fun of this ice that was in there. Just then I was violently sick. This went on for 3 or 4 minutes that I was violently sick. Someone else who had a white 2000E came up, a footballer, and said “come with me. We’re going to the chemist. Apparently it was something to do with what I was eating. It was good for sport and energy but not for my general health. Someone went to fetch his car and beckoned to me get in it but I noticed that one of his rear lights was not working.

belle france joly france black pearl peccavi charlevy port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I was then with a group of people last night in a house somewhere. One person was having trouble with his car so he set off and we followed him. He went down a hill, you could hear his car misfiring from here, and reached the bottom, pulled off and went round the roundabout underneath. It was obvious that he was still having problems. His car managed to go round the roundabout but he ended up in the wrong gear and tried to come back. He was struggling up the hill and an ancient Austin 7 went past. By the time we returned to the house the guy in the Austin 7 had checked the car over, adjusted the points and was giving him a few other suggestions about how he could improve the performance on his car like put a shaft in to connect the gear lever up to the flywheel, one or two other little things like that. They’d made a meal for me but first when I came in the offered me a cup of tea but I asked “what about everyone else for a cup of tea?”. I went to pour some tea for everyone and have mine with my meal in a couple of minutes.

omerta calean chant de sirenes trafalgar pierre de jade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I’d been to see people like those whom I knew from the Wirral and the like. We’d been talking about all meeting up in the States sometime at the end of the summer. Gradually there were just me and one of them left. We were on a petrol station. He was on his Harley Davidson, a gold one. I said goodbye to him and “see you in a couple of months”. He said “what?”. He’d plainly forgotten about this trip about which we’d been talking. I knew really that it wasn’t going to happen so I just thought that I’d mention the trip but without any real hope that it would actually come off. We were looking at all these electric motorcycles including tiny little 33cc ones. I was estimating how much time it would take me to return home on one of those, not because it could travel quickly but obviously it was so uncomfortable that you could never have a comfortable ride on a motorcycle so small as this. We had a look at the 50cc and 75cc ones but they didn’t seem to be all that much better. I set off home and as I walked out of this garage there was a blind spot for the security cameras where I could easily have picked up one of these motorbikes and walked off with it but I decided against it. I set off to walk home, interested to see how many hours it would take me so that I could compare it at some other time with one of these small motorbikes. I didn’t think that it would be any quicker because although you could move quicker, you’d need to spend more time recovering from the uncomfortable position.

Finally I’d been to see Morton playing but they’d been playing somewhere like Hamilton or Motherwell. I walked out of the ground down to the old A74 because the motorway hadn’t been built yet. I started to hitch a lift but there was no-one stopping for me to go home and I ended up in Stirling (don’t ask me how), walking through the town centre of Stirling at night. I thought that I’d better buy a few things to keep me going for the journey because it was a long way. I ended up talking to Louise, discussing changing part of a car. I showed her how to work a power bar backwards so that you didn’t have as long a swing but you could get more power on it. I was still a long way from home and working out how many hours it would take me to actually walk. I arrived at a figure of something like 80 hours if I didn’t have a lift.

person sitting on rock rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022That took me up to the time when I usually go out for my afternoon walk.

As usual, my first port of call was the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down there.

And there wasn’t all that much beach to be on this afternoon but there were rocks a-plenty and there was someone sitting down there like Piffy on … errr … a rock, acting as if she owned it.

There was quite a bit of mist out at sea again but as you have seen, there was plenty of maritime traffic today as well, with all of the fishing boats heading back to port this afternoon.

repointing medieval city walls place du marche au chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022However my mind was elsewhere this afternoon.

While I was looking down onto the beach, I could also see that there was plenty of activity going on this afternoon on the medieval city walls over at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

There were several people scrambling over the scaffolding, doing some pointing on the wall over there. And there’s plenty of it that needs to be done as well, but over the last couple of weeks since they seem to have made rapid progress.

They may well not be there for much longer, but then again I have said things like that before and been confounded.

storm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022One thing is sure though, and that it that they may well not be there for much longer this afternoon.

Over at the Ile de Chausey is one of the most wicked storms that I’ve seen for quite a while and while, for a change, the wind isn’t all that strong, it won’t be too long before it’s upon us.

That’s really the cue for me to get a move on. I’ve no idea how long it’ll take for the storm to arrive but I don’t want to be caught out and about in it.

But at least I won’t be alone because there were several other people out and about. But I bet that they won’t be out and about for long.

people sitting on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Nevertheless, there will be several people who will end up being taken by surprise by the rainstorm, if it does actually arrive.

Down here on the bench by the cabanon vauban, you can’t see over the top of the cliff and beyond the lighthouse and so the couple sitting down here won’t have any idea of what’s lurking out at sea. And it’s not exactly a place from where you can run easily, with all of the steps and the muddy path.

But then I suppose that they can always shelter inside the cabanon if necessary.

Leaving them to it, I headed off down the path on top of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen all of the fishing boats lined up waiting, either to unload at the fish processing plant or for the gates to the inner harbour to open.

But I was more intrigued to see what was happening with Chausiaise. She’s currently moored at the pontoon where many of the fishing boats tie up so they aren’t going to be too pleased to see her there.

And she has her crane extended too so there’s something going on with her right now.

Back home I made myself a coffee and then made another start on the photos from the High Arctic in 2019.

Right now we’re anchored off Devon Island and I’m stuck – there’s a hill there by the old RCMP post at Dundas Harbour where there’s a memorial monument. And I know the name of this hill – it’s named after a sailor on Belcher’s expdition of 1852 but can I think of his name?

To try to think, I had a good spell on the guitar but it didn’t work and even now, as I’m about to go to bed I still can’t think of his name.

Tea was a left-over curry which was delicious and then I came in here to write up my notes. And I had an interruption as well. I seem to be in great demand just recently and I don’t understand why because it’s not the usual state of affairs as far as I am concerned.

But all of that is for another time. I’m going to have a quiet play on the guitar and then I’m off to bed. I have the doctor in the morning and the physiotherapist in the afternoon. And then on Thursday I’m off on my travels again.

There’s no holding me back right now.

Thursday 24th March 2022 – I HAVE BEEN …

… so busy today that I’ve only just realised that, as I’ve sat down to write up my notes, I’ve forgotten to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

And “so busy”? It’s been a long time since I’ve said that, isn’t it? Too early to go crowing though. One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

It didn’t actually start out very well though. When the alarm went off at 07:30 I turned over and went back to sleep yet again. It was at 07:50 when I sat bolt-upright and another minute or two before I fell out of bed.

At least I beat the alarm at 08:00 which was good news.

After breakfast and having made sure that the 3-column page was working correctly (thanks, Grahame) I carried on mounting the … gulp … 184 photos of that group that I saw back at the end of October.

And then came the acid test – would a web page work with three columns of all of these photos?

The short answer to that was “no”. And trying to find an error in 940 lines of code is not easy.

Eventually, I found not one, and not two, but three errors where either I’d missed out a line, missed out a tag or put in a tag somewhere other than where it’s supposed to go.

Eventually, it worked out and I split the page into four to make it more manageable.

So, does it work? JUDGE FOR YOURSELF.

As you might expect, in the semi-darkness and depressing lighting, many of the photos didn’t work out as well as they might have done under other conditions, and in fact some of them never even staggered onto the pages. But a few of them AREN’T TOO BAD.

That took me most of the day to do all that, but to be fair, there were several interruptions like a coffee break, breakfast, and stuff like that.

And lunch of course. And as I was quietly reading a report on a disappeared ocean liner which I was eating my lunchtime butties, I suddenly noticed the time. 13:22.

“Blimmin’ ‘eck!” I cried. “My Welsh revision lesson starts in 8 minutes”.

And despite my pessimism yesterday, that could have gone much worse than it did as well. It shows up how much I don’t know, of course, but at least I managed to struggle through two hours of it without making myself look stupid.

Mind you, I can do that often enough under normal circumstances without practising for it or speaking another language..

As soon as the lesson was over (for it was for two hours and over-run by rather a lot) I cleared off for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022First stop was, as usual, the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down onto the beach and see what’s happening.

The weather today was gorgeous and I actually could have gone out without a jacket had I so desired. And it certainly brought out the crowds this afternoon.

There’s probably a dozen people in this shot alone, including the person coming down the steps from the Rue du Nord. And any other shot of the beach this afternoon would probably have shown a similar number of people.

Meanwhile, out at sea, I couldn’t see anything at all. And that wasn’t the fault of the weather because it really was nice out there as well.

men working on medieval city wall place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was however quite a racket coming from over where they are repairing the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

That prompted me to take a photo of it from over here and I was actually lucky enough to photograph a couple of the guys who are working there, just to prove that there is actually some work being undertaken there.

And then, joining the throngs of people on the path, I headed off down towards the lighthouse in the hope that I might see something of interest going on – but with no success. There didn’t seem to be anything out-of-the-ordinary happening today.

people on bench with dog cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022With no-one playing around on the gun barrel at the lighthouse this afternoon I walked off across the car park and down to the end of the headland.

Today, we have yet more people sitting down on the bench by the cabanon vauban looking out at sea at absolutely nothing at all.

And I wondered what it was that was lying down underneath the bench. At first glance I thought that it might have been a polar bear but not even climate change could produce anything like that around here. It turned out to be a long-haired white dog of some variety or other.

So instead I wandered off along the path on the other side of the headland to spy out the land around there.

spirit of conrad le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And after the frenzied activity of the last few days or so, it’s all gone quiet in the chantier naval.

The only boats still in there are Spirit of Conrad and the little Le Roc A La Mauve III. And by the looks of things, the latter won’t be in there for much longer and as I mentioned the other day, Pierre the skipper is keen for the former to go back into the water some time rather soon.

After all, he has plenty of work booked for the summer and after what he has suffered over the last two years with almost everything being cancelled, I’m sure that the sooner he’s back out there earning money, the better for all concerned.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, over there at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France ferries.

That’s the older one, I reckon. And you can tell that from the stern. The newer one of the two has a step in it. As well as that, the upper-deck superstructure on the older one is larger, although of course you can’t tell that until the two of them are side-by-side.

But it’s interesting in that if one of them is going to be moving and the other one not, it’s always this one that’s on the move, not the other. I would have expected the owners to alternate them so that they have an equal amount of use.

chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In front of Joly France is Chausiaise, the little freighter that they own that runs out to the Ile de Chausey.

It seems that they have plenty of work for her at the moment because usually she’s tied up in the inner harbour after the occasional trip here and there. Leaving her out here means that she must be off on another trip out sometime soon.

That might explain the sacks of builders’ material that we saw by the crane in the previous photo.

Pretty soon though, they are going to have to start thinking about some other arrangement. If they really are going to restart the ferries to the Channel Islands, as is suggested, they can’t be leaving ships moored up for too long at the ferry terminal.

l'omerta jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way back home I came across L’Omerta again, moored in the silt underneath the fish processing plant.

At one time she practically lived there. She spent day after day tied up without moving, and then we didn’t see her for a while. But now she’s made a comeback.

And interestingly, Jade III is behind her, also settled down on the silt. We saw her yesterday tied up in the inner harbour while almost everyone else was out at sea. But today she’s made it as far as the outer tidal harbour before she stopped and tied up again.

There’s something strange happening here and I wish that I knew what it was.

Back home, having ignored the glaziers’ van parked by the Porte St Jean, I made myself a coffee and finished off what I’d been doing with those web pages.

After a good half-hour on the guitar I spent some time editing a few more photos from the High Arctic 2019 and the dog that I saw earlier must have been a premonition because I ended up editing a few photos of a polar bear and her cub that I encountered on Baffin Island while we were wandering around in Buchan Gulf.

Tea tonight should have been taco rolls with the left-over stuffing from Monday but one look at the tacos convinced me that maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. They ended up being filed under “CS”.

But not to worry. Having worked out the other week what those mystery pies were and found that they were savoury vegan pies, I had the last remaining one with potatoes, veg and a nice thick gravy.

Thoroughly delicious.

So what about that then?

During a previous existence when I was travelling for months around Canada every year I was churning out tons of stuff that found its way onto a web page. But somehow, having been swept away in a tide of whatever it was that swept me away, I’ve done very little of what has been important.

So four in a day is something of an achievement. But as I said earlier, doing it on just one day is no big deal. Margaret Thatcher once said something like “anyone can do a good day’s work when they feel like it. But doing a good day’s work when you don’t feel like it is something else completely”.

Over the last few years i’ve had far too many days when I haven’t felt like it. So let’s see what tomorrow brings. There aren’t (officially, anyway) any distractions but something will probably turn up and knock me out of my stride.

And, on a final note, with 40 minutes to spare before bedtime, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. This was something to do with the Lord of Darkness and somehow there was a technique how you could make a car like you would make a crèpe – pour liquid over a hot surface and make some kind of metal. They had made an experimental version for one group of people from the afterlife. Now they were working on their masterpiece. The Lord of Darkness had appeared with his entourage and took his place inside his car. The first car was vibrating a little and there was a danger that the power would run out so they asked the Lord of Darkness how they would deal with it. he replied that you could fit another element of a battery in there because they were several 2-volt cells and you would put another several cells in there to keep it at 12 volt and increase the amperage so that the amperage would probably match what was in his car

And then I’d ordered some LPs from Amazon. They turned up on a van at something silly like 06:00. Someone had a look to see and they were due to be delivered between 07:00 and 11:00 but it made no difference because they were here and we were here. But he couldn’t put the albums in the box in which they were supposed to arrive. There was a plastic box with lid that had to be assembled to put these albums in but for some unknown reason they wouldn’t go in and the box wouldn’t assemble and stay together. He was there for ages trying to fix this. In the end he asked if I would object if he didn’t leave the box but took it back with him. I thought that if I did object, I’d be here for hours trying to assemble it so he may as well take it and go back on his round. He asked which way to go so I replied “go out of our drive, turn right to the end of the road, turn left down to the end of the road and turn right and you’re heading towards the M6. Someone else who was there started to try to give him some really complicated directions. I thought that delivery and van drivers don’t need complicated directions. They keep it simple so there’s less chance of becoming lost. being lost is losing money for them

Later on I was with two other people last night. One of them was my little Inuit girl from Uummannaq. But she hadn’t half put on weight. She had her little sister with her who was about 3 probably. We were doing something, the 3 of us and then it was time to go. The two of them, my friend and the other person who was with me went to sit in the front of the car. I took the little girl and went to put her in the back. One thing that she liked was to be covered up by something so I took a piece of paper, a sheet of a newspaper to cover her up but she already had one and was covered up in it. She was rather cross that I was going to cover her up with 2 things. I had to fold up this piece and put it away. The other 2 wondered what was happening because of the little girl being cross but I explained and that was that.

Finally I was at an auction sale last night. They were selling things like tins of Pemmican and so on. One was from something like 1758 and another was a few years later all the way through to 1933. It looks very much as if someone had raided some explorers’ caches either in the Arctic or the Antarctic or Northern Canada. They were spending a considerable amount of time discussing the provenance of this stuff. I was hoping that they’d hurry up and start the sale

Where as all of this energy and motivation come from just now? Whatever is going on with me?

Sunday 13th March 2022 – GONE!

la bavolette 2 philcathane chausiaise joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And never called me “Mother”!

A short while ago I mentioned that I expected Marité to put to sea quite soon to find a port with some heavy lifting tackle that could lift her out of the water so that she could be examined for her passenger-carrying licence.

And so here she isn’t. In actual fact, according to my marine radar, she’s in Cherbourg. And that’s a new departure for her. usually she goes around to somewhere around the southern coast of Brittany

Instead, you’ll have to make do with views of La Bavolette II, Philcathane, Chausiaise and Joly France.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Something else that has gone, and which is no laughing matter, is one of the houses in the Rue du Midi.

Yesterday evening it caught fire and it has been totally destroyed. There has also been considerable damage to the adjoining houses too and the situation just there isn’t at all healthy.

The smell of burning is appalling and my hat goes off to the fire crews who were still in attendance this afternoon clearing away the debris. All of the roads in the area are blocked off right now.

There is talk that one of the inhabitants of one of the houses is missing and I don’t know how the situation has developed since I last heard anything.

Last night, I was in bed round about midnight and finally staggered out of bed at 10:45. Not that it was a good night’s sleep either because I was off on a considerable amount of travels during the night.

burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022While you look at a couple more photos of the disaster, I’ll tell you where I went.

I started off picking a team at football for a primary school football match. It turned out to be extremely one-sided with one team winning 6-1. I took some good photos of a couple of the goals and wrote a little piece about it for the local newspaper. The team that had won had a couple of boys in it wo were only 10 as well instead of the usual 11 years old of a primary school football team but even so they were still far too good for the other team that was playing

And then there was a meeting going on at my place discussing photos. It had to take place on the quiet although I don’t know why. I didn’t want anyone to know exactly what was happening about it so everyone was being extremely discreet. In the middle 2 men walked in. They went round to the head of the bed and leant on it. They asked “where’s your car?”. I replied “you’re leaning on it” because it was parked right at the back of the head of the bed. They had a quick look round and there it was. They wanted to know where I’d been, who I’d seen and who I’d met. Of course I could only give them examples of one or two days because I’d been away. I was trying to think who it was that I was supposed to have met and why. I tried to make them give me at least a clue but they wouldn’t at all. I was completely flummoxed. I didn’t want them to know about these photos that we were discussing and I just couldn’t think of what could possibly be of any interest to them with the 3 or 4 people who might have been round at my house over the last week when I’ve been here and not in Leuven.

There were some people wandering around the building, a couple probably in their 50s. They were having a look round and suddenly they stuck their head through my window in my apartment. I walked up to them and said “you don’t look through the window of someone else’s apartment” so they blushed and stammered. They started to ask me a few questions about the apartment. They seemed to be nice people so I invited them in and while I was working at whatever it was that I was doing , just then Tuppence came into the living room and to my surprise she allowed herself to be picked up and stroked. Then Sweep (Tuppence was my cat from years ago and Sweep was one of the kittens that Nerina and I had) came in and the woman did the same to her, picked her up and started to stroke her so I said “it looks as if you are stopping here”. They asked about the empty flat and had another look around mine. I gave them certain information but didn’t mention the price because that’s a personal thing

fire engine rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I started off interviewing Brian Jones for the radio. He turned out to be someone whom I liked very much. I admired his sense of humour, his wit and his outlook on life after leaving the Stones. Eventually I became his driver and we became a very good team together. Gradually he evolved into Stuart Jones … “do you mean Mick Jones?” – ed … of The Clash – I can’t remember who exactly. he was talking about all of the solo concerts that he was doing etc. he was someone who was very simple and straightforward and would play gigs with just a couple of people at small venues – he didn’t need to make a name for himself. He played at a Clash reunion and burst into tears at the end after playing a couple of solo songs of the Clash. Then there was a story about a song that he had heard. Someone sent him a song to hear. After he went home I went round to a museum where I knew someone who was working who knew about this song. Instead I ended up in an aero engine place and I asked about a certain type of aero engine. When I mentioned a German name they said that I couldn’t see it because it was under development, which surprised me so I went back again and asked for this German guy. They couldn’t find him so I went into the engine secretary. They told me that I was out somewhere in the vicinity but I couldn’t get to see him. I tried to find out where so that I could follow him round but I couldn’t manage to do it.

And then I was in a remake of that British comedy film that had McDonald Hobley in it and there was an Indian or an Arab. It was the one with the magic carpet in it and was out in the British Empire in India or Africa with Spike Milligan and Jim Dale and a few other people. It was a surreal film with the idea of people going back to their regiment to spy on the situation and development in the Middle East somewhere. It was all extremely surreal and someone who was excluded from the meeting tried to sneak in but was set on by people with scimitars and all that kind of thing. In the middle of the meeting they all had to stop for tea and because they were British they had to stop for breakfast because it was now breakfast on British hours, all that kind of total surreal comedy type of stuff that took place.

That film started off with the Americans refusing to deal with the British because the British were using substandard Russian scrap steel in their steel fabrication in the Middle East, simply allowing Russian lorries loaded with scrap onto the plant to go straight into the smelter and tip instead of tipping outside the smelter and sorting the stuff so the Americans had no reliance on the metal that the British were producing because of the substandard quality of the scrap. That film was called something like “A Miracle Called Yes” or “A Miracle Called Vest” dated 1964

So in this film there were several of us. There was me, a major, a couple of woman and a young girl had made it so far somewhere in the Straits of Gibraltar where we were holed up in a cave. The young girl seemed to have fallen for the major and this was bound to create problems because the major was drinking and was most unreliable. I had to radio a report so we had to wait there until just before dawn when we’d be picked up and taken away. They sent a boat to pick up the major to take him to the camp where he would be court-martialled. This led to quite a scene between this young girl and the major. I had to order her to stay put while I took him down to get on this boat. I was told that I had to stand by at 04:00 when there would be a radio call to summon us to a meeting by radio. In the meantime we’d have to stay there and make the best of whatever we could until we were sent for. One of the older women who was there was well-aware of the situation and realised what kind of complication all this is going to do and will jeopardise our whole mission just because this major couldn’t keep his hands off the bottle and the women.

And then we were back in the war again last night, defending Nantwich. For some unknown reason the attack was coming from the North. We’d dug in and we had a pile of old anti-tank weapons and were busy shooting up tanks as they came towards us. At one stage ammunition was running low but we managed to find a couple of captured ones and a box of 50 rockets so we were able to equip ourselves and hold out again for another while, brewing up tanks as they came towards us. We thought that there was no reason why we couldn’t hold out for ever here because the infantry was very reluctant to come and engage us while we were busy knocking out all of their tanks

Finally, my mother was looking after the twins again. We had a look and she was receiving almost £160 per week for looking after the 2 of them. It wasn’t easy because there were 2 enforcement notices on them, one on each one. One had killed a man and I don’t know what the enforcement order was for the other. It was extremely difficult and time-consuming to look after them both. Somewhere in this my brother was working in a shop that was having a lot of trouble because someone was off sick. I’d gone in there, wearing 2 pairs of socks so I took off 1 pair. I’d been helping them out and I asked if they needed me to come in tomorrow but they replied that they would be OK. They did ask if I could help them out by paying my brother’s wages for them until they were straight. That would be a good help so I decided that I would go round the next day. I came out of the Co-op which was where the old Ritz Cinema used to be and worked my way down Market Street, out and around the front into Victoria Street where his shop was but I couldn’t remember which door it was that one went into to enter the shop. Later on, I was working on a trailer. He came over to me and said ‘have you ever wondered what the girls do when they are watching us and we aren’t noticing?”. “No” I replied so he started to tell me some kind of story about our youngest sister but he didn’t get very far into it.

After the medication I came back in here and paired up the music for the next radio programme on which I’ll be working. And I do have to say that some of the joins are excellent. And so they should be, given all the practice that I’ve had.

After lunch, I started to transcribe the dictaphone notes and as you can imagine, that took most of the afternoon. Mind you, I did have a pause for half an hour or so while I mixed up some dough for the bread for next week. And it seemed to mix quite nicely too.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was the usual pause for my afternoon walk to stretch my legs.

The different perspective of the photo of the beach this afternoon will tell you that instead of going around the headland, I went for a walk around the medieval city walls

There wasn’t very much beach to be on this afternoon. The tide is well in right now but there was still enough beach for someone to take his dogs for a good play around down there.

And there were other people down there too but they were out of shot.

yachts cabin cruiser baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And as usual, I was having a good look around out at sea this afternoon too.

No big ships out there right now but instead we had a couple of yachts and a cabin cruiser having some kind of danse macabre out there in the Baie de Granville.

Although it was cloudy and overcast, the view was quite good and although you can’t see it in this shot, the island of Jersey was quite clearly visible, although not clear enough to distinguish the individual buildings.

storm ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022“Cloudy and overcast” I said just now.

And there were several storms brewing out at sea. The Ile de Chausey is quite clear this afternoon, but just to the west of it is quite a menacing black storm building up and heading this way. And in actual fact, while I was out a few minutes later, it arrived.

The little cabin cruiser out there in the bay probably received it first before I did, and I bet that the crew knew all about it as well.

And so I cleared off down the path towards the walls.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As we wander off along the walls we come to the place where for the last few months they have been carrying out repairs.

What with my state of health being as it is, I didn’t feel up like going down to the lower level of the steps. Instead I stopped at the top of the steps to take a photo of what they had done so far.

We can see a little better today than we did the last time that we were here and we can see that they have a considerable way to go before they are going to be finished at this end of the wall. And the two huge cracks are going to take some repairing if they are going to hold up.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When we were here a few months ago we noticed that they had actually demolished the wall right down to street level.

They have now built it up to the height that it was before and by the looks of things the job that they have done isn’t too bad although at the moment the pointing is somewhat hit-and-miss.

By the pile of stones here they still have some work to do, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it will look here when they have finally finished it off.

And the five tonnes of water in the containers on the scaffolding have done the job of holding the scaffolding down in all of the storms that we have had.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Here on the outside of the walls, we can see the join where the rebuilt wall meets the repointed wall lower down.

It might not be aesthetically pleasing how they have done it, but it’s a vast improvement on how it was before they started and it might even hold up.

And so I headed off through the arch and down the path underneath the walls to continue on my walk, dodging the piles of cyclists who were disturbing the peace and upsetting all of the pedestrians and who think that the path belongs to them.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down at the end of the path here is a viewpoint that overlooks the beach and the promenade at the Plat Gousset.

Surprisingly there weren’t too many people down there this afternoon. Although it was quite cloudy and threatening rain, it was quite warm again for the time of year and no reason at all why people shouldn’t be going for a stroll.

However, as we saw in an earlier photo, they were all in the Rue des Juifs looking up at the burnt-out house on the walls.

On the way back home I passed the guy who takes his cat for a walk and we had a chat, and then I went to inspect the damage for myself.

bicycle shelter place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Regular readers of this rubbish will recall yesterday that I said that I would take a photo of the bike shed when I see a bicycle in it.

They also know that pathetic parking is a regular feature of these pages, and here we have two for the price of one – a bicycle parked in the bike shed and a car that has decided that it would like to park there too regardless of the fact that the space is presumably reserved for bicycles.

A little earlier, I mentioned about cyclists thinking that they own the place. Well, car owners can have their moments too, can’t they?

Back here, I gave the bread another kneading and put it in its mould. And then rolled out the lump of dough that i’d taken out of the freezer earlier and had now defrosted.

That went into the pizza tray to proof for a while.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022later on, I put the bread dough into the oven and then assembled my pizza ready to bake it when the bread was finished.

And here are the finished results. The bread is baked to perfection by the looks of things and the pizza was one of the best that I have ever made, even though I forgot to put the olives on, as I discovered later.

After I’d eaten the pizza I tidied up and came back in here to finish my notes. Now that they are finished, I’m going to bed shortly. I have an early start in the morning and a radio programme to make.

The nurse should be coming to inject me too and I have my physiotherapy session in the afternoon too. It doesn’t take long for the cycle of activity to start up again.

Sunday 6th March 2022 – REGULAR READERS OF …

… this rubbish will recall that over the last God-knows-how-many months, they have been repairing the medieval city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022It’s been a while since I’ve been round that way to see how they have been doing and so I reckoned that I’d go that way this afternoon for a closer look

The big hole that was there in the wall has now been filled and it’s been quite an effort to do it. Mid you, I can’t say that I’m impressed with the lintel made of old stone blocks that they have fitted. It’s not really in keeping with the rest of the wall.

And there’s still plenty to do just there as well. There are plenty of gaps where either stone or mortar has fallen out as you can see and it all needs to be replaced. That will take them quite some time to do it properly.

parvis notre dame de cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022What is interesting in this photo of the Parvis Notre Dame is what ISN’T there.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that for the last two and a half years there has been a small American car with American number-plates parked just there.

But it’s not there now. The ground’s all flat. It looks as if the Council has lost patience and has towed it away.

It was an interesting curiosity though. There must have been a good story behind the car being parked there and I would have loved to have known what it was.

Talking of good stories … “well, one of us is” – ed … there were plenty of good stories on the dictaphone from last night, as I found out when I listened to them this afternoon.

When I awoke the first time in the morning I was having some kind of wrestling match with that Jacqueline “cuddly doll” thing that I have on my friends list whatever, you know what I mean. And if you really do know what I mean, please tell me for I don’t have a faintest idea.

And then there was something about a Siamese cat but I can’t remember what that was.

There was also something about being in Shavington. There was the parish newspaper advertising things. The latest thing was about two new businesses in Wistaston and two in Shavington wo we decided that we’d go to Wistaston to see them. When we reached Wistaston there was something going on about a poacher on someone’s land. This led to the owner of the petrol station literally dragging in a boy about 9 or 10 and accusing him of poaching. Of course the young lad denied it but the garage proprietor took a sawn-off shotgun and stuck the barrels under his chin and told him to confess or else he’d regret it. This led to a struggle just as a girl of a similar age was walking in. She got both barrels in the face and of course she was dead. The garage proprietor was trying to argue that the shotgun was nothing to do with him and that the others had brought it. This was extremely distressing.

There was a King of England in medieval times who had 2 daughters. One was a healthy, normal child and the other one was weak and sickly. They had tried several things to build up this weak, sickly child into a normal one but nothing had worked. In the end they marginalised her at court. she was somehow involved in a torture chamber. She wasn’t the one being tortured but was kept there. They had to think of things to do with her that could bring about her death without actually bringing it about. Suddenly she had this idea that maybe she ought to eat butter. Of course she pretended that she didn’t like it and that it was going to kill her so they brought it to her but it actually built up her strength. The other daughter and one of her friends were playing around and the other had somehow come to join them in the garden and was playing around too, running around and looking quite healthy etc. When the Queen came out she knighted or whatever the girl and her friend and seeing the other girl who had been sick she knighted her as well because she was so pleased to see her running around. When she became 14 they found her a husband in France and packed her off over there. everyone knew including the girl herself that because of her illness, her body was riddled with illness she wouldn’t live very long but she put a brave face on it and went to live away from her family for the rest of her life, which would be very short.

There was a King and Queen. The King reminded me very much of my niece’s husband. They had had a huge, blazing row and the Queen was leaving. My Opel Senator was in the garage and she insisted that we leave on that. The King had wandered off somewhere so I had to put the car back together again. I could only find one of the spark plugs and I knew that not only did I have another handful of new ones there was a load of old ones in the boot. I emptied the boot out to try to find these missing spark plugs but I couldn’t find them anywhere. Someone wondered whether the king had taken them away to stop his wife leaving. I carried on searching in all kinds of nooks and crannies. Just then an old merceded van pulled up. It was someone from down the road and he asked what was going on. I explained that I wanted to have this car runnign but I’d lost a load of parts. he was someone who actually worked for the RAC or AA on call-out. He said that he was bound to have all of the bits so he would call back after he’d finished this breakdown he was on and come and do the job for us. That seemed like the best alternative but in the meantime I carried on searching. Someone said something about the King had filed away the threads on a couple of plug holes so you had to put the plugs in anti-clockwise. Another car pulled up. i was a couple of people who lived in the neighbourhood who asked if we had a problem so I explained. I forgot to say that the guy had looked in the car at the luggage and said “you’re going a long way, aren’t you?”. Anyway these people in the other car stopped and were chatting away, all of them, and someone called me over so I went to see. She asked “do we have such-and-such a track?”. I replied “no” so she said “you ought to listen to it because it’s all about cars”.

I was also with Nerina last night, and Roxanne who was our daughter. We’d gone to Montréal but it wasn’t any particular Montréal that I knew. We were wandering around and were due to come home so we’d hired a car to go for a drive around and to collect all of our luggage etc. We’d stopped off at this little street café to have breakfast and we went inside. The woman was very friendly and kept on plying us with different foods to try. In the end she gave us a huge bag of Québecaois hot-cross buns. She asked Roxanne a few questions and she replied in Flemish which confused the woman so I told Roxanne that the woman doesn’t speak Flemish but French. The woman was surprised at all of the languages we were speaking. While I was finishing my breakfast Nerina had to go to buy something to do with putting air in the tyres. She asked the lady and again there was some confusion about the language so Nerina turned to me and asked me to translate. She was speaking Welsh so I translated into English and Nerina was able to have some directions about where to go while I finished my coffee and hot cross buns. We’d planned our final meal. Nerina was wondering where we’d go to eat so I suggested that little Indian restaurant at the Côtes des Neige … “he means “Côte Vertu” – ed …, that tiny place. She said “that would be a wonderful idea”. I’d told her that it was a tiny place and how good it was and I’d been there before in Montréal.

Finally I was at home and wanted to go out for some lunch so my brother asked why not go round to his place for some satsumas but not tell anyone. Round I went but he was serving a customer so he introduced me. I picked up a few things and went outside. I had BILL BADGERr, my old A60 van there so I got into him and started to drive home. At one point I had to turn round but the road was very busy so I had to go down into a side street, turn round at the bottom and come back up. I was reflecting about although Bill Badger was driving slowly which he always did it was a very good reliable van and how I ought to think about using it more as a regular runabout seeing as I’d owned it for over 30 years (actually, if I’d still had it today I would have owned it for 45 years and the only reason that I sold it when I did was that a rear spring broke and they were no longer available). I was talking about it must be kept MoT’d and insured otherwise the police would repossess it etc.

It was 11:10 when I awoke this morning and once I’d finished with my medication I attacked the music for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing tomorrow, pairing it off. And some of the joins are excellent. My technique seems to be improving.

After lunch I transcribed the dictaphone notes and as you can tell, it took quite a while for me to do that. And several voyages last night were extremely realistic and very hard to distinguish from a real life adventure, not that I have too many of them these days.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022By now it was time for me to go out for my afternoon walk.

As I intimated earlier, just for a change I went for a walk around the medieval city walls to see what was going on. That’s why the view of the beach at the Rue du Nord is from a different perspective today.

Despite the high wind, it was a really nice day so it was no surprise that there were crowds of people wandering around there on the sand. Not quite sunbathing, but not far off.

And that reminds me that several years ago when I was living in the Auvergne it was actually snowing quite heavily on this day.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A little earlier we also saw some of the repair work being undertaken on the medieval city walls.

Dodging the crowds that were coming up and down the steps between the Rue du Nord and the beach I went half-way down to the little garden place to have a closer look at what was happening.

The covering to the scaffolding means that we can’t actually see what they have been up to but one thing is sure and that is that they have plenty of work still to do before they have finished.

Back up the steps, I carried on along the path underneath the walls

people on plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022When I reached the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset I took a photo of all of the people down there.

It’s relatively sheltered from the wind down there and in the sunlight it must have been quite an agreeable walk.

It would be nice for me one of these days to go down there for a walk, but the way that I am these days I would struggle to come back. Especially today. I was having a rather bad time this afternoon.

In the upper left of the photo is what looks like a gate with a stone wall around it. It is actually the entrance to the garden of the Museum Christian Dior and there is a set of steps that lead up to there from the Plat Gousset.

roadworks rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing was the lorry with its trailer parked up a few days ago at the Porte st Jean.

I had a good wander around the old town but I couldn’t find out where the crew might have been working. However, the electricity installations that we have seen them doing in the Rue Cambernon are STILL going on – and on – and on.

And I suppose that one day when they have finally finished the work, someone else will come along and dig them up again.

Walking around the walls back towards home, I passed the spot where the American car used to be parked, and I couldn’t find the energy to climb up over the top of the walls to the viewpoint there.

Instead I staggered home for a coffee and then edited a few photos of my trip to the High Arctic in 2019.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After lunch I took out a lump of dough from the freezer and left it to defrost.

Later on I kneaded it and rolled it out and then put it on the pizza tray to proof. And then later on when it had risen I assembled it and bunged it into the oven.

When it was cooked I sat down and ate it and it was one of the most delicious that I have made. Slightly overcooked, otherwise it would have been perfect.

So now I’m off to bed. I have a 06:00 alarm tomorrow seeing as I have a radio programme to prepare so I need to be on form. I have the physiotherapist too, the nurse coming to inject me with the Aranesp to kickstart me for my trip to Leuven, and I also must ring up to book an X-ray on my knee. I can’t leave that too long.

It’s going to be a long day.

Wednesday 23rd February 2022 – NOW THAT THE WIND …

woman sitting on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… has calmed down to just “high speed” instead of LUDICROUS SPEED, people are slowly returning to their old habits.

For the first time for a while, there was someone this afternoon sitting down on the bench at the end of the headland at the Pointe du Roc admiring the view.

At least, I imagined that they were admiring the view, because it was one of these days when admiring the view required quite an effort because there was some kind of hazy mist out there which meant that you couldn’t see all that far this afternoon.

contrasting water pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There was however something for me to see, that certainly isn’t to anyone else’s taste.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that every now and again we see something strange happening in the water where there are a couple of distinct colours and a distinct line between them.

Today was one of those occasions, as you can see in the image just here. I’ve no idea what causes this effect – it’s certainly nothing to do with the underlying nature of the sea bed and nothing to do with the clouds in the sky either because we have 10/10ths cloud today.

As for me, I also had another few hours of uninterrupted sleep. In bed at 23:50 and the first file on the dictaphone was timed at 03:41, so that’s almost 4 hours and that’s pretty good going for the last few weeks.

Nevertheless it was a struggle to leave the bed at 07:30. In fact it was more like 07:50 when I finally showed a leg and then I staggered off to take my medicine.

The morning was a very slow start but eventually I managed to summon up the strength to transcribe the dictaphone notes. I’d been injured in some fighting that had taken place and been taken to hospital but the opposing army was closing in so I put on a disguise to modify my appearance. I thought that it looked OK but someone else there thought that it was quite obvious that it was a disguise and spoilt the effect. This led to a bitter argument between the two of us and it ended up by me striking out at this person because I thought that everything was perfect and I was bound to escape detection if the enemy came into this town.

Later on I was out with Paul Temple and his mate, Sexton Smith or whatever his name was, except that in the radio programmes his assistant was a woman called Steve. We were going to do something that involved a trip down the coast of South-West England and North-West France. It meant getting a few things ready but my bedroom was a tip with dismantled Cortina parts all over the place. it took me ages to sort out what things that I needed. We got everything together and the two of us, Paul Temple and me and a third guy who was some kind of French person, we set off from the house in a car down this very long drive. When we reached the main road we got out and got into Paul Temple’s car which was a left-hand drive French registered Austin Cambridge. I asked “what about the food and the things we need to take?”. They replied “you’re in charge of that” so we had to get out the food that we need for the journey. It came to the case of hiring an aeroplane and that was my job too apparently. We then had to pick up his friend and that meant going back up the drive to this house again. Halfway up the drive we encountered another vehicle travelling slowly so we overtook it on this muddy drive but there was an electricity post in the way so we had to swerve back and almost cut up this car. In the meantime he said to the guy who was with us “you fancy a Honda, don’t you? There’s one for sale on the front here” so they talked about this Honda for a while. When we returned to the courtyard in front of this house one of the people there was a schoolteacher – there were several outside – but his friend Sexton Smith or whatever his name was still hadn’t turned up

One thing that I forgot to mention about Paul Temple was the tomcat, a long-haired ginger cat, which had the ability to blend in with whatever boundary it was against and was a valuable member of this expedition, and whatever that is supposed to mean, I really don’t know.

Ingrid telephoned me too, which was very nice because I’ve not heard from her for ages. We had the kind of chat that would rival any one that I’ve had with Rosemary, but then a lot of things have happened since we last spoke to each other.

While I was rummaging around in the freezer I came across a bag of what looked like pie filling and so that gave me an idea for a cunning plan. I put it out to defrost. However it turned out to be some kind of potato curry, by which time it was too far defrosted to put it back.

After lunch, I sprang into action.

For reasons that will become apparent tomorrow, I decided that I needed to bake a cake. For some reason or other I had a fancy for a coffee cake so yesterday I’d trawled the internet for a suitable recipe for a vegan coffee cake using ingredients that I had to hand.

Having finished my butties and fruit I set about mixing everything together in accordance with the instructions. This time I mixed the dry ingredients separately from the wet ingredients and it all seemed to go really well when I combined both lots.

While it was baking, I made a vegan pie with the mix that had defrosted and some pastry that I knocked together while I was in the mood. There wasn’t enough mix to fill the pie so I lengthened it with a tin of sweetcorn and then a tin of lentils.

The cake took ages to bake – probably double the time that it said in the recipe. I think that my oven is rubbish as everything I bake doesn’t work out properly.

When it was done I took it out to cool and put the pie in to bake.

There was a recipe for some vegan coffee cream cake filling that would go really nicely in between the two layers of cake. And having struggled with the icing for the Christmas cake, I mixed it all in the whizzer and that seemed to work perfectly.

coffee cake vegan pie place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022When the cake cooled, I cut it in half, spread the cream on the top of one of the halves and pressed them together, and then iced the cake with the remainder.

Here I found an unexpected problem. I’ve never, in all the time that I’ve been baking, had a cake that has risen as well as this one, and as a result it’s too tall to go in my cake tin. I wish now that I’d brought the giant one with me from the Auvergne.

And one thing that I can say, is that if the finished cake tastes as good as the mix did when I licked the spatula, it will be absolutely delicious.

Much later than usual because of the time that the cooking took, I went out for my afternoon walk. However, on the car park I encountered Pierre, the skipper of Spirit of Conrad, and we spent a good few minutes chatting about his plans for the forthcoming season with his craft.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022After he had wandered off back inside the building I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to see what was happening down on the beach.

There weren’t as many people down there this afternoon as there have been over the past few days. Just one or two ambling aimlessly about and someone on the water’s edge scaving for seafood amongst the rocks.

You can see plenty of shellfish stuck to the rocks down there, but the key, apparently, is to find some that are still living. If they are dead then they are of no use and, of course, many of them will have been pillaged by our feathered friends.

trawler ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was looking down on the beach my eyes were also roving around out at sea to see what was going on.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we peered through the gloom and saw a trawler working away off the Ile de Chausey in the Baie de Granville.

At this distance, because it has to be about 10-12 miles away from where I’m standing, it’s not possible to identify it and I can’t even be sure that it was the same one that was out there yesterday.

Since Brexit and the issues with the Jersey authorities, we’ve seen more and more fishing boats working away out there rather than being further out in the bay.

repointing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was here, I had a different view over the section of the wall that they have been repairing in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

The first thing that I noticed was that I could now see the wall from where they have removed the covering to the scaffolding, and they have totally repointed all of that and rebuilt the part of the wall that is above the level of the street.

The second thing that I noticed was that there was someone down there on the scaffolding pointing away at one of the two very large cracks in the wall. And that’s the kind of crack that will take an awful lot of filling.

It will look lovely when it’s finished, although when that might be is anyone’s guess. And then what bit are they going to do next?

people on beach pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Not very many people about on the path this afternoon so I had a very quiet and comfortable walk down to the lighthouse this afternoon.

We’ve already seen someone down on the rocks at the Rue du Nord looking for shellfish, and further along on the beach there was someone else having a go.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw the marker just of the coast here, most of which was covered by the tide. Today though, the tide is well out and we can see all of the marker and the man having a scratch around will give you an idea of the scale of how high the tides are when they come right in.

new flagpole monument to the resistance pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that the other day we saw that the bolts had been drilled in the new concrete base for the flagpole that will replace the one that was blown down in the storm a while back.

When we saw it I mentioned that I supposed that within the next few days we would see the flagpole back up, and here it is today, properly erected. They did that quicker than I was expecting, especially knowing the pace at which they work around here.

So I wandered off across the car park and down to the end of the headland to see what was happening out at sea and to check on whoever might be sitting on the bench out there. And then I wandered off down the other side of the headland.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Yesterday down at the chantier naval, we saw some activity with the portable boat lift as it was busy caressing Tiberiade, and I wondered what it was doing.

It’s not possible to see what was going on between the two of them yesterday but today, there’s a new arrival in there. Another yacht is down there receiving attention. And that has an interesting arrangement holding it up in the horizontal.

Back here I had a coffee and, not falling asleep, I made a start on some of the older dictaphone notes that have been hanging around waiting to be dealt with. Just a mere 19 to do now and then I’ll be ready to build up another backlog

Tea tonight was a delicious teamed veg with vegan sausage and vegan cheese sauce. Another delicious meal that I really enjoyed.

Tomorrow I’m having a lie-in, for reasons that will be apparent. I’m not sure that I deserve one after how inactive I’ve been over the last few weeks but I’m going to have one again – if only to see who will be coming with me on a nocturnal ramble or two.

Thursday 17th February 2022 – TODAY WAS SOMEWHAT …

… better today than yesterday and at least I manahed to accomplish a couple of things.

Actually it started last night when after I finished writing my notes; I finished off the notes for the radio programme and then in a mad fit of energy I actually dictated them. It can’t be any better than that.

There was something that resembled a reasonable sleep last night. Judging by the times that I dictated the notes of my travels during the night, I must have had a good four hours of uninterrupted sleep.

After that I was off on my travels and I spent a lot of time wandering around. I started off with someone from the Wemsh group, and I wondered when one of them would appear. We’d been doing something or other and a third person whom I know but can’t remember came up to me saying “I saw your note just now back there” but I couldn’t think which note it was at all. I hadn’t written one. We went back into the lounge room and my Welsh friend said something like “right, it’s TV time. There was a programme on there that we usually watch. I had to use the ruler to switch on the TV because it was so high up on the wall. Apparently it was already on – it just needed touching to reactivate it. It tunred out that it was the Wimbledon singles tennis final between Maria Scharapova and someone. He’d written a note or a poem or doggerel about her. The other match that was taking place was the men’s singles final between Boris Johnson and someone else and if that isn’t a nightmare, I don’t know what is. I was surprised about how good Boris Johnson was. he was really making this young guy work his position and for a big man he was a lot quicker on the court than I expected him to be. He had this enormous smash that ended up with him hurtling backwards and hitting the wall at the back. Then he began to pull all kinds of bits and pieces from under his shirt. We realised then that he was wearing some kind of kevlar body armour that had shattered under the impact of him hitting this wall. he was pulling it out bit by bit. When there was a lull in the noise in the stadium I shouted “it’s not a very good advert for kevlar, is it?” and everyone burst into laughter.

Later on I was on my way into work and was at the back end of Tunstall when I saw a motorbike at the side of the road, a Royal Enfield single. I had a good look at it and decided that it was quite nice and carried on to work. Later that day I had to go back out again. 2 girls from the office came with me. One was a girl whom I quite liked. The other one was quite nice but this one was something special. I had my red Cortina and we piled into it. We ended up back in Tunstall again. This bike now had a sign or something on it saying “Series BSA for sale” but it was quite clearly a Royal Enfield. I mentioned that and they said “why don’t you go to see the person and find out?”. I replied “probably because I would be very tempted to buy it”. We found the address so we set off. Soon the houses finished and we were in the open countryside. The second girl said “we’ve been this way before haven’t we?”. The first girl replied “yes. It was that office outing when you went wine-tasting”. I said “yes, and we had a good time at that”. As we drove down this road we were on top of the moors. The wind was really strong, rattling a caravan out in a field. All of a sudden we came to some barbed wire right across the road. We couldn’t go any further, we had to turn round in a farm drive and go back but the bank out of this drive was so steep that the Cortina struggled to make any headway and it was difficult to try to go back out onto the main road again so that we could drive off.

As well as that I was at a school last night with some pupils, actually at a railway station in the underground passage beneath the lines. Someone came down carrying what looked like a solar-powered satellite. They reached the bottom, stopped, had a think, turned round and went back again. I wondered what that was all about. There’s more to it than this but I can’t remember

Finally, someone came out of the library at work bringing something to me. First of all we were having a discussion about some meeting and playing the ‘cello where we had to sit, where we had to stand, how we had to behave. I didn’t understand any of this and I’d never played a ‘cello in my life. I wondered whether I’d misheard or mistranslated. I couldn’t get any of this at all. While I was trying to talk to someone about it, someone came out of the library at work and handed me a kind-of press cutting wrapped in sticky-backed plastic and said that it was very important not to lose it because it means that she can join me. I had a look and it was about Nerina. She’d been awarded either a Doctorate or a Master’s for a dissertation that she had submitted to the University of Québec. Of course I was quite envious because of the Québec connection. I wondered what it was about all of these little privileges she could have so I thought that I’d better go to see the guy who’s in charge of “privileges and immunities” and talk to him aboit it before I posted it on to her wherever she was. At that point I set off to walk home. There were crowds of people on the pavement and a very strong wind and was making very little headway at all. Everone else seemed to be walking okay but it was so strong that it was stopping me going forward. I went over this long railway bridge and had to work out my way home. My way home was going to take me back towards my apartment in Jette but it seemed rather strange because I couldn’t understand anything of what was happening at all with any of this. Nothing seemed to make sense.

When the alarm went off it was something of a struggle to leave the bed but I managed to beat the second alarm all the same.

After the medication, the first job to do was to make the bread as I’d run out.

home made bread fruit bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022In fact I’d run out of all kinds of bread, normal as well as fruit bread. And realising that there isn’t a lot of room in my oven, I couldn’t make fruit buns so it had to be a fruit loaf instead.

The bread dough was one of the best that I’ve made so far, and for some reason that I don’t understand, the fruit loaf went together really nicely. I’ve not had one quite like this at all.

While they were baking I took out the glass and plastic rubbish to the bins outside, such is the exciting life that I live these days that I feel the need to write about it.

The ordinary bread was very delicious, exactly how it ought to be. As for the fruit bread, I’ll tell you about that tomorrow. But what I can tell you that half of the normal bread and half of the fruit bread have gone into the freezer. I can’t seem to get them to last more than three or four days and I suppose that that shows how fresh and natural the ingredients are.

Most of the rest of the day has been spent in some kind of desultory fashion finishing off the radio programme. And it took much longer that it ought to have done for the simple reason that I forgot to dictate some of the text.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As well as lunch, there was also a break for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As usual I went off down to the end of the car park to have a look at what was happening on the beach.

There were actually a few people walking around on the beach this afternoon – one in the middle of the beach and a family over at the foot of the steps.

And they had a nice day for it too. It was warm again for the time of year and it was quite sunny too. Just the right kind of day to go for a look at the sea.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022usually I go and look out to the sea as well but today I was rather distracted.

We’ve seen them working on the medieval city walls over at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux for the last few months and now they seem to have moved around the corner of the wall.

We can see that the protective netting has extended round to there so that would seem to indicate that the workmen have reached as far as there now.

There were several large and deep cracks in the wall just there so they will be quite a while working on that part.

And that reminds me of the time that a nasty crack appeared on the wall of 10 Downing Street, but workmen painted over it before Boris Johnson could read it.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Despite the nice weather there weren’t too many people out and about on the path so I had it pretty much to my self.

Out at sea though, when I finally managed to focus myself on what was going on out there I could see that there were whole fleets of fishing boats out there heading back into the harbour.

The tide was still a fair way out so I don’t imagine that the harbour gates will be open yet so they will be all queueing up outside.

At the end of the headland there was a family peering into the old bunker and another one looking at the monument to the missing sailors, but that was about the lot so I carried on towards the harbour.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Down at the chantier naval there’s been a change of occupancy yet again.

Le Roc A La Mauve III is still down there of course, with her paintwork a long way from being completed, and as for Tiberiade, her sanding down is still going on and her paintwork is a long way from even starting.

And we now have another boat in there too – a yacht without a mast. And the yellow prop on which she is sitting, I haven’t seen that one before.

While I was there I took the opportunity to have a good look at the stern of Tiberiade and sure enough, there are no fishing nets on board her that I can see.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022From the chantier naval I carried on down the path towards the inner harbour.

Yesterday we saw Thora moored at the loading bay and today she is still moored up there. I don’t think that she’s been out and back again in the time available.

While I was writing out these notes I had a look on the shipping radar. Thora doesn’t have an AIS detector so I can’t see where she is, but I did notice that Normandy Trader has now come into port.

That means that tomorrow when we go out for our walk we’ll probably find that the swimming pool that is on the quayside will have gone too.

ch932880 Calean sm735890 lysandre port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022A little earlier I mentioned that the tide was quite well out and so the fishing boats will be queueing up to come into port.

The little channel that they dredged out at the side of the fish processing plant a couple of years ago is filling rapidly and some of the smaller boats with a lighter draught are already there.

There are two that I can identify. CH932880 is called Calean and SM735890 is called Lysandre– The SM tells us that she is registered in St Malo.

As for the other two, I can’t tell who they are.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Over the past weekor two we’ve seen Joly France, Belle France and Chausiaise moored together down at the bottom end of the harbour.

Today though we can see that Chausiaise has now moved and she’s tied up where the two Channel Island ferries usually tie up. Those two are still in Cherbourg, presumably being overhauled ready to go back into service.

On the subject of going back, I went back home for my hot coffee, half of which I forgot (I didn’t fall asleep, by the way) and finished off listening to the radio programme that I’d prepared during the day. And after all that, it’s come out quite well.

Tea was something of a disaster. I really fancied some chips seeing as I didn’t have any in Belgium, and as the microwave fryer doesn’t work so well, I tried doing them in the oven. And they took about an hour and a half to do.

What I’ll have to do next time is to see if cooking them for five minutes in the microwave first will make any difference, or else buy some proper oven chips.

So today was a little better, for which I am grateful. If I show the same daily improvement over the next few days then by this time next year I might actually finish something off.

Perhaps a good night’s sleep will do me good.

Saturday 5th February 2022 – WE’VE HAD A …

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… hive of activity out here today, with tons of stuff going on throughout the day and I’ve no idea why.

It’s a Saturday morning and I’m walking to the shops in the town, so it’s no surprise that I stumbled across the helicopter on my way out this morning.

Regular readers of this rubbish will certainly remember what happened last time I walked into town on a Saturday morning and had a close encounter with the aforementioned. That’s something that I won’t forget in a hurry, and I’m sure that you won’t either.

assembly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It wasn’t just the helicopter either.

There was a group of people, some of whom in military dress uniform and carrying flags, congregating by a wall just here.

Something else that regular readers of this rubbish will recall is that I actually live in an old military barracks so seeing soldiers and ex-soldiers loitering around is something to which I’m accustomed.

But anyway, I digress. let’s go back to the very beginning and see if I can last out until the end.

Now here’s a surprise.

When I awoke this morning, it was 07:26 – 4 minutes before the alarm. And so in something of a wild fit of bravado, I hauled myself out of bed just before the alarm went off. And that’s not something that happens every day, is it?

Actually, it was too good an opportunity to miss and it will give me something to crow about until I hit the next disaster.

After the medication I checked the messages etc and then listened to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was an army disputing the succession to the French throne or something. Someone who governed the centre had taken the initiative but had ended up being invaded by an army from somewhere else, a Duke, and they had had a airly inconclusive confrontation somewhere already at the south of Paris but now they were shaping up for a really important fight that would decide the future of the country, with an invasion or whatever it was. On eof the guys was facing them anyway. They were all organising their armies for this conclusive battle in order to square up and have a proper one this time.

A little later last night I was with TOTGA. The two of us were planning on going on holiday. There was a big meeting taking place about various trips going so we went along to listen to them. They asked if there were any questions. Someone asked “how do you go from Manchester to the airport?” – basic questions like that that people either know the answer to or they look on Google or something. In the end these questions were becoming rather simple. It suddenly came out that the guy was travelling from Stoke-on-Trent. I asked him if he lived there to which he replied “yes” so I told him to give me his ‘phone number and I’d ring him and he could ask me what he liked etc and I’d be able to tell him perhaps a lot better than he’d hear it in the middle of this meeting where he was getting on everyone’s nerves. There was a lot more to it than this but I can’t remember now.

And later again I was with Keith Emerson and Brian Davison of The Nice. I can’t remember very much about this except that Keith Emerson was knocked off his motorbike by a lorry at a roundabout. I can’t even remember whether he was hurt or not.

I did finally end up on board a ship last night. There were quite a few of us, but no-one we knew. It started off watched a TV programme about these boats that go down to the Antarctic with people on but there was no cabin accommodation or anything – you slept on deck so when there was a storm it was quite problematic. I remember thinking that I’ll tell Rosemary all about this and see if she wants to go. It wasn’t before long that I was on board one heading south. First, it started off that we were in London somewhere and had gone for a meal. There wasn’t a big choice of vegan or vegetarian restaurants. The one that we found was passable, I thought, nothing particular to write home about. A couple of other people were extremely disappointed about it and made something of a fuss to the waitress about what they considered to be the poor food and quality. She came over to me afterwards and asked if I wanted anything else. I was nice about the situation so she said that she would bring me a bowl of chips. By this time I was on the deck of this ship and after waiting many, many, many minutes a bowl of chips appeared so I ate them then went for a wander off around. I ended up below deck where a guy appeared with a bowl of chips. He said “I’ve been looking for you. Here are your chips” so I wondered whose chips they were that I’d eaten just now. He asked if they were OK. They were cold but I wasn’t really all that bothered so I ended up with a second bowl of cold salty chips while I was on board this ship heading south to the Antarctic in all kinds of weather.

To finish off I had to go to the Post Office to post a package. It was a lump of dough and by the time I reached the Post Office it was all soggy and wet. I was sure that the clerk was going to refuse it but she put it in a plastic bag for me. The address label was all manky and wet but she said “I’ll manage”. I went back off to work on board a ship. Someone asked if I had my work with me – my University stuff so I replied “no” thinking that they would just give me a course book to read. Instead, they gave me the entire unit stuff, videos, everything. They asked if that was OK and I replied “well basically it’s OK but I don’t know how on earth I’ll manage to carry all this back afterwards.

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022By the time that I’d finished typing out all of that I was ready to go into town.

There had been a racket going on outside for a few minutes but I hadn’t paid too much attention to it, but as soon as I walked out of the front door of this building I was immediately confronted by the air-sea rescue helicopter.

He was hovering around down behind the College Malraux so I decided to head that way into town to see what was going on. You never know …

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022One of the first things that I did once outside, and I’ve no idea why, was to go and have a look at the beach.

However, I may as well have saved the energy. The tide is all the way in right now so there was no beach for anyone to be on right now.

You can though see what I mean about people being down there when the tide is on its way in. It comes in quite quickly and goes all the way to the foot of the cliffs. That means that there is no-where for anyone to shelter.

Being cut off from the foot of the steps can cause all kinds of problems.

joly france ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022As usual, I’m also having a look around out to sea, one of the reasons being that occasionally we catch a glimpse of one of the massive super-ferries leaving St Malo for the UK.

Today though we couldn’t see one, but we did see a ferry of another type.

On her way out to the Ile de Chausey this morning was one of the Joly France ferries, taking advantage of the nice weather. And we can tell that it’s the older one of the two even at this distance because there is no “step” in the stern.

You can see how nice the weather is this morning too. We can see all of the colours on the island and the while houses stand out quite clearly against the rocks.

F-ZBQA Eurocopter EC 145 emergency services pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … Pointe du Roc, the helicopter is still perched on the big bunker here.

Not only is it surrounded by aircrew and rescue personnel, there’s an ambulance and several police cars in attendance. It looks as if there’s something serious going on.

Everyone seemed to be quite busy so I didn’t go over to interrupt them to find out what was going on. I’ll have to wait until tomorrow and see what’s in the newspaper, or else wait for Sue Grey to finish her report.

yacht baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022So leaving them to their own devices I wandered off down the steps to the path below.

There wasn’t anyone else down here at the cabanon vauban, but if there had been, they would have seen this yacht heading out to sea from the port de plaisance.

He, and the couple of others who were following him out, were having a nice day for it. There was plenty of sunshine, and enough wind to push them along nicely, although not too much to make it unpleasant.

My walk down into town was quite lonely. I went practically all the way without seeing another soul. I’ve no idea where everyone was.

chausiaise belle france joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022They certainly weren’t all out at sea because apart from the one Joly France boat that we saw, everyone else was here at the suayside.

From left to right of course we have Chausiaise, the little freighter that goes out to the Ile de Chausey and, occasionally, to the Channel Islands as we saw the other day. And then the two other ferries.

In the middle is the very new Belle France that first showed her face in the port last year to help out with the summer traffic, and then to her right the newer of the two Joly France boats.

The other Joly France boat is of course on her way out to the Ile de Chausey.

concrete reinforcement matting double glazed windows port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was here I had a look at the freight waiting on the quayside.

As well as those red plastic objects that we saw from a distance, we have some concrete reinforcement matting and a pile of double-glazed windows. They’ll need to be tied down correctly on their way across to Jersey just in case the wind gets up.

At Carrefour I bought my mushrooms, some specialty bread and a few other bits and pieces, and then had a wander back through the town centre on my way home. There wasn’t anything going on down there that caught my attention. In fact, I must have been in something or a daze.

assembly place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Earlier on I posted a photo of an assembly of people here in the Place d’Armes in the courtyard of one of the other buildings.

Back here I stuck my head and the camera out of the window to take a photo and to see if I could hear what they were talking about.

From what I could gather, it was something to do with a handful of soldiers from one of the regiments based here who somewhere in North Africa held of an attack of several hundred “Arabs” (that was the phrase that the presenter used) over a period of several days.

It was in my mind to go out later this afternoon and see if the plaque on the wall behind him made any reference to the incident but I forgot. I’m not much good as a reporter, am I?

And while we’re on the subject, two things have occurred today in this respect.

  1. A journalist in the Grauniad this morning made a huge deal about going to SEE THE “DISAPPEARING HIGHWAY” IN NORTH CAROLINA. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have done that trip, THE FIRST IN 2005 and THE SECOND IN 2017 to compare the differences so we beat this “scoop by the Grauniad by four and a half years.
  2. A French railway magazine of some description is to feature a series of articles highlighting the destruction, if not devastation, of the railway network in the Auvergne and their editorial team has found an article THAT I WROTE BACK IN 2008 that is relevant to their series, and has asked if they may include it in their magazine. It goes without saying … shameless self-publicist that I am.

Anyway, back here I had a coffee and something to eat to take me up to lunch while I sorted out a few things that needed doing – like preparing news articles for publication and that kind of thing.

After lunch I came here to carry on work but, regrettably, I couldn’t keep going. It wasn’t the same kind of crashing-out that it has been here and there just recently, but for all the good that I did, it may as well have been.

What’s even more depressing is reading back through all of the stuff that I wrote al those years ago and wishing that somehow, somewhere I could summon up the enthusiasm and energy to do it all again with the tons of stuff that’s built up over the years that hasn’t been touched.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It was even difficult to summon up the energy and enthusiasm to go out for my afternoon walk. and I’m not sure why I wanted to go, having been out this morning for a good walk around.

Having been over to the beach this morning, only to find that there was no beach to go over to, I went again this afternoon at my usual time to see the lie of the land.

Plenty of beach down there right now of course, and plenty of people down there making the most of it. Several dozen at least.

And that’s not a surprise because it was actually such a nice afternoon. Not much wind, a nice blue sky. What more could any man require?

Except maybe TOTGA, Castor and Zero to share it with me of course. And then I wouldn’t know which way to turn, although I’m sure that I’d soon figure it out.

people on beach bouchots donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022It wasn’t just down on the beach at the Rue du Nord where there were crowds either.

Out at Donville les bains they seemed to be just as busy. The bouchot stakes were exposed with the tide being so low so n the distance we could see the harvesting teams out there.

They would have to be careful too as there were crowds of people milling around on the beach, getting under the wheels of the tractors and the like.

For the benefit of our new readers, a serendipitous discovery made years and years ago was that shellfish were found growing on some anchor ropes. When they were sampled they were found to have an excellent taste with none of the grittiness that you associate with shellfish grown in the sand.

And so a business has sprung up here in the bay in various locations where stakes are planted in the sea with ropes slung between them for these shellfish, called bouchots to grow.

repairing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022For a change, this afternoon I decided to go for a walk around the walls seeing as it’s been a few weeks since I went that way.

From somewhere I summoned up the energy to go down the steps to look at the hole in the wall to see what they had done with that. And by the looks of things, they are well on their way to finishing it.

It’s taken an enormous pile of stones, that don’t seem to match the rest of the stonework and that’s rather sad. I don’t think much of the concrete lintel either. When I was fitting concrete lintels in stone walls I’d set them back a few inches and find some nice flat stone to face them with to make it all look more traditional.

repairing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Up on top it’s looking something of a mess too.

They actually took that wall down to ground level and rebuilt it but at the moment it doesn’t look anything like it ought to do. Maybe when they repoint it, it’ll look much better but you can’t really see it very well with the scaffolding and the fencing in the way.

From there I followed the crowds (because crowds there were a-plenty) along the path underneath the walls. One of my neighbours was there too so we had a chat for five minutes and put the world to rights.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2202/22020044.html”>red autogyro baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was there, I was overflown by another light aeroplane from the airfield.

Today it’s the red powered hang-glider that’s going past. And he has a passenger too by the looks of things. Been for a spin around thr bay to take a few photos probably, and one of these days I’ll have to get out and do the same.

But not right now as I have too much to do. I carried on with my walk around the walls, far too close to the madding crowd for my comfort.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022On place that I wanted to visit was the Rue St Michel to eat some humble … “you?” – ed … pie.

Having complained bitterly about the state in which they left the surface, they came back a couple of weeks later and put the stone setts down to make it look much more like medieval.

They don’t have the curves sorted though. Medieval stone paving has nice symmetriical curves in it that looks really beautiful but they haven’t been able to recapture that here. It’s probably another one of these medieval skills that’s long-been lost, or else they won’t spend the money and the time in doing it correctly.

red autogyro baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Walking back along the walls, the red powered hang-glider went past again.

By the looks of things, while I’ve been out he’s been back home, swapped passengers and come back out again. He must be keeping busy and that has to be good for business.

Having forgotten to look at the plaque as I said that I would, I came back home for my coffee and to attack another sound file to select the broadcastable bits. And it’s not easy, for various reasons.

But anyway, there’s just one sound file to select and then I can get off and assemble things for broadcasting.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper, seeing as there was a rather sad-looking pepper left and I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday. And now that I’ve finished my notes I’m off to bed.

Having had TOTGA visit me last night, I wonder who’ll pull the short straw tonight. I ought to promote a lottery, oughtn’t I?

Wednesday 2nd February 2022 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… one of the lowest tides so far this winter, and so as we might expect, the crowds are out at the pèche à pied this afternoon.

That is, of course “fishing on foot”, not “fishing for feet”, although there was probably a little of that going on too after the events of several weeks ago when someone did fish up a human foot – or, at least, the remains of one.

And that reminds me – I wonder whatever was the outcome of that. Nothing more ever appeared in the local Press and I’m intrigued to find out some more about it.

I shall have to put my best foot forward and go to enquire of the local bobbies sometime. Maybe they have one foot in the grave already.

trawlers ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And it wasn’t just on the beach that people were fishing either.

Right out at sea at the top end of the Ile de Chausey there were a couple of fishing boats wandering around. Far too far out for me to be able to tell exactly what they were doing, unfortunately.

For a change, I knew what I was doing today – and that was “making some progress”. Being unable to eliminate all of the background noise from my radio interview, I cheated and made my own background noise, and then overdubbed it onto the supplementary questions.

Surprisingly, after a considerable amount of tweaking, it didn’t sound too bad at all and it’s difficult to hear the joints.

Yes, a better day today and I was able to make progress. And not just that either. I have a much better idea of what I’m going to do with it all.

It took a good while though to work myself up to it. It was rather later than usual when I went to bed and despite dropping off to sleep quite quickly, I was awake just as quickly too and had another hour or so of wishing I was dead or something before dropping off into the Land of Nod.

And not tossing and turning too much during the night either, for the first time since I really can’t remember when.

Leaving the bed was another struggle, which was a surprise seeing as I’d been awake since 06:10 and starting work after the medication was even more so and it took me quite a while to start up.

First task was to listen to the dictaphone. I started out with Nerina last night. We were driving somewhere, the two of us, in our separate cars, looking for a place to park. For some unknown reason I missed a turning and carried straight on down this road. When I looked behind me she had gone. I stopped and someone, I’ve no idea who or how, said that he’d nip down this side road after her. I parked up Caliburn, walked a little further down and turned left where there was a road junction that went left back on itself and another road that went left and forward on itself like a “K” on its back. I followed the road that was going back on itself thinking that I’d reach the road where Nerina had turned off. I’d left my van so that if she turned up she’d see it, know that I’m around and wait. I walked down this road. There was a canal on the right and buildings on the left. It narrowed into a footpath and then came out onto the road that Nerina must have taken. There were people around, like a park etc, and the canal. I couldn’t see Nerina, I couldn’t see June, I couldn’t see anything of that so I walked a little way back along this road heading towards the main road again. I couldn’t see her, I couldn’t see anyone so I thought that I’d walk back to where my van is and see what happens next. Of course there’s no point ringing her because she had a mobile ‘phone but she never ever brought it with her so ringing her wouldn’t be any use.

We never had that trouble in real life though. We could wander off in different directions even in major cities but we’d soon find each other again, like a pair of homing pigeons. Except once many years ago in Budapest when I nipped out of the car, told her to “drive round the block and come back” because there was nowhere to park while I had things to do, and then having to wait three quarters of an hour in a tee shirt in a snow storm because I’d sent her off round the only 5-sided block in the whole of Hungary and she had, unsurprisingly, become disorientated.

And I remember that car very well. OCC883S, a Cortina estate that I bought for £50 to break for spares 35 years ago and ended up driving it, and the two of us, all the way from Crewe to the border of the USSR via Italy and Yugoslavia, and they wouldn’t let us in because Nerina didn’t have a visa.

Some local reversed into us as well outside the railway station in Budapest and was shocked to the core when I told him to forget it and drive on. As if another dent on that car was going to make any difference.

And then it cracked the head in Ulm on the way back so when you left the car overnight, water would drain into a cylinder and stop the car from starting. We had to drain out the water every night, start the car up empty next morning and then fill it up with water once it was running.

Later on I was with Nerina and TOTGA of all people in Gainsborough Road doing some tidying up (as if that would ever be likely). We discovered a huge damp patch on the floor that was wringing wet and were having a big discussion about whta we were going to do about it. I was busy working through my music playing different tapes here and there. It was starting to become quite late and TOTGA decided that she would have to go home. Before she went I put on an album, THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by Audience, I don’t know why, but that was playing. Anyway she eventually decided that she would have to go so i went to the front door to see her off. “There’s no need to see me off” she said but she added that this time would be the best time to ‘phone her because everything was quiet just before she goes to bed and she wasn’t ever really doing anything else. The she said something like “there’s no need to take me to the door”. I thought “of course there is, if I can get a hug out of it” and I gave her a big hug. She was rather wary about what was going to happen next, something that will come as no surprise, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I could sense that things were not maybe as I would like them to be.

So no surprise there either. Over the years she had several lucky escapes from my evil clutches so no reason why that shouldn’t continue in the virtual world.

After a shower, I went for lunch where I finished off the last of the bread. Must make some more tomorrow.

In the meantime I made a start on the radio programme and made quite good progress. I might even have finished off the final part but Rosemary rang up for another one of our mega-chats that go on for hours and hours.

There was of course a break for my trip to the physiotherapist.

coelacanthe port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022And on the way down into town I stopped to have a look at chat was going on in the port this afternoon.

And what is Coelacanthe doing? She’s moored stern-on to the quayside right by the fish-processing plant so they won’t be untangling her nets there in that small space and the ice chute that pumps the ice into the holds of the ships that are setting out is the grey tube in the foreground so she’s not taking on ice.

Meantime, in the background, after her perambulations of yesterday afternoon, Belle France is back tied up at the quayside near the port office. She can’t have gone far yesterday afternoon.

cutting down trees place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Further on down the hill I could hear the noise of machinery coming from down below in the street.

The council has parked a load of vans and lorries and so on down on the boulodrome on the Place Pelley. And even so, the presence of several vehicles isn’t going to put the boulonauts off their stride.

They will still be carrying on regardless. A game of boules is quite serious stuff around here. Nevertheless, I decided to go that way into town to see what was going on down there.

cutting down trees place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022So this is what they are up to this afternoon.

Pollards!

What they are doing is pollarding the trees around here, namely trimming them down so that there is less weight on the trunks and to increase the density of the foliage, all of which is supposed to make the trees last longer.

The wood isn’t going to waste by the way, because there was someone picking up the bits that had been cut off and was busy stuffing them into the back of his car. I suppose that they will be the right kind of thing for basket-weaving and the like.

kiddies roundabout place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The last time that we were down here in town they were beginning to set up the kiddies’ roundabout.

They’ve finished doing that now and it’s up and running, with fare-paying passengers by the looks of it.

And if you look closely at it, it seems to be smaller than in previous years. Perhaps that’s just an optical illusion or else this is how the stand-off with the town council has been resolved.

Whatever it is, there seems little doubt that pedestrians can walk all the way around it without stepping into the street, which was one of the objections that the council had.

At the physiotherapist’s, she had me doing exercises, including standing on one leg, throwing a ball behind me and then catching it as it rebounded from the wall. I’m still trying to work out why.

Around the corner to Lidl next. I’ve run out of frozen peas and quinoa and they are a vital part of my cuisine. I bought a few other bits and pieces too but I forgot the tarragon.

house building rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022ON the way home I came past the new house that they have been trying to build for a lifetime on the corner of the Rue Victor Hugo and the Rue St Paul.

We’ve not had a photo of it from this angle, as far as I can remember, so I took one while I was organising my shopping which, for some reason, felt as heavy as lead today.

A few hundred yards further on, my neighbour who had been at the physiotherapist’s came by and offered me a lift which was quite nice of him. We had quite a good chat on the way home. And I can’t say that I was sorry to have a lift. I wasn’t doing too well on the way home.

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I’d been getting out of the car I’d heard the noise of a powerful power tool coming from within the walled town so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and went back outside while the coffee was brewing.

My first thought was that they might have been doing something in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux where they are repairing the medieval city walls, but it wasn’t clear from this photo.

But we can see how they are progressing with the repair work. Where the scaffolding is, they’ve done almost all the way up to the very top, and are working their way along at the foot of the walls.

But those two very large vertical cracks are looking quite ominous and they will need quite a large amount of attention.

Back in the old days, when they would finish the repointing, they would drill two holes in a piece of glass and screw it with one screw either side of where the crack was. They would check the glass regularly and if it became cracked, they would know that there was still movement in the walls.

You see that kind of thing in plenty of medieval churches and the like even today.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022While I was at it, I went for a butcher’s down on the beach.

Plenty of beach, even though it’s later than usual, but no-one down there on it. The weather might have been miserable but it wasn’t raining and it wasn’t that cold. It doesn’t seem like midwinter at all right now.

Back in the apartment I carried on with the radio programme until Rosemary rang up for one of her chats.

Tea tonight was falafel with steamed veg and vegan cheese sauce. And the potatoes weren’t steamed enough. I must give them a few minutes on their own before I add in all of the other vegetables, I reckon. Everything will be so much better.

So while I’ve been writing out my notes I’ve had a hot chocolate and now I’m on the hot blackcurrant, lemon and honey drink. I’m having plenty to drink and it’s all healthy. It might make me want to go for a ride on the porcelain horse later but I’ll worry about that at the appropriate moment.

Right now I’m off to bed, hoping for a more exciting and productive day tomorrow if I can find this momentum again. I need to finish this off and move it out of the way and get on with other things.

In the meantime, if you want to see the highlights of yesterday evening’s football, THEY ARE HERE.

Tuesday 11th January 2022 – I’M NOT SURE …

… how far I’ll reach with writing out these notes this evening. However, the fact is that I have an 04:00 start in the morning so it won’t be long before I go to bed.

It actually felt like a 04:00 start this morning because I had a very disturbed night yet again and that was quite depressing as well. I’d been on plenty of travels too, which explained a lot. I’d borrowed a friend’s Volkswagen convertible, an old Beetle convertible and I was driving around in it somewhere. At the same time I was having a chat on the internet so someone, while I was parked up, not while I was driving. Then I heard a voice bleed over like the used to do with CBs but there was another car that had driven up nearby. They said “well it’s so and so’s car, a BMW convertible”. It said a girl’s name – it might even have been Caroline. I thought that this was probably not the moment to be hanging around so I set off and drove away. I thought that perhaps maybe it’s going to be better if for the rest of the weekend I went out in a different vehicle because this was just a little unsettling, what was happening at the moment.

There was something else last night about a girl called Elodie who was in hospital and who had had a baby. I was driving down a road somewhere while all of this was going on and reading all of the announcements about this birth. But I can’t remember any more about this apart from the birth and me driving along this road in this town.

And then I’d been driving somewhere in Caliburn last night. There was a train from Crewe to Birmingham, another one from somewhere else to Birmingham and a third one. As I was going round a roundabout I hit a caravan that was being pulled by another vehicle. Caliburn was pretty badly damaged so I had to arrange for a breakdown etc to come along and clear away the mess. Someone asked me what had happened. I basically explained something so he took charge. By the time that everything had happened I couldn’t find the person with this caravan, I couldn’t find the person who had taken charge, I couldn’t find anything. I was standing there all on my own. I carried on to the airport and went off on holiday. When I came back I had a banana with me for some reason and went to the police station for something. I said “before I deal with whatever it was, I want to talk about an accident that took place a couple of days ago”. He asked “are you the guy who hit that gypsy’s caravan?”. I replied “yes, I think so, if that’s the incident”. he answered “you had some poor sucker to sign for everything and accept all the blame”. Of course, that was a surprise to me. He said “when everyone from this police station has gone we’ll have to go to Headquarters”. I replied “fair enough”. There were 2 people in the police station, 2 members of the public. When it reached 12:00 and closing time one of them went but the other one was having an enormous load of difficulty getting his things together and getting ready to go, whatever, giving a running commentary of what he was doing and what he couldn’t do, his bottle of water, his food etc. The policeman was becoming extremely impatient about getting him out of the building so that he could lock it up for lunch. I was thinking that this isn’t going to be doing very good for me because if everyone gets into a bad mood I’m going to have more problems than I’m in already.

Finally, we’d been on a cruise somewhere, a pile of us. It was the last night so we’d had a bit of a party. For some unknown reason I was in a bad mood and decided to go back to my cabin. A couple of other people came with me as well. It turned out in the end that there were probably about 40 people in my cabin. They were all smoking so I told them to put out their cigarettes, which they did but as soon as my back was turned they lit up again. By this time I was in a really foul mood so I stormed out. I went for a walk around the deck to calm down. A couple of people came out to ask what was going on. I explained that I was totally fed up with all of this. One of the girls started to talk to me. She started to tell me a few stories about 1 or 2 people whom she knew who were on board the ship. It came round to love and relationships. I told her that I’d only ever been in love twice, once when I was very young. I was on the point of mentioning the second occasion, wondering how to mention it in a manner that she’d understand because it was a difficult thing to explain but at that point I awoke, as you might expect.

With this last little voyage, I can equate with every second of that story. Every second. It sums up the mood in which I find myself right now, as it happens, and the stories about falling in love are pretty spot on too. One day, when I can summon up the courage, I’ll finish off the story of the second occasion too, but the world isn’t ready to hear it yet.

However it does remind me of the days of my youth when I saw a book in Crewe Public Library entitled “How to Hug”. I took it home with eager anticipation, only to find that I’d borrowed Volume 12 of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

To my surprise I fell out of bed quite promptly when the alarm went off and after the medication and checking the mails and messages I concentrated on revising my Welsh ready for my lesson. It wasn’t easy because I was totally exhausted after last night.

As it happened, I managed to stay awake throughout the lesson but it was touch and go on one or two occasions. But there weren’t all that many of us this week.

While I’d been going through the previous entries the other day I came across a day in late December that I had forgotten to update from a placeholder so I attacked that, and that’s now all done and dusted.

repairing medieval city walls place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022By now, it was time to go out as I had things to do.

First thing to do was to go and see how they were doing with the repair of the walls of the old medieval town in the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

It’s not very easy to see how far they have advanced over the past week or so. But they haven’t replaced the shelter that they built to protect the workmen from objects that were dropped from the above and which was destroyed by the strong winds that we have had, so maybe they have finished doing that bit.

The way that my knee is right now, I had no intention of going down the steps to the bottom to have a better view.

repairing medieval city walls place du marche aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Instead I wandered around to look at the top of the wall to see what they were doing there

They were making some kind of progress- mainly slow, it has to be said, but they’ve been up to an awful lot of raking out of loose pointing which they have piled up over there. Presumably this means that they will be infilling and replacing the pointing at some time in the near future.

There’s still a long way to go though before they finish, so it’s not going to be completed for some time yet.

And then they will have to wander off and tend to another bit of the crumbling wall.

electric rewiring rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022A short while ago, We had a look at what was going on with regard to the road surface in the Rue Cambernon.

They are still a long way away from finishing here too, but they have now installed some kind of electric control box with a rather large collection of sockets.

This is the kind of thing that they have near street markets so that all of the stalls can have some kind of power, so I’m extremely interested to find out what the intention of this box might be.

Are we going, at long last, to have some kind of street market in the old town? That would certainly be exciting. At the moment we have the pizza van but that’s about it these days.

In the town I had to call at one of the shops to pick up something, and then I headed off to the railway station. On the way up the hill I met my physiotherapist taking an elderly client for a walk so we exchanged a “hello”.

And why the railway station? Because I’d heard a story that my first train tomorrow, the 06:55 to Caen, has been cancelled.

And I was right too, so I went to try to change my train back to the usual one at 08:55 and suffer the lengthy wait at Paris. But that wasn’t easy either what with one thing or another. It was much easier to change my train to Caen from 06:55 to 06:04. The ticket clerk told me to simply turn up for the earlier train. There’s no need to change the ticket because the tickets for that trip have all been vacated anyway.

But I’m not looking forward at all to the 04:00 start. 05:00 sounded bad enough to me.

abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022It’s been quite a long time since I’ve been to see the work that’s been going on down at the abandoned railway so I decided to take a look down there this afternoon.

At this end of it nearest the road they don’t seem to have made a great deal of progress since we saw it last. They’ve been working on the concrete edging, but they have only completed it so far.

The electricity cables that they have laid still aren’t couple up to anything – still sitting there capped off in their conduits, and there’s no road surface that’s been laid. It’s going to be quite a while yet before I can come that way dragging my suitcase behind me.

piles of soil and bark chippings parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Lower down at the bottom of the steps there have been a few changes.

There is still plenty of the concrete reinforcement matting left, which is bad news, and the piles of soil have grown. We also have what looks like a pile of wood chippings down there.

It seems to me that all of this will be for landscaping purposes when they are ready to finish off the work, whenever that might be. And I suspect that it isn’t going to be any time soon judging by the way that things at this end are progressing.

abandoned railway square des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022While we’re on the subject of landscaping … “well, one of us is” – ed … this is, I reckon, going to be one area where plenty of landscaping will be needed.

As I’ve said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I don’t know the name of this square but seeing as it’s opposite the Ecole des Docteurs Lanos I’m wondering if it’s called the Place des Docteurs Lanos.

Anyway, it’s the place where they have been storing all of the building material and the machines that have come to pick it up have churned the place up into some kind of swamp. It’s going to take more than they have in landscaping to make this place look pretty.

rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Meanwhile, looking in the opposite direction we can see what a mess they have made of the Rue du Boscq.

Nothing but a sea of concrete and it looks totally appalling. I really can’t imagine anything worse than this, particularly when the rest of the town (at least, the older parts) is laid out in nice cobbles of all various colours and styles, except of course for the mess of tarmac that they laid down in the port.

At least they have actually planted some of the trees about which they bragged on the noticeboard. Mind you, it’s going to take a good while for them to show anything worth seeing.

And then, of course, they have to landscape the rest. They surely can’t leave it looking like that.

On that depressing note, I cleared off through the town on my way home for my coffee. I’d earned it after my little stroll this afternoon. At least my knee held out – so far.

building material on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The climb up the hill out of town to my little rock was quite easy and I didn’t have to stop at all for breath, which is some kind of progress, I suppose.

However, I did actually stop to take a photograph. I noticed on the way down that there was some activity going on in the loading bay so I made a mental note to have a look on the way back.

And as it happens, there seems to have been a delivery of building material and supplies, which presumably means that one of the Jersey freighters will be over here shortly to take it all away again. Presumably when I’ll be in Leuven later in the week, which will mean that I will miss it.

Having done plenty of things this afternoon, one of the things that I forgot to do was to go and check on the beach. Instead, I came back here and had a coffee instead and transcribed the dictaphone notes that you read earlier.

Tea tonight was a curry made of all of the bits and pieces that were lying around in the fridge. Actually, it was quite delicious. I seem to have acquired the knack of making a successful curry

For half an hour or so after tea I wrote up my notes from the day but I was nowhere near finished when a wave of tiredness overtook me. Usually I would have ridden it out but with an 04:00 start in the morning I said “sod it” and went to bed.