Tag Archives: place pelley

Thursday 19th May 2022 – JUST IN CASE …

… you’re wondering, which I’m sure you aren’t because I’m as fed up as you are, there wasn’t any change today in the way things worked out.

So there wasn’t all that much of a morning to do things in but I was working out a couple of plans for later next month. My Welsh exam is on 17th June and then I might go off on my travels for a while. I’m not doing much good here so I may as well not do much good somewhere else.

While I was at it I managed to fit in the time to go for a shower and a good clean-up.

After lunch I had a Welsh conversation class which wasn’t as long as it ought to have been because firstly I had to finish early to go for my physiotherapy appointment and secondly it took an age for me to connect up to the chat. It really was steam-driven internet here today.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022So eventually I had to wander off out for my physiotherapy appointment this afternoon.

As usual I went for a look down into the port from the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

And for a change we haven’t seen L’Omerta settled down in the silt for the last few days. She must have gone out to sea to earn an honest living.

Incidentally, you are probably wondering what the “2E et 202E de Ligne” refers to in the name of the street. It actually refers to the “2nd and 202nd (Regiments) of the Line” – the two infantry regiments that were housed in the buildings here where I live when they were military barracks before the army sold them off in the late 80s.

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022With nothing much else going on around here I headed off down the hill towards the town.

And for a change just recently, Marité is tied up at her berth this afternoon. It looks as if she might be having a day off today.

There are a few people loitering around on the quayside but I don’t think that they will be going aboard because she doesn’t have a gangplank out to the quayside.

And the speedboat that was there yesterday is still there today. No-one has been in from Jersey with a freighter to take it away so far today.

bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022Things seem to be happening at Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère that opens every summer on the Place Pelley.

Never mind the boulonauts, the café tables now seem to have grown some orange parasols to shelter everone from the sun and, more likely, the torrential thunderstorms that we’ve been having this last couple of days.

As seems to be the case these days I didn’t enjoy the walk up the hill to the physiotherapist. I’m not doind as well as I did a couple of weeks ago and even then, that was nothing to write home about.

The physiotherapist put me through my paces again this afternoon. I’m sure that it’s a case of “kill or cure” with her. She’s certainly having a good go at finishing me off.

electricians working rue paul poirier Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022At the end of my session I staggered out into the street and reeled off down the hill into the town centre.

The last time we came by this way, which was on Monday, we saw the electricians at work laying cables in the conduits under the pavement. And they are still at it today, but their tent has moved a few feet down the hill to another manhole.

The walk up the hill towards home was another desperate struggle with me having to stop for breath on several occasions. I was thinking that if I’m like this after just 10 days of being without my hospital treatment, what am I going to be like after 13 weeks?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022When I (finally) reached the top of the hill, after much binding in the marsh, I didn’t go straight home.

Instead, I went down to the end of the car park to have a look over the wall to see what was happening down on the beach this afternoon.

It had been a lovely day – in fact I’d been out to the physiotherapist in just a tee-shirt without wearing a jacket or a jumper – so I was expecting to see the crowds down there this afternoon so it was rather disappointing to see so few people.

There wasn’t anything going on out at sea either. Mind you, I only had the NIKON 1 J5 with the standard lens so even if there had been something happening, the tide was so far out that I wouldn’t have been able to see it anyway.

hang glider plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo May 2022However in the distance there were couple of bird-men of Alcatraz trying their best to take to the air with their Nazguls.

They seemed to be having an enormous amount of difficulty so I waited for a while to give them a chance to approach me but in the end I ran out of patience and went indoors for a strawberry smoothie.

And then I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. There was something about spies. We were actually catching a spy in Wales on the Lleyn peninsula. Right at the very end we put his body back in the water hoping that the current would catch it and take it out to sea. There was much more to it than this and I remember thinking that this would have made a really good plot for a book. Then there was Mildred Murfin and two men a bit like the Men from the Ministry. She was planning on going on holiday with them but of course they weren’t used to going on holiday. It was all a bit of a mess, packing and preparing everything etc. One of them turned up at her apartment dressed in his pyjamas saying that he wasn’t going. He didn’t think that it was him so she had to cajole him along to try to take the few final steps to prepare his things ready to catch his flight. They were all typical British holidaymakers of the 60s going abroad with no idea what to expect, no idea what to do or what to take etc, all very naive and all really rather a sad dream watching them try to prepare to leave on this holiday of a lifetime.

There was a married couple, two kids and me somewhere in Central Europe. They were something like a Romany family. We were all going off to stay somewhere in a caravan for 2 weeks. I was driving and I didn’t recognise the car that I had. We were all going to this caravan by the sea somewhere. I can’t remember anything about it at all, what was happening. I know that in the end everyone ended up leaving the car, leaving me in it. There were a couple of little girls who had come to meet the youngest of these two children to go to a dancing class. There was going to be a football match with all the kids against the adults but that’s all that I can remember.

We were listening to a Gospel-rock song by “Arrival” although it was in fact mostly “Alquin” musicians with Dyan Birch singing. For some unknown reason the guitar solo wasn’t what I wanted at all. I had an earlier guitar solo for that track stashed away somewhere so I edited out the guitar solo that was being played and superimposed the one from earlier in its place. I mentioned to the musicians that I’d changed guitar solo and the guitarist was distraught. He was unhappy with his own playing rather than anything else. I explained that it wasn’t a case that the playing was bad, simply a case that it was inappropriate for what I wanted. He was still inconsolable about it but I went ahead and changed the solo anyway. The other group members didn’t seem to be all that concerned at all.

This is about the 6th attempt at dictating this. I’d had all of the motor insurance renewals for France and I’d noticed that the premiums had gone up quite a lot so I’d gone round to the broker’s. They told me that much of it related to the yellow Cortina saloon because with it being parked up the premiums had gone up because some actuary had worked out that cars are more at risk of accidents when they are stationary than when they are actually moving. I thought that that was absolute nonsense. Maybe they disagreed with me but they couldn’t agree with the actuarial report. It was a girl with a cleft palate who saw me so it was very difficult to understand what she was saying. The thalidomide girl was involved in the discussion as well at some point. I learnt as well that they were going to drop down and possess part of my yard where the building was, taking away 1500m² that I owned there so that they could make a by-pass around the town. That was going to be even worse for me because I had nowhere else to keep anything. This was turning into a very bad situation for me. I wasn’t enjoying what I was hearing at all today. The boss was very unhappy with the fact that I was complaining but I thought that I was well within my rights to complain about this kind of thing.

Tea tonight was a burger on a bap with a baked potato and veg – well, only half the veg because the other half ended up on the floor. It’s not my day today, is it?

and the fridge needs defrosting so I’m going to deal with that before I go to bed. One of these days things will start to go right for me, although God knows when that might be.

Monday 11th April 2022 – I REALLY SHOULD …

… have put my mortgage on it yesterday because, the way that things were panning out, it was inevitable.

Sure enough, at 08:20 this morning the doorbell rang. “Mr Hall, I’m in the building. May I come and give you your injection?”.

So there I was, hurriedly trying to dress myself while he was banging on the door. After all, I don’t want to give him an inferiority complex.

digging up road rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Something else on which I should have bet my mortgage was “how long will it be before they dig up that brand-new road on which they spent all that money just recently”?

It’s been completed and opened for traffic for just about a couple of months but sure enough, here they are with half of the width coned off and someone hacking away at the surface. It was inevitable, wasn’t it?

Anyway, back to where we ought to be.

Last night I fell into a very cold bed and that was the last that I remember of anything until this perishing ring on the blasted bell this flaming morning.

No-one was more surprised than me to find that there was some stuff on the dictaphone from last night because I didn’t remember a thing about anything So after having taken my medication I sat down and transcribed them.

I started off with something to do with a radio show. I bet that I’ve missed out lots of it. It was that I couldn’t do all of my radio programmes this week and so they had done some kind of message to say that I’d been unwell or injured myself climbing onto a railway station platform or something like that although they didn’t elaborate why I would want to climb onto a railway station platform. There was the inference that it was something to do with refugees or something and they didn’t want anyone to know that I was doing that kind of thing so they had to invent some kind of excuse.

Later on the 4 of us had gone off for another weekend. I can’t remember where it was now. We’d been looking at hotels but because of the budgetary issues we were looking at hotels further out of the city. I’d done some research and I’d come up with 4 that fitted the bill in the same kind of neighbourhood. They were miles from anywhere. We reached the 1st one which was a brand new chain hotel type of thing. Its budget was like €55 per night but they looked at it and decided that it would be far too expensive for us even though I told them that it fitted in with our budget. They still thought that it was far expensive so we went to the next one. To my surprise they only booked 2 rooms. It seemed that the girls were sharing the one and the boys (me and whoever) were sharing another. Across the road was another hotel of a similar type but it was blue. I’d stayed there once the very first time that I’d started out on my travels and thought that it was expensive for what it was supposed to be. They asked about restaurants but there weren’t all that many in the area at all. Nevertheless we booked in. We had to take a table and banqueting stuff out of our room so we carried the headboard out. It was enormously heavy. The guy who was with me carried it first but he almost dropped it so I had to help him. One of the waiters came along. He had a tray and put the coffee machine on it and the sugar in the bowl. It was quite interesting the way he put the sugar in the bowl. He had 2 spoons, 1 with white sugar and 1 with brown and he poured it into the sugar bowl so that it was half-and-half. He put some milk onto the tray. Another woman came in and began to hurry around. She prepared a second sugar bowl and put it on the tray so we made some kind of funny remark about that.

The rest of the morning, once I’d awoken, was to back up the computer – to copy all of the files that I had created or changed on the laptop while I was away and then load them up onto the big machine. There were quite a few of those as well and it took me a while to organise it all.

With what time was left before lunch I went for a shower, and I’ve put back all of the weight that I’ve lost over the last few months despite all of the walking that I did while I was away. I also had to organise the clothes ready for washing, which I’ll be doing while I’m out at the physiotherapist

There have also been several in-depth discussions on the internet too about the events of the last couple of days.

As well as that, although the trip was a success to the extent that everyone reached Granville safely and without losing anything along the way, there were several aspects that needed to be improved. Whatever you do, it’s always a good idea to sit down afterwards to see how things could have been accomplished better.

rocalamauve le styx port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And so on that note I headed off to the physiotherapist for my Monday afternoon session.

As usual I paused at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check that the NIKON 1 J5 was working and also to see what was happening down there this afternoon.

There were a few fishing boats down there this afternoon. At the front is Roc A La Mauve and at the rear is Le Styx at the rear. I can’t see who the boat in the middle is.

You can see the crane unloading Roc A La Mauve and the pile of boxes full of shellfish on the quayside already unloaded.

trawler chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022And as I watched, another trawler came chugging into port

Unfortunately she’s far too far out for me to be able to say with any certainty who she might be but I can see that the seagull over there was having a really good look.

Over there to the left at the ferry terminal is Chausiaise, the little freighter that runs over to the Ile de Chausey.

There’s something over there in front of her too – probably one of the Joly France ferries. It’s holiday time for the next two weeks so I imagine that there must be plenty of custom for a trip out to the island.

marite belle france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Whoever it was over there at the ferry terminal, it isn’t Belle France.

She’s down there tied up at the quayside in the inner harbour. There can’t be that much trade over to the island today.

But I was more interested in seeing Marité back in port again. She’s been away for the last while or so having her annual overhaul. She can’t be overhauled here in the chantier naval because the portable boat lift over there doesn’t have the lifting capacity to lift her out of the water.

There’s also a swimming pool over there. That means that one of the little Jersey freighters will be coming over in the course of the next few days.

boules bar ephemere place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022One thing that we usually see down on the Place Pelley during the summer is the Bar Ephemère, the temporary café that they erect on the boulodrome.

It’s here already and they are busy unloading it and erecting it all, ready for the Easter rush.

And it’s not disturbing the boules players at all. They are still managing to fit in a few games around all of the goings-on.

One of my friends had asked me to find out if there were any golf courses near here so I went to the Tourist Information Office. That was a waste of time because there were crowds of people in there and of the assistants, two of them were helping one client and all the rest of the assistants were Miltonists.

And in case you wonder what a Miltonist is, there’s a line in Milton’s poem “On His Blindness” that goes “They also serve who only stand and wait”.

road closed rue roger maris Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022On my way up the hill in the Rue Couraye I noticed that the Rue Roger Maris was closed off to traffic so I made a mental note to go back that way to find out why.

Not now though. I pushed on to the physiotherapist.

She had me on the couch again with the electro-massage machine and then I had the honour of being the first to have a go on the new electric bicycle. And finally a few kinetic exercises before she threw me out.

Back again on Wednesday for my last session with her before she moves on to her new job. She’s fixing me up for sessions with one of her colleagues.

place des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022Who remembers the Place des Docteurs Lanos?

The last time we saw it, it was a huge mess of mud that had been churned up by all of the vehicles that had been on there while they had been using it to store the building materials.

On my way to find out why the Rue Roger Maris was closed, I had a look to see what they had been doing there and as you can see, they have made quite a bit of progress there since I was last down this way.

But as for why the street was closed off, there wasn’t anything evident that I could see, apart from the guy digging up the road around the corner in the Rue du Boscq.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022My route took me back through the town and up the hill in the Rue des Juifs towards home.

Near the top I stopped because there was something interesting going on out in the bay. One of the sailing schools was out again this afternoon.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve promised that I’ll be out there with them one day soon but the way things are with the physiotherapy, the Welsh lessons, the radio and my trips to Leuven it’s difficult to know when I can fit anything else into my programme.

You can see that most of the fishing boats are now back home too and tied up in the inner harbour.

anakena rocalamauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022While I was here I had a look to see what was happening in the chantier naval.

Spirit of Conrad has now gone back into the water. I saw her moored up in the inner harbour. La Roc A La Mauve III is still there though, up on the blocks. How long has she been there now?

Also in there is Anakena. We saw her being lifted out of the water the other day just before I set off on my voyage. She has a programme of voyages out to the North so I imagine that she’s having her annual overhaul too.

One of the places that she’s visiting is Greenland, according to the local newspapers of a while back, so I sent a mail to her owners to see what the plan was because I’m keen to get back to Uummannaq and my little Inuit friend Heidinngauq but they never replied.

That’s the story of my life. People complain about there being a recession but how many times have I sent out mails to enquire about products and never received a reply?

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo April 2022As has been the case in the past, I can’t go back into the apartment without seeing what was going on down on the beach.

With it being holiday times and reasonably good weather I was expecting to see the crowds down there and I was right as wzll. The place was heaving. No-one actually in the water though.

One thing thatt I did while I was out was to make sure that Caliburn started. We have to go out on Wednesday and with him having stood around for over a fortnight it’s as well to check.

Back here I had a good play on the guitar and then organised my photos from today. I have to stop letting things hang around here for as long as I do. Especially as I may well be off on yet more travels some time soon

And regrettably, I also crashed out for half an hour too.

Tea was a disappointment. It should have been steamed veg with falafel and vegan cheese sauce (now that I have some) but the veg was over-steamed which is quite rare these days with my steamer that doesn’t seem to work as I would like it.

So having written my notes I’m going to hang around for a while and then go to bed. I have a radio programme to do tomorrow seeing as there is no Welsh course tomorrow.

But it’s not going to be a 06:00 start. That I can promise you.

Saturday 26th March 2022 – IN SOMETHING OF A …

…. major surprise, the first day of my Welsh revision course actually passed quite well and I’ve no idea why either because as usual we were launched straight into the deep end.

crane ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022In something else of a major surprise, I actually caught the crane at the ferry terminal working this morning.

With having my Welsh lesson starting at 10:30 I had to nip into town early for my special bread for lunch and the mushrooms for the pizza. And there as I approached the corner of the street the crane was busily swinging something about.

Of course, at this kind of distance and as far as I was away from the outer wall it’s impossible to see what it was that they were moving around. And the sun shining right into the lens of the camera didn’t help matters at all.

person swimming in sea rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And that’s not all either.

When I went out for my afternoon walk I went as usual to look down at what was happening on the beach and out at sea. And despite the weather I really was surprised to see someone actually in the water this afternoon.

That’s what I call “courage”.

But I’m getting ahead of myself yet again today.

When the alarm went off this morning it was yet another struggle to leave my stinking pit for the real world. Nevertheless, I beat the second alarm clock. Not by much, I have to say, but enough.

After breakfast there was plenty of time to transcribe the dictaphone notes.

The Germans were busy executing a load of prisoners whom they had caught last night, hanging them in groups of so many. After they had done several groups, they decided that they would call it a night for the moment, just as they got to one particular woman. They were all there having a little party I suppose. This woman was sleeping on what was a large bed, the type that you would fit probably a dozen people on. One of the women who was there involved in the executions was with a guy. They were busy eating green apples. They asked this woman if she wanted one but she said no. It created problems with her stomach so they carried on with what they were doing while she was there trying to sleep with all this noise. her hands were tied so she couldn’t do very much. When everyone went off to sleep she tried to free her hands but she wasn’t able to do it. Next morning the hangings started again and she was in the first batch of them to go to meet their maker. Interestingly, where this was all taking place was somewhere round by the corner of Alton Street and Walthall Street in Crewe.

And later we were babysitting a small child for someone. I can’t remember who I was with now but it was male. It might have been my brother. We were babysitting in my house. This woman turned up unexpectedly to take the boy away. It was her grandmother on his mother’s side. She had a friend with her. They walked into my house and had a look around. She said to her partner “just remember before you say anything about the condition of their house, it’s their house”. She said that with one of those long pointed looks down her nose. I thought “you ungrateful cow”. I was just about to tell her what I thought of her when she grabbed the child and left so I chased after her but she had gone. Just then my mother in law turned up with her other daughter in law, her brother’s wife, for measuring our house. We had a tape measure and someone asked to know the length of it so I said that it was 20 metres. They insisted that it was 10 but I could see quite clearly that it was 20. I told the story of this woman coming in. My mother-in-law said “yes, quite” as if she clearly agreed with the first woman. I thought “all these miserable people here . I can’t even live my life quietly on my own without having all of these attacks from all kinds of different people. What made it worse was there I was out of the goodness of my heart looking after this little child and all I received was a heap of abuse, which sounds about pretty much par for the course the way things are these days.

And that’s not all of what happened last. But trust me – you really don’t want to know about the bits that are missing, especially if you are eating your tea right now.

There was also an extremely bad-tempered reply to the e-mail that I wrote last night. Which went basically “I’m not paid to do …” a task that he actually volunteered to do without any prompting, and “ohh, that’s different” – the standard sort of reply that you receive when you mention something that they haven’t considered.

And plenty of other bells and whistles besides

“Ohh, that’s different” – like when the subject crops up about the footballer who is accused of cruelty after kicking his cat and you ask his critics if they’ve just eaten a meal containing the flesh of some animal that someone has actually killed.

crane ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022So climbing down from my soapbox, I headed off into town this morning nice and early just as the shops were opening.

And there at the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne I watched them playing about with the crane but by the time that I arrived at a good viewing position whatever it was that they were moving had gone out of sight.

There were problems going down into town too. There are some steps that go down from the Rue des Juifs to the Place Pelley and someone has erected a scaffolding across them, as I discovered when I was half-way down.

market place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022At the Carrefour I bought a special baguette and a punnet of mushrooms and headed for home.

Although it’s early, the market was in full swing. The barbecue on the right, burning its charcoal, was in full operation. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that two years or so ago the Maire at the time tried to stop him burning charcoal, but he fought the case and won.

The walk back up the hill to home was surprisingly easy. Not only did I not stop for breath, I actually made it up to the top at something like a reasonable speed as well.

That’s not like me these days either, is it?

At 10:30 our lesson began and I was actually already connected up. But not for long. The laptop that I use for Zoom crashed and it took me about 15 minutes for it to fire up again and reconnect.

We’re 15 students in this class, all from South Wales apart from me so I’m confusing them all by saying “efo” instead of “gyda”, “rwan” instead of “nawr”, “dwâd” instead of “dod” and so on which isn’t very helpful. I don’t know why they insist on putting me in a South Walian revision group when my learning provider is registered as Coleg Cambria, which is based in Wrexham in North-East Wales.

We had two coffee breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and a lunch hour of course. And to my surprise I managed not to fall asleep either.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As soon as it finished I legged it off outside, rather later than usual, but never mind.

Earlier on, I mentioned that it was a beautiful afternoon. And you can tell that by the crowds of people down there on the beach.

This lot is sitting at the foot of the steps that lead up to the Rue du Nord. And there were dozens of other little groups like this one scattered around all over the place as well, enjoying every minute of the weather.

Including the woman, who we saw earlier up to her waist and beyond in the water. Perhaps I ought to mention that despite the crowds down there, she was the only one who had taken the plunge. It wasn’t that warm.

people on path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022You’ve seen the crowds on the beach already. Now look at the crowds on the path on top of the cliff.

My route to the lighthouse was dogged by hordes of people pushing pushchairs, walking dogs, holding children and all of that kind of thing. The beautiful weather has brought them out in their droves this afternoon.

And the reason why everyone seems to be on land at the moment is because if you look at the background of the photo you can see that we have the sea mist back again..

There won’t be much sightseeing being done on the water this afternoon.

fishermen in boats baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022However this photo represents something else completely.

There were a couple of boats that I could actually see and even though the bright sunlight was shining directly into the camera and reflecting off just about everywhere else, I still had a go at it.

These two boats were actually full of fishermen – you can tell by the silhouette of their fishing rods – but what caught my eye was how close they were together, like the two trawlers the other day and there were some strange antics going on aboard.

There are some strange things happening out at sea these days.

people on bench cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And whatever it was that they were doing, they had an audience watching them.

Down on the bench by the cabanon vauban this afternoon we had another group of people enjoying the sun and whatever the spectacle was out there with those two boats.

And no dog – or polar bear – to disturb the peace either today.

But I have things to do, places to go, people to see, so I headed off towards the port on the path on the other side of the headland to see what was happening over there.

cabin cruisers baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022There was no change whatever either in the chantier naval or over at the ferry terminal since we last looked.

But there was some water in the inner harbour and there was a small cabin cruiser on its way into port. Presumably the larger one is waiting for a bit more water to come in.

Back here there was football on the Internet. Haverfordwest County v Connah’s Quay Nomads.

And what a match this was. The first shot on target was on 32 minutes and the second shot on target was at 51 minutes. We had a brief flurry of action for 5 minutes immediately after than and then it was “as you were”.

The final score was 0-0 and believe me – both sides were lucky to get nil. After the exciting game we had last Friday night, this was a considerable let-down.

Tea was a burger on a bap, and then I came in here to write up my notes.

Having done that, I’ll have a play on the guitar and then go to bed. No lie-in tomorrow either. I’ve set the alarm as I have Day Two of my Welsh revision weekend. I suppose that if you throw enough of it at a wall, some of it might stick.

Wednesday 2nd February 2022 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pollards!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 29th December 2021 – THERE’S ONE THING …

… about all of these issues I’m having about trying to have some work done on Caliburn during the Christmas – New Year period. And that is that I’m having plenty of exercise. My fitbit tells me that I’m up to 99% of my daily activity and as soon as I press “send” on this journal entry, I’ll take the rubbish out and push it up to over 100%.

This morning I struggled – really struggled – to leave my bed when the alarm went off at 07:30 (yes, I remembered to set it this morning). Having had a late night last night was probably responsible for that but I was having a chat with someone as well as doing some interesting work.

While I was asleep I was off on my travels again. THere was a big concert in Canterbury with loads of groups on. I was down there and I tracked down one or two but in the end someone pointed me to the direction of the organisers who had a shop there too selling all amplifiers second hand, everything that you need. The tod me who was on and when and where so I made a list of groups whom I wanted to see. I was talking to a couple of boys about this as well and writing a list of what I wanted to see. I happened to mention that I was a bassist and that excited them tremendously. They were very keen so I gave them my phone number. Then I was back in Crewe, making everything ready to leave to go back down to Canterbury again. I set off and I was a good way down the road towards the motorway. It was one of those situations where you had to drive west to pick up the motorway on order to go south-east but I realised that I didn’t have my jacket. I didn’t have the list of acts that I wanted to see or where they were playing. I set off anyway thinking that I can redo all of this when I arrive

There was also something about me being in a shop. The floor was very wet. All of a sudden my knee gave way again and I crashed to the floor. Of course everyone came to help me. I said that it wasn’t the first time that I’d had a similar incident to this – in this shop a couple of years ago. She went off to fetch the accident book to go and look through it to see if I was there and to see what remedy they had done to help me ease the problem that I was having

Later on there was something about some kind of list. It might have been a music list or a shopping list, I can’t remember now. Someone had to take me back home for something because my guitar was playing up. Through a few of the songs you could actually hear my guitar, a really searing Gibson lead guitar playing that wasn’t on the original copies. There was something else too but I can’t remember what that was.

And even later during the night I was back with this big rock concert again, going down to Dover rather than Canterbury) to watch these groups. On Saturday I’d been out with Liz and mentioned it to her but she didn’t know what was happening about the snooker final or anything like that. She said that she could make it if there was nothing preventing her. I had to go to find out which groups they were. I could remember four of them so in order to remember them I wrote them down on my stomach in biro and went back to see Liz to tell her, and wouldn’t my stomach be a gruesome sight for anyone?

After the medication and checking my messages I made a long-awaited start on work – and attacked a pile of dictaphone notes. As well as todays, there are a few previous days that have been transcribed and added in where they belong. There are now only … gulp … 27 entries that need to be transcribed before I’m up-to-date enough to let things slide into arrears once again.

When I’d had enough of that I attacked a sound file of an interview that we did a few weeks ago. The content of this one is far the best of all that we interviewed but the quality isn’t up to much.

And there’s so much that needs to fall by the wayside too. There’s still 4:30 to edit on the first pass but by the time that I knocked off, already over 50% has gone into the bin. There will be much more taken out oo, but I have yet another cunning plan for that.

Brain of Britain forgot to make his hummus this morning so I ended up with vegan grated cheese sandwiches for lunch. It made a nice change, I can tell you.

During the morning I made a couple of phone calls – firstly to my doctor for an appointment to renew my physiotherapy prescription and to obtain the final dose of Aranesp.

The second one was to the garage where Caliburn is currently residing. I should have called them last night but with Rosemary on the phone for as long as she was, they were closed when I called them.

Caliburn wasn’t ready, he told me, which was just as well that I didn’t turn up uninvited yesterday evening, but he should be ready at 17:00. And so accordingly at 15:30 I set off.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Even though it’s a little earlier than normal, I went off to have a look at what was happening on the beach.

Firstly, it has to be said that there wasn’t very much beach for anything to be happening upon right now. The tide was well in and there was hardly enough room to swing a cat down there.

There was however a couple of brave people down there this afternoon on the little piece of beach that was at the foot of the steps. I’ve no idea what they were doing as I couldn’t see that far out and I only had the NIKON 1 J5 with its standard lens.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021From there I walked around the back of the building and down to the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

There were a few trawlers in the inner harbour, so I noticed, but none of the little shellfish boats that I could see. The outher harbour was quite empty for a change and even the yellow Cherie d’Amour seemed to be out at sea this afternoon.

There was something else out in the bay, right down near to the Pointe de Carolles, as I found out when I examined the photo later. Whoever she is, she has a black sail rather in the style of Black Mamba, but it is not she, according to my shipping database.

place pleville le pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021At long last I could go down the Rampe du Monte à Regret and then the steps to the bottom, because today they have cleared away the huts of the Christmas market.

That was very much a sad affair – just a dozen or so huts without a great deal of patronage. Had they installed them in the centre of town, say, at the Place General de Gaulle, they might have had much more luck with it.

So I trudged along on my weary way out through the town centre and up the long climb all the way to the roundabout right at the top, only stopping once for breath which is a great improvement. And climbing the four steps that I use as the guide to test my knee was much easier too.

Once on the flat I could push on to the garage, stopping at the Aldi for a can of energy drink to keep me going. I seem to be living on tha right now.

christmas market wooden chalets Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I came out of the supermarket, a council lorry with a couple of cabins from the Christmas market drove past.

Hence a very hurried (and rather blurred, unfortunately) photo as they roared past the car park.

17:00 I was told to be at the garage, and it was 17:00 bang-on when I arrived. It took me 80 minutes (including the stop at Aldi) to walk there. And there I found that Caliburn was a long way from being finished.

“If you can wait an hour I can lend you a courtesy vehicle” said the proprietor. Well, I need some shopping from LeClerc, which is about 500 metres away …

Back at the garage I had a half-hour wait and then the proprietor lent me the garage’s van – one of thse little Opel vans like a Berlingo. A typical mechanic’s van – nothing works correctly and there are warning lights everywhere, all of which will be repaired “as soon as we have a moment”.

“Give me a ring tomorrow evening” said the proprietor as I left.

And frankly, I’m worried. I can’t understand what are the problems in fitting a set of discs and pads onto the rear of Caliburn. Had I had my health, my tools and a decent place to work, I could have done the job myself in an hour or so. What’s going on?

Back here I made myself a glorious mug of hot chocolate and then arranged tea. And seeing that I now have some potatoes, it was baked potato with burger – a real one – on a bap.

Now I’m off for bed. I’m exhausted after all of my walking – especially now that I’m at 102%. And I still have a lot to do before I can stop for the New Year break.

Wednesday 22nd December 2021 – ALL OF THE …

repointed wall Rampe du Monte à Regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… scaffolding has gone from the Rampe du Monte à Regret, I noticed today.

It looks as if all of the repointing of the wall has now finished, they’ve dismantled the scaffolding, picked up their tools and, as Longfellow once wrote, “shall fold their tents, like the Arabs and as silently steal away.”.

As for the quality of the work, they’ve mixed the mortar too dry by the looks of things. It won’t percolate into the stone and so will eventually solidify and drop out and they’ll have to do it all over again.

christmas market place pleville le pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021You are probably thinking that that means that I can now take the short cut and go down the steps to the street.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The Christmas market is in full swing down there and the whole area is cordoned off. There’s just one entrance and that’s at street level, where there’s a security guard checking Covid passports.

As I type out these notes I’m actually supposed to be down there. A group has been in touch with me about doing a live show for my radio programme and they are playing there tonight.

But if anyone thinks that I’m standing outside in a bitter wind for 2 hours with a temperature of minus 1°C they are mistaken.

And it was freezing this morning too. Winter has come with quite a bang just now. I was freezing when I awoke – at 06:45, about 45 minutes before the alarm went off.

At least I managed to leap out of bed with alacrity (and you all thought that I slept on my own) and dress rather hurriedly before I froze to death.

home made bread place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021After the medication I came in here to check my mails and messages, and then went back into Ice Station Zebra to make the bread for this coming week now that I’ve finished off the bread that I’d brought back from Leuven.

Another 500 grammes of flour, a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds and this time I remembered the Vitamin C tablet too. It all went together really well and kneaded up quite nicely.

It went into the oven and 75 minutes later I had a beautiful, soft loaf of bread with a nice even texture. One of the best that I’ve made so far. My bread-making technique is improving, so it seems.

While I was at it, I cleaned, diced and blanched the 2kg of carrots that I’d bought on Monday. They are waiting for some room to be made in the freezer so I can file them away for future use.

One thing that I needed to do was to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. In fact I’d been invited out again for a meal with some people whom I knew. I went off and turned up at this restaurant. I didn’t know these people all that well. There were 2 of them, a guy and a woman who weren’t a couple. We were having a chat and at that moment another girl came down to join us. She was a young girl and dressed so simply but really well, really beautifully that it took my breath away. I made a few complimentary remarks and she blushed I suppose, and sat down. They asked about when the others would turn up. I had heard that someone I used to know and his wife and daughter (who was actually Zero) were coming but they had to go to the dentist’s first so they may not make it depending on what had happened at the dentists, which was going to be something of a shame. They were asking “should be order?”. I replied “no. We’ll have to wait until everyone else turns up and we’ll have to order together, I suppose. That seems to be the normal way of doing things”. However, I did have another reason for not wanting to start until everyone (well, at least one person) was present.

At some point during the night I was walking around the fish docks at some fishing port in the UK. I was doing something at one end of the port where there were a few fishing boats at anchor but I had to walk round the other side of the port where everyone was and that was where you could really smell the fish. Then I had to walk all the way back again but I can’t remember why and I can’t remember what was happening about it all.

As I was off to the physiotherapist this afternoon I needed a shower so I had to wait until the oven had finished backing as I needed the heater in the bathroom. And as a result of everything I ended up having a very late lunch.

freezing fog port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now it was time for me to brave the freezing conditions and head up to the physiotherapist.

And you can see how cold it is by looking out beyond the outer harbour into the bay. You can see a layer of freezing fog that’s obscuring the view of the Pointe de Carolles.

It was the first thing that I noticed when I walked round the corner to the viewpoint at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne.

And although it’s only 14:45 the sun is pretty low in the sky as well, as you can tell. It’s not the kind of weather to be out unless you have to.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021But talking of being out, the port was quite empty of fishing vessels.

They all must be out at sea this afternoon, except for Jade III that is doing something exciting, having reversed up to the wharf by the fish processing plant. Unfortunately, I can’t see what she’s up to.

There wasn’t much else of any excitement going on around the town so I had a slow, weary trudge up to the physiotherapist. For some unknown reason I wasn’t feeling myself this afternoon which is just as well because it’s a disgusting habit.

At the physiotherapist she put me on the cross trainer for five minutes and then we did some kinetic exercises, finishing off with 5 minutes on the tilting platform. The exercises that I had to do on there were agonising but I suppose that if it hurts men it’s doing me some good – except that it’s hurting me in places where I have no problems and not where I have the issues.

It was a very weary and painful me who staggered into the street when my half-hour was up. And also a very destitute one because it’s the year-end and I had to pay her.

Outdoor Market Place General De Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021On the way back I noticed that we had a little mini-outdoor market going on in the Place General de Gaulle.

It usually takes place on Saturday of course and that’s Christmas Day so it looks to me as if they have brought it (or, at least, part of it because there aren’t all that many stalls there) forward to today.

There weren’t all that many people there this afternoon which is really no surprise in this weather, and I felt really sorry for the stallholders who are obliged to stand outside without any real form of shelter from the cold and the wind.

Spirit Of Conrad Aztec Lady Anakena charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021My weary trudge continued on up the hill towards home. However I stopped to have a look at the charter boats in the port.

On the left is of course our old friend Spirit of Conrad in which we sailed down the Brittany coast in the summer of 2019. To her right is Aztec Lady who has now been liberated from her stay in the chantier naval.

The large blue boat to her right is Anakena, the big boat that is planning to sail up the Norwegian coast next summer if conditions allow, and alongside her under a tarpaulin is CHarles Marie. She doesn’t look as if she’s going anywhere any time soon.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021It goes without saying that before I can go in, I have to go for a look at the beach.

And to my surprise there was someone taking a long, solitary walk out towards the water’s edge. all alone down there without another soul around him (or her). That was a lonely stroll.

Back here I had a coffee and then I had work to do. Someone at the University of Newfoundland is writing a thesis on Paradise River, a settlement of sorts on the Labrador Coast. I’ve visited it on several occasions and have dozens of photographs of the area.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … “hooray” – ed … he’s written to me and asked me if he may use some of my photos to illustrate his thesis. So we agreed a trade – I’ll send him some photographs and he’ll send me a copy of his thesis to add to my pile of Labrador literature.

Consequently I had to sort back through my photos for September 2014 and September 2017 to dig out some good ones for him.

Tea was taco rolls with the leftover stuffing, lengthened with a small tin of kidney beans. And now, as it’s cold and I’m cold, I’m off to warm myself up in bed.

Tomorrow I have to tidy up in my bedroom as I have someone coming round on Friday to record something or other for the radio so the place needs to look as if it’s habitable.

Wednesday 8th December 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

replacing cobbles rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021… when I said the other day that maybe I was being rather too hasty with my vituperative comments about the surface of the Rue St Michel

Those big bags that we saw on the back of that pick-up yesterday were actually full of cobbles and then are all now dumped on the corner in the Rue de Cambernon. But several have actually made it up to the far end of the street.

If you look carefully at this photograph you’ll see that a pile of them have even been laid and the work is slowly progressing down the hill towards where I’m standing.

Mind you, it’ll take them a good few days to reach this end of the street. And then, I suppose, someone else will come along and dig it up for some other purpose.

After last night’s antics I needed someone to come along and dig me up out of bed when the alarm went off because firstly I was in bed late, not being tired earlier, and then I was awake after just about 4 hours of sleep and couldn’t go back to sleep until, as usual, about 5 minutes before the alarm went off.

Consequently I was staggering around for a good few minutes trying to gather my wits once I finally made it out of bed.

Once I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages I went and edited the sound-file from Sunday morning. It was a mess as I expected, with pops and bangs everywhere, but I’ve managed to trim well over 40 minutes of sound down to half that – and there’s plenty more to go as well.

However I need to send it off to Laurent for a listen and for him to dictate some supplementary questions.

A propos of absolutely nothing, two of the interviewees started to talk about the Erasmus scheme and the ending of mutual recognition of qualifications and that will make a pretty good interview all on its own so I cut it out and filed it separately.

All of that took me right up to 18:20 this evening, but it was a job well-done.

There were the usual interruptions of course, one of which was for breakfast, and another was for a shower. And having weighed myself again, I’m down to my lowest weight since it piled back on after I stopped running. Those were the days, hey?

With a late lunch as well today, it was almost time to go straight out for my walk to the physiotherapist’s.

repairing medieval city wall place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Seeing as I was a few minutes early today, I went to have a look at the repairs to the medieval city wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux.

First thing that I noticed was that they hadn’t re-erected the shelter that was blown down by Storm Arwen, the shelter that they have over their heads when they are pointing the wall, to stop objects from above falling on their heads.

But then by the looks of things, the pointing has hardly advanced at all since we saw it last. Mind you, they have had other things to worry about, like gale-force winds and the like. And this afternoon’s wind was nothing to be ashamed of either.

You have already seen the photo of the Rue St Michel so I pushed on and walked over the drawbridge into the Rue des Juifs.

marité chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The other day we saw a photo of all of the Ile de Chausey boats moored up in the inner harbour.

However today, there has been some shuffling around of the fleet. The Joly France ferry that was over on the far side of the harbour has now disappeared completely.

Chausiaise has also moved, but not as far. She’s now in front of Marité in the loading bay underneath the crane but I don’t think that all of that freight just there is for her.

As for the other two boats, they are still tied up here against the quayside right underneath where I’m standing.

site of christmas market place pelley le pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There’s quite a lot of activity going on down below too on the Place Pleville de Pelley.

That’s where the bar ephemère hangs out during the summer and is used as the boulodrome for the rest of the time, but today they are setting up some little wooden cabins there.

We’re going to be having a Christmas Fair, so I’m told, and that looks as if it’s it. It doesn’t look particularly impressive though.

Given half a chance I’d be in Aachen or Köln next weekend at a real Christmas Fair, but I’m going nowhere unnecessary while there’s all of this going on.

On the way up the hill I stopped at the Carrefour and bought a bunch of bananas. I’m running low on them and I can’t survive at all without bananas.

At the physiotherapist’s, she had me on the cross trainer again for 5 minutes and then more kinetic exercises, including throwing this ball about again. Today though, I don’t know what happened but I wasn’t feeling anything like as well as I have done this last couple of weeks – and that was nothing much to write home about was it?

ambulance rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021As I stepped out of the physiotherapist’s, I was overtaken by an ambulance going down the hill at some speed.

There must be some kind of emergency somewhere for him to be driving like that with all of his lights flashing.

Having taken a photo I pushed on down the hill where I bumped into “Father Christmas” coming out of a shop. We had quite a chat about our interview the other day and he was quite impressed with how well it came out.

In the end, they didn’t do a bad job of it but it could have been ohhhh! So much better and I feel that an opportunity has been let slip here.

cherry picker fixing wreath to town hall place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021There was more excitement going on when I arrived at the town centre.

There’s one of the Council’s cherry-pickers down there in the Place General de Gaulle and the gus in the nacelle are erecting some kind of Christmas wreath on the wall of the Mairie.

Not that I have any idea why they would be wanting to do that because putting it as high up as they seem to be doing, it’s not as if many people are going to notice it up there.

empty port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021By now we were having a really heavy hailstorm so I wrapped my rain jacket tighter around me and carried on through the town and up the hill.

The part of the port where the fishing boats tie up was strangely deserted this afternoon. Almost every boat was out at sea, and in this weather too. They must be expecting a bumper harvest this evening when they all come back on the tide.

When you think about it, it’s quite a heroic endeavour being a fisherman and since the demise of coal-mining in the West, it’s probably one of the most dangerous occupations going. On the other side of the Cotentin Peninsula a trawler with four people on board was lost at sea two nights ago.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021Despite the lousy weather right now, I went over to have my customary look at the beach.

As I expected, there was no-one down there at all right now. People have far more sense than to be out and about in all of this.

Back here I made myself a nice hot coffee and then carried on with editing this sound file. I was glad when I finished it too – at least this particular bit. There will be plenty more work to be done on it, and on the other sound files too that relate to this project.

And who knows? Maybe even one of my colleagues might contribute something to this project, but I’m not holding my breath.

Tea was the rest of last night’s curry and left-over curry is even more delicious the next day when all of the spices have marinaded deeper into the food.

So that’s enough for today. I’m off to bed. For the next two days I’m staying at home with no plans anywhere. So that’s the cue for Caliburn’s bits and pieces to be delivered to the parcels centre and for his new tyres to arrive, isn’t it?

Saturday 14th August 2021 – I WENT TO …

public indoor market Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… do my important shopping in the indoor market in the town centre this morning.

There wasn’t all that much that I needed today – just some mushrooms and some fruit, so it wasn’t worth taking Caliburn and going all the way out to the shops on the edge of town. A nice brisk walk to the market and back will do just as well.

Mind you, the prices are quite expensive – much more than you might think – and the quality isn’t as good either which is rather a surprise.

But at least I now have the mushrooms for the pizza tomorrow evening.

It makes a change not to go out to the supermarket on a Saturday – it means that I’m not in so much of a rush in the morning.

Not that I had a lie-in, of course. I was up and about as soon as the alarm went off at 06:00

After the medication I came back into my nice tidy bedroom to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I started off with a great big rambling dream about boats, things like yachts and sailing ships defending the bay against all kinds of things coming in here but it was long and complicated and I can’t remember any of it now which is a shame.

A little later on I was tidying my apartment. It started off as being a real mess but I was fed up and so I began to make a start on it. By the time that I’d finished it was looking a lot better, and i’d actually found four shillings and sixpence so it was quite a profitable venture. The only thing that worried me was whether I could keep it like that. Tidying up my bedroom yesterday has clearly traumatised me beyond belief, hasn’t it? There was my family of course and they were due to come round. I was asking about where they lived and they lived in a white building with blue paintwork and so on. It was a block of flats, a nice building so I thought “what is my family doing living in a place like that?”. They were going through the members of the family and there was a guy called Dhony and apparently he was one of the grandchildren’s boyfriends. He was a “Nene”. I was wondering what a “Nene” was and it turned out that it was another name for a refugee.

It was another morning where I took a good hour or two to get going after all of that. I might not actually have crashed out but it was as good as – I wasn’t able to do very much. In fact when I recovered I could barely find the energy to make a coffee.

Eventually it was time to go out. The tide will be well in by now, I reckon and in any case it’s as good a time as any to go to the shops.

la granvillaise marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWalking down to the sea wall this morning Icould see that we were going to be in for another excellent morning’s viewing today.

Out there at sea in the Baie de Mont St Michel are the two ships that are, I suppose, the stars of our port – la Granvillaise to the left and Marité to the right.

And the first thing that I noticed was that with the sun behind them shining through the sails, it looked as if the sails were illuminated, with the rest of the boats being in the shadows. It was quite an eerie effect.

joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut I wasn’t allowed to go musing on that for too long.

While I’d been photographing the to ships I’d missed the departure of one of the Joly France ferries from the ferry terminal. But now she’s well on her way to the Ile de Chausey, sailing past Le Loup, the marker light on the rock at the entrance tot he harbour.

She has quite a crowd of people on board her this morning too. It looks as if it’s going to be a busy day over there on the Ile de Chausey, and they certainly have the weather for it.

artistic patterns in the water port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Joly France ferry wasn’t the only boat to be leaving harbour as I was watching the morning’s events unfold.

There was a group of people who had clambered into some kind of motor boat that was moored in the harbour and while I watched, they cast off and shot off for the wild blue yonder.

And in doing so they described a beautiful circle in the water. It was quite an impressive artistic design and lingered on for quite a while before the currents reacted and took it away.

Meanwhile, the need for mushrooms for tomorrow’s pizza took me away into the town centre and the market building.

grandstand port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way down the hill in the Rue des Juifs, I went past the viewpoint overlooking the loading bay at the port.

That which we saw yesterday down there is cetainly a grandstand of some description and the fact that there’s some kind of advertisement for a local media company facing it implies that there is some kind of live performance connected with it.

Now you are going to ask me what that square compound thing id behind the grandstand, aren’t you? Well unfortunately I don’t have an answer for that and I’m not even able to speculate.

helicopter port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this particular moment I was overflown by an aerial craft. I was wondering when this might happen.

And having talked for two days consecutively about the yellow autogyro that flies overheard occasionally the sound of a pulsing motor filled me full of optimism..

Someone had indeed taken out his chopper for a bit of airing this morning but it’s not the one that we were expecting. It’s not the yellow autogyro at all but a civilian model with a twin-boom tail that I ought to recognise and probably will as soon as I’ve pressed “publish” on these notes.

Fighting my way through the throngs of people on the market I purchased what I needed and then headed back up the hill towards home.

marité baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOur two ships, La Granvillaise and Marité had now quite happily done their separate ways.

Marité, having done a couple of laps around the Baie de Mont St Michel was now going past the ferry terminal and the entrance to the port on her way out to the Baie de Granville and the open sea.

It’s not as if she’ll be going far though for with the harbour gates only being open for less than four hours at a time, she’ll need to be back home pretty quickly.

la granvillaise baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAs for the gates that guard the Port de Plaisance where la Granvillaise lives, I’ve no idea about their arrangements.

She seems to be happy enough today staying out in the Baie de Mont St Michel in the company of a couple of other smaller boats that are with her

These other boats will of course be looking for the good photo opportunities that the bigger ships can provide and that might be an idea for me to consider in the future, whenever that might be.

coelacanthe tiberiade port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday we saw the big trawler Le Coelacanthe come into port and I suspected that her little sister Le Tiberiade wouldn’t be too far away

We weren’t lucky enough to see her come into port but this morning they are both there moored in their usual place at the back of the Fish Processing Plant.

When they are together like this, you can tell them apart. Le Coelacanthe has the boom on the roof of the bridge and there are wings to her bridge where her name is written. Apart from that and their size (Le Tiberiade is slightly smaller) they are pretty much identical.

marité baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow that Marité has gone over to the other side, as it were, I wander off over there to check up on what she’s going.

And she really does make a beautiful photograph as she sails past my spec up here on the cliffs, with every square inch of sail fully extended to catch the breeze. I bet that she didn’t put that much canvas out in the Roaring Forties.

She has her little dinghy being towed behind, and as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … the dinghy wouldn’t be able take as many people in an emergency as she has on board right now.

brittany ferries armorique english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut never mind the Marité right now, there’s something much more exciting going on out at sea.

Away in the distance out in the English Channel there was a rather large blob moving about on the horizon so I took a photo of it to enhance when I returned home.

And it’s worked out so well (which makes a change when I enhance something at that distance) that we can actually read her owner’s name on the side of the hull.

The fact that she’s a Brittany Ferries ship makes it easier for me to check the register of ships leaving St Malo just now and so I can tell you that she’s Armorique of 30,000 tonnes and launched in 2009, on her way to Portsmouth.

She holds a very unique distinction, being to only Brittany Ferries ship to have visited all the ports from which the company operates.

condor voyager english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd meantime, my riving eye has picked out something else exciting away in the diatance, on the other (eastern) side of the Channel Islands.

This photo hasn’t enhanced so well, probably due to the extra distance, which is a shame, but there can’t be many things that big out there in the English Channel within a cockstride of the port of St Helier.

And sure enough, a quick review of the register of ships leaving St Helier tells me that at 09:17, just 20 (adjusted) minutes before this photo was taken, the superfast ferry Condor Voyager who we have seen quite a lot just recently, set out from the port on her way to Poole.

ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe skies were certainly clear enough this morning and the view stretched for miles.

Once more the colours on the Ile de Chausey were magnificent. The lighthouse was standing out really clearly today and we could see all of the individual houses that were scattered around the island could be seen quite clearly too.

And as for the water-borne traffic, how much of that would you like? You can’t move out to sea this morning because of all of the boats. part from the few in the foreground, there must be a couple of dozen floating away around the island.

training ship belem english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd while I was out there today, I think that I might have solved one little mystery that’s been puzzling us for a few days.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been seeing a mystery sailing ship out at sea and I’ve no been able to identify her clearly. It’s not easy, because for example even Marité is still described officially as a “fishing vessel” which was her former occupation.

But today’s clear weather gave us the best view yet of the mystery vessel out in the English Channel, and the fleet radar told me that on that very spot is the training vessel Belem, a 170-footer out of St Malo and whose shape bears a very similar resemblance to this one.

unidentified aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt this point I was overflown yet again.

Well, actually, I wasn’t, because the aeroplane here was too far out in the Baie de Granville – so far out in fact that I couldn’t even read the registration number on the side of her fuselage.

According to the flight log the only aeroplane that took off from the airfield at round about this time was F-GBAI but if this is she, then she must have undergone a dramatic re-paint job overnight since we saw her yesterday. So I’m reserving judgement on this.

english channel belle france armorique baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeantime, I’d been holding my fire over a certain photo because there was a chance for some symbolism to creep into one of my pictures.

By now, Armorique is on the point of creeping behind the Ile de Chausey and just at that moment, a boat that I reckoned to be one of the Ile de Chausey ferries and which I later found out to be the very new Belle France sprung into view out of the shadow of the island.

The contrast between “little and large” ferries made for a nice photograph even if there wasn’t a great deal that I could do at that kind of distance.

fishing boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat was really ironic about all of this activity in the baie de Granville this morning, there was plenty of scope for irony.

Here, with all kinds of pleasure craft of every description whizzing past, a small fishing boat was actually out there working quite sedately, taking no notice whatsoever of what else was going on around him.

But now I was going to take no notice of anything else because I’d been out for so long and I wanted to go home for a coffee. I can only stand so much excitement in a morning.

Back in the apartment I brought my coffee into the nice tidy office and then sat down to plan out my day. And “plan” was about as far as I reached before it was time to stop for lunch.

After lunch, the early and energetic start finally caught up with me and I ended up being asleep on the chair for quite a while. That was followed by quite a lengthy session on the two guitars before it was time for me to sling my hook.

football us granville voltigeurs de chateaubriant stade louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was nice to be back at the football today for a competitive match after all of this time, and I’m also reassured to know that my vaccine digipass works too.

As for the football, the defence looked slightly more solid than it has done over the last couple of years, although Chateaubriant didn’t really put too much pressure on it. They had a very small, quick n°9 up front who was in a class of his own on the field, but there was no-one up there to support him.

As for Granville, going forward they were woeful. At long last they have a big centre-forward who they can’t shove off the ball, who puts himself about and who can hold up the ball, but he is totally wasted because the service he was getting was dreadful.

Not one of the other Granville players put a ball into the box with any accuracy or conviction and the Chateaubriand goalkeeper had probably the quietest 90 minutes that he will ever have.

0-0 the game finished, and both sides were lucky to get nil too. I can’t think if I’ve ever witnessed a more uneventful game than this

What dismayed me more than anything that despite virus infections being in the upper 20,000s, I was about the only person in the stadium wearing a mask, despite the frantic appeals of the announcer. No-one is ever going to be rid of this virus if they continue to be stupid about it like this.

It’s hard to believe the stupidity of some people.

nuit des artistes rue des juifs closed Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way home I noticed that the Rue des Juifs is closed to vehicular traffic.

The street is full of small art galleries, most paintings of which are of dubious quality at an astronomic price and once a year they are open until quite late at night and people can wander around to their heart’s content in the middle of the street.

Right now my worries are reaching the top of it because I’m not as yound as I was an not as fit as I was even three months ago and thse days I have to stop a couple of times before reaching the top.

bar ephemere chez maguie place pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne of the places where I stopped to catch my breath was at the viewpoint overlooking Marité‘s mooring berth.

She’s now back at her mooring but my interest is centred for the moment on Chez Maguie, the Bar Ephemère that springs up every summer at the Place Pelley.

In the winter it all lives in a shipping container somewhere and is brought here in late June to cater for the hordes of tourists who swarm around the town.

Not that there aren’t enough bars in the town, but it’s the outdoor terraces that are missing. Sitting on a couple of pallets in a car-parking space in the Rue Couraye doesn’t have quite the same effect.

fishermen in speedboat zodiac loitering outside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallA day or two ago I was talking about what might happen if by some chance you were out at sea and missed the closing of the harbour gates or missed the tide.

This evening, there were several boats and yachts, including this speedboat and zodiac, loitering around outside the harbour area, presumably waiting for the tide to come in so that they could come in and moor up.

I don’t suppose that there isn’t much alternative that to sit and wait.

Back here I didn’t even have time for tea before the next instalment of football.

Caernarfon v Haverfordwest in the Welsh Premier League. Haverforwest have signed a couple of good players in the close season but the Caernarfon team has changed quite a lot and they are lacking the old team spirit that took them so high in the table.

Oe or two of their new players struggled to make any impact, but Haverfordwest, despite having a resolute defence and a lively midfield, offered nothing up front. Eventually a Caernarfon free kick caught the Haverfordwest keeper by surprise and in the dying seconds of the game they scored a second.

haverfordwest can feel disappointed by this result but that what happens in football. Both clubs will have their work cut out this season.

But right now I’m off to bed. It’s too late to do anything else so I’ll write up my notes in the morning.

Good night.