Tag Archives: place marechal foch

Friday 1st October 2021 – I’VE HAD AN EXCITING …

… day today. So much so that I’ve hardly done a thing of what I’m supposed to be doing.

It wasn’t very exciting at first though. The first job that I had to tackle was to get my entry from last night on line.

For some reason, access to my web host timed out last night every time I tried to access it, and in the end I gave it up as a bad job and went to bed.

The night was better than some that I’ve had just recently although I wasn’t too happy about being wide-awake at 06:40.

Nevertheless I waiting until the alarm went off, had my medication and then came in here to tackle a few tasks.

The web-host was still timing out and even clearing the cache and cookies on the (four!) different browsers that I use didn’t make things any better.

However I do have another browser that I don’t use too often, and for a variety of reasons too, but its big advantage (which at times is a big disadvantage) is that it automatically erases your browser history, cache and cookies and everything else on closedown.

On trying that, it worked perfectly (given its limitations) and I was able to upload the journal entry.

Then I had a rather onerous task to perform. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I was having some kind of issues about an insurance policy that I believed that I had and that other people disagreed.

Searching around in the apartment (and thank heavens that I have most of my papers filed neatly) I found exactly what I was looking for, so I sat down and wrote two letters.

Incendiary letters – the type that blister the paint off the walls of the office where they are opened – are two-a-penny around here, but the two I wrote today will probably beat most of those. And they were written in French too.

They will certainly provoke a reaction, although whether it will be the reaction that I want remains to be seen.

Writing those took much longer that it ought to have done because Rosemary rang me – not once but twice. She’s having difficulty dealing with a French administrative issue but because I can’t go into the site, I was unable to help her.

As a result, it was lunchtime by the time that I’d finished .

After lunch I had a shower (and my weight is now down to the lowest that it’s been for a good seven or eight months) and then headed off towards town.

baie de mont st michel joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne I stopped to have a look down into the harbour.

From here, I could see that they are up to their antics with the crane again. Parked up, fully extended like that, at the worst possible angle for it to be. All of the weight on the arm pressing down on the hydraulic seals. They won’t last for long.

Down there underneath the crane moored at the ferry terminal is one of the Joly France boats. The older one of the two with the larger upper deck superstructure and windows in “landscape” format.

dredger chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was here, I had a look down towards the chantier naval to see what was happening in there today.

No boats as yet, but there’s a much better view of the dredger that arrived here at the end of last week. And it’s definitely a dredger too, I reckon. We can see the grab quite clearly, and the pipework that discharges the waste water that the grab might pick up.

But when is she going to go into the water? And more importantly, where? They must have some task lined up for her now that she’s here, and I wonder what it’s going to be.

Time will tell.

belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021So from there I wandered off down the hill towards town.

For a change, moored up underneath the crane is Belle France – the new ferry for the Ile de Chausey that arrived here in the summer. She won’t be loading, of course, so I imagine that she’s just parked there waiting for a more permanent mooring.

Into town, I went to the Post Office and posted my letters. Recorded delivery with registered receipt. I’m taking no chances. Mind you, I did include the bill for the postage and my time when I wrote the letters.

Whether the recipients will pay me, I really have no idea and I doubt it very much, but at least it’s a menacing gesture.

The walk up to the physiotherapist wasn’t quite as exhausting as it has been. He put me for 20 minutes on this tilting platform thing and we went through several exercises to strengthen my knees.

Finally, he put me on this cross trainer thing and I managed to push my personal best up to 3:05 which is pretty good. Even more surprisingly, when I had a second go after catching my breath, I was so busy talking that I went well over 2 minutes without even noticing.

After he threw me out, I headed for home via the steps down to the Parc Du Val Es Fleurs.

soil parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There wasn’t a weird collection of signs at the bottom of the steps this afternoon.

Instead of the signs, we now have a huge pile or two of soil now deposited at the end of the car park where they had set up their little compound, with the signs hidden somewhere behind it.

It looks as if the renovations are progressing quite rapidly. That pile of earth wasn’t there last week, and this week, some of it has been removed already and presumably scattered about somewhere over the course of the work

digger on abandoned railway line parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And as for this beast here, I wonder if he’s the machine that moved it.

He was sitting on the abandoned railway line a short distance down from where everything was happening looking as if he was waiting for a signal from someone to go and do something else.

There was a driver in it and the engine was ticking over too, so he was clearly up to some kind of work.

But I didn’t wait to see. I continued on my way down past the Primary School to the corner of the Rue du Boscq.

parc des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the end of the road on the corner by the Rue du Boscq I asked myself if this is where the big pile of soil is going.

After all, they seem to have just about everything else here – piles of gravel, piles of sand, and that looks like soil down there right by the yellow digger.

At the moment this all looks like quite a mess but then it wasn’t actually very pretty here before the work started. It was a rather sad place. And so I’m looking forward to see how it develops over the next few months.

It has to be an improvement on how it used to be.

new roadway construction rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The reverse angle shot from where I was taking the previous photo already shows signs of dramatic improvement.

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen the Rue du Boscq in all kinds of different states but right now we can actually see signs of progress. The stones are all down by the looks of things and there’s just a little bit of building up to be done before they add the tarmac.

Last time I photographed this, with the grader and the compacter here, I made some kind of remark about the Trans-Labrador Highway. If this had been Labrador, all of the construction crews would have been long-gone by now and they would be running heavy lorries on it already.

filling road markers with water rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down at the far end of the roadworks there’s quite a bit of excitement going on right now.

They are obviously expecting a storm here this weekend, because being carried on that digger is a pallet tank of 1,000 litres of water and the guy in the red fluorescent jacket is opening the tap and filling the red and white road markers with water, presumably to weigh them down.

Of course, for an extremely complicated job like that, there had to be a supervisor, doesn’t there?

There was qute an interesting storm in the Avenue de la Libération when I walked past. There was a vehicle dropping off a passenger in the Place Marechal Foch right on the corner, not caring less that there were three or four vehicles waiting to turn into the square behind the.

As the next in the queue was a large lorry, he was too wide to pass in the inside lane and consequently the traffic was backed up right the way through the town centre as this one person leisurely took its time.

trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk back up the hill towards home was a little easier than it has been of late.

There were only a couple of times where I had to stop for my breath. One of those was at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour. The gates were now open and this trawler was setting out for the fishing grounds, rather later than the others.

She must be one of the lucky 50% of the local fleet that has been given a permit by the Channel Islands authorities. Whether the remaining 31 temporary permits will be finalised or whether they will join the ranks of the 75 who have been rejected remains to be seen.

marité chausiaise joly france belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021While I was there catching my breath, I noticed that there had been a change in position of some of the boats.

On our way out, Belle France was moored over there underneath the crane, but now her place has been taken by Chausiaise.

Belle France is now moored down here next to one of the Joly France boats. This is the newer one of the two as we can tell by the small upper deck superstructure.

Also in the photo is of course Marité. She’s in port rather than being out on an excursion, which is probably logical now that the summer season has come to an end.

trawler returning to port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021As I walked further on up the hill, I noticed that there was something rather strange going on.

The trawler that we had seen earlier setting out to sea was now on her way back to port, like you do if you have forgotten your butties or your overcoat.

But instead of coming back into the harbour, she did a rather dramatic left-hand U-turn and headed off back out to sea, brushing along the harbour wall. And I’ve no idea what that was all about either.

workmen's compound boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021And here’s something else about which I have no idea at all.

A few days ago I posted a photo of a workmen’s compound that had sprung up in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers, something that looked as if it might have some kind of connection to the electricity supply.

Although I have yet to see anyone working around there, we now seem to have acquired a large lorry and a digger, so it looks as if we are about to see some trench-digging beginning some time fairly soon.

That’s something else for us to monitor in the forthcoming weeks.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way back home, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down on the beach.

Actually, there wasn’t all that much beach for people to be on this afternoon, and that’s probably why there weren’t all that many people on it. In fact I didn’t see a soul.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, one of the things that I had intended to do this afternoon was to go and have a look at the builders’ compound that has sprung up in the Place d’Armes.

Instead however I fell in with one of the guys from the radio, we had quite a chat and I’m afraid that it totally slipped my mind. There’s always tomorrow.

Back here, I had a couple of things to do – including playing the guitar for the first time since for about ever. These days it’s very hard for me to summon up any enthusiasm.

Tea tonight was a baked potato, some veggie balls and the left-over pasta mix from last night. And I’m convinced that spicy food left to marinade for 24 hours improves its flavour considerably.

And then we had the football. Y Fflint v Y Bala.

Flint at one time were leading the league and with a front line of veteran striker Michael Wilde who is enjoying a resurgence wince his move, and Jack Kenny who I have always admired, it was no real surprise.

However they have gone off the boil just recently and were up against a Bala side that has always been a good, if inconsistent side that is enjoying a bit of a good run right now.

Most of the football was played in the Flint half and it was easy to see why – Bala were certainly the more skilful side.

However Flint caught them on the break with a good cross over to Michael Wilde to head home, and he almost had a second 5 minutes later when a powerful run, shrugging off four defenders, saw his shot strike the inside of the post but rebound to safety.

A couple of substitutions for Bala did the trick though. They wore down the opposition and scored twice later in the game to pull off a deserved victory.

Mind you, it ought not to have been. Bala scored one of their goals from a throw-in which absolutely everyone watching on the internet and in the ground except the linesman and the referee considered that it should have been awarded to Flint.

And where did I go last night? Mustn’t forget that. In fact I must have forgotten it because I remember almost nothing about this except that that there was some kind of special offer for families going for a 4-week speaking course in Welsh that was being offered as a taster. There was some issue about driving licences in these communities but that’s really all that I can remember.

So I’ll go off to bed and hope for a more memorable voyage during the night.

Friday 24th September 2021 – MY LIE-IN THIS MORNING …

… would have been really good had it not been for the 12 text messages that I received – 8 of which were from my mobile phone supplier telling me about special offers that I neither want nor need – during the course of the early morning.

There’s always something that goes wrong whenever I try to have to lie in for a morning.

And as you also might expect, I didn’t actually feel much better when I awoke either. But more of this anon.

After the medication I sat down to finish off yesterday’s blog entry. And there were tons of it too. It’s no surprise that I fell asleep halfway through, especially as that long chat had made me start it rather later than usual.

There was a pause in the middle for breakfast but even so, not finishing it until 11:45 was rather extreme. Mind you, I did have a few other things to do while I was at it.

Once I’d done that, I turned my attention to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something last night about being in the Army in World War II in the Home Guard. Our platoon had a couple of machine guns and suddenly the alarm went off so we dashed with our machine guns to our selected point and erected our machine guns so that they were covering the beach. After we had been covering the beach for a few minutes the captain, probably Captain Mainwaring, turned round and ordered our guns to point to the right. The sergeant-major immediately leapt over the wall to accost the captain about this, as it meant that we were now no longer firing on the enemy as they landed. The captain gave him such a dressing-down and sent him back to his quarters. A couple of our soldiers were crying as they wouldn’t be able to have a direct reult on attacking the Germans and stopping them landing. We kept our position for about 5 minutes then the captain dismissed us, saying that we had performed a very valuable exercise and we could all go home, to everyone’s dismay. I was one of the last to leave, and suddenly I heard the sound of horses galloping up. I took cover and it turned out that they were on the TV. It was Kenneth Williams and someone else, some kind of medieval heroes doing something. Much as I appreciate the humour of Kenneth Williams, it wasn’t what I wanted to watch so I had to look for the remote control to flick through the channels to see what else was on.

Later on I had a girl come round to me in Virlet and she ended up staying the night. Next morning I had to take her back to work of course. We were wandering around the farm and I was showing her all of the solar panels, everything, and it all looked pretty overgrown with weeds because I hadn’t been there for ages, even on the roofs. The solar panels were still working fine. There was a ritual that I went through to make a reading but I couldn’t remember what it was. I was stuck there for a couple of minutes. I asked her if she wanted a coffee but she said “no” so I asked if she minded if she waited 30 seconds while I made myself one and I could rake it with me. She replied “no, that’s fine as well”

Finally, there was something weird last night about I was walking down a country lane. Someone had fenced off or roped off all of the grass verges, roped off the drive to his house which was really difficult, like a labyrinth or honeycomb, rows and rows of ropes going across it. As I walked past I dropped my screwdriver over the hedge so I crawled under the ropes all the way up to where my screwdriver was and I met him coling down the drive. I explained that I was after my screwdriver and we had a chat. In the end he invited me in for a coffee. By this time I’d acquired a girl, I don’t know who it was. Then he said that he’d go out shortly but he’d be back later on. We heard the sounds of him locking the door as if we were prisoners in it. We both had a shower and change of clothes and sat and waited, then we managed to make our way out of the house. By this time we had discovered a young lad who was something to do with the farm but was also having a lot of difficulties with him. We packed up a few things and I pinched a couple of carrots because I’d been on my way to the shops to try to buy some. I’d already been to the market and bought some cheese. We set off and had to dismantle a gatepost to get out and had to reassemble everything. That took a while, but we were able to get into our car and drive away, leaving the place exactly as it was before we left but obviously without us in it.

One thing that I wish I knew was “just who are these girls who keep on appearing during the night?”. Especially the one who spent the night with me in Virlet. I have a feeling that I’m missing out on an awful lot these days.

As I have said before … “many, many times” – ed … whatever I get up to during the night is far more exciting these days than whatever I do during the daytime, but it seems to be such a waste when I can’t remember who it is that I’m getting it up with.

After lunch, I had a shower and then set off for my physiotherapy session.

ile de chausey man fishing from rocks baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Yesterday I mentioned that if I manage to set out early I would go for a wander around the walls to see what was going on with the repointing.

Before I did so, I stopped off at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord to see what was happening out there on the beach below me.

Not a lot, as it happens, but out there on the rocks we had a lone fisherman casting his line out into the water. I didn’t stay around to see if he caught anything.

And look how clear it is this afternoon over towards the Ile de Chausey in the background.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But let us turn our attention to the repair of the medival city walls at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

On the inside, facing the street, they have already repaired a few patches and it looks quite nice, the work that they have done so far.

But as for the outside of the wall, they are going to be here quite a while trying to fix this. The presence of all of those plant roots are undermining the mortar and that’s what it probably causing a lot of the problem.

But if they repoint it with lime mortar (nasty corrosive stuff) as I did with my house in Virlet, they won’t have too much trouble in the future because any seed that tries to take hold will be burnt to a frazzle.

scaffolding repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up along where that white protective sheeting has been fitted, they are also pushing on.

You can’t see very well in this photo but there are two guys down there underneath the footboard that you can see, and as I watched, they were busy raking out the old, loose mortar from the joints.

If you look lower down underneath where they are working, you can see that they have already repointed to a fair height, so they don’t seem to be hanging around, which makes a change these days.

beach diving platform plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021My route carried on around the path underneath the walls and round to the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset.

The other day I mentioned that the beach cabins had been taken away for the winter. The Plat Gousset is looking quite bare without them.

Another thing that I mentioned was the diving platform. As you can see, the platform has also been taken away for the winter and there is just the concrete pillar left.

The swimming pool is looking quite lonely as well. No customers, and no water either. This is all a sign that Autumn has arrived, whether we like it or not, and even though it’s still extremely warm for the time of year.

classe decouverte plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Another sign that the tourist season is over is that the Classe Découverte season has started.

During the summer, the youth hostel in the town is full up with young tourists but once they have all gone, it’s the turn of the schools and their Discovery Classes to take over. That’s a big thing in France, with kids from the cities going into rural areas and kids from rural areas coming to the seaside.

Mind you, what they are going to discover at the Plat Gousset is anyone’s guess.

At the viewpoint I staggered off down the steps to the Place Marechal Foch and then crawled wearily through town and up the hill to the physiotherapist. Nothing happening at the building that we saw on Wednesday, and when something does, I’ll post a photo.

The physiotherapist put me through my paces on the tilting platform thing that he has, and I had to abandon one of the exercises, not because of my knee but because my shoulder was hurting. I’m having problems everywhere by the looks of things.

Mind you, I managed to add a few more seconds to my best on the cross trainer.

random road signs parc du val es fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back home I came past the old railway line and down the steps to the Parc du Val Es Fleurs.

And we can see that just as last time, the local kids have been up to no good with the road signs again.

As I mentioned the other week, part of the park’s car park has been transformed into a store for the equipment that they are using for the building of this new road, that we’ll see in a minute.

But the compound isn’t all that secure while they are down the road working, so anything can happen. And, of course, we were all kids once too – something that many adults forget.

resurfacing parc docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021So where was I? Ohh yes, walking down by the side of the old railway line towards town.

They have now stated to dig up this little park just here in order to resurface it. I

‘m not sure what the park is called but the school at the side is the Ecole des Docteurs Lanos, whoever the Docteurs Lanos where when they were at home, if they ever were, and there’s a Park somewhere in the town called the Parc des Docteurs Lanos so I imagine that this could well be it.

But it seems that nothing is sacred when they are on a mission.

grader compacter rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Now doesn’t this here in the Rue du Boscq bring back many happy memories?

Eleven years ago I was the driver of one of the very first vehicles to drive over the new TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, we had endles encounters with graders as we made our way through the mountains.

There weren’t so many compacters though, which was surprising, so our drive was rather adventurous to say the least, but seeing a grader and a compacter here reminded me of old times.

digger moving rocks rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further on, there was a large digger having fun with a pile of rocks.

He was dragging them around presumably to put them into position for the compacter to come and compress them into the soil ready for a layer of smaller rocks to be laid on top.

Ohh yes, I can build you a Roman Road any time you like. That course that I studied on Historical Technology was one of the most fascinating courses I have ever studied.

Nothing much else was happening in the town centre so I made my weary way up the hill towards home.

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the climb up the Rue des Juifs I stopped more times that I care to remember. This is really getting me down, this health issue.

At the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay in the port we have another pile of freight deposited down there by the crane. One of the Jersey freighters must be on her way.

But it won’t be Normandy Trader, I’ll tell you that. She’s up on blocks in the chantier naval in St Malo having a good clean, a wire-brushing and a new coat of paint to maker herself look pretty.

marquee rue du port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further up the hill I bumped into one of my neighbours coming down so I was glad to sit down and rest for a while.

We were sitting on the wall talking, right by where they are erecting the marquees. And I can tell you what they are for as well now.

The season for the Coquilles St Jacques starts next week, and preliminary trials suggests that this is going to be one of the best seasons in modern times.

Consequently, they are going to hold a fête, a buffet and so on this weekend to celebrate what they are hoping to be an excellent season, and there will be shellfish all round for everyone, with a buvette of course. You can’t have a festival in France without there being a buvette involved.

And this is why Hera was in the chantier naval the other day. She was being cleaned and tidied because her owners are going to be giving tourists a guided visit.

bouchots donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back home I went to see what was going on down on the beach, seeing as it was round about my usual time.

Plenty of beach to be on of course as the tide is receding rapidly, but surprisingly there was hardly anyone on there. I couldn’t see more than about half-a-dozen people down there this afternoon.

But with the tide being well out, the bouchot farmers were out in force of course, harvesting close to the shore while they wait for the tide to go even further out.

ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On my way out, I mentioned that the air was quite clear and the views were quite good this afternoon.

The camera that I had with me today was the old NIKON D3000 fitted with the 18-105mm LENS so I’m not going to have the same photos as yesterday.

However, this one of the north-east end of the Ile de Chausey came out really well.

Back here I made myself a cold drink (I’ve finished the bottle of banana concentrate and I’m not going to open another one and leave it standing over winter) and then came back in here.

Something has cropped up just recently that featured on a web page that I wrote quite a few years ago, so I had to review the page, rewrite some of it and edit the rest to bring it up to date. And once you do one, it leads you on to another.

It relinded me of a quote by Fridtjof Nansen that I read in his book In Northern Mists “the more extensive my studies became, the more riddles I perceived – riddle after riddle led to new riddles and this drew me on”

That took me up to teatime. Plenty of mushrooms left so I made a potato and mushroon curry. There’s some left too, so I’ll lengthen it with a small tin of something and finish it off tomorrow.

After lunch I had a listen to the internet radio. It’s the last Friday of the month so I feature a live concert and tonight’s (repeated tomorrow at 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK time, 15:00 Toronto/New York time) is one of the best that I have ever attended since the halcyon days of the early-mid 70s.

It took quite a bit of editing and I was keen to hear how it would come out, and I do have to say that it’s one of the finest that I have ever prepared.

It’s repeated TOMORROW at the times that I mentioned, and is podcastable afterwards. It’s well worth a listen.

moonrise eglise notre dame de cap lihou Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Just before I went to bed I went into the living room to close the window.

And the moon tonight was beautiful. It was rising tonight just above the roofs of the houses in the old medieval walled city and looked rather strange, being well below the spire of the Eglise de Notre Dame de Cap Lihou.

It was obviously one of these essential photography moments so I went and fetched the NIKON D500.

And so right now, I’m off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and as yet, I haven’t fallen asleep. That is some progress, and a good night tonight should help matters even more. I hope.

Sunday 11th July 2021 – I’VE NOT HAD …

… a very good day today, and I don’t know why that is.

Well, I do, but it’s something that I don’t care to talk about on here and involves a trip down Memory Lane to places that I’ve been trying to forget.

But I would ordinarily say that I don’t know what’s brought it on, but actually I do – I just don’t know why it’s caught me unawares like this.

It’s one of those things that always seems to hit us when we are at our most vulnerable so I’ll need to have a good night’s sleep and in the words of the boxer Jack Johnson, “Eat jellied eels and think distant thoughts”.

This morning after my walk around the upper town at midnight (and about which I haven’t forgotten the photos, by the way) I was to my surprise awake at 07:00. But badger that for a game of cowboys. 09:30 was too early too but 10:45 is much more respectable for a Sunday.

After the medication I came in here again to listen to the dictaphone. At first there was something going on in a big old rambling house full of kids last night but I can’t remember what it was now. And waking up with an attack of cramp and when was the last time that I did that as well? I thought that some of this medication was supposed to stop that.

So having had some kind of meeting (when did this take place?) with a Greek girl with whom I was very friendly in Brussels who put in an appearance I was off in some medieval city somewhere in medieval times. There was some kind of difficulty that I can’t remember now but a man became involved in it who was a so-called spy and he helped me resolve this difficulty. In the end he stood on this bridge of this canal with his hand behind his back hiding a gun these 6 people road up asking for information. He replied “sorry, I don’t have one”. They replied something like “how is it possible to be in this country without an identity card?”. At that moment, from behind his back he pulled out a gun. He made them all drop their guns. Somehow at this point he became me. I ordered 5 of those people away and the 6th guy I mounted on a camel and told him to set out to such-a-place and I’d follow him. On the way out there was a barge going past on the canal so I stopped to take a photo of it. We had another one of these sessions when the NIKON 1 J5 wouldn’t work. All the time this guy was getting further ahead of me as I was trying to take this photo. In the end I said “sod it” and chased after this guy on the camel. Then I got to thinking “how stupid am I? I made those people drop their guns in the street and walk away. Why didn’t I throw them over into the canal? All they need to do now is to wait until I’m out of sight, pick up their guns and come along and chase after me. At least had I thrown their guns into the canal they might have chased after me but they couldn’t have done very much without any weapons”.

There was also something somewhere about me being with a few people and the subject of dreams came up. I was told to go and see a woman with whom by some lucky chance I’d just been talking because she was very keen on the subject. I wish I knew where she’d gone so I could chase after her. I explained to the people with whom I was talking that I’d been following my dreams for nearly 30 years.

So at least I managed to go off somewhere at some point.

One task that I wanted to do was to to pair off the music for the next radio programme and find a suitable chat line for my guest. That was all done and organised and took me nicely up to lunchtime.

Before I could make my lunch though I needed to make some bread mix. Only for a small loaf though because I’m going to be away for a while next week and there’s not much room right now in the freezer.

Talking of the freezer… “well, one of us is” – ed … I also took out the last pile of dough from the freezer so that it could defrost ready for tonight.

After lunch I came back in here and the first thing that I did was to sort out the camera equipment. I have three cameras on the go – the NIKON D500 which is the main one, the little NIKON 1 J5 that I use when weight and/or privacy and discretion are czlled for, and the old NIKON D3000 that I bought ON QUECEC IN 2012 after I had broken the Nikon D5000 and which keeps on rolling along.

Each camera now has its own bag with all of its own accessories inside it and surprisingly, I bought a brand-new upmarket camera bag last year. The D3000 has found its way into that and the D5000 is in the bag that the D5000 used to occupy and which I’ve had for ages.

The J5 is in an even older camera bag that belonged to one of the older 1st-generation digital cameras that I had and which packed up nearly 20 years ago.

One of these days I’ll have to go through the redundant camera equipment, sell it off and use the money to repair the D5000.

With time to spare I sat down to deal with the photos from last night. They are all uploaded, edited and some of the text was written. But my afternoon walk intervened.

Before I went on my walk though I kneaded the bread mix, added the sunflower seeds and put it in the bread mould.

full car park place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe crowds outside this afternoon were unbearable. You couldn’t move for people and cars. It was not very pleasant at all.

You can see what I mean from this photo. The public car park just outside this building is bursting at the seams and if you look quite closely at the photo you’ll see the crowds of people milling around there today.

In fact, while you are looking closely, you’ll see a group of several people standing together just to the right of centre on this photo, looking over the wall there. That’s my usual spec for when I’m taking photos of the beach if I’m going off around the headland on my afternoon walk.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I’m not going round that way this afternoon. I’m going off on a trek around the city walls.

That means I’m having to look down onto the beach from the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord so the view is rather different than usual.

The tide is well out so there is plenty of beach to be on, and there were plenty of people on it this afternoon taking advantage of the space.

And I’m not sure why because while the conditions weren’t Arctic today the sky was quite overcast and it was cool (if not cold) for the time of the year and there was plenty of wind about. It’s not the kind of day in which you’d catch me sunbathing o the beach, that’s for sure.

people fishing in rock pool beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the other hand, I might be down on the beach for other reasons, rather like this family here.

The retreating tide has left several large rockpools behind it, so while daddy supervises the operation, mummy and the two kiddiewinks have taken off their socks and shoes and, in one case, trousers, and they are scavenging around in the rock pools for whatever they can find.

Which I hope they will remember to share with their friends because, after all, one shouldn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

And as for paddling up to my knees, I’ve done that twice now in water that was much colder than this – AT ETAH IN GREENLAND just 700 miles from the North Pole and the second time in the North West Passage in the Canadian High Arctic, about which I’ll write when I can think of what i’m going to say that will express how I felt on that day with the events that were goign on all around me, without causing too many problems.

But meanwhile, trying to dig myself out of the Black Pit into which i’ve fallen, let’s return to our moutons as they say around here and ask why there are all these people wandering around this afternoon.

people at brocants rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe answer to that is that it’s the annual brocante or car boot sale in the old town, and that always attracts the crowds, which is not a good thing from my point of view.

Not 50 yards from where those people are, and they must have walked past that spot to be where they are is a sign “face masks mandatory”, and yet there are so many people who just couldn’t care less.

Having brought the figures down from over 20,000 per day to just a thousand or so, it can’t give anyone any pleasure to see the infection rate rising again so rapidly and yet people totally disregarding even the most basic of rules because they just don’t feel like it.

But anyway, that’s enough of me moaning and whining for the moment. Let’s return to my afternoon walk around the walls

medieval city wall crumbling place du marche au cheveaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the main reasons that I came around this way was to see what they were up to with that scaffolding the other day, but I wasn’t quick enough with the scaffolding and it’s now gone.

But we can see just so clearly now exactly what is the problem with the city walls at the Place du Marché au Chevaux. You can see the vertical crack in the brickwork right there and it’s not before time that they are going to be dealing with it.

It does in fact remind me of the rather nasty crack that appeared on the outside wall of 10 Downing Street but Carrie called in builders to cement over it before Boris Johnson could read it.

And I still haven’t worked out what that wooden structure is that they have built on top of the wall and what its purpose is supposed to be. I suppose that it will become clear over the next few days, but I remember saying that a few days ago.

cement mixer workmen's cabin place du marché au chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo the obvious question is “what are they going to be doing with the walls?”

Here in the little compound we have what looks like a couple of workmen’s huts but also a cement mixer and tubs full of something or other, so it looks as if they are going to be making a start some time soon on repointing. But I think that it needs a bit more than repointing, if you ask me.

And if you look above the nearest workmen’s hut, you’ll see a map. It tells us of work that they have done in the past in restoring the walls, and what they will be doing this year here in the Place du Marché auc Chevaux.

And I wish that it would tell us what they are going to be doing subsequently because sections of the old medieval walls are being closed off quicker than they can repair them.

It was round here that I fell in with a family – mum, dad, a girl about 12 or so and a grandfather. They were not from round here and were struggling to make out a few of the local landmarks. Jersey was really clear to me today so I pointed it out to them, as well as the Ile de Chausey and even the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel which was perfectly clear with the naked eye today.

bouchot beds donville les bains medieval fish trap plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was talking to them, I noticed that the bouchot beds at Donville les Bains were quite visible today too with the tide being so far out.

The tractors were taking advantage of the low tide this afternoon and were out there doing the harvesting.

The medieval fish trap had some water still in it too although no-one was taking advantage of it. I’d love to see it restored and people in there catching their own supper with their own bare hands just like they did in the Middle Ages.

After all, there were enough people down there to have had a good go and made a good catch this afternoon had the fish trap been working properly.

f-gcum Robin DR 400/180 Regent baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was doing that, I was overflwon by a light aeroplane. I mean – we have to have one of those, don’t we, on a day like that?

She’s another one of our old friends, F-GCUM, the Robin DR 400/180 Regent that’s owned by the Granville Aero Club.

And she’s been out for a nice long flight this afternoon. She took off at 13:38 and did a nice figure-of-8 going gown to Avranches then across to Cap Fréhel, back to Granville, over Coutances, up to Barneville Carteret and then back home.

She disappeared off the radar at 15:58 presumably when she went into her landing approach and I saw her about 15 minutes later so it must have been a long, shallow dive into landing.

crowds avenue de la liberation place marechal foch plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIf you think, by the way that everyone is here who is coming here and that the crowds will slowly die away, then look again at this lot.

There’s a whole stream of cars coming down the hill nose to tail in the Avenue de la Liberation. And good luck to them if they can find somewhere to park when they finally get to where they are going.

It’s a Sunday of course and the public transport doesn’t run on a Sunday. Perhaps the local council needs to think about that in the summer when there are all of these events and organise a “Park and Ride” on the LeClerc Car Park

Plenty of people too in the Place Marechal Foch and walking along the promenade at the Plat Gousset too. And the ice cream parlour looks as if it’s doing a roaring trade.

seagulls rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course, seeing as I’m here now, I have to go and see how my baby seagulls are doing.

So off I took myself into the Square Maurice Marland, past a couple of little girls playing hopscotch, and up to the place where I can see onto the roofs of the Rue des Juifs where their parents have their nests.

Two of my seagull chicks weren’t up to very much, just curled up in the nest having a relaxing afternoon but the third one here was a little more energetic and he was off for a wander around on the roof.

And I hope that he doesn’t fall off like a couple of his friends seem to have done over the last week or two.

seagull rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallActually I was watching this particular energetic one for quite a while.

When I first saw him he was flapping his wings like Billio and I thought that he was going to have a go at taking off, but animals, like children, are very contrary and never do what you want or what you expect. Having got myself into a good position, he did nothing at all.

You can tell by the times of the images. 4 minutes after I took up my position he decided to inspect himself for fleas and that was about the limit of his activity while I was watching.

In the end I became fed up before he did and I cleared off, upon which I imagined him immediately taking off, doing a few loop-the loops and Immelmann turns

people in brocante rue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the Square I walked through the alleyway into the Rue Notre Dame where it was all happening.

And the first thing that I noticed was the lack of face masks despite the notices plastered everywhere. And I know that I go on about this quite a lot but 4,000,000 dead and God alone knows how many people’s health permanently damaged, endless queues in hospitals, routine work cancelled (remember, I went 9 months without my four-weekly cancer treatment) just because people can’t be bothered to take the most basic precautions.

But anyway, even though I remembered to bring my money, I didn’t even look at what was on offer. I have seen the prices in the past and that’s been enough for me. Not even the chip van could tempt me this year.

people place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallCrowds of people in the Place Cambernon too, mainly at the bar down the far end.

However I didn’t go that way, I carried on around the church and at the edge of the walls overlooking the port I fell in with one of my neighbours chatting to a couple at the nice house with the nice round turret.

We had quite a pleasant chat for 10 minutes or so but then I set off for home as I had work to do.

autogyros pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I hadn’t gone very far before I was brought to yet another halt.

On my way along the street I’d heard a rattling from the air and I’d wondered what it was. But suddenly in a gap between two houses, two of these autogyros came flying past in formation.

Two-seater autogyros too so they were obviously up to something, like a photo shoot or a film shoot. And one of these days I’ll have to get myself up there in one of those things for a photo shoot.

But not right now. Ad I said earlier, I have things to do this afternoon. Like kneading the pizza dough that had now defrosted, rolling it out and putting it on the pizza dish that I had greased.

When everything was ready I switched on the oven and bunged the bread in to bake, and when the pizza dough had proofed sufficiently I assembled my pizza.

vegan pizza home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the bread was baked I put the pizza in and let that bake, and here are the finished products.

Only a small loaf as I mentioned earlier, and I’ll tell you about that in a day or two, but the pizza was delicious as usual.

No pudding because there is still some chocolate sponge left and in any case, I’m pretty full right now.

And now my notes are finished I’m off to bed. I’ll sleep off my depression and have a better day tomorrow. And if I have time, I’ll finish off those photos from last night and post them up.

We’ll see how I get on.

Sunday 16th May 2021 – IN ACCORDANCE WITH …

… usual procedures I had a good lie-in today. I awoke a couple of times, like at 07:20 for example but no chance whatever of my leaving the bed at that ungodly hour on a Sunday morning.

10:30 was a much more reasonable time to be awake definitively, but that’s not necessarily the time that I left my comfortable clean bed. It took me about an hour or so to summon up the energy to leap from my stinking pit. Not a single attack of cramp during the night either.

After the medication I brought a mug of coffee in here with me and sat down to listen to the dictaphone. And I’m surprised that I had any time left for sleeping after everything that was going on while I was in my stinking pit.

Nerina had been working for a taxi company. It had been a Saturday night and everyone had been really busy. They were lining up to get their pay. When Nerina was called up they went through all of her bookings she’d taken and there was a booking there that had been written in someone else’s handwriting in a totally different style and it looked as if it was a booking for one of my taxis. The guy who was running County Cars said to her about this that we would knock off an hour for her wages. She could work for him for an hour doing a contract to make it up. He gave her the money. There were one or two other deductions that I thought were strange. Nerina said afterwards “do you have any plans for my future career”? He looked at her and said “well, I can continue to find you work on so many nights per week if that’s what you mean”. This led into another lengthy discussion. Then Nerina went off. One of the deductions that he had made was because of the screaming. So Nerina went off and I thought that when she comes back I’ll ask her about this screaming thing because if something had happened I’d want to know about it. But she never came back and I was sitting there waiting. I was in bed and I thought that she’d come and tell me what had happened but apparently not. No, she never said anything and never came back.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this the 2 of us were at some kind of town where the Germans had attacked in 1940 and destroyed the place beating it up quite badly. We were there and the place had caught fire and burning. Everyone was putting things out. I was thinking “if the Germans had done this here, what had then done to the rest of the country? There was going to be plenty of opportunity for people who can sew to make lots of money, sewing new curtains and so on”. I mentioned this to 1 of the people there who was a tourist as well walking around. He wa saying “It’s strange. I thought this town had 2 bridges” which it did but they weren’t close together. 1 of them was right up at the other end of town but I didn’t tell him that. I let him carry on with his rant. I walked back to where we had started and there were 2 huge queues there. It turned out that this was the vaccination queue. All the women had been called regardless of age. For the men it had been the older men and the younger men and the age bracket for me hadn’t been called so we had to wait around. I thought that this would take hours and I had an appointment somewhere and I was going to miss it because of all of this. But the line started moving quite rapidly and I thought that I might still make my appointment after all.

Later on I was in a café in a big hotel sitting at a table waiting for Nerina to come down. She came down and sat at a table on the inside of the café, not on the outside. I waited for a few minutes, then she stood up and picked up her mug, came and looked outside and walked straight past my table and went to sit on a table with someone else. I waved and made a few gestures and she came over to my table and put down her cup. I said to her “hey Nerina, there’s a pot of tea here” because I’d asked the waiter for a cup of tea earlier and he had brought me a large pot absolutely full. She poured herself a cup of tea but it was rather cold so she picked up my cup of tea and said “I’ll have this warmed for you” nd walked off leaving me alone with this woman. I explained to this woman that i was not used to being up at this time of the morning. I used to work peculiar hours. She said “this is a $10,000 hotel”. I asked what she meant. She said “it costs $10,000 to stay here”. We were paying in the region of $30 per night but then again we were in the attic in the servants quarters. I explained that we were on the poor menu and that we were pushed up in the eaves. She didn’t think that that was good. She thought that we should be given more consideration. My response was that the more consideration you had, the more you had to pay and we couldn’t pay $10,000 per night. Then the story turned round to Nerina again. I was wondering where Nerina had gone with my cup of tea and more importantly how she was going to warm it. All kinds of strange ideas about how she would warm it came into my head.

There was also somewhere in the middle of all of thiswhere I saw an old A35 van body. I’d been with Rosemary and she was living in London. On my way down I’d picked up a motor bike, a hybrid between a Triumph and a BSA but it was only half-finished and there were bits missing. I’d picked that up and it was in the back of Caliburn. I got down to where Rosemary was living in London and not too far away in a field was an old A35 van. I went over to photograph it. it was only the bodyshell and the front subframe but the number on it was one of the old type with 4 numbers and 2 letters. I was taking a photo of it and a woman came to see what I was doing. I explained to her and she said “it’s for sale if you like, £45:00, and I have all of the papers and the V5 for it”. I paid her the £45:00 and put it in the back of Caliburn. Then I couldn’t remember the house where this woman lived. I knew that it was right next door to Rosemary’s but it was so confusing because her place didn’t look anything like how it looked to me. it was just so confusing. It took me quite a while to find this woman’s house. And then when I knocked on her door she came and I asked her about the papers. She said “so and so has them” and she took me up this enormous flight of steps at Rosemary’s house. Then she climbed over a wall and went down the steps on the other side. A guy came out and climbed halfway up to meet her. She started to talk to hom so I asked “should I come down?”. She was carrying on this conversation with him – it was obvious that it was he who had the papers somewhere but we never seemed to get to the point about “could I have these papers”.

It’s interesting to see Nerina appearing so regularly on my travels these days. It’s getting on for 30 years since I last saw her. We don’t seem to see as many newer people featuring these days which is a disappointment. Whatever happened to Castor and Pollux? And TOTGA? And Percy Penguin and a certain young lady from Stoke on Trent who was such a regular at one time?

High time I had a clean-out in my head, but then if anything ever were to come clean, that would be goodbye to Percy Penguin for a start. And probably Miss Stoke on Trent too. Rather like Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski, I would have to come clean over those two at least, if not all of the others too.

In between all of this I went for breakfast. Well, lunch actually. Porridge and toast and another coffee. And afterwards I made another big pile of pizza dough ow that I’ve run out. We can’t have a Sunday without a pizza, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe mustn’t forget our afternoon walk. Not for the least reasons of which is that we have to go and look over the wall down onto the beach to see what’s going on down there this afternoon.

And not from our usual viewpoint either. I’m actually at the viewpoint in the Rue du Nord this afternoon because I’m going the other way around, round the medieval city walls rather than around the headland.

Sure enough, there are quite a few people down there this afternoon taking a walk, and stopping to inspect the shellfish whenever they have a chance. The tide is quite a way out this afternoon so there’s plenty of room to be out and about down there.

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIf you want to know where I am, which I’m sure that you do, this is another one of the views that I have from the viewpoint.

That’s the Rue du Nord down there and I’ll be walking down there in a moment or two. This stone building, and the one further down set into the walls, are medieval lavatories with a chute down into the sea or onto the beach or the heads of whoever is walking by underneath.

The farthest one is still a public lavatory and receives a considerable amount of use from walkers but today there is modern plumbing so it’s safe to be in the immediate vicinity underneath it.

In the distance you can see the walls rising up on the cliffs and the little gateway that leads to a path underneath the city walls.

footpath under walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is a closer view of the gateway that leads down to the path underneath the walls. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen several photos that I’ve taken from the top of it.

We’ve had quite a lot of rain this morning and you can see what’s happened to the footpath underneath the walls. Sometimes it’s so bad that regular readers of this rubbish will also recall that it’s been impassable and I’ve had to go on the upper path.

Today though regardless of the flooding I’m going along the lower path and side-stepping the puddles. The view is so much better from down there and out to sea. But I do wish that they would improve the path.

tidal swimming pool plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall reading is that we have our own tidal swimming pool.

In the past it’s been left to abandon but last year they came and dug all of the sand out and sealed a few of the worst gaps and we had quite a nice summer season of people enjoying themselves in it. Over the winter the storms that we had filled it once again with sand but they were back with the diggers a few weeks ago apparently and dug all of the sand out.

And so when the crowds start to swarm over here as the summer develops in a couple of weeks’ time, we’ll see the tidal swimming pool having plenty of use with all of the grockles. As long as they keep out of my way and don’t bring the Covid with them, we’ll be fine.

people eating gaufres crepes and ice cream place marechal foch Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut there are sure signs of summer here and there all around us.

With the easing of Covid restrictions places are slowly starting to open up. The kebab shop in the Place Marechal Foch might still be closed but the ice cream stall down there is open and there are quite a few people congregating around there with ice cream cornets and the like.

To be honest, I did check my pockets but to no avail. I’ve left my money behind in the apartment. There’s the €50 note that I keep tucked in behind my mobile phone but it seemed to be a waste to go down there and change it for a handful of notes, coins and an ice cream, always assuming that they have their vegan lines back in stock.

As an aside, there’s a €50 note hidden in my mobile phone and another one hidden in Caliburn. Years of sometimes bitter experience has taught me what it’s like to be out and about and forgetting to bring my money with me.

storm at sea square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little earlier I mentioned that we had had a pile of rain earlier this morning that had drenched just about everywhere and everything that was out in it.

As I walked across the Square Maurice Marland I could see that another storm was developing in the Baie de Mont St Michel. And the wind that we have, being a prevailing westerly wind, would be blowing it my way and I’ll be in for a drenching if I don’t get a move on.

But the condition of the Square is rather disappointing right now. The kiddies’ amusements are out of bounds right now and it’s all rather weedy. I hope that the local Council will do something about it before the summer.

It’s really ironic, if not hilarious. that the opponents of the previous mayor were so quick to hurl the abuse at her about the condition of the Square. Since there has been a new Mayor, the condition of the Square has worsened rapidly.

marite coelacanthe la grande ancre philcathane port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the Square is another viewpoint that overlooks the loading area od the port and regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen plenty of photos from there in the past.

Today of course, there is Marité tied up in her usual berth but in the loading bay underneath the crane is Le Coelacanthe, one of the largest trawlers that operate out of the port. The fact that she is moored there would seem to indicate that we won’t be having a Jersey freighter in any time soon.

Talking of Jersey freighters, when Normandy Trader came in here the other day, she didn’t bring any shellfish with her. The local fishermen would let her come in to take away the stuff on the quayside but they wouldn’t let her bring anything in.

To the right of Le Coelacanthe is la Grande Ancre, the boat that sometimes takes tractors and other items out to the Ile de Chausey. Behind her is Philcathane, one of the trawlers whose name has regularly cropped up on the radar as fishing in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

different colours of the sea pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was up here looking out to sea I couldn’t help but notice the difference in the colour of the sea out there at the Pointe du Roc.

It’s not the effects of the clouds that are causing that because we have 10/10ths cloud right now, so I wish that I knew for sure what it was. I know that there’s a freshwater spring that discharges into the sea around there but that doesn’t look as if it accounts for anything much.

So on that note I came home for a mug of hot coffee and to organise the pizza bases because two can do into the freezer for again and the third one needs rolling out. And while that was busy festering away afterwards I came in here and worked out one of the songs on this playlist. I’ve decided that I’ll do one per day, and there are about a dozen that I don’t know.

When the pizza base was ready I assembled it and when the oven was nice and hot I put it in.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here’s the finished product. Really nice and crispy and tasting delicious.

You’ll notice that there’s no pudding prepared tonight. That’s because there is still some chocolate sponge left and I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday. If by any bad luck I run out before next baking day, I can always invent something. I really fancy an apricot or pineapple upside-down cake and I wonder if this brownie sponge mix without the cocoa might work with it.

So now anyway I’ll be off to bed in a moment. But not quite yet. Onto the playlist has come a concert that I’ll be featuring as a live show on my radio programme sometime soon. A souvenir of Boston, Massachusetts and 1976 and the Marshall Tucker Band, one of the best live concerts ever.

I’ll wait until it’s finished and then I’ll go to bed

Wednesday 12th May 2021 – DESPITE HAVING HAD …

… something of an early night last night (although not as early as I was hoping) I didn’t have a very good day today.

Sure enough, I was up and about just after the first alarm even though I didn’t feel much like it, and after breakfast I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. Planning on taking over a couple of ships (who was?) by piracy down in the Tennessee area and that was something that hadn’t been done since the 30s. I got on board and a few others got on board and by the time we’d gone very far we were about 40 people. But then before it set sail one of the people had had a bad attack of cramp and that gave the game away as far as the munitions went. The captain immediately shouted for all hands on deck and a spirited defence, even though I could see on the radar that the other trips had been a success and the other boats had been captured. We were hard at it trying to capture this one now that we had been caught at a disadvantage.

As you can imagine, I don’t have a clue what was going on in the middle of all that.

Next task was to deal with the outstanding correspondence. There has been piles and piles of it building up since I last had a good clear-out. If you are expecting a reply from me and haven’t received it, don’t worry because I’m a long, long way from catching up. In fact I’m surprised that I did as much as I did.

One of the strangest items of correspondence was to write to the Greenwich Maritime Museum. I recently attended a virtual funeral on the internet and the assistant director of the Museum gave a speech to the assembled multitude.

Unfortunately, for reasons known only to himself, he addressed himself to the half-dozen people in the church, totally ignoring the microphone that was there. Consequently no-one watching on the internet heard a single word of what he said in his eulogy and so I was nominated to contact him and ask him for a copy in writing.

Another thing that needed doing was to contact the holder of my web server. I’ve run out of room again so I need some extra space freeing up.

And that reminds me. My web hosting isn’t cheap so if you have benefited from or appreciate the content of these pages, please make your next Amazon purchase by using the links on the side. It costs you nothing extra but I receive a small commission on sales and it goes a long way.

The re have been considerable arrears of stuff on the dictaphone that have been building up and so I’ve had a bash at all of those. All of the arrears on there have been brought up to date and you can go back now for several weeks and found out where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing during the night.

Well, not everything. I went through a spell of having some really disturbed dreams and you won’t want to know about them if it’s anywhere near your mealtime. There must be a load of things preying on my mind and I wish I knew what they were.

And I would have done a lot more had I not had another dismal crash-out for about an hour. Right out too and I’m rather fed up of all this nonsense as well. It never seems to end.

But anyway I was able to take myself off for my afternoon walk.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs you might expect, I went to have a look down on the beach to see what was going on down there this afternoon.

And it’s not the usual viewpoint, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall. I didn’t go round the headland to day. Instead I went for my afternoon walk around the medieval city walls and so I could gaze down onto the beach from the viewpoint on the Rue du Nord.

The tide is quite far out at the moment so there is plenty of beach for people to be on, but there weren’t all that many folk down there. It was cooler and more overcast of late and the temperature had fallen. It’s no wonder that people had forsaken the outdoor life today.

bouchot beds donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were quite a few people out on the beach much further down the coast at Donville les Bains this afternoon.

With the tide being well out, the beds of bouchots were clearly exposed this afternoon. This is just a small proportion of the amount of bouchot beds that there are altogether along the coast just there. The guys who manage the beds were out there with their machinery doing some harvesting and it must be keeping them very busy when the tide is out.

There’s also a horse harnessed to a small trailer over there too. There’s a hippodrome (that’s a horse-racing course, not a place where hippopotamuses come in to land) over there too and they do these trotting races there. A few of the horses and their carts train on the beach when conditions are suitable.

drainage spouts medieval city walls rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLeaving the viewpoint I passed through the old gateway in the wall and passed along the path underneath the walls. No chance of going for a run (although I was tempted) because there were too many people about and I don’t want to embarrass myself.

The local council has been out and about for the last few days trimming all of the grass and they have even done the top of the cliffs beyond the parapet. And one thing that I hadn’t noticed before was the system of overflows pierced into the walls presumably for draining the water that builds up on the path.

Although that doesn’t seem to work so well judging by the number of times that the path was flooded out during the winter and I had to take the long way round.

beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere were no obstructions along the path today though, except for the groups of people strolling around, so I was able to make my way down to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

It’s a Wednesday afternoon so the schools are out. And as the promenade down at the Plat Gousset is quite well protected from the wind, it was no surprise that there were so many people out there having a wander around to take the air.

None of the cafes seem to be open as yet so there isn’t all that much to do. It’s rumoured that they may well be open in a week or so’s time and I imagine that there will be a stampede in that direction when they finally do.

And that reminds me – I mustn’t forget my appointment at the bank next Tuesday afternoon.

rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will also recall that the builders’ compound across the road from where I live was dismantled last week so I wanted to go to round to the Rue St Michel to see where they had reached with the work.

On my way that way I went down the Rue St Jean where I met Minette, the old black cat. She had a stroke from me on my way past and her owner had a cheery greeting .

In the street itself, I was pretty disappointed to see the mess that they have made of the surface. I would have liked to have seen them put some cobbles down to match the rest of the streets in the medieval city but instead they have left us with this shambolic finish.

The fact that it’s not even would seem to indicate that they might be back to finish it off. Let’s hope so because this surface is pretty dismal.

street repairs venelle st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd if you think that what we have seen is pretty bad, then this must surely take the biscuit.

There has been a trench dug in the alley – the Venelle St Michel – at the head of the alleyway, and that now seems to have been filled in and the workmen have gone. But you can see that while this alleyway was previously nicely cobbled, they’ve just filled in the trench with almost anything to hand and just left the cobbles piled up at the side of the street.

There are probably 100 reasons why they have not finished it off correctly but one that goes through my mind is that they can no longer find the workmen qualified to do the work.

Having seen the state of the city walls and the fact that they are having to run training courses to teach people how to do pointing, it must be quite a major problem finding the right kind of qualified people around here. All the old skills are dying out.

chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAround the corner I find myself back on the city walls again where there’s a good view over the port and further down along the cliffs towards the chantier navale.

And we have had another change of occupant down there this afternoon too. And quite a major change too because the final boat of the batch that has been in there just recently, the little fishing boat, has now gone back into the water. The work that was being undertaken on it seems to have finished.

But as far as the port goes, there’s nothing of any interest going on in there this afternoon. Everything in there is exactly as it was yesterday. Still no sign of any of the Jersey freighters coming into town right now. I suppose that they are keeping a rather low profile too.

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut out in the Baie de Mont St Michek we have another trawler out there working away.

There were a few in the passage between the Ile de Chausey and the Pointe du Roc as well but I couldn’t photograph them easily from this end of the town. But the ones down in the Baie de Mont St Michel were easier to see. And I forgot to check the radar when I returned home to find out which boat this one was.

Back here I had a coffee and then had a go at the photographs of my trip around Wyoming in August 2019. A few more of those have now been dealt with and I’m now admiring the signatures of the early pioneers carved into the rocks of Register Cliff, some of whom subsequently became famous (or notorious) due to events that might have happened further along the Emigrant Trail that were recorded in old Pioneer diaries.

As it happens I have copies of several Pioneer diaries (albeit facsimiles), the most famous being the diary of 12 year old Virginia Reed, one of the few survivors of the tragic Donner Party that were snowed in in the Sierra Nevada in the winter of 1846-47 and ended up eating each other.

After the hour on the guitars I had tea – burger on a bap with baked potatoes and veg, followed by more of my chocolate sponge and chocolate sauce. And it really is good too. I’m pleased with this and I shall certainly make some more for another time

But not tonight. I’m off to bed. Although it’s a Bank Holiday tomorrow the shops are open so I’m off to do my usual shopping. I have no sugar and very little cocoa power and I can’t make any chocolate sauce without those.

Wednesday 5th May 2021 – HAVING READ …

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… the Press from yesterday, you’ll probably understand now why we are seeing fishing boats working away in the Baie de Mont St Michel these days.

With the eternal conflict going on around Jersey right now, it’s probably just as well that they take this opportunity to explore new fishing grounds closer to home to see what they are likely to be able to provide by the way of catch.

There were three or four out there this afternoon too. This one out near the Brittany coast is the closest to my point of view. All of the others were too far out for me to be able to photograph them appropriately. And I wonder how long they are going to be out there too. I haven’t seen them this diligent in the bay before now.

trawler leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I watched from my vantage point up on the walls, another one went out to join them in the bay. She left the harbour behind and headed off deeper into the bay.

But I have a feeling that this might not be as permanent arrangement as I might at one time have thought. In the Jersey Press today was the usual propaganda and sabre-rattling to placate the natives over there, but tucked away in a corner out of view was a little notice that the Jersey Authorities have approached the British Government and the European Union to seek permission to negotiate directly with the Normandy and Brittany fishermen.

The threat of cutting off the electricity to the islands did the trick. It didn’t take long for the French to bring the Channel Islanders to heel, did it?

And it didn’t take long for my bad habits to resurface did it? After a day yesterday where I went without crashing out, I succumbed this afternoon. Not as badly as I have done in the past just recently but it was still a dismal state of affairs.

Mind you, I blame the fact that I couldn’t sleep last night and it was about 02:30 by the time that I went to bed. No-one is going to feel on form after just 3.5 hours sleep. In fact I’m surprised that I kept going for as long as I did today.

After the medication I didn’t do much and that’s not a surprise. I stirred a few papers around and that’s just about it as far as the morning went. There were so many things that needed to be done but I ended up doing nothing at all.

One of the things that I forgot to do this morning was to make some more hummus. As a result I had to have vegan cheese with my salad on my butties and I don’t have all that much of that left.

This afternoon I finally started work and brought my journal up-to-date by indexing the entries that hadn’t been indexed, and there were quite a few of those. And then I attacked the dictaphone entries. Most of them are done but I’m not going to update the journal until they are all finished. I can however add in today’s to let you know where I went during what there was of the night last night.

But talking of last night, It’s been a good while since I’ve had a night sweat but I had one then. I can’t remember now very much about my voyage now except that there was a horse involved in it somewhere. I was having to meet some people coming home or I was coming home and had to meet some people, something like that, I can’t remember now but I awoke drenched in sweat.

After going back to sleep I was back in County Durham again on the east coast. There were plenty of car scrapyards around one of which was full of lorries and bits of garden hose, all kinds of other stuff as well. There was more to it than this but as you are probably eating your meal right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

In fact there will be a couple of the arrears that won’t make it on line. There have been a few very disturbing ones just recently.

place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall
For a change this afternoon I decided on going for a walk around the medieval city walls. It’s been a long time since I’ve been that way round.

While I was out here I took advantage of the viewpoint that goes across the top of the gate that leads outside the city walls. There’s a nice view along here to the Place d’Armes where I live. If you see just to the right of centre the white building with the sloping roof, my own building is the big stone one immediately behind it.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) you can’t see my own apartment from there.

The large building further back with the modern extension to the right is the College Malraux, the local High School

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a good view out to sea from up here on the walls.

In the distance I could see something moving about over by the Ile de Chausey so I took a photograph of it with the aim of blowing it up (something that I can do, despite modern anti-terrorist legislation) so that I can see what it was that I had seen.

At first I thought that it might have been Joly France or Chausiais coming back from the Ile de Chausey, even though it’s off the usual route that they take coming back. But in actual fact she’s one of the trawlers out of the port.

At least she’s managed to get out to sea today despite the current issues with the Channel Islands.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFinal thing that I must do while I’m on this side of the headland is to look down onto the beach to see if there was anyone about.

But there wasn’t all that much beach to be on as you probably saw on one of the earlier photographs. The tide is quite far in as I was taking these photographs. Mind you, this guy and his little daughter seem to have found a nice corner in which to sit. Anywhere on the beach near the sea is good enough for a small child regardless of the weather and the state of the tide.

On the footpath underneath the walls I might have been tempted to break into a run, but there were far too many people around for me to want to embarrass myself like this. Instead, I had a nice leisurely walk underneath the walls.

plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallEventually I arrived at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch and the Plat Gousset.

There was certainly no shortage of people wandering around there this afternoon. It’s half-day closing at the schools of course so many people here have the afternoon off to look after their kids. So if you ever want to find a crowd of people at some time other than a weekend, Wednesday afternoon is the time to be doing it.

There aren’t any Birdmen of Alcatraz out there today though. And thinking on, we haven’t seen any of them about for quite a while either. So musing on that particular thought, I set off across the square Maurice Marland and headed back for home and my coffee.

road works rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn my way home, I managed to track down the workmen who have been doing stuff around the Rue Cambernon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that over the last week or ten days ago we’ve seen signs of them setting up a camp in the Place d’Armes and driving around in dumpers loaded with gravel and I mentioned that I’ll have to go and find out where it was that they are working. And there they are, down there at the corner of the Rue Saint Michel.

And that was exactly the same place where they were working the last time that we were round here, which was before Christmas if I remember rightly when they were doing things all the way up the street.

road works rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s difficult to believe that after all of this time they are still working there and haven’t finished off what they were doing.

It was my intention to take a short cut down the alleyway at the far end of the Rue St Michel but that was ruled out because the workmen haven’t finished at that end either. There was a guy there with a compactor flattening everything down in the street and sweeping up the debris quite diligently with his broom.

In the end I had to go the long way around and leave the workmen to whatever it was that they were doing. And when I reached the walls, I could see the trawlers that I photographed earlier.

And as I write these notes I can add that since I started them I’ve discovered that the British Government has sent two gunboats to the Bay of Granville. Bearing in mind that the entire might of the Royal Navy couldn’t defeat a handful of Icelandic trawlers in the 1960s, I can’t see this doing much good.

And as I have said before, it doesn’t matter how much fish the British fishing boats catch. If they can’t sell any of it, it won’t make the slightest difference.

chevrolet car from connecticut parvis notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSomething else that hasn’t changed much is the little Chevrolet car.

It has Connecticut licence plates but the stickers expired a long, long (as in 10 years or so if I remember correctly) time ago and was abandoned here last Summer. Like the car in the Rue St Paul, they don’t seem to be in too much hury removing it.

As it happens I’m keen to find out who the owner might be, for the simple reason that I would like to know how he managed to bring the vehicle over here. It’s not a high-value vehicle so the costs of shipping it would be more than the cost of a replacement vehicle, from what my researches have revealed.

If I could find a way to move Caliburn economically back and to across the Atlantic every year I would do so at the drop of a hat.

Back here I carried on with a little work and then went for guitar practice.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap followed by jam roly-poly and home-made custard. And While I was making the custard I was thinking that why don’t I make another one of those chocolate sponges that I made once or twice and them instead of vanilla flavouring, put chocolate powder in the mix for the sauce? That would be nice.

So now I’m off to bed. I’ve done enough today. Hopefully I’ll awake early and have a grandstand seat at the naval battle that will take place offshore. I can’t imagine that the French would let British gunboats cruise around just offshore here without bringing in one or two of their own.

Thursday 7th January 2021 – I STILL DON’T …

… know where all of the time goes, that’s for sure. All that I’ve done today as far as work goes is to answer about 10 e-mails and that’s my lot.

Mind you, it was something of a late start this morning. I heard all of the alarms go off but it was still about 07:00 when I finally left the bed.

First thing was to check the dough. 2 loads because I had prepared a normal yeast-driven loaf as well last night before going to bed.

And while the sourdough hadn’t risen by much, the standard loaf had gone up like a lift. I kneaded them both and put them in their respective moulds to proof a second time and then, after the medication, I came in here to check the dictaphone.

There was a really weird kind of dance thing going on last night with 3 young girls who were dancing and singing and performing these really rhythmic movements. There were me and two other people at the other end of the dance floor just basically keeping in time to the music. For some unknown reason, what we were trying to do was that the movements that these people were performing led to them being separated at some time and our job seemed to be that one of us, when we saw someone separated was, in keeping in time to the music, to go off down there and somehow capture the one who had come out of the pack if you like and was dancing on her own halfway down the hall. I noticed that at one time that it was always the same girl who was doing this. She had a beautiful voice and I remember thinking to myself “I wouldn’t mind capturing her”. On one occasion when this rhythmic dance was going on I had to rhythmically make my way back to my group and one of my colleagues was preparing to advance. He ended up pirouetting round and his hand caught in my clothes and went underneath the top that I was wearing and missed my catheter by a millimetre otherwise it would have been really really dramatic. We had a bit of a joke about that.

What goes on in the night is really exciting, isn’t it?

As I was off out I put a load of clothes into the washing machine to do while I’m out at the doctor’s.

The interesting thing there was that he doesn’t recommend a ‘flu injection. Everyone is in facemasks and the ‘flu isn’t expected to take a hold this year.

As for my booster injections for my immune system (I have to have them every 5 years) he gave me a prescription, along with the prescription for the medication that I forgot.

The most interesting thing is the Covid vaccine. Here in Granville, we aren’t a priority, so it seems. Cases here in the town are rare due to the fact that we are on a westerly clifftop in one of the strongest prevailing winds in Europe. Any airborne virus here is blown well inland and the only time that we usually have any outbreaks is when the holidaymakers arrive.

However, he does agree that I should be in the first batch to be vaccinated as soon as we have supplies and he made a note in my file that I would be willing to take it

christmas decorations rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving bade farewell to the doctor I set off towards LIDL for supplies.

It’s been a long time since I set my foot in the Rue Couraye, what with having chosen a different route to go uptown just recently, so I didn’t really know much about what’s been going on there for a while. But it seems that we had have some kind of novel decorations in the street – some that I haven’t seen before.

At LIDL it was a major shop and I staggered home under quite a load. Not helped any by the fact that they were selling 3kg of carrots for the price of 1kg, and ditto the potatoes. The freezer is for a change fairly empty and I can always do things with potatoes.

trawlers ready to leave port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving called at the chemist’s for a rest and my medication (I have to go back for some on Saturday) I staggered up the Rue des Juifs towards home. And there I noticed that the trawlers were starting to pull away from the quayside.

The harbour gates were closed, so I was expecting them to open any minute now so I hung around to watch. However I was distracted. While I was observing the harbour I fell in with our itinerant friend who is still loitering about the town and we had a chat.

One thing that I noticed was that he had a shopping bag full of groceries so at least it seems that he’s feeding himself, which is one less thing for anyone to worry about.

On returning home I switched on the oven and then, having checked the loaves, I put them into the oven to bake.

Once again, the sourdough loaf hadn’t done very much but the normal loaf had risen impressively again. And this time I did remember to brush the top of the fruit loaf with milk and sprinkle the top with brown sugar.

home baked bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile it was cooking I came in here and answered a couple of outstanding e-mails and then when the oven timer switched itself off I went to check the bread.

The standard loaf was cooked perfectly but the sourdough wasn’t so I left that in for another 20 minutes and with the standard loaf, I made some sandwiches for lunch. And it really was a good loaf, this one. Just as it should be and it was delicious.

After lunch, I attacked the carrots, peeled and diced about a kilo or so and then blanched them ready for freezing. I’ll do some more tomorrow too and then finish the rest off on Saturday.

moving scaffolding roofing college malraux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on this afternoon I went out for my usual afternoon walk around the headland.

The other day, I mentioned that they had started to move the scaffolding from the north end of the east wall and reposition it down at the south end of that wall. Here, on the extreme right, you can see than dismantling some more of it to move that along too. And you can also see where they are ripping off the slates from farther along.

Up until a couple of days ago they were working to the right-hand side of the safety rail going up the roof.

This is going to be a very long job, I can see that

first buds pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFurther along the path at the side of the College I stopped to have a look at one of the bushes that was growing there.

The other day the gardeners had been by and trimmed the bushes back. But I’d noticed, a day or so later, that there seemed to be some small buds starting to grow. Sure enough, one or two of them have burst out into leaves.

It’s very tempting to say that the mild winter that we have had to date has started the first buds of the year off early but I suspect that the bushes haven’t quite gone into hibernation and there has still been some rising sap in the bush, and that has provoked the growth.

It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on it.

sea fog pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut whatever else happens today, I won’t be keeping an eye out to see what is happening out to sea down the Brittany coast today.

You’ve probably noticed from a couple of earlier photos that there seemed to be quite a mist hanging around today, but out at sea there seems to be so much more of it and there’s quite a heavy fog bank rolling in along the coast and onto the headland where I’m standing.

It’s one of those occasions where you might expect primeval man, or Godzilla or something similar to come emerging from the miasma.

calm seas baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallInterestingly, in the reverse angle of this shot, there’s hardly a wisp of fog to be seen along the coast.

But you can see the reason why the fog is here. If you look closely at the water you’ll notice that it’s calm and almost flat as a mirror. There’s hardly a breath of wind at all – hardly enough to disperse a fogbank, that’s for sure.

But nevertheless out of the fog and gloom came one of my neighbours who had also been for a walk. So we had a chat for a few minutes about nothing in particular before I wandered off to carry on with my perambulations.

scull pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s one thing about a fog and a really calm sea, and that it encourages people to take to the water.

Paddling around the headland from the direction of the port de plaisance came a couple of kayaks. And as I watched, they paddled their way around the marker light on the rocks below.

There was the idea in my mind to make the old hoary joke which regular readers of this rubbish will recall, about it being inadvisable to light a fire in a canoe because you can’t have your kayak and heat it, but a closer inspection revealed that these aren’t kayaks but in fact sculls, so I doubt if the rowers in there would get up to any such scullduggery.

beautiful sun shining on sea baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOver the last couple of days we’ve been having some brilliant sunsets out across the bay. As I walked across the lawn and the car park to the other side of the headland I sensed that today might be different with the fog.

Unfortunately I was correct. There was nothing really like the views that we have had for the last few days. Nevertheless it was quite different and quite unusual, and was creating quite an eerie effect, especially where we seem to be half in and half out of a fog bank.

The rays of sun streaming out through the hole in the clouds and disappearing into the fog bank were quite novel too.

speedboat with cabin baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou probably noticed in the previous photo the traces of a wake passing through the image.

There was a boat out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel and it was making quite a racket and going like the clappers too. My first thought was that it was a fishing boat but no fishing boat goes that quickly. I’ve no idea who he was or where he’d been.

With nothing else of interest out there this afternoon, I made tracks for home. It’s a shame that there was no freighter in port today, and I wonder when we are next going to have another gravel boat.

home made sourdough fruit loaf place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack home I made myself a coffee and then went to have a look at the sourdough loaf. It’s been cooling off in the oven for a good couple of hours.

It’s possibly overdone on top, although I did lower the shelf when I put it back in at lunchtime so that the bottom would cook better, but it doesn’t look at all bad really. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say. And for that, you’ll all have to wait until tomorrow morning’s hot chocolate break.

Instead, I hung up the washing, something that I had forgotten to do earlier, and then came in here to carry on with my e-mail marathon. And it would have been better had I not crashed out again.

There was the usual hour on the guitars of course but for some reason I couldn’t get my head around the acoustic guitar and I’ve no idea why. I didn’t seem to have the same motivation which was strange.

Afterwards, I went out for my evening walk – and I tried a few more runs today too. In fact I made it up to three legs. Not much, but better than it has been.

When I stopped for breath after one of the legs, I looked out to sea and the fog seemed to have lifted. It as a really clear evening and you could see for miles.

st helier jersey channel islands Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou probably won’t think all that much of this photo but this is taken with the camera perched on a rock, hand-held. And the camera is in fact the little NIKON 1 J5 which in the past has not proved to be very successful in the past in the pitch-black.

However, with some judicious manipulation I managed to take some photos of St Helier, 58 miles away. And the lights of fishing boats out to sea and even some stars too. And for a camera that doesn’t like the dark, that’s quite impressive even if the quality isn’t up to all that much.

Had I taken the tripod with me, and worked out how the time-lapse procedure works on the calmera, I might have done even better than this.

place marechal foch plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound at the viepoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch there wasn’t much going on at all. The whole town seemed to be deserted and I hadn’t seen a soul.

Instead I came on back to the apartment for tea. Stuffed peppers followed by apple crumble. There’s only enough crumble left for one meal now, so I might have to defrost a slice of frozen apple pie for tea on Saturday.

But now I’ve written up my notes, I’m going to go to bed. Just a couple of phone calls to make tomorrow, a form to fill in and some carrots to peel and blanche and then I can crack on with work.

And, of course, the fruit bread to try. I mustn’t forget that.

Monday 7th December 2020 – THERE ARE BENEFITS …

… from doing some work on Sunday even if I don’t feel much like it.

This morning, with having had a head start, I’d finished the radio programme by 12:05. And had I not had to remove 14 seconds-worth of speech to make it fit my one-hour window, I’d have finished 20 minutes earlier too. And that includes stopping for 15 minutes for my mid-morning cake and hot chocolate.

What helped matters was that I was up and about this morning before the 3rd alarm and that’s not something that happens every day these days.

There’s plenty of stuff on the dictaphone from last night too. I’d been out in Canada down the Labrador coast and I’d bought a postcard, but I’d forgotten to post it while I’d been out there but as I was going back very soon I thought that I’d post it while I was back out there then. I went up to one of the Clerical Assistants in the office where I worked, a very young girl and I was going to ask her if she had any stamps that the Canadian authorities would accept for a postcard that was posted in Canada. I asked her a question and started off in one of these statements that could be taken in quite a few ways. She said “you aren’t going to start this again, are you?”. I’d asked her quite a long time ago whether she’d be interested in coming out with me on occasion but she turned me down. I said “look, you made it very clear the last time we spoke exactly what the position was and I accepted much to my extreme disappointment but much as I would like it, this question has nothing to do with any of that” making it clear that I was still extremely interested but I wasn’t going to push it because I knew that that was what she wasn’t wanting. Somehow our conversation stuck on that particular point instead of asking about this stamp and it wasn’t until right at the very end that I was able to ask her about this stamp and I never actually got an answer about that, spending so much time talking about other things or, rather, about one other thing, namely the question of me taking her out which of course wasn’t the point of the discussion at all. I was thinking that we might have moved on from there but there wasn’t time to mention the name before I had to go pretty quickly

There was also someone who died – an upper-class kind of man, a young man. And his mother had suddenly received a packet through the post of some highly erotic literature kept in the form of a diary. A letter that accompanied it said basically that there was plenty more stuff where this came from and she could have it at so much per week. So she called in Hercule Poirot and I was assisting him. We went to speak to this lady and she showed us this literature. This was odd so we went to the British Library and started to hunt around in the books there. We were using the old encyclopaedias to trace events and so on. It was quite strange because the authors of the books had their names carved in marble on this marble tablet that was going all around the walls like the War memorial at Tyne Cot perhaps. You could see where new editions had been carved in at the appropriate place subsequent to this tablet being prepared and we ended up looking at a place called Donovan in Central Australia and another report about trees that had suddenly lost all their foliage somewhere in Leicestershire. We had to try to research those particular places and events.

After the medication, I attacked the radio programme. – I must have travelled quite a way – but I’ve not had the time to deal with it as yet.

When I finished the radio programme I had a little relax that took me all the way up to lunchtime.

After lunch I started another sourdough loaf off. I’d fed the sourdough starter yesterday and it had fermented quite nicely, and today I reached almost the end of the loaf. Not enough bread to make my lunch tomorrow so I need a load that will go into the oven first thing in the morning.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat all took me up to the right time for me to go out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

Outside, the weather was somewhat better than just recently although it was cold. I even had my gloves on this afternoon. I’m not sure what the roofers working on the roof would be wearing in this but I wouldn’t like to be up there on that roof in the weather that we have been having of late.

But it seems that the area on which they are working has now been extended to the left by a couple of yards. It might be that they are going to be doing thee whole roof but if so they need to be getting something of a move-on because winter will be here any minute now and that won’t be the kind of weather that anyone would want to be up on a roof.

seagull Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving taken note of what was going on on the roof, I set off for my walk around the headland.

First though I had a look out to sea to see if there was anything going on out there. No boats at all today but one or two people walking up and down the beach and there was also a seagull having a nice swim. At least, I thought that it was a seagull. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m a very keen birdwatcher, but not the kind of birds that have wings and feathers.

Nothing else of any interest so I walked on across the lawn and the car park to the end of the headland.

sun baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOnce more, there was some really good sunshine coming through the clouds and reflecting off the water in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

The Brittany coast was well-hidden in the haze over there too so we couldn’t see anything of Cancale. The weather wasn’t that quite nice.

With no dogs around making a nuisance of themselves today, I headed off down the footpath at the top of the cliffs overlooking the port. There was nothing at all new in the chantier navale and nothing going on in the port either so without any further ado I headed on home. I had plenty of things to do.

First thing that I had to do is my Welsh homework. That was what I’d planned to do over the weekend but I never ended up doing it. But having arranged things around and having ended up with an hour or so free now, I had to do it.

And I’d have done even better had I not crashed out for a short while.

After the hour on the guitars I made tea. Stuffed pepper with rice followed by apple pie and soya coconut dessert with chocolate sauce.

road closed rue st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLater on, after a quick chat with my friend in the UK, I went out for my evening runs.

And here’s some excitement going on in the medieval town because one of the roads, the Rue St Jean, is blocked off today. The road up to the Square du Parvis Notre Dame was marked as a 2-way road and so was the Rue St Jean as far as the Rue du Nord.

But anyone going that way will be in for something of a surprise. The diversion ends up just 10 metres down the Rue du Nord where there’s a barrier stopping the general circulation. It’s pass-holders only.

So vehicles following the signed diversion around here will need to reverse, turn round and then go back the way that they came.

My run went along the Rue du Nord and then I took the path along the foot of the walls. Other places had dried up considerably over the course of the day so I was hoping that it would dry down there. The verdict was that it’s been worse down there, but it’s also been better.

escalier du moulin a vent place de l'isthme Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt takes me two legs of about 250-300 metres each to arrive at the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

It’s been a few days since I’ve walked around the footpath to there. Where I’ve taken some of the photographs over the last few days has been from up there on top of the Escalier du Moulin A Vent in the Place de l’Isthme. You can see the difference in height between here and there.

There was nothing going on anywhere else so I ran across the Square Maurice Marland and headed for home.

Intrigued as to what was going on in the Rue St Jean that was causing the diversion, but there was no evidence to suggest anything at all.

trawlers entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was on my way out I noticed a pile of lights out to sea. I counted at least 7 fishing boats heading for home.

And so after inspecting the Rue St Jean I headed off on a little diversion to the walls overlooking the harbour to see them come in.

They were all there or thereabouts and the fish processing plant was working at full-tilt. Fork-lift trucks were everywhere. Having admired them for a few minutes, I ran on back to the apartment to write up my notes.

Tomorrow I’ll have to catch up with the dictaphone and then prepare for my Welsh. And then being free for the rest of the week, I can hopefully push on with some of the arrears.

There’s plenty of them to deal with.

Thursday 3rd December 2020 – I DIDN’T …

… go to the shops today.

On looking out of the window I noticed that it was absolutely chucking it down and there was a violent wind bending all the branches of the trees. It’s not as if there’s anything particular that I need today, so I’ll wait until tomorrow and try again.

Another thing that I didn’t do today was to beat the third alarm. When it went off, I was still in bed. Mind you, I was up and about within seconds so it didn’t make a great deal of difference either.

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith it being shopping day (even though it ended up not so being) I had a shower, and then while you admire a couple of photos of tonight’s storm, I’ll attack the dictaphone.

A gang of thieves had raided a large shop and had escaped with an enormous amount of money in the run-up to Christmas. They decided that they would go on and do it again thinking that there would be more money in it now and they would have learnt a lot from their previous escapade. So that was what they did. But what was lacking this time was a suitable watch-out, a suitable dedication and a certain amount of ruthlessness. They obviously thought that they knew it all before and that they knew it all but whereas the authorities had learnt quite a lot, these people hadn’t. The person who was actually the security guard was actually one of the criminals. He faked the hold-up while someone fired a shotgun blast that blew out one of the windows in a door and the guard let everyone in. They started rampaging through the store, going through the safe but there was just one guy working. The others were larkign around a bit. There was no-one in the foyer of the place keeping an eye on who was coming up and down in the lift which was still working. Of course the Police appeared pretty quickly because they were all clued up by this before the gang had even finished loading up the stuff from the 2nd safe. It was the look on the guy’s face when everyone was urging on the safecracker, when he got everything out of the 1st safe and they said “there’s another safe to go now”. You should see the look on his face because he’s the only one working. The others were just larking around when speed was the essence. if they had taken what they had out of the 1st safe and disappeared they might have made it. As it was there was a running battle all the way down this street with the police and these gangsters. They’d set the whole street on fire in trying to make away their escape in the confusion. But it hadn’t quite worked like that and they were trapped by the flames. And I awoke in a night sweat

storm waves plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little later I was staying in a house with a family. A house very similar to Davenport Avenue. There was a question about this mattress. We had to put it out of the way and I had assured everyone that it would go somewhere in a cupboard so I tried to push it into a cupboard but after a while trying, it wouldn’t go so I said in the end “what would it matter if it went into the attic?” They all agreed to put it into the attic so I climbed into the attic ready for them to pass it to me. But it looked far too long to go into the attic and had to be folded in half. I wasn’t sure whether it would fit. We needed it to be in the box to keep the dust away from it and that was going to be even more difficult. It was going to turn out to be one of these Chinese puzzle things . Again I awoke in a sweat. There were a few other things we could get into the attic afterwards as well if we persevered which would make the place look a lot better anyway

There was more to it than that too but as you are probably eating your meal I’ll spare you the gory details.

Having typed all of that I spent the morning dealing with the arrears of my journey to Central Europe. There was a break for my hot chocolate and chocolate cake and I do have to say that despite how it looks, my chocolate cake is delicious. And the icing, once it had set, was perfect too.

That recipe will be used again, certainly, but with individual cake cases to better manage the dough mixture.

kiwi kefir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter lunch I had the kefir to attend to as stocks are getting low right now. The earliest batch of kiwis are now super-ripe so they were whizzed up into a pulp, the juice was extraced and the remainder squashed to extract the final drops.

The kefir that had been brewing was now passed through the filter with the kiwi pulp in so that it would rinse more liquid through into the juice in the big jug while I made up another batch of kefir

The kefir and kiwi juice in the big jug were all mixed together and then filtered through the very fine mesh filter into the bottles where it will ferment for a few days

mushroom pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now, believe it or not, it was time to go out for my afternoon walk.

And so walk I did seeing as the rain had stopped for the moment. But the weather had certainly brought out the mushrooms. They were sprouting everywhere and were quite an impressive size. This one must have been about three inches in diameter.

Many people have asked me if I know whether these mushrooms are edible or not. I usually reply that I don’t know, but there is a test that works. All you do is just before you go to bed, take a small piece, cook it and eat it. If you wake up next morning then you know that it’s perfectly safe to eat.

It’s infallible

cap frehel brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallStrangely, even though the weather was heavily overcast and it was threatening rain, there was a really good view down the Brittany coast.

If you look closely at this photograph you’ll not only see the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel but also the headland behind it that it is protecting. And while seeing the lighthouse is not an everyday occurrence, seeing the land is even less so.

The gap in the land mass that you will notice just to the right of centre, that’s the bay with Saint-Cast-le-Guildo at the bottom – the little port where we stayed one night in early summer when we were out aboard wem>Spirit of Conrad.

north coast of Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe view in the other direction from where I was standing is pretty impressive too despite the weather.

from left to right, we have

  • Coudeville-sur-Mer on the extreme left
  • The “Route Blanche” caravan site
  • The large white building which I think is the grandstand for the racecourse
  • the airport buildings
  • Bréville church on the skyline
  • L’Oasis camp site
  • the start of Donville les Bains just disappearing behind the hedge


ceres 2 yacht chausiais joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there, I pushed off around the headland and down the path on the other side to see what was happening.

Chausiais and Joly France were over there at the ferry terminal of course. And there’s a sign of things to come in the chantier navale this afternoon. For some unknown reason they have erected a tarpaulin tent over the rear of Ceres II as if there’s some kind of important work like repainting going on underneath it (although it’s rather too cold and damp for painting right now, I would have thought).

It looks as if we might have to wait for a few days to find out. But could this be a sign that at long last she might be going on her way very soon?

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while we’re on the subject of comings and goings in the port … “well, one of us is” – ed … here’s someone who has come into port this morning and, presumably waiting for the gates to open so she can go out again.

Yes, we’ve been honoured with the presence of Normandy Trader over there being loaded up ready for departure. And moored the correct way round too, not like Thora yesterday, although it’s not so crucial which way round she moors as her accommodation is at the rear.

With that much excitement going on, I was overwhelmed so I had to come on home for a mug of nice hot coffee to warm myself up.

There was the usual hour on the guitars and then I went for tea. I fancied a vegan pie but to my surprise I’ve run out completely of main-course pies. I had one of my vindaloo curries that I made a few weeks ago instead, followed by apple pie.

So tomorrow, I can see that I’ll have a job to do – like bake a pie. I really fancied one today too so I’ll have to make one tomorrow instead, I reckon.

This evening I almost came within an ace of not going out for my runs. It was teeming down with rain and there was a howling gale blowing.

But having missed so many, I gritted my teeth (well, it was freezing) and set off.

christmas lights mairie cours jonville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRunning was pretty difficult and I didn’t even consider the path underneath the walls. That’s waterlogged at the best of times so heaven alone knows what it would be like right now. I remained on the Rue du Nord and round to the top of the Escalier du Moulin a Vent

That’s possibly one of the highest part of the walls at this end and you can see all the way out across town. And down into the Cours Jonville and the Mairie – the Town Hall – which is now all decorated in blue Christmas lights.

There’s a hint of decoration in the trees opposite the Mairie too. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw the electricians stringing up the lights in the trees down there a while ago.

escalier du moulin a vent viewpoint place marechal foch Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy usual viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch is down there.

You’ll see the metal fence, and if you look below it you’ll see what looks like a row of small arches. I’m usually tucked in the corner on the far right of those arches when I’m taking my photos. You can see the difference in height between the two positions. It’s probably about 30 feet to right down there.

And that was where I went for my photos of the storm that you have seen, and then I ran off across the Square Maurice Marland and straight home. No detour around the walls in this weather.

So if the weather is better, it’ll be shopping tomorrow. I shan’t be going if it’s still like this though. I was soaked to the skin and frozen to the marrow. Never mind my woolly hat – it’ll be gloves tomorrow if I go out.

Wednesday 2nd December 2020 – THIS IS MY …

failed chocolate cake apple pie apple turnover Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… first culinary disaster for quite some time.

The apple pie and apple turnover that were in the fridge awaiting baking have turned out quite well but the chocolate layer cake has, unfortunately, flopped. And I do mean “flopped”.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the last time I made a chocolate cake with this vegan brownie mix recipe, it was far too thick, took about three times longer to cook, and then was totally crisp on the outside and very soft in the middle.

And so today I had a cunning plan. I cooked it in a long, wide dish so that it was quite shallow and thus would cook quickly, then I cut it in half, spread one surface of each half with strawberry jam; and then stuck them together. And in the meantime I had a go at making some icing..

But what happened was that the cake collapsed, rather like the edge of a cliff crumbling off, and the icing ended up being too liquidy. For the icing, it was possible that the cake hadn’t cooed down enough and caused the icing to melt, and that also might be part (but not all) of the reasons why the cake collapsed.

On the other hand, it could simply be that the mixture isn’t intended for this kind of construction. I’ll have to go to a Plan B which involves making individual little cakes in their own cake moulds. I have a batch of those.

But they say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And despite how it looks, the sample that I tried tasted 100 times better than the previous one. I seem to have the quantities correct this time and used the correct oil.

So plan B it will be next time, with this same mix, and see where we go from there.

And the proof of the pudding about my sleeping is also in the eating because this morning I was up and about (well, sort-of-ish anyway) before the third alarm, and that’s despite not being in bed until well after 01:00.

After the medication, I turned my attention to what went on last night while I was asleep. I remember waking up saying that I received a notice to quit the defensive wall as I was being moved out of my position because some attacking football team wanted to install a defensive wall. However I couldn’t understand what this was to do with as I don’t recall anything at all. There was some vague chat about baking and so on and me being in a similar situation to which I am now but that’s about it. I don’t know where this footballing thing came from.

And the more that I look at it, the less I understand about what I was actually discussing during the night. But that’s the one thing about these little rambles. Very often they make no sense whatsoever and it’s always interesting to try to work out what (if anything) was going on in my head.

While I was at it, I transcribed the mountain of arrears that had built up over the last few days. I’ll try to put those on line sometime this week too.

And then the cookery session which took up almost all the rest of the morning and I didn’t even have my mid-morning break which was a shame. The colza oil was much better and lighter than the olive oil and I used less cocoa because mine is too sweet. As well as that, I put a few handfuls of desiccated coconut in there too – I’m a big fan of coconut as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Anyway, we’ll have a formal tasting session tomorrow when I come back from the shops, and I’m sure that I won’t be disappointed.

After lunch I’ve been working on the arrears of the journey to Central Europe and at least I made some progress so I can’t complain too much.

fishing boat english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut then of course it was time to go out for my afternoon walk. And several neighbours of mine were there today too and I couldn’t really get away from them for quite a while.

But eventually I managed to extricate myself and go over to the wall to look out across the sea. And there was a fishing boat coming back into port. It’s that time of day again, obviously.

Apart from my neighbours, there weren’t all that many other people out there. I walked on to the headland and then seeing as there was no-one else about I ran down along the path on top of the cliffs overlooking the port.

fishing boats coming into port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was nothing new happening in the chantier navale. Still the same two boats and that was that.

And so I turned my attention to what was going on down at the Fish Processing Plant. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when they dredged the harbour a few years ago they dredged a little channel up by the wharf at the fish processing plant so that the smaller craft can come into port even when the tide is quite low.

And sure enough, down there right now it must just be the right moment because there’s a queue of them. They have been waiting outside the harbour but as I watched, they started up and headed in to unload their catches.

thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s another visitor in port right now too and if you can peer through the gloom (because it was dark, overcast and misty) you can see Thora down there at the quayside underneath the loading crane.

She must have nipped in on the previous tide and hadn’t quite made it out again. But what I find intriguing is that if you compare this photo with all of the others that I’ve taken of her, you’ll find that she’s turned round.

Both she and her friend Normandy Trader tied up port-on and I’ve never seen them do any other in that loading bay, until today. But why it’s unusual with Thora is that she has her superstructure offset to one side – the starboard side – so moored as she is, they have to load and unload over the superstructure.

And that will be rather unfortunate if the load slips in the cradle as it’s up in the air.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving admired Thora for a while I turned tail and headed for home.

When I’d set out, the roofers were still out there on the roof so I’d made up my mind to photograph them. But in the time that it had taken me to do my lap around the headland they’d all cleared off and gone home. And as for me, I cleared off home too and made a nice hot coffee.

This evening I had my usual hour on the guitars. On the bass I just had a play around and a sing-along. On the acoustic I tried to play a lead solo to “Like a Hurricane”. That might sound adventurous but at the moment all I’m doing is, I suppose to pluck the strings individually while I’m holding down the chords.

Still, it’s progress from a while ago.

Tea was taco rolls and more apple pie, which really is delicious, I have to say. In fact it really was a good tea tonight.

trawler place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving had a little chat with my friend who is now well on the road to recovery I went out for my evening runs. And I was the only person out there tonight which is no surprise because it was raining.

And on my own I might have been on land, but there was some kind of activity out at sea. When I finished the first leg of my run I stopped at the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord and looked out to sea where I could see what looked to be a fishing vessel on its way around the headland towards port.

It’s not really possible to take much of a distance photo with a f1.8 50mm lens so it’s not come out with very much and I had to have three or four goes to get that one.

christmas lights place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom there I ran on down the Rue du Nord towards the footpath underneath the walls, but ended up having to go back and retrace my steps.

As I’d gone past one of the little alleys I’d glanced down and seen that at last they’ve illuminated the Christmas lights in the Place Cambernon. It makes the place look really pretty, but it’s a shame that with the lockdown there was no-one else but me there to see it.

Back on the footpath I ran all the way down to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch, but there was nothing going on there as you might expect.

christmas lights rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut with the Christmas lights being illuminated in the Place Cambernon, it’s odds-on that they will be illuminated elsewhere too.

Like down in the Rue Paul Poirier, for example. And I was right too. They’d switched them on too and from up here on th path just underneath the walls there’s a good view all the way down the street. One of these days I’m going to have to go for a good walk all around the town with the camera late at night and see what’s going on.

But that’s not going to be any time soon. With the lockdown we aren’t allowed to stray too far from home except for shopping and that isn’t done after dark of course. So we’ll have to see.

trawlers port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route took me across the Square Maurice Marland where I had a good run, and then up the ramp and through the gate at the far end up onto the walls.

And the fishing boat that we saw earlier? She’s now just about coming into port and at the same time there was another one making ready to leave, so we were treated to yet another nautical danse macabre as they waltzed around each other trying to avoid a tragedy.

So with no collisions or shipwrecks and nothing else to provide some entertainment this evening, I wandered off around the walls on my way home.

christmas lights place cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot before I’d had another look at the lights in the Place Cambernon.

By now they were blue so they must have some kind of time controller there. It’ll brighten up the place and make it look very Christmassy, but I wish that they would refresh the decorations instead of using the same ones every year. Why can’t they swap with neighbouring towns? That’s what I want to know.

So I finished my walk and ran on the final leg home to write up my notes and then go to bed.

Shopping tomorrow so I need to be on form. After all there’s plenty to do and not enough time. But at least it was a better day today. Apart from the cake of course.

Friday 27th November 2020 – HAVING NOT GONE …

… to bed until 02:30 this morning, I totally surprised myself by actually being up and about at 06:30.

Mind you, I needn’t have bothered for all the good that I’ve done today. I’ve not been able to get started today and I’m getting rather fed up of this.

So having slowly recovered from my extremely lethargic start and taken my medication, I listened to last night’s adventures on the dictaphone. Despite only being asleep for less than 4 hours, I still managed to find time to wander off.

There needed to be a big marriage in this family in a house very much like my old Grammar School and for some unknown reason they chose me to impersonate the bride. I was OK doing that until the groom appeared along with a couple of wedding cars. Then it became a kind of Brian Rix farce scampering around with all of this. My brother threatened to tell this guy and was making all kinds of suggestions. In the end he said that he needed someone to comfort him and console him, and the groom volunteered. I thought “that’s great. It will get rid of him. I can grab my shoes and clear off”. But I couldn’t find my shoes – I could only find one. The place was an absolute tip with presents and wrapping paper and everything around. But I could only find one shoe, which meant that I was stuck there. This guy came back down again and started to make some story about we needed to get this place tidied up. That was not what was going on in my mind at all. I was hoping to find a way to distract his attention so I could go but I had to find my shoes first and possibly my money and computer and loads of other things but the place was in such a mess that I couldn’t find anything.

It sounds rather like my place right now where I don’t even seem to have the energy to take the rubbish out to the bin.

Most of the day has been spent working on the arrears of when I was in Central Europe back in the summer, although you wouldn’t actually notice. My excuse that “much of the time was spent researching” isn’t really valid. It’s a far cry from the days 15 years ago when I could sit down and dash off 10,0000 words in a session without really thinking about it and without losing concentration and it’s making me even more depressed. Thank heaven that there’s music.

It will be no surprise to anyone that I crashed out round about midday. Crashed out good ‘n’ proper too, for more than an hour or so, curled up on the chair.

And so deep was I in it that I actually went off on a voyage. I was living with a large family and it was a weekend. I was wondering if all of the shops in Crewe had now reopened as I was thinking about going to B&Q for an exterior light for my house at Gainsborough Road and finally getting round to sorting a few things out there, but it was only a half-hearted thing. I was picturing myself doing some wiring but using some green flexible trunking. We were talking about things to do around the house to entertain us and I suggested a party. Someone wondered if I was being serious but I asked them if we had any jelly and cakes in ready. Feeling hungry, I went to the fridge where I had a tin of sweets and took one out, but I didn’t have the time to eat it as I found a Mickey Mouse cut-out of mine so took it over to the settee, sat down and went to put it in a folder. That mad me think about work, how I didn’t really like it and how I was creating arrears but thought then that I could always leave as I’m over the Retirement Age (how many times have I had this dream?) but then the downside would be that I would be really bored and going round in circles like I am now. The little girl came to sit by me with her big black long-haired cat that she was stroking. After a couple of minutes she got up to go somewhere and put the cat on my knee. That awoke me with a start.

At least my butternut squash soup was delicious even though it was quite late. And that was another thing – when I awoke from my little reverie I had the strangest feeling that I’d actually already eaten my lunch.

Back at my insipid work after lunch, up until walkies time and then I forced myself to go out into the cold.

Granville donville les bains Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd cold it really was too. Winter has definitely arrived now in Normandy.

The sea fog that we saw yesterday morning – or would have done had the camera worked properly, it was back again. Or maybe it hadn’t gone away. The whole of the coast was shrouded in it and visibility was only about 7 or 8 miles, as you can tell from this photo.

You can just about see the coast beyond Donville les Bains, but not much further. It’s certainly a foretaste of things to come and I think that it’s going to be a cold one this year. We haven’t actually had a really cold winter for a while

sun shining into water baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe brats were out orienteering on the lawn again and I helped a little one find a marker that she was looking for, and then I pushed on.

Round on the headland we had another one of these beautiful sunny effects where rays of sunshine shine through the gaps in the clouds and make pretty patterns on the water. It’s not as spectacular as the one a week or so ago but it’s pretty good all the same.

Nothing else going on out at sea so I continued on my way. Too many people around for a decent run so I had a nice sedate walk.

ceres 2 trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I’d been round at the headland I’d heard the sound of an old diesel motor chugging away somewhere so I was wondering what was going on.

And it seems to be all excitement this afternoon at the chantier navale. The green fishing boat that we saw in there yesterday seems to have disappeared but nstead they’ve hauled out another one from the water and dropped her on blocks.

I’ve no idea who she is, so I suppose that I’ll have to make further enquiries. But whoever she is, she’ll be in good company there with the yacht and with Ceres II who seem to have settled in for the Duration.

trawler chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSudenly the engine that I heard revved up. It’s the engine on the mobile boat lift and as I watched, it over-rode the new fishing vessel and they wrapped the lifting tackle around it.

Moving her off to a new more permanent location I imagine. I waited for a while to see but they didn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry.

But can you see the driver’s cab of the boat lift? he has a good view of what’s going on around him while he’s in motion. But it’s quite a beast, that. They need something like that here for lifting the boats in and out of the water. 100 tonnes is no lightweight.

Back at the apartment I made a coffee and then carried on with my paper-stirring until it was time to practise the guitar. At least all of that went well and I had an enjoyable time. Thank heaven there’s music.

Tea was taco rolls and rice followed by another slice of my pie with banana sorbet.

trench place du marche au ble Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter tea, I had to dash out pretty smartish-like for my runs as there would be football on the internet later.

It was another day where I really wasn’t feeling up to all that much but I persevered all the same and managed my 6 runs, to some kind of degree. One of the legs of my runs goes past the other end of the trench that we saw yesterday. There’s no light here at all so you can’t see very much of it but anyway …

On I pushed round to the viewpoint over looking the Place Marechal Foch.

christmas lights avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlthough there was nothing going on down in the Place, there was some excitement happening in the Avenue de la Liberation.

Here we are, the first Christmas lights of the year, shining away in the biscuit shop over there. A sure sign that Christmas is coming. Next it will be the public lighting that we’ve seen them installing throughout the town over the last couple of weeks.

So I cleared off again, running across the Square Maurice Marland and making my way home via the shorter route rather than going by the walls. I was in a hurry.

parking blocked off avenue notre dame Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s been quite a while since we went up the Rue Notre Dame so I was wondering if we’d see any changes along there.

Not really, I have to say. After all, it was quite dark. But it looks as if there is going to be yet more digging up of the road here, as if there hasn’t already been enough, judging by the fact that some of the parking is now fenced off.

There was a public notice pinned to one of the hurdles but the weather had got to that before I did, so I couldn’t see what it said.

Back in the apartment, I just about made the kick-off. Bala Town were playing Newtown and, to be honest, Bala had far too much in the tank for Newtown. Nevertheless although Newtown’s defence stood up well, they were undone by a couple of moments of magic down the right wing. A score of 3-1 to Bala was probably about right, I reckon, and no-one can complain about this.

And, rather shamefully, I fell asleep for a couple of minutes in the middle of the game.

Not an early night tonight again, unfortunately. One of these days I’ll manage a good, decent sleep without oversleeping. I’ve no idea when that will be, though.

Thursday 26th November 2020 – I SCOOPED THE PRESS!

And I did too!

Headlines in the local paper this morning – NEW TRAWLER ARRIVES IN GRANVILLE but regular readers of this rubbish will recall that LAST FRIDAY I’d mentioned that she’d arrived.

So remember, folks, you heard it first here!

Mind you, I wasn’t as quick off the mark with getting up this morning though. It might not have been 10:00 but 06:30 is still quite depressing nevertheless.

First thing that I did after the medication was to listen to the dictaphone. A cricket match had been arranged between us and some other people. It had been arranged months previously starting at 19:00. Of course now it was late November so we all turned up at 19:00 and it was going dark, impossible to play cricket in these kind of conditions. People were experimenting, putting cars around the pitch so that their lights shone on there, that kind of thing. A few of us were just waiting for something to happen. I went up to one of the players who I knew and asked if I could have my lunch out of the car – he obviously had my lunch or something. After a bit of a rummage round he handed me a bag. He asked “what do you have in there?” “Clams” I replied “Gorgeous clams” and wandered off leaving him rather green in the face. In the middle of the pitch was a guy sitting there quite calmly cutting a lump of bread of a loaf and cutting a lump of cheese off another block and sitting there eating. I went over to talk to him and we ended up discussing the radio, talking about contracts and shows and the Copyright Act. he talked about all these little girls who had taped these performances on their mobile phones and were sharing them amongst their friends and how the Copyright Act people were getting at them. I noticed that he was listening to a group and was telling me about them, how he’d found them on some kind pf Internet chart and had risen to n°71 in the charts. We talked about the charts and I noticed that he was listening to it on Hi5, an elderly social network thing going back 10-15 years so I was intrigued to know if Hi5 was still going and was determined to ask him about it

later on I was with my father and one of my sisters. He was messing around with some car that he’d obviously just bought, a T registered MkIV saloon, the beige colour. The paintwork was scabby on it but it wasn’t too bad. Joanie was sitting in there bouncing around in the back and he was saying how much she was going to like the particular car. Then it was my turn to get into it, so I got in, started up the engine and drove it off down this yard where the vehicle was parked, got to the end and put my foot on the brake just like how I’d normally drive a car. But the brakes were useless on this and it shot out of the yard before it came to a stop. I had to push on down the road until I could find a place to turn round. It was dark by this time so I had the lights on so I went to put it on main beam so that I could see better. But it was really stiff. But before this I’d gone past a place where there was a llama. At first I thought that it was a horse but it was a llama and was stuck underneath what was basically a shed but with no floor on it. It had fallen on the animal’s back, the building and it was struggling trying to get free of it. So I went to put the lights onto main beam and fiddled about with this dip indicator but suddenly all the lights cut out and I couldn’t see a thing. It was pitch-black and I had to bring the vehicle to a standstill without driving off the road or into an object, anything like that which I managed to do. Then I had to wait until it was light and I could go home. All these vehicles were coming past me including a Crosville bus so I had to set off and turn round a bit further on or wait for them to go past and then turn round. In the meantime this llama came round, extremely bad-tempered and I thought to myself “I’m going to be in a confrontation with a bad-tempered llama”.

Anyway when I awoke, I found that there was no cause for allama.

And for a change, I managed to find the time to have a shower. I can’t remember when was the last time. And I did feel much better afterwards too. Mind you, that 100 grammes that I lost – I’ve put it back on. We’ll see how we go after a month with no perfusion.

early morning sea fog baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd then off to hit the streets and head for the shops.

And a couple of really miserable photos too because, once more, the battery in the NIKON 1 J5 was flat again. That’s been added to my shopping list for this weekend now. And that’s a shame because this morning we had our very first sea-fog of the winter and I would have loved to have photographed it properly.

Instead, a rather depressing one taken with the camera on the telephone will have to suffice. But I can’t keep on going like this.

And only 2.5 years out of a camera battery? Whatever is the world coming to?br clear=”both”>

normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis miserable photo here isn’t all the fault of the camera on the phone (or the operator).

As you can see, Thora has left port for the Channel Islands and in her place on the morning tide, Normandy Trader has come in. And unfortunately she’s brought with her a load of sea-fog. And not only that, the sun shining directly into the lens has amplified the effect of the fog and crated something like an obscure translucent effect.

Ordinarily I would leave the photo until on the way back when the fog has dispersed and the sun moved out of shot, but with the speed of the turnrounds these days, Normandy Trader might be gone by then.

LIDL was an expensive shop because I needed quite a few things. Even so, they didn’t have everything that I needed and I did forget some more of it too. But that will be for another time.

One thing that was depressing me was that there are no grapes. However the end of the grape season means the start of the clementine season.

Back in the apartment I attacked the butternut squash.

I cut it in quarters, deseeded it, sliced it ad put it in the oven coated with oil in order to roast the pieces.

Meanwhile I fried a large onion and plenty of garlic with some cumin, coriander and chili in a very large saucepan. While that was doing, I peeled and diced three large carrots and added them to the onions etc.

butternut squash soup place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen the butternut bits were nice and soft, I peeled them (and that took longer than I imagined), added them into the saucepan, put enough water in to cover everything, brought it to the boil and and left it to simmer for half an hour.

Finally I added some coconut cream and fresh ground pepper, and then whizzed it all into a purée. Here’s the finished product anyway. And it really was delicious with some of my home-made bread. However if the truth is known, I’ve probably put a little too much of the spices in it. It’s something that you might more appropriately call a “hotpot”.

The good news is that there are four helpings left over. Two of them are in the fridge for tomorrow and Saturday, and the other two are in the freezer for “again”. I really must buy a bigger freezer because I’ve long-since run out of room in there.

So it ended up being a very late lunch as it took much longer than I was expecting. And by the time that I’d finished it was time to go walkies outside.

trawler english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere weren’t too many people out there this afternoon which was surprising because although it was cold, it wasn’t all that windy and properly dressed, it was quite acceptable.

The fishing fleet seems to be back in action too Here’s one of the trawlers making its way back to the fish processing plant, presumably with a full load of whatever it is that they catch.

And talking of catching things, I managed to catch hold of a brat this afternoon. The kids were all out on the lawn doing what they do and as one came by me, I asked her what it was that they were all doing. And as I expected, it is indeed orienteering that they are practising.

The next stage will be to grab hold of another one at some later time and to ask it why.

pleasure boat le loup baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallLeaving them to it, I walked on across the path and down to the headland to see what was going on out at sea.

The trawler had gone past of course, and so there was nothing really to see out across to Cancale and the brittany coast. But there was a pleasure craft out there heading into port past Le Loup, the big marker light on the rocks just at the entrance to the harbour.

And you can see how far the tide is in by looking at Le Loup. When the tide is right out you can see not only all of the light but also the rock upon which it stands. When the tide is right in, it comes to just underneath the lower red line.

trawlers fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe tide being right in means that, in principle, all of the fishing boats that were out would be at the Fish Processing Plant unloading their catch ready for shipment to the markets in the big cities.

And today is clearly no exception. There are 7 or 8 boats there and the fleet of refrigerated vans on the quayside and the deck underneath means that this lot is more likely to be the individual owners who make their own arrangements to sell their catch to local restaurants or seafood shops, that kind of thing.

And the fact that there have been two new boats this year at least – Rocavi II and le Pearl – just goes to show that business must be good and that there’s confidence for the future.

ceres 2 chantier navale trawler port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBusiness also seems to be good in the chantier navale too, which is likewise good news for the local economy.

The boat that we saw hauled out of the water yesterday must have gone back in, because she’s not there now, but they have just brought another one out. I missed it coming out of the water, but the mobile boat lift was on its way back to its station when I arrived here.

This boat will be in good company with Ceres II and the yacht that seems to have put down roots right now.

With nothing else of any excitement I hurried on home to see what else I ought to be doing – like a mountain of washing up, for example.

My friend who had Covid was on line so we had a chat, and she’s been offered a new job, much more in line with her line of work. So well done her! And then I fell asleep.

The hour on the guitar is rewarding, except that it was difficult to play the acoustic because I have an issue with my thumb. These kitchen knives are flaming sharp when they are in the water and you can’t see them.

Tea was stuffed pepper made with more of that really nice couscous, chick pea and quinoa stuff, and then the raspberry tart with banana ice-cream and chocolate sauce.

Out on my run tonight and for some reason that I don’t understand, I just couldn’t get into it. For all the good that I felt like out there, I needn’t have bothered.

But I pushed on regardless and made really the barest minimum of my 6 targets. At least I managed them all so I suppose that that is something.

escalier du moulin a vent Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAll the way down the Rue du Nord and then along the footpath underneath the walls to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch, a run that I do in 4 stages because it’s quite long and I’m not here to kill myself off – just to keep in some kind of shape.

Nothing at all going on down there again because it is quite late and there’s no-one about, so I sent a few minutes taking photographs in the dark to see what I could reproduce. This one is supposed to be of the steps of the Escalier du Moulin a Vent that goes down to the bottom.

But I seem to have managed a nice bright photo of a tree and very little else. But it’s not easy pointing your camera blind over a wall.

trench place du marche au ble Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis one is a little more like it. I could capture something interesting even though the darkness defeated it somewhat.

Where I’m standing is on a little bridge that leads over to the Place du Marché au Blé. There’s a kind of trench that’s been cut through the solid rock to make a meutrier – a death-trap in which soldiers can become stuck when they are assailing the fortifications. They can easily get into it but getting out is much more difficult and they will be at the mercy of anyone on the walls with a bow and arrow as they try to scramble out.

A great many medieval fortifications have something similar and it was a very effective technique – and also a very good defence against anyone trying to undermine the walls. They would have to do it twice – once on the outer wall and then once in the meutrier on the inner walls, exposed to whatever the defenders could throw down from above.

square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hallregular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other night we took a photo of the tree that stands on its own in the Square Maurice Marland.

This evening I thought that I would take a photo of the reverse angle of the shot so that you can see it from this way round, just for a change. The statue of Maurice Marland and his colleagues of the Resistance who were murdered is just beyond it.

And from here, I ran off all the way down there right to the other end – about 300 or so metres.

Eventually I made my way home and wrote up my notes. But it’s now 02:00, I’m still not tired so I’m working. Tomorrow is goi,g to be another bad day, I reckon.

Monday 23rd November 2020 – REGULAR READERS …

police interaction bad parking boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… of this rubbish will recall that one of the things that I moan on about from time to time is the question of bad parking.

In the Boulevard Vaufleury round about school chucking-out time it’s particularly bad as people would rather block off the street and prevent the school buses and the service buses passing rather than make their precious little darlings walk an extra 20 metres to the large free car par park just across the road.

And here today is the local police force giving a “Hail Columbia” on the loud hailer to two women (because they are both women) parked opposite each other, the white one with all four wheels on the road and the black one with two wheels on the pavement, combining to block the entire street and one of the two pavements to just about everyone who might be going past.

And that’s good news as far as I am concerned.

What else that is good news is the fact that when the third alarm went off this morning I was already in the kitchen sorting out my tablets. And that’s a long time since that has happened.

After having had the medication I cracked on with this week’s radio programme. And by the time I stopped for lunch it was all done, completed and ready to go. And apart from the fact that I stopped for my hot chocolate and slice of chocolate cake (which isn’t half as bad as I was expecting it to be) I would have finished it earlier had there not been a power cut round about 09:30 which meant that I lost whatever work I hadn’t saved since I’d backed it up a short while earlier.

In actual fact, it’s all worked out really well and it’s certainly one of the better ones that I’ve done. Unfortunately, I missed out the fact that I should have been doing a live concert, so I’ll have to deal with that probably later on this week.

As for my chocolate cake, the bottom is rather burnt and the rest of the outside is overcooked whereas the centre is rather heavy and slightly undercooked. That implies that the oven was too warm but the cooking time was not long enough. It’s not as much of a disaster as I was thinking and it’s hopeful for the future.

After lunch, I had a listen to the programme that I’d recorded this morning ans also to the live concert that I had prepared a few weeks ago for this weekend. And it seems that in the past I had already edited the part that I felt needed attention so I could relax.

While that was going on, I had a listen to the dictaphone. to see where I’d been during the night.

I was with a lady-friend of my acquaintance last night. We were a couple. Something had happened about a letter – there was an important letter to give to me and even though I wasn’t there she hadn’t realised about it so she said that she would take it. I ended up being back at home again on my own first and I had gone to the bathroom. I’d had a load of issue about closing the door to the bathroom but in the end I managed to do it. Just then she turned up and said “I have this important letter for you”. I was trying hard to pretend that I didn’t know that she had it. I said “ohh right”. She said “I’ll throw it over the top of the door”. I said “no, I’ll be out in a minute. You hang on to it”. So I went to sit on the toilet and she went into the kitchen. There was only a wire netting fence between the two so that you could see. She was getting out this envelope and then she got some cucumbers and cut them in half lengthways so that they were very long and thin and started scoring them to get them into some kind of cut, maybe about 10 to the inch, something like that all the way down this cucumber and then bent the skins inwards then she could trim all of the cucumber off at one go and have all of these half-slices at one go. Some other girl came along into the kitchen, picked up another half of a cucumber and started to do the same thing so I wondered what on earth was going on here now with this other girl. What’s she doing here?

Later on I was on a tram in New York last night travelling up Edleston Road in Crewe when a couple of ticket inspectors climbed aboard to check tickets. I suddenly realised that I’d forgotten to buy a ticket. I had a search around in my pockets and found a ticket that I had used a couple of days previously so when the ticket inspector came to me I handed her the ticket. She had 2 or 3 tickets in her hand at the same time so she checked them, handed the 2 back to the other 2 people and said “I’ll be back in a minute” and wandered off up the tram. Just at that moment the tram reached the top of Edleston Road and of course I was planning to go off down Nantwich Road anyway so I took the opportunity to nip out at that tram stop and walk off down Nantwich Road and tried to think about how the tram system in New York worked – I certainly hadn’t put any of my tickets through any machines or anything like that while I’d been on the trams or so on. And then thinking that maybe it’s probably not a good idea to get a tram back home but to walk. At least it would save me going out for a walk later on at night. I’d have got my exercise in simply by walking home from Nantwich Road.

There was more to it than that too, but as you are probably eating your tea right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound about the normal time I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

As you can see from the photo they have made a start on replacing the slates on the roof, and that’s not something that I would fancy doing doing in this kind of weather. It was cold and windy although, admittedly, not as windy as it has been.

One thing that I ought to mention about the roofing task is that a couple of weeks ago while I was in Leuven one of the workmen fell from the roof and was seriously injured. They actually had the helicopter air ambulance in the car park here to take the injured party to hospital.

cloud formation ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I’ve already mentioned the weather just now, I went over to the sea wall to look out to sea in order to see what might be going on out to sea.

There were no boats out there at sea today which was a shame, but what had caught my eye was the beautiful cloud formation out there in the centre of the photograph just beyond and to the left of the Ile de Chausey. There have been quite a few good ones just recently, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

No brats out there today orienteering so I pushed on round to then end of the headland to see if there is anything going on round there too, but there was disappointment there too. I’ve never known it to be so quiet.

ceres 2 portable boat lift chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMind you, there was something going on at the chantier navale as I was to discover when I arrived at the viewpoint overlooking the port.

While there was no change in the actual occupancy of the chantier navale but as we can see, the mobile boat lift has now moved from its usual position over the docking area to a position right by Ceres II as if it’s about to pick up the little boat and drop her into the water at the next high tide.

Having spent a few minutes watching the excitement in the Boulevard Vaufleury with the Police interaction, I came on home because there were things to do.

The sourdough was bubbling away quite nicely so I cleared all of the workplace, cleaned the worktop and started to make some sourdough dough. And it’s a real time-consuming process too – much more than I was expecting and the standing time is quite lengthy too.

While I was at it, I prepared the next batch of kefir.

5 of my batch of clementines were peeled, put in the whizzer and slightly whizzed round to extract the juice. This was filtered through into the large jug and the pulp was put back into the whizzer, whizzed for a good five minutes and filtered through again.

clementine kefir Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe kefir was then filtered through the filters and the clementine pulp into the jug and then it was stirred round to mix together. I’d left an inch or two of liquid in my big pot with the kefir starter in, and prepared a new batch with sugar, lemon slices and a dried fig and, or course, a couple of litres of water.

The clementine/orange mix was then filtered through the fine mesh filter into the bottles and that will now be left to ferment for a few days until it’s ready for use.

With having used some nice, juicy clementines, I’m intrigues to see how it’s all going to turn out. The big idea of course is to use whatever fruit is handy and in season to make your kefir.

The hour on the guitar was quite enjoyable too and I’m finding that my singing and playing the bass is improving, although I have to keep the bass lines much les complicated than I otherwise would and I can only let myself go during the solos. But at least it’s quite an improvement over where I was a few months ago. I just have to persevere.

Tea was a vegan burger with pasta and vegetables followed by a slice of my raspberry tart, which likewise hasn’t turned out too badly. The custard Filling worked particularly well.

st martin de brehal Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOut on my walk tonight, I was all alone yet again so I could run as much as I wanted, which was not as much as I would like, but nevertheless …

It was a cold, clear, bright night with a good view all the way down the coast so when I stopped at the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord I took a photograph of all of the street lights on the promenade down at Saint Martin de Bréhal and further along the coast at Bréhal-Plage.

having dealt with that, I ran down to the footpath underneath the walls and then ran all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch.

rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was nothing going on at the Place Marechal Foch so I went over to see what was happening in the Rue Paul Poirier.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days ago we saw that the Christmas lights had been installed down in the street and I was rather hoping that they might have been switched on by now. But that wasn’t to be the case. It seems that we’ll have to wait for that to happen, whenever that might be.

There was quite a strong headwind as I ran across the Square Maurice Marland and it was something of a struggle to fight against it. But I made it all the way to the end, despite giving the girl sitting on the wall in the dark quite a surprise.

victor hugo port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallContinuing along the medieval walls I heard a sound coming from the harbour as if there was an engine running somewhere.

It looks as if they are doing something with Victor Hugo. All of her lights are on and it seems that the engine was running too. What’s going on there is something that remains to be seen, but I do know that there are no plans to resume the ferry service to the Channel Islands in the near future.

From there I ended up at the Place du Parvis Notre Dame and from there I ran on home to write up my notes for the day.

Now that’s done, I have to knead my sourdough dough. It’s been standing for five hours instead of the recommended three but it still hasn’t doubled in size. Nevertheless I’ll give it a go and put it in its mould and leave it overnight ready for the morning when I’ll bung it in the oven.

In view of its lack of energy so far, I’m not convinced by the sourdough procedure. I’ll try three or four loaves but unless there’s something dramatic it’s an experiment with which I may not continue. At least the kefir and the cordial (this batch of orange cordial is delicious) are working.

But that’s for tomorrow. After I’ve kneaded the dough I’m going to bed. I have my Welsh letter tomorrow.

Sunday 22nd November 2020 – I KNOW THAT …

… Sunday is a Day of Rest, but I do have to say that 12:30 is taking this to absurd lengths. So much so that I’m giving serious thought to setting an alarm for 10:00 on a Sunday morning just to remind myself that I have plenty of other things that need doing during the day too.

I could easily understand it if I hadn’t gone to bed until 05:00 or 06:00 (which has sometimes been the case) but going to bed at 23:30 is early by my standards. All I can say is that I must have been tired.

Plenty of time for me t go on a variety of travels, and so it comes as something of a surprise to learn that last night I didn’t go all that far. I’d been in France with Terry and we had to come back to the UK. Terry had his motorbike so we decided that we would go back on his motorbike. I remember that for some reason I was sitting on the front seat but he was sitting on the rear but he was driving. We made sure that we had absolutely everything and we set off. In no time at all we ended up back in Crewe and I don’t remember anything about the journey back except for tiny bits here yet we must have gone on the ferry, we must have stopped for fuel, all this kind of thing and surely did I fall asleep on the motorbike? He replied “yes, it took up 5 hours to come back”. I thought that that was absolutely astonishing. Anyway I ended up at home and had a few letters to post. I thought “I can do that tomorrow” so I went to the Bridge Inn at Audlem to see Alan Findlay. He wasn’t there so I thought that I’d take Liz Ayers with me there because there’s a woman in the bar who was her spitting image and it would be interesting to see their reactions if they were to see each other. But she didn’t come and this woman was looking more like Liz all the time. Then I met another couple of women who looked like her as well. I thought “God, if only Liz had been here this ould have been great”. I eventually tracked Alan Findlay down at his house and did what I had to do. That was when Liz had committed suicide and that was totally astonishing and the thought came over that she had had such a good time in France that to go back to the UK was bound to be an issue particularly with the health problem that she had.

But all of this is certainly weird. Liz Ayers popping up during the night and also Alan Findlay, a name from the past about 45 years ago and about whom I haven’t really thought all that much (if anything) ever since then.

So having wasted half a day there wasn’t really all that much to say about today. By the time that I’d sat down by the computer it was 13:00 and by the time that the paperwork was done it was about 14:00. That didn’t leave me much time because at 15:00 I had a Zoom meeting.

One of my friends, Jem Stuart, is an established poet and it was the launch of his latest book of poetry “No Limericks Left Overnight In This vehicle” today and he was having a “Zoom” party to celebrate. His sister has been a friend of mine for about 50 years ever since she was dating a friend of mine at school and so I’ve been following his career with some interest since we made contact again about 5 years ago. There were about 20 of us there and we had a good chat while he read some of his poems and told us a little story about them.

contemplating the ocean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat took me up to walkies time. Rather later than usual, but never mind.

There were several people out there walking around, and a group of them were pointing at something out on the rocks. At first I thought that it was a cormorant or a heron perched upon a rock but in actual fact, having enlarged the photo on returning home, I could see that it was someone quietly contemplating the state of the nation.

Not that I have too much time to do anything like that of course. If I’m not sleeping I’m working and I don’t really have the time to sit and relax. There are only so many hours in the day, and so many days in the year. And as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I don’t have many of them left. I want to get up-to-date before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

lighthouse sunset pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so accordingly I continued on my way along the path on top of the cliffs.

It was so late when I went out that the sun was on the verge of setting. A far cry from the days when I’d be out at 21:30 and 22:00 and the sun was still visible in the sky. The sun was so low in the sky that it had plunged the reverse side of the lighthouse into pitch-black.

There’s a project simmering away in the back of my head right now and I need a photo like this to illustrate a point that I will be making. So no time like the present.

sunset cancale brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRound at the end of the Pointe du Roc on the headland overlooking the Baie de Mont St Michel and the town of Cancale over on the Brittany coast, the view was even better.

What was really nice was seeing the church at Cancale (on the horizon on the left of the image) and the Ile des Landes (on the right) silhouetted right in the full light of the sun as it was shining through the hole in the clouds over there.

In actual fact, the whole effect was quite pleasing, in a different way from the other day when the sun was higher in the sky.

From there I tried a little run along the path on the clifftop on the other side but encountered only too soon a group of other people so I slowed down to a sedate walk and came on home.

Back here, it was time for baking and I do have to say that it was not a success. In fact, probably my first culinary disaster. The pie base worked well enough, and so did the apple turnover with the rest of the pastry. But the Chocolate brownie mix that I tried went totally wrong. it said “bake for a maximum 30 minutes” but I’d only made about 3/4 of the mixture and as the oven is rather unreliable I put the time at 35 minutes and 15°C over. Even so, when I pulled out the cake mould to check it at the end, I poured half of the liquid all over the floor.

Even 70 minutes didn’t bake it thoroughly so I dunno. I know that my oven isn’t up to much but I would have expected it to have been better than this. I’ll have to write it off to experience.

It goes without saying that, once more, there wasn’t time to make a sourdough loaf. I might start that tomorrow after I finish my radio recording if there is time.

Tea was a vegan pizza of course. I attacked that with gusto and it was good enough, and so I checked the pie base into which I had added the fresh raspberries and agar-agar before tea. And that hadn’t set either. In the end I resorted to some very thick custard to complete the task.

All in all, not a very good cookery day today. Instead I went out for a run, far later than usual as I was running really late, what with one thing or another.

rue jules michelet avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat was good about this was that there was no-one else around so I could run to my heart’s content, at least, as far as my health will let me. And my fourth leg brought me as usual to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch. We’ve seen a few photos from here just recently, but I don’t think that we’ve seen the back of the square.

On the immediate left is what I think might have been an old hotel but is now a Convalescent home (in which, apparently are several Covid patients brought from elsewhere) and to the right is the Rue Jules Michelet, probably the steepest street in France I reckon.

Just imagine what it must have been like trying to take a horse and cart up there 150 years ago. Today, traffic goes up the serpentine Avenue de la Liberation to the right and cover three times the distance to arrive at the same spot.

tree square maurice marland Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMy route home includes a trip through the Square Maurice Marland.

By the memorial to Maurice Marland, which regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing on numerous occasions, there’s a solitary tree which has some lights set in the ground around it. Today those lights were actually illuminated and the effect was so eerie that I stopped to take a photo of it.

No-one about calling their dogs tonight so after I finished my walk around the walls I ran on home, rather late.

So despite it being still a little early and that I had a late start to the day, I’m off to bed. Back to work tomorrow and I really must press on instead of idling about like I seem to be doing these days.

There’s a radio show to do of course, and I need tocheck on another one that is due to be broadcast because I think that I need to make some changes to it.

And bread to bake too, and maybe something else if my chocolate cake has turned out to be a total failure.

It’s all go around here, isn’t it? When was the last time that I sat down to read a book or watch a film? I really can’t remember, it was so long ago.

Saturday 21st November 2020 – JUST FOR A …

… change, I managed to beat the third alarm to my feet.

And not only is that a surprise in itself, it’s even more surprising when you consider that I didn’t go to bed until long after 01:30.

It goes without saying that I didn’t go anywhere during the night. There probably wasn’t enough time to do very much anyway so it was something of a restful sleep for what it was. And I do have to say that when the third alarm went off I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor, and that’s as good as it got for about half an hour.

This morning I finished going through my mailbox and a pile of stuff has bitten the dust – and quite right too. It’s down to a much-more manageable proportion now.

As well as that I was chatting to my friend with Covid (well, she doesn’t have it now of course) and doing some work on the arrears from my journey around Central Europe. And then, I … errr … fell asleep. And no surprise there after my early start.

After lunch I didn’t do the baking. After all if I’m baking tomorrow as well I may as well have a go at my cake then and use the oven for everything.

But there was football on quite early today too. Barry Town and Y Drenewydd played out an exciting, pulsating 0-0 draw. Yes, exciting, not like most 0-0 draws. The action flowed from one end to the other throughout, ably assisted by Cheryl Foster, the league’s female referee. We had several shots on goal, including one almighty whack from; Nat Jarvis that rattled the Newtown woodwork, but the defences were well on top in this game. Quite an enjoyable game all around.

lighthouse semaphore pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was extremely late and going dark but nevertheless I went out for my afternoon walk.

Surprisingly there were a few people out there this afternoon and some of them were heading my way as I admired the lighthouse and the semaphore station out on the end of the Pointe du Roc. And of course, that would have to be my luck, wouldn’t it? Not many people around, but all of them right where I would ordinarily be running.

And so instead, dodging the dog, I had a sedate stroll up to the end of the track, across the car park and around the headland to see what was going on at the memorial to the lifeboatmen.

decorated seafarers monument pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day they sprinkled fresh gravel all around it to make it look pretty.

Today there seem to have been even more changes. The memorial has now grown a few huge bunches of flowers. It would be to commemorate something I imagine but what, I don’t know. I shall have to go tomorrow and check the dates of the sinkings that are recorded there.

What with nothing else whatever going on out there this afternoon, I headed for home and a hot coffee. And such are the way of things around here right now that I switched on the kettle, went for a gypsy’s and then headed for the office, completely forgetting to make the coffee.

Tea tonight was something of a fry-up of vegetables and vegetable balls, in the microwave fryer that Rachel gave me last year. It’s actually too big for the microwave but if I take out the round plate, put a support over the rotator and put the fryer on that so that it doesn’t turn round, it does actually fit.

It takes ages though, so there was plenty of time to make some cheese sauce too. And it was all followed down by the last of the apple crumble. Tomorrow I’m going to have yet another attempt at a fruit tart with agar-agar

rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat was the cue to go out for my evening runs. And it was just as well that I was all alone out there because for some reason I wasn’t on my best form and my running was rather bizarre.

Have I taken a photo of the Rue du Nord from this point before? I don’t think so, and so I’ll put that right. This is the resting point after the second leg of my runs, the first being right down at the end of that shot. There’s quite a steep bank behind me and I can’t run up there. It brings me to a shuddering halt.

From here I ran on down the path underneath the walls and all the way round to the viewpoint overlooking the Place Marechal Foch where we take our photos of the sea breaking onto the Plat Gousset.

place marechal foch Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was absolutely nothing of any excitement here either.

With nothing else to do, I took a photo of the end of the Place nearest the street and then headed for home, running across the Square Maurice Marland.

At one of the houses at the end I encountered a woman. She had let her dog out to take itself off for a walk but instead of coming back home it was simply sitting there by the side of the road and she was trying everything to make it move, but with no success.

After an exchange of pleasantries I continued my walk around the walls and then ran on the rest of the way home.

For a change I’m going to have an early night. And then a nice long lie-in to get myself together for what I have to do tomorrow – like bake a cake, bake a tart, start off the sourdough bread etc etc. And to book my voyage to Belgium, something that I forgot to do today. I really must organise myself.