Tag Archives: place pleville

Friday 8th October 2021 – I WAS IN BED …

… last night really early – at about 22:40 as it happened, and I had one of the best, deepest sleeps that I have ever had, all the way through until … errr … 04:41. And then the wheels fell off.

When I awoke, I was drenched in sweat yet again (and isn’t this becoming a regular occurrence?), probably the worst yet, and then I spent the time until the alarm went off at 07:30 just tossing and turning in bed.

Staggering out of bed I went for my medication and then back here after dealing with my mails and messages I made a coffee and dealt with the dictaphone.

Yesterday’s voyages are now on line in the appropriate place and then I had a listen to today’s. I’d found myself a nice young girlfriend and I’d been round at my mother’s house with her. It was time for her to go home so I said “yes, you have school in the morning”. She said no, she wasn’t going to school. I asked 2 or 3 times but it didn’t sink in with me. We went to go out and it was pouring down with rain. My mother asked “what are you going to do now?” I replied “put our hoods up”. THe girl decided that it was rather too much so my mother said that she’d run us. I replied “I’ll drive – where are the keys?”. My mother refused and I thought that this was a strange turn-round from how things usually are. I got into the back of this Cortina estate and my mother and this girl got into the front and set off. My mother’s driving was all over the place, driving up the kerb and everything. I said to the girl “I told you that you’ll regret this”. We came to a road junction out of Vine Tree Avenue into Somerville Street in Crewe and I’ve no idea why we were there but my mother didn’t slow down. She just carried on. I shouted “aren’t you going to stop?”. She jammed her foot on the brake and the car slid across the road junction just missing another car coming the other way. I took this girl and we left the car and said “right, we’re walking”. This girl was rather unhappy about walking and said “we can always go to see Reg and have him drive us home” but he was just about walking as far in the other direction as it was walking her home to her house from where we were. I had this feeling again that here was something else that was slipping through my hands. That’s turning into a regular part of my dreams, isn’t it? Here I am with a bird on my plate and just as I’m about to get my fork stuck into it …

Later on I was back working in an office and who should start to work there but TOTGA? Of course I was very interested in that but she never seemed to have the time to talk to me, which was rather a shame. This affected me once to such an extent that I couldn’t concentrate on my work. I had the bougeotte, the need to move around. I went out of the office to go for a little walk. Some other woman came out and asked me where I was going so I told her. She said “well if you like I’ll come back afterwards and peel your carrots for you” which I thought was a strange thing to say. I got into my car, which was the Omega, left-hand drive, and drove it down the ramp into the car park. But my badge wouldn’t work the car park and quite a queue of people built up behind me. The guys in the office down there controlling the car park weren’t in the least bit interested. Eventually one of them came over and tried my badge but it didn’t work. He said “your badge has expired” and that was that. I had to make all of these people behind me reverse out of the way and I had to reverse the Omega back up which wasn’t easy with these vehicles coming down behind me and going off somewhere else. I ended up back in my office. By now there was a party taking place at lunchtime so I walked round the corner and there was TOTGA still sitting at her desk working. I went over and asked her “aren’t you taking part in the festivities?” and that was when things ground to a halt unfortunately, although I had a feeling that I was heading for yet another disappointment

Later still I was in some kind of army. I can’t remember much about this but someone came along with a cannon so I gave him a run out. His was far better than any artillery I had in my army so I was very keen to sign him up. I can’t remember what happened after this.

Finally, I’d gone to see a car for sale. An Opel. 40 miles on the clock despite it being 4 years old. It had been bought for someone who had become ill and had never ever used it. I went to see it and it really was in good condition as you would expect but it had had a bang underneath it and the paint had come off one of the sills. The sill was bent and the floor pan was rather bent. I offered then £4,000 for it but they wanted £8,000 which was what they had paid, which was probably right 4 years ago. I offered them £4,000 which they thought was a humiliation but I pointed out these defects and said “let me know what you think”.

It’s hardly surprising that I was totally exhausted after all of that, especially as it seemed to be so full of disappointment. Nothing seems to be going my way during my nocturnal rambles, rejected by TOTGA and having relationship issues with a girl whom I wish I knew who she was, and my family sticking their oar in to spike my guns just like in real life all those years ago.

Anyway, let’s not brood on the past.

Much of the morning was spent with this radio project, following up a couple of hot clues about people who might have a few things to say for themselves. But one thing that I have noticed, particularly with the Brits, is that they will spend days if not weeks moaning about something and yet refuse to do anything about it, even when the opportunity is presented to them on a plate.

A shower came next and as a surprise, I went one step further than Dave Crosby. Must be because I had a ‘flu for Christmas. I weighed myself today too and in the space of a week I’ve lost 1.2kg. At this rate, I’ll be gone completely in 18 months.

After an early lunch I headed off into town.

building work boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The first port of call, for a change this afternoon seeing as it was early, was to see if there was any sign of life at the roadworks in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

And there was actually someone there too. As I was walking down the hill he walked out of the compound and went to sit in the digger that was there. And that’s all he did – just sat there.

But there has been some kind of activity because the skip that was here has now gone. You can see the mark on the road where it was left. So something is happening, although it’s hard to say what it is.

dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further on down the road, there’s still no change in the port.

The dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie is still down there in the harbour, still surrounded by all of the pipes and tubes. It looks as if nothing of any importance has moved since yesterday.

But I need to be moving so I pushed on down the Rue des Juifs and then down the steps towards the Place Pléville-Lepelley

place pléville-lepelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The Place looks empty and deserted right now.

Over the summer there was the Bar Ephemère, “Chez Maguie”, down there with several tables and benches and all kinds of things but a couple of weeks ago it was all folded back up into the shipping container that was its home.

But now that’s no longer here. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Usually there are hordes of people here too playing boules but there’s not a soul down there this afternoon. And that’s a surprise, seeing as it’s lunchtime right now.

diesel fuel spill place semard Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk up the hill wasn’t as bad as it has been just recently. I only stopped once to catch my breath and if that were the case every time I’d be quite happy with that.

At the roundabout in the Place Semard there looks as if there has been a diesel spillage. There’s a big trail of sand around the roundabout that stops as the road begins to climb the hill. A couple of scooters were taking the bend very gingerly.

The physiotherapist had me on the tilting platform thing for 20 minutes and then the cross trainer to finish off. I pushed my personal best on by another 10 seconds and could have done better except that my right knee was feeling the strain. I was glad to stop.

After he threw me out I went across the road to the little Carrefour. I’m running low on fruit and I don’t want to go all the way out to the hypermarket tomorrow for just a few things as I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday morning.

Fruit is expensive in there but it’s right on the way home so I may as well splash out. And they had 1.5kg of nice-looking potatoes on special offer at €0:99 and I’ve run out.

It was a stagger back home carrying all of that but it had to be done and it saves me going out tomorrow of course

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk up the hill in the Rue des Juifs wasn’t as easy as it might have been had I not been loaded up, and I was glad to reach the viewpoint overlooking the port.

Leaving on the wall with my energy drink in one hand, I could see that we’ve had a change down there on the quayside.

One of the Jersey freighters (it was the Normandy Trader with a skeleton crew as I learnt later) has been into port this morning, taken away a lot of the stuff that was on the quayside and it looks as if she’s unloaded another pile of freight that is waiting to be collected.

eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way down the hill earlier I noticed that there was something going on by the Eglise St Paul.

While I was here I took a photo and back home in the apartment I could enlarge (I only have the NIKKOR 30-110mm LENS on the NIKON D3000) the photo to see what was happening.

It looks as if they are working on the rear of a building in the Rue Couraye and using a crane to swing stuff over from the road by the church. Strangely, I’d just been walking up and down the Rue Couraye and I hadn’t noticed a thing. I must be slipping..

repairing flags boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days I posted a photo of the flags on the car part at the Boulevard Vaufleury that had been shredded by the wind early in the week.

Today, they have turned up there in a cherry-picker and there are a couple of workmen there. Are they chanign light bulbs in the street lights there, aor are they actually dealing with the flags?

Whatever it is that they are doing, they have an interested spectator in Georges René Le Peley de Pléville who is watching from his plinth.

IN case you are wondering who he is, which I’m sure you are, he was born in 1726 in Granville and was variously a privateer, governor of Marseille and an Admiral of the French fleet, to name but three of his many positions.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way back home I went via the beach to see what was going on there.

Plenty of beach for it to be going on on, and quite a few people down there too, all armed with rakes and all kinds of unusual tools to scratch away at the sand to pull out whatever is left there by the tide.

Back home I made myself a coffee and then, rather regrettably, I fell asleep for 20 minutes. It’s been a while since I’ve slept like that, especially since I’ve been lying in, but I suppose that the walk and the physiotherapy has taken it all out of me

Once I’d recovered I set about adding a few of the noctural voyages for the journal entries for August. I’ve actually made it as far back as 21st August and there’s still plenty to go at yet.

Those potatoes looked so nice that I had steamed veg, veggie balls with vegan cheese sauce for tea and it was totally delicious tonight.

Now that my notes are finished, I’m going to have a quiet relax for half an hour and then go to bed for an early night.

No shopping tomorrow, but I have a desktop mixer panel with which I need to have a play around and make work. It’s been sitting on my shelves for far too long and it’s about time that I brought it into use if I can.

Wednesday 2nd June 2021 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… bad day today and I don’t seem to be able to do anything about it.

As I mentioned last night, I was going to have a good lie-in this morning. However 07:15 is not what I call a good lie in at all. And leaving my bed at 07:30 because I couldn’t go back to sleep was extremely disappointing.

These days it takes me ages to sort out the medication. There’s just so much of it right now. I mentioned earlier that if I move too fast I’ll rattle. But moving fast is not something about which I’ll have to worry these days.

Anyway, once the medication was done, I came in here and started work. I dictated all three sets of notes. Not very well – a couple of them were a right mess. But by the time that it was lunchtime I’d edited one of them, chopped it about and assembled it all together. I’d even worked out the length of the final track and selected one that would do the job.

There’s no bread in the house so I had a couple of wraps with my salad in. They were nice. But while I’m on the subject of bread, I think that the sourdough has died while I was away. The flour and water is separating out. No chance of making a sourdough fruit loaf right now. But tomorrow I might make a loaf and make some fruit bread with yeast.

After lunch I came back in here to carry on with the other 2 radio programmes but, as you might expect, I crashed out completely. I was well away with the fairies too and didn’t come back round again until about 15:45. As a result I was quite late in going out for my afternoon walk.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOutside I went to have a look out to sea to see what was going on. And I wasn’t disappointed, as there was a trawler coming home.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that fishing has been a very topical point of discussion this last few months with the problems that have arisen with the British Government unilaterally revoking the Treat of the Bay of Granville of 1843.

But some kind of agreement has been reached because the local boats are still going out there. Here is one on its way back from the fishing grounds out there. It’s too far out for me to see if it has the usual crowd of seagulls hovering around it. That is usually a sign that there has been a good catch.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thig that I usually do when I go out is to look down onto the beach at the Rue du Nord to see what’s happening down there.

And I had a really good look down there but I couldn’t see a soul this afternoon. And that’s not a surprise because the weather today has changed dramatically. The wind that has been conspicuous by its absence since I came back from Leuven has now come back as well, the sky was overcast and cloudy, and the temperature has dropped about 6 degrees from yesterday.

In the circumstances it’s hardly a surprise that there was no-one about this afternoon down on the beach. I wouldn’t really want to be down there in this weather either.

gate in medieval city walls Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis is a view that I can’t remember featuring in any previous posting, so I’m including it in here.

You probably noticed that we had a different viewpoint of the beach today. That’s because, as I mentioned yesterday, I’m going the other way today – around the path underneath the city walls. In the Rue du Nord there’s an old gateway that leads to the footpath down there and this is where I used to go a-running.

It was probably an old sally-port where the defenders can make a counter-attack against anyone besieging the walls. There’s no actual gate there now though.

You can see what would happen to any attackers trying to batter down the door. Because the door is at right-angles to the walls, anyone trying to batter down the door would be right underneath the wall where the defenders could drop objects and boiling oil and that kind of thing on them.

diving platform tidal swimming pool beach cabins plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further along is the viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset where we can look down on the beach and see how the preparations for the summer season are advancing

In the foreground, we can see that the crown has been put back on top of the pillar to make the diving platform where the kids can jump off or dive off. In the middle distance, the tidal swimming pool is looking really good too. They cleared that out last year, and earlier this year they carried out some more work on it.

In the background on the promenade of the Plat Gousset are the changing cabins. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw them arriving on the back of a Council lorry the other day while we were on our way to the railway station.

people on beach plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on is a better viewpoint overlooking the Plat Gousset where we can have a better view down there.

There were a few people down there on the beach, huddled up against the sea wall out of the wind. They don’t actually look very comfortable down there. There are even a few people drying themselves off with towels as if they have just come out of the sea after a swim. And they are certainly braver than I am. There is no chance of me going in the water in this kind of weather.

You’ll also notice someone in a wheelchair on the Plat Gousset. There’s a big white building on the seafront just down there that at one time was a hotel but is now a Rehabilitation Centre for people to go who have had a serious illness and injury.

mother seagull with chicks rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAwwwwww. Now look at this!

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that last year we spent a very pleasant early summer watching seagull eggs hatch and the chicks growing up and learning to fly. So after I’d been to look down at the Plat Gousset I came across the Square Maurice Marland to go and have a look on the roofs in the Rue des Juifs to see what we have this year.

And sure enough, here’s a mummy seagull perched upon her nest down there on that roof, and she has at least two little baby chicks in her care. They look so cute, don’t they, with their lovely camouflage colouring.

mother seagull with chicks rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was here I had a look at the other roofs in the area to see what was going on on there, and I could see plenty of activity.

Here’s another very proud seagull mummy, and she has a couple of little chicks in her care. In fact I lost count of how many seagull babies I could see all over the roofs of the Rue des Juifs.

But I had other things to do rather than study baby seagulls. I’d come this way round today on an errand and I’d not had much luck yet. So dodging the people around here who weren’t wearing their masks as they are legally obliged to until the 9th of June, I carried on along the Square and then out into the street.

harbour crane loading normandy trader port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a viewpoint just a little farther on where we can look down onto the port to see what was going on down there, so I headed off that way for a peek.

And we can see here that one of our old friends is down there in the port. Normandy Trader, one of the little freighters that runs the shuttle between here and Granville, is moored up in the loading bay and we can see the big crane loading the empty crates into the ship.

Those crates usually contain the shellfish from the Jersey Seafarers Co-operative but I didn’t think that she was bringing any shellfish over from Jersey due to the issues about which I spoke a little earlier. Unless of course they are empty crates that have been hanging around here since before the troubles started.

chez maguie bar ephemere place pleville le pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom that viewpoint there is a view all along the Rue du Port and down into the Place Pleville le Pelley.

The other day I mentioned the bar ephemere Chez Maguie. It’s stored in a shipping container that is delivered here at the end of May and set up here ready for the tourist season. Despite the unfortunate weather today, there were still plenty of people down there having a drink. And good luck to them too.

From there I threaded my way through the alleyways into the Rue Notre Dame. No sign of Minette, the old long-haired black cat who hangs around here on occasion and lets me stroke her, or any other cat either. Since Gribouille the big ginger cat moved away, there is definitely a shortage of cats in my life.

roadworks rue cambernon Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhat I was actually looking for by coming this way was where they were carrying out all of the roadworks for which they have set up the builders’ compound across the road from me.

And no prizes for guessing where it might be. I’m not sure how long they have been working on the Rue St Michel but they seem to be still far from finishing it. Part of the road is still fenced off and dug up.

But the huge pile of gravel there , which is what they must have been shifting in the dumper the other day, seems to indicate that they might be starting to fill the hole in some time soon. But then, judging by all the painted marks that were on the road surface before they dug it up, someone else will come along and take it all out again.

roadworks allee saint michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a short cut down to the walls. It’s called the Allee de Saint Michel and goes across the bottom of the Rue St Michel.

That was the way that I was planning to go but I ruled that out of the equation. As you can see, they’ve made even more of a mess of that alley than they have of the Rue Cambernon and the Rue St Michel.

But with nothing else going on out there I headed off around the walls and back to the apartment for a nice hot coffee. No cold drink this afternoon.

By the time that I knocked off work I’d finished the second week of radio programmes as far as I could. All ten tracks and the speech all coupled up together and the final 11th track chosen. It’s just a shame that I fell asleep today and couldn’t manage to do the third.

The guitar practice went okay although I’ve discovered that I’ve lost my voice and some of my co-ordination. I suppose being away for 2 weeks has had something to do with that. I’ll have to work out a way to take a guitar with me.

For tea, I had a burger on a bap with baked potatoes and veg, followed by the last of the chocolate cake. I shall have to do some baking tomorrow, I reckon.

But now I’m off to bed. It’s late and I’m going to have an alarm call in the morning. It seems that having a lie-in makes no difference at all, except to make the day even shorter than it already is.

Monday 31st May 2021 – HERE I ALL AM …

… not exactly sitting in a rainbow, but sitting on my seat in the office in the comfort and security of my own home. And am I glad to be back after all of this?

Blasted out of bed at 05:00 by the alarm, I’d made a coffee, filled the flask, made my butties, packed my bags and cleaned the digs by 05:30 and I was ready to roll. But it was far too early because I didn’t want to loiter about on the draughty Brussels Midi station so I relaxed for a while

At about 05:55 I hit the streets and walked off down to the station. And I’m not used to it being so bright so early.

martelarenplein gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will remember the Martelarenplein – the Martyr’s Square – just outside the railway station.

A lot has been said, mainly by me, of the pedestrian pace at which Belgian (and French) builders seem to work. Much of that is reflected in what’s going on here. It’s been under repair for a good couple of years and by the looks of things they are still a long way from finishing it.

Surprisingly I was on the station for just after 06:10 which meant that I had the choice of a couple of trains that were running earlier than the one that I intended to catch, and that’s always good news.

1904 class 18 electric sncb locomotive gare de Leuven railway station Belgium Eric HallThe train that I caught was the 06:19 to Oostende and that is my favourite choice of train if I’m ever allowed to choose.

It’s a rake of double-deck coaches pulled by one of the top-line electric locomotives of the SNCB stable, and I’m not disappointed. Despite its number, this is one of the Class 18 locomotives built by Siemens between 2009 and 2011. There are 120 of these locomotives in total and they have displaced almost every other type of electric locomotive from front-line duties, although we’ve ridden on a few others just recently.

There was a lady ticket inspector and she seemed to be quite satisfied that I’d correctly installed the SNCB app on my mobile phone and displayed the ticket correctly. I’m making great strides with this technology stuff, aren’t I?

The train pulled into Bruxelles Midi bang on time and to my surprise my train was actually indicated on the departures board. So I went up to the platform and there was a TGV already there. Not mine though. This one was going to Marseilles. Mine would be a-cumen in once this one had cleared off, so an attendant told me.

TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt 4539 gare du midi brussels Belgium Eric HallShe wasn’t wrong either. About 10 minutes later our train did indeed pull in.

It’s one of the TGV Réseau 38000 tri-volt trainsets, the PBA (Paris Brussels Amsterdam) sets that we have occasionally, and the fact that it’s pulled up so far down the platform seems to suggest that there will be a train set coming from Amsterdam that will be coupled up at the back.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw them coupling up on another occasion that we were here just recently.

The train was actually quite empty and we all had plenty of room to spread out which was nice. I could get on with some work. And once more, the electronic ticket on the SNCF app that I presented to the inspector passed muster too.

And to my surprise, I passed muster at the Paris Gare du Nord Railway station as well. The gendarmette who inspected my Covid declaration from the hospital and my carte de sejour and waved me through without comment can detain me for further questioning any time she likes.

The metro was crowded – it seems as if despite the President’s entreaties, France has gone back to work. The casualty figures show me that this virus is very far from being beaten here and it’s all going to end in tears.

84556 gec alstom regiolis bb7200 507219 nez casse gare montparnasse paris france Eric HallAt the Gare Montparnasse what I reckoned would be my train was already in. It was the only Normandy train in sight.

Parked next to it is one of the BB7200 class of electric locomotives, the nez cassés or “broken noses” of the SNCF railway system. These, and their half-brothers used to be the mainstays of the high-speed long-distance SNCF railway network but now they are used for less glamorous purposes since the arrival of the TGVs.

It’s a long walk from the metro station to the railway station (they moved the railway station so that they could build the Tour Montparnasse on its site) and so I was exhausted. But I found some more seats that I hadn’t noticed before and one of them was vacant so I could sit in peace.

It is indeed my train – the back half of it in fact because it’s 2 trainsets coupled together. And I’m sitting in the rear trainset. The train is busy but I could still have a pair of seats all to myself which pleased me greatly.

And here’s a surprising thing. The ticket collector came up to me and instead of asking to see my ticket he asked “what’s your date of birth?”. So I replied and he said “bon voyage, Monsieur Hall”. This SNCF app clearly does more than it lets on that it does.

In the past that kind of thing would have bothered me greatly but everyone’s privacy has long since been eroded away. 30 years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of writing like I do but the authorities know where I am and what I’m doing no matter how hard I try to disguise it

84559 gec alstom regiolis Bombardier B82790 gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallWe pulled into the railway station bang on time too and found ourselves parked up next to one of the Bombardier trainsets that works the Caen-Rennes line. At least I could photograph the front trainset from here

It had been a pleasant journey and to my surprise, despite the 05:00 start I’d only dozed off for about 10 minutes. But I’d only had some hot coffee, not anything cool to drink, with me and so having set out at that time, I now had a thirst that you could photograph.

That was what I would call rather bad planning, but seriously, you’ve no idea how much stuff I usually have to bring back and I simply couldn’t carry any more. I had quite a job carrying this lot.

Going down the steps to the Parc de Val es Fleurs was okay but even on the flat I was struggling. I wasn’t looking forward to the hill up to my place. But I cheered up watching a grockle try to park his motor home in a completely empty car park. I really don’t understand some of these people.

water leak rue des juifs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the foot of the Rue des Juifs there were temporary traffic lights and water all over the place. It looks as if there has been a burst pipe.

But surprisingly, despite the emergency and the big hole and the traffic lights and the vans, there wasn’t a single workmen (and not a married one either) about anywhere. It was about 14:15 so they all should be back at work after lunch.

The hill up the Rue de Juifs was not something to which I was looking forward. It’s pretty steep at the best of times and here I was, loaded up, not in the best of health, and I’d had an emergency operation a week or so ago and the stitches were still in.

But I shan’t get home just standing here looking at it. There’s no other solution but to press on.

people playing bowls bar ephemere place pleville pelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt’s most unlike me, I know, but I had to make several stops on the way up to catch my breath.

One of these stops was looking over to the Place Pelley where they usually play boules. There’s quite a crowd down there right now, presumably also taking advantage of the bar ephemere, the temporary bar in the shipping container that comes here in the summer and which we saw them unpacking a couple of weeks ago.

If I had had any sense I’d have come home that way and stopped off for a cold drink but I was in a hurry to go home. I took a deep breath, girded up my loins and continued on my weary way back homeward.

builders compound place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd what’s going on here then?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have seen over the past few weeks a corner of the car park of one of the other building in the Place d’Armes used as a builders compound but they all cleared off just before I came away and left the place empty.

But it seems that there is some more work going on somewhere presumably in the old walled city and they have set up the compound again. I see that I shall have to go for a walk out that way one of these days and have a good look to see what’s going on, and where.

You’ve no idea the size of the sigh of relief that I emitted when I sat down in my chair in the office, back home. It’s been a long hard slog in the 12 days since I was last here and I don’t want to have to go through all of that again. I transferred the files over and merged everything in – that’s the limit of the work that I did.

And despite the short night, I did actually manage to go off on a couple of nocturnal rambles here and there. And more than just a few too. I’m surprised that I kept going for as long as I did today.

First off was about a boy who lived just up the street from me when I was a kid. Last night he got divorced. I’d forgotten to tell everyone on the day but about a day or so later I remembered it. Anyway we were sitting around the table at lunch ansd he came along with his ex-wife and sat down at our usual table. A couple of other people who were usually there picked up their knives and forks to go away and he sent some kind of scathing comment after them. Of course I didn’t say anything at all. He looked at me and started talking to me about how well I knew Sandbach. I said “yes, I knew it quite well”. He asked “enough to take me somewhere tonight?”. I replied “yes”. So he mentioned a street called Volunteer Avenue (that’s in Nantwich by the way, not in Sandbach). “Do you know where that is?”. I said “yes” so he added “you can take me there and there’s a lot of money in it for you” – something to do with jewellery. He said “we have to leave at 04:00”. That was a bit inconvenient for me but I’d go because I don’t believe this story about money than anyone else. So I leased some sort of dummy office and fitted some kind of dummy recorder because I expected some kind of strange visit. While I was out fetching a coffee and people were talking to me a girl who I’d known and I knew her very well too (and I wish I’d remembered who she was) just walked up to my office as if she was going in. I thought “what on earth is happening here?”. She saw me so I said “what are you doing here?”. She replied “I’ve come to see if such-and-such an office is convenient for me and my boss”. “Really?3 I asked. “Why don’t you go in and have a look?”. “I can’t” she replied. “I don’t have the keys. It says that it’s locked for painting”. So I asked “why did you come here if it was locked for painting?”. She stammered some kind of silly answer at that point and I thought “yes, this is all just so crazy”.

Next up, I was in an office somewhere. I was overhearing a conversation from another desk about a woman who was trying to arrange some kind of exchange visit with a Government department in Germany about tourism. My ears pricked up and I said that I would be extremely interested in that. This woman looked at me with a puzzled look on her face. She had a little chat with me while she was having a chat with this other person. When she’d hung up on this other person she said ‘here’s my number” and it began with 5 zeroes, not 0049 as you would expect, and then a couple of other numbers “and I’m on extension 37 at the moment but this afternoon I’ll be on extension 38. Why don’t you give me a ring?”. So I asked her name and said “yes, OK”. I don’t think that my employers would agree to it but it was still an interesting thing to overhear.

Later on we were a group of impresarios organising musicians and dancers and all that sort of thing for different concerts all over the place. Roxanne was there and I told her a joke about Aunt Mary – Aunt Mary had died and it was actually quite funny but the answer to this was silence, which was one thing that no-one would ever have got. Roxanne delighted in telling it to everyone. We were trying to get this act together with these 3 or 4 dancers and so on. Roxanne told this joke to TOTGA but she didn’t understand it. There was something about ballet in it and I surprised TOTGA and Roxanne by actually being able to do these ballet steps without even thinking about it

Tea was burger and pasta followed by chocolate sponge (to my surprise it’s sill good) and coconut soya dessert.

And now having written my notes, I’m off to bed. And quite right too. I’m absolutely whacked. Tomorrow is Welsh lesson and then I have to look at these hospital appointments and condense the timescale because I have no intention of being away for another 12 days, that’s for sure. I can’t keep on going like this.

Tuesday 18th May 2021 – I REMEMBER HEARING …

… a story about a destroyer in World War II. It was ordered to join a convoy that was sailing into a battle zone where there were a couple of U-boat wolfpacks. The destroyer signalled “mechanical problems prevent joining convoy” and the convoy commodore signals back “this is not the time for destroyers to be breaking down”.

And this is not the time for me to be breaking down either. The day before I have a long tiring journey to Leuven and I have had a dreadful afternoon. Crashed out on the chair in the office for 2.5 hours, missing guitar practice, missing absolutely everything.

There was even the mug of coffee from after my afternoon walk, half-drunk and freezing cold, as I discovered when I awoke.

This is absolutely no good at all and if I can’t pull myself together soon I’m going to have a real struggle on my hands.

It wasn’t as if I had had a late night last night either. I was in bed by 23:00 And had a decent almost-uninterrupted sleep all the way through until the alarm went off at 06:00. And then, I leapt out of bed with alacrity. Well, almost, but you know what I mean.

After the medication I came along to listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. And surprise! Surprise! Having complained the other day about the absence of congenial company on my nocturnal rambles, Zero put in a welcome appearance.

I’d been working at the house of a former friend of mine and it was time for me to go home. They very kindly made me breakfast which I had and then I got up. While I was organising my things his wife asked “Eric do you have any washing that needs doing?”. I thought “my clothes are a bit dirty” but I asked if it would be ok and she said yes so I went to the van to fetch some clean ones – there are always clean clothes in the van. Zero was there and where I’d been sitting was some kind of hair clasp or something. I looked around again and she was sitting there having breakfast. I said to her “have you seen your hair holder, your thing?”. She replied “yes thanks” I said “it’s there with your doll”. She said “yes” and carried on eating. There was something else on the settee so I went over to it and asked if anyone had put anything there about these pearls that they had in a necklace that was there but how nice it was” and Helen Whatshername from the Open University, Scots girl, joined it and really told me off for noticing them which I thought was a strange thing to do.

There was much more to it than this but it deteriorated rapidly after than and as you are probably eating your tea or something right now I’ll spare you the gory details.

Most of the rest of the first part of the morning was spent revising my Welsh and working through the notes for the forthcoming lesson, although I did take 20 minutes off to go for a shower and a good clean-up.

Armed with a mug of hot chocolate (made properly with real chocolate) and a slice of my sourdough fruit bread, I went for my lesson and it passed quite quickly and for a change I didn’t have too much trouble.

Well, I did, but not with the lesson. My laptop hung up in the middle and in the end I had to go and fetch the other laptop and fix it up. It would be nice if I could make the mike function on this big machine work, but that’s a job for again, I reckon, when I upgrade the hard drives.

We finished quite late, as usual and I had some work to do and a letter to write so it was something of a latte lunch today. and then I could go off into town.

boats in port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt the end of the street I could look out over the harbour and see what was going on down there this afternoon.

The tide is in so there were plenty of boats bobbing up and down in the harbour right now. And just outside the harbour the sailing school was in full swing with the little boats being led out to sea by the pilot boat. And I haven’t forgotten that I have to contact the sailing school one of these days to find out about when I can go sailing.

But not right now. I have things to do in town so I headed off down the street. I cast my eye on the pointing on the wall at the head of the Rampe du Monte à Regret and noticed that they hadn’t advanced any further than when I last noticed.

And the workmen and apprentices weren’t there either. They don’t seem to be all that keen on completing the job, which is a bit of a shame. I could have had this job finished all on my own right now.

bar ephemere place pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallHowever there is plenty of action on the Place Pleville where all of the layabouts play boules instead of doing an honest day’s work.

Summer is definitely acumen in and lhude sing seagull because the bar ephemere, the temporary bar, has arrived. It’s an old shipping container that has been transformed into a temporary bar and by the looks of things it’s just been dropped off in its usual temporary summer home.

You can see the owners talking out the benches and tables from the inside of the container and setting them up ready to receive their clients.

The post office was my next port of call where I dropped off the letter that I needed to send and then wandered off to the bank for my appointment.

And I didn’t understand why they had called me in for a chat because there wasn’t anything that needed doing or needed signing. It seemed to me that the bank clerk just wanted a chat.

He got that, all right, and I managed to deal with a little issue here and there that needed doing, although they don’t seem all that interested in pushing on to the next level which is a bit of a surprise. That’s the problem with these little provincial banks and it’s one of the reasons why I keep my accounts open in Brussels.

Next stop was the public library where at long last I was able to find a map of the town in the early 1950s. Although the tacot, or “rattletrap”, the old narrow-gauge railway network had been ripped up by then, there was still evidence of the earthworks so I could at least trace its course, but only to the town boundary.

It seems that I shall have to cast my net wider if I’m to find out more about it.

articles on quayside awaiting transport port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallHaving left the library I wandered off down to the port to see what was happening down there these days with all of the changes going on.

And there is some activity going on in the loading bay as supplies of wood and so on and a couple of tractors are now parked up. It looks as if Normandy Trader or Thora, the two little Jersey freighters, are expected in the port soon enough to take them away.

But there is still no news on what is happening with the shellfish of the Jersey Seafarers’ Co-operative. That looks as if it’s well and truly blocked from being landed here in the port.

When Normandy Trader came into port the other day – minus the shellfish – she was met with a couple of jeers and catcalls but that was about it. I imagine that had she come in with the shellfish, the reception would have been a darn sight warmer.

seats on granville jersey ferry covered up port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThese are the seats on board Granviile, the newer of the two boats that (in theory at least) provide the ferry service from here to Jersey. As you can see, they are all covered up to protect them from deterioration from the sun.

There was some kind of fitter on board doing something so I engaged him in conversation. Apart from a period of about a week last summer, they haven’t run out since March last year at the start of the pandemic. I asked the fitter if there were any plans to restart the ferry soon and he replied “maybe at the start of July. We’ll have to see”.

They know about as much as I do about the future of the ferry service from here. I hope that they set it up and are allowed to start running again. It’s good for the town of course to bring people here from abroad. They spend their money here and provide employment, and you can’t have too much of any of that.

spirit of conrad black mamba port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallJust a little further along the quayside Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which I went down the Brittany coast last summer, is moored. She has Black Mamba tied up behind her and an unidentified boat that I didn’t recognise tied up at her side.

Pierre, her owner, was there and we had a chat. He has 3 trips organised all the way down the coast as far as Ouessant and my ears pricked up at that. I made further enquiries but it turns out that the first trip is going on Friday when I am in Leuven, the second clashes with my Welsh exam, and the third one clashes with my next trip to Leuven.

Not much luck there for me, so I asked him to keep me in mind for his next series of trips. I’m keen to get away for a week or two and a trip on a yacht will do me a world of good, I reckon.

victor hugo black mamba aztec lady anakena port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I was hoping to do was to speak to the owners of Anakena to find out more about the boat and what her plans are for the future.

She’s moored here of course, where she has been for well over a year (apart from her sojourn in the chantier navale recently) and with Aztec Lady to keep her company. She was on her way to the Far North when she was held up in here when everywhere closed their ports to visitors and I was hoping to find out when – and where – she’ll be going.

However, rather like the Marie Celeste, she was completely deserted. There was no-one about at all so that was rather a pointless visit. She’ll be in good company here with Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel Island ferries in the background keeping her company as well.

And so I crossed over the top of the closed harbour gates to the other side and climbed up the steps to the top road, the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

fishing boat l'omerta port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd there’s yet another fishing boat left at the quayside at the Fish Processing Plant to settle in the silt as the tide goes out.

She’s L’Omerta, one of the larger fishing boats that collects the shellfish. And I’m interested in whatever story there might be in her name. L’Omerta isn’t just Silence in Italian, it’s the name of the Oath of Silence that members of the Mafia take when they are recruited into the Society.

And another thing that interests me, as regular readers of this rubbish might recall, is why the boats are left to go high and dry at the fish processing plant instead of being moored in the main harbour or moored somewhere else out of the way.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOne thing that I needed to do of course was to go and check on the beach near the Rue du Nord to see how things were going down there.

And so when I arrived back at my building I went down to the end of the car park to look over the wall.

It had been a warm day today, the first really warm day that we had had, so it was hardly a surprise to see people actually settling down to soak up the sun. A day like today has been a long time coming.

A couple of my neighbours were up there on the car park talking so I joined in and had an exchange of pleasantries while I was about it. I’m not the sociable type as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, but I can’t ignore my neighbours too much.

fishing boat english channel baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was also a fishing boat out there too, trawling away in the Baie de Granville in the gap between the Pointe du Roc and the Ile de Chausey. They are a lot more active in the local area these days, given the situation further out in the bay.

Back here in the apartment I made myself a mug of coffee and brought it in here to do some work, but the next thing that I remember is that it was 19:20. and it was another one of these occasions when I didn’t even remember going to sleep.

Anyway, girding up my loins, I made myself pasta and veg with a burger, one of the pile that I need to finish off. There a couple of dozen or so of those in the fridge that I’m going to have to eat sometime, not to mention the pile that are in the freezer.

When I come back from Leuven I’m going to have to go through everything and see what I have and what I need to make to keep the supplies going.

But not right now. I’m going off to bed. I’ve had a hard day and a bad evening and I’m off to Leuven in the morning. I haven’t even printed my rail tickets yet and I have to do that pretty quickly

Tuesday 30th March 2021 – HAVING HAD A …

… really bad night last night, caused n the main by only having 5.5 hours of sleep, I’ve had a rather bad day today.

So bad in fact that most of the afternoon had been spent sleeping on the chair in the office. In fact there were times when I could quite easily have crawled back into bed and gone to sleep. and it probably would have been more productive had I have done so too.

But I can’t complain altogether because despite everything, today has been reasonably productive even if I didn’t spend the morning revising my Welsh (school is out for Easter by the way) as I had intended.

In news that will come as totally earth-shattering to most people, I’ve finally finished the photos for July 2019. And furthermore, I’ve burnt a DVD with those on it that I hadn’t burnt previously. This will be sent to Rosemary who, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, accompanied me from Aberdeen to Kangerlussuak.

As well as that I’ve finished another page of my voyage around Central Europe and THAT’S NOW ON LINE.

There’s just one more page to do but unfortunately that’s the page where I ran aground months ago. So don’t expect that to resurface any time soon.

In the middle of all of this I had to break off this morning to go into town. I’ve run out of fruit so I need some to keep me going until Thursday.

la grande ancre lifeboat yacht port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallOff I set down the street towards town and I was arrested by the sight of the lifeboat going out and about for a run around.

They probably haven’t been out for a rescue but it does go out quite often for training exercises and the like and that’s probably what it’s been doing this morning.

There was plenty of other activity going on there at the Fish Processing Plant. Amongst the boats unloading there is our old friend la Grande Ancre who has probably been out collecting shellfish.

And there are plenty of vans parked around there too, presumably to take away the catch from the fishing boats. Whilst the Fish Processing Plant handles a lot of the catch, some of the boats belong to private enterprises such as wet fish shops or restaurants and they have their own vans to take away their shellfish.

Having watched them for a while I skipped off down the street towards town.

pointing rampe du mont à regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall the pointing that’s been going on on the wall on the Rampe du Monte à Regret next to the Rue des Juifs.

Having stalled for a few weeks, this project to have apprentices training on the wall seems to have led to something of a spurt and they have advanced quite considerably. Maybe they might even finish it some time soon and start on something else.

Down the steps I went and landed in the Place Pleville and then strode out to the Super U. With the bag that I had in my sac banane I carried away a couple of apples, a couple of pears and a couple of bananas.

It was a shame that the battery in the camera went flat at this point as I would have taken a few more photos while I was out.

Next stop was the Nautical Centre on the seafront. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few weeks ago I mentioned something about going on a sailing course and that’s the place to be. They were another one of these places where they know nothing but tell you “look on our website”. But at least they have courses and that’s always a start.

Next door to the CRNG is the Salle Hérel. That’s where the new vaccination centre is so I stuck my head inside to talk to someone. There was someone there so I started to tell my story but he cut me short. “I’m just the technician” he said. “If it’s a medical enquiry you need to come back tomorrow when the centre opens”.

So that’s something else that I need to do on Thursday morning on my way back from the shops. If I can have my second vaccination here instead of going all the way to Valognes, so much the better.

Back at the flat I carried on with work until lunchtime.

After lunch I came back in here to carry on work but I didn’t do a thing. I was curled up on the chair in here for most of the time.

When I awoke I was rather late for my afternoon walk so I grabbed the NIKON D500 and headed off out.

people swimming in water beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhen I reached the wall on the end of the car park I looked down onto the beach to see what was going on down there.

It goes without saying that I had to admire those people down there on the beach. Not just those paddling around up to their knees but the people who were even deeper in looking as if they were about to launch themselves off swimming in the water. They are braver men than I am, Gungha Din.

Mind you, one can hardly blame them. The sun was out, there wasn’t much wind at all and according to my thermometer at my apartment it was 22°C. Not the kind of weather in which I would want to be seen in the sea but I could understand others wanting to have a go.

fishing boat ile de chausey english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t just on the beach that there were people around.

Right out at sea by one of the lights on a rock off the Ile de Chausey is one of the trawlers heading off into the English Channel to make its catch. As we saw this morning, they are very busy at the Fish Processing Plant wit all of the boats coming in with their catches.

Having looked around at what was going on I headed off towards the end of the headland, weaving my way through the throngs of people who were out there enjoying the weather this afternoon.

Across the lawn and the car park I went, to see what was happening out at sea. But there was nothing whatever happening out there so I continued on my way along the path on the other side if the headland.

cars parked on harbour wall port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYou can tell that we are at the time of the Grande Marée. Just look at all of those cars parked on the harbour wall right now.

That is presumably where many of the people will be waiting for the “all clear” to go out onto the beach to scavenge for shellfish.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall because I’ve mentioned it before … “on many occasions” – ed … the foreshore is let out to commercial enterprises but at the very low tides of the Grande Marée the shore is uncovered beyond the commercially-let areas and the public has access to those areas.

They can scratch away to their hearts’ content subject to the rules and regulations about quantity and size

diggers laying mooring chains port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAlso scratching away to their hearts’ content down in the harbour are the two diggers that are laying the new mooring chains. They seem to be having a whale of a time.

But it beats my why they are doing this now. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a year or two ago they had whole performance down there working on the mooring chains, digging them out of the silt and refurbishing them. So I wonder why they didn’t do this work then rather than making everyone come back now to do it again.

It seems to be typical of the authorities around here that they don’t have a complete programme of work. They drained the inner port a few years ago to replace the harbour gates, and then came back 6 months later to install the new pontoons. They could have done it at half the cost and in half of the time had they done it when the harbour was empty.

Then there was the notice board giving details of the Pointe du Roc. They dug up the grass and installed a path to there. And then 6 months later they installed the monument to the Resistance and dug up the path that they had laid to the noticeboard and replaced it with a path to the Resistance Monument.

They don’t seem to have the aptitude to be able to think things right through

hermes 1 lys noir aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s yet more activity at the chantier navale today.

While Hermes I, Lys Noir and Aztec Lady are still on their stocks down there, Spirit of Conrad now seems to have cleared off back into the water after her little sojourn in the chantier navale, all fully repaired and ready for the coming season, if we are actually going to have a tourist season this year.

Hermes I looks quite nice today, all masked off with brown paper. if the weather holds I could see that she’s going to be sprayed with a new coat of paint in certain places. She’ll be as good as new, if not better, by the time she goes back into the water.

And having seen that, and having noticed that there was nothing else going on anywhere else, I cleared off back to my apartment. I have plenty of things that I need to be doing this afternoon.

One of the things that I needed to do was to make another batch of kefir.

Plenty of juice oranges around here so I whizzed up 4 of them to extract the juice which I sieved, and then added the brewing kefir that I had made last time. I’d left an inch or so of the mother solution to use as a starter and then added the sugar lemon and fig and then filled it up with another couple of pints of water.

By now the kefir in the big jug had mixed in quite nicely with the orange juice so I stirred it all around and poured it through my filter stack into the bottles.

orange kefir place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo here’s the finished product, all nice and orange. That will keep for a few days until I’m ready to use it.

And you’ll notice that I’m using the two bottles in which I had bought the lemonade the other week. We can see how they get on under the pressure of the fermentation. And if they hold out well enough, I’ll know what to buy the next time that they have a special offer.

As I was settling down afterwards to carry on work, Rosemary rang me up. And we had another one of our marathon chats – a mere 2 hours and 24 minutes. I’m amazed that I have so much to talk about.

That meant that I missed my guitar practice and a few other things besides. But at least with the ‘phone and the headset etc, I could wander around and do other stuff while I was talking.

Tea tonight was some vegan nuggets that I had bought in Leuven and hadn’t eaten. They were a couple of months past their sell-by date so I’ll be having the rest tomorrow. They were actually quite delicious with veg and potatoes and the apple crumble that followed it all down was just as delicious. I am eating well these days.

Having written my notes, I’m now ready for bed. I’m exhausted and ready for a really good sleep and it’s high time that I had one as well.

Monday 15th February 2021 – I WAS RIGHT …

lighthouse semaphore people on lawn and path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… about the heavy rain last night washing away the rest of the snow and ice that was still hanging around after our famous snowfall last week, more’s the pity.

If you compare this photo with the one THAT I TOOK THE OTHER DAY you can see immediately the difference between the weather conditions in the two photographs. I wonder when, or if, we might see snow again. It was a long time coming.

Beating the third alarm was another thing that was a long time coming, but once again I managed to be up and about before it went off.

There’s some stuff on the dictaphone so later on I had a listen. I was at work, working long past my retirement date which I was doing yet again. It seems to have become something of a regular occurrence. Suddenly a memo came down to say that Friday 8th February was to be my very last day. It was the Friday before that at the moment and the next week I was working away so I worked late until everyone had gone and I just took a bag and put some stuff in it, so much that it was really difficult to carry, and then I set off, thinking that I’d come back the Monday after I’d retired and bring a box to put the rest of the stuff in it. I walked all the way through town and ended up at the hospital. I was going there in the hope that I could have my 1st Covid injection before I set off on my business trip

Today I’ve spent all morning working on another radio programme. After the medication I sat down and started work and by the time that I was ready to knock off for lunch it was all done and dusted, the whole hour of it, and I was listening to it to make sure that it was okay.

It’s come out quite well too, and I’ve even managed to squeeze into it a track that has been on my playlist ever since the moment that I first heard it in 1970.

There was of course the morning break for hot chocolate and sourdough fruit-bread. There’s only one helping left of that so tomorrow afternoon I’ll have to make a start on preparing some new stuff.

And talking of the sourdough, after I fed it yesterday it’s gone berserk, erupted, and made a mess all over the worktop. It’s quite active now by the looks of things. I reckon that the ginger bug is ready too so while I’m at it I’m going to have a go at making my first batch of ginger beer.

Having listened to the radio programme and also the one that will be broadcast this weekend, I sent off the latter and for the next while I carried on with tidying up the hard drive with all of the back-up files on it, going through the duplicates.

roofing college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAll of that took me up to my afternoon walk outside.

As we can see, the workmen are now back up on the roof of the College Malraux carrying on with the tiling after their enforced break at the end of last week. And I don’t envy them one bit whatsoever about their job, because there was another gale-force wind blowing and there was rain threatening too.

It’s hardly surprising, given the weather conditions that we experience around here, that the wind blew one of the workmen off the roof a couple of months ago while I was away in Leuven and they had to send the air ambulance out to pick him up and rush him to hospital.

people on the beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was at it, I went over to the edge of the car park to look down upon the beach to see if there was anything exciting going on.

There wasn’t anything special that I could see down there, except for the fact that there seemed to a rather extraordinary number of people down there amusing themselves. This wasn’t really the weather for crowds of people relaxing at the water’s edge.

Despite the torrential rain last night, the paths were fairly dry for a change. I was expecting to be up to my knees in the mud and slush. It was quite easy to move around out there, although there wasn’t anything particular to see out there, and the heavy clouds prevented any sun from seeping through.

people working on aztec lady chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallWith nothing particular going on out to se, I had a walk along the path to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier navale and the port.

And there was some excitement going on down there today. Whilst the occupants of the chantier navale are still the same, the area around Aztec Lady seems to be a hive of activity today. There were quite a few people wandering around there looking as if they might be about to start work on her.

They may even be thinking about putting her back into the water some time very soon, although I seem to recall having had a similar fit of optimism a long, long time ago when she was first hauled ashore.

rue du port de granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s a good view from here too all down the Rue du Port as far as the Place Pleville.

We can see that most of the fishing boats have all gone out to sea today. They must have had Sunday off. Of course, the tide is well out so we won’t be seeing them coming back for a while, especially as we have the curfew at 18:00. There’s no sign of that being lifted right now either given the fact that the casualty figures for the virus don’t seem to be decreasing by very much.

By now the rain was falling as I had expected, so I made my way back to my apartment. My hot coffee would just the job to warm me up after my exertions.

The postman had been today which was good news. He’d brought me a couple of little presents for which I was grateful.

The first thing was the SATA caddy for 2.5 inch drives. I need that to download the BIOS files for the new SSD drives that are on their way. The BIOS needs to be loaded onto the drives before I fit them into the machines so that the machines will fire up properly and I can download the operating system etc. These SSD drives are completely blank. I’ll plug them into the caddies which will then be plugged into a USB port on another machine and I can download the BIOS files like that from the laptop manufacturers.

But it’s also enabled me to carry out another task. I had an ancient laptop 10 years ago that gradually gave up the ghost and died after the charging pin broke off inside the casing. Soldering a flying lead onto the motherboard provided only a temporary repair.

At the time I salvaged the hard drive from it and put it on one side with the view of looking at it and salvaging the files at some time. Now that I have the caddy I can actually access the files and even as we speak I’m uploading the contents from the hard drive via the caddy onto the hard drive in this computer. And it’s going to be a long job.

The second thing that came in the post was the new battery for the little Acer that will be the recipient of one of the SSD drives. The battery had died in it completely and while I was surfing the net I came across a stock of spare batteries for it.

Surprisingly, the difference between a standard battery and a battery of twice the capacity was a mere €4:00 and so for a mere €23:99 including, this will be ready to go when it has its new 1TO SSD.

Even though it’s an old machine running Windows 7, the fact is that everything important is easily accessible in it and I remember when I bought it that I enquired about the memory and ended up ramming into it as much RAM as it could take. The processor is pretty slow but it did everything that I wanted of it quickly enough, and it’ll go even quicker with a Solid-State Drive.

It’s much smaller than a standard laptop, with an 11.6″ screen and very light so it was great for travelling. I need to cut down on the amount and weight of stuff that I have to take with me when I travel.

This took me up to guitar practice time, which went off okay although I wasn’t really in the mood very much..

At the shops on Saturday there were no loose mushrooms so I was obliged to buy a punnet of 500 grammes. They won’t keep for long so I made myself I great big potato and mushroom curry with vegetables and coconut cream. It was absolutely delicious and, even better, There’s enough for another four or five meals so I’ll be stocking the freezer when it’s cooled down.

So now I’m off to bed. No Welsh course tomorrow as it’s half-term but I do have my little 15-minute chat with my tutor. And then I need to nip to the shops. I need to buy a couple of things that I forgot on Saturday.

Friday 29th January 2021 – HERE I AM …

… back home again after my marathon voyage.

The journey always takes a lot out of me but usually I’m back by 14:30 so I have a few hours to recover before I can deal with whatever needs dealing with. Today though was rather different.

This morning not only did I beat the third alarm, I beat the second one too. I had a quick whizz around the pad and tidied everything up, washed up, made my sandwiches for the journey and then packed my stuff for the road.

sncb class 18 electric locomotive gare du midi brussels belgium Eric HallThe rain wasn’t all that heavy which was very good, and a quick walk brought me to the station in time for my train – the 07:22 which was the first one on my list.

It was another one of the expresses from Welkenraedt to Oostende – a rake of modern double-deck coaches pulled by one of the SNCB class 18 electric locomotives. Nice and comfortable and quite rapid and much better than one of the elderly multiple units that sometimes travel on the line.

It arrived at Brussels-Midi with 90 minutes before my train was due to depart but after an hour or so the platform for the train came up on the display screen so we could go up to the train.

tgv thalys pbka 4331 gare du midi brussels belgium Eric HallOur train to Paris this morning is one of the PBKA (Paris-Brussels-Cologne-Amsterdam) units and either it was a short train or else (more likely) a unit is to come in from either Amsterdam or Cologne and couple up behind it.

And wasn’t I disappointed? Having read all the Official Notices for travelling, had a Covid test, filled in piles of paperwork, had all my documents to hand, there wasn’t a single policeman about to check my right to travel.

Our train left on time and, even more surprisingly, arrived in Paris Gare du Nord on time. During the trip I had dozed off for a couple of minutes and they had to wake me up to see my ticket. There wasn’t even a wait at the Metro because I arrived on the platform at the same time as a train.

TGV Atlantique series 24000 trainset 386 gare de rennes railway station France Eric HallAt Montparnasse there was an hour to wait before we could all pile on board our TGV. This is one of the “TGV Atlantique” Series 24000 units.

Some of these are over 30 years old but you wouldn’t think so by looking at the interiors because they are quite clean, tidy and comfortable. And even more interestingly, between 1990 and 2007, it was one of these train sets (admittedly a shortened unit) that held the world railway speed record of 515.3 km/h.

This one unfortunately took two hours to travel all the way to Rennes, which is not really surprising as it also stopped at Le Mans and Laval. But two TGVs in a day – I’m really living it up, aren’t I? T

gare de rennes railway station France Eric HallWe pulled into the railway station at Rennes at about 14:00 – – only the second time that I’ve been to the railway station there. Plenty of time to go for a wander around and photograph the town from the overbridge.

Despite the time available, I didn’t go far and for a couple of good reasons too. Firstly I had a rather heavy load to carry around with me and secondly, the railway station is such a maze that to find out where I would find my connection took me a good bit longer than it ought to have done.

By the time that I had reached where I needed to be it I was glad to sit down.

rail replacement vdl coach gare de Granville railway station Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no train back home this time. There was a coach connection to Granville and I had to wait for 75 minutes for it.

To wait for the bus I had to go to the Gare Routier or “bus station” which is presumably built in what might have been the old goods yard sidings a five-minute walk away from the station.

We had to wait outside in the open air for it to turn up but by now it was sunny and reasonably warm for the time of the year. And although the journey home on the coach was comfortably, it still took about two hours to reach Granville railway station.

cow and penguins on roundabout place pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere’s no carnival this year in Granville dur to the virus but that hasn’t stopped the town from decorating the place.

A brisk walk from the station and through the back of the town brought me to the viewpoint from the Rue des Juifs where, looking over to the roundabout at the Place Pleville I could see a cow and several penguins loitering around there watching the traffic.

It’s certainly something different to liven up the time a little and bring a smile to the faces of the general public. It’s making me wonder what the theme of this year’s Carnival would have been had it gone ahead.

pointing rampe du monte regret Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on along the Rue des Juifs I came to where they had been doing the pointing at the Rampe du Monte Regret.

During the whole week in which I’ve been away, they haven’t made as much progress as I might have expected . No-one engaged in the building work that I have seen over the last week seems to be in an awful hurry to complete their tasks.

My brisk walk brought me back home at just about 18:00, having been on the road for just about 11 hours and I knew all about every minute of it. For a couple of hours I vegetated in the chair and then grabbed a frozen meal out of the freezer.

Later on I had a listen to my dictaphone to see if I’d been on my travels during the night. I was at home and there was a sports match about to come on the TV. Terry and Liz – Liz had asked me if I could buy her some special cheese from LIDL. She had given me the packet and I’d managed to get one or two bits for her which I’d left on the kitchen table in my house but my brother was coming round so I went outside and hid, with the idea that he would go past, find my house with everything all laid out in there and so on and the sports match ready. He’d be wondering where I was and I could creep up and surprise him. He walked past, it was about 19:10 and just then the bus came past, a Crosville bus. So I hopped on board and went to sit upstairs. It started to drop a few people off but instead of going into the village of Shavington it shot off down a back lane somewhere and ended up on the road between Crewe and Nantwich via Willaston. All the roads had been realigned – it wasn’t the same road alignment. Everyone was wondering why he hadn’t gone to Shavington. He said that he was going to Shavington but he was just going to drop someone off in the country lanes first. We thought that this was going to be a hell of a long way round to get home if he’s going to be doing things like this

Bed-time now and I have to be up early in the morning as I need to go shopping. But i’m not going to be fit for much for the ret of the weekend. At least, if I can change my appointment to Thursday, come home on Saturday, I can have a complete lie-in on Sunday and I won’t have so much stuff to carry around with me.

And I’ll look forward to that.

Tuesday 19th January 2021 – IT’S BEEN …

… another bad start to the morning today.

As you might expect, I missed the third alarm again. When it went off I thought to myself “I’ll just have another quick 5 minutes” and then it was 07:51. And so with my Welsh class due to start and a pile of homework to do, it was rather a mad scramble.

In the time that was available I did what I could (which wasn’t all of it) and then I grabbed some hot chocolate and a slice of my sourdough bread, and we began.

Surprisingly, it was a better lesson today and I quite enjoyed it. I even managed to bluff my way through the missing homework which was quite something, I suppose. But I need to be more disciplined. I keep on saying that I learn to be more self-disciplined – unless I become a Tory MP and pay one of these women in Soho to do it for me.

No time to stop for lunch. I needed a good clean-up and that took up my spare time.

boules petanque place pleville Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThen it was time for me to go for my doctor’s appointment.

But first I have to take a photo of the guys playing boules or petanque or whatever down on the Place Pléville at the foot of the Rampe du Monte Regret. No social distancing, not a facemask in sight, right next door to the Police Station. No wonder the virus is soaring out of control.

Yes, that’s right. We’ve just had a Christmas holiday with tourists arriving from Paris, haven’t we? And cases of Covid in the département have gone up 250%.

Just what is going through the minds of these people? It’s unbelievable.

At the doctors I had one of my two injections. Now that I have no spleen, and hence nothing to vent, I have to have a series of vaccinations every 5 years and the time is up for the renewal.

Just one today, and the next one in two months’ time.

There’s a problem though wit my Covid injection – I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it. I’m a foreigner with a foreign comprehensive medical insurance and so I’m not registered with the Social Services here in France. In Belgium it’s the GPs who do the vaccination apparently but as I’m not registered with a Belgian GP I can’t have it done there.

In France it’s the Social Services who do it. Everyone agrees that I’m a priority case but if the Service doesn’t know about me, there’s nothing that anyone can do. So my doctor rang them up today for a chat. They didn’t know either but they’ll call him back (so they say) and then he’ll call me.

But what he’ll call me, I can only imagine.

Next stop was the Police Station to have my certificat de vie from the Belgian Pensions Service signed to prove that I’m still alive. Not that I’m convinced that I am, but there you go.

There are two police stations in Granville – the Municipal Police and the National Police (and also the Gendarmes but that’s another story). Of course, given a choice of two, I went to the wrong one and so had to go back to the other.

digging up rue st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way home, instead of walking along the top of the cliffs I cut through the Medieval town to see what they were doing in the Rue St Michel.

They are still digging it up and it looks as if they are going to be there for the Duration. But at least you can see all of the strange hieroglyphics and markings on the roadway. I’ve mentioned them a couple of times.

When I arrived home, very late as you might expect, I stopped and finally had my lunch. And the bread that I made the other day really is good too and I’m proud of this loaf.

trawlers english channel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt was so late that by the time that I’d finished it was time for my afternoon walk.

If it had been windy earlier, it was now even winder and I was being blown around by the storm. The other day we saw a fishing boat out in the English Channel having a bit of a fish. Today, it’s still there – at least, I think that it’s the same one

And she has some friends out there with her today. I can see two others fishing not too far away from her. But it’s rare to see them fishing so close to shore. The fishing ban seems to be having an effect and I’ll be interested to see what happens when Normandy Trader tries to unload the shellfish from the Jersey< Fishermen’s Co-operative.br clear=”both”>

fire donville les bains breville sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubish will recall the huge firt that took place here last year when we were lost in the billowing clouds of smoke.

There always seems to be the odd fire or two of some sort or another taking place, and we have another one today. That’s out behind the Holiday Camp on the way to Breville sur Mer and round about where the airport is.

At least, I think that it’s round by the airport so I hope that there’s nothing serious going on over there. The last thing that we need is an air accident.

sun on sea cliffs ile des rimains brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnyway, I pushed on … “he means ‘pushed off’ ” – ed … along the footpath along the cliffs, which was now drying out somewhat in the wind after the heavy rain.

Just a few people around but no-one got in my way this afternoon although a dog took more of an interest in me than I would have liked. But I made it unscathed to the end of the headland to look out across the bay to the Ile des Rimains that was even clearer than it was yesterday.

Unfortunately, the sun is now so high in the sky that it’s not illuminating the water in the bay. And give it a couple of weeks and it won’t even be illuminating the water at all when I go out.

courrier des iles chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallYesterday, we saw Courrier des Lies – or some of her at least – up on blocks in the chantier navale.

Today though, we can see much more of her because Joker who was obscuring our view, now seems to have cleared off and gone back into the water. It’s not clear what is being done to her. And, of course, the big yacht is still there. I think she’s put down roots and become a permanent fixture.

It’s not for me to put down roots either. I cleared off too only back home, where I made myself a nice hot coffee and sat down for 5 minutes quietly.

And the next thing that I remembered was that it was 18:15. About 90 minutes or so I was crashed out, I reckon. This is becoming really bad.

Although I managed an hour on the guitars, I was in no fit state to move – hence I had a very late tea of just pasta and veg in a cheese sauce, and I’m going to have a very late night tonight.

One of these days I’ll break out of this vicious circle – but I’ve no idea when that will be. But in the meantime while I ponder on that, I’ll just append the dictaphone notes of my voyages during the night, which I didn’t have the time to transcribe earlier

I was staying with friends and in the apartment building where we were living there was all talk of the supernatural and everything like that. Everyone was panicking because the demons were going to visit the earth – the graveyard or something. They were all going to come down to look for the humans and kill them all off. I suggested that a couple of us went out to confront the demons taking crosses and holy water, things like that, on the grounds that cowering in our attics and rooms, they are going to find us anyway. We’ll be locked in and we won’t have any room to manoeuvre whereas if we are outside we have a chance of taking them by surprise, taking the initiative and with plenty of room to manoeuvre it will take them by surprise and we might be able to actually achieve something. In the end I convinced one person to come with me so I thought that I’d go upstairs and find Marianne’s cross and holy water etc so I went, and found that the door to my apartment was open so I burst in and there was a family sitting there eating a meal. I’d heard that there was a family who had had some accommodation difficulties and had some problems about their kitchen but here they were borrowing mine. There were a couple of cats and dogs running around my apartment and I was most unhappy to say the least, as you can imagine. I started to look for Marianne’s cross and holy water but I couldn’t find them anywhere. Then I realised that Marianne’s cross had been buried with her. We began to run out of time and we needed to be getting off. I wasn’t in the least bit ready for this but it was a case of having to go as you were.

This is another voyage where I awoke and it immediately evaporated. We ended up walking through a town and I suddenly realised that I didn’t have my camera with me. I remembered putting it on the seat of the car and putting my coat over it so that no-one can see it and we walked away, so I couldn’t take any photos. We went for a meal – there was one place open – and had something to eat. Then we came out and walked back to the car and reached a place where there were a couple of old American vehicles. Someone had sculpted the bodywork of one so that it was like a kettle. I went to take a photo and had this horrible feeling that I’d left the camera in the place where we’d had lunch. Of course that place would be closed now. I realised now that I hadn’t brought it with me so we nipped back to the car and I fetched my camera and nipped back to the place where this old American car was. By now about 30 kids had all piled into it and in it and around it. The engine started up and it started to set off. I went to take a photo but once again I couldn’t take a photo – the shutter just wouldn’t let me photograph it.

Later on last night I was in one of these great big coffee places. I ordered a coffee and had a bunch of grapes but I had to hunt to find a table or a sofa to sit on. I found myself a table and sofa and sprawled out on there and realised that I didn’t have my coffee yet. In the meantime the place was filling up rapidly and a family with 2 kids came to sit at the table next to me. I stood up to go and fetch the coffee and reached the island in the centre of the place where all of the coffee was. I had to walk around it and did two laps round but couldn’t see where the coffee was. There were all kinds of different things, teas, chocolate and so on, desserts, ice creams and everything but I just couldn’t find the jugs with the coffee in it.